Thursday, March 19, 2015

Total Eclipse...

Klaus Nomi - Michael Halsband

Last night I listened again to Klaus Nomi and since I certainly won't be able to watch out for tomorrow's eclispe (if it's even actually visible here), that gives me the perfect excuse to post some of his songs, through a tenuous link.
His work took my breath away in the early 80s and never fails to amaze me still as I can just listen to his songs again and again. His most famous was perhaps The Cold Song, but the following, Total Eclipse and  After the Fall, demonstrate his truly unique talent.

Total Eclipse -  Klaus Nomi
Big shots argue about what they've got,
Making the planet so hot, hot as a holocaust.
Blow up, everything's gonna go up,
Even if you don't show up, in your chemise Lacoste.

Total eclipse, it's a total eclipse,
It's a total eclipse of the sun.
Can't come to grips with the total eclipse.
Just a slip of the lips and you're done.

Fall out, nobody left to crawl out,
If someone calls out, we're all out,
Turning into French fries.
Last dance, let the entire cast dance,
Do the dismembered blast dance,
As we get atomized.

Having been noticed by David Bowie in the early stages of his singing career at the end of the 1970s, Klaus Nomi was used as one of the backing singers for Bowie's performance on Saturday Night Live. He and his singing partner, Joey Arias, (along with a pink robotic poodle) certainly seemed to have had a far better time than the bemused female backing vocalists in Nomi's Eclipse...

After the Fall -  Klaus Nomi

So I told you 'bout the total eclipse now,
But still it caught you unaware,
But I'm telling you, hold on, hold on,
Tomorrow will be there.

And even those who went to church upon Sunday,
You thought you didn't even have a prayer,
But I'm telling you, hold on, hold on,
Tomorrow will be there.

After the fall, we'll be born, born again,
After it all blows away,
After the fall, after the fall,
After the fall blows away.

We'll take a million years of civilization,
We're going to give it the electric chair,
But I'm telling you, hold on, hold on,
Tomorrow will be there.

We'll see one hundred million lonely mutants
They will be glowing in their dark despair
But I'm telling you, hold on, hold on
Tomorrow will be there.

After the fall, we'll be born, born, born again,
After it all blows away,
After the fall, after the fall,
After it all blows away.

Well, the freak shall inherit the earth now,
No matter how well done or rare,
But I'm telling you, hold on, hold on,
Tomorrow will be there.

We'll build our radioactive gases,
Into the radioactive air,
But I'm telling you, hold on, hold on,
Tomorrow will be there.

After the fall, we'll be born, born, born again,
After it all blows away,
After the fall, after the fall,
After it all blows away.

Just as David Bowie was impressed by Nomi's artistic talent, the latter was influenced by Bowie's costumes and this led him to 'purify' his aesthetic form, leaning further towards a hybrid theatrical Kabuki style. 

I'm currently planning my trip to see the David Bowie is exhibition in Paris  - I can't wait to see this vast collection of clothes and styles and hopefully hear the music that is integral to them! 

I just wish that Klaus Nomi had lived long enough to be fully appreciated for the rare talent he possessed on every level, and hope that he had some awareness of the appreciation he did have, before his death in 1983, from AIDS. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Deux Vieilles Chouettes à Paris!

Having spent the day in Paris with an old friend to celebrate our respective landmark birthdays, I am exhausted! We just wandered around the city, along the grands boulevards and the Seine, past monuments, parks and squares and amongst the crowds, chattering away like two seasoned magpies. Nothing new there then, at least!

We talked so much that I hardly took any notice of the surroundings today, but the details of these two incredible façades caught my attention. It seemed quite fitting that they both had bird features (and a bat)...

We ended up on the top floor of a glass-and-metal building (L'Institut du Monde Arabe) and tried to take a photo via the very reflective ceiling. If the result ended up blurred, it was nothing compared to the others we had taken via other people!

Tonight my neck hurts from being crooked up, looking at buildings and... that shiny ceiling.

And finally, the view from the terrace at the Institut du Monde Arabe...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Snake-heads on my Balcony...

Off on my ritual Sunday trip to the garden centre, to enquire about my long-wintering orange trumpet vines, I came across this beautiful, mesmerising flowering plant; the snake-head fritillary.

It literally took my breath away! I stopped dead in my tracks, but quickly snatched up the pot in the most undignified, greedy, grasping manner. My precious... I can't remember ever having seen one of these before, though I did know Charles Rene Mackintosh's watercolour.

These are also known as 'chequered lilies', for obvious reasons, and the snake's head reference is due to markings that resemble those of a serpent.

I initially thought it referred to the 'poise' of the flower head which seems so expressive and appears so appropriate for art nouveau representation.

This plant usually grows in meadow land with the associated damp conditions. Whilst the label description did insist that the fritillary can adapt 'well' to life on a balcony, I am under no illusions.
So, for the time that this mysterious creature graces me with its elegant presence, I'll admire it from all angles.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Burnt Orange and Hairy Beasts...

As I still haven't liquidated my stock of beads, I thought I'd make another hanging, but this time use different shades of orange. I always think of orange as a colour that I don't immediately like, but in fact I've realised that I do.  Once it leaves the brash, bright tones, and goes closer to the earth colours or is placed next to contrasting colours, it is beautiful. So I've been busy painting the wooden beads to get the shades that I want. This, of course, with a little help from at least one of my resident hairy helpers - the cats.

As it always the case I think, once you're working on something, anything in fact, you start to notice similar things. I came across these fine beasts yesterday, though they're more of a russet colour than orange...

They appeared to be totally unfazed by human presence, and utterly uninterested. Nevertheless, the large, very imposing male looked as if he'd take no 'bull....' from anybody or anything.

I certainly wasn't inclined to climb over the fence to get any close-ups, however tempting that seemed.

Well, back to the beads.

Work in progress...

Although I really have thought nothing could possibly ever incite me to truly appreciate yellow, I did see this lichen on branches, so who knows...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Amazing Mazes of the Labyrinth Master...

Well, I wrote a post a few years ago, about labyrinths and mentioned my son's art, wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how he could develop these. That resulted in the Resounding Sound of Silence... Nothing new there, then!

However, as I told him at the time, and have ever since, that silence shouldn't silence you or stop you listening to the voice of creativity - or whatever you want to call it.

So here are a few more of his Amazing Mazes. These are usually created with pencil (and remarkably few erasers) but are always fully 'functional', with a genuine beginning and end that simply have to be linked up!

There are a few others, like the first one here, that are computer-generated or part of the gaming world (Hello Minecraft...). I think my favourites are the pen-and-pencil ones; these often shrink to miniscule proportions. They are carried out in stages...

First section...

Second section...


In the final version, you can make out the intricate lines and forms that all 'work', leading you around and around a labyrinth of forms from A to B, quite literally...

He usually incorporates names into his designs....

And has often created these for friends....but now would be happy to carry out any commissions...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Yet another...Walk in the Winter Woods.

It was a bright day yesterday, as the temperature fell below zero, and so with the skies blue, air freezing and the (previously very muddy) tracks crisp and crunchy with ice underfoot I went to the woods.

I love the effects of the light streaming through the winter branches, and reflecting off the frozen water.

This gathers in all the pock-marks, puddles and pools that still remain from the mortars of the wartime years.

The ice seemed to have swirled around the trunks, shrivelled shoots and roots or the trees had simply risen up out of the water...

The water looked mysteriously milky in some parts and plain murky elsewhere...

Especially with the sunlight gleaming over the surface... And of course the sun brought out whatever colour was to be found...

Some of these were left over from the autumn...

And others were just evergreen...

With strange husky forms suspended alongside intricately veined leaves...

And never far from any of these, man-made traces - frozen tyre-tracks in this case on the path back home...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wooden Bead Fest/Feast...

I've finally finished my wooden-bead wall hanging, destined to hide the central heating pipes in the corner of the room, or or at least draw attention away from them. Well, that's the theory anyway... Here it is (above) on the radiator, and draped over my wooden screen (below), before being hung up in its rightful place...
As some of the beads are quite large, and the finished item is rather long, the final wall hanging is fairly heavy. It was like suspending a weighty python, ready to come crashing down so I do hope it won't fall off the curtain rail as the cats' chairs are positioned just below!
Initially, the idea was also to use up some of the huge stock of beads that I've accumulated over the years, but this latest project doesn't seem to have had much of an impact on those reserves. In fact, it made me realise that I'd like to make yet another...
Here it is again, next to an orange/blue hanging I made several years ago... I originally got the idea of painting up wood following a trip to Marrakesh, where all types of antique beads were sold, but at a high price (in spite of my attempts at haggling!). So I decided that I'd make my own and try to 'age' them, or give them a bit of character one way or another...
Well, these are the wooden beads, I haven't even mentioned the impressive stash of glass ones that I have hoarded away under the bed, or what I've been doing with those recently... Bead fest/bead feast!