Emporium Temporay Sign

I went to the open studios as part of the Folkestone Triennial. It was great fun with interesting and entertaining people. Had a superb slice of lemon drizzle cake (left over from a private view but one must remember the relationship between ‘beggars’ and ‘choosers’). Listened to people explain their work and looked at drawings, sculpture, photographs and much more. And, I only made one faux pas.

‘I like these small ships’
‘I didn’t actually make those’.

Bronze sculptures with feathers, a feather boat, and on a bench, drawings with intense black outlines and shapes.
‘What is this ‘artistic block’ stuff that people talk about?’
I agreed. Editors certainly don’t understand the concept.
‘Kurt Vonnegut used to read everything at least twice. Once when he was drunk, and again when sober’. Or perhaps it was the other way round.

But it was an odd day and I’m not sure why. It had a little something of HG Wells in the atmosphere. A sense that something peculiar could happen. Mr Wells has that sort of power. I stepped back in a narrow alley to allow another person to walk past.
‘Do I look that bad?’ he asked, laughing.

It started on the train. I was standing up, looking out of the window in the door.
‘It’s the other side’, a voice said. It was the conductor (or the guard, as the job was once described). I must have done this journey a thousand times or more. So why did I stand there, looking out, expecting the platform to appear?
‘I’m having one of those days’, I explained. The conductor-guard laughed.
‘We all have them. Have a good one’.

And earlier I’d left home and had to return. My camera had been forgotten. How could I have done that? I nearly missed the train. I arrived at the station sweating and in a flush. I explained that I wasn’t quite with it to the woman working in the ticket office. ‘You can sort yourself out on the train’, she said. ‘Have a good day’, she added. In a friendly manner; not that weird affected labour stuff you get sometimes.

It was only later that I realised that there were no photographs of the art itself. Perhaps because there were so many conversations and being absorbed in it all. Instead a random set of images that I took while just wandering around. None of which capture the free-wheeling, easy going, friendly atmosphere or have anything to do with the art. But there. One must put up with the tangents of life as well as the direct lines.

And I’m sure the arts festival can speak for its self and tell its story better than I can. Here’s the website: https://www.creativefolkestone.org.uk/folkestone-triennial/

I don’t wish to sound like a High Court judge ( ‘a bus? I have never been on such a thing’) but I wasn’t sure if this was an exhibit or not. Whether it is or isn’t someone has made a great deal of effort with the ‘Emporium Temporay Sign’

I have no idea why but this street reminded me of a street in Altona, Hamburg. I think it’s the trees rather than the shops. I remember being in that street in Altona one Saturday afternoon and it was raining. I sheltered under a shop awning and drew a picture of the bio-markt opposite. I remember those moments so vividly, but without checking my diary I cannot recall anything else about the day.

This is part of the original ferry terminal. I would like to go down there. But not today. I’ve just managed to spill beer all over a clean table cloth simply by pouring the beer into a glass. The glass wasn’t tilted properly so the beer went in, hit the bottom of the glass, swirled around and immediately came out again. What is going on?

If I had gone down there today (and it’s fenced off) I would almost certainly have slipped and trapped my arm in a crack in the wall. Meanwhile the tide would have started to come in and no-one would hear my shouts. The only thing to do would be to saw my own arm off like that guy in the Rockies.

Another reason to be careful on a day which has an odd arc about it.

MSC Oriane sailing west from DP World London Gateway to Le Havre.

Eurocargo Bari (ro-ro cargo) en route to Cork from Zeebrugge.

The destruction of Mermaid Beach continues. Luxury flats which are most likely to be used as ‘second homes’ (perhaps three or four weekends a year). It is not just that there are huge inequalities in Britian. There is a great deal of injustice and unfairness.

Fantastic railway viaduct architecture competed in 1843.

Part of the Triennial is in the former Folkestone gas works. Well worth going to see this. I went on the basis of a recommendation from one of the organisers and glad I did. Not only for the art installations (the Slosh is worth seeing) but also because one of the volunteers provided a fascinating history of the gas works and what the future might be of this particular space. It is full of pollutants, arsenic, heavy metals. He showed me the arches where the retorts used to be. And pointed out that even now nothing is really growing there.

Thank you Folkestone. That really was good fun.

That was my day. As I left the station on the return journey, the woman who had served me hours earlier was still there in the ticket office. I’d spent the day having an adventure and exploring. She had spent the day selling tickets and dealing with the public.

As I left the station I waved to her. She waved back, smiling and laughing. There was a comic moment there, well shared.

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