Sleeping Beauty

That is Fonzo Buller on a 70 foot telly in the Whitworth Art Gallery, surrounded by 3 posh sofas, telling about the first night he went down the Reno. Come on folks did you ever imagine you would see that in your life? Image curtesy of Julie-Anne Queenie Wilkinson who visited our exhibit today.

It is the end of our first true week. I’ve had the most amazing interactions. Can’t name names, but people are overwhelmed by all the old faces in the photos. They are releasing all kinds of stories and emotions. Laughter of course, but 3 women, and one man have been in floods of tears.

I’ve had really interesting meetings about what to do in our space. Evie Manning from Commonwealth in Bradford wants to stage a Daytimer: a kind of club during the day, for Asian women who aren’t allowed to go to nightclubs.

Anze an MMU lecturer wants to do a catwalk event inspired by our 1970s photos, hosted by his third year students, after intense collaboration with us. I want it to include the sweeping Whitworth stairs and of course Persian playing. I want them to design me something with a bodice along the Sleeping Beauty lines. Which is odd, because years ago, when I was 5 or 6 in primary school, Claremont Rd, they staged Sleeping Beauty and me with my pushy self, much like I am today, but lost for about 45 years, due to a sever beating. Laughing.

Going back to the beginning. Remember them leather topped horse-boxes you used to have in primary school that you could take apart. Well I have always been really good in school. Clever as fuck, and as the lead student, colour aside, colour blind, they allowed me to be Sleeping Beauty. And my mum who was a stickler for me looking clean. It was her who actually made me really clever, I’ve told you before, she taught me to read well before I went to school. Anyway, there’s the top of the horsebox removed so it is only so high, and I lie on its because I am now waiting for my prince. But I decide that the picture isn’t quite right. So I take out my carefully plaited hair, remember my mum liked me to be very neat. So I un-plait my hair. And for maybe 30 seconds it lies down like Sleeping Beauty hair. But by the time the scene is finished it is one heck of a fucking tangled afro. I’m 5 or 6 and no way can I tame it again. So I am waiting on the primary school steps for my mum to come and get me. Shitting myself. When all hell breaks loose. And the reason she likes me to look neat is she doesn’t want me to draw attention to myself because I have to try harder because. You know why. But she’s well drawing attention to us now, dragging me by the hair around the playground. Laughing.

Anyway because of my traumatic event I never became an actress. Forgot why I got into that. Oh no, Back. So, when we do our catwalk event with the students, I am definitely having a bodice, because my mum is dead so she can’t get me, and I can control my hair now. And interestingly I shaved my head when I first got into the arts in 1996, till at least 2015, when I first had the idea to dig up the Reno. The circles are really interesting.

And do you remember ages back Gail Allott when I said I had something fascinating to say but then got waylaid on the installation and the opening and the rape? Just before me, and Lou split up in 2012 we were in Whitworth Art Gallery hung-over. She was lying in a beanbag. I had no connection with the gallery. And I said to her for no apparent reason except I was stood between 2 of my favourite artists Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon just outside what is our gallery now, I said to Lou: ‘do you know what, I’m a portraitist.’ One of my favourite moments with Lou. She looked back at me and said 'I've just witnessed you come into your own.'

I can’t draw, I can’t paint, but something in my subconscious was telling me who I am, what I am, what direction I should take. And looking back that is exactly what I have become. I feel like all our photos on the wall are just as important as those majestic 20 feet artworks that the rich have commissioned for hundreds of years.

In fact some of our fab teen photos, I am gonna blow up to be that size and frame them in gilt frames so they look like them paintings. 

Oh, before I forget, last night in our 6-30 to 8-30 Reno 12 meeting it was suggested I should start telling people how they can become involved, what is in it for them. There are number of ways.

1] Just come and hang out like we did at the excavation: chill.

2] Bring a photo of you from back in the day. I’ll scan it and give it straight back. You can add it to our photo wall.

3] Bring a photo of one who has passed for memorial wall. The year they were born, the year they passed.

4] Come with ideas of how our Whitworth/Reno Memorial wall should look.

5] Come and do an impromptu 15mins or so memoir:

6} Book to do an intense memoir: tell us about your club, which puts the Reno in context.

7] Find out more details of our catwalk venture, play-wrighting, Peterloo/ 1981 Riots and all the other things we’ve got planned that might float your boat. I’ll list these properly next week so there is a timetable.

8] Come, have outlandish ideas about how our space should evolve. What are your secret artistic passions?

I’m there Monday to Friday 11am till 4am.

Our artefacts

Ancient Egyptian artefacts

Quoting Dr Campbell Price Egyptologist who posted these images on Twitter.

'Really struck by the echoes between modern objects excavated from & the same sorts of things from the ancient Egyptian town of . Both, in their everyday banality, meant something to their users. '

We've all been Sleeping Beauties. 

Our Prince has arrived.

Can't comment use Chrome. #excavatingthereno #therenolive

Read more about:


Where I've Been

30 October, 2020

Another Virus Devastated My Family

12 April, 2020

Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder

05 April, 2020

Everyone Was Sick Of Listening To Me

29 March, 2020

Mother's Day During The Lockdown

22 March, 2020



2019 (96)

2018 (78)

2017 (98)