Saturday 31 January 2009

Rothko transubstantiates in my room

I have come to London to see a Rothko show. While I am here, I will do lots of other things also. It is getting interesting.

This evening, my first full day here, I returned from the loo to see my water bottle on the floor, seeping water, in this peculiar - there's no way around this but through - maroon Rothko like form. The floor here is maroon, it just is. The floor is a Rothko-like maroon, to begin with. Now, with a dark form in the middle of it, reminding me of the purpose of my visit.

I had no previous knowledge of the colour of the carpet in this place, and I bought that water with a full intention to drink it. It's thirsty work spending hours in the tube, circling between King's Cross and Moorgate, trying to find a functioning Metropolitan line on the weekend, and thus missing the Complicite show that is probably a thing of Greatness. You need water for all that.

Universe had other ideas.

Rothko lives! But yes, I am looking forward to reuniting with those paintings (and new ones! ones I have never ever ever seen before! hurrah!) tomorrow evening.

Gosh, this article is very interesting.

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Molly needs a home

Molly is an almost three year old yorkshire terrier/jackrussell cross who looks like a yorkie purebred, and who has more puppy in her than sense at this point in her life. She is also one of the most entertaining, endearing pooches I have ever met. Favourite tricks include Her Famous Kangaroo Act and peeing with both back legs in the air. And she needs a new home, as of today.

Molly was saved from drowning by a very kind woman who now feels out of her depth with her. A colleague of Molly's current owner wanted to drown all 9 (9!) puppies in Molly's litter, and so Molly's owner rescued them and found homes for them all. Molly was the runt of the litter. None of the puppies had been weaned properly and Molly's first weeks in her new home were spent being syringe-fed milk. She didn't take to all this upset at all well, and still Molly is a fraught and finicky eater. She will only eat when hand-fed, gets upset around food very easily, and mostly wants to eat the food that the humans around her are eating. She has just learned poor ways. 

Molly likes to hump her favourite blue blanket and LOVES long walks in the countryside, where her kangaroo act can really shine. She is always at the very end of her extendable lead, straining to get somewhere Very Important. When you pick her up, she trembles in your arms and will look very seriously and earnestly, directly into your eyes for as long as you can stand it. She LOVES to play. She needs to be around people a lot, probably because she was half weaned by one and probably doesn't realise that she isn't half-human after all.

Molly has no sense. She will happily approach twin rottweilers and insult them in the bawdiest terms and offer to take them both on and show them a thing or two. She does not understand that she is a mere bean burrito to such creatures, and that really she is reliant on their mercy for her survival in such cases. She will also run directly out into roads without any awareness of traffic at all, so she will need to be rehoused in a home that has good security around it, in terms of walls or strong fence. 

Molly needs a new home because her owner is a single mother who is taking on further education and a fulltime job in this coming year and Molly would be at home alone all the time during the day. Molly really likes human companionship a lot. She considers them kin.

Molly seems to carry the memory of the precariousness of her origins with her, she has a certain troubledness to her, a certain complexity that is unusual in a small dog. 

I am deeply fond of Molly, and we are going to do all we can to find her a suitable home, ie. a fantastic one. Molly has special needs, and it is important that she finds someone who will be a steady presence in her life, aswell as enjoying her special skills.

If you are living in the Clare/Limerick area and you would like to join the list of eager potential Molly kinsfolk, then please, by all means, email me, or leave a comment below. Thanks.

What I learned this evening in the village pub

1. Deer are a pest in the countryside.

2. The curlew is a tasty bird.

3. A man who they said wouldn't last Christmas one year, is still around, 35 years later.

4. There is a stallion who is married to a barren mare, and who refuses to mate with fertile mares unless his love is standing in the field beside him.

5.  An 89 year old man walks two miles on the open road every night in his reflective vest to sit at the bar, and at the end of the night, walks home again. Every night.

6. Garlic bread goes surprisingly well with your first pint of Guinness in three months.

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Black Iraqis get on the stoop

I found this remarkably moving today. Something very sweet about the men standing there, the earnestness. Inspiration is an amazing thing, so many different forms.

They seem so... American.

Cor, what the bloomin' 'ell's goin' on, daddy?

So many of the images in this excellent photo story are iconic, beautiful and moving. But this one is the shot as far as I'm concerned. It's an image of tourists in the Canary Island of Tenerife - a hugely popular package holiday destination for Europeans - looking out a window at asylum seekers who have just arrived in a boat from Africa, and are lined up in the carpark below. The window reflects the tourists' reality, but this striking scene has caught their attention. See it large here.

This is how they arrive. Your huddled masses, indeed.

Or has that old idea gone out of style?

Sing hallelujah c'mon get happy. Get ready for the judgment day.

Excellent article, this, about the press corps surrounding Bush for the duration of his presidency, with the photo editors of three news agencies discussing key images from his eight year tenure. Santiago Lyon of AP adds a caveat:

“One thing that’s obvious, but it’s worth bringing out there, is that there are very few casual photographs of the president of the United States. The whole thing is managed. With the exception of the guy hurling the shoe at him, these are all photo opportunities that are organized by the White House Press Department and set up for the members of the traveling pool or media group that accompanies him everywhere. So you have to look at them within that framework, that it’s being orchestrated to send a message.”

Whereas Vincent Amalvy of AFP feels the opposite, wondering at the unprecedented access that the American photo corps has to the presidency. Many of the pictures are images of the same moment, from slightly different perspectives, framed differently. Jim Bourg has some especially interesting ones.

Something I was glad of when I watched Bush's last press conference - despite the depressing reality of his lack of awareness of the depths of what was going on around him - was the frankness of his humanity. The man is a dolt there's no question of it and his lack of regret, at least publicly, of anything other than the bad photo ops, and his profound lack of understanding about apparently anything at all, is a terrible thing to behold, given the gravity of the office he held. But he is also a human being. Contrast his demeanour in the last press conference with the "farewell address" which was so static and so stiffly performed. And then, those last three photos. Reminds me of stage school kids who learn how to stifle all their feelings and go out on the stage and smile smile smile.

Little horrors, aren't they?

Sunday 25 January 2009


in Shanghai.