Monday, 19 November 2018

PhD-Ness Part 12 year 2 Doing, Reading, Looking, Doing, Afternoon Tea-ing with Heroes

This was my fifth encounter with one of my all time heroes - my 'filth elder' and 'Pope of Puke' John Waters - after his excellent show at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool on Saturday November 10th. I also had the incredible treat of going to afternoon tea with him the day before at the rather lovely Hope Hotel. I adore Mr Waters and his work - he makes me laugh and he makes me think which has to be one of the best combinations ever.
I usually shy away from being in front of the camera lens but I make an exception for Mr Waters - partly because I still can't quite believe I have met him and so I wanted photographic proof. This pic was taken by my lovely ever supportive husband.
I have been a fan of  Mr Waters and his work since I was 15 and saw an advert for Pink Flamingos (1974) (a film of his I didn't actually see for a long time after I became a fan) in the promotional booklet for Palace Video my Dad brought back from the video shop (remember them?)  and though I love all his films my favourites are Serial Mom (1994) ,  Cecil B Demented (2000) - sadly though I found out in conversation with Mr Waters that none of the cinemas featured in that film exist anymore and I also adore Polyester (1981)  - I am ever so slightly in love with the dastardly Todd Tomorrow played so beautifully by Tab Hunter....
If I could have told my 15 year old self that one day my fifty year old self would be sat next to him I doubt very much that she would have believed me but she would have been thrilled to think that such a thing could even be a possibility....and also very relieved that her fifty year old self in spite of being beside herself with glee just about managed to be coherent, didn't spill or drop anything at the afternoon tea and was also able to thank him for making her laugh and think and for being such a fantastic ongoing inspiration.

Post it note, signed afternoon tea menu, hoops I'm working on and with

I'd got into a habit of updating weekly again but after a conversation with my tutor who advised that my writing energies would be better directed elsewhere - namely into the actual writing I have to do for this Phd malarkey, so although I like to think that my blog is also academic reflexive writing I have been concentrating upon writing about the methodology I am using for my research into uncovering the hidden history of women buried in St George's Field.

Albeit with limited success so far in terms of a word count and structure I am happy with so I thought I'd do a blog post again to try and clear/order my thoughts again before I face my methodology chapter again or rather part thereof. progress has been further hampered by coming down with cough/cold/flu lurgy over the past few days meaning I have had next to no concentration span as opposed to a fairly limited one and so not made as much progress as I would have liked nor have I been able to go for my usual weightlifting sessions but as I woke up this morning without an immediate coughing session, an earworm of 'Long Live Our Love' by The Shangri Las, and an opening sentence that I'm pleased with fully formed - I'm hoping I can make much more and better progress today. 

But I also wanted to make a note - albeit in brief of the exhibitions/galleries I have been to over the last month:
Manchester Art Gallery Feb 2018-Jan 2019 Annie Swinnerton:Painting Light and Hope r
wonderful to see an exhibition of paintings by a woman, my favourites amongst the paintings on show were her portraits - especially the ones of Reverend William Gaskell and Dame Millicent Fawcett, and a society portrait of a young lady in a gorgeous black dress as well as her sensitive and expressive portraits of working women.
Walker Art Gallery permanent collection Liverpool
Utterly stunning collection of paintings - huge Victorian narrative paintings as well as portraits and thought provoking medieval religious art too. The medieval altar piece triptych Master of the Aachen Altarpiece 1485-1515 has a skull (one of my favourite motifs at its base as well as bits of bones) and one of the most graphically gruesome crucifixion scenes I've ever seen. The thieves also being crucified either side of Jesus had had their thigh muscles cut in order to prevent them standing up but it was paintings from the Georgian and Victorian eras which had the most impact for me.

The Ruins of Holyrood Chapel 1824 by Louis Daguerre (yep that Daguerre of photographic invention fame) made me exclaim 'oh wow' out loud and I looked at it from various viewpoints for ages - I still want to walk amongst its exquisitely painted moonlit remains, I also stood and gazed with wonder at Fourniers Funeral of Shelley 1889 and I spent a good couple of hours just sitting gazing at 18th and 19th century treasures. Huge narrative paintings and works by Waterhouse, Alma Tadema, Holman Hunt, Rossetti and other Pre-Raphaelite wonders - just visually drinking them in. Simply stunning paintings. Also pleasing to see some paintings by women as opposed to just paintings of women as well as a highlighting of LGTBQ artists and subject matter.

It has made me want to return to Liverpool to spend more time there - partly to drink in the wonderful surviving Georgian and Victorian architecture, to walk on the waterfront and go to the Tate and St James Cemetery but also to visit the International Slavery Museum based there so as to get a better understanding of the impact of slavery as well as a much better understanding of the history of slavery and its role not just in the history of Liverpool but the UK as a whole.

Along with trips to Liverpool to see one of my living idols I've also been to York to see the paper trail of one of my dead idols - Ann Carr's will written some 3 months before her death is kept at the Borthwick Institute at York University. It was quite something to be able to hold it in my hands, and see her signature. She leaves everything to her partner Martha Williams who is described throughout as Ann's Sister in Christ. Ann's signature is very thin and frail looking compared to the rest of the writing - presumably done by her solicitor. It was a fascinating document and a real privilege to be able to read it and I am very pleased it has survived.

Well I'd best crack on - I've made some good progress on my to do list so far but still got a huge amount to do which aside from writing also includes going back to St George's Field to recover some of the matte medium images I left there to see what impact being in the field has on them or even if they're still there...

One day my to do list will not only be shorter but also completed in a timely manner....

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