Wings of Desire, By Wim Wenders, my all-time favourite love story.
Starring Bruno Gantz (Damiel) and Solveig Dommartin (Marion) and a brilliant cameo by Peter Falk.
It is about an Angel who falls in love with a trapeze artist from a traveling circus. The slight problem is, she can’t see him.
Angels are all about us. We see them, not in white flowing gowns and wings, but with heavy dark grey overcoats. They walk among us unseen, except perhaps for the odd child, trying to comfort us in our hours and seconds of need.
Damiel’s dilemma is whether to relinquish his status as an immortal angel who’s been around since the dawn of time and become a mere mortal human so he can try to woo the girl of his dreams – Marion, the trapeze artist.
Set in Berlin, the film is shot in black and white and colour and is in English, German and French. Everything we see from the Angel’s point of view is shot in black and white, whilst everything we see from human beings’ point of view is in glorious technicolour. Poignant.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt is like the Fabritius painting in the title – an absolute materpiece.
It has to rank as one of the best books I have ever read – if not the best.
Its breathtakingly sumptuous detail is overwhelming whilst its exploration of tragedy and loss is epically profound. Just when you think Theo’s life couldn’t get any worse, or that finally a ray of sunshine has broken through the gunmetal-grey New York clouds, Tartt promptly kicks the reader in the stomach. You wouldn’t think she’d be like that, to look at her.
I urge you to read it. It is a work of genius.
Here’s the blurb from the cover:
“Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, miraculously survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is bewildered by his new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years he clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the criminal underworld.
As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.”
It is an absolute privilege to be able to view Toulouse-Lautrec’s work up close. Not just for his energetic painting style, capturing the seedier side of Parisian nightlife, but also for his art direction and typography.
Over the years, there have been many articles about whether advertising can be art, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t be whilst it is selling something. I think it can transcend into art after it has served its purpose and becomes era defining.
In Lautrec’s case, I’ll make an exception, as he was already well known for being an artist when he was commissioned to create posters for various clubs and salons.
Any art director or designer worth their salt should be aware of the influence of art in layout and design purely from a composition point of view.
In this Jane Avril example, I love the way he frames the poster using the double base. (How many ‘frames’ have we seen like this for contemporary brands?)
Obviously, Lautrec wasn’t a 19th century ‘ad man’. He was a brilliant artist and spent much of his time in Montmartre hanging out with philosophers, writers, artists and the like. Then popping off to brothels to draw/paint the staff and clientele. He was a reportage photographer before they’d even been invented. That, coupled with the eye of a poet, lead to some breathtakingly intimate works.
So, for inspiring a 17-year-old art student, Mr. Toulouse-Lautrec, I am very grateful.
Filed under Art, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Dance, Design, Disability, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Music, Philosophy, Poetry
Regular readers of my blog will know how much of a fan I am of American writer, Raymond Carver. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988.)
It stands to reason that if I am going to write about 365 things that I am grateful for that I may have already written posts about some of them. Carver being a case in point.
I won’t cut and paste old posts though, here are a couple of his poems I haven’t shared before.
Carver is probably better know for his short fiction, but it was when I first read his poetry that I began to discover my own voice. So I am eternally grateful for that.
Unfortunately for the literary world he died at the tender age of 50 from the Big C.
As he writes, without looking at the sea,
he feels the tip of his pen begin to tremble.
The tide is going out across the shingle.
But it isn’t that. No,
it’s because at that moment she chooses
to walk into the room without any clothes on.
Drowsy, not even sure where she is
for a moment. She waves the hair from her forehead.
Sits on the toilet with her eyes closed,
head down. Legs sprawled. He sees her
through the doorway. Maybe
she’s remembering what happened that morning.
For after a time, she opens one eye and looks at him.
And sweetly smiles.
What The Doctor Said
He said it doesn’t look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I’m glad I wouldn’t want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I’m real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn’t catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who’d just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong
65 down 300 to go.
Well, seeing as though it’s World Book Day I thought I’d give a shout out to my local library in Heaton Moor.
It’s not a very big library, but that doesn’t matter, because if you want something they don’t have, they just order it in for you.
And, there must be close to a score of computers in there for people to surf the net or look for jobs. You also see lots of groups of people meeting up for coffee mornings and that sort of thing. (To discuss what, I have no idea. But some of the wrinklies get a tad tetchy if you’re sitting on their sofa when they come in.) So it’s not just a place to borrow books, it’s part of the community.
I take my children there quite a lot. Kids can take as many books out as they like and they don’t get fined for late returns. (Unlike me, who gets fined all the time.) They don’t just go to borrow books, there’s a small area for kids where they can sit and draw or even choose a DVD. My kids really look forward to going. (Which makes me both happy and proud.) Last week they borrowed nine books (all for free) and two DVDs (small fee). How cool is that? They even have visiting kids’ authors from time to time.
Imagine how many children there are in the world who don’t have access to books…
I feel very privileged to have all of these treasures on my doorstep and at my fingertips for absolutely nothing. (Let’s just hope the Tories don’t get wind of it.)
I love the rain.
Which, when you live in a country like England, is pretty fortunate because it pisses it down all the time. (Not keen on it when it’s accompanied by a bitterly cold wind, mind.)
There’s something very cleansing and liberating about it.
That said, hearing it can be just as joyous as feeling it – the sound of rain against a Velux, or the cascading rhythm of droplets on leaves.
Where would we be without it, eh? Here’s where…
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun, too. And I wouldn’t say no to swapping the North of England for the South of France for six months of the year.
But, let’s face it, we wouldn’t have This Green and Pleasant Land, or the Emerald Isle, (not to mention flowers and crops and animals to feed off the land), if it weren’t for a spot of rain now, would we?
Sorry, couldn’t resist. But there is some grass in the background.
My youngest daughter is in Rainbows. It’s what comes before Brownies. (Which is what comes before Girl Guides – is this the same in every country?)
And today, they went to our local Fire Brigade in Stockport, (north west England). Though, I think they call it a ‘service’ now, rather than a brigade.
Anyways, she got to dress up as a firefighter, spray a hose and set the siren going in the engine. She absolutely loved it. (As did certain adults, ahem.)
Where would we be without our brave firefighters? Burnt to a cinder, that’s where. Or stranded in a flood.
So, to all the men and women of the Fire Service who risk their lives on a daily basis – thank you.
Thing 2 doing her level best to soak us.
Thing 1 got in on the act as well.
And, the real thing…