Six Word Story Challenge: Regret

sss-2nd“I regret nothing!” Replied the psychopath.”

OldHouseBulbs

This is my response to this week’s ‘Six Word Story Challenge’ 2:  Regret

I won 2nd prize!

If you would like to take part too, visit https://nicolaauckland.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/weekly-six-word-story-challenge-2/

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Dismaland – Reply to Banksy & Co

Sunbathing on the beach
Sunbathing on the beach
Bookshop/cafe closure notice
Bookshop/cafe closure notice

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).

Homeless youth under The Bargate of Southampton's Medieval wall.
Homeless youth under The Bargate of Southampton’s Medieval wall.

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.

Health lottery advertisement shines bright in bad weather outside Waitrose (a middle class supermarket)
Health lottery advertisement shines bright in bad weather outside Waitrose (an up-market supermarket)
The Royal Pier, which burnt down in the 1970s.
The Royal Pier in Southampton has not been repaired since it burnt down in the 1970s.
Closer view of the pier.
Closer view of the pier.
Prickly Justice
Prickly Justice
Northam Bridge Graffiti
Northam Bridge Graffiti
River Itchen cycle path - west side
River Itchen cycle path – west side
Please return your shopping trolley
Please return your shopping trolley
Riverside apartments (or they could be)
Riverside apartments (or it could be)
Site of television studios - build here please.
Brown site that used to be television studios – build homes here please.
Itchen River from Roman East site
Itchen River from Roman East-side
Council allowed 'graffiti' to encourage cycling complete with chewing gum spots.
Council allowed ‘graffiti’ to encourage cycling. Complete with chewing gum spots.
The sky line
The sky line
Memorial bench at victoria Country Park looking out on Southampton Water
Memorial bench at Royal Victoria Country Park looking out on Southampton Water
Sunbathing II at the waterfront
Sunbathing II at the waterfront
Park restrictions: Do not pass go... Different signs for English and Polish speakers.
Park restrictions: Different signs for different languages
A traditional pub closes every day.
A traditional pub closes every day.
Shirley Park Hotel - closed
Shirley Park Hotel – closed
Tanning salon at what was once the Regent Cinema
Tanning salon at what was once the Regent Cinema
Beauty Parlours in the hope of a change to feel better.
Beauty Parlours offer hope of a change to feel better. Not something I could afford or want.
Jonas Nichols Square (he gave his name to Nicholstown) in the morning.
Jonas Nichols Square (he gave his name to Nicholstown) in the morning.
Where I used to buy vegetables when Kingsland Market was closed.
Where I used to buy vegetables when Kingsland Market was closed.
off-licence in residential area
Late off-licence in residential area
Fly-tipped computer desk in green area
Fly-tipped computer desk in green area
Keep out of here. (Ministry of Defence).
Keep out of here. (Ministry of Defence).
Loose paving slabs all over the City centre - watch your step.
Loose paving slabs all over the City centre – watch your step.
Unfortunate name but yes. Isis 'gentlemans' club - in Southampton's High Street (Above Bar).
Unfortunate name but yes. Isis ‘Gentleman’s’ club – in Southampton’s High Street (Above Bar).
For Your Eyes Only - mens lap dance club on the QE2 Mile
For Your Eyes Only – another club for men (table-dancing) on the QE2 Mile
English Heritage Listed II street with Police car.
Grade II Listed street with house cordoned off for drugs bust.
Empty commerce
Empty commerce
The Cricket Pavilion
The cricket pavilion in a park where cricket is not allowed
A reminder of the Banksy murial that was removed in Southampton
A reminder of the Banksy mural’ that was removed in Southampton

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

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/phatbollard. Downloads can be found at Bandcamp: http://phatbollard.bandcamp.com.

 

 

 

 

Review: Maxine Peake as Hamlet – Shakespeare ****

Maxine Peak as 'Hamlet' a stripped-bare version of Shakespeare's most versatile tragedy at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
Maxine Peak as ‘Hamlet,’ a stripped-bare version of Shakespeare’s most versatile tragedy at The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

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.

"To be or not to be..."
“To be or not to be…”

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

Six Word Story Challenge

Write about a tricky situation.

Grand Harbour Hotel 2015 © southampton old lady
Grand Harbour Hotel 2015 © southampton old lady

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.

Graffiti 4 – Lancaster Castle – (The Queen’s latest rave club)

1865 Graffiti from Her Majesty's Prison at Lancster Castle, England
1865 Graffiti from Her Majesty’s Prison at Lancaster Castle, England
I LOVE GOD graffiti from HMP Lancaster which closed as a prison in 2011
I LOVE GOD graffiti from HMP Lancaster which closed as a jail in 2011

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 entrance
Lancaster Castle entrance

Graffiti Tours

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!

A Wing of Lancaster Prison
A Wing of Lancaster Prison

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

 

Young crowd dancing at AWing nightclub. Photo from www.lancastercastle.com
Young crowd dancing at AWing nightclub. Photo from http://www.lancastercastle.com

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Creepy

Page ascending staircase © Southampton Old Lady
Guard Ascending Staircase                                                       © Southampton Old Lady

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.

Ford Transit Celebrates 50th Birthday

Workers at Southampton Ford Factory when the One Millionth Transit was produced. BBC photo
Workers at Southampton Ford Factory when the One Millionth Transit was produced. BBC photo

The Ford Transit celebrates its 50th Birthday today – 9th August 2015.

Inside Southampton's empty Ford plant. Photo by Speed - 28 Days Later
Inside Southampton’s empty Ford plant.
Photo: SPEED – 28 Days Later

ford transits

Vehicles at The Port of Southampton awaiting transportation
Vehicles for transportation at The Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady
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. © Southampton Old Lady
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.
© Southampton Old Lady
Transits rolling on Chinese Container ship at the Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady
Transits boarding Chinese container ship at the Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady

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/

007's Aston Martin
007’s Aston Martin

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

ford factory demolition

Sadlly the Aston Martin project did not go ahead. The Factory has been pulled down. R I P

 

Black & White in Colour 1: HMS Warrior

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.

HMS Warrior

Officers' Mess Victory

Blocks on boat Portsmouth

P1090242

P1090260

Black rope

P1090245

P1090241

Black rope

If you would like to visit: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/site-attractions/attractions/hms-warrior-1860

http://wp.me/p6jveM-b7