Life Been a bit busy the past few days, hence fewer links ... go try one of the past Blog!s listed down the bottom right hand side of the screen, or if you're new to the site feast your eyes on the archives (bottom left) . . .
Arts Tonight's 'Omnibus' focused upon David Hockney's obsession with discovering why the perspective on that are perceived to be greatest portraits and landscape in art history have a skewed perspective and inconsistencies. As this article from 'The Observer' describes, he came to the conclusion that Caravagio and his contemoraries were using Camera Obscura to project the image of their subject onto canvas, which they would then fill in with oils or make a drawing from. Some were done in stages -- no need to have you subject there for days, paint his head, then set up a model (alive or wooden) to fill in the rest. In other words they were extremely good tracers. The programme was a devastatingly good debunking of many of the myths which surround the great masters, although Hockey did point out that even with the projections, these artists would still have to be great technician to bring out the details, is arguement being that all they were actually doing was a photographic process without chemicals.
Music Carly Simon writes about 'How Lyrics Work'. Although she concentrates on her own writing and self doubt at actually being any good, the main root of her arguement really works -- that the best songs or lyrics work, no matter who is singing them. Being a huge fan of bizarre cover versions (Wheetus 'A Little Respect' is a wonder, so is Less Than Jake's 'I Think I Love You') this does ring true -- if Atomic Kitten's 'Eternal Flame' works at all it's because the original stands up. And for those counting that's the sixth Kitten mention. Three more and that whole sorry state of affairs can come to an end...
Literature I remember my trip to the Edinburgh festival so well because I was followed around by Douglas Adams reading the Hitchiker's books to me via my walkman. A trip to Windermere was punctuated by Bridget Jones. Talking books, like songs, can take us back to times and places completely at odds to the context of the story. This month's epilogue from Book magazine delves deeper.
Feelings Strangely, considering yesterday's gloomy post I've been in a good mood today. Not closure perhaps, but the first time I've felt at all like I did the day before a month ago. This morning, The Guardian asked a random bunch of prominant people whether the world world really has changed. Predictably, they offer little that hasn't already been said by 'the man in the street'. I'm linking the article, but the only relevant quote is from Ian McKewan, novelist, who captures how I've felt at least: "In company, conversational monomania; in solitude, brooding worst-case daydreams; addiction to TV news and newspapers; unwarranted fatigue; loss of concentration; tendency to sighing; heightened distaste for religions; troubled sleep; uneasy dreams; suspicion of certain passengers in airport departure lounges; fear of flying; wariness of crowds; aversion to enclosed spaces; generalised anxiety; paranoia; misanthropy; cultural pessimism; indefinable melancholy; darker sense of humour. Otherwise, everything much the same."
Blog! Six Layer Kate reads like the conversation between some friends who meet in a coffee shop or bar every night after work to swap stories about how their day has been. Kate's hilarious story about visiting the doctor reminds us that we should never try to get into a conversation with anyone unable to switch automatically between jargon and they way normal people talk.
Journalism I'm embarassed to say that I think I was the first at Mefi to scream 'Nostrodamus' after the 9.11 tragedy. I tend to say strange and embarassing things when I'm in shock (although not this embarassing) and I look back at those comments with a head bowed in shame. Luckily (I suppose) I wasn't the only one. The On-line Journalism review examines the currency of hoaxes and strange menutia on the internet surrounding the tragedy and how it may have effected the usability of the net as a research tool for hacks.
Music Anyone who saw Mariah Carey's performance on the 'Tribute to Heroes' telethon will have wondered what happened. Her recorded rendition of 'Hero' melts the heart and even live performances at the time sent many a hardened indier reaching for the chocolate and comfort blanket. But watching latest Carey's attempt now felt wrong -- not souless -- just incomplete, sad to see (although not as sad admittedly as seeing Tom Petty looking like a hobo -- but that's another tangent). Equally past her best perhaps is Whitney Houston, who scared the hell out of me the other year when she dragged her daughter on stage to do a turn during the Diva's event. Fametracker examines what has happened to these two former queens and why they've been usurped by the so called pop princesses.
History One of the long forgotten tales of bravery is that of the northern scientific party which accompanied Scott on his Antarctic trek. Whilst Scott's party was dying in the south, these British officers and gentlemen, with no hope of rescue for months, dug a hole and stayed there. They spent seven months in that hole, eating virtually nothing and essentially sleeping in their own human waste, never changing their clothes once. Now playwrite David Young has turned the story into a play, to try and bring this epic story to public attention, although as The Guardian's Michael Billington (reviewer in theatre for thirty years) points out, this is story ripe for a cinematic telling.
Commuter Life The nights have drawn in. It's dark now when I leave the house and even darker when I return home. The only daytime I see is in the brief time I'm alotted midway through the afternoon for lunch -- but it's too cold, too wet to sit outside. So I spend this time inside: inside work, inside shops, inside the library. Now that autumn has passed all I can see is darkness, then Christmas, then more darkness. Role on the spring.
People When I was quite young I'd sit up until the wee hours listening to our local commercial station waiting for 'the peaceful hour', a selection of balads to sleep to. During this time for about a month there seemed to be only one advert for the rental video releases of 'The Pick-up Artist' ('Hi, I'm Jack Jericho!') and 'The Boy Who Could Fly'. When I eventually saw the latter film on TV many years later I was a bit disappointed (the boy does not fly that often, doesn't have super powers), although I admired some of the performances, particularly Lucy Deakins Arnold, who played the girlfriend. Who hasn't been in anything else -- and here's why.
Film Musicals never really went away, but now everyone is doing them. After 'Mouin Rouge', we have 'The American Astronaut' and monocolour indie effort by the contradictory Corey McCabe: "I spent a lot of time flushing out all of the characters with our casting director, Ann Goulder. She would bring in exactly what I asked for, as well as the complete opposite, which sometimes turned out to be the better option. I chose actors who I liked personally as people, and whose interpretations of the script would breathe more life into the characters." [temporary imdb link -- there may be something new there if you're reading this in the archive]
Blog! For some reason, I love that there is a weblog out there called 'Driven by Boredom', which sounds like the evil twin name for this site. Luckily, it's a very rich site, feeling like one of those late night Channel Four shows with Terry Christian. The place for Britishers to go and learn about Amercan Sports...
Religion Jedi Knight is now a recognised religion, at least according to the 2001 UK census. But then, so are Wiccan, Chruch of Free Love and Aetheism. Disappointed to see that my so-called 'religion', Non-denominational Spiritualism polled nowhere. That's what you get I suppose for making something up off the top of you head one day to get out of tight spot. Whilst at university, after a few drinks, the discussion would turn to religion and lines would be drawn (yes football also came up sometimes -- but I'm an Evertonian so everyone just laughed at me). Since I believe there's an order to the universe but can't quite put my finger on how, I plumbed for this little classic. Which meant in one stroke I was everyone's friend, always a good place to be.
Metropolis A Hong Kong student has written her thesis about the world's oldest profession, and finds that the ten subjects she chose to follow are real people too, and ultimately befriended them. Even though is very far away, there is some resonance with recent proposals in the British Parliament to allow licensed brothels.
People Transcript of Woody Allen's NFT interview: "You - one - can make very personal films; I've been able to. Film-making - to be a film director, you know is not a democracy it's really a tyranny. You're the head of the project, for better rather than worse in this particular case, I write the film and I direct the film I decide who's going to be in it, I decide on the editing, I put in the music from my own record collection, I write about what I want to write about, and so the film comes out as a very personal expression even if its subject matter is totally prefabricated." Some write weblogs, some make films ...
Me Another addition ... an 'about me' page ... dive in ... incidentally, the web is a bit slow tonight and will be for a couple of weeks what with everything that's happening so you'll be getting a slightly more vanilla front page for the forseeable future ...
Me You'll notice I've signed up to ICQ -- so far seems more user friendly that Yahoo ... get in touch ...