Category Archives: Children

Arc in the Park.


I’ve been helping out on a project for the past six weeks or so. It’s a collaboration between Arc and The Whitworth Art Gallery.

The project was called ‘A Love Letter to Whitworth Park’ and was facilitated by an extremely talented artist by the name of Wendy Hunter and project managed by Annette from Arc.

For four weeks, the aim was to engage older people with the nature of the park and the art of the gallery. (At least, that was my take on it.) Then, via the mediums of painting, printing, collage, photography, cups of tea, poetry and prose; participants expressed their ‘love’ for the park in a variety of techniques.

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The project culminated in an exhibition in the gardens of The Whitworth Art Gallery in Arc’s very own Geodome! (Which is a bugger to put up, believe me.) Thousands upon thousands came to view… okay, maybe not thousands. But there were loads. Certainly more than you could count on an abacus.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and lots of kids came along to colour in bird stencils and stick them on the tree Wendy and the participants made. They also did a nice job of polishing off all the cupcakes. (Maybe that was just my kids.)

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Anyhoo, onwards and upwards – don’t forget it’s the Saturday Art Club at Arc this Saturday 29th July. 11am – 4pm. Free parking. Great for families/kids.

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Other shout-outs and credits go to: Daisy and Francine from The Whitworth Art Gallery; Ruth from The University of Manchester; Annette and Jacqui from Arc, and last, but not least, The A-Team: Becky, Kath, Mark and Tim. (Oh, and Becky’s Mam and Dad for the sarnies and help packing up.)

 

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Filed under Animals, Art, Children, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Disability, Education, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, mental health, Nature, Photography, Sculpture, Uncategorized, Writing

Angelina & Me.


Would that make us Dangelina?

This is my latest piece that I created at Arc.

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It’s a combination of various mediums and techniques: line drawing, mono printing, collage, chalk & oil pastel.

As it’s received quite a bit of positive feedback, (which may just be politeness), I’ve decided to accept portrait commissions in this style.

You could either choose a loved one or a famous actor/musician.

Each one would be unique, so I was thinking of charging £50 – £70 per portrait, unframed. (Plus P&P.)

Framed would depend on where in the world you live and the type of frame chosen. But we could chat about that.

AJ

Framed it measures, 53cm x 43 cm. Unframed, it’s about A3. (42cm x 30cm.)

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Anyhoo, drop me a line if you want me to rustle one up of Ariana Grande, Tom Hardy or your favourite grandchild.

And, if you are reading this, Ms Jolie, the price I quoted is a typo. It should read: £50,000.

Toodle-pip.

Email me at: thereisnocavalry@icloud.com

P.S. Payment would be secure and via Paypal.

 

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A real Presence in art – Ewa Konior


There is a brilliant exhibition on at the Arc Gallery at the moment by a stupendously talented artist by the name of Ewa Konior. (Pronounced Evva, I think.)

Ewa hails from Poland, but now plies her trade from her studio in Wales.

There are two very distinctive styles of work on show – the big, bold portraits, full of life and energy. And the smaller, multi-layered images of everyday life built up on wallpaper. You really have to see them in the flesh to see the full effect of the textures and scale.

The title of her exhibition is ‘Presence’ and runs until the 16th June.

Anyway, enough of me rambling, you want to see her work.

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Here are a few shots I took at the exhibition. Apologies for the reflections.

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So, if you’re in and around Stockport, Reddish or Manchester, try to pop along, it really is a wonderful exhibition. It’s Free in there’s free parking round the back of the mill. And there’s also a brand-spanking new cafe in which to relax and admire the work.

Ewa Konior, Polish, artist, Arc gallery, Stockport

Ewa Konior and some auld fella. Photo courtesy of Mark Coffey.

Oh, and by the way, Ewa’s work is for sale if you’re a collector. But please don’t feel obliged to buy me anything. Honestly. It really isn’t necessary.

Arc Centre and Gallery
Unit 33m, Vauxhall Industrial Estate
Greg Street
Reddish
Stockport  SK5 7BR

Artist’s statement:

In my work, I aim to describe the essence of life and quality of existence. Experience, observation and study of the human psyche support my work, I empathise with and give voice to my human subjects. In the paintings of time and place I construct surrealistic locations including abstract elements. Like a frame from a film, the painting is a moment in a movement though time.

I perceive the world as an ocean where, below its visible surface, layers of complexity can be found in its depths. Painting, for me, is intuitively diving into and through the ocean to discover new dimensions and planes. It is an alchemic activity where the creative decision making process and my presence as the artist is evident. My painting is an expression of my particular view, involving aspects of reality, nuanced memories and philosophical contemplations.

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Painting instead of writing


Earlier this year I began work on my third novel. I was making good progress until it all ground to a halt as Spring gave way to Summer. I think the expression is “writer’s block”. You may have heard of it.

Anyhow, I wasn’t too worried as the school holidays were looming and I would be spending much of it trying to keep my two daughters entertained. So the chances of getting much work done were slim to zero.

Now that they’ve gone back to school, the “block” is still here. And it’s very frustrating. I get quite depressed if I am not creating something. I worked in advertising for 30 years and every day I’d go into work and have to create something.

So, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I turned my hand to something else – painting. Mainly watercolours, but acrylics too.

Here are a few examples I thought I’d share with you. I know I won’t be getting an exhibition at the National Gallery anytime soon, but I quite like the colours and freshness of some of them.

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Self portrait in acrylic.

 

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Dear EU, a love letter to Europe.


Dear EU,

I am so sorry, I have some bad news. It’s not you. It’s not even me – It’s them!

And, by ‘them’, I mean the 52% who voted to leave the European Union.

I guess they’ll say I’m just a sore loser and that democracy won the day. But it’s hard to see it as democracy when their decision making was based on a litany of untruths and fear.

You see, I was one of the 48% that wanted to stay with you, because I love you. I’m a complete Europhile. I love your rich, colourful, cultural diversity. I also love the fact that we can come and go as we please. Not just for holidays, but for work or to study.

And it’s that cultural diversity that leads to understanding, respect, tolerance and unity.

The world needs fewer borders, not more.

Sure, it’s not always been plain sailing and we’ve had our ups and downs. But I think we’ve had more ups than downs over the years, don’t you think? You’ve let us keep our own currency and border controls. And you’ve made the prices of things much cheaper. And made sure workers’ rights have been protected.

You’ve been very kind and patient with us these past few months while we’ve tried to make up our minds whether or not to dump you.

The problem was, the Vote Leave campaign told so many whopping big lies about the economy and immigration that they managed to get 52% of people to believe them.

Only this morning have they reneged on one promise to spend £350 million pounds a week on the NHS! I bet the Vote Leavers feel like a right bunch of suckers right now.

I have to be honest, and say that the Vote Remain campaign didn’t cover itself in glory either.

A lot of folks over here are saying that the people who voted leave are ‘stupid’. But they’re not, are they? They were just lied to on a monumental scale. The fact is, the Vote Leave campaigners played on people’s fears. They managed to convince them that all the problems we’ve been having these past few years are the fault of the EU and immigrants rather than the financial crash of 2008 and Tory austerity measures.

Unfortunately, they’ll soon find out that they were spoon fed a pack of lies.

The other big problem is that a lot of people in England are becoming ever more racist. They don’t want you ‘foreigners’ coming to our country and nicking our jobs and sponging off our welfare system.

But you don’t do that, do you? You create £6 billion worth of wealth for the UK economy. And withdraw a paltry few hundred million in welfare by comparison.

All the clever people wanted us to stay with you. People like Stephen Hawking, Richard Branson, Lord Sugar and Posh & Becks. (Maybe we should have got someone from the Big Brother house or Geordie Shore to be a spokesperson instead.) Whereas, all the right-wing scaremongers such as Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Katie Hopkins wanted us to leave. And, because people are becoming more and more right wing, they believed in the harbingers of fear, hate, division and intolerance.

Maybe there is a way for us to stay together. Me and you, that is. Not Britain, it’s too late for that. And, the irony is, the ‘Great Britain’ Vote Leavers so desperately coveted will probably lead to it being dismantled. (Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain with you.)

Poor-little-England will have to take on the world single-handed. It’ll build a grand new fleet of galleons made from the finest spruce and oak. England shall once again, rule the waves, sail the seven seas and plunder, rape and subjugate all in its path!

Until, it sinks and drowns.

We’re not all racist, nationalistic, xenophobic, imperialistic, unrealistic, gullible Luddites, you know.

I still love EU. And I always will.

Yours,

David.

P.S. Can I please come and live with you?

 

 

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Dear Mr. President: An open letter to Barack Obama, from one dad to another.


Dear Mr. President,

I hope you don’t mind me writing to you out of the blue like this.

I know you’re an avid follower of my blog because I’ve seen your little Stars ‘n’ Stripes flag on my stats page.

Please forgive my spelling too, as I’m writing from across the pond. Ditto for interfering in your internal affairs, as you could say it’s none of my business, being a foreigner, and all.

But it is, you see. Because I am a dad. Like you. And it matters to every dad and daughter on the entire planet.

I just wanted to appraise you of something monumentally bad that’s happened in your country. In fact, it’s so bad, the aftershock from it has reverberated around the globe. And I know you’ll want to do something about it as you seem like a really nice guy. (God help you all if that Drumpf turnip becomes president. I believe the Secret Service, CIA and FBI are already squabbling about who gets first dibs on the grassy knoll should he get elected.)

But, I digress… the reason for the massive global furor is because of this Brock Turner fellow, who was sentenced to a paltry six months in prison for raping an unconscious girl. Have you heard about it? Unbelievable, don’t you think? Particularly in light of the fact that another chap, by the name of Cory Batey, was convicted of a similar crime. Except, he got 15-25 years. Doesn’t seem to be much in the way of parity or consistency, does there, Mr. O?

Oh, did I mention that Cory Batey is black? Surely, the two can’t be connected? You can read about that here, if you fancy.

In the Brock Turner case, the victim is only known as Emily Doe. She wrote an extremely moving 12 page victim impact statement which she read out in court addressing Brock in person. It is such an articulate, excruciating, dignified, haunting and devastatingly heartbreaking treatise on what the poor girl has endured, is enduring and will always endure due to Turner’s violation. If you haven’t read it, Mr. O, I implore you do so here. You will not fail to be moved and dismayed by the injustice of it all.

I think one of the main reasons why the world is aghast, is that Mr. Turner doesn’t appear to take responsibility for his actions. He puts the incident down to excess alcohol. Now, to be honest, Barack – may I call you Barack? I like a jar or two myself. I’m particularly partial to a snifter of Shiraz. And, in the 34 years that I’ve legally been allowed to drink, I’ve never once raped anybody. Conscious, or otherwise. So, it’s not much of an excuse, is it? In fact, no one I’ve ever drunk with has raped anyone either. Brock seems to think it’s the drinking culture that is to blame rather than himself.

What seems to compound matters is that Brock’s dad also read out a statement to the court (read it here) in which he pleaded for leniency for his son’s “20 minutes of action”. Raping someone isn’t really ‘getting some action’ though, is it? It’s my thinking that I’m not entirely surprised Brock isn’t taking responsibility if this is his dad’s attitude. Obviously, Judge Persky, (a Stanford alumni and former athlete), completely empathises with Brock’s plight too. Because that’s how it comes across – Brock’s plight, rather than Emily’s.

It just all feels a bit, y’know – like some sort of clique. A gentlemen’s club or something. That it’s almost treated like a rite of passage.

And that goes way beyond Brock Turner. It permeates the very fabric of university values. (Or lack, thereof.) No wonder he doesn’t accept responsibility if a supreme court judge doesn’t think he should either.

You’re a father too, aren’t you, Mr. President? Two girls isn’t it? Me too. Although, mine are a lot younger than yours. Still at primary school. (I think you call it elementary.) I am constantly filled with dread about anything bad befalling them. Some people say I’m over-protective. I don’t care if I am. That’s what daddies are for. My heart goes out to Emily Doe’s dad.

One day, though, I’ll have to let them go. Let them go off to university (if they so wish) or travel round the world. And I won’t be there to protect them. To protect them from the likes of Brock Turner.

That’s why we need a strong justice system. When that system fails the victim we begin to see vigilantes crawl out of the woodwork seeking justice themselves. Perhaps it would be for his own safety that Brock Turner receives a tougher sentence. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone opened him up from his gullet to his ball sack with a pair of hedge trimmers for his lack of contrition. Not that I’m advocating a lynch mob, you understand.

How would you feel, Mr. Prez, if it happened to one of your daughters? And the assailant got six months! I guess you’d be pretty pissed off.

That’s why I was wondering if you could help Emily Doe out? As one dad to another. Maybe have a word with the prosecution and ask them to appeal the sentence. (Unbelievably, Brock’s lawyers are the ones appealing the sentence for being too harsh! Talk about rubbing salt into Emily’s wounds.) Or, have a word with the judge. He really has a skewed view of justice. Or have a retrial. You see, it’s not just about Emily. It’s about all girls and all women all over the world. This sentence says it’s not really that bad to rape someone when you’re wasted. Not really.

But it is, isn’t it, Mr. President? If it was your daughter? If it was mine? If it was Emily Doe?

Rape is rape.

It’s not dependent on one’s level of intoxication. It’s dependent on one’s actions.

In my humble opinion, rape – the violation of someone’s body and mind – is a close second to murder. And should be judged accordingly. After all, Emily Doe has already received a life sentence courtesy of Brock Turner.

Anyhoo, I best sign off now as I’ve taken up too much of your time already and I’ve got to put my two little ragamuffins to bed. I’ll leave it in your very capable hands.

I hope you can get this sorted out before you retire in November. I think it would mean a lot to Emily, who has suffered enough.

Yours sincerely,

David Milligan-Croft.

A concerned, and over-protective father of two girls.

P.S. Fair play to the two Swedish guys, Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Lars Peter Jonsson, who caught Brock Turner in the act of raping Emily, chasing him down as he fled the scene and holding him until the police arrived. Could you give them some kind of medal or something?

Another thing that bothers me though, is that, in Brock Turner’s statement to the court, he says that Emily Doe responded and consented to his advances. Whereas, these two heroes said that she was completely unconscious. Was their eye-witness testimony ever heard in court, I wonder? As Emily Doe said that she has never met them to say thank you. Would seem odd if it wasn’t. Could be a way in for a retrial. Just a thought.

P.P.S. I’m off to the garden shed to dig out my hedge trimmers.

 

 

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50% off Peripheral Vision


Yes, you’re reading that right. And no, you don’t need to go to Specsavers.

Actually, it’s 51% off. But let’s not quibble.

From tomorrow, (Tuesday 24th May), my second novel, Peripheral Vision will be available for only 99p!

I know, I know, I’m practically giving it away. What can you get for 99p these days, eh?

I’ll tell you what – fuck all. (Well, apart from my book, of course.) Actually, you could probably get a bag of Monster Munch and a Sherbert Dip-Dab, but I digress…

Here’s the blurby bit:

After being blinded in one eye by his abusive father, Peripheral Vision tells the story of 11-year-old Danny Kane growing up in 1970s northern England. His violent upbringing results in his descent into a life of drugs and crime. As he reaches adulthood he realises that the only way out of his spiralling slide into perdition is to find the one thing that he treasured most – his childhood friend, Sally, who was taken into care after the death of her mother. Can the search for his long-lost love lead to Danny’s redemption?

Peripheral Vision explores themes such as child abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse and gang crime. It’s a gritty coming-of-age drama that pulls no punches. It’s even been compared to Donna Tartt – which is a huge honour, as I’m a big fan of her work.

But, it’s only half price for 7 days, so get thee skates on.

American cousins can get their discounted copies here.

TOS26

 

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