Saturday, 28 August 2021

Colour by Christina Rossetti

 I've long loved the poetry of Christina Rossetti and this gentle poem is a gem. What rhymes with orange by the way?

I've had this recording in the can for quite some time. I thought the world might be ready for it now.

Friday, 9 July 2021



"Gunnera is the sole genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Gunneraceae, which contains 63 species. Some species have extremely large leaves."

We don't have a garden but I quite like looking at other people's, and sometimes taking photographs. Last week we had a holiday in Devon, stopping in mediocre accommodation, but set in 13 acres of garden. There were some lovely examples of Gunnera and I took quite a lot of photos of them. Actually I took about 560 photos on holiday of various things, I get carried away, only about 30 were of Gunnera. Anyway here are about half of them:

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Going underground

 What is art?

It always amuses me when people are exercised by a work of art. I suppose art should challenge and be challenged, so from that point of view it’s good that they are. People are funny when they are affronted by something they basically can’t comprehend. Unable to shed their blinkers. And so it would seem that an ad that David Hockney has designed is causing people to become agitated because it disturbs their narrow idea of what art should be. 

‘Brilliant’ or Totally Phoned In? is the headline on Artnet News. People seem afraid of it because they don’t know which way to swing, and so they go with a gut reaction. Do you know what? I DON’T FUCKING CARE! 

Art is art. There are no rules. Stop trying to be fashionable. Relax. If you like it you like it. If you don’t, you don’t. Stop trying to pre-judge the pretentious zeitgeist. Stop trying to understand art. Wake up and get over yourself. 

Art is not something that trend setters/influencers prescribe. Art is what you want it to be. 

What is art?
If you don't know the answer, this pdf pamphlet might be able to help you. If you think you know the answer, think again. 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Magical menagerie

I like graffiti. Not all of it you understand. Some of it is offensive or in inappropriate places. But by and large I like it.

Recently in the King Street area of Norwich one artist has been busy using a style that I definitely like. Their stuff could be elsewhere for all I know, but this is the only place I’ve seen it.

Because of the ephemeral nature of graffiti I decided to nip out with my camera last week and snap as many as I could. Just as well as they have now gone. But here they are.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Which side are you on?


There are some things where the choice can only ever be heads or tails. There are really only two types of politics, progressive or reactionary. You can't have a mix of the two. It's like in maths, a plus and a minus will always equal a minus. Reactionary politics being the minus. It's a hard border between the two. One doesn't merge into the other. There is no middle ground, no centre. 

Is there any point voting for one reactionary party because it's not the other reactionary party? I don't think so. You might think they will improve your lot but they really won't. They will always be a disappointment. Maintaining the status quo is a reactionary political choice. 

Unfortunately when you have a population that is politically illiterate how do you affect positive change? I really don't know. I am truly baffled. Without a major political party that supports progressive politics we can't even begin to move forward. Should we just give up and 'know our place'? That is what people seem to want. So I guess the answer is yes.

A broad church of reactionaries and progressives is never going to work. It will always be a constant tug of war with no real outcome apart from political impotence.

The choice is capitalism or socialism, fascism or democracy. Capitalism is fascism. Socialism is democracy in its purest form. Only trust people by their actions rather than what they say. Beware wolves in sheep's clothing; people will claim to be what they are not just to gain power.

If you appease capitalism you destroy all hope.

If you are not a socialist it is probably because you don't understand it. Get a grip. Educate yourself.

Perhaps one day we will have a mass membership socialist party.

Yours despondently

PS. I didn't vote for Keith.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Doing art

I was asked recently about what I was thinking when I created my art? I found that an almost impossible question to answer. 

I guess the easy answer would be everything and nothing but that would be a bit glib. Mostly when I’m making art I’m in a little world of my own so I’m probably not thinking at all in the accepted sense. Actually creating is often just so therapeutic that I’m often lost in a near meditative state. And then sometimes when things just aren’t going how I hoped they would be going I get a bit grumpy. Then is usually the time to get up and walk away and do something else. 

When I go and gawp at other peoples’ art I’m never bothered about what the artist was thinking or what the artist is trying to convey. So many people seem to have a need to understand art and I really don’t understand why. You can’t possibly feel what the artist was feeling so why bother worrying about it? 

People who wear the badge of Art Expert, Art Historian or Art Critic know no more than you about a piece of art. It’s all made up. All you need to know is that there is a piece of art which you either like or you don’t and that you take from it what you want to take from it. You can’t know the mind of the artist. 

With my art sometimes the title comes first and the piece springs from that. Other times the picture tells me what the title is. Then as often is the case I have a picture, I have a title, neither necessarily connected so I just put them together because it amuses me.I rarely explain my pictures because, well why should I? And anyhow, how are people going to exercise their minds if I give them the answers?

When presented with a piece of art before you, firstly, don’t panic! Then just take from it what you want and try not to read it like some cypher. Just take it for what it is and what it does for you. 

Art is easy. Stop taking it so seriously.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Patriotism no, flags perhaps

A dictionary definition of patriotism is “the feeling of loving your country more than any others and being proud of it”. I suppose one could just about accept that if we lived in a democracy, but as we don’t, we have absolutely nothing to be proud of. And why does it have to be oh so competitive anyway? 

I have always subscribed to Samuel Johnson's, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." In my book patriotism is just a form of fascism. And of course no sane person wants to entertain fascism. 

I’ve always struggled with the concept of flags, nationhood, nationalism and patriotism. I’ve always seen them as symbols and concepts built around hate and tribalism. I would dearly love to be able to wear a badge to proclaim my sympathies but have always felt uneasy about such things. But perhaps I should totally separate my political beliefs from the disdain I have for flags that are so beloved by the parochial fascists 

Is identity important, and in turn national identity? I have always thought not. But perhaps I’m wrong? And why are specific plots of land so important? I do struggle to comprehend that. 

There are more questions than answers. 

I am changing my view slightly on flags though. Whilst I could never accept or understand the reactionary stance of the flag-shagging fascist, when a flag represents a set of worthy principles, then I think it's fine to wave one. But not going overboard. The red flag is the obvious acceptable flag. International socialism is a very worthy cause. The EU flag too is a worthy one. A flag that represents harmony and union. Then there are the flags of nations that represent a struggle for self determination. The Palestinian flag being the obvious one, the Saltire and the Catalonian flag being two more. I could go on. 

Of course if we lived in an English Socialist Republic with a different flag (perhaps was a red circle on a white background for example) then I’d happily celebrate that. Flags are nothing without the intellect. 

The jury is out.