Posts from 13th May 2004

May 04

I don?t know if it?s just me, but these pictures look like anything you?d see Madonna or Britney Spears do on stage. I mean, this is something you can see at Lincoln Center for an NEA grant. Rush Limbaugh

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 252 views

I don?t know if it?s just me, but these pictures look like anything you?d see Madonna or Britney Spears do on stage. I mean, this is something you can see at Lincoln Center for an NEA grant.
Rush Limbaugh

While aside from location difficulties (this sort of thing would happen at PS 1 or a private performance space), does he have a point ? The thing about the performance and body art that came from the 60s and 70s was that it was an internalization and reaction against the violence of Vietnam, of the isolation and fear of the death camps, of the mechanical reductionism of capitalism, of terror that surrounds the loss of soul. I do not expect the largest intellectual sophistication from Rush, in fact I do not assume any intellectual ambiguity from him, but he does have something here. When I was in the airport in Minneapolis, and I saw the cover of the Economist, with the man wired and hooded, i thought that at first it was performance art. The grainy, surveillance quality had the sheen of Dogme 95 cinematic. The photos were well composed, they were shot with an eye towards aesthetics, they were shot with a mind full of intense visual cleverness, they imparted vast reams of information about the nature of the act and those who were performing it. This images were intended with an audience in mind, they were intended to be disseminated, and to be shown to large audiences. These were not the casual, ugly, crude souvenirs that came from other wars. (compare the photos taken by Canadian Infantry in Somila of the beating and torturing of prisoners.)

I doubt that Lindsey England knows the work of Chris Burden, Vito Acconci or Bruce Nauman, but the care that she takes to express the tangible isolation and hatred comes with some v. severe aesthetic training. Better then the all information, no slick packaging videos of shootings and beheadings the enemy does.

What does it mean when the photos are intended to be shown, when they are taken with such care and such concern ? Who were they meant for–Jonah Goldberg told us that they resembled pornography, but in the age of bukkake and amateur girls anything shot on home video that isn’t a kids birthday party is compared to porn. The thing that is pornographic about these videos is the same thing that was pornographic about the Passion, that is pornographic about Terminator 3: The Return of the Machines. It is this refusal to recognize the transednce of flesh, to think that the only thing that our copreality does is engage in violence, not the small, real, human breaks that are encountered daily, but the looming, insane spectacles that cannot be absorbed without a technological intecessor.

There is something new here, beyond the rape, beyond the torture, beyond the imperial subjecation–America has had that from the beginning look at the Civil War Camps, or the Spanish American War or Wounded Knee or El Salvador. It is also not the documentation, each of those wars has had people cleaning up after it, with words and sometimes pictures. What is new is the ease and the casualness that the pictures came to us, how with in weeks they came to Time and The Gaurdian, CNN and BBC, US News and World Report and Anarchy:A Journal of Desire Armed. There is also a complete lack of poetry and irony here.
They took over the same prison as their enemy and did the same things, like the pyschogeographical desires could not be controlled. They talked of just following orders, and didnt seem to realize who said this first, they talked about not knowing the Genevea Convention, and assumed that the performance would be excused because the script was taught incorrectly. They conflated sex and violence and seem suprised that they were not rewarded–maybe that is what Limbaugh is saying, America is a culture that rewards this shit as a general rule, makes heros of its outlaws. Now it cant.

Ok, so everyone knows all too well that

Do You SeePost a comment • 363 views

Ok, so everyone knows all too well that Friends and Frasier have ended, but where is the publicity for NBC’s greatest loss? Next week’s season finale of Law & Order is the last episode with Jerry Orbach as Lennie Briscoe. This man is more deserving of a Katie Couric special more than Kelsey Grammer! With Briscoe gone, Law & Order might as well be over.

Check out these photos and try not cry. A coffee cup! Cheesecake! Sigh.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 294 views

Last night, while drunk, I may have contributed to a premature death. This is what I did: I removed the following advert from a London Tube carriage…

This is part of the British Heart Foundations “Big Red Fightback” campaign. Somewhat at odds with received nutritional wisdom (and an article in Waitrose magazine about The Value of Pie) and with no backup information on the website at all, this villification of a generic food, well… it’s political correctness gone mad isn’t it? What happened to balanced public information ads that bang on about “a balanced diet”? Perhaps this is now seen as too weedy an approach to stop the ballooning teen generation growing up supersized to the point where public transport seats need widening. Perhaps they are trying to be funny. Perhaps. But a “STOP EATING, FATSO” campaign would make ME, a pie-in-moderation member of the gen pub, laugh more. LOTS more.

When come back bring better public information

Bonus item, while idly googling for this article I found The British Lard Marketing Board

Tanya’s Round of Rubbish: UB40 – “Red Red Wine”

I Hate Music1 comment • 688 views

There’s a twat in my kitchen, what am I gonna do? The twat in question is Ali Campbell singing “Red Red Wine”, and the only course of action is to hurl the radio out of the window. The UB40 official website has a wonderful picture of the band’s severed heads roasting in Hell – this is the only good thing I can say about them. UB40 were a testimony to the unifying power of reggae – as in their hands any song, be it country, rock or AOR, sounds basically the same. A mid-tempo shuffle ornamented with Campbell’s graceless Brummie whine, the music of UB40 brings to mind fag ash floating in half-drunk cans of stale Red Stripe and joints made out of tea leaves.

“Red Red Wine” is by a distance their worst offender. There is no song that cannot be made more insufferable by a dire ‘reggae version’, in fact there is only one surer-fire way of lowering quality and that is to include a bit of toasting. “Red Red Wine” of course does just this. The song is a hymn to the power of booze to obliterate the memory, however red wine stains awfully and to get this record off your mind you would need to drink France dry.

It has come to my attention that I have attacked Red, Red Wine before as part of my Rainbow Of Rubbish. Well let us say this piece, and indeed the whole Round Of Rubbish is a reggae version of said feature and then I can be as terrible as I like. Luckily you can seperate out the Red from the Red Wine in the name to justify this. And anyway, I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than kicking Ali Campbell just when he may have recovered from the last time.

There’s apparently a proposal to rebrand* what’s currently the Nationwide League

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There’s apparently a proposal to rebrand* what’s currently the Nationwide League into the Coca-Cola League. I always thought Nationwide’s sponsorship was perfect – a really good name for a league that was nationwide. They also didn’t have dubious business practices in the third world. Just here, where it took 5 days to transfer money from a Nationwide Bank Account into a Nationwide Credit Card account. 5 days! Sheesh.

Obviously, there’s lotsa fun to be had if the rebranding works. Teams will get into the Premiership after going up from the Coke. You’ll go down from the Coke, you end up in the Conference. Also, coming up from the Coca-Cola might have negative connotations for the digestibility of the product. Puntastic times ahead.

But it’s gone further than that. Not content with being the Coca-Cola First Division (ie, the second tier of English football) the First Division is suggested to become the Coca-Cola Championship. But what to call Division two, which is the third tier of the game? Obviously, it can’t advertise that it’s the third tier, as that gives the game away that the Coco-cola championship is infact the second tier. So it’ll be the Coca-cola division one. And you know that makes division three, which used to be division four…

It’s utterly ludicrous, and based on the rather stupid belief that the premiership is on TV a lot and gets lots of fans because of slick marketing, rather than because it’s the pinnacle of the English game. It’s like making an estate pub in a provincial town all trendified, then expecting London style profits. And, given that all the leading clubs in the (current) division one all want to leave it, it’s like the lanlord directing the makeover of our estate pub has demanded the chnages or else they’ll leave, even though they’ve said they’ll leave anyway if a better pub becomes available. And they’ll spend all their time looking for that new pub as it happens. First the really big clubs threaten breakaways, and they do. Then the new rung of clubs who think they’re big do it. History repeating, most definitely as farce this time around. Whoever wins the Championship , I think the people behind this are the ones who top the Coke League (arf!)

What they should do is have the First division called ‘The Coke League’. It’s big, it’s the best in the stable, but it’s not as nice as champagne. The next tier down isn’t so good, but still OK. Maybe The Fanta League? (Fan-ta! Geddit?) Maybe a subset – Fanta A, Fanta B and finally, the Fanta C League. Division three, unloved except by it’s adherents who cling to it as a badge of devotion is obviously the Cherry Coke League – a very acquired taste. Finally, they find a really gritty lower league at serious grassroots level where fans bemoan the lack of handlebar moustaches and wonder whatever happened to that nice Lord Kinnaird, and that becomes the Classic Coke League. Job done**

* Here is a great brand for the Football League. It’s a League. For Football Clubs. See where I’m headed here?

** Note to Coke executives / marketeers in general – Suggested League names are a big joke and NOT SERIOUS. But if you think they’re quite good, they are copyrighted by me


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 433 views

NATIONAL CELEBRATION ALERT. Yet again I interrupt the Round Of Rubbish with more urgent news for the British nation. Unlike yesterdays horrific Farm related news flash, I instead have good news to report. Sometimes the life of a music hater seems full of disappointment. However it is moments like this that make it all worthwhile. If people do not join my campaign it is nice to see that at least physiology is on my side.

Sting has lost his voice. The tantric sexed friend of big lipped tribesmen is unable to even croak out his big hits, and all his other records. This is tremendous news, it saves all the poor fools who had booked tickets from his cod white-boy reggae. And in the constant fight there is no more emblematic soul as to all that is wrong with music than the pompous, po-faced Geordie. Perhaps I will never get all music banned. But as long as the only water flowing is the bitter tears of Sting, I’ll be happy.

Laughing On Records

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 322 views

Laughing On Records

I dislike the Frankee record. I was a bit worried this was down to my deep-rooted misogyny but listening to it just now on Capital I realised why it is rubbish: it has laughing on it. Specifically it has laughing on it after a joke – when Frankee says “I had better sex on my own” there is an appreciative giggle. This immediately confirms my rightness – all records that do this are bad.* The tactic is suggestive of a deep-seated lameness and lack of confidence – “I’ve written a funny line! Quick! I must telegraph this to the listener in the most obvious way possible!”. Also it never sounds good. As you might expect, comedy songs are awash with laugher – as a rule the less funny the song the more on-vinyl sides are being split. The listener’s misery is only increased by the gales of fictional hilarity. Eventually Popular will get to Ray Steven’s “The Streak” and this particular soapbox will be mounted again.

*(with the possible exception of live stand-up albums)

Silly Picassos and the Nature of the Market

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 555 views

Silly Picassos and the Nature of the Market

What could you have bought if you wanted to spend a $104,168,000
at the auctions this season:

*A loose, easy and chaotic, very early ink drawing by Phillip Guston, from a period that is vastly under valued and
*A graphite de Kooning Grotesquerie that prefigured the best of this madonna/whore women paintings and
*A midnight blue melancholy reliquary, by Cornell, featuring a Plaster owl. and
*A charming DeBuffet Cow and a
* A wise and startling pencil sketch by Andy Warhols of his brother, done before ads and pop, reminding one of why Jamie Wyeth was in the factory and a
*One of Krasners tangled, pink brambles, looser and more gestural then Pollock could ever manage. and a
*two amusingly naughty Wessleman pin up (cock and tits) and
* Ruschas 9 swimming pools, that seem loving and savage, wry and graceful, and calming and ambiguous and are like a min version of his baseball Fields and sunset strips,
* and some of his seminal Gas Station photographs (10 of them) and
* A smooth, accomplished and elderly artists pencil sketch by Hockney
* One of Alex Katz’s graceful, semi abstracted, sky and leaf, nature paintings, with colour like Bonnard.
* A Cy Twombly where a sheet of granite seeps down the page, imposing its will on a crimson scrawl of writing, censorious and chilling. and
* Two Christo sketches for the Umbrellas in Japan and California and
* An epic Gursky Print (8×6), just a bunch of white and black buildings against desert and sky
* One of Richard Princes ironic emasculations of the Marlborough Man and
* Jeff Koons and his wife sorting out the implications of the protestant marriage bed in the Made in Heaven Series and
*5 early, violently psychedelic, superflat and retchingly cute, in a good way, Mr Dob Paintings by Murakami and
* A Black Mountain Albers and
* a dark, brooding, tan, plum, indigo and grey Rothko and
* a solid, lonely, late Ocean Park by Dieborken and
* One of Richters Colour testing digitalized abstractions, like snow on a television and
* one of the light sculptures Dan Flavin dedicated to Donald Judd , in lemon yellow and candy apple red and
*a hyper realist, haunted sea by Celimens and
* and a ugly, honest, pointilist portrait by Close
* and a v. late, blocky, pastel blue square by Agnes Martin
* 7 cerulean boxes, in joyous formation by Judd, and
* Andy Warhols Silver Screen Lone Gunman, Elvis and
* one of those rigid and formalist attempts at medium, when Brice Marden painted in Graphite and Beeswax and
*a casual, and deeply erotic portrait of a woman dressing by Vuillard
*a twisted, voluptuous Degas broad getting out of a bath
* A kelly Green and Turquoise sketch of Provence trees and lakes by Pissaro
* A Rodin bust of Victor Hugo, where he looks angry and canonical and
* A sweet, quick red chalk Toulouse Le Trec drawing of a bull fight, made chilling
by implied violence and death and
* pen and ink of a pair of Matisses fat bottom girls.
*A Marquet landscape of cold, nordic sea fisheries, rigid and unfeeling and
* a charmingly naif Kees Van Dorgen cityscape
* A Schiele sketch where a nude looks like a contorting amputee dwarf, strange and gorgeous
* and the one with the woman flashing her cunt for the world to see
* and two savage anti american cartoons by Grosz, including a famous study for his evil kilroy
*and Klee’s silly, childish faeries
* and Giocemettis starving, thorny Ostrich that holds its egg on its back
* and the heavy black, imposing ritual contraption Ernst called Torture
*and a copper, sanguine biomorphic sphere by Arp
* and a pell mell, sweet and bountiful still life by Lipschitz
* and a very early, very japanese chrysanthemum before Mondrian went all square eyed
* and two Balthus nymphettes
* and a peasant girl bronze w. birthing hips and jutting breasts by Malloloi
*and a claustrophobic depiction of a girl washing her feet by Bonnard
*and one of Roulats Gold Kings, before he worked on the King of Kings
*and Duchamps two artist Boxes, full of Museums and Labyrinths
* a Box Elder Manquette by Hepworth
* and the Jigsaw Puzzle of Sophie Tauber Arp’s wood Reliefs
* and Blakes metaphysical masterpiece about the struggle for good and evil

And you could hire a name architect for the 75 million dollars that was left over as change

or you could have one sentimental, mediocre picasso, more then the acquisition budgets of most major museums, more then the rest of the world spends in years, and they blew it on a boring, obvious, dull, grating, kitschy, chintzy, decorative piece of tripe, a portrait of a type that is common to tourist images of spain, and proves that any of the energy that picasso had it never amounted to much. (Cubism-Gris and Cezanne;Neo-Classicism-Balthus and De Chirico to name two)

The ever so conservative Whitneys (which might explain this years bienelle as well) bought it as a status piece, with the same fuck you energy of the very rich that means we cannot see any of the larger Van Goghs in private collections, though he did sickly sweet, fake and inauthentic romanticizations of peasant classes too. (Poor, and misunderstood, the romantic myth of genius.)

A smart collector could have had some steals this year, cause everyone was paying attention to the same Horatio Alger bullshit thats been coming from the art world faster than anywhere else. The sad thing is that people still believe it.

What a difference 50p makes.

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 295 views

What a difference 50p makes. Both venues for Club Popular have been notable for their ‘3 pints. A sad state of affairs, but not as sad as what it precipitates. Yes, there have always been round welchers who slip their drinks in between rounds, cadge others and generally abuse the system. This may be due to money, or other circumstances (ie having a disfunctional personality or being foreign). However when the basic lager costs three of your English, you start looking at everyone that way. Worse still, you find yourself acting in that way too.

I caught myself last night hanging by the bar waiting for someone, anyone, to buy me a drink because I had already bought a round. A round which had cost me the actually quite paltry amount of nine quid (only three drinks). The rationale that rounds all balance themselves out in the end, the rationale of being a good bloke and paying for what I clearly could afford, went out of the window and I turning briefly into a round cunt. As soon as I caught myself in this action I stopped, but what a difference 50p makes eh?

Club Popular was by most accounts a triumph

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 1,228 views

Club Popular was by most accounts a triumph, despite early jitters caused by the look of disbelief on The Chapel owner’s face when Al Martino started bellowing out across his boozer. A sequel is likely, but the next club night will most likely be the Glastonbury Reunion party on the 30th June. At the moment I feel pretty incapable of coherent thought so it might be a quiet day on the Trigger (at least as far as my contributions go). With the Club out of the way though I can press on with the actual writing of Popular (honest!).