Saturday, 28 December 2013

No 7 Meard Street, Soho - "This is not a brothel"

No 7 Meard Street is the former home of artist and dandy Sebastian Horsley, who died in 2010 of a drugs overdose. The sign on the door reads “This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes at this address”. It never was a brothel and prostitutes never did work from the address. It’s just a piece of art work, screwed to the front door that typifies Horsley’s flamboyant life style. Best known for being filmed by Sarah Lucas while enduring a voluntary crucifixion (sorry this is starting to sound like a Daily Mail piece) Sebastian Horsley was laid to rest to the sounds of T. Rex and "20th Century Boy". What a way to go.

No 7 Meard Street keeps the eccentric character of Soho alive and kicking.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Ghost of Christmas past

This excellent but somewhat menacing portrait by artist Alastair Adams of Tony Blair now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. As always this fantastic gallery is always worth a visit.

Thursday, 19 December 2013


Word of the Day for Wednesday, December 18, 2013
transpontine \trans-PON-tin, -tahyn\, adjective:
1. across or beyond a bridge.
2. on the southern side of the Thames in London.

There was nothing left but to retreat against the railing, and with my back turned to the street, pretend to be admiring the barges on the river or the chimneys of transpontine London.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Vandergrift, "Narrative of the Spirited Old Lady," More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter, 1885

...he had come straight from a wretched transpontine lodging to this splendid Lincolnshire mansion, and had at the same time exchanged a stipend of thirty shillings a week for an income of eleven thousand a year…"
-- Mary Elizabeth Braddon, John Marchmont's Legacy, 1862–1863

Transpontine comes from the Latin trans- + pont- meaning "across" + "bridge."

Saturday, 16 November 2013

"Tis the season to be jolly"

Alfred Gilbert’s superb Eros in Piccadilly Circus is to be covered in a giant ‘Snow Globe’. This is not part of the West End’s Christmas decoration but for the statues own protection against drunks during the 'festive season'.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Situation - Whitechapel Gallery

I have just seen ‘Situation’, the Sarah Lucas exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. No one better expresses the ‘me, me, look at me’ generation of the 90’s than Sarah Lucas. Great chunks of work litter the gallery floor with huge pictures, like wallpaper, of the omnipresent artist, pasted on to the walls. Large, bland, black and white photographs of her sitting on a sofa outside a junk shop or on the toilet are for some reason considered worth hanging in the gallery. Could be there to take the bareness off the walls, could be hiding a stain, who knows?. I guess the YBA’s deserve this type of exhibition. Show it once, get it out of the way, take the money and lets all move on.

The biggest joke of all is the exhibition, containing stained, discoloured bed mattresses and soiled toilets is ‘supported’ by Louis Vuitton. Hats off to the PR department. Admission is free but I still feel cheated for having wasted my time.

Gallery 7 is worth a visit. It is showing ‘Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful’, a selection of work from public collections across the North West of England. Lowry, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox are amongst the pieces on display. I challenge anyone to check out Sarah Lucas and then walk into ‘Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful’ without feeling that the world has gone nuts.