Sunday, 26 January 2014

Pop Art post

I promised to stop all that sepia nonsense and show you my new cushions...

And here they are.
Husband ordered them from the Tate for Christmas. One of my friends came round and said, 'You know, I don't think it would ever occur to my husband to order me anything from the Tate.' Which made almost as proud of my husband as I am of my new cushions.

So I've decided this is going to be a very Lichtensteiny post. Because I really love Roy Lichtenstein's art..

Ok, so I don't look like I'm massively loving it here, but that's because we weren't supposed to be taking photographs in the Tate, which meant my nerves were a bit racked.

I love the sharpness, the clean lines, the blasts of colour. I love the - the - modernness of Lichtenstein's paintings. I love that irreverent blurring of art and comics and advertising. I love the impact they make. But mostly it boils down to the coolness they make me feel. Who among us doesn't need more coolness in life?

Husband doesn't dislike them, but he's less keen than I am. He says all those perfectly-placed dots seem too precise to feel like proper art. I think he prefers the idea of artists painting freely and wildly and um - artistically? Like the way Jackson Pollock used to fling buckets of paint all over the canvas and then drag naked women across it by their toes. (He might not have done that; I haven't Googled it, but you know what I mean). In fact, while we were looking at the Lichtensteins at the Tate, Husband said that all those rows of tiny dots made him think of Donald Pleasence in the Great Escape, blinking blindly through his inch-thick glasses as he painted one perfect Ben-Day dot after another. After another.
'Nearly there...only another two hundred and fifty-three thousand to go...'

Donald Pleasenstein
When I started senior school, I had the cheapest of uniforms, terrible hair, clompy shoes and those tombstone teeth that look far too big for a twelve year-old's mouth. I was not cool.
But I did have a pop art pencil tin - and that was cool.
At least the way I remember it.
It was a dazzlingly lurid thing, covered in comic strips of high school teenagers making out or sobbing - with accompanying speech bubbles and thought clouds. I loved it.
I think most of the other girls had pale pink furry zip-up pencil cases. And a collection of scented, pastel rubbers or plastic bell charms. Do you remember those?

Well, I probably had some of them too.
But my pop art pencil tin was the only thing I had that was completely different to everyone else's school stuff. And if anyone teased me about it, I didn't feel the usual shame and humiliation because I knew they were WRONG. You just can't fake that.

And Lichtenstein's paintings make me feel that kind of coolness again.

Eleven-year-old's attempt at a self-portrait with Ben-Day dots.

Nothing to do with Lichtenstein - unless you count the fact that its very colourful - is the boys' latest art project. They've painted and assembled this carousel...

Ta da!

Ahhh...the peace and quiet of an art project...

And in case you haven't got the point yet, it's official - I am 'arty'.

Some time before Christmas, Actual Agent asked me to send her a brief biography of myself so she could send it out to editors with my ms. "Just a little something to give them a sense of you," she said.
To which I replied, 'Yikes!' (because I am nothing if not professional.)
It was one of those things I'd daydreamed about in the past, but which turned out to be mortifying in reality.
I sent her an email which said, 'Everyone lies their heads off in those things, right?'
She said 'No!' and sent me this example...

'Helen works as a plumber, is in her early 40s and lives in London with her family.'

Well, even that makes me sound far cooler than I actually am (since it makes me sound a bit like Super Mario).
So, I asked Eleven-year-old to describe me in a word.
'Grumpy,' he said.
'Come up with a nicer word or lose your Ipad,' I said (grumpily).
He thought for a bit and said that earlier that day one of the teachers at his school had asked him his name and when he'd told her, she'd said, 'Ah, yes - your mum's the arty one, isn't she?'
And he'd agreed that I was indeed the 'arty' one.

So that was the angle I went for. Artiness. And this was the end result...

'Helen Maslin lives in Cheltenham with her husband and two sons. She is generally described as "arty". She has studied English, History and Art History - which remain her chief interests. She runs an art club at her children's primary school, has unnaturally red hair and awesome shoes.'

As long as they never want to meet me, nothing can go wrong...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cool Blogging (part two) I've just spent...what?...two or maybe three hours restarting different browsers...enabling cookies...clearing my cache...disabling add-ons and extensions. In spite of the fact that I have no idea what any of that means...

Are we having fun yet?

No, we are not. It turns out that if Blogger is prepared to let me post photographs, I can happily delay my blogging for week after week. BUT from the very moment Blogger goes on the blink, all I want to do is post on here. And I want it with a sort of tooth-grindingly cussed, savage ferocity - even though not much has happened for me to blog about.

Ooh, look - it's raining outside! 

(do you see what I mean?)

'Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering "it will be happier"'  (A Tennyson)

Anyway, this is still kind of a test-blog, so I'm sticking with the cool blogging theme. Even if it works, I'm around eighty-six percent sure I'll never be able to find my way back to this page again *presses every 'SAVE' button on the internet*

The Boys are back at school and the husband has gone back to whatever it is that he does (I ought to know by now really...something to do with investments. Or finance. Or something. Nope, it's gone. I'll ask him again later and he can give me that look he saves especially for me. Well, me and unfinished DIY projects. And wasps. And frost on his car windscreen, you get the idea.)

The prospect of getting back to my writing again made me want to sing and dance, but I had to hide it from everyone else because they were all so gloomy about going back out into the world again. 'What a shame!' I said untruthfully. 'Yes, it's miserable, isn't it? I'm sad about it too.'

'See how sad I am that you're all leaving me here to get on with my writing'
 (H Maslin)

In other news, we've also been to see Catching Fire, which I'd normally illustrate with a photo of Jennifer Lawrence, but not on the new cool blog, oh, no!

'Aim higher in case you fall short.' (S.Collins)

Also we've been ice-skating and proved - once again - that I am the only person in the entire world who actually enjoys this as a thing.

'Fly without wings; 
Dream with open eyes;
See in darkness'   (Dejan Stojanovic)

And finally, I asked the husband if he could contribute an arty quote of his own to the cool blog. 
He said, 'If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain't the kind of pussy to drink it.' 
He was still giggling as he left the room. So I think he's trying to be some sort of geezer-bloke, bless him. 
He told me it was from Reservoir Dogs, but Google says it's from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. So geezer-bloke fail, there.

Oh, for God's sake...

Although I've always hankered after this kind of cool sepia blog, it isn't really me and I'll try going back to colour photos next time - if Blogger lets me - for I have new cushions to show you!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cool blogging...

Not only is this my 100th blog post, it's also my first post of 2014.
So. Much. Pressure.

First, I tried thinking up some resolutions - because that's what other bloggers do.
But it turns out I'm not really the resolute type. I can't even be bothered to look back at any previous resolutions I may've made just to see whether I kept them or not. (So probably not.)

I am sort of quietly determined, but I don't have one of those sergeant-majory inner voices that can shout, 'Get out there and make it happen, God dammit!' At least, not without several other inner voices sniggering and persuading me to make a sandwich or lie down for a nap instead.

I think I prefer wishes to resolutions. The aims can be far greater (I wish for magical shoes!) and the effort involved is minimal.

Secondly, I tried looking back over 2013 and listing my greatest achievements. But that was far too depressing - I had to go for another sandwich and a lie down.

Then, I thought maybe if I waited a while, something interesting would happen and I could write about that...
But nothing did

I'm not a quitter, though, so I waited longer.
The only thing that happened was that Blogger removed my ability to upload photographs...aaargh!

So, this really is going to be a shit post now, isn't it?

The only option left is to try to embrace the lack of content and pictures. My first post of 2014 is going to be on one of those stylish, black and white, minimalist blogs. You know, with Courier font and lots of empty white...

...spaces. After all, those blogs are the coolest, right?

And if Blogger does get round to fixing the problem with the photos, I can always slip in some arty sepia-tinted photos with captions that are cool and mysterious, deeply poetic and quite often veer dans une autre langue...

'Until the end of her life, she wore a thick black veil.'
'And what did he do?'
'He left cards on all Paris, on which he had written "mille regrets".'

Yep, that was the only image I managed to upload before my blog broke. I've tried switching to Chrome and I've tried going in through draft.blogger - neither of which worked. So all I can say now is...voeux pour la nouvelle année...