Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

To Heaven And Hell And Back

Yesterday I was off to Newcastle in the company of my sister Lesley. The purpose of the visit (for me at least) was to go to the Lit & Phil but as we trundled into the city I realised that I'd not yet seen the John Martin exhibition at the Laing. Stopping off for a bit of easy-peasy shoe shopping, we took a break from the rampant consumerism by having a cuppa at the Olive & Bean - Lesley's deli /coffee shop of choice at the moment.


Over a pot of Earl Gey the discussion centred around the pleasures and pitfalls of meeting people from your distant past. Lesley detailed a recent chance meeting she'd been involved in which sounded as though it had come directly from one of Paul Auster's novels. Sometimes the world can be an incredibly small place.

After various musings we headed back uptown to the Laing...


As a small child I remember visits to the Laing. Back then it was always a dark and gloomy place, and it was in that echoing dark I had my first ever encounter with a John Martin painting...

The Destruction of Sodom And Gomorrah had a profound impact on me. Even more so, when I would occasionally come and look at the Martin collection in the Laing as a Tolkien-reading teenager.
The titanic energies generated in these paintings (the one above is called The Great Day Of His Wrath) are head and shoulders above any paltry CGI-special FX you see being passed off in these end of the world movies. Lesley said they churned up strange feelings in her. They do in me. They are truly awesome - in the old-fashioned sense of the word, and it's extraordinary how their power and scale is undiminished. 

After that, we parted company and I went down to spend the rest of the day and early evening at the Lit & Phil, where I entered my own personal hell - writing reviews and sleeve notes...





4 comments:

steven said...

john's painting is new to me. where've i been to miss this? steven

Sid Smith said...

Those online clips of the paintings do not remotely do justice to his work. Big, biblical and full of fire and brimstone. In short: they rock!

TatankaYotanka said...

Are you having a pop at The Earl man? Just because a chap likes a touch of bergamot in his tea leaves doesn't mean he prefers an infusion from behind, The Earl is as butch as butch comes; how very dare you . . .

Sid Smith said...

Big fan of the Earl Grey here. It's the only tea for me!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin