Monthly Archives: March 2016

Crock Pot

To begin with, this post was going to be about getting what you pay for. The pot pictured below is a similar style to a Le Creuset pot but isn’t one. A genuine Le Creuset would be 4 times the price but that’s because they’ve been making kitchenware with care since 1925 and their cast iron pots come with a lifetime guarantee. That’s what you’re paying for. Experience and care.

This supermarket sells it’s own alternative version for those with smaller budgets. That’s fair enough and ordinarily, you might pick up the weighty iron lid and wonder what’s the difference. Where they’ve gone wrong this time is having this one out on display with great chunks of coating missing before it’s even seen a kitchen! What’s worse than it no longer being value for money is that it’s damaging their brand. You can see from the tag that this is Sainsburys but the same would apply in any store. If a product on display appears to be badly made, we lose trust in that brand.

Maybe it was dropped in the last 5 minutes and the staff haven’t noticed yet. I didnt have time to find a member of staff to point it out to or to go back and check on it. I did have time to take a quick snap on my phone though and now I’m sharing it to demonstrate that sometimes, a higher price is worth paying, but also to say take care of your brand. Your reputation is priceless.

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Dagenham Art is back

The Dagenham Art I wrote about last year is back with this new piece, called ‘Picnic’. The original post is below…

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DAGENHAM ART

Dagenham Art No.1. ‘Juxtaposition’ Aug’14

This piece is reflective of the local culture – the importance of brand labels in an area with limited incomes. The packages are vulnerable and open to the elements, yet sheltered by leafy pillars either side. Each bush has its own paper Primark bag to protect. The Nike box, however, is more exposed. Perhaps, by being stronger and well established, it can afford to exist without such protection. But with its confident orange shell, it draws our attention to the unassuming brown bags which may otherwise have gone unnoticed, thereby exposing them further.

And what of the contents. Is it simply the old and rejected in the discarded wrappings of the new or something more sinister? We’ll never know. This installation was on show for a limited period and is no longer available.

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Dagenham Art No.2. ‘Anonymity’ Sep’14

These bags of gifts were left for the taking in early September. Despite claiming to be an anonymous piece, it’s all too brief appearance so early in the year doesn’t fool us. With that infamous red and white branding, this is clearly Santa’s work. We look forward to seeing more from him later in the year.

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Dagenham Art No.3. ‘Black and Blue’. Dec ’14

This work has both sobriety and energy. There is something reassuring about the solid black bags sitting so heavily beneath the tree, yet the loose piece breaking free from the 3rd sack suggests drama and an insecurity in its desire to escape. The blue bag on the left juts out uncomfortably. It doesn’t seem to fit at all but despite being smaller than the black bags, demands our attention. Then what of the discarded tin to the right? It is so far removed from the rest of the work, one might wonder if it is even part of it. This is probably intentional and is, in fact, a clever distraction device, placed just far enough away to create discomfort as our attention is torn. This artist’s popularity is declining locally and critics have slated this piece as unimaginative and lazy, but is it simply misunderstood?

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21 again

Here’s another little repair from my family archive.

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This is my mum, sat on my Dad’s lap at her 21st birthday party. I love this photo.

And just for fun, here’s me at college, in a Maidstone cocktail bar, celebrating my 21st birthday. I haven’t got any photos of my actual 21st birthday party but it was a riot! It was in my student house and I had a jelly and ice cream party (in contrast to the grown up cocktails night out!). My room was on the top floor. There were four other bedrooms between me and the bathroom and kitchen at the bottom. I had a bean bag which I carefully hid on top of a cupboard out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, somebody found it and poked their finger into a tiny little gap in one of the seams. The hole got bigger and a few polystyrene balls escaped. Then a few more. Before I knew it, a single mattress with a student on top was surfing down the stairs on a sea of polystyrene beads, all the way to the trifles at the bottom. The next day, after a mammoth clean up, we were spotting the little beads in the streets down in the town centre. Turns out somebody thought it would be fun to put the beads in all the pockets in the coats room too. A few days later, they did have a whip round though and bought me a replacement bag of beads to repair it. Can’t say fairer than that!

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For the bottom draw

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This is my mum and dad’s engagement party in 1959. In those days, as well as wedding presents, you got gifts on your engagement too, for your bottom draw (a place where valuables are stored, especially the linen, etc., that a ‘woman’ might store in preparation for her marriage). That’s a big drawer to hold all this booty!

These gifts were mostly household items and included towels, a toaster, glassware and an alarm clock. I know for a fact they still use the cutlery that’s behind them on the table and mum says they still have the glass coffee jug and some of the glasses. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2011.

I showed mum this photo to check some details. She said she loved the retouching but could I just make the tablecloth longer to cover the packaging stored underneath. I said no, but perhaps I will, another day! Here’s the original photo below.

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