Friday, 19 November 2010

We'll always have Paris...

So this is the snow globe that I bought in Paris over twenty years ago on honeymoon. We were only there for a few days but the sun shone, the wine flowed, and we squeezed in as much of the city as we could.

Pure tourist joy.

We walked up the Eiffel tower and had a coffee, took a boat along the Seine by night, floated past the scale model of Liberty, walked to Notre Dame, Sacre Couer, the Moulin Rouge, through Montmatre. We visited the Louvre and the Mona Lisa, strolled along the Champs Elysees, crossed the Seine again and again, bridge after bridge, hanging around in tiny cafes drinking coffee, red wine, Ricard. The hotel was just around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe. I smoked Galloise the whole time - then never again.

For those few days I dreamed of being an artist like the ones who hung their tacky paintings on the railings by the side of the Seine.

Almost a dream now, so long ago.

I’ve no clear idea why my Parisian honeymoon should pop into my head today. I expect it’s because today is a day for memories. Today another part of my life was placed in my recollection box along with Paris - places and people, good times and bad times, friends and rivals.

Today the Birmingham studio closed. The Birmingham studio was the place I started work at as a visual artist almost thirty years ago. How well I remember – Reg, Dave, Alan, Simon, Neil, Loxley, Steve, Malc, Olive the cleaner, friends and rivals, and all the others that came after; hundreds of others, too many to mention.

Last day today. Not the same building, a handful of the people I crossed pens with remaining, but still the Birmingham studio. The place where I started out from, a big part of my life for the last thirty years.

Almost a dream now, so long ago. I shall miss it. I shall miss them.

Oh well, we’ll always have Paris.


  1. A sad day for the Birmingham studio but loads of great memories. Good luck you Brummies!

  2. I can't believe you walked up the Eiffel Tower. Did Gaynor carry you?

  3. Twenty years ago I could run up the Eiffel tower.

  4. I remember Olive - when I once visited Brum with my Dad in tow she chatted away to him while he waited for me to finish up. Lots of special people, lots of happy memories.

  5. Yes - Olive WAS the Birmingham studio. When the studio moved to Hagley Road without her I was there when she told Neil that she would work for nothing if only he'd let her stay as cleaner. She was a constant. I think of her often.

  6. Catherine Halls-Jukes ‎commented on Facebook

    ...............and so we shall have Paris, and Pindar and YELL, and made many friends along the way...good luck all

  7. Stephanie Ashton commented on Facebook:

    Best city x

  8. Facebook thread on Birmingham:

    Carl Smith Agree.Good luck to everyone.

    Vicky Sutcliffe Yes good luck all. x

    Andrew Casson Was that the last studio to close? I'm a bit out of touch...

    Andrew Height Yes - and some guys in Scarborough today also. All done now.

    Andrew Casson Well, indeed, it is a sad ending. Best wishes to all.

    Robert Mills Goodnight. x

    Barbara Balding good luck guys and will miss you!

    Kerry Swift ‎:-(

    Cloe Height ‎:-(

  9. Al Spence e-mailed:

    There is no way you walked up the Eiffel Tower.