26 November, 2008

Lindsay Kemp

Way back in the seventies, I first became aware of the incomparable Lindsay Kemp and made sure that we saw every one of his shows that came within range. Flowers, Salome and A Midsummer Night's Dream . . . all magical.

The very first time we met his work was in a show of many small acts entitled The Turquoise Pantomime. We saw it at the old Tramshed in Woolwich.

In this one particular act, Kemp was discovered in a pool of light in the middle of the stage in a foetal or seedlike position. The Mozart Laudate Dominum began to be played - one of my most favourite pieces of music. As the piece developed, Kemp grew shoots and began to grow - taller and taller. His limbs became stronger and he gloried in his prime with the most wonderfully joyful movements of his arms and ecstatic glances all around. By slow degrees, though, his strength diminished and he began to shrink and crumble. Heartbreakingly, this process continued as his disease took hold until, as the final notes played, he was again lying lifeless on the floor. At that point, in the theatre, I was utterly moved and tears were pouring down my face.

I never saw the piece again but have remembered it all these years with complete clarity and have often told people about my experience. I never thought to see it again . . . but NOW . . . I find it on the wonderful YOUTUBE!

It is a seriously imperfect film and the music is all wavery but I am SO THRILLED to be able to see it.

09 November, 2008

Liebestod in Pembrokeshire

I've been playing around again . . . at what is becoming one of my favourite forms of relaxation, setting a video of some aspect of the natural world against one of my favourite pieces of music. Although I have chopped it around a bit for the purpose of this film, the 'raw material' started life as a single take of about 29 minutes, which was a bit tiring but remarkable to do.

I am aware that I am 'borrowing' this music without permission so, if I offend copyright in so doing, please let me know and I will take it down.

This actual recording, in the form of a little 45 rpm disc, was known by certain of my friends at University as Nicolas's Catharsis Music! It was used often, sometimes more than once a day, when student angst was upon me and it often did me much good. I think that the water would have helped!

[I put up this post some weeks ago but lowered it when I found the video totally unsatisfactory. It is better this time and that is all due, yet again, to patient help from Natalie d'Arbeloff.]

If you are interested in this little movie, you can play it, bigger and better, here.

08 November, 2008

Faces in the Trees

After what seems like weeks of grey, overcast and characterless weather, yesterday produced bright sun for a few hours. We had sorted ourselves out a little earlier than necessary to drive to Swansea so I thought I would rush for the camera to catch some Autumn colours.

After a bit of time, I became fascinated with just one tree. Yes, the colours were great . . . but I soon concentrated on photographing 'found faces'. I am interested to know whether everyone who looks at any of these images first (or only) sees part of a tree OR whether all or most first sees the 'face' that I have seen and 'drawn out' of the natural elements.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

for Iulia, in Romania, whose Autumn colour photographs I have heard about and look forward to seeing.

. . . and that is the paper-bark maple tree where all these faces live! And, of course, I was only operating at the lowest 6 feet of the tree.

The sculpture, by the way is by Harry Brockway. Put his name into the 'search blog' box above to see his books with the OSP and other sculpture around the place!

Finally, putting aside the faces, here is one I rather like . . .