Graffiti, art, and the imprint of Gen X

A delightful blog about the artist Keith Haring from canyondreaming, I hope you all enjoy it.

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It will be hard not to make this post too personal, but I’ll try.  Keith Haring was an inspiring artist at a time when graffiti was still considered an eyesore and not an art form, a time that I have a lot of nostalgia for. I’m guessing that I might well have run into Keith Haring either on a dance floor (gay clubs were the only ones to play even remotely good dance music in the early 80s, and as Cameo says “we don’t have the time for psychological romance”) or in a mosh pit, and those desperate and proud moments were key formative times for a young suburban kid who wanted to know what all the fuss was about when it came to the energy of the big city and the attitude of contemporary art. That said, I visited Haring’s exhibit (along with Paolo Buggiani‘s work) in Firenze…

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Almost More Mystery Than You Can Handle

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Siddiebowtie is running a competition way more exciting than all those ‘nominate a hundred blogs and get them all to write an essay about what they did on their holidays’ competitions.

This competition has unknown rules!

– you have to make up your own and whoever gets it right wins.

It has unknown prizes!

possible prizes include a wooden testicle, an egg and an evil book.

You may never know if you’ve actually won it or not…

Although you might win a crafty object of delight!

And the post is really funny in the kind of delightful and ridiculous way that can only brighten your day.

Now I appreciate you’re busy, you have commitments, you just remembered you have to feed the goldfish and cut your toenails and put the Roomba out for the night. However, the significance of those things pale into comparison with this competition.

So, time to play

Siddiebowtie’s Mysterious Competition

I mean seriously, when was the last time you had some proper mystery in your life? Now’s the time folks, now’s the time…

Precious Books: Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book

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Created by Terry Jones (yes, that one) and Brian Froud, I discovered this book back when I worked in a pokey remainder bookshop on Charing Cross Road (I’m being dismissive, but I loved that shop). It is as the title suggests, a book of fairies, their images preserved like pressed flowers, squashed between the pages. It’s based loosely on the Cottingley fairies, which were photographs of fairies taken by two young children in the early nineteen hundreds, although in contrast to Lady Cottington’s fairies, those photos eventually turned out to be fake.

The text that accompanies the squashed fairies, is the handwritten diary entries of Lady Cottington, starting in childhood as she squashes the poor fairies between the pages of her notebook. The fairies (and goblins too) get their own back occasionally by taunting her, but sometimes it seems they actually want to be caught. The notes continue into her adulthood as the fairies continue to visit her and she struggles with being disbelieved by her family.

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I wanted to write a post about this book, even though it was published over twenty years ago, because there really isn’t anything else like it. The paintings of the fairies are delicate and bizarre; the writing is entertaining, and although it is difficult to like Lady Cottington, we get caught up in her adventures.

A brilliant idea executed in a perfect way.

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Flash: The Day the World Ran Out of Tunes

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The panic started small but scattered, as across the world bands and songwriters floundered in their hunt for new tunes.

“You can’t use that. That’s Love Me Do by the Beatles,” said an advertising executive in Manchester, when he heard the proposed new jingle for Asda.

“No. Eso es Beethoven,” said a drummer in a death metal band in Buenos Aires, when he heard the song the band was working on.

With each new pin prick of alarm, the truth shone through a little more clearly. Until finally there was no getting away from it: every combination of notes had been used, even the ugly ones. There were no more tunes possible.

Journalists leapt with enthusiasm onto one of the biggest feel-bad stories of the century. This was it, this was the moment when it could truly be said that the youth of today were fundamentally unoriginal, when the decline of society and the abandonment of all joy were a certainty.

Pseudo experts and professional doomsayers were linked up by satellite to talk about exactly what had happened and what it meant. From the dry to the melodramatic, every emotional response was covered.

“Well, it was inevitable, really. There are only so many notes and a finite combination of them.”

“We will be a music-less society, only time will tell just how this will affect us.”

“These are the end days, without music our souls will wither!”

As always the world carried on, people went to work, dogs were walked, coffee was drunk; but there was a sadness to it, a reverent quietness. The human race was in mourning. Nobody whistled or sang, afraid to be seen as insensitive. Work slowed, its dullness impossible to escape. Lovers looked at each other with shocked honesty, without the delusion of tune to hide the truth with romance. Radios played only white noise, the TV played credits in silence.

It lasted three days.

Then an impatient journalist started shouting across Twitter, he was a man who was practised pointing out the stupidity of the world

“Seriously? This matters? This doesn’t matter. Just recycle the old tunes. Play them fast, slower, sung by an elephant in a clown suit,” he tweeted.

“Nobody cares about music anymore, it’s all about the spectacle,” he continued.

The tweets quickly spread and became a hope, the hope became a belief and the belief became the truth.

And so the music played on, faster, slower, sung by elephants in clown suits. People tapped their feet and forgot there was ever such a thing as a new tune.