Tag: <span>Trafalgar Square</span>

I have returned from my time in Derby. It has been an eventful and exciting week in many ways and yet, despite my best laid plans, fate decided to remind me of my position in the universe.

As I mentioned previously I was travelling down to Derby (Mickleover to be precise) where I was attending a conference at which I was delivering a presentation entitled “Why Blog?” (you can see my slides and notes on my other blog. I’ve presented at something similar once, and considering the topic I was reasonably comfortable with my knowledge of the subject matter. I’ll be writing more about the conference on my other blog, although some of the cognitive psychology stuff will probably fall here too, it’s fascinating!

As I was in the area, it transpired that, after many years of reading him and recently delighting at watching him dance on the plinth in Trafalgar Square, I would finally meet the Troubled Diva (aka mike) himself. All good. THEN he said that I’d also be able to shake hands with, and congratulate on his recent half-marathon (for which he helped raise over £3k!) the only and only SwissToni well I was delighted. THEN he mentioned that Sarah would there as well, and as she was one of many Tweeps that shared the delight of the pointy fingered dancing on the plinth that evening well it was looking like a nice evening.

THEN they mentioned we’d be seeing a gig by a Norwegian band named Ungdomskulen and… yeah.. I wasn’t sure. As it turns out they were good, big and noisy and a little “prog”, although the CD that I purchased after the gig is a lot … hmmm … more indie sounding than the live act.

Anyway my over-elaborated point is that I had several reasons to be excited about my trip.

The journey down on Tuesday evening was uneventful and very short, flying from Glasgow to East Midlands airport (the cheapest option!) was all of 40 minutes, and the first day of the conference nicely played out along the theme I was using as part of my presentation on blogging first thing on the second day (the whole “be part of the conversation” thing, you know).

Roll on Thursday morning, the second day of the conference and at 9am I stepped up and 35 minutes later I finished, took 5 minutes for a few questions and ended bang on time. I missed one or two little things but hey ho, it went very well from my side and a few people spoke to me afterwards saying they had enjoyed it so it seems to have been well received. The video of the presentation will never ever see the light of day. I had to kill the A/V guy after my session to make sure, so apologies to any dog-walkers in Mickleover who stumble over the body of a young man, strangled by several microphone cords.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur and all of a sudden I’m in Derby and heading towards the building where all the noise was coming from, and next thing I’m shaking hands with three people who I don’t know but have known (collectively) for many many years. Fab! It also whittles down my list of “bloggers to meet” to around 4 or 5 (no, no names). I originally thought the number lower but well you lot are just too fab.

Alas the excitement had to end so this very morning at something around 4.50am I woke up and not being able to get back to sleep got up and started the last of the packing. I jumped in the taxi when it arrived (late) and by the time I got to the airport (including 2 trips round one roundabout!) I was a little tight for time.

I grabbed a paper (The Guardian in which Mike had an article), a coffee and hustled to Gate 23.

Sidenote: There is a sign in Derby airport that states how far gates 18-23 are, 180m from the sign apparently. Now, whilst I can, now, figure out roughly how long that may take me to walk, does anyone else think it odd they didn’t at least have a diagram, or indicate how long it might take someone to walk (1-2 minutes)?? Just me, ok as you were.

At the top of a metal escalator as I reached down to grab my bag, my foot caught the edge of a step and next thing I know I’ve fallen forward, banging my injured knee (long term, tendinitis), my shin and my arm as I try and keep hold of my coffee, the paper and my luggage. It hurt.

I was very tired, mainly because whilst conferences are great they are intense, as there is a LOT of thinking that goes on both in the sessions and in the chats afterwards, and because I’d spent the previous (very enjoyable!) evening on my feet. I hadn’t had breakfast, and it REALLY fucking hurt. I think it’s the closest I’ve been to crying about falling over since I was a child.

Needless to say the escalator was still moving and a split second later I realised I would have to get up or try and negotiate the end of the stairs and I painfully managed to get to my feet just in time to stagger forward and fall down again.

I’m rather thankful there wasn’t anyone else in sight.

Looking back it seems a bit silly but given that I spent the first 20 minutes of the flight pale, sweating and shaking so much the stewardess stopped to ask if I was ok I guess the adrenaline rush was a little too much for my tired and aching body to cope with.

All that at the end of a wonderful week, meeting interesting people, making new friends, learning new things, enjoying new music and meeting someone I’ve ‘known’ for longer than anyone outside my immediate circle of “real life” friends (they don’t blog, I can call them that). Regardless of all the good things that happened this week, the shock of that simple little trip will be what I recall when I mention the conference or “when I met Mike”, and that, my friends is why I’m feeling mostly conspired against.

So, I’m going to focus on the positives and, as I limp home, remind myself that this was just a little bit of balance, that’s all. Both reminding me that while life can be fantastically good, it can also tip you over. Literally. On a metal escalator in an airport near Derby.

Blogging Life Media

I know what I like.

It’s a phrase I use quite often when discussing art, mainly because it’s not an area I’m all that familiar with having never really studied it other than the odd wander round a gallery or two.

I’m quite open to most forms of art, and I’ll happily wander round an installation and see if it has any impact on me and, digging into my opening phrase a little, if something manages to illicit an emotion from me then it falls into my definition of ‘art’.

I don’t limit that statement to a specific set of emotions, there is much beauty to be found in disgust, as there is horror in the mundane. But sometimes I find myself baffled and, worse, disinterested. At that point I’ll happily concede that I do not appreciate whatever it is that is being offered to me, whilst retaining the right to change my mind in the future (such are the vagaries of something based on emotion).

So I currently find myself at odds with… er.. myself, with regards to the current art installation One & Other:

This summer, sculptor Antony Gormley invites you to help create an astonishing living monument. He is asking the people of the UK to occupy the empty Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London, a space normally reserved for statues of Kings and Generals. They will become an image of themselves, and a representation of the whole of humanity.

To which my instant reaction is “poppycock”.

Placing random individuals on a televised stage isn’t art, surely? And, with the greatest of respect to the “plinthers”, the little I’ve seen doesn’t suggest it is more than some art students and random oddballs doing, well either little of interest, or lots of things that aren’t interesting.

And so the voyeurs are lapping it up, having gotten bored of Big Brother, the tourists and crowds in Trafalgar Square are drawn to the cameras with hopes of their 15 minutes of fame. My disinterest kicked in big time.

Until the other day when, channel hopping, I caught some coverage of a young man who was filling in for an someone else. He didn’t have anything planned, he was bemused and awkward and the loneliness of the plinth became evident.

My interest slowly woke up and I started to think about this piece of art.

I’m still thinking to be honest. There is something that galls me about it, the exploitation of those who stand atop the plinth, reduce to a number for the most part, and the voyeuristic nature of the entire thing.

But it has me thinking, considering why I am reacting to it the way I am and if that isn’t what art is all about, then what is?

I know what I like. Even though it can take me some time to make up my mind about what that means.

Personal Musings