Friday, 29 August 2014

Coming Up at AirSpace Gallery

AirSpace Gallery

Autumn / Winter 2014

After a really successful Summer Residency Season, which saw Andrew Burton and Vulpes Vulpes explore ideas around Brownfield and Social Gatherings, we get a sense that Autumn is on its way, and as ever, AirSpace has a packed programme. Here's a taster of what's coming up, with exhibitions, events and opportunities for you to get involved.

We really hope to see you at one, more or ALL of these great events!!


GRADUATE MICRO RESIDENCIES - 2 x £500 awards available to recent Staffordshire University visual arts graduates. DEADLINE September 8th

As part of the ArtCity initiative, a brand new Residency Programme will start this year in Stoke-on-Trent, involving artists Shaun Doyle, Mally Mallinson, Chloe Cooper, Leslie Deere and Leigh Clarke. As yet to be named, the project is intended as an ongoing programme, establishing a residency of national importance utilizing the city’s vacant commercial properties and skill base. We envisage a public facing, communicative, responsive programme that involves a strong education element, building ties to local schools and colleges. READ MORE

  September 6th/7th

As part of the forthcoming AirSpace Gallery / Potteries Museum and Art Gallery exhibition, "The Artist And The City" artist Adam James is running a LARP, here in Stoke-on-Trent. And there are opportunities to be a central part of it! READ MORE and BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE


To mark the final day of the exhibition Coming Up For Air, art world legend and A-N Magazine's soon-to-be-departing Chief, Susan Jones will be the guest speaker at the 5th installment of our Artist Soup Kitchen Series. Drawing on the themes from the exhibition, Susan will present present the case for the importance of artist-led activity and the compelling need for effective advocacy in the area.

There are 10 places available for this not to be missed opportunity for delicious homemade soup, bread and bespoke art-chat. READ MORE and BOOK YOUR PLACE


  BENEATH THE PAVEMENT - The Presentation
  Wednesday 24th September, 2014 4pm-6pm

In July, 2014, Appetite and the City Centre Partnership commissioned AirSpace Gallery to design a consultation and visioning programme designed to work with artists to find spaces and opportunities in the city centre for artists and other creative practitioners to work, put on events and activities, but also to consider how the city might work differently.
The Presentation event will see the unveiling of these exciting, thoughtful and sideways thinking proposals at the launch of the Beneath the Pavement Presentation Event. The launch is set to be an experience in itself, inviting attendees to explore and reimagine the city with us.


We have TWO major exhibitions coming up before the end of the year.

September 12th - October 18th 2014 - PV :September 12th 6pm-9pm
CAMPBELL WORKS re-examine what constitutes an ‘artwork’ and peruses the idea that an artwork is ‘the final manifestation of a multitude of elements drawn together from external sources and re-formatted into new and unexpected configurations’, enabling alternative understandings to be drawn from the original elements. READ MORE

  PMAG - 4th Oct, 2014 - 22nd February. 2015
  AirSpace - 31st October - 13th December, 2014
  Public Preview - PMAG / AirSpace - 31st October, 6pm-9pm

A collaborative exhibition between AirSpace Gallery and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, curated by Jean Milton and Anna Francis.
Ahead of Stoke-on-Trent’s Esmee Fairburn funded project, ArtCity , AirSpace Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery have worked together on an exhibition entitled 'The Artist and The City', exploring the idea that considering Stoke’s history of creative industries and artists working in the city, it is and has always been a Creative City. READ MORE

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Hello Studio 3, by New AirSpace Member Selina Oakes

Studio 3 (exclusive view & imaginary desk !)
Joining AirSpace Gallery after a bumpy but consistently surprising post-uni ride, I'm thrilled to get stuck in with the AirSpace community and its creative endeavours. As a Fine Art graduate from Newcastle University (the Newcastle with the big bridges and the moderately tall angel), I've returned to my home city of Stoke-on-Trent to explore the possibilities of interning for the artist-led organisation as well becoming a studio holder. Hello, I'm in studio 3!

My emerging practice lies between drawing, photography, sound and video-performance. As this is the first time I've had a studio outside of an institutional environment I'm keen to re-focus my research interests, working in an experimental way over the next few weeks. Prior to AirSpace, my practice focused primarily on body-space interactions – looking at mimicry and movement in relation to natural environments, man-made props and architecture. I have a slow-to-be-updated website here

Some previous works for eager eyes:

Having had a pause in my artistic practice, I'm gearing myself up by reviewing the stack of photographs I've taken over the last year. I'm also eager to work on my contemporary art writing - past interests include body-space production and performativity in photography. Alongside my time as a studio holder, I'm looking forward 
to joining AirSpace as an intern – pitching in with admin jobs, work around the gallery and assisting with artist-led projects. 

As a new member at AirSpace, I've had a great welcome with the Vulpes Vulpes workshop day, as well as a brief encounter with current resident artists Neil and Harriet (Campbell Works). I've settled into studio 3 with a few contemplative scrawlings and successfully managed to lock myself out of the AirSpace building. Whilst my role as an intern might require borrowing a few characteristics from a folklore shapeshifter, part of the interest in working for an artist-led space is that people's roles are in a state of flux - constantly changing in relation to the shifting projects that enter and disperse their way into the building and beyond. I'm looking forward to becoming part of a creative and collaborative hub that seeks to promote the existence of contemporary visual art in Stoke-on-Trent – Glen assures me its not all about making coffee and tea.

Selina Oakes.

AirSpace Gallery Graduate Residents - Alice Walter and Naomi Harwin

The gallery's newest members arrived this week - Alice Walter and Naomi Harwin were selected from a large list for the AirSpace Gallery 2014 Graduate residency programme.

Over the course of the next 6 months, they will have free studio space, regular support meetings and mentoring sessions with Gallery directorate and artist professionals, hand-picked to suit their needs. AND two exhibitions - an interim Window exhibition, halfway through their residency and a Solo Show in January.

It's great to have them both here with us - and here's your chance to meet them.

Alice Walter

I am interested in that of the quiet and the in-between, of things which are independent from strict definition and singular meaning but no less pronounced in their sense of purpose and significance. Each depicted form in my work strives to possess pronounced but ambiguous connotations that echo as amalgamations and regurgitations of past observations, experiences and feelings, but made sensible in some way. Within the composition they attempt to weave themselves into alignment along the periphery of language, like a thought forming, or a weird dream; forms and figures take on a symbolic sense of culmination and importance, despite their vague connotations instead of exact labels and their often quiet scale, tonal range or minimalism. Their vague suggestions and hazy realism in colour— despite nothing to figuratively realise— act as an initial anchors into each painting.

These gateways in attempt to make way for a different perspective where they in themselves become irrelevant; instead it is hoped that a more independent way of understanding and seeing can be reached, that does not rely on a system of a language or outside dictating force. It enters onto a curious, communally personal world, where understanding doesn’t need to be reduced to the monosyllabic in order to be relevant, and that it can be far more so if it isn’t.

Paints stickiness and flatness marks the paradoxical nature of language, where a painting is at once an illusionistic image and an over familiar object, and I find this an ideal metaphor for the restrictions we find our limitless psychologies bound within.

Naomi Harwin

At the core of Naomi Harwin’s practice is a desire to explore and understand the relationship between one’s self, the objects that surround us and the environments we occupy. Most recently, she has been focusing particularly on the processing of visual stimuli, striking up a dialogue between a form and its represented image.

Through playing with materials and employing the aesthetic qualities she finds herself drawn to, the attention of her studies has become the forms of her own construction. Using processes associated with mapping she is able to both generate and assess the forms, her traceries acting as records of her findings from explorations of the surfaces. Amongst these discussions Harwin also considers different methods of displaying her work to create a dynamic and engaging experience of the facets and features of these objects.

Monday, 25 August 2014



'If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' By Kypros Kyprianou

The Installation and Review By Michelle Rheeston-Humphreys

The second exhibition of the 'In The Window' programme 'If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' by Kypros Kyprianou, was selected for its curious and unsettling nature. A now constant presence in the public domain it highlights over the next two weeks the modern phenomena of being watched. The concerns of which, has been explored in literature and social theory extensively most notable in George Orwells book '1984'. It is a reminder of the surveillance ever more present and invasive in the contemporary public realm- not in the form of anonymous and now familiar CCTV but a antiquented looming spy or stalker. I am fascinated by the momentary liminal experience that the piece creates; a double take; a puncturing. The reality of the actual figure at second glance is humorous- glowing eyes, flattish form and from the side view the innards are revealed- as wood support and stuffing. The facade and theatrical staging again for me hints towards the structures of political powers who seek to control- peek beneath or behind and the corruption and disorder is unveiled- as is frequently reported in the press.

Kypros Kyprianou is an artist and filmmaker who works across forms. He has worked collaboratively over the last 12 years with Simon Hollington (Hollington and Kyprianou). Originally based in London, Kyprianou is now based in Bristol (a Spike Island studio holder) producing work nationally and internationally. Kyprianou most often works in non-art spaces and outside of the gallery in the form of intervention. The window space offers artists the chance to explore a unique site that straddles the boundary between the pubic realm and art gallery.

Apart from the rain, it was a fairly straight forward and easy install, that was effective from the moment the work entered the window space. After a clean lick of white, a few adjustments and compositional trials, the menacing figure seemed to be at home; secured in place with a couple metal hinges and a few divers weights bought from a car boot. The light was then positioned to create the crucial glowing stare from those pingpong and marker pen eye balls. Albeit for a little rewiring and cable tidying as not to distract from the figure the install was complete with vinyl title and all.

Come and experience it for yourself for 2 weeks only until Saturday 6th September.

For more images and information about the piece from the artist:

In The Window - 'If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' - Kypros Kyprianou

As you walk past AirSpace Gallery's window over the next few days, you might get a sense that you're being watched. You might not be able to put your finger on it , but you're sure that someone has their eye on you.

Responding to the ever-intrusive government prying into the affairs of everyday citizens, sparked by the Edward Snowdon case, Kypros Kyprianou has installed a comic-book rendering of a bygone surveillance era. The life-size figure, at once peculiarly realistic, but on closer inspection, somewhat ridiculous, as you see the slightly pathetic stuffed construction, with its classroom materials - papier-mâché, ping pong balls and poster paint - suggests a pointlessness and waste of energy in the activity, while reminding us that individual freedoms are hard won, and important to safeguard.

'If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear' runs until September 6th. Don't be spooked!

 If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” is a phrase attributed to everyone from Joseph Goebbels to George Orwell. It was repeated more recently by William Hague to justify the UK’s intelligence agencies harvesting of digital communication - though I am unsure who Hague was quoting from when he repeated it to deliver his reassurance.

In 2009, another student of Orwell, Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old American who had been reading “Nineteen Eighty Four” on his Amazon Kindle for his summer assignment lost all his digital annotations when the file vanished from his device. “They didn’t just take a book back, they stole my work,” he said.

The irony of Amazon remotely deleting copies of Orwell’s book over a copyright violation was not lost on many commentators - in Orwell’s book government censors destroy news articles embarrassing to Big Brother, sending them down an incineration “memory hole.”

Unless Gawronski was jotting down the overthrow of government in the margins, I doubt he had anything to hide, and the publicity from the incident would surely mean he had nothing to fear over handing in his assignment late.

Transposing this scenario from digital to physical space would entail something along the lines of a company representative breaking into Gawronski’s house, destroying the book and notes, then leaving an explanatory missive.

This scenario would have caused consternation in many sections of the press. Yet, when David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald was detained at Heathrow airport and made to hand over his laptop and encryption keys, reaction was rather more subdued. Greenwald had been working with Edward Snowden, releasing material on NSA and GCHQ spying activities. The judges presiding over this case accepted the detention was "an indirect interference with press freedom" but was justified by "very pressing" interests of “national security”.

Snowden’s releases in part detailed how national security agents purposefully weaken encryption, the very things that allow someone to purchase an e-book online with some degree of security. Other releases document a total surveillance doctrine, one which allows state actors to read whatever you are reading.

Both corporate and governmental organisations routinely collect vast amounts of data on individuals and therefore the connections between them - echoing another era that attempted to provide total national security through spying on its citizenry.

Wolfgang Schmidt was a former lieutenant colonel in the Stasi – the German Democratic Republic’s secret police during the Cold War. For him, Snowden’s revelations are impressive  - “So much information, on so many people,” he said. “You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true.”

“It is the height of naiveté to think that once collected this information won’t be used,” he said. “This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.”

When what we freely choose to read is no longer anonymous, we can no longer freely choose to read. - Kypros Kyprianou

Sunday, 17 August 2014

AirSpace Gallery Summer Residencies - #2 PARLOUR by Vulpes Vulpes

Following on from Andrew Burton's investigation of the situation of and possibilities for Brownfield, and its associated notions of physical, and architectural emptiness, the second residency was informed by how we noticed a sense of human emptiness in the City Centre.

Often during the day, but especially after 5pm, Stoke City Centre can empty out a little - the night time economy struggles, and there is a definite sense that people don't choose the City Centre as a place to linger.

After a visit to the City last year, Vulpes Vulpes - a group of four artists who produce work collaboratively and have run a project space in London for the last five years, proposed a residency here with us to explore the notion of "Gatherings" - or social/leisure events as a way to suspend notions of class and formality in favour of a better system - non-hierarchical forms of interaction.

Vulpes Vulpes are: Carla Wright, Anna Chrystal Stephens, Laurie Storey, Hadiru Mahdi

Central to their approach is this text from The Science of Society by Stephen Pearl Andrews (1952)

Conversation is continuous, brilliant, and varied. Groups are formed          according to attraction. They are continuously broken up, and re-formed through the operation of the same subtile and all-pervading influence. Mutual deference pervades all classes, and the most perfect harmony, ever yet attained, in complex human relations, prevails under precisely those     circumstances which Legislators and Statesmen dread as the conditions of inevitable anarchy and confusion. If there are laws of etiquette at all, they are mere suggestions of principles admitted into and judged of for himself or herself, by each individual mind.
- - -
Suppose the intercourse of the parlor to be regulated by specific legislation. Let the time which each gentleman shall be allowed to speak to each lady be fixed by law; the position in which they should sit or stand be precisely regulated; the subjects which they shall be allowed to speak of, and the tone of voice and accompanying gestures with which each may be treated,       carefully defined, all under pretext of preventing disorder and encroachment upon each other’s privileges and rights, then can any thing be conceived better calculated or more certain to convert social intercourse into intolerable slavery and hopeless confusion?’ 

photo: Vulpes Vulpes
Over two weeks, there were so many small projects and interventions, meetings and conversations - here are just a few of them.

photo: Vulpes Vulpes
Anna, Carla, Hads and Laurie launched themselves in to the locality - the past and the present - looking at the forgotten fields of Post-Club Rave gatherings - so popular in the City in the 1990's - but now a past memory - Keele Services and Woods, the scene of many a public gathering to prolong a night of clubbing and dancing became an excavation site, as evidence of that inhabitation was sought.

A series of visits to local independent shops produced a brass horn - symbolic of the rally - and a series of conversations with shopholders about the local condition. The broken horn led them to a repairer and further links and conversation.

There was a sports day, exploration of playground, and a children's making workshop - which produced the large multi-media cloud which hung over their presentation, and an outside front-of-gallery free buffet - for passersby to stop awhile and talk about anything.

photo: Vulpes Vulpes

This was an important residency for AirSpace Gallery - we believe in people, and the power of congregation and the social aspect of a city for making a healthy place to live and work. It was great and really instructive to see how VV approached their work, at once serious, critical, political, fraternal and accessible. But moreover, it was the commitment to engagement in, as they are committed to, an all-inclusive way, that really struck.

And on top of that, working with artists who are new to the City, uncoloured by the attitudes learnt from living in it, the perspectives are always fresh. Through the course of their time in Stoke - VV found places, and areas that I was unaware of after a long time living and working here. We can often get stuck in our immediate locales, when there is so much to explore and see, and so many people and businesses to connect with. So, for instance, without this residency, AirSpace wouldn't have become a keen supporter of the local Community Scrap Shack - a valuable local resource indeed.

So, a fitting conclusion to our 2014 residency programme, leaving us excited as to what and who next year's will throw up.

Thanks to Andrew Burton, Anna Chrystal Stephens, Carla Wright, Hadiru Mahdi and Laurie Storey and all the volunteers, and all who came to see the works.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

AirSpace Gallery Summer Residencies - #1 Brownfield by Andrew Burton

Over the last 7 weeks, it's been Residency Season here at AirSpace Gallery. Traditionally, a slow time for Gallery visits, as people take the chance to get away from it all, for the last two years we have programmed two short consecutively running 3 week residencies.

Each one has been targeted at a specific area of interest to us here at AirSpace, and we have seen Natasha Rees examine ideas of Advocacy both within and outwith her own practice, and Hazel France spent her time documenting the City Centre Park ahead of its soon-to-be successful Heritage Lottery Renovation Award.

This year, we had the pleasure of hosting Andrew Burton, and London Collective, Vulpes Vulpes.

2014 Residency #1 - Brownfield by Andrew Burton

We tasked Andrew with an exploration of a neighbouring Brownfield site - once housing a large 3 screen cinema and bowling alley, but latterly laid bare, for a decade, following demolition by new owners Tesco.

Andrew worked tirelessly on the site and in the Residency Space, over his 2 weeks, scouring the land, searching for evidence of a past, in the form of shards of old pottery and bone and becoming increasingly beguiled by the ubiquitous Brownfield inhabitant - the Buddleia. Each of the sculptures and, in fact the whole installation was made from material found on site, and ultimately included up to 5000 buddleia heads.

Halfway through the week Andrew wrote a small piece for our blog, reflecting his thinking about the sate. And reflecting it's clear that at this point his thinking about a final resolution for the residency started to formulate.

Back on site, Buddleia Vale seems quite bucolic today, the yellow pea is flowering like crazy and the ripening grasses and branches of tawny sorrel remind me of harvest time in India. There, in places, the harvest is still brought in by hand, with the heads of corn laid out on rocks to dry before being winnowed. And then the exotic buddleia is like graceful bamboo on the Li river. Strange that a place like this becomes laden with nostalgia when so much detritus lies around. Yesterday I was digging, a shamefully random archaeology. Scratching away at the hard brick strewn earth every meagre trowel full throws up a wealth of worthless scraps – broken plates and saucers, handles (lots of handles), tiny clay cones that are sometimes mysteriously embedded in lumps of clay.

The work I’ve been making is about the space, and it’s about the nature of the material I’ve gathered. What it reminds me of. The simple rule is only to use the stuff I find on site: growing, buried or dumped. (Glue is the exception, though given time and knowhow even that could have been stewed up from roots or leaves, or spirited out of the tar.) I’ve collected a lot, with worryingly little time to take precautions - according to Richard Mabey’s book ‘Weeds’, some of these intruders are so toxic a couple of doses could kill a man. Trouble is, I don’t know which ones. Certainly not much to forage here unless you’re into beetles and ants - the resident cat has licked the crisp packets clean and tins bare and the sorrel is long past being tender.

But all in all, the place is a delight. That old cliché of the pastoral idyll in the city rings true. Pity Tesco is selling it off. There’ll be a car park here soon. -
 Andrew Burton

I just did a residency with AirSpace Gallery, which was brilliant. They wanted an artist to reinterpret a 'Brownfield' site - basically a demolition site strewn with thousands of old bricks and lumps of road which had been chewed up and dumped - it was an old cinema before. But it turned out that what interested me was not the bricks, but the buddleias that were growing there. They were just coming into flower. We picked thousands of them and they formed a kind of base for a set of small sculptures made out of wood and stones. Buddleias don't stay that amazing zinging purple colour for long - they turn brown and sort of shrink up in a few days. That deterioration from purple to brown, insects crawling out, and nature retreating and changing was a kind of involuntary performance.source: 


For us, the importance of this work is in the representation of the possibility for portions of urban space to be given way to natural green space - and space for people to linger. Provincial City Centres are at risk, as an emptying out process due to a change in shopping habits, means that Planners are going to be tasked with reimagining the point of the urban centre. We have to find reasons for people to stay in our centres once they have come.

Through this residency, Andrew has shown that by harbouring the before-our-eyes successful example shown by natural reclamation, beautiful managed city centre green spaces can be created. City centre Land is expensive. This site is up for sale now for £400,000. Land Use of this sort may not make money in and for itself,  but maybe if they help attract people to the centre, and crucially, give people a reason to stay longer than a quick determined visit to the shops, then they can have a slow release economic benefit to the benefit of lots of surrounding shops and businesses.

Not to mention a sense of cultural, social and pastoral benefit and well being.

Really interestingly, Andrew's Residency and his Presentation has kickstarted a determined conversation about the possibility of a community buy-back for the site - whereby, we might stop its conversion to another shop or car park, and find a greenspace future for it. The chances for this may be slim, but who knows?

It was great to see how Andrew was able to work in a new way, with new materials, to the brief in such a short residency, and still push his practice, despite his long working  experience, when it might have been tempting to play it safe. And the resulting majesty of his "Buddleia Vale" was wonderfully evocative, suggesting a real possible solution for a future for the Brownfield site - and a testament to his skills and endless endeavour.

When we designed these short residencies, we were unsure about whether the short time period might inhibit work of any scale or depth. This residency proves what is possible, and the creative impetus that concentrated working can inspire.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

PARLOUR by Vulpes Vulpes - Excavation by Hadiru Mahdi

#7 in a series of blogposts from VulpesVulpes reflecting on their AirSpace Gallery Residency activity for  PARLOUR

Words: Hadiru Mahdi
Images: Anna Chrystal Stephens


Some gatherings move from impromptu into permanence. I wonder if it is possible to chart the movement between, find the turning point. I reckon not, likening it to when a sprained wrist or clicky knee is such a fixture that you prepare yourself for living a life defined by it. Only to realise in its absence, how it passed so quietly, you would have rather had a chance to mark it, to celebrate the freedom.

The focus point may be ceremony, or site. Habits turning habitual. For the past two years those who know me well can find me on a Wednesday, though the day and location has sometimes changed, they will know what. This certainty, broken briefly at times by factors outside our control, was never the result of plan or intent. It developed I feel, through the value of experience and interaction, openness ,joy, vibes. The hesitation to recreate or recapture dissipated, replaced by trust in what had been built.

There are signs of course, when see you next week changes from a question to a statement. When you stop checking whether someone will be there; if they are not you don't fret, fully expecting to see them again. When you yourself feel become spatially reliable.

Music is a great gatherer, what I describe above is a jam session that grew from a suggestion to a force. During this residency I have been drawn to the musical cultures of Stoke, the tribes and scenes, the shrines. From the seemingly endless supply of cover bands, to the Northern Soul all-nighters and stories of queues round the block for Acid House raves. When world-renowned DJs were in residence, records sought and traded in car parks, and landlords accepted Amphetamines in lieu of rent.

I find myself thinking about the abruptness with which these moments shifted from permanence to past tense.
The rest in peace dates. The closure of Shelly's Laserdome, the end of Jollies, the last all-nighter at the Golden Torch. The resistance. When police involvement, planning permission or licensing proved too hard to navigate, too stifling. The come down. After people grew older, sought direction or stability, had children, moved away. But also the revivals, the originals still in stock at Rubber Soul Records. The all-nighter on October 4, King's Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. What memory might be stored in the hallowed grounds of the places that gave us these times? If those shopping at Lidl only knew what Sasha did in the car park

Some sites are still here, as they were then, the product of coincidence or better confluence, and ending when the sources and springs dried. Up until -the mid-90s, on the M6 between junctions 15 and 16, Keele services served as a convergence spot for revellers travelling north or south after the clubs had put out and those leaving the forest knowing they better now than spend the night. The cars pulled up playing tapes, recorded sets for which many were there, that mix, that drop, a flashback, the body tingles in muscle memory.
That Fiesta, a deep metallic purple, four doors open, drinks out the boot, is from above a Scarabc displaying wings and circled by admirers, moving. More cars arrive and come to a rest on the rock. You stopped first just because you were bursting for a piss but are here two hours later, another half, go on. Jonny's gotta drive to Chester and sleeps with the driver's seat back, how the hell he can with the music at full blast you'll never know. That's a skill that. Those who stumble upon it for the first time are already crafting the story in their heads to tell the friends who continued home or never made it out. But not to say I told you so, I'll take you next time. You leave at dawn, are in your city after sunrise and still up at noon. The only service you ever used was the loo, never caused any harm, were always polite and courteous to the staff, made friends of them, brightened their nights.

On our pilgrimage we excavate in a woodland clearing, searching for remnants that would carry us closer or take us back in time. I am not sure I expected to find anything or if we did, what it might say. Yet, the seemingly banal left us astounded - a Bounty wrapper nearly 20 years old, a marble, a pill case - they were boundless, leaving us with freedom of thought and imagination. I saw faces, friends and strangers in the high grass between the clump of trees, where they searched but had no torch, nearly a decade before someone might be relied on to have a phone light. 

The nostalgia I realise was mostly my own, though it was only partly of the melancholy and sickness that word may describe. I am lucky to be able to imagine through living in part a phase of that history. In Yorkshire, Lancashire, London and places I could never again find on a map. I sat in circles with people I cannot otherwise imagine ever encountering and talking to. I value and hold dear those exchanges and feelings, of being open, trusting and welcoming in. It is why I would now rather ask than assume, why I might meander in conversation, take time, start again, knowing that there is something in there that I can learn from, that we share. Why remembering all this is necessary and shows me that I still at times am lacking, because really it was the people that made it be and so it is them I must call on and not only to reminisce, but to see what's happening now.

It's the muscle memory and emotional recall. Why we still rave to jungle and garage as I remember humming bass lines in South London primary school playgrounds. How Kabal in Sheffield is at once then and now. An education through which I found admiration and the want to honour the pioneers and creators, how I wanted to be true to them, acknowledging my position is but a little mark in history bigger than me. Why we say respect the space. Why my friend throws an acid house party on a Monday night in East London begging someone to tell him it isn't right

this one you