Monday, July 19, 2004

painting by Edward Hopper
I'm off on holiday for a couple of weeks. Be good.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


copyright alan edwards
She is standing on my eyelids
And her hair is wound in mine,
She has the form of my hands,
She has the colour of my eyes,
She is swallowed by my shadow
Like a stone against the sky.

Her eyes are always open
And will not let me sleep.
Her dreams in broad daylight
Make the suns evaporate
Make me laugh, cry and laugh,
Speak with nothing to say.

Paul Eluard

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Beloved, may your sleep be sound
That have found it where you fed.
What were all the world’s alarms
To mighty Paris when he found
Sleep upon a golden bed
That first dawn in Helen’s arms?

Sleep, beloved, such a sleep
As did that wild Tristram know
When, the potion’s work being done,
Roe could run or doe could leap
Under oak and beechen bough,
Roe could leap or doe could run;

Such a sleep and sound as fell
Upon Eurotas’ grassy bank
When the holy bird, that there
Accomplished his predestined will,
From the limbs of Leda sank
But not from her protecting care.
WB Yeats

Friday, July 16, 2004

Thursday, July 15, 2004

ancient algerian cave painting


lomo copyright alan edwards

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to.
Mark Twain
detail, Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Aphrodite heard him and knew the thought he would have uttered; and as an omen of her favour, caused the flame on the altar to shoot up thrice in a fiery point into the air. When he returned home, he went to see his statue, and leaning over the couch, gave a kiss to the mouth. It seemed to be warm. He pressed its lips gain, he laid his hand upon the limbs; the ivory felt soft to his touch and yielded to his fingers like the wax of Hymettus. While he stands astonished and glad, though doubting, and fears he may be mistaken, again and again with a lover's ardour he touches the object of his hopes. It was indeed alive! The veins when pressed yielded to the finger and again resumed their roundness. Then at last the votary of Aphrodite found words to thank the goddess, and pressed his lips upon lips as real as his own. The virgin felt the kisses and blushed, and opening her timid eyes to the light, fixed them at the same moment on her lover.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The question--is it real?--is very tricky. Actually, you know, it is even difficult to say whether you are real or I am real, whether what we are doing here is real. So the question of reality is just a matter of speculation.
Chogyam Trungpa

Monday, July 12, 2004

Pablo Neruda would have been 100 today.
Good reason for a poem.

copyright alan edwards

Sonnet XVII
I do not love you as if you were the salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda
today's lomo

lomo copyright alan edwards

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The more perceptive among you will notice that the appearance of this blog has changed. Actually I'm not sure I like it, so I'm probably going to change it again, but not tonight Josephine ...
you think you feel cooped up?
Social workers in Fiji are trying to rehabilitate a 32-year-old man who was raised by chickens after being locked in a chicken coop for years by his grandfather when his parents died. After escaping the boy was taken to a local hospital but no one knew how to treat him, so hospital workers locked him in a room, tied to his bed, for over 20 years. Doctors say he has no mental defects, but that he had imprinted with the chickens. 'He was perching, he was picking at his food, he was hopping around like a chicken. He'd keep his hands in a chicken-like fashion, and he'd make a noise like the calling of a chicken - which he still has', said one doctor, before adding, 'He has made remarkable progress and is now learning to walk and speak like a human, but unfortunately our main source of eggs has dried up'.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


These spiritual window-shoppers, who idly ask,
'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.

What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.

Where did you go? 'Nowhere'.
What did you have to eat? 'Nothing much'.

Even if you don't know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.

Rumi, 'We Are Three', Mathnawi VI, 831-845
I've given up on my brain.
I've torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.

If you're not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you, and sleep.


Friday, July 09, 2004

sometimes you find the strangest things on the net

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Little Sparta copyright Alan Edwards

This photograph was taken in Little Sparta, the garden of the Scottish artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay. Years ago I was commissioned to write an article about him and went down and interviewed him. It was a good day out. Not only did I get to see the famous garden, which was closed to the public at that time, but I got to meet the man himself. In those days Finlay was never out of the news as the scourge of the Scottish art establishment, and he was also engaged in all kinds of litigation against the French government over a cancelled commission at Versailles. The newspaper got cold feet, deciding he was too hot a political potato for them to handle, and cancelled the article before I'd even finished transcribing the interview. Luckily, because I'd been commissioned I was paid anyway.

In fact it was a relief not to have to write the article because I had already realised that it was going to require an impossible balancing act. The paper wanted something nice and easy for the middle-class readers of their Sunday supplement, while Finlay was so agitated about the war he was waging with the French government and the sundry French intellectuals who had publicly besmirched his reputation - suggesting, on the flimsiest of evidence, that he harboured Nazi sympathies - that he wanted to use the piece as a launch-pad from which to dispatch salvoes of heavy artillery back across the Channel. The influence of the French Revolution on Finlay's work is profound, so to have been commissioned to create a garden in Versailles to commemorate the bicentenary of that event was, for him, of huge importance. To have had it snatched from his grasp at the last moment, thanks to the interference of various members of the chattering classes within the Parisian art scene, was a major blow to him. Finlay is not a man to turn the other cheek, or merely shrug off an insult. He comes out with all guns blazing and god help anyone who gets in his way. I definitely felt I was going to get caught in the crossfire, and that's why I was relieved not to have to write the piece.

One of the major protaganists in this French farce was the critic Catherine Millet, and Finlay vented his wrath on her by producing a beautifully executed silkscreen print showing her head in a guillotine basket. This was the sort of thing that alarmed the editors at the paper I imagine. Anyway, Catherine Millet subsequently achieved further notoriety in an altogether different sphere as this explains.

Finlay is still alive. Although elderly and not in very good health he seems to have mellowed with time. I've been back to Little Sparta a few times since, most recently with Robin who has collaborated with him on various projects and is producing a definitive book of photographs documenting the many works of art in the garden.

For an essay about Little Sparta go here. Unfortunately there's not a lot of useful material on the internet about this extraordinary place, and very few good photographs.
a novel way to save the rain forest
A Norwegian couple face court action after they had sex on stage during a rock concert. They are members of an organisation called Fuck for Forest (not work safe) which is dedicated to having sex in public to save the environment. The event at the Quart music festival in Norway took place during a performance by the Cumshots.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Dressing well and looking good are essential. A meaning in life is not.
Oscar Wilde

i made friends with a swallow-tailed moth the other day

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Leonard Cohen

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
Leonard Cohen

What you don't feel, you will not grasp by art,
Unless it wells out of your soul
And with sheer pleasure takes control,
Compelling every listener's heart.
Goethe from Faust Act I

Thanks to Whiskey River

Monday, July 05, 2004

Helga by Andrew Wyeth

One of Andrew Wyeth's Helga pictures

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Good evening Mr Khan, table for you and your hordes?
A London restaurant chain is offering customers free DNA testing to see if they're descended from Genghis Khan. Restaurant Shish has promised free meals for anyone related to the notorious Mongol leader, in a promotion to mark the Mongolian government's decision to allow citizens to have surnames for the first time since they were banned by the Communists in the 1920s. I can't help feeling that anyone related to Genghis Khan would probably just pillage the restaurant and be done with it.
those Women of Spam refuse to go away

Brittney Berg was frigid
She never let a man
Caress her rosy nipples
Or even hold her hand
But she could flirt could Brittney
And she had such pretty eyes
All men found her sexy
But if they lingered on her thighs
A quick slap for their trouble
Was the best they could expect
And Brittney's shrew-like voice
Saying 'please show some respect!'

But Brittney's famed 'come hither' look
Refused to go away
It caught Nathaniel Pikestaff's eye
One fateful day in May
The sap was rising all around
When Brittney's heart began to pound
To a rhythm she had never found
They fell together to the ground
She felt his hot breath on her neck
Gasped, 'oh show some disrepect'

And the rest, I'm pleased to say,
is history.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

the camera cannot lie
the eye is a lens
the lens an eye
and i am i or not i
it depends equally
on the degree
of exposure
and the eye that sees
Paul Verlaine

Always choose your words (or notes) fastidiously, for nothing is more precious than that half-light in which the undefined and the precise meet … What we want is nuance, not colour - the nuance that weds dream to dream and flute to horn.
Paul Verlaine from 'L'Art Poétique'

Friday, July 02, 2004

butterfly lomo

lomograph copyright alan edwards
Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.
Jack Kerouac

Copyright Robert Frank
Parade - Hoboken, New Jersey, from 'The Americans' by Robert Frank

Above all, I know that the photographer cannot envisage life with an indifferent eye. Any opinion involves an element of criticism. But criticism can be prompted by love. It is important to see what remains hidden to other people, whether it is a gleam of hope or sadness.
Robert Frank

Thursday, July 01, 2004

somewhere i have never travelled
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain, has such small hands

ee cummings