Come in, it's lovely to see you. Pull up a cushion and stay as long as you like.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

What's The USE?

I paid another visit yesterday to the good folk of  The Minories Galleries to have a wander, take in the atmosphere and view their latest exhibition USE. Well what else would you want to do on a Saturday in Colchester?

The 'official blurb/information' is to be found if you click on the link above. Here is mine. Not particularly prosaic or wordy just plain and simple. I like it. As in really like it. It's delightful.

Against a backdrop of white painted walls we have collections of whisks, buttons, screws, hinges, coat hangers and, neatly displayed in glass cabinets there are salt and pepper pots, scissors, nut crackers, coffee stirrers and, wait for it, paper clips.

Shall I tell you why I liked it so much? Okay then, seeing as you asked so nicely.

Well my initial and overriding response was that it reminded me of being in my Dad's shed, with all the 'tools' in their place ready for use. The tools in this case being everyday ordinary household objects. The buttons, scissors and the whisks reminded me of my Mum. She used a whisk for cooking and knitted us all jumpers and cardigans. The final act being the sewing on of the buttons. I still have her button tin. Also, on the odd occasion I create an artwork (usually for my Daughter at Christmas) I add a button or three from that tin. It's a way of being creative and passing on a small piece of her. The screws and hinges the very things my Dad would use as he went about his livelihood, and nowadays my Son, both being carpenter/joiners.

I wanted to take a whisk down and make myself an omelette or a milk shake. Then build something that involved hinges and screws. Whilst I was at it I could hang up my jacket, stir my coffee and, erm, crack my nuts.

I was also struck by how much the older style of whisk, with the handles (Mum had a red one) one for holding and one for turning, were very similar to the hand-held drills we used to use for woodwork. Just replace the whisks for a drill bit. None of this namby pamby rechargeable nonsense, and probably why Dad (and Mum at times) had such a vice-like grip of his own!

Who'd have thought it, a collection of everyday inanimate practical objects nailed to walls or in glass cabinets invoking such rich, deep memories. Also just so lovely to wander around and spend some time observing.

But is it art? I hear you asking. Well yes, it is. More on that very question in another blog though as it's also something I have been pondering.

Do go along and have a wander around and decide for  yourself. You could also have coffee/cake/lunch/wine/beer in the Garden Cafe. You can even get married there. Crikey heck what more do you want?

Go on Go on Go on.....

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Who's A Godlike Genius?

I was listening to Woman's Hour on Radio 4 the other day (get me and I'm not even a woman, honest) Wednesday 26 February 2014 to be precise, and there was talk of the evenings NME Godlike Genius Award and the recipients, good old Blondie (listen to it here if you want, all four minutes worth). And as it's Woman's Hour the strapline is 'Why is the award going to Blondie the band rather than Debbie Harry the performer?'

With me so far? Good. Are you also with me on never having heard of the NME Godlike Genius Awards before? Well fear not here's a bit more info......
The NME Godlike Genius Award is an accolade that is only handed out to the true greats of the music world.  The culmination of the evening, it recognizes the very best of the best.  Previous winners include The Clash, Paul Weller, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, New Order & Joy Division, Dave Grohl, Noel Gallagher and last year Johnny Marr.....
...that's from Contactmusic.com. 
Other reports run along the same vein. The word prestigious is used a lot. An awful lot. There's a lot of gushing about how prestigious the award is and how honored we are to accept this prestigious award. I suspect that the Oxford English Dictionary definition of the word prestigious has now been altered to mean the NME Godlike Genius Awards.  But I digress.

Notice anything from the above list? Here's a clue. It's Woman's Hour discussing it. Yep you got it. It's all men. Blondie are a group with a female singer. Everyone associates Blondie with Debbie Harry, she is the driving talent behind the group etc etc. She is the first woman to win the award. So why not give it to her directly. Cue discussion and explanation. The music industry is sexist. 

Hopefully this is at least a step in the right direction. Hopefully next year the award, the prestigious NME Godlike Genius Award will go directly to a woman and more women will be recognized for their godlike genius and their contribution alongside the men in years to come and...


I can't keep this up any longer (as the bishop said to the actress). I hate to break this to Women's Hour (and to you dear reader)  but they have got this one wrong. I agree that the music industry is sexist. Name an industry that isn't. And yes it's great to see Debbie Harry be recognized, even if indirectly. But come on. COME ON. HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOOO. 

There is an award called the NME Godlike Genius Award and we're discussing sexism in the music industry. We all know about sexism in the music industry. Old news. 

Let me say this again. There is an award called the NME Godlike Genius Award. And we're discussing sexism in the music industry.

What we 'need'  to be discussing (I highlighted the word need there because we all know WE don't need to at all, the truth is I want to) is the fact that there is an award, in the music industry, called the NME Godlike Genius Award. And people take it seriously. They even accept it. 
To illustrate my point a bit more, when U2 won the award in 2001 (All men. Disgraceful) their guitarist The Edge (capital T on 'the')  'joked'  (I highlighted joked there because we all know there was probably more truth in it than he wanted to acknowledge) 'I suppose it helps having God in your band'...... Ah Dear Bono, we love you really, even though you wear those silly glasses indoors and think you're God.

Do you know what? I wish, I really wish, with my eyes scrunched up really tight, that rather than discussing sexism in the music industry in connection with the NME Godlike Genius Award they had said 'there is this award in the music industry thought up by men and awarded to, and accepted by, men. They have called it the NME Godlike Genius Award, and sadly they are awarding it to women now and they are accepting it too. Just get a grip and stop being so silly (or words to that effect that I'm far too polite to put on my blog).
I love Blondie and Paul Weller. Talented musicians/writers/performers they may well be. I'm not disputing that. I've seen that Mr Weller perform and he's good. Godlike genius though? Nope. No way. No no no no no no no no no no no .
The real problem here, alluded to in The Edge's 'joke', is that once you start calling people godlike geniuses they start to believe it. And their fans do too. And we all know where that leads.

There is an award. It's called the NME Godlike Genius Award. People take it seriously. They even accept it. 

Nuff said......