These photos are from the exhibition “The Ancestors” at Canterbury Cathedral. There are around eight 12th and 13th century windows that have been brought down from the heights (around 70 metres) of the cathedral while the stonework is to be repaired, and are currently down at eye (ish) level in the chapel. You can get right up close to them. It’s open until 25th August and is really a once in a lifetime opportunity. However your life isn’t my life so maybe you’re not bothered.
Yes. Without a doubt, this is great. Less an autobiography than a description of time, place and persons (but not really the author). It’s brilliant.
I visited the Houses of Parliament today, I sat in the public gallery and watched some of a debate about the budget.
You aren’t allowed cameras so I did a couple of drawings, and the image above is one of them. I think it should be a rug or a wall hanging or something. Here are the notes I made during the hour or so I could bear it.
– It much smaller than I thought, though the ceiling is very high, the floor space is not a lot, the TV camera’s must use some sort of lens that makes it look longer and thinner, its actually quite squat, and in its way a satisfying space.
– There are little audio speakers built into the benches so you can hear what is said, and there are about 70 mics hanging from the ceiling.
– Some MP’s (there were about 30 there…) have loads of bits of paper, others have none.
– There are signs as you go in saying “no camera’s, no phones, no pagers (!)” but it is apparently ok for MP’s to sit scrolling through their phones and tapping on their ipad’s without looking up to pay attention to what’s being said.
– There is a lot of leaning over benches and whispering into ears.
– Lots of people come in and out, and whisper things in the (deputy) speakers’ ear, then they leave again. The (deputy) speaker also taps the chair’s of the judges (? they wear wigs…) in front of him to get their attention, and then there’s more whispering. I have no idea what the ‘judges’ do.
– The MP’s are totally oblivious of the public gallery.
– The public gallery is in fact only 1/4 of the ‘gallery’ space. The other 3 sides had about 5 people in it who I am guessing work for the MP’s or are civil servants or something. The public gallery is entirely glassed off, so you can’t get to the other bits. The MP’s below, and behind the glass, look like an experiment in a petri dish.
– The (deputy) speaker isn’t actually paying attention to what’s being said a lot of the time. I guess it wasn’t a lot of work with so few MP’s, but he isn’t even listening when the MP speaking says “the question is deputy speaker….” but the camera’s don’t pick that up.
– There is a lot of pointing, and a lot of over the top panto expressions, one female Labour MP in particular was hamming it up excessively.
– It was boorish, but not as boorish as I feared. Again, I think this is probably because of the numbers, and because it was the day after the real budget debate.
– The main purpose of interrupting and talking over people is to try and catch the speaking MP out. They are desperate for one another to say the wrong thing, and to stumble in some way, however small. It is a lot like a prowling bully at school looking for an excuse to give you a dead arm. They are leading each other into dead ends, trying to neutralise and bring all chat to a stalemate. There is no desire to reach consensus on anything.
– There were a lot of tired looking people. One Labour whip in particular kept rubbing his eyes and looked knackered. He kept leaning on the speakers little pew thing, and his ill-fitting shirt was not good for those who don’t like seeing sausage meat. Eric Pickles MP on the other hand, was not as large as I thought he was.
– There is no sartorial individuality among the male MP’s.
– The top of the speakers box/pew thing really needs a dusting.
– There were about 20 primary school kids in the gallery at one point, God only knows what they thought of the whole thing. I am absolutely certain none of them left inspired.
– Oak Leaves / Corn Cob / The Spiky Gate & the Plumb-line Chain
And that was UK democracy in action….
“I captured many troops alive: from time to time I cut off their arms and hands; from others I cut off their noses, ears, extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living and one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city” King Ashurnasirpal II, ruler of Nimrud from 883 – 859 BC.
I went to see the Polke exhibition at the Tate recently, which was a mixed bag. These windows are great though.