Seeing Red #2

This post is the second in a series that was originally to be called a ‘Study in Scarlet’. Both titles are appropriate given where Albion finds herself in late October, 2019. Balm is given by way of some old comics that somehow passed down to the Curator by way of his father. Plus some altered photographs of West Yorkshire and pictorial catharsis.

“………………………………….It seems a humiliation
to let you go to your ships with our treasures
unfought—now you have come thus far
into our country. You must not get our gold
so softly. Points and edges must reconcile us first,
a grim war-playing, before we give you any tribute.”

Futbol Moderne #2

Football has always kindled a creative spark for me. I remember very little about my first games from the 1970s but can vividly remember the atmosphere of pent up rage, hard-bitten humour and machismo. And the “Fauvist”, iridescent green of the pitch.

When young my love of football also found expression through my obsession with kits from the 1920s and 1930s. Why, I wondered, couldn’t the 1970s footballer wear the (to me) much more elegant styles of the inter-war years?  During the same time (1977-1983), I was engaged in painting the “Lace War” armies of the C18th Austro-Hungarian Empire. This  venture got out of hand very quickly. Somewhere in my parents’ loft marches every regiment that fought at Waterloo (Airfix HO/OO scale figures) and a fair number of figures depicting the terrible opening battles of the First War.

During 2011-12, I returned to examine this thematic link, discovering that there may be more in it than my pre-adolescent whims let on. These are sketches from a day long “draw-in” in Leiden’s then un-renovated Scheltema. The day also saw me down a crate of ale, with the aid of a cheese sandwich. The uniforms are those from all combatant armies of The Great War.

 

Post Ides Idling 2018

These are photographs that I wanted to make into photocopies, but didn’t. Not because of their suitability or otherwise as I’m not sure whether the concept of suitability, as such, plays any part in this particular reproductive process. I still think that the grey furze of the photocopied image does to some extent replicate the film between your sight and inner sight. In that respect anything photocopied (in effect performing the act of taking one step away) brings us one step closer to understanding something.

But sometimes the time between the photograph, or drawing, or the discovery of the objet trouvé, takes time to determine. In this series of posts I also wanted to show you what East Lancashire looks like in winter from the top of a bus. I’ve had many an adventure on the bus to Manchester, and heard lots of stories, like “what would die first in a desert, a rat, or a camel?”

Who can tell?

Time doing nothing is not time wasted. (Georges Remi).

Post-Ides Reopening – 2018

The Museum is now open as the end of winter reckoning has taken place and whatever debts we thought we had have been paid to no-one. How tiresome the world is at present. Maybe we should all indulge in a private, personal version of Pharmakon. In silence. The Museum is here for you, as a place to escape, a digital milk bar, worshiping the healing power, and bounty, of  paper.

Accrington Red Brick Coalbunker Interzone #2

I have strong memories of mucking about in the grate of the new house we moved into in 1972. The grate – where water from the kitchen would collect – was a constant source of fascination.  Staring at the ripples of water would induce a trance-like state. Airfix soldiers would drown, and my brightly coloured, too-light all-purpose play-ball would inevitably find its way there.

Recently, some kind of time-bubble opened up and I found myself repeatedly sketching the bricks of the kitchen wall by memory, or doodling from old photographs of myself in my favoured interzone, the patch between the coal bunker, the backdoor and the grate. How soothing Accrington’s red brick is, able to withstand the warm, benevolent Lancastrian gloaming, damp and accumulated industrial filth, able to stand out alongside the blackened, blasted sandstone.

Blue #5

There is a peculiar shade of blue that pervades certain parts of Accrington. Not always seen, it can nevertheless be sensed as a strong visual memory over long periods of time and sometimes in other places, far removed from this former manufacturing town in East Lancashire.

Memories can be cut out and rearranged. But that doesn’t make them better or any easier to grasp. Looking at these three new additions to the museum, the curator can’t help but wonder what binds them outside of his own random attempts at fusing or displaying memory. Maybe not even that. Maybe they should be pondered in silence, without recourse to thought.

Blue #3

There is a peculiar shade of blue that pervades certain parts of Accrington. Not always seen, it can nevertheless be sensed as a strong visual memory over long periods of time and sometimes in other places, far removed from this former manufacturing town in East Lancashire.  The blue can be put to various uses. In modern parlance, it is a “positive” force. And the curator invoked it at various times during that strangest of decades, the 1990s.

Blue #2

Sometimes you can see a peculiar kind of blue in Accrington. You can normally see it when the sun goes down behind the hill where the former NORI brickworks use to be. (It’s now a new housing estate.) The afterglow spreads over Accrington Stanley’s ground, and then casts a peculiar blue green light into the back room of my parents’ house.

In the very early 1990s, on the dole and living back at my parents’ in Accrington, I began to draw and write in earnest, and in secret. I thought of applying to St Martins’, but couldn’t be arsed. The post ERM crash suited me. No jobs worth having in East Lancashire. Still: I needed a counterpoint to my friends’ exciting lives in dreamlike places like Bedford, Lutterworth or Chalfont St Peter. And, around 1993, London, where my more urbane mates ended up. I started to draw what it would be like to, you know, go there.

Then I would go to the corner shop and buy 4 cans of Trent Mild, and mixed salt and vinegar peanuts and salted crisps, and read the Acccrington Observer letters page and listen to BBC Radio 4.

The past is my playground.

Blue #1

Sometimes you can see a peculiar kind of blue in Accrington. You can normally see it when the sun goes down behind the hill where the former NORI brickworks use to be. (It’s now a new housing estate.) The afterglow spreads over Accrington Stanley’s ground, and then casts a peculiar blue green light into the back room of my parents’ house.

I still find it a remarkable light, something I haven’t seen anywhere else. I always found its appearance a very hopeful sign and – like the two Haitian angel/devil tin cats hanging on my wall – still draw on its presence.

In the very early 1990s, when I left Felling, I spent some time living back at my parents. Sometimes letters from friends, (whose lives seemed to be far more exciting, or at least much more dramatically, entertainingly, boring than mine) would summon up this blue light. Places like Bedford, Lutterworth or Chesterfield, Aberystwyth or Chalfont St Peter loomed large in the imagination. And, around 1993, London. A place seen only three times previously. And then in passing. I began to draw what London would be like, if I ever went.

The 1990s, where letters would stop and start amidships, beached by thoughts or sudden displays of emotion. A time when the World of Word Processor leaned like a sinister uncle over your shoulder.

The past is my playground.

I Never Tell Anybody Anything #4

A reminder that life can be flippant. O, cleanse my flippant soul. By the powers that be, o, stop me from thinking everything can be a joke.