Saturday, May 30, 2009

When It Blows Its Stacks

Whenever my thoughts turn to my distant native land of Kansas, one of the first and most frequent things that springs to mind is the weather. I don't think most Europeans can even imagine the ferocity of a Kansas summer storm. Tornadoes obliterate entire towns in seconds. The empty plains are a vast arena for the sublime and awful spectacle of the skies. Even J.M.W. Turner might have been at a loss to depict them. Like all true beauty it is also a little terrifying.

Some of these photos are by storm chaser Jim Reed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In Memoriam - Takashi Shimura

Toshiro Mifune is rightly celebrated as a lion of the Japanese and even the world's cinema. But for me the true hero of Japanese film is the honourable Takashi Shimura. He must have belonged to an earlier world of stagecraft to be able to communicate so much with the slightest twitch of his odd, plastic face. Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Stray Dog are only perhaps the hightest points of a majestic range of roles and beings. For me he is one of the immortals of art film, one of that select few who truly inhabit a role, mould themselves to it and say more with a glance than most of us could muster in pages of words.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


collage, 2008

In A Station

Richard Manuel and friends

Once I walked through the halls of a station
Someone called your name
In the street I heard children laughing
They all sound the same
Wonder, could you ever know me
Know the reason why I live
Is there nothing you can show me
Life seems so little to give

Once I climbed up the face of a mountain
And ate the wild fruit there
Fell asleep until the moonlight woke me
And I could taste your hair
Isn't everybody dreaming!
Then the voice I hear is real
Out of all the idle scheming
Can't we have something to feel

Once upon a time leaves me empty
Tomorrow never came
I could sing the sound of your laughter
Still I don't know your name
Must be some way to repay you
Out of all the good you gave
If a rumour should delay you
Love seems so little to save

--Richard Manuel

Tears of Rage

Richard Manuel and Bob Dylan

We carried you in our arms
On Independence Day,
And now you'd throw us all aside
And put us on our way.
Oh what dear daughter 'neath the sun
Would treat a father so,
To wait upon him hand and foot
And always tell him, "No"?
Tears of rage, tears of grief,
Why must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know
We're so alone
And life is brief.

We pointed out the way to go
And scratched your name in sand,
Though you just thought it was nothing more
Than a place for you to stand.
Now, I want you to know that while we watched,
You discover there was no one true.
Most ev'rybody really thought
It was a childish thing to do.
Tears of rage, tears of grief,
Must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know
We're so low
And life is brief.

It was all very painless
When you went out to receive
All that false instruction
Which we never could believe.
And now the heart is filled with gold
As if it was a purse.
But, oh, what kind of love is this
Which goes from bad to worse?
Tears of rage, tears of grief,
Must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know
We're so low
And life is brief.

--Bob Dylan Copyright ©1968; renewed 1996 Dwarf Music

Saturday, May 23, 2009

abingdon fair

steel glimpse
concrete grip slipping
extinction in effigy

burnt paper sandwich
palate teeth tonguetip
sick hungry hangover stink
of cheap hydrocarbon foods
brown sauce
in the rain
better hungry
tea and cake
fag ends in the gutter

lime leaves are hearts
they yellow and fall

--words and photo by DTH

in summerwind

gypsy twin
sister plucked from plains of high old summer
mythic childhood space
one day or three
a school year touched
some stretching slim
young animal's awkward grace
and gilded hair on limb
sun-kindled halo crowned
each on each
sun-burnished tint
a mirror in a mirror

Karen and Carrie, Mary
girls of summer
passed into the reach
of memory's summer garden
tended in age
stroked into relief
in every newborn summer's
griefless grief

--words and monoprint by DTH

revised moon

this wound
that will not spill but thrills still
and dry
awaits the moon
a girl awaits
the blood that will not come
the mouth is closed
the sun
too soon wound round
in cloud awakes no song
no hue
the child is overdue

--words and photocollage by DTH

Friday, May 22, 2009

"i am a seed in the slippery, silent, blind, breathless dark.
i have no nose or mouth, ears or eyes to see. just a skin
of satin black and a secret green dream deep inside.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Masson - Minotaure

Bartholomew Griffin

Sonnet 18 from Fidessa, 1596

O, She must love my sorrows to assuage. 
O God ! what joy I felt when She did smile ! 
Whom killing grief before did cause to rage.
(Beauty is able Sorrow to beguile) 
Out, traitor Absence ! thou dost hinder me ! 
And mak'st my Mistress often to forget, 
Causing me to rail upon her cruelty, 
Whilst thou my suit injuriously dost let ! 
Again, her Presence doth astonish me, 
And strikes me dumb, as if my Sense were gone. 
Oh ! is not this a strange perplexity ? 
In presence, dumb ! she hears not absent moan !
Thus absent, presence; present, absence maketh: 
That, hearing my poor suit, she it mistaketh !

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wise Old Dada


je dis comme je vis
je vois comme la voix
je prends comme j'offre
ma vie est ainsi

je ne dois rien à personne
je dois tout à tous les hommes

from Quarante Chansons et Déchansons, Tristan Tzara, 1954

Smoking is Cool

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Last Night's Listening

I fired up my old Dual 505 record deck last night and with an improvised mess of laptop, computer speakers, bits of wire and cheap stereo jacks bought from Amazon we managed to listen to a few of the survivors of my once great LP collection. Though my days of vinyl fetishism are long past it is lovely to hear again the natural intimate sound of the black disc with just enough snap and crackle to remind one of the old days. These are all quite special recordings in their different ways but Schwanengesang with Hans Hotter and Gerald Moore is a marvel of the age, two immortals making music as though they merely breathed, naturally and truly.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two Surrealist Altars

Wifredo Lam, Altar for "La chevelure de Falmer", 1947

Matta, Altar dedicated to Marcel Duchamp's "He who takes care of Gravity", 1947

found here