Saturday, 17 October 2009

Frieze Art Fair - Regents Park

Paul McCarthy - Henry Moore Bound To Fail
The annual Frieze Art Fair takes place every October in Regents Park. Just a few minutes walk from the main site is the Sculpture Park, which features the weird and the wonderful, from both established and emerging artists and is installed in the English Garden of Regents Park.

Erwin Wurm - Pumpkin
Align Centre
Louis Bourgeois - The Couple
Remy Markowitsch - Bonsaipotato
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Fourth Plinth to St Margaret's Westminster


The “me, me, me” generation now have its own monument among the great and the good in Trafalgar Square. The empty Fourth Plinth is being used by Anthony Gormley for his ‘One & Other’ exhibition. This excellent idea has been high jacked by the legion of Big Brother devotees who are only interested in fifteen minutes of fame (make that an hour for One & Other) by standing on the plinth and ‘showing off’. Sorry but there is no other word for it. Trafalgar Square is a place where Londoners congregate for political rallies and national celebrations. The plinth now offers a freak show in the name of art.

Perhaps it’s fitting. At the south east corner of the square is Britain’s smallest Police Station located in a lamp post. It is also home to a bronze statue of Charles I, which was ordered to be destroyed by Parliament in 1649 and the metal used for armaments. Instead of melting it down, brazier John Rivett buried it in his garden. The statue was later acquired by Charles II and placed in its present position in 1675. The Royal Stuart Society place a wreath beside it on 30 January each year, the anniversary of Charles I execution.

At the base of Nelsons column are bronze reliefs. They depict scenes from famous Nelson victories and are cast from captured French cannons. I’m all in favour of a little antigallican sentiment but this seems to be “rubbing it in”.

From Trafalgar Square walk down Whitehall to the Women At War Memorial, which was designed by sculpture John Mills and opened by the Queen on 9 July 2005 . It commemorates the contribution made by seven million women during the Second World War. The £1 million, 22 foot high monument depicts uniforms and working clothes worn by women during the war.

Further down Whitehall is the Cenotaph, London’s memorial to the War dead. The Cenotaph, a word meaning empty tomb, was designed by Edwin Lutyens and built at the end of the First World War. Carved in Portland stone it is decorated with only two simple wreaths and contains no religious motifs whatsoever.

At the end of Whitehall is Parliament Square and St Margaret’s Westminster. The church is so overshadowed by it’s gothic neighbours, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, that it is almost invisible. Completed in 1523 it is the parish church of Parliament. The stain glass windows to the south of St Margaret’s where designed and replaced by John Piper in 1966 as the original windows had been destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 2 October 2009

Dara O Briain

"England plays host to London, much like it plays host to the Premier League. It used to be yours, and now it belongs to the world. You want proof of London's international iconic status? In any Hollywood science-fiction movie, when they show that montage of all the alien attacks from around the world, London always gets flattened first. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen Big Ben flooded, zapped or struck by a meteor. That's how you measure global brand-reach.

If the English were to be glibly summed up as pragmatic but a bit moany, though, then this is the perfect capital city for them. The city is massive, and Londoners negotiate daily a ludicrously complicated transport system, by underground, overground, bus and boat. This gives them endless opportunities to complain, but it also forces them to perform route calculations of astonishing complexity, usually without even looking up, for fear they might make eye-contact, or show weakness, or share a human moment with a fellow commuter, which is not the way things are done in London."

Dara O Briain
Tickling the English