Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today


Rien was the result of feeling accompanied by an uncomfortable presence, a jangly burden which I eventually unloaded in this picture. I think the way this happens is an experience common to most artists.

Victor Willing

I wasn’t familiar with the work of Victor Willing but enjoyed the exhibition of his work at Hastings Contemporary, however I was struck most by this quotation – the idea of a “jangly burden” certainly resonates, it feels right even if I can’t put my finger on why.

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The best work he had ever done

Staying inside today. Outside it never really moves past twilight. As such, it feels like the day never really gets started and so, in many ways, it feels like the new year and new decade are on hold too. No bad thing, there is plenty of time for both.

I read some pages from Smiling in Slow Motion, the final journals of Derek Jarman. I think diaries offer something that other forms cannot – a poetry of the everyday, the magnitudes of fragments, where a few lines suggest so much more. He writes a few words on a friend who had just died, Graham Cracker.

The last time we saw Graham was in New York. He had been asked to trompe l’oeil a Manhattan dining room to look like a sun-baked prairie. Graham painted a beautiful desert with cactus plants and Joshua trees; as he put the finishing touches on the sky he included a tiny twister, almost invisible on the far horizon; it looked so good he made it larger and then larger. After a week of frenzied repainting the dining room was transformed: storm clouds and lightning flashes circled the eye of a thunder-cloud tornado. The best work he had ever done.

The millionaire owner returned from his vacation as Graham was making the final brush strokes. He hated it and threw Graham out on to the street, screaming: “I’ll see you never work again.”

We need more art like this.

End of one road, the start of the next

I went for a run today, as I had this nagging feeling that I needed to feel a kind of physical exhaustion to match my mental one as the year, and the decade, drew to a close.

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The Christmas Chronicles

Nearly the end of the decade, although it doesn’t feel like it. I can’t tell whether it’s my age, or the age I live in, but this decade doesn’t feel like it has the shape or feel of those of the last century. I’m not sure in thirty years I’ll be able to hear a piece of music or look at a photograph from this time and be able to identify the decade, where I think I could do that with the 1960s or 1980s, say.

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Never real

You’ve always lived a life of pretense, not a real life – a simulated existence. Everything about you, everything you are, has always been pretense, never genuine, never real.

Woodcutters, Thomas Bernhard

There is pretense even in the tense – the narrator is talking to himself, but talks in the second person, so we read “you” rather than “I”, which distances us from him, distances him from himself.

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