Finished decorating a friends kitchen last week, and after banking the cheque went on to spend most of the money of tickets for comedians coming to Brighton early in the new year. Josie Long, Bridget Christie and Miles Jupp, plus tickets for a concert by the London Phil. Orchestra. Then spent some more on the new Lee Child novel – starring, as ever, Jack Reacher, as well as Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift and Solar Bones by Mike McCormack, the last two being highly praised in a Guardian review of books published in 2016. That’s the way to deal with sudden excess cash!
Last week a group of us went to Eastbourne to view painting in a show called Towards Night. Around 70 paintings in the show, and my favourite was called Night Horse by Amanda Vesey. I’d love to show you a picture of it, but cannot. No photos to be taken in the gallery, no postcard available and I couldn’t find an image on the net. So – it shows a childishly simple light glowing horse at the bottom of the picture, standing in a dark field. Now you’ve got it, no doubt. You can see it yourself if you get to Eastbourne by early January. My second favourite is equally simple – and perhaps more abstract. Called Blue Petrol Station, by Susie Hamilton, it only looks like it when you’ve read the title. There is a little image of it on her website, and here it is:
I hope you like it. It reminds me of at least two US-based movies where some of the story happens at such a place at night. Third was a woodcut called Passes Between Us, by the curator of the show Tom Hammick. Its a big one, maybe 40 inches tall and about 28 wide. Cut from a plywood I guess – I’ve seen it sold as Japanese ply for woodcuts. Three quarters of the image is the sea, and in the middle is a small open boat with fishermen. On the watery horizon a steep-sided island rises up from the sea, its profile against the night sky. What makes it work for me is the wood grain, which creates movement in the sea surface.
Yesterday we went to hear Robb Johnson do his near traditional Christmas Show, Ba Humbug, at the Wellington in Shoreham. Saw a guy I recognised as a regular. He was wearing a great T-shirt which stated “If you are not ANGRY then you are not paying attention”. He told me it came from Red Molotov, and I shall have one.
Robb sang loads of good politically strong songs, and one sad one which, it slowly dawned on me, was written in memory of Roy Chuter, a lovely man who stood in front of a train in order to die. Song’s called ‘Big Man Waiting for a Train’, and brought a tear or few.
Later Attila joined Robb on stage, and here is the proof.
After the show we ate in Brighton, at Kambi’s, a Lebanese place, before attending a Christmas service at St Nicholas Church. Whoa! I know I’m an athiest, but a friend was singing in the choir, and he had said the atmosphere was good. Indeed it was, an enjoyable flight back in time, to school Christmas carol singing.