The United States Postal Service will be issuing a Johnny Cash stamp later this year as part of its new “Music Icons” series. The stamp features a photograph taken by Frank Bez which appeared on the cover of the album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash.
The fabulous chanteuse Anne Pigalle returns with a new exhibition of artwork, Is There Life After Sex?, which will be on show at Natalie Galustian Rare Books, 22 Cecil Court, London, from February 1st-21st.
Following on from the great success of Miss Pigalle’s last exhibition (at the Michael Hoppen Gallery), Is There Life After Sex? is a must-see show which will continue her discourse on relationships and the important role of sexuality in our lives.
Miss Pigalle will also be holding one of her legendary Salons, on February 14th, where Anne will perform a choice selection from her acclaimed erotic poems L’Ame Erotique. For those who wish to experience something new, important and very special, I suggest they go along to see the Last Chanteuse Ms. Anne Pigalle. Check here for details
Pantomime head trip and riff on Thomas Mann’s “Transposed Heads,” Alejandro Jodorowsky’s delightful surrealist short film La Cravate has fun with the whole idea of identity and the illusion of body/mind separation while evoking Melies, Cocteau and The Children Of Paradise.
In 1983, French director Bertrand Tavernier took a road trip through the American south. Along for the ride was veteran film maker Robert Parrish (who was born in Georgia). Together they documented the customs, folklore, religion and music of rural areas in and around Oxford, Mississippi. The result is Mississippi Blues, a lively, beautifully filmed movie that is permeated with the soul and spirit of a rapidly disappearing part of America.
The yin/yang of the two directors creates a nice balance between Tavernier’s romanticism (he seems to find poetry in everything) and Parrish’s down-to-earth sense of a culture he knows well.
This is truly a wonderful bit of film making that offers not only marvelous imagery but a beat you can dance to.
Mississippi Blues is out of print on VHS and has inexplicably never been released on DVD. Here’s a rare opportunity to watch it.
Today is Robert Burns’ birthday, and across the world traditional suppers are held to celebrate the life and poetry of Scotland’s national Bard.
I have never been one for those couthy ritualistic gatherings, where toasts are given to the lads and lassies, and where some elder with a tartan to match his face, gives an address to the haggis. For me these suppers have little to do with Burns the man and poet, who could write such beauty as:
But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white - then melts
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm. -
Nae man can tether time or tide;
No, I prefer to see Robert Burns as great poet, a revolutionary, a socialist, an egalitarian, who believed ‘a man’s a man for a’ that’ and wrote to inspire a better world:
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
That man to man, the world o’er,
Shall brithers be for a’ that.
Burns’ idealism was often compromised by the financial demands of his everyday life - and what a life. A poet, a ploughman, a lover, a drinker, a revolutionary, a government lackey, a hero, a destitute. As Andrew O’Hagan points out in this excellent documentary Robert Burns: The People’s Poet, Burns was the equivalent of a rock star in his day, a writer of songs (“Auld Lang Syne”, “Ae Fond Kiss”, “My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose”, “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye”) and poems (“Tam O’Shanter”, “Holy Wuillie’s Prayer”, “To A Mouse”, “Cock Up Your Beaver”) that enchanted a nation and the world.
It was his ability to touch the heart and mind of his readers and to make them empathize with his subject matter, whether this was love, revolution in France or simply a mouse:
That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
He was idolized by the public, and was a hero and inspiration to the likes of Beethoven and Byron. At a time of great oppression he spoke out against slavery, inequality, and poverty. Burns wanted liberty and fairness for all. Yet he died in poverty, hounded by creditors, and near-broken as a man.
That Rabbie Burns is still read, performed and celebrated 200 years after his death, says all about his importance as a poet and the relevance of his belief for a better world, where all are equal and share the common wealth.
O’Hagan’s documentary Robert Burns: The People’s Poet is no hagiography, but controversially questions many of the assumptions made about this radical poet, and examines the incredible dramatic and often tragic circumstances of his life.
There wasn’t anyone artistic in Dale Grimshaw’s family, it was just something to do, and learn along the way. That he had a natural talent was obvious, but he developed it through a difficult and potentially violent childhood – the experience of which informs many of his paintings.
Indeed, it was this kind of emotional power in one of his paintings (a self-portrait) that brought me to his brilliant, visceral and original work. His portrait may have seemed imperious, but his eyes revealed a vulnerability, a tremendous humanity and soul.
Originally a street artist, Dale Grimshaw is now one of Britain’s most exciting and talented young artists, and last year, his one-man show Moreish was a hit with both public and critics. I contacted Dale to ask him more about his life, his work and how he started out.
Paul Gallagher: What was the first turning point in your career as an artist?
Dale Grimshaw: Probably getting in at Middlesex University, formerly Hornsey College of Art. It meant I had to really consider the moves I was making in life. I had no support from anywhere else; just my rented flat, my belongings and myself. It meant I’d have to sell it all and move from Lancashire. It was a springboard to other things and places.
Paul Gallagher: Tell me about your childhood and first artistic ambitions?
Dale Grimshaw: There wasn’t anyone artistic, in the literal sense, in my family. I just naturally continued drawing and painting long after other kids had normally given up all that creative nonsense outside of school.
At secondary school, there wasn’t anyone that took any notice of my abilities. Little did my art teacher know that I was practicing to paint with oil paints I’d nicked from shops at home. Ironically, she was called Mrs. Oil but she would rather hit you than take any real interest. My mom saw I had talent and did her best to encourage me.
I first saw ‘The Stranglers’ written in huge letters on a bus stop wall in the late 70s. I was hooked and fascinated by the idea and mystery of graffiti. I wrote on walls, playgrounds, bus seats, textbook covers, and my own body even. Sadly at the age of 15 I tattooed my own arm with my ‘tag,’ which is still there today, as bold as ever. I hated it for decades… bad karma, anyone?’
I doubt these displays ever convinced any kids to abstain from drugs (come on, who just walks around with a poppy?), but they’re sort of beautiful in a Joseph Cornell meets Hunter S. Thomspon kind of way. I’d put one on my wall, anyways.