songofcopper: (pensées mauves)
Library Encounter of the Day: I was sitting there, minding my own business, clearly engrossed in reading/note-making, and also wearing big fat ‘pls go away’ headphones. Nevertheless, a man I had never met before made a confident beeline for me and started asking some unintelligible question (unintelligible because I could understandably hear more of Tangerine Dream than I could of him). I half removed the headphones and caught some quickfire babble about what sounded to my ear like ‘Camembert’, though who knew… the man (he sounded Spanish) was trying to explain what he meant, but I was in too much of a daze to work out what he was saying.

Fromageries )


I am frequenting the Library a lot these days, whilst we have our kitchen redone. (No, I don’t want to sit at home and supervise through clouds of dust, drilling noises and frequent tea consumption.) Though I wish it looked and felt more like the libraries you see in Dario Argento films, rather than a spick and span modern municipal resource, it is not a bad place in which to loiter in a semi-productive way. And it’s always busy! If you go away to have lunch and then come back again, it is hard to find a seat in the study-room. (On a related note, those chairs… those chairs are hard.) Listening to music is, alas, necessary, because it’s on a sort of mezzanine, and noise from downstairs is audible (along with every phone-susurration, coffee slurp and deep, heavy sigh from other patrons).

Laptops are everywhere - not many people make actual notes with a pen, and those that do often have a laptop as well. Most of the people in the room look to be students (A level or undergraduate), aside from the occasional Library Habitué - there’s one chap who wheels in a huge suitcase and sort of sets up camp. At first I thought he must be killing time before his train, but I’ve seen him several times now. This is, in my opinion, a vital function of libraries. For all that they ought to be places of information, learning and literature, they must also be… places to sit and stew, especially for those who may not have anywhere else very pleasant to go. They must afford the sort of equality that allows learned professor, bored student, weirdo conspiracy theorist, suburban dilettante and sheltering itinerant to sit next to each other peaceably.


I have to report that I am yet again fatally allured by shades of mauve. It’s a melancholy business: rarely, if ever, do I feel even slightly curious about people who are alive and knowable. It’s always the semi-obscure, the evanescent, the defunct, the extinct, with me.

Adoring Alastair )


All this gives me to think on what I am to do with myself - how I am to express the (seemingly) inexpressible. Always, half my will bids me hide, whilst the other half cries ‘Parade!’ The first option is safe in one way but very, very hurtful in another: not to be known, not to be seen, not to be sensed, is lonely. Loneliness is excruciatingly safe. The only person who can hurt You there is yourself, and You are the best at doing that. Worse, this way You are letting down all your fellow invisibles - every person who might take heart at seeing You take brave shape before the world’s eyes.

But I’m doomed to diffidence. How much certainty does it require, to feel that You have the right to Describe Yourself? Though sometimes other people’s honesty is inspiring, at other times it’s a muzzle. Don’t want to detract from their moment. Don’t want to seem to mount the bandwagon as it trundles by. The saddest words in the English language are not ‘Too Late’ but ‘Me Too’.

Words, indeed, are perhaps the problem. I want not to need them, in this case. I am not an answer: I’m a question, a wordless question. Trying to frame the thing in speech or text is a fool’s errand. What is wanted is some way to make manifest that question, to stop asking it myself and let other people ask it instead. That’s it: that’s it, exactly. I present people with a false certainty, a drab obviousness that is a lie. They should look at me and not know what to think. And in destroying that lie, I do not want to hand out an explanation that no-one has asked for. I would rather hand out pure beautiful honest confusion.


Here’s a question that I shall happily answer, or try to. Ages ago I asked for writing prompts and then (despite my fair-to-middling efforts, offstage) failed to respond to one from the esteemed [ profile] in_thy_bounty. So I requested an alternative question, and here it is:

“If your personality were a fabric, what would it be?”

We mortals weave ourselves )

{That was a fine question. I thank you for it.}
songofcopper: (Cosmériffick)
This afternoon I’ve been doing a little art experiment. (I have no formal skill in this area, so any success - define the latter as you will - is largely down to serendipity or Divine intervention!!)


Recently I acquired some kyogi - these are wafer-thin sheets of pine wood, traditionally used in Japan for serving food.

Writing on kyogi )

Anyway, whimsical penmanship aside, seeing the wood grain pattern on the kyogi reminded me of those Edvard Munch woodblock prints called ‘Towards the Forest’ - obsessive iterations of the same image, produced and reproduced, the texture of the wood being called into service as part of the composition.

Brooding menace )

Recently, I’ve been enjoying discovering various artists who are new to me: they fall into several categories.

Archetypal Artists )

Aside from meeting these extraordinary artworks, I’ve also been finding much enjoyment in many of the things that have inspired them. Some of these are long-standing loves, some newer.

Gleeful Gloom, in painting, word and photograph )

All around, so many proofs of possibility: at some point, looking at other people’s genius-born meisterwerks ceases to be off-putting, because you know full well you can’t emulate or equal them. There is no tension then - you can’t feel intimidated by the foregone conclusion of your own lack of skill. Somehow it becomes possible to just have a go, without worrying about the outcome.


Crepuscular Encounter )

Now that I know this works, perhaps I’ll make other things - time will tell. Anyway - clearly I’m no kind of skilled artist, but it is inevitable that buoyed in the tidal wake of those blessed with great artistry there will always be happy accidental amateurs bobbing about. What can I say else but ‘come on in - the water’s lovely’.

Vulgar in Velvet

Thursday, 3 March 2016 15:29
songofcopper: (montesquiou by doucet)
It’s World Book Day! We did a roaring trade in the bookshop this morning - there never seems to be any rhyme or reason behind foot traffic/sales in there, but maybe people were aware of the occasion and had book-buying in mind.

Vampires, Velvet and Vulgarity )
songofcopper: (magritte)
Me again - twice in one day, how garrulous - just thought I'd share a link to an art-historical post I made in the 'Strange Tears' community. (I recommend that community, by the way, if you like stumbling across semi-obscure 19th C. artists!)

Click on the picture to read my untutored blather and see some more pictures. :-)

Vision of a Demon, Pinckney Marcius-Simons (1865 - 1909)
songofcopper: (Sparks - Big Beat)
In writing my massive art history spiel I took to heart two things.

1. I'm pretty ignorant about art history (no kidding!).
2. I'm fairly ignorant about the life of Albrecht Dürer.

As I'm all too prone to saying, ignorance is easily cured, and the best medicine is a book. Of course, choosing books is a whole other military operation, made worse when you're dealing with a person who was famous in his lifetime and has, posthumously, only become famouser. Five hundred odd years' worth of commentary is a lot to sift through. Still, at least AD is the opposite of obscure, and present in any bookshop or library worthy of the name.

Anyway, that's not the point of this entry*. The point is this. In edging towards choosing something useful to read, I turned up a couple of curious things.

Thing the first: these times that we are living in are int'resting for reasons too numerous to list, but one of the int'resting fings is that we have become very enthusiastic in our parsing and labelling of sexualities. (So far, so obvious... but stick with it a moment.) For example, now that a fair proportion of humans have grasped the notion that it's normal to be queer (...excuse the oxymoron), and not only normal but common, a sort of academic parlour game has sprung up in which a gossipy sifting of circumstantial this-n-that gets assembled in order that it may be heralded abroad that So-and-so Was Gay!

Sometimes this makes sense as a way for history to be reinterpreted - or, vitally, reclaimed by those who have, as a community, been oppressed, abused, or simply ignored. That maketh the sense.

But often we fall to appraising this data with giggles and nudges and a sort of artless ribaldry, as if Julian and Sandy had taken over the Open University. (Yes, I do realise J&S were all kinds of subversive, but they were also a template for the cosiest of stereotypes.) It's like we want to have our cake (be adjudged tolerant and right-thinking and accepting) and eat it too (say ooh-err and crack naughty jokes as if it's 1972).

Quitting the Garderobe )
songofcopper: (Albrecht Dürer Forever)
[Note: lots of lovely pictures in this post. Most images should enlarge when clicked. I've tried to choose the best quality ones available, so if you like poring over old paintings in detail... have at it. ;-P]

Permit me to take you with me on a small art history adventure. First, I went in search of a little more information about the boy in the painting - my little doppelgänger.

The Sad, Sweet Prince - in the Shadow of a Bigger Brother

Pfalzgraf Philipp, 1503-1548

Leave Nothing Untried )

Green Hans: Dürer's Friend & Apprentice

Hans Baldung Grien, St Sebastian Altarpiece - saint and artist in detail (1517)
Hans Baldung, called Grien, 1484/5-1545

The Man in Green - his Many Guises )

Two Pairs of Eyes Meet Across an Easel


Imagining the Conversation )

In Search of Green Hans: Purported Self-Portraits


Who Are You? )

Restitution at Journey's End


Hans Escapes the Nazis )

Salvador Volatile

Tuesday, 2 April 2013 15:06
songofcopper: (Dalí)
Today I finished reading Norman Douglas's 'South Wind', and I am very sorry indeed to say goodbye to it! It is definitely one of those stories I wish I could have written, and there are not too many of those. The place (the isle of Nepenthe, which is sort of Capri in disguise) and the people, too, will stay with me. Mr Keith, you can show me your cannas (the scented or the unscented ones) any time, you dear man. :-) (Mr Keith could not, I think, join the ranks of 'fictional characters the Emy could marry' - really there is only Professor Fen, or perhaps Charlie Mortdecai - but he goes straight to the top of the list marked 'Potential Wicked Uncles'.)

The natural sequel to this would be 'Vestal Fire' by Compton Mackenzie - published ten years later, treating on more expatriate adventures on that shore. I do very much want to read that, but not yet, I think. Here I will perhaps invoke a prandial metaphor - "time for a palate-cleanser, a sorbet" - but you know what, 'South Wind' is a sorbet, a dainty delicacy. Ah me, yes, 'herbaceous in character' (that phrase again - I seem to want to say it daily!).

Well, anyway, what I mean is, you can't follow a sorbet with more sorbet, so I'm thinking it is time for something carnivorous. Funeral Baked Meats - om nom nom! ;-) Now, it is hard for me to enjoy anything without finding it slightly ridiculous, and when someone manages to be floridly carnivorous they had better be ridiculous too, or really, what's the point? With the above in mind, I've plotted out a route straight into a Black Forest filled with Venus Flytraps. (Yeehaw, have at it, Dr Freud!!)

Libertines taking Liberties in Libraries )


songofcopper: (Default)

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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