from the distant past
the issue of the meaning
2 short films reminiscent
of the sentence
the essence of the thought
beyond the aching limbs
of elms now put to sleep
the image of the past
betrayed and bedraggled
from ravine to ravine
by process of elimination
and intrepid manumission
1st as a decumbent
lies the film that is called – maderensis
in which a bee
enervated and emancipated
by the scent and the
of the pollen incumbent saturation
and following the so-called shepherd’s delight
which combines geometry
with american currency
is above verbosity
or inclination to spin
in retractions of goodwill
to the expositors
originators and definatators
subordinate i say again
to refreshing of the sense
of dictatorial pursuit
of monkey chauve and toot to boot
I had a week in the French alps earlier this month at a resort Les Deux Alpes and was able to do a bit of walking about especially in the parc national des écrins. And took some rudimentary shots with my phone camera which I present below.
But first here is a soundtrack to listen to while you look at the pictures.
The mountain on the right is the Aiguille de Venosc. I can’t talk definitively about the rest.
Ah that makes it a bit clearer – Aiguille de Venosc again on the right but the mountain on the left must be the Roche de la Muzelle, 3,262 metres up and it has a small glacier.
And that’s a waterfall somewhere in the middle of the forest area on the previous photo.
The Lac de la Muzelle. When I got to the resort all I had was a pair of sandals and I was wondering whether I’d have to buy some boots. On my first day I went out in the sandals and thought I’d see how far I could get and how it would work out. They’re good Timberland sandals with a very solid base. Basically climbing up to this lake is the equivalent of climbing Snowden from sea level and it was a baking hot day over 30 degrees and for the last 1,000 metres (and the first on the way back down) there is no shelter from the sun. In fact that quotation from an old song of mine probably went through my head at the time although there are no gorse bushes up there. Lots of similar stuff though and probably more insects than I’ve ever seen. Anyway after that I had a more restful 2nd day, but I knew that I didn’t have to buy any boots.
This is a crepuscule shot that needed a better camera or at least more skill on my part but it’s caught a really interesting phenomenon where a cloud seems to have come down over the glacier.
Another lake, this one’s called Le Lauvitel. It isn’t as high up at the last one being at a nice round 1,500 metres approximately. It’s bigger though, easier to get to though still a pretty steep climb. I went there twice and the 2nd time I continued higher up to a smaller lake called Lac de Plan Vianney which is probably about the highest I got to (2,250 metres apparently). As I reached the point where I could look down on the lake I came over the top and there was an ibex a few metres away although it didn’t hang about and soon left me to private enjoyment of the lake. Actually there wasn’t a great deal of enjoyment because this was very different weather than earlier described. My sandals and my feet were both soaking wet and pretty cold. My feet were stained brown from the sodden sandals. I took each sandal off one at a time and gave each foot a rub but it didn’t really help much. I had no food with me and it’s possibly not that many generations since this was too a glacier.
In the evening after my 1st visit to Le Lauvitel the weather had changed. You can see in the previous photo that there are clouds building up. About 7 o’ clock I went out for a walk at the other end of the resort which is when I recorded the audio track which you may or may not be listening to. This shot shows the moment shortly before a massive thunderstorm. When the torrential rain started I was probably about a mile from my hotel within a minute I was totally drenched. Luckily the temperature was still warm and it just became a 20 minute tepid shower with all your clothes on. In my hotel room I had waterproof clothing but I hadn’t bothered to take it out with me and anyway it wouldn’t have helped my feet. The happy side of the experience was that there was a whole bunch of other people who were caught out like myself. I’m not sure what they’d been doing but they seemed like a large group and one of the guys was wearing a black cloak and had a shepherd’s crook or something like that. I didn’t actually have a conversation with them but we ended up laughing a lot together. Even drowned rats can have fun.
This is the other side of the resort which leads down to a reservoir, looking up to the large glacial plateau which allows people to ski most of the year. On my last day I climbed up on the left hand side of the mountain stream in this picture and then worked my way across to the ski-ing, mountain-biking side of the mountain. There’s a lot of lifts. The contrast between the natural life there and that in the national park is dramatic.
On my way up I diverted off for 10-15 minutes to get to this view of one of the cascades.
That’s the end except to say that British interest in this area of the alps perhaps didn’t start with a bang but a Whymper.
I’m being very slow about the restoration of my videos but one that called out to be done was one which is called may which was found on a post dated March 14th 2012. I’ve restored it to the post and am duplicating here too as it’s more fitted to a May post. I thought of it for I was walking past the very spot earlier today where I filmed it. The scene was much quieter than is shown in the film. I think when I filmed it, it was much warmer, maybe it was later in the month.
I’ve got a pile of videos I want to put up just need to get a production line working. If I can get another 2 up before the end of May then I will be doing well with all the other things I have to do this month.
rain yellow flowers caricatures south west england against deep interiors of the african continent during the nineteenth century. this blends into specific meridians of meandering thought. laburnum flowers here dangle concupiscent and aleatorically irrelevant.
i think i’ve pinned it there but don’t blush. derogatory whispers split infinite commands of rectitude. skies consonant and irregular at quavering times to drift nonsensically towards the plains of contusion.
guitars voices and a solitary saxophone resplendent with guttural perches strapped on and blending into darkened vortices of sick – sicle – syphon – ssss.ansidote
renal yell flickering
rhodes year freshman
ripped yeast farine
Here’s another thing I wrote years ago approximately 1980 but the illustrations were done last month.
Reclining in cars – the odd word stuck into the cream-pie of conversation – while outside – bloated fish swim belly-upwards in opaque canals.
Waiting, tapping on the roof, holy terrors grip slowly round, their bulbous eyes crane inquiringly – someone’s Boss imitates – pint on bar – insane glare – arms pounce out – slowly picks up beer – frothing at the mouth.
Perfume in cold tightened corridors, dripping downwards, forming pools, crystalling, lit up by cigar-lighters, fumbled and then dropped, burning through the floor and down through the world, the underworld, out the other side, a long way down.
Seeing hearts in stores, under garages, ornamental gardens, descending and ascending – even without seeing – bad breed, bad blood.
Whistling at windows and shunting in cars, little self-conscious taps of the feet, dripping half-rhythms trickling aromas no nose can smell.
Dream-tornados wheeze through run-down wooden houses.
Rivers like grins, crescent or twisted, sticking into bays, then starting out again.
It’s been a while since I’ve turned my attention to stamps. I’d just like to point out that I wouldn’t describe myself as a stamp-enthusiast. I collected stamps between the age of about 8 to 12, the stamps I collected I still possess and now I find them a fascinating remnant of past times – geography and history resonates through my lifetime and before my lifetime.
Ok now I’ve got that off my chest I’d like to introduce the new addition to the stamp category which is insect stamps. One of the things that stamps represent is an advertisement for the country they come from. Insects are one of those things that most countries don’t want to confess to. I’d love to have a stamp which had a common British house-fly on it but honestly I don’t think such things exist, certainly not in my collection anyway. Countries generally don’t want to admit to infestations of fleas, cockroaches, locusts etc and so insects haven’t been featured as much as they should be in the world of postage.
So sadly the category is a bit hard to populate. There’s only one insect that’s easy to find on stamps and that’s the butterfly. The inference is that you’ve got to be aesthetically pleasing to end up on a stamp – no probosces or weird hairy abdomens thank you. Here’s a butterfly stamp to show you what I mean. Most stamps from Bulgaria use a Cyrillic script and I have no idea why this one doesn’t.
The next one’s an insect that Chile was happy to celebrate back in 1944. Known either as Darwin’s beetle, Grant’s stag beetle or the Chilean stag beetle this is a male. The female is much less elaborate, which is sexual dimorphism as I’m sure you all know. The large horns and forelegs are purely for the purposes of combat between rival males. 1944 was a hundred years after the publication of Claude Gay‘s book, Historia fisica y politica de Chile and that resulted in a large number of stamps. I’ve got a lot of them but this is the only one which depicts an insect.
And while on the subject of beetles I would like to say that my opinion of the species is indebted to Primo Levi in his book Other People’s Trades drawing my attention to the comment of biologist Jack Haldane‘s when asked what his concept of God was – “He is inordinately fond of beetles”. Somehow I find this comforting. So here is an African beetle which is basically a flat-faced longhorns type of affair. Apparently an infestation of these little blighters can have a devastating effect on cashew. So thanks to Portuguese Guinea for breaking the mould and putting a pest on a stamp. Actually Portuguese Guinea doesn’t exist any more it’s Guinea-Bissau now.
Well I’m scraping the barrel here a bit now with insect stamps. To be perfectly honest there don’t seem to be too many about. So here’s another butterfly. limenitis populi or the Poplar Admiral is a widespread Eurasian insect. One of the interesting facts that can be gleaned from Wikipedia is that
Limenitis populi has never seen coupling naturally in captivity. The manual coupling is described by Marion Weidemann, this is the Austin Platt’s method which consists to partially suffocate the male (anaesthetize in a cyanide bottle) before hand pairing (Dr. A. Platt specialized on North American Limenitis species).
From my early years I’ve always had a sort of desire to be an entomologist but having read that I’m glad it never happened. William Blake famously once had a conversation with the soul of a flea. If ever I have a similar conversation it will be with the soul of a person who is involved in insect-cyborg research.
Finally I’ve completely run out of insects, but I’m sure that there must be some hidden in this stamp somewhere as apparently rhinoceroses and let’s face it most animals even some humans are riddled with insect-type parasites of some sort. This is a white rhinoceros though it doesn’t look all that white and sadly it no longer occurs in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. A couple of egrets contemplate this large muscular mammal and of course the 2 species have a symbiotic relationship related to the ticks that infest the rhinoceros. Actually ticks are more spiders than insects, but I would have included spiders in this category if I could have found some spider stamps. Another of the birds that might feed upon a large mammal in this way is the oxpecker. Apparently the oxpecker has got so much of a taste for the blood of the carrying mammal which is in effect the main flavour of eating a full-bellied tick that they will work at wounds and feed directly on the larger creature’s blood. The rhinoceros seems to accept the birds as a necessary evil.
I am halfway or more through my new album which I won’t name yet, but I thought I’d do a quick creature head count.
a flesh hound (whatever that is)
another hound (seems to be a bit of a theme – not intended)
Eventually I’ll do a whole thesaurus of the animals, birds, fish etc. that populate the world of my song lyrics, not to mention the trees, flowers and assorted inanimate objects. When I am ill and lie abed with 2 fat wishes I’ll be fed and let the leaden moments pass each choosing singly their own path.
Instead of a basic guitar/bass/drums core the new songs are underpinned simply by 2 acoustic guitars. There is a 10th song which won’t be on the album but is a new version of an old song and this moves matters in a further fish like direction. Everton Hartley as always is the 2nd guitarist. We also recorded a dozen or so minutes of the instrumental music that we play together under the name Ashinosya. Here’s an excerpt from that to give you a flavour of the 2 guitars by themselves.
I noticed the other day that some nice person had put up a comment about a song of mine on Itunes which is called Coathanger. They say it would be a good song in an 80s Italian zombie film. I’ve just added a page to this blog with links to buying various songs of mine on Itunes including this one, which I’m linking to here. The song features myself on guitar and vocals, Paul Wigens on drums, Jeff Spencer on bass and I think the backing vocals are Jo Swan and Jeff.
Actually I prefer the demo version of the track which I recorded in October 2007 shortly after I’d written the song.
Here it is and below is what I wrote about it at the time.
But first – if you have any plans of making an Italian zombie film – please get in touch.
I was working on the music for a possible song a few days ago and when I’d finished it and played around it with it a few times I realised that somehow I had gone back 30 years or so to about 1978 and written a Dry Rib song of that vintage. So then I had the idea to connect the words for the song with Dry Rib and make it in effect a song dedicated to the band.
There are a lot of obscure references to old songs and sometimes their lyrics. It’s a bit of a cryptic puzzle. It’s called Coathanger and I will explain that because I don’t think anyone else will know what that is about. In the early days of the band there was a song we did of mine which was called Cancer. The music was quite reasonable and the lyrics owed a lot to Vintage Violence/Paris 1919-era John Cale. For example,
And I, my heart, was with those gallant crewmen
As was the heart of every mother’s son
Yea and daughter too, I swear it, in the town
But right at the end of the song there was a repeated refrain :
And you aren’t anything other than a coathanger
It was probably that bit that led to the song being dropped so I think it is absolutely fitting now that I should resurrect its essence as a chorus and title.
The music put me in mind of Syd especially the instrumental link section between the end of the chorus and the start of the next verse, so I also put in a tribute to him with the snippets of my voice from a very old cassette tape of a rehearsal.
That’s the end of the bit from 2007 but I’d just like to add that the tribute to Syd Barrett in the other version of the song is the guitar solo at the end.