Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Bong

3 March, 2015

Ray Drainville

The extraordinarily useful Big Ben Twitter account tweets BONG every hour & the number of BONGs it tweets will inform you of the hour. Who says Twitter is useless?

Actual favourite Twitter feeds: Very British Problems (samples: “Expressing your rage by saying ‘you’re welcome”’ as loudly as possible”, “‘I’ll bear that in mind’—Translation: I’ll ignore that completely”) & Riker Googling, which informs us of No. 1’s uncleared searching history (samples: “evasive maneuvers keyboard shortcut”, “acknowledged emoji”, & “kobayashi maru let’s play”).

Manchester Punk

3 March, 2015

Ray Drainville

Frank Owen has written a wonderful personal account chronicling the violent emergence of Manchester’s punk scene in the 1970s. A mixture of reminiscence, social history, chronicle & photo essay, it’s a gripping read about a febrile moment in musical history.

The Manchester scene exploded after a handful of now-legendary performances by the Sex Pistols, with sometimes 20 or fewer attendees. But those attending the shows went on to become members of Joy Division, the Buzzcocks, the Fall & included even bloody Morrissey from the Smiths (who was already cultivating his young fogey persona).

As a transplanted American, I have a doubtless skewed take on British punk, skewed still further by my own personal tastes. Most Americans will think of British punks as the blokes with the multi-coloured, spiked hair you’d see strolling around London back in the day. Not me: Manchester was the place, partly because my musical interests lean more towards post-punk, and Manchester was instrumental (ha ha) in its development. Intellectual & arty in a way that London punk was not, Manchester punk held greater appeal.

I still recall when I first moved here & a colleague of my wife’s was talking about Manchester. I remarked to the man (a young fogey himself) “Ah, what a legendary music scene”, to which he responded “Mmm, yes, the Hallé Orchestra”. How can you reply to that?

8-Bit

3 March, 2015

Ray Drainville

There’s an interesting phenomenon on t’Internet of taking songs & rendering them in 8-bit games console styles. It’s an interesting mix of nostalgia of taking the entertainment d’un certain âge & combining them in an unexpected way. Below we have a version of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place”:

Another example is this version of the Smiths’ “This Charming Man”, which they charmingly call “Super Morrissey Brothers”

Psychedelic Painting

3 March, 2015

Ray Drainville

Bruce Riley paints in poured resin to create what the artist calls psychedlic paintings:

It’s a fascinating technique. You can see the relation to someone like Jackson Pollock, in that he’s reacting to the placement of previous layers on the surface & making immediate judgements as to where and what to paint next. The results are really interesting in & of themselves, but for me the real fascination lies in the process. Those animations give you a real feel for how he works & the moving artworks themselves are what makes the work truly psychedlic. This is a difficult technique to get right: one false move & all you’d have is a big grey mess.

Ray Drainville

The anonymous Vermibus (yet another example of Tumblr hosting great creativity) pulls down advertising posters, subjects them to an assault of solvents to un-fix the ink, warps the imagery & re-fastens the result to public spaces:

This is a brilliant idea. It totally subverts the pop aesthetic present in adverts, the usual “I wanna be like”/“I wanna shag” that model that we’re clearly suposed to feel when looking at such pictures. Instead, we’re confronted by something quite disturbing, sometimes looking not quite human, sometimes looking like a flayed or decaying body.

What’s also really interesting about this, I think, is that Vermibus has been able to separate the aesthetic of the human form & the aesthetic of the pose. As we’re repelled by the form, we can see the pose for the artifice it is. The poses then look twisted & unnatural when paired with such bodies. Think of all Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose hands are twisted in a neurotic, even spasmotic, pose: the sitter’s discomfort is obvious to us now. Vermibus has done something very similar with pop fashion.

This work also reminds me of some of Arnulf Rainer’s work from the late 1960s & early 1970s where he would paint atop photos to accentuate, or otherwise meta-comment, the imagery beneath. Vermibus’ figures are, if anything, even more disturbing.