Postgraduate students from Staffordshire University were treated to a day away, to sample the cultural delights and watering holes of Liverpool. It proved to be an ideal opportunity to get everyone together, and the focus of the day was Leonora Carrington’s extraordinary exhibition at the Liverpool Tate (just before the show closed at the end of May). Carrington was an all-out surrealist and magical realist – and a highly accomplished writer of short stories and novels – as well as a stunning visual artist, whose work encompasses paintings large and small, prints, sculpture, tapestries, theatre design and – impossible hats.
We were given a really illuminating talk through the largest painting in the exhibition: El mundo magico de los mayas from the early ’60s:
‘In everybody, there is an inner bestiality,’ she claimed, and her work is over-run with animals and animal-headed creatures that are often sinister, as well as acting guides to the subconscious… altars, eggs, rites and runes abound… a giant, fairy-winged ermine is trapped by a tiny huntsman! No wonder then, that one of her stories was selected by Angela Carter for the story collection she edited, Wayward Girls and Wicked Women. Luckily, Dr Ebdon had the foresight to bring this collection with her, and we took turns to read Carrington’s story, The Debutante, aloud in the pub afterwards. In the story, a debutante sends a hyena in her place to her coming out ball – with predictably disastrous results! Meanwhile, the pub is another story… After some ‘cheeky water’ and having gleaned that we were bookish types, some friendly locals wanted to chat to us about the nature of time and Derrida…
Needless to say, a good time was had by all and the postgrads have decided to have social meetings every month. Keep it up postgrads and always remember you’re the Cream of the Crop: the Stayers and Survivors! Here we are with Ken Dodd and all the fun of Lime Street Station: