Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jersey Airlines

Jersey Airlines hasn't existed since the sixties, but I like that it still has a ghostly presence at Jersey Airport...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Memento mori

'Every artwork that has ever interested me is about death...'

'Because we're dealing with death which is so negative, it has to be totally positive...'

                                    Damien Hirst        

You have to love Tate Modern for exhibiting Damien Hirst's £50 million platinum and diamond skull For the Love of God free to the public, while the rest of his exhibition carries an entry charge.

I'm sorry Damien, but yes it is slightly tacky - the way the lights make it sparkle prismatically like cheap costume jewellery.

But there is something delicate and touching as well about how the stones pick out the shape of  the skull, making you want to touch it.

It is beautiful and macabre.  And the redeeming feature (apart from that laughing grimace) is that it makes you think about the unknown eighteenth century male on whom it is modelled, only whose teeth remain, slightly discoloured but in pretty good condition.  And makes you think about your own mortality....

Perhaps the moral is that, even after death, you never know what might happen to you; fame might still come your way...

Which, I suppose, is also true of David Shrigley's dog exhibit ( recently shown as part of Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery):

Sunday, May 13, 2012

London - green spaces

A London weekend of cemeteries, parks, outdoor theatre and heathland walks...

Brompton Cemetery
Brompton Cemetery
Brompton Cemetery
Brompton Cemetery
Waterloo Millennium Green
St George's Gardens
Hampstead Heath
Caledonian Park - Babel - angel
Caledonian Park - Babel
Caledonian Park - Babel
Caledonian Park - Babel
Caledonian Park - Babel
Caledonian Park - Babel
Caledonian Park - Babel

London - poets' homes

A Sunday walk to visit some famous homes of the poets.

Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath:

18 Rugby Street

'So there in Number Eighteen Rugby Street's
Victorian torpor and squalor I waited for you.
I think of that house as a stage-set -
Four floors exposed to the auditorium.
On all four floors, in, out, the love struggle
In all its acts and scenes...'

18 Rugby Street, Ted Hughes.

3 Chalcot Square

23 Fitzroy Road

Keats House:

Wentworth Place, Hampstead

Saturday, May 5, 2012

dust to dust

'...every carbon atom in our bodies was created in the core of a star, was ejected as that star died, and drifted around in the interstellar medium before being sucked into our solar system.'

New Scientist, Unseen Universe, Michael Rowan-Robinson

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Our mother

put her dancing shoes into the case
red heels, stubbed out on earth floors
in makeshift ballrooms
skipped and sashayed into a corner.

She laid her blouses into the case
their sequin-shimmied necklines musky
with lipstick and lavender cologne.

She dropped her turquoise swimsuit in the case
wrapped tight around a letter and a photo.

Her wedding flowers floated into the case
on a breath of silk and cigars.

She stuffed her maternity dresses into the case
this frayed pink gingham and darned paisley blue.

White christening shawls, woollen booties, mittens,
bonnets, scarves, jumped higgledy-piggledy into the case.

She folded her jackets, autumn shades
of herringbone and tweed, into the case.

We shut our funeral weeds into the case
lilac petals, these veils

this blackout.

We took her dancing shoes out of the case
and she waltzed into the trees.


Monday, March 5, 2012


photo: Jon Godfrey

                                     What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,

                                     I have forgotten, and what arms have lain

                                     Under my head till morning; but the rain

                                     Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

                                     Upon the glass and listen for reply...

                                                                              Edna St Vincent Millay

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Swimmers II

a summer's bay

the girl

one breath

a dive into a ripple of light

following the boy down a plunge of thought

stay close - move like me - don't collide

a dance a curl

fluent in water

now blue now green

faster and faster

bait ball bubble ring

gilled and finned

a roll a flow a wave a wake

punk fish glitter ball

all curve and dip and lift and kick

now corralled


shipwrecked here

the flippered princess and her frog-footed boy

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Re-worked, at Jersey Arts Centre until 4 February, is an exhibition of original work made in less than 36 hours from materials that have been found, have already been used in another context or are naturally occurring in the countryside.  The artists are Carl Danby, Paul Talbot, Claire Rondel and Kirsten Miller working with Ruth Baier-Rolls.

Shadows of Light - Carl Danby

ghosting through was particularly taken with Carl Danby's light installation, casting shadows on the gallery wall,

Shadows of Light - Carl Danby

and the exquisite wedding dress by Kirsten Miller with Ruth Baier-Rolls ( I might even call it a 'ghost of a wedding dress', following on from my recent Great Expectations post!)

Wedding Dress - Kirsten Miller + Ruth Baier-Rolls

The transparent pockets are filled with shells, leaves, petals and other natural treasures.

Wedding Dress - Kirsten Miller + Ruth Baier-Rolls

All the pieces exhibited are imaginative, giving a twist and a new dimension to everyday materials.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another Earth

I saw over 50 screened films last year (festivals, film societies etc) and one of my favourites was indie Another Earth.

A perfect duplicate of the Earth appears in the sky on the day that MIT student Rhoda (Brit Marling) crashes her car killing a family, save for music professor John Burroughs (William Mapother).

On her release from prison, Rhoda inveigles her way into the home of  the grieving Burroughs, as a competition is launched for a prize ticket on the first trip to Earth 2.

As Rhoda quietly tries to work out some kind of redemption, the second Earth hovers above as a ghostly doppleganger, suggesting the possibility of paths not taken, of shadow lives.

The imagery is beautiful and never overstated.  It's one of those films that leaves a resonance with you for days and longer...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Archisle # 1

Archisle # 1, the first exhibition created by the Jersey Contemporary Photography Programme, hosted by the Société Jersiaise, features images responding to the theme of islandness by 21 International and Jersey photographers.

It is 'an experimental project.  Its method is to test the result of forming a lens based compound out of two main constituents: the concept of the photographic archive and contemporary expressions of 'island experiences'...

...Islands of fact and of fiction have surfaced in the submissions... islands of the earth and islands of the mind.'  

(from Archisle #1: An Introduction - by Gareth Syvret with contributions from Mark Le Ruez.)

There are some beautiful images in the exhibition.  From a ghosting through perspective, I am especially drawn to Cynthia O'Dell's Migrations: Legacies of the Irish Famine and a Family Record of Amnesia:

Cynthia O'Dell Migrations 

By transferring images from family archives and historical sources to transparencies and placing them in the landscape, by overlaying the past onto the present, her images are haunting and they evoke how personal history and the history of a place can intertwine and resonate in the present through memory and nostalgia, leaving echoes and traces. 

Her narrative is one of migration and dislocation:

'As a child, my family's narrative revolved around dislocation: lost homes, both owned and rented, and disrupted family dynamics, all layered over with a nostalgic longing for vague notions of Irish heritage.'

'By symbolically taking my ancestors back to their native country I attempt to complete the circle of their migration pattern...  I am trying to re-create my own family album in an impossible scenario and as a result I am inventing a new narrative.'

(Cynthia O'Dell, from Artist's Statement.)