Sunday, August 21, 2005

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger is an internationaly renowned conceptual aritst whose work focuses on domestic violence, women's rights and issues of power. Now, I'm not a rampant feminist (I lack one of the key qualifications of being a woman), but I popped along to her latest installation in Glasgow on Friday and I was blown away by her work.

I honestly have to say I hadn't heard of this woman before going to this exhibition, but from what I've been reading about her over the weekend, she has typically presented her case in stark posters with bold colours (often red and white).

The latest installation at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow is a shift to green and white and comprises a room with all the surfaces covered with blunt messages such as "You stone my face and harden my heart" and part covered in newspaper articles concerning recent cases of violence against women. Some of it (i.e. "Who will write the history of tears?") may border on the pretentious, but I couldn't help being blown away by her work; it's the first "issue based" contemporary art in a while that's actually been able to properly convey its message to me.

- Barbara Kruger is exhibiting at GoMA, Glasgow as part of their 'Rules of Thumb: Contemporary Art and Human Rights" series, until 26th September.

I'm A Crap Blogger...

...You'd think that with so much going on in the UK these days, I'd have something to rant about. Everyone seems to have said it first though...that's always a problem.

I've spent the evening writing a letter to the local newspaper about the political opportunism of our local Liberal Democrats...some things never change.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Today's addition to the blog is my bloglines feed subscription button at the bottom of the sidebar to the right. If you sign up for bloglines, you can view all your frequently visited blogs (including, of course, "I Was Thinking...") through one site. Genius!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Silly Silly Silly

Lots of silly stories in the news this weekend (and some tragic ones too). First, the world's politicians are acting like five year olds, and now the Aussies are sinking their own ships while a council is sending their debt collectors after a six year old.


Saturday, July 30, 2005


The Edinburgh Fringe Festival starts next weekend. I've not had much of a chance to look through the programme for this year's festival, but a few things caught my eye. Theatre Babel are repeating a production of Macbeth that they performed around the country last year to rave reviews. Theatre Babel are a great company whose productions normally have a fantastic contemporary edge; last time I saw them was at the Festival in the first, challenging, performance of Thebans by Liz Lochead.
If you're going for comedy, I'd recommend The stand's "Best of..." series. I've been to a number of Best of Scottish and Best of Irish shows and they're always a good laugh. It always is a bit of a risk going to a show like this, but I've never cam out of one disappointed, even though there are some dire comics on the Fringe.
At the Book Festival this year, there's a number of events already sold out. If you can get hold of a return for Tony Benn, he's always entertaining (whether you agree with his politics or not). There's also a joint event with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (from the Independent) & Bernard Crick on the state of political journalism.
The Film Festival is always the one I miss, but I make sure that I go to the Surprise Film every year.
Finally, a cheap plug for a production that the brother of a friend of mine is involved in. "Singin' I'm No A Billy, I'm A Tim" is about a Celtic and Rangers fan imprisoned in the same cell on the day of an Old Firm game who talk through the bigotry and hatred that's such a part of football in the West of Scotland.
They're my recommendations, if you see anything else interesting (or bad!) in Edinburgh this year, let me know.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"A Momentous and Historic Development"

Today's statement by the IRA brings the curtain down on over 35 years of violence and gives the real chance that peace is for real this time and not just another false dawn for Ireland. It seems that as one terrorist group wraps up operations and a new, far more worrying one, emerges. Today's pictures from last night's ABC news were horrible and, I think it's only now that I can really say that I genuinely feel scared. The nail bomb image really brought what it is we're facing home to me. While the IRA's attacks through their 35 year campaign may have been dispicable, in most cases they aimed more at creating visual impact than inflicting huge casualties (hence, the warnings, the attacks at night on docklands etc.) What we face now is very different, and far more threatening. With terrorism, it seems that "out with the old, in with the new" rings all too true today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I’m resurrecting the blog. Here goes…

So, the blog disappeared for, well, about a year. Life took over. But now I need a forum to rant to again. Feel free to comment / criticise to your heart's content!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Scottish Parliament Official Opening

After my enthused blogging on the new Scottish Parliament this time last month (here and here), I couldn’t let the official opening pass by without a mention. I only managed to catch a little of it yesterday, but from what I saw it did parliament and people proud. The highlight for me was the new poem by Edwin Morgan, the Scots Makar (Scottish poet laureate for those of you who aren’t up on your scots) which was commissioned especially for the event. I think he sums up everyone’s thoughts quite well…

Open the Doors!

Open the doors! Light of the day, shine in; light of the mind, shine out!
We have a building which is more than a building.
There is a commerce between inner and outer, between brightness and shadow, between the world and those who think about the world.
Is it not a mystery? The parts cohere, they come together like petals of a flower, yet they also send their tongues outward to feel and taste the teeming earth.Did you want classic columns and predictable pediments? A growl of old Gothic grandeur? A blissfully boring box?
Not here, no thanks! No icon, no Ikea, no iceberg, but curves and caverns, nooks and niches, huddles and heavens syncopations and surprises. Leave symmetry to the cemetery.
But bring together slate and stainless steel, black granite and grey granite, seasoned oak and sycamore, concrete blond and smooth as silk the mix is almost alive it breathes and beckons imperial marble it is not!

Come down the Mile, into the heart of the city, past the kirk of St Giles and the closes and wynds of the noted ghosts of history who drank their claret and fell down the steep tenements stairs into the arms of link-boys but who wrote and talked the starry Enlightenment of their days
And before them the auld makars who tickled a Scottish king's ear with melody and ribaldry and frank advice
And when you are there, down there, in the midst of things, not set upon an hill with your nose in the air,This is where you know your parliament should be
And this is where it is, just here.

What do the people want of the place? They want it to be filled with thinking persons as open and adventurous as its architecture.
A nest of fearties is what they do not want.
A symposium of procrastinators is what they do not want.
A phalanx of forelock-tuggers is what they do not want.
And perhaps above all the droopy mantra of 'it wizny me' is what they do not want.
Dear friends, dear lawgivers, dear parliamentarians, you are picking up a thread of pride and self-esteem that has been almost but not quite, oh no not quite, not ever broken or forgotten.
When you convene you will be reconvening, with a sense of not wholly the power, not yet wholly the power, but a good sense of what was once in the honour of your grasp.
All right. Forget, or don't forget, the past. Trumpets and robes are fine, but in the present and the future you will need something more.
What is it? We, the people, cannot tell you yet, but you will know about it when we do tell you.
We give you our consent to govern, don't pocket it and ride away.
We give you our deepest dearest wish to govern well, don't say we have no mandate to be so bold.
We give you this great building, don't let your work and hope be other than great when you enter and begin.
So now begin. Open the doors and begin.