Category Archives: Haiku
A brand-spanking new notebook from my beautiful girls for Christmas. With a little drawing and a message by each of them on the first two pages. Lucky Daddy.
Pine needles falling,
Children’s fingers rummaging,
Finding only spells.
‘Spell’ is also a Yorkshire colloquialism for a splinter.
Early one morning, it struck me, as I was sitting in the dark with a cup of fresh coffee, how the world unfolds before us.
I was sitting in the dark not because; a) I can’t afford electricity, b) I’m an insomniac, or c) I’m insane.
There’s something very calming about the silence before my girls wake up. I drew the curtains and sat with my coffee peering out of the kitchen window. As dawn broke, the leafless branches of trees began to emerge from the blue darkness.
A labyrinth of
Autumn branches emerge from
Darkness as dawn breaks.
Well, we haven’t had one of these for a while…
A chagrin of souls
Floating like ghostly leaves – in
An autumn forest.
True, it may not be as ambitious and world-changing as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. But it’s a dream nonetheless.
To be honest, I wasn’t going to post about it until I felt I was in more of a position to realise this dream. But short of winning the Euro Millions Lottery, it aint going to happen without some serious philanthropic backer.
So, what is my dream?
Well, it’s to build a School of Arts for under-privileged kids.
Kids from low socioeconomic backgrounds in large inner-city estates. Kids who might not ordinarily get the opportunity to explore the more creative aspects of their nature.
What good would that do society? We’re in a depression, don’t you know!
Problems in every field of human endeavour are virtually always solved by creative thinking. Even the great Albert Einstein said so himself. Creativity allows us to look at problems from different angles and apply new thinking to solve problems.
Moreover, I don’t see it as a school that produces an unprecedented amount of artists. But an unprecedented amount of creative thinkers – whichever vocation they choose to pursue later in life. Whether it be mathematics, science, business, computers, product design, or economics.
And yes, a few more more artists too. And what’s wrong with that? Art is seen as a dirty word in this country. If I tell people I write poetry, they shift uneasily in their seats. If I said I write poetry in Ireland the response would be a polite smile and a nod toward the back of the queue.
Do you think the first rocket flight to the moon was dreamed up by a scientist?
Sure, scientists and engineers made it a reality. But it is creative people who come up with the ideas and the original solutions of how they can be achieved.
What will the kids do?
The school will develop and encourage creative thinking and self-expression.
It will foster, nurture and encourage exploration of the arts in all its many and varied forms including: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, poetry, literature, screenplays, theatre, drama, dance, music, design, digital arts, film, photography, humanities, languages, and the classics.
Where is this school?
I quite fancy the idea of transforming a derelict Victorian mill. There’s something quite ironic about that. Though it certainly wouldn’t be a prerequisite. (Salts Mill in Bradford is a good example.)
Initially, an inner-city campus close to urban populations that have a high level of low socioeconomic families. Basically, anywhere across the Manchester – Huddersfield – Halifax – Leeds belt. It’s also sufficiently ‘central’ enough to accommodate children from further afield.
It would also be good to have a rural retreat – somewhere like the Lake District, Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales, where children can attend week-long courses/classes which double up as a holiday.
I would also like to open an international sister school in India or Sri Lanka where people from distinctly different cultures can share ideas. These schools could also participate in exchange programmes. (Then subsequently, even further afield: China, South America, South Asia.)
What about science subjects?
This school wouldn’t be a replacement for existing schools and their curricula – more of an extension to them.
Would it exclude people from non low socioeconomic backgrounds?
Not at all. But opportunities for middle-class families in other schools are much more accessible, regardless of ability.
Intake for low income kids would be based as much on desire and enthusiasm to participate rather than ability. There would be a limited number of places for more affluent children. Sort of like Eton – in reverse.
What kind of courses will it run?
Day-long workshops for visiting schools.
Week-long courses. (Which would include accommodation for traveling students.)
Full-time sixth form courses. (A-levels.)
Masters and PhD courses.
What ages are we talking about?
Key Stage 2, up to, and including, sixth form.
Undergraduate, Masters and PhD courses.
What else does the school have?
Apart from studios and classrooms?
There’d be accommodation for students who are visiting from further afield.
Cafe / restaurant.
Gallery to promote and sell students’ work.
Gallery featuring independent contemporary and traditional art.
Masterclasses from guest lecturers.
State of the art library. (Both on and off-line.)
Who will pay for it?
Well, that’s the biggest question of all.
A like-minded philanthropist would be nice.
Arts Council grant.
A percentage of Masters and PhD students’ tuition fees could go towards funding.
Sales from restaurant and galleries.
Fundraising / donations.
Any constructive criticism and advice about how to get something like this funded and off the ground would be greatly appreciated.
Ring for sale. A few scratches.
One careless owner.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I get asked this all the time in my job.
I usually reply that the ideas come from the information I am supplied with to do the job.
All you have to do is jizz it up a bit in your creative cocktail shaker and see what comes out.
Sometimes it tastes like piss.
Other times it tastes like a Mojito mixed by Mr Hemingway himself.
But there are a few other ingredients that go into the creative cocktail shaker that aren’t in the brief.
These are taken from all the stuff you soak up in your daily life: art; literature; music; ads; news; gossip; film; blogs; tabloids; soaps; comedy, et cetera, et cetera.
What turns your cocktail from being piss into ambrosia is what bits of your own inspiration you put in there.
I came across this quote on the Gutenberg Press II:
I read something similar by Picasso a few years back. But in the spirit of the quote – he probably pinched it from someone else in the first place.
Here are a few bits of graffiti that you may have seen before, but what I like about these are how they integrate their art with the environment, rather than the environment being purely a canvas.
Whilst out for a saunter with my two girls, the eldest, who’s 5, said: Daddy! That looks like a cup!
This is what she was looking at…
Kids get it.
It’s adults who unlearn it.
Inspiration lurks everywhere, if you want to be inspired.
Time for a little experiment.
I decided that I would assign a colour to each letter of the alphabet using the range of a rainbow.
So, starting with Red as A, moving through to Violet as Z.
And to show you what that looks like, here’s a pretty little picture of it.
Now, some people might say that I need to do a bit more work on the blending. And they’d be right. But for the sake of expediency, you’re stuck with the above.
Next, I took a poem. Actually it’s a haiku. No point getting too ambitious.
I wanted to see what my poem would look like purely as colour.
And it looks like this…
I think it looks kind of pretty in an abstract kind of way.
Of course, you wouldn’t just have to use the colours of the rainbow. You might want to try it using only hues of red and orange. You could also vary the shapes.
If it doesn’t take the art world by storm MI6 could always use it as code.
Next up, The Odyssey.