Friday, October 02, 2009

Queenan and the Minotaur

Gaw, whispering from the labyrinthine depths of the NHS, approves my ferocious attack on the poets and urges me to go after the watercolourists next. The brush-wielding bastards have, he insists, had it coming for years.

Damn right they have. Ooh, look at me with my wooden bleedin’ palette, wearing my hat, mixing up a colour wash, perched by the riverbank on a bleedin’ deckchair with a sleeping Labrador tied to it, dab-dabbing away like a git, oooooh pardon me I’ve made a bugger’s muddle of the perspective of that barge, oooh never mind I’ll turn that smudge into a heron, just a bit of artistic license you understand, hope you’ll forgive it hem hem. Oh yeah? Well screw you, watercolourist *****ers!

And so on.

The anti-poetry rant has sloshed around the internet a bit, in the way that these things sometimes do, with visitors being unwittingly led here from Books Inq, the Poetry Foundation, this poetry site and, unexpectedly, this Dutch one. Oddly, not one visitor has yet leapt to the defence of the poets. But then it was a very good rant. Reading it back, it puts me in mind of an episode of Newsnight Review a few months ago, in which Joe Queenan had a proper pop at modern classical music when discussing Birtwhistle's Minotaur. I’ve skipped the beginning for you (Parsons and Myerson), but stick around for his punchline right at the end of the vid….




15 comments:

worm said...

Watercolour pictures are basically visual gruel.

And why, with all the literally boundless things for them to paint in this world, are they drawn like purblind moths to paint only rivers running through valleys?

Though at least its satisfying to see the pitiful sums they fetch at auction

Brit said...

That's the spirit, Worm, stick the boot in...

malty said...

Whilst fully concurring with the sentiments expressed regarding ditty wars I must protest in the strongest terms possible regarding yours and Gaws anti-WC sentiments which are a Windsor and Newton too far.
Three words.. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whilst Charlies architecture is somewhat suspect, think of Hill House as Gaudi meets Persimmon, and his furniture is brilliant but erratic, his water colours are exquisite bordering on genius. The pinnacle of the visual arts, porridge scoffer wise.
If your assault is against painters in general then may I offer for your delectation Francois Boucher's portrait of Marie Louise O'Murphy. Currently at rest in Koln's Waltraf museum the painting depicts the burd lying on her tum on a Chaise Loungue, chin on hands, legs akimbo looking for all of the world like she is allowing to cool down those parts of her anatomy most generating frictional forces during the grand art of the bonk. If this does not guide you back to the paths of righteousness then you are beyond even my healing powers.

Disgusted
Knockholt Mansions
Ravensbourne Pk Tce
Catford SE6

Brit said...

Funny you should mention Rennie Mackintosh, Malty. Chap I know claims to be directly responsible for the proliferation of RM jewellerey reproduction on the isle of Skye. But it's a long story.

Peter Burnet said...

In defence of watercolourists, they do make a rather charming subject for other watercolourists.

These are super posts, Brit. It's been so long since I've even bothered with modern poetry and classical music that I'm no longer qualified to condemn and am now just a crabby, middle-aged philistine boring the young with whines about rhyme and melody. But a propos Queenan's wonderful blowaway, one thing I have noticed is the apparent rise of the standing ovation, rare when I was young. It seems that whenever I am trapped into attending some gawdawful modern musical performance, my anger is trebled when I am caught up in a collective surge to one's feet at the end. It never lasts very long, so why? Have modern artists so done a number on us that they have us terrified not to applaud them?

Another serious question. How much do you think this rise of the execrable can be pinned on the fact that faith and love can no longer be celebrated except in superficial, self-conscious ways? We all know what the beautiful people think of religion and, as for love, it's a long way from declaring the giving of oneself to another without reserve (or killing oneself over them) to proclaiming to the world your lover "helps me be myself", no?

worm said...

Just stand and clap all the way through modern classical music performances, it really freaks them out.

malty said...

Worm, yes indeedee, what a strange bunch of herberts, once sat through, at the Edinburgh Festival, the "first performance" of a "new work" by Boulez, conducted by the great frog himself. Saying that this was shite is putting it crudely but accurately. We sat, in the second row, stalls, stony faced and walked out 5 mins before the end, the call of the Cally's bar being irresistible.

Brit said...

Good point Peter. The standing ovation is a greatly devalued commodity.

worm said...

The standing ovation is another victim of emoting inflation. We are encouraged by an americanized media to bawl like babies, scream, wail, throw flowers onto a massive rotting pile, and clap for half an hour - all to validate one's 'experience', which is apparently very important these days.

David said...

I refute it thus.

Brit said...

That watercolourist deserves a standing ovation, David.

malty said...

Why, during Strictly come stumbling does everybody clap everyone, including themselves, what are the rules? I breath, therefore I clap? I suspect that you are right, Worm, the malady has crept over from the western rim of the Atlantic, lets call it Seals Disease.

Sean said...

Not sure about all this, are you including the pastel crowd with the watercolourists, becasue there is alot of cross over?

worm said...

The point where pastels and watercolours cross over is a portal to a chaos dimension. Even thinking about it can summon hellspawn to lay waste to the earth and all that is good and holy

Gaw said...

Chaps, it's the lashing out that's important, not the target (although it helps if they're mostly harmless as it makes effective retaliation unlikely). Thanks, Brit, I'm feeling better already.