Sunday, 30 December 2012

Poetry Book of the Year 2012 - 'Naked Clay' by Barry Hill



From concept to delivery this book of poems really excels. The idea of tackling a painter’s work and transposing those images as words may not be new but the honest, sometimes brutal, way that Barry Hill sets about portraying Lucian Freud’s work is nothing short of masterful. My relatively new introduction to poetry, Dylan Thomas and Basho to one side, has been further excited by this incredible body of work.

Unlike a novel which has a narrative that propels you along urging you to follow its course until you reach that final page, poetry, or so it strikes me, is far more contemplative. As I read one poem I found myself dwelling on it, ruminating over its marvellous rhythms, its meaning and the way the words cascaded.  This book has left me breathless. I return to it again and again.

Barry Hill not so much praises the art of Lucian Freud, although in circumspect fashion he does, as examines it. His take on the famed artists work, his portraits, is as honest an appraisal as it often is blunt and questioning. He really does ask of the art and the artist why? Did Freud ever consider the implications of painting his daughter naked whilst menstruating? It is the 'edgy' approach that elevates this set of poems above all else I have read this year.



Barry Hill is an Australian historian, poet, journalist and academic. He was born in Melbourne, Australia and studied at the University of Melbourne where he gained his Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Education (B Ed) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and from there went to London where he gained his Master of Arts (MA) degree from the  University of London.

Hill has worked in both Melbourne and London. In London he worked for the Times Literary Supplement. Since 1975 Hill has been a full-time writer and is currently Poetry Editor of  The Australian newspaper.

Monday, 24 December 2012

 
 
HAPPY FESTIVITIES HOWEVER YOU CELEBRATE THEM
 
 
 
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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Peter Hawkins



Another unsung hero who almost single handedly did all the voices of the childhood television characters I grew up with and loved like Billy Bean, The Flowerpot Men, Captain Pugwash and the Daleks to name but a few. I actually wrote him a fan letter once when I was at art school in the 60's and he sent me a very nice letter back which I treasure ( if only I could find it!).

Wikipedia says -

"Born in London and a native of Brixton, Hawkins' long association with British children's television began in 1952 when he voiced both Bill and Ben, the Flower Pot Men. In 1955–1956, He voiced Big Ears & Mr. Plod from The Adventures Of Noddy. He also provided all the voices for the animated series Captain Pugwash, The Family Ness, The Adventures of Sir Prancelot, The Adventures of Tintin, and Bleep and Booster, the latter of which was a regular feature of the long-running children's magazine series Blue Peter in the 1960s and early 70s. He was also the narrator for SuperTed. Peter Hawkins also narrated Jimbo and the Jet Set.
He voiced several characters on Doctor Who in the show's early years, most notably the Daleks and the Cybermen. He was also the original voice of Zippy on Rainbow during the first year of its run (1972). Coincidently his replacement on Rainbow, Roy Skelton, also went on to voice the Daleks. Hawkins and Skelton also voiced the Cybermen in The Tenth Planet. He voiced Penfold who had a Welsh accent & Mr. McNasty who had a Scottish accent on The Pilot Dangermouse episode, The Mystery of the Lost Chord in 1979.
Hawkins was the original voice for the character of Frankie Mouse in the fourth radio episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, originally broadcast in March 1978.
During the 1960s, 70s and 80s Hawkins was one of the most sought after voiceovers for television and radio, being a regular face and voice around the Soho based circuit of commercial production studios, and working regularly with the likes of Patrick Allen, Edward Judd, David Tate and David Jason amongst whom he was highly respected.
Hawkins was the owner of a fine art collection, including works by Monet, Pissarro & Alfred Sisley, owned a collection of Japanese sword guards and was very keen on Japanese delicacy.
Hawkins retired from the acting profession in 1992 due to illness, which also prevented him from contributing to any DVD release of Doctor Who outside of archive footage. He died in London, aged 82, on 8 July 2006, coincidentally the same day that the 2006 season finale of Doctor Who, "Doomsday", the first to feature Daleks and Cybermen confronting each other, was transmitted.
Nicholas Briggs, the current voice of the Daleks, paid tribute to him in Doctor Who Magazine, praising him as the best Dalek voice artist, saying "...all of us who've provided Dalek voices over the last 40 years owe him a massive debt. None of us have been as good as Peter, but he supplied our inspiration. He was truly the Emperor of the Daleks."

Monday, 17 December 2012

Quirky Quotes from Quirky Quoters

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"I'm glad he died before me, because I didn't want him to sing at my funeral."
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Spike Milligan on Harry Secombe's death
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aNOtHEr bAiL sTuMpeD ofF tHe WIckEt.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

From Russia With Love

For anyone not yet fifty – I doubt you can fully imagine the thrill of a new Bond movie. There are now fifty films in the franchise, the latest being Skyfall (in case you didn’t notice the hype) and I can imagine that the first films might seem like museum pieces to youngsters today. But when I was a teenager the films were quite simply thrilling! And so were the books. 

The first Bond film I saw was From Russia With Love. It was the second film made and it starred Sean Connery. The story centres on a plot by SMERSH the Soviet counter-intelligence agency, to assassinate Bond in such a way as to discredit both him and British Intelligence. As bait for the plot, the Russians use a beautiful cipher clerk and the Spektor, a Soviet decoding machine. Much of the action takes place in Istanbul and on the Orient Express.
The film was released in 1963 and I was fifteen. I saw it with my best friend and his girlfriend, and a girl who wanted to be my girlfriend. But, as I remember it, I wasn’t very keen. It had been snowing and it was cold. I remember wearing my new coat. And I remember the intoxicating smell of the cavernous, art deco Odeon cinema. The film was exciting, moody and, with its seduction scene, quite sexy to a fifteen year old. Innovative too – with its MI5 gadgets. It had all the ingredients for future Bond films.

I loved the books too. From Russia With Love is probably still my favourite. It was the fifth in the series, published in 1957. I can’t remember if it was the first I read – nor if I read it before I saw the film or after. I do remember reading (or re-reading) the whole series when I should have been studying for my exams. Ian Fleming was a very good writer, with pace and an eye for detail.  And modern thriller writers would do well to study his technique.

Writing this has made me hanker to read the book and see the film again. And of course the reason I wrote this piece is that I’ve just seen Skyfall, one of the best Bond films I think, with its nod to its past. You probably had to be over fifty if, when, at the end of the film as the familiar Bond theme music was finally used, you found yourself wiping away a small tear from the corner of your eye.

. . . aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Pampered Punctuations from Punctilious Popinjays

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"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
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George Orwell
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aNOtHEr qUOtE fRoM ThE mAGpIEs.




Saturday, 10 November 2012

It's Only A Word, Will!

Kyphotic.

Adj. 1. kyphotic - characteristic of or suffering from kyphosis, an abnormality of the vertebral column
unfit - not in good physical or mental condition; out of condition; "fat and very unfit"; "certified as unfit for army service"; "drunk and unfit for service"


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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Feast of Posters

 
 
A beautifully drawn picture from a poster of the last century. Created at a time when music hall artists were having a rough time of it. I like this period. I like the bawdy type hmour, the working class honesty of the shows but more than that the posters with which  they used to advertise all manner of things...
 
 
 
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

jbkrost


It says this on jbkrost’s blog profile:

Gender
Male
Location
Introduction
I just stab at the canvas and click at the shutter... sometimes it works out
Interests
Favourite Films
Favourite Music
Favourite Books

I like the fact that for such an accomplished artist, if known only too few, could be so self-deprecating as to say “I just stab at the canvas and click at the shutter... sometimes it works out.” It does though. It works out incredibly well. Of course in the end it all comes down to taste. I man, after all, everything is a question of personal preference but I have to say that this man’s work is very much ‘up my street,’ my ‘cup of tea.’
He seems, oddly enough, to quite like his anonymity choosing to let his art speak for him rather than adopting a Daliesque type vaudeville. His paintings of stretched, ghost like. His figures remind me slightly of Edvard Munch’s work. Having said that I am sure neither artist would agree. There is pain here, discomfort but I am not sure why. Perhaps, like Francis Bacon, he is merely reflecting the world or humanity as he sees it.

I know this though. I like jbkrost’s (yes, all in lower case) work. I would certainly be proud to have it hang from my wall.

 



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aNOtHEr dOlLoP oF OiL oN lIfeS cAnvAs.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Roland Emmett

CARTOONIST AT HOME



Click on the above picture to play film at Pathe News website.

The wonderful eccentric world of Roland Emmett. I first saw his work at the Battersea Pleasure Gardens in 1953- The Far Tottering & Oyster Creek Railway. There is one of his moving sculptural clocks in the mall in Basildon -sadly not working when I last saw it.

Wikipedia says -

"Frederick Rowland Emett (22 October 1906 – 13 November 1990) OBE, his name frequently misspelled as Roland Emmett, was an English cartoonist and constructor of whimsical kinetic sculpture.

Emett was born in New Southgate, London, the son of a businessman and amateur inventor, and the grandson of Queen Victoria's engraver. He was educated at Waverley Grammar School in Birmingham, where he excelled in drawing, caricaturing his teachers and also vehicles and machinery. When he was only fourteen he took out a patent on a gramophone volume control. He studied at Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts and one of his landscapes, Cornish Harbour, was exhibited at the Royal Academy; it is now in the Tate collection.

An otherwise undistinguished career was interrupted by World War II, when he worked as a draughtsman for the Air Ministry, while perfecting his gift for drawing cartoons. From 1939 through the 1940s, he published regularly in Punch – making drawings or watercolours of strange, bumbling trains with silly names. On 12 April 1941 he married Mary Evans, the daughter of a Birmingham silversmith. It was Mary who would manage his business interests. They adopted a daughter, Claire.

In 1947 his cartoons came to life on the stage of the Gobe Theatre, London, in Between the Lines, a scene for Laurier Lister's revue Twopence Coloured, with Max Adrian as an eccentric signalman at Friars Fidgeting Signal Box. In 1951, at the Festival of Britain, his most famous steam locomotive, Nellie, was made into a copper and mahogany kinetic sculpture and was one of the festival’s most popular attractions. There was an unfortunate fatality when the train came off the line. Two of his other trains were created for the Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Branch Railway. At this time he was living in Cornwall and working in a studio in a boat-loft at Polperro; later he would return to West Cornwall before eventually settling for the rest of his life at Ditchling, in Sussex.

Emett parted company with Punch magazine soon after Malcolm Muggeridge became editor and began systematic changes to the magazine. After a spread in Life magazine on 5 July 1954, his work was much in demand in the United States.

He turned more and more to designing and supervising the building of what he called his things – always with silly names such as "The Featherstone-Kite Openwork Basketweave Mark Two Gentleman’s Flying Machine", two copies of which exist, one placed in a glass cage in the Merrion Centre, Leeds). In the mid-1960s he was commissioned by Honeywell to create a mechanical computer, which he named "The Forget-Me-Not Computer." In 1968 he designed the elaborate inventions of Caractacus Potts (played by Dick Van Dyke for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

In 1973 his water powered musical clock, "The Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator", was installed on the lower floor of the Victoria Centre, Nottingham, UK which can still be seen at work there.

His larger works, such as Emettland, went on extended tours, ending up in prestigious venues such as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto has a collection of about ten Rowland Emett creations and every December displays the restored working pieces, usually under the title "Dream Machines".

A 30 foot square mosaic by Roland Emett, installed around 1960, can be seen on the side of the NCP car park in The Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead.

His works are fundamentally different from those of Heath Robinson in that they are actually buildable, and would work. The works of the artist Jean Tinguely are a better comparison, "using assemblages of industrial detritus to burlesque effect".[citation needed]

When asked how he came up with his strange designs, Emett remarked:

"It is a well known fact that all inventors get their first ideas on the back of an envelope. I take slight exception to this, I use the front so that I can incorporate the stamp and then the design is already half done."

He was fair-haired and fresh-faced, looked younger than his years, and bore a resemblance to Danny Kaye. In 1978 he was awarded an OBE, and died on 13 November 1990 in a Sussex nursing home."

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Parked-up Quotes from Pork Eyed Cuttlefish

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"We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to."
 
W. Somerset Maugham
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. aNOtHEr qUIp fRoM a LegEnDArY lIt. .







Thursday, 20 September 2012

Ponced-up Quotes from Poshed up Pimples

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“An English gentleman never shines his shoes, but then nor does a lazy bastard.”
― Will Self
 
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aNOtHEr sLIp INtO ThE inSaNItY pOoL.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

David Caddy

The image below is from the cover of a book  published this time last year, 2011, by Shearsman Books. The publication is a volume of poetry written by David Caddy. The text below the cover artwork is from the publishers website...
 
 
David Caddy is a poet and critic from the Blackmore Vale in north Dorset. He was educated as a literary sociologist at the University of Essex. He founded and organised the East Street Poets, the UK's largest rural poetry group from 1985 to 2001. He directed the legendary Wessex Poetry Festival from 1995 to 2001, and later the Tears in the Fence festival from 2003 to 2005. He has edited the independent and eclectic literary magazine, Tears in the Fence, since 1984. He co-wrote a literary companion to London in 2006, has written and edited drama scripts and podcasts, and regularly contributes essays, articles and reviews to books and journals.

 
An angry young man, growing older but still furious with the way the English countryside is being used, abused and wantonly neglected. Take a walk down your local book shop, Waterstones no doubt, and browse then buy this excellent book.
 
 
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yEt aNOtHEr sMArT aRSe IN ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY cOlLeCtiVe.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Kippers

On my honeymoon recently we stayed at a very nice B&B in Llandudno and on the breakfast menu were kippers so one morning , fed up with the usual cornflakes, muesli and banana smoothie I decided to have kippers as I remember liking them as a teenager. Indeed they were delicious and I wondered why I hadnt eaten kippers for breakfast or even for lunch, tea and supper, for so long! The only trouble with kippers is that they tend to repeat on you all day long. Kippers kippers kippers. I don't mind the hundreds of little bones - it's the repeating of kippers that really is their undoing. Kippers, there they go again. Wikipedia says - "The exact origin of kippers is unknown, though fish have been slit, gutted and smoked since time immemorial. According to Mark Kurlansky, "Smoked foods almost always carry with them legends about their having been created by accident—usually the peasant hung the food too close to the fire, and then, imagine his surprise the next morning when …". For instance Thomas Nashe wrote in 1599 about a fisherman from Lothingland in the Great Yarmouth area who discovered smoking herring by accident. Another story of the accidental invention of kipper is set in 1843, with John Woodger of Seahouses in Northumberland, when fish for processing was left overnight in a room with a smoking stove. These stories and others are known to be apocryphal because the word "kipper" long predates this. Smoking and salting of fish—in particular of spawning salmon and herring which are caught in large numbers in a short time and can be made suitable for edible storage by this practice predates 19th century Britain and indeed written history, probably going back as long as humans have been using salt to preserve food. Kippers for breakfast in England. "Cold smoked" fish, that have not been salted for preservation, need to be cooked before being eaten safely (they can be boiled, fried, grilled, jugged or roasted, for instance). "Kipper snacks," (see below) are precooked and may be eaten without further preparation. In the United Kingdom, kippers are often served for breakfast, tea or dinner. In the United States, where kippers are less commonly eaten than in the UK, they are almost always sold as either canned "kipper snacks" or in jars found in the refrigerated foods section. In Haiti, kipper is eaten with scrambled eggs for breakfast or mixed with pasta or ri Kippers are produced in the Isle of Man and exported around the world. Thousands are produced annually in the town of Peel, where two kipper houses, Moore's Kipper Yard (founded 1882) and Devereau and Son (founded 1884), smoke and export herring. Mallaig, once the busiest herring port in Europe, is famous for its traditionally smoked kippers, as well as Stornoway kippers and Loch Fyne kippers. The harbour village of Craster in Northumberland is also famed for its kippers, where they are prepared in a smokehouse, sold in the local shop and exported around the world." Kippers kippers kippers.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sorry I'll Read That Again

This was a great radio show from the 60's and 70's with John Cleese, Graham Garden, Bill Oddie etc. Still makes me laugh today. Wikipedia says - "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (often abbreviated ISIRTA) was a BBC radio comedy programme which originated from the Cambridge University Footlights revue Cambridge Circus. It had a devoted youth following, with live recordings being more akin to a rock concert than a comedy show – a tradition which continued right through to the days of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. The pilot programme and Series 1 were broadcast on the BBC Home Service (renamed BBC Radio 4 in September 1967). Series 2–9 were broadcast on the BBC Light Programme (renamed BBC Radio 2 in September 1967). It was first broadcast on 3 April 1964 – the pilot programme having been broadcast on 30 December 1963 under the title "Cambridge Circus" – and the ninth series was transmitted in November and December 1973. An hour-long 25th Anniversary show was broadcast in 1989. It is comically introduced as "full frontal radio". I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, a spinoff panel game show, was first produced in 1972. The title of the show comes from a sentence commonly used by BBC newsreaders following an on-air flub: "I'm sorry, I'll read that again." Having the phrase used to recover from a mistake as the title of the show set the tone for the series as an irreverent and loosely-produced comedy show."

Monday, 16 July 2012

Pilfered Quotes From Decent Coves

"The Christian god – the external personality – has been replaced by the intelligence of the First Cause…the replacement of the old concept of God as all-powerful by a new concept of universal consciousness. The 'tribal god, man-shaped, fiery-faced and tyrannous' is replaced by the 'unconscious will of the Universe' which progressively grows aware of itself and 'ultimately, it is to be hoped, sympathetic'" - Thomas Hardy
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mORe oF tHe SAmE fROm ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Friday, 15 June 2012

New Collaborative Online Book

Just one of the many collaged pages from a new collaborative bookwork with Norman Conquest of Beuyscouts Of Amerika fame. Get it FREE HERE.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata

If this doesn’t move you someway, somehow, then you are probably an exhibit in the British History Museum. This is Beethoven at his best. This illustrates perfectly what genius really is but also reveals how a talent such as that displayed here by Wilhelm Kempff can best interpret it..
Kempf lived a long life. He was born in 1895 and died in 1991. He was highy regarded for his work on Bach, Liszt and Chopin but it is for his incredible empathatic performances on Beethoven that he is remembered.
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aN
OtHEr dIp INtO
ThE mAGpIE mEM
OrY pOOoL.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Pimped-Up Quotes from Pumped-up People

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"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”


Terry Pratchett
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mORe TidBiTs fAlLeN FroM tHe LANdLorDs tAbLe.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

NORMAL SERVICE WILL SHORTLY BE COMSUMED
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C intil 393 A.D, when the games were banned for being a Pagan festival. Then, in 1894, Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the anceinet tradition and bingo! the modern day Olympic Games were born.
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fuzzy Old Facts From a Fuzzy Old World

The Olympic flag has a white background with five interlaced rings in the centre. They are blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design symbolises the five continents of the world united by the Olympic ideal. These self same colours are those to be found on all the national flags of the world at the present time.
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 aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Pimped-up Quotes from Pumped-up People


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"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Douglas Adams
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aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mARmItE jAr.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Funny Old Facts From a Funny Old World


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Poland's Stella Walsh (Stanislawa Walaiewicz) won the women's 100 meter race at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, becoming the first woman to break the 12 second barrier. After she was killed in 1980 as an innocent victim in a robbery attempt, an autopsy declared her to be a male.

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aNOtHEr gOoBbLe iN tHe TURkEy pUdDle.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Facts from a Funny Old World

The very first recorded Ancient Olympic Games took place in 776 BC. The event was a stadion race (a foot race equivalent to 190metre or 208 yard dash). The winner was a humble baker from the Greek city state of Elis named Coroebus.
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 cLIpPinGs fRoM saTanS tOEnAil.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Proper Quotes From the Upper Crusties

"I have a great mind to believe in Christianity for the mere pleasure of fancying I may be damned."

Lord Byron



. . . aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.