Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fun Boy Three, the 1980s and all that....

It's been a while - my blog has been sadly neglected during a very busy term, which is thankfully now over.

Yesterday I found myself in a strangely 1980s musical mood. I started off listening to Arcade Fire but was then overcome with an overwhelming urge to listen to the Fun Boy Three, Madness, The Jam, Iggy Pop, The Style Council and Eurythmics. I'm not ashamed - I enjoyed it and it's not even my favourite 80s music. The Fun Boy Three are great though, they look very dated if you watch their videos but they wrote great lyrics - I think Terry Hall is one of the most underated lyricists of our time.

There is something about 80s music - it must be the influence of the era. I sometimes wonder if the way I am is because I was a teen in the 80s - it has left me slightly cynical and a bit of a pessimist. Friends who were teens in the 70s seem to have a different outlook on life. The 80s was a bleak time especially politically. On the one hand there was a lot of frivolous stuff going on - lightweight music like Duran Duran and Wham, there were some ridicolous fashions (big hair, the bubble skirt!) and some people were getting rich quick. But on the other side of the coin there was the miners strike, race riots, the National Front were getting big, there was The Falklands War, mass privatisation, The Peace Convoy and the way they were hounded and finally beaten by the police in the infamous Battle of the Beanfield. It was a bleak time for young people too - there was massively high unemployment which was why some people went on the road - or like me went to live in a commune.

Out of this however did come some really great music, which wouldn't have existed without the backdrop of those times - UB40, The Specials, Fun Boy Three, Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Beat etc.

I saw a piece of graffitti recently that read "there's no point in voting, if it changed anything it would be illegal." I understood the sentiment, but I disagree - anyone who lived through the 1980s will tell you - things could be a lot worse.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Surreal Life of Jelly Babies

When I was a child I had a very wierd book called "Peter Puffer's Fun Book" - it was great and I loved it - a bit like taking an acid trip - although of course I didn't know that at the time. One of the strories was about a family of jelly babies whose mum takes them to visit some relatives on an island by the sea. She tells them not to get their feet wet - but of course because their cousins (who I believe were sea anemones!) were and because the island was about a foot across they couldn't resist it and did - and that is why jelly babies have their feet stuck together. I have no idea why I was thinking about that story today except that I have been stuck at home with a sore throat and a cold. Feeling to groggy to even read a novel I had to resort to DVDs (Fleetwood Mac) and thinking about children's literature.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Paring down Poetry

Can you pare down poetry too much?

George Szirtes taught me to cut some of the superfluous words from my poems and I can see that he was right. After the initial shock last year of seeing my poetry with words, lines and even stanzas crossed out I looked again and was able to immediately see that without a doubt my poetry is better for it. It is stronger, clearer, more direct, it speaks in its own voice without getting bogged down in ands and buts and explanatory lines.

Minimal poetry is also the kind of poetry that I prefer to read myself - poets like Lorca and Neruda. Poetry that appears simple yet the beauty of the language can bring tears to your eyes and make your heart sing with joy.

What I find myself wondering though is whether poetry can become too refined? Does the constant paring down mean that you might lose some essence of the original poem? Will I keep obsessively paring down my words until each line is but a single word? Will my poem eventually be simply a blank page?

There is without a doubt great beauty in silence, but in the silence of choice not that of procrastination.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Future is the Past...

It is very seldom that I watch a film that I know that I will want to see again, and even rarer to see one that will watch again within a week (pretty much unheard of actually!)
The Future is Unwritten is one of those films. I had been really looking forward to watching it as I have been an unashamedly huge fan of The Clash for years, but thsi film far exceeded all my expectations.
Once you get used to the quirkiness of the filming it is riveting viewing. Temple has filmed a bunch of Strummer's friends and peershanging out around a campfire on what looks like the banks of the River Thames. They are listening to a recording of Strummer's radio show that he made for the BBC World Service. One of the most striking and original things about the film is that the narration is largely the voice of Strummer himself talking about his musical life. This is interspersed with anecdotes supplied by his friends and is run over video and photo footage of Strummer's life plus anamated drawings.
One of the great things about this film is that it covers the whole of Joe Strummer's life not just the period of time when he was in The Clash. I found it fascinating to learn about his childhood, his time as a hippy living in a London squat as well as what happened to him after The Clash disbanded. I am ashamed to say that I was such a huge Clash fan in my teens and twenties that I never really came to terms with their split and so didn't follow their subsequent musical careers. This was definitely my loss - The Mescaleros produced some brilliant music and I am just left wishing that I had given them a chance when Strummer was still alive.
I would highly recommend this brilliant/funny/sad film and would suggest that while you watch it you might want to keep a pen and notepad handy as Joe plays some excellent tracks on his radio show that you will undoubtedly want to hear again.
Recommended tracks:
Johnny Appleseed - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
Coma Girl - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
Blitzreig Bop - The Ramones
1977 - The Clash
Corrina, Corrina - Bob Dylan
To Love Somebody - Nina Simone
This is Not a Lovesong - Public Image Limited

Monday, September 17, 2007

Greek Poets

A few days ago I bought a book in a tiny Greek bookshop called "Modern Greek Poetry". Modern though, seems to me a bit of a misnomer as there is nothing in there from beyond the 1960s and most of the poetry is from the early part of the twentieth century. There was one poet in the book who I particularly liked - Nikos Engonopoulos. WhenI looked at his biography I was surprised to find that he was first and foremost a famous Greek Surrealist painter. Sadly he doesn't seem to have written that many poems.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another Greek Salad

I'm sitting here like a geek in an internet cafe whilst outside the hot sun is beating down and my stomach is telling me that it is time to eat lunch - maybe another Greek salad....

Murdering Music

We heard an interesting radio station whilst drinking our coffee in a Greek cafe this week. The station's playlist seemed to be made up entirely of cover versions of classic English songs. During our coffee we heard versions of Eurythmic's "Sweet Dreams" and other numbers originally performed by Radiohead, The Beatles and John Lennon amongst others (sorry track titles elude me right now - or else I have blanked them out). Sadly every number played was truly awful - now I know what they mean when they talk about murdering a song!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How to Say Goodbye...

One of the things about a holiday is that it gives you a bit of space to think and I got to thinking about a conversation I had with a friend recently about what music she would want played at her funeral. I found myself wondering what music I would want played at MY funeral. It's a difficult one. Some people might go for poignant songs or songs with meaningful lyrics, then there are the obvious songs about dying, death and saying goodbye. Of course one could go the other way and include childish songs, joke songs or those that would generally be deemed inappropriate for a funeral - or one could view it as a last opportunity to inflict your musical taste on friends and family.

Personally I would go for songs I love and hope that they mean something to everyone else. The danger is though that you could ruin a good song for your loved ones. Years ago someone sang "Summertime" at a close friend's funeral and I haven't wanted to listen to it since.

Here is my list so far:
Damien Rice - Volcano
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
The Clash - Stay Free
John Martyn - Over the Hill
Damien Rice - 9 Crimes

Eaten Alive

It's hard to relax on holiday when you are being eaten alive by mosquitos. Hunchermuncher has not had a single nibble but my current tally is seven - and that includes one the size of a smallish dinner plate that is hot enough to fry an egg on. Yes I am somewhat allergic to bites and I find myself wondering why it is always the allergic people that get bitten. It's a bit like cats - H is allergic to cat hair and whenever visit friends with a cat the cat homes right in on him ignoring everyone else.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Don't Shop the Reaper

We went to Somerfield today and lo and behold what was the background music - "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. I couldn't believe it - I have blogged about this before - last time they were playing it in the department store Jarrolds. I find myself wondering what is it about this song that it has suddenly become so popular as backing music for shoppers. Blue Oyster Cult were never exactly mainstream and it's a song about death for chrissakes. Either someone hasn't listened to the lyrics properly or they are being ironic. I mean supermarkets do have something grim reaperish about them don't they. What next will we buying underwear accompanied by "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath or "The Lemon Song" by Led Zeppelin - "squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg..."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Damien Nice

It's funny, a year ago I wasn't keen on Damien Rice - but he is one of those singers who has really grown on me. The more I listen to his albums, the more I like them. They are a powerful rollercoaster ride from heaven to hell and back again, oozing with sex, anger and sadness. He is like a modern day John Martyn, not just because of any similarity in guitar or vocal style - but because he is the only other singer whose work is so encompassing of both darkness and light.

Rice's music gets right inside of you, tearing apart your senses and putting them back together in new and unexpected ways. There are very few singer/songwriters that can make a woman want to have sex with them and bear their children - but Rice's music can have that effect on women of all ages - and that's before you've even seen him! It's all about the voice, the words, the emotion!

Recommended tracks:-

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Museum of Life

I have been very remiss about doing my blog of late. It seems that I find it difficult to function creatively without some kind of deadline to work to. You would think that freeed from the constraints of the busy term I would have oodles of time to blog away to my hearts content. But it just doesn't seem to work like that. One of the reasons I suspect is that I am more motivated when I am busy and another of course is that busy lives are more intersesting and therefore give a person more to blog about.

That said I have done some interesting things recently. Hunchermuncher and I went to a very odd arts event at Norwich arts centre a week or so ago called "Rub me up the Wrong Way" which was aninteresting mix of dance and performance artists culminating in Gwendoline Robin exploding as the human firework. Most of the performances were enjoyable except that of Hugh O'Donnell who crammed cheese sandwiches up his arse accompanied by a tape loop of the song "I don't know what to do with myself" and then barfed into a bucket. Maybe I am getting old but I JUST DON'T GET IT.

I did however GET Karton Bott's brilliant installation at Norwich Castle Museum. Bott has created an exhibition entitiled "Museum of Life" which I thought was brilliant. Bott has created two very different settings in which he has displayed some of his extensive collection of everyday objects. In the first room he has made a meandering path through the objects that are spred out on either side, and in the second the objects are displayed on towering floor to ceiling shelf units and in glass museum display cases. This is a fascinating exhibit and effects the viewer on many levels - the most obvious being that we identify with the objects themselves. My son and I found ourselves spotting things that were familiar - that we owned or had owned or were local. Then we were identifying cultural items and wondering which country things were from. In the second room Bott has grouped objects - foe example toys, photographic items, objects relating to the war.

This exhibition contains too many items for a viewer to possibly see and comprehend on one visit and I suspect that even if you visited ten times you would still spot artefacts that you hadn't noticed previously.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Never thought that I'd find myself saying this but Arcade Fire have really grown on me after seeing them live. It's the kind of music that gets inside your head and you just can't get it out. Consequently I have finally succumbed to buying a couple of their albums and they are very good. In fact I have a veritable feast of listening to and downloading music this week - which in some ways makes up for the fact that since the end of term I seem to have completely lost the ability to write anything coherent or meaningful.

Current playlist includes:
Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing
Muse - Bliss
Kasabian - Shoot the Runner
Gotan Project - Vuelvo Al Sur
White Stripes - Fell in Love With a Girl
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
Killers - When You Were Young
Jarvis Cocker - i Will Kill Again
Arcade Fire - Rebellion

Monday, July 16, 2007


It's a long time since have appreciated a bath so much as I did last night when we arrived back from Latitude Festival. Although I enjoyed the festival immensely it has to be said that the facilities were abysmal - especially in comparison to WOMAD. The showers broke on Saturday morning and were still out of action on Sunday.

That said the music was great, the weather held out, the location is beautiful and the poetry was excellent.

Highlights for me were Damien Rice on Friday evening, the brilliant and funny Simon Armitage in the poetry tent, the hugely entertaining Jarvis Cocker and The Gotan Project. I was sadly unmoved by The Good, The Bad and The Queen, I can appreciate that they are good musicians but the music always leaves me feeling a bit flat. Best outfit prize in my opinion should be awared to the lead singer of CSS for her metallic pink jumpsuit.

I was especially impressed by the stand-up poetry tent, which made the festival for me - nice to see poetry getting more exposure.

Compared to WOMAD though, there were a few areas that we found lacking - WOMAD has more of everything - stalls, food and one thing we really appreciated was chill out areas - bars and cafes that had areas where you could just hang out for a bit and get your breath back. We eneded up going to bed not long after midnight at Latitude but if there had been places where we could just chill for a bit we might have got a second wind and stayed up a lot longer. (spoken like a true oldie).

Strangely I didn't meet many people I knew - even though its only 40 miles from Norwich - there were only one or two familiar faces - and a couple of people that looked like people I used to know, but I was too embaressed to go and say hello in case they weren't!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bargains and Favourites

I found myself in HMV yesterday looking for birthday presents. Didn't find a present but somehow ended up spending twenty quid in the sale - not sure how that happened. I console myself with the fact that one of the CDs was a complete bargain - Appetite for Destrution by Guns n Roses for three pounds! (yes I know it's cheesy but there are a few good tracks on there and I'm not proud!). The other CD was the latest Killers album which is very good. I can also console myself that the two DVDs were cheap too - five and three pounds which is as much as you might pay to rent a film and we can always sell them on or give them to the charity shop later.

N and I watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" last night, which I thoroughly enjoyed on a second viewing and N enjoyed it too - it's intesesting to see what 14 year olds like. He asked me last night to name my favourite film of all time. A hard task - there are so many. If I was really pushed I might say High Fidelity. I tried to narrow it down to a top ten and even found that difficult. Here they are in no particular order:

High Fidelity

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Yes I know that's more than ten! and then of course there are the music films:

Monday, July 02, 2007

Seven Ages of Rock

This picture kind of sums up how I feel today - a bit ragged round the edges - all over the place and nowhere at all!
I very much enjoyed the final episode of Seven Ages of Rock on BBC1 last night, although I can't believe that they covered Brit Pop without showing any music by Pulp, who were huge for a while back in the nineties and who easily outstripped Blur and Oasis in talent and originality in my opinion.
I could kick myself for missing last weeks episde though.....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Through Life

Through Life
(words by pupski picture by Jeff Soto)

I drove myself to love
through regimented parks where picnickers
spread their checked rugs
and old men pass the time of day,
nodding like dogs in the afternoon sun,
where babies romp on hard-baked grass
and bald boys bounce their balls in the dust.

I drove myself insane,
running amok amidst shopping malls
lined with cash machines
whose angry mouths spit at the world,
where doughy men suck
burgers, kebabs and hot pastries
their greased skin glistening under neon lights.

I drove myself down lifts, escalators,
through petrol-scented car-parks,
running amongst Renaults, Fiats, Rovers,
slipping and sliding on oil-slicked floors,
parking-ticketed and surveillance-filmed,
gulping greedily
at the exhaust-fumed air.

I drove myself to work
in leaden offices where suits and skirts
vie for a place at the water cooler,
where bored secretaries dab at limp keyboards
with chipolata fingers ringed with gold
and nicotine-stained men
suck cigarettes behind rusting bike-sheds.

I drove myself to drink,
in gardened pubs where black-boarded dinners
are chalked in green and red
and umbrella-ed girls lounge
on splintered benches
one eye on the water feature
and the other on the time.

I drove myself to death,
through the myriad streets of my life,
down terraced roads where bedraggled girls play,
their skipping-ropes snagging my tights as I pass,
where ragged washing hangs,
dull and lifeless between the houses,
strung like headless corpses from the telephone wires.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll ( well rock and roll)

I don't know if it's the anti-climax of getting all my work handed in and the end of term looming, or if it is hanging out with all those bright young things. Or maybe it is simply spring and the equivalent of itchy feet, but just recently I have wanted to go wild and party.
The trouble is I can't sustain that kind of behaviour any more. Last week for instance I went out with some people from my course. I had three large glasses (buckets) of wine suddenly felt really drunk and had to go home - I was in bed before midnight! Of course according to the latest government statistics that is classed as binge drinking!
So anyway here I am feeling slightly washed out after two nights of socialising and wondering how the heck I used to do it every night.
Another element of the urge to party is the urge to dance; but there doesn't seem to be anywhere for adults to do that in Norwich. What I need is the grown up equivalent of the teen disco! I am also listening to tons of music, which is great rediscovering gems from my youth plus a whole host of new stuff - haven't managed to convince my son to like Led Zeppelin yet though - but I'm working on it.
Here is this weeks top 10 albums (in no particular order)
1) Muse - Origin of Symmetry
3) Radiohead - The Bends
4) Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses
5) Red Hot Chili Peppers - Greatest Hits
6) Pearl Jam - Rear View Mirror
7) Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
9) The Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
10) Mich Gerber - Endless String

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In Through the Out Door

In Through the Out Door
Originally uploaded by pupski
Having a Led Zeppelin kind of week this week. Now that this terms work is finally all handed in I can let my hair down a bit (that's why I'm posting at 1.30am) and that means reading novels, writing poetry, listening to music and watching music videos on You tube

I have to say Youtube is great and I feel slightly less guilty about this little vice since I learned that George Szirtes is a fan too. I have been watchinng all kinds of great bands - some of whom I haven't seen for years.

I also had a reorganise of my cd collection last week - it has now outgrown its' shelf. I was shocked to discover that I didn't own a cd with the track "Dazed and Confused" on it and had to rectify the situation immediately by purchasing Led Zeppelin I from ebay. I find you just can't have enough Led Zeppelin!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Taking a Cabbage for a Walk

On Monday I have to attend a meeting where we are told what groups we will be in for our theatre project next term. I have to admit to a certain amount of trepidation about this. Besides the obvious worries about ending up in a group with someone difficult I have very little theatrical experience. It's funny really, I loved theatre when I was young. Appearing in two Gangshows - one when I was 6 and the other when I was 13 - were the high points of my childhood.

My friend and I even tried to join Thetford Amateur Dramatic Society, but weren't made to feel particularly welcome so only went once. I suppose I was a bit of a drama queen as a teen. My friends and I used to pull stunts like ringing people up and trying to keep them talking or attaching a lead to a cabbage and taking it for a walk like a dog.

Where did all that dramatic energy go I wonder? At what point did I stop being a big show off and become more introverted? Was it gradual? Is it maturity? I'm not sure that I know the answer myself - it's not that I want to be a show off now, but I wouldn't mind getting back some of that unselfconcious self-confidence that comes with youth - it would certainly help me with my drama project.

Anyone fancy coming for a walk with a cabbage?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Stop and Look Around You

Roller Wire
Originally uploaded by pupski
I have wondered for a while about the story behind this paint roller, which is susended on a telephone wire on the street next to mine. Who put it there? Why? How? It has been there for at least six months now - I suppose they would need a crane to get it down.

I noticed a lot of odd things around my neighbourhood when I was doing my latest visual project. There is a huge amount of rubbish on the streets for a start. Some of it is litter dropped by passers by, but quite a bit has been dropped by the dustbin men and the recycling truck. There is all kinds of graffiti - some of it funny, some of it artistic and some conveying a message like the stencils on the pavement with a picture of a dog, that say "bag it and bin it." Then of course there is dog mess - there always seems to be more of at this time of year - last year some bright (or mad) spark went round sticking cocktail sticks into it with little flags bearing messages like "pooh", "shit" and "clean me up". There is an abundance of cats and of skips overflowing with greenery, broken toilets and rubble. There are discarded recycling boxes, bin bags that never quite made it through the letterbox and now residing in someone's hedge. There are hundreds of singing birds - especially blackbirds and pigeons. And if you are out early (or late) enough you might be lucky enough to see a fox (N saw two on our street a few weeks ago).

What I came to realise is that this is an interesting neighbourhood - despite its' downside - and everywhere has them. Sometimes it's good to just stop for a minute and look at what's around you - or take a camera and really look at where you live - not at the obvious - cars, houses and the like. Look beyond that, at what's beneath your feet, what is in the gutters, in the hedges, in the trees or hanging from wires!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Out of his skull

Am I the only person in the world who thinks putting fifty million quids worth of diamonds onto a skull is pointless and not really art?

Well I suppose it can be considered art - but to me it just seems like someone with too much money making a point. Damien is reknowned after all for his penchent for splashing the cash. But this kind of thing just leaves me cold - when I compare it to the work of Antony Gormley or Andy Goldsworthy - or an exhibition that I went to last weekend at Salthouse Church in Norfolk - there is just no comparison.

The exhibition at Salthouse Church by Britz and McGowan entitled "Stars, Stones and Bones" is the best thing that I have seen in a long time and definitely the best use of the church that I have ever seen. There are a lot of differnet types of work in this show - paintings, collage, installations, mobiles - but they work together as a cohesive whole. Everything in the show is made from natural resources that can be found in Norolk - in itself quite a feat - but some of the pieces are massive. The most impressive works for me were a series of large paintings/ hangings that are placed between the windows. These paintings are massive and are made using mud, sand and clay from the Norfolk coast. Some of them have been made by placing pebbles on the paper and pouring mud over them, adding detail later. There is also a beautiful (if a little smelly) installation made using wire and starfish.

This is a breathtaking exhibition and well worth a visit if you get the chance - this is real art that comes from true inspiration and hard work and touches the heart and soul in a way that a diamnond encrusted skull never can.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chilling Out

Haven't had much time for blogging as I have been absolutely snowed under with work - not just a little work - a whole avalanche, and it's not over yet. Yesterday I hung my visual work and today I finished my critical studies essay - so that leaves fiction, poetry and my visual evaluation. I must say that I am looking forward to this time next week when it's all handed in and I can chill out a bit.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stress city

black and white fanta bottle
Originally uploaded by pupski.
i am mega-stressed today. I had a sudden realisation yesterday that I have just over a week until all my work is due in! Add into that equation half term and boiling digital photo labs heaving with stressed out students preparing for degree shows and the fact that I've just read my six final poems and only like two of them - help! The whole thing is giving me a huge urge to go completely wild - to go out and get drunk and smoke and all the things I don't normally do now that I am a sensible grown up.

On a more positive note three of my poems have been accepted for a college publication which is good news.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rusty Fragment

Rusty Fragment
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This is a close up of the "recycled" poem that I collaged onto an old paint can in my neighbours hedge. now the rust is showing through the paper it looks even better. I am beginning to wish that I had chosen this as my art project now, as it is beginning to look good but I do have the opportunity to put some work in an exhibition later in May maybe I will use it then.

It would be fun to make more of these poems and leave them about the neighbourhood going back to photograph them in various stages of decay.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This is England

I have seen two really good films this week. The first was"Memento" which someone from college leant me on DVD and which I thought was excellent although I get the feeling that one might need to see it several time to get all the nuances of the plot. The second was "This is England" directed by Shane Meadows which we saw at the Odeon last night. I have to sasy that "This is England" is probably one of the best films that I have seen in a long while. It looked for a little while like they weren't even going to show it in Norwich at all and it probably won't be on for long. However, I have to say that I don't really understand what all the fuss was about - the message of the film is blatantly ANTI racist, although there obviously is racism and racist violence in the film.

I feel that we need to be able to confront this difficult era of our history - after all it is our history and I for one remember only too well what the eighties were like - in fact I was writing about that era only this week for my lifewriting assignment. We are happy enough to watch films about slaves and exploitation in other countries - or do we have to wait another hundred years before we can confront our past? And why is it that the sexism and racism portrayed in programmes like Life on Mars is ok but a film that deals with the issue in a more sensitive and meaningful way is not? I would be surprised if this film incited anyone to violence - and if they were they might be dim enough to be incited to it by any number of mindless action movies that are out at the moment.

Meadows has dealt sensitively with a difficult subject - the film is about skinheads - and shows how one person can manipulate those around him and the accute discomfort and fear of those caught in his web. All the actors are excellent especially the young boy Thomas Turgoose and the cinematography is at time very photographic. Some of the camera shots - even of mundane things like windows - are incredibly beautiful. The film is also full of news footage and radio broadcasts from the 1980s. Thatcher' speeches and footage from the Falklands war are especially poignant.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Peel back the Layers

Peel back the Layers
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This is the old Scientific Anglian bookshop in Norwich. It used to be a fabulous second hand bookshop - the eccentric kind - wood lined with little staircases and hidden alcoves. I remember my parents taking me there on trips to Norwich when I was a kid. It fed me with a copious supply of cheap Enid Blyton books. The owner was slightly eccentric and was an active member of CND. He used to write the prices on the front cover in biro.

It is sad to see this shop all closed up and run down. there is however a mystical beauty in its cracked and peeling facade. In some ways it will be a shame when its new owners fix it up. We were talking a few weeks ago in critical studies about the current British obsession for renovating and restoring ancient buildings and monuments. I agree that it can be a good thing and that ther are some things that are too special to lose - but I feel it is a mistake to restore everything.

When I lived in Thetford one of my favourite places was Thetford Priory. It is a ruin of a priory that was destroyed by Henry the eighth. It is a beautiful ruin - especially if you go there in the early morning in spring when it is misty. It has a feeling of history about it that it would never have it was restored to its original state.

I like having some buildings around that are decaying - it reminds us that our time here is transitary and there are forcces at work in the world greater than we are...maybe that's why we are so keen on restoration - trying to immortalise ourselves somehow through preserving these ancient monumnets.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rescue me

Rescue me
Originally uploaded by pupski.
What was I thinking waffling on aabout music videos at 1am. I should have been writing poetry - mythological poetry. I don't know why I am finding it so hard. One of the reasons might be that my mythological knowledge is sparse - someone suggested yesterday though that I write about English myths or fairytale which I more au fait with, which is a good idea. You really need to know a story inside out to be able to get a new angle on it and to come at it in a fresh and original way.

Great Music Videos

Of course I'm supposed to be thinking about writing mythical poems or even more sensibly to be in bed. But no here I am at nerarly 1am and what am I thinking about? Music videos of course. Recently I have got into you tube and have found immense pleasure in looking up all the bands I love. And there is some absolutely great stuff on there - for instance some fabulous footage of Eddie Vedder with his lovely long hair climbing the walls of an auditorium during a gig, Antony Kedis looking young and sexy and there is really old stuff too like Crosby, Stills and Nash and a very young looking James Taylor.

It got me thinking about music videos though. I had been thinking about them a little already recently. We are doing a video and photography project at art school and i have watched quite a few directors chair videos. Well tonight I got to wondering what are my favourite videos - well here's what I came up with:

1) Let Forever Be - The Chemical Brothers (director Michel Gondry)
If you haven't seen this video shame on you - go to you tube and watch it immediately - it gets better the more you watch it!

2) Praise You - Fatboy Slim
Yes I know this is a corny choice but I just like this video - it cheers me up!

3) Alive - Pearl Jam
Classic live footage

4) Sigur Ros - Svefn-Englar
There is some fabulous spirit-lifting dancing on this video.

5)David Bowie - Time Will Crawl
Another video with great dancing (there seems to be a bit of a theme emerging here). This great video was choreographed by Cyndi Lauper and proves that Bowie can really dance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blind Light

I watched a channel 4 programme about Antony Gormley yesterday, which was both moving and inspiring. If yoy live in the UK and have digital or cable I would highly reccomend watching it.

It was a breath of fresh air to see a hugely famous artist who is still so involved in his work and not ruled by his ego.

The crew had filmed Gormley as he designed and worked for his current show at The Heywood Gallery. It was fascinating to see a project from beginning to end - the process to make the figures from huge metal cubes was amazing and Gormley was fully involved every step of the way. Starting by casting his own crouched body in plaster.

What was also fascinating was the painstaking creation of a cloud chamber and Gormley's reaction when it finally worked. When his dream finally came to fruition he had tears in his eyes. It was incredibly moving to see someone who believed so wholeheartedly in what he was doing and such a contrast to the programme I saw featuring Damien Hirst a few weeks ago. Hirst came across as quite a different character - arrogant, full of himself and quite removed from the work that his assistants were making. He would breeze into the studio for a while in the morning offering a few words of advice here and there, whereas Gormley was in the studio working at all hours and becoming increasingly frustrated by outside distractions like telephone calls.

I have long been a fan of Gormley's work - I especially liked Field for the British Isles (pictured above) and am hoping that I will get to see his new exhibition "Blind Light" before it finishes in August.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sinister Spying Ken

Sinister Spying Ken
Originally uploaded by pupski.
I took this picture as part of my art project. It is an idea that I am not going to use for my final piece as I wasn't sure where I was going with it. I liked the idea of Ken spying on people (or other dolls) he is so plastic and he has a horroble sinister smile. he is just perfect for a peeping tom.

Unfortunately it is very hard to be original with dolls as people like Cindy Sherman have done so much (and so graphically) before. I still like the idea though and may play around with it some more - who knows maybe I will come up with an original angle.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mystical Knot

Mystical Knot
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This is another possible photo for my art project. One of the threads that I was following was to look at the rubbish on my street. I wondered what (if anything) one could read from the litter - could I tell what kind of people lived in the neighbourhood, what class, whether it was rural or urban, what country we were in etc, One thing I was shocked at was just how much rubbish there was considering that this is meant to be a good neighbourhood. We humans certainly make an impact on our environment - I may just go out there with a bin bag when my project is finished and pick all that trash up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bogged Down

Bring me the head of....
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This head looks how I feel when I think about how much college work I have to do over the next few weeks! It is hard being creative to order - although I am the first to admit that deadlines can be good - especially if you are lazy. This term however the work load is very heavy: an art project, six mythical poems, a 2000 word piece of fiction (travel writing/reportage or life writing), plus a critcal appraisal for each piece and then there is a critical studies essay and a personal development essay - PHEW!

The trouble is that it keeps raining so I can't take any pictures - and I just can't decide which photographic thread I want to follow. i just have too many ideas and when I talk to other people I feel confused - everyone likes a different idea - there doesn't seem to be a particular favourite - and my favourite keeps changing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hard as Nails

Twin Nails
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This is another photo from my art project - this one didn't come out as well because the photo in the photo is too white. I'm not sure why it came out like that. It wasn't sunny and I didn't use a flash. It must be a focusing issue - beats me though.

I am still waiting to take some more pictures for this series but it keeps raining.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser

Double Vision - Door Handles
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This might be part of my current art project - I am doing a bit of experimentation with the pictures I have taken. Placing some of them in the place they were taken and rephotographing them. This would have been better if it had shadow the second time I photographed it but for shadow you need sunshine and we aren't seeing much of that this week.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hankering for a holiday

Beetle Flower
Originally uploaded by pupski.
Looking at my photos earlier made me wish I was on holiday in Greece. For the past two or three years Hunchermuncher and I have been to Molyvos on the island of Lesvos where he was running a yoga holiday.

It must be all the pressure of my art school workload getting to me but I find myself hankering after quiet sunny lanes and hot cafes in the afternoon - no wonder I can't start that critical studies essay....

No chance of a holiday as yet though Hunchermuncher has just started a new job and I have all these assignments to do....

H and I are hoping to escape for a week or two in September before term starts (if we ever get round to arranging it) and thought we might try a different island. The trouble is we don't want to go anywhere touristy and it seems a gamble - any suggestions gratefully received...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Poetry Can

Poetry Can
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This old paint can had been hanging around in the weeds at the edge of my neighbour's garden for weeks and I couldn't resist adorning it. The poetry is mad from newspaper clippings. I had thought of using this idea for my art project this term and I may well do it next time. I had too may ideas this time and this one has scope for a lot more work. I may work on it over the summer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Talk Talk

Just finished reading and excellent novel - "Talk Talk" by T C Boyle, who is one of my favourite writers. This novel is fairly topical as it is about identity theft.

I have read several of Boyle's novels and have really enjoyed them. He has a great writing style that makes you want to keep reading, but still manages to maintain an intelligence that is lacking from some popular fiction these days. The only book of his that i couldn't get into was Riven Rock.

It's amzing that I have time to read really, what with the five assignments that I am supposed to be doing at the moment...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Narrative photography

I am beginning to feeel the stress and strain of too much work this term and blog entries have suffered as a consequence.

I am getting to grips with poetry, kind of ok with fiction, behind with critical studies (through no fault of my own) but floundering hopelessly in a visual sea with no life raft in sight.

The cause of my angst is a wooly brief that involves narrative and photography/film. It's not that I don't have ideas. I have plenty, too may in fact. Some of them too ambitious or big for me to realise. No, what I am struggling with is to bring narrative to my ideas. Why I don't know - it should be easy. Other people don't seem to have a problem with it. The trouble is that some of the ideas that I tried that did have narrative didn't work visually and the photos that I like best don't (for me) seem to fit into the narrative framework.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Losing ones head

Losing ones head
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This is turning out to be an incredibly busy week. We spent all day today in the photography labs - here is one I prepared earlier today. Not the real deal but a digital photo. I can't get my head around the SLR camera. The tutor talks at about 100mph andit was very hard to remember everything. This is one of those times when I could have really done with a handout to rmind myself how it works later. It's one thing listening to someone talk about all the steps in a class but quite another to remember it all two hours later when you are on your own. I have always had automatic focus cameras in the past so have never had to worry about apperture etc...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Weird Music Videos

I saw a really weird music video on TV today. A kind of soul/disco cover of the Smiths song "Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before." Which is weird enough in itself you might think but no there's more - towards the end of the song it miraculously changes into a cover of The Supreme's "You Keep me Hanging On". Then there's the video itself, which feature a pair of sneakers with a life of their own - shade of "the Red Shoes" - but it also really reminded me of the video "The Wrong Trousers" by aardman, where the trousers run away with Wallace inside them. The director is Scott Lyon.

Another director that is well worth a look is Michel Gondry - his most memorable in my opinion is "Let Forever Be" by The Chemical Brothers, a surreal trip of a video that I can watch over and over without getting bored of. Even my 14 year old son was impressed by it and that's saying something. Gondry has done some famous adverts and some other great pop videos too - The White Stripes animation totally done in lego and the Massive Attack video set in a block of flats. All of which are brilliant works. If you want to see Gondry's work there might be some on youtube or you can buy the DVD "The Work of Director Michel Gondry" from Amazon.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Don't shop the Reaper

Long time - no blog.

Now I know I've posted about this before but what is it with shops and music? Today I went into Jarrolds (Jarrolds is Norwich's equivalent of Harrods but without the exotic produce and ice sculpture!) and the piped music was Blue Oyster Cult. Blue Oyster Cult! I was into heavy rock as a teenager in a big way and I can remember some parents throwing us out for being into bands like Led Zeppelin and Blue Oyster Cult. It was in NO way mainstream, and now years later here they are piping it round Jarrolds.

I'm not sure that that the Jarrolds generation really appreciates what that music is about - and does it aid or enhance their shopping experience? Or maybe it is aimed at my generation, the 40ish boys and girls, a bit of nostalgia to get us to linger within their retail walls a little longer and perhaps to part with a bit more money. I can't imagine that the old ladies in the tea shop really had any deep appreciation of "Don't fear the Reaper".

Monday, March 19, 2007

Not Fuzz

Simon Pegg fails to thrill in this thoroughly unfunny pastiche of cop films. Pegg delivers a film overloaded with famous British actors and gratuitous and pointless violence. This film was a sad reminder for me of the sorry state of British society.

I once rated Simon Pegg very highly as a comic writer - the series Spaced was original and extremely funny. It seems though, that he has gained stardom and lost the comic plot. He may be hob nobbing with the likes of Tom Cruise but he seems to have forgotoon the ingredients of a good, intelligent comedy. The intentions in Hot Fuzz are good, it gives a nod to several genres of film - most notably cop and Hammer Horror, but sadly fails to deliver the laughs. In a cinema three quaters full there were only one or two laughs and those were from teenagers.

Simon needs to get back to his comic roots and rediscover intelligence and subtlety.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kaiser Chiefs, Second Albums and the question of Artistic Integrity

one of this years birthday presents was the new Kaiser Chiefs album "Yours Truly, Angry Mob".

It is growing on me and there is no doubt that the single "Ruby" is catchy, but it just isn't as edgy as their first album. I suppose I shouldn't really be surprise - in my opinion a band's first album is often one of their (if not THE) best, and this a subject that I have blogged about before. The Kaisers first album "Employment" had a raw, gritty feel to it. It was fresh and unusal, and came directly from their experiences of real life and the streets of Britain. With this new one they have attempted to recapture some of that, but of course it was never going to be as raw because for a start they have been exposed to the full force of the music industry/media circus and all that goes with it. They have had money, fame, accolade. It's enough to make anyone lose their edge and sure enough this album has very little of the gritty sound that characterised their first. Although it does shine through on a couple of tracks.

It's not that I want a band to stay the same, that would be incredibly boring. Everyone needs to be allowed to grow and change artistically and spiritually. I just worry that sometimes a band's second outing albumwise can lack the artistic integrity of the first. Probably due in part to external pressures from management, record companies etc. Roll on the third, when they are more relaxed with fame....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Poetry Disco

I have just had a poetry tutorial and have just found out (thank god) that my poetry writing has improved this term. What a relief I was beginning to have serious doubts about both my sanity and my writing ability. Although having said that I haven't had my fiction tutorial yet...

On a completely different note I am beginning to wish that I had organised a party for my birthday, which is tomorrow. I could do with a good dance to get the angst of this term out of my system. Hmmm they keep talking about a get together at college maybe we should have a disco...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Musical Heritage

On the way to college this morning i found myself thinking about music. A few days ago I went into a store called Roys of Wroxham, which is a really naff department store and the piped musak they were playing was things like the Clash and the Sex Pistols. It made me wonder - at what point do bands like The Clash who found it hard to even get played on the radio when they were first around suddenly become public property and loved by everyone?

I actually find it quite annoying. I was a huge Clash fan but the constant airplay of tracks like Bankrobber does get me down. Don't get me wrong I think it's great that a whole new generation are listening to such a great band - but I just find it weird that people who couldn't stand them at the time suddenly talk of them with great affection. It would be like I suddenly got into Cliff Richard.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Deadlines of Destruction

Working to deadlines can be something of a double edged sword for me. On the one hand it gives me a push so that I get off my metaphorical butt and produce some work. But on the other hand it stresses me out and when the creative juices aren't flowing or co-operating I start to panic. That is where I am at at the moment. We have been writing in genres and I am finding it difficult. I have initial ideas and have written a couple of stories that I was happyish with but I know that they need work and I am not sufficiently engaging with the genres to make me want to rewrite them. I quite liked the crime genre but feel hopelessly inadequate in my knowledge of police and prceedure - I don't think watching "Life on Mars" really qualifies me as a crime writer.

Poetry, in which I am a fairly prolific writer is also slow to get going. Quantity does not equate quality - and I came away from Friday's crit feeling deflated and inadequate, feeling like I don't know how to really critically analyse my work.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Absolute Video Inspiration

Cooped up at home with a cold this week I found myself experiencing a strange desire to watch the film Absolute Beginners. Whilst not the greatest musical movie in the world and being a little dated (it was made in 1986) I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. What amazed me as well was how many critically acclaimed pop videos have obviously drawn their inspiration from it.
For a start "Let Forever Be" by the Chemical Brothers (which incidently is an excellent video) - there is a scene in the video where there is shot of a girl on an escalator which turns into several girls on escaltors behind one another and there is a similar scene in the film. There is also a song by Ray Davies in the film where the camera pans over the front of a house that has its front wall taken away and shows you the rooms from the outside. This has also been used in pop videos ranging from Massive Attck's Protection (also by director Michel Gondry who made the Chemical Brothers Video) and Mel C and Bryan Adam's "When You're Gone".
I hadn't realised before how far reaching the influence of this movie has been. It also features some great songs and is well worth a second look.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mothers in Poetry

It seems that my poetry theme for this term has picked me so to speak - it is mother. Not neccessarily my own mother although of course some of the work will inevitably include aspects of her. But about mothers in a general sense, what it means to be a mother, our relationship with our mothers and mothers in general.

here is a light hearted one:

The Hour of the Boys

This is the hour of the boys,
they face the world,
bags crouching hump like
on teenage backs,
heavy with the fears and wishes
of itinerate mothers,

mothers who spin socks from love,
and games bags, gloves,
who sandwich worry
between wholesome slices of neglect,
and write poetry secretly
in dark corners.

Pretty much every poet has written a mother poem from Edgar Allen Poe to Sylvia Plaith, one of my favourite is by Charlotte Ballard:

8.14 I Never Had a Mother

never had a mother
Who read “Hello Moon”
Fifty-seven times before
Tossing it behind the refrigerator

I never had a mother
Who brushed my hair
Before each day’s battle
Against primary foes.

I never had a mother
Who hugged me before
I slept and dreamed of
Gold that only I could acquire.

I did have a mother
Who cooked up soup
To last the three days
Before payday came.

I did have a mother
That roared like a lion
And took me to see
The doctor more times
Than she ought.

I did have a mother-
A piece, a part
As much as she could
Borrow against a Promise made –
That her children
Would never be
Raised by a stranger.
I barely knew her.

Charlotte Ballard

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Desert Island Discs

Was talking to someone today about what you would choose for desert island discs - only five tracks so it's a tough call. Last year I did my top 100 tracks of all time. I revisited the top 20 today and I think if I did it now it would be somewhat different. Here is the original top 20:
1. David Bowie - Young Americans
2. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
3. Bob Dylan - Oh Sister
4. Joni Mitchell - River
5. Dire Straits - Telegraph Road
6. Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
7. Stevie Wonder - I believe (when I Fall in Love)
8. David Bowie - Cat People (Putting out the Fire)
9. Lightning Seeds - Sense
10Led Zeppelin - The Immigrant Song
11. Radiohead - Creep
12. Sting - Brand New Day
13. David Gray - Sail
14. Primal Scream - Movin on Up
15.The Clash - Stay Free
16. Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
17. Bob Marley - Redemption Songs
18. John Martyn - Over the Hill
19. Van Morrison - And it Stoned me
20. Genesis - Abacab

I'm not sure this list would be entirely the same if I did it now. Radiohead would have moved up and Dire Straits might have moved down. Pink Floyd, David Gray, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin would be about the same. Additions might be Jethro Tull (sad I know), Paul Weller, Cheb Khaled's Aicha, and Chaka Khan's Aint Nobody.

hmm I see that I am going to have give this some serious thought. But to choose your five favourite tracks of all time is a tall order - I would be interested to know evryone elses.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sylvia Plath

I never thought I would ever say this but I went and bought another book of Sylvia Plath's poetry today. I have found myself more drawn to her poems of late.

I studied Ariel some years ago when I was in my mid twenties and I just didn't get it - I found her self obsessed and utterly inaccessable. Now however 14 years down the line, with a teenage son and several months of counselling behind me I am more able to see where she was coming from. I wouldn't say that I like all her work exactly but i do understand it better now and she has a great way of using language -like abstract painting with words.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Freshness of Vision

So I wrote a ghost story and I was pretty pleased with it. The ideas were good but it needed a bit of editing. Then I went into my fiction class. I didn't read it out but it soom became clear to me that my small editing job is going to turn into a major rewrite.

Basically I have fallen into lots of pitfalls that should be avoided in writing. I had an opening descriptive paragraph setting the scene, explaining who the characters were and what was going on. Well that needs to go. Then I had descriptions of how people are feeling and these are cliched - things like "she suddenly felt scared", evidently it is better to use action to show she is scared rather than simply say that she is scared. This helps the reader to engage more with the character.

I understand these things they make sense and I feel like I am really learning something but I did come out of that class feeling a bit demoralised. It was exactly the reason I had put off enrolling on the course for so long (that and money of course) - writing has always been the thing that I am good at and I thought "what if I get to art school and discover that really I'm no good, where will that leave me?" One of my problems is that I have years of bad habits behind me and I have to learn to break them.

I am finding this problem with my poetry as well, I have got into particular habits and that can mean that my writing can sometimes lack depth and sound a bit cliched. I need to let myself go a bit, break out of my self imposed bounaries - when did I ever get so uptight?

This week I have been looking at some short stories that I wrote in my early 20s. They are not good technically and I can see why only two of them ever got published. But what they do have is a freshness of vision and a confidence that my writing sometimes lacks now. I was not afraid then to use language in a fresh and sometimes unconventional way. I wrote on plain paper without lines and I allowed myself to freefall - the words flowing out in a stream of conciousness style. What I should have done was to take those ideas and work on them, editing them until they were accessable to the reader.

I feel like I need to reclaim that free voice, rediscover that fresh way of looking at the world - if it's not too late. To break out of the self imposed confines I have imposed on my own writing and then maybe I might something worth while.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What is Poetry?

Again I find myself questioning what is poetry? I wrote down some memories that I thought that I might use in my visual practice work and the tutor described them as poems. I suppose that they are poems but I hadn't been sure that they were until then. They are more like snapshots, small glimpses of a child's life.

The gaps between the stairs gape,
cavernous mouths,
like traps,
she is scared of them,
they have thrown her down before
from top to bottom,
clutching a life size baby doll,
whose head rolled off grotesquely,
causing her to scream at its hollow interior.

Helping at the brownie jumble sale aged 9, gave her a feeling of power.
She made some purchases:
2 books – Princess Anne (a novel)
Gulliver’s Travels
a dress that her mum hated but she loved in brown and orange stripes
in the tombola she won: a spray can of Brut 45
an LP – Tjuna Sounds of the living Brass
some bath cubes
her parents tried to look grateful but failed.

A daddy long legs batters its spindly body
against the window in the hallway,
under the glare of a naked light bulb
a girl uses her finger
to sign her name on the misty glass.

Poetry - a literary expression in which words are used in a concentrated blend of sound and imagery to create an emotional response

Sunday, January 28, 2007

What is Scary?

Thanks Richm for the idea of a horror party. I will bear that in mind. This week I have to write a ghost story. I haven't read many ghost stories for years. I was an avid fan of the genre as a teenager and had loads of anthologies of ghost stories. I can remember being really spooked by some of them.

These days there aren't many things that really scare me in a book. Maybe the age of cinema has hardened us up so that we harder to scare. We are certainly exposed to copious amounts of tension and violence via the cinema and tv. A friend of mine said that she finds ghost stories scarier if they are true tales - an interesting point.

The stories I find scariest are post apocolyptic tales where you can almost imagine they are real or could happen - in books this is things like "Day of the Triffids", Douglas Coupland's "Girlfriend in a Coma" and Peter Dicksons Changes trilogy, in film it is things like "Children of Men" and Quatermass. Somehow these strike me as being far more chilling than something about monsters or ghosts.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I should be writing my horror story for college or working on my art project - but what am I doing? Thinking about whether or not to have a party for my birthday this year. last year I had one, I hired a room at a pub - it was great, but I was 40. Not sure 41 warrants spending so much money - and also as Hunchermuncher pointed out, would so many people come. However despite all that I am still tempted - partly because I like to boogie and don't often get the chance.

What is it that makes a good party? I was talking about that to someone at college today. We decided that the worst kind of parties are the ones that aren't good but you can't work out why. I have been to a few of those over the years - I remember going to a party once years ago where everyone sat on chairs around the edge of the room and no one spoke to each other.

I think my best ever party was my 21st birthday. I was living in a commune out in the countryside. Hundreds of people came (including a lot of gatecrashers) and we had bands playing, lots of food and a bonfire outside. Not sure I want to do things on that scale these days though....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Horror of Horror

We have been set a hard task at college this week - well for me anyway - to write a horror story in 500-700 words.
I don't think I have ever written a horror story in my life, so this task is even harder than the fairytale we had to write last week. I think I may have to have several attempts before i come up with something passable. It's the starting that is the hardest part.
I suppose when writing in this genre the author should look at what scares them and build on that - for me it's spiders and rats but they just seem too obvious a choice to write about. I did consider writing about something I know about and giving it a twist - a child' guinea pig becomes possessed by a ghost or a demon for instance.
Richard Spurling says show don't tell, which is a good maxim.
"Like all fiction, horror is not going to work unless you can take your reader away into another world. The basic tools and techniques of good writing are as critical in horror as they are in all genres. It could even be argued that the only difference between the genres lies in the emotions targeted."
Basically I believe a horror story works well if a reader can emotionally engage with it - the emotional response usually being along the lines of fear and discomfort.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Art Of Theme and Articulation

I am struggling at the moment to come up with a good theme for this terms poetry. I started off thinking I would use the theme of death and have written several trhat I kind of liked but when I posted them on the bulletin board no one responded at all so I can only surmise that they are rubbish and start over again.

I have also been having an interesting debate both on the bulletin board and with my son over the usage of plurals. I have c ome to realise that although I think I am good at English - my punctuation and grammar skills need a little work. it is one thing to be articulate in speech and quite another to acheive it in the written word.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Something Might Happen

I have just finished reading a really great novel - Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson, this is a sort of murder mystery set in Southwold in Suffolk, but it is so much more than that. It is a gripping and moving tale of the frailty and complexity of family life and human relationships and I found myself at times moved, disturbed, appalled and enthralled by it. At times I had to take my glasses off and cry. I would thoroughly recommend this if you want a good read. I remember reading Sleepwalking by Julie Myerson some years ago and while I did enjoy it I can see from this novel that her writing has improved in leaps and bounds since then. I just hope I can write such a compelling story some day.

Intellectual Snobbery

I was just looking at my last post and thinking am I a bad mother to encourage my son to watch such bad tv? the truth is that in our house we embrace both high and low culture - but with a limit. For instance we sometimes watch Neighbours but we never watch other soaps like Eastenders or Coronation Street. We watch comedy but usually things like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Spaced or Alan Partridge. Is this some kind of intellectual snobbery I wonder - I suppose it probably is.

It's interesting because I came across a lot of this kind of snobbery whilst doing my assignment on media book clubs - for instance chat shows are considered low culture, but they sometimes feature high brow books - some critics say that this devalues the book in some way. I would disagree with this surely it doesn't matter who is reading a book but what they are getting out of it that matters? and as for low brow TV - don't you have to watch it sometimes so that you have a stick to measure the rest by?

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Say what terribly bad manners

I am appalled - I just saw a video - or rather half a video by the band the Towers of London. Why am I appalled? Well for a start both the song and the video seemed to be a direct rip off of Green Day, and secondly I have never seen such a contrived load of ... in my life.

Lets start at the beginning - last week N wanted to watch the opening episode of celebrity Big Brother and as he is 14 I indulged his whim. It was terrible, as usual a couple of people who had actually done something worthwhile and the usual bunch of self promoting has beens and would bes. One of these was Donny Torette from the aforementioned Towers of London, who made a complete tit of himself making rude gestures and swearing at the press as he entered the house. Now don't get me wrong I am not a prude and I like a bad boy just as much as the next girl. But not a contrived bad boy. Everything about Donny Tourette is an an act, it comes across as completely fake. You can just imagine the boys from Towers (being very nice really) sitting around one day saying, we haven't got any musical talent so how can we get famous, ah I know behave as badly as we can, swear at everyone etc etc.

I can't help thinking it's all been done before but with more conviction - anyone remember the Sex Pistols perchance?