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...