Monday, October 31, 2005

I relish the idea that in the night, all around me in my sleep, sorcery is burrowing its invisible tunnels in every direction ...
Paul Bowles

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Moorish Cafe
For all their religious orthodoxy and outward austerity, the people of Fez are not ashamed to be hedonists. They love the sound of a fountain splashing in the courtyard; on the coals of their braziers they sprinkle sandalwood and benzoin; they have a passion for sitting on a high spot of ground at twilight and watching the slow change of light, color and form in the landscape. Outside the ramparts are innumerable orchards, delightful little wildernesses of canebrake, where olive and fig trees abound. It is the custom of families to go out there on a late afternoon with their rugs, braziers and tea equipment. One discovers groups of such picnickers in the most secluded corners of the countryside, particularly on the northern slopes above the valley. Not long ago on one of my walks I came across a family spread out in the long grass. They were sitting quietly on their reed mats, but something in their collective attitude made me stop and observe them more closely. Then I saw that surrounding them at a radius of perhaps a hundred feet was a circle of bird cages, each supported by a stake driven into the ground. There were birds in all the cages and they were singing. The entire family sat there happily, listening. As urbanites in other places carry along their radios, they had brought their birds with them from the town, purely for entertainment.

Paul Bowles, from 'Fez', 1984.
Fez is the setting for Paul Bowles' great novel 'The Spider's House' (1955)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist, Winter. In the bare trees and twigs what a display of muscle!
Thoreau's Journal: 29th October 1858
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

I tried to get an appointment at the Beauty Box, but for some reason they sent me next door.
The Amoeba
To feed an amoeba is no easy task
Greater than I have been thwarted
If you lift up the hair the mouth isn't there
And the eyes are immensely distorted.

The Pike
The pike is a fish of malevolent mien
As many a trout will aver
He hovers around with hardly a sound
Malevolent, therefore, but clever.

The Polar Bear
The polar bear is always there
Wherever icebergs flow
He dyes his hair with meticulous care
To blend in with the snow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
Ah, did you once see Shelley plain,
And did he stop and speak to you,
And did you speak to him again?
How strange it seems and new!

But you were living before that,
And also you are living after;
And the memory I started at—
My starting moves your laughter!

I crossed a moor with a name of its own
And a certain use in the world, no doubt,
Yet a hand's-breadth of it shines alone
'Mid the blank miles round about.

For there I picked upon the heather
And there I put inside my breast
A moulted feather, an eagle-feather!
Well, I forget the rest.

Robert Browning

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Get Your Sex ID here (takes a few minutes)

So. It seems I fall exactly in the middle of the male-female brain continuum. What does this mean? I am both man and woman - like Abraxas or Eddie Izzard? Or neither - an amoeba?
Zillions of Music Videos
like this classic, or this lovely song ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Autumn Day
Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander on the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Wimbledon 1967 by Tony Ray-Jones

The National Museum of Photography
There are some really fantastic photographs on this site, and if you're like me you can easily get lost for hours. By the way, if you've never seen his work check out Tony Ray-Jones.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

I also visited Glasgow's infamous red light district.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

I went to Glasgow at the weekend, and guess what ... it rained. Does the sun ever shine on the bonny banks of the Clyde? Well, if it does I've never seen it. But, despite the climate, I like Glasgow. It's big and brash and loud, which makes a refreshing change from genteel Edinburgh where everyone wears carpet slippers and looks like they're sucking a lemon. Glaswegians are mostly as mad as hatters and they don't care who knows it. Anyway, I had planned to take some photographs, but apart from a brief dry interlude when I went to see the Templeton's carpet factory (above) it was too wet. The building is no longer a factory, but it is one of the most amazing pieces of Victorian architecture you'll ever clap eyes on. It was created in the style of the Doge's Palace in Venice because two more conventional designs for a factory had already been rejected by the City Fathers, and Mr Templeton wanted to present them with a design they couldn't refuse. The plan worked. A carpet factory masquerading as a Venetian Palace was obviously considered a must-have for the East End of Scotland's biggest industrial city in the 1880s. Best of all, it's still there. Later that day I saw a rather disquieting sign on an empty red-brick building beside the Forth and Clyde Canal. It proclaimed in big white letters: THE ANAL BAR AND RESTAURANT. Someone had nicked the 'C'.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

We have everything
We are noble sons and daughters of Buddha. We ARE Buddha. We have Buddha in us. Why should we crunch ourselves down and deform our state of being? Why don't we just expand ourselves into our perfect form, our perfect being? We have perceptions and energies and inspiration. We have everything. We have a spiritual friend, we have the teaching. We have everything. What more do we want? We have everything in this whole universe. We have everything there. We have intelligence and understanding and the materials to understand. We have everything.

Chogyam Trungpa, from 'The Lion's Roar: An Introduction to Tantra'

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
You couldn't make it up ...

This article considers the increasing popularity of showering in the UK. We use this case as a means of exploring some of the dimensions and dynamics of everyday practice. Drawing upon a range of documentary evidence, we begin by sketching three possible explanations for the current constitution of showering as a private, increasingly resource-intensive routine. We begin by reviewing the changing infrastructural, rhetorical and moral positioning of showering. We then consider how the multiple and contingent constituents of showering are arranged and re-arranged in and through the practice itself.
Abstract of ‘Explaining Showering: a Discussion of the Material, Conventional and Temporal Dimensions of Practice’, by Martin Hand, Elizabeth Shove and Dale Southerton, Sociological Research Online

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Haven't seen this little fellow for a while.
Isn't it amazing how he just keeps going?
botanical gardens #5
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Imagine looking out your window and seeing these!

Lines inspired by Ovid's 'Amores'
Create a place for your wantonness
Leave modesty aside in her drab dress
Fill that place with all delights
Lay thigh on thigh night on night
Let the tongue thrust into purple lips
And desire teach love a thousand tricks
With urgent words and wordless eyes
Let the bedframe shudder to your cries
But when you go from that fine place
Wear chastity upon your face
Pace the world with demure tread
And leave your sins upon the bed.

Walter G Standforth
Having finally decided to create my Blogger Profile I thought I would answer the funny little question they pose at the end. It was something like: 'Your aunt has given you a maple syrup dispenser in the shape of rooster for your birthday. Write her a thank you note.' I wrote:
Dearest Aunt Fanny, Many thanks for the handsome cock. I lost no time in putting it to use and dribbled it all over Jessica's pancakes this morning. I do hope Uncle Willie's trouble is on the mend. Has he tried the embrocation I enclosed with the last package of whale blubber? Your devoted nephew, Lionel.
Unfortunately I had accidentally ticked the box saying 'Give me a new question', so my answer appeared beneath 'Sponges and tongues are frequently misspelled. Is it because both are thirsty?'. I thought about leaving it like that, but didn't want to give the impression I was mad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured stunning infrared views of the famous Andromeda galaxy to reveal insights that were only hinted at in visible light. Spitzer's 24-micron mosaic is the sharpest image ever taken of the dust in another spiral galaxy. This is possible because Andromeda is a close neighbor to the Milky Way at a mere 2.5 million light-years away.

Monday, October 17, 2005

botanical gardens #4
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Sunday, October 16, 2005

botanical gardens #3
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Saturday, October 15, 2005

botanical gardens #2
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
Real love is the love that sometimes arises after sensual pleasure. If it does, it is immortal.
Giacomo Casanova

Friday, October 14, 2005

botanical gardens #1
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Eric Fredine Landscapes
via Conscientious

I quite like some of these landscapes, but why are photographers always spouting stuff like, 'I seek to see beyond the literal subject matter of my photographs and reveal underlying truths'? If you stacked all the 'underlying truths' supposedly revealed by today's photographers on top of each other they would probably stretch to the moon and back, and still no-one would be any the wiser. Of course, the trouble is that photographers are desperate to be seen as 'artists' - partly, no doubt, because the galleries that represent them can charge punters more and pocket fatter commissions by marketing them as such. But claiming to be an artist doesn't make you one; that's for posterity to decide. Photography is a transparent and totally superficial medium, and that's its great strength. Aesthetically a photograph is either good, bad or indifferent, and no amount of quasi-philosophical guff can change that fact. You never heard the great pioneers of photography wittering on about underlying truths; their concern was with the image alone. So please, let the photograph speak for itself, and leave the underlying truths where they belong. Rant over.
I love it when quiz show contestants give daft answers ...

Anne Robinson: The adjective Rubenesque, meaning a plump, voluptuous woman, is derived from the work of which 17th-century Flemish artist?
Contestant: Aretha Franklin.
The Weakest Link

Dale Winton: Which bird lays its eggs in other birds’ nests? Is it (a) jackdaw, (b) cuckoo, or (c) magpie?
Contestant: Well, it’s not a cuckoo because that lives in a clock.
National Lottery: In It To Win It

Sara Cox: Complete this well-known saying: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the...’
Contestant: Tiger.
Sara Cox show

Les Dennis: Name a game that can be played in bed.
Contestant: I spy with my little eye.
Family Fortunes
Lomo copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In Memoriam Kenneth Wood, inventor of the
"Kenwood" Mixer and the Reversible Toaster

So. Farewell then
Ken Wood.

Inventor of the

Reversible the of
Wood Ken.

Then farewell

E.J. Thribb, inventor of the
Reversible Poem (½71)

Published in Private Eye, October 1997
scroll down the linked page to read about the magazine

[for Yoda]

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Monday, October 10, 2005

To Maeve
You walk unaware
Of the slender gazelle
That moves as you move
And is one with the limbs
That you have.

You live unaware
Of the faint, the unearthly
Echo of hooves
That within your white streams
Of clear clay that I love

Are in flight as you turn,
As you stand, as you move,
As you sleep, for the slender
Gazelle never rests
In your ivory grove.

Mervyn Peake

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Sunshine On Leith
My heart was broken, my heart was broken
Sorrow sorrow sorrow sorrow
My heart was broken, my heart was broken
You saw it, you claimed it
You touched it, you saved it.

My tears are drying, my tears are drying
Thankyou thankyou thankyou thankyou
My tears are drying, my tears are drying
Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness.

While I'm worth my room on this earth
I will be with you
While the Chief puts sunshine on Leith
I'll thank him for his work
And your birth and my birth
Yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah.

The Proclaimers
London Airport
Last night in London Airport
I saw a wooden bin
So I wrote a poem
and popped it in.

Christopher Logue

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Lomo copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
Outside: Winter Solstice
I bath you with my robe open.
The heat rises from the floor
and moves our hair. Your skin
is nearly transparent in water.
It's morning, you close your eyes,
we've missed a thousand other details.

Valerie Martinez

Friday, October 07, 2005

Don Juan: When I was on earth, and made those proposals to ladies which, though universally condemned, have made me so interesting a hero of legend, I was not infrequently met in some such way as this. The lady would say that she would countenance my advances, provided they were honourable. On inquiring what that proviso meant, I found that it meant that I proposed to get possession of her property if she had any, or to undertake her support for life if she had not; that I desired her continual companionship, counsel, and conversation to the end of my days, and would take a most solemn oath to be always enraptured by them above all, that I would turn my back on all other women for ever for her sake. I did not object to these conditions because they were exorbitant and inhuman: it was their extraordinary irrelevance that prostrated me. I invariably replied with perfect frankness that I had never dreamt of any of these things ... that her constant companionship might, for all I knew, become intolerably tedious to me; that I could not answer for my feelings for a week in advance, much less to the end of my life; that to cut me off from all natural and unconstrained intercourse with half my fellow creatures would narrow and warp me ... that, finally, my proposals to her were wholly unconnected with any of these matters, and were the outcome of a perfectly simple impulse of my manhood towards her womanhood.
Ana: You mean that it was an immoral impulse.
Don Juan: Nature, my dear lady, is what you call immoral. I blush for it; but I cannot help it.

George Bernard Shaw, from Act III of 'Man and Superman', 1903
Walter Matthau

Oscar Madison: I can't take it any more Felix, I'm cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I told you 158 times I can't stand little notes on my pillow. 'We're all out of cornflakes. F.U.' Took me three hours to figure out F.U. was Felix Ungar!

Walter Matthau to Jack Lemon in the wonderful screen version of Neil Simon's 'The Odd Couple', 1968

Thursday, October 06, 2005

| days in a day |

this is really well done. it's what the internet was made for.
digital painting #5

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction
It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.
Franz Kafka
the loglady sent me here

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Babette's Feast

Lorenz: I have been with you every day of my life. Tell me you know that.
Martina: Yes, I know it.
Lorenz: You must also know that I shall be with you every day that is granted to me from now on. Every evening I shall sit down to dine with you. Not with my body, which is of no importance, but with my soul. Because this evening I have learned, my dear, that in this beautiful world of ours, all things are possible.

from Babette's Feast, 1987

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

We control our thoughts which mean nothing, and not our emotions which mean everything.
Paul in 'Masculin, Féminin' by Jean-Luc Godard (1966)
later that day ...
Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

Monday, October 03, 2005

Image copyright Alan Edwards. No unauthorised reproduction

In which the writer fears he is turning into Captain Ahab
I wouldn't describe myself as a trophy hunter - I go fishing for the fresh air, the surroundings and the solitude as much as anything - but there's an undeniable thrill in hooking and playing a big salmon. In Scotland that means a fish of 20 pounds at least, and nowadays, thanks mainly to illegal netting in their marine feeding grounds near Greenland, these fish are few and far between. Atlantic salmon grow big because after they've spawned a small percentage manage to return to the sea where they increase in size before returning to the river again a few years later. The more often they return, the bigger they grow. I've been fishing the same stretch of a smallish east coast river at the end of September for about 15 years now, and although the average salmon weighs about 8 pounds the river also holds a few seriously big fish. About 10 years ago I hooked one of these leviathans and battled with it for about half an hour before it suddenly surfaced a few yards away from me and thrashed its head against the water with such force that the hooks came flying out, the line went slack, and the fish disappeared silently into the depths once more. From what I saw of it I reckon that fish was close to 30 pounds, and for days after our epic battle I still felt a pang of disappointment that I hadn't managed to land it.

Each year since then I've returned to that same pool, where the water suddenly deepens beneath a tall overhanging ash tree, and cast into the spot where I hooked that fish. If there are big fish around this is where they lie, but I'd never again encountered one of them until last Thursday when history unexpectedly repeated itself. I suddenly felt a powerful tug, then a double thump on the line and knew immediately that I'd connected with one of the big ones. It twisted and plunged and pulled out line, and I was helpless to prevent it, even though I was exerting massive pressure trying to make sure it didn't get any slack line to allow it to throw the hook. After about 5 minutes I decided to release the tension on the reel a little more to encourage the fish to run out into the main current on the far side of the pool, as this would be the best way of tiring it out and, with luck, eventually bringing it to the net. However, this particular fish didn't just run; it took off like a steam train, hurtling right across the pool before using its momentum to leap spectacularly out of the water shaking its head with such force that the hook came unstuck. I found myself standing there with nothing but the image of another huge bar of silver crashing back into the water indelibly stamped on my mind. Later I did catch a couple of smaller salmon, which I returned because they were near to spawning, but the big, strong, fresh-run fish from this river still eludes me. Still, fishermen are eternally - and often irrationally - optimistic, so maybe next year ...