An arty day out…

But first…
Dulltown UK: Today’s wrinkled old Polaroid snapshot is the one of me and William Shatner sharing a joke on the set of Star Trek in 1967.
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I spotted it advertised a while back – and I thought that I’d really like to go and see it – but then, I’d better not leave it too long – I mean, who would want to be trudging up and down the slopes of Liverpool city centre in the December snow, sleet, and ice? Not me, so, I went yesterday on the train, to have a look… What I’m talking about is of course the show of work by one of my favourite pop artists Roy Lichtenstein in the Tate Liverpool gallery… (Click)

Oh, I see – the train has to split into two, like a dividing cell, and we are to get on the just the front one – change at Huddersfield? Bit late setting off, ‘testing the brakes’ the voice over the speakers says – that’s good, I like tested brakes on the trains that I’m on. The four-year-old child in the seat in front is on his laptop watching colourful gurning jumping Disney antics and yowling along with them – his mum is joining in too…
Huddersfield station – nice pleasant Jacey in the hi-vis yellow tabard wants my donation and my bank details to give to her worthy charity – we shake hands and she calls me ‘Dave’… ah, good! Sorry Jacey, but here’s the Liverpool train just coming growling up…
There now, here we are – Liverpool Lime Street Station. Apparently the famous Walker Art Gallery is just a few steps up the road, perhaps I’ll… Oh yes! A room of white white marble heads and lithe voluptuous classical marble bodies – I do like that sort of thing – can one take photos? Yes, one can – click, click, there’s an amusing one! Click! One day I’ll do a nice amusing blog on that picture! What? Upstairs an exhibition called Coming Out – hm… alright – as I came out, of the exhibition that is, I was collared by a neat lady with a smile and a clipboard who asked me a string of questions on what I thought of the show – I said I thought that it was ‘alright’ – but also that it was ‘unsurprising’ – me, I like to be surprised by art – not just think that it’s ‘alright’…
They have lots of very nice old stuff in the Walker – I liked the place! Oh, shall I pop in the World Museum? It’s just down the road – ah, no, it looks like it’s heaving with bright-eyed yelling children desperately wanting giant spiders charging up and down the staircases – they do have a lot of staircases in there – a bit like Liverpool Maritime Museum’s half-an-hour later – lots of wall-mounted text to read, and grainy blown up photographs, but not many exhibits – some very good old-fashioned ship models in glass cases though… But where the hell is Tate Liverpool? Where?… Oh yes, here it is – up these stairs?… What’s this show then? – Constellations  Ah, right, diagrams of star constellations with various artists’ names who could possibly be cleverly linked together, if you tried really hard – still, there are some good things in it: Mondrian, Peter Blake, Braque, Pissarro, Nevinson, Picasso, a subtle and sombre black one by Ad Reinhardt, a super big orange and black Andy Warhol selfie – I’m walking around writing these down in my little notebook for you dear reader – Kenneth Noland, a dreary long pink thing by Louise Bourgeois, a lovely little F. Leger drawing with added watercolour, some nice things on paper by Phyllida Barlow, some biggish drab black and white photos adequately ‘documenting’ LGBTI people’s bodies, for some reason – and a few self-obsessed Cindy Sherman photos of Cindy Sherman – George Grosz’s ‘Suicide‘ – ah, look, here’s the Lichtenstein room! Oh dear, there’s a young crisp chap giving a loud lecture on Roy L. surrounded by a gaggle of stolid fish-eyed visitors – I really don’t fancy looking at the work with him banging on in the background! – a member of Tate staff – Excuse me, how long does your colleague go on for? An hour sometimes? Really? – yes, alright – the cafe on the ground floor? While I wait… As I leave I hear him, ‘Lichtenstein was different to the other blah blah, different to the blah blah… different to the other blah blah…’ I almost stopped and shouted from the back of the crowd, ‘Different from! You buffoon!’ – but I didn’t – they had very good tangy (almost Tanguy) green tea and tasty buttered scones in the cafe, and happily when I went back up, the academic had finished his talk and had probably gone off to take a well-earned cold shower – the Lichtensteins were great, and well worth the trip! I do recommend it!
I’m now on the train home – I notice that the bottle of water I bought (to prevent dehydration on the journey) has ‘six layers of volcanic filtration’ – I feel happier knowing that – also I hear over the speakers that there is a Customer Host on the train – I thought for a second that she said ‘ghost’, but I think it’s just a person who comes round with a wobbly trolley of coffee and snacks. Whoa! Hold the front page! Apparently the toilet, the door to which is just opposite my seat, is malfunctioning – and I heard the phrase ‘backing up’ being bandied around a bit by people-in-the-know. When folk came up and waggled the handle of the (now locked) door I took it upon myself to be temporary custodian of the toilet and informed them that it was unavailable, and that they should go down to the front of the train to use the one located there – which was apparently still valiantly doing its thing…
Nearly home – over the speakers, ‘This train will be shortly arriving into Hull, your next station stop – where this train terminates.’ – No, no, the train doesn’t terminate, the journey does – you… you buffoon!…

It’s bit long this one, isn’t it?…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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8 Responses to An arty day out…

  1. Jheron Bash says:

    Longish, but very entertaining. Thank you for the day out. & do you know, I clicked on all your links! Most enlightening.

  2. Dana Doran says:

    Well, now I know where the art history professors get their list of important artists….from the Tate Liverpool. Louise Bourgeois and Cindy Sherman. Ho hum. I do like a good train ride….can’t think of the last time I was on one though….wait……oh yes, Firenze to Naples…which according to the wait staff in the dining car I was informed that a there is only one reason a man takes his wife to Naples….(as he made a swiping motion from one side to the other across his neck!) Maybe as a result of too many hours in the Ufizi?

  3. David Manley says:

    Gallery talks…and ‘informative’ labels…and ipods with ‘commentaries’…ugh! Jolly spiffing narrative though!

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Thank you David!…
      Actually when I went back into the room after the lecture had finished the staff had got the toys out and small children were playing and running about squealing…

  4. ktz2 says:

    ‘Dave’s Big Day Out’ . . . hahaha
    No, I’m not making fun of you, I really enjoy your particular droll-humour in storytelling.

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