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Monday, 25 September 2006

Kandi Darling...

My, what a weekend of cultural treasures!

Friday: I schlepp home early and get stuck at the Jolly Wagoners roundabout for three quarters of an hour, nodding off into the pages of Yellow Dog. Later, we catch up with the Stiff at the Beeb stuff we recorded from last week. Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwartz singing Surrender to the rhythm is the highlight - a young Lowe looking like a bizarre amalgam of British pop legends - part Bowie, part Terry Hall, with Joe Brown's haircut.

Saturday, I meet Val (Man U), Jim (Spurs) and their young Gooner lad, Calvin at the Auld Triangle, before young C & I take our seats at the Emirates to watch The Arsenal record their first ever league win at the new ground - a 3-0 romp against a workmanlike Sheffield United. Reuniting Cal with his folks at the A.T., Val asks Cal if he's learned any new chants today. Cal furrows brow in consternated recall, then his face lights up as it did when he first took his seat and beheld the splendid rectangle of green baize before him. "..Stand up if you hate Tottenham..." he sings with full throat. I can't look at Jim....

Sunday: To the Tate Modern for Kandinsky: the Path to Abstraction. A blissful collection of early works outlining the development of the artist from Fauvist fellow traveller to genuinely radical pioneer of abstract art. There's a greedy hedonism in his use of colour that I really love, and that seems to give way to a more measured, graphic style around 1921, the point at which this exhibition ends. I'm reminded of the way that Eno thought of music as aural painting - Kandinsky taking the reverse route, painting as composition, the canvass a stave for his explosions of colour and form. But there's another story here, one senses - that of artist and muse. The sensuality of so many of the paintings seems to fuel the narrative of the already married Kandinsky's attraction to his fellow-painter mistress - each brushstroke seemingly an unanswered (to us, at least, in the absence of any of her work on display) plea to the love of his life, Gabrielle Munter, his muse waiting patiently for him to escape the shackles of convention and unite with him in art and love.

Mind you, you'd want to get rid of a surname like that, wouldn't you?*

* Punchline courtesy of S. You know the drill...

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  1. Bob - do you still have your Stiff stuff? I was gutted - taped (or thought I had taped) the bits I was too tired to stay up for's all BLACK! No sound, no picture, nothing. Can I borrow yours please if you still have it? Ta x

  2. Re: Kandinsky - yes - S is the funny one.

  3. Unfortunately, we don't have a video - ours is a poncey new hard disc recorder and I haven't figured out a way of copying to DVD. I will try to keep in the hope that we get a DVD recorder someday. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much - Beeb 4 seem to show stuff on a loop, so I'm sure it will all be shown again soon.

    There was a lot of rubbish too - Jona Lewie? Come on! Although it was nice seeing Crusty Mackrel singing b.v.s with him.

    The thing I'd love to see again is the SBS on Ian Dury - not sure when it first came out (about 78? Maybe it was later...) There was a trailer for it that showed him walking over one of the District line station walkways, wearing a drape jacket, with shaved head, looking really mean and he turns to the camera, leers into it and says "Good evening, I'm from Essex, in case you copuldn't tell..." in a really menacing way. I was terrified!

    I hope they haven't wiped it. It was gret, because you saw him writing songs, just rapping along to a drumbeat. What a mensch!

    Loved #7 - best yet, I'd say, so worth all the aggro it caused you. Thanks for persevering. I will be casting the Brins;ey Schwartz soon...

  4. Well, just wait for 8 - I am singing! Not for very long thank goodness. xx

  5. I liked the Kandinsky, but I don't know that any of the stuff was abstract as such - I think every canvas had something figurative in, however small. Oh well, I suppose it was "the path to..." rather than the arrival.

    And does "workmanlike" (we're on to Sheffield now) mean somewhere between "boring" and "shite".

    Thanks for Donkey Adams, btw. My spies tell me that, under his tutelage, the Pompey defence is now as tediously efficient as the Gooners were a decade or so back.

  6. Rockmother, the Stiff documentary and BBC performances are being repeated on BBC4 on Friday night.

    We were going to see that Kandinsky exhibition last week but, as usual, apathy won out. Still, at least we saved a few quid. I'm not that keen on the Tate Modern anyway.

  7. Well Timster, there's figurative stuff in there for sure, but the general thrust of the work from about 1911 on is K trying to open the canvass up spatially in much the same way that the cubist guys were. I'd say he has more in common with the Abstract expressionist guys (whom he anticipates by a good 40 years btw in incorporating the unintended accidents of the painting process into the work) in that I think that his main aim is to produce an extreme emotional response in the viewer (as opposed to the more clinical, technical objectives of the cubists)

    There's a very modern (i.e. in pop culture terms and recent avant garde music) aspect to his m.o. - improvisatory, embracing the chaos of the creative process. I was reminded of some of those light installations Eno's done - I think Kandi. would have stumbled upon a similar aestehitc given that video technology. So, apart from the very early ones, I'd say he was moving at quite a steady rate away from figurative art into a very bold new territory of experimental picture making - the inner world being of far more interest to him than the surface.

    I didn't realise you'd got Wor Tone on board too. Cripes, Pompey for the league at this rate! Yes, Sheff U. were dire. If the Arse had bothered turning up in the first half, they'd have stopped the contest. But we didn't. I haven't seen Henry play so bad as that either.......yet he scores one and make the other two!

  8. Just taken in the Beatles special, cheers for the name check etc, (be careful out there, it's a smaller world than you think!)
    All this talk of not getting more than 10 minutes into depcast 2 is slightly unsettling as my song starts at almost exactly 10mins in (according to the Ister that is, or is he just winding me up?!?!), listen out for the Howesey special which is being scripted as we speak, ad-libs take a lot of work you know! The areoles will feature of course but no names or faces will be used without being disguised beyond recognition! I see it as kind of like the Bass player's view, ie left of everyone else and nearer the ladies' bog.
    Love and peace, Howesey.

  9. (I would have gone myself but I had a prior engagement. Plus football confuses me)

  10. Bob, if you'd looked around at the Emerites you may have Billy senior enjoying the game on a borrowed season ticket.

    Are you going to see Porto tomorrow as well?

  11. Cheers Bettster! Tony Adams - yummers!

  12. I quite like TM, Bettster. I normally prefer things "the way they were", but that part of the South Bank is a rare exception. They've opened up a lot of the old streets that no one would have gone "dahn" (as we Londoners say) to good effect, without losing the period feel. Short walk from the NFT and Borough Market - it's a great

    Billster - oh yes, I'll be there tomorrow! I knew you came from good stock!

    Howesey - thanks. Await yours with interest. Well, trepidation, actually. Then there's the thought of losing all my female following to you. Is there no escape??

    Ro-Mo: Whadditellya?? You're on a reet old podroll, aren't you? Loved the Beatles cover, btw.

  13. The programme about Ian Dury made Mr. Realdoc cry and he is not usually prone to showing his emotions. He treated Mr Dury in his final illness and said he was one of the most dignified people he had ever met.

    On more basic topics surely being able to say 'my girlfriend's a Munter' would have had Kandinsky and the abstract art world rolling in the aisles. Maybe not.

  14. Ian Dury's bench near Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park is a must visit thing. Take some walkman headphones, plug them into the solar powered bench and listen to Reasons to be cheerfull part 3 and hit me.. there is supposed to be an interview there as well but the socket was broken when i went last. Ian Dury spent a lot of time there before he left us. I tried to contact someone with a view to getting the bench fixed but no-one seems to be responsible for it.

    Bobster, female following? Ah yes, I remember the concept, but I had a guitar with a maple neck...

  15. That's given me a great idea for a song realster:

    "My old bird's a Munter,
    She wears a Munter's hat
    She wears Gor Blimey Trousers
    And was a vital inspiration in my establishing a vibrant new form of abstract visual expressionism in the early part of the twentieth century...."

    It's a belter, isn't it?

    Yes, the Dury thing was very moving. He's one of the few people that I can remember where I was when I heard that he'd died. (The chemist, just before Richmond Bridge. Though I can't remember what I was buying at the time. Probably haemmaroid* related, I would imagine.)

    He came across the way one would want to yourself in the same position. Easier said than done I guess. Must be hard to treat someone when you've had contact with them through their work like that, I imagine?

    *Sorry, I've no idea how it's spelt Spinny...

  16. Yes Mr. H, I was going to mention that when replying to realdoc, but I wasn't sure if Ian's bench was still there or not. That's next weekend mapped out then....And I think we should start a campaign to get it sorted!! I feel a post coming on....

    Well, when I say "following", it's not like they're actually following me. They just lie in wait and pounce on me at odd moments. Or emerge from the shadows of public conveniences bearing tatty copies of the Radio Times with Natasha Kaplinky Kerplunksy on the front, whispering "'s alright - we know about the cockrot and we're not put off. We can always try marigolds..." And things like that. I should also add thet they're all in their late 70s - although it has to be said, surprisingly agile in may cases....

  17. The Romo For Real 8 is finally up and running Bobster. Love on ya x

  18. We had a bit of a cultural weekend as it happens. Went to see Mr Sewell in Rock'n'Roll. Very good. I officially award the 'best line in a play ever' award to Sinead Cusack, who, while playing a very mild mannered and sweet, cancer suffering wife of a university professor, after watching a doe-eyed student flirting with him, pulled her to one side and said:
    "If you fuck my husband before I'm dead, I'll take 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance' and stick it up your rancid c##t." What a strange reaction that got from the audience! Gasps and titters and one Howesy guffaw!

  19. Not too long before Ian Dury passed away, the missus and I went to Beckton festival as I'd heard that the Blockheads were to be appearing on the bill as headliners. Unfortunately, Ian was in the late-to-final stages of his illness so their spot on stage was cancelled.

    However, I was lucky enough to see them as support for one of the 'Madstock' gigs at Finsbury Park a few years ago. I'm so glad I got to see them with Dury still in the band, as a few years after Ian's death, The Blockheads made an appearance supporting The Damned at the Fairfield Halls. Because they lacked that special magic ingredient, it was a time to stand outside the auditorium until the Eddie and the Hot Rods / Damned came on stage.

    I remember doing a spot of shopping in Tesco's at about 2 in the morning (when the staff can get away with playing a radio programme over the tannoy without being bollocked) and the news report informed me of Dury's death. I ended up going round the aisles in a daze. It was expected, I suppose, but very sad all the same.

  20. I was lucky enough to see Ian Dury with the Blockheads in December 1990 with The Mysterious Mr Streeter at Brixton Academy. We were in the balcony and I'll be honest, I'd never seen anything like it, the boys on the floor were berserk! The show became the album 'Warts n audience', which is great 'cos i can do the whole show again anytime.