Entropy and the Estate Agent Event Horizon

What do you think of it so far?

What do you think of it so far?

Up early for work this week and Hove felt a bit more like it used to. Rubbish swirling around the car as I drove through the empty streets. The bin men are on strike. I like it. Hove has been getting a bit up itself. The old 7 Eleven has been replaced by Starbucks and a couple of Metro-marts. Everyone is driving BMWs, buying designer dogs and going skiing. I liked the feeling that things are falling apart again. Implacable entropy is reasserting itself as in an old Moorcock novel.

Perhaps partly in celebration, I ate an excellent Lamb Shawarma at Kambi’s Lebanese restaurant on Western Road. Mmmmm. Proper lamb. Not that minced up stuff.

Walking back along Western Road I noticed that several shops were empty yet more estate agents are popping up. One morning this week I was woken by some pundit on Radio 4 saying that London had escaped the housing slump and now the rest of the country was recovering and bringing some of that “good feeling”.

Good feeling!? Why on earth do we British think that rising house prices should bring us a good feeling? The average house price in the UK in March 2013 was £238,976. If you had a mortgage of three times you salary that would mean you had to earn over £79,000 a year.

Average price for Greater London was £454,644. That would mean you had to earn over £151,000! The only people getting a good feeling out of this nightmare are the estate agents which is why they’re opening offices along Western Road I guess.

Rubbish in the streets, work hard to come by, salaries on hold and the spectre of war in Syria on the horizon. Do the entropy tango. Yet house prices are going through the roof and some imbecile on the radio is telling me this is good! I am reminded of an episode of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent was observing a planet where nearly all the shops had become shoe shops. The Guide explained that, as the economy became more and more geared to making shoes, it became uneconomical to make anything else. This was termed the “Shoe Event Horizon“. Eventually all the shops became shoe shops and the economy collapsed.

So hopefully the good news is that the proliferation of estate agents means that we are approaching the estate agent event horizon.

Feeling Good

Feeling Good

Buy Art Prints

Buy Art Prints

Phantom Ride and Caulfield at Tate Britain

Interior: Noon 1970-1 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005

Interior: Noon 1970-1 by Patrick Caulfield 1936-2005

Up at the Tate on Saturday to see an exhibition by Patrick Caulfield. The main entrance is closed for some reason and so I entered through the side and Caulfield’s stuff was in a nearby gallery. Colourful but with a very limited pallet. Slabs of colour. Little tonality. Cartoon like and yet, the representation of light is very effective. Interesting to see that this stuff was painted in the 1970s. The Caulfield ticket also got me in to see Gary Hume. Wasn’t struck by his stuff at the time.

Then up the stairs, searching for the main hall which I have meandered around many times often encountering wonders. I recall seeing a work by Anish Kapoor. A block of rock with a gaping dark hole so dark that it seemed to disappear into another universe. I remember once leaving a little spherical geode in a crevice in Umberto Boccioni’s fantastic Unique Form Of Continuity In Space hoping that it would be considered part of the sculpture by the gallery staff and stay with it. Sadly, when I saw the piece again in New York some years later, it had gone.

As I entered the main hall I was impressed as usual by it’s fantastic solidarity. The high walls and light entering from the top gave one the feeling of entering a giant box. Which I was. To my surprise the hall was empty. Which in itself was interesting. A chance to appreciate the space itself but there was a sound like pushing a vase across a granite table. A low rumble. And further down, an enormous screen.

Projected onto the screen was a view of the hall from high up. Near the ceiling. A moving picture. A film. Slowly and relentlessly, as if on invisible rails, the camera tracked down to the floor and circled systematically around to an art work, a machine gun. Then on up high to a corner, then around and down to another exhibit. I watched entranced. The camera moved around the gallery so freely that I wondered whether this was a computer generated render. The result of a digitsied 3D model where the camera can be placed anywhere. As the camera zoomed in on a statue hanging in free space I thought this must be the case.

A conversation with one of the staff convinced me that this was filmed. A special “motion control camera” on an arm like device had been brought in at night. The hanging art works were indeed CGI but digital replicas of works that had previously been exhibited in Tate Britain. The film was entitled Phantom Ride by Simon Starling. Fantastic!

Then wandered into a side gallery and encountered Epstein’s ‘Jacob and the Angel‘. The blurb read something about Jacob struggling against an unknown enemy (in reality God) and an angel blessing Jacob for not giving up the struggle. Always uplifting and it occurred to me that some art works become like old friends. We meet them and are enthralled then part. Years or decades may pass and then one day, on a whim, we visit a gallery and they are there waiting for us and how they’ve changed. How we greet them with renewed interest.

Further on, I think in the BP Walkthrough of British Art, I came across Barbara Hepworth’s Pelagos. A ball of wood carved out to imply wave like motion. Excellent stuff. One of Bridget Riley’s too. Can’t remember which. Swirling coloured lines. A quick glance in the Constable room, must have a proper look at that one day, then out. Worth a visit just for the film.

st malo beach

St Malo Beach