Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Let go of your worries 
and be completely clear hearted,

like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.

If you want a clear mirror 
behold yourself

and see the shameless truth 
which the mirror reflects.

If metal can be polished 
to a mirror like finish 

What polishing might 
the mirror of the heart require?

Between the mirror and the heart 
is this single difference:

the heart conceals secrets, 
while the mirror does not.

- Sex, Love & Fashion, Bruce Hulse

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Linder Sterling

Linder Sterling (originally Linda Mulvey, later shortened to 'Linder') studied graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic and was a radical feminist and well known figure of the Manchester punk and post-punk scene as girlfriend of Howard Devoto, founder of 'Buzzcocks' and later 'Magazine.' I initially became interested in Linder's work when I saw her 'Orgasm Addict' album cover for 'Buzzcocks', this being one of her earliest works.

In her Early career Linder used imagery from Men's D.I.Y and Pornographic magazines and women's Fashion and Domestic Magazines. Linder aimed to marry the two types of contrasting imagery together, the common denominator being the Female Body. These peculiar jigsaws of imagery point at the cultural expectations of women and the treatment of the female body as a commodity. 1978 brought the collaboration between Jon Savage and Linder, as they edited and produced the fanzine, 'The Secret Public'. Linder and Savage's styles worked in harmony together as they both centred around powerful and intriguing messages about the social attitudes of the time.

A distinct theme resonates through Linder's early sets of montage; the dismemberment of women by conventional attitudes towards gender and sexuality, each appears to be set in the home and one in particular shows naked male and female bodies topped with television sets for heads and placed into a pristinely catalogue-like home scene. These startling visions of sexual alienation shows 'techno-humans' who are divorced from their bodies and themselves. The television sets display the racing, drawing on the conventions of a quiet Sunday afternoon, Linder has taken her strong opinion and is shoving it in peoples face, an element of aggression and passion comes across as Linder exposes the common home for what she believes it to be. Shouting her opinion on the social attitudes of the time Linder's work has a not quite constructivist view of creating 'art.' Instead of artist as 'constructer', Linder is artist as 'Monteur'.

The fanzine was sold for 40p in various alternative shops such as 'Rough trade' This example of photocopier publishing never sold out, however this was irrelevant the point was to do it, get it out and to see what happened. Jon Savage described the use of collage as ' A moment of glorious liberation to work with simply blade, glass and glue.'

The more I researched Linder, the more I could relate to her work, from her background; studying in Manchester and living in Salford and the themes and attitudes towards women and archaic attitudes throughout history. Even down to the her storage of boxes containing 'mouths' 'eye's 'domestic appliances' ready to use whenever needed.

In 1980 Linder formed post-punk group Ludas, therefore continued to create album sleeves for her own band. Linder began to see herself as a found object and together with photographer Birrer, Linder began to create a type of real life montage, by holding photos of women ripped from magazines over her own face to imitate the revelation of a second skin. She would appear with 'accessories' from the first aid kit or from kitchen draws, the photos appeared in the limited edition 'SheShe' booklet, which accompanied Ludas' six track album 'Pickpocket'. Not only did Linder convey her views on sexual politics through her work but also in her performances, using confrontational tactics. Her notorious performance at the Hacienda, adorned with raw meat entwined within the fabric of her dress, amidst bloody cocktails and a black dildo, she famously destroyed the ambience of the Hacienda's chilly macho-cool.

Montage appears to form a continuum throughout Linder's career. Linder began to experiment with performance art, 'The return of Linderland' 2000, contrasting characters, played by Linder are flung together and forced to exist side by side. In 'the working class goes to paradise' Linder appears as Clint Eastwood and founder of the shaker movement 'Ann Lee', whilst Manchester exists alongside the 'Old West' this references to Linder's early work with the merging of Men's and Women's have magazines, the difference being that the scalpel, glass and glue have now been replaced with prosthetic make-up, costume and film.

Linder has created artwork for her good friend Morrissey and a book of photographs called 'Morrissey and Linder; We are your thoughts Morrissey is quoted as saying, 'Linder took up the pen, the brush, the chalk and stood as if behind a machine gun, perceiving danger swiftly and more keenly than the shell suited mutants of surrounding Manchester.'

In recent years Linder's work has gone full circle with a return to montage. 'The Paradise Experiments' use rose catalogues and ballet annuals combining to create very pretty feminine works, almost sickly sweet, these show a shift in Linder's attitudes and themes, the strong rebellious nature of youth being replaced for a subtler more refined opinion, as the attitudes of the current change, the artists work must move alongside.

If I have become known for fusing an image of a naked woman with an image of a domestic appliance then there remains something in that empowering-the collision of opposites, their resonance their absurdity and duty' -Linder Sterling 2006.Most recently in 2009 Linder has collaborated with Australian fashion designer 'Richard Nicholl.' The Lingerie masks worn by Devoto in Buzzcocks in 1977 are seen in this powerfully feminine collection, which accentuates the modern woman conveying sex appeal without losing dignity, it is not surprising Nicholl wanted Linder to create fabric prints for his designs, as she remains relevant and still true to her opinions even today.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Love is too weak a word for what I feel - I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent, of course I - I do, don't you think I do?

- Alvy Singer 

Who are you not to be?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? 

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

- Marianne Williamson 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Power & Poetry

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence" 


Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats        5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….        10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,        15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,        20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;        25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;        30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go        35
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—        40
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare        45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,        50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
  So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—        55
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?        60
  And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress        65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
  And should I then presume?
  And how should I begin?
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets        70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!        75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?        80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,        85
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,        90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—        95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
  Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
  That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,        100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:        105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
  “That is not it at all,
  That is not what I meant, at all.”
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,        115
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …        120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.        125
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown        130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.