On the evening of Thursday 16th April I attended another event, X-Ray Audio at Baltic 39 as part of The Curves of the Needle exhibition. The story of forbidden music made in the Soviet Union post WW2 and how bootleg copies of this music were made on medical x-rays captivated me. As an artist and musician writing, producing copying/sampling and making music in the ‘bedroom’ studio, this story of illicit home-made music really struck a chord (excuse the pun). Stephen Coates presentation was informed and passionate, which gave Aleks Kolkowski’s live direct recording of Paul Smith onto an x-ray much more resonance.

From my monthly tour of the galleries in Newcastle here are my picks: Baltic – Jason Rhoades – worth a look, but didn’t ding me bell; The Gallery, Tyneside Cinema – Phill Collins feature film – loved it; The Laing –  Conscience & Conflict: British Artists & the Spanish Civil War – some terrific poster images which still resonate today.

On me…. I had a rejection for an exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery and Museum in Bath ARRR! However, a sound piece that was part of one of my videos was recently played on The Sound Art Show hosted by Claire Kearns – link below (mines the last piece to be played).  Thanks!!!  Onward and upward!!

PS. Image above the second of five large paintings from the current BLURRED series of work – inkjet print, yacht varnish and acrylic paint on canvas – 420cm x 170cm. And gosh!! There will probably be a new government by the time I put together the next blog together…however remember, as the song quite aptly states…’whoever you vote for the government always gets in!’



Last Thursday I attended an event at the Baltic 39 as part of ‘The Curves of the Needle’  exhibition.  The evening comprised of two performances by students currently completing their MA in Fine Art  at Northumbria University.  The first was a sound work by James Watts and the second a solo performance piece by Rachel Errington.  I left both performances early, not because I may have considered them ‘bad’, as to do so,  I believe one has to have a much broader experience of such work (which I do not possess), but because neither held my interest.  In the past I have performed with bands and as a storyteller, so I do have an understanding of performance outside the remit of ‘fine art’. However, where I thought there may be a considered link between ‘entertainment’ and ‘fine art’ performance work, I (from a personal perspective) could see or hear none.  I suppose I was hoping to be ‘All shook up’ as Mr Presley would have sang, but that was not to be.

As a foot note, I have walked out of gigs, exhibition openings and other events when I have found the ‘entertainment’ not to my liking. However, there always pervades a feeling that this is, ‘not the done thing’ in our ‘Victorian morals’ based society.   The Tudor answer would have been bawdy put downs and rotten food elements hurled at the performers.  I shall restrain myself from those actions however.


I am just emerging from a week of illness. It is many years since I have felt so down-right knackered , but my time on the sofa has given me time to reflect and read a couple of news items in the AN feed.  As always, the AN is full of positive items about the ‘arts’ and how culturally enlightening this can be for our society.   However, as the election looms and the all propaganda (as per usual during election campaigns) is directed towards telling us how – ‘we’ve never had it so good’,  I’m sure those fighting against the closure of arts courses and studio spaces due to financial constraints and greed may well disagree. In these times of austerity (outside the London Bubble) in my opinion caused by the ‘carnage of greed’, the arts, the poor, the venerable, the weak always suffer.  This squeeze is seen in many ways, but for me no more so that the steady increase in the amount of young and middle aged men (and occasionally women) begging on the streets of Newcastle. I remember a time when this was very unusual, not the norm!!!

So I send good luck to those fighting the cause, and deep thoughts to those out on the streets tonight.  And remember, as the song so aptly put it – ‘no matter who you vote for the government always gets in!’ Democracy?  A very thin veil over autocracy if you ask me!