Tag Archives: Post Office

Not finished with Zappa but Captain Beefheart and Buddy Holly have snuck in

#Lette365 No277 gets posted
A nice moody shot of No277 going in the postbox

I did a drawing years ago – about 1974 – which I still have, called “Raining in My Heart” but that was from my clouds and rainbows period. Whilst there was a sort of wistful melancholia about it there was not the sadness of the song in it nor the pain of depression. (Oh and wasn’t Melancholia a good film!) Today’s message is connected to the melancholic but was sparked by the sun being out and me being indoors.

The Captain gets a mention because Louis Hawkinsresponded to yesterday’s post and alluded to Don V. There ain’t no Santa Claus on the Midnight Stage got chosen for the topical subject – not the mention of Santa but the despair and desolation of poverty , homelessness and slavery that is growing in our world! I tried to find a live YouTube video of the number but failed. I got a bit sidetracked watching Frank Zappa playing The Torture Never Stops and Black Napkins (with Terry Bozio and Adrian Belew) – and no I am not finished with Zappa yet! Recently I’ve been watching Talking Heads Live in Rome featuring Belew too

I did find the clip below of Captain Beefheart doing Golden Birdies. I saw him with the Magic Band at the LSE about this time I have got a feeling that Blossom Toes were supporting. I saw them at LSE again with Eclection and Third Ear Band. Enjoy!

Oh and there is some art in the envelope!

Like Schrödinger I probably didn’t think things through properly

#Letter365 No264 get posted at a crime scene
No264 gets caught at the scene of the crime

I had decided to use the headline earlier but events overtook me. I was going to write about the messages on the front of the envelope but, as you can see, I have photographed it upside down. Here it is before posting so you can read it:

Envelope of #Letter365 No264
Envelope of No264

So I was going to talk about all the things that needed to be taken into account in the set up of Schrödinger’s mind experiment. I was reckoning on pointing out flaws that if Schrödinger had heard would have irritated him, you know little nit-picking things like the size of the box and the amount of air in it and would the cat suffocate first and how had he calculated the amount of hydrocyanic acid? But of course my planning went to pot. The first flaw in my planning was that someone parked across the front of our house and blocked my car in. Usually it is just someone nipping to the Post Office and they are back in a few minutes. This person left it for about half an hour and went to their friend’s house. (I won’t recount the full story of her excuses for fear of stirring up my wrath). Then when I got to the studio I got into conversation with my neighbour and out of politeness ignored the alarm on my phone and another neighbour joined us and that led to some other discussion by which time it was time to get a late lunch. It was only when I got to the shop I remembered to look at my phone and discovered I was already 10 minutes late for a meeting with some friends! After that I bumped into someone else I’d not seen for ages and we chatted for a long while and…well, Bridport is a friendly place…by which time the afternoon had disappeared and I only had time to do my #Letter365. Even that I messed up a bit and stamped yesterday’s date on the back (altered and a new stamp added).

Then when I get back home and pop to the Post Office to post the piece I have to step over the police cordon to get to the box (you can see the tape at the top of the photo and you could say they have cordoned off my work!) Sadly the Post Office had been raided. Fortunately, although Andrea and Peter were slightly injured, they are OK and three men have been arrested. Seems like those men may not have thought things through properly either. Clearly I didn’t today, so who am I to nit pick over Schrödinger’s experiment and try to make witty comments about it?

Oh, and nobody noticed my deliberate/not-deliberate mistake yesterday!

Oh, and the piece inside? You’ll have to take my word for it it’s either really good or really bad or both at the same time depending the interpretation – but that’s another story!

Meanwhile. I am actually more interested in the water droplets hanging round the top of the post box:

Rainwater droplets round the post box within the police cordon
Rainwater droplets round the post box within the police cordon

Why #Letter365 has been censored

I have removed the photograph I had posted yesterday at the request of the Postmaster. Apparently he was upset that I had taken pictures of his staff at work. I am told it is “a data protection issue for them as an organisation”. I did ask permission of the person concerned, but of course I do not wish to needlessly upset people, especially local people who are doing their best to provide services to the community, so I have complied with the request.

However it does open up questions about the whole nature of our society and how our attitudes have changed over the years towards the people who work within our communities. My guess is that this request has come from the “arse-covering” rules and regulations that have almost become a necessity because we are, as a society,  becoming increasingly litigious. I don’t really have any issue with the local manager but this is a great shame as it stops us all celebrating the people we share our communities with in a free and honest way. If we can only take pictures of people at work in our community under conditions controlled by a marketing department or a legal department then sincerity soon flies out the window. When I say how attitudes have changed, I used to work in a local newspaper advertising and managed the account of The Post Office at a regional level. This was a very long time ago when BT was still a division of the Post Office! In those days the marketing and advertising people were begging us to photograph their happy and industrious employees at work. Plus ça change!

Well here is the envelope that I had hand stamped yesterday:

The front of #Letter365 No144
The front of No144

Gross but not gross

#Letter365 No144 gets posted at the Post Office in Bridport
Abby takes charge of my first day cover

It’s all a bit exciting today. This was not only the first #Letter365 that I created at my new studio, but also the first artwork of any kind created there by me.

It was also the first day of issue of the new WW1 commemorative stamps so I wanted to get it hand-stamped if I was in time, which I was: not at my usual Post Office 3 doors away from home in Bradpole, but at the main Post Office in Bridport. So while local postmaster Peter is good in front of the camera I think you will agree that Abby here does a great job! It’s just a pity that her nail varnish clashes so much with the green on the envelope! Unlike Ann who used to work in the Bradpole Post Office shop who (as you may remember from an earlier post) had a flair for clothing that matched the shelving, Abby has not chosen to blend in with her environment. I think she is a bit of a rebel who thinks it would not be cool to have nail varnish that matched, say, her name badge or the posters. Quite right too Abby! Abby clearly thought I was raving mad but said she couldn’t wait for the next time. Clearly Abby is a master of ironic wit too. Thanks for playing, Abby.

Now of course Abby is right to question my sanity. Had she looked at the address she would have advised me, I am sure, that it would be more economical and better for my health to just walk round the corner to Bridport Arts Centre and pop the letter straight in their letterbox. I will have to think how I will manage the delivery of #Letter365 now that the Arts Centre is actually nearer to my studio than the Post Office and its post box.

Another exciting thing is that I seem to have captured, accidentally, a personal reflection in the photograph. Anyone who knows me or follows me will be aware of my Personal Reflections series of self portraits.

David Smith's reflection in the Post Office poster
Personal reflection in the Post Office poster

I was quite anxious about making this first piece in the new studio but it worked out just fine even though I had to improvise a bit as not all my stuff has made it to the new venue yet. Of course reaching No144 is only gross in number: there is no unpleasantness involved at all.

No music today but you of course want to see the back of the envelope:

Back of #Letter365 No144
Back of No144

First day cover, but a pretty dull stamp

Peter the postmaster displays #Letter365 No133
Peter proudly displays the First Day Cover that is No133

It’s great to have a man who can smile for the camera! Peter, who runs our local Post Office, is a sport for pandering to my idiosyncrasies. As you can see he is my new artistic collaborator:

Peter adds his own marks to #Letter365 No133
Peter adds his own marks to #Letter365 No133

The new commemorative stamp – there is only one image for the 1st Class denomination – is to mark the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but I get the sense that nobody wanted to go to town on it. None of the designs are special, though the one depicting running has something about it that reminds me of the old  South Africa stamps I used to have in my album as a child. Some more new stamps are to be issued in just 10 days time in remembrance of the First World War

The back of the envelope is as boring as the stamp:

Back of #Letter365 No133
Back of No133

The inspiration of other artists – stealing a bit!

#Letter365 No107 on the wall of the Floozie's Jacuzzi
No107 on the wall of the Floozie’s Jacuzzi

Today’s piece was created and posted in Birmingham (although the printed elements of the envelope were prepared yesterday in advance) and the picture above was taken in Victoria Square on the wall of the pool where some words from Burnt Norton, one of the Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot are carved:

And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

But at present the cloud has permanently passed as the pool is drained and the fountains stilled presumably for maintenance:

To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete

So there is a little touch of inspiration from Eliot and the light-hearted Brummie love of its public art. My picture of the Floozie says it all:

Floozie in the Jacuzzi with seagull and bird dropping
Floozie in the Jacuzzi with seagull and bird dropping

And of course behind and below the Floozie is Gormley’s Iron Man, a little of its magic rubbed off on me I hope, and round the corner is the Museum & Art Gallery with its great collection of Pre-Raphaelites amongst much else, though sadly I don’t think there are any Rauschenbergs there. And, of course, the stunning new library is not far away. I have been reading about Rauschenberg and looking at his work a lot recently. I think if I had become familiar with his work in the late 60s I might have studied painting rather than sculpture or perhaps I might have had the courage to be bolder in my sculpture. It is only today that I am really beginning to understand the very radical nature of his work and the interesting questions he has been asking through his career. His Erased de Kooning Drawing for example is intriguingly complex. Rubbing out Iron Man or TS Eliot is a little more difficult!

When I came to post No107 I was surprised to find the letter boxes at the Post Office had been painted white with no helpful patterns to educate you in how to post a letter.

#Letter365 No107 gets posted in Birmingham
No107 gets posted in Birmingham

And someone (is there anybody out there?) is bound to want to see the back of the envelope:

Back of No107
Back of No107

I’m a bit cross with Peter the Postmaster

#Letter365 No92 goes in the post box
Sardine stamp on No92

As you can see, there is a nice fishy picture on today’s stamp. Only thing is they were released yesterday and I missed the first day of issue. Peter apologised as soon as I got to the Post Office window where I had gone to buy stamps! Never mind it only would have increased the value of yesterday’s by minus a little less than nothing and that only if a stamp collector had an interest in odd conceptual art pieces. Come to think of it, stamp collecting is a bit like an odd art form in itself.

Why do I make things difficult for myself?

#Letter365 No80 gets posted at night
No80 gets posted to the sound of a tawny owl

Well I am going to have to give a clue or two to explain the title! Having opened my house as a gallery for Dorset Art Weeks I have not been able to fit my #Letter365 piece into the day so I am unable to start till after we close. So with limited time available why do I choose something which involves a drying time – a drying time much longer than I thought! And just in case it still had a residual wetness I needed to think about packing it carefully and it happens to be thicker than average so I had to work out a compromise so that it would still be less than 5mm thick and go through the Post Office slot and not cost me more than a normal first class stamp.

Anyway, I still popped it in the box around 10.30pm (serenaded by a tawny owl) so all’s well.

Spot the deliberate (not) mistake!

Peter at Bradpole PO has franked #Letter365 No68 as First Day Cover
My first #Letter365 First Day Cover and ! mess it up!

Chaos Rules OK again! I was so excited that I had remembered the issue of new commemorative stamps (British Films) that I forgot to date stamp the envelope and did not update the number – so it reads No67 when in fact it is No68! Bugger!

Peter at Bradpole PO  franked #Letter365 No68 as First Day Cover with the Bradpole stamp – the first of those in #Letter365. He also put the stamp on for me and used his tongue – you can tell he’s not been a postmaster that long!  I am not sure if the shape over Peter’s mouth is something that stuck to his tongue during the stamp-licking episode, a strange cartoon or cameo head stuck to the glass or just an odd reflection. Sorry that some woman behind you has got her hands in your ears. I had hoped that I would have got a better personal reflection but there is too much light in there Peter.

I chose the Lawrence of Arabia stamp as it is one of my favourite films – because “the guns face the sea”. Could it be the artwork inside is as bleak and dry as the desert?

In, out, shake it all about

The slightly rain-spattered #Letter365 No18 gets posted
The slightly rain-spattered No18 – I knew it would get wet!

Sometimes it all seems a bit pointless. I just put the latest #Letter365 in the post box. A few minutes later I popped back to the shop (Bradpole’s excellent Post Office) and the postman is taking the stuff out. I could have just hung about in the rain and given it to him. If everyone had waited around we could have had a nice chat and the postman wouldn’t have had to do any bending.

Postman collects the mail
Just minutes later the post gets collected

Talking of the rain this is probably the first time there was proper rain at posting time. I knew it would might get wet so adjusted the wording on the envelope!

Anyway I had a chat to Ann in the shop. She had seen me the other day as I mentioned. Now I have explained what I am doing she doesn’t think I am any madder than she already knew I was!

Ann in the shop
Ann says she doesn’t do photographs (wrong!) but she specialises in clothes that match her surroundings

Just look at all those tobacco products. Only by shopping locally do you see that sort of thing. I have to say that I am not tempted to take up smoking each time I see them!