Paris Part 3: Art In Paris

By: Jason Rhoades, Claude Rutault, Joseph Beuys, Yves Saint Laurent & Rodin.

Martin Creed @ The Public

It was our first time at The Public. We found it hugely interactive and intimidatingly unapproachable. There was an 8 month old baby there who made a better job of it though. Have you been? What did you make of it?


Jochem Hendricks: Art In Walsall




Foundation Exhibition, Bournville

Art Bus

The Art Bus
Free coach tours of Birmingham art galleries. Calling at: Barber Institute, mac, IKON, RBSA, Eastside Projects




Selly Manor, Bournville



Midlands Art Centre

Fran & Matt [engaged photo shoot]


Matt & Fran


Matt & Fran
Future Mr & Mrs
In Deer Shelter Sky Space James Turrell at Yorkshire Sculpture Park


Roses vs. Trees

"Roses 6" Fantin Latour Henri and "Sunfire Forest Painting" Vangobot.

A Valentine's alternative evening out: Escape the Cheese tomorrow night at Urban Coffee Company and raise money for Northfield Eco-centre.

Rach who's organising the event says "The basic concept of the event is that it's a night avoiding all the tackiness and clichés of Valentines. NOT a singles event, more a laid back party with some entertainment (music, spoken word, some games) and raising money for Northfield Eco-Centre's community orchard project, which aims to plant 1,400 trees in south Birmingham in the next two years. "

There'll be live music and a raffle- that's where we come in. Mustard Yellow Photography has donated a photoshoot as a raffle prize.

Tickets are £2 and need to be booked in advance by emailing escapethecheese@hotmail.co.uk. You can get all the details on their Facebook event.

McCLelland Gallery

After a week of various extended family members telling us art galleries were boring, Malc agreed with the Tom (Nom's uncle) that his kids might enjoy some sculpture, as its a bit more tactile than other art. Bravely, Tom and his wife Sarah drove our whole party to McClelland Gallery in Langwarrin, Victoria. As you can see, James, Laura and Dan treated the Sculpture Park like a playground, which was exactly what we were hoping they'd do.

The younger two also spent sometime learning our new camera, the results of their efforts can be seen below.

Above two photos taken by Dan

Above three photos taken by Laura

The restaurant was everything you'd expect from a self-respecting private gallery. It's a well-lit space with a cabinet of expensive luxury cakes for the snacking visitor, and high quality light lunches for those who didn't have enough time to make a picnic. Witness the homemade mushroom soup, could've had a third bowl.




Spillwater, Matthew Cox & Darren Davison
McLeland Gallery, Mornington Peninsula

Planet Melbourne

Ten places or things worth a visit in Melbourne...

1 Fed Square

Federation Square (or simply 'Fed Square' as it's known locally) was designed as a cultural and social hub for Melbourne. It sits close to the National Gallery of Victoria, the fantastic south bank food court, the Arts Centre and the Melbourne Theatre Company. It also houses a performance venue, multiple fun-looking eateries and bars, and the NGV's national collection. Apparently it's a bit of a Marmite (or should that be Vegemite) in that people seem to love or hate it. We are lovers.

2 Trams

... are everywhere in Melbourne. An integral part of the transport system, you can pay for one ticket that takes you into the city on a train, then gets you on trams once you're there. Mostly people use them to hop from one end of the road to the other, which, as we discovered, is probably the most sensible thing to do. We took the 109 from Balwyn on our first trip into the city, but could've cycled it faster! On the upside, there's a free City Link tram that circles the city centre. It uses old-style trams that look as if they've seen a journey or two.

3 Royal Exhibition Hall

Probably more spectacular than the hall itself is the surrounding Carlton Gardens, one of the city's numerous large green areas, all of which are worth your time. The flower beds are special, littered with Bird of Paradise flowers, which we are struggling to grow in the UK.

4 Eureka Tower

The tallest tower in Melbourne allows you to go (nearly) all the way to the top, using probably the fastest lift in the city. The 88th floor Skydeck is pretty spectacular: there are windows all the way round the tower, allowing you a 360 view of Melbourne, and a small, caged, open air section where you can watch the intense wind blow your ticket into the distance and mothers hold tight to small children. I enjoyed the scrolling lcd screens that showed fun local facts like: 'EVERY DAY 90 TONS OF DOG POO IS LEFT ON THE STREETS OF MELBOURNE'.

5 Queen Victoria Market

Much like our own Bull Ring Markets, the QV has a handsome range of fresh meat, seafood, and fruit and veg stands, alongside lots of suspiciously cheap clothes and other goods. Malc was pleased to find a spice stall that sold tea by weight for less than T2 (a nice chain of high street tea shops). He bought some Turkish Apple instant tisane, which rubs its smell onto anything it touches.

6 Hoiser Lane

The back streets in Melbourne have a reputation for their graffiti. We checked out Hoiser Lane and were not disappointed.

7 Fitzroy Gardens

A walk through these gardens includes a variety of experiences. We spotted three wedding parties, Captain Cooke's Cottage, people meditating, an orchid-filled greenhouse, the old treasury building and plenty of greenery. We couldn't find the fairy tree, but then again we had no idea what we were looking for.

8 The Art Centre

We didn't intend on spending much time in this landmark building. When we popped in to try and find a good cup of coffee  it seemed mostly to be fully of theatre goers. We did stumble upon an impressive exhibition about a famous Aussie cross-dresser.

9 T2

It might not get a mention on the tourist guides but this is a tea shop worth a visit if you like tea even half as much as Malcolm does.

10 The Nicholas Building

We visited to see a temporary shop set up for Christmas by Melbournia, and we were glad we eventually found the whole place. Many of the building's original details have remained: stained glass, arched ceilings, an old style post box and two manned lifts. The lift operators tell us that they are soon be replaced by a less exciting standard lift. After the end of January those lifts will be a much lonelier experience.


Family of Man II


Family of Man II, Cole Sopov
With the Melbourne Arts Centre and Eureka Tower

Walsall New Art Gallery

Leo Fitzmaurice- You Try To Tell Me But I Never Listen
Fiona Banner- Be There Saturday Sweetheart

(This and four previous images:) Mark Titchner- Be True To Your Oblivion


My favourite Lucian Freud Picture

Lord Goodman in His Yellow Pyjamas

London Baby II- bring on next year

Does he look nervous? On Thursday Tom interviewed for a masters at University of Buckingam. We accompanied him to the big city for moral support. 

We "did" the Saatchi Gallery and it "did" us proud: its long qualified as my favourite gallery not necessarily because of its contents but because of how it "does" being a gallery. For a £1 they'll give you the complete listing of works in the show with information on each artist. There are no barriers so you can get up close and smelly with the work. And best of all you can take photos, with no restrictions.

We were reunited with Smithy by the Albert Memorial and made our way to the Lido for coffee before walking to the V&A to meet Nai. 

Keeping up with some favourite haunts we had cookies and milkshake at Ben's cookies in Covent Garden and discovered a new favourite place to sample tea for free, Tea Palace. Then found our way to Leon

Nai took this pic to record our milkshake

I'd strongly recommend the sweet potato falafel. And this pair seemed to enjoy their food too.

The trip was nicely rounded off when Tom got the call to confirm his place on the course next year, whilst driving home into the sunset no less. Well done Smithy.

the SCOTTISH holiday

Nathan Coley, There Will Be No Miracles Here, 2006
During our trip to Scotland we stayed at my Uncle Gav's house in Polmont near Falkirk, which proved a good point to travel to and from and a very hospitable home in which to stay.

During our stay we looked at some galleries, such as...

The Modern Art Galleries of Scotland 

Clockwise left to right: the plinth for Reclining Figure Henry Moore; metal sculpture, artist unknown; Nom outside the Dean Gallery and Work no. 975 EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT Martin Creed.

We enjoyed a lot of the work, particularly the permanent sculpture pieces in the gallery gardens, August Sander's marathon People of The 20th Century collection (made all the more impressive as the prints were taken directly from the photographer's negatives) and other individual works by the likes of Emin, Creed, Hatoum, Munch and Lucas. Curiously, the grounds of The Dean Gallery contains a small patch of allotments with no obvious connection to the gallery itself (organic veg for the café perhaps...?) Simultaneously secluded, rural, cultured and urban, we both agreed we could think of no place more interesting to grow produce.

Talbot Rice
This Edinburgh University gallery (which is in their Old College building) was showing a retrospective Rosemarie Trockel exhibition. We were both impressed by the provision of such a large and seemingly well-staffed gallery space within a university, although we were also bemused by the lack of obvious themes in Trockel's work and found it hard to engage with.

On our meandering route to the Talbot Rice Gallery we came across the small but intense Stills gallery. They were showing the second part of Social Documents: The Ethics Encounter, an unsettling collection of photographs and films around the theme of 'war, sex and political urgency'. The pieces were sometimes uncomfortably close to the exhibition's remit: to include material exploring the 'murkier waters' around the ethical codes imposed on more conventional documentary and investigative photography. Dani Marti's 'post-coital portraits' were particularly near the knuckle. The exhibition also included the very timely My Neck is Thinner than a Hair: Engines by The Atlas Group, 100 pictures collated from Lebanese archives of engines found near the scenes of car bombs during it's civil war of 1975-91. We like the overall operation of the gallery: an experimental and theoretically-minded approach to exhibiting photographs.

We ate and drank in some great places...

Amore Dogs
We'd read about Amore Dogs (and it's sister restaurant The Dogs) online before we went north. It didn't disappoint: tasty, decent portions of simple but well made Italian food for reasonable prices - so reasonable in fact that Uncle Gav didn't quite trust the menu until the bill had been paid.

Our namesake company sells itself as an established essential food outlet in Edinburgh. Having originally set up an outlet for their excess farm produce, Henderson's now have a shop, deli, bistro and restaurant which serve interesting, ethical, vegetarian food. We had lunch in the bistro: soup of the day with a choice of homemade bread and pâté. We experienced Baba Ganoush (a powerful purée of baked aubergine and raw garlic) for the first time and enjoyed it enough to make it for our first guests when we got home.

Another highly anticipated Internet discovery was this glorious establishment with a menu of over 40 teas and a range of cakes. Each tea is served in a china tea pot and infuser, with an hourglass timer for the perfect brewing time. Their mismatched, delicate cups and saucers fit in with the feminine 'boutique' decor. The cliental seem to reflect their design decisions, but gentlemen should not be dissuaded from experiencing this surprisingly rare example of tea connoisseurship. Perhaps eteaket is also a reaction to the macho coffee house aesthetic of dark-stained wood double espressos, wi-fi access and business-while-u-drink. It's not only a place to experience fine tea, but a space to relax and have a natter.

Malc tried a fine Bouteaque Blue Mist and Nom had the Chocolate Abyss (with chocolate, cocoa and coconut pieces) and enjoyed it so much that we purchased two tubs to bring home. It went well with our Tunnocks teacakes (25p!).

We experienced the downside to its deserved popularity on more than one occasion when we were turned away because there were no seats left. Go first thing in the morning or later in the evening (they open until 7) to avoid the disappointment.

Loch Lomond
We cooked pope's eye steak on an open fire mid way through our adventure on Loch Lomond (of which more later).

Caffe la Ronda
A perfect mother's coffee stop in Linlithgow, Caffe La Ronda isn't glamorous but it was a nice rest stop and shelter from the elements.

Fredericks coffee house
Another Edinburgh winner, we ended up in Fredrick's having been turned away from eteaket, and only noticed it because the pot plants outside had been blown over, but we'd go back. We had a white chocolate mocha (yummy!) and a cappuccino (a little heavy on the steamed milk, but good). We enjoyed the view of the street below and well chosen decor. Looked and felt great, tasted great and was quiet too.

The Kenilworth
Is a beautiful restored pub with a fine whiskey list. Mentioned in Uncle Bob's Pub Audio Tour (New Town). On the pricey side, but enjoyable high seating with cosy vibe and thoroughly tiled walls.

If Oliphants in Linlithgow doesn't already qualify for legendary status, it should. We had heard rumour that they had closed down, a tragedy especially because Bob the dog had eaten the last of our frozen reserve of imported Oliphant's meat pies. So, great joy when we found both the shops still open. 

We ate the goods sitting beside Linlithgow Loch and were amused by the advice of a passing scot "they're bad for you they are".

Good, solid, old Linlithgow pub with eight ales always on, including their own personal brew. 

Other things we got up to

  • Checked out the highland coos, deer and fish farm at Beecraig's.

  • Walked along the canal from Polmont to Linlithgow (shooting stills for an animation along the way) and caught the train back again. In between the two journeys we took in several eateries, the Palace and several shops.
  • We loaded Gav's car up with a canoe and he took us to Inchcailloch, an island on Loch Lomond, for a BBQed steak sandwich. We had a walk around the island taking in its highest viewpoint and this pile of moss that looked remarkably like a dog.

And finally...

Tips for surviving the journey:
- a laptop, a series of House and some headphone splitters* go a very long way.
- painting can be a mobile activity
- two extra plastic cups make a picnic shareable
- old scottish ladies with trashy magazines and sandwiches make good travel companions
- avoid Birmingham New Street during Friday's rush hour at all costs (particularly during strikes)

* This is our 5 way headphone splitter- share music with five people, or mix music from two mp3 into unto four pairs of ears.
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