Tuesday, 29 July 2014

House of Illustration

A new kid on the museum block opened it doors this month. The House of Illustration  is a new permanent home for all forms of illustration from picture books to adverts. OH and I were quite excited to see the collection so headed up  to Kings' Cross a few weeks after it first opened.
 First stop though was the new underpass from Kings' Cross up to Granary Square. I think it's the only time that I've been excited by an underpass. It's ever changing in lights are reminiscent of Bridget Riley and as few people seem to know about it it's fairly empty.
And so on to the main event. After paying the entrance fee you walk into a fabulous room covered by Quentin Blake images. Blake is one of the trustees and subject of the first exhibition. 
What's not to love about Quentin Blake who appeals to the young and old (who remember back to when they were  young....)
As well as the wall illustrations there was a small display to give you an idea of the creative process including a paint palette. I love how it's so used.
 And into the main room where a selection of images from a section of his work spanning his career (Danny the Champion of the World, the Twits, The Clown, The Boy In the Dress and Candide to name a few) 
 As you can see the room was wall to wall of Blake's art 
 And I really liked the graphics of the gallery but then that is pretty much it. There is one smaller room depicting Blake's illustrations for Michael Rosen's 'Sad Book' which was about the death of his son and it didn't seem appropriate to photograph. So that was it. Which made us both say 'oh' (yes you got that right OH saying oh....) Massive anticlimax. We left with mixed feeling, what we saw was great but left us wanting more and feeling a little bereft as we had the impression that there was also a collection of illustrations for us to see in addition to the exhibition. But the collection is new, and still developing so hopefully in time more rooms will be available.

So in short it's great but small, support it if you can as there is the gem of something special beginning to grow.



Monday, 28 July 2014

Opening of the Black Cultural Archives

If you are a regular reader you will be aware that I live in and love Brixton. I moved here in 1995 after a few dull years living in Putney and I haven't looked back! Now, nearly 20 years on I can't imagine living anywhere else. At the Lambeth Country Fair I bumped into Mike who runs Brixton Buzz and the legendary Urban 75. He's a face I've known pretty much ever since I moved to Brixton, we even have some mutual friends, but for some reason we've never actually spoken to each other, it's funny old world! I've followed Urban 75 for years and have always loved his photos so we got chatting. I emailed him my flickr link when I got home which resulted in me doing my first post for Brixton Buzz: Opening of the Black Cultural Archives. For a bit more of a usual Martha Lovesesque post carry on readying..... Apologies if you have come over from Brixton Buzz as some of the words may be similar (I wrote the Buzz post too) but I've tried to mix up the photos so it looks a little fresh. Is it right to duplicate - not sure but I don't want to abandon my own personal blog and I write about Brixton events quite a lot. 

Anyway I've been watching the development of the site for a couple of years now. Here is the view (you can just see it next to the Bovril sign - a land mark in it's own right) back in 2012

And then in July 2013 
 With a close up of the work in progress. I was so happy that I had the foresight to take these! 
Here is the end product the morning of it's grand opening before the crowds began to descend.   
I was so excited about being present at the opening of such a significant building in Brixton. I felt that I was watching part of history in the making.
 And so to the main event. This is Paul Reid, the BCA's first Director giving a welcome speech. Boy was he happy. It's taken thirty years to get the archive a permanent home and he was one of those who made it happen. 
The one person who wasn't alive to see the opening of the building was Len Garrison, a historian whose life work was to catalogue the development of black British identity. This is his widow Marie who gave a moving song. 
The event had an International flavor. This is Dr Doudou Diene who is Sengalese and works for UNESCO giving a speech. He'd come over from Paris to attend the opening. 
Here is part of the drumming troupe Niles Hailstone and Afrikan Revolution opened up the evening's entertainment. Annoyingly  there were too many mic stands in the way to get a decent picture of the whole troupe. 
Afterwards the youngest member of the troupe was also aloud to show off his incredible rapping skills 
 The host of the evening was Henry Bonsu, him off of the telly and Colourful Radio 
 The whole event was given a Libation by Chief Omilade Oladele. I'm not a religious person but I found this profoundly moving 
  Local singer and spoken word artist FLOectic Lara gave a powerful
performance which was brilliant 
As you can see there were many people  there to welcome and celebrate the archive which felt as if it was finally home.  
 There have been many changes in Brixton in  the past few years, gentrification means that some of the soul of Brixton seems to be ebbing away. BUT the vibe in Windrush Square on Thursday evening was what Brixton is all about. Relaxed, good music, inspiring words, good conversation, heritage and a meeting of minds. Windrush Square now feels complete and the Archive finally  has a home so it can be shared with everyone so the past can help shape the
 future.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Lambeth Country Show 2014

Oh Lambeth Country Show, how I love thee. I look forward to you every year and without fail you don't disappoint. Yes as you can probably tell I'm a regular to the Lambeth Country Fair. I've missed a few due to ill health in the past but I've been going to this event for nearly 20 years. This year was the event's 40th Anniversary (depressingly I've just realised that I'm older than the Country Fair....). Anyway as always I went down early with my trusty camera before I was due to meet up with my usual companion, Gregory and his other half. So here is a selection of the highlights:
This turkey was amazing, strutting it's stuff all day!
I love chickens and Vauxhall City Farm never fails to disappoint
I just spotted this guy with the biggest grin ever!

Another highlight of the event is the vegetable competition - this looks a little like me don't you think (if you know me that is... if you don't know me I don't have purple hair but it is curly!). 
Of course there had to be some rain but it didn't last long (on the Saturday at least when I went. The Sunday had to stop early on Sunday due to torrential rain). Another highlight was seeing Joey from War Horse which was incredible. Although you knew it was a puppet it seemed so real. People were actually going up and stroking it as if it was real. It was mind blowing! 




 Oh I feel I should explain this one - every year there is a scarecrow competition and this was Kate Bush 
I'm thinking next year I should possible try and enter some of the classes for growing veg or flowers or even the photo competition!
And yes that is a camel - camel racing is another highlight 

To a country girl at heart from Cumbria this so reminds me of home and my youth but I love it's vibrancy and diversity. I was there from 11.30 to 5pm and there was so much I missed!! Oh and another bonus - my photos were made into a feature on Brixton Blog's page - yay!


Brixton Splash Warm Up

Now if you know me or follow my blog you may know that for the past couple of years I've taken photos for Brixton Splash which I love doing but this year though I was worried. After a patch of bad publicity which I won't go into, and the loss of funding from Lambeth Council would Splash even happen this year? So I went to the warm up gig concerned that it would be a bit of a damp squib. But oh how wrong was I. Such an amazing event made up of such incredible diverse talent. I came away from the event buzzing with enthusiasm. Splash this year looks as if it is going to be better than ever if the talent I saw was anything to go by.

Here are some of the photos I took last Sunday though I'm ashamed to say I didn't catch the names of all the acts (I got caught up in the moment of taking photos don't you know!)


These guys were called Keo and the Movement and I was genuinely blown away by them. 

Charmer

Above and below Sharks Don't Swim 

Rhiannon Sharkey - an incredible voice for someone so young.
Shereece Foster did an amazing rendition of a Bob Marley track 

Naomi Keysha was so full of energy it was infectious 
And could hold a note!

T-Dot


Fantastic duet 
Laura Lee 
 Annoyingly I had to leave about half an hour before the event finished so I took a few shots of those I missed. Above is Queen Addi
 Lion I 
And Shadow Dancer 

As you can see a diverse mixture of people! So if you're in London, 3rd August come down to Brixton! And if you're feeling generous donate so that the event can run and run for generations to come!