Bridget Riley at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill

2015-07-04 11.03.47My first thoughts on Bridget Riley are that she must have the patience of a saint. Her work is effectively ‘technical painting’ and as such must be very time consuming to do and test her patience to the utmost. Because the work is so technical I struggled at first to see past the production process and found myself studying the paintings up close to observe her technique. At this point I should say that through some good curation there is a small room dedicated to explaining her methodology and this was enlightening as it shows just how rigid it is. I’d go so far as to say relentless in its pursuit of perfection. A lot of these paintings are visual representations of Math and strangely the elements I like are where it appears her painting technique has let her down but when you analyse the ‘mistake’ you come to realise the error is in the code not the artist.

My overall feeling from this exhibition is that this is an artist who is struggling to leave her past behind. She needs to free herself from the artistic jail she has put herself in. There is a large painting in this exhibition that was painted on a wall and the wall was brought over from Germany for this exhibition. This painting is more recent and actually shows Bridget ‘breaking out’ of her own constraints with elements leaving the traditional box she works in. This is an encouraging sign for the future. The women I spoke to about the exhibition seemed to feel her rhythm more and so I wonder if this isn’t something to think about. I have a friend who is into jazz and I’m going to ask him to go to the show to see if he can feel it. Personally I’ve never had any so its not a surprise I can’t see it here.

Whilst going around the exhibition I couldn’t help thinking Bridget should be a print maker and I discovered afterwards she does indeed do a lot of that, I suspect I would like this work more than her paintings.

I’ll be honest, even as someone who has worked in a similar ‘technical’ way Bridget Rileys paintings are not for me. Most of them I would find hard to have on my walls because of the optical illusions (I’m not a fan of magic and trickery and thats really all these are) so prevalent. I should say however that there is some beautiful painting going on here and one or two would sit nicely on my walls without issue. I would certainly encourage everyone to attend and make their own mind up.

2015-07-03 12.55.44Many thanks to my friend Millie for being my driver on this occasion and for a lovely day. We liked Bexhill and both prefered it to Hastings and Eastbourne. It seems a little more relaxed and family friendly. All the workers serving teas, fish and chips etc were nice and helpful so there’s some good customer service. Millie wasn’t impressed by the ladies loos in De La Warr, so maybe a little work to do there guys. The De La Warr is a great venue and quite frankly Brighton should be ashamed of itself that it has nothing to match it.

The bitter taste of Wembleys luminous green dildo

2015-05-23 16.55.55Dildo. There are some people in the world when faced with a question simply retrieve the last thought in their head and respond with that. ‘Chip butty’ is one such person. His assertion that Wembley looks like a dildo (luminous green at night) was at first hard to follow but after much discussion and beer everything became as clear as mud.

To begin with though we met in The Cyclist on Brighton Station, I was pleasantly surprised by this venue and will use it more in future. We then split up with one half buying bacon butties and the other beer. The train journey rather helpfully provided an appropriate time to consume these. After that I remember a fair amount of laughing, drinking beer and taking the piss out of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ who took it well I thought, as we crossed London hitting The shakespear – Victoria and Victoria and Albert – Marylebone along the way to Wembley.

2015-05-23 16.38.582015-05-23 14.59.08‘Chip butty’ took over the task of scout once we got to Wembley until we quickly realised he couldn’t scout for toffee and began to check his home work only to find we were walking in totally the wrong direction. Having turned him around we eventually found a suitable pub for more beer The Crock of Gold and after that another pub The Torch for more beer. At which point we found the Wycombe massive finally. Before we knew it, it was time to get to the ground and some needed feeding. So walked to the ground taking pictures as we went, ‘Zebra’ still happy and optimistic at this point. Burgers were purchased just outside the ground and there were sharp intakes of breathe at the price needless to say.

2015-05-23 17.24.452015-05-23 17.24.53Into the ground. Excellent seats provide a great view of the spectacle to come. ‘Zebra’ starting to get a little pensive but generally still positive at this point. Wembley layed out before us seemingly smaller than I had imagined. Actually, better than I had imagined, with the ground enclosing the pitch to create a great atmosphere when there’s a good crowd. A modern day amphitheatre well suited to the drama to follow.

Kick-off. Wycombe v Southend. An entertaining first half swung both ways with Wycombe edging things slightly by half time. More food for ‘Chip butty’ who seems to have a worm he needs to feed constantly. Second half was more even, no goals, although Wycombe could have finished it late on. ‘Zebra’ getting pretty fidgety by now.

2015-05-23 19.38.222015-05-23 19.50.48First half of extra time and there it is, Goal!, Wycombe take the lead excellent freekick and now just need to hang on. They immediately start rushing the ball to the corner and wasting time at every possible opportunity, ‘zebra’ not happy with this at all. Time burns down and the Wycombe fans start to believe but fatally they sing ‘You’re not singing anymore’ at which point I knew what was coming and in extra extra time time Southend equalise. ‘Zebra’ fights back the tears, ‘chip butty’ wakes up and ‘You never walk alone’ keeps his council out of respect. Its down to penalties now.

Penalties. Again first blow is struck by Wycombe with Southend missing one and Wycombe need to score three penalties in a row to win. They don’t. More penalties. Culminating in Southend players rushing across the pitch (although it seemed to me to be happening in slow motion) and silence around me. Defeat.

2015-05-23 21.30.34We exit the ground and decide to console ourselves with more food and beer. Wembley Tandoori is chosen and food, after match discussion and beer (or JD & coke) follows. It seems to go down well and spirits pick up a bit. Time to make our way home starting with getting to Victoria. At which point ‘Zebra’ and ‘Chip butty’ go one way and ‘6fish’ and ‘You never walk alone’ go another.

Many thanks to ‘Zebra’ for the experience, much appreciated despite the outcome. There’s always next season ‘Zebra’ as the dad will have told his crying son in front of us (the lasting memory of the day, a lifetime of football disaster and joy ahead of him). Thanks also to ‘Chip butty’ for amusing us all just by being ‘Chip butty’ and thanks to You’ll never walk alone also.

A lament for Ipswich my retired Dell Dimension 8300

2015-05-04 11.02.43I bought Ipswich approximately ten years ago and everyday I’ve spent in the flat since that time he’s booted up and done his job for me. In the beginning he was the bright, shiny, new thing. A replacement for my previous computer. Close to the top end of the range for the time he was fast, mean and tough! As the years passed, while he was busy working, technology was inexorably catching up with him until, at the end, his operating system was out of date. His battery on the motherboard could hardly power him up in the morning (he took two or three attempts to get going, but never failed). He has far too little RAM for modern tasks, the processor is now slow in comparison etc etc. Time caught up with him.

Ipswich is exceptional because all my other computers died before they were replaced. They inevitably die and I always replace them but Ipswich stood firm, like an old dog he struggled towards the end to get to his feet. But every day he managed it and metaphorically wagged his tail at me saying what’s for today Paul!

Ipswich, the best computer I ever owned has now been ‘retired’, he does still work, I booted him for the last time yesterday, but time has caught up with him and he had to be replaced. Farewell Ipswich, you’ll be much missed.

Marlene Dumas and the great heist

dumas03dumas01dumas02My friend Millie kindly treated me to tickets to the Marlene Dumas show currently at the Tate Modern and so my thanks to her for a great day. I have to confess I’m new to Marlene Dumas and so although I thought I would like her show based on the prep work I’d done I couldn’t be sure. No need for concern, this is a wonderful show and well worth a visit. Millie pointed out to me at the end of the show that its a bit dour but I’ll be honest and say that I hadn’t noticed that during the show though concede she has a point.

Marlene’s work is, at its best, very, very beautiful. She has a great touch and style and the work oozes quality. There’s a debt to Egon Schiele to be paid and Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon among others, but she’s found her own voice and it feels as though she’s managed to free herself from the history of art (never easy). She has a nice sense of humour and you will find kooky comedy moments throughout the exhibition. These are exagerated by the very poncy write ups for each painting (curators, less is more people). Almost all aspects of life are encountered from sex to death to current affairs, although strangely I saw no reference to birth but perhaps I missed it. Ah, no, I didn’t miss it, its in the catalogue but sadly missing from the exhibition, not sure why but very unfortunate. This makes the exhibition feel like an unfinished painting in retrospect.

All in all I highly recommend this show, wonderful paintings.

After the show we were forced to conduct a heist on the appalling rail system here in the UK. Forced to book train tickets in advance (a pet hate of mine) we were restricted to only travelling on one specific train home (another pet hate of mine). Theoretically meaning we should sit on a train platform and let perfectly good trains pass by half empty while we waited for ours (a further pet hate of mine). We didn’t, and got away with travelling on the wrong trains to get home a little earlier. Feeling like criminals all the way home despite having paid for our journey.

Marlene Dumas – Superb
Tate Modern – Good (would have been better if the show had been curated better)
Privatised railway system – Bollocks
Companion – Superb (many thanks)

Spy in the camp

Brighton 0 v 1 Brentford

I’m going to get to see a few Brighton games this season and this was the first. Very enjoyable day with beer either side of the game. Brighton had their chances in this game but their attack is pretty toothless and they payed the price for that when Brentford scored on the half hour. An unfortunate sending off in the second half brought Brightons fight back to a grinding halt and effectively ended the game, although Brighton had a great chance to equalise with minutes to go. There’s work to be done for the new manager here and my critique of the side can be seen below if he’s interested.

Thanks to Chris for taking me along, I’m hoping to see better results from Brighton (I’ve lived here for thirty years despite being an Ipswich fan) starting next Saturday 😉


Notes for Ipswich fans: Brentford shaded this game but nothing more. Brightons full backs are their weakness and if Tyrone is playing he should be given permission to attack hard, there’s plenty of joy to be had down that side of the field. The defence as a whole can go all keystone cops every once in a while and thats how the goal came about on this occasion. The midfield seems nervous and tends to compress into the defence too soon and too much when on defence so long shots from our midfield and Murphy will be possible. Rohan Ince in the midfield is the quality in the Brighton side and will take some handling from our midfield. Can’t wait to see Hyam bounce off him 🙂 Didn’t see much in attack which matches what I saw when we beat them earlier in the season at home. The ground is great and there should be plenty of support on both sides.

Egon Schiele, the embankment and poppies at the Tower of London

2014-11-16 11.45.07Treasure brought back from my day trip to London with Erica and Ric. We went to see the Egon Schiele exhibition currently on at The Courtauld Gallery. For me personally this is a must see exhibition, Schiele is VERY rarely seen in the UK and so I urge you all to visit it while you can. It is a small show so this is also a good opportunity to look at the impressionists found on show in the courtauld’s permanent collection.

We also visited the Tower of London to just catch the poppies in the moat before it disappears for ever. I took a lot of nice photos for you all to see but my camera decided to eat them all and so there’s nothing to see here. Hard to say its moving as its such an enormous tourist attraction but for a brief second I did manage to connect with it and I’m happy with that.

We walked 20,000 steps (and quite a few of those were actually steps!) in the day and I haven’t been able to walk properly for two days now, ouch!

Thanks to Erica and Ric, it was a great day.

69 gays in Brighton

There are only so many questions one person can answer in a day and I went waaaay past what is reasonable today. As soon as I saw beer I managed to stop caring, and the JD blanked my mind snip snap. Highlights were the northerner saying ‘The gay’, wonderfully innocent like in Brighton, and the she who must remain nameless who was disappointed at no bites when she raised the subject of ’69’ (every man at the bar remained silent, afraid of being eaten alive).

Stanley Spencer and Fishbourne Roman Palace

Chichester01Had an excellent day out yesterday ( a rare day off) and visited the superb Stanley Spencer show currently running at Pallant House Gallery Chichester. Followed by a visit to the Roman Palace at Fishbourne.

I strongly urge you to make the time and go to see the Stanley Spencer show. Although not a large show the work is exceptional and this is a unique opportunity to see it outside of its normal residence. Trust me, make the time and go see it. As a bonus there are some Pallant House old favourites also to see including Kitaj, Bacon and Blake and also two little extra exhibitions that are worth a look. All in all excellent value.

I had not visited the Roman Palace at Fishbourne (just never quite got around to it). Its an incredible site to see and must have been an unbelievable discovery to have made for the original finders. Superb mosaic floors showing the power and wealth of the roman army.

In Chichester we also visited the cathedral of course and saw the Graham Sutherland painting and the Marc Chagall window. Lunch/tea was taken at St Martin’s Tea Rooms as recommended by My friend was very happy with it. I couldn’t help thinking the pretty girls waiting on tables with their old fashioned aprons resembled ghosts from the past as their appearance is surely no different to that of one hundred years ago.

To finish we embarked on a dangerous adventure through darkness and countryside to have drinks and food at Anchor Bleu pub on the quay side at Bosham.

Thanks to my friend Millie for this treat, a superb birthday present.

Computing at school

I remember the computer at school (there was only one). It had its own room (it needed one it was so big). I wasn’t allowed in there, only top maths geeks were and I’d dropped out of A’ Level maths. I walked by once and the door was open and I got a peek of what they were doing. Printing pictures made from strings of text (very cool for the time).

I went on to spend my entire life working with and using computers but for that day they were like the sun, something on the horizon that I could see but never touch.

My three earliest memories

I have three memories from when I was really young. Here they are..

The scratch

I remember riding my first bike and as a consequence one of my first failures of judgement. I saw a gap between two parked cars and determined I could get my bike between the two. I was wrong and the handlebars of my bike scratched the side of one of the cars as I forced it through the gap. Still feel guilty about this.

The frogs

I remember collecting frog spawn and my mum saying they would need to stay outside over night. They were placed in a washing up bowl and when I came down the next morning they had all hatched and were jumping about the garden!

The Hill

I remember walking up a hill in the countryside with my mum. We were on the road because there was no pavement.