Culture Diary w/c 26-08-2019


Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events from around the North of England and the rest of the UK – and loads of it’s free!   

Tuesday – Art North West Information Session 5.30pm @ The Birley Studios, Preston – FREE

Recently, Tate Liverpool announced an open call for artists living and working in the north west of England to apply for the opportunity to exhibit at the gallery in spring, 2021. For those considering throwing their hat in to the ring, tonight you have the opportunity to hear from gallery director, Helen Legg, who will be discussing and no doubt fielding questions about – the opportunity at Preston’s Birley Studios.

Wednesday – Water Shall Refuse Them – An Evening with Lucie McKnight Hardy 6pm @ Waterstones, Liverpool – £3.50 

I recently picked up my copy of Lucie McKnight Hardy’s coming of age tale of grief, witchcraft and nascent sexuality set in the 1976 heatwave; despite not quite having finished it (and it only being August), it’s likely one of the best books I’ll read this year. Get along to Waterstones in Liverpool One this evening to hear from the first-time novelist, who will be discussing the book’s themes with book blogger Simon Savidge.

Water Shall Refuse Them

Thursday – Tess Parks 7.30pm @ Phase One, Liverpool – £10

With a couple of records under her belt with Brian Jonestown Massacre main man Anton Newcombe (their eponymous second album was released 12 August), Ontario-born Tess Parks pitches up in Liverpool tonight in solo artist guise. Nobody’s muse, Parks has BJM songwriting credits and balances a career in music with photography. Expect – as she describes her music (and she’s not wrong) – ”lo-fi alternative drones with a hypnotic vibe.”

Friday – Exhibition Opening: A Foul and Awesome Display – Kirsty Harris 5pm @ Vane, Newcastle – FREE

The term decisive moment, is most commonly related to photography. It describes that split second where patience, discipline and inspiration combine to produce a truly great image. But, for painter Kirsty Harris, it is the moment that “iconically represents our race,” via nuclear bomb testing, “to self-destruction. The beauty and awe of the landscape, the dust, the glow, the force of the explosion. The myths surrounding the characters in this master-plan to kill ourselves off. The fight for survival. We’ve shown ourselves THE END.” Born in 1978, Harris grew up at the tail end of the cold war, joining her family on CND marches, when man-made Armageddon still loomed large; her vast paintings a kind of momento mori for humanity.

Saturday – Art and Activism in the North – What Now!? 10.30am–5pm @ The NewBridge Project, Gateshead – FREE

I’m a firm believer that for art to be truly relevant, it should reflect and engage with society  its fears, hopes and dreams. Of course, this is easier said than done. Additionally, even if the artist achieves such things, will the work meaningfully impact (or even reach) its intended audience? Thankfully, I’m not the only one pondering such things. For people passionate about using creativity for positive change, this day long symposium gets to grips with meaty questions like: “how do creative approaches help to challenge and change power relationships? What can we do individually and collectively to achieve political and social change? And what should our focus be in a complex inter-linked world?”


Sunday – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: 40th Anniversary Screening + Q&A 2.30pm @ BFI Southbank, London – from £10.20

Although I’m a fan of the classic Star Wars Trilogy (episodes IV, V & VI), I also understand the late, great, Alec Guinness’ annoyance – to put it mildly – at being best remembered for his performance as Luke Skywalker’s mentor, Ben Kenobi. For me, however, the role only highlights his incredible range. In a galaxy far, far away from Star Wars, but at roughly the same time, Guinness (a veteran of Ealing Comedies such as The Man in the White Suit) was starring as retired British secret service man George Smiley, in the BBC’s adaptation of John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The BFI celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary with this special screening and Q&A with director John Irvin and actor Michael Jayston.

Mike Pinnington

Images, from top: Charlie (2017), by Kirsty Harris; Water Shall Refuse Them cover artwork, Dead Ink Books; still from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)

Posted on 27/08/2019 by thedoublenegative