“Paradise haunts gardens…” Derek Jarman

I have no idea how long I have been thinking about going to see Derek Jarman’s garden- but it’s probably more than the twenty years since he died. I finally made it last Wednesday; drove from Rye, where we were staying for half term, on a persistently drizzly and grey day, through the marshes and strange flatness of Camber and Lydd. Across the pylon-plotted horizon with the odd caravan park nestling by their giant electric feet. And then without knowing until I saw it, there, a yellow framed, black stained timber building loomed into view through the mist and rain-spattered windscreen of my car.

There!

With the BBC film crew van tucked into the side of the narrow road between the stretch of shingle and few houses, there on the right hand side, the garden. Here are some grey rainy shots of Jarman’s garden as it is now, twenty years after he died. As far as I know the house is owned by someone new but obviously aware and respectful of the legacy, and the garden remains. Below is a short film made by BBC Gardeners’ World in the first few years after Jarman passed on, where his partner is interviewed and talks about the garden, and which includes quotes from Jarman’s book…. now I have to go back when the weather is better in the Spring. Dungeness is magickal and it is easy to understand why he settled there.

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Westhafen #Poetry

On the last day of our latest visit to Berlin we changed trains at U-bahn Westhafen and discovered this visual feast. Artists Françoise Schein and Barbara Reiter re-designed the station in 2000, using the 1948 text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  juxtaposed with quotes from Heinrich Heine in German and French. For more  information on the artwork and the project click here.

One more reason to love Berlin.

 

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Moving on…

I enjoyed the Small Stone exercise but have been so busy with other writing and poetry-related activities that it has fallen away to the roadside as I have jogged on, trying to keep up with myself for the last month.

I’m about far enough away from the experience of my last year at university to have the beginnings of some perspective on it. A vague way of saying that I think I have come through the worst of the MFA-dissertation-and-teaching-qualification madness I succumbed to.

The dust is settling after a total of five years of full time higher education and it feels good. For a long time afterwards I was rushing everywhere, panicking about not getting things done on time, until one day, quite recently, I realised I can set my own agenda now. There is, at last, more time for other things apart from writing assignments.

I feel happier than I have done in years.

Apart from that though I have been feverishly filling up that time with writing projects….of course… More about those and other stuff soon.

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The Imaginarium, Millenium Square, Brizzol

ICA Off-Site: A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now

I got in there and wondered quietly to myself if they would mind me having a little dance – Metal Guru was playing loudly from a screen at one end showing Michael Clark dancing…lots of Leigh Bowery…vitrines full of all kinds of delights to pore over…Body Map…John Maybury…John Crancher…Shoom…if you grew up in the 80s and were the type of person who enjoyed exploring the black labyrinth that was Kensington Market, then this is a show for you. But be quick, it ends on Sunday. It was lovely to have an indulgent wallow in nostalgia but also a strange feeling seeing fliers for clubs I went to and clothes I bought being displayed as influencing what happened next…Getting old dear…

I went for the memories but came away with gaps in my knowledge filled, and with new names and places to check out, and most of all the feeling that the vibrant, creative, risque, risky, exciting, new and most of all FUN world I knew back then and and grew up with (I was 13 in 1983 when I first went to Kensington Market and the Kings Road) is not completely gone…the threads which weave the post-punk years through to now.

It is not exhaustive, it is not meant to be- the curation is excellent, the vitrines act as useful vessels and the connections between past and present are well made.

Here’s some pics… there may be some more writing to follow in another post.

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Under Water – National Poetry Day

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It’s National Poetry Day and the theme this year is water. Here is a new/old poem from me, one of the #Broadcast poems edited and brought up to date in macro form, with a rainy picture taken in Berlin earlier this year, of the reflection of one of Dan Flavin’s light installations outside the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum.