By contrast the actual event in Luton wasn't that bad at all, the last sonorous strands of Arts Council funding for the arts being plucked with alacrity in an old bank above the FredBet on the precinct through the shopping centre. This seemed to me the first time Julie had had an exhibition without having to put it up herself, and that is quite a milestone in the art world, that and that she had been chosen by a curator in the first place. She was now what is known as 'An International Artist', but in Luton.
If Engels was to somehow return to Britain, it wouldn't be the smoke stacks and shit heaps of Eccles he would survey, but the detritus of the consumer society, the wasteland of TKMaxx, Primark, McDonalds and Virgin Media in places like Luton, a land of grizzly couples howling with laughter and looking for a fight across the emptiness of that precinct, he would see despair and stupidity everywhere, he would wonder if there was actually anywhere to eat, he would peer worrisome in to pubs with care for his own safety, and look wearily at the continual exhortations to personal freedom via personal media that Neoliberalism brings as it's public face, and then wonder if he could find his car. For that reason alone, this effort, ALL THAT I AM: New Portrait Photography, showing the work of Julie Cook, Jane Hilton and Nancy Newberry (until 15th Sept wwwdeparture-lounge.org.uk) is very decent indeed, and not just because Julie's in it.