Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Robbin’ a bank

Season’s greetings from Peggy - and from the rest of us!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Play in the Infants’ School

There is no Raleigh School on Ocean Street anymore, and no buildings from the time survive there.

Published in 1938, ER Boyce’s book tells of how as head teacher from 1933 she led an experiment in play-centred learning in the Infants’ School, with approximately three hundred children on the roll, aged between three and seven-and-a-half. From the preface:
In the heart of the East End of London, you will find an odd tangle of courts and alley-ways connecting long, narrow streets of shabby cottages, each housing several families. The monotony is broken by public houses and dingy shops which deal in very small quantities of groceries, cheap sweets or fish and chips. On fine evenings, these streets are scenes of lively social life. The children play and the parents gossip. In the hot weather, the babies crawl naked on the pavements. There are brawls and parties during the week-end: sometimes a piano is dragged into the street so that jollity may be enjoyed by all. The noise is often deafening; iron hoops and wireless mingle with shrill calls and whistles, the crying of babies and the laughter and shouts of women.
The children who live in this particular district have only one other playground, a small disused burial-ground, planted with trees and consisting mainly of concrete paths. They frequent a neighbouring street-market which, on Saturday evenings is picturesque in the light of flares. Many of them go regularly to the Penny Pictures; a cinema performance of cowboy and crook films. Each year there is a visit to the hop-fields. A certain number of them get an outing to Southend, many more dream of going and hear so much of it from others, that they invent stories of their own adventures at the sea.
The ordinary events of a child’s life are unknown. Birthdays are rarely kept, new toys are unusual, stockings at Christmas are seldom hung up and there is no annual holiday.
Their physical condition is extremely poor; there are three or four bonnie children in each class of forty, and these are not always fully grown. They suffer from rickets, impetigo, adenoids, rheumatism, colds, and various forms of malnutrition. The cases of underfeeding are comparatively small, but all of them live on a diet of cheap sweets and cakes, bread and margarine, fish and chips, and tinned food. The facilities for cooking are poor and the mothers are ignorant of good, simple feeding, and many of them are the wage-earners of the family and the small child is fed by the elder sister. The majority of the parents, especially the younger ones, make continual efforts to keep the children clean and tidy and have some conception of their duty to them. In spite of this, sores and cuts are always septic, hair is often verminous and many small bodies are flea bitten.

Nearby Duckett Street in 1939, found here. Copyright © Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

While aspects of the Raleigh School project are familiar to me from my children’s experience in London nursery schools, ER Boyce seems to have gone much farther than is usual today in her effort to work for a child-centred school where children experienced as much liberty as possible, and where academic learning developed out of the children’s own interests and curiosity.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

I dream of love

From the secret lead-lined vault of bootleg demo reel to reels and wax cylinders, here is John Dog singing one of the hits of tomorrowyear, I dream of love.

More John Dog songs at raymondbutler.bandcamp.com, and on this YouTube playlist.

The Festival of Britain images are from the short film Brief City, 1952, available at archive.org.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Ice palaces and paper castles

The ice palace above is a digital matte painting that I recently rendered for director Charlie Paul at Itch Film. It was used in a winter wonderland themed ad for Iceland Foods. I also sketched designs for the set, below, and painted other bits and pieces for digital compositing.

Before painting the ice palace there was a tremendous amount of sketching to narrow down design options. You’ll find just some of those sketches below the fold. The palace can be seen in the finished ad here - but blink and you’ll miss it!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Fighting Chaos with Madness!

For your viewing pleasure, here’s Beech Croft: A Road Trip, a true tale of DIY traffic calming in Oxford. You can read more about the road witches of Beech Croft Road at roadwitch.org.uk.

At the heart of this story is my friend Ted Dewan, illustrator, children’s writer, musician, whale dissector, head shrinker, and loving father to a rabbit, when he’s not busy witch wrestling.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Paper plumage

There was an outbreak of collage in the house last month. Here’s one of the results, a bird by Peggy.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Breaking the ice

My friend Kjetil Berge is departing on an expedition to the Arctic on Saturday. Travelling overland by ice cream van, he will go via Berlin and St Petersburg to Murmansk, Russia, and then to Kirkenes, Norway. Ice creams will be offered in exchange for talk about the weather, songs and stories.

Londoners can wave him farewell (and get an ice cream for a song) at Gillett Square this Saturday, between 4 and 6 pm. Read more about the journey here, and see Kjetil’s other doings here.

The top image is from the 2006 hardback edition of Rasmus Klump På Nordpolen by Carla and Vilhelm Hansen. Rasmus Klump is copyright Egmont Serieforlaget.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Poppy burning picture, not in Kent

Coalition service members burn poppy plants near Geresk, Afghanistan, August 11 2007. U.S. Army Photo by Specialist David Gunn, CJTF-82 PAO, via militaryphotos.net.

Man burns poppy in England, November 11, 2012, and is arrested by Kent Police for posting a picture of it on Facebook.

Added: Here’s a post by Adam Wagner on the UK Human Rights Blog last month on another case of criminalising Facebook comments.


These two images come via a post at the Weimar Art blog, Art of the First World War. Above, Edward Wadsworth, Dazzle-ships in Drydock at Liverpool, 1919. Below, Paul Nash, The Menin Road, 1919.

From BBC radio archives, Warpaint: Artists and Camouflage, a documentary produced by John Goudie and written and presented by Patrick Wright, Radio 4, 2002.

From BBC television archives, Elgar, Portrait of a Composer by Ken Russell, as a YouTube playlist and also available on DVD.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Late entry

 Above, Betty Boop for President, also downloadable from archive.org.

There’s been nothing here up to now about Obama’s re-election campaign, and rather than missing out altogether, here are a couple of last minute links: Jeff Weintraub writes about Obama vs. Romney on torture, and via Singularly Soupy comes a Letter of Note, Our differences unite us.

So in line with those posts I hope for a second term, but for a second term a little different from the first. Here’s Shadi Hamid on Middle East Lost. And as the war goes on, but ‘not in our name’, Terry Glavin asks Happy Now?

Friday, 2 November 2012


Pelican Bay State Prison - Crescent City, CA, by Sandow Birk, one of his series of California prison landscapes, Prisonation: Visions of California in the 21st Century.

Shane Bauer was one of three American hikers imprisoned by Iran in 2009. Along with Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal, he was effectively held ransom by the regime, which eventually released all three on payment of about half a million dollars bail each.

Recently he visited Pelican Bay in California as part of a story on the use of solitary confinement in US prisons. He presents evidence that it is expensive, is often overused and unfair, is arbitrarily and secretively administered, and is ineffective or even counter-productive in reducing prison violence.

In his article, Shane Bauer looks at the case of Dietrich Pennington, serving a life sentence for robbery, kidnapping, and attempted murder. These crimes aren’t the reason he’s in solitary; he’s there because he’s accused of being an associate of a prison gang.
Pennington is not accused of giving or carrying out orders on behalf of any gang. In fact, there is no evidence that he's ever communicated with a member of a gang in his entire life. “I’ve never been, never want to be a part of no gang,” he wrote me. (He is currently trying to challenge his validation in court.)

To validate an inmate as a gang member, the state requires at least three pieces of evidence, which must be “indicative of actual membership” or association with a prison gang in the last six years. At least one item must show a “direct link,” like a note or other communication, to a validated gang member or associate. Once the prison’s gang investigator has gathered this evidence, it is reviewed in an administrative hearing and then sent to CDCR headquarters in Sacramento.

In Pennington’s file, the “direct link” is his possession of an article published in the San Francisco Bay View, an African American newspaper with a circulation of around 15,000. The paper is approved for distribution in California prisons, and Pennington’s right to receive it is protected under state law. In the op-ed style article he had in his cell, titled “Guards confiscate ‘revolutionary’ materials at Pelican Bay,” a validated member of the Black Guerilla Family prison gang complains about the seizure of literature and pictures from his cell and accuses the prison of pursuing “racist policy.” In Pennington’s validation documents, the gang investigator contends that, by naming the confiscated materials, the author “communicates to associates of the BGF... as to which material needs to be studied.” No one alleges that Pennington ever attempted to contact the author. It is enough that he possessed the article.
According to Bauer, other prisoners in solitary have been accused of gang membership on similarly tenuous evidence.
Gang evidence comes in countless forms. Possession of Machiavelli’s The Prince, Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power, or Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has been invoked as evidence. One inmate’s validation includes a Christmas card with stars drawn on it - alleged gang symbols - among Hershey’s Kisses and a candy cane. Another included a poetry booklet the inmate had coauthored with a validated BGF member. One poem reflected on what it was like to feel human touch after 14 years and another warned against spreading HIV. The only reference to violence was the line, “this senseless dying gotta end.”

“Direct links” that appear in inmates’ case files are often things they have no control over, like having their names found in the cells of validated gang members or associates or having a validated gang affiliate send them a letter, even if they never received it or knew of its existence. Appearing in a group picture with one validated gang associate counts as a direct link, even if that person wasn’t validated at the time.

In the course of my investigation, I obtained CDCR’s confidential validation manual. It teaches investigators that use of the words tío or hermano, Spanish for uncle and brother, can indicate gang activity, as can señor. Validation files on Latino inmates have included drawings of the ancient Aztec jaguar knight and Aztec war shields, and anything in the indigenous Nahuatl language, spoken by an estimated 1.4 million people in central Mexico.
Read the whole article at Mother Jones.

In the UK, the most prominent argument over prisoners’ rights is currently on voting rights for convicted prisoners. The European Court of Human Rights, which rules on matters covered by the European Convention on Human Rights, ruled in 2005 that the UK’s indiscriminate denial of voting rights to convicted prisoners contravened the Convention.

As a party to the Convention treaty, the UK government has bound itself to abide by Court decisions, but UK politicians continue to pitch a dodgy nationalist argument about Parliamentary sovereignty as justification for not complying with an agreement freely entered into by the UK’s democratically elected government. Buyer’s remorse? Tough, caveat emptor! Voters should avoid sympathy for Parliament on this; the ECHR is intended for the protection of all citizens, not for the convenience of a particular state institution, nor for the comfort of the government of the day.

Human rights are a form of insurance policy, a legal instrument based on the idea that by allowing others to be abused, we leave ourselves open to be abused in future.

At the UK Human Rights Blog, Adam Wagner writes about More shenanigans on prisoner votes. And a year ago at the same place, an interesting discussion on the role of the Strasbourg Court in two posts and attendant comments, Why have a European Court of Human Rights? and Is the Attorney General right on prisoner votes and subsidiarity?

Yesterday, David Black, a Northern Ireland Prison Service officer was murdered by Nationalist Republicans opposed to the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

The murder was linked to an ongoing dispute over treatment of Republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. Arguing for the protection of prisoners’ rights is politically problematic when some of those prisoners are themselves convicted of gross human rights abuses such as assault, kidnapping, and murder. Even more difficult to navigate are the cases where supporters of anti-democratic murderously violent groups use the arguments of human rights as a political weapon.

Ross Frenett steers a narrow course on the Human Rights in Ireland blog, writing on Why they killed David Black.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Three-eyed cat

Behold, Peggy’s petrifying pumpkin!

Michael Sporn has a treat for you this year, a post on the classic Carl Barks Halloween duck comic, Trick or Treat.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Equality law: the Scouts’ exception

From the Telegraph:
Schoolboy ‘banned from Scouts for being an atheist’

Schoolboy George Pratt had attended his local Scout group for ten months, and was expecting to invest in the group along with his friends.

But, after being required to swear the traditional promise, he found himself unable to join as he does not believe in God.

George, 11, said he was “very disappointed” in the decision, calling it “very unfair” and claiming he feels left out from experiences and trips his friends are attending.

His father Nick Pratt, 45, has accused the Scout movement of being “narrow minded” and “intolerant”, saying his son is being “excluded because he doesn’t believe”.

To become a full member of the 1st Midsomer Norton Group in Somerset, which meets in a hall opposite his home, George must take the Scout Promise.

This reads: “On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, To do my duty to God and to the Queen, To help other people, And to keep the Scout Law.”

Different versions of the oath are available for different faiths, such as the use of ‘Allah’ to replace ‘God’ for Muslims.

Read the full story at the Telegraph. Another account is at the British Humanist Society website.

When I first read this story, I thought that the demand by the Scout group to swear an oath referencing God must breach the law in some way.

Reading guidance from the Charity Commission on the Equality Act 2010 reinforced this thought.

According to the guidance, the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone in the provision of services because of a protected characteristic, one of which is religion or belief.

The charities’ exception allows a charity to limit its benefits to people who share a protected characteristic only if the charity’s governing document only allows people who share a protected characteristic to benefit, and the restriction can be justified either by Test A: Tackling disadvantage, or Test B: Achievement of a legitimate aim. The guidance gives examples to help understand what this means.

From this it would seem that demanding that individuals swear a religious oath in order to access a service would be in breach of the act unless the organisation could show that it was A: tackling a disadvantage suffered by religious people, or B: excluding non-believers in pursuit of some legitimate aim. I’ll try to get back to the legitimate aim argument in a later post, but for now let it suffice that I don’t think it could be justified in this case.

So is the 1st Midsomer Norton Group in breach of the Equality Act 2010? Well, I think they would have been had the original draft of the bill been enacted, but Scout and Guide groups successfully lobbied for an amendment to the Equality Act 2006, and it remains in the 2010 Act as Sections 193(5) and 193(6):
(5) It is not a contravention of this Act for a charity to require members, or persons wishing to become members, to make a statement which asserts or implies membership or acceptance of a religion or belief; and for this purpose restricting the access by members to a benefit, facility or service to those who make such a statement is to be treated as imposing such a requirement.

(6) Subsection (5) applies only if—

(a) the charity, or an organisation of which it is part, first imposed such a requirement before 18 May 2005, and

(b) the charity or organisation has not ceased since that date to impose such a requirement.
By that means the Scout Promise escaped the Equality Act, but being ‘not a contravention of this Act’ doesn’t mean the promise might not be in breach of some other law. How about the Human Rights Act 1998 which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law? This is the part of the Convention that’s relevant:
Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
While one could hardly argue that the Scout Promise is a shining example of the spirit of Article 9, it’s not clear that it’s in breach of it either. If one likens the Scouts to a broad church that goes camping, then one could argue that they’re exercising freedom of thought in community. As they are a private organisation not imposing their will on those outside the organisation, they can argue that they’re not limiting non-members’ freedom of belief.

And yet there’s more to it, even if it falls outside the scope of the ECHR. If an organisation for the promotion of a religious doctrine becomes the dominant provider of certain services, then it can impinge on individuals’ ability to preserve freedom of belief while playing a full part in their community, on their ability to be true to themselves while sharing experiences with their friends that are largely secular, such as going caving. And the Scouts present themselves as more camping and caving than God. Ten months this boy had been going to Scouts before God came up. I’m beginning to think that this is not so much different to other sorts of clubs that used to exclude people on the basis of belief.

There’s another international convention to consider, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It includes the following:

Article 2

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

Article 31

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

In responding to the current controversy, Simon Carter, assistant director of media relations for the Scout Association, said “young people will not be refused membership solely because of their parents’ beliefs or non-beliefs,” a phrase that in emphasising parents’ beliefs rather than children’s seemed tailored to satisfy Article 2 (2), though perhaps it’s more likely that it was drafted with the Equality Act in view.

On Article 14, it’s not clear to me that the Scout Promise is incompatible with Article 14 taken just by itself, for the same reason that I doubted earlier whether the ECHR would apply, but if you read Article 14 together with Article 31, particularly 31 (2), then I think it becomes clear that in adopting the Scouts and Guides amendment, Parliament failed to live up its their duty under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This is because in a case like George Pratt’s the Scout Promise prevents him from exercising his rights under Article 14 while also exercising his rights under Article 31. The Promise means he can’t both exercise freedom of belief and participate fully in cultural and artistic life, because in his town and amongst his friends the Scouts are a dominant provider of facilities for cultural and artistic activity. There don’t seem to be many other alternatives.

Under Article 4, responsibility for enacting measures to implement the rights described in the UNCRC lies with the State, that is with Government and Parliament.

Unlike the ECHR the UNCRC has not been incorporated into UK law, though the UK is a signatory. There were repeated but unsuccessful attempts in the House of Lords in 2005 to amend the then Equality Bill to include a reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As the UNCRC hasn’t been incorporated into UK law, it can’t be enforced by UK courts, though they may refer to it in interpreting UK law. Interpreting does not mean creating or overturning law however. Even with the ECHR which is incorporated into UK law via the Human Rights Act, UK courts can’t change or overturn existing legislation where it’s in conflict with the ECHR, but at most issue a declaration under Section 4 of the Act that the relevant statutory provision is incompatible with the rights set out in the Convention.

A declaration of incompatibility leaves the law in force and passes the problem back to Parliament. It doesn’t seem clear that even this option is available to a UK court when it comes to the UNCRC.

UPDATE: The Scout Association’s anti-bullying policy cites the UNCRC.

Time to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into UK Law.

Time for the Scout Association to stop religious discrimination against children in its non-religious activities.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Othello fragments

Above, Orson Welles and Micheál MacLiammóir playing Othello and Iago in Welles’s film from 1952. Below, Suzanne Cloutier plays Desdemona. There’s a very good post about the film at The Sheila Variations.

Visually, this is an incredibly rich film. Ideas of montage and expressionist image composition were no longer new by the 1950’s, and they’re not used for novelty in the film. As Othello falls prey to the suspicion planted by Iago, the compositions become more dramatic within each shot, and so do the changes in composition within some shots as action transforms them, and so also the contrasts in viewpoint and composition from shot to shot. In the most highly charged scenes successive shots don't so much add to our sense of where the actors are as repeatedly unsettle it.

Watching the film last night, I felt a connection between this agitated fragmentation, dislocation, between this and something I’d noticed in a film we’d watched earlier in the week, From Russia to Hollywood, a documentary on two Russian actors and teachers of acting, Michael Chekhov and George Shdanoff.

The documentary was a bit amateurish in parts, but I found much of the content interesting. To illustrate the number of Hollywood actors taught by the pair, the film included lots of clips of dramatic high emotion Hollywood acting from different films by different actors, and seeing so many together I began to hear a common quality to several of the actors’ delivery in some of the more emotionally heightened scenes.

Though the various scenes were filmed more conventionally than Welles’ Othello, the delivery of the dialogue had the same fragmented edited quality to the ear as Welles’ images presented to the eye. I don’t mean that the dialogue was literally edited as in having been cut and assembled by a sound editor, but that it already sounded that way as it came out the actors’ mouth within a single shot. Shifts in timing and emphasis in the delivery were as sharp as if they’d been cut and spliced.

Images copyright © the estate of Orson Welles. More below the fold.

Monday, 15 October 2012

For solidarity of words, against solidarity of power

The story so far

Following a tweet where he described issues of abortion and antisemitism as ‘distractions’ in the context of Venezuela’s recent election, Jonathan Glennie has been getting some criticism on a number of blogs, including Bob’s place where I was amongst the commenters. The tweet was in response to Carl Packman, author of this blog post written just prior to the election. In his defence Mr Glennie pointed to an earlier tweet saying ‘raising the flag against anti-semitism in the left in Latin America is worth doing..’ and argued that he only meant distractions in the particular context of this election.

Today’s episode

Today Jonathan Glennie tackled the question of his commitment to women’s rights in a Twitter exchange with yours truly, and pointed to a post of his on the Guardian site: Why there’s no reason to fear feminism.

He presented this as evidence of his steadfast feminism, but it seems to me ill suited as such. Its argument is presented in vague terms without specific examples, but it goes like this:

- Imposing values is bad feminism, asking questions while not proposing solutions is good feminism.

- Coupling women’s rights to development aid has been counter-productive.

- Some Western feminists arrogantly impose foreign solutions and dismiss local women’s views as unenlightened.

- Imposing women’s rights from a position of power (financial, political or educational) is problematic.

Feminists need to humbly reassert principles of equality of opportunity, without suggesting we know what responses particular societies should adopt,’ he writes. Humbly.

But the most curious paragraph appears free-floating near the start. He writes, ‘What does it mean when staunch conservatives express themselves so comfortably in the language of women’s rights and gender equality? Might the radical nature of the movement be watered down to mean something more politically palatable but less transformative in its objectives?

So, the best feminism stays safely on the left side of the fence, doesn’t try to force change, asks questions but gives no answers, and ‘is also responsive and caring, rather than hectoring and exaggerated..’ Yes, responsive and caring, rather than hectoring.

All of this is accompanied by warm words of support for feminism in theory: it’s great that women’s rights ‘are at the heart of political debate’, ‘principles.. at the heart of feminism are non-negotiable’, and there’s ‘no problem with holding views passionately.

He closes by quoting an unnamed academic who values thinking above doing: ‘“Embedding a way of thinking, or being, matters more than achieving a specific set of policy proposals,” one feminist academic told me, “and is much more powerful in the long term.”’ Out of regard for some of the better academics present in this debate, I’ll bite my tongue!

In short, theoretical feminism is great as long as feminists don’t actually try to use Western power to realise women’s rights globally. Have I got it right? Well, I think he’s got it wrong.

Missing from this are any concrete examples of how linking women’s rights to development aid has been bad, or any examples of where local women have been ‘assumed to be living in a kind of mental slavery’ because they disagreed with arrogant Westerners imposing women’s rights.

Missing also is any recognition of those women in developing countries who happen to agree with Western promoters of women’s rights, and who often run great risks by fighting for their rights in co-operation with Westerners.

Jonathan Glennie seems to suggest that women in developing countries should be offered only solidarity of words rather than solidarity of power.

Without clearly defined targets for criticism, his post reads like a broad-brush smear of Western promoters of global women’s rights, and a negation of the women in developing countries  who choose to work with them.

But rather than be wholly critical, I’d like to help out with one concrete example of a Western organisation that self-identifies as feminist and that went to some length to dismiss the views of women in a particular developing country, women who didn’t support that organisation’s own preferred solution.. I give you the old comedy favourite, Code Pink's 2009 trip to Afghanistan. Code Pink were for solidarity of words, against solidarity of power, but when Afghan women disagreed, Code Pink ignored them. Now where does that story fit into Mr Glennie’s narrative?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Village Maid and the Uncommon Handsome Highwayman

or The Secret of the Silver Horseshoe
A Romantic Picture Story of the Old Dover Road

An earlier post featured a story from the 1957 School Friend Annual, bought in my quest for comics to entertain my eight year old daughter. This story is from the annual of the year before, and Peggy, who loves dressing up, enjoyed it greatly.

’Twas on a summer’s evening in the year 1754, when a fair-haired village maid lingered for a moment at the gates of Elmswood Grange, in Kent - -

Read the whole story, through to the ‘happy ever after’ ending, below the fold.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Work for Itch. More soon.

There will never be another like you

Der vil aldrig blive en anden som dig
by Dan Turèll

There will never be another like you, never another like you. Never. Although there will be many, I know that, here where we part. There will be many. Many to walk hand in hand with along the beach. Many to meet in bars in the early hours. Many to go home with, or to take home and lie sweating or gasping over or under. And sweat and gasp will be the same, but there will never be another like you. Never another like you.

To love of you, to love you, I love you still. I loved you long. I have loved you so long. I have loved you as long as I can remember. I will love you for all time to come. I would have loved you still. I would have could ought should love you, longer yet. Always. Even the simplest grammar you make ominous.

There will never be another like you. There will be others. And a lot could happen between me and them. Maybe I will marry others. Breed children and buy a house with others. Sit and eat breakfast and have coffee, toast, and orange juice at the kitchen table every morning with others. And watch TV programmes in the evening together with others. But all the same I will never be able to forget you.

There will never be another like you. Never another like you. You who are now sitting at another breakfast table. With coffee and toast, after lying gasping under another last night, another who maybe doesn’t even know how well toasted you want your bread. And I will always long for you. And always try to picture to myself where you are now. How you look in this moment. And what you’re doing.

There will never be another like you, I know that, here where we part. And in that way you’ll always be there.


Copyright © the estate of Dan Turèll. The translation is my own.

Images: the first and last are from Bo Bedre’s Idébog by Ellen Bisgaard, © Forlaget Palle Fogtdal 1967, and the second, third and fourth are from Danmarks Bygningskultur (Vol. 2) by Harald Langberg, Gyldendalske Boghandel - Nordisk Forlag 1955. 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Pretty Little Thing

John Dog sings Pretty Little Thing.

More songs at raymondbutler.bandcamp.com.

Written and arranged by Raymond Butler and performed by John Dog. © All rights reserved.

The vintage Camay soap ad images are from archive.org, with a little added Zest.

For all John Dog posts, just click.

Cross-posted at Bob’s Beats.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Today’s drawing from Kafranbel, Syria

From here, via a post on Al Jazeera’s The Stream blog: Syrians bewildered as embassy protests spread.

For more Kafranbel protest cartoons, see the Foreign Policy magazine slideshow from July.

At Shiraz Socialist, Pictures of Libyan democrats and anti-Fascists, reblogged from The Atlantic Wire.

See also Terry Glavin on Extreme Right atrocities in Benghazi and in Kabul.

That last link leads to the blog of Skateistan, a skateboarding project in Kabul, and a post mourning five children, students, volunteers and youth leaders at Skateistan, killed by a bomb last Saturday. They were Khorshid, Nawab, Mohammad Eeza, Parwana, Assad. More about them in this BBC TV News report.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Artblogging: New York

An etching by John Sloan, Roofs, Summer Night, 1906, from an online gallery of his work at Sloan’s New York, found via a post on Sloan’s art by Charley Parker at his Lines and Colors blog.

Dover published a book of his prints in 1978, New York Etchings 1905-1949, which is worth seeking out.

Flying Concellos, a 1936 etching by Reginald Marsh, one of a number of his prints to be seen at Harris Schrank Fine Prints. From the gallery’s description:
Arthur Concello’s act made circus history when his wife Antoinette joined him in performing the triple somersault in the late ’30s at Madison Square Garden, New York, the two performers both attaining the triple to display the highest peak of team flying ever witnessed at that time.
Dover published a nice monograph in 1983, Reginald Marsh’s New York by Marilyn Cohen.

Sailor’s Delight, 1945, by Cecil Bell, from a post by Uncle Eddie, New York: Paradise for Painters.

From Greg Constantine’s book, Vincent Van Gogh Visits New York. See the rest of the drawings on Michael Sporn’s Splog: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

As the seventeen-year-old Karl Rossmann, who had been sent to America by his unfortunate parents because a maid had seduced him and had a child by him, sailed slowly into New York harbour, he suddenly saw the Statue of Liberty, which had already been in view for some time, as though in an intenser sunlight. The sword in her hand seemed only just to have been raised aloft, and the-unchained winds blew about her form. ‘So high,’ he said to himself, and quite forgetting to disembark, he found himself gradually pushed up against the railing by the massing throng of porters.
The opening of Franz Kafka’s Amerika. The illustration is from Kafka for Beginners by David Zane Mairowitz and Robert Crumb.

From The Jew of New York, a wonderful book by Ben Katchor.

Snuff Shop, 113 Division Street, New York, 1938, photographed by Berenice Abbott.

Filming New York in LA: Sam Fuller talks through the opening scenes of his film, Pickup on South Street. Also a treasure worth finding is a little book of photos with words by Mr Fuller, New York in the 1930s.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Message, from a selection of New York songs posted by Kenan Malik to mark the day today.