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Double Vision Exhibition for the Thirsty and Illiterate

Pubs across the country are often named after animals, trade tools and even reference the alcoholic elements of the drinks they serve.

In the past, found objects, such as an old boot or copper kettle were hung above the public house have also been known to act as a sign. So there was no problem for those who couldn’t read or were too drunk to see the establishment before them.

It's a boot

It’s a boot

Celebrating the art of the pub sign, painters, printers and illustrators have each created their own to be displayed in an exhibition at The Lauriston, Victoria Park Road.

With typography being a core element to the design, artists who were up for the challenge answered the Double Vision brief put out by curator, Mr Gresty.

Double Vision Exhibition_5

Mr Gresty said: “The target of Double Vision is to create a strong image that brings together two things that a thirsty and illiterate onlooker could identify.”

The sixteen artists selected did not only have to be “creative minded” but also had to have a sense of humour.

Double Vision Exhibition_2

One such artist, VJ Von, has created a piece called The Cock and The Pussy. Designed in true, British pub-sign style she playfully uses the famous image of the “Grumpy Cat” that went viral on the internet. Von believes art is a game, and an essential part of her practise is having fun and exploring.

The Grumpy Cat hates the pub

The Grumpy Cat hates the pub

Von said the Double Vision brief was very close to her heart.

She said: “I love fun art with a hint of cheekiness and irony and British Pub signs offer a best formula for a great piece of art.

“I think I just want people to have fun – that’s why we go to the pub, don’t we?”

Double Vision Exhibition_6

Another artist, Dylan White, works in animation and currently supervises post production on a children’s show.

White’s piece, Black + Tan references the traditional 50/50 mix of pale ale and stout, which he thought fitting for the brief. It’s also personal, as White said his Irish relatives told him “awful tales” about the stuff.

Mr Gresty, who has been putting on LHR exhibitions since 2013, works with artists who he admires and by showing their work in the pubs, hopes to raise their profile.

Double Vision Exhibition_4 (1)

A keen collector of objects, Gresty said he hopes the viewer look upon the work in the exhibition, as he does when he looks at his badges and rulers he keeps at home.

He said: “What interests me most in a collection is the comparisons and contrasts of the solutions of creative minds.”

Double Vision opens 7th March and runs until May. For more information see the Facebook page.


Dan’s Parents’ House and my Michael Jackson badge

It was hot and the market was fancy. I was hungover and disengaged so just ended up picking stuff up and putting it down again. I had no use or desire for old lego, building blocks or kitsch toys that belonged in an 1980s Fairy Liquid advert. But I couldn’t leave Dan’s Parent’s House.

That was Dan. And his stand. Dan’s stand is full of 25 years of treasures that were kept in his parent’s attic. Self confessed hoarders, Dan’s mum said they kept every toy her sons ever played with and every item of clothing they ever outgrew. They were also “a bit compulsive about electronics”.

Step right up.  All you want is here.

Step right up. All you want is here

Dan is a market vendor but when I watched him through my sleep deprived eyes, he seemed more like a circus master. He stood in the middle of his stand whilst the “big kids” of Brooklyn delved deep into his drawers, fanning old comic books and plucking old Starwars figurines from their plastic families. He spun like a carousel, telling the interested how much they could pay for the collectible of their dreams. He popped up like a Jack In The Box to tell you the history of that chess set in your arms. He was always there, but never in your face.

Blast from the past

Dan was not in your face unlike this guy

But like all people, Dan had to relieve himself from time to time. Perhaps mistaking my hangover for trustworthiness, he asked my friend and I to mind his stand while he popped off for a minute. So we did. I think the main thing he wanted us to do was make sure nobody left or stole anything which was easy. We used our English charm to let people know Dan would be returning soon and they should have a little play with Ronald McDonald while they waited.

Dan came back as promised and as a thank you he allowed us to pick a badge from his mega collection. I chose this one. It’s obviously Michael Jackson in his Off The Wall stage, but some fool I asked thought it was Prince.

Apart from his gold face, the likeness is uncanny

How is this Prince?

The poor portrayal of MJ is all part of its charm and now I want more of these bad badges. I inspected the back, David Dickinson style, to see if there was any markings but I found none. Not only does this halt me in my researching tracks but it would also mean I’d get nought from Antiques Roadshow.

If anyone has any idea of the manufacturer or how to find out, let me know.

For more about Dan’s Parents’ House see here.

A guide to handling gig talkers

Oh the joys of a gig. The band so close you can see their frayed shoelaces, the hot air that smells of hard work and being in the comfort of strangers. Strangers that lean on you when they’re not feeling so strong or when they’ve been a bit overzealous in the mosh pit after too many ciders. It’s a happy place. But every so often you encounter the poisonous mushroom that sprouts in the warm, damp conditions and sours the sweet taste. It happened when my Uncle took me to a gig when I was 16 and he was bouncing on the shoulder of a girl he thought was a boy who told him to f*** off. It also happened the other day, when a miserable beard didn’t like me talking to me friends by the bar. Using sarcasm as his weapon (lowest form of wit springs to mind) wasn’t too bad, but then he went forth with his toxic thoughts all over the internet. Try as I might, I can’t imagine skinheads tweeting mean things about those they fought at punk nights. Not very rock and roll.

“Totally mad night last night.  Bottled a punk then bottled it.”

Talking at a gig isn’t the end of the world, but I’ve written a quick guide for those who are less socially ept to help them deal with it. After all, the internet is littered as it is; it doesn’t need any more rubbish.

1. Prepare

As some wise old man once said “acceptance is the first step to enlightenment”. Or something like that. If you go to a gig knowing that it’s not going to be full of tongueless kids and that occasionally, one may embark on a conversation or two, then you’re going to be a lot better off when it absolutely, definitely happens . Gigs are often in public houses. Public house = open to the public. Public = people. People like to talk; we’ve all seen the BT adverts from the 90s. Spend the tube journey there mentally preparing yourself; where there are people, there be noise. You could be at the best gig in the world and chances are a patron may whisper “Bless you” to a man who sneezes. Deal with it.

 Preparing for a Bentcousin gig

2. Choose your spot

The law of logistics quite clearly state that those who are in close proximity to the band are guaranteed to be interested. And those who are hanging back a bit, getting a drink at the bar or snogging by the toilets are probably less into the band than you are. And in this beautiful world of justice, equality and tolerance, you need to accept different levels of attention. If someone is talking, move closer to the band. Chances are the gig-talkers won’t be standing near the speakers, either. Also, if you’re such a massive fan of the band, why aren’t you up the front dancing manically and sweating your tits off instead of hanging back, giving evils and looking for the next person to tell off for talking? Such behaviour belongs in Church, not at a gig.

“Shut your face.  Bentcousin are playing.” 

3. Ask nicely

Now, no one is trying to undermine your manhood or suppress your spirit. If you really feel the need to say something, then please feel free. We’re not in the punk age anymore; no one is going to smash a bottle over your head or find you afterwards in the smoking area and “do you” with a rusty nail for asking someone to be quiet. At the same time, there’s no need to be rude. We will tell our Mums.

4. Socialise

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Why not engage in some friendly banter with the vocal offenders? After all, you’re at the same gig so chances are you have similar interests. If they really are too young and the age gap really is too scary, then maybe you had better stick to conversing with your own friends. Or is it the case that you’re there alone which is why you’re getting ratty at the bright young things who are talking in the corner? There’s no need to be a sour puss because you’re lonely.

“Do you want to talk any louder?  I can’t hear the band.”

Gigs are a sociable environment and like monkeys, we engage in communal activities differently. A mother monkey may sit suckling her young, whilst the adolescents swing from tree to tree. One of the elders crouches over a log, scratching it with a stick whilst the leader monkey sifts through it’s own excrement. Who is anyone to decide on what is “gig” behaviour and how we listen to music?

If you really hate people talking so much and the helpful tips above don’t help, why not hire out Phil Collins to play a private gig for you in your basement and see how much fun you have there.