What news? Nothing much. Nothing particularly amusing – even the cats, usually a reliable source of anecdotes are in a sort of lockdown stupor. We will be seeing the boys and girls very soon, once we are allowed and can’t wait. They will still be confined to the annex and another empty house we have been loaned but things are much more relaxed now that us three oldies are well on the way to being fully vaccinated and everyone can take the covid tests regularly. It has been a very long long time without seeing them all – poor Arthur has had two birthdays locked down.
Maria is back at work protected by screens and the luxury of a very long room. She is at one end the with the windows open, the lasses are at the other behind perspex – Maria needs her opera glasses to see them and an ear trumpet to hear them but it’s a good arrangement. She was anxious about going back but only for a day a day or two. She finished the term by falling flat on her face, not metaphorically but literally. Like a naughty 10 year old she came home with a grazed knee, a skinned hand and a bloody nose. She’s fine but she did want to cry. I told her to go and change her smock and that if she was going to be so clumsy she wouldn’t be allowed to play in the barn with the rough boys again.
I have been obsessing with my third live broadcast from the phone box for 8:00 pm on Easter Sunday. This is my shot at a resurrection theme eg – improving on Bach, Maher, all the renaissance masters and Dave Allen. To be frank I am not convinced that my approach has worked. But in the spirit of not hiding ‘misses’ I am going ahead with the broadcast. I find delivering and thus closing something even if it’s horribly flawed more satisfying than waiting for the illusive perfection that, in my case, never comes. The first piece was too earnest and too long, the second one was too long, it follows, in the Goldilocks tradition that this one should be just right but it isn’t.
I have promised in the past, not to explain my art, so here comes an explanation and another broken promise. FORGIVE ME.
I am interested, and have been for some time, in making art that doesn’t say anything much it just messes about. Serendipity is also a crucial element. Trying to say nothing sounds like a bit of a folly given my principal medium is speech, but you get my drift. Charles Ives managed to combine quotes from cheap songs with hymns, street bands, his own pretty naff poetry, the European classical music tradition and what sounds like laying his fingers randomly on the keyboard and banging about in a sort of hyper personal pot pourri – I am after the same. It means that the work has to tread a very risky path that is dangerously close to being just bad or amateurish or a mess. Amateur is the ultimate insult to the “serious” artist. But why I ask? Grayson Perry is another of my heroes (even though I don’t much care for his pots) because he doesn’t appear to make a distinction between amateur and professional it’s all just art. Pinterest should remind us that amateur craftspeople are as able artists as professional artists they just don’t necessarily do it as “professionally.” Maybe “professional” is a word I am beginning to despise like “experts.” UH OH!! My point is that the act of doing is what matters, self evaluation or reflection is just masturbation. Once again I refer to Warhol
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Resurrection has taken a good deal of work, not just because I wanted to try something technically that I had wanted to do for ages, but had always seemed like too much effort (consequently I wasted tons of time teaching myself skills I ended up not using that much) but also because, when it came to the really creative bit, as against the technical bit, yet again, my muse decided to pack her bags and go to her caravan in Filey for a couple of months leaving me stranded. So it is what it is – a bit bad. It owes a lot a lot a lot to Berio’s Sinfonia as well as Charles Ives and a bit to Phillip Pullman’s version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales – that also inspired George and Avani’s movie – but also most importantly to some random laying down of fingers on the computer keyboard and banging about. It’s not an audio piece in the studio sense of the word. It can’t be refined because it has to work to the acoustic properties of its environment – I cant mix it in the conventional sense – it has only two layers foreground (in the receiver ear piece) and background (everywhere else). That limitation should be an asset. I don’t think it is at the moment.
I guess I will carry on ‘telephoning’ until I have closed the loop next Halloween and then I think I will have exhausted all available bitter and ironic takes on ritual celebrations and religious holidays and will move on to something else. I am behind on a couple of other projects and I have plans for a series of short stories which I am looking forward to starting – my phone box art continues to fascinate but I feel the need to get away from my own voice and listen to some of the others in my head.
However should you wish to catch the latest it will be linked from here on the night.
I will be back on the chemo on April 6th. It is accompanied by high dose steroids so be prepared for a tsunami of 3:00 am blog posts. It’s permanent medication, or rather I take it for as long as it continues to work. I am told it is well tolerated so I am hopeful it won’t be too harsh. We’ll see.