Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Take4views Exhibition - D H Lawrence Heritage Centre - Derbyshire Artists

The D H Lawrence Heritage Centre was formerly known as Durban House and is best known as the place where the young D H Lawrence was sometimes sent to collect his dad`s wages, and for the well-organised campaign against it`s proposed closure some time ago (see `Save Durban House, Eastwood` posted 17 Nov 2010 at http://angpav.blogspot.com ).  

In the event a solution was found whereby Nottingham University took over the running of the site from the local council and the venue is now considered something of a success.

This is the first time I have visited in quite a while. My first impression was that little has changed. The staff are friendly and helpful, the admission fee is reasonable and the heritage exhibition seemed much as I remembered it.

The standing exhbition refers to Lawrence, his friends, family and associates. There are pictures of Lawrence and his associates `The Pagans`, including W E Hopkin, a reproduced 19th centry classroom and more in the same vein. Perhaps inevitably, part of the display refers to Lawrence`s essay Nottingham and the Mining Countryside.

Of particular interest to me was a display of books and records relating to Lawrence`s work including a book about the Lady Chatterley Trial edited by C H Rolph (C R Hewitt).

One proviso I would make if you`re considering a visit, I personally would not take a particularly young child as there are a number of small, portable items on display within easy reach of young hands and in my experience only the most saintly of children will resist the  temptation to do something unexpected with a plastic carrot given the opportunity !

On now to the Rainbow Gallery, on the same floor as the heritage exhibition, where we encounter the work of four local artists ; Janice Allen, Martin Sloman, Karina Goodman and Ruth Gray.

Karina Goodman is a painter of landscapes who had only a small number of works on display compared to the others. It would have been helpful to have a wider range of her works available. I hope she will forgive me if I say the few that were to be found didn`t really appeal to me. Then again, artistic appreciation is an unpredictable aardvark and my taste may not be yours.

Martin Sloman is a painter with ten years` experience. In general I would say he is more than competent in a variety of styles but this comes at a price and one is left with no clear idea who he is artistically. Having said that, his Venice by Night is absolutely stunning and one of the high points of the exhibition.

Ruth Gray is a professional freelance artist. Some of her street scenes can look a bit wooden  (an exception is the excellent Heading to Nuthall After Rush Hour) but she makes excellent use of colour in some of her others, particularly Evening Puddles at Belper Tennis Club, Lanterns and Candles at Ashbourne and Autumn Impression at Matlock Bath.

For me the star of this show is Janice Allen, a self-taught artist who describes herself as motivated by "enthusiasm and the desire to paint". My personal favourite of hers was On the Top (Winter Freeze)  though I thought it would have been better placed elsewhere in the exhibition as it`s one where you need to stand back a bit to see it properly. Others that impressed me were Amber Glow, Amongst the Trees and Sense of Solitude. Whether she is technically the best artist to be found here I don`t know, but her passion for painting really shines through. Would appeal to lovers of nature and the great outdoors, which is probably why I like them.

If you do visit the DHLHC, don`t forget to have a look at From Eastwood to the World by Nottingham-based artist Dr Ala Bashir , a very striking work which overlooks the stairs. This was of particular interest to me personally as in fact I own a painting by a Nottingham-based artist named Bashir. I suspect that`s just co-incidence however.

Take4views runs until 24 Aug 2014. The DHLHC can be found at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/dhlheritage/index.aspx




   

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Action Mesothelioma Day 2014





A few years ago one of my friends died as a result of exposure to asbestos whilst working as a roofer during his mis-spent youth.

For that reason I like to do my bit each year to pubicise the annual Action Mesothelioma Day.

This years` event takes place on Friday 4 July 2014 and there will be various activities up and down the country.

For more information contact either Debbie Neale or Jill Lemon via www.mesothelioma.uk.com



Commonwealth Interlude





 
I`m guessing for most people if you mention the Commonwealth they think of the Commonwealth Games and little else. They may have a vague idea that it`s some kind of international forum with little relevance to their lives.
 
In fact for many people nothing could be further from the truth.
 
A recent newspaper article* makes the point very well ;
 
 " While the Commonwealth Games are heading to the UK this summer, businesses in the East Midlands are heading to the Commonwealth."
 
 
 
 
The article goes on to look at the value of exports from the East Midlands to the Commonwealth during the period April 2013 - March 2014.
 
The bigger players are hardly surprising - exports from the region to South Africa were valued accounted for £147.1 million, and Australia accounted for a further £239.5 million.
 
Exports to Kenya came to £27.2 million , not too surprising perhaps as this is not so far different to the previous years` figure (an increase of around 12% as I recall).
 
Two Commonwealth countries had increassed their level of imports from the East Midlands quite dramatically ( in percentage terms ) - exports from the E Mids to Cameroon increased by 26.4% to £2.1 million and the figure for Pakistan was even higher - a 30% increase to £36.6 million.
 
 
 
 
 
Now that`s just the figure for the East Midlands, a relatively small part of the UK as a whole. You might argue that the figures will tend to be high for a region with a heavy manufacturing presence, and that other regions may produce rather different figures. It`s worth remembering though that the E  Mids is quite diverse -Lincolnshire is very different to other parts of the region for instance.
 
Of course, The Commonwealth is not just about business, anymore than it is just about culture or just about sport and athletics.
 
Lists of Commonwealth-related organisations** contain an extraordinary array of different organisations and interest groups. With a range of interests that include boxing, architecture, paediatric gastroenterology and museum administration, there`s certainly quite a bit to go at !   
 
Without wanting to re-tread old ground, here are a few Commonwealth-related links you might find interesting ;
 
Global (Global Briefing) - http://www.global-briefing.org
 
Commonwealth Foundation - http://commonwealthfoundation.com
 
Commonwealth Countries League - http://www.ccl-int.org/Index.aspx
 
Commonwealth Business Council - http://www.cbcglobal.org
 
Any grouping of nations is bound to be prone to the odd falling-out, and the Commonwealth has seen a few of these in its` time. However that may be its` pretty clear the ties that hold the Commonwealth together have proved pretty durable overall.   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
* Unsigned - Regions` Exports to the Commonwealth Soaring - Nottingham Evening Post 9 June 2014 
 

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Some Viaducts I Have Known











Here are pictures of a couple of viaducts I have bonded with. Above is Larpool Viaduct, Whitby, the top photograph taken by self, the lower photograph taken by Mrs Nick.

Below are pictures of Bennerley Viaduct on the Notts/Derbyshire border. I am always surprised to see how sombre Bennerley Viaduct looks in pictures as it is near my home and I have nothing but happy memories of visiting it with family and friends.








Should you wish to enlarge your experience of the nations` viaductical delights, here are some links you might like ;

www.railwaypaths.org.uk

http://transportheritage.com/find-heritage-locations.html

www.forgottenrelics.co.uk










Walter Tyrer 1900 - 1978







Many crime fiction buffs will no doubt share my fondness for the adventures of fictional sleuth Sexton Blake.

For what it`s worth, I never think of those stories as being `retro` and I don`t appreciate them with any sense of `post-modern irony` or wotnot. I leave that sort of thing to others.

Vintage crimestopper Blake was interpreted by many different writers over the years, one of my favourites being the late Walter Tyrer.

I`ve posted reviews of Walters` works here, there and everywhere but only recently have I been able to provide a potted biog.

To see the result of my efforts, look for `Walter Tyrer ; A Writers` Life, posted a couple of days ago at http://thesextonblakeblog.blogspot.com .




                                                       Walter Tyrer (1956 publicity shot). Thanks to Ray Elmitt for providing this.










Wednesday, 21 May 2014

On and Off the Rails




 
 
 
 
 
 
I`m having a long-overdue sort-out of my old photos and today we`re going with a railway theme.
 
Above are pictures of steam trains at Matlock Town  ( more info from www.peakrail.co.uk ).
 
Below are pictures of abandoned railway materials near to Bennerley Viaduct. I see these often and always wonder if some group of railway enthusiasts couldn`t find a use for them. They`re doing no-one any good where they are.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I`ve had a quite look around the web, and unsurprisingly there are a bewildering array of sites catering to rail buffs.
 
For a useful overview of heritage railway sites, click here ; www.uksteam.info/links.htm .
 
Also useful is www.rail.co.uk .
 
There are numerous camnpaign groups, including the national campaign Action for Rail ( http://actionforrail.org ) , the  Skipton-based SELRAP   ( www.selrap.org.uk ) and The Campaign for Better Tranport ( www.bettertransport.org.uk ) who campaign on issues around HS2, for lower train fares and, in partnership with a number of local groups,  for the re-opening of a number disused railway lines.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





Sunday, 27 April 2014

Evolution Evolving in Derbyshire




 
 
Jonathan Powers - Evolution Evolving ; Part One - Dr Erasmus Darwin
 
 
 
"Was `Evolutionism` then in the Derby air ?" asks Jonathan Powers in his work on the life and times of local lad Erasmus Darwin, noting that proto-`evolutionists` Robert Waring Darwin and Herbert Spencer were also "linked to the same Midlands industrial town."
 
He goes on to comment that others have argued "that this `evolutionary perspective`...was a by-product of the belief in technological progress which accompanied the industrial revolution - spreading from centres such as Derby, the Derwent Valley and Coalbrookdale to what became the great manufacturing cities of the Midlands and the North" but goes on to outline his own similar-but-different take on these matters ;
 
"This perspective also influenced the character of their evolutionary views which...were distinctly and unrepentantly progressivist."
 
I am currently part way through this fascinating booklet - I shall be posting a review online in due course, though not necessarily on this blog - and have to say that JP`s enthusiasm for his subject has rubbed off on me, so I thought I`d take advantage of a spare ten minutes to give it a quick plug.