Category Archives: community

We Are Dreamers 2018


IMG_3317

As some of you may know, I’ve been working on an art installation with Arc to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

There will be hundreds of ‘dream’ boxes from local children, adults and artists depicting their dreams and aspirations.

Ten of the boxes, (of which mine is one), will honour the life of a Stockport soldier who lost his (or her), life.

The point of these ten boxes is to honour these people as human beings who had lives outside of being a soldier. In fact, this is what made up the vast majority of their lives. And they had dreams and aspirations too. What would have become of them?

 

The soldier I picked lived locally to me in Heaton Mersey. His name was Herbert Jackson. He worked for Cheshire Lines Railway in Cheadle Heath and played several instruments in the Heaton Mersey Prize Band.

He was due home on leave in the Spring of 1918 to marry his fiance. Unfortunately, his leave was cancelled due to the massive German Spring Offensive of March and April. He was wounded by artillery fire on the 26th April and was moved to a Casualty Clearing Station where he died the following day aged 25. He is buried in Haringhe (Bandaghem ) Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium.

The letter, (which rests on top of the box), is not real. It is something I thought Herbert might have written to his fiance whilst in hospital. Tonally, however, it is based on actual letters from a friend of mine’s grandfather who fought on the Somme.

The ‘Princess Mary’ tin, which was given to all soldiers I imagined would contain mementos of his fiance, such as a lock of her hair.

For me, Herbert’s dream for the future was to come back to the two things he loved most – his fiance, and music.

The sheet music, which lines the interior of the box, is by J.S. Bach and the lyrics are in German. Whilst I doubt that Herbert would have spoken German, they would share the common language of music.

This tribute is to honour the life of Herbert Jackson and all the other men, women and children from every nation, who died in the First World War, and to what futures there might have been.

The We Are Dreamers 2018 exhibition opens on the 11th November, 2018 at the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery.

Private Herbert Jackson’s biography details were provided courtesy of http://www.stockport1914-1918.co.uk/

IMG_3316

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Art, Classical music, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, History, Ideas, love, Medicine, mental health, Music, Uncategorized, Writing

Happy 70th Birthday NHS…


aneurin-bevan-3

Nye Bevan

…Thank you for bringing me into this world. And thank you for keeping me in it.

Thank you for resetting all of my broken bones. And thank you for sewing me back together.

Thank you for operating on me when I needed fixing. And thank you for sending an ambulance when I couldn’t make it there by myself.

You have saved my life and patched me up more times than I care to remember. Without you, I would surely not be here.

Most of all, thank you for bringing my two daughters into this world. Thank you for taking care of them when they were sick and for vaccinating them from deadly diseases.

6933b1c0cf2cffc87e8c29c236af4929

To all the nurses, doctors, GPs, clinicians, technicians, auxillary nurses, dentists, paramedics, ambulance technicians, call handlers, midwives, radiologists, cardiologists, pharmacists, oncologists, scientists, anaethetists, surgeons, psychiatrists, counsellors, psychotherapists, physicians, administrators, managers, secretaries, receptionists, cooks, housekeepers, porters, Nye Bevan, the Labour Party and all the other staff of our National Health Service who I have forgotten to mention –

Happy 70th Birthday!

And, thank you.

(Have yourself a slice of cake. But not too much. Don’t want you getting diabetes.)

 

2 Comments

Filed under Children, community, Disability, Education, health, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Medicine, mental health, nhs, Science, Uncategorized

A Soldier’s Dream


I’m really excited (and honoured) to be taking part in an art exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The exhibition is being organised by ARC (a charity I do quite a lot of voluntary work for).

The exhibition is being held at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery from 11th November.

After the war, residents of Stockport, rather than erect a traditional war memorial to commemorate the dead, decided to build an art gallery so that future generations may benefit from their sacrifice. Which I think is a brilliant idea.

The theme of the exhibition is ‘A Soldier’s Dream’.

Because, all of these soldiers were, once upon a time, civilians who worked in factories and mills, merchant companies and railways. They had wives and children, brothers and sisters. Mums and … well, you get the picture.

IMG_3012

Scale model of the exhibition.

Instead of focussing on what they did in the war, the exhibition aims to show them as ordinary everyday people who had hopes, dreams and aspirations. Rather than just one aspect of their lives which was to give it in service of their country.

The part that I am involved in is to create a ‘Soldier’s Dream box’. This takes the form of ten 40cm x 40cm wooden crates and each one will ecapsulate the dreams of a soldier who lost his life.

IMG_3013

I can’t tell you what mine will be about yet as I am still in the research stage. I have been finding out about people local to my area in the Four Heatons who lost their lives.

I have always loved history, in particular, the First World War, so I was really excited and passionate about getting involved. (I even did a tour of the Somme a few years ago. I know, I’m a great laugh to go on holiday with.)

As part of my research, (provided by the brilliant website www.stockport1914-18.co.uk), I have been reading brief biographies of soldiers from the Heatons who died. Of which there are many.

But, reading about where they worked, who they married, their children’s names, what team they played for, makes it all the more personal. They aren’t soldiers anymore. They are real people who lived real lives. And I guess that’s the whole point of the exhibition.

Some of the biogs even give their address! These are houses I pass every week. The stories that must be contained between their walls must be incredible.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted when I have something new to tell you.

IMG_3016

 

2 Comments

Filed under Art, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, History, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, mental health, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized, Writing

On the curriculum…


Had a nice surprise the other day.

A poem I wrote after the tsunami in Japan in 2011 is on the school curriculum at a group of London schools.

I appreciate that it’s year 6 primary and not a masters in English Lit. But it’s still very flattering.

IMG_2996.jpg

Opossum is a federation of schools which includes Newport Primary, Dawlish Primary, Oakhill Primary and Thorpe Hall Primary.

I also came across some samples of poems the students had written after they had studied mine and I was mightily impressed.

And if that poem floats your boat, why not pop over to Amazon where you can avail yourself of my complete collection of poetry and help keep me out of penury!

8 Comments

Filed under Art, Books, Children, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, Ideas, Inspiration, Nature, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

I [heart] America


There’s been a lot of hullabaloo this past couple of years because of the Cheeto-in-Chief of the good ol’ U S of A.

What with cosying up to dictators and alienating allies he certainly cuts a divisive figure. Unfortunately, this has had a backlash against America in general and its people.

So, to redress the balance, I wanted to write a positive post about some of the things I love about America. After all, one Mango-Mussolini shouldn’t taint the whole country.

In no particular order…

MUSIC

From Elvis Presley to Tom Waits to the Talking Heads. Who could argue that America has produced some of the greatest artists and genres the world has ever seen. Who are your favourites?

f9a83804312097dafc53cd110c6b62f0

076a0af223e3fde0e482daec21dea667

1a0fc3339ab6db5f9d83e0267b671008

Next up, MOVIES.

When we think of American movies we tend to think of Hollywood blockbusters. But there are so many unbelievable directors and actors. Here are some of my favourites, who are yours?

fb21736cabe240c1c6b9d685d983a163

17db73b4f983822ecd0f9758f1c4d964

ae862ac132d0ce987e056660137a8981

bb63a539ab118fd52d4b211c822b14f8

As I have a penchant for the Arts, I’m going to pick out a few photographers who have inspired me over the years.

PHOTOGRAPHY

3c619aa72059ba15902bb456dc72baaf

Marilyn Monroe by Eve Arnold

9ba447cbaf5df32d320cfa29699d6523

Gloria Swanson by Edward Steichen

5dc1809ac7044b8a90e7ddeb8728e645

Vivian Maier

5f1e7162127537afe47a7c51bf9d3005

Ansel Adams

d053f4cd7c1a5293215d43a8884991ac

Cindy Sherman

e6e4755b1fc7a8f7faf1da91c499951a

Saul Leiter

Understandably, most people couldn’t give a rat’s ass about advertising. But I do, because I worked in it for 30 years. When Doyle, Dane, Bernbach set up shop in the 1960s they revolutionised advertising. They focussed on simple product truths. Their ethos/philosophy permeated continents and generations. Still does. I had the privilege of working for DDB Dublin.

ADVERTISING

a2733323f3f384509870afab449b8921

Leading on from advertising we have GRAPHIC DESIGN, and this iconic classic by Milton Glaser for the New York tourist board. which has been ‘parodied’ a trillion times. (Yes, including me.)

27811149cca24f2d149b20c588c5badf

Milton Glaser

Next up, ARTISTS. Again, a multitude to pick from. Here are a couple of my faves.

0379e7b1a95d88c7bbb0da8c664deba5

Jean Michel Basquiat

d47c01293531e5af7b91d44108fb66e4

Edward Hopper

dadf136856fb64e89675d5bcf8229955

Mary Cassatt

Moving on to something non art related – LANDSCAPE. America has such a diverse landscape, from snow-capped mountains to sun-scorched deserts.

9eaf07f8f1db1e1d76f53837977a173f

7d92ccf15716d331da89c3548f51fec5

f880402b54f68b307bb65416309f926b

I’ve always loved CLASSIC CARS, Mercedes, Jaguar, Citroen, Volvo. But I also love American cars for their sheer ostentatiousness.

1ab901c84421a142db90543876c659c1

133e3a8275e87cdc2c11e2092e226d29

e1bd9c7715e010b1c915ac7909bcf69e

af53ad0aa2b6896cb7a961728b973056

I couldn’t write a post about America without including a few WRITERS. Too many to choose from. Here are a few of my heroes who have inspired me over the years. Recommendations anyone?

2c060977e52817a14375ac71022f2cdd

08af8c6f1f93bea8437c738195bf72b9

13e59b8450492f2d1c74ed81c56e5f93

e93691ccd832278595bd4aacebc6da45

e333432d8e0a949514d0eed6741034e2

What else do I love about America? I really like their ARCHITECTURE. Whether it be a monumental skyscaper or the traditional colonial white-picket-fence style complete with veranda.

9af05b45bdb2e5c5f608fc450610f280

91fcf12bc2ee4d8072105cb4372bdc84

481b849c00bb3f8207ecc17d6c9d352d

You won’t get very far in the States without some top-notch tucker. What is more quintessentially American than the humble DINER?

3d7b546033c31e9e26346a44bc84eaf9

Who says Americans don’t get irony? They make some fantastic COMEDY and have some wonderful comedians. Obviously, you’re not as funny as us Brits. But you’re getting the hang of it. (Benny Hill.)

3ab39169c1acce200dc6a153dd86f2d2

f5468eaacb6027084fc423ac399a138d

17e04d86a88ef62c42b23b4fe55f1744

450f210834c849819b668f4b5f489395

There you have it. Have I forgotten anything, anyone? What would you have included?

Obviously, there is one other thing I would like to give credit to. And that is the American people. (Well, only those that didn’t vote Trump.) You’re an innovative and inspiring bunch. Not only that, you saved our asses in two world wars! So, cheers for that.

My, (our), world would be a lot poorer without you.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Animation, Architecture, Art, Books, Cartoons, Children, Comedy, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Design, Digital, Economy, Education, Film, Food, History, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Inventions, Literature, love, Music, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Science, Screenplays, Short stories, Uncategorized, Writing

We all have to die of something.


8a670f9eecdd0bd5e2eaf6e93f03ab0a

You wouldn’t criticise someone of being selfish if they died of cancer or heart disease.

So, why call someone selfish if they commit suicide?

The person doesn’t kill themself of cancer. Just like a person who commits suicide does not kill themself.

Depression kills them.

Do you think the person you know and love wants to leave those s/he knows and loves? To cause them pain and sorrow beyond measure.

Imagine that person in happier times. When they felt normal. Happy even. Do you think they would consider it then? Of course not. It’s pretty absurd to even think it.

How dark must it be in the mind of someone who wants to commit suicide for them to consider it a viable option to ease their suffering?

I am writing this to hopefully help destigmatise mental illness. And also to encourage people who are suffering to try and speak up and ask for help. Whether that be to a friend or family member, your GP or community mental health care unit. (Yes, they have them.) Suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK under the age of 45.

And also to ask people who don’t suffer from mental illness to try and be a bit more understanding. If you think someone you know is suffering from depression, or at risk of suicide, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help. But, please don’t tell them to pull their socks up and get on with it. They’ll probably back off sharper than a hermit crab.

A person who commits suicide isn’t trying to hurt you. They are trying to stop their pain. To stop the disease in their brain.

If you need help try these links. And remember, if things get so bad and you can’t wait, go to A&E they will treat you just like any other patient and get you the care you need.

Mind

Samaritans

NHS

ARC (Local to Stockport only)

0eadb8c8f84363958ca499ec6fb545a5

1a7c7fb415d626a9677e74dbe75bedd0

1a506535d85111c48d7458f6be91e9b3

43ac2b99b0a691f95c07daa211e770c6

 

 

14 Comments

Filed under Art, community, Disability, Education, mental health, Uncategorized

Art for heart’s sake.


I’ve been doing a lot more painting since I began volunteering at Arc.

Since going to workshops, I’ve managed to loosen up a bit. Let go of the hyper-realistic view that we often place on ourselves, yet are happy to discount when looking at other artists’ work.

Anyhoo, I’ve been going through a bit of Basquiat phase. I watched a documentary about him a couple of weeks back. I loved the vivid colours and his strikingly bold, graphic style.

I’ve also been experimenting with collage and mono printing. Feel free to have a goosey. If anything tickles your fancy, drop me a line.

Screenshot-2017-10-23 David Milligan-Croft ( milligancroft) • Instagram photos and videos (2)

Screenshot-2017-10-23 David Milligan-Croft ( milligancroft) • Instagram photos and videos (3)

Screenshot-2017-10-23 David Milligan-Croft ( milligancroft) • Instagram photos and videos (4)

Screenshot-2017-10-23 David Milligan-Croft ( milligancroft) • Instagram photos and videos

Screenshot-2017-10-23 David Milligan-Croft ( milligancroft) • Instagram photos and videos (5)Screenshot-2017-10-23 David Milligan-Croft ( milligancroft) • Instagram photos and videos (6)

9 Comments

Filed under Art, Classical music, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, mental health, Music, Photography, Uncategorized, Writing