Sunday, June 22, 2008

Big Brother and Baghdad

I was watching some of the live streaming of this year's Big Brother House on E4 yesterday. I found myself warming to them as they were playing "Top Trumps" with nutritional information panels from food labels!!! That's great, but how bored do you have to be before you do this??? Hahahaha.... then, I realised I was sitting watching people playing Top Trumps with nutritional information panels from food labels...

And this morning, I was amused to discover that Nicholas Witchell is now BBC Baghdad correspondant. This is entertaining because up until quite recently (so recently the BBC website today still shows it as such) he was BBC Royal Correspondant. Notably a couple of years ago Prince Charles was overheard referring to "that man" in the phrase "These bloody people. I can't bear that man. I mean, he's so awful, he really is!" and old Nick never quite seemed comfortable in the role ever since. So whether it was his idea or the Beeb's, I think it's pretty amusing, and we can all make up our fly-on-the-wall version of what went on in the office of the Head of BBC News the day he got his new job .....

As a footnote, I'd like to present the following screendump I got from Seti.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hammering Rain

Hammering Rain
Originally uploaded by pebblesfromheaven
I love weather like this!

So glad we were inside, unlike my neighbours who got a bit wet walking the dog

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Salome - Carol Ann Duffy


I'd done it before

(and doubtless I'll do it again,

sooner or later)

woke up with a head on the pillow beside me -whose? -

what did it matter?

Good- looking, of course, dark hair, rather matted;

the reddish beard several shades lighter;

with very deep lines around the eyes,

from pain, I'd guess, maybe laughter;

and a beautiful crimson mouth that obviously knew

how to flatter...

which I kissed...

Colder than pewter.

Strange. What was his name? Peter?

Simon? Andrew? John? J knew I'd feel better

for tea, dry toast, no butter,

so rang for the maid.

And, indeed, her innocent clatter

of cups and plates,

her clearing of clutter,

her regional patter,

were just what needed -

hungover and wrecked as J was from a night on the batter.

Never again!

I needed to clean up my act,

get fitter,

cut out the booze and the fags and the sex.

Yes. And as for the latter,

it was time to turf out the blighter,

the beater or biter,

who'd come like a lamb to the slaughter

to Salome's bed.

In tile mirror, I saw my eyes glitter.

I flung back the sticky red sheets,

and there, like I said -and ain't life a bitch -

was his head on a platter.

Ahhh!!!! Real Klimts, in the flesh, at Tate Liverpool.


Apologies for my long absence - it's a guilt thing. Too many other things to do, you know how it is. I've been spending far too much time on my flickr account hence the recent linkages, which are very handy indeed.

Update on the blackbirds: we came home one day to find the nest empty, after the babies were almost falling out of it due to their immense size. Our cats didn't seem too bothered; the birds got used to Benny asleep in the middle of the grass and just hopped around her! We saw one of the fledglings later that day but they disappeared after that; we just saw the parents again yesterday and they look as if they are now on their own... guess we'll never know what happened.

As the title of this post suggests, it was something amazing which inspired today's post. This week we've been off work and although a large part of the time was spent doing boring catchy-up type things, we decided to visit Liverpool because I'd heard about the Klimt exhibition.

I went to Liverpool with work a few times but didn't get to hang around much; besides it's changing like a very changeable thing at the moment due to it being European City of Culture 2008. There's a huge Arena now, which is where we parked, just beside the Albert Dock.

The Tate Gallery in Liverpool has Rodin's The Kiss in the foyer, presumably on permanent display. After a short wait (only about 30 mins) just to tease us of course, we entered the Klimt exhibition...... and were first greeted by a great wall covered with a swirly tree-of-life mock up. The ground floor of the gallery is given over to a display of the Beethoven frieze, so straight away the visitor gets to see the delicate gold-leafed meaty art in the flesh. I stood for a while to study the detail of the patterns; in parts rather sketchy but perhaps this was never meant to be scrutenised from 2 feet away...

A hop up in the service lift takes you up to the top floor of the Tate, where the full Klimt experience is felt. The exhibition is not 100% Klimt; now that could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view but because the other bits were Mackintoshes and general art-crafts-deco period, I though it was very well-balanced and broke the gallery up into sections which told the story of what was influencing Klimt's life. I particularly enjoyed seeing photos of the man himself, complete with artist's smock, then a real one alongside (strangely and sadly free from paint).

There are some XXX-rated images in a little side-room which remind you that he was a fully redblooded male who appreciated a special sort of beauty, most of it redheaded!

So there were the landscapes... the nudes ... the women ... all masterpieces.

But my favourite was saved until last ... I can't really describe how I felt when I saw this but it actually made me quite emotional - it was the beauty and the drama, the colours, the shine, the glow, the facial strain, the size, the familiarity and intimacy of an image which I've studied for years in detail, cutting bits off into smaller frames, focusing onto parts of it like knowing the back of my own hand. And here it was, slightly taller than me, face to face, in full colour, in the flesh, with gorgeous goldleaf frame, the real thing. WOW. It's bringing another little tear to my eye right now.

I bring you: Judith II (Salome)...

NB: Salome: Often depicted her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, doing the Dance of the Seven Veils and requesting the death of John the Baptist. Oscar Wilde wrote a play where she makes necrophilic love to the severed head of John the Baptist. Wow!

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