Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Great Outdoors

No blog activity for about three weeks... It's not often that the job du jour overshadows my artistic practice but June is the busiest month in my particular line of (day)work unfortunately.

I've been doing 12-hour days, in at 7am and often not leaving the office until 8 or 9 then falling out onto Bishopsgate exhausted and into a cold vat of rewarding lager. The idea that some people work like this all the time horrifies me. Deskbound and necking pints... it's doing wonders for the waistline but at least I'm keeping the 'Wolf from the Door'.

Luckily, amidst the awful day-job drudgery I sold four paintings last week. The studio is so near the City I met the buyer in my lunchbreak (changing out of the pinstripes first), did the deal and was back at my desk at 2.15... talk about a double life! BTW not that anyone probably gives a toss but I wanted to post a batch of new work on here a couple of weeks ago and on the site (currently being overhauled having been advised by my web man that it had got ‘nonsensical and sprawling’). But then my camera bust and Sony have yet to finish mending it so fat chance of photographing anything at the moment.

In other news we went to see the wonderful Depeche Mode at the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park. That David Gahan looks pretty good though doesn't he!? …all things considered. I’d not seen them before. Fave tunes were 'Enjoy the Silence' and 'Photographic'. No probs getting a drink on demand and all very well organised and civilised, as were The Cure and REM on other Hyde Park visits. In fact *makes thoughtful face* is it a sign of getting old when you like an nice orderly toilet queue and you appreciate being able to get a drink without having to join in any pushing and shoving?

We also saw the Pet Shop Boys at the Tower of London last week. Day-job-horror threatened to cause a cancellation but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

It was classic old fashioned PSB full-on DISCO SHOWTIME with some great tunes, great sound and stunning visuals. They had a big square white cube that opened out and up and housed lights and projections, including a disco-dancing soldier (an echo of Jarman’s promos). They’ve got a new book coming out called ‘Catalogue’ all about the visual history of PSB and I can't wait. They've always had an interesting, artful stance.

The 'big white cube' must have evolved into twenty different backdrops, and even had dancers high within it for one song. I liked the way they incorporated some of their own early video imagery into the films too. It was lucky it was busy visually because the only problem with the nite was the fact that the stage was quite low and the seating area was flat. Even though we were reasonably near the front it was still difficult to see the boys themselves even though everyone stood up (although I am short). We would have been better off in the cheap seats in the raised area cos everyone rushed forward into the aisles anyway. In fact at this Tower lark you can safely see all from the pavement on Tower Hill itself if you’ve half a mind. Quite nice to have a gig 15mins walk from home too and we bumped into loads of familiar faces and some friends who’d been picnicking on the grass (but don’t fancy the idea of that especially).

Favourite tunes were Minimal / I'm with Stupid / Suburbia / Rent / Shopping / Where the Streets have no Name / Opportunities and Dreaming of the Queen. Loved those ‘80s ones. Anyone got a Vid of 'It Couldn't Happen Here' to lend? Or Derek Jarman's 'Projections'? I’ve fallen back in love with them.

So, horror of horrors I've decided at long last that I like outdoor music things (as long as it's not raining and/or muddy).

The idea of mixing music and mud always reminds me of watching Magenta Davine on Network Seven at Glastonbury in the '80s. Dressed up the nines and picking her way around a sloppy field like a dowager in disgust. She SO couldn't wait to get back to her winnebago. She coloured my opinion of such things right there and then (I was only 13) and it's held firm ever since. Mud just doesn't equal 'good times' and/or 'nice outfit' but as long as the weather holds I may be ok for my FIRST festival type experience at 'V' next month. Bring on the sedan chair!