Sunday, 4 July 2010
Monday, 28 June 2010
Today's title is either my best pun or my worst depending on your love of the pun...
Either way, this is one of the less iconic (I feel we can use that term here) pieces of graphic design that Otl Aicher came up with, but I love the paleness of the green and the simplicity with which he blocks out the text.
Whereas, this one is a bit of razzle dazzle.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
In 1964, Henri-Georges Clouzot tried to make a film called L'enfer, which would have been a radical departure from his previous films (including The Wages Of Fear). For various reasons, such as going a bit barmy and having a heart attack, he was forced to pull out of the production, which was running seriously over-budget, partly due to the spectacular dream-like sequences that depicted the diminishing mental state of the lead character. In these sequences, the actress Romy Schneider was glazed with various artificial substances and shot under coloured light, in order to represent the way in which she was seen by her jealous husband. There's an excellent documentary about it, and the obsession that gripped Clouzot, but I've just posted one little picture showing Schneider in blue lipstick.
Monday, 21 June 2010
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Today, I watched Andrei Rublev, the Tarkovsky film about a 13th Century Russian icon painter's life (and so much more besides).
It was striking and simple in its execution, though, as with all of his output, the complex philosophical questions rumble on long after the end. One scene showed a horse writhing about, managing to breakdance its way through 360 degrees. It somehow combined grace and turmoil in a single moment.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
I met Women at a show in Italy and they were kind enough to say they liked my band.
I understand that this sentence can be read in a couple of different ways...
I'm excited about their new album, which will come out in August. It has a pretty sleeve, like the last one.
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Saturday, 5 June 2010
I've just completed a short story by the Chilean writer Roberto Bolano, called Vagabond in France And Belgium. In the story, the central character discovers a Belgian literary magazine called Luna Park in a Parisian second-hand bookstore. I decided to search for it and it turns out that it has a beautiful cover, as you can see.
I was unsure whether it was a real publication or not, even though that's irrelevant. However, had I not bothered to follow it up, I would never have found this little picture.
Friday, 4 June 2010
I went to the sea today and bought this pair of shoes to go with my turn-ups. Very bohemian.
When you purchase a pair, the company that makes them (TOMS) give a pair of shoes to kids in countries such as Argentina, where shoes aren't as plentiful. One for One, they say. Good company, I say.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
So, Roy Orbison (AKA The Big O) is already a legend. Then you have some danceable music that is truly uplifting and joyful. Thus, Joy Orbison makes complete sense. This track is 'rushing'. All the hipsters already know this tune and I mentioned it last year in some interviews, but I just heard it and it blows me away.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Alone, in the spotlight, gently strumming a quiet, clean electric guitar, Laetitia from Stereolab cuts an exposed figure. Her songs are lilting and go through subtle changes rather than demanding attention, but she seems comfortable, even as a ripple of chatter goes on as she makes an introduction. I hope I can be this confident. In some ways, it's much easier to get in people's faces.
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Saturday, 29 May 2010
Friday, 28 May 2010
Paul Sharits, T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, (1968)
Sharits was a member of the Fluxus movement. I prefer this still to the actual film, which is also good, but doesn't survive well in its YouTube incarnation, hence its absence. It appears ancient and mystical, like a cave-painting, where limbs become elongated and coloured in bizarre, necessitated approximations.
Whereas, I know nothing of the film from which this next still is taken, I just thought my friend Susie might like it, since it contains a 70s leotard and an overall video-matic grain that appeals to nostalgic VHS-lovers.
Nam June Paik, Global Groove (1973)
What a mesmeriser! A performance that incorporates Bela Lugosi, Orson Welles and a loony guy you might see down the local supermarket; only fitting, considering the power of the electronic, snake-charming sound that hums behind the shrieks.
Which reminds me... this looks fun (if less confrontational than Alan Vega)...
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Untitled; circa 1950
The title of this post comes from one of my favourite Joni Mitchell songs. I was prompted to use it by this painting from another artist that helped define California in my mind, Richard Diebenkorn.
I love the looseness of this splodgy gouache sketch.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Mamma Anderson's paintings remind me of Peter Doig and Luc Tuymans in the way they heighten a sense of reality into an uncanny state. The colours are plain but startling, and this splodgy picture of a kitchen reminds me of my Nana.
Here's a version of the song that inspired this post's title, by the way...
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Friday, 23 April 2010
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing counter-culture film-maker Kenneth Anger introduce a selection of his colour-saturated films at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Warning: This video features explicitly big hair and awkward banter courtesy of the host.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
I've just got hold of a copy of Swithering by the poet Robin Robertson. Here's something pertinent he said in 2008:
"Art is difficult and I don't see why we should shy away from it. We live in such a disposable age that anything that needs a second thought is ignored. We are missing out on the real sustenance."
And here's a touching poem by Robertson:
Treading through the half-light of ivy
and headstone, I see you in the distance
as I'm telling our daughter
about this place, this whole business:
a sister about to be born,
how a life's new gravity suspends in water.
Under the oak, the fallen leaves
are pieces of the tree's jigsaw;
by your father's grave you are pressing acorns
into the shadows to seed.
This poem is from the collection, A Painted Field.
Two of a perfect pair. Both sadly departed.
First up, the widescreen groan of Australian poet David McComb and his band The Triffids, accompanied by one of the naffest videos out there, but bear with it for a glimpse of McComb lip-synching in a field, looking like a lost soul. What a grand song.
Secondly, an example of great musicianship and an inventive, questing spirit from John Fahey, one of my favourite guitarists. An errant yet gifted man, by most accounts.
This clip has a lovely, hesitant introduction in the days before television sanded off the edges of a performance and became a slicker vehicle. A simple song, yes, but you try playing it!
Friday, 19 February 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, Lester Beall
I was looking at some Jan Tschichold (master typographer) layouts and then I saw this chap's work.
It was indicative of its time and although indebted to others, this has no impact on my enjoyment of it.
Monday, 15 February 2010
I was at a woman's house once and I wandered over to her pile of CDs to have a nosy, but she rightly admonished me for my typically-male habit. She said something like, "Don't go sniffing around and judging me by my taste in music - men always do that and make mental notes about my psyche". At least, that was the gist. Ever since, I've reigned in my eagerness to inspect people's belongings the first time I visit their house.
I'm also reminded of Tracyanne Campbell's lyrics on Camera Obscura's Swans: "No surprises in the record collection/You must've thought I was someone else", which is both a sad and withering song. The first time I heard it, it gave me a pang in my chest.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
I really like this picture. It's of a musician from Manchester, who's on Warp Records.
Saturday, 2 January 2010
What to do do on NYD (I assume people are abbreviating the day after, too)?