Tuesday, 31 July 2012
I am too late, I am too old, I am late. Perhaps I am apprehensive and weary. We drink coffee from paper cups while we sit in a polystyrene medieaval castle. There aren't many people. The Burger King has a thatched roof and I briefly wonder about the employment prospects for thatchers in this wet, cold and foggy part of the country. I once wanted to be a thatcher, but today I am glad I am a nothing. Whatever. There is a glass roof arching over everything here anyway. And I wouldn't want to thatch a Burger King in a polystyrene castle. Motorway on such a grey day with fog and the town we drove through was dead and then a sliproad and huge signs loom out of the fog saying designer outlet village. We park in the carpark with the other cars. After walking to the designer outlet village there is music outside in the fog but it isn't very good music and even without fog it wouldn't be very good. Inside there are a lot of clothes to buy but I don't buy any because they aren't very good. There are a few people from the dead town here and they aren't buying any of the clothes either. Everyone is very subdued. This is quite nice, she says to me, holding something with sleeves up for me to look at but I can't find any words. Perhaps I am apprehensive and weary. We drink coffee from paper cups while we sit in a polystyrene medieaval castle.
Justin Strom: poured painting
Stanley Donwood: el chupacabra
Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century the hallucinated economy of the 'globalised' world suffered a serious fracture. This economy, built on imaginary assets and predicated entirely on the erroneous supposition that there will be a reliable supply of cheap oil, gas and coal forever, collapsed after imbibing a dangerous cocktail of greed, lies, mendacity and corruption.
The patient is now in a critical condition, a state which is certainly not helped by the continual injection of more of the same. I remember watching Warner Brothers cartoons, in which it was possible for crazy characters to run straight off a cliff, and then hover in mid-air for a time, whilst still frantically running. Before falling a very long way.
By coincidence, at around the time that coverage of all this reached the popular press I had been spending time making large pictures of what, for convenience's sake I was calling 'Pandemons'; horned creatures, animals that were a composite of goat (herbivore) lion/tiger/shark etc (carnivore) and businessman (omnivore). I have always been fascinated by the horned gods, by the Minotaur in the darkness, by the beast that lurks in the shadows, by the presence that waits in the maze.
I've got nothing against goats. I've got nothing against tigers, or sharks. I simply discovered that if I drew a goat, gave it the mouth of a rapacious carnivore and then dressed it in the suit and tie of a disgraced banker (or politician) it looked fucking evil.
Bankers and politicians wear suits and ties so they don't look like criminals. The Pandemons are horrible, feral, carnivorous lupine beasts, consumed by a naked, guiltless, ravening greed. They are partly the faces you fear you'll see when you pull open the curtains at night, partly the laughing visage of decaying Western capitalism, they are the draught created by the vast movements of cash into the off-shore bank accounts of the despicable, the stench of bonuses, payoffs and bribes; they are incompetant, parasitic vampires.
There were thirteen Pandemons in the show I did in Bristol called 'El Chupacabra'. Thirteen ghosts at the funeral. Thirteen spectres at the feast of the goat. Loitering on the blackened cliffs of free-market economics, cackling as they raise a glass to toast Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Augusto Pinochet.
Gallons of paint I've poured over them to drown their snickering. But still they laugh.
Monday, 16 July 2012
HOLLOWAY: TWO BOOK LAUNCHES and A LINK.
The book by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards will be launched at two events, one in East London and one in East Anglia. If you click on the diminuative flyers above your computing device will download a zipped PDF of the flyer in A4 format. If you desire, you can then print this out loads of times, and even enlarge it to A3, and then you could go flyposting. Which is at least slightly illegal, and you absolutely mustn't do it.
As I type, the rain falls as incessantly as ever. This does not bode well for my plan to spend the time between the two book launches sleeping in a series of hedges as I make my way from London to Norwich.
Some information about the making of the book.
It's taken nine months to make this book, from conception to publication. To print it we used fresh lead, melted in cast iron buckets and then cast into individual letters. This is very different from typing on a computer and then clicking 'print', and has certain attendant hazards.
The composition of the type was done on a Monotype caster, a machine that was made in the 1950s. Here's a few pictures of it and its mechanisms.
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
WHAT’S THE IDEA? THIS IS THE IDEA: YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR THAT YOU BOUGHT THIS YEAR ON SOME HUGE MORTGAGE SCHEME AND WILL HAVE TO REPLACE IN ANOTHER YEAR OR SO AFTER YOU’VE KILLED A FEW BIRDS MAMMALS AND MAYBE A CHILD OR TWO AND DRIVE TO THE SUPERMARKET PAST ALL THE DEAD SHOPS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT OUT OF BUSINESS BY THE SUPERMARKET AND PARK ON A HUGE EXPANSE OF CONCRETE THAT HAS BEEN PUT ON A FIELD OR A WOOD THEN WALK PROBABLY FURTHER THAN YOU WOULD TO A CORNER SHOP AND COMMANDEER A HUGE TROLLEY AND GO INTO THE SUPERMARKET AND FILL UP THE TROLLEY WITH THINGS YOU DON’T WANT DON’T NEED AND CAN’T AFFORD THEN HAVE AN ARGUMENT WITH WHOEVER YOU’RE WITH BECAUSE THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE IS BEGINNING TO DESTROY YOU AND THEN YOU QUEUE UP BEHIND A LINE OF SIMILARLY SOUL-DAMAGED PEOPLE THEN A POOR UNFORTUNATE KID OR PENSIONER WHO PROBABLY DREAMS IN BLEEPS READS THE BARCODES ON EVERYTHING AND DOESN’T WANT TO HEAR YOU SAY ANYTHING AND IS OBLIGED TO ASK YOU IF YOU HAVE A LOYALTY CARD AND IF YOU WANT CASHBACK (YES PLEASE I’LL HAVE THE FUCKING LOT BACK AND YOU CAN KEEP ALL THIS CRAP IN MY TROLLEY) THEN YOU HAVE TO CART IT ALL BACK TO YOUR CAR AND LOAD IT UP IN THE BOOT AND GET IN AND GET OUT OF THE GARGANTUAN CARPARK THEN DRIVE HOME THROUGH THE BLEAK WASTELAND OCCUPIED ONLY BY THOSE TOO POOR TO OWN A CAR AND UNLOAD IT ALL AGAIN INTO YOUR DREAM HOME AND THEN CONSUME IT ALL AND WHEN YOU’VE SHAT IT ALL OUT YOU HAVE TO FUCKING GO BACK AGAIN.
‘Slowly Downward’ ; Stanley Donwood