Friday, 24 June 2011

Learn by Heart this Poem of Mine - Gyorgy Faludy

Learn by heart this poem of mine;

books only last a little time

and this one will be borrowed, scarred,

burned by Hungarian border guards,

lost by the library, broken-backed,

its paper dried up, crisped and cracked,

worm-eaten, crumbling into dust,

or slowly brown and self-combust

when climbing Fahrenheit has got

to 451, for that's how hot

your town will be when it burns down.

Learn by heart this poem of mine.

Learn by heart this poem of mine.

Soon books will vanish and you'll find

there won't be any poets or verse

or gas for car or bus - or hearse -

no beer to cheer you till you're crocked,

the liquor stores torn down or locked,

cash only fit to throw away,

as you come closer to that day

when TV steadily transmits

death-rays instead of movie hits

and not a soul to lend a hand

and everything is at an end

but what you hold within your mind,

so find a space there for these lines

and learn by heart this poem of mine.

Learn by heart this poem of mine;

recite it when the putrid tides

that stink of lye break from their beds,

when industry's rank vomit spreads

and covers every patch of ground,

when they've killed every lake and pond,

Destruction humped upon its crutch,

black rotting leaves on every branch;

when gargling plague chokes Springtime's throat

and twilight's breeze is poison, put

your rubber gasmask on and line

by line declaim this poem of mine.

Learn by heart this poem of mine

so, dead, I still will share the time

when you cannot endure a house

deprived of water, light, or gas,

and, stumbling out to find a cave,

roots, berries, nuts to stay alive,

get you a cudgel, find a well,

a bit of land, and, if it's held,

kill the owner, eat the corpse.

I'll trudge beside your faltering steps

between the ruins' broken stones,

whispering "You are dead; you're done!

Where would you go? That soul you own

froze solid when you left your town."

Learn by heart this poem of mine.

Maybe above you, on the earth,

there's nothing left and you, beneath,

deep in your bunker, ask how soon

before the poisoned air leaks down

through layers of lead and concrete. Can

there have been any point to Man

if this is how the thing must end?

What words of comfort can I send?

Shall I admit you've filled my mind

for countless years, through the blind

oppressive dark, the bitter light,

and, though long dead and gone, my hurt

and ancient eyes observe you still?

What else is there for me to tell

to you, who, facing time's design,

will find no use for life or time?

You must forget this poem of mine.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Friedrich Strasse: John Stezaker

I was about to post something about my recent trip to the John Stezaker exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery but then realised my friend Friedrich Strasse has already done a far more thorough job of it than I would have managed.

Friedrich Strasse: John Stezaker: "As anyone who knows me personally will know, collage and photomontage are things for which I have quite a considerable penchant. People lik..."

I am a huge fan of Stezaker's work and this exhibition is inexplicably beautiful. If I was prone to gushing, which of course I am not, I would exclaim that in many ways, for me, these works constitute absolute perfection. I walked round 3 times and am going back next week.

The only part FS doesn't mention is the Third Person Archive... hundreds of tiny stamp-sized fragments of larger illustrations that isolate the minuscule figures that feature as "extras" in larger scenes, when the more prominent action is elsewhere. Completely captivating and sort of life-affirming. Alright I'm embarrassing myself now so here you go, if you have 30 quid go geddit.


I just spent an entire January sunk deep in the magic of Twin Peaks. It enlightened my life then left me exhausted and devastated. Took me a few days to fully recover... anyway. There's enough obsessive fan sites and blogs which will tell you why it must be seen. But for me, the best bits were often the distinctly unsettling dancing scenes... completely blew me away.... so here is a little compilation of those glorious characters getting their grooves on...

Of course, these are just "appropriated" from YouTube but I am considering doing something with this... something along the lines of Christian Marclays video collages...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

In desperate need of "Bookmen’s Bedlam: An Olio of Literary Oddities"


Anthropodermic bibliopegy: the art of book binding with human skin. What a wonderful thing!

Joan Lyons - The Gynaecologist

I like it. This is what Joan has to say....

"Fanciful historic gynecological representations of women are juxtaposed with a contemporary patient / doctor interview, which reveals the authority a traditionally male medical culture holds in describing and prescribing for an individual body; in this case female. Aspects of the text will be familiar to most women. This book was based on several years of research and was in danger of becoming a ponderous document before I edited it down to what I know best—an artist's book. It echos the structure of historical printed books, with its small text block and illuminated margins."

Richtung 2000 - Made in Germany, 1972

Es sieht herrlich, aber ich spreche kein Deutsch! Ist das die Zukunft?! 

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Little Oysters

Like hundreds upon thousands of romantic little fantasists, Alice in Wonderland was my favourite movie as a child, and one of my favourite books too. I could quote it word for word- a feat in which I am far from extraordinary. Lewis Carroll somehow captures the imaginations of little girls in a way that one could never for a minute imagine an adult man capable of. There were paedophile accusations, I'm sure, which I suspect are completely unfounded.

Anyway, isn't this horrible?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Crampton and Engerth - a passage from A Rebours, J.K.Huysmans

To tell the truth, artifice was in Des Esseintes' philosophy the distinctive mark of human genius.
As he used to say, Nature has had her day; she has definitely and finally tired out by the sickening monotony of her landscapes and skyscapes the patience of refined temperaments. When all is said and done, what a narrow, vulgar affair it all is, like a petty shopkeeper selling one article of goods to the exclusion of all others; what a tiresome store of green fields and leafy trees, what a wearisome commonplace collection of mountains and seas!
In fact, not one of her inventions, deemed so subtle and so wonderful, which the ingenuity of mankind cannot create; no Forest of Fontainebleau, no fairest moonlight landscape but can be reproduced by stage scenery illuminated by the electric light; no waterfall but can be imitated by the proper application of hydraulics, till there is no distinguishing the copy from the original; no mountain crag but painted pasteboard can adequately represent; no flower but well chosen silks and dainty shreds of paper can manufacture the like of!
Yes, there is no denying it, she is in her dotage and has long ago exhausted the simple-minded admiration of the true artist; the time is undoubtedly come when her productions must be superseded by art.
Why, to take the one of all her works which is held to be the most exquisite, the one of all her creations whose beauty is by general consent deemed the most original and most perfect,--woman to wit, have not men, by their own unaided effort, manufactured a living, yet artificial organism that is every whit her match from the point of view of plastic beauty? Does there exist in this world of ours a being, conceived in the joys of fornication and brought to birth amid the pangs of motherhood, the model, the type of which is more dazzlingly, more superbly beautiful than that of the two locomotives lately adopted for service on the Northern Railroad of France?
One, the Crampton, an adorable blonde, shrill-voiced, slender-waisted, with her glittering corset of polished brass, her supple, catlike grace, a fair and fascinating blonde, the perfection of whose charms is almost terrifying when, stiffening her muscles of steel, pouring the sweat of steam down her hot flanks, she sets revolving the puissant circle of her elegant wheels and darts forth a living thing at the head of the fast express or racing seaside special!
The other, the Engerth, a massively built, dark-browed brunette, of harsh, hoarse-toned utterance, with thick-set loins, panoplied in armour-plating of sheet iron, a giantess with dishevelled mane of black eddying smoke, with her six pairs of low, coupled wheels, what overwhelming power when, shaking the very earth, she takes in tow, slowly, deliberately, the ponderous train of goods waggons.
Of a certainty, among women, frail, fair-skinned beauties or majestic, brown-locked charmers, no such consummate types of dainty slimness and of terrifying force are to be found. Without fear of contradiction may we say: man has done, in his province, as well as the God in whom he believes.
Thoughts like these would come to Des Esseintes at times when the breeze carried to his ears the far-off whistle of the baby railroad that plies shuttlewise backwards and forwards between Paris and Sceaux. His house was within a twenty minutes' walk or so of the station of Fontenay, but the height at which it stood and its isolated situation left it entirely unaffected by the noise and turmoil of the vile hordes that are inevitably attracted on Sundays by the neighbourhood of a railway station.