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Tony Grist

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Continuing A Train Of Thought [Mar. 20th, 2019|10:47 am]
Tony Grist
The difference is that Gill just banged out a statue, stuck it on a building and walked away- after which it persisted as a discrete and separate object- whereas Jackson- the person or persona- is everywhere present in his art. That's his voice singing and his legs dancing. When he protects the kids from the evil drug peddler in the movie Moonwalker we now know it wasn't exactly like that and when he pleads to be left alone we know the reason why. A performing artist is much harder to separate from his art than a sculptor or a painter or a composer. Does a Jackson song performed by anyone else amount to much? Can it stand alone? Does it have a life apart from his?

Well, we'll see.
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Eric Gill At Guildford Cathedral [Mar. 19th, 2019|05:33 pm]
Tony Grist
Eric Gill was a paedophile- and all round sex maniac- who abused his daughters- but, also, arguably, the most significant British artist of the first half of the 20th century. There have been mutterings about removing his work from public display (much of it is in ecclesiastical buildings) but I don't think anyone has actually done so. Guildford cathedral- which we were wandering round this morning- owns his statue of St John the Baptist- and seems rather proud of it. In the wake of the revelations about Michael Jackson (and Kevin Spacey and others) there's been a lot of debate about whether one can separate an artist from their art; in the case of Gill the owners of his work seem to have decided that "Yes, of course they can. End of."

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VICTORIA D:G: BRITT: REG: F:D: [Mar. 18th, 2019|03:10 pm]
Tony Grist
When I was a kid there were still coins in circulation that had Queen Victoria's head on them. Also the heads of every monarch since. You reached in your pocket and out came a handful of history. Victoria, Edward, George, George, Elizabeth. The changeover to decimal currency put an end to that. Now everything in circulation is Elizabethan.

Among the things that came out of the boxes in the garage was a purse full of pre-decimal -loose change that my grandmother had stashed away. It has all the heads- going back to a middle-aged Victoria. There are pennies, halfpennies, farthings. The farthings wear best- and I've selected a couple out for keeping- because they're pretty. The rest are off to the charity shop. None of them is worth anything but loose change; I checked.

Victorian Farthing, 1878
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Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler [Mar. 18th, 2019|09:02 am]
Tony Grist
I've been carrying boxes in from the garage and sorting through their contents- hence the reappearance of the menu cards from the Queen Mary.

Something else that showed up was my mother's war-time diary. At the start of it she is still at school and at the close she is in uniform, driving people who are important enough to need drivers round the Home Counties. The typical entry begins "up" and ends with "bed". There is a lot of "messing about" and on more than one occasion she eats "sandwiches in car". Yes, there's a war on and she's doing her bit but mostly there's nothing happening with knobs on. A highlight involves her skidding on ice and bending a fender on a telegraph pole, but it's OK because her Lieutenant is nice about it. Occasionally she takes note of events on a larger stage.

Here's a sample:

Friday, May 10, 1940: Up. Breakfast. G-O (no, I've no idea what this means) Did room. Mother had hair done. I picked flowers and made rock cakes. Lunch. Mrs Taylor came to tea. Showed her cottage. Supper. Neville Chamberlain announced his resignation as Prime Minister at 9.0. Opposition would not join C' gov. so had to go. News grim. Bed.
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Death And Disembowellment- And All Before The Watershed [Mar. 17th, 2019|04:25 pm]
Tony Grist
My mother is watching a TV programme about vultures. There's an awful lot of that sort of thing on TV these days, especially in the afternoons. I can see the attraction of shows about cute animals, but why do we like watching shows about animals eating one another?

I caught a bit of the action when I was taking my mother her cup of tea. A lion had brought down a herbivore and was tearing it to bits- while the vultures looked on. Whoops, there goes what looks like the stomach! In any other context this sort of imagery would have people writing in to complain (and the Mail would be relishing their "fury") but since it's a wildlife programme it's totally fine, apparently...
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Souvenirs Of The RMS Queen Mary [Mar. 17th, 2019|09:59 am]
Tony Grist
Someone in the family- probably my grandfather but it could have been my father- crossed the Atlantic on the Cunard liner Queen Mary in July 1948 and brought back these menu cards as a souvenir....

The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage in 1936 and was for a time the largest ship afloat. She carried troops during WWII, and retired from service in 1967. She is currently berthed at Long Beach, California.
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Mad March Weather [Mar. 16th, 2019|12:41 pm]
Tony Grist
The wind is howling. The lower field is water-logged and a lot of dead wood is lying about under the trees.

This is no longer storm Gareth but storm Hannah. The weather satellites see them as separate pinwheels of cloud but if you're underneath them it's hard to tell the difference, or know where one ends and the other begins.
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Amateur Theatricals [Mar. 16th, 2019|09:47 am]
Tony Grist
I dreamed we were improvising a play on the beach- right where the waves were breaking- and nobody much was watching which was just as well. It had to do with Roman emperors- and I was channelling John Hurt's performance as Caligula- the difference being that he could act and I can't. I spent some time getting into my toga and then went up to the person who was playing the reigning emperor- Tiberius, I suppose, kissed him and asked him if he'd had any thoughts about the succession. Even as I said the words I was thinking, "This is really lame."
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The Protestant Work Ethic [Mar. 15th, 2019|09:25 am]
Tony Grist
It's a hangover from my childhood that I feel uncomfortable doing nothing when people around me are working. It's not so much that I feel I ought to be working as that I'm afraid of being judged- and shouted at- if I'm seen to be slacking. I don't suffer- except in this most superficial way- from the protestant work ethic and I have two ways of dealing with the discomfort; one is to find some silly little job that will make me appear to be busy and the other is to run away and hide.
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Gareth [Mar. 14th, 2019|11:27 am]
Tony Grist
We've had several days of stormy weather- and it continues. Conditions were particularly trying on Tuesday- with huge puddles lying in the hollows of country roads- and if you went through them at the same time as an approaching vehicle it was like going through an automated car wash.

The storm is called Gareth- a name I can't hear without visualising McKenzie Crook's character from The Office.

The weather has been a gift to the political cartoonists- who have been using it as a metaphor for the chaos of the Brexit process. Martin Rowson in the Guardian has Theresa May leaning forward into a howling gale with a bowler hat (signifying the DUP) blowing past her. Matt in the Telegraph has a little man with an umbrella turning up at the entrance to the House of Commons to be told by the attendant "I shouldn't go in there, sir; it's foul."
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