Thursday, May 24, 2012

Elvis and his roses

Many blooms still linger there, lyrics Jerry Chesnut
It's been a good year for the roses. An Elvis Costello lyrical masterpiece if ever I heard one. I can hardly bear the sight of the cigarettes there in the ashtray, lyin' cold the way you left 'em, but at least your lips caressed them...Elvis' anguish is all too clear. Perhaps I should have realised it was a little lacking in aggression, too gentle, without those tendrils of bitterness that seem to lace Costello lyrics.

Not as pretty as roses but improved with age
Jerry Chesnut wrote the song and it was originally performed by George Jones in 1970. Elvis delivers it so tenderly though, it's easy to let the lyrics float by without digesting their significance. Listen to the man who allows his baby to go on crying, without doing anything himself; he sees the bed is unmade but doesn't make it and so on. I still love the song but can understand why she's leaving him. She probably had to tend the garden as well. After all, many blooms still linger there, the sign of someone who knows their roses.

Have a look at this early clip and hear a beautiful live rendition:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Read any good books lately?

Peter Carey is usually a good read

What are you reading at the moment? Is it 'good'? Would you recommend it? Book hounds are always chasing insights from other readers.
The trouble is, every reader has a different idea of what constitutes a 'good read'. For some it involves a twisting plot line, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Others find the intriguing netherworld of Murakami's landscapes spellbinding. Perhaps Hilary Mantel's historical characters are more to your taste.
Highbrow, lowbrow, crime, romance, mystery or thriller, the compulsion to find a new read, to replace the last book with the next book, seems an inherent part of our being. Just what is it we are looking for in our books: Escapism, relaxation, information, to pass the time of a long journey or to forget the events of the day before sleep.
From where does this deep seated love of fiction, which is an imaginative work even if based on fact, come. Does it stem from childhood days when parents and teachers encouraged imaginative thought by reading to us. Or are we reaching, not for a guide to life, but for a tangible connection to the interior life of humanity.

What makes you pick up the next book, examine the cover design, scan the blurb on the back, then turn it back over and look at the cover for a second time to see if it will be a good read?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Start a war on litter louts

Congratulations to Claire Balding's partner, Alice Arnold, on tackling a litter lout she witnessed throwing litter from the car window. I have also seen this happen and been absolutely shocked at this ignorant attitude to the environment. I wasn't brave enough to take-on the litterers who threw a bundle of McDonald's boxes and wrappings from the back seat window into a Crouch End street. I was however extremely upset by the incident and other similar behaviours I've witnessed over a number of years.

We anti-litterers must be bold and take on those who abuse the environment. Perhaps Claire Balding could make it a Countryfile campaign. An education campaign is certainly needed to let young and old know this thoughtless attitude is wrong. We all suffer for their ignorance.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good clean fun of gambling on the horses

Amateur jockeys take to the field in Devon

Young and old, cute and ugly made it to the races
     Who'd have thought a lush Devon valley would be the perfect setting for gambling. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the Modbury Harriers  hosted a Point-to-Point horse race in Flete Park, once home to top amateur rider, Lord Mildmay.
    A full field of bookmakers turned out. Beating the bookies at their own game is pretty difficult, but plenty of spectators seemed to be stuffing great wads of winnings into their pockets. Perhaps the winners were the mathematicians in the crowd who have insight in to making the odds work in their favour. 
    An eclectic mix of Devonians and visitors, clothed in all sorts from tweeds and flat caps to young chaps in drag and girls in dressage, made a colourful picture of local life. Well behaved dogs seem to be a fact of country life and this event was no different: sheep dogs, labradors, golden retrievers, blood hounds, big and small, cute and ugly, young and  old; it all added to the family atmosphere.
  Who'd have thought gambling would turn out to be a wholesome affair.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

V&A's photography exhibition a great place to learn

Alexandra Park London December 2010
     Disputes over photography have been going on since 1825 when Joseph Nicéphore Niépce produced the first image. Is photography art or craft? Really it is both but dependant on the intent of the artist and the skill of his or her execution.  There is also plenty of installation art about these days which should not be classified as art and the fact that it is in an art gallery does not make it art. That concept is a con and as laughable as advertising copywriters and art directors claiming the ads they produce are art. Mad Men the television series may have artistic credit, but the ads produced to sell consumer goods do not.
The V&A exhibition is a good place to start making up your mind about photography.
Old Melbourne Gaol Victoria January 2012