A Ma, a Ga and one tweed coat

My Nan, Lucy. Shortest lady, shortest skirt.

Today we braved Bexhill and the wind to marvel in the wonder that is the De La Warr Pavilion. The Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff architecture never ceases to inspire me and this month’s content Moving Portraits – 60 years of film and video portraits continued that inspiration. With unexpected memories attached.

Although Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sam Taylor Wood stole the limelight, name wise it was an encounter with an artists Ma that rang my bell. A Portrait Of Ga by Margaret Tait from 1955 engaged my memory banks as my Nan loomed large courtesy of Ga’s rough tweed buttoned up winter coat and her ever present fag. There is a certain kind of old lady that will always well those emotions up in me, without warning, and usually out of context. The old dear on the bus, the overheard ‘coooo-eeeeeeeee’ call down London Road or the smell of bacon frying in lard. And yes, stale fags. Every time. That and snooker on the BBC, the Pools after the wrestling on saturday afternoon ITV, the whiff of a Camp coffee or a stash of cigarette cards in a charity shop. I miss Lucy.

And I’ll confess that, like most grandchildren, I never really appreciated her till she was long gone. My best late night tales are all about my Nan ‘I left you the sideboard’ Prevost and yet I wish I’d appreciated her enough to ask for her late night tales.

So cheers Ga for my Sunday afternoon Nan moment. Least expected, most appreciated.

A Portrait of Ga on YouTube

A Portrait of Ga by Margaret Tait (1955)

Exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion