Saturday, December 09, 2017

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF SAWDUST



Holmes - Watson, have you forgotten to sweep the new wooden floor in my study? Look, a fine film of dust is still clinging to it!

Watson - While you were out, Holmes, I went over it again and again but to no avail. Moments later the dust reappeared.

Holmes - My dear fellow, I do not doubt your good intentions but I'm afraid your eyesight is not what it was. You simply failed to see the remaining dust.

Watson - My vision is as good as yours, Holmes, and dare I say, better. I have been pondering a theory as to why the sawdust is lingering.

Holmes - Let's hear it. Then kindly redo the dusting while I go for a walk to clear my lungs.

Watson - Well, sawdust particles are tiny little things of infinite lightness and duration and millions of them were released into the room by the men sawing the wooden boards.

Holmes - Those foreign workers, yes.

Watson - That's neither here nor there, Holmes. The particles, being so small and light, are still floating in the air as we speak. Therefore as soon as the floor was cleaned, those which were still hovering above gently floated down.

Holmes - Watson, take off your shoes.

Watson - What? My Aberdummy and Kitch handmade brogues?

Holmes - Precisely. Take them off and show them to me.

Watson - Very well, if I must.

Holmes - Observe the soles, Watson. Do you see fine particles of sawdust clinging there?

Watson - I'm afraid I do, Holmes. I see what you're getting at. My shoes are responsible for the lingering dust.

Holmes - When I return from my walk I expect the study to be pristine, Watson.

Short interval. Holmes returns, finds Watson in an armchair, smoking his pipe. A fine mist of sawdust covers the floor.

Watson - I was right, Holmes. It's gravity, you see.

Holmes - Those foreign workers, you can't rely on them.

Watson - Einstein was a foreign worker, Holmes.

                                                                  THE END

Friday, December 08, 2017

FLOORED

It's what I imagine the aftermath of a face lift is like. If, for instance, you had your jowls lifted, afterwards you'd probably say: now my eyebags don't go with the rest.Then after the eyebag-lift you'd say OMG, the nose! So you'd get a nose job. And so on.

Not that I would ever consider having my face lifted even if I could afford it and even though every bit of my anatomy needs lifting at this stage of life. Have you seen videos of actual face-lifting surgery? I'd rather be drawn, quartered and hung out to dry.

But I was talking about my new floor, now finished. The spic-span loveliness of it makes all the rest look cips-naps. Naff old Argos sofa, stripped of the ethnic throw under which it has lived its whole life, naked as the day it was born, well...what can I say? A ready-made loose cover costs as much as a new cheap sofa therefore, in ongoing efficient/economy trance, I've decided to do it myself. Not by proper sewing or upholstering but via creative handling of staple gun and new fabric, yet to be acquired. That's just one of the consequential improvements to be DIYed.

New floor, old sofa

Old sofa with ethnic throw under which it has been hidden all these years.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

RENOVATING

When I posted a moan on 6th November about longing to clear out, reorganise, clean slate, start again, it was one of those typical moans that never gets beyond moaning. However it did lead me into a trance of efficiency. I can be very efficient when I want to but as I don’t often want to, I have to wait for a kind of self-hypnosis to take over.

Thus entranced I spent several nights and days investigating innumerable websites dealing with the installing of engineered wood flooring and other home-improvement madness. The whiny voice of comfortable passivity kept nagging me with questions such as Are you mad?  The mess? The stress? The time? The pain? The cost? You cannot be serious? I didn’t reply.  A trance is a trance and needs no justification.

I’m now halfway through the process and yes, whiny voice was absolutely right but I’m almost sure the disruption is worth it. I’ve disrupted everything habitual, nothing is where it was, stuff on top of stuff is shoved into the room where the flooring is not going to change. I’ve nearly cleared the living room and bedroom and on Monday a man is going to remove fitted carpet and begin laying the  engineered wood planks currently stacked in the back room. He’ll be finished in 3 or 4 days then I’ll do more renovating. I have plans. Action!

The trance continues. Exciting in an obsessive way. De-familiarising familiarity is liberating, innit?

Living room before renovation.

Living room and glimpse of kitchen, before renovation. Kitchen will not be renovated.

Enginered wood flooring and underlay stored in back room.

Stuff piled up in back room.

Books waiting for re-shelving.

Monday, November 27, 2017

MUSICAL THROWBACK

Here's my version of Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves) in a very old recording made in Vancouver with Reg who I was married to at the time. The lyrics to Les Feuilles Mortes are by Jacques Prévert, music by Joseph Kosma.

http://picosong.com/wFqvG

Reg Dixon and I in Mexico.


That recording included other songs from our repertoire like Guadalajara en un Llano the link to which is below. Oh,...I've just discovered that the title is actually Me he de comer esa tuna. (Transl: I've got to eat this prickly pear.) This Mexican song is by Jorge Negrete.  Spanish lyrics are here

http://picosong.com/wFkCr

Reg and I amid the cacti near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico a long time ago. At the time I was a student of mural painting at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel while Reg was teaching ceramics there.


Monday, November 20, 2017

PERFORMING

Muito obrigada to the fabulosa Nina Miranda who invited me to sing one of my old French favourites at her terrific gig last night. I've turned into Harpo Marx in this photo but that's fine by me. The whole evening was a joy.

The lyrics of Les Feuilles Mortes (1945) - translated (inadequately) as Autumn Leaves - are by the poet Jacques Prevert. The music is by Joseph Kosma. Yves Montand first introduced the song in the 1946 film Les Portes de la Nuit.




Facebook post by Nina Rocha-Miranda 20 November 2017

Natalie D'Arberloff graced the stage with her voice on Les Feuilles Mortes last night @ our 'Arti, Parti, Liberdadi' and the whole room joined her, the autumn leaves rose and danced, and our hearts thanked her. Also big O B R i G A D A to Mark Hudson for sharing your excellent film 'Tom went to Brazil'. (great intro!) Thank you Pedro Montenegro for taking such great photos and helping organise the night, and Paddy for being superbly helpful always.Thanks to all who came and hung out and sang together on an autumn Sunday night, you're magic! . To Antony Elvin on guitar and voice and so much humour, Oli Savill on percussion, Alex Afia and Abigail Dance on violin, William Summers on flutes and pipes, Inspirational Arícia Mess on voice, Caco Barros for fine Brazilian guitar and voice, Satin Singh and Tristan Banks for jumping on for percussion impromptu wikedness of the highest calibre, Julia Miranda and Flora McLean on the wheels of feel, beautiful selections, Miriam Nabarro for getting it all so beautiful from the start with your magic paper umbrella art unfurling to further scenic magic with Julia. Thanks to mum for painting as a Ninja sur La Seine, and to Gabby Sellen and Nikita for groovy Flora Mclean hat dancing. to Deirdre McGinnis Lopez for introducing me to this very, very , Funky venue. Aces & Eights - NW5.. you really are all ACE.. sound guy, front of house, Bar staff and decor. Cheers Tim and all. x x Nina

Sunday, November 12, 2017

NICK WADLEY R.I.P.

The warmth, wit, perceptiveness and graphic brilliance of Nick Wadley no longer grace this world.
He died on 1st November after seven weeks in hospital.

I only met him a few times but he left a deep and lasting impression. His Man + Book is being published in December by Dalkey Archive Press and an exhibition Nick in Gdansk will be held next year.

To me his Man + Doctor (2012) is the most devastatingly truthful, painful, joyful and liberating of any account ever drawn or written on the subject. In a few strokes, without a trace of self-pity or sentimentality, he manages to convey how it feels to be a sharp consciousness trapped inside the tragically vulnerable, unreliable, absurdly loveable human body.

Monday, November 06, 2017

BEGIN THE BEGIN

Every so often...so often!...I get a feeling of wanting to start from scratch, clear the decks, wipe the slate, begin again at a different beginning.

Usually it starts when I look around and decide that my home must be completely transformed. I must get rid of everything I no longer need, put my past artworks out of sight, give away old vinyl records, cds, books I won't read again etc. Apart from kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, turn the other two rooms into painting/building spaces - my upstairs studio is much too cramped, filled with STUFF which must immeditely be cleared.

What usually happens next in the radical transformation scenario is that reality, i.e. the colossal physical/mental energy required to achieve my goal, suddenly knocks me down, knocks me out and stands there laughing fiendishly while I crawl away, defeated.

The thing is: to start from the beginning, is it the mental space you need to clear rather than your physical space? Or is there no such thing as a new beginning?