Wednesday, September 29, 2004

copyright alan edwards

I'm going fishing for a few days. See you later.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Stupidity, selfishishness and good health are the three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
Gustave Flaubert

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.
Robert Frost

Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is always just beyond your grasp but which if you will sit down quietly may light upon you.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank the Lord that I've been blessed with all my share of happiness.
Ken Dodd
mela #2
Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

Monday, September 27, 2004

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass - the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
Walt Whitman
Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

The Mela, a festival of Asian culture, is held here in late summer. The sounds of the music, bright colours of the clothing, and exotic smells of food cooking are wonderful. On a sunny day it's good lomo territory too.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards
Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

One of the suggestions for taking lomos is 'shoot from the hip'. This picture was taken like that, at hip level so that the subjects wouldn't know they were being photographed. This involves seeing a composition, quickly adjusting the focus, then guessing the shooting angle as you nonchalently stroll past, looking anywhere but at the subject. Unsurprisingly, you rarely get the result you're aiming for, but in this case it worked reasonably well.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Official God FAQ
Everything you need to know about The Supreme Being.

And an examination of some of the finer points of God's Law.

blackbird update
I was looking out the window this morning and, lo and behold, a young blackbird was feeding along the edge of the lawn. It looks like a male bird because its brown juvenile feathers are being replaced with black ones, although its beak hasn't turned orange yet. Nature abhors a vaccuum. Hurrah!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

A few days ago I found some charcoal-black feathers scattered over the lawn, and there has been no sign of our resident blackbird since then. I suspect the gigantic - and very aggressive - grey and white cat that moved into the neighbourhood killed him. I'll certainly miss hearing him singing from the laburnum tree when spring comes round again.
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you,
say what you've got to say, and say it hot.
DH Lawrence

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

But about the tents the women move silently. Then when the cooking-fire dies low, the man crouches in silence and toasts meat on a stick, while the dogs lurk round like shadows and the children watch avidly. The man eats as the sun goes down. And as the glitter departs, he says: "Lo, the sun is going, and I stay. All goes, but still I stay. Power of deer-meat is in my belly, power of sun is in my body. I am tired, but it is with power. There the small moon gives her first sharp sign. So! So! I watch her. I will give her something; she is very sharp and bright, and I do not know her power. Lo! I will give the woman something for this moon, which troubles me above the sunset, and has power. Lo! how very curved and sharp she is! Lo! how she troubles me!"

Thus, always aware, always watchful, subtly poising himself in the world of Pan, among the powers of the living universe, he sustains his life and is sustained. There is no boredom, because everything is alive and active, and danger is inherent in all movement. The contact between all things is keen and wary: for wariness is also a sort of reverence, or respect. And nothing, in the world of Pan, may be taken for granted.

So when the fire is extinguished, and the moon sinks, the man says to the woman: "Oh, woman, be very soft, be very soft and deep towards me, with the deep silence. Oh, woman, do not speak and stir and wound me with the sharp horns of yourself. Let me come into the deep, soft places, the dark, soft places deep as between the stars. Oh, let me lose there the weariness of the day: let me come in the power of the night. Oh, do not speak to me, nor break the deep night of my silence and my power. Be softer than dust, and darker than any flower. Oh, woman, wonderful is the craft of your softness, the distance of your dark depths. Oh, open silently the deep that has no end, and do not turn the horns of the moon against me."

DH Lawrence, from 'Great Pan is Dead!'
Bei Hennef
The little river twittering in the twilight,
The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain
Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft "Sh!" of the river
That will last forever.

And at last I know my love for you is here;
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before,
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
Troubles, anxieties and pains.

You are the call and I am the answer,
You are the wish, and I the fullfilment,
You are the night, and I the day.
What else - it is perfect enough.
It is perfectly complete,
You and I,
What more--?

Strange, how we suffer in spite of this.

DH Lawrence

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Yesterday it was Sophia Loren reaching 70, and today it's Leonard Cohen.

The older you get, the lonelier you become and the deeper the love you need. Which means that this hero that you're trying to maintain as the central figure in the drama of your life - this hero is not enjoying the life of a hero. You're exerting this tremendous maintenance to keep this heroic stance available to you, and the hero is suffering defeat after defeat. Finally, one day you say, 'Let him die - I can't invest anymore in this heroic position.' From there you live your life as if it's real ...
Leonard Cohen
brevissimae bracae femineae

What is it about the Christian Church? First the Church of England attempts to 'get with it' by jumping on the Reality TV bandwagon with 'Priest Idol', and now the Vatican produces a Latin dictionary for theologians containing modern words such as hot pants, punk, drugs, pizza and Lambrusco. Hotpants are brevissimae bracae femineae, punk is punkianae catervae assecla, and the authors say they are doing it 'so that people who use Latin can write about the modern world.' It makes me wonder what these venerable theologians are scribbling away at in their cloistered cells. Are they writing seedy Latin thrillers with lines like: 'Listen punk, take your hands off my hot pants and give me all your drugs or I'll stuff that pizza where the sun don't shine'? Then there's Jimmy Swaggart, the depraved TV Evangelist who was caught with his pants down in the late 80's and publicly sobbed his way to absolution? Judging by his recent remarks about homosexual marriage, he's as mad as ever: 'I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.'

Monday, September 20, 2004

I've been listening to Leonard Cohen again. No, there ain't no cure ...

Even in your arms I know
I'll never get it right
Even when you bend to give me
Comfort in the night
I've got to have your word on this
Or none of it is true
And all I've said was just instead of
Coming back to you.

from 'Coming Back To You' ~ 'Various Positions' ~ 1984
hey, fancy that ...
it's Sophia Loren's 70th birthday!

Sophia Loren

According to Alan Ladd, working with her was 'like being bombed with watermelons'. Of course, he was so vertically challenged that her watermelons were probably wobbling about in his face most of the time. Apparently she had to stand in a trench for some of the scenes.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I really don't know of a better source of quotations than Whiskey River. They always grab my attention, and I rarely find that I've read them before. Here's a couple about the creative process which I noticed today:

Read carefully, then don't read; work hard, then forget about it; know your tradition, then liberate yourself from it; learn language, then free yourself from it. Finally, know at least one form of magic.
Gary Snyder

Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.
Allen Ginsberg

and here's one I like courtesy of Reckless Writer:

The best things in life aren't things.
Art Buchwald

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Sophia for Paq and Enrico
When doubt arises
Doubt takes many forms. One is fear that you'll hurt yourself by going forward. Another form of doubt is feeling that you've misunderstood your life and that you're constantly making a fundamental mistake. Being without doubt has nothing to do with accepting the validity of a philosophy or concept. Absence of doubt comes from trusting in the heart, trusting yourself. Being without doubt means that you connect with yourself, that you experience mind and body being synchronized together. When mind and body are synchronized, then you have no doubt.
Chogyam Trungpa, from 'The Sacred Path of the Warrior'

Friday, September 17, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Paul Klee

Paul Klee seems to handle colors and dreams as if they both came out of a box of children's toys. He plays and dreams with whatever he finds.
Jean Helion
Sophia Loren

Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.
Sophia Loren
I have often determined not to see her so frequently. But who could keep such a resolution? Every day I am exposed to the temptation, and promise faithfully that tomorrow I will really stay away: but, when tomorrow comes, I find some irresistible reason for seeing her; and, before I can account for it, I am with her again ... My grandmother used to tell us a story of a mountain of loadstone. When any vessels came near it, they were instantly deprived of their ironwork: the nails flew to the mountain, and the unhappy crew perished amidst the disjointed planks.
Goethe, from 'The Sorrows of Werther'

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

My Pockets
Prudential Insurance says the contents of the average handbag is worth £577. A survey of 1700 women found that most had a bag priced at £30, a purse worth £15 with £50 cash, a £199 mobile phone, £50 sunglasses, £8 hairbrush, £40 of perfume, house and car keys that would cost £100 to replace, and a leather diary or organiser worth £35. I just emptied out my pockets. One short piece of string of no value, one lime flavoured tic-tac (slightly scuffed) and a used tissue - neither of any great value, 23 pence in small change, some fluff - no value except to a hamster, one catapult with broken elastic - no value unless repaired, small marble (slightly chipped) for use with catapult - no current value, Big Bertha's phone number on a faded scrap of paper - sentimental value only, one dry-roasted peanut - negligible value except to a squirrel, one backstage pass to The Ladyboys of Bangkok confiscated from Paquito - no longer of any value, lump of chewing gum in original foil but slightly used - only of value to someone trying to steal my DNA. The remaining contents are, of course, strictly confidential.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Computer Stupidities
Tech Support: All right. Now click 'OK'
Customer: Click 'OK'?
Tech Support: Yes, click 'OK'
Customer: Click 'OK'?
Tech Support: That's right. Click 'OK'
Customer: So I click 'OK', right?
Tech Support: Right. Click 'OK'
Pause ...
Customer: I clicked 'Cancel'
Tech Support: YOU CLICKED 'CANCEL'???
Customer: That's what I was supposed to do, right?
Tech Support: No, you were supposed to click 'OK'
Customer: I thought you said to click 'Cancel'
Tech Support: NO. I said to click 'OK'
Customer: Oh
Tech Support: Now we have to start over
Customer: Why?
Tech Support: Because you clicked 'Cancel'
Customer: Wasn't I supposed to click 'Cancel'?
Tech Support: No. Forget that. Let's start from the top
Customer: Ok
15 minutes later ...
Tech Support: All right. Now, are you ready to click 'OK'?
Customer: Yes
Tech Support: Great. Now click 'OK'
Pause ...
Customer: I clicked 'Cancel'
Untitled  - copyright Alan Edwards

digital painting #3
For Laura to appear, all things must be exactly thus, all must ensure my being ideally alone. Laura demands, as she also inhabits, a silence bristling with expectations, in which at times I become what I am awaiting. She catches the whispering between my daemon and my desire. Her white face is indistinct enough, but not her gaze. What a precision of power!... Wherever my eyes settle, they carry hers with them. And if I close my lids at last, her own are widely raised and asking. The power to question of these eyes transfixes me, and sometimes it happens that I cannot bear their unwavering depth any longer.
Paul Valéry

Monday, September 13, 2004

Stupendous mountains encompassed me, abysses yawned at my feet, and cataracts fell headlong down before me; impetuous rivers rolled through the plain, and rocks and mountains resounded from afar. In the depths of the earth I saw innumerable powers in motion, and multiplying to infinity; whilst upon its surface, and beneath the heavens, there teemed ten thousand varieties of living creatures. Everything around is alive with an infinite number of forms; while mankind fly for security to their petty houses, from the shelter of which they rule in their imaginations over the wide-extended universe. Poor fool! in whose petty estimation all things are little. From the inaccessible mountains, across the desert which no mortal foot has trod, far as the confines of the unknown ocean, breathes the spirit of the eternal Creator; and every atom to which he has given existence finds favour in his sight. Ah, how often has the flight of a bird, soaring above my head, inspired me with the desire of being transported to the shores of the immeasurable waters, there to quaff the pleasures of life from the foaming goblet of the Infinite ...
Goethe, from 'The Sorrows of Werther'

Set Your Books Free
'... a fascinating exercise in fate, karma, or whatever you want to call the chain of events that can occur between two or more lives and one piece of literature.'
I admire tinsel as much as gold. Indeed, the poetry of tinsel is even greater, because it is sadder.
Gustave Flaubert

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Untitled  - copyright Alan Edwards

digital painting #2

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Samuel Beckett

what would I do without this world faceless incurious
where to be lasts but an instant where every instant
spills in the void the ignorance of having been
without this wave where in the end
body and shadow together are engulfed
what would I do without this silence where the murmurs die
the pantings the frenzies toward succour towards love
without this sky that soars
above its ballast dust

what would I do what I did yesterday and the day before
peering out of my deadlight looking for another
wandering like me eddying far from all the living
in a convulsive space
among the voices voiceless
that throng my hiddenness
Samuel Beckett

Harold Pinter on Samuel Beckett
The farther he goes the more good it does me. I don't want philosophies, tracts, dogmas, creeds, ways out, truths, answers, nothing from the bargain basement. He is the most courageous, remorseless writer going and the more he grinds my nose in the shit the more I am grateful to him. He's not fucking me about, he's not leading me up any garden path, he's not slipping me a wink, he's not flogging me a remedy or a path or a revelation or a basinful of breadcrumbs, he's not selling me anything I don't want to buy — he doesn't give a bollock whether I buy or not — he hasn't got his hand over his heart. Well, I'll buy his goods, hook, line and sinker, because he leaves no stone unturned and no maggot lonely. He brings forth a body of beauty. His work is beautiful.

Not I
Anyone who has seen Billie Whitelaw's incredible 1973 television performance of this, directed by Beckett himself and featuring only a close-up of her mouth on the screen, will know what an astonishing piece it is. Apparently she had to have her head held in a clamp to prevent any movement other than that of her lips, tongue and teeth. It is mesmerising to watch.

french kissing
everything you need to know (in french, naturellement)
a great idea, but the site design is totally off-the-wall

Je ne cesserai de désirer
tant que mon désir ne sera pas assouvi;
que ma bouche atteigne les lèvres rouges de mon amour
ou que mon âme expire à travers ces lèvres
qui en vain ont cherché ses lèvres...

Friday, September 10, 2004

recent news
A Maryland couple have raised a Cabbage Patch doll as their only son for 19 years. A Chinese woman accidentally fell from the balcony of her 5th floor apartment and was caught by her husband standing below. A Japanese man set his house on fire trying to kill a mosquito. Auctioneers knocked the head off a figurine of Anne Boleyn as they put it in a cabinet. Demand for lederhosen for dogs is increasing in Germany. A Cuban farmer has developed three-feet tall dwarf cows. A judge in Sri Lanka jailed a man for a year for yawning in court. A Japanese professor claims that a woman whose pubic hair is shaped like an inverted triangle will be a good mother and faithful wife. A Dutch town hopes Highland cattle will deter gay couples from having sex in a local park. Cher keeps a chicken coop full of male models backstage when she performs. Catholic students have complained that new Haribo sweet wrappers portray fruit having sex. A sex-starved female chimp at a zoo in China has taken to smoking and spitting at visitors. A lion was found hiding in a public toilet in Zimbabwe.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Untitled  - copyright Alan Edwards

digital painting #1
Morticia: Oh darling, do you remember the emotional roller coaster, the raging hormones, the constant heartache of our first love?
Gomez: Yes. Too bad we can't relive that agony.
The Addams Family

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.
Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

John Miller

Some things in life are either really good or just plain awful, and Country and Western music is one of them. The gulf between, say, Hank Williams or Johnny Cash and a saccharine stetsoned nonentity like Garth Brooks is too wide to even contemplate. Scotland is admittedly a mighty long way from Tennessee but there is one Scottish country singer/songwriter who could be described as the genuine article and that's John Miller. He was the main man in the excellent Glasgow band The Radio Sweethearts, and is going to be touring here in November with his Country Casuals. He'll be playing, mostly in small venues, in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Dublin and other places, so if you get a chance go and see him. Great voice, real stage presence and a superb backing band. What more do you want? If you go to see him at 'The Village' in Edinburgh you'll have the added bonus of hearing The Sunshine Delay, featuring the lovely Paula McNally on vocals. If you don't live in the UK book your plane ticket now! Yee Ha.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Picasso, 'Etreinte'

A painter is a man who paints what he sells; an artist is a man who sells what he paints.
Pablo Picasso

This is a great website for anyone interested in how Picasso's art developed over the years.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I've been accused of vulgarity. I say that's bullshit.
Mel Brooks

hey, good lookin' ...
Scientists have discovered that we are born with an innate concept of what makes an attractive face. New babies show a marked preference for people with features that are considered 'handsome', suggesting that ideals of facial beauty are not determined by culture alone, but also rely on universal standards imprinted in our genes.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

It is the ordinary women that know something about love. The gorgeous ones are too busy being gorgeous.
Katherine Hepburn

Saturday, September 04, 2004

image copyright alan edwards

I tied together
a few slender reeds, cut
notches to breathe across and made
such music you stood
shock still and then

followed as I wandered growing
moment by moment
slant-eyes and shaggy, my feet
slamming over the rocks, growing
hard as horn, and there

you were behind me, drowning
in the music, letting
the silver clasps out of your hair,
hurrying, taking off
your clothes.

I can't remember
where this happened but I think
it was late summer when everything
is full of fire and rounding to fruition
and whatever doesn't,
or resists,
must lie like a field of dark water under
the pulling moon,
tossing and tossing.

In the brutal elegance of cities
I have walked down
the halls of hotels

and heard this music behind
shut doors.

Do you think the heart
is accountable? Do you think the body
any more than a branch
of the honey locust tree,

hunting water,
hunching toward the sun,
shivering, when it feels
that good, into
white blossoms?

Or do you think there is a kind
of music, a certain strand
that lights up the otherwise
blunt wilderness of the body -
a furious
and unaccountable selectivity?

Ah well, anyway, whether or not
it was late summer, or even
in our part of the world, it is all
only a dream, I did not
turn into the lithe goat god. Nor did you come running
like that.

Did you?

Mary Oliver

Friday, September 03, 2004

One day
You will take my heart completely
and make it more fiery than a dragon.
Your eyelashes will write on my heart
the poem that could never come from the pen of a poet.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

'Window' by Pierre Bonnard, 1925

Bonnard painted this in 1925 while staying near Cannes in the South of France. He loved this area and lived there for the latter part of his life. The book on the table is a novel entitled 'Marie' which he had illustrated. I used to have a postcard of this painting on the wall beside my desk, at a time when I was trying to scrape a living from painting watercolours. It didn't so much inspire me as remind me of warmer climes during the endless Scottish winters. I like the pen and paper on the desk. Not a computer in sight.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

'Siesta - in the studio' by Pierre Bonnard, 1899

Pierre Bonnard is one of my favourite painters. This 1899 painting 'Siesta' is of his long-time lover Marthe de Moligny.

"Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly."
Pierre Bonnard