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A SOUTH EAST LONDON MAGAZINE www.thetransmitter.co.uk

ISSUE 31 Spring 2014

Artisans

Who are these people making all these beautiful things?

Let the games begin BOOKS • CYCLING • FASHION • FOOD • GARDENING • MUSIC • NEWS


WELCOME to the Spring issue ...

Easter Bunny Andy Pontin Egg-stra special efforts by Annette Prosser Egg-stremely good design by Simon Sharville Egg-straordinary illustrations by Karin Dahlbacka Egg-sposed by Catrin Arwel James Balston Mark Blundell Emir Hasham Louise Haywood-Schiefer Andy Pontin Simon Sharville

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pring has sprung and Easter bunnies are in the air (they are, really) and here’s a fresh, sunny, springy Transmitter for you.

In this Artisan-themed issue, we have shone a spotlight on a few people who toil in their workshops and studios to make us wonderful things that make the world a better place. It’s beautiful and unique stuff – and you can’t buy it at your nearest huge corporate retail zone. Take a leisurely look through pages 14 to 30 and you’ll see what we mean about wonderful. We thought the Crystal Palace Festival lacked a certain je ne sais quoi last year, but we couldn’t quite put our finger on what. Then it came to us, it was sans boules! We can fix that! Teaming up with the Friends of Westow Park – whose sterling efforts in bringing together a team of volunteers to build the petanque box have made this possible – we bring you (drum roll) the Transmitter Boules Tournament. It’s just what you need, it really is. And YOU can be involved: just get a team together and enter (see p10 for the ins and outs). Expect nail-biting knock-out games building up to spectacular finals during the Festival in June, where thronging crowds will vie in desperation for a glimpse of the gladiators battling it out for the big prizes. Or not.

Egg-cellent words by Justine Crow Mike Fairbrass Jessica Johnson Jonathan Main Howard Male Rachel De Thample Sue Williams Printed by Buxton Press Published by Transmission Publications PO Box 53556, London SE19 2TL www.thetransmitter.co.uk editor@thetransmitter.co.uk 07530 450925 @thetransmitter Cover Spring print 1930s cowl dress available from Violet Betty’s Photo: Catrin Arwel Illustration: Karin Dahlbacka www.karindahlbacka.com

Disclaimer The views expressed by contributors are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect this magazine’s editorial policy or the views of any employee of Transmission Publications. So there.


Contents

Regulars FASHION 33 A delicious mix of chocolate and ice cream colours FOOD 42 Rachel sniffs out some smash bang walloping smoked and salted truffles GARDENING 44 Spring is here and Sue feels lifted above the dung about her roots CYCLING 46 An iPod + a Jesus complex = crazy cyclist. Do the math

Features 10 TRANSMITTER BOULES TOURNAMENT We know, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for

A LOAD OF BOULES 10

14 ARTISANS AT THE PALACE They’re here. There’s lots of them. And they’re awfully talented 50 THE HOCKNEY EMPIRE Howard shares his hockneyed ideas about pictures

BOOKS 48 Jonathan selects a book about atheism especially for Easter WHAT’S ON 54 Some stuff about stuff that people sent us MUSIC 58 Howard has been jiggling around to Brazilian Girls. At his age THE [UN]FUNNIES 60 Hilarious aren’t they. Well, they think they are 3


News & Events CULTURAL

Saturday 28 June : keep it free people! Tell your friends! Get those thumbs working and spread the word on facebook and twitter! Get those pics from last year posted on instagram! Westow Park will, yet again, be transformed into a glorious & green South London hedonistic (well, a bit) hub of splendour heaving with fantastic music, scrummy food and a cornucopia of stalls selling gorgeous and wonderful items. Free stuff will start happening from Thursday 26 and continue until Sunday 29, when the focus will be on the Triangle and all it can offer. We can hardly bloody wait. Over 6000 festival-goers were there last year, were you?

Photo: Mark Blundell

ARCHITECTURAL

The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway have been making great progress in their aim to re-open the subway (see our feature on its stunning architecture in issue 26 of The Transmitter) which was once the link from the high level railway station to the Crystal Palace itself. Southwark Council and English Heritage are both on board and a long-awaited detailed structural survey of retaining walls has been given the green light once all necessary funds are in place. You can spread the word about this unique treasure by buying all your friends one of several locallydesigned items celebrating the subway, including a fetching T-shirt by Matt Bannister, available from Smash Bang Wallop. www.cpsubway.org.uk @cpsubway

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EDUCATIONAL

Those keen to see the Crystal Palace Primary School made reality will be pleased to hear that due to an overwhelmingly positive response from the local community, the targets set by the Department for Education (DfE) to prove local demand have been well and truly exceeded. The final stage of the application process is an interview at the DfE in midMarch [just as this issue goes to press] and a decision will be made by May 2014. The team continues to plan for the school opening in September 2015. To keep up to date with the latest news and share what you think the school should offer, find Crystal Palace Primary School on facebook. www.crystalpalaceprimary.org.uk @CPPrimarySchool

The Crystal Palace Overground Festival is a free event that relies on volunteers, sponsorship, fundraising and the support of the local community. It is run entirely by a dedicated team of volunteers and is sponsored by local businesses. If you’d like to be a sponsor, now’s the time to get in touch. For more information and to get involved visit www.crystalpalacefestival.org.uk @SE19festival

PS

Another summer date for your cultural diary is 5 July, the first day of the fortnight-long Sydenham Arts Festival. Not to be missed. www.sydenhamartsfestival.co.uk @sydartsfest


INSPIRATIONAL

If the phrases ‘cultural participation’ and ‘public engagement’ float your boat, and the idea of a co-ordinated nationwide weekend of actual and virtual locally-curated events is TOTALLY your bag, you’ll be wanting to know all about Fun Palaces. An unrealised movement created by visionaries theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price 50 years ago, it had the aim of allowing everyone to believe themselves potential artists and scientists: their vision was to create ‘a university of the streets’. Price got as far as designing an actual building – part giant toy, part transformable machine, in which activity spaces could be movable, quickly assembled and taken apart – and which was capable of becoming whatever its users desired of it. The vision remained just that, however, as planning permission was never granted amidst opposition from the church, citizen groups and city councils. The 21st-century version of Littlewood and Price’s Fun Palace doesn’t necessarily involve huge steel constructions or bricks and mortar, but feeds on its original inspiration. You have plenty of time to get involved as the first weekend of pop-up events is scheduled for 4 & 5 October. In the meantime, have a look at their website and have a read of this extract, taken from the original blueprint: Choose what you want to do – or watch someone else doing it. Learn how to handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, or just listen to your favourite tune. Dance, talk or be lifted up to where you can see how other people make things work. Sit out over space with a drink and tune in to what’s happening elsewhere in the city. Try starting a riot [nb we don’t think they mean the JD Sports thing, Ed] or beginning a painting – or just lie back and stare at the sky www.funpalaces.co.uk @FunPalaces

Sarah Campbell Photo: Louise Haywood-Schiefer Images © Sarah Campbell Ltd

DON’T MISS OUT ON …

… the final few weeks of From Start to Finish, an exhibition illustrating the process of working to commission by artist and textile designer – and a former Transmitter cover girl – Sarah Campbell. It continues at the Fashion & Textile Museum in SE1 until 17 May @FashionTextile … the fabulous Swing Patrol lessons at The Grape & Grain every Wednesday night. You can drink, you can watch, you can dance, you can make a whole goddam party evening of it! @SwingPatrolLdn … Glamour magazine editor Jo Elvin giving a talk at Anerley Town Hall to the Palace and Penge WI on Tuesday 1 April at 7.30pm. Guests are welcome and tickets cost £4 on the door (which includes, natch, a tea or coffee). Though we have heard rumours that wine may be available too @PalacePengeWI 5


Nudes & Events 1 2

1 4 3

Tatiana Moressoni Melissa Four Alice Robertson

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WORDS AND PICTURES

If the artisan theme of this issue of The Transmitter makes you wish you hadn’t given up on your artistic bent all those years ago, there are three new classes in the area which may allow you to rekindle an old talent. Betty Frankenstien organises a friendly and informal life-drawing class which takes place on Monday nights upstairs at The Sparrowhawk (7-9pm). It’s not a tutored class and there’s no need to book. Each class costs £10. If you’re more of a 3D creative, Aliya Rashid of Clay and Company has just started monthly Saturday classes on the potter’s wheel. Groups are small (and is for over 16s only at the moment) and the session lasts three hours (either 10am-1pm or 2-5pm). Each lesson costs £50 which includes glazing and firing of up to three pots. The next classes will be on 5 April and 10 May and places must be booked in advance. The wordsmiths among you who fancy the opportunity to work on your writing and then have a place to show off your prose may be 6

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interested in a new writing bootcamp on Wednesday evenings (7-9pm) at the Phoenix Community Centre. No sit ups (promise) but a chance to iron out those kinks (no, not that kind) under the tutelage of English teacher Debbie Ryle and journalist Glanda Richards. They will provide writing exercises, constructive feedback and most importantly lots of encouragement. You’ll need to take along a fiver for each session and there’s tea and coffee. Expect guest speakers too. www.bettyfrankenstien.com @TheDrawing_Room www.facebook/pages/Crystal-Palace-Pottery or call 07976 290735 @CP_Pottery dbbryle@gmail.com (or just turn up!)


Trading Places SHOPPING, EATING AND CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT

VIOLET BETTY’S

Crystal Palace’s reputation for its fine range of topdrawer independent businesses has had a further boost with the arrival of the bright and beautiful Violet Betty’s. Stocking increasinglypopular UK and US brands such as 20th Century Foxy, Hell Bunny and Collectif, this pretty boutique offers reproduction vintage-style daydresses, party frocks (the bestseller is the halterneck from Vivien of Holloway at £89) and 40s- and 50s-inspired separates as well as original vintage handbags. Repro sunglasses (£9), Paloma Faithstyle hair flowers (£15) and boldcoloured petticoats (£35) all help to complete the pin-up girl look. The shop is a new business venture for two local ladies. Friends since they met at boarding school aged 11 (aah, we like that) joint-owners Tiffany Cragg (left) and Fizz Moodie have vital experience of high-street fashion retail behind them as well as some useful shopkeeping blood in the genes: Fizz’s grandmother used to run a shop in Old Street, selling womenswear tailored by her great grandmother who was a seamstress. We all know that supporting your local economy makes for A Better World, so ladies, Ready Steady Go Get Glamorous! Violet Betty’s 29 Anerley Road Crystal Palace SE19 2AS Open Tuesday-Sundays (see website for hours) www.violetbetty.com @violetbettys

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PIE-FACE

All graphic designer Tim Sharville can think about is pie. Surrendering to his culinary calling, and using only the best quality local ingredients, he’s been recreating the traditional London dish – Pie, Mash & Liquor – and wowing (yes, actually wowing) customers with them at the Crystal Palace Food Market. Recently he baked his Pie & Mash for his 50th birthday celebration where Chas Hodges (aka Chas from Chas ‘n’ Dave) was the star guest. He liked the pies so much he now endorses them. We can think of no better praise. Gunpowder Pies are at the market the first Saturday of each month. www.gunpowderpies.co.uk @gunpowderpies

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TOURNAMENT We all know boules (or petanque ) is something to do with throwing heavy balls about on holiday, but there’s so much more to it than that! Well ... there isn’t actually, but here’s all the info so you can get as excited as we are about our new annual event [let’s see how it goes first, Ed ]. Maybe you can even get a team together and enter yourself. Go for it! THE BOULE

There are both Competition Boules and Leisure Boules (also known as Dog Boules).The Competition Boules are made to exacting standards and are stamped with a maker’s name and unique code number: only these can be used in official events and leagues. Needless to say for this competition we will be using Dog Boules and anyone bringing one stamped with a unique code number will have points deducted for being a smart-arse. If you don’t happen to have any boules, Dog or otherwise, don’t worry you will be able to hire them for each match from behind the bar in The Alma or The White Hart.

AIM OF THE GAME

To win, obviously.

OVERVIEW

You score points by getting your boule closer to the target jack (known as the coche) than the opposition. For this tournament, THREE players play against THREE players and each player throws TWO boules. Each round (or end, if you are a boules nerd) finishes when all boules have been thrown. You score ONE point for each boule nearer to the jack/coche thing than the opposition’s best boule. So the maximum score in one round is SIX points.

HOW TO PLAY

A coin is tossed to decide who starts (unless Team Transmitter are playing, who always start first). The first person to play draws a circle on the ground (stay with us) of about one and a half feet in diameter and then tosses the coche between six to ten metres. If the coche is thrown too short, long or out, the throwing side have two more chances to get it right. If they can’t the opposition get both the coche and the right to mock them mercilessly. The coche-thrower then stands with both feet inside the circle and lobs a boule, trying to get it as near as possible to the coche. 10

A player from the other team then has a stab at it. They can try to get nearer to the coche, or can try to knock away the opposition boule. Trying to get near the coche is called Pointing, trying to hit away a boule is more fun and is called Shooting. But we don’t really care what it is called because we aren’t boules nerds. Obviously knocking the other team’s nicelyplaced boule out of the way can be hilarious and is the recommended approach. The boule left nearest the coche leads (or is on in boules nerdese). If it isn’t clear which is closest, a tape measure may be used and the arguments can really begin in earnest. The next player is anyone from the side not leading (ie not closest to the coche, please try to follow) so there is no fixed sequence or fixed turns to throw. Players from the side not leading then continue to play till they get nearer the coche than the opposition’s best boule. If they don’t, when they run out of boules the other side then plays all their remaining boules. If the coche gets moved you have to look to see who is now leading. Duh. A boule that hits the boundaries of the boule rectangle (known as the Box) is deemed out. Once the coche is thrown no obstacles (stones, leaves, the inebriated) can be moved.

HOW IT ENDS

When all boules have been thrown, the teams agree which side has won the end (ie which team’s boule is nearest to the coche) and how many points they have scored. Again it may sometimes be necessary to measure and we would expect a serious amount of pointless arguing at this stage.

HOW TO WIN

The first team to reaches 13 points wins … at which point everyone shakes hands and withdraws to the nearest hostelry.


A LOAD OF BOULES

Two balls and a jack were unearthed in the sarcophagus of an Egyptian Prince of the 52nd Century BC: he had been playing with them when he died apparently. Vérité.

PRIZES First: something really spectacular Second: something not so spectacular Third: something a bit rubbish We will be inviting the National President of the British Petanque Association, Mr Mike Pegg, to hand out the prizes. If Mike decides that’s not the kind of thing he wants to do we will ask one of the many local VIPs. If we can’t get anyone famous we’ll ask Jim Bob or Mark Steel. There will be an official umpire for each game, appointed by Team Transmitter and therefore guaranteed to be completely impartial.

HOW TO ENTER Register a team name by tweeting, emailing or shouting at Transmitter Ed in the street, confirming your hilarious team name and a captain to contact. All teams must be registered before close of play Sunday 6 April.

A LOAD OF BOULES

The game has two names, Petanque and Boules. Nobody knows exactly why but we can safely blame the French.

A LOAD OF BOULES

The point of the game is to try to get your balls (sorry, boules) near the jack: jack is the proper English name, but it is also called the cochonnet or coche or but, all of which we prefer because they sound ruder.

A LOAD OF BOULES

In France the games of boules is played mainly by working class village folk, accompanied by reasonable amounts of Ricard.

Younger players welcome but the captain must be over the age of 18. Email: boules@thetransmitter.co.uk

A LOAD OF BOULES

NOTE DE PIED: The official rules of the Federation Internationale Petanque contain all sorts of interesting and obscure clauses. These will be completely ignored throughout this tournament unless Team Transmitter are playing (and losing) and can find some obscure rule that will get them out of a tight spot. These rules can be found on the British Petanque website www.britishpetanque.org but we don’t want any smart-arses genning up.

In England the game of boules is played exclusively by lower-middle class urban folk, accompanied by excessive amounts of wine and endless stories of their holidays in the Dordogne

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TOURNAMENT ROUND 1 GAME 1

QUARTER-FINALS THURS 17 APRIL

GAME 2

THURS 24 APRIL

GAME A

THURS 12 JUNE

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 1

Score

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 2

Score

GAME 3

THURS 1 MAY

GAME 4

THURS 8 MAY

GAME B

THURS 12 JUNE

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 3

Score

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 4

Score

GAME 5

THURS 15 MAY

GAME 6

THURS 22 MAY

GAME C

THURS 19 JUNE

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 5

Score

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 6

Score

GAME 7

THURS 29 MAY

GAME 8

THURS 5 JUNE

GAME D

THURS 19 JUNE

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 7

Score

Team Name

Score

Team Name

Score

Winner of Game 8

Score

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SCORESHEET SEMI-FINALS SEMI-FINAL 1

THURS 26 JUNE

Winner of Game A

Score

Winner of Game B

Score

FINAL

SEMI-FINAL 2

LES GRANDS POSEURS

FINAL THURS 26 JUNE

Winner of Semi-final 1

Score

Winner of Semi-final 2

Score

WINNERS

THURS 26 JUNE

Winner of Game C

Score

Winner of Game D

Score

DON’T FORGET TO FILL IN YOUR SCORESHEET! 13


Artisans at the Palace

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Photos by James Balston www.jamesbalston.com

W

e live in an area defined and haunted by its history. The shadow of the once great Crystal Palace looms large in our collective consciousness and may loom large on our actual landscape if the current grand plan gets through the planning processes. The Crystal Palace. Designed by the illustrious Joseph Paxton and assembled on the top of Sydenham Hill in under two years, this incredible building covered 18 acres and used 25 acres of glass in its construction. The men who built this palace of Victorian design go unrecorded but they were as much the craftsmen of their day as the people who exhibited their wares within its walls.

Sue Williams meets two

craftsmen whose trades are a fitting tribute to the legacy of 19th century SE19

www.fireplacerestoration.co.uk

Crystal Palace retains its creative legacy and thankfully there are a host of artisans still working in the area. Phil Wright and Sons have been working within the Triangle since 1976. Over a flat white in Blackbird I spoke to Phil about his working life. He originally trained as a stone mason at the Brixton School of Building which has now morphed into South Bank University. After a five-year apprenticeship he came out of college fully qualified to find that the need for stone masons had become almost non-existent and most of the yards had closed down. Ever resourceful he adapted his skills to marble work and in time took over part of the yard from where he still works. The yard had been owned by the Capon family who had manufactured the wire frames for lamp shades which were then sent off to be covered in silk. The yard is to be found to the rear of Blackbird Bakery – which in fact used to be Phil’s shop – accessed by an alley from Westow street. An old Victorian building houses workshops and offices for the company. Initially Phil concentrated on repair work and marble carving for the fireplace trade and also detailed work on antique clocks. He regularly carries out work for English Heritage and the British Georgian Society and has found this area of his work has been fairly constant throughout the ups and downs of the economy. In more recent times Phil’s sons, Matt and Chris, have joined the family firm as has his wife Sheila. Chris followed his dad to South Bank to learn his trade and the business now offers a full fireplace service. They have a range of antique chimney pieces but can also supply reproduction fireplaces or repair customers’ own pieces. All that on your doorstep. Phil’s sons have also helped this very traditional line of work to benefit from the internet, uploading all their individual antique pieces so that these specialist items reach the largest audience. Phil tells me that the freedom of working for himself coupled with the joy of running a business with close family is a good life and I can’t help but agree with him. 15


Artisans at the Palace

You will probably have seen Jonathan Rowlandson’s work around the Triangle. He designed and built the glorious gates at the Alma, the railings down at Rockmount school and the variety of zany railings outside the houses in the locally termed ‘cut through’. Until fairly recently his workshop was in Carberry Road but sadly rising rents have forced him to work further out in Surrey. Unsurprisingly Jonathan learnt his trade very much from an arts perspective. He studied Art and Design Foundation at Epsom College before taking Product Design at Middlesex University. He could have gone on from school to study maths and this ability has no doubt helped him in the technical side of his work. His first job after qualifying was with a Battersea company who designed and built everything from furniture to lighting. During the 90s tastes moved away 16

from wood towards steel and perspex. Jonathan set up on his own at the Clapham Arts Centre where he did a lot of work on bar and shop interiors, working in a wide range of materials. The business moved up to the Palace in 2001 after being priced out of Clapham (a familiar tale!) and he chose to move into the area and raise his family here too. Jonathan continued to design and produce all manner of work – from a metal centrepiece in a bar at Harvey Nicks to steel and perspex staircases – and his railings and gates have enhanced the look of the Palace with their quirky take on traditional themes. It is good for an area to have people who live and work within its community. As Crystal Palace gentrifies it is to be hoped that these local artisans are not priced out by escalating rents or forced out by planning schemes and destruction of their workshops.


Photos by James Balston www.jamesbalston.com

www.jonathanrowlandson.co.uk 17


Artisans at the Palace

Justine Crow meets a ceramicist inspired

by the rituals and pleasures of dining Photos By Emir Hasham www.emirhasham.co.uk

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I

t is safe to say that the choked old South Circular is not usually associated with beauty but here we are in a blunt breeze-block unit, seconds from the traffic in Forest Hill, positively immersed in it. This is Louisa Taylor’s studio, not much bigger than a garden potting shed as it goes, but before we get down to business, she beats me to it with a wholly imperative question: would I like a cup of tea? Disappearing off to put the kettle on, I am alone with the manifestations of her artistic curiosity. It is everywhere from the rectangular knick-knack shelf with rows of uneven ceramic pegs, each dipped in a different shade of glaze like apothecary vials, to the unpainted crowd of dusty white pots waiting patiently like good children beneath a cowl on the bench. The pegs, a row of little coloured tombstones, are extraordinary. They represent the library of glazes Louisa creates in the discovery and development of whatever it is she is working on. When the idea is complete and she moves on to another project, the library is dismantled, stored and begun again. This particular spectrum relates to the work she developed during her recent six-month residency at the V & A where she investigated the relationship between people and porcelain taking as her inspiration the


museum’s eighteenth century collection of tableware. The project centred on examining how the items function, deconstructing their shapes and re-using their patterns to give them 3D form. I am shown an exquisitely shaped bowl, its curves echoing an actual antique serving dish. The sides are smooth and fine but peering into the base, I recognise discs of citrus fruit. ‘I throw the top,’ Louisa says, ‘and use press moulding to create the sense of the food that was served in it emerging.’ Another features pease-pudding, whilst an undecorated set of beakers and carafe are waiting to wear the subtle hues of cauliflower. ‘But not the bumps. It’s not always so obvious.’ Beside the vast silver drum of the kiln she uses for firing is a jar that was influenced by the humble aubergine. Each small piece takes about ‘a day’s worth’ of combined hours until fruition. Louisa studied at Bath Spa before completing an MA at the Royal College and going on to win a Craft Council Development Award – sadly, no longer available to burgeoning artists – in 2007. In between throwing pots, she makes a living from teaching and writing ceramics books, trying to focus on and deriving the best out of opportunities such as the residency at the V & A. Cheerful and seemingly assured, Taylor admits that

there have been troughs in her creative confidence at times; at the moment her ideas are flowing and she is enjoying the precious episodes of productivity she is allowed in her studio. Being the mother of a small child helps to concentrate the mind: ‘Though I have less time, I am more productive now than I have ever been’. Apart from her colour library most of what Louisa makes isn’t kept, but she shows me a nest of bowls, featured on the front page of her website, which she will not part with. My tea finished, the elegantlyfashioned cup-and-saucer mug on the worktop is, I suspect, also for keeps. If it were mine, I’d wash it up very carefully indeed. Louisa Taylor is exhibiting in Ceramic Art London 2014 at the Royal College of Art, 4-6 April www. ceramics.org.uk for details.

www.louisataylorceramics.com www.facebook.com/louisataylorceramics

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Artisans at the Palace

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Artisans at the Palace

Justine Crow visits a tableware designer

with a passion for pure white porcelain Photos By Emir Hasham www.emirhasham.co.uk

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s one of the main arteries into town, the Walworth Road has seen its fair share of changes. But as the top end at Elephant Castle is incrementally collapsed to make way for a squeaky clean reflective hub, and the bottom end refurbished into a Georgian theme park, the middle section appears to have ducked the property speculators. Not least the long, cobbled Iliffe Yard where we find Billy Lloyd – until recently a resident of Gipsy Hill – plying his trade. Standing in his studio, the first thing that strikes me is how white everything is. As well as the neat stacks of white plaster moulds for slip casting, there are rows of white jugs, pictures of white cups and vases and plates, white stencils, a bucket brim full of soft white clay trimmings and fine slippery white dust all over the dark floorboards. Billy doesn’t do colour. Well, not yet anyway. ‘Everything is white because I use porcelain and white reveals the natural strengths of the material. I want to

introduce colour but you have to be careful how it’s done.’ Currently he’s more driven by form and function. He has a lot on his plate. His current workload includes producing a hundred pendant lightshades for two of those aforementioned houses being renovated at great expense in Camberwell; a commission from a Japanese department store for a 315-piece set; and bespoke collaborations such as design work for a new restaurant in Clapton. ‘From Mayfair to hipsterland,’ he smiles. He also benefited from a life-changing brush with the king of British domestic design Terence Conran. Billy, setting out to disprove the theory that everything a potter makes is the same, created a set of fifty similar but unique mugs intending to sell them individually. Vicky Conran, wife of Sir T, bought the lot for her design obsessive spouse. With such an eclectic collection of patrons, I wonder what he calls himself? Maker? Craftsman? Ceramicist? On his website he is a ‘tableware designer’ but clearly, 23


Artisans at the Palace

as with the conceit behind the fifty mugs there is more to his motivation than cash. ‘You’ve got to do a job to bring the money in and sometimes it is hard to say no.’ He claims that he has no problem with the term ‘potter’ but he is clearly unwilling to be labelled though his passion for throwing pots is evident in his prolific output. Certainly he trained as a potter – up the road at Camberwell art college – followed by an apprenticeship at the Maze Hill pottery. He was then approached by the artist and potter Julian Stair where aesthetic sensibilities were much more aligned. So much so that he stayed for four years until he found himself at Cockpit Arts in Deptford. Does he ever get lonely? ‘I have frustrations at times but I’m fortunate enough to meet lots of interesting people. Sure, I may be alone at the wheel but at the 24

Cockpit I had a ready-made community and it’s a bit like that here.’ Right on cue an ice-cream van sidles into the mews jingling: Boys and girls come out to play… Billy Lloyd isn’t destined for success: from the Conran Shop to the Orient, his porcelain proclivity is already everywhere, just like our departing trail of white footprints. www.billylloyd.co.uk


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Artisans at the Palace Jessica Johnson explores the corner of

collective creativity that is Gipsy Hil Workshops

G

ipsy Hill Workshops sit in the heart of the Triangle, home to a hub of traditional craftspeople and artists and makers. It was founded and restored in the 1980s by a group of woodworkers who joined forces with ceramicists to colonise the ground floor. When fine artists took residence above them, it was decided the workshops should run as a co-operative. With no formal lease – but with the consistent support of their landlords – members still share the collective workload of running and maintaining the property, which is split into peaceful pockets of individual studio space.

Photos by Louise Haywood-Schiefer www.lhschiefer.com

Dee Ayles fashions earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets out of semi-precious stones and pearls, gold and silver. She has been at the workshops since 2006 and shares her space with dogs Mattie and Molly who can often be found pattering about different artists’ spaces before settling down for a snooze, surrounded by diamonds and tools. ‘I’ve always loved shiny gems and beads,’ says Dee, who discovered her passion for jewellery-making at night class in Bromley when she first moved to Crystal Palace 20 years ago. ‘A typical day will start with walking the dogs in the park before coming in to work and getting stuck in.’ Dee takes part in around 8-10 craft fairs a year across London and the south-east and is currently focusing on bespoke bangle-making. Using hallmarked sterling silver, these are sized to fit exact measurements and inscripted with the words and precious stones of the clients’ choice. www.dee-ayles-jewellery.co.uk We rudely interrupted artist Joanna Charlotte when she was knee deep in paints and canvases preparing for Battersea’s Affordable Art Fair, which took place mid-March. Her intricate oil paintings range from equestrian art commissions to portraiture; the striking image of her sister (pictured behind her, see right) was entered into the BP portrait award. After attending art college as a student, Joanna pursued a career in property development before picking up her brushes again as a full-time artist in 2004. Working from her home in Penge, she snapped up the opportunity to have a studio to create her artwork and now works between two of the workshop’s spaces: one is used to stretch out her canvases while the painting room makes use of a large window of natural light that streams on to her work in progress. ‘In the summer it can feel a bit like a sauna up here,’ she says laughing. ‘But this place seriously changed everything for me. Working at home you can feel quite isolated. I like being able to get creative opinion from other artists.’ www.joannacharlotte.com

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Artisans at the Palace

New kid on the block is furniture restorer Maggie McCarthy who joined the workshops six months ago. She occupies a large room on the lower floor, running her business Boadicea Decorative Antiques with daughter Marie. After scouring local fairs such as Kempton Park, vintage treasures are repaired and polished up for sale at Crystal Palace Antiques on Jasper Road. In a workshop fit to burst with mirrors, tables and chandeliers you can find everything from an art nouveau cocktail cabinet or pair of 19th century gilt weighing scales to an Edwardian writing table – French polished, naturally. ‘It’s all down to cost and what’s in fashion,’ explains Maggie. ‘The shabby chic look is still very popular and it’s all about stripped pine again. When I first arrived at Jasper Road in 2001, there were days when I wouldn’t sell a thing. Now you can’t move for people visiting in search of that statement decorative piece.’ www.boadiceadecorativeantiques.co.uk 28


What do Smash Bang Wallop, Blackbird Bakery, A Torre, and Mediterranea all have in common? Their signs were created by Mick Head, who’s been running Signs Plus from the back of the workshops for the past 20 years. Lettering and frosting, fascia shop fronts, vehicle graphics, logos and PVC banners, Mick can draw, design and hand write the lot. He also adopts an old-fashioned approach for business around the Triangle. ‘We’ve built up quite a personalised association with the Palace and offer a one-to-one service here where locals can just drop into the workshops to discuss their requirements,’ says Mick, who, last year, was joined by signwriter Eddie Bird. Posters have come a long way since the 60s and 70s when ‘shouty’ neon banners were topped with thick black lettering. Nowadays, companies and restaurants in the city are beginning to gravitate back to the artful form of the handwritten sign. ‘When people see you up your ladder handpainting lettering, they realise they want a piece of that too for their own business,’ says Mick. ‘As with everything, we’re constantly fighting costs and working backwards with budgets to keep expenses low.’ He’s playfully referred to as Mickeyboy as he insists he is the youngest member, but as one of the longest-serving residents, how does he find the communal working set up? ‘I’ve seen a lot of change over the years. There used to be a lot more traditional-based crafts here, such as wood carvers and leather workers, but sadly they have moved on or died out. As the workshop is made up of shared spaces, people can feed off each others’ ideas.’ www.signs-plus.co.uk 29


For more information and news on the next Open Studios visit www.gipsyhillworkshops.co.uk

After regular work as a scenic carpenter for film and TV, the workshops offered furniture-maker Hugo Godfrey-Faussett his first chance to grasp the nuts and bolts of self-employment in a free, independent work environment. Using oaks, sycamore, maple and olive ash, you’ll find Hugo crafting tables, garden furniture and bespoke furniture for commercial use, commissioned by contract furnishers who supply furniture to big businesses. He’s also an ardent conservationist which means every piece of furniture is engrained with a philosophy to promote sustainable timbers. Seventeen years after arriving at the workshops, Hugo has become integral to its co-operative setup and links to wider Palace happenings; his involvement ranges from the regular Open Studios and engagement with the Overground Festival to visits from local primary school classes. ‘Nowadays the main appeal of the co-operative nature of the place is variety of art and craft, and of the people involved,’ he explains. ‘We have members who do a wide range of things for the good of us all.’ After a busy morning in the studio, a quick lunch in Crystal Palace can range from Church Road’s Comfort & Joy to a bacon roll at Alastair’s. ‘I’ve grown to love the Palace, it’s changed a lot while I’ve been here, but the fact that you can buy a new bulb for the inside of your fridge 100 yards from where you can buy salami handmade in Tuscany is wonderful!’. www.hgffurniture.com (from summer 2014) email hgf@mac.com for enquiries

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EASTER

SUNDAE PHOTOS BY CATRIN ARWEL WWW.CATRINARWELPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

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Spring print 1930s cowl dress £85 by 20th Century Foxy Violet Betty’s

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Spring print 1930s cowl dress £85 by 20th Century Foxy Violet Betty’s

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As page 33 Sally Anne pastoral scene dress £99 by Vanity Project Violet Betty’s Bubblegum pink 1980s jacket by Guy Laroche £40 Vintagehart

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100% Scottish cashmere 1960s intarsia sweater £55 by Ballantyne Vintage mint green leather belt £7 Vintagehart Fuchsia leather mini skirt Stylist’s own

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Cream Deborah knitted top £37.50 By Collectif Violet Betty’s


Vintage cream wool jacket ÂŁ30 Vintagehart

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Stockists: VIOLET BETTY’S 29 Anerley Road SE19 2AS www.violetbettys.com VINTAGEHART 96 Church Road SE19 2EZ 07949 552926 Hair & Make-Up Charis Tyrrell Stylist Alice Whiting All Easter Egg Jewellery Handmade

Dress Stylist’s own 1960s white patent leather block heel shoes £28 Vintagehart

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In the

KITCHEN

with...

Rachel de Thample asks Smash Bang Wallop owner Liz Clamp a few culinary questions,

finds out about running an independent shop which champions work by artisans and small producers and pinches the recipe for her favourite chocolate indulgence at the same time What kind of cook are you?

Throw the lot in a pot and cross my fingers. My favourite thing to cook is curry. When I was at college I was fortunate to share with an Asian woman and she taught me the basic principles.

Who does most of the cooking in your house?

Sadly me. The other half has produced two recipecooked dishes in 20 years.

What chefs or cooks inspire you the most?

I love reading books by Elizabeth David and Keith Floyd, but in reality I grab a Delia or Nigel Slater recipe.

What favourite comfort food got you through our rainy winter?

Sweat some onions, add some chicken thighs, sausages and carrots for a few mins, then add stock and lentils and a hefty amount of garlic. Season, cover and leave simmering for an hour. Pop some kale on top for three minutes then stir in some creme fraiche. Lovely with a baguette from Blackbird Bakery.

Sounds delicious! Tell me a bit about the shop, what inspired you to open Smash Bang Wallop?

It was all Andy’s (owner & editor of The Transmitter) fault. He was keen on creating a photography gallery so together with a couple of friends (one a graphic designer) we opened one up on Church Road.

It’s got a great name

It is a play on Flash Bang Wallop What a Picture! from the movie Half a Sixpence and we also liked the idea of dinosaurs crashing through the park.

What inspired you to source all the lovely products in the shop?

I began to source a few bits & bobs to supplement photography sales, then we decided to add Palace stuff too like mugs and T-shirts, designed by our friend Nick. I looked for unusual and beautiful pieces to add to the mix, and it slowly grew to become what it is now. 42

Do you know some of the designers/makers?

As somebody who studied Fashion and Textiles it was important for me to be as close as possible to the producers. I know most of the designers and makers and visit them either at their studios or at trade shows, and many visit the shop. It’s important for me to establish good relationships and we can help them too with feedback, marketing and new ideas.

Are there challenges with sourcing the way you do (small, local, artisan, ethical)?

Yes. For the smaller producer it is costly to buy raw materials in huge quantities. I understand this, but it does mean our margins are less than if we went to large wholesalers. It is also difficult trying to ensure goods are fairly traded. Whilst the Fairtrade movement is excellent, it is a cost – not only financially but a time-cost too as it involves a lot of paperwork – that not every small producer can afford to bear.

How do you overcome such challenges?

By asking lots of questions, finding out about the raw materials used, about how and where the goods are made. My simple plea to smaller producers would be this: have a line sheet [a list with the goods, wholesale price and units], work out your wholesale price and only sell at the retail price online.

Can you give me an example of ethical buying you’re currently involved in?

We are very excited about a brand of clothing which will be coming in for autumn. The knitwear has been produced by women who live in far lying villages so they can work at home and do not have to leave their children and community.

And so, to the chocolate: where did your truffle recipe come from?

It was adapted from Willie Harcourt-Cooze

Have you ever given up chocolate for Lent? Never! It’s far too good for you.


Liz Clamp’s

RECIPE

&Truffles Salted

Smoked

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 5 mins Makes: 12-16 250ml double cream 150g caster sugar 180g cacao, finely grated (available in Smash Bang Wallop, or use 2 x 100g bars of dark chocolate and skip the caster sugar) 1 tsp smoked paprika smoked sea salt cocoa powder for dusting

Heat the cream and sugar in a small pan until almost boiling. Stir in the cacao and the smoked paprika then remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the truffle mixture to a plastic container. Sprinkle salt over. Cover and place in the fridge until cold and firm. To shape the truffles, scoop out a teaspoon of the mixture and roll it quickly between your palms. Dust the truffles in cocoa powder – if you like things more spicy, dust with a bit more paprika too – before storing in the fridge until ready to serve. A perfect reward for those bold enough to have given chocolate up for Lent!

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NOW’S THE TIME TO PRUNE THEM ROSES SAYS SUE WILLIAMS

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e’ve had plenty of rain up here in Norwood this winter … no doubt about that. It’s been hard to muster an ounce of enthusiasm to trudge the Hunters out into the garden. But things are at last on the turn. The snowdrops are out and swathes of daffodils are appearing in the local parks. The wateriest glint of sun is enough to tempt the gardener out of doors ... you take what climatey crumbs there are in this sceptred isle. Vita Sackville West, darling to this day of the bookleaning horticulturalist, penned a wonderful poem about Malapert March … When warmth begins to creep Into the soil, as he who handles earth, With his bare hand well knows. And then in safety shall he prune The rose with slicing knife above the bud Slanting and clean, and soon See the small vigour of the canted shoots Strike outwards in their search for light and air, Lifted above the dung about their roots Lifted above the mud. There is a lot of mystery and an equal amount of confusion surrounding the pruning of the rose. Of all the plants in the garden this is one which positively thrives on a bit of tough love. There are a plethora of rules and tips about the right way to prune and a bewildering variety of types of rose to practise on. But in my experience it is very difficult to harm a rose and much better to over prune than fearfully snip away while trying to remember all the rules. Pruning will encourage new growth and bloom, allow air in to circulate and prevent disease and also give you an opportunity to keep the plant in shape. The first flowering of the forsythia is the time to tackle the roses. Left any longer they will throw out too much new growth and make the job harder. For the first couple of years after a rose has been planted it is wise to lightly prune to allow the plant to settle and establish. After this make sure those secateurs are polished, sharp and ready for action. 44

There are some general pruning rules which apply to all roses. Firstly cut out all dead and diseased canes and any weak, twiggy growth – anything that is thinner than a pencil. Dead wood will be greyish with a gnarled and wrinkled bark and needs to be taken out at ground level. Diseased canes are shortened to the first healthy bud where the wood turns from brown to a healthy white. The centre of the rose bush should be fairly open to allow light and air to reach in. Any crossing canes should be removed or shortened and thick masses of canes thinned out. On the remaining stems the cuts should be made at a 45 degree angle about a quarter of an inch above an outward facing bud. This is where those secateurs need to be in tip top condition as a ragged cut can encourage disease. It’s not the end of the world if you are struggling with the whole outward bud thing, the rose will still bloom and flourish. The healthy canes are generally shortened by about one third to one half, although if the rose looks old and tired a more vigorous prune can prove to be a tonic and encourage fresh healthy growth. Where a rose is grafted on to the root stock you are likely to find suckers. These are recognisable from their very straight growing habit with few leaves which tend to look different from the main plant. These stems will not flower but will leech goodness from the main plant so whip them out. Many modern roses are grown from cuttings and suckering is not a problem. After pruning the rose will be thankful of a good mulch round its roots. Horse manure is excellent but not always readily available in these parts so organic peat free compost will do the job. If you have any ashes left over from the fire then these are great for roses too. There are myriad rose types with some marvellous names: damasks, centifolias, moss roses and hybrid perpetuals to name a few. With all types though these general basic rules of pruning will make for a happier, healthier plant. There is an old saying somewhere up in the Lincolnshire Wolds that you ask your worst enemy to prune your roses and that’s not bad advice. Happy Gardening


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CyCLe Corner As the sun starts to warm up and the days get longer, commuting into town on your bike seems like a real fine idea. To help the new commuter navigate safely through the capital, The Transmitter asked a few regular cycling folk to talk us through the basics. The following 10 tips may sometimes seem pedestrian, but with safety at the top of everyone’s agenda, they’re worth a read. Think you’re the perfect commuter cyclist? See what you make of our straw poll of common grievances. 1 BAGGY TROUSERS Lycra isn’t for everyone, but you don’t want errant bits of clothing caught either in your spokes or your chain. The smallest wardrobe malfunction can cause a wobble and take you into the path of another road user 2 BALANCING ACT Dangling your supermarket shop from the handlebars can feel wonderfully insouciant if you’re on the Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire borders, but it’s not a good idea speeding down Anerley Hill with a 358 up your bum. A rucksack or panniers are miles better 3 LOUD & CLEAR Camouflage colours are for blending in, right? You don’t want to blend in, you want everyone to see you. Avoid wearing all black; use lights at twilight. Don’t make yourself invisible 4 ALL EARS You have your five senses for a reason: so you can experience everything around you. If you are lucky enough to have all five working properly, don’t shut one of them off. You wouldn’t blindfold yourself before setting off for work, don’t plug your iPod in either 5 JESUS COMPLEX Just because you are kind to animals you’re not exempt from injury if you don’t pay attention. On a bike you are sharing a road with bulky metal things which are much bigger than you. You are not Thor, you are not invincible. You are flesh and blood. Remember this 6 MIND THE GAP Riding up the inside of stationary lorries or buses is never a good idea: even if it’s not turning left, you cannot be seen. A lorry driver does not want to crush you: always stay back. Never be tempted to squeeze through what seems to be a gap between large vehicles. It’s not a real gap, it’s just a momentary wisp of not-so-fresh air which will vanish in a millisecond 46

7 RED ALERT Every commuter cyclist will say there ARE occasions when not stopping at a red light is perfectly safe. OK, we’ve all done it. But to automatically jump all red lights indiscriminately is reckless and borders on lunacy. Stop showing off. Not only are you a risk to yourself, you are also – much more importantly – a risk to others, be they fellow road users or pedestrians 8 BORIS BIKERS Riding cheerfully through Hyde Park on a Boris Bike on your way to a picnic is one thing, riding around Hyde Park Corner on your way to a meeting is something completely different. Nearly all of our straw poll contributors said they had witnessed men and women in the midst of heavy & congested London traffic wobbling along as if they were in an episode of Downton Abbey, apparently oblivious to the tension they were causing around themselves. If you do sometimes go Boris: get off and walk across big intersections, and on busy roads remember you’re part of a seething mass of cyclists, cars, lorries, buses and motorbikes none of whom know in which direction you are going to wobble next 9 R.E.S.P.E.C.T As in many areas of life, if you’re respectful and courteous towards those around you, that behaviour will mostly be reciprocated. None of the vehicles next to you or behind you know where you are going: slow down, signal, be calm, keep your eyes and ears open. There are as many impatient cyclists as there are impatient drivers: it doesn’t have to be a warzone on our London streets, try not to be the kind of road user who wants to make it into one 10 THE TRACKSTANDER An embarrassment to the entire cycling community, the man – it’s never a woman! – who shows off by not putting his feet down waiting at lights needs to grow up. It’s not big. It’s not clever. And, dude, you look like a dork


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THE BOOKSELLER Atheism, friendship and childhood are just a few of the themes in JONATHAN MAIN’s literary recommendations for spring

P

rofessor Richard Dawkins is travelling by train accompanied by his male secretary Smee to the village of Upper Bottom where he is to give a talk on ‘Science and the non-existence of God’ to the All Bottoms Women’s Institute – Upper Bottom has sibling villages; West Bottom, East Bottom, Lower Bottom, Middle Bottom, Inner Bottom and Great Bottom. Unfortunately for the Professor and his companion their journey is halted at Market Horton (Gateway to The Bottoms) by heavy snow and they are forced to take lodgings for the night with a retired Vicar and his wife. ‘Nice people,’ says Dave their taxi driver. ‘Christians’, complains the Professor bitterly before remembering a motto that he has never spoken before, cordiality always. This then is the premise of When the Professor got Stuck in the Snow by Dan Rhodes (Miyuki Books £12). Rhodes has written eight previous books and, in his own words, ‘won a bunch of prizes including the E M Forster Award’. He finished the book on January 11 and, frustrated that publishing schedules might mean a delay of a year before it came out, decided to publish it himself. Accordingly it is a signed and numbered limited edition of 400 copies and it comes with an end note from the author reiterating that it is of course fiction. It didn’t really happen. It is also ridiculously funny. Two books about rock stars and one written by one. At the centre of Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler (Picador £12.99) – a romantically old-school novel of friendships – is a character who might be based on Bon Iver. Butler went to the same school as him in rural Wisconsin and he writes about Lee, who never gave up on music and who ‘while the rest of us were in college or the army or stuck on our family farms, had holed up in a derelict chicken coop and played his battered guitar in the all-round silence of deepest winter.’ Lee becomes famous. He tours the world, marries a movie star in New York, she leaves him, and he comes home to the town of Little Wing. He is one of four childhood friends along with: Kip a former commodities trader who has also returned to the town to restore the old mill; Henry who has never left, who farms the family farm and is married with children; and Ronny an injured, alcoholic, ex-rodeo rider. Each takes a turn, along with Beth, Henry’s wife, to tell a part of the story that moves along with a cinematic propulsion. It’s going to make 48

a great movie, and if the emotional dependency of the characters to one and other is occasionally oversentimental, it is more than off-set by some wonderfully descriptive writing about the rural Midwest in winter. Theo is ten years old and lives in a mansion on Long Island that may once have been the house that inspired The Great Gatsby. In an attic he finds a cache of photographs, some of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, the Rat Pack around the pool when it was still working. But the pool is no longer working and there is no food in the house save some tins of Fray Bentos pies that get fed to the dogs. Theo misses his dad who is English and a rock star off touring the world. Currently he is in Australia. Theo lives with his grandfather and with Colin who is charged with looking after the two of them, which isn’t easy for Colin because Colin is generally (in the manner of an early 80s rock star-hanger-on) ‘out of it’. More hangers-on roam the house. Theo approaches the pantry looking for food, only to hear ‘sex sounds’ coming from the other side of the door. His glamorous but strung out mother arrives with more hangers-on. Sex noise is everywhere. His father comes home to make a new record at the house, literally propped up by his record company, hanging from the arm of the CEO. He decorates a Christmas tree in one of the big rooms. He lavishes presents on Theo. It isn’t Christmas Theo complains, which is true, but a rock star, one of the most famous people in the world, can have Christmas anytime he likes. Theo by Ed Taylor (Old Street £12) has all kinds of woozy echoes from rock’s catalogue of excesses, and if some of them are naggingly familiar the author’s genius is to refract them through the innocent eyes of a ten year old boy, which he does beautifully. This is a terrific book that transcends its subject matter to become a haunting meditation on childhood. Anybody who can lay claim to having headlined Glastonbury is a rock star in my book and J B Morrison author of The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 (Pan Macmillan £7.99) can claim exactly that, for he is none other than local personage Mr Jim Bob known globally for the popular hit combo Carter USM. The titular Frank lives alone with his cat Bill (Ben having passed away) in the typical British town of Fullwindon-Sea. One day he gets knocked down by a milk float.


This is Jim’s third novel and it’s not out until 5 June, so put a date in your diary – we will be having a party. Another date for your diary is 1 May when Phil Earle’s new book The Bubble Wrap Boy (Puffin £7.99) is published. Little Charlie Han lives above his parents’ Chinese take-away. Life is a series of frustrations on account of his size, or lack of it; that, and his overprotective mum who won’t even let him go to the cinema on his own for fear that he might choke on the popcorn in the dark. But then Charlie discovers skateboarding, which is fine until the day his mum finds out, and then of course it’s not fine at all. Finally, local author and illustrator Gillian Hibbs publishes her first children’s book. In Tilly’s At Home Holiday (Child’s Play £5.99) Tilly is sad because all of her friends are going to exotic places for their holidays and she’s staying at home with her mum, so her mum sets out to show her just how much fun a holiday at home can be. Look out for a certain familiar Central Hill cycle shop on page 5.

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Two Boys Aged 23 or 24 From Illustrations For Fourteen Poems from C.P. Cavafy, 1966-67 Etching, 31½” x 22”

Self Portrait 1954, Lithograph in Five Colors, 11½ x 10¼” Edition: 5 (approximately) © David Hockney

THE HOCKNEY

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Henry At Table 1976, Lithograph, 29¾ x 41¾” Edition: 96, © David Hockney / Gemini G.E.L.

EMPIRE Howard Male studies the small prints in

Dulwich, admiring the technique but wondering if a little bit of soul is missing

W

Lithographic Water Made Of Lines And Crayon (Pool II-B) 1978-80 Lithograph, 29¼” x 34” Edition: 42 © David Hockney / Tyler Graphics Ltd.

alking around the Dulwich Picture Gallery’s David Hockney show of more than 100 etchings, lithographs and – more controversially – inkjet-printed computer drawings, I was struck by how similar in many ways the Yorkshire man’s approach was to the American cartoonist and illustrator Saul Steinberg (featured in a wonderful show at the gallery in 2008). It’s in the formal games the artist plays, around the idea of what a picture actually is (both marks on a flat surface and an attempt to create an illusion of reality). Steinberg toyed with this same dichotomy in a similarly wry, sophisticated manner and with a comparable wit and economy of spidery line. Yet there doesn’t appear to be any record of Hockney acknowledging the New Yorker cartoonist as an influence. Hockney, the younger artist by two decades, must have been aware of Steinberg, so why keep so quiet about him? The answer, I suspect, was Hockney’s Achilles heel: his need to be seen as a fine artist of some significance rather than as a mere illustrator. He thought of Picasso as the greatest artist that ever lived (as did Steinberg), even going so far as to create a couple of prints on the subject (both in the exhibition). In one he stands before a bust of the diminutive Spaniard on a pedestal. In

the other (Artist and Model, 1973-74, Etching), he sits naked opposite him at a table (a diagonally-sprouting palm tree outside the window may be a coy, cheeky reference to his metaphorical state of arousal in the presence of his god). There’s little doubt that Picasso’s shoes were the shoes Hockney wanted to fill, not the clown’s footwear of a mere jobbing cartoonist. One thing that’s clear from the exhibition is how hard Hockney worked over a sixty-year period at this impossible task. However, although one can admire the deft visual games he plays and the cool confidence of his line, there’s little of Picasso’s passion, anger or even sensuality. Hockney sets himself formal and technical challenges and then moves on, yet the pictures themselves rarely transcend their function as mere records of these experiments. Take the swimming pool series. Works such as Lithograph Water Made of Lines and Crayon, 1978-80 are the end result of clearly a great deal of rumination on how best to capture on a two-dimensional sheet of paper the intangible and ever-changing play of light on rippling, undulating, transparent water. But the end results are devoid of mystery, lyricism or any kind of metaphysical resonance that might elevate them above being merely pseudo-diagrams. 51


THE HOCKNEY EMPIRE

Artist and Model 1973-74, Etching, 29½” x 22½” Edition: 100, © David Hockney

Lillies 1971, Lithograph, 29½” x 21” Edition: 35, © David Hockney

The other way Hockney endeavours to prove his worth as successor to Picasso is in his constant search for new ways to make images. This exhibition does an excellent job of showing us how he used the print studio as a laboratory in which to push at the boundaries of what was possible with each technique. Arguably, printmaking offers more formal possibilities than even painting. After decades spent alternating between lithography and etching, more recently he began exploring the possibilities of the iPad and iPhone. The inkjet-printed Rain on the Studio Window, 2009 says it all. One can admire how accurately Hockney has captured the drab misery of Yorkshire drizzle worming its way down a window pane, but it’s hard to get worked up by this flat, muted image. More exciting, perhaps, is the controversy over whether or not computer prints are prints at all (at least a fine art sense). I am in agreement with the curator Richard Lloyd who decided they should be represented in the show. But I don’t think they resonate as an etching of lithograph does. The surface of these works is lifeless, that is there’s nothing satisfyingly tactile about them. The final room surprises with a vivid burst into colour in the form of a number of complex, playful excursions into analytical cubism. Yet once again Hockney falls short in his apparent desire to stand

shoulder to shoulder with Picasso (the co-inventor of cubism). These luminous lithographs are clumsily desperate to please with their multiple perspectives and heightened colour pallet. Yet even the employment of tired tricks such as odd-shaped frames, or frames that the painting itself has invaded (thus blurring the line as to what a painting is), merely show an artist trying all the tricks in the surrealist book only to confirm that less is always more. It’s entirely appropriate that a couple of these garish lithographs are reminiscent of the way New Yorker cartoonists parodied the esoteric language of ‘modern art’ back in the 1950s and 60s, thus giving Steinberg the last laugh. In conclusion, this is a well-organised and much-needed exhibition (Hockney’s prints were rather overlooked by the big Royal Academy show in 2012), in which there is much to admire but not much that truly uplifts.

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Hockney, Printmaker is at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until 11 May 2014 www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk


WHAT’S ON DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY

CRYSTAL PALACE TRIATHLON

IN TOWN LECTURE SERIES

The increasingly popular Crystal Palace Triathlon, voted Triathlon England Race of the Year in 2012, takes place on Sunday 18 May. The event, organised by Crystal Palace Triathletes, comprises a 750m swim in the 50m pool at the National Sports Centre followed by nine laps of a closed circuit on the bike and a two-lap run, both in the park. The race finishes on the track of the sports centre. Local sponsors include Blue Door Bicycles and the Crystal Palace Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre. www.crystalpalace-tri.co.uk

Henry Matisse Thursday 15 May 7.00 for 7.30 pm Lecturer: Alan Wood £12, £10 Friends

GALLERY FILM:

Bar opens at 7pm and screening at 7.30pm £9, £7 Friends includes a glass of wine, snacks and film notes The Country Girl (1954) cert A, 104 mins Monday 14 April Directed by George Seaton, starring Bing Crosby, William Holden and Grace Kelly, who received an Oscar for her role. Winchester ’73 (1950) Cert U, 95 mins Monday 12 May Directed by Anthony Mann with James Stewart, Shelley Winters and early performances from Rock Hudson and Tony Curtis. The classic Western.

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SYDENHAM RECITAL SERIES The Armartis Ensemble 13 April 2014: Gildas String Quartet 11 May 2014: Hannah Sloane cello All concerts are followed with tea and homemade cakes Tickets £8 (concessions £5) available on the door, or please contact the box office info@sydenhamrecitalseries.com


MOTORSPORT AT THE PALACE

LONDON TO BRIGHTON MINI RUN

Sunday 25 May & Monday 26 May

Mini-lovers should make their way to Crystal Palace Park on Saturday 17 May to witness the splendid sight of over 1000 Minis – all different models, colours and ages – getting ready for the annual London to Brighton Mini Run taking place the following morning. As many Mini-owners choose to camp in the park before their early morning departure, there is lots to see. Tickets to participate in the official convoy towards the coast have been sold out for a while, but anyone can go along and check out what’s happening the day before and watch the procession on Sunday morning as the cars leave. Registration opens at 5.30am and the cars will start to wend their way from the terraces to the Anerley Road entrance to the park and out on to the roads at around 8.30am. The official route follows the A23 and finishes along Madeira Drive on the seafront, where all sorts of Minirelated paraphernalia can be browsed or bought.

Motorsport at the Palace returns for its 5th consecutive year at the end of May. A fantastic Spring Bank Holiday spectacle, drivers from all over the country will compete at this historic venue, referred to in its heyday in the 30s and 40s as ‘London’s own circuit’. As well as everyone’s favourite sprint races, this year’s event will include the usual classic car and motorcycle club stands, and the paddock – friendly as always – where visitors can get up close to the racing cars and chat to the drivers. There is a proud history attached to the event: back in the 1990s the Sevenoaks & District Motor Club felt a pang to rekindle the Crystal Palace/racing love affair after decades of motor silence. Their first event in 1997 – described as a ‘high-octane garden party’– was greeted with huge enthusiasm. Even Lotus once chose it as a venue to reveal their latest sports model. A few years of success were followed by a further haitus, but in 2010 the roar of the engines returned when Motorsport at the Palace was officially born. A crowd of over 5000 people thrilled to its speed. It’s a fun family day out as little ones are catered for too with fairground rides and the ever popular Diggerland. £10 adult Under 16s free (but must be accompanied by an adult) www.motorsportatthepalace.co.uk

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THERE’S A WORLD OUT THERE! Howard Male INTRODUCES THE BRAZILIAN GIRLS WHO AREN’T BRAZILIAN AND AN OUTFIT WHO COULD SCATTER A HERD OF DEER

M

y new favourite 21st-century band is the Brazilian Girls. Needless to say, they’re not Brazilian and only one of them is a girl. More distressingly, they appear to have disbanded (their last album was released in 2008). But never mind. I only became aware of their existence because their Italian/German lead singer, Sabina Sciubba, has her debut album released this month, and she’s very good too.

Toujours (Naim Edge Records) is generally speaking a quieter, more reflective affair than the electro-punk Blondie-meets-Magazine-meets-Devo efforts produced by the Brazilian Girls. However, it was engaging and original enough to get me googling her name to find out what she’d previously been up to. The opening track is a shameless retread of the Velvet’s Sunday Morning (emphasised by the fact that Sabina sounds a little like Niko), but from there onwards the influences are harder to pin down. If you like a New York post-punk vibe with a dash of European melancholia and a buzz of krautrock, Sabina’s your bag. The best retro-compilation so far this year has to be the longwindedly-titled Haiti Direct: Big Band, Mini-Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds 1960-1978 (Strut Records). But don’t let that title make you think the contents are too worthy or esoteric to warrant your attention. Just like vintage ska, reggae or cumbia, this funky, swinging polyrhythmic music is accessible, exciting and impossible to not jiggle around to. It’s also the first time there’s been such a thorough and well-annotated compilation of the country’s diverse and lively musical past. The racing, busy percussion sections, squalling saxophones, twanging Shadows-like electric guitar and yearning, crooning vocals keep coming at you over two 70-minute CDs. Cuban rhythms dominate but there’s an intoxicating, hard-to-unravel mix of other influences too. 58

But as much fun as a distant Caribbean country’s steaming, pulsing past might be, we need to get back to the present. As I’ve said before in this column, ‘world music’ is the genre you can rely on for sounds you’ve never heard before. So when I was settling into the dry acoustic twang of plucked ngoni and the rattle and pulse of the djembe on the album Kanou by Mamani Keita (World Village Records), and suddenly a highly distorted guitar entered the fray, like a lion leaping into a herd of deer, I was delighted. But could this unlikely and challenging juxtaposition work for a whole album? Yes, because Malian singer Mamani Keita’s measured but assertive vocals act as the necessary bridge between the two worlds of tradition roots music and western rock. It also helps that the carefully measured rock guitar licks are provided by one-time Bamako Rail Band member Djeil Moussa Kouyate. Finally to one of those multi-cultural bands which world music often throws up. I confess that such well-intentioned acts can become wearing in the way they invariably play a mixture of reggae, ska, Afrobeat and rock while struggling – and often failing – to forge their own unique sound. Fortunately this isn’t the case with La Chiva Gantiva and their second album Vivo (Crammed Discs). Three Colombians, two Belgians, a Frenchman and a Vietnamese could be the opening line of a convoluted, racist joke but it’s actually the lineup of this powerhouse of a band. Spiky rock and funk guitar goes into battle against a variety of Latin and African grooves, call-and-response horns, sparse bass guitar interjections and a vocalist who is partying like it’s 1977 while also delivering the occasional rousing politically-motivated rap in Spanish. One critic said that he was sure the late, great Joe Strummer would have approved. He’s probably right.


Astrofact

It is humanity’s shared destiny to be instinctively attracted to bums, but only a strange chosen few are further drawn to what comes out of them.

ARIES The Ram

Mar 22 - Apr 20

Easter is a sacred time for believers because it is when the Easter bunny was crucified. God then laid a chocolate egg from his hot cross buns before the baby Jesus was resurrected to hatch the Easter chick after healing the unwashed multitude with the holy sweets. Less than worshipfully, you merely use this sanctified season to bribe your children to behave with huge amounts of cheap chocolate. A biblical torrent of sick is forecast.

TAURUS

GEMINI

The Bull

The Twins

The Crab

Apr 21 - May 21

May 22 - Jun 21

Jun 21 - Jul 22

You tend to hide your talents under a bushel. However, you then stand next to the bushel gesticulating and pointing wildly whilst shouting: ‘Look, look everyone, under the bushel - see how great I am.’

A quadruple conjunction of Mars, the Moon, Jupiter and Mercury in Orion represents a tricky time for you at present, but remember: when life gives you lemons, feed them to babies. They make hilarious faces.

You are superficial, immature and emotionally myopic. As a result you shun messy human relationships and await a future of robotic sex slaves. Ironically, they go on sale in the year of your death.

SCORPIO

SAGITTARIUS

CAPRICORN

The Hunter

The Archer

The Goat(ee)

Oct 24 - Nov 21

Nov 22 - Dec 21

Dec 22 - Jan 20

Financial forethought is crucial. Future scientists create modified fat cells which, when ingested as a spreadable food, migrate only to genetically targeted areas of the body. I predict that Busty Butter is the brand to invest in.

I’ve been spiritually channelling your cat and the overwhelming sentiment he is desperate to communicate to you is one of constant irritation and embarrassment at your casual nudity around the house.

Your overpowering aspiration is to achieve order and this is reflected in your cold calculating demeanour. You treat life seriously and take no delight in the flesh. For you, an adult self pleasurement device merely represents just another thing you have to keep clean.

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CANCER


Easter Celebrity Birthdays: Because they’re better than you

Robert Downey Jr April 4th Mercurial cast Iron man lead actor Chaplin Charlie snorting Alloy McBeal golden globe sobered Sherlock copper. Steven Tyler March 26th Shouty pouty mock rock shrunken head. Quentin Tarantino March 27th Lizard lipped Pulp reservoir.

Keira Knightley March 26th Pale skin pirate siren chin. Lady Gaga March 28th Erotic pop art glam eccentric poker meat wearing wig icon. Jackie Chan April 7th Hong Kong Kung Fu fun do stunt man 2 Rolf Harris March 30th Didgeridont

LEO

VIRGO

LIBRA

The Lion

The Virgin

The Scales

Jul 23 - Aug 22

Aug 23 - Sep 22

Sep 23 - Oct 23

Lonely Leos finally turn to speed dating this month in a desperate attempt to mate, but with little success. Mostly because you look at potential partners the same way you look at bacon.

Life is a blank canvas but so far you’ve only drawn a lazy doodle of a classic cock and balls in the top left corner. To find success in life, become a 70s abstract artist: get spiritually naked, mix your metaphoric pigment and flick it like Pollock having a seizure.

Your future chart illustrates an increasing personal love affair with costly cosmetic surgery. Ultimately this only serves to make you look like you have permanently just seen the bill for it.

LIMERICK

AQUARIUS The Water Carrier

PISCES The Haddock

Jan 21 - Feb 21

Feb 22 - Mar 21

In a tragically rash effort to regain a sense of your young virile and impulsive selves, you and your partner attempt the very latest sexual position: ‘froggie style’, but somewhat lamentably you only just manage a rudimentary ‘toad in the hole’.

Whilst polishing my crystal balls tomorrow, I observe a most lucid vision of your future. A large cabin deep in the woods. Warm sunlight dapples the decked porch where you recline with a tall drink and a half grin. You’ve only just turned forty and you have the body of an eighteen year old. In the basement freezer.

A Mystic whose crystal balls bulged, found the future was seldom divulged. Despite using lotion, rubbed in with slow motion, He saw little…. but often indulged.

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Astrofact: Architect couples who design and build faultlessly chic minimal dwellings always become the ugliest things in them.

Leonard Nimoy March 26th Sharp-eared, bowl-cut mixed race Trek star.


Addict

THEY’RE COMING

BY ECONOMY CUSTARD

by Pip Irkin-Hall

Endorphins. Withdrawal. Craving. Mood elevating, badly behaving. Seeds dried and fermented. Charlie from the factory, tempted? Into addiction you stickily slide, tempered, conched, emulsified. Chunk by chunk your modus operandi, 80% psychoactive crack candy. Central American contraband. Chronic adrenal dependency gland. Drooling you salivate, smack on your lips, melts in your mouth and fattens your hips. Luxurious ecstasy, opulent mouthfeel, chocoholic opioids, sealing your deal. A cheeky line, one more, then another crossed. Hundreds and thousands the personal cost. Freebase the ganache, snort the Cacao, clockwork chocolate orange meow meow. Totally Wonka’d - jacked on Curly Wurly. The best legal high, over too prematurely. @ ECONOMYCUSTARD | ECONOMYCUSTARD.CO.UK

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© SIMON SHARVILLE 2014


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ILLUSTRATION BY KARIN DAHLBACKA

Cut out and keep


The Transmitter Issue 31  

Spring Issue A South London Magazine

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