Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Yoko Ono has just opened a new exhibition of her art in London for the first time in over a decade.
Called 'To the Light' it contains such images as three piles of dirt under a poster saying War is Over, some World War2 German army helmets hanging upside down from the ceiling with jigsaw pieces in them and a close up picture of somebodies arse.
Over the years Yoko Ono has worked as a performance artist, film maker, poet, musician, writer and peace activist. Unfortunately she has been completely shit at all of these things.
I'll be the first to say that I am not the most qualified person to make a statement such as that. I'm old fashioned and believe that art should be something that takes inspiration and effort, the key word here being effort. Throwing a load of old junk together and claiming it has meaning is just lazy.
Let me give you an example. Years ago when I was a teenager I had been drinking with some friends and we had the idea of tipping a friends dad's car over onto it's side and placing a pillow on the floor under the front wing so it looked like it was resting it's head. Then we would throw a blanket over the car so that when his dad came out to go to work in the morning it would look like the car was asleep.
We didn't do this of course, we were drunken idiots just having a laugh.
But in the wrong hands this could be turned into a serious artistic installation by someone pretentious enough to think that anybody gave a shit about their take on the world. They would call it 'Sleeping Ford Escort' or even 'The Decline of Manufacturing Output in the West'.
I'm going over old ground here, I've given my opinion on lazy art before and the Emperor's New Clothes attitude that people better educated than myself seem to adopt towards it. I assume that people will go to her exhibitions and tell each other what the pieces mean to them. They don't want to be seen as the thickos who say 'But it's just helmets with jigsaw bits in them'.
People like Ono don't appear to have any artistic talent but desperately want us to believe they have. They come up with daft ideas that any half intelligent person could come up with while drunk or stoned. The difference with her is she wants it to be taken seriously, and she wants paying for it. Do you honestly believe she would be getting the attention that she does if she hadn't married a Beatle?
And as for being a peace activist, does the world look like a peaceful place right now?
Anyway, that's me done ranting for a couple of weeks. I'm dropping off the internet while I undertake a top secret mission for Queen and country. Or I go on holiday. Take your pick. Either way I'm not going to be able to look at your blogs for a while but I will be back soon to impose my unqualified opinions on you all.
So until I return, remain strong and always ask questions.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a young man called Van Helsing who one day flew across the sea to the magical land of America. He landed in the fabulous city of New York and after a time rode a silver Greyhound to the cold city of Boston. From there he found a car and drove all the way to the western coast, meeting many fascinating people and having many adventures along the way.
One day he was walking through the streets of the legendary city of San Francisco when a beautiful girl came up to him and asked him his name and where he was from. They talked for a while in the street when the girl asked Van Helsing if he had heard of L. Ron Hubbard. Now Van Helsing read a great many books and one of these had been a novel called Battlefield Earth that had been written by this Hubbard person.
As the beautiful girl seemed to be a fan of Hubbard, Van Helsing didn't mention that he thought the book had been a badly-written load of shit. She asked him if he wanted to come with her and learn about something called Dianetics and he agreed and found himself in what at first he thought to be a shop but was in fact a recruitment centre for something called Scientology.
There a nice young man in a suit asked if he wanted to fill out a psychometric test and from this they would learn what made Van Helsing tick.
Now our hero had heard of the Church of Scientology and figured that cults tended to have some interesting sexual practices and as he was quite taken with the beautiful girl he decided to play along. He was after all young and did much of his thinking with his penis.
After asking Van Helsing over two hundred questions for what seemed a very long time, the nice man in the suit fed the answers into a computer. The computer made a few beeping noises and eventually spat out a spiky graph. The suited man and beautiful girl then explained that the graph represented the emotional make up of Van Helsing, with the downward spikes showing when he was feeling low and depressed. They told him that if he were to embark on a course in Dianetics then his graph would show a continuous upward trend as he would no longer feel low or depressed.
Van Helsing very much doubted the scientific veracity of this and pointed out that happiness would be meaningless without sadness to contrast it with. This did not deter the Scientologists and they spent the next hour trying to persuade him to part with a substantial amount of money to take part in various courses. They tried telling him it was predestination that had led him to them, he argued that they were using an attractive girl as bait to ensnare horny young blokes and it had nothing to do with predestination
Silly Van Helsing had allowed himself to be taken in by a pretty face and had to spend over two hours in an office while various Scientologists tried to get him to part with his money and give himself over to their organisation. Eventually he stood up and said that he had no interest in their bloody mumbo-jumbo and walked towards the door, half expecting them to grapple him to the floor, put him in a sack and drag him off to be brainwashed.
They did no such thing and he walked out of the door and into the sunlight, having learned a valuable lesson. Organisations such as Scientology spout a lot of mystical bollocks but are only interested in money and power and not in expanding people spiritually.
Whereas Van Helsing was interested in shallow, physical gratification and had allowed himself to be taken in.
Foolish Van Helsing. Greedy Scientologists.
Friday, 1 June 2012
This weekend is the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen of England. That's why I was standing on a chair hanging Union Jack bunting in the front desk of a police station at 01:30 this morning while a colleague stood around drinking tea and saying it looked uneven.
There will be street parties throughout the UK and a huge ceremony in London full of marching soldiers, big gold coaches and all sorts of shiny stuff.
I have to admit to being conflicted over the Royal family. The total campiness of the whole thing is one reason, people associated with Royals wear ridiculously ostentatious military uniforms, hats with so many feathers it looks like a chicken has landed on their head, bright coloured sashes, enormous epaulettes and yards of gold braid. The sort of clothing insane, Third World dictators are quite partial to.
As for the Queen, her full state robes are so blinged up that P Diddy would probably say that she was going too far. The Imperial State Crown contains 3,000 diamonds, 277 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 4 rubies, and this is just her hat! Chuck in all the other jewellery, the ermine cloak and gold sceptre and you have a display of wealth that is frankly taking the piss.
As writer Charlie Brooker once said, if Donald Trump walked down Wall Street wearing a top hat made out of dollar bills he'd be criticised for being a crass, tasteless idiot, yet we all wave flags and clap when the Queen does the equivalent of this.
It would be nice if she were to celebrate her 60 years on the throne by selling some of this useless tat and using the money to buy hospitals or schools for her subjects, just a thought your Majesty, if you are reading this.
Another reason is that we are in the 21st Century, what are we still doing with Queens and Princesses, Dukes and Baronesses and Lords? It's like being in bloody Dungeons & Dragons, we might as well have wizards and goblins as well.
Yet I have grown up with this stuff, it is part of my country and my character and although I may criticise and complain I still have this feeling of pride, how many other countries cling onto tradition the way us Brits do? It may be archaic and weird but it's one of the things that defines us as a nation and for all my sneering I'd miss it if it was gone.
So Happy Diamond Jubilee to you all, no matter what country you are in or your belief systems are. I hope you have a good one.