Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My old chum Phil from Leeds came over to pick some of my work up last Saturday and we drover over the Pennines to hang the work on Sunday ( Father's Day ) which took a while and I have the blister on my hand to prove it! I stayed over at Phil's place in North Leeds for a couple of days so I could attend the Private View at the Tonic Gallery in the Leeds Royal Infirmary ( built by the same chap that designed the House Of Parliament ). Its an amazing place and one expected Florence Nightingale to wander down the corridor at any moment.

Phil and his son Trispian and grandchildren.

The following day I wandered around the city centre looking for art and architecture of which there is an abundance. The City Art Gallery has a some fine old paintings including some nice Stanley Spencers. Also trudged all the way up the hill to the University to see the student degree shows. Horrible new office block type building though with unhelpful receptionist who just pointed to a pile of maps and postcards and told me to find my own way through the maze of civil service type corridors. The work thankfully was more interesting than the building they were made in.

The Private View was well attended in the evening and nice to see Andy Sykes there- the ace animator and ex-student of Hazel's. We had lots of drinks and nibbles supplied by Phil's lovely friend Gil who ran the pub over the road to which we retired afterwards for more of the same and a fine buffet in the back snug or whatever it was called.

The lovely old Leeds Market Hall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Manchester and Nantwich

Went to Manchester on Friday with Archie on the train to see the MMU shows in the Art School - mostly the Interactive Arts 3rd year show but we did wander round the Fine Art bit and Foundation etc. Had nice but very filling fish and chips and mushy peas in the staff canteen for lunch. Hazel was busy looking after the show and showing people round. A flavour of it in the short Flip video above.
A bit crowded in the evening so we left quite early after going to see the Illustration and Embroidery shows.
The next day we drove over to Nantwich to see Adela's "Bee" performance at the church hall where she had Will dressed up as the Queen Bee and the small select "audience" had to don our bee keepers robes and veils and attend her her needs - massage the feet, feed Crunchy Bars, arrange flowers and fan with small electric bees! All very bizarre but great fun.
We went in a few places showing art works as part of the Nantwich Arts Festival of which Adela's show was part. Mostly very dull and traditional landscapes, portraits etc. We got caught up in a vintage car rally on the way into town - a Nissan Micra amongst all the MG's and Stags looked very out of place!
Had a cheese pasty whilst watching a frantic bongo player compete with the church bells!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Remembering Ivor

Postcard from Ivor back in 1991. Painting by Peter Edwards in the National Portrait Gallery, London. 1989. On the reverse it reads " Dear Jones and Leigh, Thank you for your letter and book and lovely April rubbish badge. I think it is a good thing for society that you exist. Please continue to do so. Yours Cutler."

I think Hazel met Ivor Cutler first at the Tate where she used to work part time in the Clore bookshop in the Turner wing in the early 90's. Later he bought some badges from her at the Festival Hall where she was showing some of her inventions - another of his favourite haunts ( the Poetry library was upstairs somewhere ). He used to sign books in the book shop downstairs too. Some time later he phoned us up for some reason, probably about more badges and invited us over to his flat for tea. How could we refuse! I'd always enjoyed his drollery on Peels "Top Gear" and his appearance in the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" as the tour guide Buster Bloodvessel. He was a bit of a cult hero.
So we went to his flat in North London - I can't remember exactly where now and he met us on the doorstep as we tried to ring the bell. We assumed it was an elaborate joke and this was someone else's house! But there he was on his old bike festooned with bags containing cakes etc. We went up three flights of stairs to the very top flat ( he must have found this difficult when he was older ) and showed us into a rather shabby but bohemian looking room with posters and hats and all manner of exotica on the walls. Curled up postcards, photos, maps etc. It was a bit like walking into Steptoes back room in Oil Drum Lane! he gave a us a quick tune on his old wheezy harmonium. He didn't play much he said as he had very bad arthritis in his fingers. After tea and cakes we had a chat about his career- meeting the Beatles etc. He was concerned that Hazel didn't pronounce some words very clearly and gave her a written out speech "work out" he had devised to try.
Some days later he came over to our tiny flat in Lambeth Walk to have tea and cakes with us. He was incredibly kind and helpful and phoned up a nearby childrens book publisher (Walker Books )to try and get us some work. I did get some illustration work but sadly the SNAP comic venture went bust after a few weeks.
But unfortunately our short lived friendship came to an end when Archie came along - Ivor insisted we get on with our lives and leave him alone. I did send him some postcards but got a curt reply saying " Please no more correspondence - I am 74!"
I had this made up into a 1000 stickers by able label - a firm he used alot for his "stickies" - and sent him 500 to use on his envelopes.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Give Peas A Chance

First collage from the great book of old TV ads I found in Chester recently. Added to new theme at Scrapiteria.
Yesterday , another wander around town and the charity shops. They must be sick of seeing me in there by now but I am drawn like a fly to muck. In the libray sale got 4 DVD set of Live Aid so can enjoy again Status Quo, Queen, Dylan, etc. in all their hirsute glory. Also CD's by the Maccabees and Dave Edmunds. 50p each! I ventured into the new Pound Planet shop where the old Tai Craft Shop used to be but it was pretty dull. I wouldn't pay 10p for most of it! Good to see a couple of new shops in town though after so many bit the dust over the last few years - including a Sue Ryder. O well, better than nothing.

Saw a man driving his tiny tot in a remote controlled car in town - he was walking behind and stearing with a hand held controller thingy. The 2 year old sat motionless with his hands by his sides as it whirred along.