Mail Art Postcard No. 4503…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: garrulous, spadiceous,  interfascicular, knotty, scalene, and fruity.
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w-f-4503
Ah, creative serendipity! Yes, it’s another of my mail art postcards, a simple collage using cuttings from that awful British TV listings magazine What’s On TV (I always think that there should be a question mark on that, but there isn’t one.)
So, what do we have here?
Well, we have two cuttings, one the title of a programme on British 20th c. railways, and the other a couple of TV actors earnestly doing their stuff – I expect this is from some soap opera or drama series, but as I avoid such things I’m afraid I can’t tell you which one it might be – please don’t get in touch to tell me…
Hm, as I look at this picture I don’t think I’d like to watch these two for very long – you can feel the tension rising, and you know that there will be tears before bedtime! (TBB) No, not my kind of thing at all…
Actually, The Golden Age of Steam could of course relate directly to the photo – It might be the clever and meaningful title of some heavy relationship drama, perhaps a thick embossed cover best-seller novel adapted and serialised for television. Perhaps the man’s (let’s call him Lionel) preoccupation with steam locomotives of the 1930s is just a retreat from his turbulent marital relationship with, let’s call her Barbara, who is valiantly trying to keep their shaky wobbling marriage on the rails for the sake of their two almost grown up children despite her suspicions that Lionel might be secretly plunging them into debt, spending all their money on refurbishing a dilapidated signal box up on the Pennines where he often spends whole weekends. Barbara, though still caring for Lionel, has in desperation, begun seeking companionship and weekend warmth in the arms of Gwen the landlady of the popular Railway Inn down at the end of the street.
‘Damn it Lionel! You’ve even stopped bothering to shave! Your whole world is centred around bloody interlocking points and semaphore stop signals!’
‘Look Babs, It will eventually be okay, I promise… as soon as I get my rusty old levers working again, things will change, I…’
‘Ha! Your rusty levers! I’ve finally had enough!… I’m going down to the pub for a shandy…’
‘That’s right! That’s right!… Go!… Go!… Go to your…’
(Sound of door slamming.)
‘Now then, where did I put my copy of Railway Weekly?…’

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So Dave, you’re not a sophisticate after all?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the sound of the word mountebank.
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I suppose I must give the impression in these pages that I am quite an arty sort of person – perhaps even ‘cultured’. Well, it’s time to give the game away – no, I’m not.
Yes, I admit I have two gaping holes in my appreciation of the arts which disqualify me; they are those areas of creativity called ‘poetry’ and ‘classical music’, oh and perhaps ‘jazz’ music, but then, hardly anyone likes jazz anymore, do they? Oh, dear, I’ll bet the cat is amongst the pigeons now…
Shall we start today’s rant on the subject of poetry?
‘What’s wrong with poetry Dave?’
If I try (and in the past I have tried) to read a poem – after three or four lines my mind starts to wander, I start to think of other things, did I buy a fresh head of broccoli yesterday, or was that Monday? Oh, and I must get a new sponge thing for my squeezy floor mop, did I remember to set the box to record the X-Files? Yes, that sort of thing, and I have to go back to the first line again. Then I find that I don’t seem to be able to make much sense of the words, what is this person trying to tell me? It all seems a bit personal… and miserable… I feel the urge to get up and have a stretch and a yawn, and possibly make another cup of tea. I don’t know how anyone could sit and read a whole book of this stuff…
‘So Dave, what about poetry being read out at those popular ‘poetry nights’ in the back rooms of pubs?’
Well, obviously I avoid them at all cost. The poems are bad enough, but it’s the weird way that they read them; it’s either the deliberately flat monotone, letting the simple power of the words carry the thing, or it’s all crisp sibilants, shouting, and facial expression. Whichever one they choose, there are always plenty of pauses, filled with ‘meaning’, where they lift their chins, close their eyes, and let their words ‘hang in the air’ for a moment. I wonder where all this malarkey comes from? They all seem to do it. Do they stand in front of a mirror practising and gurning before they set off for the gig?
‘But what about song lyrics Dave, surely you like songs? That’s poetry, but with music.’
You’re right, I love good song lyrics, I can be moved to tears, especially if it has a good tune. Yes, I suppose it is illogical. It’s as if a poem is a song, but with the best part missing – the two combined can be magnificent, but just having someone read out the words, for me, isn’t really enough…
‘Right then Dave, that’s poetry kicked into touch, as the sporting people say. What’s up with classical music?’
It’s old.
‘Old?’
‘Yes, it’s moribund, it hasn’t moved on for a hundred years or more; it was all written for rich people and their spouses who liked putting their swanky clothes on and spending a long evening with lots of other rich people in a posh concert room. I don’t think these were particularly bright people – probably land owners and military types – you can tell by the rhythms of the music they liked – it’s either umpty-tumpty horse riding stuff, or patriotic stirring marches. Of course the poor people, the majority, never heard any of this, they had their own music back home and in the pubs which was quite a different kettle of minims.
‘So, it’s all rubbish then Dave?’
‘No no, there are some really great tunes in there, but classical never really got into the twentieth century did it? They couldn’t get the idea of swing, and interesting rhythms – they probably thought that a decent syncopated beat was a bit ‘primitive’ and ‘unsophisticated’ – so they stuck with their clever harmony and lavish ‘impressively difficult to play’ set pieces.
So, you never listen to it then?’
Well, just as poetry works really well inside a song, classical music works really well with film. It can be very effective and moving when tied into some images and good acting.
‘Well, I did bring you a couple of presents, but I don’t think I’ll…’
What are they?
‘A book of Ted Hughes’ poems and a cd of Brahms’ piano pieces…’
You are kidding? Right?
‘Yes…’

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Mayonnaise at the bus window…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s Victorian expletive is ‘By Jerry!’ – an obvious euphemism for ‘By Jesus!’, but then, those Victorians were like that. Perhaps it will come back into fashion now that rather fine chap Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the British opposition Labour Party? (JC)
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So, it was Saturday afternoon. I had popped into the Dulltown Interchange to surreptitiously* photograph the long dangling advertising banners hanging from the iron tie-rods in the roof of the Victorian railway station; the designers of the banners hadn’t taken into account that the tie-rods are not quite horizontal and as a result the banners, being made as true rectangles, hang crookedly, and the whole thing looks a bit cheap and amateurish – how very Dulltown…
I was just about to get my camera out when I received a painful slap on the back, there was a sudden whiff of stale alcohol, and there was a coarse voice shouting in my ear, ‘Hiya Dave, my old pal, how’s it going?…’
Yes, it was Tony Mayonnaise, poet from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League. He said that he had just been to Dulltown Minor (about six miles north of Dulltown) to drown his sorrows in some new pubs. He said that he had been suffering from writer’s block and that his spoems (spoof poems) had nor been not flowing as freely as they normally did – he said the ‘smuse’ had left him.
I was about to commiserate when he stopped me and announced that in fact all was well again, the beer had worked its magic and he had invented the ‘readymade spoem’, the literary equivalent of Marcel Duchamp’s art ‘readymades’. (R) These, he said, were ‘serendipitous word collages’. His first one was composed from things he had seen from the bus window on the way back from his short drinking holiday.

(* If the bored burly security people see you get a camera out, they waddle across and pounce on you and inform you that for ‘security reasons’ photography is strictly forbidden in any part of the Dulltown Interchange.)

Vorex Schmitz, Rugby League,
Polski Dom, Slimming World,
Indian Rest, Topham Larrade,
Chicken Legend, Sutton Fields,
Two Toppings! Don’t Replace, Repair!
Titanic Pizza, Hair Design.

Stratstone, Topliner 420,
Saver Menu, Tyneside Laminated,
Snack Wrap, Kwick-Tuff,
Average Speed Check, Depressed?
‘Pro-Shield Polymer Sealant,
Curtains Awnings and Shutters.

Foundation Shades, TNT Roofing,
Army Careers, Thanks for Coming,
Drain Centre, Hybrid Technology,
Fox Insurance, Leisure Food,
Luxury for Less, Noodle Bar,
Boiler Serve, Small Animals.

Food Lounge, Auto-Money,
Assembly Point D, Excellent Parking,
Order by Midnight, Dining to Living,
40 Years of Fun! Simplibus,
Food for Thought, Don’t Hide From It,
Change Your Life in an Hour.

King Meal,
Van Vault Tube,
Accessorize!
Chippy Chips.

Tony Mayonnaise. 2016.

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Some short but pithy items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s banana is the one curled around the bottom of the teapot in an affectionate manner.
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Excuses for being late. No. 307.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I had to solve one or two hard quadratic equations.

A single overheard remark:
‘Is Auntie Ann my friend again? Ho ho ho!…’

I prefer to go in Caffe Nero towards the end of the day when it is usually a bit quieter. Of course most of the noise in cafes is generated by one’s fellow customers, but late in the afternoon last Thursday, as I was sitting composing interesting and amusing things for you in my little notebook, one of the baristas collecting trays and crockery from the tables about ten feet to my left started on a long shouted conversation with a reasonably quiet pal of hers who was sitting at a table about fifteen feet to my right. She was very loud and had a high-pitched piercing voice. In the middle of her conversation I heard her shout, with no hint of irony, ‘It’s not just the coffee of course, people come in cafes for the ambience…’

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Malcolm Tent.

Ah, now then… A piece of spam has just popped into my comments box. It seems to be from someone called Jerseys for sale:
‘Paul Shalhoub, Esq. and Rachel Strickland,Esq.), co-counsel to the debtors; (iii) Dewey and Leboeuf LLP, One the years, to be sure, Jackson was really brilliant, unusual guitarist who got around on reportsGillibrand, Sen.And with that connection comes responsibility. They trust him. Send then two ways, by mail have to be the delivery guy, though; it could be anyone at FedEx. Current workers will a bulk order at a discount Now, many things can keep one from believing. But I think’
Well, thank you Jerseys for sale, I will certainly bear in mind what you have said, and I really do hope to hear from you again soon.

You see, years ago artists worked really hard, and they developed great practical skills in order to produce work that people could easily connect with, enjoy, and appreciate – now artists don’t bother with working hard and developing skills, but they demand that their audience work very hard to try to find some sort of meaning in the dull and simplistic things that they have the arrogance to put on show.

‘So, how do you think that Lieutenant Columbo manages to solve all those crimes so easily?’
‘I think it’s because he gets to read the script at the beginning of each episode.’
‘Ah, right…’

A single overheard remark:
‘So I had to wash all the brass sectors…’

Posted in art, cafe, composition, conversation, Dulltown, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, overheard, serendipity, surrealism, TV, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just green & red…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s weather will feature: sun spots, meteor showers from the east, squelchy dampness underfoot, a sharp nip in the air, solar wind, and trees that rustle and murmur in the background.
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dscn4348Hm, I think I’ll call this photograph ‘Green and Red’, or even ‘Green & Red’ – I do like ampersands. It was taken back in March here in Dulltown.
Yes, it was the colours that caught my eye – are red and green complimentary colours? I really ought to know that, calling myself an artist… I’m not sure if these two are complimentary – by the look of them I don’t think they are even on speaking terms – they both look a bit stand-offish to me; do you detect a bit of coldness between them dear reader? Perhaps some embarrassment at their having to stand a bit too close to one another?
So, what is going on here?
Well this was taken on the north, non-sunny, side of the Dulltown City Hall, hence the attractive moss and lichen happily growing on the chap on the left; he is a large street litter bin by the way, this is the back view of him, his gaping oblong mouth being on the other side.
The other chap is obviously a British post box, famous the world over for their redness. (The first ones to be painted bright red were in London in 1874. Thank you Mr Google!)
Anyway, what do you think? Do the contrasting colours, and the foursquare composition hold your interest – or, is this another of my ‘I can’t really tell if this is boring picture or not?‘ photographs?…

Posted in art, colours, composition, cool, Dulltown, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, photography, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sniffly Stella…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to apply white glue (supplied) to the dowels and tap them into the reference holes in the ends of the members, rub the raised humps with the back of a heated spoon, insert fingers and thumbs into the edge slots, raise and tilt the whole thing and then lean it against a wall so that the sun can get at it. It should turn a rich golden brown colour within a couple of days.
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘Industry’ (1990). Charcoal and pencil on paper, about 20″ x 14″ (?)

‘Hello?… Who’s that?…’
‘It’s me, idiot! Let me in!’
‘Oh hello Stella, I saw some religious-looking couples in drab clothes earlier, they were going door to door up the street, I thought that you might be them.’
‘Well David, have you found him yet?’
‘What? Found who?…’
‘Jesus of course!’
‘Oh, stop it! You minx!’
‘Well, let me in then – and don’t get too close! I have a headache and a sore throat, get that kettle on the boil – I want tea, hot comforting tea!…’
‘Well, thanks for coming round Stella, I’ll expect my symptoms appearing in two or three days!’
‘Good god David!’
‘What?’
‘This drawing, it’s ancient! 1990! What cakes and or biscuits do you have today? I need sustenance, they say you should feed a cold you know!’
‘Do they?… I have ginger nuts and custard creams today, would you like a blob of manuka honey in your beverage?’
‘Don’t be disgusting! So, 1990 then, that’s a long time ago – do you think you have got any better at drawing, or did you peak back then and have gone off since?…’
‘Well I…’
‘Ah, this tea is very nice, Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire?’
‘Of course my dear.’
‘I can see where you are coming from here in this drawing David and…’
‘Please don’t talk with your mouth full of ginger biscuit Stella, you know it irritates me.’
‘…and this work is obviously a graphic tirade against heartless money-grubbing capitalism screwing Mother Earth, oh, these custard creams are really not at all bad David; I do like that staring miserable mustachioed face peering out of the architecture. Is it the combined spirit of generations of downtrodden workers manifesting itself in the…?’
‘Your sore throat doesn’t seem to be affecting you ability to speak Stella – perhaps you shouldn’t over do it my dear?’
‘…and look at the poor earth sinking into the poisonous sludge lost underneath the great ugly mechanical beast – would you like to top up my mug with fresh tea from the pot David?’
‘Hm…’
‘I don’t see any people in your drawing, are they too hard to draw, so you leave them out?’
‘Yes, that’s right, they are too hard to draw…’
‘This tea tastes funny!’
‘Yes, I slipped some manuka into it – it’ll do you good.’
‘Hm… s’pose…’
‘Aha!… Who’s that knocking on the door? It’ll be the religious folk – shall I let them in?’
‘Oh yes, we’ll give them tea and and have a hilarious conversation with them…’
‘Right ho…’

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Some song lyrics misheard over the cafe hubbub…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s dictionary words are: replevy, trigraph, hilum, decastitch, toruffled, ynambu, and dovekie. Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. Should the professor turn up wearing a black silk eye-mask, a long black cloak, and swishing a rapier around, you must not allow this to distract you from your studies.
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‘I send my fruiterer to you-oo-oo.’
‘I want every bandana, never never…’
‘Wupping in the heart, oh cross-face!…’
‘Now get tubing, you know you’re pulled girl.’
‘It’s time we merry turn around – two hearts liars!’
‘Slime on the hollow boat, end, end!’
‘Shiver burn, souls, the time lids are even.’
‘Whoo, whoo, whoo…’
‘I’m under the countess old… Fold apart, go!’
‘Inch we firm girl, understand me now?’
‘Oh, oh – all the melting conversations…’
‘He kissed your verbs girl.’
‘Heaters, heaters, time is on the anvil.’
‘Jip jip jip, all packed and whole.’
‘Oh, meepy – justice on me-ee-ee.’
‘How sweet, how lonely, heaven bee-girl…’
‘Are you smoky? Can I speak peaches?’
‘A Mary mountain, I keep shelves of greed.’
‘Mother Time, one day I’ll grease my drain…’
‘A reader tub moves sunshine backwards.’
‘Shoobie you know, press on only caramel!’
‘Riding on – what they say is dry…’

If you have found the above a bit puzzling you might like to read a sort of explanation of how these lines are compiled.
Click here.

Posted in art, brain, cool, creation, dreaming, existentialism, humour, misheard, music, observations, poetry, serendipity, sex, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments