Television – The Gold

We gobbled up The Gold. The series (six episodes) is on BBC iPlayer, and still showing every Sunday on BBC One.

It’s about the armed robbery of the Brinks-Mat warehouse at Heathrow, London, in November 1983. There were six men in the gang who carried out the heist, all of them from south London. Apparently they were hoping to find about £3m in cash, but instead they discovered £27m in gold, and were quite happy to take it. Then they had the massive problem of what to do with it – how to get rid of it without anyone noticing.

I found it fascinating. Completely 1980s. The police investigation was blind without CCTV, and had to operate a tiny follow up force to get around the corruption in its own members, and the sticky network of freemasons.

Worth a watch if you can find it. It’s fiction, but based on real events. Like Ferrante’s tales from Naples, Italy, there are women caught up in the crimes, and characters stuck in poverty, or recently released from it.

The Gold had me gripped. It’s got a great cast. And it’s changed my view of London.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

The hazards of waiting for paintings to arrive

Ever met the stress an artist feels when their paintings do not arrive as predicted for an exhibition? I have. Now I understand.

When the first delivery date whistled past, Katie began to call. At first hesitant, but then insistent, tracking down the human voices behind the automated systems. As the exhibition came closer the calls became more frantic, and the results more erratic.

“A problem with them.” “Charges to pay.” “Looks like they’re in Frankfurt.” “Oh, they’ve been returned to sender.”

Nooooo! How do you hold on to your sanity? At last the words came. “They will be delivered tomorrow.”

The wash of relief, of love and forgiveness … but only one arrived. More calls. More strain. More van space needed. “Tomorrow.”

And finally, miraculously, they appeared. Just in time.

The artist was my niece, Katie Simpson, invited, along with other young artists, to take part in a one night only exhibition, organised by Fauna Brewing, to raise funds for conservation charities in Africa. The setting in Arundel Castle at night, was dramatic, and so were the paintings. Katie’s cheetah is painted with the red earth of Tsavo. Her wild dog was watching us as we came in.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

A stroll around The New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham

The New Ashgate Gallery, right on the edge of the car park we used, had its lights on, and was clearly open, so in we went. The gallery was packed, not with people, but with eye stopping art and colour.

We stepped through the entrance door to see this wall of Graham Dean’s work. When we looked more closely we could see the emotion contained within each apparently simple image. Even the paper added to the sensual complexity, particularly in the large central work, which was made up of several different sheets, with the head having a rough edged section of its own.

There were other pieces by the same artist, at various points around the little gallery. I found each fascinating, and the longer I looked the more I felt I could see.

The gallery also had works by other artists, including an exhibition by Virginia Ray. Her landscapes are very different, with a moodiness I loved.

Beside her art was a vivid display of ceramics, and crafts in different materials. We looked and admired, then walked away to circle around the little gallery, before returning to look and enjoy again.

If you happen to be in Farnham, Surrey, with a little spare time, the Graham Dean and Virginia Ray exhibitions are there until 4 March 2023.

In case you would like to learn more about Graham Dean, here is a link to a written interview on his website.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023