Next Time

Gay Gary Image

For this week we have a short story, the characters and events are fictional and not based on anyone or real events.

Next Time

‘Next time you cuddle me I will set fire to your Fur Coat!’

Exclaimed Jack. He was fed up, he was fourteen, he was determined to stop his Mothers Gay friend from cuddling him anymore.

He had been brought up by his mother, his Dad had never been interested, he had not really ever known him. It had always been him and his Mother against the World. His Dad didn’t want to know, this meant he was needed to look after his mother more and he did this so very well.

His Mother was a very independent lady, she had fallen pregnant with Jack during her final year of an English degree. Although the relationship with Jack’s father had been far from perfect she had never thought about not having the baby. She had wanted him and adored him from the moment he was born. His Father was off the scene and out of touch before Jack was old enough to blow out his solitary candle on his first Birthday cake. His mother was left struggling with a child on her own trying to pick up bits of copywriting work on the back of an English degree which doesn’t really pay back in financial terms.

Everything had been great between Jack and his Mother growing up, a normal Mother, Son relationship, boundaries, but equally freedom to grow and explore. Then at the age of fourteen everything changed for Jack. His Mothers gay friend, Gary, from her schools days, turned up fur coat in tow. He had needed somewhere to live so his mother had said he could come and stay with them for a bit, which transpired into indefinitely.

So the two-way Mother son relationship became a mother, son and mothers gay friend relationship. Jack’s former habitat of a few of the lads back after football practice turned into don’t ask anyone back in case they meet Gay Gary and it was social suicide for a fourteen-year-old. But things were not as simple as that, Gay Gary way in no way a conservative homosexual. When Jack would return from school he would often be sitting there wearing only his pants and his fur coat, often getting stones and watching daytime TV while Jack was trying to make a start on his homework. He had told his mother about this, she had raised the matter with Gary but he had managed to sweet talk her, as he had been doing since their school days.

Jack’s mother rushed between publishing houses getting bits of work here and there and the odd article published trying to bring in enough money to keep them in food and clothes. Jack thought about getting a part-time job to help out but realistically he would need to wait until he was sixteen before he could really get any work. So as his Mothers weekly grind in the world of printed media, Jack would try and help out with jobs like taking out the rubbish, Gay Gary would laze on the sofa, often too stoned to do anything. Gary had the odd mobile hairdressing job come in, but any money he earned seemed to go on a night out for himself and nothing seemed to go towards Jacks mother. Then Jack began to ask Gary questions about why he had been chucked out of where he used to live. Gary was reluctant to answer Jacks questions, so he waited until he was really high and asked him again. Gary had cashed a housing benefit cheque which was meant for the landlord and ended up being evicted.

Even worse than that, Gary kept cuddling Jack to his dismay. He was always putting his arms right around his shoulders then rubbing him up and down and clasping him into himself. Jack had tried telling him to ‘Get off’ and that he didn’t like being fondled but it was to no avail. He was a tough kid, he had grown up hard and tried pushing Gary off him, but short off a full-scale fight there didn’t seem much that he could do. Then Jack came across a beautiful idea, Gary came home late one evening after going out for a few drinks funded by hairdressing job. It was fireworks night and he was complaining that his fur coat had been singed by a banger going off near him. He insisted that Jack inspected the former animal skin for damage. He, nor his mother when she got back from an evening meeting could see any signs of fire damage. From this Jack plotted his next move, he waited for the next time Jack came up cuddling him then he told him directly:

‘Next time you cuddle me I will set fire to your Fur Coat!’

Gary stopped immediately, taken aback as his coat was his most prized possession. This tactic worked for the next few months, Gary backing off with the thought of his manky mink being cremated.

Ultimately, threats can only go so far until they stop working. For Jacks mother’s Birthday, they decided to hold a party in the house. They invited old and new friends and the house was full. Jack was in the kitchen trying to pour out some more drinks for some of his mother’s friends. Gary came in, he was drunk and being more friendly than normal. When he stretched out to cuddle Jack he reminded him of the potential fate of his furry friend. In his inebriated state, Gary would not listen, his arms going all over Jack, his arms caressing him, even when he tried to squirm out he would not stop petting him. Jack eventually broke free almost ran out the kitchen and made his way to the safety of his bedroom, blocking the entrance to his bedroom door just in case.

The next morning Jack got up early and began to clean up the cans and the empty bottles of wine while plotting his next move. In putting out the rubbish he had a look around the back garden and he found some semi-rotten stakes. He hammered one into the ground, the top reaching up to around the height of his shoulder. Taking a second stake he lashed it to the main post, creating a cross shape. His next move was to prep for his intended action, he got the barbeque lighter fuel ready and laid out the long length matches. Next, he crept very carefully up the stairs, avoiding the squeaky step, then towards Gary’s room. He opened the door very delicately, ajar he could see that Gary was asleep, his pants sprawled across the room. Avoiding looking at them his eyes scanned for the manky mink. Spotting it by the window he crept over, top of his toes, then plucked it from the window sill.

Finishing the setup, Jack positioned fuzzy form on the cross and laced it with lighter fuel. Biding his time he went back upstairs he waited for signs of Gary joining the waking world. As he sat there he thought about Abby, a girl in his form class at school. He remembered how she had looked on the non-uniform day, tight curly hair, small but perfectly formed breasts tucked inside a cropped ‘The Vamps’ tiny T Shirl, she was his favourite girl, the Vamps were his favourite band. He finally heard Gary lighting either a cigarette or the remains of a joint and he knew he was awake. He returned to the garden and he set fire to the Fur, flames formed slowly but surely, he returned inside, after knocking on Gary’s door he told him to look out the window. Gary screamed when he saw the fur fueled fire, running downstair and outside wearing only his underpants. He shrieked and tried to waft off the flames to no avail. He then began to take off at Jack, but he was laughing so hard he couldn’t hear him.

Gay Gary never cuddled Jack again.


Narrative and Illustration from Alison Little

Shatter the Silence Blasts into School Lane

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Shatter the Silence, the debut exhibition to be curated by Alison Little put violence against women at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Six female artists addressing everything from Sexual Violence to fairy stories, Rape recovery to living in fear, Male dominance to finding happiness through imperfect bodies in which we live. Pain, pleasure and personality smash into the Quaker Meeting House.

Jennie Wishart brought us a colourful, but equally fearful play on the theme.

Living in Fear’ is a later work, the emotion conveyed through the figure is expanded through the use of shadow.’

explains Wishart, her real name incidentally. We see a figure frightened, the anticipation of fear indicated by the shadow overcoming the figure. The poise is almost prey-like, her hands coming together, almost shaking as the face reflects the emotions which are present in her face. Yet, the bright range of purples and yellow make it an almost pleasant image to view, interesting work from an artist turning in new directions within her practice.

A photographic representation of a fabric covered statues encapsulated by a chastity belt was presented by Sue Leach.

‘My work explores women’s issues. This photograph of a recent sculpture explores female oppression, male dominance and sexual exploitation. The non-representational depiction of the female implies a woman whose freedom is denied and whose personality has been effaced making her vulnerable to many forms of exploitation.’

States the artist, the piece simply entitled ‘Woman’. Leach, on retirement, began a BA in Fine Art at Wirral Metropolitan College, based in Birkenhead. This is one of many pieces she has exhibited in Liverpool’ creative exhibition spaces as she completes her studies.

The show was stolen by Liverpool’ newest conceptual photographer: Emma Walker. Graphic play in the layout as a panoramic vision of images almost animated in the presentation of the sequence. In ‘Alphabet Soup’ the photographs that start the series are shock, confusion, sadness and distraught. The fifth image does not have a girl in the photograph. This represents being at an all time low. Rock bottom. The white letters on a black wall represent the mental pain, anger and the not making any sense of what had happened. The photographs that come afterwards slowly reveal the face, section by section, this is capturing the slow process of getting stronger. The final photograph shows a girl happy, unafraid. Walker has proved herself to be a new talent to watch, in this her use of photography to draw our attention to the emotional journey of a rape survivor.

Not forgot the domestic violence we present our daughters with through fairy stories highlighted by the textiles of Sarah Nicholson. The rape recovery process presented through the concept-based work of the curator: Alison Little. Laurence Sauvage shows us that women’s bodies are not always perfect, labelling being a re-occurring theme of the French feminist artist.

A show that shatters its way onto the Liverpool Art Scene, using creativity to make us contemplate the dangers women face on a daily basis.

The exhibition takes place in the cafe exhibition space at the Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT, the private View being held 4-6pm on Friday 24/03/17, the exhibition running until Sunday the 21/05/17. The Cafe is open from 9am-3pm weekdays and 9am-4pm on Saturdays closed on Sundays. Arts activities relating to the exhibition are planned for the Light Night taking place on the 19/05/17 the closing weekend of the exhibition.


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5 Minute look at an Old Master


Matisse and Dance

Matisse returns to the theme of dance throughout many of his paintings and the body of work he produces over his lifetime.

In his early work, he identifies with the theme of dance in La Joie de Vivre we are presented with an assemblage of dancers within the middle ground, central to the painting. They are rotating in a circle, their hands clasp together. This is very much a background activity, the figures in the foreground taking very little notice of the whirling activity. The simplicity of the line strokes allows for the indication of motion.

In ‘The Dance’ 1909 we are again presented with a collection of dancers encircling each other, this time they are the sole subject of the work. In similar respects, the innocence of the line marks allows for the suggestion of movement in the form of leaping and jumping. ‘Nasturtiums and The Dance’ 1912 looks to combine the action of the frolic with still life. In this, we have a static arm chair in the foreground and a central table displaying a vase of flowering nasturtiums. The foliage acts as a bridge between the static furnishings and the dancing sequence, the leaves appearing to be engaging with the cavorting exploits of the figures. The nude participants appear to be almost flying in motion as they circle the central table. The expressive dabbing techniques of fauvism compliment the flight-like portrayal, the strokes in the backing blue tone adding to the centrifugal direction of the piece.

The most famous of his later works being ‘The Dance’ 1931-32, again he has presented a vision of and encircling composition, hands grasping, or reaching out to each other within the direction of flow. In the development of Matisse’ creative practice, he has reduced to no indication of a background or and signs of a location. The figures have been reduced to simple lines and brush strokes making them universal.

Truly a great master represents dance in a way which was not seen before.


Private View

Emma Walker 1 copy

Private View 


Friday 24/03/17

Shatter the silence

Violence against Women

‘Shatter the Silence’ is the first group exhibition to take place in Liverpool showcasing works of art relating to the themes of; Rape, Sexual Violence, Domestic Abuse, Street harassment, Consent and Feminist Issues. The group of artist present us with a range of wall based media, conceptual photography from a rape survivor informs us of the emotional stages from being the victim of a sex attack to returning to a positive state of wellbeing. The Rape recovery process is depicted through concept-based work showing regrowth and the regaining of strength. Traditional painting exposes us the reality of living in fear, textiles work draws our attention to the violence encountered in traditional Fairy tales. A photographic depiction of a figure having been wrapped explores oppression while a feminist painter creates a dreamscape of imperfect bodies. A range of creative talent standing together with creativity which will challenge violence against women within Liverpool and society at large.

The exhibition was Curated by Anfield based Artist Alison Little who is involved in the organising for the annual Reclaim the Night March which will take place on the 5/05/17 this year. The ‘Reclaim the Night March is in its 5th year since returning to Liverpool and campaigns against a range of issues from Rape to street harassment, ‘Shatter the Silence’ looks to co-ordinate with this event.

Andrew Backhouse and Steve Connolly of Quaker Meeting House, said

Quakers are against violence and for equality. Whilst this exhibition is not comfortable for us to host, we need to be aware of what is happening in our society today and its effects. ‘Love is the hardest lesson in Christianity, but for the reason, it should be our care to learn it.’(William Penn, 1693)”

The exhibition takes place in the cafe exhibition space at the Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT, the private View being held 4-6pm on Friday 24/03/17, the exhibition running until Sunday the 21/05/17. The Cafe is open from 9am-3pm weekdays and 9am-4pm on Saturdays closed on Sundays. Arts activities relating to the exhibition are planned for the Light Night taking place on the 19/05/17 the closing weekend of the exhibition.

To book tickets for the private view

or contact:

Alison Little

21 Ullswater St, Anfield, Liverpool, L5 6QT

07891 545144

War on Sexism

Bethany Davies is one of the Liverpool art scene’s brightest new talents. The feminist artist uses her creative direction to draw attention to the misogyny, patriarchy and degradation of women is STILL an issue in society. Currently, on a printing internship at Hope Uni’s creative campus, she has no plans to stop creating now she has graduated. ‘Daily Sexism’ is a series of comic style illustrations where she presents a feminist perspective on chauvinism every present in society:

The still images are a snapshot from stories that people sent to me via facebook, I used still imagery as I wanted to display the use of social media and how a snapshot can portray many different views. I used pencil and paper at first, I liked the way they looked really simple and innocent but I wanted to digitalise the illustrations to link them with how I gathered the stories. I scanned the illustrations into the computer then went over the lines in photoshop. I wanted to keep the raw childlike drawings with linear qualities to create a juxtaposition with the theme of my work. I displayed my work at my final degree show in a small space, I used a dark room, a flat screen television, headphones and one chair. I wanted the view to feel very connected to the stories, to feel the emotion and horror.

-Bethany Davis

So as Donald Trump was completing the last of the campaigns to be elected as President of the United States last summer Bethany Davies was editing ‘Daily sexism’ for her Fine Arts degree final piece. As Trump screws up government policy on female equality, the animation reminds us women must stand against female oppression.

The use of social media to gather anecdotes about female oppression has been key to the success of the final animation. Facebook turned thirteen last month as it has changed the way we all communicate forever and in this case for the better. It has allowed Davis to gather a varied range of accounts of female suppression through a not-intrusive social networking tool. In the final viewing, she has matched narratives with varied regional accents and numerous visual illustrations.

The collection of illustrations covers a range of issues from groping to excessive use of alcohol. We look at women’s bodies being exploited with ease of digital photograpghy and are subjected to street harassment. We are introduced to over controlling men and abusive relationships. Finally, the underlying issues of social inequality are addressed by the sexual innuendo given by the Police Officer. The raw mark making techniques of scratching the lines onto the surface are used to convey the emotion felt by the characters being animated.

A strong new feminist artist looking to take the Liverpool art scene by the horns as she taken on the bigotry which oppresses the women of this city.