Thursday, October 13, 2011

This blog has moved

I'm surprised to discover that this blog and its archive still exists, but I have also enjoyed having a quick read through some of these old posts. It's strange seeing old diary pieces online. And even stranger to look at the blog stats and see how many hits they still get, despite their age.

Anyway, I set up a new blog a few months ago, and it would be lovely if you wanted to have a look. It's called MadamJMo and this is the link. Thanks.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vic Reeves - "My Family And Other Freaks"

Comedian and part-time pop star and actor Vic Reeves also fancies himself as an artist. This isn't news, of course. Vic published a book of his drawings, "Sun Boiled Onions", about ten years ago, and I remember attending an exhibition of his in a poncy Brick Lane gallery a few years back. So when I saw a poster advertising a new Vic Reeves exhibition at the Eye Storm Gallery near where I'm working on Bankside, I went along.

It left me a little baffled. Obviously, I knew what to expect having seen lots of Vic's drawing and paintings in the past. But I gave it a little more thought today. Entitled "My Family And Other Freaks", Vic's exhibition includes lots of pictures of his wife Nancy and his four children. Most of the family portraits were huge oil canvases, and these worked effectively well and, thankfully, most of them weren't for sale. (It seems wrong, to me, for an artist to sell intimate paintings of his wife and children).

The rest of the exhibition was a combination of original doodles and prints. And my bafflement lay with these... and the price tags. For a fairly reasonable £250 you could buy yourself an unframed A3 colour print of one of Vic's bird etchings, and for a moment or two I felt tempted (until I remembered I don't currently have £250 burning a hole in my pocket). But for a staggering £950 you could buy a plan of Vic's living room with arrows pointing to the television, or a ridiculous cartoon of a man in a funny hat, as doodled on a page torn from an exercise book. And I felt that was taking the piss.

After I returned to work, I mulled on this some more. Maybe it's me who's missing the point. Maybe Vic's plan of his living room is some kind of postmodern statement about how television rules our lives and how whichever way we face, we're all pointing the same way. Or maybe he and Nancy were simply sketching out how to rearrange their living room one day, and then decided to keep the evidence to flog to one of Vic's unwitting fans as art. Vic, if you're reading (yeah, right), I'd love to know.

"Seraphim Falls"

Caroline and I went to a preview of the new Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson film "Seraphim Falls" in Soho last night. It's billed as some kind of epic Western and a fight for rights, set after the Civil War in outback America in the 1830s. And heavens, was it tedious.

To clarify, Caroline and I met a year or two ago when we spent a year studying script-writing for films. And we both agreed that if we had dared submit a film with as little characterisation, narrative development or basic plot as this, we'd have been kicked off the course.

"Seraphim Falls" begins with a gun being fired at Pierce Brosnan while he's roasted a rabbit in a snowy wilderness. Pierce then runs off as a group of men give chase. Pierce then falls in a ravine, is swept down a manic waterfall, nearly drowns, loses his coat, gets out of the water, lights a fire, performs surgery on the gun wound in his arm, kills one of his pursuers... and on and on and on and on it goes. Barely a word was spoken. After 45 minutes we still didn't know who Pierce was, who the others were, why they were chasing him and, more importantly, we didn't care. So we left. There was another 75 minutes to get through and life seemed so short.

Avoid. Seriously, avoid. There is only so much beautiful scenery that can redeem a film as poorly constructed as this. Avoid.

Monday, June 11, 2007


VE is aware she hasn't posted much for weeks and has now posted three things one after another. This is because she has discovered Facebook.

"How We Are: Photographing Britain"

Keeping busy, BB2 and I went to see the first ever photography retrospective at Tate Britain yesterday, "How We Are: Photographing Britain". This exhibition is quite an event in my household, as photographer P has plans to see it with no less than five different people, and I have plans to return with another two. It is also the first exhibition I've ever been to that has been so fascinating I've felt compelled to cough up £20 for the catalogue.

This exhibition has been fantastically curated so that it is never dull and is constantly fast-paced. Moving from the first photographs of the 1840s to the present day, it is a fascinating insight into the way our society has changed so much in the past 170-or-so years. With only a small selection of pictures by a huge range of well-known photographers, "How We Are" is neither biased nor repetitive. And although a lot of the pictures are quite well-known, in that they have been used on record sleeves or to illustrate prominent magazine articles over the years, as an exhibition everything fits together. I really think the true star of this exhibition is the curator. What a great project this must have been to work on.

Dali & Film

Last week, AB and I donned our twiddly moustaches and went to see the "Dali & FIlm" exhibition at Tate Modern. Typically, it was rammed solid with people who all stood right up infront of everything so that everyone else was forced to shuffle about like a group of bored school children who would rather be in the gift shop. But the few things we could see looked great.

Personally, I'm quite a fan of Dali. I like the silliness, I like the twirls and I like the idea of mixing art and film. Which is just as well because - as the name suggests – this exhibition is all about Dali's collaborations with various filmmakers, such as Hitchcock, Disney and the Marx brothers: how they came about, how they worked and what they represented. The Disney one wasn't even finished until 2003, so that really was a mammoth project.

As an aside, in the final room (and there are 16 in total, so wear comfy shoes) there are the photos used in Dali's book with photographer Philippe Halsman, in which Dali's moustache attempts to visually answer a series of probing questions. Pointless but amusing. It's silly but it's fun. And why does art have to be serious all the time?

Wembley, Can You Hear Me?!

Finally, Wembley Stadium is finished. So P and I were excited to head up north at the weekend to see George Michael play the opening show (I'd like to take this opportunity to say that Yeovil Town FC played the third ever football match there - now that's cool!). The stadium is BIG and very impressive... as you'd expect for a mammoth building that holds a million people. But what was even more impressive was that little old George Michael (one man with no fancy dancers) could hold all of those people's attention for two and a half hours solid. Madonna, take note.

All the hits were there: George as an American cop for "Outside", George doing his Wham! hand-clapping stompy dance thing for "I'm Your Man" and George whipping the crowd up into a sing-a-long frenzy for "The Edge of Heaven". P (who spent 10 years photographing gigs for music magazines so has seen a fair few) went so far as to say it was one of the best gigs he'd ever been to. And he was there when we saw Lee Hazlewood at the Festival hall in 2004, so that's saying something.

It's difficult to know what to say when there's nothing to slag off, so I won't go on. George was excellent, he was even worth the loss of the limb I'm now suffering as a result of paying for the ticket. The only thing I'd fault him on was the decision to have a sodding DJ as the support act - and not even a proper DJ who mixes records, but one who just plays them. I can do that myself. Rubbish! But other than that - faultless. What a star!