BLAUGUSTINE / BACK TO ARCHIVE

30 June 2017

POETS GALORE GLITTERING

Life-enhancing evening at the British Library on Thursday in honour of Gwendolyn Brooks.

See George Szirtes' page for full description. He was one of the 20 poets who ran up to the stage and made the air vibrate with the music and passion and integrity of their words and their personalities. I was a spectator but it was impossible to be an outsider in such an atmosphere of belonging. And the fabulous colours! I took some photos.

George Szirtes at British Library

George Szirtes

Malika Booker & Roger Robinson

Malika Booker and Roger Robinson

Poets celebrating at British Library

Poets, British Library

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20 June 2017

HEAT

Wiped out, no energy whatsoever, limbs ache. Everything is suspended in a heat haze. Can't get out of my head the image of all those people trapped, struggling to escape the flames, incinerated on the spot. Here in the city where I live. The despair of those who lost them. The faces of all of them, their beautiful faces.

19 June 2017

WHEN COMPLAINING IS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH

I have a knack for efficient and stubborn complaining. Probably from the French half of my DNA. In my adult life I must have written hundreds of complaint letters, some for myself, some for family or friends who thought I'd do a better job of it than they would. In all fake humility I must admit that, in most cases, (maybe in all cases but I can't remember) my complaints got the desired result.

Thing is, I'm not afraid to rock the boat. Especially when a boat is demonstrably and outrageously leaking. Injustice, deceit, misleading advertising, shoddy goods, negligence, broken contracts, slander, exploitation etc. instantly light my fire and l'm ready for sharply worded battle, all evidence in hand. In my next life I might be a lawyer for human rights. If any humans are left on the earth by then.

Sometimes a local or global crisis starts the complaint wheel spinning in my head and I lie awake inventing stratagems. Admittedly some situations are too big, too complex, too stuffed with experts and deskperts and despots for my little knack to be of any use at all. But the Grenfell Tower tragedy has been in my thoughts and in my heart ever since it happened and now there's also the issue of all the other tower blocks which are at risk of a similar tragedy. Yes, 'authorities' are now thinking about it and there will be meetings, committees, proposals etc.

 But HOW LONG will it take before action? Months? Years? Not good enough!

I had a thought this morning while walking in a cemetery:

Could the families of those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster lodge a complaint with the Consumers' Association about inferior material used in the cladding? Residents of the building were, after all, consumers. They paid rent and taxes to the Council and therefore all of the building's appliances were products they bought. Could a case be made for them to sue the suppliers of the inferior, dangerous merchandise? As well as the Council, of course. Just as you could sue the makers/sellers of a sofa which burst into flames even though it was labelled fireproof.

 Astonishing clairvoyance in this 1993 House of Cards televison series.

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17 June 2017

THINGS I THINK ABOUT IN THE SHOWER

Could the world be run on kindness?

Could a to-do list be made of all the things that need to change in human nature?

And then could we just do it, on ourselves?


And if we can't completely change, could we change on two days a week, like that fast diet?


And if we still need to be selfish, greedy, power-mad, corrupt, intolerant, indifferent, deceitful etc. could we be a bit less of all that on the other days of the week?


And if that works, what would be the increase of kindness in the world?


Any answers?

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15 June 2017

STATISTICS ON GOOD AND EVIL?

In the balance sheet of good and evil, what's the score? I wonder if anyone's ever compiled statistics. My ignorant guess is that the good far outnumber the evil, but the evil that the evil do is so terrible that it wipes out vast numbers of those who were doing good, or would have done good had they not died as babies. So statistics are useless.

Look at this devastating tower block fire: even if it started accidentally, it is not an accident. It is a crime and those responsible for it happening cannot claim innocence - they're on the side of evil, active or passive. The heart-stopping evil of strangers.

And look at the good pouring into the neighbourhood, bringing help, support, shelter, food, clothes, sympathy. The heartbreaking kindness of strangers.

fire at tower block

kindness of strangers

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14 June 2017

ARTIST TRAPPED IN WHITE CUBE!

Got stuck in a lift yesterday. A lift in a cube. A white cube. Have never been stuck in a lift before, ever, so it had to be in the White Cube Gallery in St.James, Piccadilly.

After looking at the few Wayne Thiebaud paintings parsimoniously spaced on the white cubish walls of the upper gallery and been disappointed (they're better in reproduction) I decided, foolishly, to take the lift rather than stairs to the rest of the show in the cube's basement.

Pushed the appropriate going-down buttons and waited. And waited. And waited and waited again and again but no doors opened. I'm not the panicky type and not particularly claustrophobic but this was beginning to worry me. 

A barely visible bell icon on one of the silver buttons indicated it was an alarm. I pressed it. It was a telephone. After several rings a languid voice spoke. Asked me to state the address I was speaking from. Whaddya mean the fucking address I didn't say. I said, sternly, that I was trapped in the lift at the White Cube Gallery and the fucking door wasn't opening. I didn't say fucking door, just door. The voice asked again for the address and this time I must admit I shouted. I shouted that all they had to do was talk to the receptionist on the other side of this fucking lift.

 Finally the door opened and the surprised receptionist, cubishly cool, calm and collected, said "I never heard you". She turned to a visitor and asked "Did you hear anything?" The visitor shrugged. I emerged from the lift and exited the Cube, fuming. Never saw the rest of Wayne Thiebaud's pies and ice cream cones. 

On my way home on the tube, a woman coughed in my face. 

It was one of those days.

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13 June 2017

NdA IN BRITISH LIBRARY

On the British Library blog today, excellent post by Jerry Jenkins, Curator of Contemporary British Public Collections, about some of my artist's books recently acquired by the Library. My thanks to Jerry Jenkins, to Richard Price, Head of Contemporary British Collections, and to Ian Cooke, Head of Contemporary British Publications.

A few individual prints from those editions are available for sale here.

A list of other public collections where some of my artist's books can be seen is here. The four books acquired this year by the British Library are as follows (full details at links below):

1. For A Song 1980  Seven poems & etchings by NdA

2. The Creation from the Book of Enoch 1992 Extract from the Book of Enoch, etchings by NdA

3. Fungus & Curmudgeonly 1980 Play by Simon Meyerson, images by NdA

4. The Word Accomplished 1974 Text by A.B. Christopher, etchings by NdA

For A Song -3

The Creation, from the Book of Enoch

Fungus & Curmudgeonly, box

"Alone" from The Word Accomplished

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12 June 2017

IS THIS A POEM?

Sitting in Archway café
small Americano
milk on the side.
Young blonde mum
tête-a-tête with
young blond baby.
Baby's liitle face
turns to observe
the room
takes it all in
takes it all in.
Wahwah soundtrack blaring
blurring my eyes and ears.
Behind the counter
keep-fit manager explains
boxing to bored barista.
Baby takes it all in.

Archway cafe

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12 June 2017

REAL FACTS VS FAKE "FACTS

I posted this link to my Facebook page a few days ago in reply to someone's comment about Jeremy Corbyn's alleged anti-semitism. I want to post it here for the sake of accuracy of information.

If anyone sees Corbyn as a messiah I'm definitely not among them. But every individual, whether public or private, deserves to be judged on the actual facts of their life and their actions rather than on smears, mis-representations and downright lies.

One doesn't have to agree with a person's political, social, religious or aesthetic stance but disagreement doesn't justify spreading or taking for granted certain assumed "facts" about them without bothering to investigate whether they are facts at all.

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10 June 2017

TABLES TURNED

What is so wonderfully encouraging about the result of this election is that even a relentless campaign by all the powerful mainstream media as well as by individuals in all parties, including his own, to undermine Corbyn in every possible way did not succeed - on the contrary, it backfired and brought him new supporters.

What's more, it demonstrates that a politician doesn't have to insult opponents, flash charisma or spout robotic slogans in order to be a credible leader. No, Corbyn is not Prime Minister but even those who were scoffing, snorting, huffing and puffing at the very thought of it are now saying it's possible and filling column inches with reversals of what they were asserting so confidently only a little while ago.

 Here is a summing-up of this election via the inimitable style of John Crace.

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09 June 2017

SLEEPLESS ELECTION NIGHT

Stayed up until 4:30am and am back up again now to check the latest. Have to say that there was some compassion in my heart for Mrs. May when I heard the break in her voice and guessed the tears behind her heavily made-up eyes.

I hope she leaves but I'll wave goodbye and give her a piece of my rye bread & butter pudding.

To Jeremy Corbyn, however, champagne, strawberries & cream and a hug.

More here.

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03 June 2017

CRUCIAL QUESTION

In the history of stupid questions the most insanely stupid question of all must be:

Would you press the nuclear button?

If you answered YES to the above question, a09re you:

a) Insane?
b) A criminal?
c) Ideally suited to be a world leader?

Herewith  some facts for anyone who believes the Push-Button Principle makes sense, spending billions renewing Trident makes sense, and all other nuclear "deterrent" politics make sense.

And here.

And here.

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02 June 2017

SAVE SPRING NOW!

Mrs. May was doing something called "going up and down the country" instead of taking her place at the crucial election debate in Cambridge.

Watched on BBC every minute of the debate. My conclusion is that it is now very possible if not probable that the Conservatives will lose. Apart from Ukip's absurd Nuttall, the rest of them all did so much better than Amber Rudd (standing there in lieu of Mrs. May)  that a coalition of Green, Lib Dem, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Labour actually looks pretty good. In my view, Green Caroline Lucas was the most convincing of all but I'll still vote for Jeremy.

Won't sling the mud
at Amber Rudd
mud-slinger I am not
and tho' Paul Nuttall
needs rebuttal
my wit is not so hot.
But when Spring is spoilt by one false May
on Spring's behalf I cry Nay! Nay!
Let Spring be sprung
and bells be rung
on the eighth of June
a whole new tune!

Don't Let May Wreck June

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