Winding tendrils and fine succulent stalks find their ways to the pavement; the profusion of lush greens is peppered with soft yellow, orange, scarlet, flame red flowers. In contrast I pass a garden up the hill where the lonely begonias have been rigidly bedded out in order, neat and careful singletons, each one surrounded by plenty of suppressed earth – no chance of chaos there – ‘just stay where you’re put and behave’! As recycling day approaches the household bin fills up with gin and spirit bottles. One day I chanced to meet the owner – a trembling florid face hovered above an unfortunate mauve twinset – my suspicions were confirmed.
This is one of my favourite patterns, a meandering lazily lyrical line, sometimes winding around a dot. The other day I saw a child and his adult demonstrating it – the little boy skipped along twisting in and out of a run of posts while the parent progressed in an adjacent straight line.
‘Improvement makes strait roads; but the crooked roads without Improvement are roads of Genius.’ William Blake
On the day of Bradley Wiggins‘ triumph – hurray for him – the roads around Rye were hosting a race. Three slender cyclists zoomed by, heads down, their marvellous aerodynamic helmets challenging the wind like speckled beetles wings. Day 66 – the buzz got louder, the pavements busier, as we anticipated the arrival of the Olympic torch. Shopkeepers prepared coffees, crepes and waffles, trays with little bowls of strawberries were offered, flag maidens came by dispensing union jacks, police on flashing motorbikes stopped and exchanged high fives with alarmed five-year olds. The build-up accelerated: the giant sponsors’ vehicles clamoured by – the titans Coke, Samsung, Macdonalds and Lloyds reminded us that we were only the small fry in this huge publicity snake – just the grit on the road as the song says. Nevertheless we were all in accord, pleased to be part of the show, and cheered the weary woman in white pounding along Church Road carrying that all-important golden symbol of human endeavour and excellence. They were gone. The cheerful crowds dispersed. In the space I saw a friend I hadn’t met for 5 years and we shared a coffee together. Nice. The silk scarf painting workshop at the V&A – what a lot of good-humoured experiments went on there – and what a lot of lovely, diverse work was then produced by the dozen attendees.
I’m looking forward to making marks at the FTM on the 4th. Currently there at the Fashion & Textile Museum the 70s POP! exhibition is chock-full of what we were all doing then and it looks as though that was the last time the ‘creatives’ happily and whole-heartedly put two fingers up at the ‘suits’ and enjoyed themselves. What happened? Marketing? Bottom lines? Lost the map? Instance that hideous Olympic logo: it panders to street graffiti but its cynical styling patronises the exuberance of youth and insults our sensibility – as do the stilted illustrations on all the TFL transport posters. Why aren’t we celebrating the beauty of movement with a fluidity of line, and warning of inevitable traffic standstills with elegance and wit? In a nation renowned for its design and designers why has a committee been allowed to give house-room to such second-rate solutions?…. Phew! Passing my local reptile shop early one morning this fellow was flicking that blue tongue of his by the door – no doubt given the run of the place while his gravel was cleaned; we exchanged stares through the glass. And here’s one I made earlier!