Welcome to Gaviworld

I’ve been planning to make an audio story with friend and painter Gavin Watson for some time.

Gavin’s heading off to Switzerland soon to give a series of talks and exhibit some prints of his paintings. His hosts asked if he could supply a short film about his life as an artist.

It was a request that provided the perfect catalyst for us to do both — record the audio that’s been on my mind for a while and to film Gavin at work in Gaviworld, his home studio in the wilds of Northumberland.

So, I went to stay with Gavin for a couple of days earlier this month. The short film we made can now be viewed at the top of this post.

In time, I’ll compile the rest of the audio recordings into a longer story but, for now, I hope you enjoy this wee film.

Thank you for reading and watching — feel free to leave any thoughts/comments below.

Gavin Watson by Jack Lowe, November 2021

A New Device, A New Language, A New Frontier

That’s the claim from photographer Adam Magyar. He’s right, yet still he’s modest.

When this lecture was waved over my screen, it was accompanied by much of the usual cyberbole.

However, my source was sound and of good repute, so I’m glad I gave up 20 minutes of my life to it. I think you will be too…

Crombie’s Last Stand

I didn’t know Keith Crombie.  I’d been to his famous Jazz Café once, a long time go.

If nothing else, I gleaned this much about him — everyone seemed to have an opinion about Keith and he certainly seemed to have an opinion about everyone.

Keith Crombie's Jazz Café, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the morning of his funeral

The closed doors of Keith Crombie’s Jazz Café in Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the morning of his funeral…

Over the last year or so, I’ve been keeping tabs on a beautiful documentary my ol’ pal Duncan Davis has been been making about Keith (you might remember Duncan from this post).

Duncan had an acute awareness that making this film should be a priority, not least because Keith was knocking on in years.  Then, on 29th December 2012, Keith passed away at the age of 74.

News soon started to filter through that there was to be a horse-drawn funeral procession through the city.

There seemed to be a gentle buzz of excitement.  Everybody seemed to know about it (apart from the police, it would seem).

A fitting farewell seemed imminent for Keith, to stop Newcastle in its tracks as he slowly passed through with a jazz band and dedicated crowd following behind…

Photographed from the top of Earl Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, Keith Crombie's funeral procession passes through the city centre.

As seen from the top of Grey’s Monument on a snowy day, the horse-drawn coffin, jazz band and crowd makes its way along Grainger Street…

A fitting end for Duncan’s documentary too and I was flattered that he asked me to help film the last sequences of Crombie’s life.

While Duncan worked in and around the crowds, the perfect perching place for me this morning was surely atop the 130ft Grey’s Monument, smack bang in the city centre.

So, with the necessary permissions gained, I was allowed to climb the 162 spiral steps to capture a unique perspective on the procession.

Photographed from the top of Earl Grey's Monument, the snow descends on Newcastle after Keith Crombie's funeral procession.

The procession is over and the snow descends on Newcastle…

The views were extraordinary, of course, and the weather was icy.  The memories of seeing Keith’s horse-drawn coffin pass slowly through town to the tune of the accompanying jazz band, along with hundreds of folk, will stay with me for a long time.

I can’t wait to see the final film, which is being cut by Duncan as I write — I hope to be able to share it with you here some day soon…

— More Views from Grey’s Monument

North view towards St. James' Park from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

North view towards St. James’ Park from Grey’s Monument

South East view towards BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

South East view towards BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge from Grey’s Monument

South West View from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

South West View from Grey’s Monument