Come Home to a Real Fire

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Planet Earth — Fossil Fire — it all has to stay in the ground and yet … our future (pensions et al) is invested in the paper value of the untapped assets of fossil fuel extractors and processors … and yet almost no-one will just say so.

The odds are, if you’re reading this you’re like me — in the privileged position of being fairly insulated from climate change, whether by geography or infrastructure capacity and adaptability.
We won’t suffer too much and neither will our children but it will devastate other parts of the world and kill people we’ve never met and their children … and eventually, at some point (“but not yet!”), the chickens will come home to roost.

At least The Guardian is talking about it I suppose.


chun quoit
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OK, what do you do?
You don’t live in London any more.

So, what’s on my doorstep, round the corner, on the horizon?
It’s Romantic, New Age, holiday snap, tourist tat but it’s also quotidian, natural and normal, it’s my world, what’s real.
Unemployed, working in a shop or a school, this is the walk home from the bus. Embedded in this deep history, forgotten culture — industrial ruins and iron age homesteads, stone age monuments and microwave masts, hard farmed fields and high rough ground.

The Modern is made in cities and factories but so was this computer and my high tech bike, so was the tractor that just roared past and the helicopter that roared overhead … but we don’t all live there … we just use this shit to make our lives.
Are we as exotic to Shoreditch hipsters or city bankers as an African “witch doctor” was to Picasso or Breton?

I guess all you can do is just use the tools to hand (and mind) to share what it feels like being alive.

Oh … it’s Chûn Quoit. You trip over these things every day here — like a school gym in the 60’s.
The funny thing is I was thinking about Patrick Caulfield’s Parish Church and I was sure it was set in a purple field — it was one of the first paintings I fell in love with — but it’s actually all turquoisey greys … ach, to not be colour blind.


winged bull
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The archetypal protective deity of the home for the Assyrians.

Crucified first by the allies of the “West” and now by both our proxies and IS

What is it about “orientalism”? We’re, apparently, seduced by the cultural grandeur of these great civilisations, surely, largely because we see ourselves as their imperial successors … in brutality?

Nationalism is an ugly tool but it can be one source of dignity and cultural nutrition … it can tell stories which mean we can all contribute threads to the rich tapestry of human culture.
I have a heritage that stretches back millennia, you are just scum … and so the deep and complex patrimony of Palestine is bombed and bulldozed by the Israelis while they are almost obsessed with archaeology that strengthens their own tenuous roots, the Americans crush and obliterate the world’s heritage at Ur and Babylon and oversee the looting of Iraq’s antiquities … just one facet of that imperial hypocrisy I suppose — they are barbarians when they cut off a man’s head, we are fighting for peas and mocracy when we raze Fallujah, Netanyahu is defending the weak when he blows the heads of Palestinian children …

They are all playing to the gallery.

Carpe Diem

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… fish of the day?

As in Buffy, rather than Horace.

Can one say something about our escalating alienation from the natural world, the industrialisation of the food industry, the rape of the seas (and live hard by Newlyn) and make an homage to early Warhol and even, in fact, like him, make an honest little statement about routine and lunch … ?

Can anyone be that ambivalent? And still mean it?

Erm … Yes.


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Depressed and distressed but disenchanted and disenfranchised by politics and the reporting thereof … and then, in one of of those strange serendipitous moments, I’d just seen Cézanne’s Onions in a book and moments later was captivated by the flickering, raking winter sunlight setting the onions in the kitchen aglow, like jewels … and thought: why not? Or even: how could you not?

Hmmm … but something must have gone wrong somewhere.

I was after simplicity, beauty, serenity, honesty, even a sort of Van Gogh, onions and red cabbage, earthiness … and N saw something menacing, threatening.

Back to the drawing board … or not — maybe we’re both right.

Playing with my Oscar

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Hollywood is to film what Detroit was to engineering … or Darfen is to art.
They produce and ship product.
And they do not care over much about quality by any definition.
But they do lay claim to “universality” … hmmm … Homer they ain’t … Shakespeare? One story is one story, not some Jungian Joseph Campbell crap.
Never mind the story tellers from Africa, India and Asia I have never heard of … oh, and never mind the story tellers from Europe and America who don’t make dodgy Mondeos.

But this year they have gone that extra mile to fight back against the SOCJUS nazis of political correctness …

this year because every nominated best director, screenwriter, screenplay adaptor and original score composer is a white man. All the nominated best actors and best supporting actors are white men. All but one of the best picture nominations are about how hard it is being an entitled, genius white man. All the nominated best foreign language film directors are men. All but one of the documentary directors – Laura Poitras for Citizenfour – is a man. In the best picture category, seven films are directed by white men and the eighth, Selma, is directed by a black woman Ava DuVernay, who was snubbed for best director.

The diversity group Writers of Colour has highlighted this succinctly with an infographic from Lee and Low books.

It is after all just an industry awards ceremony, like an annual conference of tax advisors in a sticky-floored hotel on a roundabout near Gatwick.

The staff of life

soup oil
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The world’s junk food — both sustenance and poison.

Collectively, the 9 biggest oil producers in the world (Saudi Aramco, Gazprom, National Iranian Oil Company,  Exxon Mobil, Petro China, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Pemex and Chevron) pump out about 54 Million barrels each and every day.

Je suis Charlie

… sort of.

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René Magritte seems to make sense for all sorts of reasons.

Hardly know what to think or even where to start … shock, outrage, even a twinge of fear but a lot of other things too.

Nothing worth saying can be articulated in a sound bite or on a badge or a banner. A picture, however …

If we’re going to hold the line against the bullying binary thought police of left or right, religious or atheist, radical or reactionary, control freaks or anarchists, we need to embrace ambivalence, nuance, complexity, fluidity and constant negotiation and debate, learning and thinking and listening … and at least try to be honest … and make lots of lists.

We don’t have the death penalty here for murder; never mind for being a bigot, being rude or just a knob … not even (officially) for being brown.
Elsewhere however … ?

Hari Kunzru, Martin Rowson and Gary Younge were life belts in the tsunami of sanctimonious smug.

Der Golem

bibi golem
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Der Golem spielt mit seinem Modell der Germania … oh no, that was someone else, in another time … Netanyahu plays with his model of a rebuilt Solomon’s Temple … in a Jewish only Jerusalem.

The British and Americans created a Golem to defend the Jewish people (or their interests in the region — enlightened self-interest of course) and as the story dictates, in hubris and absent mindedness, they’ve lost control and now it is the existential threat to the “promised” land.

OK, so why is this not in your portfolio?

Need time to absorb, evaluate.
Carl Boese and Paul Wegener’s movie, “Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam” of 1920, is pretty obscure to start with and likening Netanyahu to Hitler, even slightly, and in jest, is a bit heavy.
But an Israel that relegates even its own one and a half million non-jewish citizens to second class status before the law is an abomination.

He may be made of the same mud as the temple mount but so are about nine and half million Palestinians, a diaspora who can’t go home.


link to portfolio

Just added this to my portfolio

Holman Hunt’s weird and lurid little painting, mostly done at Usdum (that’s Mount Sodom to me) on the Dead Sea in Judea, fascinated me as a kid — a tiny day-glo nightmare with a rainbow (the one in Manchester anyway); compelling but obviously mad and a bit crappy.

I didn’t know that he had some sort of crazy millenarian christian zionist (they have those?) conviction that any jew seeing it would spontaneously convert to christianity. Hmmm …

And I thought the idea of casting a goat out into the wilderness, on Yom Kippur, to perish, and with it the sins and sorrows of the community with which it was invested, was barmy.

I find it horrible and shameful that our Modern, Civilised society can still so easily be convinced that voodoo shit like that might work.