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Jan. 15th, 2009 | 03:48 pm

now posting at http://thisisphoebe.blogspot.com/

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(no subject)

Nov. 23rd, 2006 | 08:56 pm

As I lowered a book on Erotic Antiques into the window display, I wondered, Why do I always get The Pervert? I don't have anything against perverts (small p); it's to be expected in an art bookshop. I even quite like the pervert who comes by and asks "Got any Aubery Beardsley in?" To which I reply, "O, um yes, let me have a look on the shelf..." and as I am ascending the ladder to the "B's" he clears his throat and says loudly "Just the sexual stuff dear, please." But The Pervert is a whole other ballgame. He is very fat and sweaty, and has a high-pitched, quick voice.
"Metamorphoses." He announced, after slapping his hand down on the counter.
"Metamorphoses, what have you got?" He licked his lips.
"Do you mean, as in the theme of transformation?" I inquired.
"Yes," he salivated, "transformation of the body... humans... undergoing... surgery."
Weakly I reached for the book on Orlan. His hands pawed it over. "Yes, yes, more like this, more... surgery."
After he had gone I poked my head round the door of Rowland's office. "Why do I always get The Pervert?" Rowland just smiled weakly and carried on cataloging.
Last night I went to see one of the Isabelle Huppert films showing at the NFT. The film was pretty good. Afterwards Su said that she thought that back in the day Isabelle Huppert looked like the ginger one from Girls Aloud, and that this thought alone had possessed her throughout the entirety of the film. She apologised, and carried on to debate the definition of the female gaze with Paul's friend Ben. I enjoyed the film mainly because I had inadvertently blagged a free ticket from the muddled ticket vendor who thought I was in film promotion. Getting into things for free makes me incredibly happy. I also got into the Velazquez for free this week. I saved £22 this week! I thought about this as I passed through the Elephant & castle on my way home listening to Thin Lizzy. The Elephant & Castle seems to pass a lot better with "Dancing in the Moonlight" as it's theme tune.
And now for a poem: (I have been reading a lot of greek verse recently)

Kicking against the Pricks

Said horse to ass, "Why kick against the pricks?"

Anon. The Oford Book of Greek Verse in Translation, 1938 version.

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le frog et rosbif

Nov. 16th, 2006 | 03:59 pm

Paris was a fun... at first I couldn't find Anne (my friend from NYC, who'd been touring europe with her orchestra) and had to expensively telephone her via UK, USA, Czech Republic... "Meet me by the Sorbonne", I said, as though in a french film. Everything went a bit nouvelle vague after that. We went to the Conservatoire for a performance of John Cage, Xenakis, and some young Polish composers. Sophie and her friend arrived late, half way through the 20 minute Cage piece, and got nervous giggles because the trombonist kept making farting noises. Also, the translator was wearing incredibly tight white trousers, which should have been a big warning about where he had arranged the evening's party. At about 11.30 we turned up at a very seedy gay bar near the Peripherique. The walls were adorned with naked men in rugby scrums. The waiters weren't so polite to the ladies (especially english ones, it's no good, they think we are awful...) but everyone had lots of wine and I met Anne's boss, the conductor Petr Kotik. He is an old acquaintance of Adrian. I thought about what I could say to him from Adrian's assessment, and rejecting "He's a bully and a megalomaniac" opted for "I hear that you are an excellent flautist..." In the end we drank until the early hours and finished up making what seemed like then, hilarious origami...

Anne and her very nice Peruvian musician friend who was also an Origami genius

What else can you say about Paris? It's really Parisian. It was lovely to see old friends, and eat a lot of good food and drink a lot of good wine with them, and I managed to visit the Palais de Tokyo before catching the train home. One of the best pieces in the show was a model of a 3ft man bashing his head against the wall. It scared the shit out of a group of four year olds on a school outing.

Hiroshima rendered in noodles, at the Palais de Tokyo

Going home on the Eurostar

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Oct. 24th, 2006 | 09:21 pm


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meet me on the Pont Neuf

Oct. 20th, 2006 | 11:13 pm

It is really entertaining when you get a telephone call from a friend who begins their conversation with "yeah, so I'm in Manhattan at the moment trying to buy some bongo drums..."

This, of course, was Anne, who is coming to Yrp (Europe) in a couple of days with her orchestra. We have arranged to meet in Paris. Everything is so international these days.

I haven't been to Paris in ages. To be honest I don't associate the great city with the best of times. I remember dinner out on a school trip when Angela "Countdown Conundrum" asked "ou est les frites avec mon lasagne?" in a really south london accent, causing those of us who'd holidayed abroad since our tot years to cringe with middle-class culinary embarassment (then inwardly curse our snobbish inclinations, exacerbated by a inferiority complex to the French ... it was a crap restaurant anyway, oof.) I remember looking into the eyes of the Devil on the Metro. I remember when Mhari asked a man directions to a monument, and he tried to show us his monument...

I suppose it is churlish to moan about Paris. I'm looking forward to seeing Anne considerably, and it's only a short train ride back to Peckham anyway. Vivre la Différence.

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yesterday's ideals

Oct. 17th, 2006 | 04:05 pm

Conway Hall Foyer sign and pot-plant

It is nice to hear that you are catching up with the experimental sixties, said my friend Adrian Jack (buy his cd, it's good!), after I told him about the Christian Wolff concert last night. It was held in Conway Hall, home of the South Place Ethical Society, and the place, it seems, for liberal creatives to hold their wedding receptions (marriage is so fashionable now amongst liberal creatives, like the experimental sixties never happened...) I ended up sitting next to an old tutor from Goldsmiths who reminisced about a wedding reception he had attended where the djs annoyed him "trying too hard to be cool" by playing Genesis(?) all evening. I recalled how the last time I was at Conway Hall (for a wedding reception) everything had appeared in double-vision after I got drunk and went crazy on the dancefloor to T.Rex with my dad and Alison Goldfrapp. I remembered the cool stone of a solid egalitarian pillar as I leaned against it in the foyer shouting down my mobile telephone to a friend that Alison Goldfrapp was "stealing my dad's moves."
Talking of hot celebrities, I was mistaken for Kate Moss today. Well only for about half a second, and because of some densly obfuscating glass, but still!... After I had pootled in to Cornucopia on a quick stop for the charity shops in Victoria, I realised that Kate Moss had also decided to visit the shabby boutique for yesterday's chic. Being totally unaffected by celebrity after a year in Harrods serving the likes of Ronnie Corbett, I did an "oops, 'scuse me" round Croyden's finest and the bulging rails of vintage clothing, and decided that I needed to get home for a cup of tea. As I went to leave, Kate Moss's bodyguard was in the way of the door, and being big and awkward, sort of collided with me. The Papparazzi, who had gathered outside, obviously just saw a big bodyguard and blonde fussing behind the glass door, and for one very short moment as I stepped out the cameras rattled away. I should have wise-cracked something like "Look at me, ten Kates in one!", but I didn't and tried to look as though I was thinking of something far more important as I walked off.
Before leaving the Victoria area all together, I went into the Aids charity shop and found a book of sheet music with "All By Myself" in it. I rather look forward to adding that to my Ukulele repetoire.

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(no subject)

Oct. 12th, 2006 | 12:04 am

Are You Afraid to Die?
This morning I received a cd in the post from my new pal Jill (dead sparrow) and this is the title of the last track. I think that she makes a very good mixtape cd, ending it like that. Also, she illustrated the cd. I have never done that. As you can fit an average of twenty four songs on to a cd, I always get fatigued writing them all out for the "sleeve", and so can't be bothered with extra embellishments. Once I was given a cd on to which the offer-er had pasted a collage. The centerpiece was Clint Eastwood for some reason. Unfortunately the combination of paper, glue and Clint Eastwood seriously disagreed with my cd player, and I had to give up on it. I think that it was some Bob Dylan bullshit anyway.
Tania has left my house. She's not moving back to Mexico, but to a semi-squat behind the Old Kent Road after finding that she can't rent anywhere decent cheap enough to match her immigrant finances. I'm going to give her a blanket and cushions. It started getting cold last week, and little Tania needed some tights. We decided to visit cheap local shops, and in the deathly TK Maxx (more on that here) Tania found a friend to mirror her mood.

At my house the other night she went through the records, finding anything by Los Paraguayos or The Tijuana Brass, and swayed mournfully to the toots of a mariachi trumpet.
Tomorrow is the opening of a new show at the Barbican. Dominik, another immigrant friend and former colleague, has been assisting the curators, and has invited Rowland, Su and I. Public events with Dominik are always guaranteed fun because of his unusual behaviour. He is also dying to introduce us to his friend from North Carolina, who he once lovingly imitated for a whole hour. He has a thing about american accents, and always assures us in strong slavic tones, that Americans think he's "bitchin". Despite this rather continental lack of self-deprecation, I admit that he is... and especially as he smuggled some Witkiewiczs over from Poland for the show, I am looking forward to it all very much.

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(no subject)

Sep. 28th, 2006 | 03:31 pm
music: Florence Foster Jenkins

My parents telephoned from Monte Carlo:

"It's boiling hot in this phone booth" Said my mum. I could hear traffic and then it became muffled. My dad had obviously entered the booth and closed the door, and was laughing. "Get off!..." She growled, and the receiver klonked against something.
"We're on the beach today, and I've done some drawing." Said Mum. "Everyone here is so old and brown they look like they've already died and been cremated. I've been drawing them."
"Have you had any nice meals?" I enquired, with the banality of expensive holiday telephone conversations.
"Yes, we had a plat de jour."
Dad grabbed the phone;
"Heh heh."
He was laughing again. "Are you ok?"
Tears were streaming down my eyes. No, no, I wasn't crying, I simply have a disgusting cold.
"Well no, I've got a cold."
My dad laughed. Mum took back the telephone receiver.
"O.k, well we'd better go. We're dying of heat in this phone booth. How's Nobby?"
I looked at the dachshund at my feet.
"Hang on, I'll put it on speaker phone and you can talk to him..."
Nobby's ears shot forward as reverberating coos and kisses boomed into the room. His little knock-kneed legs stood braced in attention.
"What's he doing?" They chorused.
"He's looking confused and alert." I said. "He's confused now."

After they'd gone I gave Nobby a pat and sneezed. It's completely grey outside. When Tania came in we watched Amadeus on DVD. It's a very enjoyable biopic. In it, Mozart has a fey high-pitched giggle which Tania and I wondered about - did Mozart really laugh like this? I'm going to find out now. The most irritating thing about being laid up with a snotty cold is you only just about feel up to engaging in minor tasks like researching if Mozart had a ridiculous giggle.
I look forward to a return to health and the beginging of a new painting.

POST SCRIPT - from the IMDb, Amadeus (1984))
"The concept for Mozart's annoying laugh was taken from references in letters written about him. One described his laugh as "an infectious giddy" while another described it as "like metal scraping glass"."

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music before the wall comes down

Sep. 24th, 2006 | 10:33 am

"I won't read anything published after 1990" said the highly pungent German (Berlin Wall syndrome? - Bette Midler suffered that too) with whom I conversed for at least one whole hour yesterday in the shop.
"Then we entered the digital age," he continued, "and the speed... it has us entranced, a pornographic trance..." His flow was often broken by a customer (it was a busy Saturday afternoon) who caused him to drop his filthy Jesus -like head and mutter "No, no, they mustn't listen to this... they... no.. ah!"
Rowland finally appeared... "Did you just have a nutter?"
"Yes," I said, "but he spoke mainly sense."
We laughed, just as the man re-appeared. He told us that it was ok, that he knew we were laughing in the right way, and that we had analogue souls (this was to do with Rowland's knowledge of German communes and me owning a few prog-ish LP's.) When I got home, the album of outsider music that I'd been after for ages had finally arrived in the post, but I couldn't face it until this morning, and am right now enjoying The Legendary Stardust Cowboy Standing in a Trash Can (Thinking About You) - a fitting description of our German post-'90-exile prophet.
Musically, I have been challenged over the past week or so to traverse an Alpinesque line of variety. The other night I accompanied Jason to see "Wicked - the Musical" which delivered everything you could possibly want from a top US Tony Award winning production: lots of key-change belting numbers, an obligatory anti-Bush joke (Wizard of Oz - "if there isn't an enemy then we gotta create one!"), a dry-ice forest scene, and the opportunity to purchase a "Wicked" sweatshirt and cuddly flying monkey in the foyer afterwards.
I must admit that musicals aren't quite as much fun on home turf; somehow the mid-westerner musical enthusiasts on Broadway seem more exotic than the West End coach trip entourage from Dudley.
I also played a bit of accordion and rythym ukulele for Joe's band Moses Strongpeace and Lord Gorefinger in Finsbury Park. I feel like I'm on holiday when I go to North London. We are enjoying an Indian Summer at the moment, and after recording we sat outside in the balmy evening air, imagining what it would be like to be married to a tortoise, and then listened to a bit of 70's Spanish rock which I liked but Joe didn't.
I have also had the great fortune of meeting Jill from Chicago, who has invited me to play along with her compositions like "Dead Sparrow". Although I am a very limited performer, I feel empathy with a song called "Dead Sparrow" so I hope that bodes well for our collaboration.
It is nice to be so involved with life, but I am not very good at being busy. I got something in my eye that has probably fallen out but feels like it's still there. I think that I am getting a cold. Last night it all got too much, standing in a crowded bar waiting for a Hepcat rythym shamanic blues singer to appear, and I had to retire. I'm going to take it easy this week, and let the music come to me. I have, after all, an analogue soul.

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(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2006 | 11:22 pm

Wow, I just saw this article and thought that they were turning Don DeLillo into a musical on Broadway. As it turns out, this White Noise is not quite "Throw up your Jazz Hands, it's the Airborne Toxic Event!", but it still looks like a promising show. Anything that puts the Razzle into Racism and comes out the other side professing that "the most terrifying and unstoppable form of Fascism in today’s culture (is): Top Forty pop" has to be a riot.
I can't wait until they bring it to the London Stage and hold auditions on tv with Andrew Lloyd Webber, like they just did with The Sound of Music. Who'd audition? Can you imagine a young ingenue cooing to the camera that it had always been her dream role to play Blanche, a character inspired by the real-life teenage white supremacist pop/folk band Prussian Blue? But there are plenty of young Fascists in the UK who might heed the call of stardom. Fascists are naturals in the limelight, and finally the BNP might be able to channel some of their dramatic energy down the more traditionally inclusive vista of musical theater. I'd love to see that wonky eyed leader of the BNP doing an Al Jolson number with the BBC Big Band, then Graham Norton would take him aside to get A.L Webber's reaction and coax him into a pun about Phantoms.
Despite Post-Modernism, some of my friends are super high-brow, and would rather go to a Baudrillard talk about Trans-Aestheticization anyday over Broadway. My trouble with this is that Baudrillard can't tap dance. Maybe he should write a Musical. I think that these new contemporary and controversial musicals are really going to pave the way, and we can expect a whole batch of "Kristeva on Ice!", "Lacan's Vegas Swansong" and "Johnny Guattari - an adaptation for Stage" in the near future.

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