We comprehend… that nuclear power is a real danger for mankind, that over-crowding of the planet is the greatest danger of all. We have understood that the destruction of the environment is another enormous danger. But I truly believe that the lack of adequate imagery is a danger of the same magnitude. It is as serious a defect as being without memory. What have we done to our images? What have we done to our embarrassed landscapes? I have said this before and will repeat it again as long as I am able to talk: if we do not develop adequate images we will die out like dinosaurs.
My long-time collaborator and reformed cider wizard Martin Jones has taken the leap into the digital void and put up a Bandcamp page for his ongoing musical adventures, under the name The Sinister Insult. Projects include Ghost Of A Hurt, a collaboration that involved many participants, including myself, as it was my article of the same name that provided the catalyst. This was ten years ago, when we were at the forefront of unearthing the mystery of ‘Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?’, a fascinating tale of murder, espionage and witchcraft that has since been the subject of several novels and books, and this album required field recordings at the key locations in the tale. There’s also Neil Housego’s eerie soundtrack to the ongoing Coast Stories project and other assorted aural oddities that I’d never heard before. There’s much more in this vein to come, so stay tuned:
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
D. H. Lawrence
My dreams are going through their death flurries. I thought they were all safely buried, but sometimes they stir in their grave, making my heartstrings twinge. I mean no particular dream, you understand, but the whole radiant flock of them together—with their rainbow wings, iridescent, bright, soaring, glorious, sublime. They are dying before the steel javelins and arrows of a world of Time and Money.
Barbara Newhall Follett
I’m not a Twitter user. I have barely got to grips with the likes of Facebook, so don’t expect to see me on there any time soon, but I do occasionally look at what certain artists and writers are up to. While roaming about in the dense thickets and undergrowth of the internet I found the above image on the Slightly Foxed ‘Twitterfeed’. Regular readers will recognise the drawing featured in the above as my 2017 work ‘The Monarch’. I used this as a mock-up (see below) for a cover for the book also featured in the above image – Hetty Saunders’ biography of J.A. Baker: My House Of Sky.
I have had my work ‘sampled’ before, going right back to secondary school when some twat nicked a drawing I did and tried copying it for his end of year exam, and I can only see it in a positive light. At least someone’s paying enough attention to “appropriate” it. Below is the original drawing.
An update on the current painting, that I’ve been working on for about 10-11 months now. It might look like little has changed since the last update, but it’s down to the fine detail, where I can spend an entire afternoon on the same 2 square inches of canvas. As a result I’ve had to revise my forecast for when it will be finished, and I’m now saying “Christmas.” It’s frustrating a there’s several other paintings I want to make, but I know I’m doomed to work the way I do forever more and have to accept that means possibly 2-3 paintings a year, at the most. It’s a good job I’m not trying to make a living out of this.
How appropriate that the final selection my my ‘Desert Island Discs’ should be the one I want played at my funeral. Go to a wood, find a tree, dig a hole under it, drop me in the hole and play this song at a volume sufficient to knock birds out of the sky. It has to be the version recorded for the Government Commissions compilation of BBC radio sessions though. It’s the loudest, most distinctive version where, even at its monolithic peak, each instrument is distinctive. About ten years ago I did a load of paintings based on Mogwai song titles, but I never got around to this one, probably because I’m somewhat intimidated by the task of doing it justice. It’s the sound of my soul, and if I’m going to paint that, it has to be absolutely right, and I’ve yet to find the right image to define that. I will, one day.