Sunday, 28 September 2008

The problem with Modern Art

My lashing tongue of cynicism this week turns to ‘art’. About a week ago now – yes I’m slow, I was going to do this last week but I was busy (read last week’s blog to find out why), Damian Hurst made a record amount of money selling his ‘art’ work at auction. Somehow he managed to raise £111 million by selling his ‘art’ work, now I have no innate dislike of people making money, it seems like a perfectly reasonable way to spend ones time, however it seems all Hurst needs to make money is a good taxidermist and a hell of a lot of formaldehyde.

Hurst’s ‘art’ is essentially a bunch of stuffed animals floating in Formaldehyde. He gives them weird names and sells then for six figure sums. Here is an example of the abominable rubbish he puts on sale. Seriously, I could do this and I have no artistic talents at all. I was under the impression that a piece of art had to require some skill to produce. Not any more apparently; any nutter with a too much spare time and a good sales pitch can sell any old crap for ridiculous sums of money.

Now it may seem that I am being critical of Mr Hurst here, which I am to an extent, however he is not the root of the problem; the root of the problem is all the obnoxiously stuck up progressive types who seem to have forgotten what art is. Art is an expression of value and a celebration of talent. The great art works of the past, the Mona Lisa, the roof of the Sistine Chapel, the Virgin on the Rocks; I could go on and on, while you may not like them, clearly take talent to create. They are and expression of the values on the artist and as such and can clearly be seen to have aesthetic quality. A shark in a tank of Formaldehyde does not and cannot match up to the quality of these pieces.

Unless you have not already guessed, I am criticising so called ‘modern art’. From the weird and wonderfully odd pieces of Picasso to Hurst’s stuffed animals, it seems that we have taken our eyes off the ball in terms of art. We want to try to do something different, do something far out that no one has ever tried before. People who want to seem cultured lap up the abominations that we create and so this dubious and tasteless art form has become accepted.

The worst thing is that people are becoming staggeringly rich off the backs of these morons. People try to create as many new and different ideas as they can and the public lap it up. With each innovation we move further and further from art and closer and closer to complete trash. If this trend continues I could do something original to the arrangement of my bed cover and sell it as art, saying that it represented something or other. If it is that easy to do then it is probably not worth doing.

Hurst’s art is aesthetically bankrupt, it has nothing to contribute to art except to show us were it can all go wrong when we reject objective value for art and embrace a sort of relativism that allows anything to be considered art and sold for an extortionate amount.

Let us just hope that postmodernism is on the way out and a new form of art will emerge which is of more worth than stuffed animals and Formaldehyde. 

Friday, 19 September 2008

An Adventure in Humour part 2 and other stuff

Oh my! T.I.R.O.M is early this week! My loss is your gain; I loose my weekend and you get to read my blog early. The reason for the early blog is that I am in Thetford (some hole somewhere in the glorious but frustratingly wet and cold English countryside). The reason for me being in Thetford is my school’s annual dick waving competition otherwise known as Army Expeditions Weekend. Every year, somewhere in a lightly wooded area somewhere in England an assorted bunch of testosterone fuelled pricks run around beating each other up in the pretence of some sort of military training.

I’m sure you are all wondering why exactly I signed up for such an endeavour in dick waving, well the answer is that I didn’t! Instead I joined the Royal Navy section of the school CCF (que hilariously predictable jokes about anal penetration and other ‘things they get up to in the Navy’). For some inexplicable reason us reasonable bunch who prefer Expeditions Weekends in which we get proper food and decent beds, get lumped in with the dick wavers this year.

So I loose my weekend along with my sanity and my sleep. Fortunately for you this means that I decided to post this blog up early!

This week I didn’t have the time/inspiration to write anything new or ranty, so I though I’d let you read the second (and inconclusive) section of the story I wrote a few weeks back, found here. I wont give you a plot update because I cant be bothered, go reread part 1 if you care enough. Note: this section is not as long as the first one!

Marcus watched another beleafed female wondering from one building to another. The wonderful thing about this tribe, as Marcus had discovered, was that the females did not bother to use leaves to cover their upper body, just the lower, leaving their breasts to sag freely and happily bounce around when they broke into a run. This was of course all well and good for the younger and more attractive members of the tribe, and Marcus and not been able to believe his luck when he had first discovered this phenomenon, but it became a progressively less appealing as the age of the woman in question increased. Marcus had seen enough pairs of saggy wrinkly and altogether very unpleasant breast in his short stay.

The woman who was walking provocatively in front of him at this moment however was one of the more attractive of the tribeswomen and he was perfectly free to ogle as her wonderful breasts as much as he wished. The young women of the tribe had found his constant staring quite amusing and were happy to bounce merrily in front of him for the sheer amusement of the look on his face.

It had certainly made his time in the crudely built but remarkably durable cage more interesting. The life of a prisoner was not too bad in this particular tribe; they fed him, gave him water, showed him their ample breasts and generally kept him as content as one could be when you are living in a small cage surrounded by a bunch of savages (although they had not really show any signs of savagery other than capturing him in the first place).

The main problem he faced was withholding the endless attacks of boredom; once he got bored he tended to get into trouble. So far he had been able to quell his boredom by watching the tribe go about their business (and enjoying the nakedness of the better looking females).  Now however the tribe were not doing anything in the communal area of which he was the centrepiece due to the fact that most of them were asleep.

They had spent a good deal of the night partying; apparently the capture of prisoners was a rare occasion so they felt the need to dance round a campfire (boobs and all) and eat, drink and be merry. For the drinking and being merry they had a helping hand in a strange drink that was apparently very alcoholic. Unfortunately Marcus had not been invited to the party thrown in his honour so he had to sit out and watch like some socially repressed Billy-no-mates at a party (a little too close to home for the author come to think of it…). It had still been an amusing night however because drunk, beleafed tribesmen (and women) are hilarious to watch. Clearly the parties did not happen very often because they were not very experienced drinkers and subsequently were twice as funny as drunken people normally are.

When the morning however there was no source of amusement so Marcus would have to amuse himself, which was easier said than done. As he often did when he had nothing else to do, he removed a coin from his pocket and began to roll it over his knuckles, as I’m sure the reader will have see in many a Hollywood film.

One of the tribesmen (not the good-looking, nicely breasted woman of a few paragraphs ago, another, more male tribesman) happened to walk past and notice him playing with his gold coin. His eyes lit up and he raced up to the cage. Taken a little by surprise by this chain of events, Marcus jumped and scurried comically to the back of the small cage. He crept forwards and the startling tribesman looked continuously at his hand, in which his coin was clutched tight. Noticing the rather unsettling intensity of his gaze, Marcus opened his hand and held the simple coin that he had robbed off some unsuspecting drunk in the palm of his hand and under the tribesmen’s nose. He stared at it for a few seconds in which Marcus became increasingly bemused by the shocked look on his face. After a moments ogling (much like the ogling that Marcus himself had been doing earlier), the tribesman fled.

Marcus sat with his hand still outstretched and the gold coin still glinting in the sun upon it. He blinked a couple of times, trying to wake himself up from the bizarre situation that could only be a dream. Once he realised that it had actually happened he smiled, shrugged his shoulders and went back to playing about with his coin and wondering to himself what was happening to Rebecca and Fernando. Which is an excellent writing tool for shifting the action onto another set of characters.

“Ow!” cried Fernando as the tribesman shoved him again. “Gerroff!” The beleafed (that is not actually a word by the way!) tribesman had grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and was practically dragging him along.

Rebecca, who was walking quite calmly beside the tribesman and her brother, rolled her eyes at his struggle. “Shut up Fernando, you might as well go along with him, we probably have a better chance of finding Marcus if we are actually in human contact; he has a habit of getting himself into trouble.”

“But…” Fernando protested ineffectually. “Who knows what they might do to us! They could eat us, these tribesmen do that you know? Eat people that is.” He voice was pleading.

“Fernando, they are not going to eat you, you smell far to horrible to be eaten. There isn’t enough meat on you to make a good meal anyway, it would be a waste of effort.” Fernando did not reply; he was too stupid to think of a witty retort.

After another half an hour or so of walking (or shoving), they arrived in a rickety assortment of mud brick buildings, most of which were poorly built and looked about to fall down. Clearly this tribe were not master builders. Although, looking around the grassland, there were not many building materials with which to build a decent house.

The thing that both Fernando and Rebecca noticed very soon after arriving in the village was that none of the tribeswomen wore any leaves to cover their breasts. Fernando could only let out a breathy ‘wow’ and stare unsubtly, almost forgetting how to walk in the process. Rebecca only sighed, rolled her eyes and loosened the bosom of her dress some more (if that was possible), slightly envious that she had been outdone by these people.

They were led by the triumphant tribesman through the village, clearly they were arousing quite a lot of attention because they had a large following of semi-naked tribes people, at which point Fernando realised the downside of the female’s nakedness. He was suddenly breathing rather very heavily and averting his eyes. He looked as though he was about to throw up.

When they arrived at the centre of the village Rebecca was shocked be the sight of Marcus sitting on a throne on a very flimsy looking dais. He was dressed in more leaves than the rest of the tribes, which was a good thing given that his pale, flesh body was not the most pleasant of sights. He also had two rather attractive women, wearing very few leaves, sitting next to him pampering him. She only got a short look because she was thrown face first into the dirt at his feet as soon as they were close to him.

“Well, well, well…” he said in the most cliché way imaginable. “How did you two find me?”

Rebecca stood up, dusting herself off. “I have a feeling we had a little bit of help from artistic licence.”

“So did you fail the test too then?”

“Yeah, Fernando couldn’t shoot an arrow to save his life. What about you though? You look as though you’ve done well for yourself.” (yeah, I’m not very good at storytelling through dialogue!)

“Um… They seem to think I’m some god of some sort. They all started bowing down to me a while ago, very amusing, shame the reader was off reading about you guys.”

“How by all that is unholy and evil did you mange to convince them that you were a God?”

“They seem to think that gold is a godly thing, I happened to have some gold coins to they assumed I must be a god.” He removed a gold coin from his pocket and tossed it in the air. The tribesmen’s eyes followed the coin intently.

Rebecca shook her head and crossed her arms

Fernando, who had remained mercifully silent throughout the entire exchange, spoke up. “But you’re not a god! That isn’t fair.” Rebecca glowered at him.

“No, it isn’t fair Fernando, but when have I ever been fair?” (I was about to insert a rant about how society is not fair and how the only way to get ahead in that sort of society is by being unfair, but I thought I’d spare you it! You only need to read every other blog on the Internet for your fill of that sort of tripe.)

at which point I ran out of dialogue ideas. Enjoy your weekend, I certainly wont. Spare a thought for me as you drift of to sleep on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

We're not dead after all.

Yes, we have reached the weekend without dieing, as if there was more of a chance of us dieing this week than any other week. I am of course referring to the Large Hadron Collider (lovingly known as the LHC) a few hundred miles under the Alps at CERN (which is an acronym for something French).

After however many months/years in the pipeline (or should I say accelerator tube haha...), the LHC was finally turned on for the first time on Wednesday, which you already known unless you have been living under a rock for the past week, or maybe in Wales. The LHC fires 2 streams of tiny particles opposite ways round the accelerator, colliding them at super high speeds (which just sounds like a excuse to cause a big explosion to me. All in the name of science eh?)

For some odd reason every person on their dogs got it into their heads that the LHC was going to caused some apocalyptic Black Hole that would suck us all down into the depths of nothingness. Apparently the result of these collisions will (the scientists hope) be a detection of a particle called the ‘Higgs Boson’ without which our current model about the universe will not work (one would have thought that they would have tried to find this particle before arriving at theory that depended upon it, but that may be my pathetic little philosopher/historian’s brain talking). However some people seem to think that a micro Black Hole will be created as a result of the collisions. Obviously this didn’t happen, and was never likely too.

This did not stop all the brilliant comedians from here to Azerbaijan making doubtlessly hilarious jokes about the end of the world. For some reason these peoples decided that, like wine, jokes get better with age. Unfortunately these people are deluding themselves, because after the first time a few months ago when we thought the LHC was being turned on (but it was delayed because, predictably, a technical problem) the joke lost its limited wit.

This fit of absurd hysteria had a rather more sinister (although still rather amusing) outcome. In India one woman decided that, because the world was about to end she might as well commit suicide… a Darwin Award is due methinks. In a slightly less tragic event, most of India (and I suspect the rest of the unenlightened, and most of the enlightened world) decided to flock to any holy place they could think of to pray madly to ‘im upstairs in the home that he could prevent the impending apocalypse. Doubtless all the begging prevented the apocalypse, further proving that it works.

The most ironic thing about the hilarious display of human stupidity was that the clever men at CERN did not even collide any thing this time around. All they did was to send one stream of particles, one way round the accelerator at a fraction of the speed that they could attain. They will not start colliding for a few months yet, and when they do the world will end. We’ll all be sucked into the inevitable black hole caused by the senseless and absurd barrage of jokes about the world ending.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Election Woes

Well after last week’s dive into the world of fiction, we bring you back slowly to the merry world of reality! I have just this week started my A-levels, so I may not be able to publish this every week, although I have a few things sitting on my hard drive that I suppose I could let you read if I’m feeling nice. Anyway something in the news has been getting my metaphorical hackles up this week and that is the US election, or at least a certain aspect of it. Yes, like the vast minority of people in this country who actually listen to the news occasionally I have been forced to listen to endless features on how the Americans are doing in choosing their new president. At first I was quite interested; I was curious as to how the system works and who will be the next leader of the most powerful country on the planet. My interest as gone in inverse proportion to the amount of time they seem to be taking over it!

I was, by this point, only mildly interested in whom the respective candidates would choose to put on their ticket as vice president. My interest was captured once again when one Sarah Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate. Ok I tell a lie, at first I couldn’t have cared less, but the more I heard about this bright-eyed Alaskan unknown, the more I got interested and the more as feeling of dread crept into my mind like a seedy paedophile creeping into your bed at night (I think I’ll compile a list of these fucked analogies and get you to vote on your favourite!).

So if you did not already know, Sarah Palin is a Fundamentalist Christian who believes that the bible is the absolute and infallible word of God. She does not accept the theory of Evolution and believed that the world was created six thousand years ago. She does not believe that ‘global warming’ is a man-made phenomenon, rejects the rights of homosexuals to marry, does not believe in stem cell research and believes that abortion should be banned in all circumstances except when the mother’s life is put in danger.

In short this woman is not the sort of person any of the outside world wants to be the second in line to the one and only world superpower. You may not know this, but if McCain does get elected and is forced out of office in the next 4 years, this woman will automatically take over control of America.

Need I remind you that Senator McCain is 72 years old?

The most absurd thing is that Senator McCain supports stem cell research, does not out and out reject the rights of homosexuals and believes that global warming is a serious issue and is caused by man. Although religion and politics are intertwined in his view, he is considered a religious liberal.

As you can see, they have very contrasting views on some key issues. When you look at their beliefs, it seems that these two are far too mutually exclusive to be running mates, so why has McCain chosen her, a complete unknown with very different political beliefs from his?

The answer lies in these facts. McCain is 72, male, and has vast experience. He can appeal to the independents, but fails to grip the Conservative core of the Republican Party, most significantly the Christian Right. So who better to choose as a running mate that a 44 year old (relatively young in political terms), female who is fresh faced and can appeal to the Christian Right with her fundamentalist beliefs?

McCain has only chosen Palin because she balances his ticket. Once she is in the Whitehouse she will sit behind a desk looking pretty and get wheeled out for special occasions for four years. In the meantime we had better hope that McCain doesn’t get run over by a bus. Or that the American people have enough collective sense to see through the thin veneer of credibility that fails to cover this cynical act and vote Obama.