All posts tagged: England

A visit to the Barbican in the City of London.

I don’t know about you, but I thought the Barbican in London was simply an arts centre – “simply an Arts centre” there’s an understatement for a start. Just how wrong can you be? My wife, Sue, knowing I like Brutalist architecture bought me a ticket for a guided architectural tour of the ‘complex’ and complex it is. Not only is it an arts centre – by the way, this section of the development was finalised and built last – but it is a housing project comprising around 2000 flats.  First, throw away all preconceptions of what a ‘housing project’ of this size would look like. The project was conceived in the late ’50s by architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. They planned and delivered a high quality, wonderfully detailed living space, and due to the management of the terms of the letting or sale of the units, it has remained so ever since. Strict conditions apply regarding what the occupants can and cannot do –  but I’m getting in front of myself. If I may backtrack; The area …

Skin Heads. Birmingham, ’70’s/’80’s

Recently, I was trying to decide on a picture to put in place at home. Knowing Sue, my wife likes this image I decided on this. It was taken at Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham in the late ’70s, maybe very early ’80s. It shows two of a group of Skin Heads standing on the Waltzers, a fairground ride at the ‘Tulip Festival’.  Both are wearing tight Levi jeans and ‘Doc Marten’ boots, one with a ‘Ben Sherman’ check shirt and with a ‘Crombie style’ overcoat over. And each, of course with the required shaved head haircut, Various pins and badges are worn on the lapels, one being a Nazi Swastika. On occasion, wrongly I’ve printed it without the badge. I print it here without any editing – as I believe it should be. The image portrayed by the skinheads is underlined by the “Love and Hate” tattoo across the knuckles of each hand further enhancing the anarchic, hard man ‘Fuck you’  image they choose to put out. It is a picture of its time reflecting, as it …

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 …

Do we stay or do we go?

If, like me, you are sick to the back teeth of hearing the word Brexit I’m afraid this piece is not going to help much. But, but, but – yes. it’s worth the repetition – if we relent in our efforts to push back, then we can blame nobody but ourselves, for not trying to reverse what has transpired to be an uninformed, corrupted and consequently, bad decision. One million of us joined together in London yesterday to protest against what we see as madness. I owe it to my grandchildren to try to protect their future. It would be hard to look them in the eye and say I did nothing. That’s enough of the ‘why’ of it. Here are some pictures of how the day panned out from the people walking through London before the march until my crocky old bones could literally stand no longer a few hours later. I didn’t get to the end. Sorry. As to whether we should stay or go… you have your own opinion – and long may that …

Leonardo da Vinci in Birmingham​.

Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum, along with 11 other venues, is currently hosting an exhibition of the work of Leonardo da Vinci. There are 12 works being exhibited in Birmingham, all from the Royal Collection, and 12 in each of the other venues, that is 144 works being shown across the country. The event in Birmingham is free; no tickets required. Just show up. I visited, with our daughter Kate,  mid-afternoon on Monday 25th Feb. There was no queue; contrary to Kate’s previous visit of a few days before when she waited for an hour and a half. I’m not sure what I expected but I was surprised by what met my gaze. The images are wonderfully rendered drawings, sketches even. Acutely observed and flawlessly made in charcoal and sepia. In the main, they are light, airy and elegant. I suppose at over 500 years old the degradation in the medium is to be expected, and yet that seems to add to the evanescence of the pieces. But, it’s the size which surprises the most. …