Fragile

Tombstone in the woods with Fragile inscribed on it

Visitors who walk through the woodland at Ian Hamilton Finlay’s old home, Little Sparta, in Scotland, happen upon a mossy tombstone placed at an angle between the ferns. Like many of Little Sparta’s artworks – paths, blocks, even beehives – it bears an inscription.  Continue reading

J. W. Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs: A Modern Debate

The Manchester Art Gallery recently removed what is probably their best-loved painting ‘to prompt conversation’. The story of Hylas and the Nymphs dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans and has come down to us in a variety of tellings which means the story can be interpreted more than one way. I like J.W. Waterhouse’s painting of the subject and was sorry to learn it had been taken from view.

Controversy was intensified by this Guardian interview with the curator Claire Gannaway which included the quote:

“We think it probably will return, yes, but hopefully contextualised quite differently. It is not just about that one painting, it is the whole context of the gallery.”

By the time my sweetheart and I called in to the gallery earlier this week, the picture had been replaced, now above a sea of post-it notes.

People looking at a Pre-Raphaelite painting with post-it messages

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Piglet Demonstrates Air Sneck

A soft toy with his nose in the air

Some silences are companionable; others, less so.

Do you ever signal the fact of your being offended by lifting your nose towards the heavens, pursing your lips, and adopting the mock saintly expression of one cruelly mistreated, misunderstood (or both)? My sweetheart and I do. At first we used to ignore this haughty little signal, with predictable consequences, but a few years ago, we worked out a plan.    Continue reading

Discover Challenge: Tough Questions

Should anyone have the freedom to kill in the name of a cause in a world where we can’t agree on the cause; where one person’s idea of victory is another’s bitterest loss?

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The recent attacks in [it seems most apt to leave the reader to fill in this gap] are no more – though not a jot less – than one in a list of atrocities that have shaken me since I was just about old enough to understand that something was wrong. The nightly TV news was running stories about men being kneecapped in front of their children, and young lovers being tarred and feathered just over the sea: I, being British, was implicated in it.  Continue reading

Lost in Translation: What’s Your Ideal of Beauty?

Strange advert for face cream

I’ve had this picture of a real advert for about a year now and haven’t known whether I should share it. It’s the kind of humour we British are genetically programmed to love, bless our hearts. Most of the original copies will have been recycled by now but because I can’t help looking at adverts from a return on investment perspective, and I carry my camera to record treats or  surprises, it’s preserved here.  Continue reading

On Being Distractingly Sexy

An eminent scientist, Sir Tim Hunt, speaking at a conference in Korea about his ‘trouble with girls’ observed: “Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.” 

The scientific community has been responding on Twitter under the hashtag #distractinglysexy. It’s a lot of fun and the perfect way to show us a glimpse into their working lives. I’ll let these ladies speak for themselves:
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