The Hawker's Pot suitcase will be out at the Shambles market in Stroud tomorrow, so please come by and say hello!
In the meantime, here is some more gentle fiction:
Friday, 7 June 2013
Friday, 17 May 2013
Last weekend’s Open Studios was very busy here at Hawker’s Pot with over 200 visitors who came up the creaking staircase. Many thanks to all who came.
I’ll be open again this weekend (18th – 19th May) between 11am and 6pm on each day. I am exhibiting paintings,
and nonsense verse. So please do come if you can! (Directions are here.)
The Hawker’s Pot suitcase will be in attendance, fully stocked with all 28 postcards.
The Hawker’s Pot gift packs are back (2 different sets of 14 cards, including some Algernon Swift stories slipped in as a sneaky extra).
These are £9 each and make ideal presents for old friends who may become enemies for life. "The Hawker's Pot Song",“Barrelina” and “A Brush with Death” are also available, along with assorted books.
Finally, there is a specially offer on greetings cards (3 for £5). Why would you stay away?
(This will be the last time I will be opening this lovely studio, as I will be moving out next month before the building’s refurbishment. So please do come and have a look!)
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
All has been quiet of late here in the halls of Hawker’s Pot as I have been in a small back room busily preparing new postcards to sell from the Hawker’s Pot suitcase. Here is one of the thirteen new designs:
(Hawkers and Potters of long standing and good memories may remember the joke from some years ago.)
The suitcase will be making its first outing this year on this Saturday, 4th May, as part of the Site Festival opening night at Stroud Valleys Artspace on John Street. I will be there between 7 and 9pm.
On the weekends 11-12th and 18-19th May, my studio at SVA will be open with a fully stocked suitcase of cards as part of the Site Festival Open Studios weekends. I will also be showing paintings, drawings and nonsense verse including this sort of thing, a misdirected version of "My mother said I never should":
My mother said I never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood.
My father said I didn’t oughter
Play with the mermaids in the water
And when I asked my Aunty whether
I could play with the fairies in the heather
She said I’d really better not
Play with them, a desperate lot.
They said they’d rather that I didn’t.
But, then again, I never listened:
I played with the gypsies on the heath,
I played up above and far underneath
And then I kissed them, one two three!
Tell mother I’ll be back for tea
(And the one who comes back will be a lot like me).
In other news:
Hawker’s Pot cards are now also for sale (from a natty little day-case) among the assorted delights in the Made In Stroud shop on Kendrick Street.
Friday, 22 March 2013
Nigel Swift, in his poetic researches, has discovered an unpublished version of the poem from Tennyson’s In Memoriam that begins:
“Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead ...”
“I seem to fail from out my blood
And grow incorporate into thee.”
Nigel thinks that, while this earlier version may lack some of the beauties of the published one, it certainly makes its point more clearly.
Old Yew, which grasps at the cold stones
That name the under-lying dead,
What thoughts revolve in your dull head?
Why do you mutter in such tones?
The seasons slowly swing around
And bring the snow and bloom and fruit,
But like a gentleman in a suit
You stand there staring at the ground.
And in your shade, from morn till eve,
I stand here writing reams of verse;
My voice it rumbles like a hearse;
It is a place I rarely leave.
Month after month, without hope or view,
I stand beside this grave and mourn.
The truth approaches, like the dawn:
O tree! I’m turning into you.
(Nigel Swift’s note: Corrections on the manuscript show that Tennyson was in some doubt as how to spell the last word of this poem. This may have been what led him to abandon this otherwise irreproachable version.)
Thursday, 7 March 2013
All things in Heaven – for what it’s worth –
Have their counterparts on Earth.
Each sky-borne thing – don’t let me start –
Has its earthly counterpart.
For every cloud, a lump of coal,
For every star, a tiny hole,
For every bird that flies around,
A worm that travels in the ground.
Even a poet, a clod like I,
Has his version in the sky:
And that one’s poetry – no surprise –
Is witty, bright and wonderfully wise.
Algernon Swift recalls meeting Miles Prothero, the originator of these lines:
I enquired after the mystical meaning of the second verse but Prothero quickly digressed onto his peculiar theory about birds and worms, saying:
“If one considers the physical law of equal and opposite forces, it quickly becomes apparent that whenever a bird pulls a worm from the earth, at the same time the worm pulls the bird under the ground.”
I diligently brought the conversation back to the meaning of the poem as a whole. I said I took it to be concerned with Platonic Ideas.
“All Art is an attempt to bring into the world something as near to perfection as possible.
“But what I suppose I was trying to say was, if perfect versions of everything already exist - as they do according to Plato - one doesn’t really need to bother! A better version of whatever one’s trying to make is out there already so a bodge job is as good as anything.
“I find that an incredibly reassuring thought!”
Whereupon he gave me a cheery wave and departed on his bicycle, which I had noticed was in a calamitous state of disrepair.