BLOG - Groundwork

News of a new art gallery opening in my hometown is something to be celebrated, it’s not a common occurrence.

Reporting on the news last week the local press seemed less convinced.

“Visitors to the new GroundWork gallery in Lynn will be forgiven for doing a double-take as they come through the front door. For there on the newly-painted white walls is a huge brown stain, which at first glance looks like the departing builders have had a mishap.”

The “huge brown stain” is actually an original piece by Richard Long, one of his series of “thrown splash works” created using mud and made “spontaneously on gallery walls and floors”, (with the mud in question coming from the river which sits a few metres from the gallery’s front doors).

A further piece in today’s paper continues with the theme of damning with (very) faint praise – “Freshly painted and bursting onto the Purfleet scene* is a bright new gallery displaying the work of local and internationally renowned artists and as part of the launch there is a new piece created in mud by an artist which has been commissioned specifically, I imagine, to provoke a response from visitors.”

With the inference being that provoking a response is somehow a bad thing.

Quiet why we want art that doesn’t provoke a response seems a little lost on the writer, who goes on to proudly tell us that they previously found themselves “almost incandescent with disbelief at the sight of people worshiping at the shrine of Damien Hirsts’s fish tank full of dead shark or eulogising over the meaning of Tracey Emin’s tragic camping installation”.

As it happens the gallery are quite clear about what they want to achieve (although perhaps the local press have taken umbrage at the missing apostrophe in their promotional material), and the opening exhibition ‘Sunlight and Gravity’ with works by Roger Ackling and Richard Long seems a pretty decent first effort.

Here’s hoping for more of the same.

BLOG - Richard Long

*To clarify ‘the Purfleet scene’ isn’t some impossibly outré collective, in this instance the writer is referring to a particular part of my hometown. That said if anyone wants to join me in creating said scene please apply at the usual address.

BLOG - 8

I’m all for marking the days that pass, however I feel a bit sheepish in celebrating eight years of digyourfins given my lackadaisical approach in the last few months, I blame the fact that 2016 hasn’t exactly encouraged positivity so far.

Still onwards and upwards eh?


“Opinionated weather forecasters telling me it’s going to be a miserable day, miserable to who? I quite like a bit of drizzle, so stick to the facts.”

Like Nigel Blackwell, who wrote the lines above, I’ve always been a little bemused that meteorologists deviate from the scientific so quickly and easily – because I too enjoy a bit of drizzle.

So today seems as good a day as ever to revisit Melissa Harrison’s wonderful short book, Rain – Four Walks in English Weather, in which she takes, well, four walks in the English weather.

“The air is soft and clear but the day’s rain continues to sink silently into the fields and fens. The land here is so flat it will hold on to the water for a long time before it drains north-east towards the Wash; but drain it will: first into the peat, then by degrees into the field drains and lodes, and to the tributaries, passing through pumping stations and locks and sluices as it goes, then into the River Witham, the Welland, the Nene or the Great Ouse, and eventually into the chill North Sea.”

As well as the four beautifully written walks she’s also gathered together 100 Words Concerning Rain which appear at the end of the book and allows me to confirm that today we have experienced a land-lash (high winds and heavy rain), a basking (a drenching in heavy shower) and for most of the day it’s been hoying it doon (raining heavily).

Where Art Thou?


BLOG - Moore

Sadly my hometown isn’t awash with art.

The local Arts Centre recently closed down having struggled on for the last few years, and the alternatives are few and far between (although somewhat unexpectedly we do have a new gallery arriving soon, opening with an exhibition of work by Roger Ackling and Richard Long). So it’s both a surprise, and to a certain extant a disappointment to find that in 1964 the town was host to a unique exhibition of Henry Moore sculptures. Surprise because I was completely unaware that the exhibition had taken place, and disappointment because it’s a long distant memory.

For reference purposes evidence of this exhibition appears in the November 1964 issue of The Architectural Review, and whilst I’d like to claim credit for stumbling across this fascinating piece, that particular plaudit goes to @nfkadam, who appears to have come across it whilst spending an afternoon researching at the British Library.

In the introduction to the piece by art critic Robert Melville (apparently a key member of the Birmingham Surrealists, no me neither) he tells us that “Something wonderful happened to an English town this summer”. And that wonderful thing was this exhibition of twelve large sculptures by Moore, placed in open-air sites around the oldest and most historic part of the town.

Perhaps the brevity of the exhibition (it only ran for a single month) is the reason that the memory of it has faded so far from local recollection, however the fact it happened at all is rather wonderful.

Wonder if they’d be up for a return trip?

This Is That


BLOG - Small

Haven’t blogged for an age, which is a shame because doing so makes me a marginally saner human being. So I was cheered on reading a recent blogpost from Russell Davies, to find that I’m not wholly alone:

“If I haven’t blogged for a while I get a bit blocked because all the tiny blog size thoughts jostle together in my head and I feel like I can’t let them out until I’ve stacked them up properly into something coherent and LONG FORM. And I’m not very good at that so nothing happens.

I need to kick myself to get more small things out. So this is all this is. This is this.”

Which isn’t to suggest that my writing needs as much coherence as Russell’s, just that if he struggles from time to time to put pen to paper I perhaps shouldn’t beat myself up about my lack of success.

However I also need to kick myself to “get more small things out”. So this is that.


Four years ago almost to the day (and there’s a reason for this) I wrote about stumbling upon a piece of radio which was both beautifully ordinary and extraordinary in equal measure.

Today the PM radio programme reprised Geoffrey’s earlier journey to Swansea, this time seeing him take a trip by train into Cardiff. And once again it was as lovely a piece of radio as you’ll hear all year.

Bravo Geoffrey and good to hear you sounding in such good spirits.



Me and my much loved dad – who died a year ago today.

For those of us that remain the world hasn’t been the same without him.



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