From the exhibition guide: Juliette Blightman ‘has introduced an arrangement of objects, including a vase [which I didn’t see], a lamp and a net curtain, into a window space in the [Hayward] [G]allery.’
The above were the responses I had towards different pieces of artwork displayed at the British Art Show.
Did you watch the film, too? Which hour(s) did you watch? Can we swap hours? How?
The clock project reminded me of Borges’s story “On Exactitude in Science” (an expansion of an idea in Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno Concluded ).
I liked Robert Wood‘s comment about the snake: “In the country of the serpents the one armed snake is king.”
The publication of my very short poem “The Final Straw” in the March 2011 issue of elimae reminded me of this day-trip to Winchester. Read on and you will see why.
|The front gate to the West side of Highgate Cemetery|
2) Since the 1970s, the cemetery has been run by a charity, the Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust (FoHCT). Especially on the West side, their policy is called ‘managed neglect’. The effect is that the cemetery is largely overrun but still free of garbage. The organisation takes relative little initiative to restore the graves but it does trim back the trees and plants. This all gives the cemetery a rather Romantic feel, as if you were walking into a lost world.
As we walked along the Avenue, we saw many crypts which had holes in the doors for bats to come out in the evening. The Avenue led to the Circle of Lebanon, which must have been the centrepiece of the entire cemetery. They built the Circle around a huge tree which has only grown larger in the 150 years or so since it was built. Today, the Circle feels like a village of the dead:
|Julius Beer’s Mausoleum|
8) Another stop we made in the main part of the cemetery was at the grave of Thomas Sayers, the famous nineteenth-century bareknuckle boxer. His funeral was believed to have been attended by thousands of fans, an impressive feat for a time in which boxing was officially illegal. Sayers’s most famous fight was against the American John C. Heenan; the fight was advertised as the championship of the English-speaking world. The fight went on for two hours and twenty minutes (37 rounds) before it was finally broken up by police and called a draw. After the fight, Sayers’s fans raised money for him to retire from boxing. He spent his last days going from pub to pub with his dog, Lion, buying drinks and being bought drinks. Lion is featured on his grave as a loyal friend and guardian.
|Thomas Sayers, guarded by his faithful friend, Lion|
9) Although we couldn’t see them because they are in an overgrown section of the cemetery, Dickens’s parents are buried in the West side of Highgate Cemetery. I tried to test the guide’s knowledge but he didn’t seem to know a great deal about the rest of the family. Still, he was a very good guide, who seemed to have great passion for the place. Because he only volunteered once a month, he was genuinely excited to be there and shared with us what he knows.
This post was originally written on February 28, 2009.
© Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.
The iconic City office tower is now high-rise housing. Originally converted into luxury flats, the block soon slid down the social scale to become a high-density, multi-occupation tower block. The Gherkin now worries the authorities as a potential slum.
Refugees from equatorial lands have moved north in search of food. They make their homes in the buildings that once drove world finance – before the collapse of the global economy.
The exhibition is on until 6 March 2011. Alternately, you can view all the postcards and learn more about the project, first conceived in 2008, at the “London Futures” website.
|“Champaign and cinnamon candle”. Photo courtesy of E & S|
May all our friends and family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.
|Picture courtesy of JP.|
WRITTEN IN SNOW
We extinguished two glasses of port,
drained the lamp,
transfigured from dressed to undressed.
Both times were revelatory.
The way you spoke then did not speak:
everything was newly sparse–
more new than sparse.
I do not remember it all, now,
what we said afterwards:
The virtues of simplified over traditional,
But we kept the blinds two-thirds drawn
and from your warm bed
we caught slivers of tree branches
in soft toques.
The snow had stopped and the road was icy
when we left. What took place already seemed hazy;
even your steadying arm around my shoulder
Friendly people, we commented
on irrelevant things: the barber shop over there,
the dog park. Then I saw phrases fingered on cars,
unconvincingly hidden in snow. The calligrapher,
in haste, had chosen simplified.
It doesn’t matter, I guess.
New snow may fall, cover the slate.
And given time, all words melt.
My favourite scarf is long, long enough to be an afternoon blanket for two babies, and the remaining length draping all over the floor.
|Have you been?|
|Stonehenge, pictured by a member of the family in August, 2010.|
Stonehenge, in virtue of the simplicity of its plan, and its good preservation, is as if new and recent; and, a thousand years hence, men will thank this age for the accurate history it will yet eliminate. We [Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Carlyle] walked in and out, and took again and again a fresh look at the uncanny stones.
Emerson, The Collected Works (1856), p. 157
“This one was taken in Senegal, from inside a taxi, on the road from N’gueniene to Dakar. The colourful, hand-painted vehicle you can see outside looks just like most public transport vehicles there. April 2009.”