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Taste and honesty #life

ST BARTS CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL (24)

I must admit I find it hard to join in with the spirit of Christmas, but I am trying to make more of an effort. I’m not religious, but I still went to photograph the Christmas tree festival in the local church.

The church is important to me, it is very symbolic of the town I live in. I  live  in the heart of the Black Country and I grew up here. I grew up listening to drop forge hammers and breathed in the smoke from the steam trains, the factories and the coal fires that burnt in every home.

The Black Country isn’t so black anymore and we value the aesthetic nature of Christmas. I have moaned this year about the Christmas lights in the town. We want them brighter and more beautiful. The grim past has conditioned us to appreciate the beauty and even though the culture is not one that appreciates art, there is a growing awareness of the need for art in our lives. Art for us though is not a pile of bricks in an art gallery carefully placed by some lovey. It is art with a practical purpose too. It is an ornate fountain, a Victorian clock tower or a 500-year-old pub. We’re more down to earth in our appreciation of the aesthetic.

In fact, we are more down to earth and practical in our approach to life. Some people aspire to be something else. This is a working class conurbation and you can tell we are Black Country as soon as we speak. The Black Country accent and dialect are looked down upon as being common.  It has an honesty that is appreciated by those who understand the culture. I saw a family on television trying to ‘better’ themselves by buying a case of expensive champagne at Christmas and other goods in an attempt to impress their lovey friends. The poor guy had to work overtime to pay for his wife’s desire to appear middle class. The common folk don’t know enough about champagne to judge it do they? I can read a label and tell a vintage champagne from a cuvee despite my ‘working class’ roots. The important thing is to taste it and have the honesty to admit what you like or dislike. It’s quite silly to buy expensive champagne when you like cheap beer, just to impress your friends.

It’s all a matter of taste. Try champagne and see if you like it, preferably when someone else is footing the bill. Walk around art galleries and decide what you like and what you don’t like and maybe if you like a picture, you could buy a print to adorn the wall of your living room. It would be easier to hand than a Damien Hirst pickled sheep  or a tastefully arranged pile of house bricks.

Maybe we need more than good taste, we need the honesty to admit what our taste is. If a tasteless Christmas jumper is the aesthetic talking point that will make your Christmas a little more fun; go for it. We should aspire to be more than we are. We should aspire to be more friendly, more joyful and happier. We shouldn’t aspire to a lovey life where we all hug people we don’t really like and drink champagne that costs the earth and tastes like it should be used to clean the loo.

I shall be posting blogs over Christmas with lots of photos from my past exploits. If you would like to follow this blog and receive emails each time I post please enter your email address in the space at the top of the sidebar or you can follow me on Twitter. You can also see photos and info on my Facebook page.

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