All posts filed under: Englishness

The Haxey Hood. 2020.

This game, now nearly 700 years old, is held on the 6th of January* each year. Thousands gather in the early afternoon to see the “Fool Smoked” , hear his speech and to watch or partake in the game. The group then moves to a nearby field where the game is to be played. The games start with the Children’s Hood Games where, over a period of time, 12 soft canvas hoods are throw into the crowd. The enjoyment this gives the kids is written over their smiles and heard in their laughter. The adults cheer them on laughing and whooping. Yes it’s violent but there is no anger.  Each throw in of the canvas Hood is performed by the Lord of the game or other notables as well as the Boggins (Marshalls). These children’s games are supervised by one of the fitter and faster amongst the group of Boggins. The kids are a bit quick. This year I didn’t stop for the adult games so I’ve include a  shot from years past. Notable this …

Fairground attraction 1970’s

Back in the late 1970’s, I would wander around my home city of Birmingham, camera in hand. At the time it was all Black-and-White work, self-developed and printed in a makeshift darkroom. I had different cameras to choose from, nothing exotic. I used twin lens reflex and 35mm. These images were from my 35mm camera probably on *400asa film hence the grain. *(I must check as I have the original negatives somewhere) The images below were from a sojourn to an impromptu fairground, many popped up like this around the city. This one appeared in Hay Mills, adjacent to the A45 near to Small Heath.

Differing opinions.

For me, a satisfying image has shapes and layers. I was at the SteamPunk festival in Lincoln on Saturday. This image was from the lower half of the city (where there were fewer SteamPunk attendees). I was drawn by the incongruous hat of the SteamPunker – a white military helmet surmounted and enclosed by an Octopus. I use that as the front layer and slightly out of focus, with shoppers passing in the next layer.  The layer which first attracted me contains the Irish Dance Busker making eye contact with the delighted little girl.  Finally, in the last layer of interest is the shop attendant peering out of the window. I find this image satisfying even though it’s far from perfect containing as it does elements others may believe detract from the image. As you maybe aware, my images are just for me so you may not agree. That’s OK. That’s what makes this art form so interesting – alternative views of the same thing and differing opinions.

A nail in our cultural coffin perhaps?

Designed by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield R.A. The Usher Gallery, on Lindum Hill, was officially opened on the 25th May 1927 with a solid gold key by the Prince of Wales.  The gallery was built as a result of a bequest by Lincoln jeweller James Ward Usher.  Usher never married and devoted his life to collecting, travelling far in search of particular items to enhance his collection. He never sought public honours but was offered the position of Sheriff of Lincoln in 1916.  In 1921 he died at the age of 76, and as was his wish he bequeathed to the City his collection of watches, miniatures, porcelain and silver. He also left a considerable amount of money for a gallery to be built in order to house his collection. Now, in 2019, the County Council wishes to turn the gallery into a wedding venue – despite the fact they do not own the building. This seems to be against the wishes of the original bequest by Usher. It’s certainly against the wishes of …