The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
2nd June 2017

Vintage Trouble are an American soul and blues-rock four-piece. Reminiscent of Chuck Berry and Otis Redding, this California-based band give old-school soul music a new lease of life and certainly know how to rock a venue...

We enjoy a wonderful trip down to Bexhill and funk out to Vintage Trouble. Our chums Carl and Annette gave us the nod re this band, they are official 'trouble makers'. The seriously funky foursome raised the roof at the beautiful De La Warr Pavilion. Ty Taylor, the charismatic front Man, whipped his adoring audience into a frothing, funking frenzy... Fantastic! 

Here is some info about the band:
Vocalist Ty Taylor and guitarist Nalle Colt, friends of over 14 years, had regularly played together before forming Vintage Trouble in 2010. With the addition of mutual friend and bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson, the group began recording in their own D.I.Y home studio in Venice Beach, California. Soon after, Vintage Trouble began playing local dates and late night speakeasies, delivering their brand of ’50’s soul and blues music that owes as much to Otis Redding as it does The Rolling Stones. Following three days of intense recording the group released their debut output “The Bomb Shelter Sessions” in July 2011.

In an attempt to make a name and history for themselves, the group headed to Europe and landed shows opening for Brian May and Bon Jovi on their huge arena tours. The shows raised Vintage Trouble’s international profile, as did an appearance on “Later… with Jools Holland” in early 2011. The band’s debut full-length subsequently rose to No. 13 on the iTunes Best Selling Digital Albums Chart.

Following shows opening for The Who in North America and Europe, the band released the album “The Swing House Acoustic Session” in 2014. More high-profile shows followed including supporting Paloma Faith and AC/DC before the band returned to the studio to release “1 Hopeful Rd.” in August 2015. The rest, as they say, is history... (in the making)...

> Earlier that same day, we enjoyed a quick visit to RHS Wisley. Always a favourite, this riot of colour, form and clever planting continues to blow our socks off... We will never tire of this important horticultural hot spot!

Beautiful Aliums at RHS Wisley

Prickly wonders in the Glass House

The spectacular Mysore trumpet vine

 The dream like Jade vine (and Dave)...

10 out of 10 for both!


The North, UK
14-17th April 2017

It's the long spring break! So, what better excuse to jump in the car and head North?... We also go see what the mini Lego builders have been up to in Durham...

Off again, heading North to see friends in Durham, we take a leisurely drive from Southampton via a few places of interest and a quick pop-in on family too. It all went a little like this...

Friday 14th - We enjoy a smooth crossing on the ferry and, once on the motorway, we are eating up the mile on the way to Rotherham. En-route, we stop off at Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire. This is a great spot to enjoy our sarnies while a short, sharp shower passes over. This Tudor Manor House and terraced grounds is well worth visiting. The House is a hotchpotch of styles and the gardens are beautiful. We continue our journey and reach Rotherham by 4pm, nice to catch up with Family.

Canons Ashby

The scarecrow of Canons Ashby

Fountains Abbey

 The Abbey Gardens

Saturday 15th - Up early to make the most of the good weather, we have breakfast and are soon on our way. Today is all about Durham! En-route today we visit the mighty Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water gardens. These ruins and landscaped gardens are spectacular... We have talked about visiting for many years, I am really glad that we have at last managed to squeeze in a short visit. On the road again and we head to Durham for a fun eve with friends.

National Glass Centre 

Souter Lighthouse

Alex and a ball 

Dave and the gang

Sunday 16th - Up and out early to maximise time for visits and activities... First up a short drive North East to Sunderland, here we visit the National Glass Centre. This excellent facility is packed with information, fantastic examples of glass craftsmanship and a fascinating live workshop where you can see the experts at play. We break for coffee and are soon back on the road heading to our next port of call. The Souter lighthouse at Whitburn is certainly impressive, the landscape is pretty stunning too... We climb the narrow spiral staircase to the very top and take in the views.

The Durham Lego Cathedral

Monday 17th - We chill in the morning before packing our bags, saying goodbye to our chums and heading into the City of Durham. This place is beautiful and always makes us happy. A short walk upto the Cathedral is a must, the Lego Cathedral inside the mighty original is fantastic! In the eve we grab a pizza and a drink before heading back to the hotel to relax.

Tuesday 18th - a very early start for me as I am catching the 6:12am train to London for work. Dave has a more leisurely morning before heading back to Rotherham to pick up family for their stay on the Isle of Wight.

8 out of 10.


Quay Arts, Newport, IOW
8th April 2017

Richard Long - ahead of 'the Isle of Wight as six walks', Richard Long discusses his work past and present with Les Buckingham, former Director at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth. We go to the Quay for a very special audience...

Turner Prize winning artist and Britain’s leading figure in Land Art, Richard Long presents a series of photographic and text works as well as a monumental floor installation made from flint - on lone from Southampton Art Gallery. Spanning over four decades and presenting a variety of locations – England, Wales, Africa, Nepal and Bolivia, he is an artist who embarks on long distance walks to create his work and was even once drawn to the Isle of Wight. A never-before seen vinyl text installation ‘The Isle of Wight as Six Walks’ 1982, from which the exhibition takes it name, is on display representing coast to coast walks by roads and paths on the Isle of Wight, as well as a bespoke ‘wall drawing’ using local mud from the River Medina.

What a treat to be able to listen to a true art legend in conversation at our local Art Gallery. We got to know the artist behind the concepts and it was super to be part of an audience that contained so many important IoW artists and creatives. The Quay is going from strength-to-strength, it's really stepped up. It's become a vibrant and well used hub for the local artistic community. Richard long's show is beautiful and has been getting plenty positive feed back, it can only help to raise the profile of our favorite Island art space.

I have always been curious about the work of Richard Long. He is an intriguing character. I find his works memorable and satisfying. Photographic works capture the essence of his conceptual journeys and his interactions with the natural world beautifully. His arrangements of found material translate well into the gallery. Structure and layout, form and detail are strong. The mud line painting created with local river mud is a stunning piece. It has depth, movement and fluidity... I hope the Quay find a way to preserve it on the gallery wall past the exhibitions run...

The Isle of Wight as Six Walks - 1982 

I am left with questions: Is Richard Long on a journey to bring order to our natural world? His use of mathematical structure suggest he is attempting to constrain and take ownership of the elements? Is he a frustrated graphic designer - surely not?

I don't actually mind what the outcome is... Long may his wonderful journey continue!

Medina Mud Line - 2017 

Wessex Flint Line - 1987 

Mud line detail 

Flint close up

10 out of 10.


White Cube Gallery, London
1st April 2017

Fred Tomaselli - is a visual taxonomist who uses a process of collecting and cataloguing visual data – from newspapers, magazines or field guides to anatomical or botanical illustrations... The resulting artworks are visually stunning and very intriguing...

This show at White Cube - Mason's Yard is entitled 'Paper'. Fred Tomaselli has produced photograms and collages, as well as a series of digital reproductions of the New York Times’ front pages, titled The Times... Can you see where the idea for the title came from? The reproductions feature illustrations drawn on top of the paper’s original images, which are designed to “highlight the tragedy, reality and absurdity of global politics,” says White Cube. Reproductions include a photo of a Ukrainian woman after the Malaysian plane crash carrying a bouquet of flowers that obscures her face, the forms of which Tomaselli has extended with real leaves, paint and a photo-collage pattern that spreads across the entire image.

Other photograms in the exhibition incorporate leaves grown in the artist’s own garden, harvested and then preserved. These flattened leaves are arranged onto photographic paper, which is then exposed to light and developed into photographs. The resulting images are painted over with colourful, hard-edged geometric patterns evoking floral still lifes, which ultimately remind us that nature and beauty persist despite the absurdity and horror of the world.

Thursday, May 12, 2001

Thursday, February 27, 2014 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Portrait of Gregory from Chemical Celestial Portraits - 1995 

Bloom (June 8) - 2016

10 out of 10.


Royal Academy, London
1st April 2017

America after the fall: Painting in the 1930's The art of 1930's America tells the story of a nation in flux. Artists responded to rapid social change and economic anxiety with some of the 20th century’s most powerful art - brought together now in this once-in-a-generation show.

These 45 truly iconic works paint an electrifying portrait of this transformative period. These works have rarely been seen together, by artists ranging from Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper to Thomas Hart Benton, Philip Guston and more. Perhaps the most celebrated work of them all, Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic (1930), has never left North American shores before.

Untitled, Jackson Pollock - 1938

Grant Wood, American Gothic - 1930

Grant Wood, Young Corn - 1931

Federico Castellon (Not Dali), The Dark Figure - 1938

In the devastating wake of the Wall Street Crash, artists sought to capture the changes in urbanisation, industrialisation and immigration that pulsed across the country, resulting in one of the most vital periods for American artists in the 20th century. This was a decade like no other that saw them search for an elusive ‘Americanness’ through realism, populism and abstraction, rural and urban themes, the farm, the new, the traditional.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said:  
“Art is not a treasure in the past or an importation from another land, but part of the present life of all living and creating peoples.”

This was a great opportunity to experience the life of 1930s America through the lens of 45 works of art... A well rounded show that kept us entertained, it also through up a few surprises!...

8 out of 10.


Royal Academy, London
1st April 2017

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 One hundred years on from the Russian Revolution, this powerful exhibition explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through the lens of its groundbreaking art.

Taking inspiration from a remarkable exhibition shown in Russia just before Stalin’s clampdown, this show marks the historic centenary by focusing on the 15-year period between 1917 and 1932 when possibilities initially seemed limitless and Russian art flourished across every medium. The show surveys the entire artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia. Renowned artists including Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko were among those to live through the fateful events of 1917, which ended centuries of Tsarist rule and shook Russian society to its foundations.

Boris Kustodiev, The Bolshevik - 1920

Installation view 

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square - 1929 

It was fascinating to see photography, sculpture and film making by pioneers such as Eisenstein, and evocative propaganda posters from what was a golden era for graphic design. The human experience was brought to life with a full-scale recreation of an apartment designed for communal living, and with everyday objects ranging from ration coupons and textiles to brilliantly original Soviet porcelain.

A great show by the Royal Academy... As always though, the sheer numbers of culture hungry visitors made it very difficult to navigate the packed gallery spaces... At times, it was impossible to view the works on show!

8 out of 10.