The new painting, as it was a few days ago. I’ve done a lot more work on it since, and it’s almost finished. While I’m here, and very much on the subject, I’ll take a moment to further the cause of Raptor Persecution UK. As the name suggests, they’re dedicated to addressing the increasing crime of birds of prey being poisoned and shot by – let’s not mince words – utter bastards whose agenda I suspect is founded upon the grubby business of turning a coin. Aside from the fact that these birds are protected, and any violent acts against them are illegal, to harbor such a mentality is anathema to me. Only today I was walking on the escarpment close to our home, and saw buzzards riding the thermals under a wide blue sky. They were riding high and then swooping down, only to rise up again in what could only be described as a sky dance. What kind of mind wants to put a shotgun blast into that? I don’t get it. These creatures were here before us, and will be here long after the human animal is gone, so for now they’re just tolerating our presence. Some reverence would seem to be in order.
My mocked-up poster of the band Lord Huron, who have going a good few years now, and have never deviated from their conviction that Western culture peaked around 1965 and only make music that’s hugely evocative of that era, or at least how we’d like to remember it. It’s the kind of music The Stooges came to destroy – a mission I will always admire them for – but I also admire Lord Huron’s audaciousness in pretending that everything went to shit in 1967 and wishing they could live in a world where Carnival of Souls is on at the local drive-in, Roy Orbison croons “I close my eyes, and I drift away”, and Charles Manson is a failed pimp still in prison. Everything about them, especially in their increasingly playful videos, screams Twin Peaks to me. Certain themes persist: death, loneliness, regret, darkness, failed dreams, lost loves and more death. “Right up your street, then?” says a voice and, as usual, I don’t listen to it. They have a new album – Long Lost – out later this month, which I can recommend if, like me, you prefer empty beaches, lonely roads and walking around amusement parks at night, when they’re empty.
A 2017 painting, that was sold. I’ll be honest, I could probably paint nothing but knackered old fence posts garlanded with barbed wire for the rest of my days, but I doubt there’s much of a demand for that sort of thing. Then I see the kind of plop that gets flogged in contemporary art galleries these days, and think “why not?”
I usually try to avoid drawing anything overly “cute”, as I prefer my nature wilder and more mysterious, but this was drawn specifically to be used as part of a glass design that my wife is working on. The drawing is rendered as a transfer that can be applied to a sheet of glass that, once in the kiln, will be fused onto the surface. We hope to reveal the finished results soon.
The mercy of the world is you don’t know what’s going to happen.
We watched the BBC series on Greta Thunberg over the last couple of weeks. She was travelling the world – mainly during the pre-Covid era (remember that?) to further her activism and to meet with scientists, academics and what I like to call “thinkers” who are trying to offer perspectives and possible solutions to the ecological crisis. They all meant well and seemed sincere, but time and again the attempts to use modern technology to feebly address the very problems caused by modern technology brought to mind a Herbert Marcuse quote:
The strange myth according to which the unhealing wound can only be healed by the weapon that afflicted the wound has not yet been validated in history.
It became increasingly obvious during the series that there really is no fully cognizant appreciation of the true scale of the problem. No-one wants to dismantle the massive all-consuming machine, and yet it’s that very machine which will ultimately make the way we live now impossible, once the world is on fire. Heavy, I know, but true, so why not finish this with another quote, this time from George Carlin, who was less of a comedian than a philosopher with punch lines:
The planet is fine. The people are fucked.