Thursday, 7 August 2014
Public art a little bit like ‘Marmite’
COLOURFUL debate has been splashed across a broad canvas following the unveiling of Weymouth’s latest offering of public art.
Three pieces totalling more than £75,000 are now in situ at the Weymouth Gateway site off Dorchester Road and feelings have been, to say the least, “mixed” about their impact.
The newcomers have a tough act to follow after more than £330,000 was poured out – some would say down the drain – for the infamous “Stones on Sticks” sculpture at Littlemoor.
Fortunately public coffers have not been embarrassed by the three new pieces which have been jointly funded by New Look and Sainsbury’s.
Essentially we are told they represent a rendition of local memories and tales in the form of rusting plesiosaur heads welded to torpedoes with an ornate chair on top, a bus stop with horns on top and a giant picture frame with wings and etchings.
Of the three, I believe “Torpedosaur” is extremely eye-catching, that the bus stop has missed the bus and that “Frame” is OK if you like that sort of thing.
But if other businesses, Weymouth and Portland council or anyone with more money than sense is planning to inflict more art on this area’s long suffering public then I have one thing to say: “Enough is enough.”
I do not want to stand in front of a broken tailor’s dummy speared into a dustbin garnished with a cross made from rotted fence posts and be told it symbolises the waste of human life in World War I.
I particularly do not want to hear from the council that it is trying to reduce its budget problems by offering the Mayor’s unmade bed for sale in the hope of emulating Tracey Emin’s bed artwork which recently sold for a rumpled £2.2 million.
We are being forced to endure and must continue to suffer the more bizarre Weymouth forays into artwork foisted on us for years to come, so I feel any future public artwork should stipulate a return to more mainstream forms of art such as a Portland stone sculpture figure or an ornate fountain. It is all well and good to show how “progressive” Weymouth is with the Gateway and Littlemoor offerings.
OK, so we’ve been “progressive”. In future let’s balance the books a bit for the sake of sanity and ensure any future artistic project owes a bit more to art and a bit less to reducing the number of landfill objects sent to Dorset rubbish tips.
Can’t see the warnings through the trees!
YOU know those occasions when something happens, you can’t believe it and just burst out laughing?
Well that happened recently at the start of roadworks near Lyme Regis on a hill with a slow curving bend from right to left.
As you might imagine, this was an extremely dangerous position to have to carry out any roadworks and the workmen we found ourselves behind were taking the situation very seriously indeed.
First, they made sure they had a decent audience – the traffic queue behind their flatbed van was soon out of sight – then they chucked down and set up a sign warning that the road ahead would soon have its inner lane closed.
Then they moved another 30 metres round the bend and put down a “roadworks ahead” sign and it was at that point we were able to pull round them and drive on.
By this time my wife had tears of laughter rolling down her face and I still couldn’t believe what I had just seen.
The cause of our disbelief was that, on a dangerous section of rural highway, roadwork signs had been put up in such a fashion that the verge undergrowth almost completely obscured the warnings! The first one in particularly was a waste of time thanks to dense cow parsley.
The mentality that can grasp the need for a safety warning and then totally waste the effort to install one offers a frightening insight into the way local authorities work.
Circus with a difference
IT is amazing what a bit of weathering can do to change the sense of things.
Animal rights supporters should pay particular attention to this because my case in point involves performing stoats who were appearing as one of the attractions in a giant but very battered circus big top.
It was seen together with huge advertising signs painted on its worn surface by a Weymouth man who happened to spot it as he drove by the site.
Just as well he didn’t pursue his interest any further because what he thought was the intriguing “Chinese Stote Circus” actually said “Chinese State Circus”!
I’ve loaned him my daughter’s book on wildlife to help brush up on his spelling!
POLITICS requires an acute brain, a quick and clear grasp of official documents and preferably an ability to avoid providing voters with a foggy response to questions.
So I think I can say without fear or favour that the response provided by one candidate on forms for recent elections to Portland Town Council failed on all three counts.
They coped perfectly with difficult questions such as “Name of Candidate” and “Home Address” but fell at the third hurdle - “Description (if any)” - where candidates provide details of which political party they represent.
The description this candidate provided was: “Blonde, curly hair, grey eyes”!
I’m sure a promising political career is just around the corner!