25 August 2005

Five things blah blah blah

Well, apparently I've been tagged. And while I was asleep, too. Mr Prefect sir, you're a pervert.

But anyway, tea's up, it's raining outside, so here goes...

10 years ago...
Enjoying a summer of cool as my musical tastes meld seamlessly with the best Glastonbury has to offer, Massive Attack, Jeff Buckley, Spearhead, Red Snapper and so forth. I then spent the rest of the summer working in a brewery. Not quite as cool as it sounds, honest.

5 years ago...
Hmm. 2000. Not a very good year. Someone's dad died, someone else's mum died, a friend crashed his motorcycle and died, and my mum had a stroke. I got very good at drinking in this year.

1 year ago...
I was probably living by the sea, smoking a bit more dope than I currently do, and wondering if Liverpool will ever win the European Cup in my lifetime. What a difference a year makes...

Work, pub, curry, 2 episodes of "Spaced", bed. Tough life

Work, Super Cup final vs. CSKA Moscow, beer, silly conversation until too late, bed.

Five snacks I enjoy...
Marmite on toast, chocolate hobnobs, apples (I know, I know, but I do!), curried scotch eggs and tea. Which counts as a snack. No, really.

Five bands whose lyrics I know most of...
Queen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys and the Boo Radleys.

Five things I'd do with $1m...
Buy a house, buy some art, travel, have a big pirate-themed party, invest the remaining 100 quid.

Five places I'd run away to...
New York, Edinburgh, Dublin, Liverpool, Buck's Mills (Devon).

Five bad habits I have...
Eating chocolate hobnobs, smoking when drunk, drinking too much, an inability to be arsed with serious financial matters, pathological hatred of christians.

Five things I like doing...
Reading, listening to cricket on the radio, drinking, arranging things in alphabetical order, playing guitar.

Five things I wouldn't wear...
Brown shoes, patterned ties, anything with a noticeable label or manufacturer's name on, trainers unless I'm playing sport, a Nirvana tshirt.

Five TV shows I love...
The Sopranos, The West Wing, Absolute Power, the Mark Steel Lectures, BBC4 documentaries.

Five movies I love...
Once Upon a Time in America, Three Colours Blue, Top Gun, Withnail & I, Head.

Five famous people I'd like to meet...
Joni Mitchell, John Cale, Brave Captain, Iain Banks, Christy Moore.

Five favourite toys...
My laptop, my guitar, my ipod shuffle (although it's giving me tinnitus), my long wave radio (for the cricket) and crosswords. I know the last one isn't really a toy, but unless I'm allowed books or my aviator sunglasses, I can't think of anything else.

Five people to tag...
The Count, who's currently extremely incommunicado and won't get anything I send him.
The Desk of the Sellout Generation, who'll shout at me for tagging him.
...and er, that's it.

I don't know too many bloggers. Yet.

Mod out

19 August 2005

Holy analingus, Batman!

Now that I've got your attention...

I just read this BBC news story. In short, an artist called Mark Chamberlain had a show at a posh New York Gallery featuring the above painting and similar others, including a lovely shot of Robin and his bum, as part of a whole collection of gay Batman pictures. Although they've been there since February, DC Comics have only just got their act together and sent the lawyers in.

Now, I'm no lawyer, and I'm sure it's important that copyright on something like Batman is protected, otherwise clearly the world will end and no-one will get any cake, but doesn't the fact that it's "art" count for something? How come Warhol didn't get sued for his Campbell soup tins? Also, isn't there a world of difference between the mafia selling millions of fake dvds and one bloke painting some pictures? Apparently not, but that's lawyers for you. No sense of beauty or appreciation of how hard it is to afford good quality brushes.

So is there more to it? Is the fact that he portrays them as gay the problem? Given they've spent decades prancing around in tights, I reckon the cat's out of the bag on that one, and DC should learn to live with the fact that people's perceptions may not match the company line.

I'm less interested in the art than I am in the whole kerfuffle about it, but since we're talking about fruity pictures of the caped crusader, see some of the rest of the paintings here and hope that DC's pursuit of anyone who chooses to offer an individual take on their product bankrupts the fuckers.

Mod out.

11 August 2005

Death masks

I was in the British Museum a couple of years ago when I came across the death mask of Oliver Cromwell in one of their display cases. Oh, I thought, so that's what he looked like. That's the bloke who killed a king and helped drag Britain kicking and screaming into the 17th century. Oh, and killed a bunch of people, many of them Irish.
(And even a couple of kilos of plaster of paris can still be controversial).

You don't really get a sense of a person from a painting, at least I don't, but with a death mask you can look at the shape and size of someone's head, and imagine them lying there, asleep, about to wake up and invent gravity (as in the case of Newton).

They were created as soon after death as possible, to get the best likeness. The one above is of Beethoven, and obviously was once dropped by someone. oops. Other famous death masks include Jonathan Swift, Dante, and Hitchcock, oddly enough. For anyone who's as morbid as me, there's an excellent list here with pictures of Princeton's collection.

In the immortal works of Nick Ross, don't have nightmares.

Mod out.

08 August 2005

Vertebrae and dodos

Someone once asked me who my avatar was. I was going to post about him, but then I figured anyone who really needs to know about dead geologists can look him up themselves. His name was Gideon Mantell, he lived up the road from where I work, and I like his sideburns should about cover it.

But having a quick google, I found this superbly bizarre fact...
"In 1852, Mantell took an overdose of opium, the drug he used to alleviate his pain, and later lapsed into a coma. He died that afternoon. His postmortem showed that he had been suffering from scoliosis. Richard Owen, his one-time nemesis, had a section of Mantell's spine removed, pickled and stored on a shelf at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. There it sat until World War II when it was lost, presumably destroyed, during a German bombing raid"

A little harsh, I feel, just cos the guy was right about dinosaurs and Owen wasn't. Although if anyone wants to remove any of Alex Ferguson's vertebrae I'm willing to pay top whack.

Richard Owen wrote a very cool book about dodos, which reminds me that the dodo was initally given the latin name "didus ineptus". Whether Owen had a hand in this I don't know, but again, a little harsh considering they couldn't fly and the humans had guns. But, phew, google informs me that they've posthumously been renamed "Raphus Cuculatus".

So that's alright then.

Mod out.

06 August 2005

Banksy does it again...

There was a bittersweet piece of genius in this morning's papers - the infamous and excellent London graffiti artist Banksy has just got back from the middle east, where he tagged the wall that the Israelis have erected to, well, fuck over the Palestinians and steal their land (is there another interpretation?!).

Of course he did more than tag it - he produced some of the coolest images I've seen and without a word made a more eloquent statement on Israeli policies than a whole raft of Panoramas, Dispatches and newspaper articles. We all know what's going on, we all think it's wrong (don't we?), what's to talk about? If they won't listen, tag 'em!

The google news link above has some pictures here and there, but you can see all of them over on the Wooster Collective site, which is the online motherlode for all things spraypainted as far as I can tell.

My favourite one is above - I'm a sucker for a good stencil - but some of the others are technically more superior. Some paper this morning was suggesting he should be entered for the Turner Prize, and apart from the fact it'd go against his entire ethic, he'd surely win. Better than video loops or installations of rubbish. And funnier too.

His site is extremely cool, this or this for example. I'm not a big fan of simple tagging, but then if it wasn't for the penalties imposed for graffiti people would have more time to hang around and be creative. There's enough state-sponsored visual pollution already after all.

Mod out.