The Beauty of a Dream

all of the buildings, all of those cars
were once just a dream
in somebody’s head

dreaming of mercy st.
wear your inside out
dreaming of mercy

Peter Gabriel – Mercy Street (link to Iain Matthews cover)

In my frequent work trips to Bootle, Widnes and now Warrington, I feel I make more than my fair contribution to the 35 million journeys that take place annually along this stretch of the M62.  As I do so I often muse about the large luminous visage that peers down upon the traffic speeding past here on Merseyside and I’ve dreamt of the photographic opportunities that it presents.

Imagine my disbelief then, when having arrived for my first night in Warrington, I read a post from my fellow blogger Debra who posted her image of the sculpture on Vladography this week.

Expressing that disbelief to her she of course pointed out to me that there are many other angles on the subject, and so on finishing my work the following afternoon I determined to waste no more timing in unleashing my Canon upon the artwork. remarkably as I started my car, a drama called North of Riga on Radio 4 was telling the story of a mysterious stranger called the King of Winter who cuts a girl’s hair to steal her dreams.

Intentionally or not, Eoin McNamee‘s character, with his long black hair, immediately brought to mind the protagonist of Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman series.  This character Morpheus, is also known as Dream; a name shared by the tall, white voyeur atop the hill in St Helens.

Jaume Plensa‘s Dream is the North West’s answer to the Angel of North, and is equal in height, though to my mind less impressive when viewed from the roadside.  I’ve always seen the elongated head as androgynous from this aspect, but when you make the effort to climb that hill and meet her face to face she has just as much impact as her rusty cousin, in fact I found her slender beauty completely captivating.   Like the Angel, she stands on a site that was once better known for the dirty and deadly industry of mining, the faces of the men who worked here a stark contrast with the self-cleaning white concrete of the disembodied head.  Her pallor reminds me of the “engineers” of Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus, a film in which an arrogant and jealous android “reads” the dreams of a woman who is in stasis for an interstellar journey. (The film also features a large disembodied head; both in reality and as a statue!) Our fascination with dreams will continue long into the future it seems.  Funny things dreams.

Dream
Dream

 

The beauty of a dream is you don’t let it go,
You don’t ever let it go.

Once in a while a girl comes along
And opens your heart like a spam tin
Just how long can it take?
A bow bends, a bow breaks
And then when it’s time to return the key
She’ll flash you a smile as she slams the door
But you didn’t have to do that to me
To show me just how cruel love could be
And cruel’s a show I kinda starred in before.

Thomas Dolby – Beauty Of A Dream

Dream
Dream
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You really got a hold on me

I mentioned a while back my desire to photograph Gormley’s Another Place, so when I knew I was returning to Bootle, this time I set off in good time to get there before sunset.  Just.
All the signs in the area direct you to Crosby Lakeside, which struck me as strange since the artwork is on a beach, but once I parked I saw why.  A ridge of sand dunes separated  the sea from another body of water, and it was here that I had to leave the car.  Already the sun was disappearing behind clouds, and the dunes made it difficult for me to guess how much time I had before it disappeared altogether, so  whilst the lakeside was all very pleasant, it wasn’t what I was here for.  _MG_8588-Edit-Edit To add insult to injury it started to rain too._MG_8599-Edit-Edit-Edit
I had come prepared for the beach, I have some waterproof Karrimor trainers that are great for dealing with unexpected waves (unlike my tripod!) and small puddles etc. I I quickly slipped these on without wasting time on fastening them tightly, and hurried around the footpath to where I assumed the sea to be.  Success, and there was my quarry; the Anthony Gormley sculptures looking out to sea.  I took a couple of shots of the first that I encountered and then, seeing a chance to compose a shot with one in the foreground while the sun was setting amongst a forest of wind turbines in the distance I hurried forward across some wetter stuff.  Wetter, muddier, stickier._MG_8647
“Never mind, I’ll grab the shot and retreat.” I thought, so opened camera bag to change lenses and adjusted my balance as I did so.  Wet, muddy, sticky stuff decided to keep my shoe and let my foot come away without it.  So now I’m balanced on one foot, trying to keep camera and equipment intact.
I put the camera into the bag and zipped it up to give me two hands free, and as I did so my balance went.  Left foot and sock now in the mud.  Hmmm.  Decided I needed to free right foot before anything else happened and so by pulling with both hand and foot got it free and closer to the left.  No further harm to be done by putting the left shoe back on, everything was pretty much coated, so repeated the procedure, got both feet free and returned to firmer ground.
Looked around for an audience – no one visibly laughing, clearly all pretending they hadn’t noticed!  Time to grab a few more shots and return to the car – I had a spare pair of trainers and a carrier bag so I should be able to contain the problem.  What I hadn’t noticed was that my photography gloves now had a nice coating from the shoe pulling and so I managed to get camera bag, camera casing, puffer jacket and tripod nicely smeared too.
Got back to the car and sacrificed the shoes and socks to the carrier, stuffed the jacket and tripod in the boot for cleaning later and all seemed good.  Until I noticed the state of my jeans.  Heavy with mud up both inside legs this had begun to dry and crack on the journey back to the car.  Maybe it would brush off?  No._MG_8698
I stood for  a while at my hotel reception waiting to check in while a young Indian man who was staying for 38 days asked every question conceivable.  The receptionist was very patient and dealt with me professionally too.  It was only when I got into the room and looked in mirror that I realised I had mud smeared across my face too!