One or two shortish items…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s fine expletives are… F*** and C***.
Oh, don’t you just hate these prissy asterisks? If you are going to say it, say it, don’t faff around with half saying it! Apparently in Britain until 1960 it was illegal to print the words fuck and cunt in text, except in reprints of earthy old classics, apparently it was allowed in the work of Chaucer, et al… I suppose they thought that the sort of people who regularly dip into Chaucer would be far too intelligent and sophisticated to be shocked or upset by these nasty coarse words of the lower classes…

Excuses for being late. No. 267.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I was darkening my eyebrows with burnt cork.

A single overheard (possibly misheard) remark:
‘I started washing bubble box…’

Sitting on the top deck of a bus waiting in the Dulltown Interchange I was watching the sun go down, and musing on God sweeping up the day’s used clouds from the sky and piling them up in the west at the bright open door of hell’s great furnace… Ah good, we are moving now.

I haven’t seen him for yonks…
Yonks, meaning ‘for a while’ or ‘for ages’ is a British English word unknown in the US. No-one seems to know its origin, but there is a suggestion that it might be a strange contraction of ‘donkey’s years’. Isn’t it a great word? Come on, let’s keep it in circulation – I’m going to use it today!… I wonder if it has anything to do with Yonkers, New York?

An observation:
An old chap, long white hair, white beard, was walking across the square; he seemed a bit timid and looked like he was trying to avoid vibration of any kind; he walked holding his head perfectly level, with no up and down movement at all, and with his little expensively shod feet flicking smoothly backwards and forwards as he proceeded. He looked like he was on wheels; he successfully circumnavigated an energetic young female chugger, cutting her dead with not even a nod.
(Chugger – charity mugger)

So, what could I be watching on TV tonight?
Hm, let’s see now, Five Star, (Freeview channel 30):
6 pm: Baby Faced Brides.
7 pm: The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door.
8 pm: Left For Dead By The Yorkshire Ripper.
9 pm: Killer Psychopaths.
10 pm: Born To Kill?
11 pm: Born To Kill?
12 midnight: Killing Spree.
1 am: Wentworth Prison, and
2 am: Ridiculousness

A single overheard remark:
‘I think he knows every other fish anyway…’

Posted in observations, surrealism, history, TV, serendipity, conversation, advertising, words, style, cool, brain, seeing, Dulltown, information, learning, people, dreaming, humour, Hull.UK., existentialism, expletives, overheard, misheard | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A City of Culture…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s wrinkled old black and white snapshot is the one of me sitting in bright sunshine playing a game of dominos with Robert Oppenheimer at Los Alamos in 1942.

‘So, Dave, what do you think of Hull – UK City of Culture 2017?’ (City of C)
‘Yes, well… Hull, city of culture, it’s a bit like saying, Hull, city of palm trees.’
‘Oh right, so you don’t think Hull has a culture then?’
‘Of course it has, every town has a culture, but ours isn’t the sort of thing we need to have a festival about, we don’t do things like that very well. Just look at the visible culture the city has, the architecture and the public art that we’ve put up over recent years – it’s not exactly stimulating is it? We usually hire in a dollop of culture when we think we need it, you know, we pay people to come here and make the place lively for a weekend every now and again, city centre limbo dancers, fire-eaters, stilt walkers, coloured lights, noisy strolling drummers, bare-chested hippy jugglers, that sort of thing…’
‘Are you a miserable bugger?’
‘Yes, I am, but I do like Hull really – it’s a bit rough in parts, but generally the people are kind, nice, and friendly, ‘salt of the earth’ as they used to say – but, there has always been, for some reason, a whiff of low self-esteem about the Hull folk… The people of a town are what make it what it is.’
‘So, City of Culture then?’
‘Oh, the arts administrators are all fighting to get their snouts in the funding trough, and some dreary, but ‘meaningful’ things will be put on, but I suspect – though I’d be happy to be proved wrong – that it will all be a bit cheap-looking and there’ll be a big cloud of embarrassment hanging over the city for the whole year.’
‘Don’t you want to celebrate your home town?’
‘Well that’s a bit like celebrating the county you happen to have been born in, or your religion, or your country, as if it’s better than all the others, it’s like nationalism on a small scale… I see people are wearing t-shirts with “ull and proud’ on them, celebrating the fact that we don’t bother sounding our ‘H’s – oh, but I do quite like those t-shirts with ‘Hull – It’s not shit any more’ printed on them…’
‘So, you are not looking forward to 2017 then?’
‘The Turner Prize is coming to Hull that year!’
‘Bloody ‘ell!…’

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A blues music film rant…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s arthropod is the very cute and colourful Dogbane Leaf Beetle – look, there, I can see one crawling around your collar as you read this. (DB)

Here is a rehashed piece from the dark days when I was first having a go at blogging on something called Myspace – it is a sort of ‘film review’ of something I had just seen on the TV:

I love blues music.
I always have. I think it is one of the most powerful and emotionally charged art forms there is. Oh, and by the way, I’m not talking about the jazzy ‘classic’ blues of Bessie Smith, or the ‘jazz-blues’ of Billie Holiday, that’s all a bit too ‘nice’ and decorative for me – I’m talking about the real stuff – people like Eddie ‘Son’ House, Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and of course many many others.
There really haven’t been any good movies about the blues; this is surprising as it is the foundation for most of our Western popular music of the last century. One reason, I think, is that although there would be no problem finding suitable actors to play the men and women of the blues (imagine Morgan Freeman cast as Son House, sitting there, with a battered old National resonator guitar on his knee and a glass of whiskey in his hand, he’d look great!) no, the problem would be how to place the music in the film.
As all the old blues singers had such individual voices, and ways of singing, no matter how good an actor you are it would be impossible to successfully ‘impersonate’ them. The alternative would be to include the original scratchy old recordings into the film soundtrack, but that would be aesthetically clumsy and would probably be unacceptable to your average audience.
There was a film about the blues on TV the other night which showed a bit of promise – ‘Crossroads‘ (1986); it was quite watchable and was suitably unsentimental and fairly gritty, but it really nose-dived at the end where the young white wannabe ‘bluesman’ had to engage in a guitar duel with the the Devil. The Devil comes on stage with his guitar and explodes into an amazing and glittering stream of distorted spectacular runs, bends, and screaming whammy bar dive-bombs – Phew!… It was terrific stuff… but, it certainly wasn’t blues.
How will our young hero defeat the flashy Prince of Darkness? Will he step back from all this clever technique, frothiness, and showing off, and play something devastatingly simple, and moving, something imbued with integrity, with the true feeling of the blues, perhaps in the style of B B King, or Otis Rush, or Hubert Sumlin?…
No… He resorts to playing more of the same flashy stuff – even dragging in an ultra high-speed version of a classical piece he learned at college!… He does win of course, but what a cop-out! And, the piece he played – it had to be a piece of bloody Mozart didn’t it!? Doh!…
Hey, what’s that sound I hear in the background?… Oh, it’s all those bluesmen and women turning in their graves…

Here’s a lovely bit of blues used in a film; it’s from Ghost World (2001)
Skip James: Devil Got my Woman.




Posted in art, blues, brain, cool, Film, Grumpiness, guitars, history, information, observations, thinking, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mail Art Postcard No. 4552…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word fulsome.

4552 DSCN4153Yes, dear reader… I am writing this from my small damp stinking cell deep in the dungeons of the Tower of London… I do realise now that making that silly mail art collage postcard… which, I admit, did mock Her Majesty… was one of the worst mistakes of my life… I mean… it was only a bit of fun… a couple of cartoon eyes stuck on… a moment’s madness… I thought that it would be somehow… amusing… how could I have guessed that She would be so upset?… the beating of the large fists and the big boots on my front door came at midnight last night… I’m not really sure how I got here… it’s all a crazy blur… they pushed a bowl of nasty gruel and a plastic fork to eat it with through a small filthy gruel-stained hatch in the bottom of the door two hours ago… ten minutes later a cheap sketch pad and a reasonably sharp pencil appeared, and a gruff voice whispered through the hatch, ‘Now, you lefty treasonous scumbag, call yourself an artist!… Let’s have a nice image of Her Majesty, or that’ll be the last food you’ll see for a week!… Ha ha ha!’… I hope that you get this message my dear loyal reader, my dear friend… I’m going to roll it up and fasten it to the tail of one of the rats which constantly run in and out of here… in the hope that… Oh, no!… what’s that sound coming down the corridor?… Is that the jingle of keys?… and voice of… Oh no!… Not the Duke of Edinburgh!…

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So, what is it that those TV ads are trying to tell us?…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s weather will feature hovering leaden slabs, skittish splashes, chill gusts, and an unyielding melancholy aerial gloom.

Sensitive bladder? – beautiful and healthy-looking! – never miss a chance to dance! – unlock your potential! – one hundred awards globally – giving me confidence – amazing experiences! – skin that defies ageing! – I know exactly what I want – a simple solution – different sofas! – a life for me – deliciously whipped! – give nature the home it needs – irresistibly tasty – free wine! – some of the biggest names! – five free spins! – the obvious choice – get that feeling! – I like to treat myself – across my devices – do you feel like this? – I can enjoy it anywhere – exceptional deep clean! – a delicious lunchtime alternative – even if it’s bulky – celebrate like royalty! – fungal nail infection? – velvety ice cream – smell the croissants! – need a better night’s sleep? – not just a healthy source of protein! – must end Tuesday.

Perhaps you should call your doctor and sing this repeatedly down the phone to him or her, to the tune of The Camptown Races… It should work fine if you occasionally include the lines ‘Doo-dah, doo-dah’, and ‘Doo-dah, doo-dah day!’ to make it scan.



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Stella and the approaching footstep…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s expletive is gordelpus! – a Victorian Cockney oath (the stress is on the ‘elp’) – a nice corruption of ‘God help us’.

P7120011‘The Approaching Footstep’ (2010), after Thomas Brooks (1818 – 1891), charcoal on paper about 20″ x 14″. (T.A.F.)

‘Ah, Stella my dear, good morning, you are earlier than I expected…’
‘Why? What time did you expect me?…’
‘Well, I don’t know, but usually, you…’
‘David! Just stop blethering and get the kettle on, I need tea!’
‘Right ho… Hm… you look a little bit, er, tired Stella…’
‘Shut up! Have you got butter in the house?’
‘Er, yes…’
‘Good, I’ll have some hot buttered toast.’
‘Will you?…’
‘What the hell is this?’
‘It’s a drawing.’
‘I can see that. Have you put the toast on yet?’
‘I’m just doing it, did you have a late night?’
‘Yes, I’ve not been home yet – there was a party round at Tony Mayonnaise’s place, it was marvellous, he’s a well-known local surrealist poet you know… ‘
‘Really, is he?…’
‘Yes, he’s brilliant, I’m surprised that I didn’t see you there… This is a copy of a naff Victorian painting in the local art gallery isn’t it?’
‘Possibly… Here’s your tea and toast, you gannet!… and it’s not a naff painting, it’s a pretty good painting.’
‘Ha! If you like that sort of schmaltz!… I expect that you did it from a postcard.’
‘No, I went and asked permission and set my easel up in front of it in the gallery.’
‘Shut up you oaf! I think I’ll have some more toast now…’
‘Really? …and another tea?’
‘Of course, and be quick about it… Looks like the girls are standing in front of a painted backdrop David, I’ll bet the original doesn’t look like that, they could draw and paint back in those days. Hm, and I can see that you struggled with the faces…
‘Can you?’
‘Yes, and those hands are a bit funny…’
‘How very nice of you to mention it dear Stella…’
‘Yes, but you made a fairly good job of the little dog… I like the little dog, and those animals in the distance, whatever they are… Anyway, why do you do things like this? Just copying someone else’s work?… It’s like cheating, I suppose you do it when you run out of decent ideas, and you are desperate just to draw something…’
‘Here’s your toast, you greedy great hog!…’


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Cooking fat in an emergency…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s honoured guests are the Alfred Hitchcock lookalike twins Clara and Maurice Trunker – come on in, you pair of scallywags, and sit there on the sofa next to His Grace the Archbishop…

It looks a nondescript little book, The 1954 Gadgets Annual – a drab red cloth-covered hardback with a cream spine – it probably had a nicely illustrated dust cover once, but sadly that is now missing. It is, of course, a collection of the best items from the very popular Gadgets Magazine of that year; a time after the end of WWII when money was short and people would mend things that were broken, and not just throw them into landfills as we do today; also people would make handy and useful items in their garden sheds for use around the home, and they would cheerfully devise ways of being thrifty. Here are a few items picked at random from these yellowing pages: A potato-scraping gadget, Toothpaste removes ‘rings’ on furniture, Make a useful tool from a tin lid, A tape-edged blotter for tidiness, A neat bottle drying rack, etc. Here is a picture of the title page.

DSCN3900Shall we have a look at page 34?

WP DSCN4102‘Albert, I’m home…’
‘Ah, hello Madge my dear.’
‘Albert! What’s that smell?… Are you frying something?’
‘No, dear, I’m just…’
‘Goodness me, what a fug!… Let me open some windows…’
‘Oh, it’s nothing to worry about dear, it’ll soon clear, why don’t you go and…’
‘That’s my best saucepan! What’s that… that thing… bubbling away in it?’
‘I was reading Gadgets Magazine and I…’
‘Oh, that stupid rag!’
‘But Madge, sometimes it has some really fascinating and…’
‘What a terrible stench!… Albert!… Turn the gas off and take it outside… Now!…’
‘It’s only the chain off my bicycle, it needed a good…’
‘I don’t care what it needed… I’ll never get that smell out of the curtains!…’
‘The pan will clean up again though, all I need to do is…’
‘Albert!… Just look at your filthy hands!… ‘


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