Writing

I write about work in progress, the work of other people and the occaisional random rant.  The categories broadly link some themes as does the tag cloud.

Little Races

I am a mixed race transracial adoptee or TRA. I was adopted in 1964 into an established white family with three sons. My family were part of the aspirational middle class and all of the people I knew and loved were white. I was a happy child until I started school and began to encounter racism. This intensified reflecting the existing climate which perpetuated negativity and amplified racist tropes. Content that can only be screened now with trigger warnings was being distributed as normal. My family had no experience or understanding of racism and the context of my adoption prevented …

Covid commemoration Callout

My usual response to a crisis is go to the pub, have a nice cold beer and wait for it all to blow over. Well that’s not really working as from Thursday 5th November 2020, the Winchester and all the other boozers are once again closed, except for takeouts, though not booze, or something, I really have no clear idea as there appears to be no clear direction from the corridors of power, I’ve a suggestion to make, why not join my Covid Commemoration? I had been hoping to encourage people to use the analogue photobooths to send me a …

Covid Commemoration

This is a horrible disease no matter where it comes from. And then we have this horrible political landscape where it’s all about ideology so caution seems to be tempered by ideology. I am pretty sure you cannot fight a disease with an opinion no matter how fantastic it is. One thing that totally preoccupies me is anti mask people. I find it really weird that they frequently share a platform with the brexit/trump supporting nexus and that platform is bolted to ideas about the self and place that are either grounded in fictive histories or a deep suspicion of …

Mostly harmless

For the most part I’ve never understood the appeal of Kanye West but I have form when it comes to missing the boat with great black music as evidenced by the fact it took me years to appreciate Beyoncé. So for all I know Ye is as good as other people tell me. I’ve just not arrived at that station and his endorsement of the orange menace hasn’t really encouraged me to the table. However, there is one place where we are on the same page; Ye is on record calling Black History Month ‘torture porn’ and this post my …

Shine

Ry Cooder made an album called Jazz in the late 70s. It includes the song Shine, it caused a kerfuffle at the time and Cooder has put some water between himself and that album since, but I actually like that album and have a certain fondness for that tune. It’s a bouncy piece that includes terms that would make a corporate HR person go into a tail spin because it is a coon song that was written by a black musician who went under the name of Cecil Mack. He is on the front row at the far right on …

a bag of shallots

Every christmas we had the same stuff: a massive mutant turkey, a boned ham joint, brussels sprouts cooked close to mush, each one with a little cross at it’s base, roast and boiled potatoes, stuffing, gravy, the whole nine yards. I wasn’t a fan of christmas dinner, but boxing day lunch was something that I did like because most of that stuff made a reappearance, just done over into bubble and squeak, with pickles. You can’t make an old fashioned west midlands pickle overnight so in October, my mother would get a monster string bag of shallots and spend a …

I won the Denis Roussel Award and it reminded me of Mrs Haynes

In the third year of junior school we had a teacher called Mrs Haynes. She was scottish. I’d never come into contact with a person who talked like that before. She was firey and prone to shouting. I’m not sure we were a particularly naughty or disagreeable class, but her MO was robust for the year she had us. She was frequently to be heard loudly stating ‘oh for the patience of Job’ except she would say Jooooobe. I didn’t know who Job was, but I was pretty sure he was the opposite of Mrs Haynes. I remember that her …

The Pecking Order

You ever been spat at? Out of the blue? You ever been told to fuck off back to where you came from by someone who is so similar to just about everybody else you know that you would be hard pushed to pick them out in an identity parade? You ever been shopping in a department store and have other people served before you even though you’ve been there longer? You had your card conspicuously checked in to make sure it isn’t stolen when all you want is to buy a bottle of wine to go with a meal you’ve …

The Naked Truth

I think it was new year’s day 2015 I got an email that had come through the contact form from a man called Tim Andrews asking me if I would take a portrait of him. He explained he’d seen a cyanotype I’d made in the Photomonth brochure which was used by Double Negative Darkroom (the precursor to e5process) to advertise a show. He hadn’t seen the show but he had looked me up and found my site and liked my stuff. He also explained that he had contracted Parkinson’s disease and this had bought an end to his career as …

Ship for Fools

Last Tuesday I read in the Guardian that the remains of a fishing boat that sank taking with it somewhere in the region of 1,000 lives with it to the sea bed in 2015, will be on display as part of the Venice Bienalle and that its presence was connected to the work of Christoph Büchel. In 2006 I made a point of finding a nondescript building on a less than impressive street off Brick Lane in order to see Büchel’s work Simply Botiful. I knew very little about the art world then and I came away awed by the …