Dark and moody Steampunk

steampunk at the Kave
steampunk at the Kave

There is an artist’s gallery on King Street
that exhibits many strange things.
Dark and moody the photographer felt
as he snapped the old Steampunk odd bling.

What manner of science was it meant to employ?
To what realm would it send its maker?
And as its fey blue light began to beat slowly,
fear became the observer’s neighbour.

It is the truth. The very next day it was gone….

Witnessed this day, 26th December in the year of our lord 2012, within the bounds of the asylum in which the photographer lives.

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Am I mad?

Art. what is it?

It seems that since the advent of personal computers, and especially since the internet has taken over all our lives, the distinction of ‘art’ has lost its true meaning. To me an artist was a creative, who, if lucky, managed to survive on their imagination. Now everyone seems to be an artist or a ‘media dude’ of some sort or other. And if you can ‘monetise’ your work then so much the better.

You used to have to fight for recognition of your art. Now, with a click of a button and a few well chosen keywords it’s globally accessible, and, if you’re lucky enough to create a meme or latch onto someone else’s, you’re made: with a gazzilion twats liking you on Facebook and yabbering about your marvellousness on Twitter. Fair enough. And fair enough for those who succeed no matter their art form.

But is art truly worth its money? By which I really mean: is a single painting worth so much money that alternatively you could buy an island to retire on; feed thousands for years, or even buy a few thousand shares in Apple computers.

Specifically I’m talking about this:

Abstraktes Bild. A painting by Gerhard Richter was sold by Eric Clapton at Sotheby’s in London on Friday for £21,000,000 (that’s twenty one million pounds for those who prefer text). Ironically before the internet and the BBC’s wonderful news site I probably wouldn’t have known about the sale of Abstraktes Bild at all. I’d probably be minding my own business and reading a book rather than ranting. But FUCK! It was painted in 1994. It’s not even twenty years old! Not that age has anything to do with artistic worth per se. It’s just that for a HUGE amount of dosh like that I’d want some history and age, too: a job lot! The Richter painting PLUS a medieval castle (moat, sheep, a few hundred acres and a recording studio) in Scotland, for instance.

Art is in the eye of the beholder and I don’t much like the painting. Admittedly I haven’t seen it in real life but I feel I could produce something similar without much trouble. Yeah, so that’s probably the same vain attitude that leads me to think I’d easily win Wimbledon, the PGA Masters, a couple of Olympic medals, not to mention the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.

I think my problem is more to do with the state of the planet and where humanity is in its evolution than specifically moaning about this ludicrous, outrageous sale. That we’ve reached 2012 and still seem blissfully unaware we’re fast overpopulating the planet; that there is still starvation, poverty, mayhem and continuing bloody war; that the United Nations can’t seem to make a decision over Syria. It all leads me to wonder if perhaps I’m having a nightmare.

What really upsets is that we have to face facts and do something now, but either nobody knows what to do, or if they do they don’t want to take responsibility for suggesting it. I can see their point. Telling the global population they have to stop breeding isn’t going to be popular. Especially when reproduction is one of our prime genetic instructions.

You’ll have to excuse the rather rambling nature of this post, but I haven’t had time to put ‘all my ducks in a row’ and produce a completely cogent piece. If I had this blog post would probably be a book–nay, a tome–of herculean proportions. It’s a tome that badly needs writing and would contain cheery chapters like: ‘how long has humanity got?’ and ‘how to get disparate peoples pulling together’ and ‘what is money really worth.’

Am I mad? Maybe I am. It depends on your definition. I’m certainly angry that with so many serious global problems someone can still spend a VAST amount of money on a bit of canvas and some paint. I’m also miffed that I’m not in a position to outbid the buyer … not, of course, that I would. 😉

Around and about

As I haven’t blogged in what seems an age, and as I’ve just backed up my phone camera – which had over a thousand pictures on it, I thought it only decent to post what’s probably tgoing to be closer to waffle than diary. This is in reverse order, so the more recent are at the bottom and the oldest at the top. However it does include Royalty, so those who are all pooped out with the Jubilee should beware.

Here then, are a few scattered oddities around and about town and other places:

There’s a vacant lot by Warrior Square Station. Obviously they couldn’t sell it as a building plot – besides, there are so many empty shops nearby you’d have your pick and you definitely wouldn’t want to live there – so instead they have used it for a mini sculpture park. Not that you can walk inside and touch! To me it looks like they had an accident putting razor wire on the fence, but what do I know. The following two shots are, I think, artistically better.

Better viewed from more abstract angles and directions.

Then I come upon this. The Tubman. I’ve never been inside, and I’m not sure I’d want to drink there without a Harry Potter to come to the rescue. I kind of like the decoration in a dark, black goth, sort of way: but it’s not at all jolly hockey sticks, or very welcoming. It’s more a ‘fancy a pint of blood?’ kind of gaff.

Up the street a nadge is this little lane that instantly sparked a number of fantasy plots…

…and just a stones throw away this – which made me wonder at the fantasy plots I was musing over; at humanity and its taste in general, and the locals and their taste in particular. I guess I’m just not a Gnome lover. Elves and Dragons and Wizards, yes: Gnomes, no.

The next day I was walking along the seafront and saw this beautifully painted car. Being presently carless I’m rather jealous, though I’m not sure how I’d feel if I had a bad hangover.

Then, on the 2nd June, we went to Canning Town to play a gig in a venue surrounded by scrap yards (most odd). Still, you can’t deny human ingenuity. One of the scrapyards had cleverly thought of a way to make extra revenue. I’m not convinced ‘Oasis’ is intentionally ironic, though I rather hope it is.

Then came the Jubilee. Locally, excitement was high. Here, Queen Victoria sports the latest in Royal headwear.

Though I’m not a dyed (or should that be died) in the wool Royalist, I do think the Queen is a remarkable woman, and the pageant on the Thames was rather splendid – even though the coverage was so dumbed down and crass the BBC should be spanked. Here though, I was convinced she was spying on me having tea.

Which brings me to yesterday – or, by the time this is posted, the day before yesterday. The last night of the Jubilee celebrations. We played a really good gig at The Rose and Crown in Worthing. The stage was tiny, but the audience wasn’t!

So that’s me up-to-date. Camera phones are wondrous beasts indeed!

Max and Me

When I was very small, way back when, I remember being ill. I think it was flu, but it might have been measles… anyway, I wasn’t well. And I wasn’t a good patient, either.

So there I was—I can picture the room, the single bed, the smell of the pillows and the blankets, and the smell of Vick’s vapour rub—and in comes my Dad with a book. I have a feeling he’d just got back from a business trip to America, but I could be jumbled up.

Anyway, after feeling my forehead—as parents are wont to do—he sat down and read me the tale of Max and the Wild Things. And then he read it again, as did most of the decent adults who ministered to poor old me. Once was good, but twice was better! Once I was well again it became a bedtime ritual… for a bit. I haven’t read it in an age, and the last time was to my nephews.

I was very sad when I heard Maurice Sendak had died, but thinking of Max and the Wild Things, and his fantastic illustrations have stirred up some wonderful memories.

Art or…?

A few of Ai-Weiwei's hand-made ceramic sunflower seeds.

I’m outraged that with a world on the brink of disaster – atrocities in Baba Amr (Syria) that the West seem incapable of stopping; the Iranian situation; x millions starving and living below the poverty line, not to mention the ice caps melting – that Tate Modern have scrounged, yet again, from the public purse to buy eight million hand-made ceramic sunflower seeds.

Ai Weiwei’s exhibition of a hundred million hand-made ceramic sunflower seeds might have been ‘stunning’ and ‘tremendous’ and ‘mind blowing’, but really it was a turbine shed full of pebbles – okay, so they were pretty pebbles. Now, it’s a clever ploy to fleece the U.K. exchequer – in the guise of The Art Fund – of hard won petrol revenues, not to mention all those other cloth eared dimwits who’ve chipped in. AND they’re not even getting the whole exhibit! Al WeiWei still has the other ninety two million hand-made ceramic sunflower seeds to flog to naive collectors the world over.

I thought that Tracy Emin’s bed was the ultimate ‘con,’ but it seems I was mistaken.

Mark my words: there willl be hand-made ceramic sunflower seeds coming out of EBay’s arse before too long.

It all seems somewhat reminiscent of the last days of Rome. There we all are: fiddling, while the world goes to hell around us.

Read and weep.

Read and weep some more