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.

Tomatoes #3

I used to like going to the Columba Club or Felling WMC in Felling, with my granda in the very late 1980s/very early 1990s when I studied at the university of Newcastle upon Tyne. We’d sometimes got to the allotment beforehand to get some tomatoes from the greenhouse. I remember one night when my granda celebrated 60 years in the Labour party; 1932-1992. Labour Chief Whip Derek Foster came. No relation to the curator.

These photocopies of multiple drawings of Politburo members (including – I think – Gorbachev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gromyko) somehow bring to mind the club members. I don’t want to speculate too much about any political similarities or sympathies. It was both a different world and looking at a different world, back then.

Tomatoes #2

I used to like going to the Columba Club or Felling WMC in Felling, with my granda in the very late 1980s/very early 1990s when I studied at the university of Newcastle upon Tyne. We’d sometimes got to the allotment beforehand to get some tomatoes from the greenhouse. I found myself in demand on quiz nights at the clubs. I’d normally be expected to supply answers to questions relating to popular culture. Beat music, fashions, that kind of thing.

These photocopies of multiple drawings of Politburo members (including – I think – Gorbachev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gromyko) somehow bring to mind the club members. I don’t want to speculate too much about any political similarities or sympathies. It was both a different world and looking at a different world, back then.

Tomatoes #1

I used to like going to the Columba Club or Felling WMC in Felling, with my granda in the very late 1980s/very early 1990s when I studied at the university of Newcastle upon Tyne. We’d sometimes got to the allotment beforehand to get some tomatoes from the greenhouse.

These photocopies of multiple drawings of Politburo members (including – I think – Gorbachev, Andropov, Chernenko and Gromyko) somehow bring to mind the club members. I don’t want to speculate too much about any political similarities or sympathies. It was both a different world and looking at a different world, back then.

Bubbles #3

Sometimes I think my life, especially that part of my life I have spent living in the Netherlands is akin to being stuck in a bubble. Or sitting in a greenhouse floating through an endless void. Of course, both situations have their advantages.

Bubbles #2

Life seems to be led in a bubble of our own current fancies. This is true of the Netherlands where I live, where my longstanding obsession with images of the descent from the cross and the last judgment are often put politely to one side.

Over the summer, I decided to throw out all my old papers and photocopies and paintings. My friends Paul and Dan rearranged them for me and added their own mark. The resulting works were shown – and remained – in Rotterdam.

The three new works somehow managed to have an air of the Baroque, and Northern Renaissance images I have long admired. Details of two are shown here in black and white and colour. A third piece is the result of a happy accident born of mild annoyance at the original work, an irrelevant, insouciant circumstance that this otherwise quiet country often throws up. Ah, vanitas, vanitas!

Bubbles #1

Life seems to be led in a bubble of our own current fancies. This is true in the Netherlands, where I live, where my longstanding obsession with images of the descent from the cross and the last judgment are often put politely to one side.

Over the summer, I decided to throw out all my old papers and photocopies and paintings. My friends Paul and Dan rearranged them for me and added their own mark. The resulting works were shown – and remained – in Rotterdam.

The three new works somehow managed to have an air of the Baroque, and Northern Renaissance images I have long admired. Details of two are shown here in black and white. I wonder what’s going to happen when giving answers to everything stops being a going concern.

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 #4

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 to solve, or put to bed a number long-standing obsessions that seemed only to muddy the waters during the indeterminate early 2000s.