Monday, May 26, 2008

la mirada del mendigo

two hours gone up in smoke !

i've just found this spanish ( ?asturian? ) blogger who takes lovely pictures and is also deeply and informatively engaged with spanish politics

the illustrated autobiography: chapter one ... born under a bad sign

Sunday, May 25, 2008

mar de cortes baja

if you ever felt the need for a blog that provided great images from film noir ... great images from victorian painting, occasional travelogues, discussions of the deeper meanings of the works of hitchcock, welles, john ford, etc, etc ... you could do worse than delve in to mar de cortes baja ... i was transfixed for hours ... although occasionally there were uncomfortable little reminders of domestic frailties

we're packing up to move ... only a couple of blocks away ... i'm willing to bet that certain things will be packed last of all ...

dave and v forward ... about forty years ago

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bad Karma takes a leap out of Hubris

Plutarch’s blog, Now's The Time, yesterday mentioned nettles, and evoked a memory.

In 1954, my parents moved from their tiny cottage with an outside loo, at the Horsefair in Malmesbury, to a shiny council house with a gas copper in the shed, half a mile away at Hobbes Close. My father borrowed the undertaker’s handcart to move our possessions.

I was not yet five and had grown so far in the company of girls … mostly. So I was genuinely shocked when the smaller boy from next door approached me with an evil grin and silently punched me in the stomach; the only time I’d experienced comparable pain had been when my sister had sunk her teeth into my hand because she wanted the tennis ball I was holding.

Within a few days, I’d been absorbed in to the gang of kids that lived in our street, and soon I was going with them every week to see the Saturday afternoon picture shows at the Athelstan Cinema.

The unprovoked attacks continued sporadically and I had no inkling how to resist until one Saturday, after the film, when an older boy pointed out that I could do what John Wayne always had, and use my own fists. He explained in two sentences what was necessary, how to clench the fist and which part of the knuckle should lead, and then the two of us were set-up for a fight, surrounded by a small circle of taller boys. I must have just turned five years-old.

The boy next door approached as usual with a grin and clenched fists. I waited as instructed, until a split second before the expected punch, then viciously drove my tiny fist into his tiny nose. We were standing at the top of a bank where tall nettles grew, and he flew backwards down the slope, emerging both bloodied and extensively stung. He ran home weeping and howling.

His mum was very cross but his dad seemed to see the “funny side” of it.

Some weeks later in that same summer, we dug a small pit in the same bank and filled it with sand left over from someone’s path making. A jumping competition developed and I was persuaded to see if I could leap across the pit, a distance probably no more than four feet. I had never made a running leap before, and was surprised to find myself sailing, shirtless, far beyond the pit and rolling down that same slope among those same nettles.

I ran home weeping and howling.

the train now departing ...

calling in for a quick pee and a glimpse of something hot and smokey on 28th february 2006, i took a little picture of a forlorn tanker engine standing in the car park at sheffield park station, the southern terminus and loco shed of the bluebell line.

today i arrived at the same spot, for the same reason, and found the same engine about to depart for the national rail museum at york.

she looks a bit smarter nowadays, and i was amused to notice that she'd been built in nine elms, which is where i start my working day each morning

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Carmina Figurate by Charles Sandison

In a tall room to the left of the entrance to the V&A, high above the stimulating exhibition of and about books made by artists, which is rarther pretentiously named Blood On Paper, (pretentious if only because it displays mostly comfortable art by comfortable artists who were not in immediate danger of being murdered for what they made) … high above all this, words of projected light fly slowly around the walls, thousands of glowing words which seem to move in random orbits, and if you focus on just one word, and follow it’s trajectory for a while, then, as it flies past another word and another, so your mind will distil tiny transiently random phrases … and if the words that drift past occasionally have a deeper significance, so much the better to prod your sleeping subconscious … some say that it isn’t an entirely original work, but I say that it is beautiful, or at least it is elegant, and it fulfils its purpose.

they have their instructions ...

... they must go in to the forest and they are not to come back until they have gathered several wagonloads of firewood, hunted down the largest wild boar, and then roasted it for my tea

a couple of harry redknapp's boys

i expect she could do with a nice cup of tea ...

oh ! the lamentable decadence of pre-revolutionary france ...

voltaire ... bright as a button, sharp as a pin

nosferatu royal blue

Saturday, May 17, 2008

i wanna be their age again ... but smarter !

ten years ago, twenty, and some ...

sylvia forward

violet reeves meeting sylvia forward in 1989, probably for the first time ... note the hands

re-iterating the russell blog ... and the value of scrapbooks

after georgeyboy commented on the russell "ten commandments" i dug in to some boxes of ancient scrapbooks ... not being a trained historian, i didn't retain the marginalia and am unable to say when and where these images came from, but it was probably the sunday times in the early seventies, perhaps the photographer was snowdon, i wish someone would tell me

as for scrapbooks, if your memory was as woolly and moth-eaten as mine ...