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Jon Adams sets flags flying at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester / 24 July 2010

a black and white photo of a row of paper flags

Flags at Pallant House Gallery. Image © Jon Adams

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So its 10:39pm and here I am in a hotel overlooking the river Medway in Kent listening to a strange mix of sirens (same as Portsmouth), the put-put of a river boat and the ‘strangled sounds of ‘bad’ karaoke downstairs (Why do they? It’s so cringingly awful If I put this on ‘youtube’ it would secure a 1,000,000 hits and be on one of those TV horror shows – am assured it will finish at 11pm!)

This is In some ways very strange, as I am ashamed to say I am 50 this year and if you get your maths correct I was born in 1960. Born just 2 miles away here in Gillingham and that’s why I chose to come here. This is my choice of venue, my ‘discovering place’. When I was a kid a ‘walk on the lines’ was for Sunday best – but where were the lines? In the book of ‘aspielogic’ there should be lines and they should be visible – a mystery as to where they were gone – bigger than a six year old could fathom. I now know they were ‘lines of defence’ and not ‘really there’ we have some in Portsmouth too. But.. what a day! A hectic day, a day of conversations, a day for showing and encouraging others young and old ‘how’’ what’ ‘where’ etc.

Up at 7am but awake at 6am to some bright sun different to Fridays overcast foreboding-ness. A panic pack and then a panic re-pack before watering the garden. Hussled breakfast and out to get the train to Chichester. Had to stand as unusually the train was full of students – standing room only. Once in Chichester a quick stop for the ‘lotto’ (well?) and on to the gallery.

Arriving at Pallant House Gallery first an unpack and put the ‘book bunting’ up in the courtyard. Fifteen minutes’ later a whole book was fluttering serenely above the coffee drinkers (Thanks to the restaurant for permission)

Yet another repack and off via the coffee shop to the Library. I was made welcome and sat by the door... soon had some ‘trade’. Loads of parents and kids most of which took their ‘freshly drying flags’ home to plant. The time went quickly and with a hundred or so flags left outside and attracting attention I went back to the gallery. (Big thanks to Kelly, Kay and Nicky)

Back to Pallant and after moving tables together and asking another artist to share the space with her project the place was soon buzzing with flag making. Some VIP visitors and Loads of youngsters and parents leaving with PVA’d fingers and covered in ‘Open Weekend’ stickers – most talking about where to plant. There’s 6-700 flags, all in all. Then the ‘official photographs at the gallery and the library which saw me contorting within the planting. As expected and dreaded I had to ‘smile!! (he was good though) and another hasty re-pack and off......

So here I am waiting on tomorrow (and the karaoke to stop!!) wondering who will turn up and how hard the ground is!!!

Today’s special thanks to Tom (who stayed and made the most!), Kate, Rebecca, Pallant staff and Gallery for hosting and ‘Ahead of the Game’ under who’s wing I came.