tag : bright yellow-green apples: April 2005

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Saturday, April 30, 2005

what a show

figure 52.9. don't believe the

I'm a big newspaper reader, have been for a long time now. I will sit for ages and delve into the comment pages and goings-on, political and social. But I also get them for the arts coverage - on friday and saturday The Guardian does some fantastic music and visual arts discussions and reviews. Yesturday was no exception, with a rather fun look at the way new bands seem to be hyped up. I had noticed this myself, over time, while listening to radio 1 (whose slogan in the evening is the highly fatuous "in new music we trust" - is that a joke? I can't tell).

The gist seems to be that a band is seized upon, blown up expontenially as more people jump on the bandwaggon, and then dropped when people get bored and move on to the next big thing. It's a cycle of short attention spans and lowered expectations beyond an initial sugar rush of excitment. Kinda reminds me of notions of revival in fact - the way cheap thrills can be generated out of thin air, with the resulting balloon deflating*. Where's the idea of sticking with something, to see how it develops? Or, for that matter, allowing something time to develop before loading on pressures of over-expectation? If all that's expected is a continuing novelty and indulgent hype, the it's going to be dissatisfying. No wonder boppers and spiritual seekers alike are dissapointed in such an atmosphere.

*I wonder, how many conflicting metaphors can you get into a paragraph?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

the real spokespeople

figure 32.1. bashful rhetoric

Stop me if you've heard this one before. But since when was it either about being a faithful witness to our beliefs, on the one hand, and keeping silent on the other? I'm quite perplexed about this, most of all from the nature of current political discourse and the way public talk in religion is developing. It seems as if so many people are determined to show that the righteous or destined elbow their way into your heart and mind - by emotional cajoling ("vote for us or suffer them"/"convert or you're lost") or else by hard rhetoric ("that's enough"/"get tough on..."). While others still wish to show us that the noble way, or at least the normal way, is some weird notion of deference - where we see tolerance as an abstention from expressing any opinion ("I'm not bothered"/"they're all the same").

I've lost track of the number of times I've had to hold people up, and assure them that apologies are not necessary - and that they should just say what they think, or want. I've also lost track of the number of times I've seen people barnstorming around with their list of strong certainties to throw at us. Those who have the grace to really seek to share what they have - without being contrite for having something, or for sharing it - are a fairly rare commodity. When there's something to prove, such as the direction of the country or the state of a person's soul, this is difficult. But the real prophets shake things up, and challenge every statues quo, without falling into personal agenda or deference to norms. May there be more of them with time, to bless us, and may they be prominant right now to hold everyone to account.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

ooo la la

figure 45.9. say big up

Today was a marked contrast, musically, to the other. It's been a 'hip-hop' day with a tape of The Fugees that I found at a charity shop. Incidentally the one I got hold of some fantastically cheap acrylic paint from. Anyways, I've been unable not to smile at the exuberance of the music - it's amazing how fine they are together, before they all went off solo and lost a lot of the quality control in time. That means Wycliff John, in particular - he should think of the Tom Jones collaboration and rend his clothes in mourning and repentance. But may he at least not have a religious conversion like Lauren Hill went and did, oh god please no. Let's all just remember them by Fu Ge La, which is funny and glorious. Like De la Soul were. Oh, and I have to plug MIA, who is an utter star. I have to get the album some time - she does some weirdo world music/grimy urban rap hybrid that sounds like it's pulling apart, yet is so arresting.

For those who haven't seen yet, photos of Phill and Steph's wonderful wedding do can be seen over on Martin's space. Be sure to give him a thank you on the way out, so he feels appreciated for the effort put in for the rest of us.

It's another weekend away, this time off to Birmingham for SCM stuff (which I consistently manage to neglect, by sheer dint of never expecting postgrad wranglings to be such an utter farce!) So have fun and play safe, all of you. Till I get back, here's a token bit of verse I have on the go:

I take your liberties,
but you have your way -
you twist and turn and
my palms are scorched.

My best aims are thwarted
by staid realities of daylight.
But still you reside
at my ear, tapping
little irregular patterns.

Though many betray,
you are more faithful than most.
Perhaps you will stay a while.
Everyone I know
gets bored some day.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

there's no place like home


figure 27.6. the pope has liturgical shoes, it seems

I've been rather enjoying including a whole mixture of subjects into one entry, so here's another assorted bag.

I seem to have joined the goth/metal-esc fraternity recently, discovering the music of two bands that have mightily impressed me. System of a down are twiddley and baroque, with lots of righteous sloganeering about current affairs that would make Rage against the machine seem like sophisticated philosophers. But they have a brilliant sense of rhythm and bags of energy, so we like them. Nine inch nails is a guy who rotates various collaborators into very sensitive, if grumbling and angsty, music. Some might know him as the writer of Hurt, the song St. Johnny Cash so made his own that some people thought it was his work.

I've withheld much comment about Benedict XVI thus far, not least because it's likely you'll find me ranting a fair few times in the years to come. I am very disappointed by the choice, as this is a figure so closely linked with the retrogressive and (I would argue) ungodly policies of anti-contraception, anti-female priesthood, stunted ecumenicalism, and authoritarian centralisation. There's a fine discussion here, that raises some interesting implications about the next few years - for Catholics and the rest of us.

Oh, and I've now found the anonymous commenter who appeared here. I had almost worked it out by the time, but it's a very nice revelation to be confirmed. I can think of few more pleasant and all-round wonderful people to have said what they did and think that. So thanks to you, it's definately made my week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

testing the waters

figure 34.8. are you drinking what we're drinking?

I'm going to make this quick and to the point.

Michael Howard; There's no good dressing it up any more, drop the game. Yes your rhetoric is becoming racist. When you and your national party figures talk about the case of Kamel Bourgass, you imply that being an illegal asylum seeker is linked to his terrorist intentions. You say that 'asylum chaos' has a bearing on how vulnerable we are to terrorism, yet most acts have been from within our own islands. How could you so conviently forget our history of, for example, Northern-Ireland related terrorism and violence? My origin as a Derbyshire lad doesn't make me any less of a potentially violent person. But I'm not dark skinned, or a traveller, so would not be flagged up as a threat. And while we're at it, let's just look at this quota business. As soon as an arbitrary limit is set up, any sense of the situation of a case is lost - it's simply numbers rather than how needy someone is. The very cause of asylum for the needy is destroyed, and lost to political expediency. Stop talking xenophobic tripe, and get onto caring for our society with a little generosity.

George Galloway; you're in danger of splitting the community you so claim to care for. Is it because you're shallow enough to run a single issue campaign, or because you don't have the imagination to shift beyond opportunist rants about the Iraq war every minute? Either way, it seems clear that you're pandering to a desire for a simplistic perception of what happened, with the intention of getting in on 'the Muslim vote', whatever that is. Because Islam is so important to the constituency, you're simply going to create fractures along narrowly defined lines, the longer you persist in making a fragment of foreign policy a defining issue to a local community that has more prescient social needs. Stop talking about Fallujah, and get talking about the GP surgeries.

Here endeth the lesson for today.

Actually no, I want to end on a more positive note. So I can declare I've made good on my threat to begin concocting postcards - producing the first run tonight. They're actually very satisfying, as they're by nature small, graphic, and simple. You can't have too many pretensions or noodlings - just whack down a few colours and shapes. As an easily mobile convenient art, I can think of no better.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

the this and that

figure 45.1. flavour of the month

It's the wedding of the year tomorrow, at which I'll be playing usher. Before I go, I'll leave you a few fragments to play around with:

In the last year I have been - as was sometimes indicated - in some pretty unpleasant emotional situations with a former friend/romantic interest. Involving unrequited feelings, loss, regret, and whatnot. Romance is as wonderful as life can get, even as it can also be hellish when your dreams are not realised. Though the memory is raw, and the reality of what happened no less terrible to me, I am definitely heading out of that. I thought so much of her, and to scratch would probably reveal the same underneath. I'm a veritable oscillating wheel of emotions, and will occasionally have the odd bad turn at random moments. But that big destabilising factor is gradually diminishing and I'm becoming happier with myself, in myself. Every day more so. Like I have been for most of my life, as a solitary weirdo with my pens and imagination.

Yes, after talking with Martin on that phone last night, my mind is once again chock full of ideas and little things I could get up to as regards art. I want to experiment with formats, make my art more accessible and apparent out there beyond the secrecy of bags & boxes in my room. Over the next year I want to shift a lot into public view, in lots of ways. Postcards, some weird little book thing - both strong possibilities. But most of all a website of my very own. I and Sarah have been playfully swapping notions of collaboration, and I've made poems with others before. But I reckon there's a lot of potential for interaction between various media with other people. So watch out all of ye...

In so many ways I'm standing in the midst of the culmination of many good strands in my life right now. I'm reading lots of fine poems, and a very rich novel. I now have a place that's accepted me for postgraduate study - assuming I can find the money to pay, I can now study an Msc. in environmental psychology. And I won a bung load of CDs from radio 1 the other night. And I have friends around, many people who are a constant godsend. Did I mention the wedding? See you after the do.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


figure 23.9. a resting halo

I've said many times before (par example) of people I hold in high esteem, who I could lay out tributes to. I often dwell on thier example, as an inspiration and spur to creating a better life - kinda like the saints, if more gritty and human at times. But today, here's a tribute to the muse - whoever that might be at any time. A title might be helpful at some point, send me a S.A.E. with your suggestion for the chance to win an inscribed purple lollipop.

Turn the "joy is quite enough"
principle around, please,
for all our sakes

Once we looked to the heroes
but now they're divided.
So to stop the impending rot,
and loss of thier fine glory,
we're in favour of them

coming into the picture;
how much do you know now?
You see this time, instead
a winter's tale gets personal.

But. What I'd do is
fashion full disclosure,
where there'd be no limits
for its soul-cleansing

Q & A What will happen next?

As if for the first time,
we're waiting for a while
to move against the flow.

When you're so often
exposed as a fraud,
the vanishing story remains -
the road less travelled.
Well it's either that
or it's an own trail to hell.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

the chaos of change

figure 43.1. our image of the land

Here’s a merry lesson for us all. A party candidate is photographed demonstrating on behalf of the situation of an immigrant, before proceeding to alter the image to show him vehemently hard line on immigration. And then describes it as a mistake, despite the necessity of the action being a deliberate appeal to the base need to seem 'tough on immigration'. Clearly a little compassion would be seen as soft, and so an event must be altered in the retrospect for others to see.

How can politics be so harsh? Why does there need to be a constant banging on about scapegoat groups? How can we not feel dirty at the way some people are going about the whole business?

In more pleasant news, me and Sarah agreed to join forces with the intention of winning the Turner Prize at some point. A double act of guerrilla knitting and vague collage should go down a storm in the corridoors of the art establishment.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

it's a magic number

figure 23.8. Trifolium repens, dontcha know

For the sake of variety, there are three matters to attend to this time. So at least you can take your pick.

Firstly a question that plays. Do I talk to someone even though, from experience and instinct, I suspect doing so will sometimes cause me hurt and emotional confusion along the way?

Secondly, the impending election (yes, it had to come in eventually!) There are big dilemmas for many to resolve, like myself. About trying to find a balance between not wanting to support New Labour's less appealing aspects on the one hand, and wanting to ensure against the Conservative's disastrous policies even more on the other. I hope to work them through by May the 5th, with any luck, and any thoughts would be helpful.

Thirdly, as Mary alluded to, there's a rather stimulating - if faintly odd - discussion going on about the nature of art here. I tend towards the view that anything has the potential to be art, and that it's a human constuct - an act of creativity. The variety of responces is very intresting.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

keep on looking 3 - night swimming

This is a brave new venture, but probably necessary given that I'm posting in the shadow of a whole array of amazing artists that I went and drew attention to. They're my guiding stars ect. so I need to get my act together with my own paintings. And so in the spirit of putting off inevitable election talk for just that little bit longer, here're a couple more pictures selected at random from my bag. Both were rounded off earlier this year, and I think are finished - but will never look so good as they might in real life. ie. come visit and see my back catalogue some time! As you can see, Graeme managed to help me be a bit clever with my picture links. Yes the stabilisers are off and there's no looking back:

Not so short story

I see your wonderful dancing

The former of the two still seems to be fairly large, despite resizing. I suggest ye cut and paste it to see better if you like.

Monday, April 04, 2005

a many few

figure 34.1. there are enough pictures below

Let's get in the spirit of cheering up. I shaln't go all sappy and eulogise over friends, because that would be schmaltzy. Suffice to say, some have been very good to me over the weekend. And that helped me to come round a bit, so I'm much less mopy now in living. To celebrate, I'm not going to dwell on the potential calling of a general election election tomorrow. Instead, inspired by the often decidedly unspanish pictures hung at a Spanish Restaurant I was at on Saturday, I'm going to give you a selection of who I think are some of the most talented and innovative artists of the last 100 years or so. Or at least those who've most impacted me and are really strikingly creative. And I can remember. I'm not sure why, but have fun...

Georges Braque
Kurt Schwitters
Sigmar Polke
Arshile Gorky
David Hockney
Max Ernst
Ben Nicholson
Chris Ofili
Edward Munch
Paul Klee
Marc Chagal
Alfred Wallis

Friday, April 01, 2005

music for jaded souls

figure 35.9. just

As I may have indicated in the last entry, I've found it a pretty emotinally tiring week in all. Especially regarding someone I know in particular. But I have a feeling that there's a greater sense of resolution about certain internal conflicts - and that it'll be alright in the end.

Contemplative music helps, something that shakes things up a bit and allows them to settle better. This week I've been enjoying The Great Destroyer by Low, and Antics by Interpol. Yes I know they're both American guitar bands, but it hit the spot just right for a slightly jaded soul.