Monday, 31 May 2010


My sickly laptop's still with the Apple store in Glasgow having emergency surgery. It'll hopefully be back amongst the living in about a week, and until its safe return posting will be sporadic .

Friday, 28 May 2010

TH4Y review

Alasdair Smith

Alasdair Smith

Rachel McLean

Rachel McLean

For the past decade the Generator’s annual graduate showcase They Had Four Years has firmly established itself as the platform for many a glittering art career. Since last year the field for shortlisted artists has been expanded to take in colleges from across Scotland, making the show a reasonably accurate gauge of the national scene. On those terms 2010 proves itself an especially fine vintage. The three artists each use film as part of an installation to strikingly different ends. On entering the building, the audience finds itself in a distinctly retro-looking waiting room that houses Alasdair Smith’s Maarhaysu Institute. This mysterious “outsider science organisation” produces ULTRA SCIENTIFICA, a vintage TV series presented by Prof. Ahabraham Sexian whose credentials could maybe use some verification. “If you wish to make a meat pie from scratch, you must first invent meat” Sexian intones solemnly. Amid the potted plants and office furniture a few giggles start breaking out among the Institute’s visitors. Meanwhile next door the vividly coloured digital video of Edinburgh alumnus Rachel MacLean is casting a hyper-radiant glow. ‘Going Bananas!’ gives the lurid spectacle of bunny girls being chased by the titular fruit with cameos from Jesus and Paris Hilton. Projected into a gallery populated by gaudy pseudo-religious icons, the sensation is akin to finishing off a whole bag of fizzy Haribo sweets in the space of ten minutes. It’s sickly yet compulsive. In the final room Jonathan Long’s work ‘From A, C, P and W’ presents a tone that’s a marked contrast, a stop frame animation that employs the conventions of horror films to poignant and disquieting effect. Pulsating sounds reverberate onto the viewer as imagery of flying knives and an onlooking eye are edited to communicate a taut, forbidding narrative of impending doom. Taken together this edition of TH4Y is a truly varied and accomplished affair, auguring well for all involved.

AGK ad

I might be a bit infrequent in my posting at present. Yesterday I had a disaster and spilt tea on my laptop, leading to the inevitable loss of working order. I'm taking it to the Apple store in Glasgow tomorrow and hoping something can still be salvaged from it.

Anyway, for now there's still opportunity for me to hype Yuck 'n Yum's forthcoming AGK. Allow Andrew and Gayle to helpfully explain all:

The embedding on Blogger seems to a bit skewiff, probably best you follow the link to the YouTube page.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Dundee degree show 2010 review (The Skinny)

Neil Ogg

My review of the degree show has now been published in The Skinny: LINK

Monday, 24 May 2010

Dundee degree show 2010 review

(The extended edit)

Sara Aziz, Smile!

Sara Aziz, The Smells

After last year’s sabbatical in the Greenmarket’s Vision building, the 2010 edition of Dundee’s degree show returns to its alma mater at the Duncan of Jordanstone college. Visitors to its labyrinthine corridors are seeking a crop of Fine Art graduates whose handiwork can likely be hidden away somewhere in a forgotten corner. You’re really best advised to collect a map from reception on the way in. One such example is the work of Chloe Windsor, whose cosmic arrangements of pyramids and assorted mystical offerings fashion a celestial gift from humble means, all buried deep within the bowels of the Matthew building’s sculpture workshops. Next door Anne Rachel Ward’s display presents an ersatz Eden, a menagerie of bloated birds of paradise, their forms crafted from metal and modroc, sat sharing floor space with a tree saturated in shiny bright bold gloss paint. Sir David Attenborough can be thankful for such a worthy tribute.
Away from all these natural and supernatural wonders, the Matthew’s renowned Time-Based Art department resides, housing the work of Stephen Bloe. His Research Laboratory of Electronic Progress gives us rickety spools of cut-up magnetic tape, their hums, whirrs, clicks and pops carrying happy echoes of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s auditory pioneers. The aesthetic is Doctor Who meets Drexciya by way of the garden shed and this surely is a good thing. Elsewhere in the college, other artists seize their chance to reinterpret the everyday. Over in the Crawford corridor Neil Ogg’s installation combines striplighting, a wheelie bin and a wall of delicately rendered prints of tabloid front pages, their finely worked details a contrast to the hysteria glaring from the headlines. Similarly quotidian, downstairs Lyndsey Redford has made paintings on the insides of book covers and folders in a series entitled Thoughts On Everyday Life. Markedly more shadowy shapes are cast by Mary Somerville, who creates a quietly epic installation incorporating intricate model architecture and stop-motion animation. Her film of Sirius the Dog Star and a wandering, doddering Dog is an affecting, poetic amble around in the darkness. A more starkly pronounced anxiety pervades Fiona Gordon’s ink drawings and litho prints. Unruly black ink drips and smears across a dystopia of surveillance cameras, scissors and falling share prices, a malignant landscape of ruin.
As ever the sheer volume of art here can seem like a similar threat. Still, the cartoons of Sara Aziz provide a highlight of the show. Smart, dexterous black and white cartoons finished in a fine line and displayed either salon style or painted directly onto the gallery walls, we see two downtrodden figures stood waiting for a bus. One is marked ‘the smell of booze’, the other ‘the smell of curry’. It tickled my ribs, at least.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


A selection of music videos that I've posted to my Facebook page over the past week or so:

Friday, 21 May 2010

Degree show 2010

To the 2010 Duncan of Jordanstone degree show yesterday and today. I took a few photos of what I thought looked interesting, and here they are:

Neil Ogg

Neil Ogg

Anne Rachel Ward

Sara Aziz

Sara Aziz

Lyndsey Redford

Gillian M. Smith

Chloe Windsor

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Day Before You Came Abba made Joy Division sound like Jive Bunny


From the DC blog:

JoeM said... David E, Mamma Mia still makes me cringe - I thought it was because of all that un-ABBA like sunshine, but of course Priscilla showed you could do the sunny side of ABBA and still be brilliant.

But they are Swedish and I'm Scottish so I just wish someone would do Dark ABBA. So many of their songs are bleak: Day Before You Came, Winner Takes It All, Knowing me Knowing You and of course Tiger.

_Black_Acrylic said... @ JoeM, with you all the way on late ABBA, there's an old Guardian article here puts it nicely: they "made Joy Division sound like Jive Bunny". How true.

JoeM said... Black Acrylic, that was indeed a good article. I like that he points out how unfair it was that The Day Before You Came gave them one of their worst chart placings, just as one of the Pet Shop Boys' best records - Being Boring - did similarly badly for them.

Reading that Agnetha was told to 'sing as though you're bored' perhaps explains one of the strange things about the song. All the lyrics tell us is that the singer has a mundane life of quiet desperation until Someone appears in her life. Now there's loads of happy songs about just such a situation (the fact that I can't name one at this moment is neither here nor there). In them though it's a joyous thing that's happening - life begins from this moment on. So why, when I listen to this song have I always imagined that The Day He Came the singer meets the love of her life who, after an intense difficult one-sided romance, dumps her?

It must be the voice, the beat, the tone.

'It's funny but I had no sense of living without aim' - until now.
It sounds to me like an elegy for a bland but not unhappy life.

_Black_Acrylic said... @ JoeM, this post on the k-punk is also worth a read. Sadly the Marcello post it links to is no longer viewable, but he made a really telling point that the *you* in the song could be something tragic, a disease or a terrible accident.

JoeM said... I never thought of that Black A - cancer or something. It ends with the narrator lying in bed, turning off the light, listening to the rattling rain: it could be death - You = The Grim Reaper.

So it could be a sort of more subtle Eleanor Rigby...

I must have died and been buried along with my name
The day after you came

DC: ** _Black_Acrylic, Ha ha, great Guardian quote about ABBA there. So true. And I've long been in the camp that reads 'The Day Before You Came' as being about death or the death-like. Bjorn or Benny once sidestepped a question about that in a way that basically proved the theory. **

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Exciting news today as the AGK is officially launched! LINK

YUCK ‘N YUM AGK (Annual General Karaoke):

Yuck 'n Yum will soon be hosting our inaugural AGM and are writing to you, our stakeholders, to encourage you to set the agenda.

Instead of an AGM we are holding an AGK: an Annual General Karaoke. This will be held on Saturday 18th September in Dundee. We are inviting artists, musicians, filmmakers and other creatives to submit a karaoke video, to be performed on the night.

The prize for Best Video will be £300, plus a mini residency at the Hannah Maclure Centre. There will also be an assortment of other prizes up for grabs.

The videos will be toured as part of YNYs Mobile Karaoke Unit beginning its journey at Deveron Arts' Hairst Festival, October 2010.

The deadline for submission of your videos is August 12th. Please visit our website for comprehensive details as to our submission process:

Terms and conditions will apply.

Yuck ’n Yum

Saturday, 15 May 2010


To the Generator last night for their annual graduate show They Had Four Years. A full review to follow in the next day or so:

Alasdair Smith, Maarhaysu Video Collection, Ultra Scientifica

Rachel Maclean, Going Bananas!

Rachel Maclean, I'm Your Biggest Fan

Jonathan Long, For A,C,P and W

Friday, 14 May 2010


Extract from Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:

'What is that book, Helen?' he exclaimed.

I told him.

'Is it interesting?'

'Yes, very.'

I went on reading, or pretending to read, at least - I cannot say there was much communication between my eyes and my brain; for, while the former ran over the pages, the latter was earnestly wondering when Arthur would speak next, and what he would say, and what I should answer. But he did not speak again till I rose to make the tea, and then it was only to say he should not take any. He continued lounging on the sofa, and alternately closing his eyes and looking at his watch and at me, till bed-time, when I rose, and took my candle and retired.

'Helen!' cried he, the moment I had left the room. I turned back, and stood awaiting his commands.

'What do you want, Arthur?' I said at length.

'Nothing,' replied he. 'Go!'

I went, but hearing him mutter something as I was closing the door, I turned again. It sounded very like 'confounded slut,' but I was quite willing it should be something else.

'Were you speaking, Arthur?' I asked.

'No,' was the answer, and I shut the door and departed. I saw nothing more of him till the following morning at breakfast, when he came down a full hour after the usual time.

'You're very late,' was my morning's salutation.

'You needn't have waited for me,' was his; and he walked up to the window again. It was just such weather as yesterday.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Flesh World 5

Excited indeed today to receive a copy of Flesh World, an elegant, lavish tome edited by the young Norwegian artist-phenomenon Kier Cooke Sandvik:

Rather than just glance at these few inadequate photos you can get hold of the real thing by ordering from Kier's own site: LINK

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Extract from Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:

Here our conference ended, for it was now high time to prepare for church. Every one attended the morning service, except my uncle, who hardly ever goes, and Mr. Wilmot, who stayed at home with him to enjoy a quiet game of cribbage. In the afternoon Miss Wilmot and Lord Lowborough likewise excused themselves from attending; but Mr. Huntingdon vouchsafed to accompany us again. Whether it was to ingratiate himself with my aunt I cannot tell, but, if so, he certainly should have behaved better. I must confess, I did not like his conduct during service at all. Holding his prayer-book upside down, or open at any place but the right, he did nothing but stare about him, unless he happened to catch my aunt's eye or mine, and then he would drop his own on his book, with a puritanical air of mock solemnity that would have been ludicrous, if it had not been too provoking. Once, during the sermon, after attentively regarding Mr. Leighton for a few minutes, he suddenly produced his gold pencil-case and snatched up a Bible. Perceiving that I observed the movement, he whispered that he was going to make a note of the sermon; but instead of that, as I sat next him, I could not help seeing that he was making a caricature of the preacher, giving to the respectable, pious, elderly gentleman, the air and aspect of a most absurd old hypocrite. And yet, upon his return, he talked to my aunt about the sermon with a degree of modest, serious discrimination that tempted me to believe he had really attended to and profited by the discourse.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

marching on together

Wow, today was the day when it finally happened. Leeds United were promoted from the purgatorial nowhere of League One (aka the third division) and while I was glued to a screen in Dundee watching the results beam in, my brother and his friends were rampaging across the Elland Road pitch in a state of unbridled euphoria. It's been a crazy season, and I for one am mighty relieved that it's over with a happy ending.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Unica Zürn - The Man of Jasmine and Other Texts, £3.23

Jo Squillo Eletrix: Avventurieri (20th Secret), 4.68

Ace & The Sandman/Jamie Principle - House Of Trax Vol 3 (Rush Hour/Trax Holland), 6.80

Saturday, 1 May 2010

DC's: Kier Cooke Sandvik presents ... 'There’s Something Down There'

Just a wee heads-up to notify that today's post on Dennis Cooper's blog is dedicated to the extraordinary artist and longtime Yuck 'n Yum fixture Kier, who explains the genesis of his newly published book therein: LINK