Sunday, 2 May 2010

Sunday 2nd May 10, Spencer Tunick Installations

What a day... WHAT A DAY!!! The first few hours were spent on the very cold and windy quayside next to The Lowry Exhibition and Arts Centre in Salford, with Tony my friend from Leeds, Jane (from Stockport I think), and several other friendly people.

I'd been sitting down for a while and Lorna appeared. Lorna was responsible for telling me about this event, as she'd previously participated in a couple of Tunick photoshoots in Ireland. She had travelled up with her friend Johan and a nice Irish chap called Tony. I'd not met Johan before and was really pleased to do so as he's a very good friend to Lorna. I went to chat with the three of them, and had a little bit of modelling balloon fun with them before going back to my position in the queue.

The time went quite quickly as there was a lot of good humour and banter in the line, and I had the flask of coffee I'd brought with me at about 2.30am as I was flagging. But at 3 the queue moved and at 3.30, the first batch of 50 were readmitted to the Lowry, and we were right on the end of this group. Jane tagged along with me as she'd come on her own and this was the first time she'd been out to do something like this on her own, without her husband.

I'd filled in my model release form at home and this meant registration was very simple... we gave in the form, were ticked off on a list, and picked up an Ikea bag to put out clothes in and a little bottle of fruit-juice drink. Then there was more waiting. I played with my devilsticks and gave Jane a go... she wasn't too bad for a beginner.

Then we were herded outside to a fleet of waiting coaches and double decked buses... I got to sit in the front top of one of these. We were first taken to a place (Castlefields?) where there is a canal and a bridge, surrounded by a very industrial brick-built landscape, and we were introduced to the artist for the first time. He used a megaphone to talk to us all, and explained that he wanted to try to capture some of the LS Lowry style, with lots of people milling around. So then he asked us to disrobe and then get in position in the place where the photographs were to be taken. I got onto a barge which was in a lock, and wasn't able to walk around much when he asked us to walk around. It was very cold, and whenever the wind blew, there was a pained noise from the assembled masses. The artist yelled instructions at us, telling us not to look at him and the camera, and not to smile. Eventually he had got enough pictures and we got dressed again... i just put my dressing gown on, rather than all my clothes.

Most of us went back to the bus but Tunick wanted people over 60 to stay behind, and then as that didn't get enough people, he yelled out, anyone with grey hair, and he collared some more. Jane and I went to sit on the bus again and waited for our next place... which was back at the Lowry. We hadn't been able to do this at 5.30am as the megaphone and noise would disturb the residents, but we started this one at 7am, and assembled outside the front of the gallery, and did a lot more milling round and 'freezing' so images could be captured. There were more barked instructions, and some people were moved as they had too many tattoos or were too tanned. During this installation, we were asked to bend over, similar to how some of the Lowry figures are hunched over, and someone farted loudly which caused an eruption of laughter. We were so glad to get back in as it was very very cold.

It wasn't long before we were once again taken out to the buses and coaches, and we were taken to Manchester Airport to a hangar near the plane spotters car park. The first group to be asked in were the over 45s, and the rest of us waited. Then it was our turn, and we went into the hangar... where Concorde was on show! We were moved into position under the aeroplane and had to squash up quite close.

Then were were taken to the Manchester City ground car park in front of two huge gasometers (gas holders) and Spencer divided us up into about 6 or 7 groups and got us to gather together in those groups, facing in different directions and sometimes bent over. The group I was in was right at the back this time. Then he asked for all the women to go to the double decker buses which had parked in front of some trees, and he got all the women to stand in the windows, I think with just their bottoms showing. However, I was back in the coach at the other end of the car park and wasn't paying much attention. I'll wait for the photos!

The photos that Tunick took today will form an exhibition called Everyday People, which will be on show at The Lowry from June 12th til September 26th. This is kind of lucky as the Manchester World Naked Bike Ride is on the 11th in the evening and I think I'll stay over and go to the opening of the exhibition the next day.

We were taken back to the Lowry, arriving just before 11am.. I went to get washed and dressed, said goodbye to Lorna and her entourage, and walked over to the tram stop to go back to Piccadilly, where I was due to meet Laura at midday. Suddenly Jane drove up and asked Tony and myself if we'd like a lift into the City. We accepted and she dropped us right next to the station. So we were a bit early there, and I decided to have a go at sending a text message to Gill... she had lent me her old phone and taught me how to send a text, so I sent her one saying all was well. I texted Laura too, telling her that I was at the station.

She appeared quite soon, and all three of us walked down to the 'gay village' area where Laura likes a particular eatery, called Via. But it was shut, so we went next door and had a pizza for lunch.

Then we parted company from Tony and Laura took me to find a couple of her favourite shops, both of which were shut. But much to Laura's delight (but not mine!), Primark was open, and she bought I don't know how many tops there for £4 each. We then went for a coffee. We decided to go back to the Canal St area as it's got a lot going on... and there was a gay line dancing thing in the street, and Laura joined in which was great to watch. She isn't afraid to have a go, despite not knowing the moves perfectly. After a bit of sitting and watching and chatting to a friendly old gent, I got my devilsticks out and joined in the spectacle... line dancing in front of the pub and just along the road there was space for me to spin my sticks. I really enjoyed this.

But time was moving on and I told Laura that I'd have to go. She tried to persuade me to go back to her house in Warrington to meet her family, but I declined as I too have a family to go home to, so we walked up to Piccadilly together, and there was a train waiting for me with 5 minutes to spare before going all the way to York. I did some pumpkin seeds on the train, which I'd brought with me just in case there was any spare time. But somewhere along the route a nice chap got on who was doing a MSc in hydrology and we talked about conserving water, droughts, floods, peat bogs and green roofs until Leeds where he got off. I was soon in York, soon home by bike (with a pallet in tow!) and after tea I had an hour in bed before getting up to do my blog and sort emails. Up til 2am.


Tracey Smith said...

Evening mate! Loved it all, right up to the bit about Primark! Am a charity shop gal through and through...looking forward to seeing the pix, best, Trace x

Compost John said...

I'm not into Primark either, but out of politeness I went in with her. It was a reminder of how much I dislike shopping.

Unknown said...

Love reading stories from The Lowry weekend. Yes, there was a lot of bending over!