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Showing posts from 2010

You Don't Understand

-- Eighteen months ago, forty-five minutes of my day, five days a week, were dedicated to an important project.  Over about a month, I spent hours sitting in front of an A3 piece of paper, toting a fineliner with which I painstakingly drew a hand, holding a martini glass.  Once that ordeal was complete I added some details to the background: balloons.  Then a tree.  Then a Give Way sign.  I’m a creative child.
Now if you had made somebody sit down in front of this undisputed masterpiece and explain what it meant, they naturally wouldn’t have been able to do so; but more importantly, I wouldn’t have regarded that failure as evidence of their intellectual inferiority to me.  I don’t want to talk about cases which parallel mine – that is, art created totally without meaning simply because I couldn’t leave the room and had one of the art department’s numerous intimidating characters standing over my shoulder – but I would like to address the vast number of artworks which are deliberately an…

Not to Praise Him

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”
Thus begins the famous speech of Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  It is a speech often used as an example of fiery and perfectly-constructed political rhetoric – but today I would like to push that to one side and instead focus on just the second sentence of the speech, and what it can tell us about the nature of eulogising and the curiously inflexible nature of history.
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him”, says Antony, as if the two not only can but in fact should be kept separate.  After death, it is suggested, we can safely put aside our biases, stop blindly praising and consider every aspect of a person’s life, come to a full understanding of the person in question.
This is as far from the truth as it is possible to fathom.  In the course of his speech Antony repeatedly calls Caesar “great”; he describes “his sacred blood”.  He concludes: “Here was a Caesar! When comes such …

Twilight: A Chapter Review

A rant, nothing more or less. Not my usual style and not one of my most eloquent pieces but it's as good a place as any to start, there will be stuff of better quality forthcoming...
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I read a chapter of Twilight. A whole chapter I didn’t explode. I didn’t suddenly and inexplicably turn into a vampire. Or a girl. And – horror of horrors – I’m not even physically sick, or dangerously angry.
Certainly it’s annoying that something like this can spend 52 weeks on top of some bestseller list somewhere – you can tell I’ve done my research – whilst far better ones languish unappreciated. This is not a good book. I feel safe concluding that having read one chapter because there are some things good books do and this doesn’t do any of them. I’m not a proofreader so I’m trying not to go through every paragraph of the thing and point out what’s wrong with it. But as much as I said I’m not dangerously angry, I’m still angry enough.
I actually read more than a chapter: there was a dedicat…