Tag Archives: art

The Creativity Code—Marcus du Sautoy

16 May Marcus du Sautoy. Photo © Fernando Bagué

For me, it’s all about socks. I’m obsessive about wearing a matching pair—unlike my eldest son who just grabs the first two in the drawer. I find that behaviour even odder than his socks but, then, he finds my sock-matching fetish equally peculiar.

Obsessions can, of course, be debilitating. My socks are in various shades of washing machine-faded black and precision-pairing is time consuming. But, one wonderful day, a fabulous time-saving thought came to me in a flash; if I can’t see the difference then it actually doesn’t matter! Now I just grab the first two darkish items in the sock drawer and put them on. Like son like father.

This marvellous new way of seeing the world was truly liberating. Corn Flakes need not be Kellogg’s and my British gas is no longer supplied by British Gas. My next vacuum cleaner purchase could be something other than a Hoover whilst a broad vista of yeast-extract options has opened out before me.

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A Simply Splendid Swindon Affair

8 May

A Swindon Affair

8th April 2016

A  Swindon Affair: a Family Affair and a Love Affair

When posting about this event on social media I accidentally referred to it as a ‘Family Affair’. But that was probably a Freudian slip – or something. Because a family affair is really rather what it felt like. The entire affair: afternoon and evening – was filled with people I know and have great affection for. And it was wonderful.

Loving Swindon: in words, pictures and music – a few words first about the afternoon event. The Platform on Faringdon Rd was overflowing with the astonishing literary output and outpouring there has been, and still is, about Swindon from Swindon people and others who love Swindon.

The whole thing was a collaboration between Swindon Civic Voice, Poetry Swindon and the Swindon Literature Festival. Three most marvellous groups right here in Swindon. Continue reading

Picture Hooks – Tamar Yoseloff workshop

12 May

Word & Image with Tamar Yoseloff and BlueGate Poets

Word & Image with Tamar Yoseloff and BlueGate Poets

Surrounded by one of the best collections of 20th century British art outside London and in the company of Tamar Yoseloff one of the most critically acclaimed poetry tutors in the country, twenty poets responded to art at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in Bath Road. Continue reading

You’ve been framed – Domestic Cherry exhibition

11 May

Domestic Cherry at Artsite

Domestic Cherry at Artsite

Domestic Cherry Private View, a secret lifting of the cherry pinny or an exhibition of the brilliant art contributed to Domestic Cherry 3? Thankfully it was the latter, with Artsite Post Modern playing host to some of the artists whose work features in the annual. Poet Mira Borghs came all the way from Belgium to show her atmospheric ‘Raven’. Images were introduced as the inscrutable DC dog looked on like a particularly surly gallery assistant. Pei-Pei Lim described her process in creating ‘The Hairdresser’ with scorpion imagery and a blue tint to the subject’s skin and Declan Kelly liked letting his work speak for itself. Visual artist Jill Carter presented her two pieces, including one written in response to a poem written by Hilda Sheehan – editor of Domestic Cherry and host of the evening. Domestic Cherry goes from strength to strength each year and plans are afoot to make it even more beautiful, either by adding ermine piping to the pinny or featuring colour artwork in the next issue. Watch this space!

Red Caviar Is Not A Pose – Life Drawing and Poetry Readings

11 May

Suki - Life Drawing and Poetry Reading

Suki – Life Drawing and Poetry Reading

Swindon experienced a coming together of creativity as life model Suki posed for artists, poets and interested thinkers at Artsite’s Post Modern gallery. A drawing session preceded a poetry reading by Suki’s manager Sue Vickerman and a fascinating discussion about life modelling, being an artist and the creative process in general. I tried to think of drawing but got poetry, I looked at Suki’s stretching, kneeling and leaning and found myself in extreme close-up, microscoping ankles, elbows and knuckles while trying to capture what I could with my 2B pencil (purchased this morning). As Helen Peyton, artist and Suki collaborator says, ‘there’s an intimacy but it’s not sexual’, I certainly felt close and connected to Suki and her naked form but much closer to me and my way of expressing things. The discussion between the Suki team and us participants was enthralling. Suki also finds that a life class is never an uncomfortable experience, just that the inside of derelict Yorkshire woolen mills can make things a bit chilly. Suki eats red caviar sandwiches on five hour car journeys and travels to her modelling assignments on a fold up bicycle. Swindon loves the way Suki does things! Sue Vickerman says that what she hears about ‘the practice’ of life drawing ‘completely parallels the process of poetry – the constant striving but you never get there’, personally I’m not sure where ‘there’ is but I feel a bit closer after this unique and bold event.

Fire Garden at Stonehenge – once in a lifetime event

11 Jul

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No other word for it.

Except maybe: amazing. Incredible. A one off. Fantastic.

I’m talking about Fire Garden at Stonehenge last night.

Not only was a huge amount of people old and young allowed to walk in amongst the stones – a rare experience in itself – but the Fire Garden was breathtaking. Continue reading

Alton Barnes White Horse illuminated for Salisbury Festival

2 Jul

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It was, commented our friends from the city, like a scene from The Wicker Man: country folk in a midsummer’s torchlit procession through the middle of nowhere to the sounds of drums and horns to set a horse on fire.

Braving wind and heavy rain, around 100 spectators trudged the mile from the village of Alton Barnes to the foot of Mark Hill – the joint-highest hill in Wiltshire at 294m – where one of the county’s eight surviving landmark White Horses has galloped in chalk for 200 years.

As darkness fell we stood, shivered and prayed to the gods, old and new, for a break in the weather while the 50-metre-long horse was illuminated: first its body in swirling patterns of brilliant white lights, and then its outline in the warm glow of yellow flame. Continue reading

Graffiti rains supreme at Upfest Bristol

4 Jun

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This week, they’ve all been talking about the Queen in Bedminster. But not Elizabeth; it’s Mary Portas, Queen of Shops, and her promise to help revitalise the tatty post-war shopping centre who has got people excited.

But whatever Queen Mary brings to the party, I wonder if it will do as much to enliven the area, or to bring as many people to South Bristol, as Upfest, Europe’s biggest street art festival, where the streets were alive with the smell of spray paint yesterday.

There was a gaggle (?) of graffiti artists from all over the world of all ages, shapes and sizes spraying walls, boards, shop fronts, beer gardens, beards (saw a pink one) and of course a New York subway train.

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Salisbury Festival Family Fun Day at Danebury Hill Fort

27 May

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We rocked up to Hampshire’s Danebury Hill Fort, just across the county border, with the lure of an AfroReggae Family Fun Day.

Fun. For kids. An ancient hill fort. Summer sunshine music. Sounded great. Continue reading