Le Weekend - a Northern Perspective.

Pre-season is a difficult time for County bloggers.
It provokes a massive attack of writer's block or the despatching of mental search parties in any direction desperately looking for interesting subject matter with an iota of County content. I hope my latest article will appeal to some readers without upsetting others who see red when they see City blue!!

The weekend's excitement began when I was invited to attend the 18th birthday party of the grand-daughter of a friend of mine, to be held, of all places, at the Bungalow, adjacent to Edgeley Park. All the bright young things were meant to be misbehaving in the big room whilst we oldies were consigned to the other room to watch the footie and play Lexicon (get a life, I hear you say!!).

Of course, when 11.00pm came, all the lads piled in to watch the England match. At this point, I better let you in to the fact that I have no national allegiance whatsoever to the England team and immediately become an embarrassment as I try to stifle my cries of support for whichever team England are playing against. I think I must have very distant relatives from the Planet Zogg or be a sleeping alien because I find it really easy to step outside of my skin and just appreciate great football no matter which nationality is delivering it. The only team I can claim undying allegiance to is County so I can't be all bad.

 Pirlo and Rooney

On this occasion, however, I had to curb my enthusiasm for Pirlo and Italy as a bowl of soggy popcorn could quite easily have found its way sailing across the room at me from the direction of a gathering of slightly inebriated 18 year olds, high on cup cakes and low on patience.

Sunday dawned and saw me again playing the role of 'Rebel without a Cause'.

A friend had heard about an art exhibition of Northern Art being held at The Etihad stadium in Manchester. I have long had a liking for local artists, especially those who have painted Stockport/Manchester townscapes ( including Lowry ) so was prepared to conquer my reluctance to set foot in City ground to see this exhibition which was called 'A Northern Perspective' and was being curated by Clark Art Ltd. It previewed at the Etihad from June 14th - 16th and will then move on to Hale Gallery until the end of July. It seemed a good reason to don our costume jewellery, wipe off the Stockport sunscreen and make our entrance to the Chairman's Club. Could we carry off the serious art buyer's look?

As we walked up the stairs to enter the gallery, we passed several large bonsai in amazing mother of pearl pots, preparing us for the impressive elegance of the large well-lit room the exhibition was hung in.

My friend decided to dazzle in a shirt straight out of Hawaii Five 0 and the vibrant colour turned her in to someone the gallery owner thought he recognised from off the telly!! We all ended up with free cups of coffee from the gallery on the strength of the mistaken identity.

                                     Going to the Match - Ben Kelly

We did have to walk past a few pieces ablaze with City scarves painted by Ben Kelly, who was artist in residence there during the 2007/2008 season but the experience was bearable. I had to laugh at the positioning of a couple of drawings by Harold Riley, a big United fan and mate of Sir Alex, which were placed on a little wall well-hidden from general public view so as not to offend the sensitivities of the City elite.

Car Park -  Liam Spencer
As well as the usual Lowrys, artists such as Liam Spencer and Alan Lowndes filled the walls with large work that pictured the back streets of Greater Manchester or, in Spencer's case, neon-lit night-time inner cityscapes.

                                 Oldham St, hazy sunshine - Liam Spencer

Alan Lowndes was born in Heaton Norris, Stockport and I like to think he may have visited E.P. in his younger days. He painted many scenes around Stockport, some which can be seen at Stockport Art Gallery. He preferred his work to be described as 'honest, rather than naive'.

                                Egerton Mews, Stockport - Alan Lowndes

                             The Park, panorama of Stockport - Alan Lowndes

                                           Stockport Street scene, Cheshire - Alan Lowndes

Most of the paintings had been red spotted so I'm sure there was general satisfaction all round. It makes me sad to think that a lot of the work may have been bought as investments and will be stashed away unseen until prices rise enough to make it worthwhile reselling them.
My dabbles in art collecting only go as far as buying the odd affordable painting off ebay where many a budding Lowry displays his/her work to the world.
I did toy with the idea of writing to the Sheik to ask for first refusal on one of his decadent bonsai should they decide to have a future makeover on the Chairman's Club. On second thoughts though, I don't think I'd get it through the front door!!

Pauline Coddington


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