Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

Saatchi etc.

A day of self indulgence involving two museums and two movies began at what was the Ipswich Art School.

The building reopened as a permanent art gallery last year with monies from Ipswich Borough Council and the support of the Saatchi Gallery who have loaned the gallery the works of a number of contemporary artists. The gallery is dominated by an ‘installation’ called ‘The Bed’ (photo top). By Will Ryman, it shows a man recovering from the boozy excesses of the night before, and measures some 8 metres in length. It’s a fun piece, as are the giant pair of black shoes constructed from liquorice and styrofoam by Andy Yoder (bottom right) and the woman’s legs in high-heeled shoes (bottom left) by Rebecca Warren. Other exhibits include the ‘Travellers Collection’ by Francis Upritchard. Upritchard, a doctor of contemporary voodoo, has constructed a curio cabinet that includes a make-shift funerary chamber for a mummy (bottom centre). Very odd indeed.

Next up was the Town Hall Galleries and The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition co-hosted with the Natural History Museum and the BBC’s Wildlife Magazine. Each year ten’s of thousands of entries are submitted by amateurs and professionals, young and old, and whittled down to a hundred or so simply wonderful photographs of the natural world that form the exhibition and win the chosen photographers a prize or two. My favourites are A Marvel of Ants, March of the Crabs and Desert Survivor. Ipswich is the exhibits first port of call before it travels around the UK. Very much worth a look.

Don’t think I’ve done two movies in one day since the long gone days of the double feature. Today we took in The American and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.

If you’re looking for a Hollywood blockbuster action film, you should probably look elsewhere, which is why the action-free action movie The American is showing at the Ipswich Film Theatre rather than Cineworld. But no mind. Mrs ExtremeGroundhopping heartthrob George Clooney plays a gunsmith, craftsman and assassin who has fled Sweden after an assignment there goes horrible wrong (he shoots and kills his own girlfriend to cover his tracks) to hide out in the Italian countryside. There he befriends a local priest and dates a local hooker while secretly crafting a bespoke rifle for a fellow assassin. The setting of a small medieval town and rolling hills is all very picturesque and serene and nicely filmed and the film moves along at a slow pace until, that is, he is tracked down by another assassin sent to exact revenge for his Scandinavian misadventure.

Having recently taken an interest in Swedish crime novels (The Kurt Wallander novels written by Henning Mankell in particular) we thought we give The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest a go (also at the IFT). Although it’s the third in the Millenium trilogy (based on the books of the same name by the late Swedish investigative journalist and author Stieg Larsson) there are sufficient flashbacks to orientate newcomers to the story. The main character is Punk-Goth computer hacker Lisbeth Salander who must fight a court battle to prove that she is sane after being accused of the attempted murder of her father (who sexually assaults and attempts to kill her in the previous instalments). At the same time a group of journalists, whom she has worked with in the past, are about to publish an expose of criminal and fiscal corruption in the corridors of Swedish power. Thoroughly enjoyable – plans to read the books are already in preparation.

The Manchester City Experience

05-06-2008: The Manchester City Museum

Manchester City Experience

Close to two years ago Mrs ExtremeGroundhopping and I holidayed in the Peak District and made a couple of trips into Manchester during our weeks stay there. I’ve previoulsy covered our visits to Old Trafford and the City of Manchester Stadium here, here and here. Part of our tour of the latter include a visit to Manchester City’s Museum – The Manchester City Experience – and while I make no claim to being a fan of City (or one of United for that matter) I must say I was mightily impressed with both the tour and the museum. Here are some of the highlights (of the museum)…

(1) A hand bell click me that belonged to the late Helen “the bell” Turner who was a regular at Maine Road for over thirty years. A legend among City fans she sat at the front of the North Stand ringing the bell in support of the team. She developed a close friendship with goalkeeper Joe Corrigan and other players to such an extent that she was invited on to the pitch at Wembley to join in the team’s lap of honour after their League Cup victory in 1976.

(2) The old honours board from Maine Road click me records the clubs trophy haul and promotions. It really must rankle with fan’s that Manchester City’s finest hour (League Champions in 1968) was overshadowed by Manchester United’s European Cup Final victory at Wembley just a week later. In a similar way that it wrankles with Norwich City fans that the one and only time they managed a higher league finish than Ipswich during the 1970’s was in 1978 – when Town won the FA Cup!

Manchester City Experience

(3) A bust of Joe Mercer sits close to the entrance click me. Mercer is quite easily the Sky Blue’s most successful manager. Between his appointment in 1965 and ignominious departure in 1971 (following a dispute with deputy Malcolm Allison), the club won the 1966 Second Division title, as mentioned above the First Division championship in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969, and both the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1970. A period of success that City have abjectly failed to come anywhere close to replicating since.

(4) The next item I’d briefly considered posting as an entry the ‘Football Statues’ series but then thought better of it … a life size figure of Colin ‘King of the Kippax’ Bell click me. The Kippax was the popular and vociferous terrace at Maine Road while Colin Bell (who has a stand named after him at the City of Manchester Stadium) is considered to be City’s greatest ever player. In 394 league appearances for City between 1966 and 1979 he hit 117 goals with a further 7 for England (in 48 games) during the same period. The midfielders playing days at Maine Road coincided with the clubs most successful era and Bell may well have gone onto collect a century of international caps had it not been for a serious knee injury.

(5) Sticking with injuries perhaps the most famous one of all time was that picked up by goalkeeper Bert Trautmann who also features in the museum as a life size figure click me. Diving to make a save at the feet of Birmingham’s Peter Murphy in the 1956 FA Cup Final, Trautmann injured his neck but continued for the remaining quarter of an hours play making several crucial saves as City recorded a 3-1 victory. Three days later an X-Ray revealed that the former German paratrooper, and prisoner of war, had actually broken his neck! In 2004 Trautmann was awarded an OBE for his work in promoting Anglo-German relationships.

Manchester City Experience

(6) Finally, and OK a bit Anoraky I’ll admit, the brass plate from an Ellison’s Rush Preventive Turnstile rescued from Maine Road before the wrecking crew moved in click me. Two companies in the Manchester area (WT Ellison & Co and WH Bailey) produced the majority of turnstiles installed at British stadia from the mid-1890’s to the 1980’s and in the intervening years the designs produced by both companies changed very little. The Ellison turnstile originally sold for just over £7 and had two features to separate it from its rivals. A foot pedal allowed the operator to lock and unlock the turnstile as each spectator passed through, allowing just one paying customer through at a time. It also had a finely engineered, and tamper-proof, brass mechanism with ceramic counters, to allow officials to tally the gate against monies collected. WT Ellison client’s found that their receipts rose considerably once the devices were in pace!

Well there you have it a very nicely put together collection of exhibits that is worth an hour of any ones time, City fan or not.

More pictures here.