Category Archives: Art
If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to divide opinion, you could do no better than to “borrow” a Damien Hirst sculpture! This is precisely what the seaside town of Ilfracombe, Devon has done by accepting his controversial statue, Verity, a pregnant woman wielding a sword, on loan for the next 20 years.
Verity, described by Hirst as a ‘modern allegory of truth and justice’, carries the scales of justice and is standing on a plinth of law books. The naked pregnant figure holds a sword and has part of her anatomy exposed – a baby clearly visible in the womb. She stands at 20.25m from plinth to sword tip, is slightly taller than the Angel of the North and weighs more than 25 tonnes.
Why Ilfracombe? Well apparently Hirst lives in the town and also owns a restaurant there so presumably he wants it close by. In addition he probably thought that the town already had a controversial structure in the Landmark Theatre [which is known locally as “Madonna’s Bra”, a reference to its shape], so why not have another one to really make it a place to talk about?
Personally I quite like the smooth side of the statue but find the exposed side somewhat disturbing, but I guess that was the artist’s intention?
There are many locals who regret the decision of Ilfracombe town planners over the years to pull down Victorian buildings and to replace them with modern structures that don’t fit with the character of the town. The Landmark, which – from a distance – looks much like the cooling towers of a power station, and now this latest addition, represent this unfortunate inclination.
This year, Stewart Francis’s one-liner about David and Victoria Beckham naming their children has won the award for the funniest joke of the Festival. The Canadian comedian won the award, given out by TV channel Dave, for the joke:
“You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.”
Francis and British comedian Tim Vine’s jokes both feature twice in the top ten best list published by Dave. Other comedians whose jokes made the list include Will Marsh and Rob Beckett.
Tim Vine’s jokes (he won the award for best joke two years ago) were voted into second and sixth place by a public vote of three thousand comedy fans, after Edinburgh jokes were whittled down to a shortlist of 30 by a panel of judges. Here are the top ten jokes chosen this year:
1. Stewart Francis – “You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.”
2. Tim Vine – “Last night me and my girlfriend watched three DVDs back to back. Luckily I was the one facing the telly. ”
3. Will Marsh – “I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister.”
4. Rob Beckett – “You know you’re working class when your TV is bigger than your book case.”
5. Chris Turner – “I’m good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet … I don’t know why.”
6. Tim Vine – “I took part in the sun tanning Olympics – I just got Bronze.”
7. George Ryegold – “Pornography is often frowned upon, but that’s only because I’m concentrating.”
8. Stewart Francis – “I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!”
9. Lou Sanders – “I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: ‘It’s not rocket salad.”
10. Nish Kumar – “My mum’s so pessimistic, that if there was an Olympics for pessimism … she wouldn’t fancy her chances.”
Writing the last post I was reminded of the sculpture that has long been a part of the scenery in Kingston-upon-Thames town centre – the line of 12 disused red telephone boxes that have been tipped up to lean against one another in an arrangement resembling dominoes. This sculpture was commissioned in 1988 as part of the landscaping for the (then) new Relief Road, and is called “Out of Order”.
Unveiled on the 19th December 1989, it stands in Old London Road near the junction with Clarence Road.
What I didn’t know then was that the sculptor, David Mach (56), is the Scot from Methil in Fife who also designed the “Big Heids” that are a familiar sight for us regular M8 drivers between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
On further investigation it seems that this tiny little town in the Kingdom of Fife produces some of the best artistic talent that Scotland is so proud of, from a population of only 11,000.
Another artist to grow up in this industrial seaside town is Jack Vettriano (60) who only took up painting as a hobby in his twenties when his girl friend bought him a set of water colours! Vettriano’s original paintings now regularly fetch huge six figure prices but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, “The Singing Butler”, sells more posters and postcards than any other painting in the UK.
It’s amazing what you find out quite by chance when looking for something else!