Saturday, June 20, 2009

not sure you should know this

Im not sure anybody should really know this. Im not sure because it doesn't paint me in a very good light.I first saw this amazing film 'Billy Liar' when I was 11 and it changed (to say the very least) my entire life.I will let the film trailer (above) tell you what this movie is about, and its about a lot.What I can tell you, or try to, is tell you what it means to me. I was a very very shy boy (I still am) I would blush and hide at the drop of a hat. As a boy I couldn't stand to be in a room full of people.I couldn't stand to read aloud in class (and that was before I was slapped across the face by a witch who pretended to be an English teacher) What Im trying to say is, my life up till seeing the movie 'Billy Liar' was a self imposed nightmare.Why? because everything as a child was so mentally harsh. Everything was cold, and in your face and direct, it all left very little room to roam in and out of colours and smells and warm stories. It was in fact, very grey with a slight chance of early afternoon thunderstorms. It was always the deadly three o'clock on a sunday afternoon, with the strong oder of someone else's bad English boiled cooking. It was always low wattage light bulbs hiding behind gaudy net lace curtains. It was garden gnomes dripping with the constant drizzle that seemed to last a lifetime.Damp nylon sheets...It was my life , it was England, it was death.
Then by chance or divine intervention, I was a little under the weather and stayed home from school (a rare treat).At the time there were only 3 channels BBC BBC2 and ITV. T.V. during the day usually consisted of 'How to make cheese' or a show about farm dogs. So when this jewel of a film appeared, I was lost...and found.
Its not that I suddenly developed an amazing talent for lying (I was already working on that, as all 11 year olds do,and I was bad at it, I still am) It was that this film taught me to invent, to make the best of a dreadful situation, and there were many. As a young artist, I needed this, I needed to know it was alright to break away from the normal constraints of every day mundane life.That it was alright to dream and use my young imagination to its fullest. Suddenly I had colour paints to play with, instead of one giant grey tube.It was a bigger canvass a bigger set of paints and a lot more brushes. I could go on and on about the impact this film had on me but I wont, I think you get the point.I watch this film at least twice a year to remind myself its o.k. to invent, its o.k. to see things in a different light. It is not alright though to hurt people , and I have. The influence of this film had nothing to do with that. In fact I wish it had, I would have an excuse.Im sorry about what happened and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. Maybe one day I can tell you everything. I think about what 'Billy' would have said and in fact he did in the film' If I can get to the bottom of the road with my eyes shut, everything will be o.k.' If only that was true. After all its only a movie.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

it's all a facade

Im sure you are all quite bored with my medical problems, God knows I am, and Im the ' not so proud owner' of them...or rather 'it'.
Dont get me wrong, I feel I could bore you all for years about the burning hot pain I'm in. I wont. Instead I'll change the subject completely. As everybody in the world knows by now, I love to walk in Paris. I love to jump on the metro and let it take me to places I would never ever visit. I love to jump on the metro also because Im making a little film (more about that in future blogs) Today I did something a little different, something I haven't done in a while. I went for a stroll in my part of Paris 'the 16th district' known for its cold but beautiful bourgeois buildings and people. Full of bankers,and people who pretend to be bankers and models who don't resemble bankers at all. Lots of sad looking black nannies pushing the very white sad looking babies in there very expensive prams .The woman of the 16th all looking very BCBG. Clean tight little shops that border on the precious.I know I should dislike all this, being the groovy artist that I am, ha ha. But the fact is I don't, I adore it. Why you ask? (alright I know you didn't ask but I'll tell you anyway) Because it is all so very very very French and whats more, totally Parisian. I live in a small village in a town in a city,Perfect! On every corner there is a great photo to be taken and usually everything in between. I wont waffle on about this so I'll come to the point. O.K. there is no point, but there is this stange very thin building just around the corner from where I live. It's very tall and extremely narrow. All the windows and little balconies face the street.I wondered why there were no windows at the back. So I ventured to the derrière only to find to my amazement, a very small but quite beautiful graveyard.
I love this building for its Hollywood facade look. I am happy that I took a stroll in my part of the city, and I'm happy because now I know where all the bankers go to die.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

what a nerve

This morning I went for an MRI or as the French say an IRM. I went because I have been in severe pain in my 'groin' for the last 9 weeks (in fact its been the last 30 years that this pain has come and gone.No pun intended) I just found out what I have suspected for a long long time,unlike all the American doctors I had seen over the years. American doctors who sent me on a wild goose chase of endless tests and dreadful treatments at a cost of thousands of dollars, only to arrive at the same undiagnosed place. So I decided to see a doctor here in Paris, and after listening to me explain my pain, with the aid of some beautiful colour coded drawings (pink for mild pain through to bright red for severe) He told me in less than 15 minutes that I have something called 'Pudendal Nerve Damage' but to have an MRI just to make sure. Well I did, and there it was on the scan, a little white line showing an extremely swollen and very painful nerve.
This nerve is situated in what has become known as 'My Groiny area' It is in fact situated where the leg joins 'your' or rather 'my' torso. Its symptoms are never the same from day to day or even hour to hour or even minute to minute, which makes it a lot of fun.....HERE is the layman's explanation of what the symptoms are...
Pudendal Neuropathy is frequently caused by a mechanical and/or inflammatory damage to the pudendal nerve. Such damage to the nerve can manifest in a variety of ways, such as vague pains, stabbing pains, burning sensations, pin pricking, numbness, twisting, cold sensations, pulling sensations, or the feeling of sitting on a lump. Pain is usually worse when sitting and less when standing, lying down, or sitting on a toilet seat.( GREAT!!! if I want to sit down it has to be on a toilet.Thats not going to look very nice in my office.) It gets better..PNE is a nerve condition causing pain for no apparent reason in the area served by the pudendal nerve. No one pain pattern dominates. Pain can be in just one area, several, or all. It can be on one side, two sides, or the middle. PNE can occur suddenly or develop over time without one realizing it. It can be caused by frequent prolonged sitting, cycling, repetitive movement , exercising with the legs or for no appearent reason.
I wish I could make all kinds of jokes about this (god knows I've tried) but the truth is my life will have to change completely (it already has). It means that I cant sit down for more than 10 minutes at a time (I've timed myself) without feeling like someone is inserting red hot coals inside me (without my permission). It means I will have to stand all day while I work on my computer editing my film or producing art. It means no cinema, no restaurants. I have no idea about flying (can I stand all the way back to miami for 9 hours?) Driving is a nightmare. Yes dear reader I'm a mess. I have a really nasty flu at the moment also (just as an added bonus).
Now if you think Im going to take this bad news sitting down you are WRONG! I Cant, I don't have a choice. In fact I haven't sat down for at least a week.Nothing would please me more than to take this news sitting down....It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Could it?
I want to say I just cant 'stand' it, but the truth is I can. Because standing 'it' is all Im able to do. Standing 'it' is my only choice....
Am I feeling sorry for myself? you bet your sore pudendal nerve I am.I feel like going for a bike ride to forget all this, but yes you guessed it...No more bike rides.
Why am I telling you all this? Well they say misery loves company, the trouble is there is no company, they are all out sitting down somewhere. I'm standing room only.

P.S. The Doctor kept my drawings.He wanted me to sign them also.

Monday, June 1, 2009

origin of the world

When Gustave Courbet’s painting “The Origin of the World”(above ) went on permanent display at the Musée d’Orsay in 1995, it was emerging from what must be one of the longest periods of visual quarantine in the history of art. Painted sometime in 1866, for the better part of 130 years it had been cordoned off in private collections, its existence known only to a small group of people, few of whom left any record of the work. Even Courbet, with his swashbuckling disregard for convention, seems for once to have erred on the side of caution. Neither signed nor dated, the picture was never mentioned by him in writing, and it is only on the strength of two small contemporary documents (the report of a dinner at which the painter, never more fulsome than when singing his own praises, likens his little figure to the nudes of Titian and Veronese, and a description by Maxime du Camp so slapdash that one doubts whether he had actually seen the picture with his own eyes) that we can be sure Courbet painted it at all.

Everywhere you turn in the painting’s history, you meet with the same pattern of secrecy and obfuscation. The man thought to have commissioned the picture, a wealthy Turkish-Egyptian diplomat named Khalil Bey, kept it hung behind a green cover in his private dressing room. When Edmond de Goncourt came across it, some twenty-three years later, in 1889, it was concealed by a second Courbet, “Le Château de Blonay”, in a double-bottomed frame. In 1913, it passed into the hands of a Hungarian collector, Baron Ferenc Hatvany, who kept it under lock and key in his town house in Budapest. The last and best-known of the private owners, the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, hung it in his workroom at Guitrancourt, where it was again concealed by a sliding panel, painted by his brother-in-law André Masson. The earliest known reproduction, in an obscure gynaecological publication in 1967, in fact depicts a copy, now missing, but thought to have been made by Magritte. In 1988, the painting was shown in public for the first time, at the “Courbet Reconsidered” exhibition in Brooklyn; today, it hangs in the same room at the Musée d’Orsay as Manet’s “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe”.

Which brings me to the other photo above. In fact the little boy (who in a way reminds me of ME) is looking up the dress of a little doll, Why you ask? This is an advertisement which can be seen in the metro at the moment, promoting an art fair which opens this weekend in Paris. So what does the little boy and the doll and the painting above have in common...Well of course its Gutave Courbet, one of the greatest painters ever. Not sure the little boy will see such a fruitful view as the Courbet's painting but you can at least try. Its a very clever advertisement and I suppose if you were not aware of the beautiful painting 'Origin of the world' the advertisement would mean very little.........Thank god for French art education.