Archive for the 'Art' Category

Disappearing acts

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Possibly the only Good Thing in teh Grauniad;

Disappearing acts. Real people making real things. You can pay for them.

Disappearing acts

What we saw

Monday, February 1st, 2010

January 2010; visual answers to small questions.

Mini Ferarri.

You’ll be different in the Spring, you’re a seasonal beast.

The bigger they come.

Percussive organists.

A small corner of Wales.

Easy as 1 2 3.

What would Jesus do?.


Going underground.

Light as a feather, from 1.24.

Punch drukn.

“They hit themselves with spoons!”.

Bird song.

PM starts fight.

The Original and The Best:

Obama: Yes we Canute!

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

The Copenhagen Accord is based on a proposal tabled on Friday by a US-led group of five nations – including China, India, Brazil and South Africa – that President Barack Obama called a “meaningful agreement”.

The accord includes a recognition to limit temperature rises to less than 2C (3.6F)

Canute the politician

Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey”.

So spoke King Canute the Great, the legend says, seated on his throne on the seashore, waves lapping round his feet. Canute had learned that his flattering courtiers claimed he was “So great, he could command the tides of the sea to go back”. Now Canute was not only a religious man, but also a clever politician. He knew his limitations – even if his courtiers did not – so he had his throne carried to the seashore and sat on it as the tide came in, commanding the waves to advance no further. When they didn’t, he had made his point that, though the deeds of kings might appear ‘great’ in the minds of men, they were as nothing in the face of God’s power. […]

Real people making real things

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The Trilogy Tapes: Nippon Folk, Japan Blues

Cassette, limited to 100 copies.

I paid for it.

There is no me in your we

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

believe it.

Make mine a Shandy

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Moving pages.

Physical pages.

The Evil That Men Do

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

A tip of the hat to the great and the good.

Push it real good!

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Christopher Hart Pwned by Old Holborn

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Right, that’s it. We now have a new category called ‘TC TI KB’ (The Cancer That Is Killing Britain) I would pronounce it, “Tick Tea Kay Bee”…. but thats just me:

Can a film critic claim to be libertarian while calling for the banning of a film he hasn’t watched?

This (oxy)moron thinks so.

There’s a new film out filled with sex and violence. Sounds like fun. I know there are those who think Libertarians would have infant-school day trips to watch it, but not so. It would be the parents’ responsibility to decide whether their child can watch it and once they’re old enough to join the Army, they’re old enough to make their own decisions. Joining the Army can be a life or death decision. No bigger decision is possible so if they’re judged old enough for that, they’re old enough for anything. Currently the Army takes recruits at 16 and a half years old and they could be killed defending the country before they’re old enough to go into the booze aisle of a supermarket. If you think that makes sense, I have a very nice bridge for sale.

Back to our authoritarian libertarian, Christopher Hart.

A film which plumbs new depths of sexual explicitness, excruciating violence and degradation has just been passed as fit for general consumption by the British Board of Film Classification.
General consumption? You mean they’ll shelve it with Disney films?

They have given the film an 18 certificate.

Aha, this is the restricted general consumption that goes along with compulsory volunteering, killing in the name of peace and A* grades without knowing the subject – also known as ‘freedom is slavery, war is peace, ignorance is strength’ in that order. I see.

As we all know, this is meaningless nowadays in the age of the DVD because sooner or later, thanks to the gross irresponsibility of some parents, any film that is given general release will be seen by children.
Ah, but Libertarianism is all about responsibility. Corrupting children harms them, and the central tenet of Libertarianism, ’cause no harm to others’, is therefore violated and the parents will be held responsible for their actions. As it is, they aren’t allowed to take responsibility, so many of them don’t. Besides, films like A Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Hellraiser and much stronger stuff is all on DVD now. If parents are likely to let their kids watch this one (which I doubt many would) then those kids have already seen some blood and boobs. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s happened already.

You do not need to see Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (which is released later this week) to know how revolting it is.

Actually, I would need to see it to know how revolting it is. There’s no other way to judge. I’m not going to take your word for it just because you didn’t like it.

I haven’t seen it myself, nor shall I

Huh? So you’re telling me I shouldn’t be allowed to watch a film you have decided is utterly without merit, and you haven’t even watched it yourself? How did you come to this conclusion, pray tell?

and I speak as a broad-minded arts critic, strongly libertarian in tendency.

You’re not sounding very libertarian here. You’re sounding New Labour to the core, I’m afraid. Are you trying to give the impression that libertarianism is the same as Labour, Tories, Lib Dems etc? It’s an interesting new approach but it’s not working.

But merely reading about Antichrist is stomach-turning, and enough to form a judgment.

Is it? Depends who wrote what you’re reading, wouldn’t you say? Someone who didn’t like it, wrote a review and exaggerated? Someone in PR thought it might be a good idea to hype it up? The British Board of Film Censors actually watched it and let it through. They didn’t rely on second-hand reports. Neither will I. As a ‘libertarian critic’, neither should you. At this point I’d like to ask – isn’t watching films your, ah, job?

The husband and wife go to stay in a log cabin to recover from their grief. There, horrors the likes of which I have never witnessed unfold in graphic detail.

Well of course you’ve never witnessed them. You’ve never watched the film. You don’t know what these horrors are, how they are portrayed, whether they are on screen or off screen, nothing. Yet you deride the film and call yourself libertarian!

Now the anonymous moral guardians of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), in their infinite wisdom, have passed this foul film for general consumption

But you don’t like it, so the anonymous moral guardians are wrong. We must all bow to the Morals of Hart, for they are superior to ours.

Oh, and he doesn’t miss the ‘for the cheeldren’ part…

Another bizarre but typical judgment from this panel of experts whose names we don’t even know (and so we don’t even know if they are parents).

No, they are Augustine monks watching films on a remote Scottish island in a cinema powered by harnessing lightning with a big machine run by a hunchback called Igor. I don’t know if they are parents either but odds are, some of them have children. But we don’t know their names, remember, because Hart has said so twice. Then he says –

We do know that its president, Sir Quentin Thomas, gets £28,000 for 25 days’ work a year. Nice job if you can get it.

How can this be? The name nobody knows is here, in print before our eyes. What dark magic is this? And he earns £28,000 a year for 25 days of work. Shocking. He could be on triple that if he was an MP. But we cannot possibly know this man’s name, salary or working hours because he is an anonymous moral guardian. Mr. Hart, meet Mr. Logic. You haven’t met before.

I tried to find out more from the Institute, but to my small surprise they disdained to reply. But you can be sure that they in turn are funded by the EU and so by my taxes – and yours.

Possibly. But you’re assuming here, not declaring a definite truth. It would be wrong to carry on as if your assumption were true.

How do you feel about that? If not shocked, then weary, furious, disgusted? Well you can complain all you like, but no one is listening. Our arts mandarins, along with the rest of our lofty liberal elite, don’t work like that.

What, you mean how do I feel about your assumption that the film was paid for by taxes when you present no evidence? Shocked, perhaps. How would I feel if the film actually was funded by taxes? Well, our taxes are spent on much more wasteful and pointless things than films so I don’t mind all that much, actually.

Oh, and I don’t agree that our elites are ‘liberal’ in any sense of the word other than the doublethink one.

How odd that while government-appointed health czars are so obsessed with anything that might harm the nation’s physical wellbeing – hanging flower baskets, conkers, too much sunshine, not enough sunshine – any concern with the nation’s moral or spiritual well-being has completely vanished.

Ah, Mr. Pretend Libertarian, you seek to justify adding more control to our lives by saying ‘well, all that stuff is controlled so we should control this too’. That is not libertarian, that’s insidious Righteous creeping totalitarianism, which is what we’re going through now. Those things you mention cannot harm the nation’s well-being, only the individual’s, and the individual should be allowed to assess their own risks and make their own choices. You use these spurious examples to justify control of the entire population’s morality. Specifically, everyone must think as you do or they are immoral.

As for this –

Censorship today seems to have been reduced to the feeble principle that if it doesn’t harm children, then it should be allowed.

As soon as it’s released on DVD, Antichrist will harm children anyway, deeply and irrevocably. But when did this principle of protecting only children arise anyway? What about harming adults?
He’s extended ‘For the cheeldren’ into ‘For the adults too’ and he calls himself libertarian! He wants to decide what ADULTS can and cannot watch! Look, some people won’t want to see this film because it contains sex and violence and that’s fine. Nobody is going to pin their eyelids open and force them to watch it. It’s a matter of choice. A Libertarian would understand that.

A Righteous would not.

If I were to see Antichrist, I don’t believe for a moment that it would incite me into copycat violent behaviour or make me a danger to others. But it would poison my mind and imagination, with explicit, ferocious scenes of sexual violence that would stay with me for ever.

Then don’t watch it. Some of us have minds made of stronger stuff. We haven’t all lived permanently comfortable lives and some of the stuff I’ve seen – without choosing to – in real life means that nothing on film is going to ‘poison my mind’. I can tell what’s real and what’s not. Most adults can.

Isn’t that good enough reason to ban it, or at least demand extensive cuts?

No. Just because you don’t like a film you’ve never watched, funded from a source you imagine is taxes but might not be, passed as okay by nameless people you then name and give salary details for, is not a good enough reason for a ban. You don’t like the sound of it. Fair enough. Don’t watch it. Do NOT attempt to control everyone else’s morals and then have the gall to call yourself libertarian.

But have we – that is to say, the hesitant, fumbling, comfortably cushioned, value-free Leftish elite who now govern us – got the guts? I doubt it.
All I can say is – wow. What planet has this man been on for the last decade? Have the government got the guts to ban something? Look around, Righteous Hart. They’ve banned pretty much everything and you, calling yourself Libertarian, want to ban some more!

It seems ‘Libertarian’ has become a ‘cool tag’ now, and is used here by one of the most ferocious Righteous I’ve come across. He clearly has no idea what ‘libertarian’ means.

Here’s a clue for the clueless, Righteous Hart. It does not mean ‘total control’.


Old Holborn

Well said, I have to say.

I would like to distribute to every idiot that calls himself a Libertarian but who so clearly is not one, a copy of For ‘A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto’. There are several strains of libertarianism out there, but this Hart fellow is none of them. Not even close.

And you all know what we think of the BBFC.


Friday, June 26th, 2009


There but for the Goude of Grace

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I was reminded of this the other day.

Traci Bunkers in motion

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Traci BunkersI like it.

The Last Poets: Austrian Economists?!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

I first heard these words on an Album by ‘The Pop Group’, called For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder …. It is by The Last Poets, and it is called ‘E Pluribus Unum’.

Reading it again today, you could mistake the writers of these inspiring, insightful and brilliant words for a group of Austrian Economists:

Selfish desires are burning like fires
among those who hoard the gold
As they continue to keep the people asleep
and the truth from being told
Racism and greed keep the people in need
from getting what’s rightfully theirs
Cheating, stealing and double dealing
as they exploit the peoples fears

Now, Dow Jones owns the people’s homes
and all the surrounding land
Buying and selling their humble dwelling
in the name of the Master Plan

Cos paper money is like a bee without honey
with no stinger to back him up
and those who stole the people’s gold
are definitely corrupt

Credit cards, master charge, legacies of wills
real-estate, stocks and bonds on coupon paper bills

Now the US mints on paper prints, millions every day
and use the eagle as their symbol cos it’s a bird of prey

The laurels of peace and the arrows of wars
are clutched very tightly in the eagles claws
filled with greed and lust,
and on the back of the dollar bill,
is the words IN GOD WE TRUST

But the dollar bill is their only God
and they don’t even trust each other
for a few dollars more they’d start a war
to exploit some brother’s mother

Now ANNUIT means and endless amount stolen over the years
and COEPTIS means a new empire of vampire millionaires
And NOVUS is a Latin word meaning something new
an ORDO means a way of life chosen by a few
SECLORUM is a word that means to take from another
knowledge, wisdom and understanding stolen from the brother

Now there are thirteen layers of stone of the pyramid alone
an unfinished work of art
for thirty-three and a third is as high as a mason can go
without falling apart

Thirteen stars in the original flag!
Thirteen demons from the Devil’s bag!
Thirteen berries and thirteen leaves!
Thirteen colonies of land-grabbing thieves!
Thirteen arrows in the eagle’s claws!
Sixty-seven corporations wage the Devil’s wars!
Thirteen stripes on the eagle’s shield!
And these are the symbols on the US seal!

Now on the front of the dollar bill
to the right of Washington’s head
is a small seal in the shape of a wheel
with the secret that’s been left unsaid
The symbols in the middle represent the riddle
of the scales, the ruler and the key;
the square rule is a symbol
from the craft of masonry
The scales represent Libra
the balance of the seventh sign
They also represent the Just-Us
which you and I know is blind
The key unlocks the mysteries
of the secrets of the seal
So that only the Govern-u-men
would know what they reveal

The four words apart form the last parts of
the secrets of the seal
and tells how they fooled the people
into thinking paper money was real!

Now, THESAUR means the treasury
where they store the gold they stole
and AMER means to punish
like the slaves they bought and sold
Then SEPTENT means seven
like seventeen-seventy-six
when the thirteen devils gathered
to unleash their bag of tricks
The SIGEL means the images
they’ve created to fool the world
like the colors on Old Glory
the flag that they unfurled

Now the red was the color of the Indian man
White was the devil’s who stole the land
Blue was the eyes that hypnotized
with the tricks and traps they sprung
and even to this very same day
they all speak with forked tongue!

And so the power is in the hand of the ruling classes
playing god with the fate of all the masses
so the people don’t get any in the land of the plenty
'cause E PLURIBUS UNUM means 'One Out Of Many'

Liberty is the new black

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Quotes from Karl Lagerfeld

2009 – His thoughts on the recession:
“Bling is over. Red carpetry covered with rhinestones is out. I call it the new modesty”

2006 – On music and technology:
“The iPod is genius. I have 300”

1978 – On his early start:
“When I was four I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday”

2007 – On his inimitable image:
“I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that. It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long”

1997 – On living on his own:
“I live in a set, with the curtains of the stage closed with no audience – but who cares?”

2008 – On the ongoing fur debate:
“The discussion of fur is childish”

2007 – On furnishing a home:
“The most important piece in the house is the garbage can”

1984 – His thoughts on Yves Saint Laurent:
“He is very middle-of-the-road French-very pied-noir, very provincial”

2007 – On being labelled a squanderer:
“If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy. Don’t say ‘one shouldn’t do that’ – that is bourgeois”

1984 – On his feelings following a fashion show:
“I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm”

2007 – On his feelings prior to a fashion show:
“I have no human feelings”

1973 – How he describes his boudoir:
“If you see it you will think about everything except sex, because it is the unsexiest room ever. I love unsexy bedrooms”

1975 – On his working practices:
“I am a sort of vampire, taking the blood of other people”

2006 – On staying healthy:
“Vanity is the healthiest thing in life”


The Trilogy Tapes

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Dark Knight is Not a Long Way From Homeland Security

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Batman fails it, as does Lucius Fox, or rather we should say the Nolans fail it.

The Dark Knight obviously wants to comment on the nature of contemporary policing/governmental security and the portrayal of Batman as a hot headed vigilante on the side of ‘good’ has parallels with leaders of various western governments.

But the failure is not so much the vigilante/unilateral actions of Batman which include unlawful extradition, money laundering to amass an armoury and numerous traffic offences. Thanks to Bruce Wayne’s R&D department Lucius Fox has developed a technology which uses cellphone tracking technology to create a sort of sonar system for the caped crusader to use in his exploits.

Towards the end of the film we see this technology has been reconfigured by Wayne to make every cellphone in Gotham act as a sonar device giving him, actually Fox, the ability to track the movements of everybody in Gotham. Quite rightly (for it is Morgan Freeman and he usually represents ‘truth’ wherever he lands) Lucius Fox tells Bruce Wayne that this use of technology is horrendous and evil. So far so good, but then the Nolans make him fail it by saying ‘OK, but just this once’.

However, ‘just this once’ is not a stand, it is a fall. and if you are indeed sending a message to millions of people about Bush on a futile hunt against Osama Bin Laden by indiscriminantly unfair means you have to portray it as such. To have people think that ‘Just this once’ is either a principle or a way to counter wrong headedness is dangerous, irresponsible and part of the problem.

It is also irresponsible to allude to the generalised surveillance which has happened over over a period of years to no good result with an evening of Batman/Fox surveilling the population with a known and credible pay off.

Anyone can say ‘just this once’ which then slides into ‘the end justifies the means’ and ‘if I don’t do it someone else will’, bad attitudes one and all.

Why it’s broken, part 94

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

On Tuesday night we saw Debashish Bhattacharya play at the National Centre For Early Music.

He, and his brother on tabla, were wonderful, humble people so deeply in love with the music they were playing that it was all but tangible. The recital began with a raga played on Debashish’s largest guitar, which he designed himself at the age of 16. He is now 45, I think. It was a wonderful piece, spreading a mood evoking peaceful satisfaction with the day that has just been, a vivid and even violent, yet controlled, celebration and thanks for such a beautiful evening, for just being there.

The second raga, played on a guitar dreamed of for many years and only born in 1999, was in the equivalent of a minor harmonic scale. The effect of the music was to induce feelings of disturbing melancholy, a mood of longing, of something missing, almost anxious beauty.

Finally, a short piece on his baby guitar, Anandi, born in 2002 and named after the Sanskrit for ‘the sound of joy’. A 4-string ukelele played like a lap steel and sounding like the strangest sitar.

In between, some gracious words and explanations of his philosophy of music, the importance of listening, of the development of Indian classical music.  What generosity we were shown.

And it wasn’t even sold out.

Having just seen 180,000 people willing to pay through the nose and live in filth for a line-up described by a devoted ‘indie-music’ journalist as being mostly “Landfill Indie”, why were there not queues around the block to witness two musicians who have devoted their lives to producing something extraordinary?

Debashish Bhattacharya plays the Barbican tomorrow night (4th July).  Its on the FreeStage! Free! All you have to do is listen.