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The Original "Getting Real"

The Original "Getting Real"
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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Whole Load of Pretentious Twaddle

Never in my life have I heard such a load of pretentious twaddle as was voiced on last night's BBC 2 programme: "School of Saatchi". If art is meant to speak to the highest aspects of ourselves, or to represent reality in some way, this so-called art brought from me only anger and sadness that we have sunk so low; nor did it represent my reality or the reality of a world of beauty. A whistle dangling from what looked like either a towel rail or something to help the elderly get out of the bath was one effort. The fact that there was a smudge of lipstick on the whistle gave it, according to one of the judges, a sexual connotation? I can think of few things less sexual than a smudge of lipstick on a whistle. At the end of the programme, one of the 'artists' was heard to say, "I don't think the public will understand this." Of course we won't. We are mere morons who do not appreciate the meanings you see in your self-indulgent creations. Art, after all, according to that world view, isn't designed for the masses, it is there to cater to the ego of the artist who sees himself as non-conformist while conforming exactly to the notion that being an artist means being something ordinary mortals do not understand.

It brings me great joy to know that all over the country there are true artists who study their craft and create real beauty - those who work with wood and clay, restore stained-glass windows, an upholstery of previous centuries, and create new and beautiful designs that others can appreciate, too. I would say literature is also a great art and what is the point of it, if no one understands it except the weird brain of its creator? order to fit into the modern school, I have created my own work of art - this poem:

Whistle, string, lipstick, pile of rubble,
Zimmer frame, spinning wheel,
Junk, open curtains, closed curtains,
Picture of a man at a computer.
Life passes by.

Vermillion, apple blossom, cornfield,
Trumpeter, crashed cars, manhole cover,
Bits of rubbish, unemptied bins.
Grasshopper, my heart....
Awake and bleeding.

That poem speaks of the existential nature of the soul, caught in the dilemma between the paradigm of an other-worldly perfection, and the baser instincts of humanity as expressed through a primitive sexuality (as shown in the line 'bits of rubbish, unemptied bins'). In order to grasp this concept - and I doubt that will be possible for 'the public' - one must understand the angst of the true artist as an epitome of all human emotion, struggling against the odds to capture the fleeting moment when the two realities meet. And if you believe any of that rubbish, I am the King of Siam!!

Random words without meaning and not a poem at all!!

The Emperor is walking about naked...

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Days That Are No More

The seasons change and now, in the middle of the dark days - the fogs, rain, short evenings, dark dawns, Tennyson's poem comes to mind with a sense of mellow Victorian nostalgia:

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

In fact, I wouldn't want to return to the 'days that are no more' but the changing seasons allow for a little self-indulgence and there's nothing quite like a bout of nostalgia to welcome the winter!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Young man with a smile on an old photograph
In a uniform smart as your father before,
Pack up your troubles and daring to laugh
As you tramp through the town on your way to the war...

Will you die at a price? Will you die for a shilling?
Is it worth all the pain and the things we don't know?
Is it worth all the horror and bloodshed and killing?
Are you willing to die so a poppy can grow?

Young man with a tear as you walk away crying,
Put down your gun now and lift up your head,
War time is over and breezes are sighing
Through fields of small flowers that blood has stained red.

Did you die at a price? Did you die for a shilling?
Is it worth all the pain and the things we don't know?
Is it worth all the horror and bloodshed and killing?
Were you willing to die so a poppy could grow?

Young man, you who look at the old photograph,
In a uniform smart as your grandfather wore,
Looking so brave now and daring to laugh
As you follow his footsteps and march to the war,

Has the offer been raised? Is it still just a shilling?
Lives are bought cheaply. It's always been so.
When so mine fine people need bloodshed and killing,
We shall slaughter our sons so that poppies can grow...

(Lyrics by Christina Croft, Music by Tony Croft)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Penny For the Guy

As Bonfire Night draw nigh, I find myself wondering whatever happened to the 'penny-for-the-guy' children? Those kids who used to stand outside shops with some model they had taken time to create, and a cap on the floor asking for a penny for the Guy. It's rather like the rag and bone men who used to come by with their horse and cart. If you gave them a bag of clothes, they gave you in return a ride on the cart to the end of the road. Where are they now? Did they ride off into the sunset?

It's also like the May Processions - the ones where you were playing outside one Saturday afternoon and were suddenly called in, scrubbed and forced into the white dress to join the procession. Where are they? Did they walk off into the sunset, too?

Penny-For-The Guy kids were often looked down on. Basically, they were just begging for money for fireworks (and then they weren't allowed to buy fireworks because they were too young) but I remember those who took great pride in their Guys and deserved a penny for their trouble! Others just brought out something that looked like a melted snowman thrown together and didn't even merit the penny. Now they have just disappeared altogether. I just wondered if they went the same way as rag and bone men and May Processions and wandered off into the hills one day when I wasn't looking....