Sunday, 29 September 2019

My Head is Disconnected - David Lynch Exhibition @ Home Theatre - Manchester

29th August 2019, Home Theatre, Manchester, held a preview screening of Tom Burke’s latest film The Souvenir, followed by a Q&A session with Tom and director Joanna Hogg. Whilst I’d already seen a preview in July, I thought the Q&A would herald some interesting insights into the film, so I decided to go along and watch the film again.

Whilst waiting for the film/Q&A, I noticed that there was a David Lynch art exhibition being held. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for me to visit the exhibit that night and to be honest, I knew nothing about David Lynch, other than his name was synonymous with a TV programme I loved back in the 90’s when I was about 16/17.

Here was an opportunity to get inside the mind of the visionary TV & film director, and as I was about to find out, artist. The exhibit featured approximately 88 of his works dating from the 1960s to some of his current pieces. At the Q&A, I flicked through some postcards and thought the works might need, not explaining exactly, but maybe I required a bit of an insight into the artist himself to make the most of his work. I located a curated tour on the 28th September, the day before the exhibit ended. I booked a ticket to the tour for me and my mate and a full day of culture was planned around it…David Lynch exhibition, Dinner at The Ivy, followed by Macbeth at the Royal Exchange.

(For the eagle eyed amongst you, you’ll have noticed that I haven’t blogged about the Q&A evening. This is because whilst I was writing, some news about the night reached my ears and made me explode like a firework. As I continued exploding, the venom pouring from me reached my keyboard and made for an unpleasant read…so I decided not to publish it, or indeed any of the other blogs I had part written and were being tainted by my mood. After a month away from social media, bar the odd Instagram post, and cutting communication with the perpetrator of these immense feelings of despair and bewilderment (and anger…I get so angry when people lie about me) I feel it’s now safe to go back to the keyboard. Those posts lying dormant in my word files are in the process of being re-written and will get posted, but for now, I’m writing about my new exploits that have occured sans Burketeers!)

David Lynch graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, with a body of work which encompasses painting, sculpture, drawing and photography from the past five decades. Although he might be better known for producing films such as Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and The Elephant Man, he is foremost an artist, not just a film maker who dabbles in art as a hobby. This collection provided an interesting look at both the man, and an exploration into his mind, where everyday life can be transformed into dark, chaotic images which re-examine the world in which we live.

Pavilion by Emily White, Theatr Clwyd

Woo hoo, it’s Friday night and I’m down at the Pavilion. The drinks are flowing and “Omen” by The Prodigy is pounding out of the speakers at full blast…my feet and body moving to the beat of the music. As the disco lights flash, the pace slows down and Big Nell steps out from all the dancers gyrating on the dance floor to introduce us to the locals. “The girls are out: no coat, no tights and not much of anything else either.”

Oh, don’t worry, I’ve not completely lost the plot, I know my clubbing days are well and truly over thank goodness! No, I’m sat on the front row watching the second night performance of Emily White’s brand-new play. Set in the crumbling old hall of a once grand theatre in an old Victorian Welsh spa town, Pavilion tells the story of the locals who are gathering together for one last night at the Pavilion before it finally closes down.  


Oh I’m definitely feel like I am back in the early 90s! Tunes playing so loud you think your head will explode, whilst girls are trying to make out with the inept DJ who think’s he’s a God because the teenagers are flocking after him (in desperation!) Booze flowing as though it was going out of fashion (bottles of vodka hidden in handbags, sneaked in so you only had to buy a coke at the bar.) The inevitable fights breaking out on the dancefloor, guys punching each other whilst their girlfriends run off to the loo in close knit groups bawling their eyes out. I never really understood why girls would go and gather in a stinking toilet cubicle to put the world to rights, but here in the Pavilion, and other clubs up and down the land the following conversation can be heard:

Friday, 2 August 2019

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

I’ve been watching this book doing the rounds on Twitter and reading comments about what a wonderful guide it is to assist you with living in the modern world. Do I need a guide to tell me how to live in the modern world? I already know the world has gone to the dogs, and as a cat person that makes me unhappy. This book is not going to change that for me though, nor tell me anything I don’t already know…is it?

If I pop into Tesco, I invariably end up going to the book bit first! I saw a book that had received rave reviews (and a friend had said it was good) that I wanted to buy. I noted it was part of a “buy two for a fiver” offer and obviously that’s a bargain not to be missed, so I decided to add Notes on a Nervous Planet to my basket as well so I could see what all the media fuss was about.

I had no intention of doing a book “review”, but things have been a bit crappy at home recently (family issue, starting a new job and having to make the awful decision to put Gerrard my beloved cat to sleep.) My way of dealing with things is to face reality and then go and bury my head in a book to stop me overthinking. (I can overthink things a lot if I’m not careful…why didn’t I say this…why didn’t I do that?!) As I read, I found that “Notes on a Nervous Planet” actually resonated with me, so I thought I’d stop moping around and share some thoughts with you all. This isn’t a book review as such…more about the things that sprung to mind whilst reading it! (And I started writing this before I went to see The Souvenir…but never finished writing it. I have now!)

We all look at how we can make our physical state better. We are told to go for a walk or to the gym, or if you are of a certain vintage you might remember the kids TV show where you were told to “switch off the TV and go and do something less boring instead!” We need to stop eating so much junk food, get more vegetables into the diet and eat less meat. Stop drinking as much alcohol, stop smoking, don’t self-medicate, all good advice; but how much of that advice contributes to our mental welfare?

How do we live in a mad world without ourselves going mad?

Well that’s easy…stop using social media and I don’t need a book to tell me that! I have only used social media for about 5 years, and during that time I have found that it has gone from being an environment of fun chats with people, to it being a means of outdoing one another. I get fed up of getting bogged down trawling through either negative or inane comments. (I follow lots of save wildlife and the planet sites and some of the comments posted on them…OMG they fill you with you with dread and despair for our planets future.)

An Ode to Social Media
When anger trawls the internet,
Looking for a hook;
It’s time to disconnect,
       And go and read a book. (Matt Haig)

So, should I stop using social media? Would it make my life better? I use social media to advertise my artwork that I have for sale, to share pictures of interesting places and events I have been to that I think others might enjoy. I even “advertise” when I have a new post on my blog as people tell me they enjoy reading it and like to know when a new post is available!

I’ve met some wonderful people via social media and I feel guilty that I don’t engage with them as much as I did in the past; so there are benefits to its usage, but what I’m most surprised about is how addictive