- To attend the Mount Sion steam crane on the Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal near Radcliffe. A wholly successful mission - the crane is present but looks unloved.
- To attend the very well preserved remains of a water powered beam pump, also near Radcliffe. Only partially successful, as the pump is on private territory and defended by awesome fences, wire, threatening notices etc etc. Some especially good industrial dereliction to be seen, however.
- To see first hand the enterprise No Elephants Please, also near Radcliffe. Unsuccessful - the house is in evidence with no commercial signage visible.
To attend a concert by
Godspeed you! Black Emperor in the marvellous
This did just what it said on the tin - as last time I saw [sic] them, they
exchanged not one syllable with the audience and performed in
darkness. The ambient lighting actually converted this to twilight so
on this occasion I could count them. A tight 1h40m during which the
building shook once or twice.
Quick words of congratulation for:
- The gentleman controlling the film loops - four projectors of the kind I used to see in my school physics lab., and umpteen literal loops of film hung around like laundry.
- The support act, a gentleman playing solo. For 30m he issued a single tone (with harmonics), with much use of moving spots and strobes. The performance straddled sunset, which certainly created an atmosphere.
Friday, 24 April 2015
Friday, 20 March 2015
These panoramic views are anomalous as the building is in fact apical. That may be clear from geometric oddities of the rectification (but Matthew Brown's Autostitch software is fantastic).
In case it is unclear, the branches advertised in the window lights are: Stockport,Halifax, Leicester, Darlington, Plymouth, Leeds, Wrexham, Manchester, Newcastle, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bradford, Belfast, Dublin, Bristol, Glasgow, Cardiff, Derby, Norwich, Dundee, Preston, Northampton, Edinburgh, Reading, Swansea, Portsmouth, Newport, Exeter, Southend, Blackburn, Bolton. It is now a crusade to capture those which I have as yet not seen first hand – many, of course, are victims of the Luftwaffe or town planners [sic].
As luck would have it, there was a magnificent partial solar eclipse this day, in cloudless skies; at its nadir I captured this very fine GviR 2110/1.
NB: The play was very well received by a capacity audience, as were the other seven presented on a platform of "New work by Welsh writers". Me - Welsh? Me - a writer? Bendigedig!
Here is a crap blurrrrrry picture of the excellent Hannah Jarman & Rhys Warrington performing my piece.
And big thanks to Sandy.
Monday, 16 March 2015
Circumstance permitted me to attempt a one-man re-enactment of the battle of Edgehill (Warwickshire, 23rd October 1642) on March 13th.
It remains very easy to capture a panoramic view of the battlefield.
Full accounts of manoeuvres can be read in a hundred places; here let it suffice to say that a large proportion of the field is inaccessible as it is owned by the MoD, which seems strangely appropriate. Ergo, no attempt at complete re-enactment was going to succeed, and I compromised with a gentle stroll around the prettier bits together with some isolated theatrical displays. Unsurprisingly, the local churches had some information to give.
Kineton was just behind the parliamentary lines on the day and would have seen a lot of action; I recreated a small piece of this outside the post office. In St Peter's church there's a dinky mermaid on Frances Bentley's tomb:
Radway is stationed at the base of the “edge” (bank) that was strategically important to the Royalist army on the day. Henry Kingsmill was interred in St Peter's church here after falling in the battle (beautifully re-enacted by me, if I may say so).
Ratley is over the edge and was presumably a royalist haven on the day. Here's a nice picture of Mary Magdalene up to her old tricks (not really part of the re-enactment) in the church of St Peter ad Vincula:
- Both of the Kidderminster restaurants billed as “the best curry in town” were closed, so I had to settle for a steak pie in the 3-Shires Cafe. It was not good.
- Hard by Radway church was PB 1086272, a type 3204/1, numbered CV35 147 by RM.
It's seen some use; in my view these look all the better when they have not been beautified by RM:
Friday, 6 February 2015
Well - today is such a day.
I first saw Robert Fripp in the Exeter ABC in 1971 - dominated by Lizard. Then again in York in 1973/4 with Bruford, Muir and Wetton alongside. Then again in 198x at the Leeds Irish Centre with the League of Crafty Guitarists. To my abiding regret, I had to miss a gig in Manchester in the 90s with David Sylvian when I was ill - now of course never to be repeated.
But this year Spike and I will see him in Aylesbury on 1st September. With every chance of a second viewing in Birmingham.
I wonder if he remembers me?
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sam Medlar was Head of Hele's Boys Grammar School, Exeter through the 60s until 1973; he probably disliked being called Sam but all the boys did it. At that time the grammar system was still the default and he presided over a school named after Elize Hele, an illustrious Tudor Exonian who left money in his will for the school's establishment. It was explained to me once that Hele's executors were so corrupt that it was not in fact founded until 1850. Of course, in the town Hele's was overshadowed by Exeter School - “Public”, with all that word doesn't imply.
Sam's tenure coincided with well documented British social change. He was, almost literally, “old school”, and I think he struggled with the sight of boys with immensely flared trousers (nowadays rightly regarded as laughable) and hair of sometimes extraordinary length, school rules notwithstanding. I had a couple of minor run-ins with him but nothing serious: corporal punishment was on the books as the ultimate sanction but I have no memory of it ever being deployed. His difficulty with boys who were plainly intelligent (no conceit intended), but who enthusiastically adopted the fashion of shabby and disorderly dressing was obvious. I think this was the only fashion in which I ever took any interest and I have still to move on from it.
Sam's revenge came at one's exit interview: after suitable small-talk and probably sincere wishes for the future, some but not all boys were invited to join the Old Heleans and left his sanctum clutching an application form – not me. Time has passed and you can now join online, which I have done.
The buildings I recall are long since demolished and the name of the school has lapsed (at least partly under pressure from the OH). Odd bits of memorabilia are on display in the replacement school, St Peters. 40+ years ago, I had an unthinking teenage disrespect for the war memorial and portraits of Heads past, but the passage of time is a curious thing. Of course, the school song was “Forty years on”.
Exeter School continues in uninterrupted business.
Monday, 20 October 2014
- Banksy's latest, entertainingly augmented only recently.
- A sad loss.
- A surprise visit by David Byrne.
- Another one for my collection! Neglected, but fine.
A small number of other pictures may be seen.
Friday, 26 September 2014
But today arrives an envelope addressed to "Mr and Mrs Jones".
FFS. I've just counted and there are over 2500 "Joneses" in the Aberystwyth phone book, and it's a slim volume.
This is going to take ages.