changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

A secret thing I have…. February 20, 2012

Filed under: thinks — eclectic chicken @ 2:32 pm
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Until i was 9 or 10 the only art gallery i knew was The Grundy in Blackpool, a wonderful Edwardian building attached to the central library. I couldn’t begin to estimate the number of times i wandered round it once i was old enought to explore the town centre on my own and through into being a teenager and art student in the town. I had my first piece of artwork hung before the public there -in the annual ‘seasiders’ exhibition… (a pencil picture of a piece of rope that my history teacher bought off me for a tenner to hang in his dining room)… I also spent a fair amount of time keeping warm in there and snogging boys (in the wonderful days before cctv).

Mostly the pictures didn’t change much…. not that I can remember and upstairs was a gallery beneath the cupola that had a collection of ivory carvings.

There were pictures in there i could look at for ever… and some I’m sure i’d have zero recollection of if you showed them to me now. I’m still the same with art galleries… I’ll walk round at top speed until I find something i like and there i’ll stay.

So thats the preamble…

My favourite picture was a painting of a house interior, a landing in sunlight.

the feeling it always gave me then and in my memory was of total peace…

crack on until last year and I was reading around English Impressionists and I suddenly decided I needed to know who that painting was by… so i started googling. Swift came to the conclusion that googling for a picture based on a mental image alone is pretty difficult so rang the Grundy.

the conversation ran along these lines

“I’m looking for information on a particular painting in your collection”

“ah… whats it called?”

“I’ve no idea”

“do you know who its by?”

“erm…no…. look… if i describe it you may still be able to help”

“okay lets try”

“turn back the clock about twenty years and walk through the entrance hall into the main gallery, turn back on yourself in to the left of the doorway theres a picture of a landing, i think, its a landing with sunlight… it’s beautiful”

“ah.. that’ll be ‘landing in summer’ by Mary D Ellwell”

Fantastic!…. she went on to tell me its no longer on display… and no they don’t have a digital version of it, nor a postcard I can buy.

Now, there was a point when Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross was my favourite picture (it’s still one of them).

It was in the days before internet so I got a train to Glasgow from Nottingham with my friend Jon… we went to the art gallery to take a look at said painting… where i stood and looked at it for a long time and then we had a pint and a scotch in the pub and went home again.

Mary Elwell, however isn’t quite so well known… and I soon found that there isn’t a version of The landing in Summer on the internet. (though i’m very happy to be proved wrong).

The best I could do is buy a book called   stepping from the shadows   which i believed had a copy of the picture in it. (it does)…on the inside of the back cover. (not the front cover shown here- which is probably ‘hallway with dog’ or something equally as imaginative)

In these days of ‘everything’ being presumed accessible on t’internet i’m not sure if I’m happy or sad that the picture is unavailable to you. I kind of like the feeling that i have a secret picture that not many other people can see.

My picture is beautiful, it has the same feeling of peace it used to have… its not like looking at the original… but its comforting nonetheless.

A bit like the Roger McGough (internet available) poem (to leap around in time, space and the arts)


                             in a corner of my bedroom

grew a tree

a happy tree

my own tree

                           its leaves were soft

like flesh

                         and its birds sang poems for me


without warning

                         two men

with understanding smiles

                        and axes

made cut of forged excuses

                         came and chopped it down



                       or the day before

                       I think it was the day before.

I guess theres some topicality to be gleaned from this blog about the nature of our lifes dreams and privacy in a computer age…. but too many people tell me they don’t read my blog for the trans politics… so I’ll keep my picture but giving you words and a last quote this time from Brian Patten (yes another mersey poet) from his poem about finding a dragon in a woodshed.

“If you believed in it I would come
hurrying to your house to let you share my wonder,
but I want instead to see
if you yourself will pass this way”.


possible effects January 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — eclectic chicken @ 11:34 pm
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At Lunchtime: A Story of Love

When the busstopped suddenly to avoid
damaging a mother and child in the road, the
younglady in the greenhat sitting opposite
was thrown across me,
and not being one to miss an opportunity
I started to makelove
with all my body.
At first, she resisted saying that it
was tooearly in the morning and too soon
after breakfast and that anyway she found
me repulsive. But when I explained that
this being a nuclearage,the world was going
to end at lunchtime, she tookoff her
greenhat, put her bus ticket into her pocket
and joined in the exercise.
The buspeople, and therewere many of
them, were shockedandsurprised, and amused-
andannoyed, but when word got around
that the world was coming to an end at lunchtime,
they put their pride in their pockets
with their bustickets and madelove one with the other.
And even the busconductor, feeling left
out climbed into the cab and struck up
some sort of relationship with the driver.
Thatnight, on the bus coming home,
wewere all alittle embarrassed, especially me
and the younglady in the green hat, and we
all started to say in different ways howhasty
and foolish we had been. Butthen, always
having been a bitofalad, i stood up and
said it was a pity that the world didn’t nearly
end every lunchtime, and that we could always
pretend. And then it happened . . .
Quick asa frash we all changed partners,
and soon the bus was aquiver with white
mothball bodies doing naughty things.
And the next day
and everyday
In everybus
In everystreet
In everytown
In everycountry
People pretended that the world was coming
to an end at lunchtime. It still hasn’t.
Although in a way it has.
by Roger McGough


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