Friday, September 30, 2016

Giving With Benefits: Just Who Owns The National Lottery?

Gambling is firmly entrenched within British society. The National Lottery is perhaps the most accessible form of gambling with tickets on sale in almost every small grocery or news shop along with the biggest supermarkets.
The lottery, with its huge prizes and a percentage of profits going to charitable and sporting projects perhaps feels to many as though it's not gambling at all, just a way of supporting that might result in a windfall. A kind of 'giving with benefits'.
Let's not pull the wool over our own eyes. The National Lottery along with its associated scratch cards is gambling and for some it forms an addiction that ruins family finances and life. This is a problem that affects poorer families and communities disproportionately as it is in these communities that most scratch cards and lottery tickets are bought.
The government uses the lottery to subsidise some services that have seen cuts through the various funds such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the sports funding. One can get the impression that it is in fact a national duty to buy lottery products if only to make sure that our haul of Olympic and Paralympic gold medals is maintained and in fact increased.
The lottery is operated but not now owned by Camelot. Camelot is in fact now owned by a Canadian pension company. Annual accounts from Camelot showed that gross ticket sales secured an enormous £7.2 billion in 2015, up from £6.7 billion in the previous year. They reported a profit of around £72 million. Whilst profits go up year on year the chances of winning have actually fallen with tickets doubling in price from £1 to £2 but prize money not doing the same. In addition to the reported Camelot profits millions are also paid over to its parent company, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, rather than being handed on to good causes.
It is improbable that lottery culture will demise anytime soon but bringing it into public ownership rather than private ownership would see more of the profits of our gambling fixation remaining within the public realm. As for online gambling companies with their emphasis on football betting and wall to wall advertising well that's another story.

Paul Conneally

Photograph: Filbert Street Grocery, Leicester, Paul Conneally 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

INVIGILATOR : MALVERN - Paul Conneally and Nikki Pugh

INVIGILATOR : MALVERN was the 6th splacist intervention in the ongoing INVIGILATOR series by artists Paul Conneally and Nikki Pugh. It was commissioned by MECA in 2009 and has informed and continues to inform the practice of Conneally and Pugh, separately and together.

Both artists continue to explore space place and time via what some call psychogeography but they refer to as 'splacist' methodologies.

INVIGILATOR forms part Conneally's overarching Walk To Work series of interventions, works and exhibitions.


Saturday, September 24, 2016



The hustle and bustle of London's Oxford Street just before the rush hour. When it's excitingly busy without hemming your body and mind in too much.

The Evening Standard newspaper, I was going to say vendor but they are handed out for free now, sat half on half off the tube station entrance. Shall I pick one up here or outside the mainline station? I'll wait till later.

a blast of warm air
from the underground station
Marilyn Monroe

Little Onion

Photograph: Paul Conneally 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Brian Allen - Plumber and Master Vegetable Grower

poryrait of plumber and master vegetable grower Brian Allen by Paul Conneally his brother in law

Brian Allen - plumber and master vegetable grower!

We've returned back to Loughborough from Dronfield two weeks running laden with fantastic produce, green beans, rhubarb, cabbage, courgettes... Thanks Brian and Jane Allen!

Paul Conneally
Dronfield Woodhouse
September 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016


Paul Conneally
Lifestyle Express
Leicester 2016

Tender is the Night - The Old Bull's Head - Woodhouse Eaves

Tender is the Night
The Old Bull's Head
Woodhouse Eaves

The Old Bull's Head is in the almost alpine looking village of Woodhouse Eaves just outside the Leicestershire market town of Loughborough. It has been completely refurbished from what was a traditional fuggy old pub to a modern gastro pub with a light and airy interior.

The food is a mixture of traditional and modern classics from light bites and pizzas to fresh fish and roast meats.

It's a big restaurant but advance booking is advised particularly at the weekends.

Sunday evening
the family decamps
to a pub roast 

Little Onion
September 2016

Photograph: Paul Conneally

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Post Punk Bond Theme - Little Onion - Whisper's Shadow

As Sony reportedly offer $150 million to lure Daniel Craig back to reprise his role as James Bond for two more films Little Onion offers up Whisper's Shafow a slab of post punk melancholia as the new Bond Theme tune.

In fact why not go the whole hog and offer the part of Bond to Little Onion too?

Watch out for the wave... it's big and it's coming!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Marta at Work - The Bom Bom Patisserie - Loughborough

Marta at Work

Here we see Marta, co-owner and head chef, hard at work at the wonderful Bom Bom Patisserie in Loughbohemia (some call it Loughborough).

The interior design of Bom Bom is understated urban, almost industrial, industrial wood not metal, so a softness to it. Minimal but comforting especially with the smell of the carefully selected roast used in the patisserie's excellent coffee.

Bom Bom Patisserie was set up by Marta and her husband in 2012 making bespoke artisan cakes and bakes for individuals, companies and organisations. In May of 2016 the Bom Bom Patisserie opened the doors of its Loughborough café, something that for Brazilian born Marta was something she'd wanted, her own café, since being a child.

Find out more about Marta and the Bom Bom Patisserie at the BBP website:

Paul Conneally
Sept. 2016

Friday, September 09, 2016

Early September - Lost In The Supermarket

early September
she shops for this year's
last barbecue

Little Onion

from the ongoing photo series 'Lost In The Supermarket' by Paul Conneally

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Imperfection Is Beauty

Imperfection Is Beauty

For me it started with Claire's Accessories startled to see a young girl sat in the shop window getting her ears pierced. Now every high street seems to have at least one beauty salon that seats its customers in the full gaze of the public as they undergo one treatment or another.

I can't understand why someone would want to receive such treatments in the form of what my mother would call a 'pippy show'. It feels performative, and it is. There is no notion of it being intended as public art but it could easily be mistaken as such. 

Does this set up lead to more sales? Well the salons must think so or they wouldn't do it. 

I want to stop and stand and stare right in and were it actually a 'performance' I would but find I can only glance furtively as I pass on by towards the market place.

here comes the weekend
a slice of cucumber
on each eye

Little Onion
September 2016

Photograph: Paul Conneally

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Child Sculpture - Loughborough - Priley Riley 2015

The Child Sculpture by Priley Riley

The Child Sculpture currently sits inside the small Carillon Court shopping mall in Loughborough town centre. It was made in 2015 by then Loughborough University fine art student, Paula Riley, in celebration of 100 Years of Ladybird Books which was based in Loughborough.

Paula goes by her artist name Priley Riley which is also emblazoned across the book that The Child Sculpture is reading. Speaking at Loughborough University in 2015, Priley said:

"To make the sculpture, I first constructed an armature which I modelled the original clay child over. I then cast this clay child in plaster and used the plaster moulds to cast resin into. The final sculpture, therefore, is a glass fibre resin cast."

The Child Sculpture has become a favourite with children and adults alike as they do their shopping in Carillon Court and is sure to feature year on year in Loughborough's now annual festival of children's book illustration Loogabarooga that takes place each October across the town.

Paul Conneally
September 2016



Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Odeon Cinema - An Art Deco Building in Loughborough

Since 2011 this cinema in Loughborough has been The Odeon but it has been many other names since the original building was built in 1914. It is a great example of an art deco frontage somewhat spirit by the lower and very recent shopfront style signage.

It didn't look like this when it was opened in 1914 as The Empire Picture House operating both as a variety and picture house. The Art Deco refit came about in 1936 and was designed by architect Archibold Hurley Robinson. It opened as The New Empire on 30th March 1936 screening Will Hay in “Boys Will be Boys”.

Its catalogue of names down the years include: Empire Picture House, New Empire Super Cinema, Essoldo, Classic, Curzon Cinema, Reel Cinema and now The Odeon.

Paul Conneally
September 2016

M.I.A. ft. Zayn - Freedun (audio) from new album AIM

M.I.A. is back with the release of her new album AIM on September 9 2016. In the meantime drops an audio taster of what's to come with 'Freedun' a collaboration with Zayn while she's out in the Himalayas shooting what's sure to be another killer video for the track.

The release comes as Nicki Minaj bigs M.I.A up in her new off company released track The Pinkprint Freestyle. 

Looks a though the end of 2016 is going to be a busy time for M.I.A as she takes centre stage from September through to the New Year.

overnight stay
the sound of gunfire
in the park

Little Onion
Sept. 2016

A Towel and Trunks

early morning sun
he stakes his place on the rocks
a towel and trunks

Little Onion

Photograph: Paul Conneally, Cannes, 2016

Monday, September 05, 2016

Daniel Craig offered $150 million to reprise James Bond Role

   Daniel Craig as James Bond

With many Bond fans resigned to the fact that actor Daniel Craig has effectively walked away from the James Bond role rumour has it that Sony who bankroll the Bond films are bombarding him with ever increasing monetary offers to stay in the role for two more films.

The celebrity and entertainment news site Radar quote a source as saying “The studio is desperate to secure the actor’s services while they phase in a younger long-term successor,"

In May it was widely reported that Craig had turned down $65 million to make two new Bond films and speculation started as to who might replace the rugged English actor. Idris Elba is high on the list and if chosen would become the first black actor to play Bond. Others in the frame are Jamie Bell and sometime Taylor Swift beau Tom Hiddlestone.

It seems that Sony are not yet ready to give up on Craig with reports that $150 million is on the table to secure Craig's services. Sony have declined to confirm or otherwise the story at this point.

a fish rises 
towards the bait then dives
you only live twice

Little Onion
5 Sept 2016

Nicki Minaj Drops The Pinkprint Freestyle With Homage to M.I.A. To Boot

Nicki Minaj comes out of a short hibernation with a killer freestyle 'The Pinkprint Freestyle' released on her SoundCloud account that sees her discussing herself as 'brand' and 'not brand' and includes a pretty good M.I.A. type flow and a shout out to Lil Wayne thanking him for putting trust in her at the start of her career. Towards the end of the track Shabba Ranks kicks in and it's here that Ms. Minaj goes into M.I.A. mode with a play on words that sees Nicki repeat 'I make bitches go M.I.A'.

It sounds as though she's in a good place and having fun with fans worldwide hoping it could be a signal that she's ready to release some new 'official' material into the ether in the near future.

Reports of Nicki Minaj being in some kind of creative recession are blown out of the water with this hard hitting, playful bazzooka of a track. It seems that Nicki still, as M.I.A. herself once said, 'runs hip hop'.

walking The Strand
the sound of a sub-bass woofer
filling the void

Little Onion
September 4

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Yung - Commercial - Danish Punks Get High On TV Ads in New Video

The wallpaper like quality of TV Advertisements might make it feel that they don't really have any effect on us at all but the constant repetition of the same images and messages across our viewing time is insidious and hits deep in the psyche like it or not.

It's this that Yung explore in their new single and video 'Commercial'. The song is yes modern punk with a grunge underbelly to it that slips along nicely with a good bridge in the middle.

Here are some lyrics to whet your appetite and so that you can singalong with the boys:

"Their shifting sales turned me on
And a flood of beauty swept against my face
It was something new
Heck, I wasn’t used to you

They gave me hope – They gave me beauty
Eternal sunlight, but just for a while
My head was bigger than yours
Your smile was thinner than mine

I had both feet in"

Commercial is in fact itself very commercial in a Weezer kind of way and if it gets the airplay could do very well indeed. Just like Danish butter Yung love looks like it's ready to spread. Check out the album A Youthful Dream. 

Little Onion
September 3

Danish punk band Yung

. . . .

Friday, September 02, 2016

Butterfly Beats: Tayla drops debut single and video 'Call Me Danger'

Fresh Outta Brum, Birmingham's Tayla punches through the current raft of female soundalike songstress's with her debut solo track Call Me Danger. It's a 90's style electronic funk burner with a killer chorus.

Call Me Danger is co-written and produced by London based producer and songwriter Mr. Watt and if doesn't get your body moving then it's probably time to see the doctor. Think Nu Shooz with a modern urban twist and you're somewhere near the territory that Call Me Danger occupies.

Call Me Danger comes with a cool video that compliments the confidence of the track. I'd love to see a version shot wholly in Birmingham, the heart of the Midlands where Tayla herself hails from, a fine example of the growing breadth and talent emerging across the arts from Brum, the heart of England.

a butterfly beats
in time with the city
tall buildings and food

Little Onion
September 2016


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Critics (1922) - Harold Harvey (1974-1941)

The Critics 1922 
Harold Harvey (1874-1941)

Born in Penzance, Harold Harvey was the only Cornishman to play a significant role in both the Newlyn School and the Lamorna group. He and his wife, Gertrude, were close friends with many of the second generation artists, including Dod and Ernest Procter and Laura and Harold Knight.

Family Ties

Family Ties

The supermarket is sometimes characterised as a faceless place almost anti-community but the small to medium sized stores that serve smaller villages and towns can still feel 'local' with workers knowing and recognising many of the shoppers and families that use the shop. Here a grandmother stops to tie her grandaughter's shoelace.

Photo and Text: Paul Conneally 2016 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

'96 Tears' Paul Conneally - Scaffold Gallery, Manchester, 2016

'96 Tears' (installation view) Paul Conneally, Scaffold Gallery, Manchester, 2016

'96 Tears' is a piece in response to the question 'Where do our morals come from?' for the Scaffold Gallery show 'The Great Unanswered Vol III'.

It consists of 96 screenshots from the artists iPhone of photographs tagged #moral on the social media site Instagram - the 96 'most recent' posts tagged #moral. These were then each directly colour laser printed on a Xerox photocopier at A4 size, put in an envelope and sent to Will Marshall with some emailed suggestions about how they might me exhibited with the final decision left to him and colleagues at Scaffold. The result is a triptych of boards each with 32 tears pasted to them, the boards leant against the gallery walls rather than hung directly and flat to the walls.

The sound you should carry in your head or better still sing or hum as you view and interact with the work is the song '96 Tears' by ? and the Mysterians (1966). If you don't know the song here it is:

In an age where many including the artist spend hours viewing and interacting with screen based media we might consider to what extent the internet now informs our morals.

'96 Tears' takes images found in the digitally coded world and returns them to the chemically coded world. The images are time coded and might also be seen as a portrait of the artist as he sat on his sofa watching TV, searching Instagram on his iPhone at the same time for the most recent posts tagged #moral.

The passing on physically of the images through the postal system rather than by email or digital dropbox to Will Marshall, the curator at Scaffold Gallery, a gallery which itself has no permanent physical presence is an essential component of the work including the 'link and shift' inherent with the freedom given to Will to exhibit the works in a way that he felt best fitted the space, a space that was initially not decided when the work was first envisaged.

'96 Tears' (two panels of three) - Paul Conneally, Scaffold Gallery, Manchester, 2016

'96 Tears' (one panel of three) - Paul Conneally, Scaffold Gallery, Manchester, 2016

'96 Tears' (detail) - Paul Conneally, Scaffold Gallery, Manchester, 2016

All photographs are by Scaffold Gallery 2016
. . . .

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cannes From The Hip 'On Your Bike'

'On Your Bike!'
Cannes From The Hip

This older lady doesn't want the bother of weaving in and out of the people walking La Croisette and chooses instead to take her chances with the automobiles and motorbikes along the boulevard itself. Even in the mid-summer heat she manages to maintain a certain style one that comes with confidence and a sense of purpose.

Paul Conneally
Cannes 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cannes From The Hip 'Seated One'

a man sitting on a chair on La Croisette in Cannes - Paul Conneally 2016

Cannes From the Hip 
'Seated One'
Paul Conneally
Cannes 2016

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wish You Were Here

sun seekers on the public beach in Cannes France 2016

The public beaches in Cannes are truly egalitarian.

Everyone is welcome no matter their age, gender, race, sexuality, or body shape.

People have been coming to La Plage for generations and save for a few changes in fashion and technology the scene today is probably very similar to that of fifty years ago.

sand between her toes
she writes for the tenth time
'wish you were here'

Little Onion

UPDATE: The decision of the Mayor of Cannes to institute and enforce a 'BURKINI BAN' on the beaches of Cannes makes the idea of them being egalitarian redundant. Terrible decision!

Photograph: Paul Conneally, Cannes Plage, August 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Early Evening Cannes Beach

In the early evening, families, groups of friends and couples gather on the public beaches of Cannes. Some bring food and drink others just take time out from walking La Croisette. Children build sandcastles and eat ice-creams.

Paul Conneally
Cannes 2016