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The Star by Hackney Downs, 24 November 2015

8 December 2015

That’s never happened before,” said Catherine when the fire alarm started ringing at The Star by Hackney Downs. I was ten minutes into my first 15-minute pose after our break.

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I’m not going anywhere till someone tells us it’s real,” said one artist.

They don’t usually have fire drills in pubs,” noted another.

I’ll check it out,” Catherine offered.

Steve’s not flinched,” came an observation.

It doesn’t count,” I replied, “unless it’s Catherine’s phone.

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The timer alarm on Catherine’s phone was our sign that each pose had completed its allotted time; that alone was my cue to move. As we rightly imagined, the fire bell cut out without further ceremony after little more than a minute or two.

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Notwithstanding such uncalled for diversions, this was one of my most enjoyable sets of poses in a long time. The group’s organiser, Catherine Hall, offered some direction on possible poses for me to try, but I was largely at liberty to exploit my long limbs to create interesting shapes according to each moment’s inspiration.

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We commenced with poses of 5-minutes, 4, 3, 2-minutes, then went to six quick-fire poses – three of 1-minute, three of 30-seconds. Two poses of 10-minutes completed the first phase of our evening’s work. After the interval we finished with two 15-minute poses: the first after Rodin; the second in the style of Schiele.

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The first half fairly sailed by. Rarely have I felt so at ease in presenting a succession of quite taut postures. The second half was more challenging, requiring both balance and tension, but nothing unmanageable for quarter of an hour at a time. The six artists and Catherine kindly gave of spontaneous applause at the end. I was a happy model.

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As is traditional, art works were spread upon the floor for general appreciation. In my humble opinion, they combined to form the highest-standard complete body of work from all artists present that I’ve seen this year. I guess we must have all been feeling it. I next look forward to posing for Catherine at The Russet in December.

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