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November 2007

Master of Jigsaws (if not his waistband)


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That took, ooh, all of 2 minutes, according to the details on the photos.

When I was down chez parents, I dusted off my father's super8 tapes and projector. Who knows what treasures/embarrassments lie within? There were also slides and a slideviewer, and to see them now, with the backlight on, is like being there, at my mother's wedding, in the golden light. My aunt is there, looking so young in her brown velvet dress and my uncle (London Cousin's father) - it's all shot through with the poignancy of history, with the knowledge that he died at forty-seven, of a heart attack.

I love the intimacy of the slideviewer, it's like a secret, a memory kaleidoscope.
(I am in That Mood, where everything seems beautiful, burnished and significant.)
I liked this too (from the Sunday Times):Love

This morning

my mother woke me with her enthusiast drawing of curtains in the next room. She told me she wakes early and likes to look out at the dawn coming up over the sea.


- A last gasp of sunlight expelled from under a heavy blanket of cloud. I had a wonderfully novel day with Ma, buying horse food and going to Lidl (it's true! it's cheap) and going to Fest.ina Lente to offer help with the RDA crowd. (Riding for the Disabl*d) Fest.ina Lente is such a great idea - it trains young people with learning disabilities to have a career in equitation. But they've taken their particular brand of horse PC/empathy to a ridiculous degree. They stick up notices all over the place, speaking (rather presumptuously) from the horse's mouth: Ouch! Please don't pat me on the head, it's hurts. And, in reference to the yellow line drawn around their doors: Stay out of my space! And: I don't like jumping! What I really like is grazing with my friends. And: Get off my back, big arse! You're heavy!
Alright, not that one, but it is the natural progression of what they are saying. It seems a bit like nonsense to put words into the mouth of a horse, even with their best of intentions. I mean, how could they possibly know? Which horse told them? If it was those miniature Shetlands, for instance, I don't believe a word.
I mean,I could just as easily say that Smokey told me that he is the horse president, and he likes a gin and tonic before dinner, served with a slice of lemon. After that, what really pleases him is a Shiatsu massage and a palomino mare for company. )
That was a long parenthesis.
I conclude this piece of horsey nonsense with this:


oy vey

In light of the hard hard work I have been putting in of late, I decided to take myself a break and regroup. (I pride myself on being an understanding boss.) To whit, here I am in parents' house, for the first time in some weeks. Their news is mostly health-related - they describe themselves as needing "to be put down". It's true they have a litany of complaints. (Banjaxed knee, cough, hiatus hernia have joined the background routine of high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoarthritis.) Mortality looms. And to ward it off we make jokes about them being put down like an old horse, while my heart is squeezed out at the idea of losing them. Dear old parents. I asked my father about the family today. He has been left some money by Robinson, his mother's brother, who died intestate. My granny, therefore, she of Sallynoggin, is a Robinson by birth. Da doesn't remember, though, the name of her parents, except that he was told that at some point in the past (perhaps his great-grandmother), was a Lithuanian Jew who married a Robinson. I am most thrilled by this evidence of my exotic heritage. We are a rare breed in our family, I tell you. I am fascinated by the lost story of that antecedent: what could have brought a person all the way from Lithuania to the far west of the continent, in this (in those days) remote, windblown place? What a journey. So let me think, what year are we talking about that she was born? 1860-ish? I must consult my compendium of history (the JB) on what was happening in Lithuania at that time. Oh, and one other thing that may turn out to be of interest: My father says his father always used to talk about being Hugenot, and not Welsh as previously assumed. The Hugenots, who were persecuted by the French Catholic, and fled, or perhaps were planted in King's County. (aka Clonfert (?), Co Offaly). On the other side, I have a greatgrandmother from Killelton, Ballybunion, Co Kerry, a certain Letitia Huggard. Yes, for my family, we bestride the globe, it's true, we span it mightily, like say, Micros*ft, or Subw*y. No wonder I am so delicate and sensitive. (Like a carthorse, some say.)

a slightly melancholic cloud

is hanging over me. I am a bit :( glummish.
Which made the presentation of my work a bit more tragic than it needed to be. I think maybe our tutor - (whose name is ironically the Irish for Freedom, and henceforth shall be known as such, with irony, though, great irony) just isn't interested in my style of work. But I shall sally forth, with my new plan, which is to work with interactive narratives (people like a story, I find. Loads of people have said they like Placement) and perhaps my thoughts about narrative-making and meaning-seeking can be submerged in it and not so obviously dealing with and testing the boundaries of narrative.
My work is quite different to the others. I draw, for one thing. They are mostly into sensors and video.
Steph showed this hilarious piece of herself working out ideas. It was truly brilliant, everyone loved it. And lots of postmodern stuff about Youtube and such-like.

Do you know, I think I feel a bit better already? The Time beckons, which is probably half the problem.
But Twangy will bounce back.

Last night I went to a Cameraless Film workshop, where we drew on 16mm film. It was really good, organised by Bl*ck L*tter, with the usual bonus Nice biscuits and tea. John O'C*nnell was leading it - he works on film art himself. (Must look up the links he gave us). It was so pleasant to be there drawing on the film in marker, in the warm institutional interior of the L*b on F*ley st, with people rehearsing their plays in the corridor.
At the end we watched the film we made on a wonderfully evocative projector - they are going to put it up on the site later. Will link.

blur special FX

Some over-enthusiast videographer seems to have applied a blur effect to my life. I am really in need of a good weekend-long sit-down and an endless cup of camomile tea. Weekends have been frantically busy since the wedding, what with the painting of the parents' house, the courses, the house, the people. The people!
Yesterday was the final day of the Intaglio course. Intaglio is the most weep-inducingly frustrating and yet, wonderfully promising and surprising technique I have learned thus far, in my long and illustrious. I worked  a series of three of these, with variations:

One had some geese migrating over it in a NJ kind of way, another some colour, another, a deeper colour.  The idea was to show some progression of time through them - a narrative sequence - so I made a few in a series. I had every kind of small annoying fly in the ointment from oops! dropped the paper in the carefully rolled acetate to oops! printed on the wrong side of the paper, (the one with my initials on it). It was maddening and at the same time, tantalizing, because you can see how good the results could be,  potentially, if you could just leap deftly over the hurdles, while calculating prime numbers and holding a raw egg in your mouth, without breaking it.
Our teacher was encouraging and seemed to think I could go ahead with it, that it might suit my drawing. I don't know though. Prints - they can be beautiful, evocative and perfect, to say nothing of highly saleable, but, (see above), that way madness lies. Still A and I have inquired and will probably go back for another course in the new year. (Hmm. Typepad keeps correcting my Hibernian English spelling. We are not wrong Typepad! neither better nor worse but merely different. I wonder if there are other Irish folks using it. I would have to guess yes. Unique as I like to think of myself as being (if not very deft in the sentence forming dept) not even I can believe I am the only one in the country to have stumbled upon it.)

Today I got up at 6.58am and lept on my bike to hare over to mind Spike while Brother went to a rugby match in Toulouse.  (He does this as casually as if it was a trip to Bray to go on the dodgems. Am I (and Kevin from Grand Designs) the only ones that worry at all about the effects of flying on global warming?) Spike was sleeping in his parents' bed, breathing noisily through his congested nose and flailing about like a horse with colic. When he got up his hair was pouffed up at the back like Russell Brand's. He was a bit tired after the party last night, but rallied gamely when Gan came to visit. He can say so many things now, it's charming. For the moment. Soon it'll be time to tell him to sit down and shut up.*
eg of nephew genius:
Where's Gan gone?
and on his flash cards, which show opposites, he says BROKEN and FIXED instead of BROKEN and WHOLE.
Which is very sweet.

Oh, there's so much to know, in this human life.

My college colleague E and I went to look at bikes. The fear (that we share, ehem) is that with time we might actually merge into the same person. We call this horrible vision of our possible enjoined future FREAKY EM-BIE. The funny thing is, the more we try to avoid it, the worse it becomes and the more we spout the same nonsense at the same time.
A nice man in an Aladdin's cave/clausotrophobe's nightmare of a bike shop seems to be willing to help us find a suitable frame and bits. In truth he will probably be happy to relieve himself of the alarmingly high piles of bikes, dead and alive, that are lining his workshop to the point where you have to edge by them, nervously, afraid you might touch one and cause them to come crashing down on top of you.

Getting up at 6.58 really makes for a long day. Feels like 7 now, for instance.
I enjoyed the cycle across town under the lightening sky. The streets were so quiet.

Ma says she and Da need to be put down (lookit Typepad, Da is a word. So is lookit, come to that). They are in worse shape than Smokey, the Oldest Horse in the World.
Da has had (in the last 2 weeks)
1. A dodgy knee
2. A hiatus hernia
3. Suspected enlarged prostate
Ma brings up the rear with:
Her usual complaints and:
1. A back sprain that turned out to be a kidney infection

Poor things. I mean to get down and light up their lives with my presence asap. (ha ha) Not really, but I really should go down and tend to Smokey, TOHitW. It's just been terribly busy, and I have to present my work (yet) again to the group on Tuesday. Which means I must clarify my thoughts to the degree where they can be translated into actual words.

Spike made chocolates for us. They are call-call-calling me, or that might be the cinnamon buns Ma made for Johnny. We suddenly are adrift on a sea of baked goods.

I must away. More Irish spelled drivel later, I promise.
*(Not really. I'll leave that to his parents)

at last

I have finished the long and tedious process of importing my old blog. I saw my life over these nearly 2 years, as filtered through my poor addled brain, flash before me and I thought, despite the twaddle, the repetition and inconsistencies, it was nice to see it again and remember things. Like when Spike was a little baby, or when we got married. Or things I saw on the way.. so I have decided that, yes, this blogging can have merit and so I'll stick with it. I will try to up the quality of the blathering though. (Better blathering in 07 - 08. I hereby make it my solemn intention to live by that motto.)
It's been a few months, and in those a few things of interest (to me) have happened.
Allow me to list them, if you will:

Work on house has commenced (THE EXCITEMENT)
Spike's mum (my brother's partner) is pregnant (THE EXCITEMENT!)
Spike can now shriek in an earsplitting way, and does. He can also say Gorbachov.
My cousin got married. I don't know her very well, so it was nice to be invited, and to see London Cousin (everytime I write cousin it comes out as cousing. ?  Apparently I believe a cousing is an activity)
Seem to have fallen out with Enrico, Italian ex.
Am back to college. Enjoying it greatly. Will be building a bike machine with Coffey's Not Really Cousing.

And now I will upload some photos of this time - a fragrant nosegay of Sept - Nov 07 (as I can't remember anything else of note at the moment. Hmm. Solemn oath as above not really working out so far. Better luck next time).


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