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A superstar visits

16 September 2010 by Dawn

Andrew is pictured with Burne Jones' Tree of Forgiveness

Andrew Lloyd Webber visited the Lady Lever Art Gallery and the Walker this week in pursuit of his passion for Victorian art. The man who brought us Evita, The Phantom of the Opera and a host of other hit shows that have filled theatres for decades, first called into Port Sunlight with the TV crew.

Art collector Andrew focused on The Scapegoat by Holman Hunt for the cameras and also paused by The Tree of Forgiveness by Burne-Jones. Next morning he was at the Walker where he talked about Lorenzo and Isabella by Millais. Read more…

Dan Brown clue leads to Lady Lever competition

20 August 2010 by Dawn

A selection of Dan Brown books, CD and Durer leaflets

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Readers of Dan Brown, famous for the blockbuster novel and movie, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, will know that his most recent art linked tale, ‘The Lost Symbol’ delves into the hidden world of Masonic secrets and legends.

I was intrigued to hear that secret messages and symbols in Albrecht Dürer’s ‘Melancholia I’ play a key role in the elaborate plot which sees Robert Langdon decipher a number of clues. The intricate engraving is currently on show at the Lady Lever Art Gallery as part of the Dürer & Italy exhibition. Read more…

Ancient Egyptian Adventure

9 November 2009 by Dawn

Man

 Our intrepid explorers prepare to enter the pyramid tomb

The public fascination with Ancient Egypt never seems to wane, as the opening of Howard Carter’s house as a museum in Egypt testifies. The British archaeologist’s most famous discovery was the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, and the house has been opened due to popular demand. A trip to Egypt is a little out of my reach at the moment, but I did recently have a little taste of the excitement an explorer might undoubtedly feel on entering an undisturbed ancient tomb to unravel its secrets and mysteries. Read more…

Can’t buy me love

11 September 2009 by Dawn

Money can’t buy love but who cares when you can go out any buy the latest line of Beatle merchandise. Beatlemania is back and this time it means business – big business!  Remastered versions of each of the albums have been released and are expected to dominate the charts for the next few weeks. And there’s two enviable box sets – one limited edition remastered in mono, the other in stereo.They were released on 09.09.09 – most auspicious because of John’s obsession with the number 9.  Read more…

Rising to the Challenge

27 August 2009 by Dawn

Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup is certainly going to be different. For the first time since the 1986 final between Castleford and Hull, none of the ‘big four’ – Leeds, Bradford, Wigan and  St Helens – will be going Wembley. That privilege will be enjoyed instead by Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves along with coach loads of their thirsty fans. 

A portrait shot of man looking upwards and holding a rugby ball

Ellery Hanley – a rugby league legend. Photograph by John Ferguson ©

I, for one, am relieved. Not only is it great for the game to share the silverware but we also have a family wedding on Saturday and a congregation made up of Wigan and Saints fans who would no doubt spend the day with their eyes on the score instead of the bride (and I include the groom in that). So hats off to Huddersfield, and the best of luck to Warrington who will be flying the rugby league flag for the region – it’s going to be a rip-roarer! Read more…

A Les Paul called Lucy

14 August 2009 by Dawn

A guitar shaped cut-out in an exhibition wall

I wanted to write something in tribute to Les Paul who died yesterday at the age of 94. Les Paul was a jazz musician who persuaded guitar maker Gibson to create a solid-bodied electric guitar. He’d already cobbled together such a guitar from a railway sleeper and a couple of pick-ups, but when Gibson refined ‘The Log’, the Gibson Les Paul was born. The Gibson Les Paul is an iconic guitar played by some of the most innovative rock guitarists the world has ever seen. Pete Townsend, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Slash to name but a few. 

I visited The Beat Goes On exhibition at World Museum to see if any trace of Les Paul’s influence could be found, and although there aren’t any Les Pauls in the exhibition I did find this rather familiar walk-through! (I should mention there are several other splendid guitars such as Will Sergeant’s customised Telecaster and one owned by Billy Fury). Perhaps I should have also looked in the recording section because Les Paul also developed revolutionary multi-tracking techniques, but that is another story. Read more…

Free? That’s music to our ears

17 July 2009 by Dawn

A man playing a trumpet, one playing the drums, another playing the piano

Jazz at the Walker – free on Sunday afternoons

 

I think we are all used to the concept of free museums and galleries and there’s nothing that my family likes better than a bit of free art and culture. The words ‘free entry’ are music to my husband’s ears. He doesn’t like to pay for anything that he doesn’t have to and is, by his own admission, ‘tighter than Rambo’s headband’ which I think is fair enough in these frugal times. I have just been looking at the possibility of a summer visit to Cadbury’s World which will cost just short of £40 for the two adults and one paying child, so we may well be hunting down free museums and galleries instead. Not that we won’t fork out for special occasions – but there’s a long summer holiday ahead that’s a lot of days to keep little people entertained! Read more…

The allure of Arabia

16 July 2009 by Dawn

As a child I spent a time living in Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We moved out in the mid 1980s when Britain was still dealing with the fallout of a recession. There couldn’t have been a greater contrast between a northern pit town reeling from miners’ strike and the opulence of this beautiful city. Fountains, chandeliers, marbled floors, lavish buildings and startling architecture set against the evocative backdrop of red sand dunes and desert plains. I’d never seen anything like it. It’s such a fascinating city full of wonderful contrasts – Bedouins with camels, princes and palaces, souks and luxurious shopping malls, unimaginable wealth and the observance of sober traditions. Read more…

Off the Beatle track

8 July 2009 by Dawn

If you’re heading into town for Beatles Day on 10th July stop off at The Beat Goes On to see its fantastic array of Beatles memorabilia – but don’t neglect the Walker Art Gallery. The Walker may not stand out as major landmark on the Beatles trail but it is actually a rather interesting (and not insignificant) footnote in the Beatles’ story.

When Paul McCartney’s exhibition of paintings at the Walker was planned, he recalled how he and John would spend ‘many a pleasant afternoon’ in the gallery. It’s difficult to get your head round – the young two mates swaggering through the galleries, fooling about, mulling over the paintings. Boy, would I have loved to have been a fly on the wall, listening to what they said about the pictures - I have a suspicion they may have had a few things to say about the nudes, for one! Read more…

Missionary man

10 June 2009 by Dawn

Two men at a bar

Wayne on a mission to bars … Image copyright Francesco Mellina.

In the centre of Francesco Mellina’s Sound & Vision exhibition there’s a screen slideshow which is well worth dwelling over. There are some really impressive names in terms of rock pedigree – people like Joey Ramone, Johnny Thunders and Joe Strummer.  However, the person who took my eye was a youthful, mop-haired Wayne Hussey propping up the bar in The Pyramid Club alongside Pete Burns. I completely forgot that before creating goth band The Mission and spawning a legion of devoted fans Wayne had been a member of both Sisters of Mercy and Dead or Alive. I really like the picture because he looks like an average guy – not the untouchable, lamenting, god-like stage persona that my friends and I worshipped. (Or maybe it’s just because he is standing next to the ever-flamboyant Mr Burns!) Read more…