Sleet Feet: Hot off the Press

‘Sleet Feet’ an extract from the novel, Causal Nexus, being penned by Alison Little arrived in print earlier in the month. ‘The Survivor Zine’ presents the frozen trainered teen in the publication.

Holly Ambrose has written for, edited and produced ‘The Survivor Zine’ in full glory of print. The collection of fiction, art and interviews aims to end the silence of shame around sexual violence. All content has been created by sexual violence survivors providing a platform for creativity. 

‘Causal Nexus’ is in the final stages of being edited by the author: Alison Little. The novel follows the journey of a girl from infancy to adulthood and her battle with sexual abuse, rape and the aftermath of her experiences. Final re-scribblings being made as the manuscript travels to publishing houses across the UK.

https://www.thesurvivorzine.co.uk/

Gettin’ the brasses cleaned up!

Stating clearly, by ‘Gettin’ the brasses cleaned up’ we don’t mean sending sex workers to rehab. Sorting out a ‘Tarnished knob’ doesn’t refer to a visit to speak to the professionals at the S.T.D clinic. We are discussing polishing up your household brasswares, the armoury which alines your front door. 

Tarnished knob

The Game Plan

The best mode is to strip off the brass collections, including the fixtures, fittings, bolts and screw plates. Prepare a bucket of boiling water, add a couple of tablespoons of citric acid and a splash of white wine vinegar. Citric acid is freely available in supermarkets, some chemists and home brew shops in particular. 

Couple of tablespoons of citric acid and a splash of white wine vinegar

Soak the brasses overnight, ensuring you don’t forget a shuffle around before beddie byes!

the frisky bit

Next, the frisky bit, remove any tarnishing, turquoise colourings, using wire wool. Wearing work gloves is advocated, not critical, but without PPE you are left with a multitude of miniature nicks on the hardy finger tips.

The application of trusty brasso, the next move, leave on for around an hour then buff-up vigorously with an age-old yellow duster. Black handed, re-attach the wares to the faithful front door.

Ca-ching!

Why tho?

So, Looking betterer than hers next door not floating your boat?

Visualise the smile of satisfaction which will take over your face and your life longs friend gleam at you exclaiming,‘I am humble no more!’ as you enter your home.



The John Moores Painting Prize 2020

John Moore Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

The John Moores painting prize, 2020, delayed by an additional year due to the covid enforced restrictions. The bustling Walker Gallery shows us the cultural draught administered by the pandemic has diminished. Again, we have galleries to visit, exhibitions to experience and the vigour of the John Moores Painting prize in which to resonate.

 Chaotic, intense and mind-altering

The Neanderthal Infirmary, Robbie Bushe, 2019

Robbie Bushe’ The Neanderthal Future Infirmary, a well-deserved scoop onto the shortlist. Chaotic, intense and mind-altering work from the Liverpool born painter. The painting belongs to a series of four and a collaborative animation. Present-day is represented with a hospital setting which appears to drop below ground to the sewers. The vision of a once disused hospital functioning once more. The main goal: to bring back the neanderthal with the extension of saving the human race. Deliberately unsophisticated, the painting technique adds to the chaos of the factory conveyor belt system of the manufacture of life. To a degree, could this vision foreseen BC (Before Covid) relate to the Nightingale hospitals thrown up with haste at the start of the pandemic?

To the Moon and Back, Fleur Yearsley, 2019

‘To the Moon and Back’ impact appears even more significant as a response to lockdown. Painted pre-pandemic, on first glance appears to be a representation of a lock-down, home schooling project. Arrows pointing in the wrong direction, weight indicators and ‘Fragile’ markings take up surface space on this corrugated cardboard spaceship. Glorious in its lack of symmetry, sublimely tacked together with odd lengths of teeth cut brown tape. The scholastic creation engulfs the interior, standing just short of the light fitting. Most significantly, Fleur Yearsley has captured the desire to escape and break free from the isolation of the home.

a lock-down, homeschooling project

Only in her early thirties, Yearsley is relatively new to the art scene. Born and raised in Manchester, relocated to the Capital in combination with a contemplative period at the Slade. Strong graphical techniques, interiors and the home are commonplace within her works. The canvases most freshly painted replay the realities of lock down; rationing of toilet paper, empty cinemas, the re-emergence of board games and loft ladders leading to the additional spectrum of the domestic domain. Artworks which are oversized and undaunted, but equally precise, a style which is zealous although markedly consecrated. A woman to watch as she creates paintings which literally transport you to newfangled places.

Summer Sequoia, Peter Matthews, 2019

Work from Peter Matthews makes a striking return to the Walker, the artist a former prizewinner from 2018. ‘Summer Sequoia’ draws us to a painter who is quickly becoming Britain’s leading abstract artist. Matthews’ formative years were spent in rural Derbyshire, exploring woodlands, fields and hedgerows, predominantly in isolation. The inland terrain became the oceans of the world in adulthood, however the element of solitude remains unaltered within his practice. Often immersing the canvasses within the salt waters of the sea then utilising the works as protection from the dangers of the wilderness.

‘Summer Sequoia’ was painted as a series along the Pacific Ocean, one part Iwate: Japan, Oregon, USA the second. Produced with oils, acrylics and waste matter, shredded at the sea’s shore, painstakingly restitched then mounted on return to the UK. Through the upper section we are presented with Japan, vertical lignage, tree-like marks, possibly the matsu, commonplace in Iwate. United by the indication of long drawn out shadows created by the extremities of the sun in the East. Contrasted by the lower section from the USA, more compact modular structures, possibly buildings but more probably high scaling rock formations. Additional marks indicating a more sizable population. Summer Sequoia brings joy to the lifting of lockdown, a painting to see and an artist to follow.

Summer Sequoia brings joy to the lifting of lockdown, a painting to see and an artist to follow.

The 2020 prize presents a wealth of variety which the contest brings to the UK’s cultural spectrum. The appearance of traditional folk costumes and the presence of smoking not to be disregarded. Again, that ever pressing contrast between amazement and then questioning ‘Why’s that here?’ as you examine the exhibits.

Is Christopher Handon’s Mother valid, did virtual, as opposed to in-person, viewing lead to the minuscule ‘Standing Stone’ selection? As a contemporary painting prize, why are Edward Sutcliff’ botanical works featured? 

More than ever this year reflected the pandemic throughout the works. The desolate moving stairs of commercial shopping centres, wild swimming by moonlight, the pressing concerns around mental health and the concept of escape. Most prominently, the recurring theme of mortality and running through many of the works.

The 2020 John Moores Painting Prize, simply unparalleled.

Booking essential

https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/jmpp/john-moores-painting-prize



Covi’ffeti

They closed our galleries!

They suspended the Arts!

They insisted we stay home!


Artists took to the streets, walls became canvas, spray cans became brushes and the theme became covid. Concepts around mortality parallel the realities of the daily death toll. Political in nature, demaining protection from the virus and gratitude towards key workers.

‘Covid will kill us all’ reflects a mortal state and the demise of the human race. Subjugated by the presence of discarded household items. The era when the home became the full domain, the clear out of draws, wardrobes, combined with the rearranging of lofts. Commodities no longer of use are abandoned, charity shop closures led to an abundance of fly tipping. Evictions due to the pandemic, when mass unemployment soured, many being left to transport their possessions in the multi-facetted shopping trolley.

‘Shield Us’ strategically positioned on Princess Park gates in Liverpool. The park was central to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests held last summer in response to the killing of George Floyd. Superbly inscribed on pure white cotton, the image of the shield supplemented by the ironwork of the historic gates and the sun beaming down onto the spectrum. A political message, demanding the authorities protect us from the raging virus!

We look toward what can be considered little more vandalism, lacking in any artistic credentials. However, the badly sprawled message looks to thank the NHS (National Health Service, UK). Reflecting the global trend of mass gratitude towards medical staff and nurses in particular. The ‘Clap for carers’ spirit which overtook our Thursday evenings straggled onto the closed security shutters of our shopping streets. 

Street art has been with us since Roman times, modern graffiti routing from the US in the 1960’s, extending worldwide by Hollywood. Mainly produced by suburban, teenage males, these works depict the mental health concerns of our youths. The Mental Health Foundation and Swansea University have shown anxiety and depression to be much higher among young people over the pandemic. 

When cultural events moved on line we found vibrancy in the real art of the street. The subculture of discidency of graffiti gave a political voice to those determined to violate coronavirus restrictions. Covi’ffiti, an artistic response to the pandemic.

Liverpool Tool Library

The Liverpool Tool Library is the first in the north west of England and the brainchild of pioneering creative: Imogen Woolley. Everything from High tech angle grinders to simple adjustable spanners, allen keys to airbrush compressors, car jump leads to otherworldly circular saws are there to be hired. DIY for the home, garden, car and the ‘Pandemic’ popular’ push bike. All available to loan from the conveniently located Aspen Yard workshop in the developing, all too trendy ‘Tocky’. 

Originally from the Yorkshire Mill town of Halifax, Imogen ventured down to the capital to complete a degree in illustration and animation. Family ties brought her to Liverpool a place she now considers home. In sharing her home based workshop and tools with friends and family she began to see the demand for publicly accessible tool hire. The concept of the Liverpool Tool Library was conceived when holidaying in Canada. Avoiding the usual tourist trail sights and activities she was directed to a tool Library. On her return to Merseyside she began what was to become three years of planning, to launch a parallel service for Merseyside.


The building was originally stables, we are informed, horses but there is some speculation over an odd cow. The Tool library received some funding from Liverpool Soup and the School of Social Entrepreneur (SSE). Edinburgh tool library was extremely supportive in terms of guidance and the donation of a whopping 150 tools, enough to get the project up and running.

Opening during National Lockdown was an enormous risk, the results were fruitful. She was concerned over putting members in jeopardy and the technical guidance was ambiguous and ever changing. However, with the mass negotiation of homeworking, furlough schemes and the unfortunate reality of being laid off for many, resulted in a surge of home improvement projects and DIY. Regrettably she was not able to involve the local community as much as intended, due to restrictions. As soon as the big boys of B&Q, threw open their sanitised doors she swiftly followed suit. In line with the NHS: 5 steps to mental wellbeing, the tool library is exactly what is called for to bolster us through these times of Covid. 

In the future she is intending to provide a workspace and to enable skill share sessions. Some of these are to be targeted towards women only, enabling a space where females can communicate without being diminished by men. Other challenges are to encourage parent and child groups and uptake from marginalised groups. Interestingly, take up of membership has been around fifty, fifty in terms of gender, already a rebalance of the male dominated traditions of tool handling. 

You can become a member by linking to their website, a quick and simple process. The membership fee is a suggested donation of £20 annually and it is recommended that you pay what you can afford either side of that. The fee enables the day to day running of the library which includes fixing and maintaining tools, rent, and storage solutions. The tools are then free to hire on a weekly basis from Saturday to Saturday.

Join today, take a look at the inventory and request the tools you desire, then brighten the Aspen yard door next Saturday!

https://liverpooltoollibrary.org.uk/

Covid-Chog

Covid-Chog is a a collection of images and free flow text created by Alison in response to the easing of lockdown.

Covid-Chog

Lockdown easing

Release from restrictions

Legal infringements lapse

Time splintered

A year more

Displaced to Covid

Relinquished from cosmos

Alien tempo

Coronavirus stormed

Social unrest of olden

House robber proclaimed

Billboards void of adverts

Remnants, crockery imploded

Domestic violence rocketed

Family bubbles of isolation

Two posts, even stance

Man and Wife

Cease of homeschooling

Social bonds bolster

Door key located for repicking

Comradery, the pandemic

Seasons wavering

Dandelions relinquish

Toward summer

Shadow’ vivid

Pre covid prosperity

The past?

The Covid-Chog dominates

Ready for rebound

Forward/backward

Side/side

Clock/anti wise

The young

Virus spreading amore?

Vaccines Safeguard

Variants escalate

Those Lost

Can never return

The same again

Normality

We quest

Bars, restaurants, venues

Cinema

Theatre

Art Galleries

Regular jobs

School exam progress

Uni lecture theatres

Zoom a tool,

Not the rule

Access to the elderly

Regular visits

End of the face mask

PPI in the past

The new Normal 

The Future 

The Forevermore

Alison Little

The Jab

The Jab

After most of what appeared to be endless holdbacks; I was eventually invited, via a linked text message, to book for the initial jab of the covid vaccine.

Ensuing a taxing, to understate, twelve months: suffering from coronavirus early in the first wave, losing my partner to the virus, a reassurance, then a second bout of the damned infection, I had been eagerly awaiting a call up. At forty-one I appeared to be at the younger, therefore later, end of my age category. With no underlying health issues my wait seemed to have been extended beyond the norm, would I ever be called?

Informed by others to contact my surgery as they were likely to have surplus vaccines available, but I opted to wait until requested. Jumping the queue just doesn’t seem very British and I was a little concerned that I may be taking from others with more preeminent health concerns.

Ellation gained momentum as I moved online to book at, would you believe, the Kenny Dalglish stand of the Liverpool Football Stadium. This made a hit, Dave my partner, had been a major Red and Dalgluish was one of his favored managers. A presence of him looking out for me now he was no longer with us. 

A sun drenched Sunday, setting off on time and arriving a tad early. Despite having mislaid my mobile phone with booking details the steward ushered me swiftly through to the central stand. Everything then ran with the utmost precision, very brief queues, obligatory questions then a painless little tingle of a jab.

Minor concerns over the jab being referred to as the ‘Oxford’,  at this point I was suspecting this was the AstraZeneca vaccine and the staff had been guided to state Oxford over the ever emerging bad press around the second vaccine to be approved in the UK.

Although I had been warned of side effects by the nurse, nothing made itself known. Only a subtle dead arm of no real significance, I was fine. 

1:30 AM

THEN IT STRUCK

Bolt awake

Breathless

Heart pulsing

A barrage of thoughts racing through my mind

Face muscles feeling like they’ve been smashed off a wall.

‘This is it again.’

I recalled previous attacks of covid.

Rising after the sleepless ordeal, heart pounding rapidly, headache traversing the skull. 

Opted to call it a sick day.

Per contra, short lived, by 9AM I was fine to start work, online, no problems. A slight head throbbing re-engaged with my brain, however, easily beaten by paracetamol. Arm felt like a safety pin had been inserted each side of the injection, then an elongated triangle running downward of surface dead cells. 

That was that!

A mini covid experience from the vaccine. Although unpleasant, a minor ailment in comparison to the virus: full blown. 

Water-Flower Can

The Water-Flower Can

The Water-Flower Can is to be considered a most magnificent example of functional art.

The humble watering vessel dates back to at least 79 AD, they can be found at Pompeii, artefacts encrypted by the volcanic explosion. The Roman versatile plant watering tool remaining with us today and beyond the pandemic: Post Covid. Ideal for watering plants, placing among garden pots or as a planter in its own right. 

The Liverpool based artist, Alison Little adorned this creation from handle to spout in roses of splendor. Paint flick techniques adding a celebratory flavour to the form.

A Water-Flower Can, so splendid it will be the envy of mother nature’s creations!

£30

UK mainland delivery £3

Hand painted finish may vary.

Contact to purchase.

The Year Traversed

Dave, Alison’ partner was lost to covid on the 8th of April 2020. This was the deadliest day of the first wave of the pandemic in Liverpool. To mark the anniversary of his passing she has worked on ‘A year Traversed’. In this she recall anecdote which he frequently re-told, elements of his personality in which she misses, in addition to her feeling around life without him. The poem is best listened to, in the spotify link she reads the verses. The style is rather raw in places and needless to state contains explicit language and content.

The Year Traversed


Tales of travels to Niguaguar

Nearly getting nicked for viagra

Vessels bound for South America

Being held down by the jugular


GI father, returned, the States

Before you could become mates

Comics, parcelled over in spates

Never learned any of his traits


Growing up in the tennies

Being robbed for pennies

Jam sandwich, filled belly

To the Logan to watch telly


Teenage girl, saved from agro

Big sis left you aglow

First experience of fellatio

‘Little sister’ sounded, the radio


Sters Refrigerator a first role

Never the pistol or the dole

Apprentice, Troops, on bank roll

Engineering in your soul


Sid machining, on landmass

Squisey, tool heavy, ships forecast

Engine room, never underclass

Georgey Wivell, crass, with brass


A wife, three daughters added

Caravan at Formby, expanded

Weekends, Kop afflicted

Offshore Monday, airlifted


Marital turmoil, could not forewarn

Some looked on with scorn

A new relationship, torn

You were gifted with Shaun


The bar, Razor crowned you Dadio

Rounds ordered in, Jimmy Robbo

Odds stacked up by Mic Allo

Glass eye enters the scenario


Jumper you bought, size twenty-two

Could have fitted both me and you

The size eight jeans presented anew

Impossible fit, despite attractive blue


Vigour shown with your little man

Austin the puppy, you understan’

Returning late, greeting him dancin’

Proclaiming: Austin, Austin, Austin


The last year, thrown

In the morgue, alone

Funeral service, tear prone

Covid restrictions bemoan


Flowers absent

Mourners debarment

Technical adjournment

Send off displacement

Necessary diminishment


Love adamant


Weeks of obliteration

Sort alienation

Covid gripped nation

Death toll amplification


Chin dipped smile

Hand talk bilingual

Chair dancing immobile

Examining Reds profile

Glittering eye crystal

Silence hostile


Physically, you are no more

Not returning from offshore

Covid, I continue to deplore

My heart, we still have rapport

Years we had, top score

You are within me evermore



Alison Little

Ivy League Washing

The eco hack you will wish you discovered years ago!

What would you say if I was to tell you that for 30 pence you could cover the cost of laundry detergent for eternity?

The Ivy hack extraordinaire!

Here’s how it works:

You collect wild ivy on your daily walk.

Place in a mesh bag and tie shut, I used a reusable fruit and veg back I got from Asda for 30 pence.

Place it in the washing machine with stained washing.

Washing comes out: clean, stain free and with a wonderful evergreen forest aroma.

Ivy can preferably be composted, but if binned will decompose quickly in landfill.

Doubious? 

It is every bit as good as traditional washing powder, I tried it on floor cloths and they came out white again.

So why is it more environmental?

Primarily: Zero packaging or transportation needed.

Ivy grows abundantly as waste foliage, all year round. It will decompose naturally and at pace. Daily walks in green space are eco pursuits as opposed to internal energy consuming activities. 

Other plus points?

The cost:

30 pence mesh bag versus £10 a month washing powder, amounting to £120 yearly, totalling six grand over the next 50 years not accounting for inflation.