The Loss

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‘Silhouette; burnt orange’ by Charlotte Hodes

Photo: Joel Chester Fildes

The Loss is a short fiction works written by Alison Little. It was produced in responce to ‘Silhouette: burnt orange’ by Charlotte Hodes which was exhibited as part of The Errant Muse exhibition held at the VG&M in Liverpool.

The Loss

Sunlight brandishes down on the desolate beach location, she lies stretched out on her front, body twisted towards the horizon of the sea. Hand raised above her eyes, blocking the sunlight attempting to obscure her vision.

Eyes scanning the spectrum for him, she has lost sight into the expanse of the ocean. Only out of sight she assumes, hidden between waves lashing against the rocks of the coastline. Her rear is arched slightly, enhanced by the slender fit summer dress. Knees encased by the warmth of the dry sands. Earlier, her feet had kicked up joyfully towards her rear, playfulness re-connected in adulthood, now tensed. Below her, the sands burn a deeper orange.

A hand crochet blanket, hours of pain, distraction-seeking hooked yarn, covers the sands she rests on. It was the only thing for her to do, removing her mind from the loss. There was no point in making any more baby clothes, she didn’t know what to do with the collection she had already made, laid out in the draw she had lined. They would decide in unison after the negotiated break.

Vision streaming further into the ocean, she could still not see him. They had waited four weeks since the miscarriage to get away, both needed to arrange time off work. Making the blanket had kept her mind occupied, kept the tears from flowing full force. They had come to Swanage in Dorset, easy to book a B+B at limited notice. The main town beach had been packed full of babies and children, grown into what their foetus would have once become. He had taken the initiative to suggest walking to a more remote beach around the coast. He was trying to be strong for her but he was grieving the loss in tandem.

Further, into the ocean, a longboat jammed full of tourists heads towards deeper waters. All the trips they would never take their unborn child on, the picnics they would never consummate, the family games they would never play. Into the abyss, the no-more, her hand fell onto her reduced stomach. A light tear joins her face, panic sets in, she couldn’t see him. What if she had lost him also, drawn out to the infinite seascape. As she is about to stand several petals drop down onto her smudged checks. Looking up, he is scattering wildflower petals over her, their eyes connect and they smile in unison. He joins her as they wrap into each other, minds and bodies link, they know everything will be okay again.

The Errant Muse

Charlotte Hodes has two further exhibitions later in the year:

Remember Me, Charlotte Hodes Papercuts & Ceramics Solo exhibition, National Centre for Craft & Design, 11 Jan – 22 March 2020

Most Admirably Improved by Art, Hestercombe, Somerset, 29 February – 28 June 2020

Britishness

Covid19Jack


As Covid-19 strikes our shores, looking to attack and kill many of us Brits we must question; What is Britishness? Britishness can be glorious, but equally, sometimes less appealing aspects. The extent of the British Empire at its prime to the realities of Post-Colonialism in modern society. The cultural heritage of our nation to the modern ethnic diversities in which we thrive.

What symbol could we select to represent ‘Britishness’. This could be the actual size of an item replicated on a smaller scale. A teacup and saucer jump into vision, possibly a post box or the now virtually redundant phone boxes once of British Telecom. Also in red: traditional buses which are still in service or modernised to a degree. Umbrella’s to represent the ever-present rain showers which engulf our shores, the nostalgic notion of vicars on bicycles. Equally, the symbolism potential of animals could be exploited, the frequently used lion to show strength from the Empire days. Alternatively, a bulldog, famed through Churchill and our victories during World War II. Would we look to incorporate the National Flag: Union Jack and the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement?

If you were asked to collate a statement around the theme of ‘Britishness,’ how would it read?

The concept of ‘Home’, the area in which you live and building, people and places of importance. Identifying with feeling around gender, ethnicity, class and regional background. Do women feel differently to men, do those from ethnic minorities feel as strongly ‘British’ as their white neighbours? Do white working-class opinions vary from those of the nobility? Will Scottish feelings about Anglo-centricity contrast to those of the English?

Whatever your feelings about Britishness, in this state of emergency we must fight off this virus, in isolation but equally in unison.

Mrs Trump

 

Mrs Trump

Although Mrs Trump and other characters in the narrative are real, this is strictly a fiction works and the actions and events are not based on real life.

Mrs Trump gazes over the silver-framed Wedding photo they have positioned on the intricacies of their mantelpiece. The happy day: a falsehood, like herself, a manufactured outer shell. He owns her like his property empire, the White House, the Billionaire who purchased the United States, if not the World. Her vision moves towards the photos from their honeymoon. Modest, but designer suited, backed by the vision of a meadow. A meadow which they never walked in, only fantasies of jumping and throwing things at each other as she gathers wild flowers. A nature she had never submersed herself in, not even in youth. Even when at the beaches of the tropics, she goes no further than the spotlessly cleaned lounge areas of the most luxurious hotels.

Eyes manoeuvre back towards the image of the big day. The bridesmaid from her side, a cousin she hardly new flown over from Slovenia. A girl who would look good in the dress the stylist selected for her which she didn’t question. The bridesmaid figure they were able to call up and slot in again when needed for media stated family occasions, now replaced by their son.

The fallacy of the photograph, as she looks over she feels nothing. Void of emotions or signs of dissatisfaction with the home life she has built up. A fake marriage, a collection of houses in which she didn’t enjoy living. A husband whose affections wonder over those he can afford. Horses they hire people to ride, the land they purchase as simply a pleasant view from the windows. Dead inside, presenting a placid outer shell. Simply stand by his side. Mrs Trump: the ultimate purchase, a representation of beauty, an outer crater containing nothing but stale air.

Reminiscing on the excitement of her youth before she became the third Mrs Trump. The wild all-night parties of her modelling work, Milan, then Paris. A smile takes over her face and her lower lips become moist as she recalls the thrill of jetting into London to bare all for GQ magazine. Fully naked, draped over furs, neck adorned by jewels as she looked directly at the lens. When she had it all ahead of her, desired by all, she could have made any man her partner.

Fingers run over the jewel of her neck piece she selected earlier in the evening. The fulfilment she had felt when she had established her own jewellery business, the company she had been forced to abandon as it was deemed unfitting for the President’s Spouse. The PC role she now plays helping children’s charities. The glamour of the jewels given up for the dust-ridden dorms and desolate units of children’s homes. The special attention she has been directed to give towards the harm opioids can do to the foetus. Not her instigation, could pregnant women on heroin, really, not work out they are harming their unborn children for themselves?

Legs rested on the footstool, she leans back into the comfort on the leathers of the settee. Eyes wandering around one of many living rooms of the White House, gazing through the expanse of the interior. Her memories re-engage with the modest apartment in which she was raised. The entire residence for her parents and there two daughters to live being the same size as the room she is currently seated. As she sips her gin and tonic she contemplates the separate beds her and her husband now sleep. When their relationship had started they indulged in sex multiple time a day, now they rarely even touch one another. The son they had together, the boy they hardly know due to the amount of time he spends away at school. She is ambient to his meagre attempts to hide his latest affair, a brave front made up and ignored. She had acquired all the riches a woman could desire, but right now she recognises she was happier squashed into the apartment block of her childhood surrounded by the love of her family.

There can be no return, no escape, no way of leaving the most powerful man in the World. Again, her vision gazes towards the mantelpiece, this time toward the bottle of pills, her eyes look down towards the ice in her gin and tonic.

No, she will continue to dress for the press, stand by his side and present herself as ‘The Wife’, her envisaged role.

For now anyway……

Block Works

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Block Works is the latest concept based practice from Alison Little: comprising of a series of sculptural forms which represent areas of urban residence. An ethnology process where collections of discarded objects are cemented together in block form. The artefacts are selected and encased in the common urban material offering an explanation of those who occupy the city space, their lifestyles and methods human existence.

Everton Block Works engages our attention with the towering form of the engine suspension system, reflecting the second-hand car culture commonplace within the area. Several narcotics smoking devices emerge from the upper surface, indicating drug use within the external environment. Homelessness or the misguided pursuits accountable as youth culture. Contrasted by the healthy activities of dog walking, shown by a lead and enhanced by an exercise equipment suspension spring. An adjacent feather shows the ever present urban pigeon, commonplace within cities globally. The top surface encases a heavy industrial ring, accompanied by screw findings, rope matter throughout the form. Manual work being common with local inhabitants. Child’s playthings are present, but items from £1 stores from lower-income families. The edges of the block are lined by food consumer packaging waste: crisp packets, fizzy and alcoholic drinks cans. A suburb where the unhealthy diet is prominent and drink alcohol a persistent activity. The greens and greys of the blocks finish reflect the mix of residential and urban green space which dominates the Everton area.

The top section of Anfield Block Works is entangled by the dynamics of a discarded cable. Other electric wastes reflect a culture where the inhabitants are happy to discard debris freely. An array of drinks top illustrates further examples of poor diet, however, an exercise water bottle top suggests healthy activities. This is joined by a dog toy and tennis ball, positive pursuits within a leisure space. Again, a pigeon feather evidence of urban wildlife. Examples of gambling additions within the district can be drawn from the miniature blue pen of the bookies. Wire wool, cable systems and sponge matter indicating manual tasks occurring within the outdoor spectrum. The Liverpool football stadium ‘Anfield’ being a central hub of the district. The inflatables from matchdays, the drinks straws from spectators present in the block formed in the shadows of the Kop. The final colour showing a degraded range of greens and blacks, an urban green space heavily polluted by the traffic of the stadium.

The Block Works Collection with expand across the city and further afield. More collections with be collated, encased and presented as representations of the city and occupants.

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The Green

the Green

The Green is an extract from the novel: Casual Nexus, written by Alison Little, she is looking to publish the novel later in 2020.

Stood aback from the green space, intersected by cars negotiating the rather complex one-way system, a moderately plump woman stands, examining an item of jewellery. She has just left the small countered repair shop which has presided on the green for over three generations. Excitedly, she opens the locket and looks adoringly at the miniature photograph inside:

‘I’ve got you back, mother!’

Caitlin McBride mouths internally to herself. Examining the clasp, a fitting repair job, her hand run over the shinning silver gleaming after the buffer wheel treatment. She slips the primal keepsake she has of her mother carefully into the upper zip pocket of her jacket. As she secures the zip her eyes scan over the green, her mind re-encounters the fair she went to as a teenager. Churning of the stomach as she remembers the lad she had met and their liaison in the undergrowth. Vomit rises into her throat as she recalls taking him in her mouth. Giggling at the time, now remorseful, it was simply another tangled interlude she had engaged in as she was too confused to determine her desired course of action.

Eyes rotate around the central space attention focusing on the swing park. A father playing with his children. Reminiscing over the few times her father has taken them to any form of a playground, but he had always been so busy with his work and the band. Her expanding gaze then halts, she looks at the Father in greater detail, her vision fixated, anguish overcomes her thoughts:

‘J-A-C-K’

She vocalises statically, the volume reduced but out loud. The man, then boy, who had determined the turmoil of negativity through her teenage years and transcended into adulthood. Jack who she had hidden from fearful of his advances. Jack whose manipulation had overcome her in the end. Jack who had a happy family, children, a wife and a house. Jack who had stolen her childhood, Jack who had taken so much from her and what her future would have been. Jack who her brother had never stopped, Jack who had never paid for what he had done to her during her teenage years.

She wipes the tears straining through her face as she makes haste towards the far side bus stop. As she moves further from Jack and the falsehood of the family man, the more composed she becomes.

Toddler Copper

toddler copper image copy

Toddler Copper is the latest digital artwork from Liverpool based artist Alison Little.

February, in the UK, has seen public confidence in the Police Force hit an all-time low. Last week, the Police watchdog warned that faith in the Force is being damaged by rumbled investigations and that less serious crime is simply not being reported.

Trends of victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault no longer supporting the prosecution continue. In England and Wales, an arrest was made in only 7.8% of recorded crime, down from 9.1% the previous year. On Merseyside alone, every household will be expected to pay £10 addition costs for Policing for an agency which has been proved to be ineffective on every level.

Toddler Copper, the print, highlights a lack of confidence in the Police Force. We see a toddler, effectively playing ‘Dress-up’ as a Policewoman. We see a child in an adult role, we see a presentation of an Officer being unable to deal with crime or confrontation behaviour on any kind of required level. We see a child who is mentally and physically weak. We see a representation of a Police Force which serves as an insult to victims of crime.

Alison works, through, visual arts, print media and across the spectrum of the creative industries looks to push for a Police Force which will identify with there failings and improve standards to that of fit to be investigating crime, sexual predator cases in particular.

Works which can actively push for reform…………………………

The Eternal I

Brests

Explicit content warning

The Eternal I

I am the all
I am the only
I am an example for others
I am all that matters
I am my ultimate muse

Standing, average size in height. Pleasant facial features, nothing extraordinary, a relatively forgettable portrait shot. Plastered on layers of make-up, a full face, foundation, powder topped up continually. Lip liner, lipstick, where possible drinking through a straw avoiding a devastating smudge.

Hair parted to a standard off centre, cut to a dictated norm of long, slightly below the shoulders. Bleached blond, the only way to be, flaxen supremacy achieved through beautification. Regular root touch up, straightened and set at the salon weekly. Modified, hairbrush heat, a week of keeping dry to ensure the best of my appearance.

Bust enhanced cosmetically, cheap but not in the financial sense. The bigger the better, the instruction given to the consultant. Thousands parted to become a sexual commodity.

Chest ripping through tops cut low, then lower again. The breasts are tools of control, they make her desirable. She plants them in faces, pushing them into vision, projecting them into power. Eyes are drawn into cleavage, manoeuvre to manipulate.

Under the bosom, there is nothing of consequence. Dressed in smart blacks to look slimmer, pulling in the extra few pounds. In conversation, little to say other than on the subject of herself. No real family or friends of sorts, though little of by colleagues, another new partner with her unintentionally. Sex is something she endures, lying back as he penetrates, ejaculating into the rubbish bin of her female form. Vagina a goal, her pleasure of no concern.

I am ego-centric to the core
I am my subject matter
I am an acquisition
I am my cleavage locator
I am my breasts.

I am only my breasts…..

 

‘The Eternal I’ is the latest flash fiction works from Alison Little. Written as a response to the Errant Muse exhibition held at the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool.

 

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