One Foot In The Grove – Art for people and place!

UPDATE: One Foot In The Grove will also be open this weekend – October 30th and 31st and November 1st – come down and check out the new art that has recently been added!

In a small corner of west London, just round the corner from Ladbroke Grove tube station and under the Westway flyover, a group of renegade artists have put together one of the most fun, original and thought-provoking art events I have been to in a very long time.

If you find yourself in the area later today (18th October), or Friday, Saturday and Sunday of next week (23rd-25th October), and if you’re into street art, mad sculpture, graffiti, poster art, witty and original paintings and photography, fascinatingly insane installations, projections, film, good food, good tunes, friendly people, and a licensed bar, then make an effort to head down to Acklam Road, W10 and see what the good folks of MuTATE BRITAIN are up to.

Believe me, it’ll be worth it.

MuTATE BRITAIN’s new event One Foot In The Grove is open from 2pm to 10pm on Friday, 1pm to 10pm on Saturday, and 12pm to 9pm on Sunday, and is in the open air, quite literally under the Westway. Compared to the expensive exhibitions in the galleries up in town, entrance to this is a veritable bargain – only £1 before 6pm and £2-3 after then.

I very much recommend you take an afternoon to check it out before the final day!

In the meantime and if you can’t wait to see it all, you can check out this selection of exclusive photos, snapped by yours truly on a late Friday afternoon visit. If you’re inspired by all this amazing and diverse art, or you’re just simply curious, and you want to know more about what’s really going on under the Westway right now, then check out the links below for all the details.

Meanwhile, have a look at all this….

Darwin's changed his tune here!
Darwin's changed his tune a bit here...

Continue reading “One Foot In The Grove – Art for people and place!”

“Time is an illusion…” – Thirty Years of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so” – The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy.

Time was always flexible in the hands of the late Douglas Adams. Well known for his intimate distrust of deadlines (“I love the whooshing noise they make as they fly by”, as he famously once said) and his spectacular bouts of writer’s block, he was thus an incorrigible procrastinator of the first order when it came to writing, and, on occasion, apparently had to be locked into a hotel room in order to complete the final draft of whichever novel he was writing at the time, only to be let out at intervals by his publisher for ‘supervised’ walks in case he should try to make a run for it!

He was, however, also a complete and utter genius. And I’m not the only one who reckons so; not by a factor of at least 15 million worldwide – as wildly improbable as that may sound (and, after that, anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem, as Trillian so wisely puts it). His books are held in great affection by people of all ages, all across the galaxy, and have now been translated into more than thirty languages (presumably not including Vogon, as they lack all sense of poetry).

The story of how this rather tall, very funny and, sadly, now equally late genius came to write the cult classic Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy novels, which celebrated their thirtieth anniversary on October 12th, is (unsurprisingly) equally unreliable time-wise. There are several versions of the moment inspiration struck, some which are more true than others. To a given value of true, of course.

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Ghosts of the Past: the Polanski Case


I was interested to note yesterday that film director Roman Polanski has been arrested in Switzerland. Most reports seem to concur that he has been detained over a thirty-one year old outstanding arrest warrant, connected to the 1978 scandal in which Polanski pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse (read: rape) with a 13 year old girl – after which he fled to Europe to escape justice, and eventually became a French citizen.

There has been an awful lot of distinctly male hand-wringing over Polanski’s arrest, with the French culture minister Frederic Mitterrand commenting that he “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them”. In a way, Mitterrand does have a point, but only sort of – Polanski’s life has not been a bed of roses by any stretch of the imagination, but no amount of childhood ordeals excuse his later behaviour in any way, shape or form. There is NEVER any excuse for rape, not even this kind of hellish childhood…

Born in Paris of secular Jewish parents in 1933, the Polanski family moved back to their native Poland in 1936. They were living in the city of Krakow when the Nazis invaded three years later, and were forced into the Krakow Ghetto soon after. Polanski’s father survived the camps, but his mother died in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942. Polanksi himself only just survived the war in hiding with Polish Catholic families (which may explain why he was so drawn to the idea of making a film of The Pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman’s memoir of life in hiding in the Warsaw Ghetto), before moving back to France and subsequently the US.

Continue reading “Ghosts of the Past: the Polanski Case”

I’m Only Sleeping, Part 2

“I wanted to walk through the empty streets and feel something constant under my feet/But all the news reports recommended that I stay indoors….” – The Postal Service, ‘(Give Up) We Will Become Silhouettes’

More weird dreams last night. I’m beginning to vaguely worry about my brain. This time, I was in London again, and this time it bore an uncanny and confused resemblance to the opening sequence of Danny Boyle’s superb 28 Days Later – empty and desolate and creepy, for no obvious reason that I could immediately ascertain. I could almost hear my voice echoing across the deserted city as I called out, increasingly panicked, for anyone else who might be lurking in that silent urban wasteland. Nobody answered.

It’s strange how my dreams are becoming more and more filmic – the silent city cut to a house (where? I don’t know), an ordinary suburban terraced house, nothing immediately or conventionally scary, but eerily similar to the one I grew up in. I was pacing through the mostly empty rooms, looking for something I couldn’t find, something unidentified. And there was someone else in there with me, although I could never figure out who (or what?) as they never let me see them, staying a few frustrating steps ahead of me. I knew they were there though, I could somehow hear them pacing about too, pushing open doors that creaked ominously in that horror movie cliche kind of way, scuttling across bare floorboards. You know, like that classic, frustrating dream trope where what you want is right in front of you, but just, just out of your reach….

And then it got truly bizarre. Somehow, I realised the object I was looking for was out in the back garden. And I realised what it was and what I had to do with it. Half-buried in a flowerbed was a familiar-looking object of near-universal fear, made almost comic by its cartoon-like appearance – a nuclear bomb. And I had to detonate it. For some unexplained reason (typical dream illogic), I had no option in this matter. Somehow, I found the detonator, and – at the second attempt – the horrible thing exploded, and everything instantly became like those brain-searing images of Hiroshima after the Enola Gay had paid it a visit back in 1945. Everything, that is, except the house and me, both of which were still standing – and I was, for some odd reason, running around closing all the windows.

It was at that disturbing point that I woke up, distinctly confused and rather shaken. I know that dreams are supposed to be one’s subconscious sorting through recent events, and that bad dreams like this can often be the brain’s way of processing trauma (something, it is true, that has featured in my life this year) – but why a nuclear bomb? I’ve been a CND type almost all my life; detonating an atom bomb goes against everything I believe in, which is perhaps why my brain selected it as a negative metaphor? The whole bloody thing made me feel like some comic book supervillain, like I was in a Batman strip or something – a Facebook survey result says that if I were a Batman villain, I’d be Harley Quinn, but if that’s the case then who is my beloved Joker?? Perhaps it was him I was stalking through the house?

Who knows? Because I sure don’t….

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