The Kitchen Drawing Book. (No. 2)…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s monolith is the small inconspicuous one.

WP F The Kitchen Drawing Book (No.2)Ho ho!… Yes, here’s another pair of pages from my kitchen drawing book. Having a kitchen drawing book was a great idea (by the way, in case you were wondering, it’s about 10 inches square); I used to doodle, mess about, and do anything that sprang to mind in it first thing in the morning as I sipped tea and ate from a bowl of sloppy, reasonably healthy, cereal (Weetabix, rice milk, and fruit, if you are interested). I don’t do that anymore, I now have the same breakfast whilst typing this twaddle for my daily blog here in another room (Damn! I just dripped rice milk onto my keyboard!); it’s a pity really, I must start adding stuff to that book again. Oh, apart from drawing, experimenting, and doodling, I do occasionally stick first designs for linocuts and ideas for sculptures to its pages though.
So what is this drawing then Dave?
Well, as you can see it’s a rough copy of a small photo torn from that awful TV listings magazine What’s On TV; I think it was done with charcoal or perhaps a charcoal pencil. These characters are apparently from Coronation Street, a long running and very popular British TV soap opera, which I’ve never watched; I don’t know who these two are (please don’t get in touch and tell me!) and I’m sure my images don’t resemble them at all, but it does look suitably dramatic doesn’t it? Do you like the cartoon-style lines radiating from the top of the chap’s head? I do… Look, he’s really suffering…


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A suitable “bend heater”…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s really good name for an artist is Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. (K S R)

Oh, it seems ages since we had a look in my copy of The 1954 Gadgets Annual – one of my favourite old junk shop books. 1954 – not long after the end of WWII, when times were hard and people had to repair things that broke down, and had to keep things working, rather than throwing them away and buying new ones, as we do now. Here is a picture of the title page:

DSCN3900Before we look at today’s featured handy gadget, let’s quickly thumb through these yellowing pages and see what other treats might be in store, there are two or three on each page: An Inexpensive Tool Holder, Rubber Strip Waterproof Beading for Garage Doors, A Collapsible Thong Shopping Bag, Make Small Washers From Wire, Handy Tweezers Made From Scrap Steel, A Gadget to Avoid Losing Gloves…

‘What is it now Albert?’
‘Madge dear, I was thinking of making some nice colourful plastic hooks for the back of the living room door.’
‘What for?’
‘Well to hang things on, hats maybe, they would be handy…’
‘Hm… Have you been reading that silly Gadgets Magazine again?’
‘Well I…’
‘It’s waste of money!’
‘Madge, do you happen to know if we have any refractory material kicking about anywhere in the house?’
‘No Albert, and I don’t even know what that is, and if… Albert!…’
‘Yes dear?’
‘What’s happened to the electric fire in the front room? It’s lying on the carpet, in pieces!…’
‘Oh, it’ll soon go back together again dear…’
‘Yes Albert! Right now!…’
‘Yes dear…’

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Bad paintings – I like ’em…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s elephant in the room is the one trying to play Mozart on the grand piano with her trunk.

Did the title of this piece draw you in dear reader?
If you fancy yourself as a painter I reckon that you can learn a lot from looking at bad paintings – probably more than you can from looking at good paintings. Oh, and by ‘good paintings’ I don’t mean those big scratty anodyne abstract things that you often see in trendy galleries, I mean the smaller works, usually figurative, that you see in ‘open’ art shows, in charity shops, and displayed behind rickety junk tables at village fetes, usually with a price tag of under £30.
So, bad paintings then? When viewing a good painting, that is a painting that works, that does what it is supposed to do, you are seduced by it, you don’t see the paint, you are drawn into its little world, whether abstract or figurative, where only its rules apply, almost mistaking the painted image for reality itself – whereas, when you cast your eye over a really duff ‘amateur’ one, one that make you smile, the mistakes really jump out at you, and you think to yourself, Ho ho! Just look at that terrible perspective where the road seems to climb up the side of the church!… Oh, hang on, gosh, I hope I don’t do that in mine!
It is far easier to see what’s wrong in a piece of work than to see what is right. When it is right we accept it as normal, when it is wrong it straightway invites some sneering and chuckling – I love sneering and chuckling at people’s work – no, no, not when they are standing nearby of course – I wouldn’t be that cruel. No, I think it’s great that people actually manage to get off their arses and do some art – I have respect for them, whatever their stuff looks like.
Perspective, choice of colour, figure drawing, brushwork, composition, all these when done well look simple and natural, but behind that apparent simplicity are hidden hours of mental anguish, sweat, blood, swearing, ripped up canvases, cigarette smoke, and a lot of late night coffee.
I don’t know if art schools in the UK these days allow this strange activity called ‘painting’ to be perpetrated on their premises – a few years ago it seemed to be outlawed – students applying for courses who were involved in this peculiar old-fashioned activity just didn’t get accepted. If I were running a painting class (God forbid!) I would have a regular supply of ‘bad’ charity shop paintings hanging on the studio walls – to give the students a bit of amusement, encouragement, and for them to have a wider perspective on what this form of fine art is all about…

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A few shortish items…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s adjectives are: carnal, distinguished, myrmecoid, plump, toponymal, and hendecasyllabic. I think myrmecoid is my favourite.

Excuses for being late. No. 272.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I had the Mormons in for a chat.

A single overheard remark:
‘It was a French tube, it was this big…’

An observation:
The bus was noisy and was bouncing around as it sped along. Sitting in one of the side-facing seats towards the front was a young man; he was wearing a dark grey jacket, or perhaps a zip-up cardigan, which had the words, Living for Jesus, Speaking for Jesus in big letters across the back of it. He was gripping and resting his forehead and nose against the upright metal pole attached to the side of his seat and seemed to be managing to sleep despite all the vibration and jolting. I could see his forehead repeatedly bumping against the metal, but his eyes remained closed.

‘Where have you been?… Goodness me, you look taller…’
‘Yes, I’ve just been outside to stretch my legs.’
‘Ah, right…’

Now then, what’s this that has just popped into my comments box? Oh, it seems to be an item of spam from someone called Jerseys cheap:
to think about soaring to new heights. I right there with you.. He stood with his flashlight became clear to me that it wasn’t my sort of lifestyle…
It was a bit over the veterans. The products that they sell are mixes for soups, and bread.
Well, thank you Jerseys cheap I will certainly bear in mind what you have said, and I do hope to hear from you again soon.

‘So, if you found that you suddenly had some spare money, what would you do with it?’
‘I’d give it to some crooks to look after for me.’
‘Ah, you’d put it in a bank then?’
‘Yes, that’s right…’

I’m not sure which is the more annoying in the cafe: the gang of loud youths, going on about how much they’d had to drink the previous night and how good/bad the football was – or the business people in grey suits and ties having an animated meeting, taking it in turns to be professional and assertive. I’m probably more at home with the noisy lads…

A single overheard remark:
‘It’s a stick wicket Tony…’


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Some snatches of overheard and misheard train conversation…

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

‘Given away and shifting?’
‘It’s as simple as a pocket Sarah.’
‘Don’t want to touch it!…
‘A baseline word of pig.’
‘Norman was singing compact faces.’
‘Trust Hugh to pick… Whaa!’
‘The ex-shoe was prepacked?’
‘The Dorchester was set nagging nine.’
‘So how is it full seated with a queen?’
‘The thing is, what kitchen?’
‘He’s vamping outside the requiem.’
‘A spotted spoll?’
‘Just fold it back to my house, alright?’
‘It’s an idiot depiction Tom.’
‘I have satisfied cost benefit.’
‘Simon in botchers?’
‘He tried it ten times, and still no.’
‘Oh, the stink of it now!’
‘Enjoy, brilliant, and slept all night.’
‘What’s all this about wagging?’
‘Pam went into path code again.’
‘She was laughing her head off.’
‘It was really itchy, so why did I?…’
‘Doshy seddit?…’
‘It was coming round to be six.’


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The joke…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s instruction is to sit with your arms folded and your knees up under your chin. After a moment, close your eyes, hold your breath, then slowly float up in the air, rotate once and then settle down again. Now you can open your eyes and switch the TV on.

DW782Yes, here’s another picture from my days of old-style, black and white, film and darkroom photography; this one was probably taken in the 1980s or early 1990s on a boring Sunday afternoon walk around the industrial area down by the River Hull.
It’s a pretty simple picture isn’t it? Its existence hinges on some wag (‘wag’ – that’s a nice old-fashioned word isn’t it?) working in a builders’ merchant’s yard who has stuffed his old work glove into that aperture to surprise and amuse his colleagues and lighten the tedium of the job.
Of course some people might read more into this image than is necessary; they would probably point out that those holes between the bricks could be seen as eyes, and possibly mouths – oh, and that we could read this whole assemblage as representing some horrible bleak prison, with one poor abandoned soul waggling his fingers and attempting to reach out to us… Yes, it’s a very political and meaningful photograph Dave… Well done!…

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Ugg, Lugg and the turnip…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s heraldic term is Livery – the uniform worn by the lord’s retainers, made in his colours.
My retainers refused to wear my livery, they said they didn’t like the shades, so I fired the lot of them – bloody peasants!…

‘Ugg… Ugg!…’
‘Grab your new flint axe – we are going out.’
‘Oh?… Where to?’
‘I told the lads that we’d give them a hand chopping up Thursday’s mammoth.’
‘Oh Lugg, actually I was thinking about staying in the cave today.’
‘Yes, anyway, you know that I don’t care for all that hacking, and all the blood and stuff – it takes me ages to get it out of my hair, and from under my fingernails.’
‘Well Ugg, it’s about time that you did your bit for the tribe. Get up off your lazy arse and grab your axe, or I’ll give you a good whack on the head with my… What’s that you are doing?’
‘I’m working on something Lugg.’
‘No you’re not, you’re just sitting making marks in the sand with a stick!’
‘Yes, but I’m thinking.’
‘What about?’
‘About the moon.’
‘The moon?’
‘Hm, it’s very interesting.’
‘No, it isn’t! Come on, pick up your axe!’
‘No, really Lugg…’
‘Look Ugg, Thrugg, the Great-Wise-Man, told us all about the moon ages ago.’
‘Yes, but what about the crescents?’
‘What about them?’
‘Well, sometimes it’s crescents, sometimes it’s big shiny round moon, and sometimes it disappears altogether.’
‘Thrugg says crescents are Sky-God’s horns when he’s angry with us, and when Sky-God forgives us he becomes shiny and round…’
‘What happens when the moon disappears Lugg?’
‘I think Thrugg said something about Sky-God having a nap.’
‘A nap?’
‘Yes Ugg, you see, we are all just little things in Sky-God’s dreams…’
‘Oh, so why do we leave coloured pebbles, shells, and virgins out on the top of the hill every month then?’
‘It’s to make Sky-God come back – he reveals his horns to us as he wakes up.’
‘Lugg, what do you reckon Shrugg, Spugg, and Nugg think of all this?’
‘Shrugg, Spugg, and Nugg? Who are they?’
‘They are Great-Wise-Man Thrugg’s wives Lugg.’
‘Thrugg doesn’t have any wives! It’s forbidden by Sky-God!’
‘Anyway, I was thinking about the moon…’
‘Come on out with me Ugg, they’ll be slitting the mammoth belly open soon, you don’t want to miss that, do you?’
‘You see… if you sit in the back of the cave in the morning, when the sun shines in through the door, and you hold up a piece of round fruit… like this turnip…’
‘A turnip – where did you get that?!’
‘Oh, Spugg gave me it… You see, as the light catches the side of it, the shape it makes looks just like a crescent…’
‘I thought that you said Spugg was Thrugg’s wife?’
‘Oh, don’t bother about all that Lugg, I think that the moon is a ball, like a great big slow-moving shiny turnip…’
‘You are an idiot!…’

And so cosmology was invented…

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