Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve and what we can do

As the year ends it's traditionally a time for taking stock and setting (or adjusting) our goals.

From me get ready for 365 Front doors along with a preliminary look at Faith I'll be recording highlights.
Amazing bargain 50p! and the same recipe Jane uses at Home

But looking back I really am reflecting on my good fortune - so many people with a more difficult hand to deal with (or have had dealt to them) than I and many it seems doing their best with exceedingly good grace.

And so it has been today for me - stuff that can be dealt with and some good luck, which (I think)  is the best one can expect.

It's interesting to learn that there's been something of  a return not only to tangible records and CDs but also books - there is undoubtedly a pleasure to possession and the opportunity to curate one's own space with a physical
artefact - 'Come on in to the exhibition of my likes' we might be saying at our front door.

They don't only say 'you're untidy'

As an example i'm on Chapter 6 of  'Small Pleasures' and also well into Marina Abramoić's 'Walk Through Walls I would describe the latter  as a more disturbing and honest book than any other memoir I have encountered and a strong argument for 'Analysis' for the protagonist.

 I'd be grateful for book reccomendations (or other items)  tips as we go through 2017 


Another pleasure has been the weekly roundup from Austin Kleon  (and his multiple tweets) - credit here to him (which is what his 'Steal Like An Artist' is all about)  for this excellent deconstruction of a 'project' -

So accurate.
[Congratulations to Sir Ray Davies, the former Kinks frontman and main composer - he's written some great songs and been part of a brilliant group]

Friday, December 30, 2016

Design Museum Booming

Earlier today at the Design Museum and after a slow-ish start the place really began to fill - it's that time of year when families are thrown together and something to do, potentially for free -( here's some help for Londoners) can be  an urgent requirement to stop murder being done.
Look at the 'Design'  briefs and have a go 

The 'Activity' area serves at least two major needs - something that feels somewhat designer-ry and somewhere to sit - often it's pre-schoolers using bricks  but Schools on holiday mean that pre-teens and early teens are involved (making it harder for the more mature to find a seat under the guise of 'trying them out').

Well the answer's on the left
Seems so

From what I heard the first month has already seen more new members than in a year at the previous home (Shad Thames) and the shops - both of them looked busy too.

Thinking about Religion 

Kensington High Street has a nice little Roman Catholic Church (currently with Nativity Scene) and this reminded me that 2016 isn't all about front doors for me.

So I've googled and found a rather neat and helpful site about 'Religious days - here's the January link - it's already told me something about January 1st -that it's a Christian celebration of a Jewish custom namely the circumcision and naming of Jesus - the circumcision is carried out on the 8th day of the infant's life  by a 'Mohel'.

Here's a link to a Christian service celebrating the naming, the keeping of the (Jewish)  law the fist spilling of Christ's Blood.

Not every one's cup of tea

The short form story of  Our Lady of Victories 

Without the humour of the Spanish Nativity Scenes.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ealing's Bond street of the future and Broadway Centre's screen

So work is underway on the new 'Cinema Quarter' in Ealing and it'll be sad to see the Pop Up Shops in the 'Old YMCA' building vacated (especially the one I've used).

Filmworks seems to be the working title of the development 

With all the Photoshop and talented graphic's technicians what used to be known as The 'Artist's Impressions' are really getting quite good.

So between Hotel Xanadu and the Spanish Restaurant will be new 
In fact the building next to Hotel Xanadu which used to be part of TVU/University of West London already looks empty at ground floor - so I expect work will start soon.

That Screen in the Broadway Centre

Talking of screens the big one outside the library is still not in use but looking from the back fairly clear that it'll be showing something soon.

The Public side of the screen 

and the working business side

I don't know if it'll be advertising or a Cinema project - we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Those road numbers evolve and more retail

It's on the cards now
Having given an outline of how I would approach my 365 road numbers I started looking more actively at the plan and have revised my strategy almost immediately.

What I'm going to do (hopefully) is take numbered front door pictures as I see them, aiming for the relevant day but keeping others on file- then selecting the best (or only one) as needed - I'll have folders of around 50 prefix a) for the door and b) for the street/road.

71a The Subject-   The Door

 71b The road name is the  signifier 

 Have already got one from a nearby road for  364 (higher numbers will be more difficult) might try and use my 'second' camera (Powershot SX280 HS)  alongside my main one (G16) to get a GPS location and map the result too.

Retail moves to occasion shopping

But others offer-  A destination shopping centre  experience 
Some areas are functional 

Yesterday when I was out and about noticed that away from the main roads where the chain stores are king it's a mixture of  opening hours which doesn't serve shoppers or retailers well and means focus is on the big commercial centres (like Westfields - the Shepherd's Bush one for me).

 Holidays, especially at this time of year  are more and more equated with meeting friends, having something to eat and then looking around the shops and perhaps buying something - I hit Uniqlo  my favourite clothes shop as it manages to be multi-generational and (slightly) cool.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Projects for 2017 - and help if you can

Party of Red and a front door too
So I suppose most of 2016 I was involved in taking Red Pictures and I'm going to do something similar in 2017 but different ..

Next year I'm going to be running two projects, a foreground one year  (365 Front Doors) and another one bubbling on in the background for the first year and then full on in Year 2 looking at 'Faith and Religion.

365 Front doors

Mail me with suggestions
I guess having spoken to a few people this is something which is eminently achievable and will continue to get me taking pictures and then thinking about them.

I'm going to set a few ground rules - basically I'll be trying to take the picture on the day or the day before the blog  and upload of the picture -and I'll keep a record of the location and something about it and the number - the locations will be skewed to West London.

I'd be really grateful for any suggestions along the way too.

I guess it could form the basis of a desktop diary/calendar too.

Religion and Faith (in a year)

All sorts of places and 'ideas'

What I'll be trying to do here is research for a 2018 project when I'll track religion and faiths - looking at Churches, Temples and places of worship.

But also the people and occasions High days and holidays along with beliefs and difference across a selection of practices and ideas - as this is going to be more complex to manage as a project I need to be prepared.

I'll be looking at constructing an agenda using diaries and online resources in 2017

Again please get in touch with ideas    

Monday, December 26, 2016

(Last) Christmas and this one

Well got some jolly presents and (like many others) had too much to eat yesterday - really looking forward to reading Marina Abramovic's Walk through Walls and The School of Life's Small Pleasures (which are/can be big).
Just some of the goodies

As usual I've got a CD and it'll be slightly  bitter-sweet listening to the departed Leonard Cohen - as many people have mentioned we've lost a lot of big hitters in 2016 - many are people I rated and or saw like Prince and David Bowie - well the last week has marked the departure too of Veteran Rocker (as he was known in life) Rick Parfitt  and George Michael (yesterday).

Like watching Bowie on Top of The Pops on TV in the 70's seeing Wham! (with like Lichtenstein's famous painting there was an exclamation but here only one A)  was a revelation as they were (it seemed) about Fun.

Michael proved himself quite a songwriter over the years and a generous benefactor too - oddly I saw the group walking around in WH Smith at Heathrow in their early years, prior to Superstardom  - so that's my Wham! story (I had Fantastic too which has the great Wham Rap and Young Guns.

[George's visit to Desert Island Discs is worth listening to too]

Well very good anyway 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Those working and as John (& Yoko) said

Improving stuff- Crossrail 
It's been the season for complaining about people (Rail workers for example) - I guess the nature of us (people) is we complain.

At this time of year we should give  thanks to people who do stuff - cheers.

A message from our Sponsors

So all the shopping is over (until after today/Boxing day)
I hope you have fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas in Kensington and Austin Kleon

Bill's Bike in the Window

Yesterday another welcoming day at  the (London) Kensington Design Museum and as I was slightly early into the tube station (less commuters than usual) took a short diversion onto (the not so) mean streets just off the main drag.

StreetCheck is more than fascinating

Slightly surprised to find that the rather 'posh' Phillimore Gardens had managed to go as tacky as many less affluent streets - starting with Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers (restaurant)  the season was being marked by quite a few of the inhabitants.

The Snowman 

and Santa Baby

Some of the residents were all out for a democratic take on the decorations - others did look at making a tasteful statement ..

Slightly tasteful 

Rovers Bauble's on show

Others fell between two stools

Nice gift wrapping?

Making Marks

We're as a (slightly superior) ape all about our making of marks {article about ape's pooh- seems to point at group culture}

If you're choosing just a few people to follow on Twitter -Austin Kleon's worth considering - he's got a new book (actually about a year old)  delighting in Journals and I was interested to look at a '30-minute-ish reading' on youtube - odd that an almost stationary camera and direct presentation was so engaging - all the flashes and bangs are in the content- great the way he credits all too (including his 7th grade Englsih school teacher Mrs Neff).

Friday, December 23, 2016

December Day on London's Oldest Allotments and a great chance meeting

Don't let the ambitious Pathways boss have his way 
So quick trip down to plot 202 to pick up some Christmas Spuds and drop off a little 'home made' compost - great to have a fantastic clear sky- a real reminder why we shouldn't lose more of out precious green space to the developers concrete.

A  warning (with humour)

Seems from what I have heard that Ealing Pathways 'Chief Exec.'  Clive Wilson has declared himself unilaterally the sole arbiter on what should happen  for the two Allotment sites that Pathways are responsible for in Ealing and will stop plot holders from having bonfires in 2017, don't know if this is in a fit of pique or to get his retaliation in first.

He's still got a united opposition in the shape of  local councillors, residents and MP Rupa Huq so maybe he's just a sore loser?

In fact the argument over land for 'housing' shoulkd not be witjh allotment holders but Government and big building firms who sit on their stiock of land (to keep prices and profits sky high - look at this Telegraph no less report).

 Pleasurable chance meeting

Hilary's a voice in the community

Doubly pleasurable to meet the ever cheerful and friendly Hilary Panford, Hilary's a regular attendee at OPEN Ealing's various events and her good friend Tony bought her an 'Autumn'  Photograph of Ealing Green - Hillary not only said the picture was still up but also that OPEN needed more younger men like me (Cough Cough)    - thanks Hilary for purring a smile on  my face

The picture under discussion

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ealing cinema, Housing and the Arts

A peep today -
(not the Egyptian Pyramids) 
Today I had a peep behind the hoardings at the site of the old /new Cinema site in Ealing.

Well I suppose the fact that work has started on the Cinema project is good news (it's going to be I fear now that developers St Georges have had changes to the planning permission it'll be  more about high profit housing than Cinema and Arts.).

If you want to make sure that local p[eople get some 'real' facilities' the Campaign for Ealing Performance and Arts Centre CEPAC needs your support (and perhaps) help - they're working to see that not everything is about commercial outcomes.

A front page picture in the Ealing Gazette (from me)  a few years back 

More on the subject of housing soon (it'll be connected with the removal of 'valued' and ' historic'  Allotments then).

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Those Chewing gum works, Free will and Football

Chewing (and bubble) gum are usually derisory terms - not so in my book the works of Chewing Gum artist Ben Wilson.
Gallery Ben- he's  a philanthropist of Gum 

Ben makes a virtue of the poor behaviour of some in disposing of their gum on the ground and creates little works of art from the detritus of their mouths.

It's not only the act of reforming waste but he even has a philosophy for it - aiming to create a social cohesion from the waste (albeit a sticky one) - when your traversing London's Millennium bridge cast an eye downwards and you'll see what he's done - Thanks Ben.
He does it for us

Who is free?

What Choice?

Just listened (probably again) to a very good  BBC radio programme In Our Time on 'Free Will' it's odd that at the end of it the conclusion (for me) is more or less the same as at the beginning.

But having said that I do now think about the topic again and reckon that the way we (I anyway)  handle our life/lives is by believing that we can (and do) have some free will (even if intrinsically we know there isn't/it doesn't much matter).

I have done a few Philosophy classes at a fairly rudimentary level and been introduced to thinkers the world acknowledges as worthy of consideration - what I got from this is that is that to reach some level of contentment  find something and do it  - you'll pretty much know when you've got it  - and the 'thing' can be God or just be the search for the thing  for example.


Soccer springs to mind as I reflect on life - it used to be in early years a real passion and for a while nothing seemed so important (it was superseded  by all sorts of things) - well when you're playing particularly at the start you're not concerned with time and it's the focus of your attention  -in fact the only way you can play it is if you're in the moment and other stuff is excluded - later you realise it's just a game but that doesn't necessarily detract from it.

Perhaps it's no surprise that Conan Doyle and Albert Camus were players of the beautiful game and both (I think) goalkeepers.

Monday, December 19, 2016

More at Tate Modern

As always when visiting Museums and Galleries quite often it's the things you didn't go to see that catch your eye.

After looking at the Robert Rauschenberg noticed the Gerhard Richer  colourful works

Another by Richter

They're behind you

Also noticed a Pollock I'd not taken in before..

Somewhat Obliquely titled No 14

And works by Anish Kapoor and non Bridget Riley Op Art (actually Carlos Cruz-Diez)

Ishi's Light by Kapoor
Like a porthole?

But the picture I like most was probably this 'The Painter and His Family'  by André Derain (c 1939)
Apparently nothing like the way Andre worked amongst his family

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tate Modern and Robert Rauschenberg

I did and liked it
As always when you look at some specific subject a little odd piece of trivia settles in your mind  - the new one for me is that both Janis Joplin and Robert Rauschenberg hailed from the same place (Port Arthur Texas) .

In fact ahead of taking a trip to Tate Modern to look at the Rauschenberg canon I had watched Alistair Sooke holding forth on BBC 2's Artsnight -it's something of a confirmation of his commentary that I felt so inclined to make the journey - some larger exhibitions can feel like work, this was not the case for me in looking at this multi faceted creative.

In fact looking at the exhibition it's rather splendid to see all the areas he took on - you can see he was an early adventurer in exhibitionism, many of his works are conceptual and the relationships he had with Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly are evident too.

I greatly enjoyed learning about his collaborations with engineers and marvelling at Mud Muse which uses a Revox 77 Taper-recorder.

Also good to see the famous 'Retroactive' in the flesh and of course the Goat!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like ...


A time for shopping
In Town yesterday and after some time at Design Museum went to look at Tate Modern (more later)

There's a Christmas 'Design' market within the museum central London has of course trees, Carol singers and crazy shoppers plus outside Tate Modern  a carousel

Trees with lights  around St Paul's looked nice too

Here are the lights I liked