Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ending the Hiatus

I have no excuse, no apology. I've just been too busy with minor things to get round to updating the blog, so it is almost eight weeks since I last posted. Unforgivable.
Let's get back to it with a whistle-stop overview of the weeks and a promise of a return to regular postings...

Music first and on a wet an windy night, I cycled out to "The Hare and Hounds" to hear Mats Gustafsson's blistering jazz trio, "The Thing". omeone told me 'It's in Mosely'... it was at least three miles further out of the city than that and actually in King's Heath but I can't complain: the exercise is good for me.

Jazz At The Hare and Hounds - 2

This was an astonishing performance: powerful, sublime but all too short.

Have a musical interlude: The Thing with Neneh Cherry, performing Suicide's "Dream Baby, Dream":

Our BA students at the School had their annual Christmas sales event.

Student Christmas Selling Event - 2017 - 2

This was held in a rather glamorous function suite in the city centre and was incredibly well-attended. I bought one of the pieces from Joanna Jewellery, the brooch on the right at the front:

Student Christmas Selling Event - 2017 - 3

Lovely work.

Delia Derbyshire Day

More music, this time music inspired by and derived from a series of recently-discovered tapes of work by Delia Derbyshire as part of "Delia Derbyshire Day".
Every kid of 1970s Britain was in thrall to the sounds of Delia, from her famous re-composing of Ron Grainer's "Dr Who Theme" to incidental music to educational programmes and she was very much instrumental in creating the sound of British pop music in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Think early Human League, Gary Numan etc.)

The amazing Birmingham Electro-Acoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST) produced the event of recordings and music and showed a short film about the composer. It was a real thrill to learn of the
tapes and to hear the works derived from them.

The short film is available to view here:

Dual Works Christmas Party - 1

Christmas party time. The first of the winter Jewellery Quarter Open Studios was held this year with an inaugural party at the Dual Works Studios.

Dual Works Christmas Party - 3
Modernist Christmas-tree Decorations by Dual Works!

Also around this time was the marvellous exhibition in the Vittoria Street Gallery, "Ambiguous Implements" featuring work by friends and colleagues Rachel Colley, Nuala Clooney and many others. The show was about challenging familiar objects, re-contextualising them in playful and intriguing (and sometimes disturbing) ways.

The show was up for three weeks but somehow I managed to completely fail to take any photographs of it - I think because I had to miss the Private View - so here are some images from their Instagram Feed:

A post shared by Ambiguous Implements (@ambiguousimplements) on

A post shared by Ambiguous Implements (@ambiguousimplements) on

Up to Aberdeenshire for the start of the winter holidays and Drew Markou's wedding, which was brilliant.

Drew and Mike's Wedding - 3

Loads of colleagues from work were there, braving the snow, ice and terrible traffic and roadworks to get to the venue, just outside Inverurie.

Drew and Mike's Wedding - 1

Andy Howard and I were in our kilts. Andy decided to not only be festive, but to guard against the cold:

Drew and Mike's Wedding - 6

Brighton for Christmas and New Year. Did a lot of reading, including the new book about the legendary 1980s collective "House of Beauty and Culture", which has been fascinating as, without realising it, I have taken a lot of inspiration from this group - which included jeweller/stylist, Judy Blame - over the years.

2018 has kicked off with a frenzy already and one of my students, Menna Jones, unveiling the medals she designed for the International Association of Athletics Federations' World Indoor Championships which are being held in Birmingham in March.

IAAF WIC 2018 - Medal Launch - 2

There was a bit of a media frenzy on the roof of the Birmingham Central Library:

IAAF WIC 2018 - Medal Launch - 3

IAAF WIC 2018 - Medal Launch - 4

The medals, of course, are fantastic.

IAAF WIC 2018 - Medal Launch - 6

They were struck in Birmingham by Fattorini and the process of getting from the initial designs - there were 18 student entries, narrowed down to three and then to one - to finished medal has been fascinating. I was under strict embargo as regards the design until this event, which is why there has been nothing more than a few tweets from me.

Last week saw Jo Pond's lastest solo show, "Rationed" open with a "Talking Practice" event before the private view:

Jo Pond - Rationed - Talking Practice Event - 3
Jo in conversation with Sian Hindle
Her new body of work looks at the domestic role of women during wartime, especially during World War II/Second European War, through objects and records left by her own family and is affecting, fascinating and quietly beautiful:

Jo Pond - Rationed - Talking Practice Event - 2

With all that, I aim to return to more regular postings from now on.

Happy New Year!