Cheers to Andrew for pointing me towards this map of the Brighton underground, by local artist Sean Sims, which is as witty and it is imaginative. Have a look at the bottom right-hand corner where you find the station for Beachy Head (terminus), a reference to its popularity for suicide, or towards the top where you will find that Crystal Palace is closed, a nod towards a bit of football team rivalry. Nice to see that Nick Cave has his own station too. It is a very good map, but not as good as this.
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Delighted to see the restoration of Brighton Bandstand on the promenade. Originally known as the Birdcage or the Bedford Square Bandstand, it reopened last week as a working bandstand (holding proper tiddely-om-pom-pom concerts and all that) and a viewing pavilion overlooking the English Channel. There’s a nice cafe in the basement as well. The £850,000 needed to rebuild the structure, which had been left to the elements since the 1960s, was stumped up by the local council, after a campaign led by three local women.
I am impressed with MapTube’s map of the credit crunch. Thanks to some clever wizardry courtesy of Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL, visitors to its website can help build a map of Britain which attempts to show inwhich parts of the country various economic headaches are being most accutely felt.
Here is a map I created of Brighton (my local area) and its geographical surrounds. Portslade (here in Green) – where the rent is cheap – is where the people worry most about their food bills; in Hove (Red) people worry more about their rent or mortgage payments. I live around here and I am actually looking to downsize my rent.
In Brighton (Yellow) – where the jobs are – unemployment is the prime cause for concern. Most surprising: in the east of the city, out towards more affluent areas, like Rottingdean and Kemp Town, most respondents are saying that they are thus far unaffected by the downturn- perhaps the pink pound is yet to feel the pinch.
We must remember, this is self-selecting list: a clever straw poll, and one restricted to the kind of internet users who can be bothered with this kind of application in the first place. Of those people, though, I would hazard an educated guess: this is probably an uncannily accurate representation of their woes.
We will see more of this kind of cartography of grievance. The colour-coded psycho-geography of the recession rendered simply in Google Map, such as this, because they tell both national and local stories with shrewd economy. Click as fuel prices gave way to job insecurity. Marvel for a moment at the areas not yet mithered. But most of all: wonder if you are worse off living where you are.
Brighton has more than its fair share of crap public art. One exception to its collection of rusting anchors and baffling marble monuments dedicated to commerce is the Kiss Wall by (above) local artist Bruce Williams.
Installed in 1992 on the promenade, Williams’ sculpture still manages to do what most public art should do. Attract people to it. Fabricated from a 4m-high sheet of aluminium and then punctured with holes so that, when the light catches it right, show six images of people kissing. It’s a great piece of work that one critic once described as a work of public art “as solid as a battleship [that] still manages to look light and dynamic”.
- The image above was captured by Neil Edwards and credited to JPG Magazine.
Tokyo’s *Bitter Girls excel at tilt-shift photography. The image (left) is not of a scale-model of the Musée d’Orsay, but an actual image of the Musée d’Orsay. They have, however, outdone even this fine image with their recently produced tilt-shift movie of a busy highway-intersection, presumably in Tokyo. It’s like a toytown Tokyo or the biggest model rail set you could imagine. And it’s beautiful too.
Charles Leadbeater tries to tell Spectator readers that we need a more modest form of capitalism. Yeah, right. / Elsewhere, I am concerned that China plans to take photographs all internet cafe customers, is this another link in its golden shield? / But I welcome the UK government’s plans to cut carbon emmission by 80% by 2050 /
The New York Times swings by Brighton ; no longer louche or seedy it proclaims. Although its 36-Hours itinerary of Pier, Pavilion and 16th century public houses is, frankly, uninspired / The New York Times last visited in 1988 where it saw the town, as it was then, as princely and compared the Pavillion to Kublai Khan’s pleasure dome /
One of the most undervalued institutions in Brighton is the Fabrica gallery on the corner of Ship and Duke Streets on the edge of the South Laines. Situated in an reconsecrated church (the old Holy Trinity Church) the gallery is totally unassuming from the outside. A nice thing is that you never quite know when its going to be open, it has exhibitions just four times a year, and so every now and then you kind of just notice that the door is open and you pop in. I’ve yet to see a poor exhibition and usually the interior is given over to a single piece or installation.
The current exhibition, The Undercroft by the sculptor Vincent Mauger. He has built a life-size replica of a tree out of sheets of reconstituted wood. Simple really, but beautiful especially when the late afternoon sun streams through the upper windows casting long shadows across the dusty floor. Great view of the “branches” from the pulpit too.
Labour is bereft of ideas and the Conservatives full of hot air. That’s the overwhelming view presented by the political press in this country. For a long time I’ve been worried by how consensual this view has been and wondered if it is really so impossible for Labour to win a fourth successive term. So this weekend I did what I haven’t done for a long time. I got up early and attended a political meeting. This Saturday I walked over to the Brighthelm Centre over in the North Laines and listened to a panel of speakers discuss what ideas could help Labour win again. I was pleasantly surprised how many good ideas abounded.
Neil Lawson, of the pressure group Compass, suggested a long list of things that could help Labour reconnect with its electorate (he barely pauses for breath this man): the introduction of a living wage; a tax on land; ban advertising to children; control media ownership; a switch ot proportional representation; universal free school meals; scrapping ID cards and regulating the buses outside London.
Margaret Hodge, meanwhile, advocated a mass build of council houses, which could be donated to the tenants after years of good stewardship. The MP for Barking (who voted strongly in favour of US-style Foundation Hospitals) also spoke of smaller secondary schools and more localised police forces.
But perhaps Chris Leslie, the former MP for Shipley and now a leading light in the Progress movement, came up with the best idea: limit the amount of money MPs can earn outside parliament to 15% of their earnings. It would certainly help clean the image of politicians with the electorate and limit the reach of big business into parliamentary affairs. He said that this would be bot popular with voters and likely to cause the Tories problems as most of their front bench are currently “coining it in”.
In other words there is still hope for those who wish to see Britain develop a fairer society.
I am impressed with the work of the student graphic designer Amelia Roberts, who is currently studying at the University of Brighton. Roberts has just produced this pair of splendid posters (above) that offer a wry commentary on how “the West blame China’s carbon emissions as a main cause of Global warming. Yet … seem unaware that they are fueling China’s industrial revolution.
I like it. Her work is direct and memorable and attractive. The last shadow puppets to impress me as much as this were Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Their work lit up Saatchi’s Apocalypse exhibition at the Royal Academy a few short years ago. This work does it better.
(via it’s nice that)
I’ve just returned from London where I saw the thoroughly excellent Modern British Posters exhibition at Central St Martin College of Art and Design in Holborn. It’s a fairly compact exhibition pulled from the private collection of Paul Rennie (there’s a nice gallery here), one of the tutors at the famous art college. The exhibition covers the period around the second world war and concentrates on the heavy use of lithography, which dominated commercial art much longer in Britain than it did in the rest of Europe. There’s also a bit more humor in the posters when compared with contemporary material in the rest of Europe and some wonderfully sanctimonious war time propoganda.
Incidently, Brightonians might want to click through to Rennie’s shop in Folkstone, Rennie’s Seaside Modern, where he selling this beautiful collection of late Victorian and Edwardian photographs of the seafront at Brighton. (found via AceJet