Saturday, June 26, 2010

Art my Grandfather collected 4; Cottages

A road winds it way between cottages.

This painting is signed T. Johansen, and I'd say it was of a Danish landscape even though it's a somewhat hilly terrain. The worn patch of ground in front of the entrance of the first cottage is an authentic touch that suggests maybe that this was, at least partially, painted from an actual landscape.

Art my Grandfather collected 3; Tooty Frooty!

A still-life with a lot of different fruits. "All" fruits, even; tutti frutti!The fruits all rest on stone slabs.

The painting is a bit "dark", as I have seen in many still-life paintings on museum walls, especially those from the early 1800s. I suppose this is a originally a Chiaroscuro that probably was more effective when it was first painted. The fecundity of the fruit is captured well:

"Clair-Obscur- Chiaroscuro: No one knows what this is."- From Dictionnaire des Idees Recues by Gustave Flaubert.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Byzantine Empress

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


So we smile.

Not an easy thing to do, comedy, not easy at all, and not much of it made to last. Timeless comedy is genius; and there is a genius who towers above the rest. Much praise has been heaped on his homburg; I apologize for adding more.

In a world that knows quality, Anthony knew something about the costs of being the pompous and neurotic way we really are. Knew how to tap into the ridiculousness of our condition.

Not an easy man to be with, I imagine, nor an easy man to be. To pull it off with laughs. No sentimentality; just put-downs. And more put-downs. And we laugh through the lump in our throats.

What a serious and pompous little elegy.

Swipe me how glittering!

Art my Grandfather collected 1; Sunset

My Grandfather collected works of art like this many places in the world. Where the originals are now, I don't know; but I have a few photographs.

This is either a sunset; I think a late sunset in Northern Norway (or possibly Iceland or even Greenland)..a near midnight sun.

Who painted this, or when they painted it, is impossible for me to say. I'd guess it was painted in the second half of the 19th century.

It's skilfully divided, I think, into a cold "artic" half:

And the right side of the canvas is warmer and more summery (despite the distant iceberg):

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Arctic sketches 1; The Whales

Right Whale. "Some pretend to see a difference between the Greenland Whale of the English and the Right Whale of the Americans." (Chap.32 Moby Dick by Herman Melville)

Killer Whale."Exception might be taken to the name bestowed upon this whale, on the ground of its indistinctness. For we are all killers, on land and on sea; Bonapartes and Sharks included." (Chap.32 Moby Dick by Herman Melville)

Narwhale. "Strictly speaking, this horn is but a lengthened tusk, growing out from the jaw in a line a little depressed from the horizontal. But it is only found on the sinister side, which has an ill effect, giving its owner something analogous to the aspect of a clumsy left-handed man."(Chap.32 Moby Dick by Herman Melville)

Beluga whale. Unmentioned in Chapter 32 of Moby Dick. What might Melville have had to say about him?

Alexander cheated in Gordium


I can see your pupils expand. I can see a certain inner conflict. Some voice of reason being packed away to a small back room.

It's not as fun, is it, questioning your own motives first?

You don't want to know anything about yourself.

Just because you're boiling over with righteous indignance doesn't mean you're right.

Most questions are mulifaceted and complicated.

A future of simplification to the point of childishness. A future of cheating Alexanders leading the foam-flecked to blood and mayhem.

That's bad.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Elephant and Snail

Along the curtain rail,
an Elephant pursues a snail,
"It isn't far", says pachyderm,
"You're slower than a prison term!"
To that sarcastic tusk,
Answers our mollusc;
"It may be that you've caught my tail,
but I'm delivering the mail!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So I'm off now,
to London,
to Budapest,
to Rome.

Off now to look at the old bridges,
and the bricks and ironmongery,
and the shops full of choices,
and the restaurants,
that live up,
or don't live up,
to expectations.

Off to see the squares,
and the statues,
and the parks.

Off to take photographs,
and then...

Suddenly it stops.

But the best moment,
of last year,
was just lying in a bath,
in a hotel bathroom.