16/06/2019

BYRON EXPLAINS

The next installation was Timepieces (Solar System) (2014)

Wilson, though, had by now stood all he could stand, and took Byron to one side.


'Byron, mate – I say this for your own good: open your eyes: it's a row of clocks – and they're all showing the wrong time! You could buy your own row of clocks from Rymans, and set them all to the wrong times, but that wouldn't make you an artist!'


Byron turned to Wilson and explained quietly, 'Wilson, the artwork is not the clocks. It's not the Lightbulbs or the DHL Package. The Artwork is the IDEA – the CONCEPT. The clocks, the lightbulbs, the package – they're just the Physical Manifestation of the Concept.'


Wilson was quite thoughtful after this, and while Byron went off to listen to As The World Turns (a recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons played on a record player whose turntable rotates only once per day) Wilson remained looking at 'Timepieces', deep in thought. 


Nërp explained helpfully that, having just completed the calculations, all the clocks were in fact showing the correct times, but for other planets, not the Earth… except for Saturn, which was running two minutes slow.


Wilson remained immersed in thought, while Nërp went off to report the timekeeping error to someone…




15/06/2019

SECOND MOON

The next work we came to was titled Second Moon and consisted of a DHL package in a vitrine. 

Inside the package was a fragment of Moon Rock which had orbited the Earth for a year by means of an Air Freight Courier, travelling counterclockwise at twice the speed of the actual Moon.

Wilson declared scathingly, 'Biro – it's a parcel! I could have given you an Amazon parcel myself, then we could be downstairs in the café now drinking coffee and buying souvenirs…'


Nërp moved across to Wilson and whispered, 'Please stop being so cynical – it makes you sound like a Philistine, and might be spoiling Byron's enjoyment.'



14/06/2019

LIGHT BULB TO SIMULATE MOONLIGHT

Finally we have entered the first gallery and seen some art!

Byron let out a little squeal of delight, then he and Nërp hurried over to look at a piece called Light Bulb to Simulate Moonlight (2008) part 1.


Wilson followed him and contemplated the piece in silence, finally observing dryly, 'It's several shelves covered in light bulbs. I could have seen this at B&Q's Lightbulb Department.'


Byron and Nërp moved on to part two of the work, again followed by W.


Wilson called out, 'Are you alright in there, Biro? I'd hate to think of you lost in the infinite depths of the universe…'




12/06/2019

TWO THINGS NO ONE EXPECTED

Entering the Turner Contemporary Gallery, we encountered two things none of us had expected!

The first was a lift [elevator] as big as a house – Byron remarked that it was bigger than the entire Anteater Enclosure at the Zoo, while Nërp compared it favourably to the factory where he had been built…


The second was when Wilson looked out of the massive windows overlooking the sea and thought he could see a man on the end of the groyne trying to drown himself


He had already grabbed his phone and started to call Emergency Services when Byron reached out and took the phone, informing him that what he could see was in fact a famous Antony Gormley sculpture.


Wilson was a bit put out as he'd thought this had been his chance to Save The Day and Be A Hero – perhaps even get his photograph in the Margate Mercury or the Isle Of Thanet News




10/06/2019

ENTRANCE TO THE TURNER CONTEMPORARY

Wilson (a reluctant art-lover) looked longingly at the outside café tables, while remarking how good the coffee smelled and how great was his need for a Danish Pastry, but Byron and Nërp waited by the entrance, giving him pleading and stern looks respectively.

Visiting the Turner Contemporary is really the raison de'être for our trip to Margate, and young Byron can't be done out of it now!


Besides, I'm quite looking forward to it myself, and I'm sure Wilson will come round in the fulness of time…



09/06/2019

TURNER CONTEMPORARY – THE VISIT

Just as paddling was a disappointment to Wilson, I hope The Turner Contemporary Gallery isn't a disappointment for young Byron – as that is where we're headed today!

Byron grew increasingly excited as we drew closer to the iconic building, and by the time we'd located the entrance was almost unable to contain himself...



08/06/2019

DREAMLAND

Since paddling turned out to be quite disappointing to Wilson, I think today's visit to Dreamland might have put things right.

We all had a good time on the rides and playing sideshow games like Hook-A-Duck, then Nërp came across a Giant Robot being assembled by a team of workmen with cranes! 


He tried to engage the robot's head in small-talk, but (possibly because the head was not yet connected to its body) it was pretty much a one-sided conversation – more of a monologue really – in which Nërp tried to introduce himself and tell the oversized android about his niece Jīqìrén…





07/06/2019

WILSON GOES PADDLING

Last night Wilson asked me whether I thought his body was 'Beach Ready' as he'd like to go paddling!
P A D D L I N G !

'What, in the sea?' I asked in amazement.

'Of course in the sea!' he replied, scathingly. 'We're at the seaside – where else would I go paddling?'


Given his legendary dislike of water, I never thought I would hear him utter these words.


Following on from Nërp's unexpected revelation that he has a niece, I don't know how many more shocks I can take...


So obviously, we headed down to the beach today to indulge Wilson's wish – he disappeared into a shelter for a short time, while Byron ran into the sea and started splashing about and shouting in excitement.


Eventually Wilson emerged… wearing an enormous pair of rubber Waders! 


Shuffling a little distance into the water, he stood looking around before emerging a few minutes later declaring that he couldn't see what all the fuss was about.


Nërp asked whether he could borrow his Waders so he could try paddling himself without risking getting salt water into his internal electronics or joints – Wilson said he could keep them, as he didn't expect to need them again.


At least now we know what was in that last-minute Amazon package…



05/06/2019

THE SHELL GROTTO

Despite its unprepossessing exterior, The Shell Grotto proved very interesting.

Its origins are shrouded in mystery, as it was already very old when it was discovered in 1837 – which just adds to the fascination.


There are around 20m of underground winding passages, the walls and ceiling being clad in some 4½ million shells (which Wilson thought was 'a bit creepy')! 


The passages eventually lead to a room where a famous séance was held in the 1930s (which Wilson thought was 'a bit spooky').


However, he was full of admiration for the Shell Grotto Gift Shop, buying a few mementos of our visit to display in his little Museum.


Nërp declared that the Grotto was 'fascinating, if bizarre' and that his niece Jīqìrén would love to see it.


We were all stunned by this, as no-one knew that Nërp had any relatives…







04/06/2019

SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS

Once back at the hotel we went to the dining room, and over dinner we planned a timetable for our stay in Margate – there's a lot to do here, and we might have trouble fitting everything in!

Wilson is (obviously) very keen to spend some time at Dreamland, a large yet traditional theme park (which I'm sure Byron would enjoy too) but Margate has many other interesting attractions on offer.


The main reason for our trip, though, is to visit The Turner Contemporary Gallery, and I've promised Byron that he can spend as much time there as he needs to see everything – he won't be rushed round it or hustled – although I did tell him I'd like our visit to be on our final day here. 


He said that would be perfect as it would give him plenty of time to reflect on what he'd seen in the Gallery during the drive home.


Then we retired to our room and the boys chose their beds. 


Looks like I shall be sleeping on the couch…



02/06/2019

A STROLL ON THE PROM

As it happens it was lucky we didn't leave on Monday as Wilson had wanted, because just before we departed a package from Amazon arrived addressed to him.

He grabbed it and stuffed it secretively into his already-bulging suitcase, declining to discuss what this new purchase might be…


However, we're here now! 


What with all the comfort stops and refreshment stops (and quite a long stop while Nërp recharged) we arrived quite late, so once we'd booked into our hotel we all went for a stroll along the prom…



01/06/2019

BEES' BLOG

Hello, we are Polly and Billi The Bees and this is our Guest Blog!

Welcome to the first day of Meteorological Summer! 🌞


As you can probably guess, we Bees are not great fans of technology. 


However, some inventors – nicer and kinder than the Evil Inventors who brought you Pesticides, Self-Service Checkouts and 'Fortnite' – have invented something wonderful – something that could help you save a life:

THE BEE SAVIOUR CARD.
You can carry it in your purse or wallet just like a credit card, but instead of containing Money, it contains HONEY – or at least, a specially-formulated sugary stuff that can revive a sick bee who's been working too hard and can't fly – perhaps an urban bee, lost in the concrete jungle – and who wouldn't want that?

You can read all about BEE SAVIOUR CARDS at these interesting links:


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/24/bee-saviour-sugar-cards-could-help-starving-bees
https://saviourbees.co.uk/
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/take-savethebees-to-the-streets


Anyway, we've been The Bees, and we'll see you all again next month – until then, BEEEEEEEEEEE GOOD!



31/05/2019

MARGATE HERE WE COME

We're off!

An air of suppressed excitement and keen anticipation (and one or two other things) pervades the car as we leave Uckfield.


Nërp has never been on holiday before and has no idea what to expect, while Byron's only vacations have been to stay with Wilson and me, so everyone's expectations are sky-high!


It's The Bees' turn to Blog tomorrow, so you won't see us actually in Margate until Sunday – a treat to look forward to! 


... or not.


In the meantime, please think of me over the coming hours – long hours of being asked incessantly, 


'Are we there yet?',
'Is it MUCH further?' and
'Can we stop to buy some sweets/drinks/comics/buckets & spades/novelty USB
sticks?'…

29/05/2019

FALSE START

I told Wilson about our planned long weekend in Margate, and before I could stop him he had packed his suitcase and taken it out to the car!

Calling back to me, he shouted impatiently, 'I've put my stuff in the Jukey, New Dad – LET'S GO!'


At risk of disappointing him, I explained that Byron, Nërp and I hadn't even started our packing, and that I had yet to book accommodation.


I told him I'd aim to get away Friday, and he ran off to 'help' Byron and Nërp  with their packing…



27/05/2019

TURNER CONTEMPORARY

Cursory research revealed (well, actually Nërp told me) the home of the Turner Contemporary Gallery to be not Moorgate (in Central London) but Margate on Kent's north coast.

Margate is a famous seaside holiday resort, and home town of the wonderful and iconic one-time YBA Tracey Emin!


While Wilson is not overly concerned with the Fine Arts unless they involve a depiction of himself, he is a great enthusiast of both the seaside and holidays – a short trip to Margate would give us all a seaside vacation AND fulfil young Byron's dream, thus killing two birds with one stone!


Or as Wilson prefers to put it (expressing the same idea without involving the gratuitous death of wildlife) throw two sixes with one dice…


Die. 


Whatever – the English Language is littered with Irregular Plurals…



26/05/2019

KATIE PATERSON

My curiosity now piqued, I persisted… and eventually Byron told me that Katie Paterson is an artist of whom he is a great admirer. 

He'd read that she had an exhibition at The Turner Contemporary Gallery in Moorgate, and if it wasn't too far from Uckfield, he wondered whether we could visit…


I enquired what kind of an artist she is, and Byron told me she was a Conceptual Artist, and one of the reviews he'd read said the show is 'an overwhelming and fascinating experience – truly magical and remarkable.'


'I'd just thought it would be nice to be Overwhelmed and Fascinated by a Truly Magical Experience... but I shouldn't have brought it up – please forget I ever mentioned her name.'


At this moment, Nërp wandered past.


'Hi Biro!' he greeted Byron, 'Did I just hear someone mention Katie Paterson, the famous artist? I LOVE her work, although of course I've only ever seen it in reproduction, sadly.'



25/05/2019

CONVERSATION WITH BYRON

Sitting at breakfast this morning, at first all I could hear was a hesitant coughing sound.

Then Byron's head appeared opposite me.


'Um… excuse me, Wilson's New Dad,' he began nervously, 'could I ask you a question?'


'Good morning, Byron,' I replied, 'Of course you can! What would you like to know?'


'Well, I was just wondering if you knew Katie Paterson?'


I racked my brain for a minute before I confessed that I didn't, asking, 'Is she one of Wilson's friends?'


'No,' he said, 'but it doesn't matter – please forget that I asked.'
__________


In other news, views of Wilson's Blog have topped 65000!


24/05/2019

SOUVENIR POSTCARDS

Having as yet sold nothing from the Gift Shop, Wilson was a little more confident as he led his visitors to what he calls the Bargain Zone, where lower-cost items may be purchased.

One by one, he removed picture postcards from the rack and extolled the virtues of each one.


Eventually, I bought a postcard. 


It was a Pity Purchase, but W seemed pleased and directed me to Uncle Zoltan at the pay desk to complete my investment.


I was a little surprised when Uncle Z told me the postcards were £5.00 each, but I proffered a £10 note, which he accepted and rang up in his Fisher Price Cash Register, while I waited patiently for my change.


When no change was forthcoming, I asked if anything was wrong. 


Uncle Zoltan replied that for 'logistical reasons' it was not possible for him to give change.


I said in that case, I'd have another postcard, to make the bill up to £10, but he advised me that would not be possible since he had rung up the money and the transaction was now at an end.


I was going to pursue the matter, but he started eyeing the Souvenir Bottles of WaspEeze meaningfully…



22/05/2019

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP

Once Wilson had extracted every penny possible by means of his Tip Jar and a baleful stare, he invited his visitors through into the Gift Shop where, he explained,  they would be able to purchase 'All manner of wonderful souvenirs of your visit to the Wilson Vermilingua New Museum of Old Stuff… including,' he gestured towards a poster on the wall, 'this striking Homage to Robert Indiana Art Print, a steal at only £25.'

He paused to survey his guests expectantly, in the manner of an auctioneer waiting for someone to raise their hand, but there were no takers.


'Okay,' he continued, 'no art lovers in today, but there is a cornucopia of other delightful mementos, something to fit every budget, however paltry: Key Rings, Postcards, Badges, to name but a few!'


He waited again, to a silence broken only by the sound of shuffling feet.


'Anyway, please take your purchases to Uncle Zoltan at the Pay Desk. For your own well-being, you are advised not to make any sudden hand movements while he is serving you – I mention this purely for your own protection – however souvenir bottles of WaspEeze are available behind the counter…' 




20/05/2019

THE TOUR CONCLUDES

Once the shortlisted items of 'Special Interest' had all been seen, Nërp announced the conclusion of the tour:

'Ladies and Gentlemen, the Free Tour of the Wilson Vermilingua New Museum of Old Stuff is now at an end. As you will have noticed, there are many interesting exhibits in the museum which we've not been able to look at, so I hope we'll see you all again soon, when you can enjoy them at a more leisurely pace. Thank you for your kind attention.'


Wilson desperately whispered to him, 'Don't forget to mention Gratuities!'


Nërp, not understanding, glanced at the gesturing Wilson, who shouted, 'The Tip Jar! Tell them about The Tip Jar!'


Nërp flushed briefly, then said that it is a condition of his employment at the Wilson Vermilingua New Museum of Old Stuff that he advises all visitors that Gratuities are welcome.


'Go on!' W prompted urgently.


'Um… this is deeply embarrassing,' N continued, 'but it would appear that the Suggested Gratuity is £5, $6.37, €5.71 cash only. Change will not be given.'


Wilson rushed in and started enthusiastically brandishing the Tip Jar, while Nërp muttered to himself, 'Oh, the indignity of it all – I am mortified!'