Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery

November 22, 2018

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery, a trek out to south east London, a nightmare to find.

Before setting off, I ask of the Baldwin Gallery, a fee, need to book, how to find?

Sadly clueless on the use of social media. No reply, by the time I do eventually receive a reply, too late, but they did have the courtesy to apologise.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network – many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social network.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford, alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no.

When in the vicinity and unable to find, I ask a passing local. No he has never heard of.

I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

I expect to find no one there, I am surprised to find quite a few have turned up, maybe twenty or more.

The original concept of Dark Mountain, thought provoking essays and short stories, art and poetry, was excellent. I was happy to support. But the reality, incomprehensible writing badly written, very little worth reading, the art badly reproduced. And then to be insulted with a poor quality paperback when had subscribed to what Dark Mountain describe as ‘Each issue takes the form of a beautifully-produced hardback.’

The evening was reading from Terra.

Nothing more boring than reading what has been written, I can do that myself. Public reading of poetry a different matter, it is meant to be read out loud. Far more interesting is for the contributors to talk about the subject they have written about.

Reading of a short story, a postman posted to back of beyond, I must have missed something, as the end was back at the beginning.

Reading of two essays, a native Indian massacre, the struggle of Palestinians, deserved deeper exploration, which would have been been possible had the contributors discussed their contribution not read from it. Worse still, it was a waste of there being present.

One of the criticisms of Dark Mountain, apart from too much pretentious badly written incomprehensible drivel, is the typeface, too small, not easy to read.

What was Terra?

I thought next volume, but when I saw a tiny slim volume, I thought no, must be a supplementary book, especially when I learnt this was the second book launch.

The topic was travel, a sense of place, how we interact with the landscape, how the landscape interacts with us.

Terra is the next volume, the typeface microscopic, needing a magnifying glass to read.

Copies of Terra were on sale. I did not see any sold. Nor did I see early volumes of Dark Mountain on sale.

At £20 for a slim volume, too pricey, especially when paid for by subscription, unlike most publications which go from publication to remainder to pulp.

It was only later when I checked the Dark Mountain website I learnt why no other volumes on sale, all sold out. Only available as a pdf file. I would recommend upload to leanpub and have in an e-format that flows as is more suited to reading on a tablet or e-reader or smartphone than pdf, though pdf would still be a format to select from.

Interesting exhibits at the Baldwin Gallery, strong Mexican influence, or at least Cenrtral America.

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Ari Metallari

October 27, 2018

Artist Ari Metallari exhibits his art and work in progress on the autonomous street market in Apostolou Pavlou.

I was struck by the portraits of people walking. Incredible sense of movement when look at these paintings.

 

Elektra Kefala Odyssei Art

October 27, 2018

Elektra Kefala Odessei Art designs small sailing boasts made from driftwood.

Elektra told me she was one of the few people who has done OK out of the crisis.

The crisis forced hr to quit her job as graphics designer and work as a designer. A year on, the company she worked for has since gone bust.

Follow her dreams.

In The Alchemist a baker, not only did he not follow his dreams he has forgotten he once had dreams.

Elektra can be found weekends on the autonomous market in Apostolou Pavlou, with views of The Acropolis,  a pleasant walk.

 

Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park revisited

October 9, 2018

I just miss a bus to Ayia Napa, twenty minutes wait for next bus. 

Connect with Inter City bus at Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park. No time for other than cursory exploration, but at least on my second visit explore different area to previous visit. 

— to be continued —-

Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park

October 3, 2018

Culture and Ayia Napa are not two words that easily sit side by side.

I have passed by Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park in the past, but never visited.

Today I decided whilst changing bus from local bus to Intercity bus I would time permitting explore the sculpture park.

It needs an hour or more to do the park justice, I had far less, and thus only explored a small part of the park.

Surreal, set on a rocky hillside looking out to sea.

I was reminding of Easter Island, though not all the statues are looking out to sea. Maybe an omen. Wander into Ayia Napa and witness the collapse of civilization at first hand.

Brain-dead Russians sitting on the sculptures for photos of themselves. I ordered them off.

There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to the sculptures. Random sculptures on a rocky hillside.

Independent Life

September 16, 2018

Every town has one if not more freebie magazines. These are nearly always rubbish, an appalling waste of trees. Viva Brighton is a rare exception. And far too often these freebie magazines are shoved through the letterbox as unsolicited junk mail to be thrown away unread.

On a recent trip to York, I picked up a copy of Independent Life from Brew & Brownie then leafed through whilst waiting for my lunch at Burr. Like Viva Brighton, another rare exception, worth picking up.

I was though baffled, why Leeds and York, nowhere near each other.

I learnt later at Kiosk it used to cover Leeds, only recently Leeds and York. Still odd though.

Maybe follow the example of Viva Brighton (which has a sister magazine Viva Lewes), Independent Leeds and Independent York.

Kiosk would be an excellent location from which to distribute.

Not on glossy paper. Another plus.

I thought the title Independent came from the fact it was an independent publication, maybe, but actually comes from the focus on indie businesses, which is yet another plus.

It is the indie businesses, quirky, of character, that make the old part of York, Hull Old Town or North Laine in Brighton worth a visit.

Why visit a town for the same crap corporate chains to be found in any town?

A huge mistake Guildford tourist information has made. A short video clip to promote Guildford, featuring er coffee chains, two grotty shopping centres. Reasons not to visit methinks.

Independent Life also publishes The Little Black Book Leeds, now vol 3, a guide to the independent businesses in Leeds. If one does not exist, I assume in the pipeline a similar guide for indie businesses in York.

Independent Life local indie businesses, local culture, art, poetry, well worth grabbing a copy.

Evidence in Camera

September 7, 2018

Art exhibition by Mandy Lee Jandrell at The Usher Art Gallery at The Collection.

One room, coloured lights bouncing of mirrors, another room two large screens, images of light used for signalling.

Evidence in Camera takes its title from the book of the same name by Constance Babington-Smith, published in 1957.

Constance Babington-Smith was head of Photographic Interpretation at RAF Medmenham’s Central Interpretation Unit, she was one of several women – including the archaeologist Dorothy Garrod – involved in the highly skilled interpretation of aerial reconnaissance photography during the Second World War.

Hull Freedom Festival

August 31, 2018

Freedom Festival, a three day festival in Hull.

Freedom Festival was started in 2007 to commemorate the anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Train to Hull, stunning views over the Humber Estuary and of the Humber Bridge.

On arrival at Hull Station, greeted by Philip Larkin.

Then head to Hull Old Town, cobbled streets (strictly speaking setts) but first a detour to Two Gingers in Paragon Arcade.

Excellent cappuccino in Two Gingers.

They have recently introduced their own house blend from The Blending Room, plus single origin coffee from The Blending Room.

Zeberdee’s Yard locked off, rehearsals for a concert tonight.

Lunch in Trinity Market.

I went round the stalls, twice. None looked appetising, appalling environmental standards, food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

Burger off Shoot the Bull. Rare breed beef, burger excellent, service not so good. No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no, do not blame the customer for not telling you.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer. Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Asked of Caffeinated where to locate Thieving Harry’s. They kindly marked on a map of Hull Old Town.

Passing by Hull Minster, a guide said I must enter and look at the moon. No time, maybe on my return. She was insistent. Amazing, a suspended moon occupying the nave, quite surreal. Yes, she was correct Museum of the Moon in Hull Minster an absolute must visit.

To get to the part of Hull Old Town where Thieving Harry’s is located, have to cross a busy main road with no convenient crossings, one crossing closed and long wait at the lights when crossing.

Pedestrians should have priority. The traffic is at a virtual standstill. The crossings should be more frequent for pedestrians, it will make not a jot of difference to the traffic flow.

Thieving Harry’s overlooks the old docks now a marina and the sea. Located in what was once the offices of a fruit merchant, the old Fruit Market was located in this part of Hull Old Town.

Picked up a couple of bags of coffee.

We have a problem with plastic, plastic-lined paper takeaway cups, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic straws.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way. Compostable cups, refillable cups, though best to relax with coffee in glass or ceramic, paper straws.

Thieving Harry’s showed me something I had not seen before, drinking straws made from shells.

A diversion to Trinity Market to collect two bags of coffee off Caffeinated.

As I cut across Trinity Square a giant puppet had been erected. This was one of the giant puppets to parade through the Hull Old Town later that evening as part of Hull Freedom Festival.

I pop in Two Gingers and pick up two bags of their house blend. I would have wished for a V60 pour over, but no time.

All three coffee shops use The Blending Room, a Hull coffee roastery. Today they had a pop up coffee stall. Where, no one knew, and they lacked the courtesy to respond to a query. What is the point of tweeting have a pop up stall for the Freedom Festival and do not say where? Yet another example of poor use of social media.

Made the station in time for my train, just, only to find no train, running late.

Stunning views across the Humber Estuary out of the train window and of wind turbines.

Coffee Shop North

April 29, 2018

I want Coffee Shop North to be a platform not for me but for everyone involved in the north to discuss, explore and share their insights into the culture of coffee and its rising independent scene. — Dan Saul Pilgrim

Coffee Shop North was crowdfunded, a photo-essay of twenty-three indie coffee shops, seven cities and one town, across the North of England.

Inserted a booklet with portraits of coffee people.

Tamper in Sheffield, Spring in York, two of two dozen coffee shops featured.

Coupled with a collection of a dozen essays on coffee related themes.

Too many cafes, it would be stretching the point to call them coffee shops, are locked into the coffee scam, free machine, forced to buy poor quality overpriced coffee beans.

The norm for a speciality coffee shop, a house blend that does not change, a guest blend and maybe a few single origin speciality coffees for pour over. The only way to experience different coffees is to visit different coffee shops. Nothing of course wrong with that, part of the fun, different barista, different coffee, different techniques.

In ‘The Coffee Curators’ Lee Newell of Foundry in Sheffield questions why? Why not constantly change what is served, a challenge for the barista who then becomes a coffee curator, a challenge for the discerning clientele.

Two coffee shops that do just that, though not featured in Coffee Shop North, The Speciality Coffee Shop in Nottingham and Madame Waffle in Lincoln.

Too many of our towns have been destroyed by bad planning, corporate greed, and chains everywhere, an appalling sameness, then when a cursory glance at a remote spreadsheet does not show sufficient return, store closures leaving gaping holes in our town centres never to be filled.

Coffee shops offer something different, often a sensitive restoration of an old building, money is recycled within the local economy, a sense of place, something different, of character.

Coffee Shop North provides a sense of this sense of place.

Of limited edition, only on sale in indie coffee shops or indie bookshops. My copy was from Ideas on Paper, hidden in Cobden Chambers in Nottingham.

A few days later after picking up a copy of Coffee Shop North I was in York.  A few days after that flipping through Coffee Shop North I recognised the Synesso espresso machine, it was what I had spotted in Spring Espresso Lendal in York, the only one in the country.

I had thought, would it not be a clever idea to have Coffee Shop North signed in each coffee shop visited, or at least try and visit.

So far, only  Spring Espresso Lendal, though I did not have the book for signing.

Comparison would be Coffee Style, a hardback of stunning coffee related photos.  Or maybe Drift, coffee culture city by city.

If a guide to coffee shops in the North, then maybe The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide, not that Coffee Shop North claims to be a guide or even attempts to be comprehensive, it is a snapshot of time and place. But a word of caution,  The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide is not as it appears, it is not a guide or at least not as claimed, a guide loses all credibility when coffee shops are being charged £500 for an entry, write their own entry, coffee shops that should be featured are not, several that are should not.

The inspiration for Coffee Shop North was living and working coffee in the North.

My first experience with coffee goes hand in hand with my first experience away from home. I moved to Leeds in September 2010 to study graphic design. A thirty minute commute along the River Aire took me past a little espresso bar known as La Bottega Milanese. Opened not long before my arrival to the city, Alex the owner is Milan born and bred and had worked in coffee to support his graphic design studies not dissimilar to myself. La Bottega was a first of its kind — the first Milanese style espresso bar in Leeds. Given my inherent affection for Italian culture and the stylishly designed exterior, I was drawn to the shop and every day I would supplement my walk into university with a flat white. My dad had passed down his appreciation for coffee and also Italian food and wine due to family. (Yes, it’s more Kiwi than Italian but at the time I was none the wiser!).

The choice between a bus fare of the same price or a beautifully poured drink every morning was a no-brainer: the flat white became synchronous with my independence.

I respected Alex and his perseverance to establish this coffee culture in a northern English city. A year later I worked for him for a few months at the opening of his second shop (more a late night concept espresso bar) to aid my own studies and during that time met quite a few of the baristas intended to feature within the very pages of the book. My appreciation of the drink, the place and people grew and so to did my knowledge.

Four years later, I have spent countless hours in coffee shops in five cities particularly in the north of England. I’ve witnessed and been lucky enough to be part of a scene that has grown quickly in such a short space of time. Within the four (or more) walls of each shop there are stories to be told through image and word. I am but one person with an intimate story and appreciation that has stemmed from one drinkplace and person.

I want Coffee Shop: North to be a platform not for me but for everyone involved in the north to discuss, explore and share their insights into the culture of coffee and its rising independent scene.

A few minor criticisms of Coffee Shop North, the very large typeface at the beginning and irritating to be told what people are wearing as that only serves to regurgitate the myth coffee shops are for hipsters only ordinary folk not welcome, when nothing could be further from the truth.

It would have been useful to know where each coffee shop was, at the very least the town or city, and ideally, web address and twitter.

Dan Saul Pilgrim author of Coffee Shop North lived in the North, discovered specailty coffee and coffee shops, and for a while worked in a coffee shop.

Charlotte Jane Kessler

April 29, 2018

Angel Coffee House has an exhibition of the art of Charlotte Jane Kessler.

Well worth a visit.