Monthly Archives: September 2009

Quality street

God save the Queen
and quad bikes
and quadrilateral triangles
and quadratic equations
and quadrophonic hifi
and quince
and quills
and quelling rebellions
and quaffing ale
and quenching thirst
and quail
and quibbling
and Quality Street
and querrulousness
and quacking
and Quavers
and quangos
and quorn
and quickness
and quivering
and quotable quotes
and quorums
and quips
and queries
and Quakers
and quoits

and even Kwikfit fitters
(despite the spelling)
because there’s something
about ‘kwa …’
that drives me
quazy

17 September 2009

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Stop w(h)ining …

It’s communion, Jim, but not as we know it
The bread is still there but the wine has now gone
Official instructions are rather hotchpotch
The wine’s for the vicar, and we get to watch

While we worship the Lord with hymns loud and anthemic
The bishops are worried we’re spreading pandemic
We don’t all want swine flu, it’s a pig of a bug
So don’t you dare kiss in the Peace, or go hug
Handshakes are dangerous, so make do with a shrug

Never mind that the Bibles are passed hand to hand
Why the chairs haven’t been swabbed, I don’t understand
And then there’s the newssheets and door handles too
All viable ways to share in the flu

If it gets too much worse they may make us stay home
And watch Songs of Praise till we’re blue in the face
So let’s give them one big liturgical groan
We’ve had it with law so let’s hear it for grace

Next we’ll have Britain’s Got Swine Flu
with Cat Deeley
Maybe it’s just a plot to stop church
getting too touchy feely

August 2009

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There is a first time for everything

There is a first time for everything
Everything has a first time
Is time a first – for everything?
Time: first there is everything
Everything first, for there is time
A time is for everything, first
First time – there is everything
Everything time. Is there a first?

This poem has been sentenced
To death.

17 September 2009

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Untitled

Tony Blair
Tony Benn
Tony Booth

Toni Basil
Tony Bennett
Tony Jacklin

Toe knee
Knee toe
Rigatoni

Woolly jumper – overtones
Halfwits – semitones
Feargal Sharkey – Undertones

Old school – sepia tones
Old tech – Binatone
Old amp – tone dial

Steady drone – monotone
Reedy drone – Casiotone

Tony Hancock
Tinny tannoy makes Kiri Ti Kanawa sound like Tiny Tim

This has been a Tone poem

17 September 2009

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Anish Kapoor – Royal Academy of Arts

Svayambh – red wax monster shaped by the building

Svayambh – red wax monster shaped by the building

Royal Academy of Arts: Anish Kapoor (Exhibition 26 September – 11 December, 10am-6pm, Fridays 9.30pm)

Wandering around the press preview of this major solo exhibition by 1991 Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor, I couldn’t help but be struck by the sheer sense of fun this influential sculptor encapsulates in his work.

Rather than try to tease out ‘meaning’ from each piece – a mix of new work and previously unseen items – I just found myself delighting in the physical appeal of each one, and the way they made me think about them.

First up is the monumental Hive (2009), built in a shipyard in Holland using Corten steel. It impacts you immediately as you stare into its hidden depths, and then walk round what for all the world seems like an alien submarine, left to rust on a distant, abandoned planet.

Greyman Cries etc - serious playdo, this

Greyman Cries etc - serious playdo, this

Gallery two yields the enigmatically titled Greyman Cries, Shaman Dies, Billowing Smoke, Beauty Evoked (2008-9), consisting of dozens of pallets piled high with cement sculptures generated via a computer-controlled three-dimensional printer. The result is a mix of almost fossilised geological strata plus dinosaur poo put through a mincer. You want to grab a handful of it – it looks fantastic fun created by grown-ups let loose with a vat of modelling clay.

The writhing marble monster Slug (2009) seems almost alive, contrasting a sinewy intestinal feel with a towering female organ in an unlikely metallic red.

Non-object (wall) - concave reflections

Non-object (wall) - concave reflections

There’s a fascinating gallery of ‘non-objects‘ full of concave mirrors throwing back distorted and often upside down reflections. Shiny chrome always brings out the magpie in all of us, and Kapoor maybe asks us how we appear to others compared to how we see ourselves with this cavalcade of end of the pier distortions.

A gallery of Pigment works flings deeply coloured geometric shapes at us, tempered with a powder sprayed almost soft texture, and including the wonderful When I am Pregnant (1992), a swelling bump that pops out seamlessly from the white walls, playing tricks with the light.

Yellow - you might just dive in and disappear

Yellow - you might just dive in and disappear

Piece de resistance when it comes to impact for me was the awesome Yellow (1999) – a cavernous splash of yellow that dives deep into a wall and leaves us grasping for a means to take it in. The curve of its shape makes it impossible to tell how deep it goes, and the result is something you just have to stare at and enjoy.

Heart of the exhibition is the powerful Svayambh (2007), taking up five galleries at the RA. A massive block of red wax chugs slowly along tracks, oozing through the Academy’s white and gilt doorways, leaving a sticky residue behind. The title comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘self-generated’. It is bizarre, fascinating and mystifying all at the same time.

And the same red wax becomes a weapon in Shooting into the Corner (2008-9), as cannon fires 20lb plugs of the material at 50mph through another doorway and against a wall. Some 30 tons will be fired through the exhibition. Described by RA chiefs as a “psycho drama”, there is a real tension as we wait for the plug to be fired, supervised by a black boiler-suited assistant. There is something visceral and disturbing that we share in here, and the experience is strangely engrossing.

For those who don’t ‘get’ modern art and sculpture, Kapoor’s work may not make much sense. But maybe that’s because it shouldn’t be approached as a puzzle which needs to be solved, rather than created works that evoke a response or cause us to think.

You may respond or think differently to me. But you should go – it’s exciting stuff.

Tickets are £12, bookable at www.royalacademy.org.uk or on 0844 209 1919

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