|08-05-2011, 12:04 AM||#62 (permalink)|
The last installment of filler travel photography for 2011.
March 29 - April 4: Bristol, Cardiff, and London
One of my favourite pieces found in Bristol during the Banksy scavenger hunt I undertook.
Room inside Cardiff castle, which is the only interesting thing in Cardiff, perhaps even Wales. This room is plated in gold.
Westminster Abbey, London.
The London Eye on my final night in the UK.
The last photograph I took in England, Big Ben at night.
|08-07-2011, 02:41 PM||#63 (permalink)|
stupid bitch can fly
You could have told me that those were professional and I wouldn't have batted an eye...g'job.
|08-11-2011, 03:33 PM||#65 (permalink)|
Aspiring e01: Draft 2, Part 1.
An exhausted Michael trudges up the staircase of an apartment. The steps are worn. A dented fire exit sign blinks ominously at the top of the flight in the hall. A large, dark red smear appears opposite the door of apartment #42. Michael looks around nervously, and checks the newspaper he is holding.
On it is the last address on a list of rental properties, the others crossed neatly, or scribbled furiously out. The last listing visibly reads: "Giant skinny idiot and moody, anal bitch seeking imaginary roommate willing to suffer endless condescention for room and board". There are notes visible in the margin, cut off by the edge of the shot. Michael hesitates. He knocks.
There is an audible yelp, and a clatter from inside. A woman's voice says "get the door!" and a man responds "I haven't finished!". The woman tells him to go. The door opens quckly, halfway shielding the room from view. Michael stands with a confused frown on his face. Adam leans in the doorway, holding the door firmly in place. He is dissheveled. His tie is askew, wearing a uniform polo shirt, and it is untucked from his pants on one side. A woman fumbles and curses out of shot behind the door.
Adam: Can I help you? (He appears smooth and calm His height fills the frame of the door. His voice is casual, cool)
Michael: Er- (Gestures behind him with his thumb over his shoulder, appearing to feel awkward and suggesting he go.)
The door opens fully, and Charlotte stands next to, slightly behind Adam. Her hands are on her hips, she appears irritated. She is wearing a plastic visor and a man's shirt, the sleeves rolled up. Her hands are stained with black ink. She has a paintbrush gritted in her teeth like a cigar, and the appearance of a newspaper editor in the 50s. She gives Michael, in his smart casual business attire, the up and down. Michael leans left, to look past her. The makings of a printing press are in the room behind, hastily covered with a blanket, and spitting out pages of cheques.
Charlotte: We're working on it. You'll have it in the morning. (She exchanges a nervous glance with Adam, fidgets.)
Michael: Oh, um. I'm actually here about the, uh, room for rent... (He says quietly, awkwardly trailing off).
Charlotte: (Her eyes widen, she looks relieved). Welcome aboard!
Adam: (In the same breath, grabs Michael's hand and shakes it vigorously, grinning) When can you move in?
End cold open, runs titles.
Adam is trudging up the apartment stairwell in his work uniform. He hits his head on the fire exit sign, as he does every time he comes home.
Adam: OW, FU-- (He palms his head in pain and annoyance)
The scene aprubtly cuts him off, censoring him, and shows him reaching his apartment door. It is covered in envelopes reading 'past due' in red. Inside, Charlotte is frowning at a letter. She sees Adam, and passes it to him, looking distressed. Adam takes it, squinting and frowning at it.
Adam: ...Failure to produce full amount shown will result in termination of the rental blah-de-blah, what is this?
Charlotte: (Turns the letter over, where it reads in bold red letters 'EVICTION NOTICE'). The land overlord wants its rent by Friday, Adam. I've for $25. When do you get paid?
Adam: (Not looking at Charlotte, subtlety shuffles a couple of steps back from her, childishly). I... might have... quit my job today.
Charlotte: (Sharply, nostrils flaring). Might have. That's interesting. Do go on.
Adam: (Defensively, speaking quickly, pitch escalating) This is the third time my cheque has been late! It's their fault my half is always late!
Charlotte: (Containing anger, nodding sharply) Of course. That is completely rational. I can't pay my rent this month. Naturally, I should quit my job to ensure that I am unable to pay my rent. Ever. (Throws pile of 'past due' notices at him.) What were YOU THINKING?
Adam: (Defensively) So we'll find another place, Charlotte!
Charlotte: (Panicked, she shakes her head furiously, she's becomes serious) We must live here. Adam. The apartment faces South, Adam. The convenience store is next door and there are no children on our floor. We. Will. Find. Income. (Pacing)
Scene moves to a grubby apartment covered in trash, where two manboys in wrinkled dress shirts sit on a stained couch playing videogames. Michael enters the apartment in his work attire with a black messenger bag slung across his chest. He appears frustrated and disappointed, looking from the guys on the couch, taking turns smoking dope and laughing cheetos, to the socks hanging from the curtain rod. He sighs and throws his head back. A look of disgusted confusion crosses his face. The ceiling fan is shown slowly rotating with a chicken wing stuck to it.
Michael: (exasperated) Simon. Nick. We've got to talk-
Nick: OOOooooh! Right in the THROAT. Look at him SPURT.
Simon: (laughing) You are the goddamned MAN. (Notices Michael) Oh, hey, Michael. Mike. Mikey-mike. Listen, we've got to talk.
Nick: (Videogame pause sound, turns to look at Michael in his seat). About this roommate arrangement. It's not working out.
Simon: (Speaking with his hands, as if to an employee) We're seeing a clash of personalities, and we're going to have to let you go.
Nick: It's nothing personal, we just think you're a depressing nag.
Simon: (His phone rings, an obscene ringtone. He answers, nodding while he speaks. Nick checks his watch.) Right. Yes. Be right in. (Hangs up) Emergency apendectomy. (Digs stethoscope out of couch and shakes joint from his hospital forceps).
Nick: (begins picking papers up from the floor, table, and couch, throwing them in a briefcase) Can you swing me by the courthouse on the way? Got a divorce at one o'clock. Bastard can't win, but I did cut a deal with his wife. Do us a favour and be out by tomorrow, hey Mike?
The two leave the apartment a mess, Michael standing shocked and alone. He palms his face in his hands, moves them to cover his mouth.
Michael: (Stunned) ...But this is my apartment. (He stares off towards the floor. The chicken wing falls behind him, hitting the floor audibly, but he takes no notice).
Charlotte and Adam stand outside on opposite ends of the apartment lawn covered in tables and littered with miscellaneous junk. Charlotte has a clip board. Adam stands with a customer, hand on the top of a dusty stereo.
Adam: It's new. Well mostly. It's a couple of years old. Ten. Superb sound. Needs new wiring. Otherwise, it's mint. (The customer shakes their head in disbelief, and walks away muttering. It cuts to Charlotte.)
Charlotte: (Standing with a college student in a college t-shirt, muscular, with a hairstyle heavily gelled). It's a single-stem vase. The glass is hand blown.
Kid: (Dumbly) Dude. If I drill a hole here, and tap a pipe in it... (gestures at the vase)
Charlotte: (quickly, snatching the vase) You know, I just remembered, I keep my grandma's ashes in this. In the winter. Yeah. Good old gram. Likes a change of scenery. (Nods awkwardly, it cuts to Adam.)
Adam: (Sitting in an armchair) And look! It reclines! (He reclines, then struggles to stand up from the chair without returning it to the normal position. Once he's out of the chair, a bullet hole with stuffing coming out, and a bloodstain where the heart would be are visible. Pointing, he says) That was there when I got it. (Flaps his hands ) Just put a slipcover on it. (Grabs Mexican blanket without looking, tosses it on the chair quickly, still looking at the customer. He grins. The customer appears afraid. It cuts back to Charlotte)
Charlotte: (Standing with a customer and an end table, staring at a clipboard and checking a list) A non-smoking home? Children? Intended for hallway useage? Threat of sun damage? Sheduled dusting? (Customer alternates between nodding and shaking head)
Customer: ...Can I have the table?
Charlotte: (Hesitates) ...No. (Customer throws up hands and walks off. Charlotte is joined by Adam.)
Adam: How'd you make out?
Charlotte: Well. I sold a lampshade. And a sweater. So. Five bucks.
Adam: But you had loads of people there.
Charlotte: (Sniffs) Pedestrians. They weren't willing to commit to my investments. What about you?
Adam: Well, I sold an old stereo for $20.
Charlotte: Good start, good start.
Adam: ...But then a guy showed me these. (Abruptly holds up a pair of lightsaber drumsticks) So. Negative ten bucks.
In slowed motion, Charlotte frustratedly pushes a load of junk off of the table, while Adam contentedly air-drums to the side.
Michael is shown walking up to a decrepit house. A woman sits on the stoop outside in a long skirt, her legs spread, and her underwear around her ankles. She leans against the porch column with a curling iron tangled in her ratty hair. Loud music pounds from down the street. Nervously, Michael skirts around the woman on the step and knocks on the door. The door opens a crack, via the chain, and a skinny man wearing goggles, rubber gloves, and his underpants is visible.
Michael: (in disbelief) I'm sorry, is this a crack den?
Underpants: (looks at Michael, looks past him) Don't be an idiot, man-
Woman: (Inturrupts, mutters) Brothel.
Michael: Come again? (Looks round at her)
Woman: (slumps backwards, says airily) It'll cost you...
Underpants: (shrugs, scratches testicles out of shot)
Scene Ends. Consider this a commercial break.
|08-12-2011, 02:17 PM||#66 (permalink)|
Aspiring e01: Draft 2, Part 2
Scene moves to Adam and Charlotte's apartment. Charlotte is sitting on the couch, an adorable piggy bank on the coffee table in front of her. She holds a meat tenderizer. Adam abruptly stands next to her as she raises the mallet, wearing a black sweater and pair of pants. He's wearing a toque, which he rolls down over his face, revealing three poorly cut holes, two for his eyes, and one misplaced entirely.
Adam: What do you think?
Charlotte: (Glances at him disinterestedly, returns her attention to the piggy bank) You're celebrating Halloween early? You're attending a funeral in Canada? (slowly aiming the mallet at the ceramic pig)
Adam: I'm going to rob a convenience store. Come with?
Charlotte: I think I'll sit this one out, if you don't mind.
Adam: Suit yourself. (turns to leave the apartment)
Charlotte: Forgetting something?
Adam: (scoffs) You don't think I'm going to do it, do you? How little you know about me.
Charlotte: Not like that you're not. Unless you're going to condescend them to death.
Adam: Oh, right. (Shuffles off to his room, comes back with a paintball gun) I'm off then.
Charlotte shakes her head, and the scene progresses in fast motion as she smashes the bank, counts and divides all the change, and Adam comes running back into the flat, collapsing on the couch, clutching a box of diapers.
Charlotte: How'd it go, Jason Statham?
The scene cuts to a convenience store where a young man with an eyebrow piercing is sitting with his feet on the counter, reading a dirty magazine. He is wearing the same work polo Adam was seen in earlier. Adam stomps into the store, skids in front of the counter. The clerk looks up slowly from his magazine. Adam bounces on the balls of his feet nervously, gestures at the till.
Adam: (stammers) Everything in the till.
Clerk: (Looks blankly at him, up and down, he has an accent) ...Where are you going to put it all?
Adam: In... in... my... pants. That's really not your concern. Just give me the money. Please. (He gestures wildly with the paintball gun, which goes off, shooting red paint at a display of diapers at the end of the aisle. Red paint is spattered between the eyes of the baby on the box)
Clerk: ...Adam? (He stands and leans over the counter, pulls off Adam's mask, and grins, punching him in the shoulder) Christ, son, I thought I was going to be on an episode of Cops for a minute. Or America's Funniest Home Videos.
Adam: (Laughs falsely, does a mock karate move) Did you see your face? Er, no, of course you didn't... (A moment's awkward silence passes.)
Clerk: I'm gonna need you to buy that, mate. (Points to the damaged diapers)
Adam: Right. Of course. (Drops him a fistfull of dollars, takes the diapers, and leaves the store.)
A fast-motion shot of Adam leaving the store and running across the lawn, next door to the apartment is shown.
The scene cuts to Michael sitting on a couch in a nice basement suite, speaking to a landlord standing across from him. The room is pleasantly renovated and designed, in clean, plain colours.
Michael: Newly renovated. Washer, dryer. Air conditioning. Dishwasher. Central heating. This is ideal.
There is a slam of a door, and the sound of many stomping feet. Children begin to shriek and squeal. Dust falls from the ceiling.
Michael: The Pied Piper lives upstairs?
Landlord: There's an after school daycare upstairs. Rowdy lot, but they're good kids.
There is a sound of shattering glass, and a woman starts fruitlessly demanding that the children calm down.
Michael: ...I'll see myself out.
Cuts to Michael coming outside from the suite. There are children running amok, kicking balls and playing tag on the lawn. A child runs up to Michael and stares up at him.
Michael: Hey, buddy.
The child kicks him forcibly in the shin, and runs off. Michael falls, grabbing his leg in pain, and then sits with his head in his hands exasperatedly. A wiffle ball bat comes cartwheeling from offscreen, and strikes him in the head.
The scene moves to Charlotte and Adam standing at a counter in an office reading "The Daily Spew". A bored looking woman is playing with her hair and improperly completing a sudoku behind the counter. Adam leans on the counter, wearing a band t-shirt.
Adam: We'd like to place an ad, for a roommate.
Woman: (Not listening) Buying or selling?
Adam: Well, renting. We're trying to find a roommate.
Woman: (bored drawl) Does this look like the Missing Persons office?
Charlotte: (Grabs the woman's pencil out of her hand, snaps it in half, and holds the pieces in front of the woman's face) We're placing an ad. Now write this down. (Hands her the pointed end) "Room for rent. No pets. No children. No loud music. Self sufficient, intelligent individual. Reliable. Hygienic. Preferably has no friends and is rarely home."
Money is exchanged. Adam and Charlotte leave. The woman types furiously on her computer, what is to be the advertisement seen at the beginning of the episode.
The scene returns to where the episode began. The three are now standing in a room with a drum kit and a number of paintings being stored in it.
Adam: We'll clear all of this out and it'll be your room.
Charlotte: We can get you in here tomorrow, if you like.
Michael: (Brightly) Thank you, I appreciate this so much. If there's anything I can do-
The power abruptly goes out, and they are left standing in the dark.
Adam: ...Can you pay the electric bill?
As the credits roll, outtakes from the episode play.
Charlotte and Adam busk on the front lawn of the apartment for money. Adam plays a bongo, and Charlotte strums a poorly tuned ukelele, singing a song about paying rent. There are a few pennies in the ukelele case. A passerby stops to throw a bit of partially eaten donut in the case.
Michael is shown walking nervously down the sidewalk in the ghetto. A man walks his cat on a leash on the opposite side of the street. A door opens, and a man comes onto his porch with a rifle. He fires a shot at the man with the cat. Michael panics and hides in a bush.
Adam is shown in his makeshift disguise, sneaking across the front lawn. He hides behind trash cans and bushes. He somersaults, and crawls across the remainder of the lawn on his belly, the paintball gun slung over his back.
|08-13-2011, 01:40 PM||#67 (permalink)|
Tread the Streets
I could live like this.
Cracking seashells underfoot
We slept like farm animals
Strangers in the streets
And fistfights all around.
We laughed bitterly.
And now I've moved on again,
White-washed and vintage
A carnival at sea.
Fresh paint and salt and
The gypsies on the beach.
This is the first that I've felt lonely,
But I could live like this for sure.
|09-07-2011, 01:11 PM||#68 (permalink)|
Art as a Commodity; an indirect response to an article by The Quietus
Ever since I can remember, I have drawn. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom taking the special coloured pencils off of the top shelf so I could recreate the world as I saw it, bright and surreal and inexplicable. The world around me encouraged my budding young artist with awe and recognition. I came to identify myself as an artist. My artwork is what is remembered by my highschool, acknowledged in the awards and displays I left with them. My artwork is what is remembered by my yearbook, noted in dozens of doodles in margins and "Most likely to"s. My artwork is what will be remembered by my graduating classmates in eight years when we converge around picnic tables to misremember the past.
These recollections cause me to look at an ignorant and short-sighted society with bafflement and bitterness. There is a canyon spanning the entire artistic world between art being valued enough to place it on a pedestal and treat it as necessity, and being valued so little that the ambitions and livelihood of those who create it are threatened. How is art meant to function when it's founded in childhood and demolished during adulthood? Why are artists expected to work for free when no other profession would consider it?
This topic brings to mind a day some months ago when my youthful artistic energy experienced a resurgence. I'd just finished some pieces I'd been working on for years, portraits of individuals who inspire me, and I had wanted to share my art with the world, and continue to create it. Hopefully, I'd taken my work to businesses and galleries locally to inquire about a means of display. I spoke to the artists and business owners, and what I learned amounted to the following.
You will not make money off of your art unless you are creating what people wish to purchase. People do not want portraits of people they do not know. What people want from artwork is limited in scope. I have seen this for myself as a member of public internet galleries where the most popular pieces of art are displayed foremost. Girls looking to the side. Cats. Close ups of eyes. Rainbows. Cute cartoon girls. Fanart. Artistic nudes. Brightly coloured landscapes. These are the images that people wish to fill their lives with, and if you produce anything else, they could not care less.
As far as I am concerned, there is nothing artistic about creating something you don't feel anything for just because it's what other people wish to view. Art is not about fulfilling demands. To be an artist is not to be a slave, and it is not to create work without soul. I would prefer to create that which I feel strongly about and have it seen only by my mother, than answer the requests of others and feel bitter about my work. It is endlessly frustrating to be told "You're so good, why don't you do something!" and "I'm not really interested in what you've made" in the same breath.
This thoughtless consumption of art is prevalent in all mediums, visual and performance, but I feel that no branch of artwork is as trivialized and taken for granted as visual art. Visual art is undervalued and pointless in today's society. It does not even qualify as shallow entertainment. Visual art amounts to a condescending "Bless, isn't that nice". A person could name hundreds of modern superstars in all other mediums; authors, actors, musicians, etc. but you would be hard pressed to find an average person who could name even one remarkable visual artist from our generation. Visual art is a thankless medium, and it dies by the day.
And so my art sits on a back burner, collecting dust and incomplete. My talent lays untapped and squandered as I ignore it in favour of other, more rewarding, but less productive endeavors. When I am asked my least favourite question by friends, family, and strangers, what is my answer? "Why don't you go to art school and do something with your talent?" It is because the word "artist" is a death sentence.
|09-08-2011, 12:21 PM||#69 (permalink)|
Pedestrian's Polaris Prize Coverage 2011
As a proud Canadian and fan of music, I care about the musical output of my native land. Well, I try to. It's no secret that Canada has a long standing history of producing more complete waste than it does nuggets of gold, but in a way that makes this a much easier task.
The Polaris Prize was established in 2006 as Canada's response to the United Kingdom's Mercury Prize, to acknowledge independent musicians and artistic drive annually. The Polaris Prize has a history of recognizing some of my favourite albums and artists, including Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett, and Caribou, as the best that Canada has to offer.
It's only natural then, that after years of admiring the music and following the Polaris Prize, that I should finally commit myself not only to viewing the ceremony, but to familiarizing myself with the long and shortlist of nominees. Starting with the shortlist (anticipating time constraints as the awards are Sept. 19th) I am going to enjoy and evaluate all that the 2011 Polaris has to offer. Bolded are the selections I've already visited during this personal challenge.
Native Speaker is a pretty good neo-psychedelia album, but I think Gang Gang Dance has done the same thing better this year. I do love the album artwork though, I'm big on the colour and texture of it. The vocalist reminds me of some sort of Bjork and singer-I-can't-put-my-finger-on lovechild. If anybody figures that out let me know because these things bother me.
The Suburbs was a complete disappointment for me when it first came out, and to be honest I've only heard it the one time (because I have higher musical priorities), but I do expect it to win the Polaris this year. Personally, I found it repetitive and melodically dull, but it's conquered the Grammys and the Junos, so I expect it to take the Polaris as well. If the Polaris had been around in 2004, I think Funeral would have taken it, and Neon Bible just missed to some other album in 2007, so it's probably time Arcade Fire won. I wouldn't be too fussed about that.
Kaputt was a really pleasant surprise this year, because I've hated the rest of Dan Bejar's work and I really didn't think I was going to like this, but I did. I mean, I even thought unfailingly that his trio of New Pornographers songs were the worst three songs on each New Pornos album. I'm always happy to be proved wrong, and I'd like to see him take the prize.
Tigre et Diesel is probably one of the less interesting albums that I've heard on the list yet, and that's not to say that it's bad, just inconsistently good. It's got quite a fuzzy dance style to it, and I appreciate the fact that it's French Canadian. I wish I had better knowledge of francophone music.
New History Warfare Vol 2: Judges is my least favourite album on this list, and I think it may only be there because the jury felt there was too much Pitchfork indie on the list and it needed a bit of avant garde. New History Warfare is pretty much Steve Reich's Different Trains on saxophone, and I don't think it was accomplished as well, though I do admire the live recording/looping techniques used on it.
Feel it Break might actually be my favourite for the prize. It's nothing particularly ground breaking, but it is quite good electropop. Think the Knife without the pitch shifter. I don't see this taking home the prize though, sadly.
|09-16-2011, 12:41 PM||#70 (permalink)|
Pedestrian's Polaris Prize Coverage 2011
Ron Sexsmith's latest album is clearly the bottom of the shortlist barrel this year. An album of straight-forwards country-tinged pop rock, it's the least creative and challenging album of the shortlist nominees, and ultimately the most unremarkable. Long Player feels like a hits compilation in terms of flow, and fails to take the listener on any kind of journey, leaving you at the end exactly where you began.
House of Balloons might be a Polaris front runner, given the amount of hype it's received this year from fans and critics, but I couldn't help feeling like I'd stain myself if only James Blake had sung the vocals rather than Abel Tesfaye. House of Balloons has a lot of qualities in its favour, from the dark meandering beats to the dream pop samples of Cocteau Twins and Beach House, but it lacks soul, and leaves me wanting for something more.
Hey Rosetta! has a name that strongly suggested "indie flavoured pop punk", but is pretty much just Mumford & Sons without the banjo. Every song is a pleasant, but forgettable folk rock anthem, like so many other artists in the revival movement of the last two years.
Timber Timbre's Creep On Creepin' On is an interesting amalgamation of ideas that doesn't quite succeed. Taking some cues from The Drift era Scott Walker, it blends unsettling horror film themes with 50s rock and roll, to mixed results. I often found myself resenting the repetitive piano and wondering how such an album could lack versatility.
And that's the 2011 Polaris Shortlist. Now that I'm through the nominees, I'll take my time picking through the longlist to decide whether the nominees are valid, or if great work has been shafted this year. All in all, not a bad list of nominees, and not an album I regret listening to in the bunch. Regardless of who wins the award, Canada's done alright this year, and I look forwards to the ceremony on September 19th. Now, of course to make my predictions based on what I've heard!
The Best Chance of Winning: