I worry for our dear friend Jean. She kindly attended the One Planet Middlesbrough Town Meal, at our invitation, with her sister Morag earlier this summer. When collecting old mail from Melrose House (the former TVA Towers) I stumbled across this letter to Morag from Jean, but addressed to us and at our old address too!
Well, the Middlesbrough Town Meal was the last gig of the season on Saturday and we are now officially ‘resting’ or, as you call it, ‘hibernating’!! I always imagine you curled up in a ball at the bottom of your knitting cupboard, snoring gently and covered in woollen jumpers. I’m probably not too far from the truth there, I suspect.
But what a last gig to end on, wasn’t it? At one of our favourite places and meeting up again with those lovely people from Middlesbrough Environment City was a joy! Not to mention those enterprising souls at Tees Valley Arts who seem to have their creative fingers in every Teesside pie!
And, icing on the cake, free food!! In fact, we were spoiled for choice! As is my wont, I partook of just enough to keep my slender, almost sinewy, frame in fine fettle. I have learned that, at my age, I must look after myself in terms of a stringent regime of healthy eating and physical exercise. It seems to be working as I still get many furtive, lustful glances from men of all ages! It’s a cross I must bear!
You, Morag dear, appear however to have no such qualms, subscribing, as you do, to the ‘If it doesn’t move, eat it’ philosophy. I think one should look closely at the title of the event ie the Middlesbrough Town Meal, and note that it’s in the singular. The fact that there were several food outlets on site does not imply that one has to fill one’s plate at each one!! It’s just as well that we had the tricycle to convey your replete and somnolent form back to our ‘green room’ at the end of the day!!
That reminds me! I know we always, rather theatrically, refer to our rest and preparation accommodation as our ‘green room’ but why are they usually lavatory cubicles? Ought we to be upset about this? Saturday’s example in MIMA was, I admit, one of the better ones – it being quite large and containing all that an itinerant performer would need, including baby changing facilities – but I think we should insist on less sanitary surroundings next season. Let’s have more ‘flapper’ and less ‘crapper’!!
It was a wonderful day though, Morag!! Even the inevitable precipitation later in the afternoon did not dampen our spirits. There was music, pony rides for the kiddies, chef demonstrations and all manner of stalls from worthy organisations. Perhaps the only blot on this civic landscape from my point of view was the WI stall where my application for membership was declined.
No reason was given and I feel that they did not give the matter the consideration it deserved! And your schoolgirlish tittering in the background did not help. I note that it is their centenary this year and they are celebrating ‘A Century of Inspiring Women’. I have written to the Chair of the Membership Committee but, until I get a reversal of their ‘rush to judgment’ last Saturday, I remain resolutely ‘uninspired’! Heads will roll, Morag!!
So, Morag, look after yourself over the winter. Do be wary of the temptation to ‘comfort eat’ during the months that contain an ‘r’! We are not a Roly Polys tribute act!
Your devoted sister, Jean
I’ve taken a few photos of Jean and Morag on the day from their Facebook page:
You can also keep up to date with the shenanigans of Jean and Morag via their “blog” or on twitter @jeanandmorag (true silver surfers our tea ladies).
Throughout the 80s and 90s Tees Valley Arts was one of the largest commissioners of Public Art in the North East, perhaps the whole UK, though documented at the time this activity has never been documented by Tees Valley Arts on our website or in print.
As part of mima’s localism project we’d like to document the history of the public sculpture we’ve delivered and aid mima in documenting public sculpture across the Tees Valley.
A great way to celebrate Black History Month – Teesside University and Tees Valley Arts are thrilled and delighted to invite you along to enjoy an evening of Words n Dub, brought to us by two living legends – Benjamin Zephaniah and Dennis Bovell.
Benjamin Zephaniah – Britain’s most recognisable and popular poet – surely needs no introduction. This is an extraordinary opportunity to see and hear him live and in poetic person – don’t miss out!
Dennis Bovell (here with his fabulous Dub band) has made a huge contribution to Britain’s music – reggae, lover’s rock, punk – and to cultural and political awareness.
Come along to Words n Dub, have a great night, listen, learn, dance and celebrate your soul!
All welcome and it’s free!!!
Booking is not necessary but please RSVP below to give us an idea of numbers:
Earlier today Tees Valley Arts, as arts partners of River Tees Rediscovered, were at the Tees Barrage with the Canal & Rivers Trust working with artist Adam Bligh to create a bottle top mural to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the commissioning of the barrage.
As part of the open day it was possible to go down into the bowels of the barrage itself, which is undergoing its annual maintenance check to ensure that it is able continuing holding back the Tees from the lower industrial estuary.
If you weren’t one of the 3,000 people who visited this year, there will be another opportunity next summer.
Here is the absolutely fab mural created by Adam with participants from the open day:
You should be able to see it up next time you drop by the barrage, please tweet us your photos! #lovetees