11 August 2007

Smoke and mirrors

Saturday, 10.30am. Small child running riot around the bedroom, demanding Andrew Lloyd Webber songs (note to other parents: whatever you do, never let your child watch programmes like Any Dream Will Do. It just leads to rack and ruin, and a small child who can sing "Joseph's coat was elegant, the cut was fine" at the age of 2).

What's a harassed set of parents to do? Head off into Northumberland, that's what, in a Triumph Dolomite SE, which as it only has a radio means we can avoid the inevitable demands for songs about Jellicle cats (that's the thing about Lloyd Webber musicals, one thing seems to lead to another...).

We spent the day at Belsay Hall in Northumberland which is hosting the Picture House exhibition. It's the usual mix of stunning (UnitedVisualArtists, Geraldine Pilgrim, antony with William Basinski), thought-provoking, and plain odd (Belsayland) installations, set in an abandoned Grecian-style mansion. It's a beautiful building, and the pieces mostly enhance the setting. And some are just fun - I loved UnitedVisualArtists Hereafter mirror, which showed the room with images of past objects and previous visitors layered with a time-delayed ghost of yourself moving around - hard to describe, but wonderful to watch. M had a ball, spinning around and watching herself spookily appear on the screen.

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