A warm weekend

What glorious weather we have been having! — Over the weekend I took the opportunity of indulging in the guilty pleasure of gardening (how dull and middle aged is that?) as we knock the back garden into shape for summer. The 99p shop and Crusons offered a good range of materials for planting and developing the garden, supplemented by a trip to B&Q on the Old Kent Road.

On Sunday we went to the Hogarth exhibition at the Tate which (going into pretentious chin stroking art mode here) offered the perfect complement to the Canaletto in England exhibition that we had previously seen at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

On the way home we had the pleasure of stopping at the Riverside Youngs pub in the new St Georges development in Vauxhall, SW8. Our lunch (two main courses, one bottle of wine) came to £53 (including ‘optional’ 12.5% service charge) which caused a sharp intake of breath as it is significantly more than what we pay for two two-course meals and wine in Mozzarella e Pomodores, Safa or the New Dewanian in SE5. After that we swiftly took the 436 back to Camberwell for drinks in the glorious garden of the Sun and Doves or the ‘Sex and Drugs’ as it is sometimes called in our house.

Nothing much happening in the news Camberwell-wise. Vaguely connected to the area is the news that Somerfield’s PR company had difficulties distinguishing between Christmas and Easter -Store gets egg on its face over Christ’s Easter ‘birth’ — which to my cynical mind is actually better for Somerfield as this way they get far more press attention than if they had released the correct version.

47 thoughts on “A warm weekend”

  1. so how middle aged are you then?
    I’m a bit confused about this, middle age used to be late 40–60’s , now it is banded about for people in their 30’s. It doesn’t give you long to be young does it? you are a kid into your 20’s , then less than 10 years later you become middle aged. People are living to 90 or so now surely that moves the band on — with 40 being the new 30 etc.
    Surely your 30’s & even 40’s are the prime of life, your intellectual faculties are finally working properly — your body hasn’t gone into terminal decline, best still the generation gap allows us to feel smug about the young wankers in their 20’s!
    Dave Cameron was getting a lot of publicity for his youth a while back — now is derided as middle aged — a smug rich old etonian opportunist out of touch with society he may be, middle aged he ain’t.
    Middle age was described by my Grandad as ‘some where between a young shit and an old fart. Not a pleasant place to be’

  2. But how great not to still be a young shit and not yet to be an old fart! perfect. Except for the achey joints and lingering hangovers. And a longing for Waitrose to replace Somerfield. Now that’s middle aged.

  3. Yes I have often thought that it would be great if Waitrose could move into the Butterfly Walk centre — it would be an ideal fit as Waitrose generally go for smaller shops and generally close at 8pm. We can dream…

  4. Yes and the demographics around Camberwell Green no-doubt dovetail perfectly with Waitrose’s brand image as opposed to, say Dulwich Village.

  5. Well I know its a pipe dream but I imagine there are similar demographics to Camberwell in the area around Holloway Road, N7 but there is a Waitrose supermarket there

  6. yes if I was Waitrose i’d want to target Camberwells predominantly ABC1 consumer base instead of those methadone swilling scum over there at Dulwich Village

  7. Waitrose own-brand methadone is doubtlessly far superior, and organic and fair-trade to boot.

  8. thats a great idea jozza
    maybe we should get onto the Cali Cartel about
    their use of pesticides in coca production, as the organic element could be an important marketing tool for them.

  9. Mumu, it’s a shame when people feel defensive when they mention the word art. What’s pretentious about enjoying an art exhibition?
    It’s a shame that a Sun reader mentality has brought those interested in art to balk at saying the word out of fear of a reactionary ‘you call that art’ sheep herd mentality. We need more chin stroking and less ignorance.

  10. I agree — I think I had visions that I might come across like Brian Sewell so thought better to make a joke of it.

    As you say its a great shame that art is not appreciated by everyone but is only appreciated by certain sections of society (overwhelmingly white, middle class) and held in ridicule/comtempt by others or seen as not for them.

    It would be interesting to know how many of either of the Tates’ vistors come from the tower blocks of Camberwell and what can be done to break down any real or perceived barriers to the art.

  11. There is certainly nothing effete or pompous about Hogarths art, however a lot of the ‘art’ at the Tate Modern could accurately be called ‘Bollocks’ and about as much use to society as tits on a bull.

  12. Mumu — I don’t think art is for everyone, or that it necessarily should be — in the same way that opera isn’t, or philisophy, or chemistry. It takes a bit of work.

    bunbohue — what a stupid generalisation

  13. Art?

    1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
    2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.
    3. a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
    4. the fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: art and architecture.
    5. any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art; industrial art.
    6. (in printed matter) illustrative or decorative material: Is there any art with the copy for this story?
    7. the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning: the art of baking; the art of selling.
    8. the craft or trade using these principles or methods.
    9. skill in conducting any human activity: a master at the art of conversation.
    10. a branch of learning or university study, esp. one of the fine arts or the humanities, as music, philosophy, or literature.
    11. arts, a. (used with a singular verb) the humanities: a college of arts and sciences.
    b. (used with a plural verb) liberal arts.

    12. skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature.
    13. trickery; cunning: glib and devious art.
    14. studied action; artificiality in behavior.
    15. an artifice or artful device: the innumerable arts and wiles of politics.
    16. Archaic. science, learning, or scholarship.

    I think there’s something for everyone in there. Poncing about galleries and talking cr@p on the other hand is reserved for a select few.…

  14. yes BB333 it is stupid , but so is a lot of art.
    Just because artists, art dealers and art historians believe the work of certain arts to be of consequence and relevancy to society does not mean that it is necessarily so. After all it is an industry to self promote and aggrandise itself, not to benefit its viewers or patrons — although that might be a consequence.
    Art is purely subjective — even look back to Platonic philosophy for a discussion of art & athestics.

  15. Personally, I’m a written word person, rather than graphic art. I don’t get alot of the paintings I see and tend to miss the message. I recently visited a gallery in Seville and was struck by how many religious paintings there are there. I had the same feeling when I went to the Louvre. Placing them in context of their time of production and the fact that almost all were either commissioned by the Church, or those that wanted a leg-up to the ever-after, helps me to understand why our species spent so much time painting pictures of long gone saints.
    Gilbert & George leave me colder still.

  16. Art is not supposed / intended to be of any ‘use’ to society. It’s not a DIY manual or self-help book.

  17. Where would we be without self-help books?!

    What is art “supposed / intended” to be?

  18. Up creeks without paddles. Nowt wrong with self-help books. They serve a purpose. They are helpful. As are DIY manuals (sometimes) and even Ikea diagram instruction puzzles (eventually).

    Art is just what it is. It’s personal. Whatever it is is what it is. It’s not a functional thing.

  19. Art cannot be functional? What about the Eiffel Tower?

    As for self help books then most of them are pseudo-scientific clap-trap. They are not to be confused with text books and manuals.

  20. so why is it of any value than?
    BB333 seems to think that the value of art is self evident ( for reasons that most other people cannot fathom ) and many examples deserve to be derided for the elitist and self absorbed wank that it often is.

  21. I am not intending to either defend or criticise the effectiveness of self-help books or instruction manuals in fulfilling their purposes whatever they might be.
    Art can fulfill many purposes and be many things to many people.
    My point was just that i dont think art NEEDs to be of any ‘use to society’. It doesnt have to justify itself.

    Not sure how functional the Eiffel Tower is though. You go up it and look off the top. Or whether it’s art. but then everything is art. and nothing is. I think.

  22. Now that ‘post-modernism’ is seeming like an increasingly jaded expression, I was pondering that “Abstractive Dadaism” might be a more accurate means by which to negotiate the contemporary.

    @bunbonhue; But a lot of good art is itself a satire on “the elitist and self absorbed wank that it often is”. If you pooped into a tin can and sold it for a million quid, and the *art* bit was that you could poop into a tin can and some pretentious sucker would still buy it, doesn’t that make it a fairly good commentary on the ridiculous nature of contemporary art? (Duchamp’s urinal installation, Dali signing blank pieces of paper and giving them away etc etc).

    Personally I love a bit of art. I have almost zero idea what most of it means, or is intended to mean. But I’m often blown away by the amount of skill, talent, wit or just cheekiness that I get to experience by going into art galleries, and leaving my “it’s all a load of bollocks mate” baggage at the door.

  23. I know what you are saying, my dear squidder, a lot of great C2Oth art from Dada to the Situationalists is all about exposing the hippocracy and orthodoxies of the art world (& indeed society at large) but is not the “it’s all a load of bollocks mate” reaction a perfectly valid one? It is quite natural to mock that which we do not understand.

  24. I reckon you can only get away with dismissing something once you’ve worked past your initial kneejerk rejection and tried to experience it. (hey, i used to knock people taking acid until i tried it!)

    It’s too easy to just go to the pub, or watch the telly or whatever. I don’t like a lot of the art that i see, but i reckon it’s good for me to try and get into it. Otherwise I really would just sit around listening to the Pogues, watching CSI and drinking henieken every night. And no-one wants that!

    I’m lucky in the sense that old Buk333 lets me know when the better art stuff is on and he’s good at explaining it in a way that avoids any of the “chin stroky wankiness”. Next time summat good’s on, you should come with us to see it. There’ll probably be free beer as well, which definitely helps the eye!

  25. Alan — congratulations for using a dictionary.

    bunbohoe — “BB333 seems to think that the value of art is self evident”

    I don’t recall saying that.

    Yes, a lot of art is stupid and there are a lot of charlatans posing as artists and a lot of critics and curators out there with vested interests to promote and canonise bad art.
    I never said it was all great.
    In the same way that I choose to listen to certain kinds of music, or read certain kinds of books, I also have preferences when it comes to art and don’t generalise it as being all this or all that.
    I just thought it ignorant to dismiss all of the art works exhibited in Tate Modern as being bollocks. That is equivalent to saying that an artist can only be good when dead.

    So it’s fine to regard Hogarth as being alright because he paints pictures that you can easily understand but bad when an artist nowadays tries to reflect the society they find themselves in using the technical means available to them.

    I think Rugby and football are a load of bollocks. I can’t relate to watching men chasing a ball around a pitch. I don’t attempt to get into a discussion about it though, as I have no clue about it. It is what it is.

  26. bukowski333- I said that a lot of the Tate modern stuff could be called bollocks,( not all & that it could be, not was). I guess that I was trying to wind you up to provoke more interesting dialogue, as we have had- I must say a lot more interesting than property price discussions etc.
    Definitely up for cultural & beer related pursuits squidder

  27. Who cares about Art when Damien Hirst was spotted getting out of a chauffer driven black limo in Warner Road last week?

  28. Buck- “congratulations for using a dictionary”? Is that an attempt to expose me for plagiarising dictionary.com? I doubt anyone else thought I’d just written my own definition of art but I’ll use quotation marks and references to avoid confusing you in future.

    Jozza- the Eiffel Tower functions as a radio transmitter. Something to do with longtitude measurement. It’s all on wikipedia- I don’t want to upset Buck by passing off knowledge as my own.

    Mark- So Hirst is loaded “money can’t buy me love” you know. (The Beatles Buck) That said in Grimsby for £25 you can get drunk, get fish and chips and get a hand-shandy from one of the lasses in Riby Square on the way home so a little bit of spendo is useful.

    bunbohue — did you say “property price” now you’re being interesting. All this talk of art is definitely inflationary. Keep it up.

    Jozza (again) — I have just sent of for ‘Instant Confidence’, ‘Change your life in seven days’ and ‘I can make you thin’- they are all by Paul Mckenna. Watch this space for a new me!

  29. oOOh la la…

    I admit that self-helps book was a bad example because they don’t necessarily serve any purpose as they are generally a load of bollox and i’m sure don’t achieve anything (i hope they do for you Alan) but i stick to my view that art doesnt have to serve any purpose and that aything can be seen as art and the wankiness of any artist/art-critics etc is irrelevent to art in general and to any enjoyment that comes from it.

    But i’m very happy you’re on the road to self-discovery Alan, and reassured to know that when you’re tired of self-help you can get a Grimsby lass to help you out on the cheap.

    Any useful local tips to share?

  30. Can’t believe you backtracked on self help?! I was hoping that seven days from now I’d be as thin as a rake and in your face overbearing courtesy of Paul Mckenna. Now I think I’ve wasted about thirty quid.

    No local tips but I would recommend a sunny Sunday in Skegness.

  31. Keep hoping.. (i’m sure there’s a book to help you with that too).
    Perhaps you could create a (purposeless) art installation out of the books and sell it on e‑bay for millions?

  32. Alan — “Is that an attempt to expose me for plagiarising dictionary.com?”


    It was a comment on your contribution

  33. Buck, Buck, Buck, Buck, Buck! There is no need for all this snyde vagueness. Stop pulling your punches. I’ve got an iron chin- hit me. What’s your beef?

  34. However apt it may seem that was accidental use of a Danish word. I have just been on dictionary.com again- sorry, I meant snide.

  35. Pork sword, beef bayonet, mutton dagger…

    The Reader’s Digest survey of the best and worst places to bring up children in the UK was reported on the BBC website today, kinda interesting.

    In the nice country to live in survey, Danish folk don’t expect much so they are not disappointed with their country. They sold their empire, some Caribbean islands, to America long ago — they are now the Virgin Islands. They are not over-ambitious

    Camberwell does not figure in the worst places to bring up children, but Lewisham does. So does North Lincolnshire, Hull, Haringey, Hastings with the worst place to read kids in the UK being Reading.

    The common thread is a good sense of community in the best places. A lot of Camberwell has some of that, when it comes to the parent-kid community, I’d say.

  36. Dagmar said “The Reader’s Digest survey of the best and worst places to bring up children in the UK was reported on the BBC website today, kinda interesting.”

    My point is. Why have them in the first place?

  37. Should that be Margaret? If so then no wonder you don’t advocate having children when your son is an arms dealer.

    But surely you’re proud of Carol? She really showed us the importance of a stiff upper lip on I’m a Celebrity.

  38. Alan Dale said,

    “Should that be Margaret?”

    Good lord no! I wouldn’t want to be compared with her.

  39. There are more children conceived on warm weekends than at any other time. Soon, there will be more children than people.

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