Saturday, 23 April 2016

Ten Bob for Will

Well, I’m scuffling, and I’m shuffling
And I’m walking on briars
I’m not even acquainted
with my own desires

Now Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid

Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells
Speaking to some French girl
Who says she knows me well

Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.

I know that fortune is waiting to be kind
So give me your hand and say you’ll be mine

Othello told Desdemona, “I’m cold, cover me with a blanket,
By the way, what happened to that poisoned wine?”
She said, “I gave it to you, you drank it.”
Po’ boy, layin’ him straight,
Pickin’ up the cherries fallin’ off the plate.

By Jupiter, Were I the wearer of Antoniusbeard
I would not shave't to-day

Dragon clouds so high above
I’ve only known careless love

Now the fifth daughter on the twelfth night
Told the first father that things weren’t right

words by Bob Dylan, by way of William Shakespeare
pictures by Bob Dylan

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Breaking in my New Heart

Zero one zero
Zero zero one zero
One zero one one
Binary Fiction, Haiku

stretching out like grave stones

Princess, princess, throw down your hair

Who killed Clayton Square?

Shirley, picture by Catherine Bertie
Kyle County

 you either got it honey or you don't

apparently there are only eight Plentimaw Fish in the sea

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Shining Brother, Shining Sister

Sometimes you see something that is just so beautiful you want to share it with everyone.  It might be a vista, maybe a girl, maybe a song, a tree, a whale, a yacht, a building, a dream, baby blue eyes, four nuns in a mini, a single white orchid, cherry blossom, a rose. Or a poem.  Someone said he'd never see a poem lovely as a tree.  I disagree. Which poem? Which tree?

This is lovely as a tree.  Pour a glass, put your feet up and join me in a reading of Every Day You Play.  Pablo Neruda wrote this.

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a cluster of fruit, every day, between my hands.
You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.
Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.
The birds go by, fleeing
The wind, the wind.
I can contend only against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.
You are here. Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Cling to me as though you were frightened.
Even so, at one time a strange shadow ran through your eyes.
Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.
How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the gray light unwind in turning fans.
My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
I go so far as to think that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells,

dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A Southsea Hug

 A busy day for My Dog Sighs yesterday.  Free Art, charity art and Art with a capital A.  

Why be an artist? Because you want to produce stuff, you have a song you want to sing, you have a book bursting to get out of you, you know you can do it better than they can, you want to be rich and popular, you want your songs to be heard, your photos to be admired, your paintings to be seen. 

And you have to eat.  You can be a telephone engineer by day and a bass player in a covers band in the evening, you can spend your tea breaks at the bank writing the Last Great Novel, you can run the night shift at the factory but be photographing the sunrise and sunset  on weekends.  But do you want to make a living out of your art? You have to sell it.  

I was at a gig last night, the guy I went to see had just produced a cd.  He told me he finds it hard to say "Buy my cd" when he's performing, he just wants to play the songs.  That's ok, but if you want to make a living you have to sell yourself. As The Pop Group said nearly 40 years ago: we are all prostitutes.

Just because you're good doesn't mean you'll sell well.  There's a grand tradition of great artists who sold nothing, died penniless.  So how do you break through?  You can be good and not get noticed: wrong haircut, no MTV, no airplay, no hit.  You can be good, be the right fit, be picked up, promoted -and make money.  Flora Borsi is a great photographic artist. It's not just me who thinks so - the  Saatchi Gallery think so too.  Two years ago you could pick up a print of her Corn Poppy for thirty quid, now you can't get anything for less than a grand.  Her work has matured and improved but that isn't the only reason the price has gone up.  Saatchi, Adobe and others have given her the seal of approval, the market knows her, the market sets her new price.  As an artist I'm sure she'll go from strength to strength.  I bet you any money other people make more money from her (with less skill or effort) than she does.

How do you get noticed? How do you get press? But how do you get into galleries?  It isn't enough to be good.  

My Dog Sighs hit on a way of getting his art out there - by giving it away.  He started leaving pieces of art around and about, inviting people to help themselves to it.  Free Art Friday.  Great idea, except you might work for hours on a piece only for it to be thrown in a bin by a an over zealous street sweeper. But perseverance is the key and after a few years and a few hundred pieces - and the rise of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - the name My Dog Sighs is well known around Portsmouth. Commissioned pieces, collaborations, exhibitions; some very visible pieces, working with the council, working in schools, working with community groups My Dog Sighs has got his name out there at a grassroots level, building up an increasingly fanatical local following.  

His involvement with Bristol's Upfest last year put him on another stage - and brought national press coverage.  At the same time there have been gallery shows at home and abroad.  The prices for exhibition pieces are relatively high but they get snapped up so that's what the market says.  That local following may soon be priced out of the market.

But. MDS has made a point of staying local.  At his Portsmouth exhibitions (Together in Solitude with Midge, 2014 and Quiet Little Voices, 2015) he has involved other local artists, printers, picture framers, caterers, photographers.  He has made a point of noting and naming these collaborators - so everyone knows there's a good picture framer locally, there's independent coffee shops, there's a local scene.  So why was yesterday a busy day?  

Actually I don't know how busy he was but he did put out three Free Art pieces celebrating Record Store Day - in the vicinity of Southsea's independent record shop Pie & Vinyl of course . . . .

and he offered for sale 45 Southsea Hug prints with all the profits going to two local charities, Tonic and St James.  [See below for more on this]

If that wasn't enough, to round off the day yer man was back in the studio doing this:

This is from My Dog Sighs Fb page as are most of the images on this page (except the church and the sunset):
Some of you may have seen my Southsea Hug wall painted in Albert road recently. On painting it I had the opportunity to 'chat' to quite a lot of people wandering up and down the street. Many of which who seemed either vulnerable, homeless or both. And this gave me an idea. 
I have produced a high quality limited edition giclee print. It's an easily frameable A3 in size, an edition of 45, all signed, stamped and numbered for sale for £50 each. 
All the profits of the sale of this print will be donated to the society of St James homeless charity and the Tonic charity, both very worthy local charities helping vulnerable people. 
Tonic is A charity that raises awareness and challenges the stigma often associated with mental illness through music and arts based activities in association with an array or established and local artists.  
Society of St James is a Hampshire-based homelessness charity, providing accommodation and support to over 2500 people each year. 
The print will only be available to purchase in person from Saturday 16th April (this Saturday) via  @playdeadstudio in highland road;  @strongislanduk in Albert road;  @homecoffeesouthsea in Albert road; @southseacoffee in Osborne road and my studio (above the Wedgewood rooms in Albert road). 
If you can help by sharing this post and getting the prints sold I'd be grateful. #print #southsea#southseahug #southseaghetto #art #charity#portsmouth #portsmouthartist 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Brutality, Religion & a Dance Beat

The Corn Poppy has been quiet the last couple of months, but not idle.  Actually quite busy,putting up a statue, building a monument to the legendary Roger Eagle. Between October 1976 and March 1980 Roger ran Eric's Club in Liverpool.

At the time it seemed a great place.  In retrospect , it was even better.

When Eagle died in 1999 Bill Drummond bought his record collection and turned into a sculpture called Dead White Man.  The records would no longer be played.  A very Drummond thing to do, but Roger Eagle was all about playing the records, introducing people to new sounds.  At Eric's he was the moody uncle of punk.  Follow the links here for a month by month, blow by blow, band by band aural history of Eric's - and by extension a history of punk, new wave and post punk in those turbulent 40 months.

You can go to to find them all now but I'll add the links bit by bit

April 1977
May 1977
June 1977
July 1977
August 1977
September 1977
October 1977
November 1977
December 1977

January 1978
February 1978
March 1978
April 1978
May 1978
June 1978
July 1978
August 1978
September 1978
October 1978
November 1978
December 1978

January 1979
February 1979
March 1979
April 1979
May 1979
June 1979
July 1979
August 1979
September 1979
October 1979
November 1979
December 1979

January 1980
February 1980
March 1980

it is very strange to think that the distance from here to 1976 is the same as the difference from 1976 to the Berlin Olympics of the mid 1930s.

When we used to sing
What do you mean
It doesn't rhyme
Nether did Jesse Owen
And he won four gold medals
In the 1936 Olympics
In Berlin
we were singing history  It could have been Vikings, Vizigoths or Victorians - the 1936 Olympics were ancient history.  But apparently it wasn't so long ago after all.