Monday, 13 February 2012

Single and The City


Now I have not always been the welly wearing, animal smelling, country oik house-husband you know and (love). Years ago when I was single, I was a bona fida, card carrying member of the "keep yourself busy"  clean cut Man-about-the-city club, when I would spend my few days off from work exploring the museums and urban places of interest in the city with a spring in my step and a song in my heart!
The magnificent art deco Sheffield library and arts gallery, The Millennium Galleries (above), Weston Park Museum, The Showrooms cinema and media centre and the Winter Gardens all proved to be  valuable panaceas against a certain amount of loneliness that is inevitable when you are in your 30s and you are single in a couple dominated world.
I was always off doing something.......
Think of a fat, bearded Carrie Bradshaw without the bling!

The Winter Gardens ( pic by Diane)

So it was with great sadness that I read my Sheffield friend
Diane's account of the dire problems faced by the millennium Galleries in this awful climate of public sector austerity cuts.


Apparently the museum has lost all of it's funding from the Regional Arts Council this year and is facing dire financial problems as it struggles to maintain a World Class, modern Day service to the South Yorkshire Population...... 
This sickens me.
Museums like the "Galleries", I always think, bring a certain sparkle to the ordinariness of life.  Not only do they teach, inform, stimulate, celebrate and flagwave; they offer a free centre for escapism, for socialising and for comfort.........and when I look back on those few days off I had when I was a single career nurse, I always remember these places of sanctuary with a great deal of nostalgia and affection.

On Saturday when Chris and I ambled around the art gallery at that single beacon of "culture" which is North Wales' Theatre Clwyd, I did spare a few regrets at not having all of those Sheffield cultural places of interest "on tap" as there were when we lived in Hillsborough.
And I say to Sheffield residents.... you need to realise that these museums must not be just taken for granted.... in these days of cut... cut.... cut.... they need to be fought for and they need to be cherished.
Well done to Diane... and to all of those people that made the effort to support the Galleries by taking part in the big sit down picnic at the venue yesterday. Their  visual demonstration of dissatisfaction and support was fantastic and...... believe me...... I would have happily taken my flask and my butties down to Arundle Gate, and I would have joined in without a single hesitation
Sit down for what you believe in
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Weight Watchers Weigh-in today 14 stone 11 lbs
Weight Lost since 2nd Jan 1 stone 3lbs
Weight Loss last week 2lbs

33 comments:

  1. Well said, that man. Had a lovely day in Sheffield a couple of weeks ago.

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  2. ALL of its arts council funding seems totally unfair. Power to the people.

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  3. Unfortunately I know a few Sheffield residents and their reply to that would be 'Museums? What museums? What do you need them for?'

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  4. Yes John I truly agree with your point of view. The same is true of local libraries (ours in now largely run by volunteers and although that is good of them, it doesn't give any jobs to people who need them).

    As for missing theatres and art galleries - I do too - I lived near to Birmingham for almost twenty years - with its Rep Company and its Civic Hall and Symphony Orchestra and its two good theatres. And it was only a stone's throw to Stratford.
    I content myself now by thinking how much I love the country and by remembering all the wonderful things I saw and did whilst I did live near. We really can't have both, can we? In any case - your animals need you!

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  5. Congratulations on the continued success with the weight loss.
    It seems that the things that give hope to the "ordinary person" like the arts are all being "cut" by the government. Are they trying to reduce the average citizens life to black and white, work and sleep, hopelessness in general? We have to fight back.

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  6. Just last week I thought I'd pop in to the Graves Gallery on the top floor of Sheffield Central Library. It was Monday and I hadn't realised that because of cuts, the Graves is now only open from Wednesday to Saturday. Depriving the arts of vital funding is the opposite of civilisation. If I see the three wise monkeys - Osborne, Clegg and Cameron in our local boozer, I will happily assassinate the three of them with my bare hands. Plenty of money to wage a very costly and futile war in Afghanistan but not enough to maintain our already limited arts and library facilities. It stinks!

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  7. My husband comes from Sheffield so I know the city well and like you feel so saddened at the cuts to these wonderful havens of culture. These cuts are happening all over the country so short sighted.

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  8. "Clean cut Man-about-the-city"...was that before I met you?

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  9. bel I was talking relatively......compared to what I am now I bloody well looked and dressed like Rupert Everet

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  10. It's always difficult to get back what's been lost. I like the sound of a 'sit down picnic'. Real People Power.

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  11. Did Rupert Everett ever do The Flintstones?

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  12. bel
    I am going to smack your bottom....

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  13. I so totally agree, John. The Sheffield museums have had some excellent exhibitions and workshops going on in recent times. Not only I, but also my children, have derived much pleasure from them. When, oh when, will our government recognise that Art is a necessary and vital part of our country's foundation, heritage and its peoples' growth? The gift of creativity is one of the greatest treasures we can give to anyone and to appreciate that need for creativity in others is so, so important. Did you know that NASA astronauhts in training are urged to daydream and think creatively for a far greater amount of their training than any time allotted to physical and practical skills?

    As YP stated so well, 'Depriving the arts of vital funding is the opposite of civilation'.

    There are none so blind as them that cannot see.

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  14. Even at the risk of a smacked bottom, let's be brutally frank here...you were never going to make it into the GQ 100 Best Dressed list. I doubt even now that you'd make it into the Pig Farmers' Weekly 100 Best Dressed list!

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  15. I so totally agree, John. The Sheffield museums have had some excellent exhibitions and workshops going on in recent times. Not only I, but also my children, have derived much pleasure from them. When, oh when, will our government recognise that Art is a necessary and vital part of our country's foundation, heritage and its peoples' growth? The gift of creativity is one of the greatest treasures we can give to anyone and to appreciate that need for creativity in others is so, so important. Did you know that NASA astronauhts in training are urged to daydream and think creatively for a far greater amount of their training than any time allotted to physical and practical skills?

    As YP stated so well, 'Depriving the arts of vital funding is the opposite of civilation'.

    There are none so blind as them that cannot see.

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  16. Amazing how our 'governments' always find the cash for military efforts they deem necessary for the stability of the 'nation' (and the pockets of the 'big business' enterprises that support the 'war effort') and a lot of of other unnecessary expenditures...and they can't or won't support community/culture related institutions.
    Something is a little off-balanced if you ask me!

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  17. well done on your weight loss, very impressive.

    As with every country around the world there is money for strange and unusual causes but none for institutions that benefit all people.

    Gill in Canada

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  18. I hope their protests have positive results.

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  19. "TWACK"
    And AGAIN Bel "twack!!!"

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  20. Crikey! How have you lost all that weight since January?

    LB's had put some on when he weighed himself this morning...he can't understand it.

    It might be to do with the apple crumble I saw him wrapping himself around yesterday of course.

    Well done sir!

    SP

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  21. When oh when will the 'powers that be' realize that the more austere the times, the more important it is to keep the arts flourishing -- libraries, museums, theatres are not 'extras' they are necessities and an intrinsic symbol of our civility. Good luck Sheffield!

    And well done, John on your new and svelte self!

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  22. Many thanks for this John - much appreciated. Whilst as AJ says some city residents are not bothered about culture, i'm sure that is the case in many cities. There are though, as you know many many more who are bothered about our lovely city and ALL that it has to offer - be it art, history, sport etc etc We are not like the cosmopolitan northern cities of Leeds and Manchester - Sheffield is like one huge village and very friendly. The more the big wigs knock us down, the more we get up anf fight back - but in our peaceful, sandwich eating manner. xxxx PS FAB news on the wight loss!

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  23. Bloody shame, but it's places like this that are always upfront when it comes to budget tageting.

    Weirdly, I've just completed some artwork for an artist who is pitching for work in Wales, where they are really keen to spend money on street art for example. Seems it's a bit of a post-code lottery when it comes to funding.

    There's always 'MeadowHall' for the locals go and visit. Lots to see and do there. ;-)

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  24. PS, are you now just down to your y-fronts when you're stepping on the scales?x

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  25. So many art and cultural venues are under threat from funding cuts, it's alarming. A lovely gallery in Belfast, the Ormeau Baths Gallery, shut down suddenly a few months ago because private sponsors withdrew their funding. Luckily a massive new arts centre and theatre is about to open in the city centre.

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  26. Steady there...don't enjoy the experience too much...

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  27. that sort of thing is in one of your novels Bel

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  28. The reviews are coming in very nicely now - and all extremely positive up to now!

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  29. We must never take community cultural facilities and activities for granted - they need to be promoted and attended and the public administrations need to be continually reminded of the appreciation and perceived value of cultural facilities, activities and amenities.

    If we don't do so we will lose them!

    260,000 thronged into the Food Festival at Canberra's National Multicultural Festival last weekend. organisers had moved it from its historical lakeside location to an open Mall in the City and the 'crush' was unreal. Nearly everyone supported calls to move it back to lakeside.

    The reason for its move - 250 Port-loo hire charges for lakeside - v - two toilet blocks in the mall!

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  30. well said JOhn-boy!

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  31. MorningAJ wrote "... 'Museums? What museums? What do you need them for?' ... - sort of reminds me of the socialist creed of "Art? Pretty to look at but can you eat or drink it?"

    What's the point of being able eat and drink purely to subsist and not having any colour in one's life to make living a little more tolerable?

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  32. Congratulations on both the weight loss, and the resistance to cultural dumbing down. It seems that councils round the world take this option. And it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

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  33. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
    The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.

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