Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Visual Texts : Commemoration

Q) For convenience, perhaps, we divide the study of texts into subject areas, so that we group together the different ways in which we communicate with others. We group together the study of the use of words – in poetry, prose or plays – and call it the study of literature. You will be able to think of other subject areas, of course. Perhaps you might already be thinking about how you would classify the study of war memorials. Was it history? Art history? Architecture? Jot down your answer now.

YS ) The classification of war memorials as a specific subject type is not simple, these public structures straddle many groupings. They can be seen as either architecture or art or both, despite their solemn nature, many war memorials are appealing in their artistry. As texts, they are a public record of those, often from either a specific locale at home, or a specific battleground, who have died. It can be argued that war memorials both glorify death in war, and protest the same. They are historic documents, art and architecture, protest and veneration in one.


If you found this difficult, so did I! If all the war memorials were buildings, or sculptured monuments, we could label the study of them reasonably easily – as architecture. But that would be to say that all memorials take a certain form, which is clearly not the case. What we can say for certain is that the losses, particularly of the First World War, were commemorated in most towns and villages of many participating nations – in tangible, structural form. However, as you may already have decided, memorials can take written, and artistic, form through the use of a variety of media; and it seemed to us that we can, through extending our use of the theme, introduce you to two subject groups of texts – art and literature.

We got drunk, trashed the Ritz

Boris-johnsonImage via Wikipedia"We got drunk, trashed the Ritz & then went down Piccadilly to loot a few items from Fortnums" - from Boris Johnson's autobiography in reference to the Bullingdon Club 1986
This quote is appearing all over the interweb today, I have not read Boris' autobiography so cannot vouch for its authenticity, but if it is true then its a face full of egg for him.

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Stress In Grandmother's Chocolate Cake

I am supposed to be studying stress in metre,
and where in a sentence stress changes the feature,
I did not eat my Grandmother's chocolate cake,
I did not eat my Grandmother's chocolate cake,
I did not eat my Grandmother's chocolate cake,
I did not eat my Grandmother's chocolate cake,
I did not eat my Grandmother's chocolate cake,
oh bugger,
the cake in the oven,
while studying,
I have left,
and now of Elevenses, we are bereft. - Yorkshire Soul

A Man In His Forties

A man in his forties took an English degree,
filling his head with literature and trochee,
confusion mounts as his studies increase,
into fields of semiotics, hydroponics, mass histrionics,
hang on, isn't hydroponics part of biology,
or a way of crafty smokers growing lots of weed,
those aren't the sort of studies that my lecturer decreed,
if I don' get back on track she'll be very cross indeed.
But now to my distress the police are knocking at my door,
the sergeant holds out my electricity bill, he wants to know the score,
he says 'to my eyes sonny this bill looks rather high,
so it's down to the station with you,
and you'd better be able to explain why.' - Yorkshire Soul

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review : The Little Girl and the Cigarette - Benoit Duteurtre 8*

Although Duteurtre has written ten novels, though only this novel has been translated into English.  Duteurtre tells two stories in alternating chapters, a man condemned to death for murder captures the fickle attention of the public when his request for a final cigarette delays his execution as the health and safety obsessed prison governers seek a way for him to smoke without breaking health laws and harming his guards, and an office worker employed by the city council blunders into trouble when illegally smoking in the toilets.

As the prisoner achieves fame and the backing of the tobaco companies, the office worker finds himself in a Kafka like situation, as he sits smoking, pants around his ankles so that any parkers nosy enough to peer under the door will believe he is using the toilet cubicle for its intended purpose, a small girl pushes into the occupied stall.  The worker is rude to the child, who then in turn accuses him of a sexual assault which never happened, and his life dissolves as the accusation turns in to a formal investigation.

In Duteurtre's dystopian world, children have achieved a tyranny by be allowed to run loose in all places of work, their wants and needs are seent o be paramount to those of the adults, and because of the misplaced belief that "children cannot lie" the office worker finds himself hopelessly trapped and railroaded towards an outrageous and false conclusion.

Duteurtre has so many targets in this novel, which he attacks with glee, that he hardly has enough time to expand upon one idea before moving on to his next, health and safety culture, the obsession with children's rights over adults, religion, patriotism, celebrity culture and reality television all come in for broad, and occasionally precise, attacks.  In this free and democratic new world, the shifting vagaries of public opinion are all important, far more important than common sense or reasoned and intelligent argument.

The Little Girl is an entertaining read with some thought provoking passages, although the setting is as dark as Orwell or Kafka, there is a thick streak of black humour running through the novel.  Duteurtre sees many of the whims and obsessions of modern life and inflates them into blackly comic monsters, this isn't a perect novel, but highly enjoyable and I do look forward to more of his work being translated.


HUMMER H2 E85 from October this yearImage by gmeurope via Flickr"Hummer H2, GM's new $50,000 barely domesticated spinoff of the gulf war darling, which struggles to cover ten miles for every gallon of gas it burns.  The symbolism of these impractical machines' military roots is too delicious to ignore.  We go to war to protect our supplies of cheap oil in vehicles that would be prohibitively expensive to run without it." - Arianna Huffington
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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Contents Of The Fat Trap

'The contents of the fat trap,
smell like shit,
smell like vomit,
a foul stew,
a bacterial brew,
with the action of putrefaction,
working upon it' - Yorkshire Soul

The Ilkley Gazette

'The Ilkley Gazette,
was a broad sheet,
that often reported on Horsforth,
but it made the move silkily,
to the Ilkley Wharfedale & Aireborough Gazette & Observer,
and yet it's journalists,
don't rove any further' - Yorkshire Soul.

Heart Of A Lamb

'Heart of a lamb,
lungs from the ewe,
the flesh flensed from a pig's head,
gushed blood from a bullock's slit throat,
and rich sweet wine to celebrate the sacrifice.

Braised pig's cheek with haggis, black pudding and a port jus,
that'll be seventeen quid fifty please.' - Yorkshire Soul

Protest Art of the Guerilla Girls

"The hostility to association of fine art...

30-cents stamp of the USA figuring american ph...Image via Wikipedia..with normal processes of living is a pathetic, even a tragic, commentary on life as it is ordinarily lived.  Only because that life is usually so stunted, aborted, slack or heavy laden, is the idea entertained that there is some inherent antagonism between the process of normal living and creation and enjoyment of works of aesthetic art.  After all, even though 'spiritual' and 'material' are separated and set in opposition to one another, there must be conditions through which the ideal is capable of embodiment and realization..." - John Dewey.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Muslamic Ray Guns - The EDL Anthem

Shut Down Radio 1

Tim Luckhurst, Professor of Journalism at the ...Image via WikipediaTim Luckhurst, Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent, was the guest on Richard Bacon's R5 show this week and spoke on the subject of the cuts that that the BBC need to make in order to meet the new budget restrictions.  One of Luckhurst's solutions was quite simple, shut down Radio 1 and Radio 2. His arguments for this were various and well thought out, to massively simplify them he was saying that one the one hand, Radio 1 both creates and distorts the market for music in the UK which is not what the BBC is supposed to do, and on the other hand there is nothing that either station do that cannot be more than adequately covered by the commercial sector.

From the BBC Charter - "The Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows—
(a)sustaining citizenship and civil society;
(b)promoting education and learning;
(c)stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;
(d)representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;
(e)bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK"
Only a weak argument can be made that BBC Radio 1 fulfils points (c) and (e) which surely, considering the nature of R1, these should be the very things that a national music radio station excels at. Instead, Radio 1 is slavishly chained to the playlists, weekly song selections that are played on heavy rotation on the daytime shows and have a large influence, even in these days of a fracturing music media, on the make-up of each week's Top 40 Chart.
The charts themselves seem to be in a state of suspended evolution, the three main genres that have ruled the charts for over a decade, pop, RnB, 'Indie', make up the overwhelming majority of the chart each week and will continue to do so.  Tracks are placed on heavy rotation weeks before their release creating a desire to buy in the listening public that then creates the charts that follow.
Music that does not fit in with R1's narrow daytime playlisting has become more and more marginalised, remember the Friday Rock Show ? It is now broadcast on Tuesdays at the highly unsocial hour of midnight until 2am, the old Rock Show slot is now taken up with yet more dance/RnB/drum 'n bass.  If you are a heavy rock act, a folk outfit or a jazz musician, then your chances of getting airtime on Radio 1 are fairly close to zero.

My argument here is that I do not believe that the audience of R1 are as dull and unadventurous in their listening habits as the playlists and charts seem to represent.  If a good track by a band whose genre falls outside the R1 norm were to get daytime rotation then it follows that their sales would increase and their chances of achieving a place in the Top 40 would be much enhanced.

Of course the BBC is highly unlikely to do away with it's two largest radio stations, even if cutting the costs of the highest per hour radio production costs in the UK were taken into account, the BBC is still far too concerned about audience numbers to risk culling what we are constantly told (on Radio 1 anyway) is the nation's greatest music station.
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IGS Media students BritVid

"To put this in context, the aim was not to be smooth or polished with perfect continuity... The Yr12 Media students were set the near-impossible task of recreating over 100 shots included in the Britney video, providing their own clothing, props and often unique dance stylings in just one day! This video is one outcome, though the experience of the day has also helped to highlight some of the challenges and issues thrown up by creating music videos (which is the centrepiece of their A2 coursework). Thanks to Nicki Blackborow for inspiring the idea; Dawn, John & Sarah for their help, and to Joel Colborne and Jonny Hughes for editing together the footage. To all those involved in successfully turning this round: well done!" - from the IGS Media Studies page on YouTube.

Good effort this, although I think some of the boys are really enjoying prancing around in blond wigs.

Quality Terrorism

"The terrorist group 'John Wayne's Conscience' has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of six hotages in the Near East. Anxiety has grown for several days after the dissapearance of civil and military aid workers on the road to Damascus.  In a letter sent to the television network Allah No. 1, the group - which was unknown until today - threatened to execute the hostages, if it does not receive the payment of a ransom of 500 million dollars, to finance the development of 'quality terrorism' - from Benoit Duteurtre's novel The Little Girl And The Cigarette.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Reichstag Wrapped

Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties

Surrounded Islands


Valley Curtain

Wrapped Trees

What We Are - The Material 6*

For Fans Of : Paramore, Avril Lavigne, My Chemical Romance

What We Are are pretty much a group of musicians who can play decently and sing well, and who have chosen to clone themselves as a copy of Paramore.  Now personally I think Paramore are a band who have achieved far more than their talent should allow, so does the world need another band doing the same thing ? Probably not, and yet this style of pop rock (vocal led, no real riffs or hooks, soft guitar on the verse and blurred on the chorus) keeps on cropping up.

There isn't anything terrible about The Material, on the contrary, this is a very well produced album with a sound that will doubtless have broad appeal, but it is so safe, so entirely lacking in new direction or original songwriting that it just turns me off.  Everything on this album sounds vaguely familiar at first listen because there is just so much of this pop rock floating around.

So why on earth should you spend money on this ? Well here's a possible reason, you're a fan of Avril Lavigne, Avril has obviously been listening to evil voices at her record company and has tried to turn herself into some third rate Christina Aquilera wannabe, yet The Material's debut album sounds like what Avril's third album might have been.

The Art Of Barry McGee

Reflections, under the name Lydia Fong

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Apple Withdraws 'Gay Cure' App

"Dear Michael,

Amazing! After more than 150,000 petition signatures from members and saturation media coverage, news outlets worldwide are reporting that Apple has pulled an iPhone application launched by Exodus International that claimed to help "cure" gay and lesbian people.

This is a huge, public victory against the dangerous myth that gay young people can and should be "turned straight" -- a falsehood that contributes to the plague of depression and suicide afflicting these kids and young adults. Our friends at Truth Wins Out, the organization that started the petition on, are absolutely thrilled.

Apple did the right thing because an incredible 151,125 members -- including you -- stood together to demand it. We spread the word on Facebook more than 55,000 times. And together we attracted the attention of media around the globe, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, and hundreds of newspapers and blogs.

It's simply amazing. Thank you for making this victory possible.

- Eden and the team"

Mr Brezhnev

Leonid Brezhnev PortraitImage via Wikipedia"Mr Brezhnev is dead
he may have been a red
but something that he wasn't
was a red under the bed
he was too well fed" - John Hegley
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The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Untitled 1981

Beat Bop 1983

Bird On Wire


JMB with Self

Basquiat inspired trainers by Reebok

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

19/2000 (Soulchild Remix) Gorillaz - A2 Media Music Video

This is a music video shot by Beth Cooper and the 6th Form Media Studies mob at IGS, please do leave comments on it if you have time, the girls are looking for feedback on their work.

"I think this pretty good actually, the storyline works well in a nicely circular fashion, the effects for the skateboarding and the final party scene were good. If I'm going to be really critical, the lighting could have been better in some of the house scenes, and the party at the end needed a little more flow, it seemed a little stilted/staged.

Overall though, this is a good effort, would it work as a video with professional production standards - absolutely yes, good job." - Yorkshiresoul

Beth is also blogging about her studies, G324 Cooper Beth.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Art of Ann Hamilton


Indigo Project

Hamilton performing with her 'pinhole mouth camera'

Stone Book

The artist and poet William Blake, who lived i...Image via Wikipedia"He who mocks the Infant's faith,
shall be mocked in Age and Death" - from the poem Auguries of Innocence by William Blake
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The Beer Company Presidents Went Out For A Drink

The guy from Corona sits down and says, "Hey Senor, I would like the world's best beer, a Corona." The bartender dusts off a bottle from the shelf and gives it to him.

The guy from Budweiser says, "I'd like the best beer in the wo...rld, give me 'The King Of Beers', a Budweiser." The bartender gives him one.

The guy from Coors says, "I'd like the only beer made with Rocky Mountain spring water, give me a Coors." He gets it.

The guy from Guinness sits down and says, "Give me a Coke." The bartender is a little taken aback, but gives him what he ordered.

The other brewery presidents look over at him and ask "Why aren't you drinking a Guinness?" and the Guinness president replies, "Well, I figured if you guys aren't drinking beer, neither would I."

The Art of Norman Rockwell

Can't Wait

Boy Showing Off Badges (WW1 poster)

Rosie the Riveter

Save Freedom of Worship

The Problem We All Live With