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25 albums that shaped my life

I don’t think it’s ‘Cabin Fever’, but since the lockdown I’ve had some very strange dreams. They often have very surreal storylines featuring people and places I wished I’d taken more effort to try and visit, and they’re always so very mixed up. An interesting one I experienced recently was one where I travelled through a Dali-esque landscape of my past life as well as my overburdened ‘To Do’ wishlist, accompanied by a musical soundtrack overlayed with a succession of album covers.

Obviously my Facebook newsfeed was to blame for this, over the past few weeks I’ve noticed several friends making selections of a series of albums which have been important in their lives. More often than not though, they’ve restricted themselves to only 10 choices, which I would find impossible. However there needed be a reasonable limit, but instead of trying to fit into the 10 album strait jacket I decided I’d allow myself the luxury of slipping into an XL of 25 (of which one is actually an EP).

While it was fresh in my mind and thinking it would be an interesting memory lane exercise to indulge in, I thought I’d reconstruct my dream as a musical self portrait blog. There’s no particular message to accompany them, they’re just personal time capsules that spark memories, which I’ve played to death over the years, and the ones I constantly return to. There’s time aplenty right now to remember those special people, places and moments that’s been a part of one’s life, and the perfect excuse if ever I needed one to share some good memories as a musical message.

Anyway, it’s only a blog of dream inspired lockdown fun, but nevertheless I’d be more than happy to have these as company on my Desert Island. Click the links………..and enjoy!

Golden Age of Lonnie Donegan – Lonnie Donegan

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Nice Enough To Eat – Various Artists

This Was – Jethro Tull

Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France

Death Walks Behind You – Atomic Rooster

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

Elgar – Cello Concerto (Jacqueline Du Pré) & Sea Pictures (Janet Baker)

Led Zep II – Led Zeppelin

Every Picture Tells a Story – Rod Stewart

Split – The Groundhogs

Skid – Skid Row

With a Little Help From My Friends/Joe Cocker! (Doubleback Series)

Innervisions – Stevie Wonder

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

Beethoven – The Nine Symphonies

The Art of Segovia – Andrés Segovia

Mingus Ah-Um – Charles Mingus

Rattus Norvegicus – The Stranglers

Specials – The Specials

This Year’s Model – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads

Hot Fuss – The Killers

With Love & Squalor – We Are Scientists

Two Parts Diamond – 3 Parts Dirt!

Rainforest Mural at Rowlatts Hill Primary Academy

Feb – April 19

My design for this part of the corridor was inspired by a passage I read in one of my Dad’s old books, found while clearing my parents’ home a couple of years ago, The Reader’s Digest Book of World Travel (First Edition). The article, titled ‘Angkor, the lost kingdom’, was itself derived from ‘Angkor, lost city of the jungle’ written by Clarence Hall for The Reader’s Digest, January 1963.

During the centuries when the great builders of medieval Europe were raising magnificent cathedrals and massive fortresses, the Khmers were building Angkor on the other side of the world. Over this incredible stone forest of temples, pagodas and palaces still hovers the haunting mystery: what happened here?

On a January afternoon in 1861, A French naturalist named Henri Mahout was hacking his way through the almost impenetrable jungle of Cambodia when, suddenly, he burst into a clearing and stopped dead in his tracks. Before his astonished eyes loomed the outlines of a huge stone structure. Its long grey battlements appeared to stretch into infinity, magnificent terraces and galleries vaulted upward, and five towers shaped like lotus buds soared into the heavens. Touched by the setting sun, the whole grey mass burned fiery red.

His search for rare insects forgotten, Mouhot plunged about for days, exploring not only this great temple – which he called ‘a rival to Solomon’s’ – but also scores of other structures which he found half submerged in the jungle. Excitedly he recorded his conviction that here were ‘perhaps the grandest, the most important and the most artistically perfect monuments the past has left to us’.

However, the drama and exhilaration of this description is a myth. Henri Mahout did not ‘discover’ Angkor at all. The account I read portraying Mahout as an Indiana Jones type character making a spectacular discovery was printed in 1967 and has been proven inaccurate. Thanks to an article written by Zak Keith in 2005 which set the record straight, I have since learned that it was a story which took hold after his journals were shipped to Europe after his death.

Nevertheless, despite my original starting point being erroneous, it still proved significant for the outcome of the finished painting. From the very beginning I wanted to produce a composition which would stimulate the senses of the children living with the painting and make them curious to learn more about the natural environment. Not only that, I also hoped it might prompt them to invent their own stories as they wandered along the corridor. During the course of painting this project I have already witnessed several of them imitating a swimming technique as they walked along the ‘under the sea’ section. I’m sure that as they walk through ‘the jungle’ they might emulate the hacking action of an explorer fighting a way through overgrown vegetation with an imaginary machete too!

In an earlier blog I mentioned that I was indebted to Site Manager Matt Hassall for his assistance in helping me realise my design ideas. I was very fortunate to be able to call upon his services to construct the sculptural elements and to make alterations to the lighting in the corridor, they have made such a difference with the final presentation. Thank you, Matt. You’re an absolute star!

I’m very pleased with this project, the transformation in the appearance of this space can only be described as extraordinary. However, it is not yet finished. Although the painting is completed, I have now handed the baton to Matt to bring the project to its conclusion. When time allows, Matt will eventually resurface the floor and add sounds which, in true Rowlatts Hill fashion, will really be the cherry on the Friday Pudding Club Cake!

Rowlatts Hill Primary Academy, Balderstone Close, Leicester LE5 4ES

The Fulbridge Academy Sports Hall Project – Second Half

February ’18

Following my Half-Time sojourn with the ‘Simply The Best’ mural project at King’s Cliffe Endowed Primary School, I have returned to Fulbridge Academy to begin the Second Half of the Sports Hall mural. The First Half, at the smaller end, which I referred to in earlier blogs as ‘Invincible’, involved painting the portraits of a collection of sporting heroes. The emphasis for this larger end will be sporting activities, although one of the walls will have a theme of sporting personalities from Peterborough.

Since my last visit some alterations have been made to the hall and some design modifications requested. The large projection screen has been removed and replaced with two computer monitors and some additional names have been added to the list for the Peterborough wall. Also, the Looney Tune Land characters from the Warner Brothers film ‘Space Jam’, which were previously included to reflect the name of the room, are now not required. As a consequence three of my previous designs for the 4 walls needed to be updated.

New Designs for Main Hall:

Sporting Activities: Netball / Cricket / High Jump / Football / Swimming / Running / Javelin / Discus / Wheelchair athletics / Roller Blading / Hammer Throw / Archery / Long Jump / Tennis / Gymnastics / Field Hockey / Rugby / Basketball

Peterborough Wall Figures: Louis Smith Gymnastics / Walter Cornelius Strongman /  David Bentley, Luke Steele Football / James Ferrara Ice Hockey / Geoff Capes Athletics / Paul Barber Field Hockey / Ajaz Akhtar Cricket / Brian Brinkley Swimming / James Fox Rowing

Peterborough Wall Logos: Peterborough Panthers Speedway / Peterborough United Football / Peterborough Phantoms Ice Hockey / City of Peterborough Hockey Club / Peterborough Town Cricket Club / Peterborough Lions RFC / Peterborough Rugby Union Football Club

As mentioned previously in my first ‘Invincible’ blog, it’s a big job, so I will not be presenting a detailed report, instead I will post an occasionally updated photo diary again – this one might take me a long time to complete. I just hope I have the ability to fulfil what I’ve set myself to achieve, as well as the stamina. Having said that, the cups of tea Asma delivers to me on a regular basis is definitely a terrific body booster!

The Story So Far:

26.2.18      Day 9

 

 

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