Friday, December 31, 2004

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude willie-waught,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Robert Burns

auld lang syne ~ days long past
be your pint stowp ~ buy your pint-tankard (of ale)
pou'd ~ pulled
gowans ~ daisies
fit ~ foot
paidl'd ~ paddled
dine ~ dinner-time
braid ~ broad
fiere ~ friend
willie-waught ~ draught

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea, 1906
I called on Dr Johnson one morning, when Mrs Williams, the blind lady, was conversing with him. She was telling him where she had dined the day before. "There were several gentlemen there," said she, "and when some of them came to the tea-table, I found that there had been a good deal of hard drinking ... I wonder what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves." "I wonder, Madam," replied the Doctor, "that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

from 'Anecdotes of the Reverend Percival Stockdale'
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

The Botanics #3

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

The Botanics #2

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

if i have made,my lady,intricate

if i have made,my lady,intricate
imperfect various things chiefly which wrong
your eyes(frailer than most deep dreams are frail)
songs less firm than your body's whitest song
upon my mind-if i have failed to snare
the glance too shy-if through my singing slips
the very skillful strangeness of your smile
the keen primeval silence of your hair

-let the world say "his most wise music stole
nothing from death"-
you only will create
(who are so perfectly alive)my shame:
lady through whose profound and fragile lips
the sweet small clumsy feet of April came

into the ragged meadow of my soul.

ee cummings

Saturday, December 25, 2004

detail from Madonna and Child by Michaelangelo

Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Tristan Tzara by Man Ray, 1934
Dada is a state of mind. That is why it transforms itself according to races and events. Dada applies itself to everything, and yet it is nothing, it is the point where the yes and the no and all the opposites meet, not solemnly in the castles of human philosophies, but very simply at street corners, like dogs and grasshoppers.
Tristan Tzara

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

What amused me about this was the first abandoned attempt.
I was a tiny insect. Now a mountain.
I was left behind. Now honoured at the head.
You healed my wounded hunger and anger,
and made me a poet who sings about joy.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

The Botanics ~ long exposure
Fancy a bit of Verdi? Why not download Sondra Radvanovsky singing Arrigo, ah parli a un core. She's been compared to Maria Callas, and I can see why. It's a live recording so you'll have to try to ignore the horrible hooting from an audience member when the applause starts up. Link courtesy of Trrill. And if you want to know just how mad the world of opera can be go here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Psychiatrists have reported a surge in Post-Melodramatic Stress Disorder cases following the release of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Phantom Of The Opera' ... A good portion of PMSD sufferers are experiencing distress so great that it is interfering with their jobs as overweight receptionists, struggling fashion designers, and community-theater actors ... read more
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

Cattle on the horizon of the Lammermuir Hills with the heather in bloom.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

I took this photograph in a deserted Victorian hunting lodge in a very remote part of the Highlands. I was meant to be fishing but it was too hot and I went off to take photographs instead. I found this old lodge with the front door open and went in for a look. It was completely empty and gradually falling into disrepair, but the old book of Tennyson's poetry abandoned on one of the marble mantlepieces caught my eye. A relic from a bygone era, like the lodge itself. It's difficult to read the book's title at this size, hence this explanation.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

Sandstone rock on the edge of a beach.
Strange how it has taken on the character of the sea.

Friday, December 17, 2004

i've got my tinfoil hat on today
These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower, there is no more; in the leafless root, there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. There is no time to it. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

i think this guy is practising 'the timewarp' or something
Tom Wolfe
I was mocking Tom Wolfe's attempts to write erotic prose a couple of days ago, but I do like his earlier work. 'The Painted Word', which mercilessly dissects the pretensions of the New York art scene and the incestuous coterie of critics and dealers that fostered it, is one of the funniest and most discerning books about modern art ever written. It should be compulsory reading for every art student or teacher who refuses to admit that the emperor is, in fact, stark bollock naked.

'We may take it as a principle at this point that collectors of contemporary art do not want to buy highly abstract art unless it's the only game in town. They will always prefer realistic art instead -- as long as someone in authority assures them that it is (a) new, and (b) not realistic.'
Tom Wolfe

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

This is a GOOD thing
I like this series of photographs by Alec Soth
Thanks to Conscientious.
image by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Sometimes, Tanaach, from the depths of my being there exhale as it were hot fumes heavier than the vapours from a volcano. Voices call me, a globe of fire rolls and mounts within my bosom, it stifles me, I am at the point of death; and then, something sweet, flowing from my brow to my feet, passes through my flesh -- it is a caress enfolding me, and I feel myself crushed as if some god were stretched upon me. Oh! would that I could lose myself in the mists of the night, the waters of the fountains, the sap of the trees, that I could issue from my body, and be but a breath, or a ray, and glide, mount up to thee, O Mother!

She raised her arms to their full length, arching her form, which in its long garment was as pale and light as the moon. Then she fell back, panting, on the ivory couch ...

from 'Salammbo' by Gustave Flaubert

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I see Tom Wolfe has been given the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for passages in his latest novel 'I am Charlotte Simmons'. The prize is awarded for crude, tasteless sexual depictions in literature. Here's a taste of what the dapper razor-witted-kid-gloved-white-suited-great-grandpappy of the 'New Journalism' and author of 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test', 'The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby', 'Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers' and other journalistic gems is churning out these days:

Slither slither slither slither went the tongue, but the hand that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological caverns. Oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now! She must say 'No, Hoyt' and talk to him like a dog ...

Down boy. Back in your basket.
Twin Peaks

And I never know why, whenever we get to tactics,
Men either laugh or cry, though neither is strictly called for.
But perhaps I have started too early with a difficult task?
We will start again, further north, with a simpler problem.
Are you ready? Is everyone paying attention?
Very well then. Here are two hills.

from 'The Movement of Bodies' by Henry Reed
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

CP Cavafy, from 'Ithaca'

Monday, December 13, 2004

the Velvet Underground, image copyright Lisa Law
In San Francisco, we played the Fillmore and no one liked us much. We put the guitars against the amps, turned up, played percussion and then split. Bill Graham came into the dressing room and said, 'You owe me 20 more minutes.' I'd dropped a cymbal on Lou's head and he was bleeding. 'Is he hurt?', Graham said. 'We're not insured.'

John Cale recalling the Velvet Underground's appearance at the musical Mecca for West Coast hippies in the late 1960's.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

But do not feel overwhelmed by the length of this journey. All you ever need do is focus on one thing, what you are doing. Stay on the path and put one foot in front of the other - that is all. There is joy in the struggle.
PT Sudo, found beside Basho's Pond
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

The Cairngorm Mountains in Speyside
No wonder people get neurotic. Life is too rational, there is no symbolic existence in which I am something else, in which I am fulfilling my role, my role as one of the actors in the divine drama of life.
Carl Jung, from 'The Symbolic Life'

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The aesthetic event is something as evident, as immediate, as indefinable as love, the taste of fruit, of water. We feel poetry as we feel the closeness of a woman, or as we feel a mountain or a bay.
JL Borges, from 'Poetry'
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction.

Friday, December 10, 2004

She put her hand to her neck and gave a long vertical pull; her white sailor's blouse was ripped to the hem; suspicion condensed into a too, too solid certainty. "Lenina, what are you doing?"

Zip, zip! Her answer was wordless. She stepped out of her bell-bottomed trousers. Her zippicamiknicks were a pale shell pink. The Arch-Community-Songster's golden T dangled at her breast.

"For those milk paps that through the window bars bore at men's eyes...." The singing, thundering, magical words made her seem doubly dangerous, doubly alluring. Soft, soft, but how piercing! boring and drilling into reason, tunnelling through resolution. "The strongest oaths are straw to the fire i' the blood. Be more abstemious, or else …"

Zip! The rounded pinkness fell apart like a neatly divided apple. A wriggle of the arms, a lifting first of the right foot, then the left: the zippicamiknicks were lying lifeless and as though deflated on the floor.

Still wearing her shoes and socks, and her rakishly tilted round white cap, she advanced towards him. "Darling. Darling! If only you'd said so before!" She held out her arms.

But instead of also saying "Darling!" and holding out his arms, the Savage retreated in terror, flapping his hands at her as though he were trying to scare away some intruding and dangerous animal. Four backwards steps, and he was brought to bay against the wall.

"Sweet!" said Lenina and, laying her hands on his shoulders, pressed herself against him. "Put your arms round me," she commanded. "Hug me till you drug me, honey." She too had poetry at her command, knew words that sang and were spells and beat drums.

Aldous Huxley, from 'Brave New World'

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Gillian Welch

There’s gotta be a song left to sing
Cause everybody can’t of thought of everything
One little song that ain’t been sung
One little rag that ain’t been wrung out completely yet
Gotta a little left

One little drop of fallin rain
One little chance to try again
One little bird that makes it every now and then
One little piece of endless sky
One little taste of cherry pie
One little week in paradise and I start thinkin’

There’s gotta be a song left to sing
Cause everybody can’t of thought of everything
One little note that ain’t been used
One little word ain’t been abused a thousand times
In a thousand rhymes ...

Gillian Welch
fishing hut, river Thurso - copyright Alan Edwards

In the far north of Scotland is a huge flat area of peatland called the Flow Country. It is one of my favourite places, a true wilderness with wide skies and nothing but the call of the curlew breaking the silence. This is an old fishing hut near the upper reaches of the River Thurso.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

No great man ever complains of want of opportunity. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sometimes I Am Alive Because With
sometimes i am alive because with
me her alert treelike body sleeps
which i will feel slowly sharpening
becoming distinct with love slowly,
who in my shoulder sinks sweetly teeth
until we shall attain the Springsmelling
intense large togethercoloured instant

the moment pleasantly frightful

when, her mouth suddenly rising, wholly
begins with mine fiercely to fool
(and from my thighs which shrug and pant
a murdering rain leapingly reaches the upward singular deepest flower
which she
carries in a gesture of her hips)

ee cummings
a step forward
A Texas rancher wants to give hunters the chance to kill animals with their computer. Virtual hunters would operate a camera and rifle pointed at a feeder set up to attract game, paying up to £1,000 to kill a buck deer. 'I've gotten hate mail calling me a sick, despicable redneck', the redneck said, 'but the technology for hunters keeps evolving, from bowhunting to high-powered rifles. This is just another step forward, another tactical advantage.'

sounding white
Members of the extreme right-wing British National Party were forced to walk out of their own Christmas party after accidentally hiring a black DJ. A BNP spokesman said: 'He sounded white on the phone.'
Tallulah Bankhead once ran into a former admirer with whom she had lost touch many years before. She greeted him with: 'I thought I told you to wait in the car'.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

... it's not easy to make genitalia out of balloons

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

sometimes you get strange results when the film winder slips
more important news
A woman from from Buffalo, who claimed to be a Saudi princess and ran up a £600,000 debt, is counter-suing American Express for failing to spot her irrational spending. Dutch homeless people are getting free winter coats if they allow firms to advertise on them. A Croatian watching an action movie on tv was almost killed when a 200-foot ship ploughed through the wall and demolished his parents' house. A Romanian mayor who set up a hotline to deal with civic problems is receiving more than a hundred offers of sex a week from bored housewives. Hundreds of people were injured at an annual stone throwing festival in a remote mountain Indian village. An Australian diving club has set a world record in underwater ironing. A Swedish moose hunter is playing bagpipes to lure his quarry from the woods. The head of an Alaskan school has been sacked for getting another teacher to whip him in front of two students. A soap opera in Germany changed its name when they realised the initials spelt out ANAL. A performance artist ate a fox in protest at the public fixation with the UK government's ban on hunting. The Seven Dwarves are threatening to strike at a market in Germany after Snow White was sacked for posing nude in a newspaper. A New Zealand woman is breastfeeding a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy because she wants it to protect her baby. Bill Gates gets 4 million emails a day - almost as many as me.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Last week we visited Penis Land. Now we travel to the French resort of Shit Sand, although what they meant their URL to convey was Sea of Sand.
important news
A Serbian tie maker is launching a range of cravats that tie around the penis. He hopes women might present them to men who have satisfied them. A Russian couple who tried to avoid buying a train ticket by putting their 3 year-old daughter in a suitcase had the case stolen. A Berkshire library kept getting asked for books such as 'Now You Can Eat All The Pies' and 'Lose Your Bum while Sitting On It' because people were fooled by magazine ads featuring spoof diet books. A Sydney man auctioned a piece of breakfast cereal resembling ET on eBay for £415. Two animal conservationists who met while working for 'Return Gibbons to the Forest' got married. At the ceremony the man summoned his mate by imitating a male gibbon call and she responded with happy monkey calls while swinging down from a tree. TV Watchdogs say the pig pleasured by Rebecca Loos - David Beckham's former PA - on the show 'The Farm' did not feel 'degraded' by the experience. Romania's blind car thief has been arrested for the second time in a month for stealing a car and crashing it into a tree.
They said I should go and build myself up, so I could defend myself. I went to Vic Tanning's - this was a long time ago - I went for three weeks and I lifted and I bent and I squatted. Nothing happend to me at all, nothing grew or anything, and I figure it's ridiculous, why don't I forget about it and give Vic Tanning the cash, and ask him if he'll walk me home nights.
Woody Allen

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards
In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, -- no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, -- my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, -- master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My instinct as an individualist and artist has always warned me most urgently against this capacity of men for becoming drunk on collective suffering, collective pride, collective hatred, and collective honour. When this morbid exaltation becomes perceptible in a room, a hall, a village, a city, or a country, I grow cold and distrustful; a shudder comes over me, for already, while most of my fellow men are still weeping with rapture and enthusiasm, still cheering and venting protestations of brotherhood, I see blood flowing and cities going up in flames.
Hermann Hesse
Lomo copyright Alan Edwards

Now and then I get photos back from the processors which I can't remember taking. This is one of them. It reminds me of a Mark Rothko painting.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I was in acting class. We did a play called 'Gideon', and I played the part of God - it was typecasting. It was method acting, so two weeks beforehand I started to live the part offstage. I was really fabulous. I put on a blue suit, I took taxi cabs all over New York, I tipped big, 'cause he would have. I got into a fight with a guy and I forgave him. It's true. Some guy hit my fender and I said unto him 'be fruitful and multiply', but not in those words.
Woody Allen
Lomo copyright Alan Edwards