Wednesday, December 31, 2008

J T Colfax

This is the press release for his video collection on Youtube;

"I bought a house in a town I found off the internet for it's cheapness. Got a 3 bedroom with huge yard for 28k. Five years later a huge storm caused me to find out I have a significant sized 80 year old tunnel under my yard. I creep and crawl around the neighborhood and also do as much library research as I can about it. Almost every vid I put up has SOMETHING to do with the tunnel or it's support systems (dams/pumps/wells). I am also a natural wierdo, so it all works out well."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Scotland Rawks Part Three

Boards of Canada

Fire Engines

Josef K

Primal Scream

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bonnie Parker or Eleanor Roosevelt

If I were a girl…
Would a few extra pounds be a crime?
Would I love without reason or without rhyme?
Would my bra straps show all the time?
Would I…could I ever be passed my prime?

If I were a girl…
Would I use even half of my brain?
Would I run off with a man to Spain?
Would I be the ball or the chain?
Would the storm inside me ever wane?

If I were a girl…
Would I shirk at the first wrinkle in my hand?
Would I beckon at your command?
On my deathbed will I finally understand?
Would I ever truly need a man?

If I were a girl…
Would I fall for every trend and every fad?
Would I Read every single Cosmo ad?
Would I Yearn for yet another drunken cad?
…or the father that I never had?

If I were a girl…
Would it be the house of pity where I dwelled?
Would I deserve every hand I was ever dealt?
Would I own every feeling that I ever felt?
Would I be Bonnie Parker or Eleanor Roosevelt?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joan As Police Woman

Which do I dread more?

Which do I dread more?
The longing to call or the weight and pressure I must apply to stop myself from calling
I know that my heavy imagining cannot compare to the sound of your cement voice
The slow uncoiling of your resolve breaks like clay springs
“Finally!” you think but do not say
Never angry
Only waiting
“Hello son…how are you?”
I can smell the liniments, I breathe the salve
The slick purple knees shining like lily pads, brown and yellow firmament mounting the edges
I wish I could be in the warm sludge hammock of your hidden resentment that I concoct in my mind in order to assuage my own
I only wish you would say to me, “why don’t you ever call son?”
But you do not
And hovering above, clinging to the pale sapphire molecules of your Oxycodone mornings, every day you say to yourself, affecting her sweet Arkansan drawl, “Good morning son.”
Today I canned some peaches and killed those nasty worms in the tomatoes…you can sleep in this Sunday if you don’t feel like going to church

For The Birds

The spoon bill and night heron
Cormorant and quail
Don’t need no taxi
No train and no rail
The redshank and curlew
Black kite and mute swan
Have spruced up their feathers
And now they’re all gone
This life is brutal
This life’s absurd
And this life is for the birds
This life is for the birds

The osprey and the kestrel
The goshawk and the jay
They know when to go
They know when to stay
The lesser spotted eagle
Has plenty self esteem
She knows it’s just a name
She knows it’s just a dream
And it goes by so quickly
All foggy and blurred
And this life is for the birds
This life is for the birds

At times it’s just easier to stay down
Bury my head in the sand and don’t ask why
Keep my feet planted on the ground
And watch the birds high in the sky

The teal and the mallard
The shoveler and hawk
Don’t break from exposure
Don’t break from the flock
They go with the wind
And get carried away
Into the cold dawn
Of a bright and brand new day
They only fly forward
No looking backward
And this life is for the birds
This life is for the birds

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some Famous Landmarks

Have you seen that documentary called The Bridge? It's all about people who have jumped off of The Golden Gate Bridge to their deaths.

It is horribly sad. It inspired me to write a song about people who chose to kill themselves. But not so simply, the people in my song aspire to take their final steps from famous landmarks.

Some famous landmarks

Lila is waiting across from The Louvre
She clutches a knife but she does not move
Then she’ll saunter inside
And gouge out the eyes of The…
Mona Lisa

She climbs to the top of The Eiffel Tower
She’s promised that this would be her finest hour
Then one final goodbye
And she’ll no longer try to be
A good girl

Now she’s falling
She’s falling
She’s smiling
She’s smiling
She’s laughing
She’s laughing

The Golden Gate Bridge is a great work of art
It leads to a city full of broken hearts
And Tom’s no exception
A real wall of rejection and he’s
A virgin

His feet are so cold and his eyes are so dead
He thinks of a story he’d recently read
He leans on the rail
A small baby fell


Built by a famous Chinese architect
A real womanizer though you’d never suspect
Only twelve stories tall
But perfect for Paul ‘cause he’s
Not too picky

Everyone knows that people can’t fly
But it’s really quite easy to soar through the sky
Just one tiny step
And the secrets you kept are
All forgotten

Evelyn Waugh

When I was a boy, Brideshead Re-visited was aired for the first time on American TV. It smelled a little queer, but for whatever reason, probably my family mocking me, I never got to see it. I recently rented it and loved it. How much did I love it you ask? Well I was inspired to write a song loosely built around it, lines from it, and the seemingly hyper Christianity of some of its main characters. I've named it after its author. I've also added some sexy shots of Jeremy Irons from the movie. Why not!

Evelyn Waugh

Verse One

Why it is that love makes me
Hate the world?
Is it a conspiracy…
I will never ever understand?
Or is it just somehow above me?
I feel as if all mankind
And god too
Are having some kind
Of cruel joke at my expense
And it’s just not what I would call Christian


I am in an amorous stupor

Verse Two

Have I really succumbed to this?
Such horror!
Soul meets soul on lover’s lips
I would rather climb the highest peek
Than to fall clumsily in love
Now I can’t even dress myself
It’s a shame
I have become someone else
Quoting Shelley, Keats and Neruda
God save me, from my own pretension



I never thought that it would be me
Rambling, pathetic mess
I never thought that it could be me
Going on and on…
And on and on and on…
And on!

Verse Three

Kindly put me out of my
If you really must know why
Simply look at what I have become
It just simply ain’t a pretty site
La la la la…

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.


One Day Trip

I was reading this review on a book by English photographer Martin Parr called One Day Trip. It is a book that I myself own which I love, so I was inspired to write a song about it, using actual quotes from the review which is quite good. The review is from a site called, Photo Book Guide, and if I could find the author of the piece I would surely credit him here and now. Well, anyway, here's the song and some pictures from the book.

One Day Trip

Between the white Cliffs of Dover and Calais
The thrifty English go to play
The lads are off to save on Stella Artois and Boddingtons

They don’t have to travel real far
And they get their pictures taken by Martin Parr
They pose for snaps with piss dripping down their legs

They sing, “Thank you Maggie,” and they always say “Please”
For chopping off our legs just below the knees
It’s just another holiday in France

One day trip
We’re going on a one day trip
We’ll have a drink but just a wee nip
As we’re going on a one day trip

Excuse me sir but could I borrow your wheelchair
As you can plainly see I’ve got no more room there
And I’ve already broken a few bottles of red wine

It’s amazing what one will do to save on taxes
It’s amazing but the simple fact is
We’d have to pay triple that back home

That one’s an accountant, and she’s a go-go dancer
And his mom’s in Luton dying of cancer
Boy don’t forget your dear ma’s cigarettes

One day trip
We’re going on a one day trip
Awful lot of drunkards on one bloody ship
Going off on a one day trip

We don’t blow 20 quid to cross the channel any more
Why when we can get it cheaper from an on-line store
And thank god for Tesco’s

We don’t spend the day with the English set
Instead it’s off to the Costa del Brava on a bright orange Easyjet
But it was good for a laugh

Nothing sadder and funnier than a good English drunk
The queen is dead and so is punk
I guess we’ll always have Glasgow

One day trip
We’re going on a one day trip
One last bottle and one last sip
We’re going on a one day trip

Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville (born in Cambridge in 1970) is an English painter and a leading Young British Artist (YBA). Saville is known for her monumental images of women, usually self portraits.

Saville gained her degree at Glasgow School of Art (1988-1992), and was then awarded a six month scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, where she states that she saw "Lots of big women. Big white flesh in shorts and T-shirts. It was good to see because they had the physicality that I was interested in." She studied at the Slade School Of Art between 1992 and 1993. At the end of her postgraduate education the leading British art collector Charles Saatchi purchased her entire senior show and commissioned works for the next two years. In 1994 Saville spent many hours observing plastic surgery operations in New York.

Saville does not meet the usual public perception of the YBAs as she has dedicated her career to traditional figurative oil painting. Her painterly style has been compared to that of Lucian Freud and Rubens. Her paintings are usually much larger than life size. They are strongly pigmented and give a highly sensual impression of the surface of the skin as well as the mass of the body. She sometimes adds marks onto the body, such as white "target" rings.
Torso2, 2004, oil on canvas, 360cm x 294cm, by Jenny Saville Saatchi Gallery.

Since her debut in 1992, Saville's focus has remained on the female body. Her published sketches and documents include surgical photographs of liposuction, trauma victims, deformity correction, disease states and transgender patients. Her painting Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face) appeared on the cover of Manic Street Preachers' third album The Holy Bible.

Saville works and lives in Sicily, and is a tutor of figure painting at the Slade School of Art.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joseph Chaikin

Joseph Chaikin (16 September 1935–22 June 2003) was an American theatre director, playwright, and pedagogue.

Early years

The youngest of five children, Chaikin was born to a poor Jewish family living in the Borough Park residential area of Brooklyn. At the age of six, he was struck with rheumatic fever, and he continued to suffer from resulting heart complications throughout his life. At the age of ten, he was sent to the National Children's Cardiac Hospital in Florida. It was during this period of isolation he began to organize theater games with other children. After two years in Florida, his health improved, and he was returned to his family, who had moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where his father had taken a job teaching.

Chaikin briefly attended Drake University in Iowa, and then returned to New York to begin a career in theater, studying with various acting coaches, while struggling to survive working a variety of job. He appeared as a figurant at the Metropolitan Opera, and gradually began to be cast in legitimate stage roles, going on to work with The Living Theatre before founding in 1963 The Open Theater a theater co-operative that progressed from a closed experimental laboratory to a performance ensemble.


The Open Theatre's most famous and critically acclaimed production, The Serpent, was a unique creation developed largely from the actors' own experiences, using the Bible as text, but incorporating current events, such as the violence that plagued the 1960s. In 1969 Open Theatre performed Endgame by Samuel Beckett, with Chaikin playing the role of Hamm and Peter Maloney as Clov, at the Cite Universitaire, Paris, and in 1970 at the Grasslands Penitentiary, a fulfillment of Chaikin's desire to experiment with audiences who would be fundamentally and culturally different from cosmopolitan audiences.

In 1970- 71 Open Theatre performed Terminal by Susan Yankowitz, touring the production internationally as well as to many maximum and minimum security prisons in the eastern U.S. and Canada. The Open Theater operated for about ten years. Chaikin closed the Open Theatre in 1973 because he said it was in danger of becoming an institution. Although it achieved much critical success, Chaikin said: "I have rarely known a case where a critic's response to actors, directors or writers has expanded or encouraged their talent- I have known cases where by panning or praising, the critic has crushed or discouraged creative inspiration".

In the mid-1970s, Chaikin formed a company called The Winter Project, whose members included Ronnie Gilbert and Will Patton, as well as core members of the previous Open Theatre. Chaikin had a close working relationship with Sam Shepard and together they wrote the plays Tongues and Savage/Love, both of which premiered at San Francisco's Magic Theatre. They were commissioned to write When The World Was Green for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and later, they wrote together War in Heaven. Chaikin was an expert on Samuel Beckett, directing a number of Beckett's plays, including Endgame at the Manhattan Theatre Club and Happy Days at Cherry Lane Theater.

Chaikin received six Obie Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement, and two Guggenheim Fellowships.

His book, "The Presence of The Actor" was first published in 1972 by Theatre Communications Group, and a second edition followed in 1991. Based on his experiments with actors, the book includes exemplar notes, photographs, and exercises from Open Theatre productions, and records Chaikin's ideas about theater as a tool for social transformation.

Personal life

In 1984, a stroke suffered during open-heart surgery left Chaikin with partial aphasia. Despite this barrier to communication, Chaikin continued to direct and to create plays in collaboration with other writers, including John Belluso, whose disability-themed plays were produced at the Mark Taper Forum, Trinity Rep, Pacific Repertory Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Following Chaikin's stroke, several writers, including Jean-Claude van Itallie, Susan Yankowitz, and Sam Shepard, wrote plays specifically for Chaikin. Samuel Beckett wrote a poem dedicated to Chaikin entitled What Is the Word?. Overcoming some of the limitations of aphasia, Chaikin subsequently performed the poem as a monologue.

Chaikin was a lifelong teacher of acting and directing, and lived most of his adult life in New York's West Village.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Charles Avery

1. The arts editor of The Scotsman newspaper wrote to me to draw my attention to the work of Scottish artist Charles Avery.

2. Avery's work overlaps with my Summerisle album with Anne Laplantine, my forthcoming Book of Scotlands, and my mother's history of the island of Mull, where our family comes from on her side.

3. Avery was born in Oban in 1973, brought up on Mull, and now lives and works in London. Since 2004 he's been creating an epic work, "the defining project of my life", a sort of anthropological survey of an imaginary island loosely based on a fantasy version of Mull, using drawing, topography, writing, portraiture, taxidermy of imaginary animals, maps, models and diagrams.

4. Avery is currently showing The Islanders at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh (until February 2009).

5. The Island project resembles Paul Noble's Nobson New Town project, also beautifully drawn. And maybe Alasdair Gray's Lanark novel.

6. The Scotsman feature on Avery says he "spent his formative years on Mull and once described it as "the total basis of my subconscious". "A lot of writers say: 'Write what you know', so I've based it (the Island) on my direct experience, which is growing up on the West Coast of Scotland, some time in Edinburgh, some time in Rome and a lot of time in Hackney. You'll find a distillation of these in the works."

7. The Island is a parallel world, but not fantasy: "I don't want to it to look like sci-fi, or 'Hey, this is weird and wonderful!' I sometimes think, have the people who say these things actually looked? What is so weird about this place? There are a few weird animals, but nothing weirder than would turn up in Australia, they're just different, they're completely plausible. The gods are a strange-looking bunch, but if you look at all the gods human beings have evoked I don't think they're particularly weirder."

8. When The Guardian wrote about Avery they put one of their little Bluffer's Guide quizzes at the end, which said: "Move over YBA: He is part of a new generation of artists practicing under the banner of Altermodern. Alter what?: A term coined by the French theorist Nicolas Bourriaud, meaning art made now in response to a global society and as a reaction against standardisation and commercialism." (The Altermodern was covered on Click Opera here.)

9. Laura Cumming in The Guardian: "Many of the natives are addicted to the local delicacy, pickled eggs, which enslaves them to the island. Hunters in tweed jackets and shotguns search out a Kantian dichotomy while hawkers in the local flea market sell pictures of nude women for the price of peace of mind."

10. Avery went to Central St Martin's school of art, but was kicked out after six months.

11. Avery cites Jonathan Swift, William Blake, PG Wodehouse, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Beuys and Joseph Kosuth as influences.

12. On completion of the Islanders project Avery intends to publish the work within several large, leather-bound encyclopaedic volumes.

13. Frieze describes things seen in the Island exhibition: "Witness a taxidermied Ridable, a beast with the stature of a llama, the face of a dog and chicken’s feet. Marvel in disgust at a jar of the highly addictive local snack of Henderson’s boiled eggs pickled in gin. Or hear of the Islander’s most popular tourist attraction, the Plane of the Gods, where living Island deities can be visited."

14. Frieze continues: "A mixture of Cairo, New York and Avery’s own childhood home on the Scottish isle of Mull, the Island is peopled by faint, tetchy-looking women and gruff, wizened men who occupy a world where there is no distinction between imaginary and physical reality. Taking a range of philosophical theories as guidelines, Avery has created a sort of metaphysical ant farm. On the map of the mirrored archipelago that forms his world, clever puns abound: the Analitic Ocean, Cape Conchious-Ness, the Causeway of Effect. The noumenon – Immanuel Kant’s concept, which describes an unknowable thing that cannot be observed with the senses but only conceived of or believed in – is here a debated beast whose existence is unconfirmed but for which the Island’s hunters relentlessly search."

15. However: "Despite humorous moments in Avery’s writing and the seething life of his drawings, it at times feels like a cross between the obsessive detail of the Klingon Dictionary (1985) and the fictionalized ‘Philosophy 101’ of Sophie’s World (1991)."

Charles Avery's altermodern island