Thursday, 26 November 2009

Phil Morsman and Civilisation

A few weeks ago I wrote a post wondering, Would we put another human person in a zoo? I blathered that civilisation can't be so very civilised when it's predicated on enforced labour.

After publishing the post I saw an exhibition of Phil Morsman's work in The Gateway at the University of Cumbria (it's there until tomorrow - you'll need to be quick).

Phil's pictures neatly convey what I was struggling to say.

More of Phil's work is exhibited in Selected Obsessions the Alexandra Gallery - also at the University. The very poor photograph below is of a mixed media picture entitled Fissure.

To my simple mind Phils obsessions - in particular slavery, deserts, borders and geological features - reflect my own preoccupations.

I took a photograph of another mixed media picture called Fault but it is a Very Bad photograph. The gallery lights (and me!) are hideously reflected in the glass and it'd be a profound injustice to Phil to publish it here. However, Fault is my new best obsession.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Some Important Things - two weddings, a properly sad event, a twenty-first birthday & the real size of a Shire Horse.

Since the last post a some Important Things have happened. I'm setting these events down in order of chronology not magnitude.

My son married. If I'd been set to design the Just Right wife for him I wouldn't have known where to start. Luckily, he found her, and she found him. Congratulations! I could not be gladder.

My middle child and I visited a dressmaker in Blackburn to talk about bridesmaids dresses for her wedding and to purchase ladybird wings and antenna from Blackburn Market (for Halloween, not bridal wear). The next day we visited my other middle child in Newcastle. On our amble, between tea and buns at Fenwicks and tea and buns at the Baltic Arts Centre across the Tyne, we saw steeplejacks abseiling along the roof of the Sage. We’ve no idea why.
A dare?
Window cleaning?
For the view?
Whatever they were up to, they were especially intrepid.

My old friend and neighbour, Peter, died. He's been ill and in pain for a long time and I'm glad he isn't suffering anymore, but it is almost incomprehensible to me that I will never see him, speak to him or listen to him talk, ever again. I miss him just not being there. He was as complex and as interesting as any of us (well, more remarkable than most - but that's his story, not mine). I think he is best summed up by what he said when a Bad Thing happened at our house.

‘We have no arrangement that can’t be changed if you need us.’

And he was true to his word.

Finally, my youngest child turned twenty-one at five minutes past midnight on Sunday 15 November. I put fairy lights in the window, assembled a bare-bottomed baby photo montage and decorated a cake with a heart filled with dolly-mixtures.

Her boyfriend lovingly made her the blue cake below; the one with hand painted Shire Horses and a Collie Dog. My youngest child isn’t particularly partial to Shire Horses or Collie Dogs, but he explained.
'Shire Horses are my favourite - the Collie Dog is for scale. Most people don't appreciate just how massive Shire Horses are.'

Well, there you have it; Shire Horses are considerably bigger than a Collie Dog but a little bit smaller than a birthday candle.