Thursday, 26 September 2013

Illumination of the Sleeping Hound

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Disturbed slumber of the conversing sheep...

Well alright, Byron didn't actually mention anything whatsoever to do with 

'conversing sheep" but my previous excursion to a pre dawn Houndtor certainly provided me
 with that very scenario.Picture the scene, the air was still and black, a damp and clammy 
aura shrouded the sleeping granite asI made my way slowly towards the summit 
within the small dim arc of light which emanated from
my slight and woefully inappropriate torch. The unnatural stillness was apparent

 on reaching the top of the rise which was now being slightly illuminated from the bright 
orange strip of light which had appeared along the border of the eastern horizon.
I placed my tripod expectantly on the cold grass which bubbled up freezing dew around the 
feet wetting the rubber tips. Similarly my own feet were now soaking up the moisture as 
I shifted uncomfortably from one leg to the other and fumbled with the camera to place it into
the quick release plate. Once happy with the relevant settings to grab an image of the new 

day I placed one eye to the viewfinder to set the composition.
"Achoo" came the sound somewhere off in the blackness behind me. I stood immediately 

bolt upright and stared off into the darkness. Was I not alone?
I switched on my now struggling torch and waved it in the direction of the sound. Before
me the eyes of dozens of sheep were lit up from my beam, dazed and surprised as they
awoke from their evening 's slumber. "Oh.....sheep!" I whispered to myself and hurriedly 

returned to my task at hand. Replacing my eye to the viewfinder there was in interesting 
development, "achoooo............bless you!" 
This time I span round so quickly it almost sent my camera crashing into cold
sodden earth. My torch again cast its beam amongst my wooly neighbours, but this time
I couldn't believe what I was witnessing.
The hundred or so sheep were standing...standing upright on TWO LEGS. As I strained 

my eyes to seeI noticed that most of them were holding cups and saucers, obviously very 
fine bone china cups and saucers. A large black and grey sheep was walking 
amongst them with quite literally the largest teapot that I have ever seen, a teapot with a 
picture of blue and orange flowers on the side. "One lump or two.?..two?...there we go, the 
crumpets shall be here shortly, I bid you good lump or two?"
I stood open mouthed not believing the sight which was unfolding before me when all
of a sudden....complete blackness descended, my torch had given up the fight.
What seemed like an eternity passed when the blackness was replaced with a warm 

glowing light, the black and grey sheep was now holding a large red plastic torch and
was walking in my direction. "Pound shop?" he enquired...."eh?" came my feeble reply.
"Pound shop" he nodded towards my torch "batteries, usually a false economy
I might add, I normally buy good quality full strength ones as it saved an
unnecessary trip into town every five minutes......tea?"

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth was a dream.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Conspiracy of the Artisans

"I say...that's a nice camera" the man said. "Yes,, thank you" I hastily replied
to the inappropriately dressed gentleman as I tried to photograph the rapidly darkening
panorama which was visually fading before me. "Do you sell many?" he went on 
"do you use art galleries to......." he tailed off. Turning, my narrow eyed hard stare reduced him
 to inappropriately dressed stone as the very word caused me to drop my lens cap into
a muddy pool with a delicate 'splop'.


'Thank you Miss Vanstone for the disc of your work. You are very obviously talented and
have produced some amazing paintings , illustrations and photographs, however.........'
yes....HOWEVER. It is funny how galleries love to use the word however at approximately 
half a paragraph or three lines in to their thoughtlessly written replies to my request to
exhibit within their hallowed walls. I have now concluded that there is some form of
conspiracy afoot when regarding such institutions of exposition.
'We consider that your work isn't exactly what we are looking for at the moment' came the 
last reply. "Right then" I said to my friend and ally "let's go and have a look at what exactly
 they do consider to be 'what they are looking for' with their current show." 

As we walked into the very grand hall, the curator type person seemed to immediately
have issues with our...ahem, let's say appearance (the frosty up and down glance is
a dead giveaway.) She smiled a half smile and then buried her head back into a copy of 
Hello magazine probably hoping that the two lurking extras from a Tim Burton film will 
very quickly go away.
I was immediately drawn to a very large canvas of a badly painted landscape in oils. The 
accompanying literature showed a photo of the artist with a smug expression equally 
badly painted across his face which rested on one hand whilst holding a 
paintbrush in the other (just in case we failed to realise that he was an artist I imagine)
He was from some posh art school, apparently classically trained and a member
of a 'guild'....they are always members of 'guilds'. I just pulled a face and shrugged
at the inevitability of exhibiting such an inane and indifferent piece of artwork and 
was just about to walk away...........then I saw the price. "Seven thousand pounds!" I yelled,
a yell that echoed around the large space, a yell which also prompted grumpy
curator lady to gaze back up from her magazine with a very surly "ssshhhhh."
"Don't you ssshhh me" I surprisingly found myself replying "art galleries are
meant for public viewing and therefor public criticism....I choose to criticise this by
Eventually the grumpy curator responded "you can't tell me that you dislike
Mr. ********s work, he's a genius". I went in for the kill "I am inclined to agree with you,
he is quite obviously a genius, I mean, it takes a genius to slap a price tag of seven
thousand pounds on a puerile, badly painted, self indulgent pile of rubbish such as that"
I went on "and furthermore, the gallery shows equal signs of genius as they stand 
to make a tidy sum from commission once somebody with little taste and a large
bank balance purchases the horrid oil daubing". Again, silence.
"I think you two should leave"......."we're going anyway". 

As I packed my tripod into the bag, the inappropriately dressed man was still talking,
"that's an amazing view, do you live locally?" I looked up from my activities "yes it
is and yes I do." By now he was showing visual signs of stage one 
hypothermia "amazing, amazing....blimey it's cold isn't it?"
I smiled and replied "yes indeed it is amazing and bearing in
mind that this is Dartmoor, it's dusk, it's not quite Easter and you are splendidly attired in
shorts and flipflops, well yes I imagine that it is indeed very cold...well certainly
for your goodself.......goodbye!" and with that I walked back to my car.