What’s going on here then?

What the xxxxx is going on?What was going on Tuesday or Wednesday last week in Lincoln Inns Fields around 1.45pm? There was a bunch of what looked like students in T shirts (were they mad as It’s been freezing all week!) screaming and daubing themselves in coloured flour/paints.

I stayed well out of the way, taking a photo clandestinely through the railings outside as I didn’t want to be spotted taking a snap just in case I was pelted in coloured powder too. How the hell would you explain that when you got back to work? P

Get in while you still can

I know it’s raining and horrible outside a lot at the moment. It’s taken me an incredible amount of time to do it, but for goodness sake, get down to Two Temple Place to see the exhibition they’ve got on entitled, ‘Amongst Heroes: the artist in working Cornwall’.

The flyer...with picture of "A fish sale on a Cornish Beach"

The flyer…with picture of “A fish sale on a Cornish Beach”

Reasons why you should go:

1. It’s free

2. It’s a very good exhibition chock full of some incredible paintings that you are unlikely to see in London in the near future. The lovely steward, Nigel, said that they’re trying to curate exhibitions of art from outside London, hence the Cornwall theme for this one. All the paintings are on loan from various collections, but many come from Cornwall itself. So, unless you plan a trip down that way, this is the only place you’ll be seeing such wonderful paintings as this (They don’t allow you to take pics of the art):

The Clay Pit by Harold C Harvey

A fish sale on a Cornish Beach by Stanhope A Forbes

3. Two Temple Place is only open to the public during the exhibition. Built for William Waldorf Astor of the famous hotel dynasty, in 1895, it really is extraordinary. You can read more about the history and interior here but, essentially, it’s a treasure trove of intricate carvings and sculptures depicting characters and scenes from literature and legend; Robin Hood, Ivenhoe, Porthos, Milady…they’re all there. This is in addition to the wonderful stone and marble floors, vaulted ceilings and, my personal favourite, the Clayton and Bell stained glass windows.

Clayton and Bell window - Sunrise

Clayton and Bell window – Sunrise

The floor is a mixture of a marble, jasper, porphyry and onyx - how many can you spot?

The floor is a mixture of a marble, jasper, porphyry and onyx – how many can you spot?

4. The café looks nice.

So get yourself down there. And if Nigel says not to take pictures of the art, don’t take pictures of the art, okay? W

Lost and foundry

I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago, but almost forgot in the excitement of my museum visit. On my way to work I pass the Farmers and Fletchers’ Hall on Cloth Street, which is near Smithfield Market. For the last six months or so, all the windows on the ground floor have been boarded up. And every morning, since it happened, I’ve thought to myself – I must ask someone why it’s all boarded up. And every morning, by the time I’ve cycled the two minutes down the road to work, I’ve forgotten.

Now two weeks ago, I was strolling back from lunch and there was a fellow struggling to take something into the catering entrance of the hall so I took the opportunity to ask him. His name was Leo. A very nice fellow, he explained that they’re in the process of doing it up, refurbing all the downstairs rooms and they’ve boarded it up until it’s done. So there you go..

…but the story doesn’t end there. It turns out that Leo is the catering manager for both the Farmers & Fletchers’ Hall AND the Founders’ Hall. After expressing my interest in looking round the halls and my attempts to get tickets to see the Skinners’ Hall, he said he’d show me round the Founders’ if I had time.

The hall sits on the corner of Cloth Fair, just behind St. Bart’s church. It looks like a non-descript office building from the outside, albeit one with some ornately carved wooden doors.

Taken inside by my guide, Leo, I was shown the ground floor function room…

Founders' Hall function room

Founders’ Hall function room

…before seeing the main hall.

Main hall

Main hall

Bust and back o' St. Barts

Bust and back o’ St. Barts

 

Sculpture

Charles Jagger study model – the larger one’s on the Royal Artillery Memorial in Hyde Park

As you can see it’s not quite what you’d expect from a worshipful company hall. Designed and built in the 80’s, it took it’s cues from Japan but overlaid the accoutrements of hundreds of years of history and the baubles that go with that – heavy, dark wood, bronze sculptures, thick stone. I’m not sure it worked as an ensemble piece but the overwhelming feeling of solid permanence was quite nice.

The art dotted around the place was lovely. The company, originally representing the people casting candlesticks, bells and weights and measures, can also rely on bronze sculptors to swell its ranks. Unsurprisingly, this meant that there were a lot of sculptures. But painting did get in there as well..as long as it represented the craft.

Hephaestus

Hephaestus – The greek god of volcanoes. 

Check it out! Leo said that the artist was quite famous and could I guess who it was. I’m rubbish with that sort of thing and had no idea. It looked almost cartoonish and a bit nieve to me, but didn’t ring any bells artistically.

Apparently, the company itself didn’t really know who’d painted it up until a couple of years ago. A woman sent them an email to ask if they knew of a painting that her father had done, as she was looking for it. She attached an image that was the painting of Hephaestus you see above. And her father? None other than John Ryan – the creator of Captain Pugwash. Look again at the painting. You can sort of see it can’t you? W

 

Squat rock

squat rockIt’s nice to see that the art of squatting is very much still alive in London in this day and age. This nice bit of sign art above is what greets you at the front door of a squat in Clerkenwell. Every time I have walked passed there recently (lunchtimes and early evenings) I’ve been accosted by some strange beings indeed, one telling me that the UK is soon going to be invaded by the US, we will all then become nomads and that we should listen to the music of John Lennon for the answer to life’s problems. I don’t think the people who’ve been milling around there of late are the actual inhabitants of the squat, but I reckon it’s the bonkers signage that is attracting them. Funnily enough I am still waiting for the squatters to get back to me after I posted some rare reggae vinyl through their door for a valuation the other week. P

*****Looks like the squat above is no more, I was showing W the building today and there were some chippies boarding the place up. Will I get my records back you think?*****

lice and easy does it

In a (late) lunch hour style

don't forget to centre yourself

London International Ska Festival Opening party

Staying Power – Sounds Under Pressure: The Legacy of the Blues Dance and The Birth of UK Sound System Culture.

This event is not strictly lunch hour (unless you’re working lates) but it’s an evening of decent music for free in the capital. It takes place in the grand entrance of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd  London SW7 from 6.30 to 9.30pm on Friday 22nd March 2013. It features the excellent Tighten Up crew, the legendary  Gladdy Wax, Metro & Eddie Regal, Metro Sound and Steve Rice, Downbeat Melody plus exhibition and talks. Kids are even welcome. What more do you want for nowt? P

Clock off

Do you like clocks and watches? No, but do you really? Like really really?

Well have I got a place for you.

I finally got round to having a mooch round the Clockmakers’ Museum, which is part of the Guildhall library.

It's the Guildhall - The Clockmakers' Museum entrance is on the far right.

It’s the Guildhall – The Clockmakers’ Museum entrance is on the far right.

It’s very small and easily doable in half a lunchtime. I didn’t take any pictures inside. Not because it wasn’t interesting – I love horology – but I realised that it wouldn’t necessary tell you any more about the museum. Plus I thought a man was looking at me funny.

So let me paint a picture with words. A very sketchy picture with few details and a bit that you think is a hand but could be a claw.

It’s a concise but well laid out room that tells you the history of Guilds and Liveries, as well as charting the rise of the London clockmakers’ art and eventual decline to the few remaining proponents of it today. That sums it up nicely.

One of the best things about the libraries and museums in the City is the fact that it’s a treasure trove of information about free goings on. On snaffling the pamphlets and perusing them at my leisure, I’ve just found that there are also lunchtime events, lectures and concerts on at the Guildhall and a range of free doo dahs at the Bishopsgate Institute. Get in. W