Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I believe in aristocracy ...
Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.
EM Forster

thanks to Whiskey River
Quinag, Sutherland

Small Lochs
Six rods are dapping for sea trout
On Loch Baddagyle. Their blowlines each make
A bosomy downwind curve. Six bushy flies
Ballet dance on sunstruck water.

— See that boulder? In it’s toupee of heather
There’s a wild cat watching me. Two topazes with ears.
…I tilt up and pan along my trail of mountains
From Ben More Coigach all the way down to Quinaig.

An old ewe brings me down to earth
She stamps her forefoot on. I look at her implacable
Whisky and soda eyes. She knows all a sheep
Needs to know: she’s a black-stockinged bluestocking.

And a spinnaker line has straightened. The water
Explodes and shoots a sea trout into the air,
While five bushy flies still dance on the moving glitter,
like water nymphs in their dangerous tutus.

Norman McCaig

some days I feel like going fishing, this is one of them

Jockey Full of Bourbon
Edna Million in a drop dead suit
Dutch Pink on a downtown train
Two dollar pistol but the gun won’t shoot
I’m in the corner on the pouring rain

Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest
And I’ve been drinking from a broken cup
Two pairs of pants and a mohair vest
I’m full of bourbon, I can't stand up

Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, children are alone
Hey little bird, fly away home
Your house is on fire, your children are alone

Schiffer broke a bottle on Morgan’s head
And I’m stepping on the devil’s tail
Across the stripes of a full moon’s head
And through the bars of a Cuban jail

Bloody fingers on a purple knife
Flamingo drinking from a cocktail glass
I’m on the lawn with someone else’s wife
Admire the view from up on top of the mast

Yellow sheets on a Hong Kong bed
Stazybo horn and a Slingerland ride
"To the carnival" is what she said
A hundred dollars makes it dark inside
Tom Waits

This sleazy Tom Waits classic with its slinky bassline and whipcrack percussion is the soundtrack for the long opening shot of Jim Jarmusch's brilliant film 'Down by Law'. The chorus always reminds me of 'The Birdman of Alcatraz'.

Monday, August 30, 2004

One of the things I liked about Majorca was the fact that so many houses had singing canaries outside on their balconies. You could walk through the streets and hear them belting out their beautiful trilling songs, each one trying to outdo the others in the neighbourhood. In fact you could even hear them from the beach. Robert Graves had a canary in his study, and so did Mozart. Wise men.
this is the sort of view I want from my window ...

Mount Fuji by Yoshida

instead of which I can see a couple of bushes, a privet hedge, a patch of cloudy sky, the grey stone house opposite, and, through the gate that breaks the privet hedge, a white van parked on the street with the slightly worrying message 'making concrete beautiful' written on the side.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
Carl Jung

Friday, August 27, 2004

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase 'each other' doesn't make any sense.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

the baboon
At the office all the morning and did business; by and by we are called to Sir W. Batten’s to see the strange creature that Captain Holmes hath brought with him from Guiny; it is a great baboon, but so much like a man in most things, that though they say there is a species of them, yet I cannot believe but that it is a monster got of a man and she-baboon. I do believe that it already understands much English, and I am of the mind it might be taught to speak or make signs.
from the Diary of Samuel Pepys, 24 August 1661

This reminds me of a very funny tv sketch from 'Not the 9 O'Clock News' featuring a studio interview with Gerald the gorilla and his owner:
Owner: May I remind you that Gerald was wild when he was captured ...
Gerald (interjecting): Wild? I was absolutely livid!
copyright Jan Saudek

Jan Saudek

I first saw Jan Saudek's photographs in the early 1980's. I liked them initially, but then I changed my mind. It was purely by accident that I came across the image of the lips below, and discovered it was by the same photographer. This prompted me to look at his work again, and I now find I have mixed feelings about it. I no longer see things in black or white, but in shades of grey. Does this mean I have matured in some way, or have I simply become hopelessly indecisive?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Dalliance of the Eagles
Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)
Skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles,
The rushing amorous contact high in space together,
The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,
Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,
In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling,
Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a moment's lull,
A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing,
Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate divorce flight,
She hers, he his, pursuing.

Walt Whitman

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

'Marie no. 1' copyright Jan Saudek


One woman may robe herself in a tunic of white wool. Another dress in a garment of silk and gold. Another covers herself with flowers, with leaves and grapes.

As for me, I take no joy of life except when naked. My lover takes me just as I am; without robes, or jewels, or sandals. Behold me, Bilitis, naked, alone.

My hair is black with its own blackness, my lips are red with their own color. My locks float about me free and round, like feathers.

Take me as my mother made me in a night of love long past; and if I please you thus, forget not to tell me.

Pierre Louÿs
One last holiday lomo. I'm going to be cataloguing some old photographs soon and will put a few up here.

lomo copyright alan edwards
clouds, rainbows, lightning, moon, stars ... they're all here

Monday, August 23, 2004

holiday snap #9

copyright alan edwards

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Ecstasy is what everyone craves - not love or sex, but a hot-blooded, soaring intensity, in which being alive is a joy and a thrill. That enravishment doesn't give meaning to life, and yet without it life seems meaningless.
Diane Ackerman

thanks to Whiskey River

Friday, August 20, 2004

Are You Hot?
what kind of question is that? I live in Scotland
Learn How to Approach and Date Beautiful Women
I'm always willing to learn something new
Now Imagine Your Life...
ok, done that, it was remarkably easy in fact
Imagine you could effortlessly meet women anywhere:
I especially like the 'effortlessly' bit, yes I'm imagining that too now
at bars
yes I do go to bars, so we're up and running
in line at the supermarket
slightly problematic, I get lost in supermarkets, but I could make an effort to find the check-out I suppose
even at work or in class
well, I work at home and I finished my studies long ago, but maybe I could take up night classes or approach the woman who comes to the door and tries to sell me fish. I don't particularly like her plastic hat and gloves, but she wouldn't wear them on the date, would she?
Imagine how much more enjoyment you would get out of life
now you're talking! yes, I can imagine that very easily
The ability to confidently approach women
confidently and effortlessly, this is the way forward for me. I just know it
is what separates the guys who have exciting lives and beautiful girlfriends from the guys who stay at home and watch TV every night.
I want an exciting life, I want to paraglide and bungee jump and abseil and snorkel and drive fast cars and make love to supermodels in hammocks. I'm going to blow up my tv set tomorrow, immediately after the world darts championship final
Find out how these books can change your life
you bet. bring 'em on. I'm ready!

and speaking of spam emails ... not forgetting disturbing auctions

Thursday, August 19, 2004

holiday lomos # 7&8

lomo copyright alan edwards
lomo copyright alan edwards

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

ok let's catch up on some news
A German in a Hitler T-shirt was arrested for shouting "Sieg Heil". As police approached he ordered his dog, Adolf, to 'do the salute', upon which the dog raised its right paw. A stray pigeon which pecked a hole in a 17th century painting in an Amsterdam museum has been shot. A passenger on a domestic Russian flight was attacked by three drunken flight crew. Health officials in Romania called to investigate a smell of gas by a 74-year-old pensioner found a dead cow in his room. He refused to believe the rotting cow was causing the smell and said he cut off a strip and cooked it every time he was hungry. A Canadian scientist claims to have proved that the world's most expensive coffee tastes better because the beans have first been eaten and defecated by a wild cat. A Catholic priest and nun were caught having sex in an airport car park in Malawi. The public alerted airport police after noticing a car "shaking in a funny way". Horse flavoured ice cream is now on sale in Japan. A Dutch political party wants to make unsolicited toe-licking a criminal offence. A German court has ruled that Germans can stick their tongues out in passport photos. A woman hanging out washing in Suffolk was hit by a meteorite. A metre-long snake swam up the trunks of a man swimming in Norway. An Indian girls' school was closed after its students fell ill and began behaving like cats. A Bedfordshire man got a letter from Prudential Insurance addressed to Mr Shagslikeadonkey.
holiday lomo #6

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Fort Worth Blues
In Fort Worth all the neon's burning bright
Pretty lights of red and blue
But they'd shut down all the honky tonks tonight
And say a prayer or two if they only knew

You used to say the highway was your home
But we both know that that ain't true
It's just the only place a man can go
When he don't know where he's travelling to

Colorado's always clean and healing
And Tennessee in spring is green and cool
It never really was your kind of town
But you went around with the Fort Worth blues

Somewhere up beyond the great divide
Where the sky is wide and the clouds are few
A man can see his way clear to the light
Just hold on tight that's all you got to do

They say Texas weather's always changing
And one thing change will bring is something new
And Houston really ain't that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth Blues

It's a full moon over Galway Bay tonight
Silver light over green and blue
And every place I travel through I find
Some kind of sign that you've been through

Well Amsterdam was always good for grieving
And London never fails to leave me blue
And Paris never was my kind of town
So I walked around with the Fort Worth Blues

Steve Earle

Fort Worth Blues was written for Steve Earle's friend the late Townes Van Zandt, Texan Songwriter and Gentleman.

Here's a very good recent interview with Steve Earle
holiday lomo # 5

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

Monday, August 16, 2004

holiday lomo #4

lomo copyright alan edwards

Sunday, August 15, 2004

holiday lomos # 2&3

lomo copyright alan edwards

lomo copyright alan edwards

Saturday, August 14, 2004

There are many paths that lead to the summit of one and the same mountain; their differences will be more apparent the lower down we are; but they vanish at the peak.
Ananda Coomaraswamy
lomolilo, majorca

lomo copyright alan edwards

Friday, August 13, 2004

Deia cemetery - copyright Alan Edwards

Graves' grave, Deia cemetery - copyright Alan Edwards

I visited the village of Deia on Majorca's spectacular west coast. The poet Robert Graves lived here for many years, and is buried in the small cemetery beside the church at the top of a hill - with the sea in the distance on one side and towering mountains on the other. There was a withered laurel crown and a sprig of faded flowers lying on the gravestone. I don't know if this was entirely appropriate. The laurel crown is sacred to Apollo, and Graves was more of a follower of Dionysus, but he was a poet after all. In my opinion he was an even better prose writer, and if you haven't read 'Goodbye To All That' or 'I Claudius' or his translation of 'The Golden Ass' by Apuleius I can recommend them.

"Though philosophers like to define poetry as irrational fancy, for us it is a practical, humorous, reasonable way of being ourselves."
Robert Graves

Thursday, August 12, 2004

for Christy - 'temerario' is Spanish for 'reckless'.

copyright alan edwards
Do you all your desire dictates. Imagination is the only truth.
Marquis de Sade

The Edinburgh Festival is in full swing, albeit dampened by the perpetual rain that has hit Scotland in the wake of some transatlantic hurricane or other. It's a depressingly far cry from the sun-drenched Mediterranean, so I went out to the theatre last night to see XXX, a show loosely based on the Marquis de Sade's 'The Philosophy of the Boudoir' in which a young woman is sexually initiated by a group of libertines. It was performed by the Catalan theatre group La Fura Dels Baus, and has caused a bit of a stir with its full-on nudity and simulated sex acts in front of a huge video screen showing explicit images of oral and anal sex, masturbation, bestiality, and other everyday stuff, including a live link-up to an internet porn site. Admittedly it was quite well done, and the acting was good, but I can't say it affected me much. I can only conclude that I've become unshockable when it comes to sex. A fire alarm went off as the show was nearing its end and the whole building had to be evacuated, so I missed the climax. No change there then. At the time I assumed it was part of the performance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Gardener
from the vaults

One day the gardener awoke to find a new bush growing in the middle of his carefully manicured lawn. He pulled back the curtains and there it was, with its thin stem casting a pencil shadow on the grass, and its dark, lush foliage glistening in the morning light. His heart skipped a beat when he saw it, and he rubbed his eyes in disbelief, trying to remember whether it was he who had planted the seed of this specimen or if it had been blown in on the wind and taken root and grown overnight. Thrilled and surprised in equal measure by this new discovery, he wasted no time in pulling on his boots and striding out to examine it more closely. A light breeze ruffled the leaves as he approached, and an alluring scent reached his nostrils. He could hardly contain his excitement because he suspected that this was no ordinary bush, but an exotic specimen of a genus he had always dreamed of discovering.

He reached out his hand to touch it and the leaves seemed to move towards him, willing him to make contact with them. They had a deep sheen, yet when he touched them they felt as soft and light as feathers. He bent forward and breathed in their odour with the air of a connoisseur assessing the bouquet of a fine wine. It was impossible to separate out the elements so subtly combined in this intoxicating scent, but he thought he could detect a hint of the sea, traces of white roses, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, ambergris ... a heady mixture that made his senses reel, conjuring visions of lost loves, forgotten smiles and laughter, gardens in rain, and strange dreamlike landscapes which he knew yet did not know.

Filled with a mixture of joy and longing he rested his cheek against the filigree of branches, allowing them to caress him softly. He ran his fingers through the leaves as a lover might idly stroke his lady's hair, then he knelt down and studied the smooth, shadowy stem, examining every aspect of his new discovery in minute detail. Finally he drew a tattered old notebook and pencil from his pocket and began to meticulously record his observations, his hand trembling with barely suppressed excitement at the discovery of this beautiful rarity. Page after page was filled with notes and measurements, and when he finally finished writing he turned to a new page and drew several detailed sketches of the bush from different angles, as if afraid that what he was seeing was a mirage that might vanish the moment he turned his back on it. Then he went in and ate breakfast, positioning himself by the window where he could feast his eyes on this welcome and unexpected gift.

Inevitably an idea began to take hold of him. He glanced around at the other bushes and shrubs growing elsewhere in the garden. Each one had been transformed by his hands into something other than nature intended. His hobby was topiary and he had lovingly fashioned all the shrubs and smaller trees into living sculptures. Birds, animals, insects, flowers, words, abstract shapes, clouds, and dozens of other things, imaginary and real, peopled the garden. In fact, keeping his creations trimmed had become his main occupation throughout the growing season. He tried to imagine a suitable form for the new bush. At first he thought of a singing bird, beak open in rapturous song and with a long slender tail reaching to the lawn. Then he considered something simpler, a dewdrop or a rose perhaps, but none of these seemed quite right. Finally he settled on a heart. It seemed appropriate, and the shape would be easy to achieve because the bush, having just appeared, was not unduly overgrown. He whistled a little tune and there was a spring in his step as he went to collect his bag of trimming tools from the shed.
holiday snap #8

copyright alan edwards

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Byron from 'She Walks In Beauty'
holiday snap #7

copyright alan edwards
holiday snap #6

copyright alan edwards

Monday, August 09, 2004

holiday snap #5

copyright alan edwards

Sunday, August 08, 2004

holiday snap #4

copyright alan edwards

Saturday, August 07, 2004

holiday snap #3

copyright alan edwards

This was taken in a maze of underground caves at the Coves D'Arta on Majorca. Some of the most amazing rock formations I've ever seen. I could probably have done without the Bach D Minor Toccata and accompanying light show, however.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Mexico - copyright estate of Henri Cartier-Bresson

Cartier-Bresson died yesterday. One of the great photographers.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

holiday snap #2

fine hat - copyright alan edwards

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

i'm back ... i think ... how is everyone?

copyright alan edwards