The M&S mature red cheddar and Green & Blacks dream…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: rickety rose, gulp green, gonophore grey, pleiomerous pink, ovoviviparous orange, rubbery red, and that awful yellow that the man opposite has recently painted the front of his house.
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I never learn, do I?…
I mean, half a block of Green and Blacks organic milk chocolate and two or three rice cakes with little slabs of Marks and Spencer mature red cheddar on them before bedtime! I was just asking for mad dreams…
As soon as I put my head on the pillow, half listening to the BBC shipping forecast on the radio, I was looking down at a smooth flat pale green carpet, it covered the whole wide floor – gosh what low ceilings these places have, very large rooms with low ceilings – I wonder if I could reach up and touch…? Is this a university building, or a cinema, or just offices? You stay here, don’t go with the others – you can meet up with them again later at one o’clock… Oh, alright… There was soft music playing through the speakers above. I have a wooden-handled screwdriver for slotted screws, a cross-head screwdriver, and yes, a large rough file with me – I have the slotted one on the left, the other two on the right. I am to go across there and look over that low concrete wall – it looked down several metres into the holding cell – concrete bed, stainless steel sink, and stainless steel toilet – no one in the cell though – changing the light fitting to LED bulbs shouldn’t be too difficult, I could just about reach it by leaning out over the wall – that’s alright, done, it was surprisingly easy!  I’ll leave those two black crinkly wires hanging down. So, where do I go now? There aren’t many people about – oh, who’s this? A middle-aged fat man dressed in grey a bit like a nurse – You can’t walk about with those, he pointed at my tools, this is a high security area – you stay there, don’t move! He strode off, got in a lift and descended out of sight – I was now embarrassed by having my tools with me – I wondered what I should do with them, and I wondered if I should really stay where I was as instructed. Oh, look an escalator going down, everything seems to go down in this place – but look, even though it’s running it’s roped off with generously thick red ropes with brass hooked ends – no point in going down there then! A large lecture theatre with cheap-looking shiny brown 1960s-style furniture, the ceiling is low, of course – people, who look like drab students and academics, are issuing. What’s that sign say, yes, that one with the pointing red arrow, leading to the corridor? It clearly states Intersections… I don’t think I should… hang on, I can smell food cooking, cabbage boiling – those people must all be going to lunch – if it’s one o’clock I can go and find the others. More stairs, all going down – this is a very flat place – I can see bright sunlight streaming through from somewhere, but I can see any windows – perhaps I’ll just sit here in this nook, what a nice old pub this is – the chairs are like ancient oak pews from a church – she’s a physicist, she is slim, and in a white lab coat, and she is wearing a pair of very-very shiny spectacles that catch the light surprisingly well – she seems to know me, but I… She says, Do you mind if I hold your hand for a moment? I’m not sure how to respond, but – but this seems a lot better… and it seems just like that moment when you, the one when you, might wake up from a dream… Damn!…

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A quick serendipitous snap…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is the final one from my copy of the ‘novel’ Harry Bleachbaker (1976) by N F Simpson – rather than choosing a part of the text, this is an extract from the blurb on the inner back cover, which I suspect was written by N F himself:
This is not, it goes without saying, a book to be read through from cover to cover at one sitting; or even at several sittings. It is not, indeed, a book to be read through from cover to cover at all, except by those wishing to be pole-axed in the interests of science by a tedium so monumental as to be entirely without precedent in the history of fiction.
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No, but deciding to try to take a photo looking out through a window on the upper deck of a moving bus is usually a mistake – what with shooting and composing through the grimy glass and dealing with the concomitant reflections of oneself and one’s shiny camera, the bouncing and juddering of the bus as it moves, and the fact the thing to are trying to capture is of course constantly moving past; I don’t recommend it dear reader. Mind you, digital photos don’t cost anything do they, it’s not like shooting expensive old-style 35mm film, is it? You can just delete all the bad ones at no cost.
Anyway, that’s what I did a couple of days ago.
The bus was chugging out of Dulltown city centre down a side road and past a scruffy nightclub that has been closed down for years – and there he was, sitting leaning on the wall in the corner. The bus paused at the traffic lights – Hm, I wonder if I could quickly get my little camera out, and get the name of the nightclub in as well as that snoozing human?… Click…

Of course this is the ‘tidied up’ version of the photo – it needed a bit of cropping, and a bit of contrast ‘enhancement’ – it was bit pasty pale having being shot through the bus window.
Oh, look you can see, in the top left corner, the reflections of some bus seats behind me.
Now then, the snoozing human, who is of course the whole point of the picture – he looks quite young doesn’t he? At first I thought he might be a homeless person, a ‘rough sleeper’, but perhaps he isn’t. Perhaps he was just feeling tired, it was a warm day, and he stopped in a quiet spot for a nap? I’m glad that bright traffic cone was there – it draws the eye to that corner and our subject very well.
Note: I have noticed that lots of photographers who go swanking around with their expensive cameras love to take pictures of people much less fortunate than themselves (there are lots of these pictures on Flickr) – as soon as they spot a grizzled old homeless person, sitting in a doorway with a bottle of something strong or doing some surreptitious drugs they pounce on them and cheerfully snap away – and then chuck a few small coins into the person’s lap. Perhaps they think this is serious photojournalism, and a cool thing to do? Me, I hate all that – have they no respect for their fellow human?… This picture is as near as I get to that sort of behaviour.
It’s not a bad photo considering the difficulties in taking it. I think I’ll refrain from being drawn into discussing any religious symbolism that might be seen to arise in this composition…

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Some more of those Crush characters…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s heraldic term is Lord Lyon King of Arms – the chief herald in Scotland. (L L K of A)
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Oh good! Veronica Crush, writer from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League, now living in New York with tall tree surgeon and heir to a multimillion dollar fortune, Monty Tick, has sent us some more of her spare character names. She says she comes up with them daily and has far more of these imaginary people kicking around the place that she’d ever use in her ‘stories’. If you are a budding writer and you get stuck deciding what names you should give to the people who might inhabit your tales – do feel free to dip in here and grab a couple:

Myra Ampule
Tamsin Huxty-Figs
Brigadier Gordon Flooter DSO
Dr Pansy Udders
Emily Millie Limmy
Johnnie Manifesto
Pippa Whellan-Trooly
Andre Gonad
Dame Daphne Bleem RA
Big Betty Phwarr
Sir Rex Kupple OBE
Arizona Dranes
Linda Lyn Linderlin
Lord Bibbins of Bobbins
Margaret String-Dixie
Robin Asdic-Pings
‘Dangerous’ Otto Van Quelm
Lady Abigail Snale
Mad Harry Hairdoo

As usual, Veronica has sneakily included a real person’s name in the list.
See if you can guess which one it is.
(Real one)

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A cork dipped in monkey soap powder…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is from the novel Harry Bleachbaker (1976) by N F Simpson. (NFS):
The story, which is quite true except for the facts, begins in 1954 when a well-known frogman, working for NATO, was suddenly suspected, for no particular reason of communist sympathies. Alarmed, he went for a check-up, but the X-ray revealed nothing and eventually the suspicions themselves disappeared. The stigma, however, remained.
A year or so later, an urgent call went out for experienced frogmen to be trained to laugh underwater. Among the first to volunteer was the frogman who had been suspected less than two years before of communist sympathies…
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As I said a few weeks ago, this book smells of old-fashioned cough mixture – obviously someone was browsing the medical section when a spillage occurred – happily though, there is no sign of staining. Yes, this is my battered old junk shop copy of the Daily Express Enquire Within from 1934. A repository of everything you’d need for living a nice middle class life in the 1930s  – however any mention of economic depression or the rise of fascism, and a possible second world war isn’t even hinted at. Here’s a nice picture of the title page, I’m afraid the cover itself is far too boring to warrant a photograph.

Each page has several useful and informative items, and across the top of each are some words of wisdom and guidance – I will include some of these with today’s selection:

Page 13. (The world knows nothing of its greatest men.)
iii. Mutton. – Shoulder; breast (the fore part of the belly – Scottish brisket); over which are the loin (chump or tail end) ; loin (best end), the lower part of the loin in the Scottish mode of division is called the flank or flap; neck (best end); neck (scrag end); leg haunch, or leg and chump end of loin (Scottish gigot); and head…

Page 415. (Morning for work, evening for contemplation.)
To take the stains out of knives. –  Take some potato parings and some finely-powdered brick-dust. Dip the white portion of the potato paring in the brick-dust and rub the knife with it, when the stains will disappear; or a rag dipped in strong potash or soda may be used (with the brick-dust also). Stains may also be removed with a cork dipped in emery powder, or monkey soap powder.

Page 242. (Fair play is a jewel.)
Juvenile smoking. – Any person selling cigarettes or cigarette papers to a person apparently under sixteen, whether for his own use or not, is liable to a fine on summary conviction.
It is the duty of a constable or park keeper to seize any cigarettes or cigarette papers in the possession of anyone apparently under sixteen whom he finds smoking, and he may search any boy so smoking, but not a girl.

Page 387. (Time and tide tarry for no man.)
Cleanliness.
i. There is not anything gained in economy by having very young and inexperienced servants at low wages; the cost of what they break, waste, and destroy is more than an equivalent for higher wages, setting aside comfort and respectability.
ii. An ever dirty hearth, and a grate always choked with cinders and ashes, are infallible evidences of bad house-keeping.
iii. Dirty windows speak to the passer-by of the negligence of the inmates.

Page 174. (Disease is the punishment of neglect.)
Rules of Loo.
i. For a misdeal the dealer is looed.
ii. For playing out of turn or looking at the ‘miss’ without taking it, a player is looed.
iii. If the first player possesses two or three trumps, he must play the highest or be looed.
iv. With ace of trumps only, the first player must lead it or be looed.
v. The player who looks at his neighbour’s hand, either during the play or when they lie on the table, is looed.
Etc…

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A good firm one is always preferable…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to run a finger end under the outer seams to free them from the wooden substrate, put a nice toffee in your mouth and suck it, do not chew – you must suck only. Take out your rubber brayer and press down on any creases that you notice in the leather top-top. Light the two oil burners and adjust their wicks to a clear and even yellow flame. As the trunk warms up think about rubbing some lard from the plastic box (provided) into your hands and feet, but don’t actually do it – that will come later – mental preparation is everything! Take the two magnets out of their green felt sleeves and place them north-south to the east and the west. Close your eyes, hum a pleasant tune if you wish, and sit and wait for the three elves to turn up.
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‘How do you feel about touching someone else’s flesh?’
‘What?… What do you mean?’
‘You know… Shaking hands – when you feel the soft, warm, sometimes moist, flesh of a complete stranger’s hand…’
‘Well, I…’
‘I’m not sure about it myself, but people have been doing it for years and years I suppose.’
‘Yes, I suppose they have – it’s a funny thing to do, when you come to think of it…’
‘Indeed, hands are very sensitive things, packed full of nerves they are.’
‘Are they?’
‘Oh yes, bristling with ’em.’
‘The thing is, I suppose…’
‘What is the thing?’
‘It’s that it’s usually strangers that you do it with, isn’t it?’
‘Yes, that’s right – it’s not often that you perform one with someone that you know.’
‘That’s true – did you just say “perform”?’
‘Er, yes, I think I did. Why?’
‘Well the word “perform” is usually associated with, er… other things…’
‘Is it?’
‘Oh yes, I think so – would you say “performing” a handshake?…’
‘Hm, maybe not then…’
‘I’ve heard it said that it goes back millions of years – to show the empty hand – no weapons, see?’
‘Millions?’
‘Yes, probably, I’m not really that sure.’
‘A hot sweaty handshake, that’s not very nice, is it?’
‘Certainly not.’
‘Then after one, surreptitiously wiping your hand on your shirt, pretending you are scratching a chest itch – we’ve all done that, haven’t we?’
‘A chest itch?’
‘Yes.’
‘Well, I haven’t.’
‘No?’
‘No… It’s a bit like just waving at someone, but…’
‘A lot more intimate?’
‘Intimate. Yes!’
‘Me, I’d wave to anyone, even strangers.’
‘I would too, and do.’
‘And do?’
‘Yes, did you mention weapons earlier?’
‘I did, what’s on your mind?’
‘Military people, they don’t shake hands much do they?’
‘Not at all, apparently – not allowed – they salute instead.’
‘Now saluting, that’s a bloody weird thing!’
‘Isn’t it just? When you stand back and get a bit of perspective on the thing – it’s er…’
‘Ridiculous?…’
‘Yes! And there’s no body contact in it at all, it’s all done from a short distance, but definitely no touching!’
‘But there seems to be no embarrassment in it for them though – they just do it, as if it’s a perfectly normal thing to do.’
‘Me, I’d feel pretty foolish if I raised my arm sideways, brought my hand up to my head, and then snapped it back down again to my side…’
‘Ah, but only after another person had responded in kind.’
‘In kind?’
‘Yes, it takes at least two participants when it’s performed properly, except in front of a mirror of course.’
‘The powers that be are very particular about how it has to be done, heaven forbid if you get even the slightest detail wrong.’
‘All part of the indoctrination process, making the ridiculous seem normal, so you do exactly as you are told.’
‘No questions asked!’
‘Indeed!
Right! You heap of miserable festering useless cannon fodder! This is how you salute – see! I want that perfect by tomorrow morning or you are all for it – big time! In the afternoon all you pathetic riff-raff will be going out to learn how to shoot and kill people quickly and efficiently, and without using up too much expensive ammunition! I want proper salutes and clean weapons! Got that?…’
‘Gosh, very good! You have obviously missed your calling! I did enjoy that!’
‘Thank you… Drama school you know. Look, I’m sorry, but I must be off now, I’ve left a flan in the oven… No, I won’t shake hands, I was handling some live eels earlier, I’m still a bit slimy.’
‘No worries, I completely understand… Same time tomorrow then?’
‘Of course… Wave wave!…’
‘Wave wave!…’

Posted in brain, conversation, drama, humour, instruction, learning, people, surrealism, sweating, thinking, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

This is not art. No. 26…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: smelly, chasmogamic, ringent, ordinal, heortological, henotic, and succulent.
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A minimal, but jocund, piece of mixed media work that combines found objects (both natural and man-made) with an uninhibited freely painted rectilinear form in blue to enclose them; see how by using this device the artist is really saying, these objects are now mine – I have acquired them by my action – they now can not escape!
We the observers can not know if the small piece of silver paper (perhaps it contains some discarded chewing gum?), is covering the the lower slot on the left-hand metal square by happenstance or was placed there by the hand of the artist – but its presence turns the plate into the simulacrum of a human face, an added nose or a mouth – unlike its partner to the right which retains its unemotional pressed metal identity. What do we see in this face? Does that forehead show the line of a frown? Do we hear a cry from the gutter, or is this a look of squinting surprise? Is he pleased to see us? And of course dear reader, what do the decaying brown leaves represent?
Oh, what a cogently pithy piece of work this is!

So, I was walking along in Beverley, East Yorkshire, I noticed that the council had been round inspecting the condition of the pavement and they had found that a small square cover for perhaps a water stop-tap (or perhaps a rodding eye?) was missing, possibly stolen; someone had marked it, as requiring attention, with a blue square, so that no pedestrian accidentally stepped into it and incurred an injury, perhaps a twisted ankle? Some other council worker had come along later, and, not having a suitable cast iron lid suitable for the hole, covered it by nailing a couple of tin plates (left over from another job) over it…

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Decalcomania monoprint. 2010…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s novelty pencil sharpener is the one shaped like the Taj Mahal – it looks very good sitting on the window sill lit by the glow of the evening sun.
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Decalcomania monoprint (2010) – black acrylic paint with pencil shading on paper, about 16″ x 12″.

Gosh, this was done eight years ago! Doesn’t time fugit? I suppose I should really do some more of these – I’m sure they’d be different now – art is like that isn’t it? It is always ‘of its time’.
Decalcomania was a form of fine art printing from the time of the original Surrealists back in the early 20th c. The images formed rely a great deal on chance and serendipity – they are always a surprise when they are revealed – sometimes your eyes pop out in amazement, and sometimes you take a quick look and then rip the thing up and chuck it away. A while ago I did a post on how I do my version of decalcomania – you could have a read of it and perhaps try doing some of these prints yourself dear reader – it’s enjoyably messy, but great fun! Why not click here?
My prints are usually abstract in nature, but as you see from the one above I would  occasionally do one or two featuring a loosely thrown together human figure.

He, (I think it’s a ‘he’ don’t you?) looks like he’s just been taken aback – what a funny phrase that is!  He is probably saying something like, ‘No, no, you can’t be serious!’ or even, ‘You can’t be Sirius!’ if he happens to be looking up at the starry night sky. But you can’t really see which way he’s looking – what with that shiny blob head of his! Gosh, I’m rambling away here aren’t I?
Is he a cowboy gunslinger – Go on Mister – if you are man enough, just reach for it!… or maybe a scary lumbering Manga monster with a name something like Michio Kaku? Or perhaps he’s a burly, but rather camp chap, a bank clerk in the daytime, who’s just got spruced up, and has slipped into his best party outfit – you know, that nice bright one with the bouncing  pom-poms on the shoulders! Super!… Now, where’s the cocktail bar? Just point me at it!…

Posted in art, cool, creation, decalcomania, design, humour, information, instruction, learning, serendipity, style, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments