Friday, 16 December 2011

Freecycle - the phenomenon

It`s a grand idea - big on sharing and everso slightly green, but honestly, what am I to make of the offer posted today:  "Retirement bits", which, although unidentified, were taken almost immediately. ??? 

Someone was asking for "Floorboards".

In the same posting: " Offer - Chocolate coloured floor bean bag " and the item below offered from the same source:  "Chocolate fountain - in full working order" - well, evidently!
Last week a request arrived for a "Papa shredder" - some serious problems in that family methinks.

Since my first week as a Freecycler, I have managed to bag just one item, consisting of two lamps, which were brilliant until I had the yellow paint accident... (the spatter was quite widespread, as in yellow tsunami). So I bought a new shade for the floor lamp, costing probably more than the new paper (or is that papa) lamp did originally being an Asda special. Ever since, I have been unable to get anything offered even though I have access to emails at all times, being a sad git with a Blackberry.
So I`m wondering how these things are `taken` before I receive the `offers` - I hadn`t appreciated there was such a high proportion of the Plymouth populace with telepathic powers.

I can understand free sofas and wardrobes being in demand. But even the stuff you`d think no-one would ever want if they had to pay for it, is snaffled within seconds. So as an idea, a movement if you will, Freecycle certainly works. Still, you have to wonder what happens to the stuff that people rush off to collect, only to realise it`s a pile of shite they really didnt want after all.

"Offer: trip to dump in your own car with all my old tat"

Thursday, 1 December 2011

have you booked your space on the pavement?

Mervyn King! He of the blunt statement... on the news... o a storm is abrewin oright.

I have this nagging image of the middle class Greek sitting on a pavement with a neatly spread tablecloth flapping feebly in a soft breeze, and on the bright white lowdown cloth, an assortment of lovely things  - treasures if you will - jewellery, porcelain, things once happily-given now `portable property`. And as such, not worth much at all, set against the mortgage payments.
Not that I think I am middle class.
Those old divisions dont hold overly expensive water these days.
I am on a mission to gather myself up and in. Keep my powder dry. Draw in my horns. Whatever these sayings mean is what I am doing, I hope.

Jeremy Clarkson! He of the unwieldy braintomouth gear ratio... on the news ... to draw attention to his lack of inhibition is to embiggen (thanks Holly) his whatever status, which should be actually no larger, wider or higher than yours or mine ... What he says is neither particularly funny or vile - it`s just a bloke saying what comes into his head regardless, and for that I champion his unthoughtfulnessish folly. Come on, in a welter of (concocted) media inanity thrust upon us from all everywheres, is he such a criminal? I absolutley dont agree with his views - I am just glad he sticks
two fingers up at taste-policing.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

a weekend in the attic

There are no photos of said roof void to grace the curiosity of any readers here - the attic is very dark -although there is a sulky flourescent bar which deigns to come on at times when it`s in a party mood.
This weekend I (okay then, not I but V as he can reach things better) have/has been taking things out of the attic so that V can then put some of them back again another day. This emptying the attic has caused much argument and moody looking daggerish grr. It has been a purging process. And we have indeed been to the dump thrice with a car full of grot.

A large box of Navy News newspapers, with no news newer than 2004 . A suitcase 36 years old with extensive mouse-related damage. Three black bin bags full of paper. Disgusting aged pillows. A Tandy shortwave receiver. Battered box files. Dead electronic gear. Umpteen cables for things no longer owned. Zillions of dull data cds. Three pairs of mouldy leather shoes approximate combined age 75 years. A whole boot full of flatpacked cardboard. Old picture frames. And so much stuff, stuff  so adrift from its original function it no longer bears a name.

I confess to crying over a carefully folded piece of used brown parcel paper complete with parcel marker pen, last seen in the 1970s perhaps, by V`s mother, whose evident love of stationery has shocked even me. I have filled half a sack with odd brown envelopes and rediscovered enough letter writing gear to see me out, as it were. I have filled an old wooden letter rack with all sizes of rescued envelope and paper of different thicknesses , plus enough gummed labels, tie-on brown labels, and air mail stickers to strain the seams.

The last attack we made on the attic was 4 years ago. This was equally traumatic. The suitcase filled with scissors of every possible specification was a total revelation. I was actually frightened. I can only imagine V`s mother had a soft spot for door-to-door scissor salesmen, if there ever was such a thing (well, they used to sell brushes door-to-door, so it could have been a risky marketing decision by the CE of Betterware or 1960`s equivalent), or was a pushover who couldn`t say no, or (worst case) was entirely bonkers. We got rid of the entire scissor collection, most of them unused it appeared, which may be something to be thankful for. At any rate, there was no evidence of blood staining.
Now I have just thought of another explanation - V`s parents, hard up for money as many people were and still are, took it upon themselves to try scissor selling door-to-door, investing some of their savings in a pyramid scissor sales scheme a la Herbal Life or Amway. And then found out, to their horror, they were no good at scissor selling, but were stuck with the stock. A lesson there, if that`s the story, but it`s a bit late now to be pointing out the dangers of pyramid schemes.

Things in attics. The terrible thing is how they literally hang over you - watch you in your bed - press down upon you. And you dont even have the luxury of knowing their history. All that stuff! Waiting and waiting. Brrr.

I have spent good money on 11 plastic boxes with lids. You can see through the plastic. Which is half way toward having some control over the secret life of this stuff from previous lifetimes. The remaining paper tonnage we feel unable to part with at this time has been labelled, and quietened down a little for that. I need several more plastic boxes but have had enough of the past for a while.
Here`s to being light, which, I find out now or simply remember, is what I seriously desire.
Who was it said their life didn`t weigh enough? A Romantic I think - let me know which. Back then, people didnt amass their pasts so easily. They didnt buy that much I suppose, being uncorrupted by consumer choice. It was all about doing great deeds, not suffocation by stuff...or is that a Romantic notion?

Friday, 4 November 2011

when things fall out of cupboards etc

Although this story is not one of rapidly opened cupboards and dislodged soy sauce, but the results are unsurprisingly similar. A litre of yellow matt emulsion makes quite a splash when dropped from a height of 3 feet. It also coats the feet entirely depending where you happen to be standing at the time, so that the resultant yelp is accompanied by a tragic little hopping dance, which makes things worse. Once the shoes are shaken off, there is another tragic hopping dance to the kitchen sink, and a flurry of kitchen towel  ripping and wiping of digits which spreads every bit of paint thin, plus smearier than before and totally dried.
There are now two fellas in the dining room, on hands and knees, scrubbing and hoovering and washing and what all, and all I wanted to do was touch up a few patches of filler. This will cost me a bit less than a new carpet, quicker. I dont even know if the end result will be a carpet that looks like it never sat beneath a litre of yellow emulsion, crying softly to itself. I can only hope.

Sometimes I hate Samuel Beckett.

Monday, 31 October 2011

i just phoned H

I just phoned H. She knows
about weather and plants and possibly God.
I take nothing for granted.
One day I will ring and
noone will answer.

something`s gone wrong here?

I think the post just posted was written and ( I thought) posted about 4 weeks ago!

O Art, How it Talks and Talks

Things I liked at the British Art Show -
In the City Museum, Elizabeth Price`s `User Group Disco`; a short film featuring, amongst other household implements, a spaghetti strainer as (U) F O, much akin to the black monolith of Kubrick`s Space Odyssey revolving through a void, and a text derived from power-point presentations. The whole feel one of mystery and fascination, rediscovery and renaming. It made me laugh out loud, twice, though I`m not sure that`s a legitimate response. But of course it was. I was experiencing delight, always a plus at an art exhibition. I think it was the golf ball as spinning planet which did it, and the text giving an air of great purpose and grandeur, something which it never evoked at a business presentation, I`ll bet. (There was some philosophy in there too.)
There`s a lot of story-telling at this exhibition; so much so that the works are perhaps hampered by their backgrounds. The Art Show curators are incredibly present, giving little chance to be with the work alone, without the back stories, which are important, but integral? I haven`t made up my mind how I feel about this. Maybe they need to curb their enthusiasm just a tad.
At the Slaughterhouse, (what a fortuitous title) in Royal William Yard, I was entranced by Haroon Mirza`s installation, `Degree of Control`; tatty black flatpack furniture once prized in the eighties, record decks, a tv, radio, strobe lighting ... tv screens dont do it for me at installations, in general, maybe because they are too much of the here and now, but this one had an actor speaking into a twin reel tape recorder, ala Beckett`s Krapp; listening revealed he was reciting Ian Curtis lyrics. Strung from the ceiling, (ominous) a bare bulb revolves around a tilted deck, which keeps eclipsing the light, and a further unmoving deck holds Joy Division`s `Unknown Pleasures` album, with it`s topographic/soundwave logo. There`s a stuttering quality to the sound, which pulses through a denuded bass speaker diaphragm, and the clicking, popping strobe lighting, which sets up an undeniable Joy Div. rhythm. At this point I was approached by a curator eager to share, and informed that epilepsy was the `story` behind the piece; the artist has it, Curtis had it, and `She`s Lost Control` echoed his horror of losing said control. The degree in the title of the work apparently refers to the interval of silence which occurs during the `loop` of sound and flicker. It was, I think, spot on, as a work which engaged, even without the back story. Drawn in and moved, I went on a journey with the piece, and again experienced delight at having been spoken to by grubby bedsit furniture. If you`ve seen the film version of Curtis` short life, entitled `Control`, this adds another level of narrative to the piece. (It`s a grim film, but someone had to tell it.) This piece is definitely not grim however; it`s quite wonderful.
There are several other exhibits/artists I was excited by; Nathaniel Mellors infamous `vomiting head` wasn`t one of them. His piece literally stank, (not of vomit, I hasten to add, but of plastic and unidentifiable toxic stuffs) and the accompanying Our House films were cruel and ugly. I may go back and have another `go` at them, but then maybe I wont. I found myself thinking a lot about the Karla Black knotted sheet of powdery pink - almost not there, but very memorable - why? And the dirt/soap cake/ziggurat too. My daughter, who`s an artist herself, says if you come away from an exhibition and keep seeing a piece days afterwards, then it`s doing something to or for you; the art`s doing its job. Well, this appears to be the case with Karla Black. I cant say I like it, but I am intrigued, in a right brain way. And I loved what I saw of the Clock film - from 5 to midday to about 25 past in fact. How I was turning it into a narrative even though it wasn`t one, but seconds from thousands.
More stories around than painting, for sure, but Milena Dragicevic`s `Supplicant` series will be with me for quite some time. I`m not sure they were unpleasant images, or even disturbing, just very unusual and component-ish. I mean, like they were built of `bits` that didnt necessarily have anything to do with each other. Curious. Vaguely distasteful even. I found an image. I`m posting it here.