11 july 2010

wild wild wood


When I saw this splendid miserichord in Hereford Cathedral, phrases came immediately to mind such as through bushes and through briars and as I walked through the wilderness of this world, in which the complexities of the natural world are used as a metaphor for human difficulties. Particularly difficulties of the mind: in more than one Eric Rohmer film as the heroine is going through an emotional crisis, the director cuts in a shot of trees tossing in a wind, or grass blowing - Herzog does it at the opening of Kaspar Hauser, too. Uccello's The Hunt in the Forest may well be an example. And then I remembered that at the very end of The Singing Detective the woods/brain connection is made even more explicit - fast forward to 8'15":

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16 july 2010

                         There are so many islands!

As many islands as the stars at night
like falling fruit around the schooner Flight.
But things must fall, and so it always was,
on one hand Venus, on the other Mars;
fall, and are one, just as this earth is one
island in archipelagoes of stars.
My first friend was the sea. Now, is my last.
I stop talking now. I work, then I read,
cotching under a lantern hooked to the mast.
I try to forget what happiness was,
and when that don't work, I study the stars.

- Derek Walcott,  from The Schooner Flight

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27 july 2010

Leonid Pasternak,  Boris and Alexander, the Artist's Sons,  1905

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28 july 2010

Summer vacation is here, children, and I'm sure you're looking for something exciting to fill up the days with. What better thing to do than go outside and

Become a Nature Detective.

Simply get hold of a hand lens (x10 will do, any hardware store or scientific supplier will sell you one) and hold it over the end of the lens of your old digital camera. Then point it at whatever interests you and look more closely.

You will find yourself seeing the natural world in a whole new way!
Here are a few examples:

Fig. 1  Clematis Seed Head

Fig. 2  Veins in a leaf

Fig. 3  Bark of a tree

Fig. 4  A wasp

If it is raining out, you may find yourself restricted to the Great Indoors. A friend of mine can help you here. Mr Leonard de Vries has written a wonderful Book of Experiments for you, most of which can be carried out inside with ordinary household materials. Whichever one you try, you won't be disappointed.

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29 july 2010

. . . then there was Millet's Man With The Hoe. I had never really wanted a photograph of a picture before I saw Millet's Man With The Hoe. I was about twelve or thirteen years old, I had read Eugenie Grandet of Balzac, and I did have some feeling about what French country was like but The Man With The Hoe made it different, it made it ground not country, and France has been that to me ever since. France is made of ground, of earth.
When I managed to get a photograph of the picture and took it home my eldest brother looked at it and said what is it and I said it is Millet's Man With The Hoe. It is a hell of a hoe said my eldest brother.

- Gertrude Stein,  Paris, France

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