500MH Loves: John Myers’ Middle England

John Myers Middle England

This weekend I went out for a balti to Birmingham’s Sparkbrook area: a round trip of some 250 miles necessitating an overnight stay, but last night’s balti was delicious (thank you Adil’s).

After breakfast this morning – overlooking the splendid canal system – we headed for the Ikon Gallery with nothing more in mind than killing an hour before catching the train back to London. What a delight then to see the small-but-perfectly-formed photography exhibition John Myers Middle England.

Myers is a Yorkshire-born, Midlands-based artist and academic, who throughout the 1970’s took an extraordinary series of photographs of his local Stourbridge area. The portraits (see above) have a haunting oddness that lingers in the memory but it was the people-less subtopian landscapes that really struck a chord with me – including a series devoted to electricity substations.

Being of an age to remember the 1970’s, the photographs brought back the stultifying feeling of boredom, or boring-ness, that I associate with large parts of that decade. I write also as someone who as a youth wandered around the outskirts of town with his own camera, taking “artistic” shots of cooling towers and the like. Those shots won’t be troubling the gallery curators anytime soon, but John Myers’ work is definitely worth a trip to see (and don’t forget the balti)…

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Dave Swindells’ Spirit of Ibiza ’89

Ibiza 1989 Print Space

Despite having acquired an iPhone, I still haven’t quite got the hang of on-the-spot reportage. So suffice to say that tonight’s opening of Dave Swindells’ Spirit of Ibiza ’89 (How Balearic Beats Liberated London) exhibition at theprintspace was suitably bangin’. The beer & wine flowed freely, Phil Mison was manning the decks and a variety of scenesters, faces and normal people looked at some very good photos. Well worth checking out if you’re in the Shoreditch area (though there won’t be any complementary booze or Phil Mison from this point onwards).

Oh…if you’re struggling to see The Balearic Chart, it’s:

  1. Electra – Jibaro
  2. Woodentops – Why,Why, Why
  3. Cindi Lauper – What’s Going On
  4. Yello – The Race
  5. Mory Kante – Yeke Yeke
  6. Project Club – Dance With the Devil
  7. Thrashing Doves – Jesus on the Payroll
  8. Beats Working – Sure Beats Working
  9. Mandy Smith – I Just Can’t Wait
  10. Nitzer Ebb – Join in the Chant