Phil Hayes Exhibition
Monday 25th April – Wednesday 4th May, 2016
Unit 51, Jordan Street
Reviewed by John Owen
Unit 51, Jamaica Street’s new creative zone in Merseyside, fastest growing community and social enterprise hub, the revolution will be digitised, no rifles trifles or truffles or scuffles just silent Ipad and tablet dark star style.
It was here amongst the great, the even greater and the not so good or crap and those of us who couldn’t afford the £2 quid swig of tea price, so although sans culottes sans dosh but we were with sarnies, quidditch was in. Let them eat scone.
It was here in the electrical undergrowth the legendary organiser of the Picket and venue, a musical svengali who’d never been to Norway and incubator Frankenstein style of newly emerging and trending musical talent. Here he was all of a sudden face to back of the head, him larking about, me napping pretending to read a hand out.
It was no accident I was chosen for the mission to meet the colonel (his familiar nom de plume) and given the assignment the road snaked all the way the back of Chinatown like a mains circuit all the way up to Jordan street and the megalopolis talent zone known as area 51 or Unit 51 to be precise.
What and who why where or were and when did the his ideas a collage a vous project happen and why was is it important for the downtrodden masses the plebs the ordinary folks of the pool to know about it. Well if the truth doesn’t fit the picture as they say printing the legend cant harm. So here is that leg end.
Phil’s work has documented the last 20 or 30 years of happenings good gigs at the Picket whether in Jordan Street or the old Trade Union Centre of Hardman Street. There are 1000’s of faces smiling people friendly happy joyous good time boys and girls all having fun sing out loud it seems. A 3d effect draws you into the work tardis style.
The work represents 15 years of thinking about the events a summation compressing his experience into a series of montages that grab your attention immediately.
His life and mine have intersected a bit on the highway to the celestial heavens, we both apprenticed at Hardman Street, for me a crossroads politically galvanising opposition to the government at the head of the cultural front was commissar Phil championing musicians and resistance through culture.
While Phil waxes philosophically over his efforts I consider the maxim if a picture paints a thousand words then his effort is of biblical proportion. A monument to a time gone by. Millions of small ciphers’ involved in this magnificent display.
As I arrive a photographer is currently working on turning the large montage style works into some limited edition prints. We chat a while tea is served, the waiters abase themselves and are abused cruelly for serving tea from the left and interrupting our conversations on the harsh life of the proletariat. Just kidding!
We create our own conversational canvass good vibes flow smoothly Jim sharp digital photographer a solid man who offers his services it seems to Phil for free as he is an artist! Wow! Impressive he famously did work for the Beatles publicity adorning triangular publicity shots with letraset for Epstein his work however as progressed since then.
This is the type of response the display has been getting from all over the place, people commenting on Twitter, Facebook etc and the feeling is good. The café itself is busy humming to the sound of meetings machines and incessant sound of munching mandibles. Food for thought im having a thought shower sandwich moment.
He got into this reflective art phase following a stay in a mental health clinic facility in Windsor house. Which he says “tend to take away a bit of your personal space so this was a way of re-establishing something back from the disconnect that occurs while being cared for”.
Further on he mentioned it helped greatly to recuperate.
“It gave me back some solitude as these places tend to be very in yer face at all times”.
John Peel was a patron of the Picket and features several times in all of the work. Famously he opened the Picket, he was the patron saint of the underdog bands whom he helped get notice many on the road to fame fortune and other worldly goods, perhaps some drugs too!(Ed: what’s wrong with 2 aspirin and a sherbet).
We went to his 60th and 65th and also sadly to his funeral “we met Robert Plant there” casually remarks Phil.
The venue have been very generous giving an extra week till the mid-May period you should try and see it while it last. For the aficionados of this world who know the music scene, this is our collective consciousness and should be cherished as our culture.
It is our city our music and our town our way of life something that Thatcher and the latest offspring minions leader Cameron couldn’t grind out of us no matter how hard they tried.
This is Sgt. Ripple Owen signing off the Nostromo for hyper sleep with my Marilyn Monroe hot water bottle furry toy cat and two pillows in my cry tube. Now where the hell is that toffee crisp?