portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Monday, November 30, 2020


Sonia Delaunay was a Ukrainian-born French artist who was born on this day in 1885. Delaunay was a co-founder of Orphism, a branch of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors and that expounded Simultanism, the belief in the existence in an infinite number of interrelated states of being.

Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France,” 1913, Sonia Delaunay, written by Blaise Cendrars 

“Before the war,” wrote Léger’s friend Blaise Cendrars, painters and poets “lived comingled, with . . . the same concerns.” This work, with illustrations by Sonia Delaunay-Terk and a poem about a railway journey by Cendrars, is one of the outstanding products of that collaborative milieu. Printed in a limited edition of 150 copies, it is meant to be read like a book and viewed like a painting. Both poem and illustrations reflect the aesthetic of Simultaneism, conveying the experience of spatial and temporal dislocation in a world reshaped by innovations in transportation and communication. The poem’s endpoint is Paris, and if all the copies of his unfolded poem were pasted together, Cendrars maintained, they would rise to the height of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

 And your 


looks like this . . . . . . . . . . . 

Pat Robertson is always fun and Ken Copeland always looks like a Disney 'devil' to me which is somewhat unfortunate but he seems to find it as funny as we do but Paula White-Cain is deeply worrying (she's is the one with the ear of the POTUS Donald Trump and spouts this stuff in his ear!) and I wonder what psychotherapy or psychiatry makes of speaking in tongues, whatever she clearly needs help (ever thought the American founding fathers had it about right to keep the church and state separate? 

This is why . . . . . . Have a happy Sunday all!

Saturday, November 28, 2020


An occasional series on artists I have appreciated or even loved the work of. As a young art student fascinated with Pop Art I was enthralled by Claes Oldenburg's work and sadly feel he has largely become over looked now if not totally forgotten. A master draughtsman as well as sculptor the serious art world finds it difficult to cope with humour in its art and Oldenburg is no exception. I first came across my first monumental sculpture by him in the real in the Sculpture Park in the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo  The Netherlands. They are stupendous in the real, as it were, and their execution is incomparable. 

Claes Oldenburg with a Monumental Tube of Toothpaste
Photography by Hans Hammarskiöld
London, 1966

Although it wasn't blue when I first saw it . . . . see link below

Oldenburg 'Trowel 1' turns blue


Book Your Tickets Early!


special full length worldwide streamed Christmas show 12th Dec 7.30pm (UK Time)

Thursday, November 26, 2020


Early BBC recording (adjusted for speed)


London 1973 [Goody Speed/Pitch-adjusted Remaster, 1CD]

BBC Radio 1 In Concert. Live in London, UK; May 19, 1973. Very good FM broadcast.

JOHN PRINE R.I.P. 1946 - 2020

Amazingly enough amid the torrent of filth and neanderthal musings of the troll fest that has become the comments section (they are even pretending to be me and other figures and each other (sic) it would be funny were it not so sad and unrelentingly abusive, racist, sexist and sophomoronic filth) Big O continues to post really decent recordings and we always welcome some more John Prine. 

Quite why a FM recording from BBC Radio 1 live 'In Concert' would need so much pitch adjustment is a bit beyond me but it sounds fine to these tired old ears. 

Enjoy! I did

John passed away Tuesday April 7 at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center from complications around having caught Covid - 19. Both he and his wonderful wife Fiona caught it and she recovered but John was not so fortunate due to his underlying health conditions well documented elsewhere but he is sorely missed.

John Prine - BBC 1973

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


an occasional series on women artists I have enjoyed the work of and today's forgotten abstract expressionist is no exception 

Corinne Michael West, abstract expressionist painter, actress and writer. 1930 by Jon Boris.

born Corinne Michelle West 1908 - died 1991

Rediscovering Corinne Michael West - Artsy

'Tree' 1955

'Flowers' 1964-65

'Cythera Shrine' (1979)

You may not like all this abstraction but if nothing else look at the span of the work here. Talk about consistency. West was nothing if not determined with her singularity of vision.

Untitled c.1948

'Green' 1958

'The Wiz'  1976

Vogue: Corinne Michael West in her studio c.1947

If it hadn't been for the love letters from Arshile Gorky it is likely West would have remained forgotten so once again defined by the careers of men we discover a truly great painter . . . . . . . 

see link above for more info from Artsy

 Dim, dank and dark here . . . . . . darker than night time's dusk . . . . .what we need is something to blow the cobwebs away!

Here's a beauty from Hear Rock City . . . . . 

The Who - Rockpalast 1981 - Hear Rock City



As they say they even had a hit round this time with a favourite late song of mine ' You Better You Bet' Great song and funny too!

Download it now and for Pete's sake  . . . TURN IT UP
Dance round the living room in your pants . . . . I know I am! (WHO are you talking to? ED) 

Thanks smoker . . . . non-smoker!

Monday, November 23, 2020

 Having said there wasn't much news today there came into my postbox the latest Newsletter from Aquarium Drunkard with a couple of items that caught my eye

The Aquarium Drunkard Picture Show, Episode V

Reverberating from the hills of Glassell Park, CA, a half-hour canyon of sound featuring the sonic stylings of Spacemen 3, Stereolab, Brigitte Fontaine, the best John Cale performance (ever?!), and mucho mas. Episode five of the AD Picture Show ... now at aquarium drunkard.

And just a warning from the idiotic one-liner . . . . 'the drugs don't work and nobody with any sensibility or 'woke' awareness takes them anymore (seriously what ARE you talking about?)

Not exactly sure I agree that this is the best ever live John Cale performance but hey, I'm a fan and it is fun! Andy Summers (Police) on guitar, Ollie Halsall 2nd guitar [SG] overalls and madness, Zanna Gregmar keyboards, Pere Colom bass guitar and Miguel Figuerola on drums and John on vocals and menace - broadcast TVE2 December 2, 1981 on Musical Express, Spain.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


We all miss live music, but that doesn't mean there aren't still shows afoot. Case in point: Sunday, November 29th, you can tune into a set by the esteemed Michael Chapman, recorded during lockdown in York’s stunning Merchant Adventurers’ Hall. Titled Ancient & Modern, this performance "represents a look back over his long and illustrious career, featuring classics as well as newer compositions", in addition to a support slot and interview by close friend and mentee, Katie Spencer. 

Enjoy, I know I did

Elizabeth 'Libba' Cotton

 Not much new so far around t'interwebbiewatchamacallit . . . . . .so

What do you notice about this picture? Maybe printed the wrong way round as she appears to be playing the guitar left handed? The strings are round the wrong way? !      Nope . . . . . . . . . 

Libba played it like that!

Legendary folk singer/songwriter, Elizabeth 'Libba' Cotten pictured at home playing her guitar. Unlike most left handed guitarists, Elizabeth didn’t restring the guitar and so she developed a unique playing style of picking the three bass strings with her fingers and the three treble strings with her thumb. This is the opposite of the typical way of playing and was later coined as Cotten Pickin’. She wrote 'Freight Train' you know that song dontcha?!

She is a delight . . . here she plays 'Vastapol' . . . . . 

I think I first came across her as Bobby did 'Oh babe it ain't no lie' and I thought 'Gosh I wonder who wrote that lovely song?'

It was Libba . . . . . 

I also think Bobby turned loads of folk onto 'Shake Sugarree' and certainly introduced the Grateful Dead to it . . . . 

Here she is with her 12 year old Granddaughter, Brenda Evans, singing it. Sweet as . . . . . . 

Cotton Picking style ' In The Sweet By n By'

Have a good week everybody!

Sunday, November 22, 2020


Joan Wasser aka Joan as Police Woman: 

“Jeff was born today 54 years ago and this is what selfies looked like 25 years ago. No cell phones. An actual camera. 2nd Avenue. I needed to get us both in the frame without knowing if I had or not until the film was developed. I miss him every single day and am grateful every one of those days that I got to spend the time with him I did. Live now. It’s so much more fun than living in the past or the future. I’ve tried both and neither work. I’m going to keep living now until I’m no longer living. It’s how I witnessed Jeff live. It’s worth it. 💚 Sending love out to this beautiful and delicate world.” 17th November 1966

Did I know? Had I forgotten that Joan was 'Joan as Police Woman' and had a relationship with Jeff Buckley? That he was involved with her and seemed to have asked her to marry him at the time of his death at 30. I like both and Jeff's death knocked us all sideways and transformed us in some kind of collective shock as we had been excited by such a debut in 'Grace' . . . . .that he had produced quite difficult work just post that astonishing first album is a given to me and that then he should have perished by drowning in the Mississippi River that sounds so dark and foreboding, exotic and on the banks of the home of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain and people drifting on the gambling riverboats which is what sucked Jeff to his death. It all seemed so alien to us here in a continent of European eccentricity, British oddness and less so somehow, than such a mythic place. That he should slip away by the currents of a river of such power and mystique seemed somehow so cruelly unfair and so distressing to those who were so expectant of his early promise. Joan I think comes into that somehow American oddness, its peculiarity  . . . its otherness. I first registered her as 'Joan as Police Woman' of course and thought at the time now THAT is the strangest title for a singer, are they a band? What IS going on? . . . . . I know something of what is going on now and admire the plain fact that she can sing and write and reinvent herself  . . . if she chooses

Jeff here . . . .

Joan As Police Woman

'Grace' . . . . . live on The BBC 'The Late Show' - N.B. if you listen to just one thing today, make it this live performance of Jeff at his very zenith . . . . .  

Joan's Holy City . . . . 

Intriguingly enough (well for me) Floppy Boot Stomp have posted a set from Jeff's dad, the legendary Tim Buckley, the other day and I found both of those things at the same time . . . 

Though it seemed Jeff had conflicting ambivalent feelings about his dad and understandably so (he was brought up Scott 'Scottie' Moorhead and self described his upbringing as 'rootless trailer trash' he only met his father once at the age of eight and only later discovered his true name when faced with his birth certificate and changed his name back while his family continued to call him 'Scottie') it seemed apposite here to make the connection . . . .both lost to us for very differing reasons both are terrifying losses of the truest of creative forces in both father and son



A very happy 70th birthday to Tina Weymouth, bassist with Talking Heads, born as Martina Michèle Weymouth in Coronado, California on this day in 1950. 

Cool babies, strange, but not a stranger.

365 degrees!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

America viewed from Across The Pond


Someone on Quora asked "Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?" Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:

A few things spring to mind.

Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.

For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.

So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump's limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.

I don't say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman.

But with Trump, it's a fact. He doesn't even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.

And scarily, he doesn't just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It's all surface.

Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront.

Well, we don't. We see it as having no inner world, no soul.

And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist.

Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.

He's not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat.

He's more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully.

That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead.

There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think 'Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy' is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:

• Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.

• You don't need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss.

After all, it's impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.

God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.

He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.

In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish:

'My God... what... have... I... created?

If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.

Source: jobsanger: 

 for Silent Way and Jobe over at VW and FBS


So I couldn't find any music to post this morning so there's this. My art series (occasional) discusses or illustrates some aspects of the art world that surprise or enlighten me. I might claim to be quite knowledge where the visual arts are concerned and consider myself a 'modernist' and regularly find my answers on quizzes like University Challenge are always augmented by the arts. True surprises are there few therefore and I always enjoy new discoveries. This is no exception. I hope this doesn't sound arrogant but please bear in mind it is really all I ever wanted to do from a precocious youngster to a practicing artist myself I found I was always more interested in what everyone else was doing and Fine Art is the subject of my first degree (under the tutelage of Fred Orton the noted historian and composer Gavin Bryars as I frequently mention) It is not meant to sound arrogant and there are huge holes in my knowledge not least the Renaissance and earlier. I am, as I say, nothing if not a modernist . . . . . . . 

Before one of our greatest ever painters found his true voice he was an interior designed and here's an example of his frankly beautiful designs from interiors . . . . the master Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, ‘Rug’, circa 1929. Wool. 83⅝ x 50⅜ in  © The Estate of Francis Bacon

Firstly check the date. I know he was being creative was early as that! Extraordinary man. Secondly look at this truly beautiful design I might have said 50s even sixties but no 1929!


Saturday 21/11/2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020


 A year with swollen appendages - 25th Anniversary edition

The diary and essays of Brian Eno republished twenty-five years on with a new introduction by the artist in a beautiful hardback edition.

My copy of the Brian Eno Diary 25th 
Anniversary Edition arrived just now and I am excited to read it (again) and register the differences in this edition. It is a beautiful hard back production from Faber & Faber and I am very pleased. Beautiful binding. Having ordered it so many months ago now I must admit when told I had a delivery to expect today I had almost forgotten what it was I had ordered (from Amazon) and thus when I worked out what it was I got excited about it all over again. 

'A cranium tour of one of the most creative minds of our age . . . [Eno] delivers razor-sharp commentary with devilish snarkiness and brutal honesty.' Wired

I think I have mentioned before that I first really discovered Brian Eno seriously through my tutor at Art School in Leicester, the composer Gavin Bryars, and have followed his work ever since (well both of them!). Brian came and lectured to us and I was struck by how interesting the man from what I thought of solely as the Pop Music world of Roxy Music fame was and I felt I was in the presence of a polymath even then. [Can't say I approve of the pissing in a Duchamp but hey we all make mistakes and upon mature reflection this may prove to be a low. Not the time for art student pranks Brian!] 

Brian Eno by Tom Phillips



Jobe over on the
Voodoo Wagon has posted a doozie this morningafter the superb Verve stufff t'other day
Here's a rarity, Urban Hymns Outtakes! Superb stuff. Everybody's favourite Verve album and these takes are not to be missed . . . . 

J Adams writes:
Compiled for the album’s 20th anniversary super deluxe edition, the tracks were vetoed by Ashcroft for reasons undisclosed but understandable: collectively, they’re a startling glimpse into the classic record Urban Hymns almost was and could readily have been, fatally undercutting the notion that it was basically a solo effort with a few psychedelic jams tacked on.




SonicLoveNoize has turned up trumps this morning (when doesn't he ever?) and those of you visiting here could do worse than drop over and avail yourselves of this excellent Wings Live set he has compiled. I have said before I came across the page 'Albums That Never Were' when looking for a Captain Beefheart - It Comes To You in a Plain Brown Wrapper and his projects are true labours of love recreating classic, sometimes mythical, missing legendary albums and projects of love they are too. Plain Brown Wrapper is uniformly excellent as they usually are. It is also worth mentioning in these days of sound bites and little bitty short attention spans his notes on these projects are superb and always insightful and enlightening. This is a great one and worth a read and enjoy the superb quality throughout. 
My wife and I were card carrying members of the Wings fan club through the seventies and love this period of C -Moon, Little Woman Love, Hi Hi Hi etc but this covers his classics too with Blackbird, Maybe I'm Amazed, Let Me Roll It to Band on The Run etc. Superb!

Mark Heggen - cover artwork

Sonic says:

This is a reconstruction of the proposed 1974 live in-the-Abbey Road studio album One Hand Clapping by Paul McCartney & Wings. Originally meant as the studio rehearsals for a 1974 Wings Over Australia tour that never happened, the proceedings were filmed for a possible film release, akin to The Beatles’ Get Back project eight years earlier. Despite the high quality of live studio performances—especially of the then-unreleased “Soily”--McCartney shelved the entire project, as was the fate of a number of other self-financed Wings film projects throughout the 70s and 80s. This reconstruction attempts to replicate what a double-LP release in 1974 could have been like, using the best possible sources, including official releases and painstakingly-remastered bootleg recordings. All tracks have been sequenced in the actual recording order, spread across four sides of a vinyl record.

Wings - 'One Hand Clapping' - Albums That Never Were