Friday, December 02, 2016

"... But is the
earth as full as life was full, of them?"

Lines by Frank O'Hara & of especial poignancy today.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016




.... nothing if not eclectic. Haphazard even?

The Zappa is one of the best concerts issues in decades (Vinnie C on drums, Ed Mann on percussion,   Tommy Mars on keyboards ... an exploratory version of 'Yo Mama', super solos on 'Village of the Sun' & 'Black Napkins' ... you get the idea). His quip about doing a stupid dance will hurt you less than voting acquires an especially painful prescience.


Monday, November 14, 2016


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I happened upon this photo of Pound in Venice & recognised the place immediately - we were in that exact spot back in May. These days, there's a bar to Pound's right - where, in fact, I had an argument about not being allowed to take a wine glass outside (something to do with loutish student behaviour & local regulations). On the opposite side is the last warehouse where they repair gondolas. 

E. looks at the picture & then asks how come Daddy is looking back at the man with the scarf & beard? 

& you know ... looking as closely as the resolution of the photo allows ... it is rather uncanny ... 

Friday, November 11, 2016




o

I can remember with absolute clarity the first time I heard Leonard Cohen's music in a top floor study bedroom in Barton Street London. The combination of that voice, the melodies, the album title 'Songs from a Room', & this particular photograph on the back cover went deep. 

While I've never been a great Cohen listener or collector he stood for much that I love & respect. Watching the DVD of his most recent (& I suppose last) tour I was struck by his dignity, humility & awareness of the wider political context within which he was performing to his devoted followers. There was little of the mega star bravura & conceit. Rather, an astonishment - even wry amusement - that anyone should be listening. 

"There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in".

Much quoted & deceptively simple (for those with ears to hear it is a distillation of cabalistic thought). 

Right now, there seems to be not so much a crack as a bloody great gash through everything. How dearly we need some light to come flooding in. What a bitter irony that at a time like this another voice of weighed & tempered words should disappear. 

A wrist for every watch
releasing doves

(Barbara Guest, 'Türler Losses')

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Walking through Turin airport back in September for want of anything better to do I window shopped around the cases of watches on my way to the gate. As a rule I'm not into watches - certainly not the  multi-function deep sea diver/ rocket pilot/ clunky thick metal strap & case/ high end brand kind of thing. Leaves me cold. However, my eye was caught by a very simple thin watch by Daniel Wellington. I hesitated ... duty free? ... but then why would I want to have to stare at the annoyingly 'designer' reversed 'D' every day? Close but no cigar. 

Arriving home, I'm reliably informed that "everyone" has a DW (or covets one) at my daughters' school. Proving, yet again, how out of touch I am. 

Nevertheless I start to look into watches seriously & in doing so happen upon the far less advertised (& to my mind far superior) Larsson & Jennings watches. 

This time last week I was up in London & visited their Monmouth Street store with its impeccable  minimalist chic (succulents in pots on the counter, watches displayed on stands much as Apple presents its iPads & iPhones - you get the idea) & extremely cheerful & helpful sales person. 

I bought a watch for myself (see above) & one for the elder Wafflette as a belated birthday present. (Lugano 40mm red & brown strap models, if you're interested). 

The point is, L&J watches cut the mustard. First, sapphire glass. Second, a silent Swiss movement. Third, that elegant simplicity - XII at the top, no date, no second hand. All you need. The strap is discretely embossed with the L&J lion. So well judged. 

Strange, I know, to be writing such a plug. However, these are beautiful watches which cheer up your day. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016



One of those days ...

... when that phrase John Cage loved so much - "every day is a good day" - is tested to the limit.

One of those days ...

... when you apologise to your children for the world.

One of those days ...

... when you redouble your belief in true education (not the current horrible travesty of managerialese & neo-liberal conformity), critical thinking & the radical divinity of the human Imagination that William Blake celebrated.

Yes, these are dark days ...

As Frank Zappa would say: when the lie is so big ...


Friday, October 28, 2016

Just heard that Meredith Monk will be the Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3 next week, starting Monday.

Yes!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gosh ... 130,000 page views!

It seems a lot but ... over ten years?

& how many visits are by search robots or myself checking a post has been printed accurately?

Then again, who cares?

& today ... a quick visit to the sumptuous Full Abstraction exhibition ...

As most of the works are behind glass there's no point trying to take pictures of the whole work. Far better to hone in on details - which, in any case, are what fascinate.

Here are a series of beautiful passages of paint & mark making (Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly & de Kooning).



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This was a more satisfying visit - last Sunday afternoon with the younger sprout.

An upstairs 'loft' space lit with spot lights and a series of watercolours by Anne Herbauts (confirming my suspicions that she works more or less on an A4 scale & then enlarges or reduces depending). What really makes the show, though, is the Broodthaers-style mock museum cases containing a range of found items. The premise of the exhibition is the forest being overtaken by the sea. Thus, in the morning, we each become unwitting Crusoes beach combing the streets for what the waves have left behind. It is a beautiful conceit & a fantastic engine for generating a series of wry surrealist re-imaginings. The same intelligence & poetic eye that informs AH's book works is here for all to see. Such a modest space & scale but what ripples it sends out into the day. Fresh eyes. Marvellous.

(Only open Wednesday & Sunday afternoons).

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Here goes with a series of posts bringing you up to date with exhibitions going on in Brussels. For some reason October is especially rich.

First ... the Japanese Modern Art selection at the Bozar. Frankly, it's a major disappointment. I went hungry for works by the great Yu-ichi Inoue & found only the one - and annoyingly shielded behind highly reflective glass. It was virtually impossible to appreciate the brush marks given the superimposition of either yourself or other works on the other walls.

Nevertheless, my first direct encounter with his work. (There's a show in Frankfurt but four hours driving there & back is just a bit too much).



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& more ear food ...


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(note: this is the trumpeter not the bassist of the same name)

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(I was looking for the Belcea Quartet but this is meant to be good, too)

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(overplayed, perhaps, but the Midnight Cowboy theme gets under the skin)

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