Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yet another dis-used Methodist Chapel. This decaying Wesleyan edifice is from Chilton Moor, Co.Durham and has been boarded up for as long as I've ever passed it. Chapel life one hundred years ago was a vigorous social and spiritual force among the English working classes, a birthing ground for Trades Unionism, social justice and the "ranter" tradition of primitive and strident hymn singing. These non-conformist communities once stood as a strong alternative to the middle-class dominated Church of England and the Irish immigrant dominated slow re-establishment of Roman Catholic parishes.

These buildings may be undistinguished, with their Protestant mistrust of ornament, but whatever your creed/non-creed the almost complete disappearance in the 21st Century of friendly communal activity in favour of home-bound insular consumerism is surely a cause for great mourning...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back alleys and back yards of Fencehouses, Co.Durham photographed this Bank Holiday afternoon. Very little neat uPVC in this neighbourhood and plenty of building improvisation with rusty corrugated iron and recycled planks.

Friday, May 18, 2007

This picture of a traditional terraced row in Horden Co.Durham (which I took on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago) captures a tiny glimpse of why I love Northern ex-colliery towns and villages. In these "properties" there is almost nothing for the fatuous Estate Agent to spin his dishonest blather about. No gardens, no decking, no conservatories, no block paved driveways for multiple cars, no proximity to retail parks, no"investment" properties at all. Silence reigns, quiet living goes on, apart from the odd flutter of a pigeon wing or the bark of a mongrel dog.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Two church notice boards. By their rather solemn nature, these don't change very much. Take a look at the Blackhall Co.Durham sign for some delightfully weathered expert enamel work, and feast your eyes on the central panel with its wrinkled paper poster (hopefully executed by a semi-retired ticket writer, still flexing his sable brushes for old-times sake.)
The St.Teresa's Catholic Church board is from Cleveleys, Lancashire. I have to excuse the insensitive service-time alterations made using self adhesive numbers probably bought from a hardware store - these were probably applied by a well-meaning and charitable parishioner.
I have attended Mass many times at this church over the years, while visiting my seaside sister, Susan. It is a giant red-brick barn of a building probably built in the 40's or 50's, that time of very large and culturally loyal congregations. The interior is airy, contains some nice pastel painted plaster statues, is well maintained, polished and has a likeable old priest with a strong Preston accent who likes to mention Coronation Street in his homilies.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Nose-picking is an unhygienic activity which should be discouraged before it becomes habitual in adulthood. If there were more ladies like the one in this Disappearing Phrase then this vulgar habit might now be less prevalent.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Jesus Freak of Willington? While I was out hunting for hand painted signs this doorway in Willington Co.Durham caught my eye. The curling "Smile, Jesus Loves You" sticker was of a definite vintage and the firmly drawn blind made it enticingly hard to tell whether the property was abandoned or occupied. Was this terraced house once a hotbed of feverish evangelical activity or did it still contain a resident ageing Jesus Freak still wearing his/her sandals with wan memories of happy-clappy witnessing and non-denominational gatherings?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A comic strip in Latin. This is one of the Bagnall's Dailies published last year. Although the text is an Advent season prayer, the intent definitely wasn't religious. This was most certainly a formal exercise. I wanted to see if four totally un-related images could still work as a comics sequence if they were linked solely by a continuous set of words.

I'll stop explaining all this before I begin to sound too much like Scott McCloud....