Wednesday, 12 November 2008

// way down low

University has taken me under
like a submarine.
Only occasionally do I come up
for a breath.


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize


Les Bicyclettes de Belsize; a short musical. London in the idealistic swinging sixties - boy rides bike; boy crashes into billboard of a girl; boy falls in love with billboard-girl; meanwhile billboard girl is lonely at the top & wants to show a man she's worthy of love; boy meets billboard girl by chance; she's taken away by photographers for fashions shoot; boy rides bike across London, finds her, they frolic in the park.

Aside from a very intriguing opening shot, which pans over the rooftops and upper windows of Hampstead, and the vaguely ominous overhead shots of the boy riding his bike through the streets, this short is... Baffling. It's definitely one of the stranger pieces of cinema that I've seen recently; like a bad attempt at the whimsical realism of early French New Wave, only Les Bicyclette manages to be both stuffy and vapid at the same time.

It's stuffy, in that it makes no attempt to question the roles of Boy & Girl; he expects to get her and she expects to be got - there is no tension, no emotional chase, and not even any passion - the characters don't engage with each other, but it doesn't seem like an intentional choice. That leads to the vapid air; their relationship, like their place within the 60s London they inhibit and their role in the film, is superficial - they have no depth, and instead act as visual markers for the swingin' London subculture aesthetic, who act out expected roles of boy/girl in love archetypes.

Most interesting is the aria that the Boy sings after he has crashed into the billboard that shows a picture of her face. Ultimately, he says he's fallen head over heels in love with you (billboard-girl), while placing flowers upon the area of the billboard that he damaged. Funnily enough, the area is a basket of flowers on a bike - and the flowers he puts on the painted flowers are, I believe, plastic.

After depositing the flowers, he continues singing and caressing the printed billboard girl-face; professing his love over and over -- then getting back upon his bike, he heads rides over to a Printers shop; there, he rips open packages, finds a portrait of the Girl, and sits in the shop window, staring lovingly at the image of the Girl. After a cut away to the Girl, where she sings a song about wanting to show a man she's worthy of love, the Girl walks out into the street and sits down in front of the window where the Boy was staring at her photograph. It's only after a few moments that the Boy realises the real-girl is outside; he then turns, and they try and kiss through the glass of the window.

I can't quite articulate why I find it so off putting, but the whole Boy falling in love with the Image of the Girl is just... Well, off putting.

Ultimately one loves one’s desires and not the object one desires, seems like a suitable explanation for the film -- only it's so wrapped up in it's own shallowness, that the film doesn't leave itself to questioning the intentions of its characters.

Although, perhaps this lack of depth is expressed, if not from within the actions of its characters, but instead within the title song of the short musical;

Turning and turning the world goes on
We can't change it, my friend
Let us go riding now through the days
Together to the end, till the end

Les bicyclettes de Belsize
Carry us side by side
And hand in hand, we will ride
Over Belsize
Turn you magical eyes
'Round and around
Looking at all we found
Carry us through the skies
Les bicyclettes de Belsize

Spinning and spinning the dreams I know
Rolling on through my head
Let us enjoy them before they go
Come the dawn they all are dead, yes, they're dead

Les bicyclettes de Belsize
Carry us side by side
And hand in hand, we will ride
Over Belsize
Turn you magical eyes
'Round and around
Looking at all we found
Carry us through the skies
Les bicyclettes de Belsize

Thursday, 21 August 2008

J & the Job Market

I woke up today and realised I am terrified, in regards to my future prospects as an adult. I feel that I will never be able to get out of debt, or own property - but most of all, I worry that I will not be able to get a job once I graduate university.

There's only 10 months left before I graduate; I've got to write 10,000 words on ??? (aesthetics, women, class, film - how's that for specific...) and produce a piece of work, installation or video or whatever I wish, for which I am not too worried. While it's not easy, school work, it's at least something I understand.

When I graduate from my BA, I had aimed to go on to study an MA. Right now, the most intriguing course is Aesthetics & Art Theory @ Middlesex - but I'm just not sure. First, if I'd be accepted with a (projected) 2:1 in experimental video from a third tier art school - and second, if I would be able to afford it at all.

Even if I start an MA program, it will most likely have to be part time - so regardless of if I get in or not, I will need to find a job, so I can continue renting & eating food & buying books.

Having watched my partner unsuccessfully spend the last four months looking for a job, only to end up temping for his mum -- and to have also spent the summer looking for extra work, I dread diving head first into the English job market next year.

My partner and I were having this conversation yesterday; Oh God, I said - horrified, I'm going to have to work in T.V., then with sceptical consideration, But the money's okay...

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Haven't we played enough charades?

A Mental Health Foundation poll of 2,000 British adults found a third are cutting back on going out with friends due to limited funds...

Celia Richardson, a spokeswoman for the charity, said: "As the economic slump begins to affect everything from food prices to mortgage repayments, this research shows that financial worries are a source of stress for many...

"But people are making changes to the way they live - like growing their own fruit and vegetables, and walking and cycling more. Not only is this evidence that people are adapting well to change, but some of their altered habits are actually good for mental health.

"For many people, particularly the younger generations, this may be the first time they've been surrounded by worrying talk of serious recession. By spending less, people can help themselves avoid serious debt, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.

"But they need to replace shopping and spending with other activities they enjoy and shouldn't isolate themselves from friends."

She advised people to find cheaper ways of socialising, such as playing games with family and friends like charades in the living room or Frisbee in the park.
via the BBC

::indiscriminate screaming here::

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

You're my guitar hero...

Nellie Bly

Annie Oakley

Ada Lovelace


I worry about the lack of contemporary female heroes in my life.

When I was in second grade, I did a presentation on Nellie Bly -- I even had this awesome hat that I thought was super historical, but was most likely just an absurd mess of netting and felt that my mom thought was funny.

Although the book my school gave me on Nellie Bly was, well, for second graders, her story has always stayed with me. I just thought she was, and is, so god damned awesome.

Her esposé of neglect and abuse at the Women's Lunatic Asylum in New York both fascinated and horrified me as a child; but it didn't surprise me, as far as I can remember. It seemed to make sense that authority, when unchecked and unobserved, would be cruel to those who they thought were weak and troublesome.


Annie Oakley and Ada Lovelace are to be spoken of another time...


PS: I finished my 2nd year of University with a 2:1 -- I think in American inequivalent, I'd be at 3.8 GPA? I'm not entirely sure; but I don't care, because whoo, 2:1! Fools!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Transatlantic Accent

Katharine Hepburn's speech 1947 against HUAC

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Once Bitten

Every day I read Boing Boing comments, and every day I say to myself Oh God Why, don't read Boing Boing comments, they're horrible things! -- yet, every day, I read Boing Boing comments.

There's a dead newt on my desk,
and I can't read anything worth while.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Hear Hair

Boy, aged 3, banned from nursery school over haircut.

It looks sweet on him, even if it is kinda chavy.
Who cares about hair? Middle class England.

I was refused a job at Waitrose, here in my posh middle class new money commuter town. Straight up told I wouldn't be hired, because of my extreme haircut.

Aesthetic discrimination is bizarre.

I took photographs back in December, when I applied for the job.
Would you let me stock shelves and ring you up for luxury food products?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

s&m + bible studies

Started/finished this wallet today - because I'm already a slave to the system; why not stuff all my bills into some gimp.

I was going to complain about art school, but why bother?

Different class of assholes.

All I really care about right now is:
The Wire
Being In Love
Fucked Up


Wednesday, 27 February 2008

birds see ??? fps

30 seonds // Pigeon Sight

Editing experiment.

Edit: it is actually impossible to view Pigeon Sight on youtube, due to the compression. The piece was edited with what my chum Owen refers to as the knitting technique -- moving images are made through splicing together single frames of video sequences between one another, creating an optical illusion which melts two or more shots of video into one jittery image. I think youtube compresses my PAL 25 frames-per-second down into 15 or so FPS, thus, you see random broken up frames. In short, you're seeing about half the piece -- and the whole point of the editing experiment is erased. Amazing.

I must find a place to host .mov files.


I'm to present a pitch for a video project tomorrow morning. Of course I haven't written anything down or made any examples or even fully committed to an idea, but at the moment I reckon I'll be doing an adaptation of the Antigone/Ismene scene from Seven Against Thebes - using that as a pretext to explore motifs of meaning, repetition and determinism.

Ideally, I'd get access to the green screen studio, which would allow me to play Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, Polynices, and the chorus of 12.

Only I am terribly apathetic at the moment, and don't feel like doing much of anything. My room is an absolute mess, I cannot get a hold of my student loans company, and I am generally sleepy and bleh. So I suppose the best route of action at the moment is to go have a coffee and hide in the back of the cafe reading 'Antigones' and listening to the Misfits.

In other news: I really would adore a Pixel Vision camera. It records to audio cassette, and the quality is amazingly wonder-horrible.


Monday, 11 February 2008

Dream of Horses /// I've lost my voice.

I lost my voice this weekend in Brighton. Whiskey and cigarettes and Spaniards and sea breeze will do that. Take them away just like that. But I had to record this -- the text seemed too alone to post by itself.


Dream of horses


I had a dream the other night, about a circus in France. I was in a medium sized town, something like Magny-en-Vexin, near where my parents live. With a big wide open square in the middle of town, my dream town was surrounded by high stone walls with arches, with many assorted shops and cafes worked into the stone. The streets shot off in all directions, and it was a busy but provincial town.

When I first saw the circus in my dream, there were many pairs of miniature horses with big mauve plumes set into their bridals. Dozens of pairs were pulling the weight of the circus caravan, but as it progressed, my initial excitement rapidly faded. There were depressed looking llamas which followed the horses, then most horribly, a baby elephant, emaciated and crying, was walking slowly on a treadmill set into a splintered wooden cart. It was wearing a tattered cape of mauve, with a matching circlet of silver and mauve thread fraying on it's head.

Behind the crying baby elephant was a platform, on which was a deflated hippopotamus, sedated and hardly moving, paired with a sagging grey animal of indistinguishable species, moaned quietly, animal sounds as the parade moved by. More miniature horses with mauve plumes came by, their reins connecting them to the rest of the caravan. Patchy tigers, wheezing camels, a cracked and empty aquarium - and the worst, the ring leader and his wife.

They were posed at the end of the procession, standing upon a structure which was reminiscent of a sledge. Round and short, they wore tight smiles and leather jackets, with plumes and silks and finery in the same mauve as their horses. They sipped sparkling wine from cut glass flutes, and the ring leader lazily slapped the leather reins against the numbers of miniature horses, egging them on continuously, so sweat dampened their mauve plumes.

Underneath the feet of the ring leader and his wife, was the freshly cracked shell of an adult tortoise. Somewhere along the way, the procession had crushed the ancient shell of the ancient reptile, and now the ring leader and his wife were standing upon the now flattened dome of its shell. Dark red blood sitting sticky on green carapace and mauve satin shoes.

Within my dream I flew into a rage, upon seeing that crushed tortoise. I started to chase them through the streets of this dreamed French town, screaming obscenities and shaking my fists, stopping in attempts to wrench cobblestones free from the pavement, only to have to run again to take aim at the ring leader and his wife. Nobody could hear me, all my stones fell short, and I could never get close enough to the relentless, forced progression of the circus caravan.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Rorschach & Me

Two whirling Dervish's holding onto a giant scarab beetle.

A pair of happy old men gnomes engaging in a hand clapping game.

Hermaphrodite dancer with a bleeding heart looking into a mirror over a sink with a guitar playing in the background.

The inside of a rams skull OR two penguins examining their feet.

A rather depressed moth.

A rug made from the skin of that wolf from those old Looney Toon cartoons. Help, help, the Wul-uf, the Wul-uf.

Siamese twin Cancan dancers from 1910s Paris who've lost their enthusiasm.

A particular set of chameleons breathing icy air over butterfly wings which carry them along from their womb.

A cackling old man high-fiving himself as he sits atop the north-eastern seaboard of America over which is a large elephant trumpets.

Dancing crabs and a jovial underwater celebration with mermaids and all sorts of sea creatures.

The Problem of Modernity

I don't know who's a bigger asshole. Does it really matter?