If I don't understand it, how can I ever get excited by it?

Fort GilkickerFort Gilkicker
Fort Gilkicker
Every now and then I get the feeling that I should do something extra-cultural with the family.

I go to the theatre as much as I can, so that doesn’t really count as something extra. Plus it costs so much money to take the offspring. Unlike art galleries, which remain fantastically free in so many cases.

I’ve heard a bit about BAS8 – this is the British Art show which is on in Southampton until the end of January.

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There are lots of events happening, including exhibits of multiple works at multiple venues. What could be a better way to while away a Sunday afternoon?

My daughters and I decided to visit the John Hansard gallery, which is housed at the university near the Nuffield. A few hours of family time away from screens. Brilliant.

Except we managed to find ourselves in the digital exhibition. This is billed as the best of exciting contemporary art on show, but I failed to understand most of it even though I went to art school (but that was before the internet and Go-Pros, so maybe that’s why I didn’t connect in the way the artists hoped for).

Don’t get me wrong, there were really enjoyable elements and the children and I had a brilliant laugh trying to understand what we were seeing. A three-screen projection, at the end of a black corridor, turned out to be based around a piece of bread.

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Two more videos (one watched while sitting on rolls of carpet) later and we were ready to leave feeling no more enlightened about the state of the world, but mightily amused by the whole experience.

It makes me wonder what exciting means to the curators of the show, as opposed to what it means to me. If I fundamentally don’t understand something, can I get excited by it? And what does excitement mean – that you want to go and create art personally? That you want to see more, or explore more about the artists?

That didn’t happen for me, but that’s okay. I excitedly went to the gift shop as I love galleries’ offerings.

But the postcard I wanted, of Portsmouth architectural glory the Tricorn, cost £2.50!


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Fort Gilkicker at the end of Stokes Bay has been sold again, to new developers.

This time it’s the turn of Wild Boar Developments to talk up the building of luxury flats, high quality, working with everyone and blah, blah, blah.

No doubt this will come as a surprise to the dog-walking community (myself included), who’d heard on the grapevine that the amount of water under the fort was far too expensive to dry out.

Perhaps that was wishful thinking on the community’s part.

I have yet to meet a single person who thinks that converting the fort into flats is a good idea and will benefit anyone but the developers.

Watch this space, and the fort, to see if anything changes.

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After online chuntering, mainly from misogynists and wildly recounted by the national media, who attempted to add legitimacy to a mere 15 or so tweets and called that reporting, I finally got around to watching the new Ghostbusters film that features Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.

You know the one, where, shock, horror, the main characters are played by women.

The film was actually pretty good, had some excellent lines and kept up the action and the pace.

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The cameos from the original Ghostbusters team were fun too, as was the muscular eye candy provided by one of the handsome Hemsworth brothers.

Give it a try, I say. It’s clever, fun and wittily self-referential.

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