Museum

Topiary

I used to work at Hampton Court. This is a marker drawing of some of the trees in the gardens there. I earnt a pittance, worked every single weekend for six months, and wore a terrible polyester uniform. I got very used to being surrounded by incredible splendour though, and spent quite a lot of happy hours minding the maze, sitting in a shed reading long Russian books, listening to whatever mellow music wouldn't annoy tourists (lots of Elliot Smith, Fleetwood Mac, Tortoise and Grandaddy), and making up lies about the maze to tourists. (I wrote about being in charge of the maze in issue 22 of my zine). I also used to get a good amount of free glasses of Pimms too from jugs that were left over from the outside bar.... Read More...

Andre Thomkins

When I was in Liechtenstein, I went to the Modern Art museum there. I was really impressed with the quality of the museum, especially in such a small country. They had a special exhibition about Swiss artist André Thomkins (whose estate had donated his works to the museum). I hadn't come across him before, but I really enjoyed what I saw (and his large array of German puns), especially the short film where he was talking and demonstrating how he made marbled paintings by floating lacquer on top of water, something he started experimenting with after washing a brush he'd been painting furniture with.... Read More...

Liechtenstein

In other old photos I've dug out recently, here's some photos of Liechtenstein from last summer. I'm currently writing a zine about that trip, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here. Liechtenstein is a very weird place. It's one of the smallest countries in Europe, and is essentially a small Swiss town that is a separate country by historical accident, and now stays a separate country because they have a nice income from being a corporate tax haven. The entire country has one high school. I was working at a school just across the border in Austria, and there were a fair few students from Liechtenstein at the school. The capital Vaduz has a small parliament building, an impressive castle, a small museum like that of any small town, a really big and impressive modern art museum, a big post office that does a roaring trade in souvenir stamps and a town square with some expensive cafes and assorted useful shops. There's, Schaan, a suburban town where most people live, a couple of other villages and a big supermarket, some lovely mountains and that's the whole country really. I saw pretty much most of it in an afternoon, which you can't say for most countries.... Read More...

Red Lead & Choleric Humours

In the days when I worked at Hampton Court I got to go to quite a few of their special events. They had a roster of actors who could portray the various monarchs who had lived at the palace (and two Henry VIIIs) and would do special days with re-enactments based on various time periods or themes. On one of the days they had a day based on science in the time of Charles II. I found some photos when I was tidying up the computer the other day.... Read More...

Tate Britain

I went to the Tate Britain the other day. I went there planning to go to the Folk Art exhibition, but realised I didn't have the time or money to do it justice that day, and what I was actually in the mood for was post-war modern art. So that's what I looked at.... Read More...

Fishbourne Palace

A while back I went to Fishbourne Palace. In the 1960s engineers digging a new drain in a village just outside Chichester discovered some Roman mosaics. When they were excavated, they turned out to belong to the one of the largest Roman palaces outside Italy. My thing I wrote for Storyboard this month is based on it (and yes, the building really does look like a swimming pool). No one is one hundred percent sure who it belonged to, the most common guess is Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the local chieftain / Roman ally / client king, but there are no inscriptions or historical records either backing it up or proving otherwise.... Read More...

DDR Museum

I'm fascinated by the history of the Cold War. Both the political side, and the social history of people's everyday lives. I've always been extra fascinated by the former DDR, both because I can speak the language and because they tried so hard to be a "model" Iron Curtain society. You read about people being "internal emigrés". Being a good comrade and worker on the surface, but internally escaping to their own world via drink or just plain daydreaming. I suppose that's what I'd do in the situation. I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, but I'm currently writing a zine about the trip this summer, so I'll save them for there.... Read More...

Petrie Museum

Earlier today I met up with my friend Chloe on her way up to Glasgow, and we went to the Souzou exhibition with her old flatmates. When she went to catch the train, I decided to fit in a visit to the Petrie Museum round the corner in UCL too, which I hadn't been to for a long time. (I tried to say hi to Jeremy too, but his box was closed).... Read More...