Archive for June, 2011
Post Up Pat
June 28th, 2011

When I was growing up, I played a lot of basketball. My mates and I all erected hoops wherever there was a spare piece of concrete outside our houses. Patrick Ewing was seven feet tall and, with a personality to fill his huge frame, he became one of my favourite players, inspiring the obligatory shout of ‘Ewing!’ whenever the back yard bore witness to a blocked shot. American culture was such a big influence on me growing up and I would’ve loved one of these posters – there’s a whole article on US sports posters on Jay-Z’s plush website, Life + Times

The Nice Porter
June 28th, 2011

Bill Porter, film still from Snow, 2006

I saw Bill Porter’s work on the super-cool website It’s Nice That. Principally an animator, he seems to be a jack of all trades and a master of a fair few of them. To illustrate here’s a still from Dance The Way I Feel, his 2010 animation for a Fatboy Slim tour video, which has a really simple, bold quality:

Tennessee Good
June 26th, 2011

I heard a new song by Gillian Welch tonight, from her latest album, The Harrow and The Harvest. It’s called Tennessee and it’s starts like a Southern Gothic movie waiting to happen, or maybe a musical interpretation of the opening scenes of Terence Malick’s Badlands. She has a beautiful, crisp voice and a way with words, in addition to a complete grasp of traditional country and folk music from the American South. Welch certainly knows how to set a scene while remaining economical with her language:

“I kissed you cause I’ve never been an angel
I learned to say hosannas on my knees
But they threw me out of Sunday school when I was nine
And the sisters said I did just as I pleased
Even so I try to be a good girl
It’s only what I want that makes me weak
I had no desire to be a child of sin
Then you went and pressed your whiskers to my cheek”

Oh, Brothers…
June 19th, 2011

Last night I listened to Nite Flights by The Walker Brothers, their final album from 1978, that featured distinct sections by each of the three ‘brothers’, with Scott Walker’s music taking the more avant-garde form that he’s developed to date.
The Electrician, in particular, stands out, being both chilling and spectacularly beautiful:

Mr Xander Man
June 12th, 2011

Xander Harris – Tanned Skin Dress from Not Not Fun on Vimeo.

I’ve been listening to the new Xander Harris LP, Urban Gothic, today and it’s a slow-starter, but now I’m in the groove. Not Not Fun put out lots of interesting records and this one has a similar vibe to John Carpenter’s movie soundtracks or Vangelis’ Blade Runner, but with modern techno twists. Budget horror video ahoy!

June 12th, 2011

Christen Købke, Autumn Morning on Lake Sortedam, 1838

Last year I saw an exhibition in the National Gallery by Danish painter Købke, in a small room, where his refined, luminous paintings had a concentrated impact on me. There’s definitely something odd about his paintings in terms of atmosphere, which the exhibition highlighted. Check out this link to watch a video and look at more paintings.

Still Life
June 6th, 2011

Tacita Dean, still from Michael Hamburger, 2007

Here’s another image by Tacita Dean whose work is “about traces and capturing things before they disappear” (Whitewall magazine, 2009). See the previous post for more context.

June 6th, 2011

Tacita Dean, still from Michael Hamburger, 2007

Michael Hamburger, the poet and translator, appears in W.G. Sebald’s book The Rings Of Saturn at a point where Sebald muses on the nature of writing during a visit to his friend Hamburger’s house. In the book there’s a grainy photograph of Hamburger’s desk that was also referenced in a film by the artist Tacita Dean. Apart from the fact that I’m interested in writers’ desks, what Sebald wrote seems very truthful to me:

“For days and weeks on end one racks one’s brain to no avail, and, if asked, one could not say whether one goes on writing purely out of habit, or a craving for admiration, or because one knows not how to do anything other, or out of sheer wonderment, despair or outrage, any more than one could say whether writing renders one more perceptive or more insane. Perhaps we all lose our sense of reality to the precise degree to which we are engrossed in our own work, and perhaps that is why we see in the increasing complexity of our mental constructs a means for greater understanding, even while intuitively we know that we shall never be able to fathom the imponderables that govern our course through life.” – W.G. Sebald, taken from The Rings Of Saturn

Cool On The Hill
June 3rd, 2011

Hallock Hill – The Chair from Hallock Hill on Vimeo.

I saw/heard this on Pitchfork today in their ‘The Out Door’ column, which is always interesting. The images complement the slow tumble of the acoustic guitar.

Ant & Deco
June 1st, 2011

Fred Packer, Powers Coloritype Advert, 1920s

The 1920s are a treasure-trove for decorative art imagery. This one’s totally weird (the servile aspect to the image is dodgy to say the least) , but it shimmers with beautiful colours. It prompts a lot of questions to a 21st century viewer as to what is going on.