Posts Tagged ‘Grayson Perry’

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Time for a bit of a milestone celebration, I think – WordPress have just let me know, by way of a trophy style icon on my dashboard, that this blog is now one year old. Hurrah! Crack open the champagne, pass around the canapés and let’s party like it’s 1999.

On second thoughts, let’s not: I fell asleep then, before the fireworks. I’m not a fan of big parties where the music is so loud you have to shout to make yourself heard; where there is a sparseness of food which, when you finally get offered some, is usually bits of unrecognisable stuff slathered in runny sauce, mounted on flaky pastry that is impossible to eat while standing up, sans napkin, balancing a plate and glass precariously while already well oiled guests brush past with an abandoned lack of respect for your personal space.

Or maybe I’ve just been going to the wrong parties.

A Grayson Pot

A Grayson Pot

So, I got to thinking about dinner parties instead.

Perhaps I could have a fantasy one. Lots of people have listed their fantasy guest list – who would I choose? Hmm. Regular followers won’t be surprised to learn that Grayson Perry would be on my list. Eccentric, cross dressing British winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Royal Academician Grayson was appointed a CBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours list for his services to contemporary art. Perhaps he’d bring me one of his ceramic pots as a thank you. It could be a rejected one, or even a chipped one, Grayson, I wouldn’t mind.

Next up, I’d invite Janet Street-Porter. Whatever you think of her (and I don’t think she’d care, either way), there is no denying her contribution to journalism and broadcasting. I’ve been a fan ever since she worked on the long defunct ‘Petticoat’ which was the first trendy teenage magazine I ever read and I was delighted to see her reach the final recently of British Celebrity Masterchef. The girl has many strings.

Jo Brand, English comedienne and regular panel show guest has me crying with laughter with her dry wit and deadpan delivery, would make a great dinner party guest, as would, I think Bill Turnbull, presenter of BBC’s Breakfast News. Bill makes quietly observed asides as he presents the news. He is informed, amusing and keeps bees. Perhaps he’d bring a jar of honey. That would be nice. I could put it in Grayson’s pot.

As my guest list begin to take shape my thoughts are turning to what I am going to feed them which is where this dinner party idea falls down, fantasy or otherwise. I might be creative in other areas but not in anything culinary. Spending hours over a complicated recipe holds no interest or satisfaction for me, to have it scoffed down in a matter of minutes. It makes me think that Michael Landy, the British artist who became famous for creating an art work called Break Down, (in which he destroyed all his possessions), should have been a chef – then he wouldn’t have had to reapply for a passport when he realised that while courting huge publicity for himself, it actually turned out to be rather inconvenient.

I manage to provide adequate and wholesome meals on a regular basis for my family who spend much of their time longingly watching the plethora of baking and cookery shows available at every waking moment, knowing that unless they have a bash themselves, the only way to experience food like that is to take me to a Michelin starred restaurant.

So I’ve decided to scrap the dinner party idea. Somebody somewhere said that we should never meet our heroes and I think there’s a lot of good sense in that. People in the public eye have a public persona that they hide behind and maybe as themselves, they’d be far less interesting than we are led to believe, although I’ll make an exception in Grayson’s case.

But I’ve just had a much better idea: because where would this blog be without its readers? I’d like to raise a glass to all of you, who have dropped in, who have followed, and most of all, who have commented and traded ideas, stories, jokes and banter. You’ve encouraged, informed and motivated me. It’s been great to meet you all and to dip into your worlds. I’ve travelled to far flung places from the comfort of my armchair, seen fabulous photographs and art works, been entertained and educated because of you all. So thanks to you all, very much.

Here’s to another blogging year – cheers!

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Over the weekend I was challenged by fellow blogger, Lynette D’arty-Cross, to take part in a circulating question and answer game.

It works a bit like a chain letter – which I always diligently followed through as a child and was frequently disappointed when the mountains of promised postcards from all over the world never materialised. (My best total ever was three: all from Cornwall). However, not being one to bear a grudge I’ll be throwing myself wholeheartedly into answering Lynette’s questions as best I can and then compose some of my own.

Here are the rules of the game:

Me and Favourite

Me and Favourite

1. Post these rules.

2. Post a photo of yourself and eleven random facts about you. 

3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.

4. Create eleven new questions and tag new people to answer them.

 5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they’ve been tagged.

So, here’s the photo. There was no stipulation that it should be current, and anyway, it illustrates one of the answers to Lynette’s questions.

For anyone still with this, here are eleven (I am intrigued to know why eleven) random facts about me.

I am left-handed; I can’t knit and I hate the feel of nylon. (That’s three).

The only word I know in German is Schildkröte. (Tortoise).

A few years ago I met Peter Osgood, my football hero from the seventies. It didn’t matter that he was old. Or shorter than me. He signed my programme. I was excited for days.

High heeled shoes are anathema to me.

I used to collect pigs but got bored with them.

My index fingers are double jointed.

I have never enjoyed a novel by Jane Austen, or the Bronte’s, for that matter. Even Colin Firth in a wet shirt doesn’t do it for me. Sorry. (Does that count as three separate items? Probably not. Oh well).

I want to ride round London in an open-topped bus pretending I’m a tourist.

My favourite chocolate is the green triangle in a box of Quality Street.

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And now to Lynette’s Eleven Questions Time….

If you had a chance to go back five years from today, and knowing what you know, what would you tell yourself?

Not to keep to the same lottery numbers – far too stressful remembering to buy the ticket.  Better still, don’t buy a lottery ticket in the first place, EVER.

Who inspires you?

Absolutely everyone I meet inspires in some way.

What makes you laugh?

I can find humour everywhere and rarely go through a day without laughing. Monty Python’s fish slapping dance never fails to make me laugh out loud.

Why do you blog?

To impose self-discipline and a deadline; to meet like-minded people, share ideas and interests and become inspired.

What is your favourite animal?img001 (2)

The elephant. I have a large wooden one on my windowsill.  Here’s one I drew earlier.

What is your favourite travel destination?

Anywhere in France.  Unlike most of my fellow countrymen I genuinely like the French – even the Parisians – I have a sneaking admiration for them. How dare they display such arrogant insouciance in their own city?

Who would you like to meet (dead* or alive)?

Grayson Perry.  For so many reasons, not least because we share a love of Teddy Bears. His is called Alan Measles, and mine is Favourite, looking pristine in the photo above. (He looks nothing like this now). Grayson’s art works are beautiful, interesting and thought-provoking:  everything a work of art should be. For all his cross-dressing, he remains very blokey and is able to hold forth on any subject with sense, sensitivity and humour. Grayson for PM!

*I wouldn’t like to meet a dead person. That would be just weird.

What is your favourite food?

Anything cooked by someone else.

What annoys you?

Dirty plates on the draining board, not in the dishwasher.

If you could change something in your life, what would it be?

The ageing process. So much to do, so much to see, people to meet. Time’s winged chariot and all that.

What do you do to relax yourself?

Write.

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Now here’s the bit where I cheat a little. I have a list of questions below (yes, eleven of them), but I’m not tagging anyone in particular.  If anyone feels so inclined to answer one or two, or even all of them, I shall be genuinely interested in the response – I don’t want to turn it into an interrogation. I hope this doesn’t mean that Lynette will strike me off her Christmas card list for altering the game. Did I mention that I’m very bossy? Make that random item number twelve, then.

 Eleven Random Questions for anyone out there who wants to be in my gang:

1. If you could be someone else for the day, who would it be?

2. Is there something you’ve been putting off doing, and if so, what?

3. Name the highest place you’ve ever been to.

4. What gets you up in the morning?

5. When was the last time you were embarrassed?

6. If you bought a present for your next door neighbour, what would it be?

7. What do you consider to be the worst form of transport?

8. What was the last live music gig you went to?

9. What is your favourite film?

10. Whose advice do you regularly take?

11. How many different places have you lived in?

So, that’s me done. I shall avoid the number eleven from now on and await responses forthwith.  Humour me!

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You can divide people up in various ways: political bias; meat and non-meat eaters; extrovert, introvert; artists, scientists – the list goes on and on but there’s one area that separates those of us that are with those who aren’t; those who have and those who haven’t and those people who do and those who definitely do not.
I’m not talking wealth here, I’m not talking opportunity; I’m talking Arctophiles. I’m one, so is my mother; my sister, not so much; my husband – absolutely not. What am I talking about, you may wonder? It’s bears; Teddy Bears to be precise.

EMy childhood bears snuggle up together in my bedroom like three old gentlemen snoozing in leather chairs at their private club after a satisfying luncheon followed by copious balloons of brandy. They’ve done their job as chief confidantes and now, in their twilight years, are enjoying a bit of peace and quiet. They’ve survived the ravages of being over-loved; their stuffing, in some cases, a distant memory; their leather pads wearing through. With failing sight through chipped brown eyes, they can sit back, relax, content in the knowledge that they will be rescued first in the event of major disaster.
We Arctophiles share an understanding of the friendship a bear can bring, and this was never brought home to me more than when I went to see Grayson Perry’s exhibition, “The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman”, at the British Museum last year. The exhibition was a pilgrimage through civilisation with artefacts from the Museum’s archive chosen by Grayson to illustrate the everyday art and craftsmanship of the common man, alongside which Grayson displayed his own unique pots, sculptures and tapestries.
As a young boy, Grayson invented a fantasy world with his teddy, Alan Measles, during which time the bear was the only constant thing in an often turbulent childhood. Grayson thought that if he was to create a pilgrimage through time, he should have a god to worship, and who better than Alan to fulfil the role.
Alan was to preside over the exhibition at the BM, but when it came to it, Grayson wouldn’t allow Alan out on his own and appointed a stunt double. Non-Arctophiles will think this is ridiculous – if the BM can house priceless works of art safely, then surely it can look after a threadbare stuffed toy. Well, no, it can’t. Bears can only be looked after by their owners: they are far too precious to be let loose in public, although Grayson did take Alan on a road trip to Bavaria on Grayson’s rather eye-catching motorbike.
The “Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman” was, I thought, wonderful, made all the more so because I had discovered a kindred spirit. I’m waiting impatiently for Grayson’s next project to materialise. I might, just might, take Favourite, my art-appreciating bear, with me. He and Alan would get along just fine.Grayson-Perry-on-his-Bike-006[1]

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