bookmark_borderOne & Other

I know what I like.

It’s a phrase I use quite often when discussing art, mainly because it’s not an area I’m all that familiar with having never really studied it other than the odd wander round a gallery or two.

I’m quite open to most forms of art, and I’ll happily wander round an installation and see if it has any impact on me and, digging into my opening phrase a little, if something manages to illicit an emotion from me then it falls into my definition of ‘art’.

I don’t limit that statement to a specific set of emotions, there is much beauty to be found in disgust, as there is horror in the mundane. But sometimes I find myself baffled and, worse, disinterested. At that point I’ll happily concede that I do not appreciate whatever it is that is being offered to me, whilst retaining the right to change my mind in the future (such are the vagaries of something based on emotion).

So I currently find myself at odds with… er.. myself, with regards to the current art installation One & Other:

This summer, sculptor Antony Gormley invites you to help create an astonishing living monument. He is asking the people of the UK to occupy the empty Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London, a space normally reserved for statues of Kings and Generals. They will become an image of themselves, and a representation of the whole of humanity.

To which my instant reaction is “poppycock”.

Placing random individuals on a televised stage isn’t art, surely? And, with the greatest of respect to the “plinthers”, the little I’ve seen doesn’t suggest it is more than some art students and random oddballs doing, well either little of interest, or lots of things that aren’t interesting.

And so the voyeurs are lapping it up, having gotten bored of Big Brother, the tourists and crowds in Trafalgar Square are drawn to the cameras with hopes of their 15 minutes of fame. My disinterest kicked in big time.

Until the other day when, channel hopping, I caught some coverage of a young man who was filling in for an someone else. He didn’t have anything planned, he was bemused and awkward and the loneliness of the plinth became evident.

My interest slowly woke up and I started to think about this piece of art.

I’m still thinking to be honest. There is something that galls me about it, the exploitation of those who stand atop the plinth, reduce to a number for the most part, and the voyeuristic nature of the entire thing.

But it has me thinking, considering why I am reacting to it the way I am and if that isn’t what art is all about, then what is?

I know what I like. Even though it can take me some time to make up my mind about what that means.

bookmark_borderOn commenting

A couple of weeks ago I asked if everyone who visited my site would leave a comment, and quite a few of you did. Thanks to you all, even the cheeky ones who decided to buck the trend and email me. It was all quite overwhelming and lovely and.. well.. ta! I do appreciate you taking the time to both visit and comment.

When I wrote that post I knew in the back of my mind that every blog goes through a lull, as does every blog reader, but I was genuinely curious to see who responded. It wasn’t JUST about stroking my ego, honest.

As ever some of you posted some very insightful comments and with some consideration I’ll admit that it was incredibly cheeky of me to “call you out” when my own commenting ratio has been slowly plummeting for some months now, but that was another reason for the post, could I ‘force’ people to comment? (guilt, what a wonderful tool).

There does seem to be a consensus though, and this is backed by my increasing use of Google Reader to read other blogs (on that note it’s very much a case of “if you don’t have an RSS feed, you ain’t getting read”), that we read too many blogs to be able to keep up. It’s hard enough reading the damn things, without having to visit each and every one to add a comment, presuming that you are moved to do so at all.

Is this the demise of blogging? No, I don’t think so, but I do wonder if it’s shifting from being a discussion or conversation, to being an open window or voyeuristic opportunity. You’ll happily stand there for days on end, soaking up the events and words as you peer in, only responding if prompted. No?

I guess it’s one of those things that ‘depends’ (ok ok EVERYTHING ‘depends’ but bear with me) on the number of blogs you try and keep up with. Beyond a certain point the basic logistics of commenting becomes too hard so you just stop trying to comment at all. “I suspect that people are reading more blogs than they used to, which leaves them with less time to comment. Which is a shame.”

And it is a shame, after all, it’s not very fair if you only comment on certain blogs but not others. I do find myself looking at my ‘blogroll’ and trying to remember who I last commented on, and whether I should ‘spread my comments’ around like they are rationed or something. Then I give myself a shake and remind myself that this is a hobby and certainly no-one will be offended if I don’t comment on their site as often as I do on others, right?? Ohh but I do hate to offend… and so on and so forth.

Thinking about it, this internal dialogue may be the REAL reason I don’t comment on as many blogs as I used to, “I don’t leave comments anywhere anymore. I’m shit at it. Busy things – sorry. Do read everything on GoogleReader though. But I suppose that doesn’t count. Boo.”

“Do you leave comments as much as you used to?” Is a valid question (although it’s “as many” not “as much”) and the answer is no. How can I? I’m far too busy to read AND comment, sheesh.

Perhaps the way that comments work is to blame then, after all if their primary aim is to create and further ‘conversations’ then surely it should be much easier to see what has been said, how far along the debate has been moved, before you delve in to add your own opinion. Or perhaps that is a little too grandiose a view of the content of most blogs, the ones I read anyway.

Ultimately I’ve reached the point, actually I reached this point sometime last year, where I don’t really care what my readership stats are, nor do I care if they are new people or the old faithfuls who’ll return here just because I’ve posted something (bless, they don’t get out often). I know people are visiting, and I understand why comments are down, and yes I’m taking the ‘summer lull’ into consideration.

My own habits have changed, my approach to this blog, and others is different today and it will be different tomorrow. The fun part is trying to figure out where it’s going to go next. Is twitter setting a new ‘micropost’ standard that blogs will head towards, or will it allow us to be free to write longer posts? Will comments die and discussions end? Or will we continue to observe and share, collaborate and discuss and reach the utopia some think this part of the interweb holds? Have I started wittering on and should stop drinking so much coffee first thing in the morning?

As the bloke with the funny accent who does the voice-overs for Big Brother says: “You decide”.

bookmark_borderHome, home on the range..

“And coming home it feels like I, designed these buildings I walked by”

Having not been returned ‘home’ to Glasgow for a while I was quite surprised, as the train pulled into Glasgow Central this evening, to feel an overwhelming sense of comfortable familiarity.

It must be the same as all the Londoners gazing at that lovely new Olympic logo (which was recently sent to me with a subject line of “Lisa Simpson, giving head”)… ohh I’m only kidding. It could be worse, right? Hmmm maybe not.

Update: an animated version now exists. God bless the internets!

I only saw the full colour version today, and have to wonder if, somewhere out there a design team are still shaking their collective head (they only have one between them) and wondering what went wrong.

“But it was a mockup!!”

Either that or there is a design team shaking their collective wads of cash around in the air, wondering whether to pick the silver or white Mercedes.

Ach, what do I care? It’s not like the logo will make any difference, it’s not like the branding will have any impact on the way people thinking about the Olympics, right?

Sorry, I do hate to go on, and I’ve got so much else to do you know. I’m just about through all my emails, and I’ve almost finished that report from the conference, and… ohh you know how it is.

I’ll be round YOUR blogs over the coming days, I promise, and I’ll be revamping that list of links as well. Possibly even brutally. Those of you who have NOT left a comment yet… be afraid.

Or slightly worried.

OK OK, not even bothered at all as I’ll probably just add a few new links in, I wouldn’t really DELETE one, would I?

Would I?!!

(No, it’s no good, I’m just not scary…)

Right, Big Brother is just starting. I’m off.


bookmark_borderI is not racist

Deary me. Such a silly little TV programme causing such a stir. Let me just mount my “I haven’t been watching it this time” high horse, and we can get started.

Firstly I’ll state that I’m not interested in who said what, as my firm belief is that any kind of racist statement is a deplorable outcome of ill-education.

Secondly I’ll state that whilst I haven’t really been following this, it does seem to be very much a “reap what you sow” kind of situation, with the sickening implication that Channel 4 are probably, privately, pleased with the increased viewing figures and profile for the show.

Thirdly, it would seem that the main conflict isn’t race but intellect*.

After an exchange of words with Shetty, in which Shetty told Goody she needed elocution lessons, Goody launched into an expletive-ridden rant to Lloyd and O’Meara in which she said “fake” Shetty needed “a day in the slums”. [via]

The key issue, for me, is not how we correct this now, but how we MUST act to correct this for the future. And yes, as ever, it’ll be back to that old adage, education, education, education.
Continue reading “I is not racist”


Louise hasn’t been too well the past couple of days, some sort of chest infection which has given her a fairly… hacking cough. Seems to be shifting though. It has caused an additional problem though, namely that she’s filling up the Sky+ box so she’s got stuff to watch during the day. Now, this wasn’t a problem in the past because we had a DVD writer downstairs, alas that is no longer the case and so the box is getting rather full.

Unfortunately most of the stuff that is ‘needing watched’ is waiting on me to watch it. Which, normally, would be fine as I’d just hog the TV for a few hours and send Louise off to get the housework done, iron my shirts, and wash the car (to which she’d probably tell me to fuck off and go watch TV in the bedroom).

Trouble is I really can’t be bothered at the moment.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big watcher of TV, and have a tendency to lose interest in things easily. The Sopranos lasted 4 seasons until I missed two episodes and I’ve not been back since, Desperate Housewives never even made it to the 2nd series. We don’t watch any soaps in our house. Mind you I’d happily spend most of my day watching Frasier re-runs, or watch Nigella ohh and ahhh her way around her kitchen.. but maybe that’s a slightly different thing..

Anyway, regardless of what we have recorded it seems like, honestly, a bit of a waste of time to sit around and watch TV at the moment. I’d much rather do something else, almost anything else really, than spend more than an hour or so in front of the gogglebox. I was thinking about it the other day and, on average (now I’m back at work) I watch around 2.5 hours TV a day. Sometimes less, sometimes more (usually if there is football on) but, on an average day I don’t really watch that much. News in the morning for about 15 minutes, then an hour or so at night around dinner. Sometimes I’ll watch something else later on but not very often.

Makes you wonder why I recently bought a nice new, big, LCD TV. Well, that’s easy. Movies. Well, that was the plan. We are thinking of starting a ‘movie night’.. a little like ‘date night’ I guess but without the nervous anticipation, sheen of sweat and nausea of wondering if, and when, the first kiss would arrive.

So I don’t watch that much TV.

Unless, of course, Girls of the Playboy Mansion* is on.. THEN the TV is MINE! ALL MINE!!!

(if you think Celebrity Big Brother is bizarre, try and catch this… )

bookmark_borderFalling behind

I am being very tardy with this here blog, my sincerest of apologisingness. There is a perfectly good excuse, I’m sure, but it’s probably more fun if you pick one yourself. I’d probably go with “too busy” but the problem with that is that, whilst it’s kinda true, I’ve not been THAT busy.


I ventured out of the house today. Not that big a deal you’d think but I realised, as I trundled down the motorway at 90mph, that it was only the third time I’ve been out of the house since Christmas Eve. Ahh, THAT’S the excuse for not being here much, I’ve not been well!

Man-flu. It’s a terrible thing, makes you sit around all day, moaning, eating crap and watching cricket (bloody hell, those English blokes are RUBBISH!!). Thankfully it’s on the mend, just in time to avoid Celebrity Big Brother. I had a sneaky peek this morning, good lord what a motley crew!

I digress. Hey, it may be a new year but old habits die hard my friends!

Into Glasgow I went, camera in hand, for a leisurely stroll before meeting some ex-co-workers for a spot of lunch. Took a fair few photos, bought some shirts (for the new job) and enjoyed being a tourist for the morning. After a delicious italian lunch, home with my remote control jeep in the boot, and back to work. Yes, the new design isn’t far off, just need to crack the comments, search and archive pages… a change will do you good, they say, but obviously they’ve never fucked about with WordPress themes!

What else? Ohh This Life +10, of course. Ahh but how it failed to live up to the huge burden of expectation. Yes it was good in parts, but a one-off was never really going to hit the heights, not enough time to build up the tension before Anna fucks off and fucks everything you fuckers. Still, at least Egg was the same.. but then I don’t think Andrew wossisface can act any other way.. easy to cast I guess.

I’m forgetting something…

Ohh yes. Have you read the awful email Girl (Abby) got from Nicholas Hellen of the Sunday Times? Shocking. Out and out blackmail. So, being comrades at arms, us bloggers are all linking to the email to see if we can get it to numero uno in the Google listings.

Right enough of my waffling, I’m sure there are plenty of better things you and I should be doing. For a start I need to catchup on some blog reading, before embarking on some pre- “new job” reading… thankfully a quiet weekend looms!