This is Bird aka Cardiff aka Girlie. She's skinny and wears black all the time. She's got a weird relationship with food and won't eat if anyone's watching her. She also throws up quite a lot after having a food binge. Her favourite band is My Chemical Romance and she has a great purr (as you can hear in this video).
David Gest has just been kicked out. I blame all the kids who are voting for the young people.
Here's a picture of Myleene having a shower.
"What lunacy would cause a 55-year-old white male, neither lean nor hungry, to embroil himself in the world of New Orleans rap, not merely as an observer, but as an active participant - ideas man, talent-spotter, lyricist, and would-be producer? And why did his experience, after many tribulations, end up so profoundly joyous and fulfilling?
Nik Cohn has loved (and hated) hip-hop since its birth, thirty years ago, and loved (and hated) New Orleans for even longer. The city has haunted him from childhood, an addiction he's never wanted to kick. But nothing prepared him for the experience of being pitched, more or less by accident, into the role of Triksta, rap impressario.
A white alien in a black world, with no funding or qualifications, and not a clue what he was doing, he had to rethink himself from scratch. Surrounded by a cast-list that included such names as Choppa and Soulja Slim, Big Ramp and Lil T, Bass Heavy, Fifth Ward Weebie, and Shorty Brown Hustle, he entered a world of tiny backstreet studios, broken-down slums and gun turfs, almost unimaginable to those who know New Orleans only as the touristic Big Easy.
"Triksta" is the story of a three-year odyssey that became all-consuming - a journey to the heart of rap, and New Orleans, and self-knowledge. Hilarious, tragic, startling, and exhilirating, sometimes all at once, it is Nik Cohn's greatest book."
But more than that and one of the many things that makes this book so good is Cohn's desire to confront what he perceives as his own internalised love (and fear) of "blackness".
At the end of the screener we attended the woman leaving the theatre
with her friend used the word "torturous" and she wasn't far wrong.
It's not a terrible film, it's just not very good. The songs
are bland, the script doesn't help and the characters' actions
largely don't ring true or make sense.
The film does have it's moments and the first half-hour makes promises that the film then fails to deliver on. The opening set pieces, the costumes and the drama of the talent contest creates expectations of a 'Ray'-like mix of drama, music and song with great costumes. From here it's downhill with a few bright spots: Eddie Murphy's great, mugging it up for the backrow, never less than imperious; Beyonce's performance suggests she might excel at something that pushed her a bit harder and no one's musical talent is in doubt, they've just been asked to perform some pretty plain songs.
UPDATE: My wife disagrees. She says it is a Terrible film.
The music's also fantastic and a major presence in shaping the mood throughout the film, both Jérôme Lemonnier's original score and the pieces performed by the film's musicians.
These are the pieces in the film:
Dimitri Chostakovitch (Trio op. 67 n°2)
Franz Schubert (Trio op. 148 D897)
Johann-Sebastian Bach (Prélude BWV 875 en ré mineur)
Cows near the sea
On a walk to the sea in Norfolk with Damian and Yol we came across this herd of cows. There was something particularly beautiful about them in the slightly flat expansive lighting you get in Norfolk. Now, a few days later, I realise that what I like about these cows is the fact there are several different breeds and colours of cows mixed up here: brown ones, black ones, brown and white ones. All sorts really.
I've been entrusted with the job of selecting and scanning images from the archive for a fantastic new service that we're launching. Obviously I'm selecting images from programmes and films that I have never seen. As the images aren't screen grabs but ones that were taken by the location photographer I also have no idea whether they're actually part of the narrative or just a couple of luivvies having a laugh. Take this one for example. Obviously I chose it for the good looking women but I have no idea whether they're friends or even meet in the story. From the other stills I'm guessing there's some wartime element going on but maybe one of them's a German and the other's a Brit, who knows?
Chris Burden's Steam Roller outside Tate Britain
It drives around and then (seemingly) its momentum lifts it off the ground and it completes several rotations before coming back to earth. Once it's in the air the driver turns the engine off and there's a nice bit when it seems extraordinarily quiet and this big heavy bright yellow steam roller is spinning in the air.
Dinos (or is it Jake?) at the Chapman's booth at Frieze
You could get a portrait done by the brothers for £4,500. It'll be shown in the Tate Liverpool show and then you get to keep it. Adrian Searle writes about it in the Guardian (find the link yourself).
Frieze Art Fair, London
There were at least three artworks featuring Kate Moss. We saw her there during the day on Wednesday with Jefferson, Gwyneth(sp?) Paltrow and a bunch of other people (possibly Jefferson's new model girlfriend?). Also saw Claudia Schiffer who I misidentified as Elle McPherson. Typical, I'm always getting my supermodels muddled up.
Greg and Jim
We went to Jim and Greg's civil partnership ("marriage" in other words) the other week. It was at Islington Town Hall followed by a lovely traditional weddding lunch at the Almeida (Oysters, steak and chocolate mousse: Champagne and Sancerre). Guests danced the night away at the Century Club on Shaftesbury Avenue with carriages ("Minicab? Minicab?") booked for 1am ("Minicab? Hackney - fifteen pounds."). More pictures to come.
Central St Martins Fine Art MA Show: JG Ballard
We went to the CSM MA show last night. Having been to the show every year for the last seven years seeing the work of friends I'm more enamoured with the spaces than most of the work. There were a few pieces I liked - the shark, the landscapes on mutilated MDF, the sheet of A4 text - but Jim got most excited by the fact that JG Ballard was there. He looks really normal (which I suppose shouldn't surprise me but did) and wasn't freaked out by this guy badly pretending not to be taking pictures of him.
Flunch: Cite Europe, Calais
I went to Calais for the day with my cousin, her husband an my aunt. I wandered off on my own in the supermarket and bought a mixed assortment of wine and cider. This is where we had lunch, it's called Flunch - it looks much nicer in the picture than it was in real life but the food was OK. You can read more about Flunch by clicking on the photo. (They should market Flunch in the UK under the slogan "Flunch - what the French call lunch."
Brick Lane Yesterday
I've been helping Yol who's been given a dozen or so eating places to review. On paper this sounds fantastic but having to eat out that many times in a few weeks isn't all it's cut out to be, particularly when you don't get to choose the places you eat in. Off the top of my head the places I liked were Jones's Dairy in Columbia Road; Story Cafe off Brick Lane (this picture was taken outside of Story) and the rest have become a bit of a blur. My problem is that I probably wouldn't eat in either place normally. The bad places were terrible and the worst was Cafe Boheme on Old Compton Street where I was served cold steak and chips. On the upside they did me a new steak and chips and gave me a very large glass of wine which pushed me over the edge as I'd already been drinking the free bar at Adam's book launch earlier that evening.
Cathy Lomax at Rosy Wilde
Been busy seeing art for the last week. This is Cathy's show at Stella Vine's new gallery space. She's kept the Rosy Wilde name from her place in Whitecross Street and it's above the Ann Summer's on Wardour Street. The night we went was pretty packed and very very hot. In this picture Cathy still hasn't arrived but Stella's on the far side taking pics.
Adam's book launch
Went to Adam's book launch at the John Snow last night. Book launches are weird, they're like art show openings but (I suspect) with bigger egos and a more formal hierarchy to be observed. The publisher, the agent, the publicist, the family and the friends (the last two groups having read early drafts in a random order and as a result have no idea what the book's actually like) are all there*. Adam told a nice story about his mum. Having read the first draft she said "Well Adam, it's not very good is it". I think her initial comments about his first book were "Maybe writing isn't really your thing".
The book (I've read half of it in draft) is very good and is mostly about the history of cancer treatments. It's also about the death of Adam's dad but it's not really a cancer biography. You can read about it here and buy it here.
* Adam reckons book launches are weird but not for the reasons I've listed. In his case he thinks it's because he had lots of his contributors there and wanted to make sure he looked after them.
High Horse: even more
The High Horse ran an excellent evening of readings at the equally excellent Grant Museum of Zoology, part of the University of London. A series of writers were allocated different exhibits from the collection and each wrote a response. Bats, octupi and all sorts in formaldhyde formed the subjects of most of the stories. (George promises an audio download by "the middle of the week" on The High Horse website.) The Museum collection includes all types of monkey skeletons, a cat, elephants and even better it's free.
LSO St Luke's London
Went with Steve last week to LSO St Luke's which used to be a fucked up derelict Hawksmoor church by Old Street. Now it's very nice, like a yuppie's loft (but tasteful), all exposed brick and wood and double height ceilings. The concert was great. I wanted to go because I'm really common and Lifschitz was playing Bach's 'Goldberg' Variations as made famous in The Silence of the Lambs. As far as I remember (and being lazy as well as common I can't be bothered to check) in the film you just get to hear it playing when Hannibal is being held in the makeshift jail in Baltimore (?) and the unfortunate guard detail bring him his dinner. Hannibal has been playing it on his little cassette player and it continues through the scene. In the book (as far as I remember) it's one of his requests when they're negotiating for his help in finding the Senator's kidnapped daughter. He asks for one (of the two) Glenn Gould recordings and specifiies which one. I really can't remember which one it is, the earlier one or the later, but since the book came out that particular recording now outsells the other 5 to 1!* Sony marketing executives refer to this as the 'Hannibal Effect' - when one particular recording of the same piece of music by the same musician outsells another based on the fictional recommendation of a fictional character.
Lifschitz was great - dark and dressed in some weird black smock he seemed to have some kind of facial twitch despite being only 29 or 30 (he was born in 1976). As for the performance of the music I thought it was really fine (but what do I know). Over the years I've acquired two recordings of 'Goldberg'; the Gould (which is very short as he doesn't play any of the repeats) and one on Harpsichord by Pierre Hantai (which is really fucking majestic and I've just put it on).
* Regular readers will know that this is (obviously) a 'fact' that I just made up.
Fine dining at IKEA
...says my wife. This is the second time in less than seven days that I've been to IKEA and the third time in a month. I tell her this is proof, if proof is needed that I really love her. "Isn't the wardrobe for you as well?" I hear you ask, gentle reader. It is in the sense that my clothes will no doubt be in it (if it ever comes back into stock) but it isn't for me in that I would just as happily live out of a carrier bag/suitcase/pig sty.
Today was the turn of the Lakeside branch having been to Edmonton ("It's fucking murders there," as my ex-brother-in-law might have said) twice previously. This was simply because the internet led my wife to believe it was in stock there whereas Edmonton had sold out. This is no doubt because the wardrobe she'd like to score is the only one that might possibly have come from Heal's (but only on a dark night with your eyes half-shut). Anyway, as you already guessed it was out-of-stock despite the computer's belief that there were three stacked up in the shelves-and-pallet-hell just before checkout. Yol was pretty upset and the three stacking cardboard boxes, hand towel and shower-curtain didn't really begin to make up for it. I suggested a hot dog and after that (and a small fries and drink) she cheered up a bit. It was in the car as we were leaving the IKEA carpark that I suggested she might like to buy a new outfit at the nearby Lakeside shopping centre. Mr IKEA, she really really wants that wardrobe. Please help.
Hackney to Clapham and back again
This is Mark McGowan, performance artist. At the show in Clapham we went to you could fight him in the guise of Ken Livingston. This is what it says on his website:
STREETFIGHTER (an opportunity to fight Ken Livingstone)
In an extraordinary art exhibition, controversial artist Mark McGowan is to proposition members of the public to boxing matches in the street. Clad in boxing attire, boots, shorts and gloves, McGowan will also be wearing a box on his head with a picture of the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
McGowan says, " i will be out at 10am outside the GLA building near Tower Bridge next Thursday looking for people to fight me (Ken) and arrange up to 10, one minute fights, which will take place outside the Clapham Art Gallery, as part of an art exhibition on Thursday 18th May 2006. You can prebook by calling 07956084780 or contact the gallery. I know lots of people are upset with Ken and his policies but i am here to defend Ken i think he is a great Mayor and there are too many people disrespecting him. Ken is not only the Mayor of London but a true fighter in every sense of the word, so if there is any black cab drivers, congestion charge critics etc, that fancy there chances, i am Ken and i am ready."
Maria gave him a good kicking. I thought he was OK, mostly because he's funny and he admits most performance art is rubbish.
Bruce Sterling at Space Studios
The witty erudite clever insightful acerbic (and in this picture bored-looking) Bruce Sterling gave a talk at Space studios. It was all about arphid and was really really good (look elsewhere if you need more detail) but the most fantastic bit is that the good folks at Space took him to The Dolphin on Mare Street for a beer afterwards. As my wife says 'The Dolphin is the kind of place where men fall off their bar stools and women look at them with eyes full of pity knowing they'll be going home with them.' (Naturally it's my favourite pub in Hackney).
There's a great linear art chronology (I guess all chronologies are linear?!) in Tate Modern. Actually, it's not great, it's shit. What I mean is that it *LOOKS* great and is all done in art student handwriting and for some reason I get excited even just seeing the name of artists I like written down. My favourites here are Mary Kelly, Martha Rosler and (of course) Ed Ruscha.
More Heather's Leaving Do
My old boss is now the deputy chief executive at Millwall FC. Boringly this is all the talk on the second floor at Channel4's Horseferry Road HQ.
Heather's leaving do
The boss (of the boss of my boss), Capo di Tutti Capi I suppose, finally had her final leaving do on the rooftop terrace at the Century Club on London's fashionable Shaftesbury Avenue between the steak houses, theatres and chinese herbal medicine joints. This is her making her final farewell address. I've always liked Heather - whenever there's a departmental do she lets her hair down and gets as lashed as the next person. It was a fun event and we didn't let the fact that the rooftop terrace is enclosed in a cheap looking tent and stinks of the sewer put us off.
Don't make the mistake I did. This one isn't the Century Club we went to - that one's in Century City and looks quite 'classy'. We went to this one. Interestingly, most of the positive comments about London's own Century Club on this review site, are a) anonymous and b) incredibly flattering about the owner:
"Very nice food and friendly receptionist! Good looking owner!
by: Anonymous, 23 November 2004"
I decided that I need to learn more stuff, partly to make up for all the stuff I'm forgetting ("What's that actress's name again?") and partly to stave off Alzheimer's. I can't do Sodoko as an Alzheimer's preventative - I think I'd rather have Alzheimer's to be honest - so learning new stuff seems to be the way forward. Why exactly I thought Dreamweaver would be the thing to learn is beyond me. Nowadays it comes free in packets of cereal and everyone under 20 in Hackney has been on one of the many DW courses that are being foisted on the young and unemployable. This is my first Dreamweaver page.
There were two of these fisherman's shacks on the beach at North Walsham. I like them a lot as they remind me of the Louvre's pyramids but in the dark stretchy fabric there's something decidely David Adjayo about them. The effect is slightly spoiled when some red-faced local puts his head out to scowl at you as you walk by while discussing the area's house prices and try to convince your husband to move there, all in a loud voice.
The Church at Trunch, Norfolk
Spent a few days in Norfolk with Yol pottering around North Walsham, Mundesley and those sort of places. We went to the church at Trunch which is quite beautiful and is well-known for its font canopy. But the thing I really liked were the rood screens with pictures of the 11 apostles plus St Paul. The faces were destroyed by Cromwell's men in 1643.
This is from the Photographer's gallery website and it's about the Arts Council's Own Art scheme. Basically you can borrow 2000UKP interest free to buy art from participating galleries. It's a great idea. The only thing I'm wondering is where did they find these two art-loving hookers to promote the scheme?
You could even become an art day trader buying art on borrowed money and trying to shift it for a profit before you have to pay for it - particularly as it's an interest free loan.
Changing Media: the Guardian thing the other week
I went to the Guardian's Changing Media Summit (summit=basement of mid-range hotel near a bus or train station) the other week and have been meaning to write it up. Yesterday I realised the reason I hadn't was that it was crap. Many of the reasons it was crap can be found here in RDH's blog.
Madame X, on the other hand, is a fifties melodrama where Lana Turner is almightily punished (the loss of husband, son, exile, alcoholism, whoring, madness and ultimately death) for playing around with Ricardo Montalban while her husband is away. I hope Montalban was a pretty good shag. Of course, Montalban's other great film is Star Trek: Wrath of Khan.
I didn't like Las Vegas. Too disorientating (I know that's the idea). We got a bus up from our Stassi-themed hotel by the flyover to the top end of the strip where the prostitutes live (as opposed to where they work) and walked down. It's two or three miles. We'd pop into different casinos to have a look around, gawp at the bedraggled queues of people for the all-you-can-eat buffets and then spend half an hour trying to find the way out. The best bit was the vodka martini I had in a Japanese restaurant about halfway down. Having said that the fact there were 200,000 people in town for a fashion convention didn't help my mood. But we do have some nice pictures, like this one.
Alcatraz: San Francisco
I am back from California. I have 1000s of pictures. I will refrain from posting them all and just post the better ones. We started in San Francisco and one of the best things we did there was visit Alcatraz. You can see the pics here or click on the picture.
Did you know: The Birdman of Alcatraz didn't have any birds in all the time he was at Alcatraz, that was at his previous jail.
Went round some East End galleries with Andy yesterday. Gilbert and George was good (The White Cube website is a disaster); Bob and Roberta Smith at Hales is also good. If you go to them also go to Kate MacGarry (Matt Bryans erased photos cut out from newspapers and magazines) and Trolley (David Fryer, Sean Flynn and Robert Montgomery - get them to open the basement space over the road for you) on Redchurch Street and then go and get the best Salt Beef beigel in London from this place.
Mum's brother Bert used to shoot for Trinidad and Tobago and won some medals.
As the TT Express said recently:
"The name Bert Manhin however, is synonymous with the sport of rifle shooting.
For many years he represented Trinidad and Tobago in rifle shooting at the CAC Games, Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics.
He excelled in that discipline and his prizes include one gold, a silver and several bronze medals. "
Transition to The Tate
Originally uploaded by Catfunt.
This is from the Rousseau (Henri, not Jean-Jacques) show at Tate Modern. It's pretty rubbish with a few exceptions, the monkey and the naked lady here being one. It's not actually by Rousseau but it's in the opening room to give you an idea what Paris was like in Henri's day (naked monkeys carrying off naked women I suppose).
Anyway, it reminded me of the King Kong sculpture we had in Birmingham about 30 years ago that people complained about (it was in the Bull Ring I think) and it was removed. It was outside a car dealer on Bristol Road (I think) for a while. Apparently it's now in Edinburgh but there's talk of taking it back to Birmingham. You can see it here or read about it here.
allotment: Jan 2006
Originally uploaded by Catfunt.
Spent a few hours yesterday digging dirt at the allotment and it was fantastic. If I was old before I am officially even older as I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing at the moment. Certainly not compiling 12 months worth of web stats and attempting to put a bit of a shine on them. The green stuff is broad beans.
Business Cards found in the house
Originally uploaded by Catfunt.
... that should have been chucked years ago (part one).
We stayed in Portugal in 1991(?) and this is one of the cards that we were handed when we got to the train station. I don't think we stayed there but looking at the card I wish we had.
had a pet. So he went to the pet store and told the owner that
he wanted to buy an unusual pet. After some discussion, he finally
bought a centipede, which came in a little white box to use for
He took the box back home, found a good location for the box, and
decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar to
have a drink. So he asked the centipede in the box,
"Would you like to go to Frank's with me and have a beer?"
But there was no answer from his new pet. This bothered him a
bit but he waited a few minutes and then asked him again,
"How about going to the bar and having a drink with me?"
But again, there was no answer from his new friend and pet. So he
waited a few minutes more, thinking about the situation. He
decided to ask him one more time; this time putting his face up
against the centipede's house and shouting,
"Hey in there! Would you like to go to Frank's place and have a drink
A little voice came out of the box...........
"I heard you the first time! I'm putting my fu**ing shoes on."
Machismo: a show at Transition
Originally uploaded by Catfunt.
Garageland launches, Machismo opens.
These pics are part of my work: playing cards that have been modified and photos of drawings in small black frames (that have a tendency to fall from the walls).
These are Steve's pictures of the evening, and these are mine of bits of the show before the crowds arrived. Anyway, the show is on until February.
The Renoir: Brunswick Square
Originally uploaded by Catfunt.
We went to see The Beat That My Heart Skipped at the Renoir on Tuesday. It's a pretty good film and even if it weren't it would be worth seeing for the heart-warming array of rotten teeth and chain-smoking on display. I think it's obligatory in modern French cinema for the hero at a point of particular tension in teh story to tear the filter off his cigarette before lighting it. It telegraphs to the dumber members of the audience that things are 'getting serious' and that Jean-Paul or Phillipe needs an extra nicotine hit to get through them. A much better film than either Matchpoint or The Constant Gardener (in case you were thinking of going to see either of them).
Finally after months of talking about it we made it to the Diane Arbus show at the V&A. It's a really well thought out show with all the famous pieces as well as much of the early magazine work from magazines like Harper's that I much prefer. Like Sylvia Plath, as a result of Arbus's suicide, there's a real temptation to see an overwhelming darkness in the pictures that I don't think is actually there. She wouldn't have been very pleased with this blurry one I can tell you. There's a nice bit in one of her diaries where she talks about the group of students that she's teaching and how almost all the work they produce bores her and she's worried if she spends too much time around them she'll catch their crapiness.