Sunday, 29 August 2010

House Hunting and Bar Haunting

August 23rd. The first day of our official house hunt, however i am unsure what has made this week worst, the fact that every house that we have asked to view is either gone when we ask or gone by the time we get there to look, or the fact that i was working in an estate agent the previous week showing people around fantastic £1000 per week properties that they could afford? O dear.

On the up-side, myself and Joe gave up house hunting on Thursday to embark on an adventure to help out a theatre school in Sevenoaks on a 15 year anniversary performance. We were only working on the bar, but helping out none the less, and we got hear and see the show a tremendous amount. The original plan we had was to sing everyones orders to the tune of famous musical tunes-
"The bottle of beer is here... £2.50 please" (Tune of phantom of the opera- you have to be imaginative)
Joe in a bandstand, in sevenoaks practising bar order songs!
However that failed when, on the first interval we were swept off our feet with the amount of orders we had in a very short amount of time. I also managed to spill baby food down myself- what baby food was doing on top of the lemonade i will never know- I can't say that i ever encountered that problem when i worked in a pub.
 One of our days outside of the theatre we walked to a local gastropub and bought a cheese board, a disappointingly long walk, however, a very good amount of cheese and an excellent tipple of port!
 The outcome of our generosity of this bar work, was a vague thank you at the end of the third performance,  the opportunity to see Ian Beal's son from Eastenders (the one that's not in it anymore) in the flesh and a slightly bizarre theatre man asking for my number so he can quit his job and work for my estate agent as a house sitter.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Great Yarmouth and The Crooked House

I went to great Yarmouth today to visit my mum, dad and sister who are holidaying there at the moment, a three hour trip there and back was very tiring, especially as i missed my connection at Norwich and had to wait an hour for the next train to Great Yarmouth. However, all was not that bad- I asked to exit the station and headed into town for some lunch. (Baring in mind i had a massive super duper saver ticket, I'm surprised they let me out) It has been fantastic weather today and it reflected the city well, especially the castle and the nearby market. I picked up an 'I Love Norwich' bag for my sister and headed back to the station (A little joke that we have- whenever i go somewhere that she hasn't been, i get her an 'I love...' T-shirt. Unfortunately i could only get her a bag this time)
The stations leading up to the seaside town, are as you can imagine very small town. If you could 'hail and ride' a train, this would be a service for it, yet Great Yarmouth station was quite big, and once in the town it  seemed to be massive- much larger than Southend (My local seaside estuary)
Anyway, my dad picked me up and we perused around the shops for a while, it amused me that most of the shops were called 'fashion central', 'chique chick' etc, yet all sold an array of seaside rock and shells with googly eyes- There was one in particular called 'Bag city', we went inside and there was no sign of any bags, Just a huge sherbet dispenser! To be fair, I'm sure its one of the only thing that sells in seaside towns nowadays. It's quite easy to imagine the people that buy a shop to retire with- near the sea-front where they have many a precious childhood memory, only to be condemned to selling ice cream and rock for the rest of their lives. That depressive thought mirrors most of the shops in Great Yarmouth town, dozens of closing down sales, a dozen more boarded up- side streets desolate. The state I'm sure of many great British seasides.
The beach at Great Yarmouth is fantastic. I don't like sand, but this was nicely bearable because of the dunes and general cleanliness- also a very nice view onto some wind turbines in the sea. Forecasters had said this morning that it was going to rain, so we also had the beach to ourselves. It did eventually rain, so we went to the fair.
This was undoubtedly my favourite part of the day, not only did we have a horse drawn cart ride to the end of the parade, but i got to go in a crooked house. The arcades were amazing, the games and entertainment have obviously not been altered since before i was born, because i had never seen anything like it. There was a puppet show for 20p (20p!), which i do have film footage of, but it includes every fairytale character that you can think of bouncing up and down in perfect unison to 'little miss muffet'. Each character i think is handmade and the wolf is very scary, but only because of the placement of him hanging over the other characters. Also, I really liked a clown in a case, it wasn't working, but again i think it just bobbed up and down, but it was about 5ft tall and was fantastically sinister, it had a dropped head from lack of interest from any of the children around the arcade.

Going back to the crooked house- it cost £2 each to get in. A rip off for what it was, but it has caused a slight obsession for me of their purpose, and how i can incorporate them into my work. The fact that it is a house that is there purposely just for you to question its purpose is odd. I like the idea of the host being behind a glass panel and usually a bit crazy, but not real, in which case i suppose the 'real' host was the bored man sitting outside not letting my mum come in because she wasn't wearing trainers. You go inside and get thrown about and walk up wonky steps. It is a badly made house, that is all- the most thrilling part of this house was that thing where you walk over a bridge through a revolving brightly coloured cylinder that makes you feel like you are falling over- the whole experience reminded me a bit of the architecture in the Jewish museum (Berlin). It does suit purpose though i suppose, its crooked and dark, maybe a little scary, but only because it is beyond social norm and a little sensationalised. i thought it was brilliant. The haunted house was next door, what a combination.

The last thing that i thought i should mention is a pub on the seafront that was for sale:
 'The Barking Smack'

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

BP Portrait Prize

I went to see the BP portrait prize today, I think the work that stood out  for me was the winner of the Young BP prize:

Has to be seen in the flesh, for the paint.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Gallery trip

This is the first week of my summer holiday so far where i haven't been working-  artwork or other, so i decided on Tuesday to go on a London trip with my mum and sister to see some art and see whats going on  in town. My dad also decided to come, which was nice because usually he would be working. We started off by going to the Hayward gallery to see Ernesto Neto, the main reason was because there was a swimming pool there- my sister generally picks what we see, she likes interactive work. It's probably more my style too, however i wasn't so keen on the pool- i didn't really see why the pool would need to be there, and i often find with these things, especially within participatory art that artists will through a piece in last minute to attract crowds even though it doesn't flow with the rest of the exhibition. It was good overall though, apart from the other obnoxious children that were in the pool that kept fighting with each other. The gallery assistants didn't know what to do with them (Why would they) and the parents obviously didn't give a damn- they were too busy chatting to each other and saying 'boys will be boys' while every other child that went near the pool were too scared to get in.

But anyway, despite that incident it was pleasant- although my dad did get told off by an assistant for touching a particular part of the 'participatory' piece  of work which wasn't participatory (Another thing that gets on my nerves about mainstream participatory exhibitions- the lines are hazy to where the participation starts and stops and then, as a member of the public that doesn't necessarily have knowledge of the artwork that they are seeing for the first time, you get belittled by someone who has been briefed on every aspect of it. I don't think having respect for an artwork should have to replace respect for each other)
So onto Trafalgar square- a pop up event of a maze containing knowledge of London streets- Covent garden, fleet street etc. Very enjoyable and informative if not a little crowded. this wasn't an original plan that i had- but it had been on the news and we were only a short walk away. To finish the day we went to see the Voyeur exhibition at the Tate M, maybe one i shouldn't have taken my sister into because of the nudity and violence but i think she appreciated the hidden camera display and there were lots of pieces of artwork that were directed to modern history e.g. the paparazzi and princess Diana's death in relation to Marylin Monroe. I could easily have spent another hour or so in there so i think i will take another trip there.
Yesterday i took a trip to Tunbridge Wells- Joe's dad was singing in a local venue, so Joe gave us a tour of Tunbridge Wells, mainly of pubs, but there was also a Cath Kidson shop that we went into. We also tried all day to get apple pie with custard but we couldn't find anywhere- I can't say that i didn't leave at the end of the day slightly disappointed but Joe's dad was very good- as were the other acts at the gig.