Thursday, December 27, 2007

Resonance Plea

Dear friends,
Another seasonal begging letter. I apologise for troubling you buthope you can take one minute to help us with a problem that will ONLY be resolved with your help. As you may be aware, Resonance FM was established by London Musicians' Collective. LMC's remit has been, for thirty years now, to support avant-garde music, that supposedly "difficult" stuff that gets lampooned as elitist noise in the popular press and on the "Today"programme.
The list of its achievements would take up many pages (a tiny fraction is at Suffice to say, Resonance FMwas entirely the creation of the LMC Board and emerged directly fromits work. No other organisation would have realised such a project: no other organisation did. LMC's grant from Arts Council England's Music Department has now been entirely cut. The radio station is not immediately threatened, as it is financed directly by the Visual Arts department (Music having never expressed interest in Resonance whatsoever). But to have one without the other is, as you can imagine, a little pointless to those of uswho set up Resonance FM. This year, ACE has managed to find £1.7million to underwrite the launch of a new music umbrella body, "The New Organisation." LMC was excluded from the discussions about this quango, the stated ambitions of which sound remarkably like what we have been realising on a daily basis for the last five years: the maintenance of a hub which encourages, nourishes and broadcasts the work of musicians of every stripe from our locale and beyond, etc etc (only couched in the language of marketing consultants and apparently to be manned by people devoid of originality or vision). Meantime, too, the sequel to LMC's best selling CD, Peter Cusack's "Your Favourite London Sounds" plays in ACE's lobby as a permanent audio exhibit! I wonder if you would help me by writing a short email to the peopleat ACE Music, expressing your support for LMC? And ask for an acknowledgment of your email. If they receive five or six thousand emails, maybe they will be prepared to reconsider this crisis of their own making.
Please address your email to the following persons: (Assistant Officer, Music, London) (Head of Music, London) (Director, London) (Chief Executive, National)

Please make the subject "From " rather than something generic that can be easily ignored. Bear in mind, these are public servants: they work for us and you can, I think, insist on a response. Don't be surprised to receive an Out of Office automatic replyinitially: of course everyone responsible will be heading to the hills! Please cc it to "" so we have a copy on file. All emails sent to this address will be treated in strict confidence. The second way you can help is of course financially, by becoming amember of LMC and expressing your support with your hard-earned cash. At this time of year, such a request must appear vulgar and inapposite. And it is something we have never pushed in the past,because the radio station was set up with a sense of social purpose, in a spirit of frank and open hospitality. So don't send us any money, just another email with the subject "Potential Member," no more thanthat: we'll only get back to you IF we manage to crawl out of this particular hole.I find this really mortifying. Every other email from me seems to be asking our supporters for money: and this year we raised over £17,000 from individual donations, so I'd hoped that we were in the clear for a while. But, cocooned in the overwhelmingly positive and intelligent environment provided by Resonance, perhaps I underestimated the cynicism of these times.
Ed Baxter
programming director
144 Borough High Street
London SE1 1LB
020 7407 1210

Monday, December 17, 2007

In Search Of The London Stone

For the past week I have been working on the foreshore of the Thames, set down from the usual movements of the city, to be by the Thames is to step back into London’s past. Researching materials at various sites along the riverside in the centre of London I have been gathering information and observing, collecting, catalogueing and collating specific materials to be used in a series of art works, this series of works is expanding all the time as I respond to my findings by the river side. Under a low winter sun, in freezing temperatures I have seen the hidden London, historical artefacts abound, etched stonework, building debris, the tide laps at the shore with changing intensity as river craft of different sizes go past, various plastics and rubbish float by. The tides reveal and then reclaim the foundations of our city, the discarded remnants of activities that one would not like to reflect on for too long, a three legged bull-terrier cast to the water in death, snatched moments for marking the city, graffiti, tags, impromptu interventions in the fabric of the city hidden from view from all but those few that venture along the river or take a few precious moments of solitude in these places only accessible when the tide allows. Beachcombers, a young man and woman making an approximation of a snowman but with estuarine sand, a sandman if you like, a smoking driftwood fire, an occasional tourist dropping down to the quiet unseen London. Cracked and broken words on rubble, ceramic and stone, voices and histories incomplete, torn and split from their homes and thrown to the bed of the city.

Stepping back into the present by ascending the stairs that bring you back to the familiar London is to step away and out of a melancholic but comforting world, I feel engaged to a history of London that is only evident in these few places, able to return to the present once the tide claims back its territory. For the next few months I will continue charting a London that is all my own, a wonderful place of solitude, a unique place in this ever changing, fast paced city that allows me to find a quiet place of my own but only so long as the river will allow me to.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Ian Kiaer’s art is light, almost insignificant, the materials are grungy, throwaway byproducts of human activity, his sculptures and installations are constructed from the discarded remnants of modern culture, a culture it seems with the attention span of a chimp. Plastic, sheets of foam, polystyrene, cardboard, paper and other such impermanent materials combine with printed matter, adverts cut from their usual context. Printed snatches of lettering on packaging and strings of catalogue numbers and letters represent a now anonymous product. To step into Kiaer’s found and reconstructed world is to see a depressingly mortal culture, in Kiaer’s installations society appears as fragile and impermanent as the world we construct around ourselves.
Kiaer’s current installation at Alison Jacques Gallery is titled Ulchiro project and represents his current observations of the Ulchiro district in Seoul, South Korea.
In the two rooms of the gallery are a collection of assemblages and sculptures which make up the overall installation, in this installation Kiaer’s familiar stylings are developed further, this exhibition appears to be the starting point to the next chapter in his career, the usual transient, insignificant sculptures retain the same lightness of touch as Kiaer’s previous works but this assembled collection of works provides some larger and more ambitious pieces which skilfully retain the lightness evident in his previous work, this step up in scale is deft and subtly reinforces preoccupations in Kiaer’s earlier art works whilst highlighting something new and beyond those earlier concerns. To view the smaller almost minituarised works of previous years allowed the viewer a very personal reflection of their own life and its connection to the outside world, the scale of these pieces felt personal because the scale felt very much that of the human hand, this condition remains with many of the pieces here but with the added shift in scale with two larger pieces we see a scale larger than the human body, these two constructions tower over us and provide the potential to invade our space and create a place in the world alongside us. The first sculptural form we meet on entering the gallery is a large metal frame, sitting like a thin, aluminium framed, skeletal billboard with the boards removed it appears teetering on the brink of failure, its frame is bolted together strongly but due to the lightness of the material the frame may give way to collapse at any time, the second large scale sculpture is constructed from transparent bin liners, separated and then sealed together to create a larger inflatable model, the air pumped into this inflatable structure helps it maintain its large and imposing presence, however one pull of the plug and this overpowering structure will deflate it into a crumpled and lifeless heap of plastic, these assembled combinations of power and fragilty reflect something that can be harmed by us but dictate their presence to us also. Like those things constructed in our environment Kiaer’s latest exhibition shows not only the fragility of the material world we construct around us but also the frailty of our own lives with reliance on and power we imbue in a constructed world created from such impermanent and fragile materials.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Press Release - 30 November 2007
This week the British Surfing Association (BSA) is amazed to learn that British Airways (BA) has been entertaining its passengers with not one, but two, surf movies on its in-flight film channel. In light of the BA ban on the carriage of surf boards that came into effect on Tuesday 6th November, on a business class flight from London Heathrow to New York, a surfer and BA gold card holder was stunned to find the airline showing two surf films- Sony's 'Surf's Up', an animated surfing based tale, and 'Step Into Liquid', a surfing documentary. The BSA's petition for the reversal of the ban is still growing apace and now an Early Day Motion in the British Parliament has nearly 50 MPs' signatures. Although surfing continues to grow on a global scale, BA seems intent to continue to believe that surfers are in their own words a 'miniscule' minority and that not enough surfers check in boards to make it worth their while to meet their needs. However, BA is obviously hoping to use the global rise in interest in surfing to while away the hours on long haul flights. Claire Davidson, a keen surfer from London often uses BA on a weekly basis for her business class flights to Africa, Russia and America and was really shocked to hear about the surfboard ban. Claire said, "I think it is totally ridiculous that BA has banned surf boards and now to add insult to injury they are showing surf movies on their flights. It is just so ironic! I am now unable to use my BA air miles to go surfing and something needs to be done to change this." Hundreds of thousands of surfers travel each year to enjoy and develop their pastime and need to fly their boards with them. For years, top international surfers including the British Surfing Team have chosen BA above all other airlines as they have has a fair and open minded policy about board carriage. At the same time as the surfboard ban was announced BA proudly publicized the fact that it would be loosening any restrictions on their carriage of skis, snowboards, cycles, diving equipment and even guns, amongst other items.In order to turn this ban around the BSA is continuing to urge everyone who surfs to take five minutes to go online and follow their recommended action steps. Surfer action steps:1. Contact your local MPs and ask them to sign the EDM. You can find out who your local MP is and how to contact them by going to: EDM is number 136 (MPs will be fully aware of how to access the EDM and sign it on behalf of their constituent.)2. Go onto and click the 'SIGN ONLINE PETITION OF PROTEST IN THE NEWS SECTION ON THE HOME PAGE'. Follow the easy steps to sign this online petition and add any comments.3. If you have a Facebook account, join the Facebook 'British Airways Surfboard Ban' group 4. Click this link and register a complaint with BA directly5. Encourage all other surfers to follow these steps

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Some Other Stuff

p18, Explorer Magazine, Cambridge Dec 07