Sunday, 14 March 2010

Music at Shoreditch Church

"When I grow Rich" say the Bells of Shoreditch...

I am not going to say that I know a lot about modern music, because I simply don't. To be honest whenever I hear its nonsense notes my brain screams for some order and then I usually either run away or turn off wherever it is coming from off. However, on Saturday night that was not an option, and I am rather glad it wasn't. Not the usual place one goes to on a Saturday night, but at 8pm I found myself sitting on a very hard pew with a plastic glass of red wine looking at a piano in candlelight, and then it started: Music Magnitude.

There is something incredibly beautiful about improvised music. I can only compare it to lovemaking - a group of musician making love together. Reading their next moves, listening intently to eachother and really trying not to phase the other musicians out. It's gentle and its all about not making a mistake and really trying to experience something that hits the audience and the musicians to the core. As I sat in the dim lit church looking at the angels I noticed all the faces of the people watching. Most gripped, hanging onto each note waiting for the next, because they didn't flow or seem to have any order. Others sniggering - they didn't understand the music, which is fine. I admit I didn't fully grasp it myself, but I did find myself drifting into a rather unusual world - helped by the venue. It was all a bit Hitchcock, but an extremely enojoyable evening all the same.

"Oranges and Lemons" say the Bells of St. Clements

"Bullseyes and Targets" say the Bells of St. Margaret's

"Brickbats and Tiles" say the Bells of St. Giles
"Halfpence and Farthings" say the Bells of St. Martin's

"Pancakes and Fritters" say the Bells of St. Peter's
"Two Sticks and an Apple" say the Bells of Whitechapel

"Maids in white aprons" say the Bells at St. Katherine's

"Pokers and Tongs" say the Bells of St. John's
"Kettles and Pans" say the Bells of St. Anne's

"Old Father Baldpate" say the slow Bells of Aldgate
"You owe me Ten Shillings" say the Bells of St. Helen's

"When will you Pay me?" say the Bells of Old Bailey

"When I grow Rich" say the Bells of Shoreditch
"Pray when will that be?" say the Bells of Stepney

"I do not know" say the Great Bell of Bow

Gay go up and gay go down
To Ring the Bells of London Town

Friday, 12 March 2010

Aeroplanes over Kew
The roar of the engine
Flaps up
This one is landing
Somewhere near Heathrow

The whooshing of the wind
Squeezed air
Pushed in all directions
Not sure where to go

Great big wings
Casting shadows
In my back garden
Like mythical creatures
From a world we don’t yet know

Their presence ever there
Most hardly notice them
They’re part of the scenery
Invisible to all senses
Like the smell of ones own home

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Poems, Poems!!

Alright, I agree - it has taken me a while to seriously get into poetry without anyone pushing me to read books, but it has finally happened. I am now addicted to scouring my eyes all over words and verses. I used to dabble in writing poems when I was teenager... felt the emotional outlet helped me get through an awkward time in anyone's development. Sadly, I have since lost all of those prose (must try and find them), but nonetheless am busy scribbling away in my Aladdin's Cave of a room on scrap pieces of paper. Maybe i'll bind them all together one day and illustrate them?!

The Aladdin's Cave (aka The Tardis)

So, whilst scouring through the websites at blogs - usually begins with me looking at my mother's latest finds and then hopping from the those blogs latest finds and so on I came across this delightful website called Poetcasting. Really great website for all you poetryphiles! I think I may be making the most out of poetry evenings now I am in London... :-) !

Friday, 5 March 2010

The owl and the pussy cat – re-worked

The Lion and the Jessie-monster went to London,
In a beautiful white transit van,
They took the Fleetfoxes, and plenty of boxes,
Wrapped up as part of their plan.
The Lion looked up at the diversion ahead,
And sang to a steering wheel,
'O lovely Jessie! O Jessie my love,
Where in the hell are we,
Are we?!
Are we?!
Where in the hell are we?!'

Jessie said to the feline, 'You are so fine!
How brilliantly you drive this vehicle!
O I’m sure we are near, your parents must be somewhere here,
So I hear you’re rather good on a cycle?'
They drove on and on, until they reached Barbara and John,
To the land where a big-tree grows
And there made out of wood, a viewing platform stood
Where the wind does gather and blows,
And blows,
And blows,
Where the wind does gather and blows.

Dear lion, are you keen, now you have had your caffeine
To drive?' Said the lion, 'I will.'
So they drove to Kew, under a sky not so blue,
Which gave them both such a huge thrill.
They drank cups of tea, and were very happy,
As they stirred their cups with a spoon;
And with her left hand, in her new land,
She unpacked in the light of the full moon,
Full moon,
Full moon,
She unpacked in the light of the full moon.

Poem about my move to Kew last weekend. It was a full moon, the A303 to Salisbury was closed and I still cannot use my right forefinger... Oh and the lion, well that's a long story involving the blue moon at New Years, the full moon last month and a lot of dancing - in the light of all these ripened moons!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Mrs Delany and her Circle

Mary Delany

So, hidden in the back of the building were two rooms - one filled with beautiful potted plants and another which was so cleverly designed (from a exhibitions/museum-point-of-view) that I was rather impressed. The museum is a small space you see, so to get an exhibition inside it would have required a lot of planning, and I admire the amount of careful thinking that has obviously gone into this exhibition.

I am not going to tell you what it is all about, as that would spoil the trip. However, it is a marvellous sight. There is a fascinating balance between text and object all around the room so that one could never get bored. There are 18th century tools, a large selection of Mrs. Delany's embroidery's (which are stunningly beautiful) and a series of her sketches, paper collages and letters.

She was born at Coulston, Wiltshire, a niece of the 1st Lord Lansdowne. In February 1718 she was unhappily married to Alexander Pendarves, a wealthy Cornish landowner considerably her senior, who died in 1724. Interestingly, Pendarves was good friends with Sir Jon St. Aubyn, and so it is very likely that the two families would have known eachother very well indeed.

Anyway, during a visit to Ireland she met Jonathan Swift and his close friend, the Irish cleric, Patrick Delany, whom she married in 1743. After his death in 1768 she passed all her summers with her intimate friend the Dowager Duchess of Portland, who introduced her to George III and Queen Charlotte.

In 1771, Delany began to create cut out paper artworks (decoupage) as was the fashion for ladies of the court. Her works were exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants. She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces. She created 1,700 of these works, calling them her "Paper Mosaiks".

This is a fabulous exhibition which has been put together by Sir John Soane's Musuem and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. It is even accompanied by a major publication Mary Delany and her Circle published by the Soane and the Yale Center for British Art. I ended up purchasing the book... I couldn't help it. I am supposed to be cutting down on the book-front after moving them all for a billionth time and realising that I have far too many (they actually reach the ceiling in my new room).

The exhibition runs until the 1st May...
Two lovely days of weather and a trip to the Soane Museum

Well I have been fortunate enough to have had some lovely weather since moving to Kew. Endless blue skies as far as the eye can see - really beautiful. So after doing the usual chores of unpacking, registering with the local doctor's surgery (which was very posh) and locating a post office and supermarket, I decided to go into the city centre for a day trip. This was mainly because I really wanted to see the exhibition on Mrs. Delany, which is currently at the Soane Museum near Holborn Station. So after a Lapsang Souchong in the V&A I got on the Piccadilly line.

One of the compact rooms in this Georgian house

Well, what a fabulous trip! I spent hours in this magical museum. I recommend it to everyone. It is free of charge and will not disappoint. The house/houses were bought by Sir Soane for him to house his amazing collection of curiosities. All the walls have been designed to unfold, so that he could cram in as many pictures as possible. There are Egyptian tombs, Greek urns, Roman sculptures, Enamelled miniatures, coins, rings, shells, books, paintings, remnants of temples and all of his architectural plans. For he designed many buildings, including the Bank of England.

Mrs. Delany's hand embroidered slip

After being totally blown away by the extensiveness of this gentleman's collection I wondered into the room which housed the exhibition on Mrs. Delany, an 18th century botanical artist and letter writer, who managed to socialise in very important circles. This exhibition really blew me away, and I'll say why tomorrow...