Saturday, 28 February 2009

a loaf and a half

The benefits of doing my rehabilitation back home in Leeds include being served lots of unbeatable home cooking, as documented this week in Nick's marathon diary.

Friday, 27 February 2009


Extract from Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater:

The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later years, were often revived: I could not be said to recollect them, for if I had been told of them when waking, I should not have been able to acknowledge them as parts of my past experience. But placed as they were before me, in dreams like intuitions, and clothed in all their evanescent circumstances and accompanying feelings, I RECOGNISED them instantaneously. I was once told by a near relative of mine, that having in her childhood fallen into a river, and being on the very verge of death but for the critical assistance which reached her, she saw in a moment her whole life, in its minutest incidents, arrayed before her simultaneously as in a mirror; and she had a faculty developed as suddenly for comprehending the whole and every part. This, from some opium experiences of mine, I can believe; I have indeed seen the same thing asserted twice in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I am convinced is true; viz., that the dread book of account which the Scriptures speak of is in fact the mind itself of each individual. Of this at least I feel assured, that there is no such thing as FORGETTING possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever, just as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas in fact we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil, and that they are waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight shall have withdrawn.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

nouveau riche

There's a rather patronising article appeared in today's Times about the proposal to open a V&A museum in Dundee: LINK

"...a strangely charmless, insular, working-class city where one would struggle to find a Starbucks or a good restaurant. Or a citizen taller than 5ft 4in."

Whatever the heights of the residents, will this mean the cost of the rent goes up? I do hope not.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Passengers - He's Speedy Like Gonzales

Wow, what a killer record this is, and such a cool video!

Monday, 23 February 2009


When writing, my usual technique is to splurge everything out in a big stream of consciousness. I'll then go back to tidy up afterwards, pruning the awkward bits out and arranging what's left into something a bit more easily digestible. Circumstances meant that my review of Tracey and Edwin's recent show remains the original unedited draft, but the rough cut is my first gig as Dundee art correspondent for The Skinny. You can read it here: LINK


Now back in Leeds, and owing to the recent period of enforced absence there's a few weeks of my brother's marathon training to catch up on:

Week 5 - bad news, bad weather
Week 6 - get well soon
Week 7 - let's off road!

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Remember those heady days of two weeks ago? Ah, such an innocent time, the world all seemed so fresh and thrilling and new, I had two working hips and a fresh bag of records to play for the eager crowds present at the Epiphany afterparty. Sadly to our disgust the venue had just the one working turntable, a sorry state of affairs for a supposedly professional set-up such as Drouthy’s, one described by my colleague Scott as “an outrage” and he wasn’t wrong. It was the same sketch four months ago for the Yuck ‘n Yum launch. Could NEON really be the only DJs playing vinyl in the whole of Dundee? Still we soldiered on regardless and it actually ended up being a good night, lots of people in attendance, a good time had by all etcetera and so forth. What follows is, I hope, a fairly accurate description of my part of the playlist.

Chris & Cosey – Fantastique (Carl Craig mix)
Rude 66 – Horrified
Unit Black Flight – No Turning Back (Legowelt mix)
Ann-Margret - Midnight Message (Loud-E-Fied Discoproduction)
Purple Flash – We Can Make It
Transport - Computer World (12inch 1985 Computer Edit)
English Electric - DRM (Dicky Trisco mix)
Dennis Parker – Like An Eagle
Ajello – Radiation B-X
Public Relations – Eighty Eight
Sneak-Thief – My Sullen Mistress
Trophy – Slow Flight
No More – Suicide Commando
Mr. Pauli – Jap Fab
Peppermint Lounge – Perfect High
Barry Mason – Body! Get Your Body

Sylvester - I Need Somebody To Love Tonight
Rheingold - Dreiklangs-Dimensionen
One-Two-Three – Midnite Fantasy
Alexander Robotnick - Made In China (Orgue Electronique mix)
Ralphi Rosario – In The Night
Traxx ft Legowelt – Stranger In The Strangest Of Lands
Azoto – Exalt Exalt
Grackle - Disco (Musiccargo mix)
Yello – Vicious Games
Stopp – I’m Hungry (Caramba Mix)
Future Perfect – Sato Agrepo
Black Gold – C’mon Stop

All records mixed the old-fashioned lo-tech way, ie by lifting the needle once the tune ends, taking the record off then cueing up the next. Hardly seamless but still, there were no complaints.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

morphine on demand

Study for a Fractured Femur

Well, I’ve been off sick unable to carry out normal blogging duties for the past two weeks. At last I’m out of hospital, hobbling around on a pair of crutches, finally able to face the outside world carrying a schedule of physio to hopefully see me through to complete rehabilitation.

The whole sorry tale begins the day after NEON/Epiphany (a full report of which is to follow). Having enjoyed a rather late, heavy night unwinding listening to some very abrasive acid 12”s we’d headed to the DCA for breakfast and a beer. After another drink on Union Street I was still perfectly corpus mentis, and so we retired home happy. I felt something pull in my side, whether a muscle or a nerve or what I’m not quite sure, but I hung onto a wheelie bin for balance, trying to stay upright before falling ungraciously to the pavement. Once I went down I couldn’t put any weight at all on my right side. Completely incapacitated, I was helped along by my DJ colleague and a passing good Samaritan down the street and up two flights of stairs to the flat. Once inside, rendered immobile and in much pain I said I would be alright to sleep it off on the sofa. Sunday morning came and with it no respite, still unable to move, still very sore, the faintest twitch being accompanied by a sharp smart of my nerves. NHS 24 suggested an ambulance, and so it was two helpful men arrived with a wheelchair and some laughing gas, ready to escort me down the stairs.

The nitrous oxide took some of the edge off but I remained in a great deal of discomfort. In order to straighten my leg out I was given a generous dose of morphine, certainly the highlight of the weekend thus far, and in a fleeting state of euphoria I was ferried to Ninewells A&E department. I was x-rayed, the diagnosis a fractured femur, and an operation booked for first thing Monday morning. I slept a heavily medicated sleep and was taken to theatre, where I was fed more sleepy drugs in order to have my hip sliced open and a metal plate put in.

From there it was a bed on ward 18, luckily enough by a window with an excellent view, ready to begin a two-week program of pills, physio and much lying inert. Just after the operation I was hooked up to a drip with a little black button to press whenever I felt like medicating myself with a cheeky mini-hit of morphine; sadly access to this facility was only to last a couple of days. Two weeks duly passed, during which time I was immensely grateful for the support of the hospital staff and for the generosity shown by my friends and family who kept me busy with visits, texts, phone calls, books and food. I found the fortnight without any internet to be good for the soul, losing myself deep in a good book for days at a time without the distractions of checking Facebook updates, eBay watched items, Popbitch gossip and the like. Now I’m back in Wormit with my parents who will be putting all my worldly possessions into storage for a few weeks before I move to a new address in March. Tomorrow we’re all heading home to Leeds where I’ll be getting myself fit to negotiate the three flights of stairs leading up to my new place. Truly, if it ain’t one thing then it’s another.

Friday, 6 February 2009

LIFE IS OVER! If You Want It

LIFE IS OVER! If You Want It sees Tracey McKenna and Edwin Janssen use the exhibition as a space for discussion and reflection, staging various events and talks while working in situ for the show’s duration. Large-scale drawings reference the clear-eyed optimism of John & Yoko’s 1970s WAR IS OVER posters, whose black and white graphic clarity contrasts with the often fuzzy ethical questions raised around the subject of assisted suicide, the sloganeering seemingly rendered null and void when faced with such uncertainty. The artists’ recent familial experiences inform a display combining slide projections, drawings, bulletin boards and borrowed historical paintings with particular emphasis being placed on vanitas artworks from Janssen’s native Netherlands. A diverse collection of postcards, compiled during the show, references assorted art-historical sources from the classical to the humble, avant-garde to kitsch, slashes on a Fontana canvas sharing space with Miffy the rabbit mutely contemplating a Mondrian. From the multeity connections are teased out between various images. The wine-quaffing medic in Jan Steen’s 1660 The Doctor’s Visit faces the poignant scenes depicted in the slide show Life, Death and Beauty: The Invisible Looks Back, a series made by Janssen in his parent’s home after his father’s death by voluntary euthanasia. In the projection Life, Death and Beauty: Fear, No Fear McKenna shows a series of drawings and texts developed over the course of the exhibition through dialogue with visitors, the artwork developing as discussions offer more material to document and reflect upon. Throughout the show, the extensive programme of talks and activities, the dialogues and the displays, the project is revealed as something open-ended, fluid and amorphous, its meaning located somewhere in the interactions between anyone who chooses to participate. Death is not presented as an event to happen to any one individual on their own.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Just a note of reminder that tomorrow night is the hotly anticipated closing party for Epiphany. The fun happens in the Lower Foyer Gallery at the college from 5pm.

From 7pm onwards the afterparty is on over the road at Drouthy's, with a super 5-hour hotmix from NEON as the soundtrack. Anyone around the west end locality is urged to attend!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Anyone who knows me will know of my fondness for the lovely music of Serge Gainsbourg. Today's post on Dennis Cooper's blog features a Parisian showcase dedicated to the great man's life and work.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Extract from Edgar Allan Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue:

Had the routine of our life at this place been known to the world, we should have been regarded as madmen--although, perhaps, as madmen of a harmless nature. Our seclusion was perfect. We admitted no visitors. Indeed the locality of our retirement had been carefully kept a secret from my own former associates; and it had been many years since Dupin had ceased to know or be known in Paris. We existed within ourselves alone.

It was a freak of fancy in my friend (for what else shall I call it?) to be enamored of the night for her own sake; and into this bizarrerie, as into all his others, I quietly fell; giving myself up to his wild whims with a perfect abandon. The sable divinity would not herself dwell with us always; but we could counterfeit her presence. At the first dawn of the morning we closed all the massy shutters of our old building; lighted a couple of tapers which, strongly perfumed, threw out only the ghastliest and feeblest of rays. By the aid of these we then busied our souls in dreams--reading, writing, or conversing, until warned by the clock of the advent of the true Darkness. Then we sallied forth into the streets, arm in arm, continuing the topics of the day, or roaming far and wide until a late hour, seeking, amid the wild lights and shadows of the populous city, that infinity of mental excitement which quiet observation can afford.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

back in the groove

As discussed previously, my brother Nick is preparing to run the London Marathon in April. He has updated his blog with a post on his progress: LINK

Looks like being something of an endurance test, heavy legs and snow flurries and all.