Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Tiffany Favrile Bowl-Piece of the Week.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was born (1848-1933) into wealth.

He was a gifted painter in his younger years. 
He was also an architect,designed furniture, textiles, wallpaper and rugs. He worked in Bronze, silver, wrought iron, wood ceramics and silver.
But he is mostly known for glass.
“I have always striven to fix beauty in wood or stone, or glass or pottery, in oil or watercolour, by using whatever seemed fittest for the expression of beauty; and I see no reason to change it.”
He expressly refrained from imitating by striving for a new medium.
“God has given us our talents not to copy the talents of others, but rather to use our brains and our imagination in order to obtain the revelation of true beauty.”
He searched also for new technical inventions that could help him with his restless ideas.

The son of Harriet and Charles Lewis Tiffany, New York. He was the founder of Tiffany & Co a purveyor of jewelry silver objects and timepieces.
 That name had become a byword for luxury and craftsmanship. Opening in 1837 by the 1870's his Fifth Avenue store became the place where presidents would buy gifts for royalty and heads of state. By 1900 they had 1,000 employees around the world.
Louis showed no interest in joining the family firm instead he went to Eagleswood Military Academy in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. 
In 1865 he toured Europe. 
While in London he visited the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Roman and Syrian glass made a monumental impression on him. 
This same museum now has a collection of Tiffany Glass. 
On return to New York he enrolled in the National academy of Design and exhibited, in 1867 paintings that were inspired by his European travels.
He worked alongside George Innes (1825-1895). He was part of The Hudson River School. 
They both enjoyed a love of nature.
Innes had a dialogue with the Babizon school of painters who worked near Fontenbleau.
Tiffany went back to Europe in 1868 where he met Leon-Charles-Adrien but could not work within his strict regime. He then met Leon-Adolphe-Auguste Belly (1827-1877) who was a painter in the exotic and orientalist style and exhibited at the Salon.
On return to New York he met Samuel Colman at the Century Club. 
While travelling separately they met in Granada and decided to travel on to Egypt and Africa together.
Morocco, Tangier where he painted the Souks. then to Tunisia and Egypt they often painted the same subjects.
He began to love Islamic art and started collecting glassware and other objects. These pieces would lead to later inspiration. He took photographs and would use these later to recall his influences. 
1878 would see him exhibiting street scenes of New York at the Paris Exhibition Universalle of 1878.
He received many awards and showing his work at 27 different exhibitions by the age of 21.
 He formed the society of American Artists along with John Singer Sargent and James McNeil Whistler. He realised his lack of classical training would always hinder him and his vast wealth gave him the opportunity to follow a avenue less crowded where those with more skills would outshine him. 
His works of this period is now valued for its skill and approach and highly valued.
His acquired sense of colour and his experiences would lead him into creating glass.

Industrialisation would give new opportunities and the demand for luxury items to fulfil the ambitions of the new rich industrialists led him to draw on his fathers reputation.
He formed a Interior design company that lasted for four years. He would encompass many variations of design and was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and in particular William Morris who was enlightening the world to medieval design and craftsmanship.
Art Nouveau, was the breath of fresh air that filled his lungs.
Tiffany would be inspired by art nouveau and its principle designers but would look to nature for his own special style. In 1882 he had received a commission from President Arthur who was a New Yorker to redecorate the Whitehouse where he would install a three part glass screen to separate the public and private areas. 
Twenty years later Theodore Roosevelt would remodel the Whitehouse again. This time in a Neo-Classical style.
He and his associates decorated houses for some of the most wealthy people including Andrew Carnegie Cornellius Vanderbilt II and the writer Mark Twain. He split with his associates in 1883 and was free to explore his own independent projects.

He loved old glass and the way minerals in the soil had effected the glass when buried for ages. Glass that dated back to 1450 BC from Egypt was often thought as the earliest and Syrian glass blowing using a hollow pipe was invented in the 1st century B.C. Glass is mentioned alongside gold and precious stones in the bible as a precious commodity. 
In the mentioning these treasures, only glass is made by hand.
Tiffany would go on to form a reputation that has not been equalled.
This small bowl infused with blue and greens is only 5inches wide. But a object of exceptional beauty.

Part One: more to follow soon.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Is India Buildings About To Be Butchered by The HMRC.

 Despite there appearing to be some level of secrecy, I can confirm that the beautiful travertine marble arcade is to be butchered with holes whacked in it all over show. Maybe four of them.
There is a big risk to the architectural integrity Holts Arcade.
 Liverpool's famous architect, of repute, Herbert Rowse must be turning in his grave.
15 years ago I was so proud. I had found a bronze plaque, the original, with detailing that reflected India Buildings class. It was cast to commemorate the sacrifice of those that lost their lives in the Great War. That worked for Alfred Holt and Company. After lots of consternation and a word with the owners of India Buildings at the time the pedantic building manager agreed to erect it in the arcade.  Though it had originally been outside Holts Offices it now seemed the fitting place. And it was set on the marble.
I would cry every year at 11 o'clock on the 11th November when the old Holts Line and Blue Funnel employees would gather and it would become a focal point. Not just to remember Holts employees but all those who fell so we could be free, so we could speak our mind. Be free.
They are now going to twat a hole right through where it hangs. There is no other way to say it. The HMRC, I overheard don't want it there. They want it lost, again. 
There is something magical about this arcade. The dimensions are just right. Its Classical perfection. 
It is as perfect as you can get.
Some years ago I asked the c20 Society if they would put their weight behind upgrading its listing status.
 Gavin Stamp one of the countries leading heritage fighters, who Liverpool will sadly miss, backed me.
He was a past Chairman of C20society and put his weight behind it. After a lot of work by Clare at C20society  English Heritage upgraded it from Grade II to Grade II*.
That seemed to be a protection jacket wrapped around it. To save its integrity for future generations.
Yet it now seems this wont stop it escaping the grubby paws of this current crop of unsophisticated developers and the HMRC.
You know it makes me sick to my back teeth when we do all that work to put it beyond ruination and then the place will still get wrecked
In many of my heritage battles I have often thought myself akin to David fighting Goliath and this bunch really are Philistines.
They say they have employed heritage experts. http://www.classicartdeco.co.uk/india-buildings.php 
Well they cant be that clever or experts if they are in on this grubby little deal. Some people don't have the integrity to call themselves experts if they don't understand what heritage means.
 They take the coin to do what they are paid for, not what should be done. 
And the architects are Falconer Chester Hall. It couldn't be worse. Well it could Stiles and Wood got the contract....after they put in the lowest price.
They were talking at one time about polishing all the bronze shopfronts.
To make them look like brass. Lose all the patina.
Money, money, money that's all this new lot seem to be interested in.
There are some things that just need to be left alone. One is Holts Arcade.
I fought the last lot, Green Property, (see Private Eye 1229 above) and their ideas to close part of the arcade.
But to no avail they had all the power and did nothing to make lettings happen. India Buildings went into further decline, they were letting the tenants leave the building with regular abandon.
They needed to empty it out. Mike Tapp of Green Property advised me that they see the future as a whole letting. Open offices and a call centre. That where the money was. John Lee from CBRE had told them so. 
So we watched its decline.
Like being strangled slowly every day they would let another tenant leave.
The building, they said was 75% let when they took it over after it was repossessed by the banks and the biggest fraudster in British history Achileas Kalakis did time.
So I was about to close up and a new lot bought the buildings. Things looked up. We would see a couple of people walking round and clung on a bit longer. Lawrence Kenwright was in the running for India Buildings and I have to say I did not think he had the skill to restore it. It was bought by a British Virgin Islands offshore company. Then the HMRC were interested. 
 Or was there a bit more to it than that? Then they began threatening me. bullying everyone, and they offered me a relocation terms and it was time to move.
Then they behaved like type and shafted everyone around me and I knew it was the wrong thing to do.
I could not have held on any longer, the centre of gravity of the business district had changed.
Then the Philistines shafted me.
But this now gives me a chance to go back. To carry out some unfinished business, because I always regretted not doing more to alert the public to the vandalism that was about to begin. 
I have to be honest I thought I had been abandoned by the public. 
My business is personal to me and I take all things personal. Its my life its not a business.
If I had of been doing it for money I would have gone back into property. I had packed that business in a long time ago, but was afraid I would end up, well like the Philistines that then owned me.
 I am ashamed I let them take me for a ride.
Come back Lawrence Kenwight all is forgiven.
This lot have now closed the beautiful arcade to the public and the Arcade will never open again, which is Grade II* listed in its own right, and the shops are to be offices.
And Liverpool City Council are complicit. Sort of partners in slime really.
The dodgy building manager used to go past shouting out, “All these are going to be offices” he would say and I just got angry inside.
But now its time to say it loud.
I am ashamed of myself that I did not put up more of a fight up.
I am also ashamed that I did not make more of arguing against it.
The local press had changed it seems all about twitter now and to be honest even though I was critical of the last lot of journalists they now seem great intelectuals compared to these new kids on the twitter feed block.
It was always easy to persuade Peter Elson as to the merits of history and heritage because he felt it too.
The city council planners have been given delegated planning powers over India Buildings.
A Grade II* listed building.
This means they can do virtually what they want.
The owners and there is now another company involved India Buildings Development Ltd, with a liability of £100. Check them out at Companies House. Theres a few characters there. That the HMRC are doing business with.  https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10844377
It stinks. So after they have shafted me I am now free to shout it from the 8th Floor.
 This is the worst thing that could have happened to India Buildings.
I admit it I was wrong and I should have done something about it.

But where were all the people to help. To complain about the right of way being stubbed out, like The Ramblers. I phoned them once and this bloke just went on, and on and on, and on, so I put the phone down.
I cant do it alone is there anyone out there that cares about this amazing heritage asset. In the World Heritage Site. (will may lose the WHS status this June, when the UNESCO World Heritage committee meet).
The Friends Of India Buildings.
The HMRC unions are up in arms about this move.
The Bootle Strand will be decimated.
The area of Water Street will be re-invented. But will this be Plastic Town and not Liverpool the city that used to have character. That is until London, investors with no real links to the city were touted by Mr Anderson and smoothed along by the likes of Gary Millar and Nick Small.

It could be the usual David amongst The Philistines, but y'know I have a sling and I am going to have a fight. Better late than never. Its that time.

Please if anyone with genuine interests can help please don't hesitate to contact me.
Its time to fight them on the beaches.

And I Dreamt That I Dwelt In Marble Halls. No More. Holts Arcade Is About To Be Butchered.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Antiques Roadshow 2018 Valuation Days and Venues.

Antiques Roadshows 2018

Bring along your family heirloom or that little something you have always wanted to know a bit more about for a valuation by a member of the Antiques Roadshow team.
Why not just come along for a great day out.
I will be present at The Piece Hall Halifax Sunday 8th July, Erddig Wrexham Thursday 26th July and Media City Salford Thursday 30th August and I am so looking forward to it. 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Frederic Lord Leighton-Athlete Wresting A Python-One Of My Favourite Things.

 This has to be one of the finest sculptures of all time.
It is one of my favourites, and I have seen a few.
Only one of his two lifesize sculptures.
I stand there open mouthed every time I see it. I saw a giant casting in The Royal Academy London.
Frederic Lord Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton, (3 December 1830 – 25 January 1896) was a artist of repute. His art was photographic in its realism. Some of his art such as 'Flaming June' painted in 1895 is known all over the world.
He was a very skilled man indeed.
 By that I mean he was a purveyor of truth. 
When he did anything he did it well. 
He was able to bring about a resurgence in the art of sculpture in Britain with this creation by being honest to himself and with his line of thought and his idea of movement. This work of 1877 pioneered the 'New Sculpture' movement in Britain.
It was a  challenge to one of the most famous sculptures of all time 'The Laocoon'.

 He chose that very moment of battle. To test his skill.
At the time, it was also known as 'An Athlete Strangling A Python and 'An Athlete Struggling With A Python'

So he went out of his way to make it difficult for himself by choosing the exact time that a Python is wanting to kill its human prey.....or is it the other way round.
As a constrictor, the Python would have been, in elongated and truncated form pumping its body in the fight that ensued. 
The wrestler in turn tensing his muscles as violently as its foe. 
Keeping the monster at bay pushing it away while it wraps itself wanting to suffocate in a coil of death around him.
Each fighting for its life, wrestling for survival. He does not want to be suffocated and consumed, eaten through that retractable jaw that would dislocate itself to eat something far bigger than itself. Reticulating its prey inside its jaws, this man does not want to be a lump inside a giant pair of shoes, you can feel it.
The strength that would be needed to exact this very split second in time that Lord Leighton has captured was immense.
This is a time when photography was in its infancy, a time when not many people would be able to see, with a naked eye, even if they witnessed the event. It would happen too fast.
We can, today video something and slow it down examining each frame, every second, finding the point that we wanted to capture, and stop it. But not then.
Most people would not have even seen a Python unless they went to a zoo.
Today subliminally we seem to know what everything is, we have discovered everything in passing. Our imagination is used to it. 
We pick things up from TV or images around us.
And if its not and we wish to query anything, we can google it.
But not in the age of discovery, the 19th century, that we see here in this amazing piece of sculpture.
Lord Leighton was able to freeze frame a subject in his mind and then turn it into a study that bears reference to classical poise and then make it beautiful even though it is a violent and scary fight for survival.
This study in bronze was featured in the very first edition of the studio and its influence on British art was huge.
 It is said that this sculpture brought back the art of sculpting in Britain and it was an inspiration to a whole generation.
There is a casting of this amazing bronze in Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery in William Brown Street. 
Its worth a look and if you are ambitious, try and draw a study of it. 
Then, you will see, just how good it is.

Of course everything has a price.
Bonhams recently sold a version Provenance
Hartford Hall, Hartford, Cheshire
Purchased by the vendors family at the contents sale of Hartford Hall, sold by Messrs' C.W. Provis & Son, Auctions & Valuers on behalf of the executors of the late Mrs K. B. Carver, Wednesday 14th February 1934, lot 128.
Thence by family descent.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Augustus John and Gwen John. The Brother and Sister of Art.

For a long time I have known the name of Augustus John and his connection with Liverpool. 
I keep on seeing his portraits, such as The Marshesa Casati with her flame red hair. Luisa Casati looks like a Vamp.
Not as much is known of his sister Gwen.
He had been a prominent player in Liverpool's Art School and in its standing in the wider establishment. 
It appears that for him being there and passing on his valuable experience and energy to another generation that, we are all the better for it.
Augustus Edwin John had trained at The Slade School where he was a star.
He was appointed to the Liverpool Art Sheds 1901-02 to replace Herbert Jackson who had joined up to serve in the Boer War.
It was said he had a brilliant technique and a uninhibited approach and his Bohemian personality was well noted. 
This drew many students to his life classes. He looked Bohemian almost like a Jesus of Nazareth character with long flowing locks of hair down to his shoulders. His sister Gwen was totally the opposite more of a wallflower.
He married Ida in 1901, she was also a Slade student.
He painted many University figures while in Liverpool.
There were many artists around, C.J Allen, Herbert MacNair and Charles Reilly among many others were to become prominent figures in Liverpool, Allen being a one time assistant to Hamo Thorneycroft. 
The Art Sheds were a place where ideas and thoughts could be brought to fruition by those who attended.
John settled for a short while at 66 Canning street after short stays with friends. His studio then was No 2 Rodney Street. In 1902 after the birth of their first child David the John's moved to 138 Chatham Street for five months.
Gwen visited them that summer.
He then moved to Fitzroy Street London shortly after a failed election to Liverpool Academy in 1902 but he was back and forth to London by then.
He took a trip to Wales with John Sampson in 1903 and was still in Liverpool 1904 when Charles Reilly became Professor of Architecture. Charles Reilly would champion a new classical style moving away from the Arts and Crafts that was the fashion of the day, with haste.
Many of his drawings of Liverpool models were sent via William Rothenstein for exhibition at the Carfax Gallery.
He was made Honorary Member of Sandon Society of Artists 1908.

Brought up in the middle class town of Tenby, the Johns were born the children of a lawyer. Their mother had died when they were young and they had a nanny to look after them.
Gwen was shy and both her and Augustus showed a talent for art from an early age.
They stayed aloof from the goings on in the town. Showing an air of respectability for a middle class lawyer. He taught his children moral values. Those children would rebel against the steadiness of their fathers strict Anglican principles.
Augustus who was born 1878 reversed the tutoring of his father and headed for London to enrol in the Slade School of Art. He was uncertain of himself and his work was methodical and unremarkable. The revelation and new sensations of the model in his first life class would be something he would remember. He worked hard and in his second year his work became steady and his old master style astonished the tutors. Henry Tonks proclaimed him the best draughtsman since Michelangelo. His line became sure and his style became that of the bohemian.
 He discovered women. Woman is beauty and every artist loves beauty so every artist must love woman. This was an excuse he needed as he liked the company of woman above anything and the art gave him his chance to discover his own way of life centered around the female form.
Augustus became a legend at The Slade for his drawings but struggled with a brush but won an award for a biblical scene which was contrived from the old masters.
Gwen joined him there but remained in the background around Augustus's centre of attention approach. He commanded the signature John claiming it in his own pushy way.
They lived together for a while. In several cellars and basements and It was life of differences and she found it more difficult than he.
He was overpowering and she restrained. He married a friend of Gwen's, Ida to the dismay of her family. She adored Gus.
Gwen set off for France with a friend in 1903. Walking from Bordeaux to Rome she wanted to take her time and paint. It was said Whistler who she met in Paris influenced her after she abandoned her walk in Toulouse.
Montparnasse was her home living frugally in order without mess yards from Modigliani who arrived shortly after her. She painted many scenes with flowers that adorned her room. 
Inside her there always seemed to be that her inner eye was focused towards the church.
She posed for other artists including Rodin at the age of 63.
 He was the greatest living artist and she fell in love with him and his prodigious sexual appetite. 
She was obsessed by him but he would not be able to meet her demands though he really loved her.
He paid her rent and worried about her cat.
 I often think is that Gwen when I see a Rodin sculpture.
The memory of Whistler stayed with her. Her style stays strong from the start. She painted ordinary folk while Augustus later went for the big blockier strokes laying paint in a style of abandon. That worked. 
But he always retained a conservatism within the shadows of his work he always searched where Gwen seemed to have already found what she wanted to do. He dressed his sitters in fancy dress. She painted people that she identified with. Introvert and unassuming.
Augustus decided the Gypsy life was for him and he hit the open road falling in love with Dorothy McNeil who he met while living with Ida. His drawings of her show her as a real timeless beauty. Gwen talked her into becoming his muse and they set off for a life with Ida. The romanticism of the Gypsy stayed in his heart and he would take his caravan to Dartmoor with the two woman looking after Ida's newly born child.

He went to Paris.

Kindly drawn pictures of Caspar show a tenderness that did not represent the reality. Ida died in a Paris hospital giving birth. 
His wife had posed for him while looking after seven children.
Romelly John is quoted as saying”They had to compromise from the Gypsy life to the outside world”.
His paintings of the family show affection.
He then went to North Wales and he painted the mountain......that captivated him like one of his lovers. 
He then escaped further into nature but returned to Dorset painting blue pools, perhaps some of his best. His work shows impossible dreams and fantasies that dwelt in his mind.
He painted Yates and Shaw while in Ireland and was becoming a society painter in demand capturing the spirit of the sitter. His work never lost its uncertainty.
Provence called him to the classical land of his dreams. Roman lands of Greeks and gypsy spirits.
Martigues in Province became his home before the tourists arrived. He moved north and lived in complete simplicity with no running water just a well.
His children recalled him as a overbearing character who always vied for attention.

He built a studio in Chelsea while partying in the evenings with the rich and famous of the day. 
He was at the peak of his career. He would stride the Kings Road and Chelsea.
In 1913 Gwen became a catholic. This was at the deepest time of her affair with Rodin. Maybe a rejection of her upbringing she found a monastery and the nuns wanted her to paint religious pictures. Rodin disliked her praying in Church. “I am like a little animal groping in the dark” she told Gus. She moved, with her cats into a single room where she seemed happy. She took time to visit Gus. She rented a room by the sea in Brittany where she drew the local children wearing the black pinafore of the school. She drew the innocence of the little folk with tenderness. She controlled the paint more than she could people. She did not like to sell her work.
She collapsed in Dieppe right off the train and she died a few days later.

Augustus threw party's which were funded by his work but was still searching and in Friars Court he painted with a passion and intensity that was noticed by his sitters who were lit perfectly while he mixed his paint telling the sitter off if they moved a bit. His children found the sittings a strenuous time when he painted them, always alone except while he painted Dylan Thomas when one of his children was employed to fill the sitter with beer and keep him happy.
He painted T.E Lawrence.

Lord Leverhulme was so upset with his portrait that he cut out the head (since only that part of the image could easily be hidden in his vault) but when the remainder of the picture was returned by error to John there was an international outcry over the desecration.

His work was his life but forever he searched for inspiration and perfection.
He became unfashionable and the excitement had gone in the 1950's.
The flame had died. His last painting was a painting of the Camargue gypsies paying homage to their patron saint.
He called it a failure and said 50 years from now “I will be known as the brother of Gwen John”.
He missed the gypsy life, the outdoors and said “I wish I had never left Wales”
In 1961 he died aged 83. “Give me another hundred years” he had said “And I will become a very good painter”
In the latter years he would sit and stare at his sisters paintings and the fountain of her work that showed her moving towards her own abstraction. She did not see small things in a small way. The things she owned and people she knew, her cat's.
She exiled herself and the conflict within them both was played out through the canvasses they left behind. The essence of her life and existence. The little lark ascending.
Did they have the same insecurities that drove them on. 

Where else can you find a brother and sister on a journey through art like the John's.
Gwen John 1876-1939

Friday, 18 August 2017

India Buildings Liverpool Twenty Years Of My Life.

Twenty years in the same place. Twenty Years In India Buildings.
I wouldn't have believed it.
 I thought I had gypsy blood at one time I was travelling so much.
I declared when I became a carpenter all those decades ago that I loved it because there was always a different place to work. New surroundings' new people to meet. 
 And then I fell in love with a perfect piece of architecture. 
When something is so perfect as Holts Arcade where else would you want to be.

 There is nowhere else like Holts Arcade, or Holts Parade as it is always referred to in lease documents and rent demands by the various shysters that have owned the building. 
And there have been a few. Twenty years in quarterly bills, that's more than a few.
I first discovered India Buildings about 1984 when a rather attractive and exotic looking lady that I met in town said she worked there. For the Inland Revenue or was it the VAT office. 
You entered in the back entrance on Brunswick street and went up to the mezzanine level and then if I recall there was an office where she worked. 

My grandmother talked about it when I told her I was moving there she told me it was once the Law courts or a Coroners office. 
She had to visit there when she lost her husband just before I was born. I think my great grandmother had a cleaning job here and other places such as Exchange Flags.

Discounting sleep I probably spent more time there than at home.
I was travelling a lot when I first opened the shop, backwards and forwards to France sometimes twice a month. Looking for swag. 
I loved my job then and roughed it a bit on my travels.
 And this made me appreciate the place when I returned.
I recall an old fashioned song that used to come into my head when I was heading back up the A9 through France, from Montpelier or Avignon through beautiful countryside. 'I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls'. I don't even know who originally sung it. It was in a film, an old black and white one.
 I will always remember the way the sentiment of the song was used to describe the feelings of the poor girl who was wishing in a fairy tale way, in a Cinderella way to escape to a grand house and live in luxury without the cruel wind of everyday life. Don't know what happened in the end. Maybe she lived happily ever after, with Errol Flynn. 
But it seemed to ask me questions such as why would you need to wish for another place to dwell?
Its why I stayed really because business has not always been brisk.
Though in reality there was always one question to answer. Where is the rent going to come from?
So I stayed watching other antique dealers close all over the place. Chester was decimated. 
The Internet arrived and changed the face of the trade. 
But I could not get away from the fact that this was not just a job to me. Its a way of life. A learning curve. A thirst for knowledge, and it became apparent that I was not doing it for the money. 
Being involved with art and history and the stories that they tell is far more important to me than money. I could always lose myself.
And like the character I used to watch when I was a kid at times I felt like Mr Benn.
I would put my key in the door and turn it and enter into another world.
Like the world of tales of times gone by, of adventures and history.
I love learning and this is the job to unfurl mysteries and peoples stories.
Insights into personalities who owned or made objects fills my inside with a feeling that you would never get making doors or fitting staircases, even though in different places every week. Although I can never stop using my hands and always keep my skills alive recently i have become interesting in clay and love creating works of art. It may be time to put the key in that door soon and walk through into another life.
So I stayed and then stayed a bit longer and people come and went and new friends appeared as others left and I let it all drift me by and I watched the world go by while fighting vociferous heritage battles for Liverpool's skyline, and trying to get various buildings listed before they would be ruined.

I felt the sense of place was being changed all around me. Everywhere was turning into homogenised nothing shops full of stuff you can get anywhere, in any town.
But still India Buildings beautiful arcade stayed the same. Because it always should, its so perfect.
Then they wanted to close me down and I fought hard and got angry. Fighting for the right to survive would always have challenges. The biggest challenge was always the changing times and the regeneration of Liverpool had opened up different aspects of the city that took people in different directions and India buildings drained of offices, and people left.

And now they say the HMRC is going to relocate a regional super call centre here.
I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls.......maybe no more.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Remembering The Battle Of Passchendaele And Flanders Fields.

Remembering The Fallen.
All I can do is take some time in reflection, to remember those I never knew.
This week the commemorations for Passchendaele and the Third Battle of Ypres are being held with full dignity and solemnity by the BBC.

I have visited many of Flanders war Cemetery's on my visits to France and Belgium.
One trip saw rain of biblical proportions. It gave me an insight to the misery. But I could book into a hotel unlike those soldiers of a hundred years past, who had to endure the misery.
I always sit there and cry like a baby when I reflect on the beautifully kept war graves, that hide the misery that befell so many, so I could write in free spirit.
My last visit I stopped at Poziers Memorial.
It was beautifully kept and the amazing geometry of the glistening headstones against the green of the land and the blue of the sky was a sharp contrast to my mind.

The Pozières Memorial is a World War I memorial, located near the commune of Pozières, in the Somme department of France, and unveiled in August 1930. Wikipedia

My Grandfather was there in the trenches.
Although I have not studied his actual service, something I have wanted to do for some time now, I grew up with the legacy he left his sons.
The large family would have listened to the stories that this gregarious character I hardly knew, had told them.

I think he looted the whole German army his house was full of souvenirs that he had brought back from the grim escapades in Flanders.

Grenades, a Luger pistol and all the bits and pieces that he may have felt belonged to him.
I hardly knew him but was banned from certain rooms in his house, one where his war booty was kept was full of copper and silver coins.
He had a paper stall facing St Mathews Church on Queens Drive. 
I would say hello to him as he served his customers shouting “Echo, Get Your Echo”.
He was a well known character in the area. 
The budgie cage in the parlour was covered when I or my siblings visited.
 He had taught little Joey how to swear and when his wife, my Grandmother, a lovely kind lady who had thirteen children entered the room, the little creature shouted “You silly old cow.”
He was alright, probably scarred, how could any person not be having gone through the First World War, and his sons of which there were many grew up hearing about the brutality.
And they told me about those who shot their toes off to escape the horrors.
How could such a war have have happened?

I don't wish to explore that here just to pay a little respect to those, who gave their lives so we could be free. 
And to my Grandfather that I hardly knew. 
He came back.
We must not forget them.