Monday, 8 July 2013

Turned out nice again!

Those of you with any semblance at all will recognise my title as one of George Formby's catchphrases. I don't need any excuse to quote George, a man whom I deeply admire (his wife Beryl too: anyone who tells Malan, the architect of apartheid to 'piss off' because he is a 'horrible little man' deserves our cheers). But it's especially relevant this week because not only has it turned out nice again – though far too hot for me – but because I visited Formby this weekend. George wasn't actually from there, but his music-hall star father adopted the town's name for his stage act, and lots of George's songs are about saucy goings-on in places like Formby and Blackpool. (It also turned out nice because Dan Martin rode a superb race to win Ireland's first Tour de France stage since Sean Kelly in 1992). Murray who?

Formby itself is like all the Mersey/Lancashire towns: half classic seaside fun, half UKIP-loving retirement town. The beaches are enormous, the dunes high and the red squirrels cavort in the pines. But Formby has something special: lots of Anthony Gormley statues dotted about the beach and immersed in the waves. They're all casts of Gormley's naked body (George would have approved: half his songs are about being spotted naked, or spying on other naked people) in the same pose, but they've aged differently depending on whether the sea or the wind has got to them, and what the locals have done. On their own, it's like a slightly creepy suicide cult. They all stare out to sea, perhaps watching the subaquatic statues' last moments, or admiring the wind farm built subsequently. Gulls perch (and poo) on them; people have painted and dressed them. Lichen festoons them and rust has pitted them, so that they're now individual works of art as well as collective. I like them as statuary and I like the way people have interacted them: giggling at the cast-iron penis, adding a bow tie, having their photos taken.

Here are a few pictures I took (click to enlarge): the rest are here.

I like the effect over-exposure gives here

With this one, I saturated and vignetted to give the effect of using lurid Velvia film like it's 1976

James Bond meets Iron Man

Spotted the heron?

Top quality graffiti: a donkey demanding more ketamine (which was originally an equine drug)


chris y said...

Don't want to be pedantic, but it wasn't Jan Smuts, it was Daniel Malan who got the sharp end of Beryl's tongue. Smuts, though doubtless as racist as all his contemporaries, was actually opposed to apartheid.

The Plashing Vole said...

Thanks Chris - appreciate the correction.