Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Consumer's Delight and Red 154

I've got in mind a project involving creating some images, projecting and printing - speaking to a friend I came to the conclusion that a small portable  (and hopefully cheap) PC would help make this a realisable.
The doors beckoned me in to this modern day Aladdin's cave

He had got a small tablet that he'd found really useful and having shown him (online) a device that interested me (the Lenovo Miix 300) he made the excellent suggestion that I should go and see the physical entity.

As the best place to buy this was John Lewis (Never Knowingly Undersold) I went along to their flagship store -it's a consumer heaven.
A bigger choice than I anticipated  

I sometimes disparage those who hope to find salvation (or at least some small portion of happiness) from buying the latest fashions or most sophisticated gadgets - I could feel my inner acquisitiveness as I reached the electronics department - enormous  new generation Ultra -HD tellies, super new digital cameras (on a side note - interesting to learn here about Kodak's early digital camera development)   for me though it was good to see the device I had in mind - but the downside was the number of alternatives - that tyranny of choice becoming apparent.

I was mildly amused to see the range of  knowledge on display by the shoppers, some who were prepared and had researched, others  with a far more limited grasp of the nature of what they were looking to buy.

For me it did help me make a decision but sadly having decided to go for it I find the particular model is out of stock - but they will advise (via email) if and  when it's back - if you see it at around £120 do let me know.

Red 154

On the way from JL spotted a nice red character aimed at children

Hamley's  figure -Not sure how this fits in with 'Modern Childhood' images.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Modern Architecture and Red 155

I've been travelling  to  Bermondsey (Southwark) Underground station fairly regularly  for the last 18 months  or so to conduct short personalised tours of exhibitions at The Design Museum, this will be finishing next month as the Museum relocates to the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington.
Attractive and sought after St James Road

The premises are bigger and when it opens in November there'll be free access to some of the items on show - so that's a good thing.

The current Museum location is  amongst a trendy revitalised area of what used to be the Docks but the area with it's cosmopolitan population has a mixed housing stock.

Shad - Older buildings
I will though miss the area of London I approach Shad Thames by which has, I'm realising got some interesting architecture - much of it modern social housing, and for me some of it has merit.

There's no reason why housing should not fulfil its purpose and be interesting or even beautiful - the important point is capturing what's needed for the occupants in the first instance.

Here are some buildings around The Jamaica Road area that I've noticed on the right (above)  flats in St James Road that were winners of the Bermondsey Spa Regeneration Project competition.
Sorry Nigel -Could be a European building

I quite like this modern European looking building too - I'm not sure of it's function but it's close to Druid Road railway arches.

The one below is a bit so-so but nothing that would scare the horses.

I've seen plenty worse

Red 155

Don't know about banks and being in the Red but

I suppose Richard Branson might (and the guy checking his phone) 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

National Gallery again and Red 156

So this week on our CityLit course at the National Gallery we moved on from the Sainsbury Wing but still very much in renaissance Italy.

Leslie Primo is an excellent interpreter of the works and gets us all contributing to the discussions.
The Entombment

A viewer studies the Manchester Madonna

As well as seeing Michelangelo's two works (both unfinished) one that's become known as The Manchester Madonna (sounds like a pop music review) and the other The Entombment there's much clear canvas and the artist's  skill in anatomy can be seen. Apparently the artist who was always busy had other commissions that were more attractive and got diverted from completing these works.

The artist known chiefly as an sculptor clearly shows he is able to produce excellent results with both tempera and oils.

A painting I liked less

The artist shows his skills

Another artist who impressed with the scope of his works was Titian - he's not someone who just churns out different versions of a  typical Titian - I was particularly impressed with La Schiavona where a relief is fantastically well created in two dimensions - this apparently is part of an ongoing 'dialogue' between painters and sculptors.

I was less excited by The Death of Actaeon- the skill is clear and the work shows brushstrokes which was not the normal manner at this time (early 16th Century) - you can see a nice Tim Marlow documentary on Titian here on youTube.

The practice of referencing literature can be seen in Bacchus and Ariadne which also shows a constellation (that of Ariadne).

Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian 

Tintorreto  had an astronomical motifs in  the painting we looked at by him  and The Origin of The Milky Way shows this clearly in the top on the  left - it also has many references to Geoponica.

The Origin of The Milky Way by Jacapo Tintoretto

Red 156

Not what you'd call a summer hat

but it's headwear of a sort. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Plotting for the Open Day and Red 157

I didn't realise there was so much in it

The  news that the Northfields Allotments  Open Day is only about a month away has helped me to focus on progressing seedlings on from Greenhouse to ground - peppers and Aubergines are on the way and I need to clear some weeds to get Cabbages and Cauliflowers out.
Popadome preach as Madonna might say

Yesterday we visited the local garden centre and I've now got a 'Popadome' (great name) to help me avoid needlessly feeding local pigeon population - hopefully be able to fit in several Kale and Spinach plants.

Please find us homes

Like you have for the Sweetcorn and beans

Red 157

Think that it's over (for this year)  but here a Red message for help

Perhaps she's texting a donation?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Holdups in Northfields West Ealing and Red 158

So first of all sorry if you were on the  Northfield Avenue  this afternoon and got slightly delayed - I feel a little responsible ..
Our story begins

About 2 weeks ago I spotted Red Squirrel pollarding in Argyle Road - they were busy and of course the by product of such work is woodchip.

fast forward a week or so and as I walked back from Plot 202 one of the  Red Squirrel guys who was waiting in traffic asked me if I'd like some mulch for the allotments - I gave him my contact details and finally we were able to today schedule a drop.
And the Van (you might see again!)

In fact getting the woodchips from a local tree surgeon is one of those win win situations - Red Squirrel avoid a drive to the East of London and a charge - we get Mulch for our plots with minimal 'CO2 miles'.
Blimey they've all gone

I'm not needing any mulch myself but as I'd pointed out Free is quite an attractive price and there were plenty of Wheelbarrows coming out of the woodwork.

Seems people will use them for paths within their plots and after keeping the mulch for a while it can be used for helping to hold moisture around plants and trees - but do leave it a while until  it becomes neutral  and check this out..

Very impressed at how the team were able to be in and out quickly with minimal disruption  and how well they worked together - if you need any Tree work done in West London do consider them - nice guys

The end product - a 'green'  mulch

Red 158

Sometimes it feels like 'The Gods' are smiling and providing something that fits my requirements

Just dropped in

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fox Talbot and Red 159

A figure of the 19th Century

John Soane was a man who was part of a new wave in England - pushing an enlightenment  agenda  - he was not alone in changing the way we live.

Due to the connection between the Bradford Media  Museum and  London's Science Museum there  seem to be fairly regular  strong Photographic exhibitions in Kensington (like this one about 18 months ago)  , earlier in the week I went along with a companion to check out a show that looked at the work of British pioneer Fox Talbot.

Seems that in these days (start of the 19th Century) the role for a certain type of comfortably well off  gentleman was to pursue a somewhat dilettante existence pursing interests and making discoveries, Fox Talbot was the epitome of this type of moneyed person.

Of course Fox Talbot had help, his assistant (the Dutchman Nicolaas Henneman) who later  went and formed his own business and there were others working in the field too like the Reverend Calvert Jones another 19th Century 'renaissance man'  -as well as being a vicar he was an artist and architectural expert.
Oddly it lacked some science

There were examples of Calvert Jones pictures  that included early panoramas and hand coloured prints.

What was interesting about the exhibition was to see how Fox Talbot used his developments to help him with other pursuits and spread the activity around like minded individuals  - oddly we both felt the exhibition was  a little light on the science.

We're now bombarded with visual images and it's hard to conceive the excitement and the impact of what Fox Talbot in England and the Frenchman Louis Daguerre  'unveiled' in their lifetimes (and of course beyond).

Michael Crick's Boris Versus Dave

Pretty much anything Michael Crick does on TV (and in books for that matter) smacks of engagement- by him at the very least.

The channel 4 programme last night was a clear view on the battle between the two old Etonian Conservatives  at the heart of the EU referendum - to be fair having watched it there seems to be no way that Boris could ever have been anything but BREXIT without undergoing  a fairly spectacular road to Damascus type  turnaround of the 180 degrees variety.

So this is about David's 'Place in History' versus Boris's  Place in number 10 - just over a month now.

Red 159

This isn't hand coloured

But the message is pretty clear

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We get our 'Rubbish Bins' and Red 160

I don't know if  I've been in denial over the impending day that 'Wheelie bins' would arrive on our doorstep  but they're here now- they're not only an eyesore but there's an unpleasant noise emitted as they're moved around
They take up a lot of a small garden's space

I'm not a fan of this change to the refuse and waste collections largely because the bins look unattractive  in small city front gardens - and the way that the council has imposed the solution to what is a budget issue has felt very dictatorial.
They've arrived to help us ?

I even went as far as speaking to the Councilors in session (nearly a year ago) and at the time felt that there was no engagement with me or the many other residents who were against being forced to use these bins.

Where's my dinner?

Well at least we are able to hide our bins by the garage and don't need to have them in the front garden apart from on collection day.

I'm not sure that the new system will mean that substantially more waste will be recycled - big bins encourage us to throw things away.

Foxes have previously plundered the refuse bags for carcasses and other  food waste - I'm not sure if there will be any unintended consequences here.

Red 160

And on the subject of bins- here's an old red one..

A somewhat faded box

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 3 at the National Gallery and Red 161

The third  session with Leslie Primo at the National Gallery was another opportunity to look at works on display that were very much still in the 'Early phase'.
Virgin and child with St John

The works were themed around paintings that used a number of people working together in 'workshops' but attributed to (generally) a senior painter.

The Virgin and child with Saint John by Ghirlandaio clearly showed this approach being part of a fashion for the images of the Virgin, it shows the Virgin as was the custom in a 'different realm'- by the separation that's produced by baby Jesus being on the parapet, aerial perspective is used and the detail around the central figures is impressive.
Adoration of the Kings

The Adoration of the Kings credited to Sandro Botticelli has some features of note although elegant the anatomy of the figures is questionable, ruined buildings provide symbolism - unusually the paintings is in a circular form.

This painting has clear use of mathematical perspective along with effective use of foreshortening  and the Peacock is symbolic of resurrection.  
Quite a wedding gift

Another of the paintings from Botticelli's workshop was Venus and Mars - the painting is another that would have been a wedding gift and is intended to give a 'message' to the bride and groom- it shows Mars sated. A similar painting by the same artist is on show at the Louvre in Paris.

Another picture of note we spent some time looking at was The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian - credited to Antonio  and Piero Pollaiuolo - I was puzzled by the somewhat 'schizophrenic' perspective but the fact that the junior artist paints the main figure (the saint) is also jarring.

Like so many of the paintings it's been reframed through the years and part of the work is missing.

A very symmetrical work with repeating figures

Red 161

Not far from the gallery at a Money Exchange Bureau 

A currency message

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dieter Meier talks and Red 162

The event at London's Prestigious NPG
When I got into the National Portrait Gallery's basement lecture theatre and heard Tom Hunter (the interviewer for the session) ask Dieter Meier (the interviewee) prior to the session if he was a Jungian? (the answer was not really) - I knew I was going to be party to a great conversation.

Dieter spoke about many thing including  what a big problem gambling had been for him as a young man and how he'd become a conceptual artist - making works about various things for example  a performance in New York where he counted items (it was about free will) and the occasion he bought Yes-ses and No-es (about the same number of each as well as an odd 'Ohio').

Good to see he's lost the ponytail.
Dieter spoke of his musical  collaboration with non-musician Boris Blank and that they are to perform again after about 35 years - the influence of the Yello project is a big one in the electronic and dance world, Dieter mentioned how their first record broke out via Black Music radio in the USA.

Dieter gives good quote (not necessarily his but .. - two I picked up on, one on not being religious but welcoming Jesus's instruction as a way into art to 'become as Children.. '

and the other he said was a lone climber's autobiography - The conquering of nothingness.

The man was a lesson in how to age gracefully and happily - he retains an interest in wine growing in Argentina and a new type of chocolate production but remains quintessentially a Swiss one off.

Red 162

Back in the natural-ish world for a red pomegranate

Eat lots of different colours they say

Sunday, May 22, 2016

'Facts' in the EU debate and Red 163

The bunch of men shown were in a way pioneers in Europe-we all worked together at Euronews (European TV news channel) in Lyon France over 20 years ago.
Euronews Ecully in 'our day'

On Friday we had a mini- reunion and of course we put the world to rights, speaking a fair bit about politics and the world we inhabit - general consensus was I think to vote remain.

So I'm hearing two main things ahead of the UK's EU vote:

1) People are bored and not engaged - well all the people I've spoken with (for and against) are really engaged, admittedly my ex colleagues are a special bunch having spent some time living in France and part of a European co-operative.

2) They're not getting the facts - well there are some facts like how long it takes to leave and the end of membership  payments, but the main points are conjecture.

We don't know how things will pan out if we leave, most commentators agree there'll be some initial turbulence in the markets.
Formerly trailblazers now blazer wearers

The choice we make will be more about a trajectory for the future  and following people we believe.

Should you trust someone like Boris Johnson  who has failed to keep his word on more than one occasion (apparently he's already offering the position of Chancellor  to various MPs) or perhaps Iain Duncan Smith - new friend to the  the poor  who had problems with expenses and his  'University' career?

Oddly many people I speak to tie up Somalian refugees, asylum seekers  with EU membership and I think there is some confusion over the position of workers in the UK after a Brexit vote.

I've not decided a 100% on my own choice but I'm worried that those with most to lose will be damaged most by an exit, be it unemployment or limitations to their future.

Red 163

Red Sign - In Leicester Square, London the opportunity to get discounted theatre tickets.

You won't miss this

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Back at Soane Museum and Red 164

Soane's Museum - Gift shop is on the left
Looking around what was Sir John Soane's central London home and workshop (and art collection and teaching institution) again  it's fair I think to say he was a collect perhaps even a hoarder, what he left to the nation though is something rather special.

Soane was not only a notable architect but also a cultured man who celebrated Shakespeare and collected Canaletto paintings.

Unusually by leverage of important  friends he was actually able to get a parliamentary act that protects the residence and keeps it as it was left pretty much in perpetuity - visiting again yesterday after what's probably about 18 months I was again excited to have the series of Hogarth pictures (A Rake's Progress) revealed and explained along with the parallels to one of Soane's own sons, George.

Soane (like Wren) has had a big influence on the London we know and inhabit - with The Bank of England being one of his 'signature' designs.

Soane also had a residence in Ealing (Now Pitzhanger Manor) hopefully when the renovations complete something of the man's achievements will be highlighted there too.
Soane's former Ealing residence is currently under renovation

There's some ironic Gothic touches and the maudlin nature of the man (particularly after the death of his wife) can be seen in some of the areas he personalised.

Among the items on show are many architectural details and the 'classroom' Soane  used to teach young architects their trade in is pretty much preserved  as it would have been in Sir John's day.

It's actually rather nice that the use of mobile Phones and Cameras is prohibited and visitors are required to use their eyes and senses to engage.

The museum has something over 100,000 visitors a year and the guides and staff are well versed in the stories and details - it's worth a visit.

Red 164

I suppose children would probably choose a red one (straw) above others

Not the final one

Friday, May 20, 2016

London Mayor and the Arts Red 165

The future's the key
It's good news that London's new Mayor recognises the importance of  creative industries to the city.

Yesterday I popped in to the UAL  showroom by High Holborn there's generally something new to see there every couple of months or so and the variety of projects is wide.

Xhibit has been running for nearly 20 years and highlights emerging creatives working within the UAL.

The work that I found interesting was a paper by UAL student  Xiuching Tsay  looking at Sexual innuendo in the fashion industry, Xiuching uses a character 'Lolla' in her work  but there's plenty of other areas of ideas on show at Xhibit around fashion.

The written part of the work

Fashion is generally a meme here too

Red 165

The idea of this Red 'Hot Dog' might not make all of us hungry

Doesn't look a happy sausage does it?