Friday, 15 August 2008


This Week in the Shed.

Hi readers. How are you both?

It’s the end of the week and time for a blog post and a music change. The music in the side bar is meant to be for your enjoyment. So if you have any requests as to which music you would like to listen to while reading please feel free to let me know. Just give me the artist and which three or four tracks you would like to hear. No guarantees that the chosen tracks will be available, but I will see what I can do.

While surfing the blogsphere I discovered on ‘Stephen Fry’s blog’ that ‘Laptop Machines’ is an anagram of ‘Apple Macintosh’. Coincidence? Almost certainly, but I so want to believe that it was on purpose. Because I like the idea that for all these years somebody might have been pulling our collective chain. Like the HAL, IBM thing in 2001 that was ‘apparently’ a complete coincidence.

And while I am on the subject of famous people's blogs. Last night I was reading ‘Ricky Gervais… Obviously’. It struck me as odd that in the new ‘Retro Cuts’ section. Ricky himself has posted YouTube links to clips of his old shows, which were posted on YouTube by other people. They nick bits of Ricky’s shows upload them to share with their eight friends, then Ricky comes along and tells hundreds (nay thousands) more people that they are there.

“Look, look. This cheeky bugger is infringing my copyright. Oooh, it is a very funny bit though.”

All this tells me three things.

1/ Just like the rest of us Ricky Gervais spends his time Googling his own name.

2/ Just like the rest of us Ricky Gervais is too lazy to upload his own clips to YouTube.

3/ Most blogs, social networking and video sharing sites are almost completely filled with references and links to other blogs, social networking and video sharing sites. I have a growing suspicion that if you take all these references away, the few letters you have left will spell out the secret name of god or “All work and no beer makes Homer go something something...”

On a different note, back in June I made reference to a low budget British film ‘The Waiting Room’. At that time the rights to the film were in the process of being sold, and some of the site was inaccessible. I popped there again last night and am pleased to announce that the site is fully working again, including a trailer and behind the scenes documentary.
On the writing front. On ‘Potdoll’s blog’ a few days back I was reading with interest her reply to a meme about how she ‘plans’ to write a new project. This got me thinking, and what I realised is that I don’t have a particular way of writing. This may be why most of my ideas never get past the notes on scraps of paper stage.

After doing some Googling and then spending a few days modifying. I think I now have a more formal step by step work plan. And since over the weekend I had what I think is quite a good idea. I have started to put the plan to the test.

Step one is just about gathering notes, putting down any odd bits of banter and doing research. It was doing this early research last night that threw up a problem with my main character's motivation. This morning however I think I have solved that problem and have adjusted my notes.

First I wrote a quick idea for the story, about a paragraph. Then I started putting down any ideas I’d had for plot, characters, dialogue etc. Putting everything down on paper instead of leaving it all percolating in my head like I usually do. Most of the dialogue I put in the notes probably won’t make it to the script. But it all helps get the story and characters sorted in my mind.

As I get more ideas I’ll put those down too. Doing any quick research as I go. Some of the ideas already conflict with each other. But at this stage that isn’t a problem. The notes will be full of ‘maybe if’ and ‘either, or’. The important thing is to force myself to work on paper instead of in my head.

I am starting to get quite a good feel for who the main characters are. I’m not doing any detailed work on the characters yet, that comes a little later. When I’ve lived with them for a while.
I will keep you informed as to how I’m doing, as and when I have anything to report.

So what have you been doing this week?

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Gustav Klimt.

Back in June ‘The Culture Show’ did an item on the upcoming Gustav Klimt exhibition at ‘The Tate Liverpool’. This was a cause of some excitement to me as it was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a collection of this size by one of my favourite artists. Fortunately for me Rachael is a fan of his work too, so we booked the tickets online and headed for Liverpool on Friday.
I have spent quite a lot of time in various art galleries throughout my life. During my teenage years a tour of the local galleries was what constituted a good day out. I wasn’t an art student or anything. I just love art galleries. And I have in that time spent quite a while looking like a pillock staring at various works of art. But I don’t think I have ever stood before any piece of work for so long as I did on Friday. There is almost too much to look at and too much to try and take in.

Most of the paintings in this collection are very well known and would be familiar to everybody. It was a strange feeling to be stood in front of a piece that I felt I knew well, and still be surprised by it.

I never realised how three-dimensional some of the paintings are, you just don’t get any sense of that from a photograph. There is a portrait of Eugenia Primavesi in the collection that if you look ‘here’ you can see that the paint has been applied quite thickly. But close to you can see it is so thick that it could have been laid on using fingers and thumbs.

The landscapes came as a surprise too. No photograph of these works can do them justice. Their scale alone makes them impressive. Usually all you get to see are portions of these paintings. In the flesh they are huge canvases filled with colour and depth. Sadly they were all too large to slip one up my jumper.

The exhibition covers work throughout the artist’s life, and demonstrates well the eclectic and varied nature of the man and of his work. So disparate was his style that it is hard to imagine some of the pieces being made by the same hand. Most artist’s work changes and evolves over their lifetimes, and their growth as an artist can be plotted by the flavour of their work.

What is unusual about Klimt is that he continued to work in these varied styles throughout his career. Changing from symbolism to a more impressionistic style and back again seemingly without any difficulty at all. Even mixing very different styles within a single piece.

If you look at his golden phase pieces you can see his very different styles all within the same work. From accomplished and highly detailed features of the faces to the bold and even naïve looking surroundings. These contrasts of style are what give Klimt’s work its haunting dreamlike quality.

I have a particular fondness for his sketches. Simple, fluid line drawings. They have a lightness of touch and a freeness of form and movement that is stunning. In all of Klimt’s work his love of women is evident but it is in his sketches that I find the truest expression of simple beauty. Although it has to be said that the erotic nature of some of the sketches is not to everybody’s taste.
The centrepiece of the exhibition has to be a recreation of the ‘Beethoven Frieze’. Sadly it’s not the original, which is in ‘The Secession Building’ in Vienna. But that does not detract from the scale, power and awe-inspiring majesty of the 34 metre long piece. This was contributed by Klimt for the The Secessionists 14th Exhibition. Unbelievably it was intended to be destroyed when the exhibition finished.

I was slightly disappointed that ‘The Kiss’ was not part of the collection. This is also in Vienna. But it doesn’t seem right to dwell on the glass being half empty when the half that was full, blew me away.