Guide

Discovered this through the wonderful 'Water Journal', a short animated film by Quentin Marchand  with sound design and original music by Theophile Moussouni. Enjoy! 

enough

Heavy heart. Waking to find out about Barcelona. This week - Charlottesville and now this...enough with violence, hate, bigotry, intolerance and fear.

   

 

imagine

Artist Olafur Eliasson posted this on his IG after finding this on a walk home from his studio.

Makes you wonder.

Tennessee Williams

Read this today, a quote from American playwright, Tennessee Williams. Life affirming:

"The world is violent and mercurial...it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love...love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love."

[source: @_nitch]

two thousand and seventeen

Four Tet has just released a gorgeous new work, 'Two Thousand and Seventeen'. I've been listening to it on repeat! Check it out on Soundcloud here.

the ocean and us

A short film about the beauty and wonder of the ocean; the profound connection humans have with it; how our actions pose a threat, but importantly, how we can help the ocean to regenerate.  

Produced by the BBC for the opening this month of The Ocean Conference at the United Nations in New York, it features Sir David Attenborough narrating. 

street stuff #19 seth

Love this. From SETH (@seth_globepainter) as part of a Unicef schools project in the Ukraine. Titled: "Per aspera ad astra", "Through hardships to the stars". 

make our planet great again

Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This reprehensible move that disregards not only the future of this planet but also the future lives of the people who inhabit it, is beyond disgraceful. 

Thankfully, there are world leaders who are stepping up to the plate. Emmanuel Macron in France has reiterated not only the French commitment to the agreement, but to the planet. We need more leaders like him. Simple. Twisting the words of Trump and his 'Make America Great Again', Macron posted this on IG: Make the Planet Great Again.

Oui. Absolument!  

strong and stable my arse

British artist Jeremy Deller has fessed up that he's the creator behind a poster that's been cropping up around London, pointedly having a go at Theresa May and her electoral platform: Strong and stable my arse.

Bloody brilliant.

Banksy, Brexit & Hope

This popped up on my IG feed and pretty much across the media today, Banksy's nod to Brexit in Dover: a worker chipping away at a star on the EU flag. It's sombre, bleak and the task appears daunting.

It's timely given that across the Channel, France just voted Emmanuel Macron as their new President. Pro EU, Macron is highly intelligent, dynamic, optimistic and pragmatic, Such an immense contrast to Le Pen and the swell of nationalistic politics and figureheads that have taken root in the UK and US since Brexit. It's a huge relief and so encouraging to see that despite Macron being a relative unknown politically, many in France voted against the politics of fear and hate peddled by Le Pen. And while there's cautious optimism in his win, the fact the far right gained so much support due the disillusionment, anger and powerlessness of a vast number of people (similar to Brexit and the US election), and with many abstaining from voting in the second round, I choose to see Macron's win as a good sign after so much pessimism and darkness. 

I choose to see hope.

Nick Cave on narrative songwriting

In an interview to coincide with today's release of the Bad Seeds retrospective compilation, 'Lovely Creatures – The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (1984-2014)', Nick Cave had this to say about the restriction of narrative song writing:

“The idea that we live life in a straight line, like a story, seems to me to be increasingly absurd and, more than anything, a kind of intellectual convenience [...] I feel that the events in our lives are like a series of bells being struck and the vibrations spread outwards, affecting everything, our present, and our futures, of course, but our past as well. Everything is changing and vibrating and in flux. So, to apply that to songwriting, a song like I Need You off the new album [Skeleton Tree], time and space all seem to be rushing and colliding into a kind of big bang of despair. There is a pure heart, but all around it is chaos.”

the hate u give

Just finished reading Angie Thomas's YA novel, 'The Hate U Give'.

Powerful, necessary and one of those amazing books that defies categorisation. I read it in one sitting. The title comes from American rapper Tupac's idea of 'Thug Life' (T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.) which stands for, 'The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody'. And in the character, Khalil's words, 'Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?'

Sucked in from the first page, the story of 16 year-old Starr who witnesses the shooting of her friend, Khalil, was partly inspired by Thomas's life, but pivotally by the continual and tragic killings of unarmed black people by police in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. Endemic racism, generational hate, blind assumptions, police brutality and fear, prejudice, ghettoisation, class rivalry, gangs, how young people fall into crime, the limitations of choice, and the constant struggle to live and find hope, love, humanity and light in the bleakest and most violent circumstances. Thomas's book encompasses all this and so much more with an engaging voice, nuanced complexity, vivid characters, and humour. Great writing that resists simple conclusions or clear cut divisions.         

 A must read.

Paterson

 

Strange how a year ago I wrote a post about today being William Shakespeare’s birthday and 400 years since he passed away. I also happened to mention a wonderful film by Jim Jarmusch, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, because Jarmusch featured the character Christopher Marlowe played by John Hurt as the writer of Shakespeare’s plays. And he was a vampire!

Kind of full circle, I’ve just watched another Jarmusch film (I’m a huge fan!), ‘Paterson’. What’s marvellous is that it’s a film about a poet, so on Shakespeare’s birthday, I think it’s timely to mention it.

Quiet, nuanced and understated, it spoke to me. Set in the New Jersey city of Paterson, the poet played by Adam Driver has the same name as his hometown, and goes about his days, earning a living as a bus driver, but writing poems whenever he can. The city was also home to one of Paterson’s favourite poets, William Carlos Williams, and where Allen Ginsburg was born. Such intertwined connections run throughout the film, which follows the arc of the days of the week, and at its heart, is a meditation on creativity, process, how the mundane can inspire, how small acts weave a wondrous tapestry of a life deeply felt, observed and interpreted. And the importance of love, reflected most in the relationship between Paterson and his wife played by Golshifteh Farahani. The support, understanding, tenderness and passion between the two beautifully underpinned the story. And when a pivotal act causes Paterson to question his ambition, serendipity and destiny comes into play.      

 

 

two great reads: 'the book thief' and 'eleanor & park'

Re-reading a book after a time- lapse is like diving into a familiar yet irrevocably altered world. And it's all about changing perspectives and never stepping into the same river twice (thanks Heraclitus) or in this case, book.

I'm re-reading two books at present, Markus Zusak's 'The Book Thief' and Rainbow Rowell's 'Eleanor & Park'. Despite winning the Printz Award for excellence in YA literature, I don't relate to Zusak's book as YA. It's a cross-over, one of these layered, generous, enlightening stories set in World War II, and while I'm not going to debate the whole pigeon-holing of how books are marketed, this is the kind of book I love, because it defies a narrow categorisation based on a potential audience. Kind of like 'To Kill A Mockingbird' which today would probably have been stuck in the YA genre despite its universal appeal. 

Back to the book - the first time I read it I was hesitant about the voice of Death. It was a jarring note in a story I otherwise loved. Reaping souls between this world and the next, disconnected yet participatory, observing with an altered perception of sensation; it felt a little contrived despite the malleable inventiveness of Zusak's language. Happily, this time round, it hooked me in from the start. And what a great start! From the Prologue:

'It's just a small story really, about amongst other things:

4157ec6454aa65fb01abf2cc58c475f1.jpg
  • a girl
  • some words
  • an accordionist
  • some fanatical Germans
  • a Jewish fist-fighter
  • and quite a lot of thievery

I saw the book thief three times.'

A love of words and books, the precariousness of life, the treachery of death, the ethical dilemmas and threat of living under fascism, fighting for what you love and learning to see through difference to appreciate our shared humanity - this and much more could be added to the list above. Not quite a 'small' story!

 

'Eleanor & Park' won my heart from the first read.

I had a book crush. Still do. Rainbow Rowell's story of first love grabbed me from page one and didn't let go. A story of two quirky, passionate individuals, each with their own baggage, who despite a rocky start, truly see each other and make the leap across differences to share something special. It's love - real, big, scary, complicated, simple, vulnerable, strong and the not-going-away-despite-crap-happening kind of love. It's a love story - not simply a 'first love' story - with all the bite, humour, sweetness, resolve and ache that makes this book a go-to read when I want to be reminded of what the heart is capable of. 

street stuff #16 hula 'owena'

Something special from Sean Yoro aka Hula, a short video showcasing his new work, 'Owena' (land). 

Magic, fireflies and night - beautiful.