The lady on the bus…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is from Vladimir Nabokov‘s novel Despair (1965 version), a sort of ‘murder mystery’:
He fed in a businesslike and very disgusting manner. His method of dealing with poached eggs was to give the yolk an underhand twist with a crust of bread which landed it whole, to the accompaniment of a juicy intake of saliva, into his wet, pink mouth…
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It seems only five minutes since I shared one of my photographs with you dear reader – the last one featured the pink-red sofa in the mud on the bank of the local river. But even so, I’m going to show you another today; I seem to take more pictures than I can decently subject you to without being annoying; I don’t really want this to turn into just another self-indulgent photo-blog. The ones I have posted recently, and this one below, are from a full year ago – I really must try to catch up!…

‘Oh dear, not another back-of-someone’s-head-on-the-bus picture Dave?’
Well, yes, it is. Shy photographers like to take photos of people from the back – that picture sharing site Flickr is full of them – but I’d like to think this is a bit better than one of those wimpy half-hearted efforts.
I suppose what caught my eye was the array of colours – the hair, the pink scalp glowing through, the lady’s coat, the reflective chrome of the seat handrail – metallic hardness against fluffy softness!
Hm… and what nice hues! (No, not ‘hues’ – that is the wrong word – I probably mean ‘tints’.) Oh, and look, the background is almost all black – I don’t know what that can be in front of her – you don’t get many large areas of black on buses.
So, with this composition it’s all in the cropping.
‘Eh?’
Yes, I’ve cropped the edges of the picture quite close in around the lady’s head so that the viewer is in no doubt as to what this photo is saying…
‘What it’s saying, Dave? I don’t think it’s saying anything.
Oh, look, I’ve just noticed that little glimpse of pink ear lobe on the right… I think that titbit of warm colour nicely augments the composition!
‘If you say so, Dave…’

Posted in art, books, colours, composition, humour, information, photography, seeing, serendipity, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Decalcomania adopts human form…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s elephant in the room is the one that has just flopped down onto the brand new £2,000 black leather Chesterfield and snapped it in two.
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Oh, it’s such a drab grey February morning here in Dulltown!
What we need is some high contrast crisp black and white imagery to cheer us up – how about one of my decalcomania monoprints? Some people call them ‘monotypes’ rather than ‘monoprints’ you know…

Decalcomania monoprint. 2010.
Acrylic paint and pencil on drawing paper, about 16″ x 12″.

As you see this one has taken human form, I suppose you could call it a ‘figurative’ work, if you are the sort of person who enjoys saying things like that. Most of these prints I do are abstract, some with the touch of perspective in them – just to add a bit of depth to the proceedings. This one is definitely a human figure though. Is it, as a result, a bit ‘cheap’ and ‘obvious’, and even a bit ‘naff‘ looking?
However, it does have that carefree sloppiness that is so much a part of decalcomania, don’t you think? Observe those mad squiggles down his torso and legs; I think this is a ‘he’ don’t you? Look at that very cocky stance – I think he might be saying, ‘Whaaa! Look at me!… Do you like sports? I’m sure I could beat you at any sport that you might mention… You sucker!… You pantywaist!…’ (For ‘pantywaist’, that very peculiar US expression, my spellchecker just butted in and suggested at first ‘waste paper’ and then ‘pantheist’. Ho ho!…)

Anyway, there he is, posing like a drunken swaggering pirate doing a bit of street singing at 2 am.
By the way if you’d like a bit of information on how I do my version of decalcomania printing you could look at an earlier blog post on the subject, where I encourage you to have a try at it yourself dear reader. Click.

Posted in art, composition, creation, decalcomania, design, fine art prints, humour, information, instruction, prints, serendipity, style, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Mail Art Postcard. No. 4550…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s architectural term is Solea – In an early Christian or Byzantine church, a raised pathway projecting from the bema to the ambo.
Me, I had my solea removed, I finally decided after much thought, that I didn’t really need my bema connecting to my ambo…
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When you don’t have any thrilling witty things to hand when starting a new post for your blog it’s always an easy option to fall back on yet another version of an old favourite, something that people seem to like, something you can get away with – it’s always good if it involves a photograph too – apparently one of those is worth a thousand words.
Yes, dear and faithful reader, here is another of my silly mail art postcards – a simple collage on bright card using clippings from that awful British TV listing magazine What’s On TV:

I know what’s in your mind.
Yes, I know what you are about to ask:
‘Dave – which ancient Greek philosopher is that?’
Damn! I knew you’d ask me that!…
Excuse me a moment, I’m just nipping off the page to consult Mr Google…

Hello, I’m back now:
Oh dear, those old philosophers all look so alike! I suppose it was the trendy thing back then in ancient G. to have a big forehead, nicely combed wavy hair and a bubbling beard, and moustache – and of course all those statues are white marble, it makes them all look so similar – I think I heard somewhere that the statues back then were colourfully painted, and much more ‘lifelike’ than they appear now. If we saw them as they were we’d probably think that they were rather gaudy and in pretty awful taste, but I digress…
So, I reckon it might be Socrates (‘So-Crates‘, as he was called in that old film where they kept saying ‘No way Dude’ and suchlike things – oh, what was it called? It had a young Keanu in it… Ah, thank you Mr Google – Bill and Ted’s Excellent thingy) or perhaps this chap is Gorgias – (actually I’ve never heard of him, but he did look like So-Crates) yes, those two old dudes obviously went to the same stylist and hairdresser in the coolest part of Athens…

Oh, look, it says ‘Compact and powerful!’ underneath the picture – and quite right too! Thinking is good!…

Posted in academia, archeology, architecture, art, brain, celebrities, cool, history, humour, information, learning, Mail Art, sculpture, style, surrealism, thinking, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Snaking their way through the pipes……

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s unusual china teapot is the one shaped like the apple from the Tree of Knowledge – don’t you dare take off the lid and look inside!…
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Yesterday lunchtime:
So, I got my plate of baked beans on buttered toast, and my cup of tea, and sat down in front of the TV.
Now, what shall I choose to watch as I eat?
Goodness me, what’s this on Freeview channel 68? TruTV. Several half-hour episodes of something from the US called Ghosts in My Home. That sounds like fun! It’s on TruTV so it must be all true.
At the start a message appears on the screen, along with a serious sounding voice reading the message – it says, This Program is For Entertainment Purpose Only.  (Yes, I recall the word ‘program’ was spelled the American way.) Well, that’s reassuring – I could easily have been mislead and had all my beliefs turned on their heads…
In the first half of the thing the worried home owners describe and re-enact their manifestations and hauntings in monochrome and slow-motion for us, a bit later the ‘crew’ arrive with their items of clever electronic ‘ghost detecting’ equipment, and then a lady who is apparently ‘sensitive’ to such visitations comes in and walks and talks through the most frequently infested rooms…
In between mouthfuls of lunch, and with trembling fingers I managed to jot down a few lines from the voice-over and some utterances from the participants in the show to give you a feel of the style:

We received messages – the assault on her senses became stronger – she was drawn to the plumbing – I was grounded and refreshed – a barrage of images! – lots of activity in the bathroom – there is something very dark here – spirits snaking their way through the pipes  – I gotta leave! – there are ghosts of several departed spirits – a woman whose name begins with ‘J’ – there were no more incidences after that – the menacing occurrences – the light switch on and off at will – a dark entity at work in the home! – I immediately went into the fetal position! – she’s an intuitive healer – please give us some sort of sign! – oh, something just came from behind me! – strange noises from upstairs – whoa! – the entity just won’t show itself – what the hell! – oh, now there’s something moving in the basement!…

Please note: This blog is for entertainment purposes only.

Posted in brain, drama, food, humour, information, magic, mind, observations, religion, seeing, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Oh, that sounds reasonable, I suppose…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to thoroughly dust off the device with the bright yellow duster provided; only then may you start to unscrew panel ‘B’ (Note: You must not even look at panel ‘A’, never mind thinking of unscrewing it.) from the main body and then throw it nonchalantly aside. Introduce a hand into the now gaping orifice and draw the little red velvet curtain to the right to expose the welter of coloured wires dangling from the cream coloured pommet box above. Select the green and white striped wire from the bunch and jiggle it about; if it comes away naturally pull it out, if not snip if off with your side cutters and cast it over your shoulder to be examined later. Part the wires from the centre to reveal the three shiny black pointer knobs marked ‘Heat’, ‘Tuesday’, and ‘Egg’ – they should all be set for optimum breeze at 3.5 on the scale. If they are not, carefully recalibrate the unit as described on page 26 of your service manual. The power supply may now be connected – turn on and ignite the twelve popping gas jets. You should now retreat and cower in the corner of the room with eyes closed and wait for the music to begin. (Click here for a sample.)
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I recently heard an item on a BBC Radio news programme about the development of a new treatment for an unpleasant eye disease which occurs in thousands of people all over the world – it can, apparently with a single treatment, prevent the sufferers from going blind.
At one point in the programme the interviewer asked an executive of the company that developed the thing how they arrived at the price they would charge for their one-off treatment. That chap explained that they had carefully researched how much money was regularly awarded in court cases which involved someone being blinded, and they used that as a guide – I recall that he said that they decided on $450,000 per eye.
Me, if I’d been that interviewer I think I might have asked how much it cost them to develop the treatment, and how much the ingredients for the one-off injection cost too…
But then, I’m not a journalist – and it was a business programme after all…

Posted in drama, dreaming, finance, information, instruction, money, seeing, surrealism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Ugg and Lugg and the logs…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s apple cart is the one that’s just ever so slightly perturbed…
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‘Ugg… Ugg!…’
‘Eh?… What?…’
‘Wake up you idiot! You were chuckling and yelping in your sleep, like a stuck antelope.’
‘Like an antelope? Was I Lugg?… I had a strange vision.’
‘A vision? No you didn’t, only Old Wise Man Bugg has visions, we have dreams Ugg.’
‘I suppose so…’
‘What was your dream about?’
‘Well I think it must have been caused by seeing Glugg yesterday.’
‘Glugg? What did he do?’
‘Didn’t you see him Lugg? He was sitting on a big log on the hillside…’
‘You dreamed about Glugg sitting on a log?’
‘No, no, the log slipped on the loose stones and went straight down Big Hill with Glugg on it – right into that big pile of mammoth offal.’
‘Is he dead?’
‘No.’
‘Pity… He’s an idiot! So, your dream then?’
‘I dreamed the future Lugg.’
‘The future? What’s that?’
‘I’m not sure… It seems to be like the past, but different… Anyway, my vision…’
‘Dream!’
‘Oh yes, my dream, it had things in it that were a bit like Glugg’s log, they were moving about the place, with people on them…’
‘No!… People on them?’
‘Yes, and not only on them, but inside them, looking out of holes cut in the sides.’
‘That’s stupid Ugg!’
‘I know, but do you want to hear some more?’
‘No I don’t!… Go back to sleep, the sun’s not through the cave door yet – and you’ve got to knap a new flint axe for Big Chief Smugg in the morning.’
‘Oh yes, so I have… So, these moving logs were very useful, they were pulling other logs, and big stones, and dead mammoths about.’
‘With none of the lads pulling on ropes?’
‘That’s right.’
‘Idiot! I’ll give you a good knock with my club if you don’t stop all this nonsense right now!’
‘They had logs that float on water too Lugg.’
‘Everybody knows that logs float on water Ugg!’
‘Yes, but these were going across Big River and back again – with people on them!’
‘Why?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Ugg, it’s common knowledge that nobody can cross Big River and live – it’s a well known fact!’
‘Ah, right…’
‘Hang on Ugg.’
‘What?’
‘These things, crossing the river, and moving about the place…’
‘Yes?’
‘They looked like logs?’
‘No.’
‘You just said they did!’
‘Well Lugg, I… Ouch! That hurt!’
‘If they weren’t logs, what were they then?’
‘I don’t know, I’ve never seen anything like them – they were about the size of a big log,  but… Ouch!…’
‘Anything else?’
‘Well, they did have some smoke coming out of them.’
‘Smoke?’
‘Yes, they must have had fires inside them – as if they were turning hotness into movement…’
‘Oh Ugg! Have you been eating those leaves from Old Wise Man Bugg’s magic bush again?’
‘No, of course not… anyway, I was thinking that tomorrow morning I might light a fire and…’
‘And what?’
‘Well you know when you balance a gourd of water on the fire, and the water starts to bubble, and move, and jump about…’
‘Does it?’
‘Oh yes, every time – I was thinking that if I could… Ouch!…’
‘That’s enough of talk like that! You’ll get in trouble with the God of fire and the God of water! No more visions!… Alright?…’
‘Alright Lugg, I’ll make a start on the Big Chief Smugg’s axe instead…’
‘I should think so…’

And so engineering and the concept of powered transport were successfully nipped in the bud…

Posted in archeology, conversation, drama, dreaming, history, humour, learning, religion, science, surrealism, thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I think I’ll call it ‘A grand view of the river’…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is from Vladimir Nabokov‘s 1935-1965 novel Despair:
The train glided off. Beaming and bawling, Ardalion (drunk) all but tumbled out of the window. Lydia, a lamb in leopard’s clothes, trotted alongside the carriage almost as far as Switzerland. When the last carriage turned its buffers upon her, she bent low, peering under the receding wheels (a national superstition) and then crossed herself. She still held in her fist that little bunch of violets.
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‘So, what did you do with your old sofa then?’
‘Well, I…’

This picture was taken just over a year ago. I was collecting an undelivered parcel from the undelivered parcels department of the Post Office on St Peter’s Street down near the River Hull (yes, the city of Kingston upon Hull has its river in its name). As you can see the river is brown – brown is nice colour for a river don’t you think? It’s the mud you know…
Back at Hull Art School many years ago one of my ideas was to buy some small tins, like those you used to get instant coffee in (the ones with the press-on lids that you’d have to  lever open using the end of a small spoon), fill a few of them with Hull mud and stick some bright and nicely designed Hull Mud labels on them. I don’t think I ever did it, but I think I must have managed to do a little coloured-in drawing of a prototype…
Anyway, I queued, showed my gas bill as identity, and received my parcel, and on my way back towards town I spotted this sad settee; I whipped my little camera out and ‘click’ went my shutter. Good! That will be a nice one!
This area of water is a round feature coming off the side of the river, it’s like a bulge, an unpleasant swelling; it’s there to allow vessels to turn around should they change their mind about going any further up river – there used to be a large old painted sign facing the river that said ‘Swinging Area’ – I always found that amusing, especially in the 1960s when the word ‘swinging’ gained a new meaning. ‘Inga-land swings like a pendulum do…‘ I actually cringed as I typed that. (click)

So, there it is, a piece of local colour.
It’s funny isn’t it? It’s so easy to anthropomorphise items of human furniture – you can’t help but see the inanimate thing gazing out over the flat turbid waters, yawning, scratching his red belly, and reaching for the remote control…
I think I’ll call this photograph…

Posted in archeology, books, colours, composition, Dulltown, history, Hull.UK., humour, information, photography, reading, seeing, serendipity, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments