Friday, June 6, 2014
Young Woman in front of a Mirror (detail): Giovanni Bellini (1426-1516), 1515 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
All of a sudden she was so angry she began to tremble from her toes up.
And Amabel was just drying hers on a towel. The walls were made of looking-glass, and were clouded-over with steam; from them her body was reflected in a faint pink mass. She leaned over and traced her name Amabel in that steam and that pink mass loomed up to meet her in the flesh and looked through bright at her through the letters of her name. She bent down to look at her eyes in the A her name began with, and as she gazed at them steam or her breath dulled her reflection and the blue her eyes were went out or faded.
She rubbed with the palm of her hand, and now she could see all her face. She always thought it more beautiful than anything she had ever seen, and when she looked at herself it was as though the two of them would never meet again, it was to bid farewell; and at the last she always smiled, and she did so this time as it was clouding over, tenderly smiled as you might say good-bye, my darling darling.
Her bath-towel was huge and she slowly rubbed every inch of herself with it as though she were polishing. She was gradually changing colour, where she was dry she was going back to white; for instance, her face was dead white but her neck was red. She was polishing her shoulders now and her neck was paling from red into pink and then suddenly it would go white. And all this time she was drying herself she moved her toes as if she was moulding something.
When Alex came to an end she had not properly heard what he had been saying so she said something almost under her breath, or so low that he in his turn should not catch what she had said, but so that it would be enough to tell him she was listening.
As she went over herself with her towel it was plain that she loved her own shape and skin. When she dried her breasts she wiped them with as much care as she would puppies after she had given them their bath, smiling all the time. But her stomach she wiped unsmiling upwards to make it thin. When she came to dry her legs she hissed like grooms do. And as she got herself dry that steam began to go off the mirror walls so that as she got white again more and more of herself began to be reflected.
She stood out as though so much health, such abundance and happiness should never have clothes to hide it. Indeed she looked as though she were alone in the world and she was so good, and so good that she looked mild, which she was not.
Henry Green (1905-1973): from Party Going, 1939
Young Woman in front of a Mirror: Giovanni Bellini (1426-1516), 1515 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Reading the Breviary, Evening: Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885), 1839, oil on canvas (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
Dear Margie, hello It is 5.15 a.m.
dear Berrigan He died
Back to books.
Ted Berrigan, Sonnet II (excerpt), from The Sonnets, 1964
O bliss of the collector, bliss of the man of leisure! Of no one has less been expected, and no one has had a greater sense of well-being than the man who has been able to carry on his disreputable existence in the mask of Spitzweg's "Bookworm." For inside him there are spirits, or at least little genii, which have seen to it that for a collector -- and I mean a real collector, a collector as he ought to be -- ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting.
Walter Benjamin: from Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting, 1931
Even the dream of a "better humanity" in which our children would "have a better life" is only a sentimental fantasy reminiscent of Spitzweg when it is not, at bottom, a dream of a better nature in which they would live.
Walter Benjamin: from Das Passagen-Werk, 1982
The Bookworm (Der Bücherwurm): Carl Spitzweg, c. 1850, oil on canvas; image by Tagada Victoria, 10 October 2008 (Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt)
The Poor Poet (der Arme Poet): Carl Spitzweg, 1839, oil on canvas, 36.2 x 44.6 cm; image by Cybershot 800i, 20 June 2011 (Neue Pinakothek, Munich)
Perfume of a Rose, Memory (Rosenduft, Erinnerung): Carl Spitzweg, oil on canvas, 1849
The Professor (Zeitungsleser im Hausgarten): Carl Spitzweg, c. 1860, oil on panel, 21.3 x 15.5 cm (Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern)
Art and Knowledge (Kunst und Wissenschaft): Carl Spitzweg, 1880, oil on canvas
The Forbidden Path (Der verbotene Weg): Carl Spitzweg, c. 1840, oil on canvas, 38.3 x 31.2 cm; image by LeastCommonAncestor, 17 November 2010 (Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt)
The Bachelor (Der Hagestolz): Carl Spitzweg, n.d., oil on panel, 38.2 x 46 cm (Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig)
Scholar of Natural Sciences: Carl Spitzweg, c. 1875-1880, oil on paper mounted on canvas, 57.15 x 31.93 cm (Milwaukee Art Museum)
The Cactus Lover: Carl Spitzweg, c. 1850, oil on canvas (Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt)
A Visit: Carl Spitzweg, c. 1850, oil on cardboard, 22.1 x 26.7 cm (Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt)
A Visit (Ein Besuch) (detail): Carl Spitzweg, c. 1850; image by Immanuel Giel, 3 September 2007 (Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt)
A Visit (Ein Besuch) (detail): Carl Spitzweg, c. 1850; image by Immanuel Giel, 3 September 2007 (Sammlung Georg Schäfer, Schweinfurt)
The Raven: Carl Spitzweg, c. 1840, oil on canvas (Baxerische Staatsgemäldesammlung, Munich)
The Raven (detail): Carl Spitzweg, c. 1840 (Baxerische Staatsgemäldesammlung, Munich)
Monday, January 13, 2014
Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath, Vol. 4, 1972 (American release), album sleeve: photo by Christian Montone, 15 July 2010
Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 (Vertigo)
As the Sabs poured into "Wheels of Confusion" like giant gobs of wet cement gushing from the heavens in the never-ending sameness of a taffy-pull performed by mutants, people began pouring into my house. One by one they instantly began digging the Sabs, nodding, heavy dudes one and all. Everyone picked up that old Sab neck-wobble trip where your head sort of rocks back and forth on your neck python-fash, right? Where the organ comes in over the big slow power chords; no it's not an organ, call it a component, yah, straight out of the Middle fucking Ages! Sorta walks right on out. Like some giant prehistoric plant learning how to walk ... right over your house ... so boogie while you can. But you can't lose that dyno chthonic zoomout riff 'cos it's right there in the middle of the next song, "Tomorrow's Dream," which got us so zonked we felt absolutely heavy. The cat did too. Then on into a foxy sorta Carole King piano folk song or something, whew, "Changes," kind of David Bowie we guessed, hey orchestra right? What? Went its evil way? Ooh. The room got kind of deep and spacey, brown all over, and the notes then sounded sorta white coming out of that ... y'know? Like a snowfall? It went on forever. We could dig it. Like we dig chewing gum made out of caulking compound. Right? So then can you conceive of a piercing tone followed by reverberating percussion noises called "FX," huh, that was the next tune, then we got tight with some heavy familiar Sab vibes again, swimming right up there to deep space where nothing hears or talks, right? "Supernaut." My sister had a vision of electronic buffalo ranches on Uranus, so help me. The drum solo in this song did it to her. Also, my watch stopped. But the Sabs didn't. Who needs a watch? I ripped it off my wrist & stomped on it. Slowly. Crunch. Side one groaned to a close, but soon side two followed it, without delay adhering to the walls of one's septum — the total "icicles in my brain" riff — right — "Snowblind," no less — climbing those big staircases made out of vanilla fudge, right up into your mind — so feed your nose, hey? God's a Fuzz Tone, right? The Abominable Snowman? Hey. La Fucking Brea! The tar pits was a heavy scene, right? Ask Freud or Dave Crosby. What a streaming feast of nerve gobble anyhow! But on with the snow, I mean show. Time for a Pez break. Whew. Monster slowness of the unelusive strikes again: "Cornucopia." I about fell out. Ten-ton dogs snarled in the mouth of the volcano. Storms of liquid metal blasted their way into the soap factory. Soaring zoos, etc. Then on to babies' time; breakfast on a sleigh in Hawaii with violins, titled "Laguna Sunrise." All sweet lime stripes across a popsicle spiced with Quaaludes, right. A million artichokes can't be wrong. Dreaming in the sun with their eyes open? Sweet music must end. Grunting, we tumble on into the new dance craze, you guessed it, "St. Vitus Dance." You drive me nervous. Pieces of hair got into my mouth during this one. Same old power saw on Venus move, lovely. "Under the Sun" starts out slow, like dinosaurs yawning, then it speeds up a little. Or does it? I can't tell. Fantastic four-second guitar solo by a gorilla in there somewhere, right — beautiful — gorilla! The Sabs pour it on, man, it's right near the end of the record now and here's a great three-second drum solo by a polar bear, no shit! Put mud in my ears if I lie! I can dig it! Great buncha chords there too, I couldna chose better myself, whew, we're thudding down toward the ultimate rip chord now. Gotcha. Over and out. Molten rocks hurtling across space imitating the origin of the universe, you dig? Ah, lay those chord slabs on my grave ... whew. The Sabs are genius.
Tom Clark: My Black Sabbath Party, a review of Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 (Vertigo, 1972), Rolling Stone, 7 December 1972
Black Sabbath: Tomorrow's Dream/Laguna Sunrise, 1972 (German single release, Vertigo), record sleeve: photo by Klaus Hiltscher (Affendaddy), 8 October 2012
I wish I could tell you that every word of the above is (or was) true. Then again, I also wish that I could tell you that every word isn't (or wasn't).
My career as a record reviewer was, as they say, short-lived, and really not all that much fun while it lasted, despite the surprising daily arrival of abundant vinyl freebies in the broken mail box on a dirt road in the then-middle of Nowhere.
Of course the freebies stopped once the reviews began to appear. Industries are like that. Don't ever expect an honest review of anything from anybody who's in the industry. Doesn't matter which industry we're talking about here, in my experience they're all the same in this respect. That's entertainment, like they used to say. Not that it's all that complicated, duh. Everybody on the free stuff list is always in the industry, whichever industry it is. Until they aren't. I wish I could count all the lists from which I've been stricken. But then, I've been stricken with worse, in this slow, inexorable, quicksand-vertiginous swirling-down-the-blocked drain of the completely meaningless Vertigo reissue years.
This particular record, by the by, was probably the worst I was ever given to review.
The review adopted the point of view of a fictive persona assembled from several suspects of the period.
But don't just take my word on this as the last, though indeed it may well have been the first, given that time is now known to have traveled more slowly in that stage of the deglaciation.
Ragnarok at Blackrock: Led Zeppelin VS Black Sabbath... who wins you decide [Blackrock, Brighton, UK]: photo by Wang Dang Doodad, 10 July 2011
The largest collection of cassettes I have seen in 30 years is upstairs at That '70s House in Penrose, Illinois. Black Sabbath, the Beastie Boys, the Ramones and Bauhaus are standard fare here, but there is some variety with the Beatles and INXS also represented. A large selection of LPs are "stored" downstairs...: photo by Bill (BillsExplorations), 13 December 2012
Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 (Vertigo, 1972): photo by Greg(ory), 3 December 2012
Saturday, December 21, 2013
House sparrow (Passer domesticus) with winter plumage: photo by 3268zauber, 3 January 2009
Cold floating days, difficult to keep body
Temp. up as planet cools off mysteriously
This P.M. two small grey birds bump
Around in the rose bush for a while
A capella (no rush hour for once)
In last rays of tinny Christmas sun
While voluntary trumpets are quietly
Emitted by radio into Jerusalem foiled sky
Far off and to our great astonishment
O blue earth sounds your golden flower
From the bell of its silver horn
I didn’t think it would ever come back on
House sparrow (Passer domesticus) in non-breeding plumage: photo by 3268zauber, 3 January 2009
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Golden Gate: Gerhard Richter, 1989, oil on photograph, 10 x 15 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)
The last bus one hour and twelve minutes late
at the bleak nearly deserted downtown stop
and when I enquire of the only person waiting
at the kiosk
whether the bus may have already gone past
He says Fuck off don't you try to talk to me
and turns his back
and high above him atop the new tower block
the giant neon lights advertising
the hotel that wasn't there the last time I looked
flash on and off
advertising the five luxury dining rooms.
Tom Clark: Last Bus, from Truth Game (BlazeVOX, 2013)
Untitled (1.5.89): Gerhard Richter, 1989, oil on colour photograph, 15 x 10 cm (Gerhard Richter Art)
Beach at Land's End: photo by DaNASCAT, 4 July 2010
Golden Gate Bridge: cracks and spalling to the paintwork due to relative movements of the steel cable: Golden Gate Bridge architecture: photo by Tewy, 19 July 2006
Suicide prevention message, Golden Gate Bridge: photo by David Corby, 19 February 2006
Friday, October 18, 2013
Ella: Gerhard Richter, 2007 (private collection)
Do you remember the way we used to sing
in church when we were young
and it was fun to bring your toys with you
and play with them while all the others sung?
My mind goes on its own particular way
and leaves my apparent body on its knees
to get up and walk as far as it can
if it still wants to and as it proves still able.
Sit down, says generous life, and stay awhile!
although it's irony that sets the table
and puts the meager food on broken dishes,
pours out the rancid wine, and walks away.
Betty: Gerhard Richter, 1991 (St. Louis Art Museum)
Robert Creeley: Generous Life from Yesterdays (2002)