Friday, December 31, 2010


2010 has been an odd year. Similar to walking into a warm house and being surrounded by an acrid smell. It wraps itself around you, gets up your nostrils and clings to your clothing. Eventually you become so used to it, it seems normal. It's only when you emerge into fresh air and breathe deeply, you realise how stagnant it was.

2011 is that blast of fresh air, wiping away the haze of 2010; allowing for new ideas, growth and progress. I want to wish each and every one of you all the best for the coming year. May it bring hope, good health, happiness, love, peace and good things.

Image: Alexander Boden

Thursday, December 30, 2010


In addition to being a fan of established surrealist directors such as Alejandro Jodorowsky or David Lynch, i'm always interested to watch what less well known directors are creating. Despite spending quite some time trying to find information about filmmaker Gonzalo Zona, i've been unsuccessful apart from establishing he was born in 1976.

Having watched 2 short films of his: 2001's El Espantapájaros' and 2009's- 'Vigilancia', my curiosity was piqued. His films are steeped in symbolism and features dark undertones. If anyone can point me in the direction of any interviews or additional information on his work, feel free to get in touch. In the meantime both of his shorts are embedded below.

'Vigilancia' (2009) - 'Monitoring'

'El Espantapájaros' (2001)- 'The Scarecrow'

Gonzalo Zona on IMDB

Friday, December 24, 2010


Spotted these via acerbic and witty blogger Big Mental Disease.
LIFE magazine has released some photos from a Nazi Christmas party in Munich in 1941. They were taken by Hugo Jaeger and the one thing that struck me was the sense of despondency, not one person appears to be smiling.

In the words of LIFE:

"The image is chilling, bordering on surreal: On December 18, 1941, as World War II rages and countless innocents endure the horrors of the Third Reich's "final solution" -- killing operations at the Chełmno death camp, for instance, began less than two weeks before -- Adolf Hitler presides over a Christmas party in Munich. Stark, jarring swastika armbands offset the glint of ornaments and tinsel dangling from a giant Tannenbaum; festive candles illuminate the scene. Confronted with the image, the question naturally arises: How could Nazi leaders reconcile an ideology of hatred and conquest with the peaceful, joyous spirit of the Christian holiday -- much less its celebration of the Jewish-born Christ? Here, presents astonishing photos from this unsettling affair, and the equally remarkable story behind them."

"As for the religious views of Hitler himself, the evidence is conflicting: In public statements he sometimes praised Christianity (once calling it "the foundation of our national morality"), but in private conversations -- including one recalled by the Third Reich's official architect, Albert Speer -- the Führer is said to have abhorred the faith for what he deemed its "meekness and flabbiness." Hitler did, however, fervently worship one thing above all else: the Aryan race. And by the time Hugo Jaeger took the photos seen here, Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, commanding general of the SS, had articulated and launched their plan for creating a "master" race -- via, in large part, the extermination of Europe's Jews."

For the full set go to LIFE


"We could have had it all (you're gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep (tears are gonna fall rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside (you're gonna wish you) of your hand (never had met me)
and you played it..."

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Harmony, Original Twelve, 2007
Acrylic on canvas

Harmony, Original Twelve in Progress, 2007
Acrylic on canvas

Mantra No. 9, Keening, 2009
Acrylic on canvas

Based in Calgary, James Wyper creates works of art that are vibrant, visceral and luminous. His paintings have an organic feel that stems from his preferred method of mixing paint directly on the canvas. He then uses a spray bottle of water in order to encourage the paint to drip and flow. Instead of taking the traditional route of applying paint in a fixed fashion, he allows the paint to create its own composition to a degree.

Mantra No. 8, Oscillation, 2009
Acrylic on canvas

Phoenix, 2008
Acrylic on canvas

Blue, Blue Windows, 2008
Acrylic on canvas

All of this Beauty is in You, 2010
Acrylic on canvas

Monday, December 13, 2010


Paradise Circus is one of my favourite songs from 2010 and the remix by Canadian duo Zeds Dead turns it up a notch with a dubstep twist. Zeds Dead have begun their North American and Canadian tour and will be playing Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver on February 10th 2011.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


"Silent gratitude isn't very much to anyone."
Gertrude Stein

It's been exactly two years since i took a leap of faith. Doing so entailed packing up my life in Ireland, saying goodbye to friends and family and taking my first transatlantic flight in order to move to Canada. It was not an easy decision nor was it one made lightly.

Those 24 months resulted in mourning the death of a close friend, the demise of a relationship, having my heart broken, some health issues, job hunting, numerous house moves, meeting new friends and purging the negative influences around me. Vancouver didn't seem quite so great to begin with: a new city, new continent, culture shock, homesickness and wondering why, despite the people here being polite and friendly, i was finding it so difficult to meet new people. The city won my heart and i gradually built a life for myself.

Friends joked that Canada seemed intent on kicking ass and testing me. Although there have been times where i've wanted to crawl into a corner and give up; with the love and support of my family and friends i weathered the experiences. Although i may look the same as i did on Dec 12th 2008, albeit with more grey hair, i have been forever changed by my time here.

It is with immeasurable love and gratitude that i raise a glass to my family and friends in Ireland who are holding out amid the economic shit storm that the Irish government and bankers have brought upon the country. Not a day goes by that i don't think about you lot!

Brad, Jen, Weldon, Shahriar and my friends in Canada who have been there over the past 2 years, you've become my second family and i love you dearly.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blog Love

Although i have a selection of some sites i frequent on the right hand side, there are loads more that i read regularly and thought i'd give a heads up on a few of them.

Fighting Monsters... captures daily observations of life with Schuyler and is an insightful read.

"When Robert Rummel-Hudson's (Author of Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with His Wordless Daughter) daughter Schuyler was eighteen months old, a simple question by her pediatrician set in motion a slow transformation; from a sarcastic, befuddled dad to the very last thing any new father or mother ever expects or desires to become: a special needs parent. Armed with nothing more than his love for his tenacious little girl and his determination to defeat her rare and invisible disorder, he fought his own depression, his past family dysfunction and the nagging suspicion that he was not the right person for the job."

Ill Doctrine is a video blog hosted by Jay Smooth, founder of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI's Underground Railroad. Intelligent, funny and covering everything from politics (see above) to music and culture; his critical thinking with a dose of humour is well worth watching.

Friday, December 10, 2010

To Lee, With Love

When Lee Alexander McQueen took his own life in February 2010, those in the fashion world were not the only ones shocked by the news. McQueen was not only a designer and couturier but a true visionary. Known as L'enfant Terrible and wielding a no bullshit approach to fashion, his influence transcended fashion and seeped into art, culture and music. His shows were provocative and notorious for their unorthodox style; as he veered from the standard catwalk format by using robots to spray a model with paint, orchestrating a human chess match, making it snow on the catwalk and using holograms.

Many of his creations were more akin to works of art rather than a piece of fabric. Having worked in Savile Row he had developed an intrinsic understanding of how clothing hung and moved off the body. The clothing he created fused sensuality, drama and strength with a rawness that no other designer has managed to capture. An element that was integral to his work was the juxtaposition between elements such as fragility and strength or fluidity and severity

The photographer Nick Knight was a close friend and recently collaborated with Bjork and Edward Enninful on a short tribute film called 'To Lee, With Love.' It debuted at the British Fashion Awards on December 7th as McQueen was honored with a posthumous award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design. Featuring clothing by McQueen and a new song specifically composed for the short by Bjork, it is a visual love letter from one artist to another.
Watch it above in full screen for best effect.

To see more of Nick Knights work:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Architectural Anomaly Part 4: Winchester Mystery House

Sarah Winchester in horse drawn carriage

My grandfather was a endless source of old tales, traditions and sayings. One particular favourite of his that has stuck with me: "If you are rich, you're eccentric and if you're poor, you're crazy." This was the first thing that popped into my head when i read about Sarah Winchester, the woman behind the Winchester Mystery House.

Sarah was married to William Wirt Winchester, treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company . The Winchester Company was a prominent firearms company in the late 19th century and manufactured rifles that were sturdier and less likely to jam. These became known as the "Gun That Won the West."

Sarah Winchester circa 1865

In 1866, Sarah gave birth to their only child Annie but the infant died six weeks later. William died of tuberculosis in 1881. Losing the two most important people in her life plunged Sarah into a deep depression and driven by grief, she consulted a medium. The "Boston Medium" told Sarah that she believed the Winchester family were cursed because the rifles they manufactured has claimed so many lives and that the spirits of thousands of American Indians, Civil War soldiers and others were seeking vengeance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


To answer the few of you who emailed to enquire where I've disappeared to, my involvement with blogs over the past 2 months has mainly consisted of reading other peoples. My own lies untended and with a hefty stack of half written posts in my draft folder.

Never one to understand doing something for the sake of doing it, I've realised/accepted the reoccurring patterns between my blogging and my creative process in the 'real' world. It can't be forced. Ideas spring forth, i capture them, the work is completed but only when my heart is in it.

Life has been chaotic and at times confusing over the past few months. These changes has stirred things up, brought amazing people into my life and reawakened parts of me which have lain dormant for many years. As a result I've taken a few steps back from other areas and will be resuming shortly.

For now I'm taking pleasure in the simple things:

Listening to Crass at top volume

Devouring two new books: 'Just Kids' by Patti Smith and 'Voudon Gnosis' by David Beth.

Giving Swain Corvus a head scratch whilst watching 'The Walking Dead'.

The smell wafting from my kitchen with lemon roasted chicken in the oven.

Listening to WGH rhapsodize about cricket over a few drinks.

Sending positive thoughts after hearing bad news about an old flame and hoping that he gets the help he so badly needs.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ten Days #2

Over the past ten days I've been doing far too much of the following:
  • Worrying (with an extra helping of stress)
  • Drinking tea in my favourite cafe
  • Staring at the work of Sylvia Ji
  • Painting my face
  • Having nightmares

Monday, October 25, 2010


“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lion Heart

My online time has been seriously reduced lately and as a result, I've only just heard that Ari Up of The Slits died on October 20th. She was just 48 years old and died after a long battle with cancer. I was lucky enough to have caught The Slits on their reunion tour in 2005. I stood in the middle of The Crawdaddy, bass juddering through my body and gawped in awe: Ari's force of nature personality, her Medusa mane and formidable shriek made for a magnetic presence on stage.

Ari (born Arianna Foster) formed the Slits with drummer Palmolive in 1976 at the age of 14. They were trailblazers: Young women playing punk music in a male dominated environment and at a time where anyone involved in the punk scene was a target for abuse. The Slits created music that fused punk with reggae rhythms and was joyous, mischievous and feisty. Much like the ladies themselves.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Year Older, Some The Wiser

She lives in this house over there, 
has her world outside it.
Grapples with the earth with her fingers and her mouth,

 she's five years old.
Thread worms on a string, 

keeps spiders in her pocket, 
collects fly-wings in...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It Gets Better Project

The recently launched 'It Gets Better' project is just one of the many reasons why i love Dan Savage. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, Savage is an American author, journalist and editor who is known for writing 'Savage Love', an internationally syndicated advice column. Not one to sugar coat his words, Savage deals out straight forward and often humorous advice regarding reader queries in matters of relationships and sex.

The 'It Gets Better' project consists of a newly created YouTube channel which allows gay, lesbian, bi or trans people the opportunity to tell their story in the hope of reaching out to kids or teenagers who may be experiencing hard times as a result of their orientation

In his own words:

"I've launched a channel on YouTube to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don't dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we've gone and things we've experienced—that we would've missed out on if we'd killed ourselves then.

If you're gay or lesbian or bi or trans, and you've ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, "Fuck, I wish I could've told him that it gets better," this is your chance. We can't help Billy, but there are lots of other Billy's out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don't think they have a future—and we can help them....

Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can't picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can't imagine a future for themselves. So let's show them what our lives are like, let's show them what the future may hold in store for them."

To find out more about the project:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frickin' Laser Beams

Hands down, the coolest use for a laser that I've seen to date!

Daito Manabe is a Japanese-based composer, media artist and DJ who has previously explored making music with his facial expressions. Motoi Ishibashi is a programmer, artist, designer and engineer. The two have collaborated to develop a simple but unusual visual display system. They have developed a system where they direct laser beams at a screen that has been mounted to the wall and coated with photo luminescent or glow in the dark paint.

A computer processes a digital image and then triggers laser beams which are directed at the screen. Each 'shot' or blast of ultraviolet light results in a an area or 'pixel' of glowing green light. In order to get a realistic and accurate image, graduation and shading is created by adjusting the timing of the laser and the newer a shot then the brighter the slight. The completed image will gradually disappear over a period of a few minutes.

Daito Manabe

Motoi Ishibashi

Source: World Business Satellite

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Feeling fragile after 2 weeks of intense physical and mental battering (hence the lack of posting). Playing this loud tonight as Ms Guðmundsdóttir's voice is a balm that soothes me in even the most trying of times.
Hoping that the universe will pay heed and decide to ease up.

"You'll be given love
you'll be taken care of
you'll be given love
you have to trust it

maybe not from the sources
you have poured yours
maybe not from the directions
you are staring at

trust your head around
it's all around you
all is full of love
all around you"

Saturday, September 11, 2010


"I walked in with you alone. I'm walkin' out with you alone"

I must be getting soft in my old age. I was sprawled on my couch early this morning, typical Saturday morning: pot of tea and laptop in hand; streams of sunlight sluicing through the blinds when I stumbled upon the true story of Danny and Annie Perasa which featured on StoryCorps.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. In the space of 7 years StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants.

I will admit that their 27 year love story made me bawl like an idiot with its intimate glimpse into 2 things that are not always mutually exclusive: true love and marriage.

Monday, August 30, 2010

How The Light Gets In

“I do not want to be the leader.
I refuse to be the leader.
I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness.
I want a man lying over me, always over me.
His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone,
the command, my pivot.

I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically;
but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated.
I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, be all that I am capable of doing,
but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding.”

Anais Nin

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This week I'm mostly on a P kick : Photography, Poetry and Psychology. With its sensual and erotic imagery, the following has become one of my favourite poems

'The Cinnamon Peeler'

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under the rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.

Michael Ondaatje

Image: Ornate P

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Ten Days

Ten days filled with amazing people, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and experiences.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Alexander Pope
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Saturday, August 07, 2010


The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy & William Burroughs:
Uncle Bill's sense of humour is/was greatly underestimated.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Dog bite facial scar

"Children show scars like medals.
Lovers use them as secrets to reveal.
A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh. "

Leonard Cohen

Personally the idea of physical perfection has always seemed like a terribly dull thing. I find scars and the stories behind them absolutely fascinating. A physical road map of occurrences, some accidental, some intentional. From faint silvery lines to a raised welt, some smooth, some puckered.

I have a number of scars but one in particular made me self consciousness and was a source of anxiety. A result of a childhood accident, my face was sliced open resulting in what i now refer to as half a Chelsea smile. As a teenager i would spend time covering it carefully with makeup and hoping that nobody would notice. As i grew older the red stitch marks faded to silvery threads and i grew to like the cross stitch effect and how it changed the shape of my mouth.

Hamer woman scarred from being butted by a goat.

Photographer Amanda Grandfield's fascination with scars began a few years ago. Whilst on the way to a party wearing heels, she tripped and the incident led to two badly cut knees. After arriving home later that evening, she took a nude self portrait with her knees drawn up to display the wounds. It was this photograph that lead her to delve deeper into the connection between the physicality of scars and the mental state or landscape behind them.

“Besides having an aesthetic interest in scars and photographing them in close-ups, I discovered that people were eager to share the stories behind their scars,” said Grandfield. “Many of them had no interest in plastic surgery and viewed the physical incident as a life changing event—like an emotional and psychological boundary that’s crossed on skin.”

Scarification or the application of scars in a controlled manner has been common for centuries. There are many reasons for scarification and the most common are religious, social or aesthetic.

In most of the western world scars are accidental. Grandfield wanted to explore how different cultures use scarification as a way to enhance social status or beauty. She won a Fulbright Grant in 2004 that enabled her to travel to Ethiopia. It was in a Hamer village in the South Omo region where she learnt about how the people view their scars.

“Instead of sensationalizing the traditions of ritual scarring among the Hamer people, it will focus on the people who have created these magnificent marks. This project will serve as a cultural documentation of this tribal practice.Combined with what I’ve done in the United States, I’ll be able to delineate the parallels and divergences of how scars function in two cultures and between individuals.”

To see more of Grandfield's work:

Monday, August 02, 2010


"The French poet, Rimbaud, predicted that the next great crop of writers would be women. He was the first guy who ever made a big women's liberation statement, saying that when women release themselves from the long servitude of men they're really gonna gush. New rhythms, new poetries, new horrors, new beauties. And I believe in that completely.

But hung-up women can't produce anything but mediocre art, and there ain't no room for mediocre art."

Patti Smith

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Little Mountain Gallery Vs. No Fun City

Vancouver is renowned for being a vibrant, multicultural city but it has also earned the title of 'No Fun City' for good reason. It appears that in order to stay afloat here, the art and music scenes have to fight tooth and nail as The City of Vancouver is slowly but surely doing its best to eradicate them.

If you're attending the Vancouver Art Gallery or venues such as GM Place and willing to pay the guts of $50-100 per ticket for shows run by LiveNation etc then no problem. However City Hall appears hell bent on destroying grassroots, independent venues. Hoko's, Roy G Biv, The Peanut Gallery The Sweatshop, Casa Del Artista and The Emergency Room were just a few of the venues shut down who supported independent local Arts .

Now it has turned its attention to Little Mountain Gallery (LMG). Little Mountain is a small building located on 195 east 26th Avenue, just off Main Street. It was originally built in 1930 and over the past few decades has been home to a garage, a sheet metal shop, a plumbing and heating outlet, a soda pop bottle depot and South Seas Meats Ltd.

The Butchershop Floor and Butchershop Collective (2001 - 2006) saw the little buildings potential and turned the space into an ideal environment for the Arts. Little Mountain Gallery was established April 7th, 2006. LMG was founded with the intent to provide an affordable, open minded, all ages space to support and promote the Arts within the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. The folks that run the space are actively involved in the neighbourhood and sponsor a local little league team.

Last week they were visited by the City Official who deemed them to be operating in violation of their license (they are not zoned or licensed for live performance). LMG was told that the City would be issuing them some sort of notice this week. While it remains unclear what exactly this notice will demand, it is quite likely to be a cease and desist order.

I have been to many, many events here and it's one of my favourite places in the city. I have been introduced to some wonderful people and been exposed to some life changing culture as a result of Little Mountain. I continue to return because i want to support local artists, it has a friendly, safe, open minded atmosphere and i would rather support the gallery and local neighbourhood businesses rather than franchises or corporations . I have never once seen any altercations or negative behaviour amongst those who frequent LMG, which is more than can be said for some of the venues licenced on the likes of Granville Street.

The city of Vancouver has undermined the availability of artistic space for the past decade with draconian enforcement against illegal venues and tough bylaw enforcement for legal spaces. City Hall doesn't seem to grasp the magnitude of their actions: that by closing down venues such as LMG they are killing what makes the city unique and are rapidly turning it into a corporate and gentrified wasteland.

Dustyn Lucas Show at LMG

The volunteers that run LMG have called an emergency meeting with Councilor Heather Deal on Thursday July 29th to try and see what can be done to save the gallery. The plan is to present Ms Deal with as many letters of support as possible from people who use the space and reiterate why Vancouver's art scene cannot afford to lose another venue.

Please take 2 minutes to submit a email/letter addressed to Councilor Deal to littlemountaingallery@gmai no later than Wednesday July 28th.

Image: Jeff Johnson of Ok Vancouver Ok
Related Posts with Thumbnails