16 Dec 2017

La Belle Jour

La Belle Jour

Islands wax and wane, appear and disappear; a temporary relief from the ubiquity of blue. A continental European oddity, Jersey's pristine blue seas and quaintly British, going on French culture, allows one to step across the 26 miles that separate the UK and France; continental Europe.

As a British man, cultural although I may be, I can't help having my preconceptions, perceptions and comprehensions limited by a rather ferocious and inclement sea that is, literally, all around me.... A sea-faring Nation, us Brits are the champions of cultural stasis, conservative and emotionally-muted; somewhat OCD and over-analytical, a little bit anal, we should have continued the 1960's revolution well into the 21st Century to align ourselves more with the sophisticated Gauls and demonstrative Latin-folk.

I write as Brexit threatens to alter societal vagueries, but not the status quo, not a European recherche, historical, intellectual perspective, nor will it alter our very British love of the continent, nor our fierce defence of our islands and our eccentric, emotionally reserved British existence. Somehow Jersey and its quaint sister islands allow us to reflect on on la difference and, entrez-nous our deep-seated similarities.

Photo; St. Aubin's Bay, Jersey 2017.
Photograph and words copyright "all rights reserved" Simon Harris.
:-) Simon

11 Dec 2017

The Chairman Dances - John Adams

On Adam's "The Chairman Dances" Combined with Imagery from the Chinese Ballet "The Red Detachment of Women"

The synergy between the magnificent balletics and the (post)modern, march of Adam's music is both intriguing and exhilarating! The cogent and graphic symbolism used in the choreography is breathtaking and, juxtaposed with Adam's methodical syncopations, the listener/viewer can begin to lose a sense of time and space. If this is parody or pastiche and "authenticity" is lost, then it doesn't really matter when art breaks down restrictions and divines a truth beyond our usual experiences. The fight scene at the end is almost, pure West-Side Story, Jazz dance-like, brutal yet intrinsically aesthetic. The political/cultural ironies are not lost on me, nor the societal eccentricities of 1950's Communist China and its "Amazonian-style' army. 21st Century democracies seem to borrow from the constraints of Communism, but I guess that's another subject...

20 May 2017

It's difficult to know any kind of certainty in Western cultures that are defined by constant, accelerated change.  Continual adaptation and the fact that Western values, by which I mean the moral, intellectual and cultural ideas that have underpinned our cultures, shift like walking across a lake of broken ice, mean that some of our behaviours maybe less useful than we would like.

It has been a strange week in the UK, dominated by lethargic, seasonless weather, rain, heavy leaden skies and humid temperatures.  Our moods align themselves with the evocations of clouds and climate, perhaps, leading to a week of self-reflection.  A sense of self, contrary to the Postmodern notion of fractured subjectivities that, it is reasoned, we are experiencing is to welcomed.  Reflection/thought is necessary to liberate purposeful action.

This week has also been strange because of the peculiarities and vagaries of human relationships, whether with others or with ourselves.  A woman I know posted yet another, seemingly aimless "selfie" online, bragging about her recent achievements.  Her constant bragging about herself, her interests and achievements and her, albeit common preoccupation with snaps of herself, leave me thinking of her as a rather shallow, narcissistic individual.

I had a long chat with another female acquaintance, that lead to a conversation about her new boyfriend, who isn't actually a boyfriend yet, despite seeing him regularly.  This is hardly a surprising revelation until I remembered that she continues to live with her ex-partner.  These currently typical, fleeting and half-hearted approaches to relationships made me think about relationship breakdown and the myriad of difficulties that people experience with modern relationships.

While at work (yes, my job is fractured, displaced, ironic and in constant flux; thoroughly Postmodern(!)) I overheard a colleague talk about self-marriage.  Surely, she was making a joke that referred to the vogue for narcissism and fractured relationships. Unfortunately, a brief bit of Internet research revealed a very small but burgeoning trend for marrying yourself!  This seemed to sum up my rather inclement week, symbolizing my experiences and concerns via an odd parody, pastiche of marriage actuel.  This representation of love (don't even talk about the sex) seems to be a sad paean to better times in the past for relationships, a sad piece of performance art that represents a romantic notion that is becoming, increasingly unusual.

I drove home from work, a rather long commute that sometimes makes me feel I am in a fish-bowl, distanced from others driving their little fish-bowls around.  The rain did stop and a little Sunshine lit up drops of water upon my windscreen.  After all, the more things change the more they stay the same... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...

20 Jan 2017

Strangeness Comes and Goes (for 2017)

Strangeness comes and goes.  Even familiarity becomes an alien oddity, the self festooned, aloof as odd as others. The fixities of time, the phases of consciousness, the rediscovery of yesterday, the banality of contemporaniety.  Strangeness harbours no necessary intent, no contrivance, extrapolation, politics, rhyme nor reason.  My life is full of limbs, echoing elbows rooted to ideas, a strange mechanics of doing, existing, praxis.  This art of being, doing, fumbling onto feet that claw like Panthera Pardus.  Joints fulfil the purpose of ideas, the pivot upon which time is contrived into things and things become a measure of volition. The vagaries of consciousness are its accuracy, its ordinariness its extraordinary prowess that leaves familiarity bewildering, strangeness habitual. 

Conciseness becomes indescribable, the indecipherable becomes everyday.  Meaning is not only lost, but altered at the very foundations of comprehension.  Legs walking, hurried motions towards the scent of a new formation, an idea so odd it becomes, near instantaneously familiar. History, our present, future and past teaches all, something, nothing. At the turn of a new century, doesn't turmoil, change and strangeness throw us into a new terra incognito?  At this early point in a new Millennium is it any wonder that technology changes, wars rage, economies collapse, cultures realign and Donald Trump has become one of the most powerful men in the world?  If our legs are being taken from beneath us then we may have live from the seat of our pants.

Trump could have said this! Some arcane Americana, wilfully Western expression, verbiage from a clutter of cultures, a meteoric media a cynical trans-communication.  Hyperbole, Wikileaks, spying, hypereality, strangeness, unreal and exact via aloof yet familiar images, external/internalised sounds, information as real and ubiquitous as our heart-rate to inspiration, the mind to limbs, eyes to sensation; our distanced yet symbiotic condition.