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Archive for the month “September, 2014”

fugitive pieces

I’m sure if it had been PR’ed as a ‘Jewish Holocaust’ story many would not have bothered with it [I have to admit, myself included] which would have been a huge shame. I had, to be honest, assumed from the opening that the story was going to be more of a metaphysical, magic realist narrative.  Whilst I am rather disappointed it wasn’t I am glad I continued with it after the first section.

Time is a blind guide.
Bog-boy, I surfaced into the miry streets of the drowned city. For over a thousand years, only fish wandered Biskupin’s wooden sidewalks. Houses, built to face the sun, were flooded by the silty gloom of the Gasawka River. Gardens grew luxurious in subaqueous silence; lilies, rushes, stinkweed.

I: The Drowned City [excerpt]

The language is just scrumptious, like only a poet could construct? Lots of interesting historical facts; not just about ‘history’/WWII, but also about poetry/music/archaeology, etc.

I haven’t seen the 2007 movie based on the book, which I think I’ll give a miss, as sure to be ‘the story’, which whilst interesting is not the point of interest at all.

Noises never heard before, torn from my father’s mouth. Then silence. My mother had been sewing a button on my shirt. She kept her buttons in a chipped saucer. I heard the rim of the saucer in circles on the floor. I heard the spray of buttons, little white teeth.


Strangely enough having now read a couple of Anne Michaels’ poems, I find they don’t have the same weight. So for any that argue there is no difference between prose poetry and poetic prose, I’m afraid you are just plain wrong. Perhaps the difference is one of ‘voice’? That strange inflection that poets use when they read their works, which puts poetry closer to song then reportage. Perhaps it is a matter of expectation? You don’t expect prose to be lyrical, so rejoice when it is, but you do expect poetry to be lyrical so despair when it isn’t?

Perhaps only poets and scientists/reporters can tell good tales? The lyrical and the ‘straight’.


who cares?


click to view video

“The art object should be the source of an idea rather than the receptacle of an idea. I can do anything and call it ‘Art’ but if I don’t capture the viewer’s imagination, who cares?”


One of my favourite short animations. Full of smart philosophical insight?


Am loving the urban art of Zezão Could be aerial view maps, could be calligraphy?


Archer – cool


Strange [sad] how authorities get rid of things then realise what they have done then try to reinvent the wheel. Of course old technology wears out, styles change, the environment needs better protection but …


The classic Routemaster bus yesterday received a Google Doodle to celebrate  its 60th anniversary. Naturally it is not one single thing but a succession of various models over that time. Withdrawn from service in 2005 but reinstated on one ‘heritage route’ around central London.

A couple of years ago the NEW Routemaster design was introduced with ‘go faster’ window strip slashes [to make it seem funky modern, man!?] But it is still, like most modern buses, a big rectangular box on wheels. In the push to cram more passengers onto public transport designers have failed to realise that spacial interests are not the only concerns?

As with those other modernised London classics the red phone box [though thankfully not, yet at least] the letterbox and the black hackney cab, the loss of ‘dinky’ curves leaves life just a little bit duller. The Google doodle with its bouncing bus [as with the TFL website travel planner animation] seems to realise the attraction of the conveyance as object.


Now that London transport is going contactless card payment everywhere it is almost worth holding onto a charged up Oyster card just so you can hop on the last remaining Routemaster No 15. route through central London.

child care

What an amazing image. Shows how far our notions of childcare have evolved over the last few decades [I seem to recall a certain Jackson being castigated for dangling an infant over a balcony not too many moons ago]. These ‘child cages’ were intended for those that lived in apartments, to ensure their children received enough sunlight and fresh air [1937].


Also our knowledge of the function of vitamins.

public engagement

‘Uproar’ [if such a thing is possible any more about anything?] in the last few weeks concerning the future of public art viewing. ‘Selfie central’ reads the newspaper headline. The National Gallery has ‘relaxed’ its rules concerning the taking of photographs, stating it is too difficult to police given that smartphone users may just be doing an online search about the artwork.


Seems like capitulation to me. When did/should the difficulty of doing something ever prevent you trying to do it? Speaks more about the lack of viewing education of the public/a need to get punters through the door, than anything actual.

I had assumed the reasons photograph taking was previously disallowed in most galleries were 1) concerns about millions of camera flashes affecting the lightfastness of painting pigment, 2) loss of revenue [selling of postcards etc] 3) disturbing other patrons viewing experience. The last of which seems to me to be the most important.

Easy to forget that most if not all public galleries [and indeed public libraries] were set up for ‘the education of the masses’ [particularly the early 20th century, then newly leisured working classes, who were perceived/feared to be up to no good ie getting intoxicated]. I would assume that social decorum of that time ensured the hushed reverential behaviour of visitors [as expected in that other social enclave of the time – church].


But is it reasonable, with happy snappers everywhere, to expect this kind of engagement with artworks in a contemporary setting? [I await the argument the first time joe public saunters into a national gallery with professional reproduction quality photographic equipment].

Unfortunately we have to accept that the democratisation of culture means that ‘art’ has become little more than a tick-list tourist destination for most, and there’s is no going back.


But the answer seems easy. Different gallery opening hours/days to suit different viewing expectations. Either that or just as with the Lascaux cave paintings in France, you have maufactured Disney-esque viewing areas with reproductions, where visitors can photograph and maul [yes I’ve seen it done] exhibits all they desire; and the actual artworks elsewhere for ‘serious’ contemplation.

Game Keeper

Perhaps one day all film pitches will come in comic book form? Recently read Guy Ritchie’s [yes ‘celeb’ authors, think Jonathan Ross, now also on the rise] effort. Great visuals/colour palette but the story is a tad gangster-revenge predictable. Sure to make a good film.



Interesting movie but the idea is nothing new. Devil’s Night, most prominent in 1970s Detroit, was portrayed in the 1994 film The Crow, and Mischief Night/Halloween are old traditions.


It could be viewed as merely the logical extension/conflation of the contemporary love affair with the Zombie/post apocalyptic flick with most of J.G. Ballard’s later oeuvre.

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Running the entire tube network to raise money for Alzheimer's Research UK and War Child


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A curated glimpse into a world of infinite beauty and creativity.

The Woodring Monitor

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Jacket Mechanical

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Discovering London

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