Saturday, March 20, 2010


If one would ask me what song I'd rate quint-essen-tially American, Kansas' Carry On Wayward Son (1976) would certainly be among the candidates.

Impossibly good rock song from The Tragically Hip, Courage, from the 1992 album Fully Completely. Personally, I'd rate TTH Canada's second best rock band (I guess you know who's at no. 1). The Tragically Hip formed in 1983 in Kingston, Ontario. Unlike a gazillion other longlasting bands, their lineup has stayed pretty much the same and consists of Gordon Downie (lead vocals and guitar), Rob Baker (guitar), Gord Sinclair (bass), Paul Langlois (guitar) and Johnny Fay (drums). Other notable hits include Springtime in Vienna and Ahead by a Century.

Greetz from Belgium.


Monday, March 15, 2010


I have a post on Spain in the scaffolds and was trying to get one up about the French regional elections, but in the end found out I was too goddam tired to come up with something original from moi. Luckily, Michael Colhaze over at The Brussels Journal has a very good post up regarding modern art.

"...He is Baselitz, a name tuberose, not only acoustically, with dirty connotations. He is Germany’s foremost Modern artist. He is one of those who accepted the thirty pieces of silver and turned them into a heap of gold. He is a well-received guest at the London Royal Academy of Arts, which strikes you as odd since the Brits and the Krauts, never mind what they tell you in Brussels, regard each other warily. He is loved by the country’s foremost gazettes, like the FAZ, or the SZ, or the old pansy ZEIT. He can be found in Tate modern. He owns a Giant Schnauzer with a degree in psychology who handles his castration complex, the foremost source of his creative inspiration. He produces his masterpieces watching Big Brother on TV while reclining on a sofa next to a canvas previously splattered with an undisclosed amount of colours on which he diverts an occasional glance and then arranges artistically by means of an Italian bread roll using his left hand only. Once dry, he signs it with his illustrious name, waits until that one is dry as well, and hangs it up upside-down.

Die grosse Nacht im Eimer, by BaselitzThis, the upside-down, has made him famous.

Ever repentant Germany, foremost bastion of politically correct forces, where, rather en passant and widely unnoticed, book burnings and show trials have been reintroduced and hefty jail sentences are handed down to those who dare to insist on their constitutional rights and challenge the official credo, is an El Dorado for those in Modern art with the necessary connections. It is less so for the ordinary citizen, because here the crunch has shown its ugly claw as well, particularly since seventy percent of the country’s produce is earmarked for export and thus a recipe for disaster once the cash flow begins to stagger. The lawmakers and law enforcers feel uneasy as well, wondering in moments of quiet reflection if the hate laws they have so carelessly set afloat or applied might come back and bite them in the backside, once the hour of reckoning arrives. Like in Nuremberg not long ago. Or in London right now, where the country’s supreme PC warriors, though not their minders, are accused of invading Iraq without the faintest shred of legal support and causing the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent bystanders, while the folks at the International Court of Justice in Den Haag are popping their garters for fear of being saddled with a trove of their own kind.

As for the Baselitz’ meteoric ascent on the murky skies of Modern art, the usual machinations were set in motion. Among thousands of candidates, both academics or naturals, all waiting eagerly for a hint from the established Modern art Mafia, now and then one is chosen. Since he is, just like his many contenders, about as gifted as a bedbug, nobody with a sane mind would assume that considerations of artistic merit ever played a part. What counts is a rigorous talent for self-representation, unfettered by the smallest grain of aesthetics or ethics, an inborn and unlimited vulgarity, and the stated objective to be the most ruthless Judas Iscariot to the Fine Arts that ever set foot on our sacred earth. As to the operational level, it works more or less in the following way. One of the great Modern art dealers, a highly visible member of the afore mentioned Mafia, contacts a few of his highly invisible godfathers, strikes a deal, and the Baselitz (or anyone like him) is launched. Surprised by the sudden onslaught, goes the latter into high gear and produces twenty masterpieces a day, all of which fetch prices that increase breathtakingly fast. The press is informed, the usual dolls and pansies from the art section do their job and tell the astonished aficionado in exalted crap-art parlance what it is all about, and a new star is born. Next he has the so far unheard-of idea to present his work hanging upside-down, a clear sign of sublime genius if there ever was one, and prices go through the roof. Retrospections in the artist’s honour are arranged, Modern art sanctuaries like the Moma or Tate modern buy his crap, even the occasional sausage-and-ham manufacturer is impressed and lays out a sack of ill-gotten money for a slice of Baselitz."

Here, some anti-poison for Die grosse Nacht im Eimer:

Biondina is an 1879 work by Frederick Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton (3 December 1830–25 January 1896), an English painter and sculptor whose works depict historical, biblical and classical subjects.

Listening to Schumann, a marvellous work by my compatriot Fernand Khnopff (born Grimbergen, 1858- died Brussels, 1921). Too bad I don't have more time on my hands, because this artist deserves a post dedicated to himself alone. Khnopff is probably our most renowned symbolist painter. Listening to Schumann actually stands somewhat apart from the majority of his paintings, which often depict esoteric women and still, mysterious buildings and landscapes, submerged in melancholy. As for Schumann, meant is Robert Schumann, one of Germany's foremost Romantic composers of the 19th century. That his compositions are written mainly for pianos - see the pianists' hand in the upper left corner of the painting - is no coincidence. He had actually wanted to become a virtuoso pianist but a hand injury blocked this career path; so he dedicated his energy to composing instead.

Hey, nite.