Monday, March 05, 2012


I admit at first glance it does not look that appetising. Even the first smell can rip your nostrils apart whilst the chilli equivalent of brain freeze assaults your head causing dizziness and an aversion to limbo dancing. 'Quite harmless' was one quote I remember the first time I had this stuff, 'it's a tad hot' is another, both were wildly inaccurate and moments later I was writhing around on the floor crying like a baby whilst sweat poured from every pore, flames came from my ears and smoke out of my nose.
I'm talking of course about traditional Jamaican Jerk seasoning, not the soft safe stuff but the real deal, the one that makes any food stand up like Chuck Norris and challenge you to a bare knuckle fight. It took me a while to get used to it, I had to start with the soft stuff and build up but now it's a staple on the BBQ to add to my chilli addiction. Why am I talking about this? I don't really know, ah, yes I do, I have been tracing a route through history all the way back to 1655 and the Maroons, communities of escaped slaves who either joined indigenous peoples or eked out a living on their own. All part of a new round of research to link origins of objects and inventions over a 500 year period.

It's already thrown up some surprising weird snippets along the way. Take Belgian Queen Henrietta, the wife of king Leopold II. She kept a pet Llama that was specifically taught to spit at anyone who stroked it. Or the word for toilet or lavatory which has progressed colourfully through the English language with such gusto each century having it's favourite name, 'Jakes' (16th century), Necessary House (17th century), Cackatorium (18th century) and onto 'Boghouse' (19th century). Incidentally, Germany has the most amusing name 'donnerbalken' roughly translated I believe as 'Thunder Board'. Tee-hee.

Even more surprisingly was the Newgate Prison records, the history of capital punishment, law and order and Scotland Yard, all things I had been linking until I found it all sailed close to home with a chap called Syd Dernley, who was Britains last surving hangman and run a post office in Mansfield not too far from my house.

Anyway, back to today and some yummy Jerk chicken for lunch, lot's of paperwork to sort out, a little to do in the studio after the weekends appearances before putting in some more serious hours from tomorrow. Incidentally we have added two new dates to the appearances, the first is Sunday 15th April, at Treeby And Bolton in Keswick, Cumbria and the second we have managed to shoehorn in is Sunday 17th June, Castle Galleries, Glasgow. This weekend coming we have The Acorn Gallery in Pocklington on Saturday 10th March and The Original Art Shop, Preston on Sunday 11th March, full listings are available on the updated website.

I'm off to jerk my chicken. Ooer!

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