Much as I love Southampton, which has some wonderful positive things to offer cruise ship tourists (which I shall get around to writing about more – I am usually a positive person) these are some snaps from my home city in support of Banksy’s Dismaland.
All photos © Southampton old lady
If you have not heard of Dismaland then please do an image search online. This is a ‘bemusement’ park that has been opened up in South-West England, for six weeks, by a group of 59 British artists including: Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Espo… headed by Banksy. Actors (as disgruntled security guards and staff) and writers have also been employed (Julie Birchill re-wrote a macabre Punch & Judy script).
The Tropicana swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, a one-time holiday-haven, has been turned into an anarchistic statement about Western capitalism – A Disneyland gone wrong.
Banksy hails from near-by Bristol. He possibly recalls as a child, summer days on the sands and pier at Weston-Super-Mare, which have deteriorated now. The type of British family that used to spend their holiday here, no longer have money for resorts. Pictures like this can be found at tourist areas throughout Europe. In London, visitors are sad not to meet people like characters from Downton Abbey.
But don’t book £3 tickets on the Dismaland website, or you will just be trolled. The project highlights the down-side of Britain emulating USA-style boom and bust financial strategies. Our boom from the 1990s sub-prime-type/hedge-funding and such, burst its bubble in 2008. Although the Government has announced that the Country is now “doing well” – giving themselves generous pay-rises; people argue that these strategies have little way of ‘trickling down’ any benefit to the common people. There is also a sense of childhood loss, a feeling of being cheated by the false promises of a fairytale with a happy ending.
You may also want to look at this YouTube video of buskers Phat Bollard performing ‘Millionaires’ in Southampton High Street (contains swearing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQBAu0Yypk
Maxine Peake as ‘Hamlet, which opened at The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester last year, is currently touring the UK. Cinema versions are also to tour other countries.
I watched this minimalist, cross-dressed version on television last night. When you cannot afford to go to the theatre much (and us Brits love theatre) Sky Arts is such a godsend.
Of all Shakespeare’s plays, the tragedy of this Danish Prince is the most versatile to interpret. Each actor makes Hamlet their own. Stripped to the bare-bones of any set, costumes, props and the cast playing different sexes, races, ages and sometimes more than one role, actors need to be outstandingly good to hold the audience’s attention. All were obviously cast for their amazing ability to act. Not one had help, in their resemblance nor voice, to the traditional characters often played. We had to suspend our disbelief, which could be hard work. As such, this is not one for those unfamiliar with the story.
Synopsis: After murdering his own brother, King Hamlet, the devious Claudius succeeds him to the throne and even marries his widow, Gertrude. Prince Hamlet seeks revenge and sets about to overthrow his evil uncle, which results in tragedy.
Best see Kenneth Branagh’s film version first; then read to play. This is one for Mancunians and those who have seen endless versions. On stage, Benedict Cumberbatch, June Law, Rory Kinnear, David Tennant and Michael Sheen have all played Hamlet recently to varying critical acclaims.
Peake is certainly a star – charismatic and compelling in her fast-paced, fresh and angry-youth interpretation. She is well-deserving of her BAFTA nomination. Full-figured Katie West is not your usual waif-like Ophelia but procures a sense of injustice, Barbara Marten, a little mature in years, comes across more beautiful than voluptuous as Gertude. John Schrapnel, resembling a warm patriarch figure, also had his work cut out to portray the sly Claudius and haunting ghost. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were far from dead in their portrayal by Jodie McNee and Peter Singh. Great performances all round.
4/5 from me.
For the trailer visit: https://youtu.be/q4xVwVwGvPc
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”
Write about a tricky situation.
Escape after accidentally winning auction bid.
The above is my response to a six word story challenge created by another blogger. If you would like to join in visit: https://nicolaauckland.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/weekly-six-word-story-challenge/
I am currently working out how to create pingbacks however.
Lancaster is an Ideal Tourist location
If you visit Britain, I would recommend a good central base for visiting all its countries is Lancaster in Lancashire. Located in Northern England, not too far from the seaside town of Blackpool, it is about halfway between Glasgow in Scotland and London, just off the M6 motorway. This is a good road route if you wish to see Stratford on Avon, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool (sail from here to Northern Ireland) or North Wales. Lancaster itself is full of friendly people, old fashioned English pubs, and historic attractions which remain unspoilt from any war. For a wonderful arial view visit the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nn9_jZFs7M&feature=youtu.be
Lancaster Castle, also known as John O’Gaunt’s Castle, has its origins as far back as the Roman times. The castle was first used as a prison in the 12th Century and right up until its closure in 2011. Hundreds have been hanged after trials here, including the Pendle witches in 1612. The castle operates regular tours, including a specialised ‘Graffiti tour’. Historians were able to find out much about the town’s ancient history from what was scratched on its walls by prisoners. To find out more of what you can do the castle visit: http://www.lancastercastle.com
Its all gone Pete Tong at Her Majesty’s Prison Lancaster!
The Queen who owns Lancaster Castle, has recently found herself to be an accidental Landlady of a popular nightclub. British DJs, who became world-famous after performing in Ibiza, hire the ‘A Wing’ of the ex-prison as a club.
Raves in unusual places, popular in the 1980s, have undergone a huge revival and spread throughout the world – so has its music, from drum & bass or garage to acid house and hard techno. (The most unusual rave I attended, over 30 years ago, was Mutoid Waste’s first event inside London’s Battersea Power-station. The Mutoid Waste company is one of the main attractions now at the Glastonbury festival for steam-punk, mechanical fairground sculptures).
Southampton’s superstar DJ Rob Da Bank (who organises Bestival), Pete Tong, Mark Knight, High Contrast, Kratoa, Bondax, Dimitri from Paris and James Zabelia are just some of those to perform at A Wing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj1-c9CmzfA
The WordPress Photo Challenge for this week is – Creepy
I realised that I had far too many creepy photos to choose from: haunted, half-timbered English pubs – shocking Spanish-museum artefacts – abandoned Ministry of Defence buildings – rotting submarines… In the end I went for the one I like, taken inside Portsmouth’s Square Tower.
This Medieval building, which is part of the fortification of Old Portsmouth, England, has had a varied, bloody history. It was reinforced during the reign of Henry VII as part of this Naval Port’s expansion.
I acted the part as Lady of the Manor at a Medieval banquet here. Saxons at a long table one side, Normans on another. I snapped this picture of one of the guards ascending the staircase to the fort’s roof.
The Ford Transit celebrates its 50th Birthday today – 9th August 2015.
Arriving into the City of Southampton via the M27 Motorway, one used to be welcomed by a huge banner, declaring: “Southampton. Home of the Ford Transit.” Passing the Ford Transit factory the tarmac grounds gleamed with rows of white transit vans. The colour was chosen because white was the perfect colour to keep drivers cool in the days before air conditioning. This gave rise to stereotype phrase “white van man”.
The Transit is essential to many British workers. 600,000 of the utilitarian vans are now built globally each year. But sadly local production ceased in 2013 when the Ford Transit plant at Southampton closed. The Plant, which was one of Southampton’s biggest employers, has remained empty now for two years.
‘28 days later’, a website I follow, is full of photos of abandoned buildings. A wonderful photographer who goes by the moniker ‘Speed’ has taken some stunning images inside this defunct plant. (You may want to check out his best 100 photos): http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/a-life-in-ruins-100-photos-from-10-years-of-exploring-the-uk.t93530
There is a current campaign to get the old Ford plant chosen for the new production of a revival of the 60s Aston Martin – the main demand for this ‘James Bond’ car mainly coming from China. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/13573355.Campaign_launched_to_bring_Aston_Martin_factory_to_Southampton/
Giant container ships from China arrive regularly at The Port of Southampton to fill British High Streets with imports. They used to sail back empty. But now return with recycled plastic, antiques and British vehicles.
UPDATE December 2015
Sadlly the Aston Martin project did not go ahead. The Factory has been pulled down. R I P
This is the first in my new series of black & white scenes photographed in colour.
In 2013, I took these photos of HMS Warrior, Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship.
Launched in 1860, Warrior was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet. Powered by steam and sail, she was the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day and had a profound effect on naval architecture. Warrior was, in her time, the ultimate deterrent. Yet within a few years she was obsolete.
Restored and back at home in Portsmouth, Warrior now serves as a ship museum, monument, visitor attraction, private venue and more.
If you would like to visit: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/site-attractions/attractions/hms-warrior-1860