Weekend 527.0 (RW388)

“I’m attracted to decay. I suppose; in a way to ugliness too. A derelict house gets me.”
— Laurence Stephen Lowry

I’ll organize my thoughts later into something coherent but for now a list will have to do. I was in Stoke-on-Trent this weekend for a Championship League match. It was another moment of serendipity as the club was celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their 1972 FA Cup win against Chelsea. Mass was at Sacred Heart.

(1) We’ll Be With You (YouTube)

(1a) Stoke City League Cup Winners 1972 (YouTube)

(1b) Stoke City 0-1 Blackpool: Josh Bowler seals late win for Tangerines (Sky Sports)

(2) KLAY Pizzeria + Bar

(3) The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

(3a) A Staffordshire Slipware Owl (Christie’s)

(3b) Bash by Eduardo Paolozzi (Biblioklept)

(3c) Medieval Gold Marriage Ring

(3d) British Empire Exhibition 1924 (Internet Archive)

(3e) British Empire Exhibition 1924-1925: Wembley, London, England (Royal Academy)

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is a little overwhelming. The collection sprawls so much content that my recommendation is to plan your day (days) in advance. I was there for the Ceramics Gallery but made time on Sunday for the Spitfire, Archeology, and Fine Arts Galleries. My favorite pieces in the Ceramics Gallery were from the 20s and 30s. The Slipware Owl was also an unexpected find.

I love pottery and Stoke-on-Trent was briefly the epicenter because of access to clay and coal, but the city is struggling to reinvent itself the same way Detroit and Pittsburgh have done post manufacturing. It’s easy to extol the benefits of globalization but the human cost is difficult to ignore (the scars of dereliction).

It’s also ironic I was in Stoke-on-Trent the same week as the start of Lent. As the priest reminds you on Ash Wednesday— remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. The combination of ceramics and archaeology is a reminder of the temporal nature of our existence and a weekend exploring fragments left by our ancestors is humbling. The excavated gold medieval marriage ring and pilgrim badges from the monasteries are reminders that our time here is quite limited.

The theme song for the weekend was This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) by Talking Heads.

“I’m just an animal looking for a home and
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I’m dead”

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