Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Stuff (NOT the website) has taken over my life. I am feeling a bit like the Junk Lady from the film Labyrinth, overwhelmed by things. Which has led to a reduction in blogging – and other writing projects.

Several interesting things have come my way though. Firstly I was sent a great MP3 of Dave Hickey speaking (audio file here – its big!) He made some excellent points and I felt they were very relevant to the New Zealand institutional art scene. [Hatip MC for the link]. One take away message though for me was that art is an elective, not a compulsory course, so to speak. Art is a luxury. As my twitter followers will know, I can be a bit whiney about my relatively comfortable middle-class existence. Art (in its broad sense) is my luxury and I should probably appreciate that more instead of moaning that I can’t get to see more exhibitions or buy more books. Deviating a bit from Hickey’s view, and whatever their state, I am very appreciative of public galleries (and libraries!) as I get to see so much at very little cost.

I have also been very lucky to meet with some extremely interesting people of late and to read some great poetry. It’s been awesome to be able to help out a little by scrounging for knitting needles for the binding of my good friend Helen Heath’s forthcoming chapbook Watching for Smoke. This is being published by another wonderful Helen (Rickerby), at Seraph Press. Its very energising to be around people who are passionate about what they are doing and how they are doing it. In this vein, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Dean Havard at Kilmog Press, who produces beautiful handcrafted books and have had great discussions with poet Michael Steven. Kilmog has just published his chapbook Centreville Springs and its a good one!

All the literary talk prompted me to have a hunt for Fernado Pessoa books in Dunedin’s excellent 2nd hand book shops (reuse!). I had a great conversation with one ‘bookshop guy’ which went something like this:

“I am looking for anything by Pessoa”
“Oh, the Portugese chap? No sorry not at the moment”

I was so impressed that ‘bookshop guy’ knew Pessoa (and on my last visit taught me how to pronounce ‘Camus’ properly) that I ended up walking away with Rimbaud’s prose poems which was at the top limit of my budget. As this flying bookshop visit was on the way to a family outing to the Botanical Gardens I also ended up carrying Rimbaud and a copy of Edmund White’s ‘The Flaneur’  with me around the park which felt a tiny bit surreal.

The park has some interesting Peter Pan statuary. Apparently you can find these all over NZ but I found the detail in the base of this one a tad creepy. The statue is of Peter standing on a tree stump. In the tree roots are all sorts of creatures – and babies. It hadn’t occurred to me that the ‘lost boys’ were once ‘lost babies’ which I find a little disturbing and reminiscent of The Importance of Being Earnest where a baby was left in a capacious handbag “in the cloak-room of one of the larger railway stations in London.”

This baby looks quite forlorn in it’s tree root ‘cage’

On the recycle front so much has been happening but probably only of interest to me. But in the spirit of ‘recycle’ , here is a cover of Word Up – played on the ukulele. Yes, I have also been neglecting my ukulele fetish even though I am actually taking some lessons. WORD


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Just some fun

I am hoping to resume proper art-related blogging on Monday but today let’s have some fun.

One of my favourite songs when I was little was Alexander Beetleby Melanie. I sing this to my kids although they like it to be Alexandra Beetle. Anyway a while ago I found this – it begins:

“If you’re not familiar with Alexander Beetle, it was one of the poems about his neurotic, cousin-marrying son’s childhood that A.A. Milne wrote early last century. It was later covered as a 1970s hippy folk song by Melanie Safka. And it’s not as heart-warming a tale as I remembered it. Yes, after a presumably unfulfilling day trapped inside a matchbox, lacking food, water, space, and possibly air, the beetle took the first opportunity granted it for freedom AND RAN LIKE BUGGERY.” 

This post luckily hasn’t ruined my childhood memories and is very funny. Also Melanie is quite something and her version of Ruby Tuesday is also a favourite. I like it better than the Rolling Stones original.

For some reason it got me thinking of Marianne Faithful who has been on my radar quite a bit lately (and I am hoping to watch Irina Palm tonight). I had an unusual experience this morning with a woman who reminded me of Marianne and who fervently exclaimed “NO! NO! NO! NO!” when I was contemplating buying Samsara and put me on to something more suitable.


For some reason I always associate the album artwork of Broken English  with Faithfull, which is just as well considering this:

Marianne Faithfull as Maria Teresa in Marie Antoinette

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This has been such a weird week. I have been wandering around in a post operative fog (thanks M. for making me feel better about that) and trying to get some logistical things moving on the relocation front – trying too hard maybe. It does concern me when relocation companies lose emails and have impossible telephone systems. This is where I need a very patient PA who can make these arrangements for me (and find a decent house to go to as well).

On the ‘art’ front and the interests of trying to de-stress, I’ve been reading about Dylan Thomas after seeing the movie “The Edge of Love” in the weekend. The film had good and bad points, but I kept thinking the female leads were horribly miscast. I have no basis for this opinion though but Sienna Miller didn’t seem “weighty” enough to play Caitlin in many respects. When hunting around with google there were lots of opinions from people who knew the Thomas’s which were an interesting read, including this great piece by Nicholas Monson. I’ve also just got Caitlin Thomas’ sober autobiography “Double Drink Story” to read – sobering in itself – and read some yesterday while listening to my favourite album – Cannonball Adderley featuring Miles Davis “Somethin’ Else” (1958) – Autumn Leaves is sublime. 

As for Thomas himself and his work – this is good and I thank him for some words yesterday which resonated for me “The close and holy darkness” .

thomasI like this portrait of Thomas by his brother-in-law Rupert Shephard (1940). It strikes me as a little like Dora Carrington’s painting of Lytton Strachey. A closer look can be found here (The National Portrait Gallery)

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It occurred to me today, while a dealer was going through my vinyl collection that maybe my partner thinks I am silly to be so attached to it because he is of the CD age. For example when I bought my first CD (which I still own), he had not long started school. As it turns out I could not part with the few items the dealer would have liked except for the one he’d already bought and I was quite happy to let that one go because I’d never liked it.

I was saying to the guy that I like albums because they were big and tangible and although I’ve got used to CDs, I missed the artwork. My partner’s music these days is almost solely relegated to MP3s and so the art is completely lost (and you just can’t hold on to it).  I mean who wouldn’t miss such artistic gems as this (a chocolate fish if you can tell me the artist):

I guess one advantage of digital music is you can have an e-conversation about a song (eg Marianne Faithful’s version of Madame George) and immediately find it on the ‘net to share.

I have now instigated a policy that I will not get rid of any vinyl that is NOT available on CD, because its about the music and really I can live without the cover-art, especially when I don’t even own a turntable right now.

 This week has been a total voyage of discovery though – who knew that obscure Chris Knox LPs are worth more than 150+ year old funereal ceramics? And Knox himself did some pretty cool cover art – see “Song for Cleaning Guppies” and did he do the Tall Dwarfs EP with “Nothings going to happen” on it?

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