micromuseum trees

Botánica Tomo II

This is the 2nd Chilean post in the micromuseum section. For the first one go here. A couple of weeks ago I included a drawing which pointed an accusatory finger towards this micromuseocosmic instance. That was here. The monkeys illustration was from a Chilean textbook from 1927 that my father had when he was at school there. It must have been shortly before he was sent to boarding school in England.

Here’s the front of one of the other books.

And now some illustrations from this book. Firstly this is what I take to be a baobab tree and I’m not even checking to find out whether I’m right or not. The drawing suggests to me a tree that reproduces by spreading itself out rather than dropping seeds. It’s a typical ploy by a lot of plants that come from a tropical latitude.

The 2nd illustration has something that is reminiscent of a painter I mentioned recently which is Magritte. The cabbage and roots suspended in the air has a somewhat surrealistic feel to it. It’s interesting that photomontage was a favourite device of many of that movement’s artists. Ernst in particular immediately springs to mind.

And here’s a rare colour picture. That must have been pretty exciting back in 1927.

Finally my pièce de résistance. This one would make a lovely tea towel or tray design, maybe even an apron. I intend to earn a fortune selling it via National Trust outlets.



Here’s a bit more about Eric Thacker and Anthony Earnshaw’s under-appreciated Musrum books.

Unlike most love stories the lovers in Wintersol never really meet. If you can call them lovers. There are 2 protagonists, Christmas and Bella. They inhabit a series of interlocking spaces within the musroid world, i.e. the world devised in Musrum.

The musroid world is a headstrong replica of the world we know constructed on the principle that all conceivable and inconceivable things persist within reality, and that myth is the true history of this or any other world.

Christmas and Bella don’t need each other except as a reflection of themselves and their solitude is generally inevitable – intimacy is just a dream. For a short period they exchange letters which is the closest they come to the dream, but you can’t help feeling that anticipation is more quintessential than consummation.

‘Rotabella, my pretty silver wheel,’ wrote Christmas, ‘I want you to spin the fortunes of my journeys, and carry me hither and thither with the speed of starlight. There are so many places to go, so many sights to see!’

‘Warden of the Snow, Rubicotta,’ responded Bella, ‘I feel already the blizzard of your beard. Red-garbed, white-haired, wooly-mittened, jack-booted, sack-bearing, chimney-creeping, kindly burglar, you are my Garibaldi sprung from the grave.’

‘The laggard postman is no friend of lovers,’ wrote Christmas. ‘Enough of paltry scribblings! I shall dispatch myself, a living letter, for you to open and read. Be ready!’

‘Fly down, gaudy robin, and perch on my finger,’ implored Bella. ‘Sing me the thin song of winter. If you want me to believe in you, do not disappoint me or disregard my final request.’

Eventually Christmas descends the chimney, but the bed is empty, Bella plays a trick and disappears.

On one level the book is a joke which proposes an alternative origin to the Santa Claus tradition, but of course it is mainly a procession of surrealist nonsense with ingenious and skillful illustrations. The book was first published in 1971. Here is the frontispiece

here an excerpt from Christmas’s diary

and this one’s not for children of a nervous disposition

music prose sea

Christmas 2011

It’s been a particularly dark, dismal and wet end of December start of new year, but I have managed to do a couple of things. Firstly here is a piece of music with words that I have called Pineapple Crumble. Not that I’ve eaten any pineapple crumble, but now I’m determined to make some sometime in 2012. The music part was recorded on Christmas Day and the words I used were a couple of things I wrote in August and September 2011. Here’s the text of the August one with some bespoke illustrations,

freestyle thursday 11th august 2011 00:56

here we are with this unrelated scion
tress dispossessed
certain to be dropped
wherever cantilevered
and outmanouevred
treading in traction
for only a fraction
of the expenditure
we counted it earlier
then we spent it
like monkeys up a tree

which is frustrating
when you’re delusioned
that’s an illusion
that implies wit
like a gong that’s hit

upstairs at night
to announce prayers
Dorothy L. Sayers
had it with Wimsey
that’s hardly flimsy
just points to pieces
therapeutic diseases
cured at Lourdes
by the people who toured
constructed pavilions
with mosaics of vermilion
if that’s not too flowery
like a bell chiming hourly
at the top there’s the steeple
inside all the people
circling surely
poisoned not purely
relaxed and tradition
subtle rendition
the ladder to tumble
the corner to crumble

Pineapple Crumble

And another thing I managed to do was to complete a music video to go with a version of my song Children of the Sea using footage taken by my friend Simon Williams.

politics quotations

happy new year

I haven’t been involved with the Occupy movement although I’ve been an observer since its start in Bristol as I was working in the building in front of which the protest was held. I’m sympathetic as most thinking people are to the aims of the movement but there seemed to be something a bit half-baked about the protest. Ultimately it’s good that there are people prepared to get out there and propagate and defend their beliefs. Earlier this evening (30th December 2011 – in the dark) I managed to do my bit by contributing to a gathering where we got together by the side of the camp and sang a few songs. It was organised by my friend Jo Harris and was aimed principally to promote the ideas of the Positive Money organisation.

Personally I look to Chomsky to give me guidance in the sphere of global development. I believe that he is the godfather of all this Occupy-type stuff. For me he sits astride the 20th-21st century socio-political world as Marx did in the 19th century, but whereas Marx developed a political system which would replace capitalism, Chomsky has just given us a critique of the current global political situation, there is no alternative system presented. Perhaps this is the best way.

My problem is that I look at history to provide antecedents. There’s always been a lot of shit happening and I find it hard to believe that that’s going to stop being the case. The rest is messianism.

Anyway here are a few quotations from Chomsky from an interview by Corporate Watch from May 1998,

Computers were created at public expense and public initiative. In the 1950s when they were being developed, it was about 100% public expense. The same is true of the Internet. The ideas, the initiatives, the software, the hardware — these were created for about 30 years at public initiative and expense, and it’s just now being handed over to guys like Bill Gates.

…that’s the whole point of corporatization — to try to remove the public from making decisions over their own fate, to limit the public arena, to control opinion, to make sure that the fundamental decisions that determine how the world is going to be run — which includes production, commerce, distribution, thought, social policy, foreign policy, everything — are not in the hands of the public, but rather in the hands of highly concentrated private power.

If you go back to around 1970, international capital flows were about 90% related to the real economy, like trade and investment. By now, at most a few percent are related to the real economy. Most have to do with financial manipulations, speculations against currencies, things which are really destructive to the economy. And that is a change that wasn’t true, not only wasn’t true 100 years ago, it wasn’t true 40 years ago.

So the first thing that has to be done is to create for ourselves, for the population, systems of interchange, interaction, and so on. Like Corporate Watch, Public Citizen, other popular groupings, which provide to the public the kinds of information and understanding, that they won’t otherwise have. After that they have to struggle against it, in lots of ways which are open to them. It can be done right through pressure on Congress, or demonstrations, or creation of alternative institutions. And it should aim, in my opinion, not just at narrow questions, like preventing monopoly, but also at deeper questions, like why do private tyrannies have rights altogether?