Return to Normality

My exhibition is hung, the launch over, and last week I mostly slept.
Hanging the pieces was almost as difficult as making them. It took six hours to get everything lined up properly, no doubt because it was an entirely new experience and we had to learn how to do it as we did it. There are probably techniques and devices that make the job much easier but we, unschooled as we are, don’t know them – if you do please share your wisdom. I need a hanging workshop.

By the time we got to the Outtakes and Bloopers wall my damns were severely compromised, thus I literally just banged nails into the wall and hung them randomly

Eunoia exhibition at A' the Airts, Sanquhar.

On looking at this photograph quite a large part of me wants to go back and rehang them, but I’ll resist perhaps with the help of a biscuit.

But I need to break my biscuit habit. Maybe I’ll try a healthy apple.

On another note entirely

For the last three months I have been an elected member of Moffat and District Community Council, a (voluntary) job I took on after it (the CC) was dissolved due to lack of members. Feeling that losing such a body would be bad for the community I put myself forward. I’d heard stories from a variety of people about why members kept resigning, thus taking the numbers below the allowed minimum, and it didn’t sound good, but I felt I should find out for myself rather than place my faith in secondhand information. And anyway, I like a challenge. I believe the stories now – there are enough petty minded, selfish, ego driven narcissists in this town to make anyone who tries to do anything good run a (hundred) mile(s). Now our Community Council has been dissolved once more, due to one or other of these sad little men (they are, on the whole, men I’m sorry to say). This time a complaint by a member of the public has been received by Dumfries & Galloway Council (DGC) regarding the election process. The council didn’t follow its own rules for a by-election so they’ve decided to start again, and, thus, break those rules once more.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but the rules state that when a CC goes below a certain number it must be dissolved and a by-election called; nominations are then sought to fill all the places. DGC only sought nominations to fill the empty slots, they say, to smooth the process. However, now that someone has complained they’ve decided to dissolve us once more, even though there is nothing in their rules (called The Scheme) to allow for this. ‘This’ being disestablishing a CC due to DGC making a procedural gaff.

By doing this they are severely compromising the town: we were in the process of applying for a grant of £2.1M for much needed redevelopment work. It will take about three months to reestablish us, which means that opportunity will be lost. I’m dumbfounded by the lack of foresight by DGC, and the utter selfishness of the individual who brought the complaint. And this isn’t the worst of it.

There are elections for Community Councils in this region every four years, the next one is due in October, thus we will have a by-election in August followed two months later by an ordinary election. So, three elections in one year (and how much does that cost the taxpayer?); six months (since last November) of enforced inactivity and lack of representation for this community; the loss of £2.1M with a further application for £3.4M seriously compromised, not to mention all the micro grants that we, the CC, distribute to causes that benefit the community. Everything now has to stop because of one idiot and a municipal council that can’t stick to its original decision.

I should say here that this has nothing to do with our elected representatives, they are great but seem to have little influence on the civil servants that run the council. I had no notion of this before joining the CC and, quite frankly, I’m appalled.

It all feels like Synecdoche Democracy: toxic people are having a moment and showing how undemocratic the WASPish system of government really is. I’ve just watched another short video of the volcanic activity in Hawaii, it’s as if the earth is crying blood – no wonder.

Rant over

How are you (here’s a picture of some string)?

String Theory

10 thoughts on “Return to Normality

  1. Love the picture of string. And congratulations on your exhibition. Sorry to hear of the dysfunction in the Community Council. Greed, egos and corruption seem to be everywhere. My local council has entrenched toxicity with another scandal hitting the fan. Do you plan to hang in there?


  2. The exhibition looks wonderful – I would love to see it in real life.
    Council grant systems, et al – I know of similar tales. It beggars belief. Honestly, it makes me want to bash my head on a desk. Where do these truly toxic people come from – they’re all in each others pockets… passing money to each other and bypassing those who need it. It’s just crazy.


    1. Thanks, Scarlet, pity you’re so far away.

      Indeed, there seems to be a group of people who know how to exploit the system, and they don’t care about anyone else.


  3. You could’ve Googled ‘how to hang art.’ There’s probably a YouTube instructional video out there somewhere. It’s astonishing. You can find out how to do pretty much anything on YouTube.

    Civil servants are like co-op boards. Folks who’ve been put upon their whole lives who now, suddenly, find themselves in a position of power. They’ll make the world pay for what it’s done to them in the past.


    1. You’re right, I could have googled it, and I must do that. I don’t know why I don’t think of these things.

      Now you’ve got me feeling sorry for civil servants!


  4. This is a good photography. You have a good eye.

    Regarding the hung-ery, all I can say it is learning by doing. You have an idea – just do it. Sounds daft, but there is no other way.
    Regarding the public service – I gave up long ago. Some people are naturally dumb and un-interested in the res communis, and one only wonders why they are where they are. Some others are seriously malicious, and I gave up on fighting them. Usually they are well connected, and they give a damn about others. The possibility exists that working in and for a community really does something good for all (or most of them) and as intented – I saw this. But it always came at a price. And the price was the work of those who made it happen, their hurt feelings, the infight, discord and disgrace. It boils down to what one can endure. Again – I do not want to end on such a sad and negative note – I saw good things happen, it can be rewarding, harmonic even, but I think it is not the norm.
    Anyway : Ich wünsche dir alles Gute, viel Erfolg, und ein dickes Fell. Mein Respekt für Dein Engagement !


  5. Thank you, Mago! You’re right, learning by doing is the best way, I’ll just have to find a bit empty wall and practise.

    The community thing’s a bummer, but we’re fighting on and continue to meet to discuss local issues. Currently fighting the planned closure of one of our GP surgeries and our hospital, and trying to make the council think again about building 200+ houses on a flood plane in an area of Outstanding Beauty. One has to hope that making our voices heard will eventually do some good! x


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