One of the English participating teachers, in an International workshop Visualizing Infomation that I co-organized last week, told me his ideas about Margaret Thatcher: “sure she had a lot of character. So had Hitler; but I wouldn’t vote for him”.
He explained his feelings with the following story. Born in Wales and being young in the period of the coal-miners’ strikes he was driving on the highway late at night. Approaching his Highway exit he met a long impenetrable convoy of lorries. He wasn’t allowed (nor was it possible) to get off the highway since the lorries were instructed to drive no less than twelve feet apart from eachother. These lorries were carrying imported coal to break the strike. He had to drive more than 50 miles before he could leave the highway, turn around and head back home. His heart filled with rage and frustration.
I tried to look up some more information about this, but only have been able to find this personal story. There are plenty on this excellent blog: http://lifeunderthatcher.co.uk/page/2
I was 20 when Thatcher became PM. After a couple of years I was the only adult in full time work in a house of 5 adults – Dad and sister were often laid off, apprentice brother was sacked at the end of his apprenticeship and mum couldn’t work full time due to intermittent illness.
I and my husband got our first mortgage – I think the interest was something like 14% and took most of a wage to pay it. Wages were low, jobs were becoming scarce and some employers used it to their advantage. Tories sneaked young conservatives into work places and unions and tried to play-off different groups (often by race) against each other at the firm my dad worked in.
I worked at the DHSS and saw the effect of countless people laid off or on strike claiming for their families. The strikers themselves were unpaid and people used to have collections of food & cash for them. One of my first shocks at the DHSS was the suicide of a man in his early twenties with a wife and baby who was made redundant and couldn’t see how he would be able to repay a loan of £150.
By chance, I was on my way to Scarborough and ended up at Orgreave the day of the famous miners v police battle. I didn’t want to go to Orgreave, the police made everyone leave the M1 so no one could interfere with the truck convoy delivering imported coal. The police stopped every car with a man in it. The police lined the motorway exit and the roundabout. Driving through the village, every 3rd car was a police car. I asked the police what was going on but they told me to keep going until I got to Doncaster. I wrote to the CEGB to find out how much extra our country was paying to have coal imported compared to using our own coal. They told me it was about £2.5million.
When the Brighton bomb was reported on the news I skipped to work because I hoped that Mrs Thatcher and her cabinet would be forced to take some notice and modify their cruel policies. Some hope.
I was relatively lucky and kept my job but the misery caused by the government’s policies had an impact on most people I knew and was the main reason I joined the Labour Party. It was away to fight back. I became a local councillor and was appalled at the attitude of some tory councillors. They tried to propose a policy whereby 2 divorced/single women with children would have to share a house rather than allow them a house each. It was clear that they blamed single parents for their predicament. As today, they seemed to relish the thought of punishing people for no good reason.
One of the tories on my committee was made redundant and was shunned by some of his own party members. He told me “there are only 3 crimes in this country – being old, sick or unemployed”. The tory chairman (old school) of the housing committee was at his wits end trying to get funding for sufficient affordable rented housing built for the growing number of homeless. I met several families living in B&B, usually a family in one bedroom, so shabby that I felt ashamed.
When the poll tax march was being organised (by militant in our area) the organisers were being actively hunted by the police and had to frequently move from house to house. We used to give them money for food. I went on the poll tax march, we were filmed and photographed by the police. I had to rescue my mum from the charge by the police on horses. We were also close to being mowed down by a police car driving at speed through Trafalgar Square. It was worth it though, the sight of Mrs Thatcher leaving office felt like vindication for the people.
Check out the wonderful diorama’s Nishino makes by arranging thousands of photographs taken from various locaties in different cities.
From his site:
Born in Hyogo in 1982. Since he was a university student of Osaka University of Arts, he started his series Diorama Map which is created from his memory as layered icons of the city.
The creation of a Diorama Map takes the following method; Walking around the chosen city on foot; shooting from various location with film; pasting and arranging with enormous mound of pieces. Consisted from thirteen cities, Diorama Map is still ongoing and will be developed in cities all over the world in the future.
Since selected as an Excellence Award of Canon New Cosmos Photography Award, he has participated in several group shows including his solo exhibition. His works are shown at Paris Photo 2009 where he received critical acclaim by many collectors and attracts people all over the world.
I found a zip file stored away on an old harddrive. I must have downloaded it years back out of curiosity (when information still had that exclusive feel to it -secret!). The file contains 17 crazy long Word files describing original Mc Donald recipes. I don’t know in how far this claim was serious. I do know that the content, the tone and the detailed instructions were pretty convincing and mystifying.
Anyway, nostalgia aside, this is of course 2013. A quick google search leads instantly to a Scribd page, where the whole “cookbook” is published. Where’s the mystery? Ah well, I guess it is in the making of the recipe and the finding out if the original burger was as good as people say it was.
Find the cookbook here.
Searching for artists that use and transform the materials they find in their immediate surroundings I came across the work of Judith (Judy) Scott (1943-2005). Judith had Down Syndrome and was deaf (read more of her life story below). Her sculptures are elaborately constructed from pieces of fiber, string, wire, cloth and other materials.
I associate them with owl pellets, but also with the curious but wonderful Japanese game Katamari Damacy.
Other artists before and after Judith have been making sculptures from (waste) materials. I also love the work of Donald Edwards who calls it Junk Art
Here’s a text from the official Judith Scott website:
Judith Scott was a visual artist isolated by Down Syndrome and profound deafness, who achieved world recognition for her enigmatic fiber sculptures. Born on May 1, 1943, in Cincinnati, Ohio, she spent the first seven and a half years of her life with her family in a semi-rural community on the edge of the city, always accompanied and aided by her twin sister, Joyce, who served as guardian and interpreter.
Judith’s deafness was unrecognized for 30 years and she was considered seriously retarded, with no prospect for education or a life without constant, basic care and supervision. Following the advise of professionals, Judith was consigned at the age of seven to be warehoused in a state institution, where she remained in anonymous isolation for 30 years.
Following an experience of profound insight, her twin Joyce arranged for her to be released from the state institution and to move to California, to once again share their lives.
Soon after arriving in California, Judith began attending Creative Growth, the first center in the world for artists with disabilities. For two years, Judith appeared to lack all interest in any artistic expression, but after being introduced to fiber and textiles, she suddenly began to create powerful and enigmatic sculptures which were formed from whatever materials could be found and appropriated. First making a skeletal armature from rigid objects bound together, these would then by covered layer upon layer by carefully selected colored cloths and yarns, woven, wrapped and tied. Lacking language, Judith spoke to the world through her sculptures, which seem at different times to reflect the colorful, tactile world of her childhood; the memories and feelings of isolation in state institutional care; and above all, her sense of twinness.
The first exhibition of her work in 1999 coincided with the publication of John MacGregor’s book Metamorphosis: The Fiber Art of Judith Scott, a detailed study that helped to propel her to woldwide recognition.
Work from Donald Edwards