John Squire: Heat, Light, Death and Industry, Gallery Oldham, 7 July – 5 September 2009

24 Jun

Trips to see John Squire’s exhibitions have, for me, taken on what is commonly referred to as epic proportions. The last time, part of the bus journey up involved travelling through a blizzard. This time, I found myself, along with companion, Mr Jah of Scouse, driving to Oldham through torrential rain for the most part. And I think the whole trip would not even have happened if it hadn’t been for John Squire’s agent saying to me at the last exhibition, “you’ll have to make it up to the next one” – a dare, if ever there was one.

Despite the poor weather conditions, we spent most of the journey chatting away merrily, listening to, amongst other things, The School, Tom Novy, John Squire’s “Time Changes Everything” and The Music’s “Welcome To The North”. In fact, so merry were we that somewhere round about Birmingham, we found ourselves joining the wrong motorway and careering down the M1 towards London. Exactly how this happened, I’m not entirely sure. I thought I spotted a UFO at one point, but I think this was just circumstantial.

We needed to be in Oldham by 9pm, as this is when the opening was, erm, closing, and despite having left Cardiff at 3, with our little detour and the heavy traffic, it was now quite likely that we were not going to make it in time. Undeterred, we carried on, choosing to bomb back up the M1 the other way, rather than rejoin the M6. At least this way, the traffic was clearer. We made one further unplanned diversion through Rotherham, before finding that we were now truly taking the scenic route through the East Pennines. We saw a couple of rainbows, but there was barely time to stop and admire the views – we had a place to be, as well as people, and paintings to see!

The final stretch into Oldham was free from mistakes, and fortune was now favouring us, as the venue for the exhibition – Gallery Oldham – was well sign-posted. We made it in at ten to nine, thankfully just before the last of the free bottles of Magners were packed away.

I think our viewing of Squire’s latest work could not have lasted much longer than ten minutes, as we were being encouraged to be quick about it. All that way for a ten minute viewing!! I resolved that we should return in the morning to have a proper look. It was good to see John’s agent, Vivienne, once again, who appears more beautiful with each exhibition, this time dressed in an eye-catching white and yellow number, and also of course, John himself.

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