Monday, 7 June 2010
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
Friday, 11 September 2009
Micro rants of late seem to revolve around Argos, HSBC, voids on library books shelves and Venetian moneys of account from the 14th C.
Oh, and swing dancing. But that is another story, for another day.
Friday, 7 August 2009
How do they do it? The combination of tired tracksuit bottoms, hoody, Adidas trainers and cigarette would scream grot, chav or sociopath on any man born north of the Alps. Put an insouciant Italian male into this ensemble and with the addition of a dandyish pastel green scarf about his neck you have the sort of virility that induces a contemplative, breathy silence in women, with a possible touch of pink about the cheeks that wasn’t there a moment ago.
I think the enforced wearing of frock coats on all non-Mediterranean males is the only sartorial hope there is to restore some sort of a level playing field on the “phwoar” front.
I do wish that I could pop up a post chock full of insightful and witty commentary on daily life in East London or regale you with some sort of amusing anecdote found whilst trawling through the reams of wills over enthusiastically photographed whilst in Zadar. Unfortunately, it's all quiet on the Western Front, so to speak. So it might just be the right time to voice a small twinge of concern about Britain today...
So, on Radio 4 last week, I could have sworn I heard a government spokesman talk about foreigners who come and exploit our generous benegits system to the detriment of the indigenous population.
Is anybody out there at all absolutely aghast at the rather potent combination of foreigner, exploitation of OUR generous benefits system and indigenous in a public pronouncement by a government spokesman? Does this not sound horribly redolent of the sort of vernacular adopted by the British National Party and other fascists?
It's when anthropological terms start getting used in a political sense - particularly when it comes to migration policy during a recession - that the alaraum bells start ringing. Indigenous?! For crying out loud, this a nation of mongrels and good couple of thousand years worth of immigration from all over Europe and then later the Empire. Deal with it. If you want to find the truly indigenous go and seek out a grumpy Welshman in Snowdonia whose family, around the time of the Vikings, or Saxons or whatever Scandinavian warrior race kicked the biggest arse, were bullied into that soggy corner and never emerged again.
Methinks the government, in a desperate bid to avoid a shallacking in next year's general election, are trying to seduce the apparently alienated group of white Brits who are ignorant enough to vote for bigoted, fascist meatheads like Nick Griffith. When mainstream political parties are trying to seduce this section of society with similar tactics to the BNP then this nation is screwed. To give the impression that a tsunami of Johnny Foreigners are coming over - not even taking our jobs but going straight for our benefits - is a dangerous, desperate and divisive step to take. I truly hope this madness will stop soon but I worry that such ill-thought and incendiary comments and ideas will become the norm for this, a government in its death throes. A Pandora's box is being opened, which shall not be closed again for a long while. Today, it's only words but I fear what tomorrow will bring...
Or maybe I just misheard an episode of the Archers whilst in the kitchen and in fact all is well with this nation and its astute and competent political class. Maybe, just maybe.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Charles Avery, a Scotsman and accomplished draftsman, fashions flora and fauna, landscape and people that populate his epic and fantastical project, The Islanders. His sculptures and drawings imbue the seemingly commonplace with the bizarre yet without the bombast of Matthew Barney and his Cremaster Cycle, another magnum opus that made manifest - in glorious Technicolor - the rather mad and complex world within the artist’s mind. Although both artists are technically superb, Barney in film and Avery particularly in his drawings, strangely the Scotsman’s understatement and simplicity are what give his work a grandeur that Barney seemed to try too hard to achieve. In human terms, it’s a beauty competition between a tanned, beach bunny blonde Californian in a day glo bikini versus a milk-skinned, wind-swept, auburn haired bonnie Scottish lass in a sensible jumper. Choose what you will but my ideal of beauty lies with the latter.
My chum is now a fan of Thomas Hirschhorn and his cavern-esque installation Cavemanman. Constructed almost entirely of cardboard and packing tape, this would have taken quite a while to put together. For myself, I have now discovered a mild propensity for claustrophobia as a result of my participation in this piece.
Best artist for the wee ones
Yayoi Kusama. I have never seen an 18 month-old child look so gobsmacked before. Possibly the potent combination of giant inflatable spheroid things and white polka dots on a red background. Lots of polka dots.
Best comedy value moment
Pipilotti Rist, Extremities (smooth, smooth). This is a video piece where you wander into a darkened room and sit on a circular bench in the middle. Stars seems to fill room and projectors, well, project, various bits of body on to sheets of diaphanous fabric thus giving the impression that they are floating. Oh, and a voice occasionally announces some piffle about being “butterflowers”. But on this particular afternoon the scene is enhanced by two rather special protagonists:
(Mother and three-year old in the room, admiring floating limbs. Child is thrilled by the "spaceman". Mother just about to depart with child when ginormous floating breast and nipple appears).
Child (loudly): Mummy, mummy, what's that?
Mother (with aplomb): It's a planet, dear. (cleverly keeping with spaceman theme)
Child: Which planet, mummy?
Mother (still with aplomb): It's Venus, dear. (Attempts to drag child out of room. Other visitors in the room starting to giggle)
(Cue ginormous floating phallus).
Child (very loudly): MUMMY, MUMMY! What's that?
(Outright guffaws amongst other viewers)
Mother (aplomb starting to slip): It's a carrot, dear. (spaceman theme starting to slip as well)
Child: Are you sure?
Mother (mortification finally setting in): Ermmm... maybe it's a parsnip. Yes, a parsnip. Come. On. We. Are. Going. NOW!
(Other viewers in gales of laughter).
And after that interlude, it’s back to the wills.