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The Fiona MacCarthy

What pleases and annoys

Instinctive, impulsive, and logical but always passionate and reflective of what I feel here and now.

Individual blogs are in most recent, first sequence and are also grouped in various "categories" which are just to the right & down a bit should you prefer to search that way. Please feel free to add a comment.

Blog restarted June 2018

Great exhibition of the North

Week that was Posted on Sun, August 26, 2018 08:28:23

Took two days out this week to enjoy the Design and Art trails of this “Very Good” (my italics) exhibition. Plan to look at the Innovation trail next week.

Its not necessary to follow individual trails and instead to just go to specific venues.

The “App” provides a bit more guidance than the guide book but overall I did not find the information good enough for someone who might by unfamiliar with Newcastle. After 16 years here, the event still offers plenty in revisiting old venues with new exhibits and several new venues too.

The Arts Trail

Starting from Gateshead end and crossing the river back into Newcastle

New Bridge project. (close to metro)
Small in scale, the offer of tea (donation offered but not accepted) was a bonus. The venue is to encourage artists and I hope the centre grows to have a greater diversity of artists. Exhibits of which not many focused on the impact of industrial life and technology upon the lives of people.

workplace Gallery
This venue closed when we visited ie not working although as sign outside

Needle Point or what is really St Marys church
Ignore directions on the App and enter via the car park entrance.
I would normally ignore embroidery but the panels here on display (only till 6th and not the 9th Sepyember) from different parts of the north were really excellent. Why no books for sale on embroidery although books on nearly everything else.

Sage Gateshead
We walked through not stopping for the various Portraits (for adults) and the activities for younger folk.

Baltic
I do not expect this centre to please me on every level but thee is always somethings to enjoy entertain and inform:

Disappointed that the 10 concrete items, each representing light emitting devices linked with the North, outside have a strict notice about not climbing on them. They look more like fallen chess pieces and are ideal for sitting on.

Level 4 is the most interesting and a diverse eclectic mix of exhibits.

Level 3 “having you on” by Michael Dean is interesting use of rebar (steel bars twisted
to shape) adorned with used packaging and coins. The clue is in the name of the exhibit

Level 2 Suggest visit this first and see the viewing times as the movie is not shown hourly back to back which would be wiser.

Level 1 “our kisses are petals” is pleasant and intelligent use of fabric designed materials.

Food on the quayside
The container thingy on the quayside is a great setting for overpriced and tasty food but its quiet weekdays as most outlets closed coming alive Friday evening and weekends. Will return.

Live Theatre garden
Once you have jumped and selfied on the billy elliot stage, the main art exhibit is in the garden in the corner which might have been sponsored by mi5 due to lack of signage. As rain started to fall, we did not stay to explore.

Side gallery near quayside
Over 3 floors this is a lovely new venue for me with a collection of pictures from times old.

Baltic 39 (off Grey st on “high bridge st”)
Deceptively small entrance but opens up on 4th floor to a large variety of displays that gets one talking and thinking. a real gem of a venue and my first time here – will check out in future.

That concluded our participation in the arts trail and only a few venues were not visited

The design trail was enjoyed !!! earlier in week and included

Hancock Museum. I love the diversity of whats on display here. Not really a great amount of “Design” as overlaps with everything else

Northumbrian university– needs more help on design as what i found was very poor. Too many buildings, too few signs.

Biscuit factory: great commercial displays for sale. Nothing practical in progress to observe

Toffee factory commercial-

Design Centre- entrance layout designed by morons. Gave up as was foot exhausted by now and dispirited by guidance.

The App as used request date of birth which is too much information to provide for its use and even entering year of birth involves scanning month by month back in time- may have been designed by a 15 year old orphan.
Misleading entrances as in St Marys / “Needle points”. Information not really helpful. Only good point is that its better than the guide book.
Both lack a knowledge understanding and appreciation of what each venue offers.



Spike and KKK

Week that was Posted on Sun, August 26, 2018 07:10:41

Very much enjoyed Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman

The movie is a very simplistic in its portrayal of Ron Stallworth’s actual work as a police officer back in 1970 in police penetration of the Colorado branch of the KKK. It is well acted, scripted and a very well filmed. The message is simple the characters non-complex.

The KKK is portrayed as operationally stupid, the police as a mix of racists and good and the Black community as victims of discriminatory and vicious practises. Second class citizens in the “land of the free” and that in the 70’s was very close to apartheid South Africa in the 80’s for me where I lived. The proximity in time and similarity in attitudes and actions so close. The movie therefore also serves as a useful reminder of the history of the USA which has not treated its own people fairly (and the indigenous less so).

The movie comes topical in the strategy of the KKK to focus less on the hooded cross burners and more on the attitudes towards eg immigration and race where it seeks alignment with larger numbers of people who would not consider themselves aligned with the KKK. Insistence on not referring to the KKK by name was part of that. An end of movie video sequence of the 2017 Charlottesville attack together with the commentary from Trump about same, prods the realisation that racist values have trumped. A movie more for americans at home but not lost internationally.

Truth and Fiction
Artistic license abounds in this movie but the core is true. A black man (Ron S) did join the KKK, obtaining a membership card and doing the talk via phone including with the national leader. As in the movie, a white man represented him at actual meetings. the police team frustrated and disrupted activities by the kkk. More information in this link.

https://slate.com/culture/2018/08/whats-fact-and-whats-fiction-in-blackkklansman.html