“to live outside the law you must be honest.” - Bob Dylan
The first idea I had for this exhibition was to focus on the mixed messages that are all around us, but I couldn’t help thinking of the old ‘Keep off the Grass’ signs. Now, you don’t see so many of these any more, but I remember them well and they always seemed to protect the most verdant spots. Of course that’s no surprise really because they were always well tended and in public places.
The signs didn’t stop us playing though and recently it made me wonder whether this might be one of the first public notices or instructions that I ignored? When a young child runs on the grass or plays a ball game where no ball game signs abound, I suppose they are technically breaking the law! (or the by-law!) Is this their first public disgrace?
We have a lot of Rules and Laws to observe as we go about our daily lives. I think that there are quite a few that should get broken a lot more often and perhaps there must be some others that we are missing and yet are a whole lot more important in the long run. I can’t help remembering the words of the song ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ by Arlo Guthrie about a rather exaggerated and fairly comic response to littering!
The exhibition consisted of a variety of work and incuded an installation in the garden. Artists that contributed included the whole Cole family but in particular: Christopher Wisdom, Qu's n that (Peter Samways and Christy Cole), Tom Cole, Philip Cole, Jane Cole, Tom White, Billy Cole
'An A to Z Of No’s' (213.5 x 92cm) and 'These Days' (60 x 62cm)
Recently I have been reading about the North Pacific Gyre, a floating mass of plastic rubbish that is reputedly the size of Texas and growing daily. ‘It’s a floating art installation’, one of my students wittily remarked! The trouble is, like lots of things, it’s ‘out of sight and out of mind.’ Unfortunately the plastics issue just won’t go away and whilst I really like plastic, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to just bin it. From the first of April 2009, my long suffering family and I decided not to throw away anything that couldn’t be recycled in the normal way - so we washed it and collected it and chucked it in a corner of the garden. That's 2 month's worth!
'Everything that wouldn’t compost or recycle in the normal way but we couldn’t bring ourselves to throw away’ - Philip & Jane Cole et al
Installation commenced on the 1st April 2009 & added to daily.
Rules n that
These Pictures which are all around 25 x 18cm were produced by Christy Cole and Peter Samways. They are a mixture of digital pictures and hand drawn images in Pen and Pencil. More of their work can be found at http://www.questionsnthat.blogspot.com/
'A small structure built for declarations of one sort or another' - Installation by Christy and Philip Cole
Christy records an anonymous 'confession' - Declarations were blogged after the exhibition closed after every weekend on colecorner. Declarations include: "I haven't paid for a paper from Sainsbury's (London Road) for years", "I'm scared of Coco the clown", "I flick ash out of the window of my car", "I stole 6 cheeseburgers from the canteen and I still don't regret it - to be honest", "When I was a boy I stole a penny chew but my mum saw me and made me take it back to the shopkeeper" etc. - read the full unedited set of declarations below:
“I set fire to my parents garage”
“I watched the cashier in Homebase make an error when paying for our bathroom suite. I didn’t say anything and consequently we got it for nothing!”
“I wet myself a bit when I went on the trampoline”
“I bought illegal drugs from my cousin”
“I put a stone in a snowball and threw it at my girlfriends Greek Mistress”
“I have been having paid sex with a male prostitute for 2 years. I love him but of course he doesn't love me. He is bankrupting me!”
“I cuckholded my husband. Oops, - Oh well.”
“I climbed over a police barrier near the seafront when they had one of those big New Years Eve celebrations. I’m glad I did as I dragged my friend (now dead) with me and we got down to a better place to see everything. Its good to have rebellious memories of adventures with people now gone”
“I often cross the road before the green man is displayed if no cars are coming. I never do it if a small child is waiting to cross with their parents, though”
“I came here a little bit drunk - sorry!”
“I put my head out of the window on the train (in the old days)”
“I have used drugs and been drunk and disorderly in public.
I dont like rules, regulations or laws. I'm a naughty boy”
“I lied under oath”
"I used to do a lot of drugs”
“My dad said I must not have a leather jacket. So I hid it in the outside loo and changed when I went out. I told him about 10 years ago which was some 25 years after and he was amazed and cross!”
“I can remember swimming with my dad when the red flag was flying - those reckless genes!”
“Kissing in an Italian church”
“I told an architect I was stuck in traffic, when in fact I was still at home in bed”
“I cross the road at Pelicans when the man is on red (don’t walk) rather than green - even when there's traffic coming, If I think I can get across in time‚”
“I use stationary from work, e.g. envelopes for personal use”
“I usually turn right at NO RIGHT TURN junctions when I'm driving.”
“I've thrown rubbish where it shouldn't go”
“My mother drives me mad”
“I fucked my best friend and I am married”
“I have regularly smoked inside clubs and bars since the smoking ban.
Also participating in leud acts on private properties.”
“I sometimes don't swipe my oyster card on the London buses”
“I thought I would steal the idea about use of rubbish, thus infringing your patent or copy”
“I stole some candy king from Sainsbury’s (it was a sugar strawberry)”
“I lie on my tax form”
“I have not cried at a funeral”
“I'm in Nang Squad”
“Don't eat the jammy dodgers in the teachers cupboard. (they were very nice!)”
"I often tread on snails. I wish thrushes would come and eat them"
"Going to the toilet in public places and going to the loo in 'customer only' toilets and not buying anything"
"I used my business credit card to buy plants and seeds"
"I put my tongue through the hole! I photographed my finger through the hole"
"Ahem, I broke the 'no heavy petting rule and had sex in a public pool!"
"When I was a special needs assistant for a dyslexic boy taking his maths GCSE, who the school couldn't care less about and stuck him in a science prep room between two noisy chemistry classes to take the exam, and who desperately needed to pass so he could go from cadet to the R.A.F - I told him some of the answers"
"I threw stones once into a swimming pool and then someone cut their feet on the stones: I'm sorry"
"I once stole a single grape... I was told off".
"My sin is envy, I wish this was my house"
"I don't believe in the human race, but I like my mum". Joel
"I once looked at someone in a funny way"
"I accidentally procured a wire basket from the garden centre"
"I just stole a shopping basket from a garden centre but they deserved it, the over charging bastards"
"Sadly, we don't break any rules ‘cos’ we are the Goodies - Love Bill Oddie"
"I went naked in a 'not allowed to be naked' place"
"I committed an unlawful act of the worst kind on a tube"
"I like to see terror in citizen's eyes"
"I bought a postcard and then realised I could have nicked one from the summer house!
I didn't though, but sorry for the bad thought
"I wrote most of the secrets next door in different handwriting"
"Dancing on the roof of the pier when drunk"
"We had sexual relations in Friston Forest while Keith's Mum and Dad were walking on ahead. It didn't say we couldn't, so I don't know if we broke any rules"
"I cheated on the love of my life, once - I still don't feel guilty"
"I stole a packet of glucose sweets from the chemists (aged 9)"
"I break the rules I give to my kids - the worst being: be true to myself'"
"I climbed in to see a castle when it was closed!"
"I'm gonna break the rule of what you want me to write, so I can say:
I don't know what to do with my life"
"The King goes first"
"When I used to have a paper round, I used to put all the papers straight into the recycling bins. The paper company didn't realise for over a year!"
"From pure sorrow
comes pure thought"
"I collect black bits but not white bits"
"Smoking and Drinking under age"
"Being over the limit"
"Having too much to drink"
"Shop lifting eye-liner in Woolies when I was 13"
"Nicking glasses from pub's - and a clock, once"
"I had sex on a public bench in front of a whole lot of people (wearing a long dress to hide what was going on)"
"I have camped in places where free camping is not allowed - but it is there, where real beauty exists"
"I stole one of your cards! - and a packet of crisps when I was 8"
"Weeing in the swimming pool and in the bath"
"I smoke dope and live outrageously as an older woman"
"I haven't paid for a paper from Sainsbury's (London Road) for years"
"I'm scared of Coco the clown"
"I flick ash out of the window of my car"
"I stole 6 cheeseburgers from the canteen and I still don't regret it to be honest"
"30mph + 70mph. It's just not possible to drive that slowly"
"When I was a boy, I stole a penny chew but my mum saw me and made me take it back to the shopkeeper"
"I stole my best friends favourite rubber when I was at school"
"I always let my children eat things in the supermarket. This is revenge for the sweets at the checkout"
"I have a crush on Fernando Torres.... and I'm a married woman.
My husband will know who wrote this"
"I stole my best friends fairy doll when we were younger. Sorry!"
"I am so afraid of loving someone, I have broken every rule of loving there is, to avoid being hurt first"
"I opened the box and read all the notes"
"I used to collect bits of monuments that I had to steal on my regular city trips. I eventually donated my pieces of churches, cathedrals and other buildings to a friend as I left the country"
"I'm not sure if I am happy"
"I nicked a postcard"
"I've had the quickest shag on record"
"I came to practice garden envy as much as to see the exhibition" - signed: a neighbour
"As a girl I had a wank in Victoria Station"
"I opened the box and read all the pieces of paper - sorry"
"I have broken most but now I live among you under a veil of normality"
"I stole a stollen cake from Clapham Junction train station"
"I over charged someone while working in a cafe about ¬£3 and kept the change"
"I weeed near the rubbish"
"I once bumped into a parked car and drove off without leaving my details - sorry"
"I stole a cookie when I was 3, by accident!"
"We broke the rule at a Peak district campsite of silence after 11pm - the family were laughing in the tent @ 11.10pm and we were reprimanded!"
"I'm always nicking citrus fruit from supermarkets these days"
"In Japan, on holiday a few weeks ago, I read a sign on a walk that told me to 'be careful of the wild boar' and I wasn't"
"I stole Lead off of the roof of a disused building which I later found out was to become a police dog handling school. So not sure if I actually did anything wrong"
"I confess to being secretive about my past"
"I drove through a red light this morning"
"I stole a small plastic toy from a friend's child. It was a horse with wings and I really wanted it. He had too many toys anyway - I bet he didn't even notice it"
"I bit mummy"
"I am an MP and I have been fiddling my expenses for years..."
"I fought the law and the law won"
"I would like to confess that I am in love"
"Needing, and taking, a poo in the park - discreetly of course!"
"When I was little I stole a sweet from the pick 'n' mix"
"I like Katie and Peter, Stateside!"
"I cheated the Taxman - well he always cheats me!"
"On a recent trip to Switzerland, I peed standing up, after 10pm, which is forbidden in flats in shared blocks.."
"I sometimes use food past it's sell by date"
"I'm a lady and snogged a gay boy. Surely that's against some rules?"
"I am still smoking and worst of all, put my fag ends on the garden"
"I bounced through the green bit on the trampoline"
"I love it in this country. We all understand that the rules are broken regularly, I miss the anarchy when I go to 'nice' places! I like to break a minor rule now and then just because I'm a good girl, so it's good for me to be bad now and again."