Thursday, 19 December 2019

That which is necessary

Well, a joke in church is never a totally bad thing.
In the church at Sandon, the toilet door is labelled (in Latin) as a 'necessarium'...

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Shafts like art

Unless you know that Biddulph is an old coal mining area, you'll probably not guess that these three structures are ventilation shafts. The dangerous gases that build up in the old works down below can be released safely through them into the atmosphere.
The low brick walls around them give them a kind of arty feeling, and their arrangement even has echoes of standing stones.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Frida, the face of hip

The 'face' of everything hip, universally recognisable, used to be Marilyn Monroe, or Elvis, or James Dean.
Now the equivalent is the 20th-century Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, whose image seems to be ubiquitous. 
In a local Oxfam shop these Christmas cards depicting her as an angel don't even need to say it's her - we just know it is.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

The face of Owini

Here we have a stained-glass window (from Clun, in Shropshire) showing two Staffordshire saints - St Chad on the left (holding a model of Lichfield Cathedral) and Saint Owini, or Owen, on his right.
Saint Owini doesn't seem to have been too remarkable, but he was the monk who acted as St Chad's right-hand man - and St Chad is significant as the man who brought Christianity to 'godless' Staffordshire in the eighth century.

You'll notice in this scene that Saint Owini gets more of the attention than Saint Chad - which is odd. However, it turns out that the face of St Owini is also that of the Rev Charles Warner, the clergyman who paid for this window. Which may explain that

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

One Smithfield

Not sure what to make of this horror which you will find at the 'gateway' to Hanley, Stoke on Trent's commercial centre.  Basically an office-block managed by the council, it is nattily, if boringly, called 'One, Smithfield'.
Is it a happy burst of colour in a very uninspiring spot?  Or a desperate attempt to introduce 'fun' to this grey, grey district?

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Concrete greenery

In the concrete wilderness that is the ugliest shopping area anywhere, ever, ie the Bennett Precinct in Longton, there are these small tucked-away, struggling shrubs.  They are the only sign that Nature ever passed through this spot.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Knot turns to flames

On the Weston Road roundabout north-east out of Stafford is this splendid steel metal structure.  If you face it straight-on, as in the pic above, the strands of it assemble themselves in your vision - to represent the Stafford Knot, the symbol of the county.

If you stand slightly to one side however, the strands get mixed up, and could be the leaping flames of a fire.
The visual illusion (see pic right) is very clever, and has something to do with the nearby industrial zone

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Thirsty on the hottest day

Today, England experienced its hottest day since records began some 200 years ago.

Cattle were glad of a drink.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Steadiness at the urinal

It's not often you fall into laughter on entering a men's toilet, but at the Roebuck Pub in Leek, you have to smile at least when you see this unusual structure.
The landlord/lady has kindly provided a head-cushion for the weary drinker who may probably have had .... let's say, more than a few. Unsteady on his feet he can lean forward whilst using the urinal and, placing his forehead on the cushion, keep himself in an upright position.
I deem this a kindly & considerate act by the owners. There's even a handle too.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Flying insects art

The Staffordshire University Arts Graduates Final Show is on in Stoke this week – dozens of rooms of new, original work. It makes for an insight into what art schools are teaching now and how their students are responding.

This piece is from the Fine Art department.
Called Absconditus, by Zoe Tomlinson, it highlights the plight of species-endangered flying insects. The works are hung lightly from the ceiling and, because they are at head-height, one can walk ‘through’ them. It creates an odd feeling - passing through a crowd of creatures that are slowly disappearing from the Earth.