Saturday, October 9, 2010
As you are reading todays blog you might just get that feeling that you have read this before...Well dear reader I will put your mind at rest.You have! I posted it here a year ago. I know what you are all saying (because I am talented that way) Where are the new blogs? They are here happy readers, waiting for there big day. I have about 5 in the can or box or where ever one keeps words. I will be back on track and posting them on a regular basis...Promise
On December 8th 1980 I was getting ready for a really hot date (Im not sure what I mean about getting ready) but I was doing what boys do before a date (still not sure?) It was one of those sharp cool nights in New york city where everything seem to look and feel good. I was living on 59th and 1st in a very nice apartment lent to me by a very nice friend (I love to use the word 'nice' twice in a sentence). The apartment was full of my paintings and more paintings (what a shock) all leaning against every wall. Brushes all clean and showing off there new haircuts. Sketches on the floor (doing what sketches do) and the smell of hope in every tube of oil paint. It could not have been more of an artist studio, even if MGM had set it up.I had just finished a series of paintings and was feeling good....very good in fact. With the prospect of a beautiful woman coming to visit and with all my work behind me for at least 5 minutes. I was ready to turn on the charm and maybe the shower (maybe even both). She called me and told me traffic was bad and that she would be a little late. When she arrived, it was a little later than I would have wanted(I hadnt slept the night before but I was young). She brought the cold air in with her beauty and explained how thing were a chaos on the upper west side. I hung on to every word like she was reciting poetry. she was more beautiful than I had remembered from the party. I poured her a drink as she continued to give me a traffic report. As I was sipping my wine she casually said that Yoko Ono had been shot .I thought I hadn't heard right 'What' I said, 'Yes the japanese woman married to that Beatle had been shot, but she was o.k.' Then she continued on about the traffic. I ran to the other room to get my little radio (I didn't have a T.V ) the batteries were nearly dead, so the story kept fading in and out. The man on the radio sounded somber. 'Reports are coming in that Yoko has been shot to death and that John was just wounded' I took a very deep breathe. He went on to say they didn't have the full story .......I pressed the radio tightly against my ear to try a hear better, while My date started to nibble on my other ear.I pulled away from her and motioned to her that I had to hear the story. Then the worst news came through. Delivered it in a low tone ,slowly and precise he said 'At 11.21 p.m. John Lennon was pronounced dead'............................... At 11.22 my date wanted to make out. I said I couldn't .I said I was numb, I said I have just died inside.I said this is really sad news. She told me to not be so dramatic. 'Its only a singer and a washed up one at that'. I was too numb to really respond.I told her it would be best to leave. I told her things wouldn't work out. I told her I was devastated and I really needed to be alone. She made one more last attempt to win me over, but her beauty had turned to ugly in a split second.I don't remember her leaving but I do remember sitting on the corner of my bed all night and most of the next day.I remember thinking what was the point of anything.I remember thinking this news was far too personal to share with a strange woman who didn't seem affected at all by the news.I remember calling my mother.I remember I cried and couldn't stop.I remember she said I would get over it. I remember thinking what does that mean ' Get over it'
Last friday was John Lennons birthday. He would have been 69.I suppose it was the closest I ever came to having a Hero.
I like to float on my back in the warm womb-like pool in Miami. I like to look at all the stars.I like to think about how big the universe is.I like to think about how huge the entire solar system and beyond is.I like to think this because It makes me feel small.No! correction! It makes me feel like I don't exist, and the truth is (in the big picture) I don't. I cant. Im so small (we all are) Compared to what's out there we are all nothing.Zero. This feeling use to scare me but now it makes me feel good.It makes me feel like nothing is that important...NOTHING! How can it be, Im smaller than a speck of dust. Smaller in fact. This doesn't mean that I don't do my best with my art or try to be nice to people, I do. But it puts everything beautifully into perspective.Recession, Mortgage payments, traffic tickets,toothaches, delayed flights, bad drivers, Assholes. Im nothing and it makes me feel good. Perspective!
I like to float on my back, in the dream-like state under the stars in Miami, because I don't exist.
Today isJohn Lennons birthday, he would have been seventy.He was the closest I ever came to having a hero. Happy birthday John.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Copy and paste address below to view film or go to www.brookereditions and click on link
Friday, June 11, 2010
To view the new film 'Tales from a Paint Box' copy and paste the links below...
(above) A still from the film 'Tales from a paint box' 1937
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In the room the woman come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
Im trying to read T.S. Elliot, again.I say trying, because Im slightly distracted and the poems don't rhyme .I'm looking at this very large but beautiful woman. She has placed herself near the pool.There are two of her, courtesy of the pools reflection.Twins! One (the real one) is very still (oil painting still) while the other, dances wobbles and flickers across the water, like one of those dreadful kinetic installations, that seem to infect galleries and museums these days.. She looks naked, but in fact she is wearing this string bikini contraption. It has so many twists and turns,not unlike a hitchcock movie.I study it. I should be reading instead, but my eyes wont let me . I just sip my wine and realize Im enjoying myself . Her bathing costume (?) must have come complete with instructions, written or drawn by some seasoned Japanese sailor, who spent a lifetime mastering the art of knots (the rope ones not the speed) or a gifted boy scout with a taste of the absurd.Getting out of it could result in strangulation or even worse. I want to take my eyes off her, but I dont, or rather, I cant. Im sitting on a friends balcony in Miami.It feels more like an opera box and Im looking down at the cheap seats, only they are not.I want to give a little wave to the oiled baking bodies below, but I bite my chicken sandwich and sip my wine instead (not at the same time) Its a beautiful day.The palm trees are waving to each other and making that straw dress, rubbing sound against there thighs. I struggle with a few more lines of T.S. The large woman looks like a trussed (Botero) turkey.The white string of her suit, if one can call it a suit, cuts into her dark 'oven roasted' flesh.The thin white string dissappears into her body, making rare apeareces last minute,only when it really has to. It could almost look like a white footpath meandering over a range of hills, as seen from a small plane.It could, If one had the mindset to think that way. In complete contrast, her Giocametti style husband, (I think its her husband) is having trouble, with landing his huge white beach towel on the chaise longue next to her. She is oblivious to him. It looks like he is waving surrender to the wind. Maybe he is. Placing the towel down wind might help (just a suggestion) The gust suddenly sends the towel clinging to his torso (Christo- esque style) Im trying to read T.S. Elliot again, but he has too much competition today. I finish my sandwich and realize Prufrock will have to wait. At least for now.
Im doing what I usually do on the metro.Im listening to my music and observing people .A perfect marriage of sound and sight. The truth is Im secretly filming the passengers.This amazing cast of thousands. No lines, No curtain calls, no applause. Just an incredable journey, in one act. I have been filming this stella cast for 3 years now ,with my little still camera that just happens to take 3 minutes of video (So I have to be selective) This is the greatest show in Paris.Its not just a mode of transport to get from one attraction to the next.This is the attraction,and what a show.Well worth the price of admission and never sold out.In fact its been running for years. Come rain or shine.With the exception of strikes (don't get me started)
Im sitting on hard seats that are covered in early 80s looking material. It is supposed to make the seats feel and look soft.It fails on both counts.Im sitting and pretending to be minding my own business , something Im good at, when a man pushes something near my face.Its usually best not to take a look, but I have to, its my profession. At first It was quite shocking, even at second, the shock continued .The man had no arms. No real arms. Just sticks (small painted branches), which were somehow tied or rather taped to his shoulders with dirty duck tape.He had a llttle tray tied to one of his branches or rather twigs (fingers) that said Merci! It should have said Mercy. There were a few encouraging coins in the cup already.I wanted to reach into my pockets for change, but I never carry change, in fact I dont even carry money(a metro mugging story that I will bore you with another time) My hand disappeared into my pockets anyway, to show some attempt ( dont ask me why) This made things worse of course, because the' tree man' is now waiting and waiting. Swaying in the wind.Glaring down at me. I am now commited. An unspoken contract between our eyes has been written. My fellow, hopeful, metro travellers sit there waiting for me to produce some money.There hopes and guilt are on my shoulders now. I feel like Im digging deep, very deep.I suddenly in a total moment of panic, think I should part with my watch, but it would never fit his (wrist?) I apologize with some strange facial expression, that doesn't suit me, and feel guilty for my little fake moment of charity, And guilty for having arms and hands.I think Im blushing.I know Im blushing. I vowed always to carry change on the metro for such occassions. I never did. I vowed to always carry my camera. Usually I do, except this time. Im still wondering who connected his arms.He didnt! I wonder if he takes them off at night. I think about the book 'The Giving Tree'.I keep repeating in my mind 'Im out on a limb Im out on a limb' like some crazed mantra, that I want to find amusing, but don't. The passengers, dissappointed at my lack of funds, do what they do best..NOTHING. Deliberate, nothing. I continue to blush and decide to change carriges, to escape my angry looking jury. Its a fresh crowd. Im saved. I take a huge breath and look up, only to see the tree man working his majic at the other end of my new guiltless carriage.
The begging in the Paris metro is an industry a booming one at that. Everybody has there own little show or sob story or both.The one thing the beggars have in common is the polite way they introduce themselves." Bonjour Messieurs Dames". Then we are treated to a story of hardship and misery.It always sounds like the start of a great play or the introduction to masterpiece theatre(The French version) The stories are quite lengthy, sometimes 2 or 3 merto stations long. The faces of the begging performers are always tinged with a razor sharp sadness .Most passengers often leave before the beggers get to the end of the story or the carriage.Most passengers ignore them.I stay till the end. I have seen most things over the last 3 years of filming in this amazing theatre on wheels. The vampire couple complete with real fangs, holding hands like a sweet (three thousand year) old couple. The retarded lovers(I use the word retarded in its true sense) trying to have sex.Trying being the key word. The Hitler youth group complete with flopped swastika sign and very shiny boots.With lesser versions of German shepherds by there sides.The beautiful French woman, poised like an perfume commercial in a glossy magazine. Poised until the man she was with, calmly points out that she had dropped her beautiful purple thong on the floor. Suddenly her composure crumbled as she grabbed the crumpled panties like her life depended on it, and stuffed them somewhere safer than before.They both made an exit at the next station.She had turned the same colour as her knickers, almost. But some of the most interesting observations have been just ordinary people ( A title nobody wants to claim) What people do when they think nobody is watching could not be scripted. And thats the beauty of the metro,nobody has to do or be anything they dont want. Its a kind of no mans land a free zone.On wheels.
A friend tells me her metro story. A well dressed man introduces himself every morning on the way to work.He said he wasnt looking for money or sympathy He was just looking for a wife.He told the captured audience that he worked really hard (10 hours a day) and made enough money for two. He just didn't have time to go to bars etc looking for a mate. So if any woman between the ages of 25-35 liked the look of him, to introduce themselves as he walked through the carriage. I hear hopeful 55 + woman took a fancy to the well dressed, finacially secure man..I wish I could tell you how the story ends, I cant alas.
I love observing here, deep below the city.Its a place where the light the smell the mood seldom changes, only the people .I am never bored.Its impossible.I am amazed how so many random people can enter and exit a carriage in perfect chaotic order.Most modern dance groups would envy this precession choreography. People try not to touch or look or talk to each other, its become an amazing skill. I cherish the rare moments when it all goes wrong.The train slams on its breaks and everyone lunges forward onto each other, a passenger sunami.Only seconds later to re-group and act as if nothing ever happened.I love the silver sliding curtains, that open without fanfare, just an electronic whoosh. You never know who or what will enter the stage. What a great show.It never ends. I wish the seats were a little more comfortable.I wish I could afford a season ticket.I wish they had a bar at intermission. Except there never is one (an intermission that is, not a bar.One has to supply ones own refreshments. And they do)
MIAMI (part 2)
It is perfume from a dress
that makes me so digress?
The bathing beauty and her husband have removed themselves from the pool.The place seems almost empty now.Its that beautiful time of the day. The white sun cant make up its mind what to do, stay or leave, or just linger.The palms exhausted from a day of waving to each other give up. The show is over.I leave my balcony and I dont turn back. Empty plate, with traces of English mustard and crumbs in one hand, and the Waste Land and other poems in the other.
Later I will try to read Mr Elliot again.
It was a beautiful day, maybe even a perfect. But I miss Paris.
But on this day, only just. Only just.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Monday, December 14, 2009
The write stuff
Im sitting in a classroom and its a really hot summers day. Its one of those days that feels stagnat. Still. I think the word people would use is, close.Im going to use Balmy.Its a balmy day and it isnt moving forward at all.I have been staring at the clock now for 23 minuits and it still says 2.47.The second hand is exhausted and refuses to go any faster. All the windows are open, letting in hotter air. I can hear the groundsman yelling at his lawnmower, that also refuses to move forward.His yelling makes me grin. The windows are open for another reason.The wax on the floors have started to melt with the heat and are giving off fumes that headaches are made of.I love this smell and I already have a headache, So Im ahead of the game. Its 2.47 still and its getting hotter by the second, which in this case means hours. I hate this lesson because I hate the teacher.She is cruel and hates kids, but she especialy hates me.We are reading Shakespeare at his worst, something kids our age shouldnt be reading.The mower starts for a second and with a huge gasp, dies instantly.The groundsman yells something that children our age also shouldn't be hearing.Its 2.48, a slight improvement. Im sitting in a hot classroom praying that the teacher doesnt ask me to read.I am not religious, but Im praying to God orJesus or whoever is out there that I get spared.I make the usual deal with god, that should I be spared, I will go to church.The teacher walks or rather marches up and down the isles of the classroom. Her shoes, which have spinster written all over them,stick to the wax floor letting out a wet fart noise with every stride.I try to contol my laugh.I am the class clown, but this is a venue where Im fraught with stage fright. The teacher marches up and down prodding backs and flicking the kids ears at random, with her boney fingers.Its 2.48 and Im waiting for the number that will spell freedom. Finally the mower starts and drowns out all sound in the classroom and also the huge cheer in my head.. This means we have to read the books quietly to ourselves.SAVED! Its 2.49 and Im on the last furlong. Just as I let out a huge sigh of relief.So does the lawnmower, and it grinds to a halt for good.The groundsman looses whatever cool he had, and says things that would make even Shakespeare toes crawl.Then he storms off to the refuge of his shed. I off course let out a less controlled laugh that seem to ricochet around the class. The teacher I hate, stares at me with her cold snake like eyes.I feel the smallest droplet of sweat trickle down my little torso.I have the feeling I wont be living up to my deal with God this sunday. She makes me stand up and tells me to read the next 5 pages.She knows I cant read.The other kids know I cant read but this doesnt stop her screaming 'Come on stupid boy, R E A D !'.When she says read, I see all of her yellow ochre teeth with tinges of burnt sienna in between the cracks. All this encased with her dry pale lips. I stand there looking terrified, unable to think, let alone talk.I stand there biting the inside of my mouth. All the words to me are just like little symbols. Little drawings all jumbled up.Hieroglyphics.She knows this. I am left handed and write from right to left and back to front.This book by Shakespeare means very little to me at the best of times.But being asked to read it! She knows all the other teachers grade my work with a mirror to reflect my writing the right way around. Everything is normal except its back to front.(this goes for drawing maps and diagrams.Playing musical instruments. Using woodwork tools) in fact everything . I dont know what to do.So I do what I do best, I grin. Its 2.50 and I want to run away, I want to go home.I of course continue to grin.
The teachers face gets meaner , if that is possible and takes huge strides towards me. She raises her arm, that looks like an out of control broken windmill, and slaps me clean across my face.The room shakes a little, and then goes silent. I see her foul face screaming at me .I can make out the word s t u p i d because she says it in slow motion over and over again. I see all the kids pointing and laughing at me.I feel my mouth filling up with blood, I grin. She slaps me again. The sound has been turned up a little.Her hand is clammy, and on contact, makes the sound of a wet fish. The volume gets a little louder, and the speed of everything gets resumed to its former miserable glory.I slowly close William Shakespeare and place it gently on the desk, but not before leaving some jackson pollock like splashes of the most beautiful cadmium red I have ever seen.The blood drops say plop! as they hit the words I couldnt read.Words by William Shakespeare blood by Philip Brooker. I then walk towards to the door and reach for the handle that would set me free.The volume is now on full. Just as I my fingertips touch the door knob, I feel this claw lift my collar and swing me around in front of the class like some prize kill, compleate with blood 'Not so fast stupid boy' the witch barks.'I have an announcement to make. Next term stupid boy here will be in the 'idiots class' as she so fondly reffered to it.'So I want the class all to say your goodbyes now'. Then she looked straight into my eyes , still holding me like a dead bird.'This is what happens to stupid boys who cant read in my class.' Its 2.59 and my face is burning.In fact my whole body is on fire. I feel defeated.My eyeslids are full of very heavy tears.I try to keep my head still, should one drop to the floor. This would offically be crying.This would be the worst.Kids can be cruel. I wouldnt want a headline like 'BROOKER CRIES IN CLASS' Im hoping for 'PUPIL SURVIVES BEATING'. Ridicule at its British best.
I hate the teacher.I hate william Shakespeare, I had the groundsman for his lack of mechanical knowledge. I hate time for stopping.
Im standing in a classroom.I have a mouth full of blood.Its 3.oclock and Im 10 years old.
a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.
I love my new teacher.She is tall and young and her hair is pretty and she smells clean like my mothers rose garden.I love my teacher because she says Im too smart for her class and that I dont belong there.I love her because when she walks. Her shoes whisper welcome to my class . I am in the' idiots class' surrounded by' idiots'. It look like a scene from one flew over the cuckoos nest. I like my new idiot friends.They may be idiots but they are also the toughest kids in the school..They are feared. I like my new friends in a 'dont hurt me' kind of way and they like me.I have a mafia type protection. From now on nobody messes with me.I am connected I am made.I learn more in one month with my new teacher than a year with the old crow.I learn that words are not drawings.I learn that its o.k. to read with a mirror (something the other teacher would never allow) I learn that Leonado de Vinci and I shared the same problem, only he also wrote upside down.I learn I cant spell in either direction. I love my new teacher and all my new friends. I love my teacher when she sits very close to me, as I explain what these letters mean to me.I want this lesson to last forever.It doesnt, the clock wont allow it. I tell her as slowly as I can my Alphabet...
A=Wigwam B= Front-teeth sideways C=bow without a string.D= bow with a string.E=.End of fork.F= farmers hoe .G= wood clamp H=rugby goal post I=pencil J=hockey stick K=arrowhead in a piece of wood.L=nose M=mountains. N=amusement ride. O=eyeball. P=flag on a pole. Q=balloon on a string. R=slide in a playground.S=a snake. T=flathead nail U=a tongue V=TV ariel W=fangs X=tire wrench.Y=snakes tongue Z=lightning.
Im sitting in my studio in Paris.The widow is open and the cold air bites me in a friendly and loving way. Im working on the story that you are reading now.I feel strange. Maybe its because I've excuvated the dry carcass of the witch. I try not to ponder to long.I pick up my pencil and write on a new piece of paper U O Y K C U F . I stare at the letters. Then I stare at the letters as symbols.It really says farmers hoe, tongue, bow without a string and an arrow head stuck in a piece of wood.Well you get the picture or rather the word.
I bite the inside of my mouth a little too hard.
Im sitting in my studio.
I do what I do best and grin.
Above: My left hand from the series 'souvenir of dinard' Digital print on paper. 7'x4'