Crombie’s Last Stand

I didn’t know Keith Crombie.  I’d been to his famous Jazz Café once, a long time go.

If nothing else, I gleaned this much about him — everyone seemed to have an opinion about Keith and he certainly seemed to have an opinion about everyone.

Keith Crombie's Jazz Café, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the morning of his funeral

The closed doors of Keith Crombie’s Jazz Café in Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the morning of his funeral…

Over the last year or so, I’ve been keeping tabs on a beautiful documentary my ol’ pal Duncan Davis has been been making about Keith (you might remember Duncan from this post).

Duncan had an acute awareness that making this film should be a priority, not least because Keith was knocking on in years.  Then, on 29th December 2012, Keith passed away at the age of 74.

News soon started to filter through that there was to be a horse-drawn funeral procession through the city.

There seemed to be a gentle buzz of excitement.  Everybody seemed to know about it (apart from the police, it would seem).

A fitting farewell seemed imminent for Keith, to stop Newcastle in its tracks as he slowly passed through with a jazz band and dedicated crowd following behind…

Photographed from the top of Earl Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, Keith Crombie's funeral procession passes through the city centre.

As seen from the top of Grey’s Monument on a snowy day, the horse-drawn coffin, jazz band and crowd makes its way along Grainger Street…

A fitting end for Duncan’s documentary too and I was flattered that he asked me to help film the last sequences of Crombie’s life.

While Duncan worked in and around the crowds, the perfect perching place for me this morning was surely atop the 130ft Grey’s Monument, smack bang in the city centre.

So, with the necessary permissions gained, I was allowed to climb the 162 spiral steps to capture a unique perspective on the procession.

Photographed from the top of Earl Grey's Monument, the snow descends on Newcastle after Keith Crombie's funeral procession.

The procession is over and the snow descends on Newcastle…

The views were extraordinary, of course, and the weather was icy.  The memories of seeing Keith’s horse-drawn coffin pass slowly through town to the tune of the accompanying jazz band, along with hundreds of folk, will stay with me for a long time.

I can’t wait to see the final film, which is being cut by Duncan as I write — I hope to be able to share it with you here some day soon…

— More Views from Grey’s Monument

North view towards St. James' Park from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

North view towards St. James’ Park from Grey’s Monument

South East view towards BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

South East view towards BALTIC and the Millennium Bridge from Grey’s Monument

South West View from Grey's Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne, by Jack Lowe

South West View from Grey’s Monument

Spillers’ Downfall: New Prints

It’s been a busy first week of 2013 in the studio, not least putting a lot of love and attention into the release of my new Spillers’ Downfall Print Collection.

Today, now satisfied with the eight specially selected prints, I have enjoyed signing and embossing the first set.

Spillers' Downfall, The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

Embossing and signing the Spillers’ Downfall Collectors’ Portfolio (No.1-4)…

I have taken a slightly different tack with these images, making them smaller than the prints in my other Collections.

The Spillers’ Downfall prints aren’t numbered but they are made, signed and embossed by me.

You will see by clicking here that the prints are available individually or in sets of four — taking the form of my Collectors’ Portfolios.

— The 9th Print

To mark the launch of this Collection, there is in fact a ninth print!

This can be found in the new Collectors’ Edition of Spillers’ Downfall.

Spillers' Downfall, The Demolition of Spillers Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne by Jack Lowe

‘The Crow & The Kestrel’ signed and embossed for the Collectors’ Edition of Spillers’ Downfall…

I hope you enjoy these new additions to my work.  Please feel free to leave comments or contact me to share your thoughts…

…have a great weekend!

My City’s Beating Heart

“The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it’s the sand of the Colosseum.” — Gracchus, ‘Gladiator’

I used to like football more than I do today.

The modern game feels less like the beautiful game as it becomes increasingly tainted by bigger bucks with sizeable egos to match.

However, living in Newcastle, it’s hard not to be bitten by the bug as St. James’ Park sits proudly upon high, smack bang in the middle of the city — a pounding heart beat whenever there’s a match on.

More than the game itself, I love the rituals that surround it.

I see the tantalising floodlights glowing from home and hear the bassy voice of the announcer warming the crowds…

…the walk with my children into town becomes denser and denser with fans making the pilgrimage to their cathedral.

A squeeze through the turnstiles, a climb up the stairs and…then…the surge of adrenalin as we step into the huge melting pot, a cauldron of sensations and emotions.

A full house at St. James' Park watches Newcastle United lose 1-2 to Everton on 2nd January 2013

The organic chants and reactions of 50,000 people, a fifth of the city’s population, ebb and flow in tune to a handful of twenty eight* other humans running around on a patch of grass.

I can’t help but think of the all-powerful mob and the sand of the Colosseum, as described in the epic Gladiator.

A full house at St. James' Park watches Newcastle United lose 1-2 to Everton on 2nd January 2013

On Tuesday night we lost 1-2 to Everton.  It’s typical of a recent bad run but, I must confess, my disappointment was only temporary.

Above all, I enjoy being in the midst of my city’s beating heart.

* Twenty two footballers, two managers and four officials

Wishing You A Contented 2013!

Video

At this time of year, happiness seems to be the buzz-word. Happy Christmas, Happy New Year…

I bid you those wishes, of course, but personally I strive for my own nirvana — level contentment.

To err on the edge of euphoria can be too closely connected to sadness and hardship.

So, if I may, I’d rather wish all my Followers a contented 2013.  To my mind, it’ll be much better that way — happiness and bliss can be such demanding emotions.

This fine video clip* of polar explorer Aleksander Gamme illustrates my point pretty succinctly as he unearths his pre-stashed supplies…

* Referenced by Radiolab in their latest podcast about bliss.