Sunday, 25 March 2012

Field Study's Man in E17 was No one Nobody Knows Nowhere near Colforth Rd, E11

I have assumed the qualities of a cockroach to explore the nether regions of my archive, making sure many a nook, cranny and crevice is prospected for darkish materials for a fothcoming show at the Waltham Forest Arts Club, Turnaround exhibition at Wood St Indoor Market. With a small but very bright torch I have survived avalanches of rampant acid artist squelch works. Cockroaches are exceptionally resilient and it was this resilience that enabled me to find these impressive landscapes on a postcard from the cut and paste collagium of A1 Waste Paper Co. aka Michael Leigh (Flobberlob). The arses were addressed to me at a street and postcode which, as far as I know, did not exist. However they still found me which is part of the magic of snail mail - something electronic mail cannot do. Just one dot out of place in an email address and the message is lost. 

I had participated in one of A1's mail art assembly projects - Squint. The process involves artists mailing loose pages which are collated into editions and each contributor receives a copy of the book in return.

The book usually contains a page with the names and addresses of the contributors. I have not taken the liberty of publishing this. The 'playful bit of No one Nobody Knows' is (of) a page I contributed - an 'acid artist squelch work' lost somewhere between Woodside Car Park and Stratford Picturehouse in 2003.

Here's a link to some earnest art analysis.

Some of this material will be in situ as part of 'Paper, Textile and Canvas' at the E17 renowned Arts Club Pop Up Gallery.

Field Study's Man in E17 compares hexagonal patterns with Patrick Keiller

I was quite taken aback by the intensity of the yellow of the pollen stores we found in our hives today - and the quantity, particularly in one of the hives. Unfortunately our efforts to encourage the bees to create new brood comb, via the Bailey Change process, failed. In one of the hives the bees did not move at all into the new brood box we provided - and in the other hive, the bees had moved into the new brood box and started making new brood comb although we did not find the queen to ensure she/it had actually moved up into the new box. We decided to put the freshly drawn brood comb into the old box where we were sure the queen still resided. That was a week ago. Since then both hives/colonies have 'come on' encouragingly; with plenty of new brood - baby worker bees - and the vivid yellow of the pollen stores - sometimes known as 'bee-bread'. Both the colonies had made a lot of progress in creating new capped honey stores in the super above each brood box; so much so we added a new super to each hive.
All being well, the abundance of pollen will enable the colonies (their nurse bees) to provide the body building proteins/nutrients (Vg) to the larvae and so help establish healthy and vigorous populations. Today we also removed a brood frame from each brood box and substituted with a shallower 'super' frame; the purpose being to encourage the bees to produce the drone brood comb all most exclusively from the bottom edges of those shallower frames so that we might more easily remove the drone brood. The varroa mite incubates more in the drone brood cells and so that pest can be managed more effectively by using a super frame in the brood box.

We think much of the pollen was foraged from a nearby willow - about 30 metres from the apiary. This year the willow in the picnic area is resplendent in all its blossom and there was a great variety of insect foragers coming and going about it. I forgot to look at the willow dome at the bottom edge of the forest garden. It may also be in bloom and as it is closer to the apiary it could be a more convenient (they are urban edge bees), less energy consuming, source of nutrition. A measure of the intensity of the colour of the pollen and the abundance is shown in the image of the fingers which have just lightly touched the pollen flowers.

Willow - Salix, is recognised as a good source of early spring nectar and pollen. Alison Benjamin, co-author of, Bees in the City (with Brian McCullum) asserts it is important to increase the amount and diversity of forage for honey bees and other pollinators. They list, S. apoda, S. boydii and S. lanata along with a few others as being especially good sources of pollen and nectar. I don't know what variety of willow we have here.

It is not Salix babylonica - the weeping willow, under which recently I sat with the ituned spirit of a jilted Woody Guthrie as he sang, Bury Me Beneath the Willow -  of which, many renditions can be found on Youtube. I quite like the Woody Guthrie Folk Club (of Liverpool) version. We chewed on the cuddy bark of Salix alba and felt a little better for it, our aching hearts and minds soothed. It's amazing what aches and pains an aspirin like derivative can ease. When Woody had finished lamenting we imbibed the fluid descending notes and rapid sonorous flourishes of a willow warbler .

As Field Study's Man in E17, I mentally drifted (if not derived), along to the warbles, into some reflections on my connections with a certain Mr Patrick Keiller and his forthcoming emanation via The Robinson Institute (in situ) at the Duveen Gallery, Tate Britain - 27th March to 14th October. I recalled the poster for this exhibition - an image of rusted yellow lichen against a hexagonal honey comb like pattern which turns out to be, if you watch Robinson in Ruins, the nitrogen saturated or polluted site of an A road signpost. You might find the image here or drift about London's saucy district, Soho where earlier in the week, the lichen appeared to be growing in abundance in the radiance of neon.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Field Study's Man in E17 floats around in a Wood St Bubble.

Found Map - Marlowe Rd, E17 

'cracked into a network of intricate fissures varying in depth and resembling a birds eye view, or map of some fabulous delta. A thousand imaginary journeys might be made along the banks of these rivers of an unexplored world'
Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake

Field Study's Man in E17, as a Steerpikey character, has been virtually prospecting Wood St, peering through fictional key holes looking for for an ugly babe with violet eyes. Revelatory rumbles stopped him in his tracks. Amidst the residues of crapulous revels along Dukes Passage he disturbed the spirits of bubble-icious delusion. These babes in the Wood St with weirdly knotted locks seduced him with shrilly rendered tales of plenty for the easy taking. Buy one, get nine free! 'Why don't you believe us?' they squawked indignantly. 'Our father is Jacob Jacobsen - an honourable director of the South Sea Company, none other'.

Perhaps it says something about the values of the London Borough of Waltham Forest (it's council) that, Clock House (Wood or Mood St), a grade II listed building is cited on the council's web site as having once been the home of Sir Jacob Jacobsen, a successful Dutch merchant. Sir Jacob Jacobsen, not to be confused with a pirate of the same name, was a director of the South Sea Company - the 'successful' company that brought us the South Sea Bubble. 

Rabbi Lawrence Rigal (1928-2010) went as far as to identify Clock House as, The South Sea Bubble . He outlines some of the ignominious history of the building - that it was sequestered following the bubble burst. Was JJ among the directors arrested for their part in one of the grandest deceits ever contrived? It seems the burst of the bubble was merely a brief champagne induced sting in the nose for the successful businessman as he was able to buy Clock House back. Ah, such chagrin of the contemporary zeitgeist is this merchant banker bashing. However, taking a long rear view, to around 1720, a resolution was proposed in parliament 'that bankers be tied up in sacks filled with snakes and tipped into the murky Thames'.

That was the early 18th century. Today it seems we must be content to just have executive 'merchants' forego on their bonusses whilst glibbly mocking public chagrin in rather pointless and very expensive public enquiries. Not all people who work in banks are as well paid, as this article by Alf Young explains.

Back to the murky reaches of Walthamstows pastoral and stately heritage;  Peter Ashan could have included Clock House in his Remembering Slavery* walks about Walthamstow. The South Sea Company had the contract to supply the Spanish American colonies with slaves. In his timeline to the roots of diversity in Waltham Forest, Peter Ashan states, Thomas Guy (one of the South Sea Company shareholders) 'earned enough money from the deal to provide funds for his legacy to build a hospital for the poor of London'. Such benevolence. Perhaps those who actually pay the 50% tax on their high earnings and bonusses consider themselves as providers for the poor.

Here in is some of the difficulty in admiring some of the craft and artistry of  Walthamstow and surrounds (and anywhere perhaps) - what can be refered to as art as 'surplus value'. Clock House was recently nominated for an award. The English Heritage web site describes the building as having a 'projecting pilastered porch of stucco' - a feature I admired and recorded, I think, in the photographs below.

If these features were a part of the house as it was newly built in 1706 and as an expression of the wealth and taste of the then owner, Sir Jacob Jacobson, then how, if at all, might the ethics and the aesthetics of this art be reconciled?

How would a wealthy Dutch merchant celebrate his part in the Dutch Golden Age? What would be appropriate decoration for his stately pile in rustic Walthamstow c.1700?    I'm intrigued by the hairstyles of the figures. I wonder if they allude to classical Greek and/or Roman mythology - the goddess, Venus - a roman symbol of fertility and prosperity?

'European Pastoral literary and iconographic tradition often depicted nymphs and shepherds as living a life of rustic innocence and simplicity, untainted by the corruptions of civilization — a continuation of the Golden Age — set in an idealized Arcadia, a region of Greece that was the abode and center of worship of their tutelary deity, goat-footed Pan, who dwelt among them.[3] This idealized and nostalgic vision of the simple life, however, was sometimes contested and even ridiculed, both in antiquity and later on'.

Here is a link to a gallery of hairstyles and another to a blog with a video demonstrating the fine art of archaeological hairdressing. Field Study's Man in E17 has been wondering what to do about his evergrowing bald patch and has been considering a toupee.

As he and I understand it, Clock House is now a residential building - of flats, rented or leased by London Borough of Waltham Forest and managed by Ascham Homes. Following its nomination for a design award, it received a commendation.

* - Peter Ashan, Remembering Slavery and its legacy 1807-2007, pub' 2007, by Peter Ashan with financial assistance from Waltham Forest Arts Council. ISBN: 978-0-9553729-2-6.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Field Study's Man in E17 is on a crazy path to sweeter things.

Recently I found myself at a very detailed map of the Wood St area and so decided to abandon my A-Z and follow a path determined by the brittle psycho-graphic impressions. After imbibing the cracks for a suitably sustained and concentrated period I set off. Barely two steps had I made along the crazy pavements when I stumbled upon the spirits of some Wood St twins in full and splendid bloom.

I stood revering the delicate blossoms however there was, despite the intrusion of traffic noise, a silence or absence of a hum I expected. Perhaps it was because of the traffic noise I could not hear bees foraging their way about the ambrosial providence. Perhaps the trees were a nectarless illusion?

If the trees are ornamental cherries, would they not be as good a source of pollen and nectar as the wild cherry?

Further along the cracked byways of Wood St, there was (and most likely still is) 'A Public Path Where Street Cleaning Services Fear To Tread'. Between Marlowe Rd and Shernhall St there is a most excremental path to be endured. A tangible faecal hum overpowered any trespass by motor vehicle noise and such was the potency of the stench - of a stew of puke, human and dog shite, cat cadaver, piss seasoned with ground and broken glass - I, Field Study's Man in E17, experienced a nauseating scale shift; size of a cockroach! I scuttled my newly diminutive self out of there and with the freshening air was restored to a size more fitting for an odyssey in search of the bucolic.   

I made away from the crap ridden paths of E17 to a sanctuary of E4. Here on the allotment we have recently established some new compost bays using old pallets. I sieved compost with an old waste paper basket, collecting the finer stuff to replenish the soil in the raised beds of the communal polytunnel. I think there is something quite magical about the composting process, the transformation of waste, particularly when the heaps are created as 'hot-compost' heaps - layers of waste nitrogenous and carbon materials chewed and cooked into a warm soft dark and fertilising medium by a collective of microscopic forces. There have been occasions when I have seen 'steam' rising from recently constructed heaps.

In this I thought there might be the beginnings of an art/sculpture project based on sieves and sieving - particularly in relation to soil. 

Land cress, spinach. mustard, parsley and dittander are growing in the tunnel at the moment.
To the side of the polytunnel there is a pond from which the spring time croaks of coupling frogs are emanating. This spring the pond appears to be an especially fertile site for the frogs as we have managed to maintain the water levels. Hopefully this pond with knots of frogs will create a very large colony of amphibious slug devourers.

Within croaking range of the frogs there is the apiary. Here there are hives in the process of Bailey Changing - a process which involves installing a new brood box and encouraging the bees to move up into it from the old brood box. The purpose of this is to get the colony of bees to create new comb which will not be as diseased as the old comb. Both colonies appeared to have over-wintered quite well. Each had an egg laying queen and honey stores - supplemented by a temporary sugar solution feed. At the most recent East London Beekeepers meeting someone commented a recent study had revealled the importance of primulas, or primroses, as an early season source of food for bees.   


There are primroses around the allotment site and for some more detailed insights into primrose pollination this web site is worth a visit and here be Walt Whitman's celebration of 'that which grows such sweet things out of such corruptions' - This Compost.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Field Study's Man in E17 can't see the Wood for the Mood St

Wood Street Indoor Market
Field Study's Man in E17 was afflicted by a touch of the old heebie jeebies following his encounter with the dishevelled Comus - the ancient Greek and totally brassic god of festivity, revels and nocturnal dalliances - at the Forest Road end of Wood Street. The field student decided he should refrain from the illuminated (up lit) nocturnal attractions of Wood St and instead execute his studies in the daytime. Of course, the daylight hours offer a field student of the fantastic opportunities to monitor the presence of those entities which are made inert by the light of day; while at night they are free to roam.

Antique City Market Collectors Centre - Wood St
aka Wood St Indoor Market

You may consider anyone who sees the dragon (pictured above) come alive at night a bit 'Harry Potty' however Field Study's Man in E17 is not entirely sure every feral fox he sees is in fact a feral fox and so has begun exploring other possibilities including 'the Wood St dragon theory'.

The field student headed south, towards the Whipps Cross end of Wood St, plugged into an ipod as has become his custom while out walking of late. Quite by chance while passing by what was The Plough and is now Wood Street Supermarket (with flats above?) he found himself listening to Norma Waterson singing, Seven Virgins (or The Leaves of Life) - a spring time ballad carol. There is an excellent website - with the lyrics to this song including a comment on a possible 'mondegreen' sang on the version recorded for The Watersons, Frost and Fire - A Calender of Ritual and Magic Songs. Some of the resonance and serendipity in hearing this song at that site is in that dead or lost pub was a venue of the Walthamstow Folk Club.

Field Study's Man in E17 mused on the irony of the building's transformation. While, in his mind The Plough was not one of the most attractive pubs to look at, he thinks the current signage and display design is pretty (sic) insensitive to the character of the building however he did not frequent The Plough (and once resident Folk Club) as much as he could have and so cannot justify any personal chagrin at the transformation of that building.

The Death Stump of Wood Street

Away from this, the sombre felled tree of death with its dismally absent birds, and towards perhaps the dazzling tree of life with iridescent leaves. Further south along Wood St there seemed to be a strange static charge to the air. The field student became concerned at what he thought was a fault with his personal music player but discovered, as he turned it off, his music had been usurped by an exterior and very crackly combination of screech and wail - as if a very old 78 were being played via a huge 'pa'.

Could it have been daytime sorcery in the form of a sonic attack? The field student delved into his bag of anti sorcery tricks and chose a holed stone to counter the cacophony thrashing at the delicate membranes of his inner ears. The psycho stone worked. Field Study's Man in E17 deduced the source of the noise to be the figures inhabiting the facade and entrance to Clock House.

Here (above) are some post hullabaloo photographic records of the visit to Clock House. The field student was not convinced these characters were actually responsible for the strangely charmed or charged atmosphere and so he continued his psycho snoop and discovered the remnants of a bizarre crypto forest conjugation - the car park to the rear being a tryst of vine and pole.

Of course these are the bare notes recounting Field Study's Man in E17's adventures on Wood St. Further research is needed to substantiate his claims as to the fantastic nature of the said street. On his return to Base Camp Beere, the field student looked up Clock House online - here - British Listed Buildings.  The listing text for Clock House, as far as Field Study's Man in E17 understands, shows the building's location as Mood Street -

Walthamstow, E17
5/6 (west side)

Clock House

This, thought Field Study's Man in E17, explains a lot.