small beer iv

this is good timing.

flaubert was a compulsive wordsmith – each novel obsessively rewritten, a constant stream of words. the torture of language – consciousness. 

i read a wonderful interview (some time ago) with leonora carrington (a notorious liar) where she describes a meeting with george bataille in a caff. while they sat there talking he was having a cheeky barclays under the table.

maybe it’s that it is so obvious that it is so rarely pointed out that so much of art is a product of the artists compulsive behaviour.


d by ben varney
d, a photo by ben varney on Flickr.

this is an older piece – three or four years i think. it holds some importance to me.

i entered it into to the ra summer show that year & when i went to collect it (it was rejected) i was in the neighbourhood so i took it to a small gallery off coin street.

i asked the woman at the counter if she would mind me showing her artwork. her eyes glazed over but she politely assented & when she saw the piece she visibly perked up. ‘very interesting’ she said ‘we only sell large n colourful though’ – indicates to huge canvases covered in blobs of oil paint and a massive reproduction (probably rendered in acrylics) of a still from ‘good, the bad & the ugly’ – clint squinting past a cigar (he only squints because otherwise he looks too young). ‘do you do anything large n colourful?’

either the question was rhetorical or my demeanour undermined my claims that i could…

this piece was framed & given to the subject as was originally promised.

and since that meeting in 2008 or whenever, it is my ambition: large n colourful. after all, rent needs paying.


An artist can be imitated; the critic is inimitable, and priceless. How could one imitate a critic? I ask myself this. Moreover, the interest would be thin, very thin. We have the original, he suffices for us. Whoever said that criticism was easy did not say something very remarkable. It is even shameful to have said this: one should pursue him for at least a kilometer or two.

Eric Satie, Vanity Fair, 1921. (full article).


fear of failure seems to be the greatest demotivating force…

not just in financial terms but artistic.


small beer ii

The world of the concentration camps… was not an exceptionally monstrous society. What we saw there was the image, in a sense a quintessence, of the infernal society into which we are plunged.

Eugen Ionesco, 1956. Quoted by Henry Marcuse, 1964. Related by Peter Nesbit in ‘Joseph Beuys: Mapping the Legacy’ (Ed. Gene Ray) 2001. It coincided with Beuys’ own response to the holocaust.


‘Sentimental Education’ (Flaubert) is quite boring. tightly written – very precise – and oppressive in its detail. the reader is given no opportunity to step out from the relentless reality of its protagonist(s). and their failure to step out of it.




there is an astonishing rhythm to adriaen brouwer – few painters achieve it. goya and daumier achieve it – rembrandt takes it to another level but brouwer always has this phenomenal movement across the page – particularly in the face.

he was of the genre painters depicting tavern life, poverty & (in this case) dentistry.


i have yet to find a book on him. the wikipedia page is pretty sparse.  maybe someone should write one.


more of this sort of thing here.

travesty ii

Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes;
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.”


“Wow! wow! wow!”

“I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!”

“Wow! Wow! Wow!”

(Lewis Carroll)


Speak gently to the little child!
  Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild: —
    It may not long remain.
 Speak gently to the young, for they
   Will have enough to bear —
Pass through this life as best they may,
   ‘T is full of anxious care!
by David Bates see here for the rest.



the times seem to be going feudal.

something i though some time back.


once a person has paid good money for another persons dirty linen – to protect their ‘capital’ (the worth of said smalls) – any length must be gone to ensuring the prevalence of the culture which produced it and promoted cultural detritus to philosophical significance, the significance needs to take on a form of immortality and is carefully linked to contemporariness notions of credit versus capital.


worth as abstracted from the gold standard ( ‘cost of sustenance’  – cost in work / effort / hours / land) by how many decades is equal to meaning as abstracted meaning – how many persons removed from the experience from which a philosophy is derived.

received knowledge.