Even floor tiles can be art

This photo is from Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say(P78348-P78352; complete`I’m desperate’  1992-3 by Gillian Wearing.

 I saw the photo as part of an exhibition this week. I’m a sucker for all this kind of stuff so if  you’re the kind of person who sneers at art you might want to skip this entry; maybe you could go wire a plug or watch The Only Way Is Essex or something.

We went to see DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture at Liverpool Tate and it was completely brilliant!  This new collection display examines and questions the trajectory of artistic innovation in twentieth-century art and beyond, at least that’s what it says in the leaflet… I just had  great time. Sculpture in the form of object, installation, assemblage and ready-made sits alongside more surprising forms, such as painting, video, photography, language and performance. There’s a light up interactive dance floor, weird Antony Gormley sculpture made out of toast!, Salvador Dali‘s lobster telephone, terrifying life-size figures (see photo below) called The Redeemers by John Davies, a wall of grinning clones (see photo below), Andy Warhol‘s famous Campbell’s soup can picture, Picasso’s legendary Weeping Woman, a bizarre model of a block of flats called You see an office building by Julian Opie, this weird thing called knock knock by Eva Rothschild which seems to stand up without any visible means of support, sexy chairs (sexy?!) by Allen Jones (see photo below), and so much more amazing stuff.

The cloud face man thing is actually a commercial plaster reproduction of the death mask of the French Emperor Napoleon painted with sky and clouds by Belgian Surrealist artist Rene Magritte. It’s called The Future of Statues(how great a title is that?). The artist’s friend the Surrealist poet Paul Nougé suggested an association between death, dreams and the depth of the sky: “a patch of sky traversed by clouds and dreams [can] transfigure the very face of death in a totally unexpected way”. I bet a sentence like that didn’t pass your lips this week.

More than anything else though, this exhibition was actually fun! People think of art galleries as being very serious, hushed, cerebral and pretty boring but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The only thing you must do before you enter is leave your preconceptions at the door.

I was looking at this exhibit which was actually just a few floor tiles laid out in a square (I think it was by Carl Andre) and, to be perfectly honest, I was having one of those ‘it’s just a load of kitchen tiles, how can that be art?’ moments.  But then I saw the accompanying video which showed comments from visitors to the exhibition. There were a few pretentious people pontificating about how the floor tiles exhibit ‘speaks’ to them… There were many ‘sneerers’ who went on about what a load of crap it was and how it wasn’t proper art! But there was this one young Scouse schoolgirl who just said that it was the best art she’d ever seen because it she could actually walk on it. She got so genuinely excited about it and she spoke with such un-selfconscious, unpretentious, unprejudiced, un-jaundiced…. joy that it restored my faith immediately. It’s floor tiles. Yes! It’s floor tiles!!!!!


World ends May 21? How ludicrous. It’ll end Oct 21

So the above didn’t happen then? Or maybe it did and I can’t tell the difference. The planet exploding might actually improve the look of my town. Actually the infamous Harold Camping only predicted earthquakes for May 21 Rapture day, not the full-blown end of the world. The end of the world isn’t expected until Oct 21! Of course! I knew a May 21 world explosion was a ludicrous idea. Oct 21 makes much more sense. So I think we may all have peaked early. It happens to the best of us occasionally; don’t try to deny it.

What colour car do YOU drive?

I know nothing about cars. I don’t particularly want to know anything about cars. Recently, though, I started to think I might get a lease car on the scheme they run at work. So, the question arose; which car would I choose? My answer came quick and sure – an orange one, of course!

I don’t know why but I’ve always wanted an orange car. I actually did own an orange car once. A long time ago; not long after I passed my driving test, I owned an orange Mini bought from my ol’ mate Mark A and which was known as ‘The Satsuma! Maybe my yearning for an orange car is my version of a mid life crisis; trying to get back to the days when I was young and drove a funky coloured vehicle. Or maybe it’s about not wanting to disappear into the crowd. Most cars are grey or white or blue or silver or black now, aren’t they? I looked on a few car websites and these are the only available options. Why is that? I suppose it’s because those cars will have the best resale value. It all comes down to money these days doesn’t it? We’re all so bloody sensible aren’t we?

Well, sensible or not, I want an orange car. Actually this whole thing has got me thinking about how different colours are linked in with notions of age and of being sensible or grown-up. I’ve always been pretty sensible throughout my life and I reckon it’s about time I put a stop to it. This extends beyond choice of car colour; I feel like I might want to change our front door from the current sensible shade of white to a colour which better reflects my current mood of rebellion. Oh yes indeed; the future’s bright.

My view of Ulveston, Cumbria, England

Stan Laurel was born here. Not in this field of course; that would be ridiculous. And chilly. The thin half of Laurel and Hardy came from  Ulveston, shown in my pics above. I just got back from a few days in the Lake District.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Why aren’t I happier?

In 2004 Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States which involved the hijacking of  four aircraft the subsequent destruction of those planes and the World Trade Centre in New York, severe damage to The Pentagon in Virginia, and the deaths of 2,974 people and the 19 hijackers. Almost ten years after the attacks, on May 2  2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a secured private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs in a covert operation authorized and orchestrated by U.S. President Barack Obama.


1. Because a human life just ended. That may be justifiable if it prevents the deaths of further lives but is it reason to have a party? No.

2. Some people are having parties. The scenes of jubilation and chanting were more appropriate to how you might behave if your favourite football team just won. This whole thing, from the deaths of those people on September 11 2001 to the death of Osama bin Laden is no-one’s finest hour and nothing for any human being to be proud of.

3. The whole business in Abbottabad is being shrouded in mystery. Murder has been committed on our behalf and now the people authorising that murder are not permitting us to know the full details of what went on. Do they think we can’t handle the facts? Do they think emotions in parts of the world may become inflamed? If any of this is morally defensible then we should defend it, not glory in it and not hide the details. If that means some people’s emotions get inflamed, too bad.

4. I understand Osama bin Laden had not been in operational control of terrorist movements for some years so his death doesn’t make us any safer.

5. There were kids’ toys in that compound; I saw them in the background on that video taken at the scene. What nightmare have any children involved had to go through. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

6. The whole thing reminds me how mindless, fanatical, violent, pathetic, petty, irrational, barbaric and stupid human beings can be even today, even with all our advances and our achievements. We still kill each other because we have different opinions. Pathetic, shameful and sad.

I’m not in any mood for a party.


My view of Crosby beach, near Liverpool, England