Friday, 30 November 2012

Call Unto Your Remembrance the Month of May

Studying a course on Middle English literature may sound pretty dull. But the coffers of the literary canon offer up a rich wealth of texts, which display the most modern of techniques; polyglot, intertextual, poetical and memorable, works such as Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte Darthur deserve ressurection.

The Arthur legend identifies itself as a story which engenders and expects reproduction, spawning a variety of imitations, from TV to film, children's cartoons and art. Ploughing its pages, you can see why. It is chronicle of epic proportions, at once romance, tragedy and quest. Yet the most notable, and most reproduced, aspect of the tale is the illicit love-affair between Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot.

As she fled fast thro' sun and shade,/ The happy winds upon her play'd,/ Blowing the ringlet from the braid./ She look'd so lovely, as she sway'd/ The rein with dainty finger-tips,/ A man had given all other bliss,/ And all his worldly worth for this,/ To waste his whole heart in one kiss/ Upon her perfect lips.

From Alfred Tennyson's Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere.

Tennyson accurately exemplifies the potent, all-or-nothing nature of Lancelot and Guinevere's love. In tempests or breezes, war or peace - their love is the singular constant. Lancelot rescues her from any danger, and forgoes the advice of his noblest companions to unite with his lover. 

'I dread me sore that your going this night shall wrath us all' - Sir Bors.

Sir Thomas Malory - Le Morte Darthur.

When their affair is discovered the Round Table is blown apart. A bloody and devastating war is enacted between King Arthur and Lancelot; ranging two countries, consuming uncountable bodies and severing the closest bonds of brotherhood and fellowship. When the war is won and the King is dead, one expects the lovers to be happily reunited. Yet Malory, unwilling to present a satisfying conclusion amidst such blood and shame, thwarts our epistemophilia. 

'And therefore, Sir Lancelot, I require thee and beseech thee heartily, for all the love that ever was betwixt us, that thou never see me no more in the visage. [...] For as well as I have loved thee heretofore, my heart will not serve now to see thee, for through thee and me is the flower of kings and knights destroyed'.

- Malory

Many critics have keenly attacked Malory's paratactic style, noting his sparseness and directness as a result of his limited ability. Yet, Malory's clean, simple style works so effectively at poignant moments such as this. Superfluous words and flourishing imagery would damage Guinevere's sentiment. The King is dead, the Round Table is disbanded - there is no possibility of recovery. The only possible salvation is not to be found in this world, but in heaven; Guinevere resigns herself to that end, renouncing earthy delight and human love, for the love of a higher power.

Following Guinevere's death, Lancelot, unable to sustain himself without her, promptly dies too. It is a familiar construct, yet Malory figures the twin deaths in such beautiful, simple and memorable prose, which arguably rivals (or even overshadows) the hyperbolic death-scenes of later writers such as Shakespeare. Malory concludes his epic chronicle with the exquisite, yet harrowing image of Lancelot smiling on his death-bed. Done with all the war, strife and shame of the mortal world, our protagonists enter another realm, one which remains necessarily unseen and incomprehensible.

'So when Sir Bors and his fellows came to his bed, they found him stark dead; and he lay as he had smiled, and the sweetest savour about him that ever they felt'. 

- Malory

Although we are deprived of the expected happy ending, Lancelot's smile signals that all may not be lost. From the gutted wreck of England, and the shattered splinters of the Round Table, a glimmer of hope and redemption shines forth. 'True' love, whatever that may be, transcends corporeal ties - residing somewhere we cannot possibly know, until like Lancelot and Guinevere, we succumb to death. 

'I liken love nowadays unto summer and winter; for like as the one is cold and the other hot, so fareth love nowadays. And therefore all ye that be lovers, call unto your remembrance the month of May, like as Queen Guenivere; for whom I make here a little mention, that while she lived she was a true lover, and therefore had a good end'. 

- Malory

All about Kate

This week everyone has been talking about the release of Kate Moss' debut book, Kate: The Kate Moss Book. She has been around since she was 14 years old, and she is probably the most recognised face in the model industry. So why not publish a book to celebrate the success of her career?

Here is a little sneak peak.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Words of the week

Call yourself alive? Look, I promise you

that for the first time you’ll feel your pores opening

like fish mouths, and you’ll actually be able to hear

your blood surging through all those lanes,

and you’ll feel light gliding across the cornea

like the train of a dress. For the first time

you’ll be aware of gravity

like a thorn in your heel,

and your shoulder blades will ache for want of wings.

Call yourself alive? I promise you

you’ll be deafened by dust falling on the furniture,

you’ll feel your eyebrows turning to two gashes,

and every memory you have—will begin

at Genesis.

— “Temptation,” Nina Cassian (translated from Romanian by Brenda Walker & Andrea Deletant

My Favourite Book by Rosemary Ellen Cherry, Age 24 years and 3/4

Throughout the term in Epigram's Art section we have been asking local people who work in the arts sector to select their favourite book and explain the impact it has had on their life.  In favour of democracy, I have decided it is now my turn to do so and would like to introduce From Above, by Paule Saviano.

This is what it looks like sitting on my bed:

Side One (English):

And side Two (Japanese):

From Above is ostensibly a photography book. The images tell the stories of survivors of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of second world war, along with survivors of the horrific firebombings of Tokyo and Dresden and the Bikini Incident.  

Aside from the beautiful black and white photographs, the book itself is a very lovely object.  Slid carefully out from its grey record-sleave cover, it is a spaghetti-eater's nightmare.  A sea of never ending white, carefully hand-printed on to, it should probably never have come near me as I am renowned for spilling at least three different types of liquid on myself before breakfast has even begun.  

But come near me it did, in a special package from Tokyo ('Is there anything more exciting than international mail?' said the girl who spends her life on email).  It came near me because I unfortunately attempted to edit and proofread the English translations of the German and Japanese reminiscences given by each of the survivors.  'Unfortunately' because it turned out to be, at times, a bit of a farcical job as each England via New York to Tokyo and back again instruction became increasingly garbled ('Ahh yes, I remember why international communication is not so exciting' she said now).  When I look at it now, I see that a few misplaced apostrophes or errant fullstops are really immaterial, especially  as the point of the book is the pictures, but I am a perfectionist and, at the time, wanted to throw a brick at whoever wasn't following my specific, anal instructions regarding semi-colons.  

The text in this book is like a bad child, peppered with tiny mistakes that I tried to erase and failed.  But like a silly child, I still love it and I think that if anyone but myself comes away from reading the both heartbreaking and inspiring stories contained with in only thinking of a few stupid commas, then they will be greater fool and pedant.  

I also like the book because it was one of the first times someone had faith in me and entrusted me with a pretty major project.  That kind of trust is often hard to find when you are young and taking baby steps into a career.  The cycle of not getting jobs because of a lack of experience, but having no experience because noone will give you a tiny break to begin with, seems very dominant in England at the moment, especially in more creative areas.  This is a massive shame as it is preventing adept people from using their talents and developing them.  

When I first read the stories in the book, a lot of them either made me cry or left me in some kind of suspended disbelief as I couldn't even fathom the level of horror and grief contained within them.  Choosing which lines to cut out of a story in which someone is severely injured for the rest of their lives is tricky.  Trying to find words to re-phrase a sentence which describes a man returning to find the house, in which his entire family were sheltering in the basements of, completely destroyed is even trickier, perhaps almost impossible.  But here this stops mattering, because when the words are inept (and the punctuation even more so) what remains are the photographs and they say far more on their own.  

I think I have come a full circle with this book.  I met it through the photos, then the stories, then the grammar and the text and now have - thankfully - returned to the photos.  

It's a cold day spent only thinking about apostrophes.  

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Arts Week arrives...

Last year, a group of students from the University of Bristol ran the first ever Bristol Arts Week. This year, Bristol Arts Week 2013 aims to take the success of last year's event, and build upon it. The event, which runs from the 4th-9th February at The Parlour Showrooms (located at the bottom of Park Street, opposite College Green) aims to provide a space in which students from both the University of Bristol and UWE can showcase their creative talent:

                                            (one of the works to be featured in the exhibition)

The space will hold a permanent exhibition of student artwork throughout the week, whilst also hosting a variety of events. Such events will include a Helicon live music night, performance poetry, film screenings, networking with local artists, and guest speakers (such as Stephen Cheeke- Senior English Lecturer at UOB) talking on Art from a wide range of perspectives.

                                                        (Student band 'Tidy Street')

Bristol Arts Week 2013 will be accepting submissions up until the beginning of next term (11th January), but we encourage students to get in touch with us before the end of this term to ensure a place. There is no place, no event, at which all the artistic talent which lies unnoticed within the student body can explode into life. This is the main goal of Bristol Arts Week 2013: to provide a platform for creativity, a chance for students to exhibit their talents and plunge into the world of art- if only for a week.

"Like" us on facebook to stay updated. And send all your art, photography, poetry, music and film submissions to:


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

Independent magazines

We often hear that the rise of blogging and digital media will have an impact on printed publications, suggesting a gradual turn away from our books and magazines in favour of more convenient kindles and blogs. There remains, however, a culture for independent magazines, where the emphasis is placed on selecting an (often obscure) subject area, yet one which evokes passion within people, and exploring this interest in a distinctly artistic way. We would assume that this industry would be the first to suffer in the face of digitalisation, yet in fact it could be seen to have the adverse effect, making those who prefer to possess the printed work in all its tangible glory even more loyal to an otherwise threatened art.  

Browsing the shelves in W H Smith's, my eye fell upon the only magazine which did not use flashy colours and pictures of celebrities looking "fat" in a bikini to sell. 'Oh Comely' prefers a minimalist layout, where a sense of uncluttered calm pervades the pages and tells the reader that this is a magazine which deserves to be read, admired, thought about, and then kept on a shelf to be taken down again at another date. The tag-line 'Keep your curiosity sacred' is for me what magazines are all about. There is little purpose to independent, arts focused magazines other than attempting to encourage people's curiosities about the world. I recently subscribed to Stack, a service which collects independent publications from across the globe and sends one to my doorstep every month. I’ve realized that I don't have to be particularly interested in the magazine’s subject area in order to get something out of it. Magazines such as ‘Rouleur’ have an underlying focus on cycling, yet it is the atmospheric and brooding monchrome photography which gives it its distinct character. ‘Anorak’ calls itself a ‘happy mag for kids’, yet the colourful illustrations are enough to make any adult happy too. With certain magazines, it is the actual physicality of the book which we are led to admire. ‘Wrap’ is a magazine showcasing emerging graphic designers and artists, yet once you’ve finished reading it, the pages can 
be taken out to create wrapping paper from these artworks.

It takes a little more searching to find these magazines, yet I would say well worth it if you want to read about something other than the latest new skincare product, or what happened on last week's X Factor.

I want diversion, and I have done with men and women. Play

Movies have an awful habit of ruining books. Whilst there is no way of predicting whether the impending production of Great Expectations will be monument or travesty, I thought I'd take this opportunity to revisit Dickens masterpiece, just to be on the safe side. Only the second novel in English to be written in first person, Great Expectations displays the wonder and horror of Victorian England from the perspective of an uneducated, yet lucid, child. 

Pip's reception of Miss Havisham is a moment of textual brilliance which will be hard to recreate in film form (I fear Helen Bonham Carter is going to ramp up the insane-factor). Dickens' characterisation of Havisham really is exquisite, and there is a much more complex and profound element to her character than people appreciate: she is not simply the 'mad jilted bride'. Havisham luxuriates in her misery; adorned in the dress that never served its purpose, smothered by air that has stagnated for decades,  bed-fellow with rats and spiders - living out her self-imposed incarceration. 

But, I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could.

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations. 

Havisham is more uncanny curio than physical being. Like the body dug from the church she protrudes from Dickens' text: a thing of strange beauty, of a different landscape and time, inspiring marvel and revulsion. Like Heaney's bog men and women, Havisham is distinctly 'other', and like those creatures she bares the scars of violation and abuse. 

I lay waiting/ between turf-face and demesne wall,/ between heathery levels/ and glass-toothed stone./ My body was braille/ For the creeping influence:/ dawn suns groped over my head/and cooled at my feet,/ through my fabrics and skins/ the seeps of winter/ digested me,/ the illiterate roots/ pondered and died/ in the cavings/ of stomach and socket./ lay waiting/ on the gravel bottom,/ my brain darkening,/ a jar of spawn/ fermenting underground/ dreams of Baltic amber./ [...]
My skull hibernated/ in the wet nest of my hair./ Which they robbed./ I was barbered/ and stripped/ by a turfcutter’s spade/ [...]
The plait of my hair,/ a slimy birth-cord/ of bog, had been cut/ and I rose from the dark,/ hacked bone, skull-ware,/ frayed stitches, tufts,/ small gleams on the bank.

- From Seamus Heaney's Bog Queen.

In our modern era, where being unmarried is no crime or shame, it is hard to appreciate the life-altering consequences being jilted at the alter would cause for a women of Dickens' time. Yet Havisham conveys these consequences in every possible way: embodying devastation and evidencing of what would happen if one decided just to give up, on everyone and everything. The change in social climate simply heightens Havisham's 'otherness', meaning we must work harder as readers to imagine the position she is in. It also causes us to imagine how her living-death would be accommodated in our world, of social media, and helplines and police. In 2012, would Havisham be able to create such an isolated, secluded microcosm of sorrow, unheeded by modern support networks and intrusive institutions. 

For those who believe Dickens style is stuffy and his characters one-dimensional, Miss Havisham is your rebuffal. An obscure persona, strangely human and inhuman, for the most part unfathomable and in the literary world, unmatchable. Yes, Helena Bonham Carter -unmatchable. 

Although Havisham is stuck in time, her clocks eternally fixed at the moment of her destruction, she resurrects in a reading (or watching) of Great Expectations: a character for all time. 


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Eugène Atget's Paris

From April to July of this year, the Musée Carnavalet in Paris exhibited a retrospective of Eugène Atget's photographs of Paris. He is best known for his pictures of vieux Paris and images of the everyday Parisian, anyone from a tradesperson selling flowers, to children watching a puppet show in the jardin du Luxembourg. The musuem itself, rather fittingly, houses the history of Paris; the sign for the 'Chat Noir' cabaret hangs nonchalantly from the ceiling of a room filled with remnants of the old Paris.
Marchand d'abat-jour, 1899-1900
Guignol, 1898
Despite Paris's association as a 'place for lovers', Atget's images are often of solitary figures. Seldom are they captured in moments of emotion, they merely stand as the person they are, a humbling presence in the hustle and bustle of  the vibrant and bustling Paris. It reminds us that we do not need to be surrounded by things and people all the time. There is something quite reassuring about feeling completely content in your own company.
Marchand italien de statuettes, 1998-1899
Cour de Rouen ou de Rohan, 1915
Notre-Dame, quai de Montebello, 1922
Atget's photographs of old Paris also depict images of lonesome space. However, it is not about what isn't there, it is what could be that is important; the empty side streets, full of mystery and potential for adventure. It also means that the viewer is made to recognise the smaller features that would normally go un-noticed and to question the placement and position of objects.
Atget presents to us the foundations of Paris and a documentation of the people who lived in it. His simple, yet alluring visuals stimulate the mind to think of where we are in our own lives. By recognising the details of his Paris we connect with our own realities and remember who we are, and where we want to go in our world.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Le Lac des Cygnes

Continuing my trend of posts about books (especially good-looking ones), I thought I would share some photos of a beautiful book I was given as a present, following my boyfriend's return from France.

Intended to be a children's book, Le Lac des Cygnets relates the story of the Tchaikovsky ballet, Swan Lake, through a series of ethereal illustrations by Charlotte Gastaut.  

The illustrations are a combination of pictures drawn straight on to the page and stencil-like pages which reverse to become a slightly different image when the page is turned.

Combining sweet beauty with a marginal darkness - too many feathers, too much movement in amongst the trees - Gastaut captures the essence of most fairy tales and the traditional ballets, a little coating of black salt around a crystal glass.  

Marvelling at the beauty of the book and the story which it tells responds to the desire many English girls possess for wanting to be French.  It is irrepressibly gorgeous, yet simultaneously simplified and the timelessness of the tale is as easily glamourous as the perfect ballerina's bun.  It's like The Sartorialist for  ballet-obsessed children. 


Thursday, 15 November 2012


Lately I've been thinking- can we view all art forms on a kind of "spectrum"? A range of different expressions of creativity (whether that be visual art, music, poetry, film, or photography), which at certain points, collide. Just as colours progress and evolve from indigo to iris, from auburn to carmine, so too might art forms grow and develop out of, and in to, one another. Poetry was once accompanied by music, and classical art often depicts scenes from literature. However today, with the aid of television, we experience an even more undeniable intertwining: music and film.

Now, we all know music videos can be shit. But they can also be captivating. The story of the song is told in the most imaginative of means, shedding light on a fresh and unexpected interpretation of the song. Paradoxically, the link between sight and sound then holds the possibility of being strengthened, or weakened. We are given not one, but two sensual ingredients to consider, with often a great song being teamed with a terrible video, or vice versa. However, here is one that I personally think works wonderfully-


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Between Seasons

As November creeps upon us at a startling rate, I thought it appropriate to look at Anne Sexton's bleak and poignant November poem 'Double Image'. Detailing her feelings of insufficiency as a mother, daughter, and human being (the poem specifically references two failed suicide attempts) 'Double Image' is a thoughtful, troubling poem that locates the difficulties of familial relationships in a barren, autumnal setting. 'Double Image' is more like a triple image, Sexton's mother representing what she could not be, and her daughter representing what she cannot be. Neither stoical nor joyous, proper nor carefree, old nor young, Sexton occupies a transitory space. Like Autumn, suspended in between time, an ephemeral season, ill-defined, middling. Between the hot careless days of summer where days blur into one with no order and no need for order, sporadic. And the reverent chill of winter, with its coats and gloves and things which preserve. Sexton's seasons are blocks of wasted time, affirmations of her insignificance, periods to get through rather than to enjoy. Most importantly, they are markers of the distance between herself and her child; the missed years, missed birthdays, missed steps: the complete lack of Joy

I am thirty this November./You are still small, in your fourth year./We stand watching the yellow leaves go queer,/flapping in the winter rain,/falling flat and washed. And I remember/mostly the three autumns you did not live here./They said I’d never get you back again./I tell you what you’ll never really know:/all the medical hypothesis/that explained my brain will never be as true as these/struck leaves letting go./

- Anne Sexton, Double Image. 


A little bit of new

Some new music finds that have found themselves wandering my way over the past few weeks...


Sunday, 11 November 2012

I Saw This And Thought of You... said a post office advert a few years back.  Last week Lucian said something similar to me, something like 'I found a book in a charity shop I think would amuse you.'

Here is what it was:

And 'amuse' me it has.  Beginning with the blurb which quotes Maya Angelou:

'A falling leaf could stir her. / A wilting, dying rose / would make her write, both day and night, / the most rewarding prose. / She'd find a hidden meaning / in every pair of pants / then hurry home to be alone / and write about romance'

I have yet to read much, but the section headings promise a lot.  My favourites being 'The clitoris in my throat' and 'Queens of the Underworld'.
To me it seems like the perfect book for public transport.

Bon Voyage.

R.E. C.  x

Friday, 9 November 2012


A nice cocktail of african influenced soulful electronica and a nice journey through Ghana and West Africa. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Mann

Recently, I've fallen in love. Not just with a boy, but a mann- Sally Mann, to be precise. Specializing in black and white photography, Mann initially photographed her young children, and then evolved into capturing another natural beauty- that of the land. This photographic journey from the capturing of young life, to the age, majesty, and decay of the land, illustrates Mann's attraction to the temporal limitations of nature, as contained within the spatial limitations of a photograph's frame. 

But as her strength lies in pictures, not words, I'll let her take it away...


Ancient Bristol

Map of Bristol, c. 1610.
A lot has changed since then...

~ M.D.

Trippy Thursday...

The first is up there amongst the strangest things I've ever seen. But very cool, I think you'll agree.
The second, Flying Lotus aptly soundtracked once more. Enjoy.
- F.D.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Mo Yan

The (very) recent US Election campaign has put the world's focus very much on America. This post looks not to the US, but to another major world player, China. Arguably, in the past month China has achieved a massive cultural, political and literary milestone. On October the 11th Mo Yan became the first resident of mainland China to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. This award has been a long time coming, Yan has been producing outstanding literature for over 30 years. His style is a hybrid; fusing realism, traditional folk-tales, history and the contemporary. Read one of Yan's books and you become immersed in a hallucinogenic textual universe. Peter Englund, head of the Swedish Academy claimed that 'if you read half a page of Mo Yan you immediately recognise it as him'. Yan has such a unique and engaging style, one which is worthy of an award in itself, and certainly worthy of the praise Englund accords it. 

‘I know I earned the unspoken respect of many of Yama’s underworld attendants, but I also know that Lord Yama was sick and tired of me. So to force me to admit defeat, they subjected me to the most sinister form of torture hell had to offer: they flung me into a vat of boiling oil, in which I tumbled and turned and sizzled like a fried chicken for about an hour. Words cannot do justice to the agony I experienced until an attendant speared me with a trident and, holding me high, carried me up to the palace steps. He was joined by another attendant, one on either side, who screeched like vampire bats as scalding oil dripped from my body onto the Audience Hall steps, where it sputtered and produced puffs of yellow smoke. With care, they deposited me on a stone slab at the foot of the throne, and then bowed deeply.
“Great Lord,” he announced, “he has been fried.”

From Yan’s ‘Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out’ (2008)

In many ways reading Yan recalls a the work of another of my favourite authors, Vladimir Nabokov; both writer's works are enriched by the poly-linguism of their authors, and fully evidence the richness of books which are written by non-English authors or translated from their original language. Yan himself is a firm supporter of Goethe's idea of 'world literature' claiming that 'literature can overcome the boundaries that separates countries and nations.' Yan's work then, is not simply exquisitely written, or darkly humorous; it is a move towards something higher, towards the celebration of literature that transcends politics and is not allied to a particular nation, but is available to all who seek it. So then, Yan's success in winning the Nobel Prize perhaps shouldn't be seen as a victory for China, but a victory for the literary world in general, and a victory for the reading public whose lives will undoubtedly be enriched by exposure to Yan's beautiful and harrowing texts. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Where the Boats Stay and the Bristolians Live their Days...

The Bristol harbourside. Even as a born and bred Bristolian, I still find myself gravitating towards the familiar sights of the homely canal boats and the gentle sounds of fellow Bristolians pitter pattering, going about their daily business. I am still caught in moments of awe on a crisp, sunny, hazy morning when the river twinkles as if to stay hello, and the sky is of the most dreamy blue, that I feel I could be swept up into it.
I have taken many a fellow student from the comfort of the univeristy bubble down  to the harbourside to share with them the delights of my home. Every time, it still astounds me how little people know about, what I believe to be the most beautiful and un-ruined part of Bristol. For this reason I am going to self-indulge and share with you all, the gems of Bristol Harobourside...
Bristol Harbourside
1. The Arnolfini
All sorts goes on down here, art, theatre, films and it also houses an extensive book and magazine collection. Keep an eye on the website for details of events and exhibitions.
2. The Watershed
I have already given the Watershed a heads up in a previous post but it is worth mentioning again. Truly, it is the best place to watch a film. As much as it is a place to go to with a group of people, there is something fairly satisfying about popping along to one of their midday sunday screenings and watching a film in your own company for an afternoon.
3. M-Shed
Celebrating the story of Bristol, from the glitzy heights of Clifton, to the furthest 'burbs. The main part is free of charge but they also do temporary exhibitions. At the moment the exhibition 'Real and Imagined Lives: what is fact, what is fiction?' is showing, featuring a rather solemn looking Stephen Merchant....
4. SS Great Britain
Fun, in a word. This is further down the river and is the home of Brunel's SS Great Britain, as well as the most friendliest people you will ever meet. You can easily make a day of it down there, whether it is pretending to be a captain for the whole day or losing yourself in the fascinating collection documenting the history of this magnificent ship.
The SS Great Britain

5. Weekend Market
It is fairly easy to be distracted by the numerous items on display at this market. I am particularly fond of a book stall run by a man named Keith I got chatting to the other week, who sells boxes upon boxes  of books ranging from Steinbeck to Hemingway, and all at very good prices. I picked up a 1960s vintage John Steinbeck title for a mere £4. A must visit, for the reader who loves their books to have a bit of history indented into the pages.
6. The Ferry Services
If you are a bit stuck for time, the cross ferry service runs daily, taking you briskly over to the other side of the river. There are also specialised boat tours, showing you the best of what Bristol has to offer. There are plenty of leaflets down by the harbour (near the SS Great Britain) with listings of  various trips. A good one to keep in mind when the parents happy when they come to visit.
7. Under the Stars
A cafe/bar that is as beautiful as it sounds. They certainly try to pack in a lot over the week: friday open mic nights, film showings every wednesday and great food and drink too. Marvellous!
8. The Louisianna
Many a successful band has started their days of touring in this small music venue. It is also a great place to catch some local music and mix with some locals.
9. The Apple Cider Bar
You are not an initiated student at Bristol until you have sampled some proper Bristol cider. This is the place to do it.
10. Thekla
After that you can move a little bit down the river to Thekla, the club on a boat, marked with one of Banksy's famous images. It is also another great place to catch some live music. Their webite has all the details you need.
That is just a taste of what this great city has to offer. PLEASE give these places a visit and let the Helicon team know what you think....You can comment on any of these blogs and it would be great to get some feedback from you all about what you think of our posts.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Baby Doll

A good two weeks later and Tim Walker's giant dolly, currently residing in Somerset House as part of his Story Teller exhibition, is still haunting me.


Female vocalists

My music is usually stuck on loop. That I've-just-bought-a-new-album sound that probably makes my housemates a bit sick of passing my room and hearing the same ceaseless songs. It takes me a good few days before growing bored of a good song - I can be named and shamed for my habit of incessant clicking on the YouTube repeat button. However, a few bands that have recently been the constant substance of the sound waves in my room are certainly worth a share. Rocky, poppy, indie bands (call it what you will) headed by women with rapturous vocals, in the footsteps of Stevie Nicks and Annie Lennox, seem to be catching my attention at the moment. Hitting notes that, if attempted by myself, could only be likened to chalk on a blackboard, but are beautiful from the throats of these ladies. Have a listen...

From the album My Head is an Animal

From the album Prisoner by The Jezabels

L x

Friday, 2 November 2012

Drizzly weekend fun

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.

SOLIPSIST from Andrew Thomas Huang on Vimeo.


Thursday, 1 November 2012


One of the first artists who inspired me to create was Andy Goldsworthy, whose work proves that a simple journey through nature can be sufficient to provide the materials and inspiration for a lifetime of art. Goldsworthy breaks free from the usual artistic practice of creating work within an indoor studio, instead using his surroundings to make art which blends seamlessly with its setting and looks like it could have grown naturally from its environment. The work pictured above is entirely static, yet the meandering shape suggests dynamic movement as it weaves its way amongst the trees, eventually coming to an end by immersing itself entirely under water. It is imbued with a life of its own, creating the impression that it has made the conscious decision to move from one place to another, and thus the artist physically represents with the wall of rocks the journey which the linear shape undertakes takes through the forest. 
Yet Goldsworthy's art is primarily concerned with a less tangible type of journey - that of  the passing of time which all living things on this earth are subject to and affected by. This is reflected in the work called Rain Shadow (below), where Goldsworthy himself lies on the ground during a rainstorm, protecting the ground below him from the rain. The work is made as a result of the time spent lying on the ground, and it too will eventually disappear when the ground surrounding it dries. All his works are therefore temporal pieces, made to be viewed for a brief moment before they become victim once again to the cycles of nature.

~ M. D.