Inspired partly by an early episode in A Strange Manuscript found in a Copper Cylinder by James De Mille...
'Hobbies, Interests and Hates'
Whilst visiting the Next Blog, then the Next Blog I got the idea of mashing up samples from those I came across. Got stuck in a Spanish rut for a while, then a Portuguese one, but persisted because I didn't want to translate. It does not translate. Next Blog. They're mostly fascinating tales of girls with their dogs, families, cars, games, dressmaking and so on. And on. Babies. Families. And so on. Click on to read. Of course.
As promised yesterday. You can't truly appreciate what an effort it was scanning this...I mean...I'm hungover, it weighs a ton, wouldn't fit on the scanner until I realised I could take the lid off and then many images didn't fit, or barely fitted. Puffing and (abstract) panting, I struggled on with the beast.
But first, photos of the book since it's World Book Day and that's what this is, a book, an object which is almost all about the content but partly about it being a big, special book from 1974 with all-colour plates pasted in, as opposed to printed on the paper. Some of them flap about whilst others are totally pasted (me being almost totally wasted). I can't imagine how long it took to make up...almost as long as it took me to scan.
As Seuphor points out, Belgian abstract artists were largely ignored and unrepresented in the history. This book aimed to set the record straight and do them justice. It certainly does that. Perhaps they are more widely recognised today. There were so many to choose from that singling out my favourites would have meant scanning until midnight so my choices were random.
|The Farewell, Jo Delahaut, 1957|
|Composition 6, Marthe Donas, 1920|
|Painting 37, Pierre-Louis Flouquet, 1925|
|National Street, Jozef Peeters, 1919|
|Opus 38, Victor Servranckx, 1921|
|San Gioco Maggiore, Michel Seuphor, 1956|
|Composition, Guy Vandenbranden, 1960|
Truly outstanding film from the golden age of tape, a time when experimenting with music was not out of bounds. I've no idea how they teach music in schools today or if they even bother. In theory, to exploit this generation's obsession with technology, now should be a great time for exploring computer-based sound. I suspect, however, that it would be based on trying to make a hip-hop rhythm rather than looking to Stockhausen for inspiration. That would be a great shame. I'm not advocating a rigorous study of composition but the potential for play inherent in technology is obvious, as this film proves. Watch it and marvel...
It's World Book Day tomorrow (March 6th). What this means, I've no idea. Except that I suppose it's to celebrate books. Obviously.
As you'll have noticed if you've been here before, I like books. No, I love books. But I have too many, so last week I sold some to a second-hand book shop, for a pittance, but it helped keep the book shop going and as you know they're dying out. So it seems.
I won't blather on about how books are sacred and Kindle is shite. What's the point? People make their choices. But books from the past as objects have their obvious merits, not least the reading history you feel when holding them, along with cover art. And their cheapness when bought in a second-hand shop. Unless, like me, you also have a penchant for books deemed pricier than average by book-sellers.
It's futile to moan about books themselves dying out because what will be will be, although I don't think they will ever die out completely. Until us old-fashioned readers have all gone. And new generations either only read books on screen or just don't read anything except posts on the social network. There's a thought. Perhaps that's happening already. If you're raised on tweets and posts a book must seem daunting.
In October 2013 English 16 to 24-year-olds came 22nd out of 24 countries measured for literacy levels by the OECD. (The Survey of Adult Skills, OECD, October 2013). At least we're in front of The Kingdom of the Blind and America (joke! - my American friends). Is this down to the social network? Well, don't the countries who are ahead of us have computers? Only Germany are ahead of the UK when it comes to internet use. I wonder what their literacy rate is like. Perhaps all this explains the popularity of the Harry Potter books.
Not that I was reading Tolstoy when I was at school. I can't remember what I did read, which suggests I read very little. It was only when I left school and fell in with a crowd which included some bookish types that my serious reading began. Had I stayed in the village since then I'd probably own every Harry Potter book today.
The danger with advocating reading for the sake of it is that kids will always read literature for kids, even when they're adults. But they have to start somewhere. Perhaps they will only change course when they meet those who have already done so, as I did. Unfortunately, looking at those stats, this does not bode well for future generations. Who will be left to open doors leading to stranger, deeper, more interesting literature?
If it's about who you hang out with, surely there must be cliques around today who read books, just as there was in my day. Peer pressure in this respect is a good thing. You had to have read Kerouac, Sartre etc. But it was also about music. Whilst no genre dominated, the fact that we were all going to see The Clash, Human League, The Jam and so on meant something.
Don't get me wrong, it's not as if we were all super-literate and hip in our music taste, but reading and listening were bound together. At least in music I had a head start. It was, after all, a passion I found easier to embrace than reading. That's true of every generation, of course. What kids today are passionate about musically I do not know. I'm more curious about what constitutes an underground scene amongst teenagers. And do they read certain authors?
With everything available to them today via the internet they should be exploring, with ease, sounds it took us years to find. Here comes the old idea...that's the problem, ease of access and surfeit of sound. Like kids in a sweet shop - what to choose?! There's a lot of truth in that, no doubt. When it's all one click away, where's the sense of satisfaction that we derived from having to research, read, learn from others, then hunt the damned album down?
Anyway, to celebrate World Book Day tomorrow I'll be posting some Art from this...
Hopefully I'll be able to find some work that isn't already on the internet. Trust me, it's an amazing book.
Buy this book!
Cut Up! An Anthology Inspired by the Cut-Up Method of William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin
Edited by Joe Ambrose & A.D. Hitchin
I've got some pieces in here. One or two, maybe three, I can't remember and don't have a copy yet. I'd forgotten about submitting them until confirmation of their inclusion arrived months later. I was thrilled, of course.
If you're into cut up texts and radical literature it's an essential purchase.
Victor Bockris has given it his blessing and provided some blurb.
You can order it from Oneiros Books for £13.99
one I made earlier, marketing success, Richard Prince, alter-ego, post-internet tart, collage graduation,
print, limited editions available £50 each or free to the first person who buys me a signed edition of Nova Express, 'Dad, I wanna be an artist,' 'Don't be stupid, only dead ones make any money' (1972), brain feed, chicken feed, mini-skirts, maxi-skirts and Afro hair-dos...
Found this oddity whilst browsing the shelves of a great bookshop in Hitchin last week-end. I'd never heard of A. Paul Weber but I'm sure you'll agree that his vision is interesting, nightmarish and fantastical.
(don't ask what he thinks of it)
yes, I saw it
don't ask what he thinks. if he had anything good to say he would have left a comment. wouldn't he?
never ask. it's asking for trouble. a gamble. he says 'great work!' you're pleased. he fumbles for something polite to say...or he changes the subject...
trans-literary text manipulatory Dada vomit