Thursday, July 16, 2009

1 July 2009 - Isle of Wight: St. Mary's Hospital, Newport

11.00 a.m.

I have a meeting with Guy Eades from Healing Arts based at St. Mary's Hospital in Newport to explore the possibility of booking "Drawing Breath Recycled" for next year. Sarah is also there and we have a useful discussion about the logistics of the exhibition spaces, timing and installation.

The Cone, sited outside the hospital, divides opinion from both aesthetic and financial points of view. It was commissioned six years ago and is certainly unmissable.

12.30 p.m.

Back in the centre of town, Workers' Climate Action are campaigning in St. Thomas's Square against the closure of the Vestas factory. The company has decided that making blades for its wind turbines here on the Island is insufficiently profitable and plan to move production abroad.

It's National No Smoking Day, and Carol Foley and her smoking cessation team are also working hard in nearby St. James' Square.

I used to enjoy smoking and apart from the absolute right to breathe clean air, I hold no moral position per se. But I have never come across anyone with emphysema, chronic bronchitus or lung cancer who doesn't profoundly regret having smoked, and the devastating damage it has caused.

The British Lung Foundation have made a creative partnership with Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds exhibition in London, with a BLF stall housed near the lung exhibits. I remember my horror at the damage caused to the lungs by smoking and other pollutants when I first saw the exhibition in Berlin shortly after my emphysema diagnosis in 2001.

The BLF's Hannah Tucker told me how many people took the opportunity to leave their cigarettes in a specially provided bin on their stall. (Body Worlds publicity photograph).