Pipes on film

Paul Light's video Changing Lanes - The Story Of Lewes Road For Clean Air, about improvements to the Lewes Road cycle lanes. I'm interviewed 10 minutes in! Above, that's me and Caroline Lucas MP.


Folkestone Triennial 2014: Day 3

The Wind Lift

So, I splashed out £9.50 for a full English breakfast and was shown to my table for two. It was the weekend buffet service, rather than the extensive menu waiter service the morning before. The veggie sausages were the type made from vegetables! Not impressed. Very kindly, Chris gave me a lift to The Wind Lift (Marjetica Potrč and Ooze), which was working! There was a Host at the bottom operating a button and a Host in the lift with you explaining it all. Half way up he stopped it to see if I was OK. I'm not good with heights, so was a little nervous. We went to the top, almost level with the viaduct, but after a minute or so I asked if we could go down now. An exhilarating experience!

  Host of The Wind Lift

Round the corner was everyone's favourite, Jyll Bradley's Green/Light on the site of an old gas works. It weaves hop poles and twine amongst the neon lights and is apparently spectacular at night. I checked another headless cock Whithervane (rootoftwo) off my list (they also light up at night depending on their mood) and a final Pent House.

Jyll Bradley
Then it was a walk back to the station where I saw the two I'd missed on Day 1: Strange Cargo's The luckiest place on earth, with its penny wish machine, and Yoko Ono's Earth Peace poster.

 Strange cargo: penny wish machine

Yoko Ono at the station

The train was going to be ages so I jumped onto a Javelin HS1 train to Dover for the journey, and got a Victoria train back and onwards to Ashford where I had a coffee waiting for the Brighton train. Back home I jumped onto my bike to catch Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain, down the seafront.

Julien Vermote: The winner of stage 7

The Triennial is on until 2 November, give it a go! More photos on Flickr.

Folkestone Triennial 2014: Day 2

Art lovers

After pinching a piece of toast from Chris's breakfast plate, we set off down the Zig Zag path in search of more art. I was expecting just a regular zig zag path, but what we got was a Victorian (built in 1921?) fantasy in Pulhamite artificial stone, which looked remarkably like bungeroosh. In one of the grottoes was Krijn de Koning's Dwelling, a sort of de Stijl construction in vibrant colours.

Krijn de Koning: Dwelling

Dotted about the descent there were also lots of playgrounds for children (and adults - see Flickr). At sea level and further west we found the Beach hut in the style of Nicholas Hawkesmoor by Pablo Bronstein, a fabulous steampunk lighthouse, but we were not allowed inside.

Pablo Bronstein: Beach hut in the style of Nicholas Hawksmoor

Then it was a long long walk to the harbour (they need a Dotto train!), passing various remnants of past Triennials. To recover, I popped into a dark room to watch Look out! by the Folkestone Futures Choir, a mix of Parkinsons sufferers, OAPs and children voicing their complains to 'the council' among others. The rest went to explore the station and lighthouse, while I had a wander up the Old High Street to see the other Andy Goldsworthy place Clay steps, clay window, and a wonderful shop called Rennies where I bought a checklist of Picture Puffin books.

Andy Goldworthy:  Clay steps

After a quick look at Emma Hart's Giving it all that (Oi! Mate!), the rest headed North; I headed to the nearest bus stop heading for Dover, from which I was treated to fabulous views of both towns. Once there, I hopped on to a bus to Deal, where I admired the pier, had a coffee and teacake at King's Coffee House and bought a book from Oxfam.

Deal pier

Back in Folkestone I just had time to have a go on the Leas Lift (80p down and another 80p back up again) - one of the few water-powered funiculars left in Britain - before joining the others at the Lifeboat Inn for a couple of pints in the garden. We got a cab back to the hotel and ate out at Hop Kweng, a Chinese laid out in booths, patronised by Bob Monkhouse and Jim Davidson. The food, and company, was excellent. Over dinner we'd been discussing magic shows, particularly Paul Daniel's trick of making a man stick to his chair. I said it must have been a willing assistant of some sort. When the fortune cookies arrived, mine said 'Disbelief destroys the magic'. Spooky! I went to bed while the rest crossed over to the Grand hoping to see a Victorian magic show, but it wasn't...

The Leas Cliff Railway

The triennial is on until 2 November.


Folkestone Triennial 2014: Day 1

Reading Dan's blog reminded me that I'd been meaning to see the Triennial, and a quick shout out on Facebook established that Bongo Pete and Way-out Wolfie - surely the world's best tour guides - had booked two nights at the Burlington Hotel. In 2008 I went for the day, which was not enough - and I missed the last one completely, so off we went. They were getting there in Chris and Judy's motor car, so the idea was to travel by train with Pete's sister Sarah. Except… there were two rail fatalities on Thursday morning cancelling my connecting train from London Road to Lewes, so I jumped on a Brighton train and arrived only to see the 10.32 Ashford diesel pulling out! So, it was back on the train to Lewes, another to Hastings and I ended up on the one I would have caught an hour later from Brighton. At Folkestone Central at last I walked past two pieces of art without noticing (Look Out!) on the way to a bus stop. From the bus station I headed for the top of the Road of Remembrance where I bumped into Sarah!

Knitted poppies

At the harbour, we saw our first art - Gabriel Lester's The electrified line, a bamboo observation tower straddling the old railway lines. But first we had coffee and toasted teacakes at The Hatch cafe, where we failed to spot our first Pent House, where the lost River Pent pours into the sea. The Host at the bamboo deck was very helpful (all the hosts we met were friendly and informative), pointing out all the other art we'd missed. But where were Pete and Lisa?

Gabriel Lester: The electrified line

After popping along to the deserted station to see the neon Tim Etchells Is why the place, we had a quick token dig on the sandy beach to find the gold bars Michael Sailstorfer had buried, to no avail and found our way to the Visitor Centre at the bottom of Tontine Street, where I recommend you watch the short videos so you'll know what to look out for (also keep an eye out for the green triangles). Here we were joined by Pete, Lisa, Chris and Judy and we all went to examine the second Pent House (Diane Dever and Jonathan Wright) - a big wooden water tower you could climb into.

 Pent House

Further up the street was a small wild garden, the site of a WW1 bombing raid that killed 60 people and destroyed the bakery there. Here was Amina Menia's Undélaissé ghost signs, right next door to a decorative pub turned art school annexe. And then it was across the road to the Andy Goldworthy pop-up gallery. It was almost 5 pm and everywhere was closing, but we managed to see Something & Son's Amusefood, a self-contained recycling 'farm' for producing fish, chips and mushy peas hydroponically, sadly not yet available to eat!  After a pint or two of Harvey's at the Guildhall, it was a long stroll to the cliff-top hotel, and thence out to The Meze House nearby for a delicious Greek supper.

Something and Son: Amusefood

The Folkestone Triennial runs until 2 November.