Friday 28 August 2020

You Will, You Will, You Will (2020)

This is excellent. The Irish postal service, An Post, has released a new set of stamps in celebration of 25 years of one of my all time favourite sit-coms Father Ted. Pure Craggy Island gold.    

Sunday 23 August 2020

Dread, beat and blood (2006)

Vivien Goldman (b. 1952) is a British journalist, writer and musician. I first read her work in the weekly music paper Sounds in the late 1970s - she focused on punk, reggae, and post-punk bands. Goldman had for a time been Bob Marley's publicist, and in 1981 wrote his biography: Soul Rebel, Natural Mystic. 

HERE is a later piece that she wrote on the events of the night in 1976 when Marley, his band, and family, were attacked by a gang of heavily armed gunmen at his home in Jamaica.

A recent celebration of Goldman's disparate and interesting work as a writer and musician, celebrating her 64th birthday, is HERE on NPR. 

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Donald Hall’s Amanuensis (2020)

HERE in the Paris Review is a wonderful piece about the growth of a warm personal relationship between the poet Donald Hall and his assistant Kendel Currier. What started as a professional role blossomed over a long period into a rich and mutually valued working friendship. Currier became a vital part of Hall's working pattern: an amanuensis.


Sunday 16 August 2020

Fire and grass-bedding construction 200 thousand years ago at Border Cave, South Africa

HERE is a paper in Science, reporting evidence of human bedding from 200,000 years ago. The Abstract reads:
We report the discovery of grass bedding used to create comfortable areas for sleeping and working by people who lived in Border Cave at least 200,000 years ago. Sheaves of grass belonging to the broad-leafed Panicoideae subfamily were placed near the back of the cave on ash layers that were often remnants of bedding burned for site maintenance. This strategy is one forerunner of more-complex behavior that is archaeologically discernible from ~100,000 years ago.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Color Palettes of The New Yorker (2018)

The New Yorker has been published since 1925. Every cover is a unique illustration - HERE is a wonderful interactive presentation of the colour palettes of these illustrations made by Nicholas Rougeux.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

John Graunt at 400 (2020)

An excellent piece on John Graunt, by Timandra Harkness in the Royal Statistical Society's magazine (HERE). Graunt was a London haberdasher born in 1620, who published in 1662 a book which laid the foundations for the statistical analysis of demographics (the study of human populations and their composition).

Sunday 9 August 2020

Joy Unlimited (1975 / 2020)

A rare and long lost album by Harry Beckett - Joy Unlimited from 1975, has just been re-released. Beckett was born in Barbados and lived and worked for much of his life in Britain. The Observer jazz critic Dave Gelly thought that Beckett had " of the most beautiful trumpet tones I’ve ever heard".  

Late in his life he made an incredible album with Adrian Sherwood called The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett

Saturday 8 August 2020

Love in a Time of Terror (2020)

A fantastic multi-layered, and very lyrical, essay by the writer Barry Lopez (HERE).  A sweeping view across Lopez's life experiences as a naturalist - in Australia and Alaska, and a revelation in a desolate terrain near to Willowra, in Australia’s Northern Territory, that "...most of the trouble that afflicts human beings in their lives can be traced to the failure to love".  

Lopez goes on to say: "It is more important now to be in love than to be in power... It is more important to live for the possibilities that lie ahead than to die in despair over what has been lost."

The Home Stayer (2020)

Luis Mendo is an illustrator, designer, and writer, who lives and works in Japan. His work is very widely seen on websites, in magazines, in art galleries, and also on clothing. Examples of his work, his bio, and details of a creative residence in Tokyo - called Almost Perfect - that he started with his wife Yuka are (HERE).

During the first period of COVID-19 lockdown, Luis began making wonderful cover art for a magazine that is inspired by The New Yorker, but doesn't exist (yet), called The Home Stayer (HERE).  Above is Issue 7: THE ZOOM.

Image copyright Luis Mendo: limited edition prints of the full set of Home Stayer covers available to buy (HERE).


Wednesday 5 August 2020

Tuesday 4 August 2020

The Idea of the North

The Idea of North (1967), The Latecomers (1969), and The Quiet in the Land (1977) - collectively known as the Solitude Trilogy, are so-called documentaries by Canadian composer and pianist Glenn Gould (1932 - 1982).  They are complex multi-layered 'polyphonic' spoken pieces. They are built from hours of Gould's tape recorded material - spliced carefully together into three one hour long pieces. 

The Canadian poet and translator Robert Bringhurst rates these pieces as ' of the most accomplished and important works of literature ever produced in North America, in any medium or language'. (Licking the Lips with a Forked Tongue 2005).

He goes on to explain how he first came across these works - much later than when they were first broadcast - 'I began, then,  to understand that Gould was the most colossally improbable of all Canadian poets - and that he was, more improbably still, one of the greatest'.  (Singing with the Frogs 1997).

The pieces are available on YouTube.

How the Pandemic Defeated America (2020)

HERE is an excellent long article, How the Pandemic Defeated America, by The Atlantic staff writer Ed Yong on the way that the US has tackled the COVID pandemic. 

Monday 3 August 2020

... required reading for the entire human race (1967).

From the first paragraph of William Kenedy's review of One Hundred Years of Solitude when the book was first published in the United States. This novel, he wrote is “the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. It takes up not long after Genesis left off . . . reporting on everything that happened since then with more lucidity, wit, wisdom, and poetry than is expected from a hundred years of novelists, let alone one man.”

An article HERE by William Kennedy on how he got to know Marquez.

Saturday 1 August 2020

Rope making 40,000 years ago

A fascinating story HERE, in the Guardian about 40,000 year old antlers with specialised holes whcih were made by humans to aid in making twine and rope: a profound and game-changing human innovation. 

Form, Substance and Difference (1970)

...what we mean by information—the elementary unit of information—is a difference which makes a difference...

From Steps to an Ecology of Mind, by Gregory Bateson 1972, Chandler Publishing Co. This essay was the Nineteenth Annual Korzybski Memorial Lecture, delivered January 9, 1970. (HERE)

Inventing Posters

The Besieged Elephant, etching and engraving after Hieronymus Bosch, published by Hieronymus Cock, c. 1563. From the early history of the Poster: a print on paper.


That moment when you peel the tape off a box but it’s obstructed by another piece of tape...

By Ryosuke Otomo. HERE

Like sprites...dancing in the flames

Tokihiro Sato is a Japanese photographer who specialises in very long exposure photos - often using exposures of more than an hour. He records his own movements during these lengthy exposures and ends up with beautiful black and white images of natural scenes, overlaid with points and patches of light. These uncanny images pick out his movements through space, but do not record his physical form.

More examples HERE.