Into the Mystic : Belfast talk

We communicate with ourselves saying a great deal hoping others will agree and have the same thought. There comes then the Belfast punctuation, seeking response, the call and response, like it’s not them saying it but it’s ordained truth. “Know what I’m saying” some say. “I mean” others may say. “You know” as if their saying it’s already your thinking. I spent a Will musing on this and here’s the result. With a nod towards Van the Man.

Into the Mystic

It’s deadly

So it is

Can’t see it

So it’s not

He caught it

So he did

I’m OK

So I am

What some tea

So you see

Time moves on

So they say

God still loves you

So he does

I’m certain

So am I

We’ll pull through

So you see

We’re strong

So we are

Things will change

So they will

Gone before you know it

So it will

Your resilient

So you are

Deaths for everyone

So it is

We’re the same

So it seems

We’ll be OK

So we will

Everything changes

So it does

This teas grand

So it is

It’s deadly

So it is

It’s no joke

So it’s not

Your an old fool

So you are

Can’t beat it

So that’s it

So what now?

We’ll see tomorrow

So we will

What happens happens

So it does

We’ll have our peace

So we will

The big wheel spins

So it does

We can’t get off

So we can’t

Stick with it

So be brave

Remember Miles

So what

That’s what he meant

So what

John Graham

31 March 2020

Don’t run this by me : Shopping

In it and with it. Just do it? – no that’s not correct – Do the right thing.

While it’s important to be very careful and be ultra cautious there is a time for lightheartedness.

This is not exactly of that variety but it was a diversion I needed.

The Canary is a selfless creature and wants love and has been the tiny bird used in history as a sacrificial one. If only we were able to identify without resorting to that method the harmful things we need avoid including the personal awareness everyone now seems to be forced to engage with.

Sketching without drawing

Stand back please your too close to the counter.

Thank you now what can I get you?

This is a dead parrot.

Sir don’t slam it down on the clean surface please?

It’s dead When I bought it yesterday you said it was just a bit peaky.

Sir it’s a canary not a parrot.

So you lied about that too?

You are obviously upset, did you feed it correctly?

Yes.

Did you put it in a clean cage?

Yes.

Did you ventilate the room?

Yes.

Then Sir it’s obviously caught the virus from you.

No it didn’t I washed my hands.

Sir that’s not enough and stop leaning towards the counter.

The parrot had a virus when you sold it.

It’s a canary and I didn’t sell it with a virus. And it’s a zoological virus, you can’t catch it.

Oh yes I can and it’s now in my house.

Well Sir I suggest you self isolate and don’t buy anymore birds.

I want a refund immediately and take back this bag of seeds.

I can’t do that I’m not using cash today only contactless.

It’s the principle I’m concerned about. You sold me a pup and it’s now dead.

It’s not a pup and it left here alive.

Stop this nonsense and give me a refund.

I can offer you a token of something else as you are obviously angry.

Angry I’m bloody livid.

I can give you a box of Ibropropgen they will calm your nerves. Or some candles to relax you 4 should do it.

Four candles and painkillers? You must be joking. Haven’t you any masks or sanitiser?

That would be stretching it a bit far, your the seventh customer this morning to come in for a refund and this is my last face mask and I’ve desanitised this counter I don’t know how many times.

My shelves are clear and this bin bag is full now. Will you be taking the 4 candles and the painkillers it’s the best I can offer and it’s not my fault there’s a virus.

Look you can keep your dead canary and stuff it where you like. I want none of this. Have you got forks?

Sir I want you to leave and please don’t swear.

I need forks for my fork handles I’ve a dead dog who your canary spat at. I’ve got to bury it.

Ok Sir if you would just deposit the canary in the bag I will see if o have those but if you swear once more you will be getting no goodwill gesture.

Mmm

That will be £12.50.

What four forks an ache and you expect £12 quid? Are you having a laugh.

No Sir I told you to stop swearing, yet you continue.

I didn’t.

You said four forks ache.

I said What Forks ache?

Stop leaning over and take your hands off the forks and leave my gas mask alone.

It’s a face mask not a gas mask and have you any gas masks out the back your hoarding? And do you have any D fork handles?

What?

Fork handles have D handles and Spade handles have T handles Hace you got a fork handle with a D handle please?

Dear lord Just take your 4 candles … these 2 T handle is all Ive got and put the handle on the fork and spade no one will know the difference and I’m giving it to you free I’ve just about had enough.

Fork and Spade – now your at it – will you stop swearing please

Sir, these are difficult times just please leave, there is another customer behind you.

Next

This parrot I bought yesterday is cream crackered.

It’s not a parrot it’s a canary and it was alive when I sold it.

(The previous Customer picks up the 4 candles and painkillers and leaves – and has the last word)

I told you this virus would catch on.

Sir it is a canary and it’s unfortunate has not been cared for or kept in a clean safe place since.

OK thank you kindly I mustn’t have looked after it or washed my hands properly of cleaned my cage at home.

Indeed Sir, If you could put it in the black bag over there please. Thank you. Anything else I can help you with?

Toilet rolls?

Aisle be back.

(They both stare at each other. Unmoved.)

Sir, those are self service, Aisle B back.

Where did you get those?

End.

John Graham

March 2020

Belfast

Each day is different : A poem

The time remains the same Passing to return again Humbling Consoling Terrifying

Today a new discovery Formally I greet you Informally I want you This is life in raw emboldened urge so formidable No keys are needed to enter its fate A phase of Gods turn

Friday 20 03 2020 I no longer have dreams Instead there are wishes There are day dreams For others new riches in survival Things always – change irrevocably Survival of mankind Has somehow disappeared Gone to another plain

I no longer have nightmares The relentless anxiety

Fixed realities instead instilled The equinox of the mind Shedding fear hope too Is suppressed

I go through the years

I have known loved A roll call of people Or just been with In simpler times

Those already gone

I reach to them

Ask what their reaction – would be

They come visit me

A mind in lockdown

I see they are free

They tell me their ease

The things I loved with them

Their troubles shared were lightened

The ghost of their life

Is alive in both now

Same thoughts and feelings

Never truer than now

Air is a lifeline

Ventilators silent friends

Rotation of lung oxygen

Replenished holding strings

Of life together while

Inside an enemy runs amok

Sliding days anticipate

A cohort of new integrities

Soul yes Values Yes

Belief No Virtue Yes

Purpose on hold as

Time itself rolls by

Seconds still turn tides

The Sun circles us

Keeps the earths seasons

Has somehow disappeared all life

Furrowed people

Ploughed people

Humans – people they all

Are us.

John Graham

20/21 March 2020

Belfast

Artist Unknown : Known Art PRONI – QSS Belfast

Artist Unknown : Known Art

The Artist remains anonymous leaving conjecture to the fore though the relevance of the art itself is slowly releasing its objective aims. Seeing the work in this very laidback utterance of records waiting inspection is highly immersive. It affords a massive degree of development of anyone’s perspective. Without a creative narrative other than the short circumspect motives of lauding to the place and context no genus loci is foremost. The 22 years of work are seen in a few items, 22 or thereabouts. Counting the past and Colouring the past all recall time.

With an exhibition title the past is somewhere in these pieces. Colour is the apparent manifestation but achieving a connection or correlation is intangible. That is not a downfall but a point at which to travel on to another aspect. These materials are the essence of an experience encountered either through words or the books and documents happened upon. Over a period of 22 years there are perhaps gaps and peaks. There is not reference other than a phrase at each piece that itself is a code of words themselves ambiguous and tertiary. That is itself a form of approaching record and memory as we all know how fragile and open to interpretation that can be.

The words written here are borrowed as well as an appreciation of the leap onto a fixed point taken in time where a sudden phrase or vision is unfolded.

Not displayed. Displayed.
Ideas embraced are kept away from the identity narrative but embrace here 22 objects in materials honed on material. I thought of the art here maybe being made by a machine, and unlike a machine art combines narratives set to provide us with a set of visions and understandings from an initial connectivity.


The scope is left uncertain and aim is intense recalling observation now illuminated and entrusted to cabinets and walls displayed in accordance with expressed wishes so far as can be understood. Pairs. Light. Single eye level sight. Triptych on a line separated by a height on the line of sight each a crest fallen or risen. Stark daylight comes in window filtering shifts outside of time passing. Inside merging with LED and spotlight directed on other things. Room of sides. Some open. Cases repeat use. Different context. Explaining objects. Deciphering others perceptions. Editorial nuance. Collaborations of consent. Elaboration sent.

Time remains constant meaning fluid as metal. Sheets of glass hang as semi-state liquids. Porcelain is stacked along a wall in glass cubes solitary as Meissen mutable bodies violations of humanity stocked for future recall and memory yet discarded invisible broken and rendered gas in a fire. Dacha porcelain melted through malleable corrupted expedient obedience.
Set in a case intact still and caught in hubris and artful connectivity. Light shades it’s luminous transparency. A balance is found. Memory invoked. No story told. Ideas flow. Here are examples of the Porcelain on display and in this place is taken the viewer elsewhere without delving into specific references.

October 24th 1777
A true Genius will always Remember
to Leave a Space – unwritten – to Come in
Contact with the wax or wafer – by which
Means – the Reader Escapes – half an hours
Puzzle to Make out a Sentence – & Ever
while you live – never Omit – no –
not – that – what! – what! – dates! – dates! –
am not I a Grocer? –
pun the 2d –

The daily choices determined your mood and discard elements of the past lurking in the shadows of the day’s past. Those days recall the spaces left empty.

Magic is before you still as the ever-present it looks to you and asks what it means for you to take it in. Thus the art is realised. Somewhere a forgotten energy stored is released and summons you to the garden. It is earth stood on it is a thin veil of crust over a molten melting furnace we inhabit. Those metals surge to meet us and the conglomerate spells of their integrity allow the freedom to explore ourselves.

Here are some titles – they are random like a memory.

No. 7 October 22d 1778
My Dr friend
have you never – beheld – a Bust with
double – no! – not double – but with
two Very diferent profiles – one Crying
& one Laughing – thats just my
Situation at Present – for poor
De Groote – huzza – is Presented to
the Charter house – by – Bless him –
the good Arch XXXX Bishop of Canterbry,
but, by a standing law, he can not be
admitted till a Fresh Quarter begins –
& as he says – he may be dead by that
time – we will hope not – well this is
the Laughing Side. – The Duke of
Queensberry died this morning –
alas – ‘I ne’er shall look upon his like again’

the Clearest Head & Humanest of Hearts
I have – in common with many –
many – a Heavy loss – I loved the
good Duke – & not without Reason –
he is Gone to Reap a Reward – that
St Paul could not Conceive – in the
flesh – & which I will be bold to
say – they both – Perfectly
Enjoy – at this moment. God
of his Mercy Grant – that thee & I,
& all I love – yea & all I know
may Enter Eternity with as promising
hopes – & Realize the Happiness – in store
for such as the Duke of Queensberry

Far from the element of truth is the offer of alternatives equally valid and worth consideration. It is why the pages are filled with narrative in our daily lives and completion for new thoughts materialised as conjunctions in science discovery or rationally deduced revision is found in the capsule of a moment in time and then the dialogue moves on. This art is a message in that context. Colouring the past is cumulative and expansive in its scope. The offer made is to unearth your own archeological logic of existence.

Colouring The Past – 5 Feb to 31 Mar
Exhibition, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
in Belfast.

An exhibition by Antico

Influenced by both the colours of ancient manuscripts and the vivid emotions of jazz, this unique exhibition brings together twenty two works which span twenty two years of output from this artist. The music that influenced the artistic practice will play during the opening event.

Antico has studied archives and artefacts across the world and drawn upon this experience to imagine a sense of the past. Our concept of the past offers us the opportunity to reflect upon history on a more personal level. What can this body of work tell us now?

Venue: Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9HQ

QUEEN STREET STUDIOS BLOOMFIELD AVENUE

Emergence III Is the third iteration/showcase of recent graduates from Belfast School of Art facilitated by QSS
New start
The Graduate degree show put together at QSS Queen Street Studios is located within the new premises acquired over last year and shows also its heft under the fragile spaces artists within a sector very short on resources and is a very good taster of work unfolding. Their; QSS, helping other artists is just a token and sign of the reservoir of good functioning practice within the local art community. ‘Joy for humans lies in human actions; kindness to others, contempt of the senses, the interrogation of appearances, observation of nature and of events in nature.’ Marcus Aurelius. Some of these boxes are already ticked here.

17 artists are on show. Works vary from Silkscreen prints, Acrylics on Canvas, Oil paintings, mixed media including soap, embroidery, some recycling and a small but very thorough working of Sculptural themes which I set about writing first given they gained my interest most.

Sculpture
Fantastical, celebratory, lighthearted and evocative are some of the other boxes ticked. In the centre of the main room is a water closet. It sits in a white container gridded with black lines and it spills as the Trevi fountain or the Peeing cherub the pure aqua normally associated with cleansing, so an opposite act is in is circulated and no overflowing content is uncontained. The overflow is circulated and no overflowing content is uncontained. A paradox of a loo.

Leoni Hill Why is this failing?

There is a section of floor where a carefully curated set of (paper) banana skins. Decorated and plain on the plane of the floor making a forest of little yellow hills. Like an aspect of a terrain visited and a banana republic is happened upon this is a bit of a confounding mystery to some. Asked what the the bananas were about the best instant reaction was, ‘About £2 a kilo.’ Somehow it may cost more in time.

For some unknown reason I happened to think the room was containing objects and a collection of art that were speaking to each other. Not to overdo the sense I was struck by how for example the work was a course of art development and we were looking at the present form of expression and how this generation or group were seeing the volume of, the globe of, nature of art and its ability to convey an interest or view. Very few pieces if any failed in that respect.

The most interesting work and I saw it in the RUA 2019/2020 show was Lens II which is so delicately realised and fine tuned it will adapt to whatever situation it finds itself in. Though it would be wise to keep it away from natural sunlight in case it’s lenses ignite a combustible material it might focus on.

Aimee Nelson Lens Structure 2

The exhibition has more sculpture and it is worth attention. With this work by Paddy McKeown an example of making magic from simple shapes. This time a cone.

The many paintings on display are across a spectrum of approaches with pattern often appearing and the emergence of the stylised Hockney type openness to figurative abstraction immersed in colour. Without the Californian weather. An intelligence of culture and political immobility is captured or occasionally alluded to. The lack of prescriptive dialogue is a sign of carefully avoiding a rhetoric or belonging in a timeframe. The acuteness of single works is evident in many pieces, the accurate vision of natural landscapes as recomposed in singular visions is a frequent art narrative and is continued here.

I liked the work of Anna Horathova who along with her sister are working in fine art photography and other mediums. This photograph is taken in Kiltonga Woods Newtownards. It is a beautiful atmospheric paper print.

Here are some very nice pieces of work proving it is hard to distinguish or correlate a critical view on anything as there is much to be absorbed and much to find in the future from these works.

Something to rest your head on.

All views are merely opinion and hopefully are an insight to the works here shown.

John Graham

14 February 2020

Belfast

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The Flax Field

This poem was written in appreciation of Rev. William Macmillan who was laid to rest on
23 01 2020 at Dunmurry NonSubscribing Church Northern Ireland.

The Flax Field

On its girth a corpse of trees

The stead was high

Stood like guards at its edge

Inward they appeared protective

Outward they hold back the wind

In its gust it swayed

Towering watchful over us

Took in the air our lungs expelled

And drank it in – a unity begun

A life alpha and omega spun

The dialogue was spiritual

of the ever giving earth

Ecumenism one of God

I heard the whispers grow loud

Speaking oneness in the world

Each life a gift precious

And sharing grace and worship

For the years it has to unfold

That wonder to behold

Not profit on another’s loss

Our ways are rooted

Where we are born

Everyday given a vision

With a boundary our horizon

From the Valley or the mountain

A day encountered another promised

Each shall see alone

Where shadows fall the light dims

The whirl of spinning earth

Arrives in that same place

John Graham

The Irish Bells

23 January 2020

Platform Arts+Engine Room Gallery end of 2019 show

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The Gallery explains

An end of year show is a challenge for artists and attendees alike. The entry point is for the artist confining their conversation to one item or piece. Some find it irresistible to go triptych or expand a theme. Beginning middle and end. Other artists, and I will return to a particular energised and totally consuming piece later, @ERG, distill an immediate point in the journey of creating art by signalling an epic piece they can’t contain or control within a show or gallery devoted to the work they have in the past year or longer. They have created a theme which they are committed to and continue to approach with nuance and exposition of stages or a stage in learning and added towards a very involved and very involving set of conjunctions which are all the better for seeing in the care taken in collating the process.

There are even the individual ease of conscious pieces. The piece that is an expression of the soul at ease and visual visible contentment with the form of making art and communicating across a range of experiences and expectations. In writing this corrective text through up a word close to but not the one you are seeking but the temptation and I do not discard it, is to use it to elucidate on the subject being addressed. There is a common shape to the artists vein and implies that is physical and abundant in its delivery of energy. A compact.

The View Platform Arts Belfast Members Show

Gallerist type paintings appear. The paintings of painting and these are forms of colour which are a difficult ‘oeuvre’ a favourite word Van Gogh used while learning his own use of colour.

There are floor art pieces one being an all seeing robot home floor cleaner and in an attempt to stop sabotage or intended pet surveillance carrying a dash cam which is low strung video no one will ever watch.

The white wall has a screen sometimes awake to show the domestic dust gathering excursions. Belfast City Council will have their eye on this and the leaf gathering and tins, bottles and crisp packets can inform urban and city life. It can become a streaming service and you get to see the poo and street level debris those commuted and conscientious street sweepers deal with on a daily basis is not unreal. One thing it is essential not to do is flatter as sooner or later you will have no critical aim, and it is helpful I think for different views to emerge while bringing more thought and questioning that eventually a higher level of observance and recognition of a work or piece is obtained. So that requires an attitude independent of all others.

Give a dog a bomb.

Seeing sculpture with a beer in your hand can be frightening occasionally. Reading the piece no.14 Gerard Carson – Landarmour 2019 – you alight on the idea of its nearness to primordial warfare. It is a piece so well conceived and directed the balance of this thin animalistic form all bones and little steel junctions animated is pressing ahead, while static, assuming a hatred and visible increasing acerbic intent. In the canine form of a head the delicate touch of a golden bomb is clenched sausage like, a wire leading from behind it to the clenched imposters jaw.

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The strain in a heartbeat – for the work is able to throw instant ideas and assemblages of thought at you – is of knowing this is a simple well balanced object created to imitate a widely held fear and up close and personal unintended closeness. You are witness to imminent fatal savageness. Can you recall the piece seems to ask the walk home or in a crowd on a bridge a stranger appear and you see there is a bomb in its jaw. Then there is the white chain. That sign it is danger freed. The white links tethering it broken and the ideas adding layers of unprotection. Clear and present danger. Is there a phrase to capture it? No justice is here? Why me? The work is on the one hand aimed at disconcerting amusement in the sum of its parts while in the other taking that device and throwing at you an immensity of fear. It may not create distress given the location and knowledge art is its collateral, it nevertheless surprises even mildly shocks that the pieces title leads you towards.

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Alliteration
Painting is a recurring and thankfully continuing form used by current young artists. There is one of those triptych type installations. no.1 Jill Quigley Funhouse 2019 – being first a dibond print painting unhung but propped with the centrepiece a grid of screen prints on paper of pictures of decorators, with separate primary colour paper taped to each other as a gallery of paint in progress. Then the third elect which was 9 stacked acrylic painted abstracts.

They each were fine small boards but became a very enlivened image as it was apparent each board was not connected to the next unlike the taped middle piece but relying on staggered lines of 3 belonging together as a group but none having any connection other than abstraction to any other. The presence of all 3 is placed in a corner this gallery has history in. A Hugh Mulholland piece simple folded sheet I remember perfectly accepting the genus loci of the space – being around the corner.

Stillness
The painting element gained a strong presence in 2 expressionist works of places. One no.16 Jess Gunn Midnight panic 2019 – a large room informally defined overview with a empty loom type chair.

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The closeness to the lightly flat shapes were warming and inviting a story. The geometry an important and strong lever to getting into this scene. The other is a small and square object based view of a place. The industry of high contrast colour of inhabited space deliver a simple form of shapes that informally suggest a garden corner with brickwork, stool, leaning pad and plant pot giving this impression.
It is a confident and lovely work showing a lightness of touch and some gravitas concerning defining or inhabiting a place possibly to obtain enjoyment. The thing I see most is the discover many new artists take of avoiding decoration.

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The absence of fine point pattern, detail, exactness, being a thing of digital images that when joined with painting – Des Edwards is an exponent of that arresting potential – see ERG no.7 Wormhole II – are themselves amazing so this is on the journey that dispels the past and states a local and intimate image that is really the interior mind. That being the imaged observation made by the artist of a place in now or a future seen. Is there a Paula Rego angst waiting to be revealed?

Small room spaces alight
The references are fine transmuting landscapes and figures laden onto a wild physical form. In some you see the trees and building farms with light falling on fields or streams brown on blue. Light coming through as sketched outline and as blurred background. All is calm reflection rather than problematic to look at and the names give some context for the story held. In no.24 Lianna McKinney Riverbank I saw the shapes tell tales of solitude in several rural guises. There are many pieces in the room all worth exploring. no’s. 18 > 25.

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Timber refined
In the quest to find a reason for accumulating things – ‘…of a problem of material insistence’. came in work no.11 Damien Magee

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An infinite curve showing a collaboration of materials that became a uniform assembly of very separate things. On the wall is a transparent manifestation of a grid as a backdrop to a form of order. In front is an artists easel, clasped in its clamps a series of itemised cassette covers ranges in accordance with size. They create a beautiful frontispiece in this summation of collections things and are posited as art in that easel. The frame is beginning to unfold the narrative of material very conversationally. We all are collectors of something or other. Something or other. The leaden words of hoarding. Here the accumulated elements are set as figures in the world of content. Where are the artists and music of these cassette memories. Elsewhere and alongside to complete the picture is a seat that fascinated me through its obscure though entirely reasonable engineering. I love the use of sustainable constructions and this was the winning element to my consc c

What it is, is a seat or bench made with sourced birch or sandalwood, a strong kiln dried wood which has through the economies of cutting created different sizes – around an inch to two inches and lengths then layered as and bonded to a layer below with the purposed random selection assembled to create a strong flat deck. It is separated by a gap, a split in the centre and the frame it sits on is of the same form of construction. The splayed legs are also timber engineered by bonding with the whole being a piece of fine contemporary furniture.

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I once had to recreate a huge Church (hyperbolic paraboloid shaped) roof using the same technology. In that case it was forming the roof edge structures by Glulam beams and rarely used since the popularity of its modernist use in the sixties, 20c. It not only created a lightweight self structuring roof form relatively quickly, it created a large clear floor plan.  There is a new mosque in Cambridge (Cambridge Central Mosque £23m) that has a roof supported by a spread of timber columns radiating that do not work in a sustainable way nor excel as a device to create wide spans but are for effect.

A different timber engineering company (Japanese) has recently bought 40% of Manchester’s Urban Splash and that signals the technology growth and this time sustainably. They use a laminated beam to make good design work as residential forms. It’s highly ingenious and brings many types – they don’t use a hyperbolic paraboloid roof but maybe someday as a large span several storey height complex.

There is a theme here which is seen in a similar way in the work here below.

https://www.jmkac.org/exhibition/2018/unseen-forces/blagdon

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Emery Blagdon was a pioneer of the subjective sculptural and painting combinations that evolved through, in his case a feeling of incapacity to heal himself his ailing mother.  This is not a widely held expression of the reasons behind his work but I see it in this and even the Peter Mooney work you will read about further on in this blog.

The ‘Wiki’ on Emery tells us he was born aged 112!  This could prove to be correct.

……. Description Emery  O. Blagdon was an American artist. Wikipedia
Born: 25 July 1907 (age 112 years), Callaway, Nebraska, United States

‘He added brightly colored paintings with concentric circles and angular lines to serve as generators or reflectors of natural forces, an essential part of The Healing Machine’s overall structure. Blagdon believed the static charges and the emanating aura of these entities exuded curing properties for those experiencing intense physical and emotional suffering.

Blagdon’s artist-built environment makes visible the power of belief and the complexity of human emotion.‘

On Platform and this exhibition 

There is undoubtedly in this form of art elements of ‘Raw Art’ I see in this new work.  While clearly all the pieces are not in this vein and cannot be extrapolated in a general view like this I found there were works that required some further comparisons.  The story is almost always a human reaction to the world and it’s often portrayed in Art History as belonging to the psychotic or disturbing preoccupations of mental illness and often confinement.  This could also be described as confinement art.  Art of the imprisoned mind.  The physical and spiritual fixitude.  Nevertheless it destroys the notion of the wider notions and parallels existing in other art.  Vincent Van Gogh and other explorative painters and sculptors.  Even Pablo Picasso was an enfant terrible in his anxiety of purpose. His furrowed brow told you this.

After WWII, art of the insane gained support from European artists as a reaction against the Nazi condemnation of Degenerate Art in 1937. Dubuffet continued his research and began to look at artworks from prison inmates, psychics, and autodidacts, which had a direct influence on the development of his art. From the 1950s through the 1960s Dubuffet resided in the United States and brought along some artworks from his Art Brut Collection; this lead to the developing American interest in this specific art form.

This is a clear connection of abstraction with in Emery Blagdons case, using materials and forms he called kinetic, from the main body of contemporary work never made connective.  Here is an example.

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More Emery Blagdon works –

The previous Platform Art exhibition – Paul Hallahan and Lee Welch, reviewed in a previous blog, was not inclusive of installation pieces but it was an example of this essential dilution of thought compressed energetically into work will avoiding the figurative realism and representative interpretation of place or volumes.  That is near to the famous work The Healing Machine.  It is as if we are locked into, when viewing art the healing machine accessed by and through art and artists.

The Engine Room Gallery

The chance for Engine Room Members and Artists to once again revisit and introduce new work was skillfully displayed as always.  There is plenty of space to see the work mostly painting hung in the professional way Cliff Brooks as Chief Curator always provides.

This Gallery has had a huge stable year in producing very good shows and opportunities for long established and young artists alike.  The generosity of spirit is a very important conrtributor to the whole of work on these islands and encourages new work to be seen in a democratic setting.

I refered eaelier to a piece which is in touch with the material consumption we are a complicit, some not all authors of.   The medium of Gallery Art Work is a constant litmus test.  Ranging from the eccentricity of Austin Clarke and his controlled anger at the panoply of values stacked and falling in the worlds destructive direction made real. Marmite is just one outlook.

Painted Man

Peter Mooney should never be underestimated indeed his work should often be lauded as it speaks to us in a rich and provocative while gentle ‘ouerve’ always enlightening to look at and think about.  No less this piece.  no.37. Construction.

Other work and I will given more time put up further commentary on is in abundance here.

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There have been many good shows in Northern Ireland this year and I’ve written only about a few with other responses writing about an artists work in direct communication. What I have to raise is one Exhibition made a lasting impression was at Ps2 part performance and part a work conceived and relating to the interior and location it was presented in on Royal Avenue.

A powerful year Ps2
This is life and no a fantasy by Ieva Rojūtė March/April 2019.
The Lithuanian artist brought a connection across inspiring thoughts on the conditions and lives, and not only the transitory fragile harmful journey of East Europeans but sole for all in these times when political as well as the economic migration Ireland has too long been immersed in, it delivered a radiance and hope of human nature. By focusing on the person and through the experience the Gallery put the artist into was a fantastic enlivening and spiritual recognition of human strengths and resilience while tragedy often overcomes the person sometimes on the slightest thing and finally so.
I was very impressed at how Ps2 and Ieva Rojūtė levered into the space these thoughts and the practice of the artist was very well considered and utterly conscious of the world rstate in this minute space.
The art of the familiar shown as a guide bearing witness on multiple diverse journeys.

Ieva Rojūtė has work that expands and explores this widely on many forms and types of media. A cultural exchange is the process but that itself is a consequence of the today media access and it’s as if the person is as the doors of reconciliation in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral speak through a door and a hand put through the closed to the other side to symbolise a change and reconciliation. It gave rise to the expression chancing your arm which nowadays is less conciliatory but slang removing the original meaning.

All views are my own in this essay.

John Graham

11 December 2019

Belfast

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Catalyst Arts + Platform Art’s – November 2019

Past pleasures

November has come and gone and plans to get a blog out were thawrted and put aside but having started I think it worthwhile to put across what I observed and some reaction to the very good shows is to be put in writing along with some visual elements from the shows.

I take a long external look at the needs of art and how responses are so important to us in this and other times.

First is foremost
Whatever you conceive of as a concept it becomes a philosophy by being first ‘a specifically philosophical groundwork acquired through original self-activity, and therewith that firmness of basis, that genuineness of root which alone makes real philosophy possible.’

It is fascinating the syntax of language in forming the above view is heavily grammatically dependant on instilling adjectives which are themselves from nature. The beginning is based in the reality of known things such as ‘groundwork’, ‘activity’, ‘root’. The core is this use age which enables visualisation and connection to an idea which is never seen until the expression of it. Paint is the same in its development and execution of internal ideas.
The invisible Kantian standpoint of an a priori point of it existing before the present becomes a transcendency.

Patterns are the evolution microbial atom generator and the invisibility is the lock which holds the structure of existence together and in continual metamorphosis. So many artists are pattern seekers and evolve beyond that to contain pattern by dislodging the media to create another element.

With Athenite precision the artist has got hold of an idea which contains two parts. One is the unseen part and fanciful (not at all used in a derogatory way) but the construction manifesting other events. The Second is the fluid substantial existence of a manifest part. The actual physicality and production of the piece. It is experienced in a time portion while altering through its own structures of connections which Thirdly we stand apart from and linearly observe. When we are gone it continues as something other.
So there are in actual fact three not two parts.

Platform First

There is a unique moment of confluence, a meeting of ideas and about the coming together of factors or ideas. With an important harmony in Platform Gallery the works individual and combined of Paul Hallahan and Lee Welch show development is a matter of choice and is able to form from separate choices. How this is effected is not the point but it is neither unimportant this synergy is playing out with the work of different artists.
In a busy remorseless cascading visual feast in all media – print and font are implicit in having us observe an image or product. Here there is refuge from overindulgent and a coat of many colours identity crisis projected in abstract expressionism.

The certitude of form and editorial is harnessed with skill and amplitude by both artists. Seeing these paintings has a zen effect and a kind of primordial response as it seems they convey aim the chosen restrictions on marks and even in Lee Welch’s formative native kind of expression leads you on a journey forward but also and more so in the basic origins of pictorial sensitivity. By not approaching the tropes of restoration and period art they employ a vision of familiar participants in art.

Paul Hallahan has developed a water based approach devoid of rush or sudden instant immersion by using that watery transfer of colour in a fluid orchestral way. He has said he often paints with music as a soundscape. It could be fast in tempo or pastoral and it’s not necessary to know but it indicates the phenomenology of painting in a continuity of deliver of what inspires to what we are responsive to. Time is therefore another aspect and the work has a form in advance but fluctuations as it evolves it would appear.

Paul Henry is a reference point as is Grace Henry who is supposed to have combined the paint palette for the condition of colour blindness that only became publicly known sometime after his passing. The implication is that the essence of colour and the loss of sight by Monet and Matisse made them obtain aspects of their art no less beautifully formed as we appreciate those as well as the untroubled – can they be called ‘sight paintings’? They would have painted the tones of the day, where they were in the light preferred as observed and dusk daylight dawn, were in all parts equal.

Choosing to work in minimal ways the exchange of tones is enlivened beyond colour comprehension and maybe stimuli of full colour is set aside for another more subtle and in some sense moving flowing confluence akin to ‘event’ ‘occurence’ and not derivative of symbolic figurative themes. It is in my fires more a case of taking familiar art history themes and advancing current contemporary messages as visual – that word again I’m afraid! – confluences.

This essence is apparent in both artists with the combined work and its admirable the suspect ego often carried in creative work as a driver is confidently never present in canvases that are again taking colour and absences – Lee Welch has as colour the canvas chosen to be worked and both enjoy the informality and microbial speech patterns of canvas. It is even more enjoyed when you realise this exhibition is in a former line house trade building and flax colour is very provocative with the light poring in from the Antrim Hills beyond Belfast where the bleaching process took place to end up as finished damask in these trading and storage facilities.


When you look at the canvas there is a sense of journey intended or otherwise implied where damask and silver tableware is symbolic as it is tiny in the ‘period’ leanings of art history and patronage seen in several paintings. That is remarkable and what Gerard Carson’s recently passed father Cairan would have seen as that complex thing Happenstance. Really remarkable as the work in the Gallery shows. The work is an essay in show – the word show. The directness and need to or not to analyse the work is the appearance for our pleasure and experience to behold. There is communication on many levels in all the work.

In the small space there is the video installation of Paul Hallahan’s dog who has passed away. She is a pure bred Black Labrador retriever and is seen from beyond the grave. It is a homage to a well known and sadly missed and wonderful artist and person William McKeown who passed so young. His partner arranged the showing of a film in his honour of his ‘howling’ dog at a memorial and today his work is on show at Talbot Rice Gallery Edinburgh. Notable simplicity and connections can be made.

Catalyst Arts November

Hyperobjects Catalyst Arts until 5 December 2019

This exhibition has 10 contributors. 1 of which is the archive of Art Research Matters,and artists define the space as a unit of material examinations very attuned to the wastefulness alongside natural productivity of earth’s compass. It is enthralling and exotically bewildering as the newness of each action is absorbed in time. I will not dwell on too many pieces as the whole is comprehensively covered in a Catalyst Arts well written exhibition note as following on from – as a logical exposition of the joint Arts Research Matters (the meaning is fluid) with among others Platform Arts – the Timothy Morton hyperobject Styrofoam. I loath the word while it represents a hideous amalgam of architectural, construction utility devoured in multiple global buildings and often adored homeware pieces.


In the case of Jez riley French a performance of dissolving music into found objects and tailing his own sonic collection was a great event in it arriving as a soft piece of gentle and intrinsic intricate of how sound exists everywhere. In silent places unvisited using his much loved and Attenborough films and multiple geographies of screen and exhibition spaces. The detail is from his dissolving in acid ancient glacier rock and we hear the release of the trapped air from millions of years ago. It is symbolic of the dissolution of our existence and elsewhere in the Catalyst Arts space the combination of objects is the counter and opposite narrative. By hearing this dissolve in the library of other sounds the ecology of our universe is made real again in art form. Matmos is an artist video with the music developed an relayed through video and the plastic contained in an album sleeve alongside for posterity.

Then the glass containers the sound was mixed in are sitting still and some osmosis is carrying on. of Slime Dynamics II. Jasmin Märker

The opposite narrative is explored by Jasmin Märker has a derivation which is scientific and natural. It’s described limitingly as bio-art. By the combining of elements, some already composed from other chemicals like those combined to make plaster, fertiliser, there is an exploration of what happens when these elements (the list of others contains foraged mushrooms, oat bran, common house spider along with other ‘objects’). It has the Hyperojects exhibition name, a bit off putting, of Slime Dynamics II. Jasmin Märker is straight to the point. The installation takes the form of preformed tiles and accompanying wall pieces that create a luxurious environment. Much as our own earth is a luxury environment which in no small element remains a luxury.

The installation is in my eyes that ‘platform’ Jasmin creates for the amalgam or organic actions to continue once introduced to each other. It is as a W ord sits alongside another and describes another form. The object be it of our desire or destruction. In conversation with the artist I obtained recommended reading. In pursuit of silence. Film. Timothy Morton Humankind. It is a book on human nature. This recommendation is parallel and touches on the way the forms we see represent in a way the manner creation happens. The impulsive narcotic behaviours compelling us to think and mutate in art form and in our lives. The geography is changed. Here is a small contemplation in an arts space. Returning to the space after a week or two the evolving matter is alive and well. It proclaims the miracle of existence not only of ourselves but the matter that strings us together and connects us with this unexplained existence. The nature is absorbing and trough their piece which I find to be – after the signs floated in the audio of Jez Riley French totally successful in its object. Hyperobject in many layers of meaning and was seen and continues to put forward notions of what that metamorphosis is dong in the present time.

The actual location is being microbiology at work and even the doors are providing defences and barriers to the installation within.

There is insufficient time or space in this critique to cover the other installations but it is safe to say they all collectively made a deep impression and expanded the means of learning objectively.

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All views are my own in this essay.

John Graham

3 December 2019

Belfast

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Politics : Sovereignty – Mind the Gap

Jus Peril – Is the Supreme Court overreaching?

24 September 2019

(1) R (on the application of Miller) (Appellant) v The Prime Minister (Respondent)

(1) Cherry and others (Respondents) v Advocate General for Scotland (Appellant) (Scotland)

Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales

In her reading of the unanimous verdict of 11 Supreme Court Justices Lady Hale used the word ‘quite’ to elevate the word ‘exceptional’ to describe the circumstances the Supreme Court has been summoned to Judicially Review.

I was struck by the tone in a ruling which did not need or require such prefacing.

The Supreme Court has in my view made clear it was effecting a radical reformation of its place Constitutionally. It sought as has been increasingly apparent and brought into focus by Sir Jonathan Sumption in The Reith Lectures his observation of the Law intervening upon Democracy in making Political decisions through Justices ruling.

Wiki provides an insight

The rule of law is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: “The authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a society (including those in government) are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes.”[2] The phrase “the rule of law” refers to a political situation, not to any specific legal rule.

Use of the phrase can be traced to 16th-century Britain, and in the following century the Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford employed it in arguing against the divine right of kings.[3]

2. [2] Oxford English Dictionary online (accessed September 13, 2018; spelling Americanized). The phrase2] Oxford English Dictionary online (accessed September 13, 2018; spelling Americanized). The phrase “the rule of law” is also sometimes used in other senses. See Garner, Bryan A. (Editor in Chief). Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Edition, p. 1448. (Thomson Reuters, 2009). ISBN 978-0-314-26578-4. Black’s provides five definitions of “rule of law”: the lead definition is “A substantive legal principle”; the second is the “supremacy of regular as opposed to arbitrary power”. “the rule of law” is also sometimes used in other senses. See Garner, Bryan A. (Editor in Chief). Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Edition, p. 1448. (Thomson Reuters, 2009). ISBN 978-0-314-26578-4. Black’s provides five definitions of “rule of law”: the lead definition is “A substantive legal principle”; the second is the “supremacy of regular as opposed to arbitrary power”.

[3] Rutherford, Samuel. Lex, rex: the law and the prince, a dispute for the just prerogative of king and people, containing the reasons and causes of the defensive wars of the kingdom of Scotland, and of their expedition for the ayd and help of their brethren of England, p. 237 (1644): “The prince remaineth, even being a prince, a social creature, a man, as well as a king; one who must buy, sell, promise, contract, dispose: ergo, he is not regula regulans, but under rule of law …”

Samuel Rutherford – Of the dissenter tradition against rule by The Church of England.

Rev. Prof. Samuel Rutherford (or more correctly Rutherfurd), was born at Nisbet (now part of Crailing) [4], Roxburghshire, about 1600. It is an area, Roxburghshire, Selkirk and Peebles, my late brother David once stood for Parliament. Samuel Rutherford according to the record acted treasonably – After the Restoration he was one of the first marked out for persecution, his work Lex Rex was ordered by the Committee of Estates to be burnt at the Crosses of Edinburgh and St Andrews, and he was deprived of his office of Principal. Further, he was cited to appear before Parliament on a charge of treason, but he died 29th March 1661 [the date — 20th — on his tombstone is an error].

Establishing a New Establishment

In this 24/09/19 ruling the 11 Justices have overreached their power of Judgement in declaring by the non acceptance of The Queen as Head of State of being minded to assert the right of her Prime Minister To in his judgement to prorogue Parliment in order to assert the policies the Prime Minister sought to put in place in the Queens Speech as a joint establishment before Parliment.

Unsurprisingly this Supreme Court roster is replete comprehensively, with well educated elite scholars.

Lady Hale, Richmond High School for Girls.

Lord Reed, George Watson College.

Lord Kerr, St Colman’s College.

Lord Wilson, Bryanston School.

Lord Carnworth, Eton College.

Lord Hodge, Trinity College.

Lady Black, Penrhos College.

Lord Lloyd-Jones, Pontypridd Boys College.

Lady Arden, Huyton College.

Lord Kitchin, Oundle School.

Lord Sales, Royal Grammar School.

The assertion of the Supreme Court rules out the mind of the Sovereign to make as Head of State any judgement on the requests made by her Prime Minister. It is a removal of Sovereign principal and principle.

The establishment of Sovereignty has been brought to be null and void and not the ultimate power of Authority by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has in the words of The Leader of the House of Commons effected a ‘Constitutional Coup’ the like of which is unprecedented in the History of these Islands.

The Judgement

The Supreme Court used an obscure and 300 year old piece of Scottish Law. It belongs within the Scottish ‘claim of rights’.

The English Law of the Supreme Court has set aside the ‘bill of rights’ for England and I presume Wales in its use of the Scottish established principle .

In view of the Supreme Court judgement the Justices have expanded the Great British Law to be inclusive of both a ‘chain of rights’ and a ‘bill of rights’.

This is a precedent involving in the judgement Scottish Law which is in use in the absence within the English bill of rights of such a rule of law. This establishes union of the two separate Legal systems hitherto independent. By so doing the Scottish Devolved Government in the event of a vote to dissolve its nation from Great Britain by referendum would leave the Supreme without the ability to use the Law it relies on in this judgement.

Political Reformation

This indicates the politicalisation of the Law Courts which sets in train new Constitutional and Political Law which is not based in Parliamentary Law or made by Parliament by representatives of the people acting under Sovereign Supremacy not Court Supremacy.

The people have been denied their Sovereign leaders prerogative to assert the wishes so joined by herself and her Prime Minister in the functionality of her Parliment.

The Supreme Court has decided the Head of State is a mere figurehead and the Courts of Justice are the Supreme Authority.

Conclusive Reformation

The conclusion is the Constitution is for Law not Parliment to provide.

This is therefore the dissolution of Sovereign Rule over Parliment Rule.

The Head of State is sent; a ruling so to be unauthoritative, by the Supreme Court as the judgement is her Parliment must and can sit without the authority of the Head of State.

The assertion is The Queen is merely a notional figure. This is itself derogatory and an opinion not based in fact. The Queen has a position itself unique and deserving of the utmost respect. The Supreme Court diminish their own status in taking that opinionated view.

Rule of Law in the UK

For the Law to exist it is the will of the Sovereign to authorise the will of Parliment in its representations by Election to produce the joint functionality of these Islands, GB and NI.

Northern Ireland and The Belfast Agreement

It remains noted that the purpose of The Belfast Agreement, referred to in the manner of its date of inception as The Good Friday Agreement a word stands out before all others.

It is this – ‘strategic’.

The reason it is of the utmost importance is the placing in the agreement of the intention, should it be the will of the people, not the UK Parliment, to remove itself by Election from the UK.

The UK has therefore given indication of it having no longer anystrategic’ interest in Northern Ireland. For a wider historical viewpoint I have added a pocket 1177, onward John de Courci bibliographic sourced from present reclaimed accounts. This is seen in the footnotes.

What Strategic Interest?

From the above it is apparent without question that the UK had strategic interest in Northern Ireland before that statement.

The strategic interest was the control by proxy of Ireland as a non threatening independent state which would be tied to the UK by the formalised agreement on the formation of the ROI and NI and not as previously, at risk of the Unity of Ireland being a location for a Republic empowered as a Socialist Country which could provide a template for the overthrow of the Head of the UK State and Sovereignty itself.

Sovereignty in use

The fact is the Sovereignty was the ‘Strategic’ hold held by the UK in times of political uncertainty through the era of ‘the troubles’ and before then, the resolution of British occupation of Ireland dating from 1177, a whole and individual country without a Sovereign.

Independence

In the Second World War Ireland was neutral for a reason. It was not an imperial state and was not under immediate threat, of being occupied in the period war was developing, by a foreign country. The participants from Ireland in the Second World War were on a voluntary basis.

Ireland had participated according to reports; Operation JB, by former British Secret agents, in allowing U-Boats to be refuelled in Lough Foyle and the German nation also had an emissary office in Dublin which allowed back channel discussions and conversations to resolve he conflict.

Exaggerate and simplify is the scope of journalism. Is that the same in the writing of Historical records?

The Supreme Court have as a set of thinkers have exposed a fault line in going through logically to mine the origins of the State. Within it is not an edict, that is a purity of description but a dependence on the philosophical outcomes previously manned into human relations within these islands. They apply the force given to them in expressing not definitively but as a ruling the place in a moment of law putting structure and form to something they have deduced in the present. They avail upon thought which is manifested by the reasoning that interceded in an earlier period without, through modifications or reformation the law of the land.

Nutshells

The interesting thing is the origins in religiosity of the kernel of their ‘in a nutshell’ collective agreement.

David Hume and John Locke were of immense influence in the formation of principles of justice and therefore compliance with edict as pursued in the land. A Court of Judgement was approved by the Sovereign reign to put to effect their agreement to such principles which identifies their moral and intellectual integrity. The rule of law was therefore a precedent set by power for power and allowed the acceptance and implementation of edicts to prevail to societal benefit. Or so it seemed. Certain privileges including a stays within education and inheritance along with appointments were based on how effective compliance lay within the person in both understanding the establishment and system they prevailed upon for societal need. That need was expressed by Religion in the period that the 11 judges hark back to as the footstool on which they eat their wearisome deliberations. That religion was embedded in the thinking inherent in the Bible in all it forms with Gnostic and the less coherent and exacting spiritual scientific structures of transcendental subjectivity that bore no practical and therefore mediations able to be used in the order of humanity’s improved lot. The sciences and religious therefore clashed and met somewhere in the middle.

The core the nub whatever its perceived as, however deduced, was in itself a hugely important doctrine which became the substance and gift of the state that controlled by its honorific blessed rule, the religious coherence of what could be held in the land, namely The Church of England. Samuel Rutherford was part of a ‘Scottish’ Enlightenment lent virtue by the French and other liberal; in its reforming sense, thoughts. It is as if and I hold this myself to be hugely significant ‘Religion cannot divide, it converges on the same spirit’. Without the Enlightenment there would be no opposition to the Church of England whose authority in the eyes of the State are the Supreme basis of all that descend from it. Legally and physically.

The Dissenters were from all parts of these Islands, Welsh, Scots, English and Irish. The tradition in Northern Ireland became the non-subscribing Church. The non-subscribing meaning is defined by the Church not signing as Presbyterian Rules require, subscribing to the Westminster Covenant.

The simple truth at the heart of this Religious Presbyterian faith, the subscribing faith, in its conventional form is inclusive of a doctrine which believes, through signing up to The Westminster Covenant, the Pope as an anti-christ which is in essence an unchristian edit.

Paradoxically it may have been the very reason the advance of the Age of Enlightenment took hold.

There was a part of a ‘Scottish’ Enlightenment lent virtue by the French and other liberal thinkers and Philosophers. It is debatable what Nation; Ireland or Great Britain the Philosopher Francis Hutchenson, born in Killyleagh, Co. Down in 1111 was ‘attached’ to;

Religiously in its reforming sense, thoughts converged as found material in the Word. It is as if and I hold this myself to be hugely significant ‘Religion cannot divide, it converges on the same spirit’. Without the Enlightenment there would be no opposition to the Church of England whose authority in the eyes of the State are the Supreme basis of all that descend from it. Legally and physically.

Across these islands and in sympathy with the ethos of Religious freedom appearing in France, Dissenters were beginning to assert the ideas in a passively and coherent way which unsettled the ‘yoke’ of Great Britain and it’s Colonialism.

The Dissenters were from all parts of these Islands, Welsh, Scots, English and Irish. The tradition in Northern Ireland became the non-subscribing Church. The non-subscribing meaning is defined by the Church not signing as Presbyterian Rules require, subscribing to the Westminster Covenant.

The simple truth at the heart of this Religious Presbyterian faith, the subscribing faith, in its conventional form is inclusive of a doctrine which believes, through signing up to The Westminster Covenant, the Pope as an anti-christ which is in essence an unchristian edit.

For the Parliment of the UK formed on the basis of a Religious overriding moral and ethical identity with State endorsement that allows the reversal in power onto Sovereignty it creates a Parliment of no limits. The Law is Sovereign Law enabled by the activities of the instruments of its power. The Commons and Lords. The conformity is by dint of alliances to concepts of right and wrong and with faith or without that is held in thought as the adopted Church itself adopted by the rule of Kings as Samuel Rutherford once described it.

As Lady Hale pronounced with use of the word ‘quite‘ the more potent and stone under which authority is held and consumed is the word ‘divine‘. I would be wrong to, though am tempted, to use the description ‘magnificent’ in front of divine but it creates the trap of the logic of Law pertaining other than to precise agreed meaning. The flaw also seen in the Lady Hale conflation that exposes so much.

Religious Laylines

In learning about existence the human enters a world as a corrupt body weighing done on its soul. Righteousness has been seen as a survival mechanism since mankind first appeared. Skirmishes and Violence as manifestation in part of the ‘corruption’ that trait to not listen to the inner soul, became suppressed by common food and the authority of Righteousness was claimed by the Religious.

Replications of a state of grace were symbolised and franked onto cities and tribes as they formed a garden of peace. The faith replaced gods of astronomy and the lay lines were forgotten and replaced by the possession of belief systems themselves lucid and formulaic. The vocabulary fell on the people as order. When Augustine and others replaced the belief systems of Pharaohs and rulers of tribes the semblance of common purposes overlapped and grew in Western Christianity and outran Eastern Religious concepts. Of course that summary is a gross generalisation but I put it in that way to illustrate the entry of Religious Power alongside Temporal Power as an expedient compact unrivalled and therefore dominated by the Religious and therefore Papal, Roman ideology.

There are numerous examples and collisions of time based conclusions ,ade into approximations of truth in the context of Law.

Aristotle was the lode stone that indicated there were alternative views equal and more compatible with the human condition however and this paradox became visible and remains visible in difference.

Gelasius preceded the emergence of the Bible and analysis of the threat and peril that it would replace as thought in stone. Then the sacred authority [auctoritas] of priesthood and the royal power [potestas] had an unsettling period of transition which was filled by the eminence of the Bible.

The sectarianism of theology and secular rights are found in the tapestry of Law.

The result is disappointment and divergence occur. The Law exists upon agreement and the onus of delivering that Law is left to a simple odd number.

Such apparently secular Countries and Communities as Korea and China have long since discarded the rule of moral and ethical authority by creating their version of the rule of Law. Absent of divinity. There is a full some charge of discarding the divine in open societies also.

Phillip IV and Fairness

If Lawyers have a smugness and that is too harsh a claim, it could arise in the way Law has impinged on Religion and Theology to the point their cohorts were spoiling for a role and investiture in the political thinking that came from the plenitude of power advancing in the world as vision alongside science and university according theory to the societies hungry for peace and prosperity. These were the belief systems generating while Phillip IV (Philip the Fair?) and irony upon irony (the fair arising from the fair complexion not complex truth) Innocent III. Candidates for giving extremis to the politic. Extremism not having been uncommonly a trait or failure humans expressed in the corrupt self.

If is easy to relate to the concordat seen in Decretales 1.15.1 ; ‘for the difference between the priestly dignity and the royal is as great as the distance between the Sun and the Moon.‘ In that world they had only that measure and it is the case the infinity is greater in our present understanding, beyond our knowledge and the interstellar. The divine occupies the corrupt of priest and royal whole setting differences beyond imagination in the polar opposites of divinity each brings mankind.

What Non-Subscribing entails.

In the Non-Subscribing Faith the ethos takes the form of nothing existing between the creator and us. That meaning is in itself open to the interpretation any individual wishes to attach to it and their faith is individually formed with a shared inclusivity as a means of absorbing spiritual life alongside physical life.

The placing of a Covenant as a device to attain faith entry is an anathema in a sense.

Keeping faith

I am a regular Church goer and belong to a non-subscribing Church, not as a member but as an expression of community where thoughts are gathered and found in individual collective experiences acknowledging the individual has the oversight of their own mind and converge in common thought as a means to adhere to the human condition placed in us by means we have no proof of.

Since the decision by the law Lord’s and Lady’s the outworking in people consumed by the authority it creates have been prominently and purposely obtaining some hubris and gravitas in relation to their own view, whatever that might be. Such is the stirring of Media and communication of a variation of beliefs.

The media have unwrapped the meaning without as far as I can see taken any direct notice of the question of Religion and State, that have over centuries preceding the 1689 Samuel Rutherford observances and the question was seriously created in the Lawful sense around the twelfth Century.

The Church of Who

The Church of England relies on the advance of their subjects from one world to the next by compliant measure with their set values.

As I noted before this is not to say they are Christian as they would confess or profess to be. No Christian slays others in the name of Jesus or any dynamic of theology.

In the writing of Niccolò Machiavelli ‘The Prince’ powers of goodwill were set against power for powers sake. In his treatise he as is his predilection, setting anti-thesis and generalisation to the fore as a method to advance arguments. Placing the readings to be testament to subsequent rulers acquiring his methods and elliptical curvature of circular things he brings nevertheless a degree of exposure to the malaise and disfigurement of any virtue the Religious may have conceived, however his methods of projecting it were often exaggerated.

In ‘The Prince’ iii. Composite Principalities; while a Florentine state advisor, probably, Machiavelli writes – ‘….disorders chiefly arise because of one natural difficulty always encountered in new principalities. What happens is that men willingly change their ruler, expecting to fare better. This induces them to take up arms against him; but they only deceive themselves, and they learn from experience that they have made matters worse.’

How obvious is this in conflicts new and renewed along former dissolution?

That idea of principalities bore down on the Machiavellian desire for the formation of an Italy divided by five powers and the Papacy. The realm he constructed was the acquisition of ‘The Prince’ envied in the heirachy of Spain in advance of Italy. Legal and Physical ran hand in hand and always do. Primacy achieved by rule of Law in the Doctrine of the rule of Kings. The second part the ownership of property and land at the behest of followers of the ruler.

Whereas William Shakespeare introduced and possibly provides an arc for the English; he being Catholic in some form, knew the symbols of paradox and earthly wisdom taken ahead of Godly art which was noble and divine. ‘The Tempest’ invents an island borne of disharmony and unity. Niccolò Machiavelli was sans regard for divinity or goodness and deceived himself, as he claimed deception troubles others, in the seeking of fortune and power which is the myth Gods make in and of time. Whatever form or entity that will be, that nature resolves all.

Notorious Belief

Belief systems are scarcely wise enough to envelop such foresight as the Age of Enlightenment by human reasoning but provide the arid terrain of such finality astrophysics describes. Arid in the sense all is gone elsewhere from our earthly existence.

Eschatology is a realisation of the encounter with death.

The word arises from the Greek ἔσχατος eschatos meaning “last” and -logy meaning “the study of”, and first appeared in English around 1844. The Oxford English Dictionary defines eschatology as “the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind“.

Where the Bible open as it is to the Resurrection the binding destiny of a departure from life and the transience of the Soul is held as belief by many awaiting the saviour.

Bookish thoughts

I have yet to read the dystopian fiction ‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood who in the course of releasing her book lost her partner of many years Graeme Gibson novelist (Five Legs: 1969) and fellow Canadian whose writings were considered as liberating of nature and environment through his unorthodoxy.

By beginning with the futuristic science laden prophecy of a divided world Margaret Atwood in ‘The Handmaids Tale’ she provided an alternate despairing fiction as both a warning and concurrent prophecy in delivering the wildfire of mankind/womankind in a conspiracy of belief without honour. False honour and liberty is attained at a cost and complicity in it are the humans at the top of the survivalists arc. By introducing us to this the continuation is surveyed as advanced some twenty years on.

The wintertide is enclosing the world while seeing it from the perspective of women. Unlike Niccolò Machiavelli and other rules based institutions this is akin to the retelling of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The parables may exist in ‘The Testaments’ with each Testament telling a story from a different viewpoint though that is not a view outworking from reading the book but a passing conjecture. The Machiavellian warning is rulers must be conscious of being internal subversion from his subjects; and external aggression by foreign powers. Julius Caesar’s rule by extravagant liberty contrasts with the Machiavellian assertion nobility should be seen honouring property avoiding also rapacious interest in women in societies alliances.

The conjecture of passage from the promised land in exile and return to expel the sins of the world seems plausible but how is it possible except by authoritarian rule and then morals and ethics fail it.

How does the author convey the ailment of a survivalist authoritarian society seemingly built on the pursuit, perversely of purity and exemplar godlike creation of life? Could the heaven be achieved on earth?

The thesis presumed is the impossibility of it as is seen and exposed and the nature of existence is beyond the beyond, a loose term often relied on by poets. Understanding power Niccolò Machiavelli places in ‘Room 101’ virtue, realising in his simple basic treatise ‘in order to maintain his state he is often forced to act in defiance of good faith, of charity, of kindness, of Religion. Quite a catastrophic outcome for the people, that the ruler, if they are to retain power, must at times resort to evil. A circus of vanities is liberated and notoriety in appearances to be doing good are made like Pepper’s ghost seen but not reality. Playing on deceiving the people by appearances of virtue while silences are heard and noises off ignored through patronage. That requires a version of Religion faithful to Sovereignty.

As Julius Caesar found there is always one who is willing to do the deed and at the Last Supper the knowledge Jesus took to the table was that in his midst betrayal was already orchestrated and his comfort was the Word he revealed.

Reason and Personality

Since the decision by the law Lord’s and Lady’s the outworking in people consumed by the authority it creates have been prominently and purposely obtaining some hubris and gravitas in relation to their own view, whatever that might be.

Lords aleaping

The very structure of society in the UK has many flaws and amongst the leading contenders is the element of class differences which undoubtedly exists and it manifests in the establishment. What is never put across in debate however are the day to day efforts in all classes of good works and the Eton label is but one example. Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth founders were ex-Eton and they carry none of the entitlements Boris and lots of his mates seem to. The point is it is a varied world and all good is good wherever it obtains from. If only they were conscious of it when learning at the higher privileged levels there might be more good to come from that element.

From The Times I snapped this yesterday. (Judges not necessarily Lords)

Seditious by CoE

‘A legal revolution and it’s never been arrived at before.

A Sir Jonathan Sumption quote on the judgement arrived at.

While people go after the personalities and profiling the Judges the use of person becomes a new aspect which the Supreme Court unfortunately presents. Ego is invoked as a context for verdict. The bossy (allegedly) Lady Hale overstretched by not only appearing in a garb which matches the pitiful T. May reliance on decorative ornamentation, her role and its presumably allowed by dint of gender but is actually a diminution of what should be balanced and scaled. The decorum seen in Courts were subverted so why is this any different? Apparently art gym and domestic science are not her skills but a bully tendency and compelling others to blackmail her is not a child’s friendly characterisation coming through others experiences of the Law Chief in their discoveries. Then not to have anything except teaching the Law and not having external experience around the use of the industry capitalist et al add to blunt the presentation. Their is unusually a quotient of difference among Judges.  Law should not split along highly divide lines as it ought to be clear and calculating holding moral and ethical choices inherently present to be availed upon.

That provides the 11 ruling as being only the eventual evidential conclusion Sir Jonathon Sumption has arrived at. The exactitude of Law is found in and entrapped by the Sovereign pinnacle the establishment has embodied.

Sir Jonathan Sumption reveals, of his working with Lady Hale, despite past disagreements he has the view Lady Hale has not overstretched. In absolute agreement I think this points to the only possible judgement being arrived at as it is Sovereignty unalloyed.

In a small way connections to this Judgement and how it arose I read another fine judgement by a leading commentator. Of the advance of the British insurgency perceptions, actually reinforcing the EU insecure intransigence soon to be taken apart, is fostered here and elsewhere by ‘the thought police of the multilateral establishment.

It reads into it the same observation the Supreme Court point to which is on both local and globally the ‘self-preservation and aggrandisement as international solidarity and cooperation.’ The foundation of multilateral organisations charged with preserving world order has imploded. Moderation and pragmatic deployment of the best available outcomes for many is no longer at play. The moral authority of judges relies on the Law itself constructed not in the Age of Enlightenment from where the judgement came; its failure being the Samuel Rutherford compulsion to make others write into the Word an exception the then and now conceit riven Church of England advances human misery in its ruling practice.

Storm in a Changing climate

The media have unwrapped the meaning without, as far as I can see, having taken any direct notice of the question of Religion and State, that have over centuries preceding the 1689 Samuel Rutherford observances and the question was seriously created in the Lawful sense around 1300 and it is ‘loosely’ in the Age before 1050 a conflab based on patronage which in anticipated ways broke down and became ‘disintegrated’ until other autocratic measures appeared. In the history I have read I notice the Germanic assaults on Roman power which may have arise in some part in the Middle Eastern insurgence against Roman in earlier times. This might appear another thread of G.B. Politics and the overthrow of Hitler and a resolution found in E.U. Agreements becoming the forerunner of institutional polarity. The notion held here is that the anti-E.U. is no more than that natural outworking and hopefully a truthful return to Grace.

It is a Grace obtained by the Swedish Greta Thunberg whole as is well documented the people she names and confronts are at the very destruction of the virtues the proclaim to be in charge of. That is the Law of Religious freedoms and the Word as reconciled by State.

‘Ordet’ is the Word and it’s Grace is present in Greta Thunberg.

Footnote/s

I use the observations of the following article in part of my constructing the arguments above.

Global elites mock anti-EU feeling at their peril. by Jeremy Warner

follow on Twitter or see at telegraph.co.uk/opinion

Sources/Acknowledgements

Even the Telegraph title is clever and interesting. Instead of speaking only of the UK’s democratically expressed anti-EU feeling which is the reason Brexit exists, it speaks of the Global historic change across methods of creating a pragmatic moral and progressive future.

Boris and Prometheus is a hypothesis and prophecy understood by Jeremy Warner who I continue to see as being very astute on Political and Societal movements in World Politics as constructed for a readership that is not Cabalist, Papist, Royalist but Capitalist before all else usually.

I wonder what he thinks of the Sovereignty and adherence thereto that causes us such grief and harm. It may not be in place were it not for Queen Elizabeth II who has seen and dealt with so much in her lifetime. In other words the UK is largely accepting of the figurehead for the focus it provides without understanding its implications in the running of a society based on rule and division which the two party system (pros-cons) heralds in.

Our nearest neighbour and ally being France succumbed after the Second World War to strident Communism as a binding source as the acts of bravery in the French resistance came from the left politic and it was an antidote to the Gaullist ideals which subsequently overtook them. They choose that route as it was a infant version never realised even at their ‘69 soft revolution.

I also make use of ideas cultivated in the writings The Crisis of Church and State 1050-1300 by Brian Tierney and offerings from the partially sceptical community commons Wikipedia for what it’s worth.

Origin of Borders and Ireland’s woes – some of them!

On the British occupation of Ireland many take it back to the very rampaging and warring by John de Courcy. His motivations are and remain unclear except his own quest for power of some kind. Obedient and disobedient to Kings of some standing eventually the Vision of Religion overtook him and this was also a source of his downfall.

This is a version of his story. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

Who would dare to disagree?

‘COURCI, JOHN DE (d. 1219?), Anglo-Norman conqueror of Ulster, was a member of a celebrated Norman family of Oxfordshire and Somersetshire, whose parentage is unknown, and around whose career a mass of legend has grown up. It would appear that he accompanied William Fitz-Aldelm to Ireland when the latter, after the death of Strongbow, was sent thither by Henry II., and that he immediately headed an expedition from Dublin to Ulster, where he took Downpatrick, the capital of the northern kingdom. After some years of desultory fighting de Courci established his power over that part of Ulster comprised in the modern counties of Antrim and Down, throughout which he built a number of castles, where his vassals, known as “the barons of Ulster,” held sway over the native tribes. After the accession of Richard I., de Courci in conjunction with William de Lacy appears in some way to have offended the king by his proceedings in Ireland. De Lacy quickly made his peace with Richard, while de Courci defied him; and the subsequent history of the latter consisted mainly in the vicissitudes of a lasting feud with the de Lacys. In 1204 Hugh de Lacy utterly defeated de Courci in battle, and took him prisoner. De Courci, however, soon obtained his liberty, probably by giving hostages as security for a promise of submission which he failed to carry out, seeking an asylum instead with the O’Neills of Tyrone. He again appeared in arms on hearing that Hugh de Lacy had obtained a grant of Ulster with the title of earl; and in alliance with the king of Man he ravaged the territory of Down; but was completely routed by Walter de Lacy, and disappeared from the scene till 1207, when he obtained permission to return to England. In 1210 he was in favour with King John, from whom he received a pension, and whom he accompanied to Ireland. There is some indication of his having sided with John in his struggle with the barons; but of the later history of de Courci little is known. He probably died in the summer of 1219. Both de Courci and his wife Affreca were benefactors of the church, and founded several abbeys and priories in Ulster.

A story is told that de Courci when imprisoned in the Tower volunteered to act as champion for King John in single combat against a knight representing Philip Augustus of France; that when he appeared in the lists his French opponent fled in panic; whereupon de Courci, to gratify the French king’s desire to witness his prowess, “cleft a massive helmet in twain at a single blow,” a feat for which he was rewarded by a grant of the privilege for himself and his heirs to remain covered in the presence of the king and all future sovereigns of England. This tale, which still finds a place in Burke’s Peerage in the account of the baron Kingsale, a descendant of the de Courci family, is a legend without historic foundation which did not obtain currency till centuries after John de Courci’s death. The statement that he was created earl of Ulster, and that he was thus “the first Englishman dignified with an Irish title of honour,” is equally devoid of foundation. John de Courci left no legitimate children.’

See J. H. Round’s art. “Courci, John de,” in Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xii. (London, 1887), to which is added a bibliography of the original and later authorities for the life of de Courci.

All views are my own in this essay.

John Graham

3 October 2019

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Catherine the Great – European Fantasy TV


Catherine the Great
The new subscription series, Catherine the Great delivers a suspect history while illuminating the vestiges of contemporary Political and Sovereignty  in Europe. Starring Helen Mirren it is made for her electric acting skills and lineage appropriate for her own history. Some critics have said of it there is no magic sparkle or gold-dust in the drama for an audience expectations of provocative spellbinding theatrical lustre. It is just not hot enough and Potemkin is as near as it gets to a potboiler.

In ‘The Europeans: Three Lives and the making of a cosmopolitaCulture’ by Orlando Figes has formed a theme in his book around three characters one of which is Turgenev; Focusing on the intertwined biographies of a famous French opera singer of Spanish descent, her French impresario husband and one of Russia’s most beloved novelists, and as a historian remarks on the leaders taking forward Europe in this period.

Pauline Viardot – became Turgenevs supporter in more ways than one and mari complaisant where Figes attempts a continent in constant change – technology not being the least alteration.

He has again written in review, his account of his viewing of this tangential series with some ‘warnings’ he describes thus ‘But there are many small errors, a few large ones, and dramatic licences abound (spoilers ahead).’
By his account and depth of knowledge and no spoiler alert needed as I won’t reveal the ‘allegations’ of discrepancy here, The Times 4 October 2019, Review (2 Arts article) does deliver the needed autopsy on the drama and fulsomely, with if it’s anything to go by, a promise of an excellent twist of the History seen in the Banquet of the Vanities often seen through English historians eyes though this is unintentional but my viewpoint given our recent times.

The world of media is a fanfare of opposing histories and no more so than seen in the deliver of a certain kind of meritorious justice, so it is contended by the Judges of The Supreme Court on the material Considerations they avail of in reaching their decision.

It is looking more and more absurd and demonstrative of a blatant lie being conducted on behalf of the people of these islands, GB and Ireland.

How is that so you may ask. The series Catherine the Great is a fine element to attune yourself to history and the ‘Rule of Kings,’ delightful contexturalised by Lady Hale and her Supreme Court colleagues in filling us in on the remnants othering shared history and by dint their authority to preside and pronounce of difficulties of stewarding a country as it conducts itself among neighbours.
Naked hubris called out

Orlando Figes has created a context which is invaluable to discerning not decreeing the formulation of the record.  The drama series only serves a little recognition of history and its therefore a good question to ask this,  Why is this drama altering in effect – it is also a version but without the spoilers of the above article – undoubtably off piste.  It is due to the consumption of drama and partially though it was hardly a precedent, Downton Abbey conjecture of lives in smart antiquated buildings. Even they are confiscated of truth in these dramas. Stanley Kubricks red coated drama was an exception to the narrative swirl and conflagration in ‘Barry Lyndon’. The dramatic accounts are seen honestly dishonest in such as Shakespearian drama and No Theatre elsewhere displays of a version of the past.  An appetite expects the formula to be as near cognition as the soul allows.

In his writing the review there are facts I wish to consume and add to a following narrative on ‘the rule of kings’ having written immediately previously my analysis of where that history leads us. A new history is upon us. It is no small coincidence Orlando Figes book has the title – ‘The Europeans.’

Catherine the Great he points out was one Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, a minor German state. Arranged Marriage would take her to Russia at 17 where in 1762 she became Empress of Russia. That is a pivotal point in any account of Europeans.

The advance of a form of rule by Catherine the Great is hinged on the male protagonists around her and allies or enemies to the throne she occupies. Several lovers and conquests, tested beforehand by a Countess Bruce who noted their willingness or aptitude for her appetite and patronage seemed a sure common means to stabilise and conquer her peoples willingness to be ruled. The imperial bedchamber is a retreat where she obtained as much male sexual comfort as she could and stayed relatively loyal to some of her consorts. Potemkin being highest in her affections and finding in him an alliance equal to her ambitions of statecraft. By her alliances she was in control of the destiny of Russia and she thought Europe.

By 1773 an heir had been conceived though the convention of the hereditary male becoming Emperor was a minor obstacle to Catherine the Great living up to her reputation and her offspring born in 1754. When Prince Paul the son assumed to be heir where normal protocols to hold but when he becomes 19, Potemkin is now embroiled in a relationship which savoured the expansion and nature of the Russian Empire sought by Catherine. With a historians insightful gaze Orlando Figes notices in the acting the chemistry ‘ – and there is a chemistry between him (Jason Clarke as Potemkin) and Mirren’s Catherine who is tough, tyrannical, emotionally closed, but more vulnerable in his presence.’

That sounds as though it has the convincing, authentic power of period detail in the portrayal of relationships. The mores were not a stricture of guidance to be morally bound to the Ten Commandments for example but a position of realism in turbulent times.

Her quest it seems from Orlando’s reading of the historical records is parallel to the religious one I see in the stewardship becoming more akin to the Lutheran doctrine she had left when becoming – it is perhaps legitimate to call it her arraignment in the sense she was completely and inducted – of the Russian Orthodoxy.  It is possibly a century earlier the radical ‘reformation’ in advance of other European Kingdoms including a Great Britain the Bible was no longer an asset confines to elite Religious but now was among the people as an Orthodoxy and template for God and the influence of the Bible.

Emerging Configurations on knowledge.

The Russians had, in this open freedom to consume and debate the virtues of Religious belief systems, been given a tool which subsequently would overthrow the lineage of Sovereign authoriety as practiced by Catherine the Great.

It is a view which would take a lot of persuasion in practice though I put it forward as a possible bridge in the construction of Europe’s state. Were it not for the intervention of Industrialisation and another ‘costume drama’ enters my mind, with Antony Hopkins as an exile torn between the past and his ancestry and the youth testaments of his daughter and friends seeking equality and a positive socialist life ahead. The subsequent fractions and divisions came destructively to a head in the twentieth century. This drama ‘Howard’s End’  fills in, partly in a very apposite way the English dynamism in the abrupt departure of the slave ridden empire; Russia had abolished slavery, substituting it with servitude converting them to serfs in 1725 long before Catherine’s reign.

Unravelling the historical immorality it had perpetuated was in all of Europe a yoke which caused its own internal demise. Catherine the Great sought with Potemkin her long held belief; and it may have been from a uniquely Religious Lutheran Orthodox itinerant perspective been conceived as a role to follow in her sense of herself, the expulsion of the Turkish implantation in Greek and the Volga uprising as establishing an authoritarian based after all is said and done on a Religious philosophy equal and of the same consequence as the Age of Enlightenment. Paradoxes abound and Samuel Rutherford would have been found as not only a dissenter but a deeply flawed reader of The Bible in advocating the intervention, which was already in place in the regime of the Church of England but bound up in ‘rules of the Kings’ a theology requiring the believer to press allegiance to a higher edict and put in place something between them and God.

Orthodoxy did not prevail upon its followers any hidebound sense of Sovereignty but collided instead with the reverse Communism of Catherine the Great. It is an extraordinary complex construct to make but it might bear some examination.

Arraigned Compacts

There is a joining of stories in the work of Orlando Figes writing in both, ‘The Europeans: Three Lives and the making of a cosmopolitan Culture’ and the following review in The Times 4 October 2019, Review (2 Arts article) stresses the account drama and screenplays provide a view that conflicts and obscures understanding of history and narratives assumed then thought about.  I….the above book for instance Turgenev is honoured with the praise for his toiling on subjects he has no reward for, … Turgenev acted as a peerless cultural intermediary, introducing Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky to western capitals and Flaubert to the Russians. Figes writes of him being an advocate of reason, progress and democracy.’  “a Republic of Letters based on the Enlightenment ideals of reason, progress and democracy”.  The plasticity of the literature – not only his but all writers – it can be observed claimed the supremacy of the narrative by its own eloquent reasoning and ease of understanding.  This was therefore the conveyance Kings Queens and Revolutionaries clung to and set there compass by.

Countenance of Religious Affectations 

From the essay looking into the Supreme Court Judgement (the previous blog!) I arrived at the observations made in Niccoló Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ and again see so much to relate this to. I struggle to remove the image, the appalling image of a ‘judge’ with the fabric spider cobweb around her neck and telling us of the import of rule by – and this is where religion and the misuse of ‘the rule of Kings’ occurs – as an atrocious suppression of the Word.  The situation in Italy as seen by Machiavelli is in his gift to repair. The notion the Florentine intelligence can be transported beyond its realm is not seen as problematic but possible.

So it is with Catherine the Great and the bold Potemkin who see their task to rid the world at least in Europe consigned to misfortune and bickering among sensitivities drawn down over thousands of years as surmountable. Little did they know and when discarding the preeminence of what appeared at least in part to exist within them, a dislike based on Religious doctrine, their replacement by royal decree and rule they were discarding with it their soul.

In a Puritan way there is reasonable course to disentangle religion from the methods of men. The reason delivered first to us arrives through light. Age of Enlightenment etc. are the runes of spiritual life. Indian culture is similar in its Diwali hinge. Our spectral vision is limited to the range the human can take in while wavelengths outside that human spectrum lie what in the past have accumulated thoughts subconsciously held and unexplained.

Overtures to 1812 

Inspiral spectrums of thought are only realisable by the vast outside influences assembled by the mind. You will a phrase into existence and compose a range of notes to stimulate your life force. It is as though I do my work by sleeping and unconsciously combine possible futures as seen in the eyes of the past. Thought dreaming. Sleep and see the sunsets and act as though your passivity beyond the fact of death as you in that stillness absence of conformity as vers libre, that living octagon of constant revisionism and regularity. When the parameters outside n the daylight side of living exist to produce the combinations of Orchestra, Theatre, Poetry, Organisation of beauty in functionality and use it exceeds our worth and world of ourselves. This accumulation is the stuff of influence and the inspiration is without. Those rays of light and otherness begin to mean things and some cam detect the cosmic influence beyond rejection and elimination.

The modern Culture offered and absorbed seeks to provide an extreme of interest and the literary crime wave is itself a questioning ambiguity and surging by that confusion as artful cold crime analysis.

All contained in the lines of a book and screening of a reality formed of false indicators and misleading trails and analysis. We compose our curation of the world and ourselves by a distortion of self and created illusion. The appetite is growing and the Google super comport can only advance the churn of indigestible form of invisible history.

To join the histories of the ‘Continent’ is by any account a broad sweep using various reference point. For these observational viewpoints I use literature and the arts. The Drama and influences of the body politic often taking its directions from the canvas of Entertainment and visual metaphors sometimes transparently opaque.

The range of European History and its Collisions

Below are a selection of notes from Wiki, Common Eductional websites which are used here as another way to join the dots and see what – if it is at all provable – the actions present a confusion of objections while having some legitimacy and coherence.  It asks why the paths taken were so intensely random and happenstance.  Was it will by our inner selves?

Continued narratives

The French has several Revolutions and the following is an introduction to the French then the connection with Russian and its role on the fervour of Revolution brought about in no small part by the lessons and paradoxes expressed by the literary elite.

Let’s begin with the royals sporting across Europe in aims to modify the world according to their ambition.

* (1494) France and Austria began the Italian wars
* (1515) Reign of Francois I began
* (1519) Leonardo da Vinci died
* (1539) French became the official language
* (1559) Cateau-Cambresis Treaty ended Italian wars
* (1562) Catholics and Protestants religous wars
* (1589) Henry IV was first Bourbon King of France
* (1593) Henry IV turned Catholic; religious wars ended
1600s – 1800s
* (1610-1715) Reign of Louis XIII followed by absolute monarchy of Louis XIV
* (1720) Last outbreak of plague in France
* (1756-63) Seven Years War; France lost all colonial possessions and Canada
* (1778-83) France assisted the 13 colonies in the American War of Independence
* (1789) French Revolution ended rule of monarchy
* (1792) Louis XVI overthrown, First Republic created
* (1804) Napoleon crowned Emperor of France
* (1815) Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo; monarchy reestablished
* (1830) The French Revolution (or July Revolution) middle class revolt, King Charles X forced out.
* (1832) Cholera epidemics
* (1848) Founding of Second Republic
* (1851) Coup d’etat instigated by Louis Napoleon
* (1852) Louis Napoleon III crowned Emperor
* (1870-71) Alsace-Lorraine regions lost to Germany; Napoleon III overthrown
* (1875) Third Republic began
* (1889) Eiffel tower built.

Then the familiar 20c and wars begin a transformative World Picture begins.

Puskhin and his Literary Genius

The future of uncertainty is it’s certain.

It was something Alexander Pushkin might have thought as his departure from a promising life came in a duel at 37 years old and the malevolent Queen of Spades called three days after his being fatally wounded by D’Antes who had spoken pitiably and grossly of his wife’s family. He had in his dying, sought for his wife to be looked after by the Tsar. In facing into a future where his youth had gone he made some gestural indications in his folly to take comfort in killing an enemy or be killed so reckless was his vision of his future. He fell without his talisman ring having also returned, (never turn back) for a sable coat before proceeding to the duel site on the banks of the Black River outside St Petersburg in his coach, passing unawares his wife returning from sledging in the Winter freshness. It was a tad Byronesce maybe, this disastrous act being a supplicant of the romanticists Greece and Rome had entrapped him in affairs as society had witnessed the malevolence attached to circumstances becoming public. Now the history of Catherine the Great and Alexander Puskhin are intertwined as a people’s History told with an irony of Royals and Revolutionary thinking on both their parts. Some things never change.

The story of French Revolution precedes the overthrow of the Tsars. Known to his entourage as ‘The Frenchman’ his Moscow writing found him by 1820 banished by government who decided his poetry was dangerously subversive. They sent Pushkin out of the capital and into exile in the south of Russia, 1700 kilometres from his family and friends in St Petersburg. He was sent first to Ekaterinoslav (now Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine) and then to Kishinev (now Chisinau in Moldova), moving to Odessa (now Ukraine) in 1823.

By the time he had formed his thoughts on the wider possibilities history informed him of, at the end of 1825 Tsar Alexander 1 died and in the following year his successor Tsar Nicholas 1 freed Pushkin from exile. Pushkin moved back to central Russia, living some of the time in Moscow, some in St Petersburg and travelling a lot. He became interested in the reformer tsar Peter the Great (1682-1725) and dedicated historical work to him. At this time he also became interested in his own family history and wrote a story Peter the Great’s African based on the life of his ancestor Abram Ganibal. His mother having been of African descent. At the time of her death he bought a grave alongside her for him to rest.

The peculiar interest in tyranny and it’s place in society was a duel in itself within Puskhin. His friends included many who were involved in a political group which was later known as the Decembrists. They were a group of officers who disagreed with the very harsh political system at the time. They are called Decembrists because they had an armed revolt in December 1825 to try to stop Tsar Nicholas coming to the throne.  Pushkin wrote Ruslan and Ludmila at this time, a number of beautiful lyrical poems, and also some very political poems like Freedom. This starts with the declaration “I want to praise Freedom, I want to attack the evil of kings” and calls the tsar “Wicked autocrat!”

https://www.findoutaboutrussia.co.uk/pushkins-life.html

That extract comes from the above link, a composite view for children so innocently removed from overbalance or overbearance. His innocence of the worlds harsh realities seemed to be distant when in this removal from the turbulence and complete reversals of fortune Politics and the Reign of the Tsar encountered daily. He ought to have discovered through his African aristocratic legacy when only obtaining minor status as part of the elite. Being amongst aristocrats himself much of his life he was neither elite nor poor hence his probable annoyance at exclusion. The expulsion nullified any part in the big events that were unfolding. The only scope was his literary genius. It was Tsar Nicholas 1 who freed Pushkin from exile.

History has it that Puskhin provides a narrative of change while the powers provide the history. The fascination of history was an occupation brought about by his South Russian exile at his maternal homeland.

The fascination of the pre-history is him seeking the organic outworking among races and this is tied to ‘The Frenchman.’ His knowledge is accumulating and in the dramas he filed his own life and visions of depraved rule.

Peter the Great (1672-1725)

Peter was Michael Romanov’s grandson and under his rule Russia underwent many changes. It was Peter who made Russia one of Europe’s great powers and who helped it recover from the scars left by Ivan the Terrible.

He did this firstly by opening Russia to the West. He wanted Russia to be as modern and advanced as Europe and poured all the country’s money and resources into making it a kind of European paradise.                     

He asked the best Western engineers, craftsmen, merchants and shipbuilders to come to Russia and help him to modernise it. He also sent thousands of Russians to Europe to learn these trades and receive the best education possible. He even went himself – and worked in the shipyards of Holland and England.

Peter founds St Petersburg in 1703 Credit: http://www.herodote.net

In 1703 Peter declared that a town was to be built on the boggy marshlands of the delta of the Neva River. Over several years of frantic and often difficult construction, a city emerged. It was called St Petersburg, and Peter made it the capital of Russia instead of Moscow. St Petersburg was built to be a work of art, whose beauty would rival that of any European city. In fact, many early European visitors to St Petersburg described it as resembling a theatre set, such was its uniform and somewhat unnatural beauty.

Here are some other reasons why Peter was such a force for change in Russia:
1. He tried to change Russia from what he thought was a deeply archaic, superstitious and closed country into a modern haven of European civilisation.
2. To do this, he took extreme measures to make everything in St Petersburg exactly how he wanted it: he told his nobles how to live, how to build their houses, how to cut their hair, where to stand in church and how to converse politely in society.
3. In one of his most radical reforms, Peter made the Boyars servants of the crown. In this way he laid the foundations of an 18-19 century European-style absolutist state, where the monarch reigns supreme. The new aristocracy was suddenly totally defined by its position in the civil and military service and its rights and privileges were set accordingly.
4. In a surprising twist Peter even banned beards across all classes. This was a particular blow to the Boyars who wore theirs long in the Orthodox style, but all Russian men were subject to the law. To help enforce it, Peter even introduced a Beard Tax, payable if you refused to shave your beard!
5. He also made big changes to improve the economy, education and Russia’s military strength. He built up the army and the navy, making Russia a real military force to be reckoned with. In particular the Russian navy was really created by Peter who had hundreds of ships built by foreign experts.

Lifeline even now

Pascal had written another book for the Church after Pensées he formed another view which liberated him from dogmatic theory. He denounced Christianity by His Vers Libre on mathematics and science reasoning he went towards parthenogenesis and being separate from the need to believe one thing or the other. This magical delusion was Pascals downfall. It lmeant his best thoughts were not received by the populist and staggeringly they are still there even plays we have not seen or heard of all trapped in a bibliographic cemetery. The mocking tones of the authors seen preeminent like Voltaire were very often favoured due to the splendid cloak they gave to Royalty such as Catherine the Great. Delusion is a wonderful thing Pascal thought. His anti-religious thoughts were consistent with the well known maxim, it is better to believe, just in case. Pyrrhonism of living by thought is a paradox sent to sleep and put asunder by scepticism lent by the creator. That creator is the author of all and us.

Seeing the nothingness of belief in it’s unconquerable reason and the formed reality faced of war and dreadful outcomes for the earth’s inhabitants killing to survive among animals and complacency the compact only civilisation can construct to alleviate pain.

Not to question the religious life but know nothing of the other religious life is a nerveless position. The truth is beyond recognition but it’s invisible cloak surrounds and makes us alive.

Although we can see that Peter did much to modernise and empower Russia, we can also see why many did not enjoy Peter’s reforms. After all, by forcibly Europeanising Russian life he was trying to rid Russia of much of her cultural history and heritage. Of course, he was not completely successful and much of the old Russia remained, especially outside of St Petersburg.

The Napoleon part of Russian history is also astonishing in its exultation, it’s compelling act of restructuring, on the part of Napoleon who would not have the same analytical sense of the land he sought to conquer that Puskhin held even greater than the Tsars and this accorded a total clash of cultural values neither religious or colonial but a federal universal purge in the fashion of Alexander the Great and many others before them.

The act of exulting; lively joy at success or victory, or at any advantage gained; rapturous delight; triumph. This is the human failure. The obtaining advantage through warfare. Triumph is a potent word. From sport to self awareness all is in gain or loss while nature dismisses all-comers.

Napoleon invades in 1812
French Emperor Napoleon was becoming annoyed with the Russians and their Tsar, Alexander I. Napoleon had placed a European-wide ban on trading with Britain, mainly because it was almost the last remaining European country that wasn’t answerable to him. But the Russians kept breaking the ban because it was bad for their own trade. So in 1812, to teach the Russians a lesson, Napoleon decided to invade.

It turned out to be a huge mistake. He hadn’t planned for the terrible road network in Russia, making progress slow. The farms didn’t grow nearly enough food to support the gigantic army of 500,000 men and 50,000 horses he had taken with him. Soon they were starving, exhausted, and ridden with disease. As a final blow, the bitter Russian winter came. While Napoleon’s and Alexander’s troops did take part in some fierce fighting, in the end the French army could not cope with the harsh Russian conditions.

Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Eventually, defeated, Napoleon decided to go home to France. Before he left Moscow he set it on fire. His armies had a terrible journey home and by the time Napoleon returned to France, only a fraction of his men were left alive.

One important consequence of this invasion was that some Russians began to reject the Europeanisation that had become such a large part of Russian life since Peter the Great. They wanted to go back to their roots, and to make Russia Russian once again, rather than an imitation of a culture and history that weren’t even theirs.

Slowly and over a long period of time, Russia began to recover its own culture, heritage and style.

The 1917 Russian Revolution
The Romanov dynasty came to dramatic end in 1917 under the rule of Tsar Nicholas II, through an event commonly known as the Russian Revolution.

L-R: Maria, Tsarina Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana, Tsar Nicholas, Anastasia and Alexei.
Tsar Nicholas II was married to a German Princess called Alexandra. Together they had five children, four girls – Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia – and a much wanted son, Alexei. Nicholas was a devoted family man and he and Alexandra had a very happy marriage.

Unfortunately however, Nicholas was not a very competent Tsar. He was autocratic but lacked authority and confidence. Too often in the years before the Revolution, Nicholas made bad decisions, such as going to war with Japan in 1904 when the country could not afford it and was ill-prepared. Russia’s subsequent defeat led to riots and strikes, and in 1905, on a day now known as Bloody Sunday, demonstrators asking for changes were shot on Nicholas’ order. The Russian people were poor, hungry and dissatisfied and Russia was ripe for revolution.

In response to the growing crisis, Nicholas first reduced some of his own power by forming a government but this was not enough, and he abdicated in February 1917. A provisional government was formed but in October 1917 a man named Vladimir Lenin took advantage of the weakened state and staged a coup d’état: he took control of Russia.

Catherine Puskhin Voltaire Rousseau
Here’s a thing as they pronounce now and again contradictions of their objectives.
In currently historical narratives the personalities of the makers of Revolution – or the ones who recognised change as inevitable – the Religious having exposed evil and given moral guidance through various interpretations of ‘The Word’, as Russians sway to Orthodoxy, The Age of Enlightenment and the following outcomes of Democratic will manifesting. In England the King James Bible was a result of the Europeanise and the new ideology brought by Charles II and the recovery of Royal privilege in 1659 when his Europeanism brought about by compelled exile a bit like Pushkin, his thoughts had accumulated wider visions neither Puritan nor Revolutionary but liberal in universality.
This is the Cosmopolitanism Orlando Fuge refers to presumably but with Turgenev came a worldly sense beyond perhaps European Enlightenment.

Catherine was also ambitious and ruthless. She dramatically expanded Russian territory in the Crimea and Ukraine, and three times invaded and partitioned Poland between neighbouring empires. Her reformism froze when the French Revolution erupted in 1789, inspired by many of the principles she had espoused, and she joined a European coalition to crush it.

Rousseau’s self destructive personal life saw the burden of the impossibility of perfection laying heavily having rejected his own children and consigning them to the Paris Foundling Hospital. This form of self destructiveness manifested in Pushkin as he floundered on the twin towers of hope and virtue. Power and Powerlessness with the ruthless Machiavelli streak The Prince again seen as humans fatal flaw. Flea bag with wings.

The strange demise of Rousseau is mystifying still. On the Public theorising he was proof of the power of ideas in placing into the domain of autocracy

Catherine the Great’s intellectual pursuits extended far beyond her collection of art. Exchanging letters over a fifteen year period with French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire, she was spurred to bring Russia into the modern era through ideas raised by the Enlightenment and its supporters.

What is perplexing about Catherine’s relations with the Russian writers of her day – Radishchev and Denis Fonvizin in particular – is that she did not tolerate the kind of free thought practiced by her French protégées, Diderot and Voltaire.

Rousseau was a fierce enemy of Voltaire and he is not mentioned here in the history of Catherine the Greats love and embracing of French ideas. They played into her quest to involve in her project. The Greek project all of Europe so the reading of Rousseau would be bound into the philosophy around ‘The Age of French Enlightenment’.

It has been claimed that Diderot’s thought was a corner stone of the French Revolution, and while Catherine would never support such free thought in her own country, she supported Diderot financially.

To illustrate this contradiction even further, in 1790 during the French Revolution Catherine sent Radishchev into Siberian exile for 7 years after he published his travel diary A Journey from St Petersburg to Moscow which documented the problems in Russia that surrounded her reign.
Alexander Pushkin, the 19th century poet, novelist and playwright, was highly critical of Radishchev’s text, claiming that it did not comply with the poetics of narodnost’ – populism.

Catherine seems to be trying to save her image and legacy to force into the Russian psyche thoughts of a broad Europe.

Yet when we look at the content of Rasdishchev’s Journey today we see that Pushkin’s judgment is unfounded. Radishchev’s book is indeed an encyclopaedia of Russian life of the time. Pushkin’s evaluation may have been prompted by the censorship conditions of absolutism which prevailed after Catherine the Great in unmitigated form, demonstrating the impact of Catherine’s rule on not only Russian writers of her own time, but subsequently as well.

John Graham

7 October 2019

Belfast

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Lifeline even now

Pascal had written another book for the Church after Pensées he formed another view which liberated him from dogmatic theory. He denounced Christianity by His Vers Libre on mathematics and science reasoning he went towards parthenogenesis and being separate from the need to believe one thing or the other. This magical delusion was Pascals downfall. It meant his best thoughts were not received by the populist and staggeringly they are still there even plays we have not seen or heard of all trapped in a bibliographic cemetery. The mocking tones of the authors seen preeminent like Voltaire were very often favoured due to the splendid cloak they gave to Royalty such as Catherine the Great. Delusion is a wonderful thing Pascal thought. His anti-religious thoughts were consistent with the well known maxim, it is better to believe, just in case. Pyrrhonism of living by thought is a paradox sent to sleep and put asunder by scepticism lent by the creator. That creator is the author of all and us.

Seeing the nothingness of belief in it’s unconquerable reason and the formed reality faced of war and dreadful outcomes for the earth’s inhabitants killing to survive among animals and complacency the compact only civilisation can construct to alleviate pain.

Not to question the religious life but know nothing of the other religious life is a nerveless position. The truth is beyond recognition but it’s invisible cloak surrounds and makes us alive.

The Souvenir A Film Review

The Souvenir Director Joanna Hogg 2019 UK/USA 2hrs Cert. 15

Writer. Joanna Hogg

Honor Swinton Byrne as Julie, Tom Burke as Anthony, Tilda Swinton as Rosalind, Richard Ayoade as Patrick, Jaygann Ayeh as Marland, Jack McMullen as Jack, Hannah Ashby Ward as Tracey, Frankie Wilson as Frankie, Barbara Peirson as Anthony’s Mother, James Dodds as Anthony’s Father, Ariane Labed as Garance.

The Souvenir

Julie meets Anthony, who works at the Foreign Office, and he moves in with her after her roommate leaves. He delivers a postcard with a picture of the girl in “The Souvenir”. He later takes her to the London Gallery where the painting is hung. Julie says the girl looks sad, while Anthony says she looks determined. Beginning as a normal early twenty something relationship a foreign office apparatchiks nonsensical privileged buffoon; a touch hard but you’ll follow my meaning later, Antony conceals from Julie a girl from a wealthy farming family his drug habit. So begins the journey of betrayal and the delusional conceit warps the malleable minds of the protagonists as they try to forge realism by different means in this coming of age melodrama with more than a mirror of the image the title is borrowing.

Subjective artifice

This is a tragic symbiotic well dramatised screenplay based around a painting authored by the versatile Director Joanna Hogg in a Martin Scorsese production with BBC Films and BFI support. Set in eighties London it is in some part a memory of the Director Author but made into a English melodrama of a kind. The aim is to show more than the elements of a young romance. It ostensibly tries to put across in this story the complexities of the art of artifice in life as well as what seems to reflect the authors own experiences of her empowerment through the medium of film. Director of Photography David Raedaker summons up some painterly scenes as a fluid narrative roster of cinematic techniques none of which deflect you from the unfolding power of the piece. It is interspersed with what appear to be diary entries by Julie.

Painterly hand

The 16th century painting the essence of the film is based around is The Souvenir by Jean-Honoré Fragonard which is a small romantic oil painting on panel which is presently under restoration at the Wallace Collection Manchester Square. I remember The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard but not the former unfortunately as it conveys what this film tries to convey about art it’s conception, it’s disadvantage of being unreal but woven with the thought and purpose of communication of feelings as the artifice of film – so the arch sets out to show. The letter the young woman Julie is holding is a note she responds, lost in nature and carving a love note on a tree while her obedient dog; Spaniel equals fidelity, watches his mistresses purposefulness. The paradox of love being ethereal and not present without hardship and overcoming the singularity a relationship needs. This is a woman claiming in art, her representation while the painter observes and propels us to think on what we observe. Whether this film achieves this is the challenge.

The depiction of this woman is also conveying status and a muse is the artists medium in that Jean-Honoré Fragonard himself survived successfully into later life expressing exuberantly to the society of the time – as this film tries in parallel to do – observations and realisations of emotional themes.

The ornament of art

When sold in 1792 in went under the original title ‘Lettres de deux amans habitans d’une petite ville au pied des Alpes’ (“Letters from two lovers living in a small town at the foot of the Alps”). A book in which the girl is Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s heroine Julie. It would have been a flavour of the rococo nature of the film to follow had it that as its title.

The rocaille meets the barocco of the style Jean-Honoré Fragonard excelled in finding his style sensible of the times.

So far so complicated.

The art of unspoken words

The film is an august attempt charging the main character Julie with the dilemma of loves needs and possibilities by using the industrial strength acid LSD deflowering of the masculine throes of tormented Antony floundering empowerment in its waste. Shelley comes to mind in the intercept of costume department, furniture styling and lack of proportionality n the Byron device.

Stronger were the woman’s survival and womanly instincts coming through. The rational of French 16th century society turning in the Revolution Is sanguine but not trite in its exploration of to depict softer emotions of love, pity, sympathy and grief, a type of emotional sensitivity which as we digress the French excel. Take ‘Macron’ic personas proliferation (G7 Iran Brazil) and even imitation of ‘old guard’ Napoleonic myth makers. Getting towards screen writing a bit Proustian also and let the onslaught begin!

The film never approached rapprochement of French style or dramatic tremors but for the occasional side swipe at the class from across a glistening glass or sombre car scene.

Eighties angst and bombs

Set in the eighties it brings in Antony’s fastidious denial of what his work entails obliquely. He has a concealed, for a while at least heroin habit that is centrally along with eighties smoking habits which jar and do not placate even if continuity is attained while domestic scenes sexual and emotional are testing the relationships shifting heaviness. By avoiding the reasons Antony is so distraught and damaged we are failed in seeing his character as anything other than the floundering dandy type and habit fuelled despot Little is revealed about.

Julie is not yet in control of her feelings and allows over-generously the out of control behaviour of Antony. Much is made of the emotional scars as they consume Julie and the family of Julie is supportive and placed in the narrative as benign and forgiving parents. There is a generational gap and delayed realisation of Julie’s predicament. It becomes a joint and shared set of problems which has a substance and form which other parts lack.

An app is now available for you to set up a personality profile – in those days it was something like Dateline or Matchmaker – not just a box of costly crocs to impress along with the exotic date at Pizza Express avoiding Eastern tummy troubles. The app is compared to the alternatives and allowing parents to vet or suggest is not now a go to as they it has to be said might have a select view of you and an overprotective seat at the table.

There are awkward dining scenes with all parties doing what I thought at times was improv and a bit Mike Leigh. Tilda Swinton is acting royalty and gives a tension filled anxiety laden caring delicately portrayed character as Julie’s mother. She is in fact Honor Swinton Byrnes mother – as you probably guessed.

There are some quibbles on my part as to the success of some scenes which may seem one dimensional and not lifted to two even on occasion.

For a middle act there is a journey in the stylised vision of Antony’s view of what should be perfect. This fragility is played out in a Venice sequence and is provided with the copious painterly steps and bridges with a crossover to the third act and the continuing complexities.

The film school observations are navel gazing and black comedy of a kind and the over analysis (I contribute I confess) is necessary. The reason becomes clear as halfway to fifty a change in perspective takes place in the self examination of Julie. A fellow student who has none of the advantages including race of the central privileged upper middle class (stereotyping is eighties and smoking allowed) posits entitlement seen to this day unfortunately as we faze out on a political landscape where either educational lift or loads of money are seen as a door opener it falls without levering open the can of worms it seems to involve. It is after protracted calamity and a slowish pace to the denouement the film becomes overpowering in its emotional cut and thrust.

Head health

An occasional jokey reposts from a working person is glanced. In the immediacy of this relationship Julie takes a stand and while not offering choice – I thought a picnic scene might have been the relocation of Antony to one of those Surrey Mental Hospitals on the Downs or the Peper Harrow reformatory of liberal thinking once home to Will Self. It didn’t have any of that vibe or coarse energy and suffered from its formula of class which may or may not have been intentional.

There are genuinely graceful scenes and sensitively portrayed. There are literal reflections and in a composite element to the narrative – Antony’s past loves were a challenge – named notionally as Desiree – a famous Christine Rossetti poem strike a chord.

When I am dead, my dearest

When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.

The poem as the panel oil painting is a miniature of emotions caught as microbes of existence.

The music was brilliant and interspersed with glorious arias and operatic death in Venice oblique reverberance.

Conclusion **** 4

16th Century painter Jean-Honoré Nicolas Fragonard is a notable deportment in this film. The elegance and majestic allegorical canvas are seen in their absence from the film as only postcards and asides. The Souvenir is perhaps that lock keep. In a recent interview with actress Lindsay Duncan on the Theatre and play Hansard said of that medium and it might apply to Cinema or other forms “I don’t think Theatre should be preachy, it should be more skilful than that. Like a Trojan horse carrying important stuff inside.” That is a very astute observation from a maker of art. The emotions of ‘parts’ she goes on to say of Hansard “It offers the chance for us to see ourselves from the outside looking in. At the moment we need every possible way to take stock and remember what is important in life.” Hansard is delivered to QFT in a live screening on 07 November 2019. So eighties, so now.

The Trojan horse here holds its content tightly with the literature eloquent and taut, like the romantic period it seeks to allude to giving thoughts of ‘that love must suffer for loving; the deeper planted, the more it must suffer, in that all true passion of love at its highest force inevitably ends in tragedy: …… But why should sorrow be always creeping in upon joy?’ (Ch.14 Castle Dor)

This film is episodic and is while fluid in its visual dexterity is unable I feel to impose the stark reality of the situation Julie deals with. It is a very watchable contained and clear story which is set to continue as filming of The Souvenir has already started. Whether it achieves the scope of the emotional tapestry seen in the painting will be for you to decide.

John Graham

30 August 2019

Belfast

Screening at QFT Belfast from 31 August to 5 September 2019 and possibly beyond.

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