Moving Abstract Pictures

moving pixWhen you’re in the business of moving abstract paintings from one place to another, you tend to notice several funny things. One of them is brushstrokes you aren’t sure you noticed before. Before a colleague’s head or hand brushed against it. And then it looks nearly certain that the gallery place-card will need the name of additional artists to be factual.
(From my time as an assistant to painter Margaret Tolbert)





Lille and the Scientist: lyrics mashup

Lisa Hannigan’s ‘Lille’ and ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay

Lille: He went to sea for the day
He wanted to know what to say

When he’s asked what he’d done
In the past to someone
That he loves endlessly

The Scientist: Come up to meet you
Tell you I’m sorry
You don’t know how lovely you are
I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart

Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh let’s go back to the start
Running in circles; coming up tails
Heads on a science apart

Lille: Now she’s gone, so is he.

The Scientist: Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start

I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling your puzzles apart
Questions of science; science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Lille:I went to war every morning
I lost my way but now I’m following
What you said in my arms
What I read in the charms
That I love durably

Now it’s dead and gone and I am free

The Scientist: Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me

Lille: I …

The Scientist: Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles, chasing our tails
Coming back as we are

Lille:  I went to sleep for the daytime
I shut my eyes to the sunshine
Turned my head away from the noise

Bruise and drip decay of childish toys
That I loved arguably
All our labouring gone to seed

The Scientist: Nobody said it was easy

Lille: Went out to play for the evening
We wanted to hold onto the feeling
On the stretch in the sun

The Scientist: Oh it’s such a shame for us to part.

Lille: And our breathlessness as we run
To the beach endlessly

The Scientist: No one ever said it would be so hard
I’m going back to the start

Lille: As the sun creeps up on the sea…
The Scientist: Oh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh



Paper Bee

Enchanted by a Lisa Hannigan-like voice wafting in from the venue space next door, I nevertheless persist at my drawing table at SAW. The music is unbearably sweet. I must go see her sing. No, the art gods are watching. The angelic music is fuel for me to work more, not interrupt it. An instant later, Ms. Alisha Burrito walks in casually  and invites me to the concert. ‘I organised it,’ she says. A special invitation from the art gods, then. I go. The voice is still singing. I walk in, I sink in, I drown. Three angelic musicians.  The singer is the petite girl in a cap and denim jacket. The drummer is a Ronald Searle drawing with long sharp arms and legs. The tall bass guitarist is half a norse goddess, complete with red dress and blonde hair. The venue is unusually relaxed. The crowd is lounging on the wooden floor. That music. That singing. Gentle, childish, impish, sad, funny. You could kiss the air here and feel the static electricity.


This was Paper Bee, I came to know. Her last song was for ‘all the strange people,’ assuring them it was totally ok to be strange. I came back with my sketchbook and tea. Now the members changed positions. When the bass guitarist beat the drums, when the drummer began to sing and the sweet girl in the cap stopped singing and played the keyboard, it became Loon. These were transwomen bands. The best I’ve seen so far. I talked to them afterwards. Nick, Noel and I didn’t ask Norse Goddess her name. Their album covers and merchandise art, vinyl covers and audio casettes, in pen and ink and watercolour, drawn by themselves and by an illustrator friend, were gorgeous, so much like their music. I preferred Paper Bee’s music to Loon’s, and I liked Loon’s cover art more.

Somehow, though, the people I talked to downstage, weren’t the same people that were up there singing. They were normal people now.

Thanks for the concert, Alisha.

“Nothing Eve”

“Nothing Eve” the title of Kurt Wolfgang’s brilliant comic series in MOME. Wolfgang creates a wistful, funny atmosphere in which we follow the boy protagonist around a small American town on the last day of the world. Among the first things he does is ask a stranger for a smoke. Refusing him initially, then realising that the world is ending anyway, the stranger hands the boy a cigarette. “I mustn’t catch you with that thing tomorrow,” he says, in case the world doesn’t end.

Quite unlike this version of the apocalypse is the soulless, hard-thumping, and expensively mass-produced darkness of many movies in town. Best exemplified by the new superman plus batman clunk-thing. They all seem to be set in the same dark city, facing the same dark end of the world, awaiting insanely cut action and industrial noise from toad-bodied heroes to save them.

I was subject to four or five trailers in a row last week, and I am pretty sure they could all be thrown into just a single end-of-the-world movie called “Nothing Ever.” In fact, Star Wars: A New Hope seemed like a brightly coloured Disney fantasy afterwards.

A night trip to the Pole

I wake up shivering in the sudden cold of the night. I check the weather. The temperature has dropped overnight by 10 degrees C — just for the weekend, says the app. Very Floridian. I was in my shorts just yesterday. Now I pass by two polar bears on the walk back from the toilet. I still can’t sleep so I go to the kitchen.

The polar beasts reveal themselves to be the massive stove and fridge, white, large and American. The doors and windows, the hollow walls and false ceiling, are white, too. Sheets of ice.

Even the kettle is white. But I manage to reach its trigger with a stiff finger, like a barely alive polar expeditionist. Its coiled insides heat up the water, noisily breaking the arctic silence. I set some tea brewing.