Like a blue and magic dream,
Blue water, light and air
Flow among them there.
But the eager girl who pulls
Bluebells up in basketfuls
When she gets them home will find
The magic left behind.”
Might this be true for Clive Myrie, who told his truth to Ambassador Andrei Kelin this morning? I've been to Ukraine lots of times, he said. How many times have you been? I've seen warcrimes in the street. It's a war, isn't it? Not a Special Military Operation? Tell us how much you despise Putin. Go on, I dare you. Look at these pictures on my i-Thing. Bodies on the streets. What do you mean, sir, don't worry about Mariupol? It's devastated. All these residential apartment buildings, you can see the sky through the holes in the walls.
|Maybe try a fringe?|
|They are just so, so very Liverpudlian and we are so very chic |
The proof reading of the third anthology of mr ishmael's writing is approaching completion: I've done my bit and it is now out for beta testing.
WOTSONTELLY : SYLVIE GUILLEM, DANCER
CAN SOMEONE DIRECT ME TO THE ART, PLEASE?
She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back.
Bob Dylan (She Belongs To Me)
So much of the PBC’s arts programming has been hi-jacked
recently by posturing, bullying arseholes talking down to us, Alan Yentob, interviewing, like a slavering groupie, his teenage pop idols; one almost expected, in a recent outing, that he would ask Mark Knopfler for a plastercast of his dick, just for his personal collection, y’understand. Yentob is one of the more gross, nauseating, overpaid luvvies whom, via our taxes, we keep in indolent, self-fellating luxury, sharing with us, betimes, his journey into this or that aspect of pop trivia; they’re never just making a fucking programme, these Yentobs, they’re all on a fucking mission of discovery; good of them, really, to babble at us, shouting urgent cultural instructions, from their luxury liners.
Mark PotatoMan is another, nose-talking flat-out, racing against himself in the Most-Well-Researched-Interviewer-Ever Steeplechase; one would be surprised to learn that he ever paused for a split second to enjoy a work of art or entertainment, too busy deconstructing it, making notes, for a future telly-arts gabfest in which he sits, bloated, ashen, reeking of grease‘n’garlic, and oozing his superior knowledge of everything, ever: repulsive fucking mutant, he should go for a run, the fucking gabshite. And he should wear a tie or a tee-shirt, one or the other. He clearly knows nothing of the art of dishevelment.
I would love to hear, just once before I die, one of these fuckers saying, for instance, Dickens, nah, never read a word of it. Shakespeare? Nah, not for me; read Hamlet, that’s enough, innit? Japanese cinema? You must be outa your fucking mind. But no, the PBC is carpeted, wall-to-wall, with cultural polyglots, a Babel of effete narcissism, the sort of people we’d like to see charged double or treble for their arts degrees. I used to be among that arts degree crowd, myself, Gilgameshing, Chaucering and Joyceing my way to a wordy, arty future, so it hurts to find myself, courtesy of the PBC, coming over all Hermann Goering - ven I hear ze vord Kultur I reach fur mein pistol.
That the PBC is run for and by crooks, ponces, pimps, slags, degenerates and child molesters is now axiomatic; that we continue to shovel our money into the scabby, snarling mouths of the likes of Chris Patten - just because this failed Tory spiv says we should - is almost unbelievable. In a decent society Patten, Dyke, Thompson, the whole shameless, shabby crew would be breaking rocks on Dartmoor. For ever. If a foreign, national institution was proven to be a hotbed of larceny, degeneracy and decades-long, institutionalised noncing, the PBC would be wetting itself in indignation. Mrs woman on a raft describes herself as being moored just off the coast of reality. Until heads roll at the PBC, actually into the basket and not into wealthy retirement, we, the United Kingdom, will remain a sewer-island, off the coast of civilisation.
They’re not all as bad as that, though, the culture jocks, not as bad, as foul, as Yentob. Some of them have a sense of humour and Waldemar Jabberwocky always has interesting things to say about paintings, and he even manages to make some of it seem spontaneous, although spontaneity and the managerialised, child-abusing PBC are antipathetic. It really isn’t good enough that the public broadcaster’s coverage of arts generally is in the unlaboured hands of a bunch of cunts. I know critics, at least paid ones, are a considerably lesser form of life than the rest of us but even so, Kirsty Wark and her slew of screeching, parasitic, late-night cocksuckeurs culturelles - Paul Morley, Diane Wei Liang, Miranda Sawyer, Andrew Motion - I’d throw them all out of the lifeboat; in fact, I wouldn’t even let them in.
Yentob and PotatoHead, Andy Graham-Dixon, Mark Kermode, Sue Perkins, Clemency Burton-Hill, Jesus, I could go on for a month. And most of this lot, as usual, are public school; some of them, like the gorgeous, pouting Burton-Hill are both Oxbridge and the pampered spawn of some superannuated PBC grandee.
But aside from daddies and dons, the main thing this gang has in common is that each really makes a dreadful, self-absorbed fist of what we pay them to do, what the nation needs them to do, now, more than ever. There is a better way and that is to take ordinary people and say, OK, whaddayamake of this, then? But that’s never going to happen. (I used to take groups of official criminals - as opposed to bankers and politicians - to see Shakespeare or to an art gallery or a music festival, alongside, I hasten to add, directing them towards work, training and common-or-garden Decency. Never knew that was for me, most’d say, and clutched in the sharp, grimy paws of Kirsty Wark and the rest, it never will be. X-Factor, that’s the thing for you, singing, ‘swhat you understand.)
In the grown-up world, writers review each other’s books (and how many fucking books can there be, there’s already millions upon millions of them; why don’t people learn a different language instead of reading the latest, indispensable, Sebastian Faulks tripe?) As bankers review each other’s bungs, PBC execs review each other’s larceny, cops review each other’s crimes and doctors review each other’s greedy malpractices, so the critics, acting as our own cultural coppers, review for us the evidence relating to their brighter, more successful chums’ efforts, and tell us what we think. But actually, if you look at Tracey Emin’s Great Bed of Shit, for instance, you will see that art is whatever you can get away with. Even so, wading about in shit, the role of ordinary people is to be told, by the charmed circle of clever people, what they think about art or music or politics. Or anything. You’ll like the things we tell you to, or you won’t like at all.
It was a rare pleasure, then, to see, last night, an arts show seemingly completely controlled by its subject and - barring an introductory simper from Clemency - completely devoid of the critical, faux-interrogative, flattering voice. (Although he will be best remembered for selling dodgy insurance to the elderly, the telly-monster, Parkinson, wrote the book on pandering to the scum of showbiz and the arts. And do tell us, Mr Niven, some of the many other ways in which you are wonderful.)
I don’t do dancing. Maybe it’s my early presbyterian up-bringing, I dunno, I just don’t and I rarely watch it - save for Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson, on a good day. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at dancing. There was a guy used to be on Sunday Night at the London Palladium, when I was a young child. Antonio, I think his name was, a Spanish flamenco dancer, hand-clapping, heel-stomping, shouting Olé every once in a while - he was mesmerising. But that’s about it with me and dancing so it was just a mild curiosity which drew me, last night, to PBC2’s Sylvie Guillem - Force of Nature.
who, against all precedent, propelled her into the position of etoile, principal ballerina, whilst she was still virtually a child. Rudi's preferment cast the die for her future personal and artistic behaviour. She would only ever do what she wanted to do.
The film is short, about a half an hour and concentrates as much on Guillem's monologues on Life, Art and the Environment as it does on her dancing and although these are compelling, a longer show would have enabled us to be the more amazed, I suspect, by her dancing. There are short clips of her in classical roles and lengthier segments of her modern works; all of them, for me, at any rate, clarified the difference between sheer, ferociously uncompromising artistry and the countless little daily performances which we all give, over and over again for the benefit of family, friends, workmates and strangers alike; all the world is a stage, of course, Guillem's stage, though, occupies a different space, rarified, fantastically dramatic and, perhaps most significantly, utterly wordless.
I was left breathless, open mouthed by the sheer physicality of her performances, her partners all marvel at the things she can force her body to do, even now, approaching fifty.
She can stretch and bend and fold and, free from partner support, she can spin two or three times in mid-air.
As I said, I know nothing of balletstrokedance, leaves me cold as a rule but with some of Guillem's modern pieces my ignorance, my unfamiliarity didn't seem to matter. None of them were large, ensemble, company pieces, just two dancers or in the final piece just Guillem, herself, sketching the stages of woman's life, the movements in space of this one body matched to a few notes, expressing achey truths denied to words.
In her to-camera pieces she was equally compelling.
It's odd, isn't it, how, maybe because we listen a wee bit harder, the words of those to whom English is not native, seem so much more, well, so much more right, unhabituated, more seeking and feeling and testing than declamatory. She spoke of how, early on, she had realised that she had but one life and to allow others - seniors - to dictate it was the same as giving it to them freely, for their own use. And when she transferred from Paris to London's Royal Ballet she quickly became known as Mademoiselle Non for her frequent flat refusals to play suggested roles. London - and global - directors and audiences feel that her ungovernability is a price well worth paying for seeing her on their stages.
Contemplating the end of her career, Guillem laughs that the inevitable decline in her powers will only propel her upwards, slingshotting her into something else, something which is manifesting itself in her antsy support for SeaShepherds,
a radical environmentalist group which sidesteps the customary Bono-bleatings of showbiz in favour of direct action, ramming illegal whaling ships, for instance.
I am sure she will be a loss to dance lovers but most of her stuff will be digitised for posterity and there may well be another Sylvie along in a minute or two, there usually is.
But if you get a chance to see her, in this film, dancing and talking - both of them forms of thinking out loud - then, as we usually say, it is well worth the time spent.
She's got everything she needs,
she's an artist, she don't look back.
(*…my faint delight
in them is that they are a ragbag and that they don’t give a fuck
because - and you don’t need me to tell you this - GlobaCorp doesn’t
give a flying fuck about anybody, any creature, any resource on
land, sea, or in the air; these people commit EarthCrime every second of
the day, they will kill us all, we should kill them first and anyone
even taking a step in that direction, standing up to them, is good news
to me. Fuck Interpol, when are they going to arrest a banker or two?)