Well, today is the second day of my sabbatical leave from the College. It seems strange to be here in my office but not really here! spent the morning clearing the desk and making sure that I can actually get on with the research - the main point of having 3 months set aside from College work!
Yesterday I was at a Methodist Meeting in London on Emerging Church - very good - very progressive and about nurturing and promoting rather than just controlling. While I was down in London, three things stood out for me in general (other than the brilliant meeting and the great people I met there!!!!)
1. The new Reebok advert (www.rbk.com) featuring Thierry Henry at the top of Tottenham Court Road - interesting text - not fear of losing just of failing or something. Having just gone to the Reebok site, Thierry isn't even there - the sight is graced by the much more skilful Ryan Giggs! Anyway, Reebok are giving personal stories of how these various sports and music and other celebrities have got to the top of their professions - usually by, as Nelly says, making sure you're not Number 2!!! However, the intriguing thing is the strapline for all of this "I am what I am" - now have you heard that before - Exodus 3:14 - ehyeh asher eyheh! I wonder whether Reebok are conscious of the Biblical intertext? Whether they are or not, it is an interesting confirmation that celebrities in our warped western consumerist society are today's gods - or at least they are trying to be.
2. Second was the site of a flock (!!!) of immature herons feeding alongside ducks in Regent's Park! Some guy was throwing bread to the ducks and seagulls and the rest, and there amidst them were six or seven grey herons. What are they doing there? In the country, herons are pretty timid and tend to fly away at the slightest thing - here was a whole family group muching away at gone off bread! It made me think of Kester Brewin's discussion of the city as a place where humanity joins in God's recreative activity - I remember him once saying that concrete buildings were remodelled mountains! Cities, for Kester, are where humanity acts best. For me, cities come close to being the most unnatural environment in the world! Leave the mountains alone. Cities are where herons act like ducks! Cities are full of dross and concrete and cars! Just been reading Londonstani, are cities really full of that horror??? Give me the peace of the countryside anytime!
3. After the meeting, I went to the White Cube in Hoxton Square. I've been trying to get to this gallery for a while ever since they staged the latest Gilbert and George exhibit which I missed by one day! Anyway, I went there and they were exhibiting some work by Katharena Fritsch downstairs - it's amazing how much different colour washes change the nature of the pictures you are looking at. I like the two pictures of Essen in blue and green - there was also some interesting interactivity between sculpted peices and the pcitures - not sure on these on the whole.
Upstairs was a kind of installation by Neal Tait - sad to say that I thought this was atrocious! The pictures on the wall were arranged, presumably on purpose, in a haphazard way, the walls painted a dull grey, a bench in the middle of the room - a sparse mixture of logwork and IKEA mediocrity! And the pictures, sadly, did nothing for me! Mmmm...don't you wish you got some of this stuff? I mean, I just felt lifeless and well, nothing...I stood there wishing I felt something but it was just unconnective (if that is a word!).
Over the summer, we went to Tate St Ives - saw some great stuff there - but the family hated most of it. I was enthusing and they just stood there looking at me as if I had lost my marbles! Hey ho! One day...perhaps...they or I might see reason. I loved this piece that appears on the catalogue cover but I am ashamed to say that I have forgotten its name and can't find a better version on the web!
Better go and do some research!