You hit me with a flower

Music

Not a bag of flour.

Even though I could rewrite history to make things cooler, I won’t. Not for this Memory Pop recollection, anyway.

It means Lou Reed’s Transformer record was the launch pad for my love of the great songwriter and guitarist whose singing was an interesting interpretation on the skill.

The Velvet Underground, John Cale, Mo Tucker, Andy Warhol, that New York noise and buzz: It all came after the needle dropped on Transformer when I was a teenager. Funny how needles of all sorts have played a part in creative lives for years.

What a record this is. And tape and CD and back full circle to vinyl.

MP_Badges_SK_lou_reed

Lou Reed, Transformer

 

Every track, morsels of brilliance from 1 to 11.

Look:

“Vicious, you hit me with a flower, you do it every hour” — Vicious

“If I could be anything in the world that flew, I would be a bat and come flying after you” — Andy’s Chest

“Just a perfect day, you made me forget myself, I thought I was someone else, someone good” — Perfect Day

“She smoked mentholated cigarettes and she had sex in the hall.” — Hangin’ Round

“Sugar plum fairy came and hit the street, looking for soul, food and a place to eat” –Walk on the Wild Side

“Then comes pancake factor number one, eyeliner rose hips and lips gloss are such fun” — Make Up

“I’ve been told that you’ve been bold with Harry, Mark and John” — Satellite of Love

“And then why don’t you wake me, shake me, please don’t you let me sleep too long …” — Wagon Wheel

“I am calling, yes I am calling just to speak to you, for I know this night will kill me, if I can’t be with you” — New York Telephone Conversation

“I do what I want and I want what I see, could only happen to me” — I’m So Free

“Ah, all night long you’ve been drinking your tequilla rye, but now you’ve sucked your lemon peel dry” — Goodnight Ladies

Now listen.

Thanks Mr Reed. And a certain David Bowie.

Badge on Memory Pop.

 

 

 

 

Asylum seeker….

Art

I have been in one. Just not recently and not in that way. Long before the channel tunnel, refugee crisis (plural) or camps, I sought out an asylum.  In Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France.

That’s where Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh voluntarily admitted himself during the last year of his 37.

A locked facility for the mentally ill, he had travelled to the asylum from a hospital in Arles, the subject of one of his paintings:

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Hospital garden, Arles

Crowned by French locals as ‘Fou Roux’ (the red-headed madman) Van Gogh produced painting after painting birthed from a place of extraordinary mental anguish and physical difficulties.

I went to the hospital in Arles too for a day. Looking back it was probably not everyone’s idea of a traditional happy-go-lucky holiday itinerary.

But my pilgrimage did confirm that the busy galleried hospital walkways of Van Gogh’s painting are still populated by madmen and asylum seekers.

 

Grinnin’ in your face

Music, Uncategorized
MP_son_house

Son House Death Letter

A voice from somewhere else, a steel string acoustic guitar and a pressed white shirt, a man asks, “don’t you mind, people grinnin’ in your face.” Mississippi delta blues sent to someone so far from its creation and circumstance, it should be impossible to lay claim to any impact. But that’s the beauty of this man and his music. “Death Letter Blues,” is one delivery I am very glad to have received. Grinnin’ is my face.

Novelist Paul Auster once told me

Literature
MP_newyorktrilogy

New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

I have an “interesting” face. It was about 15 years ago during a lunch. It was long enough ago for there to have been drink taken before sparkling water and abstinence equaled professionalism. Rather than being able to write professionally after an aperitif and half a bottle of claret. So I guess he looked at my face with its (slightly) broken nose, one bigger eye than the other and the large ears of a far older man and thought “nice dimples.” I’ve always liked his books. They’re interesting too.

What do you give someone who has everything?

Pop Biog

You give them a visual floating biography of themselves.

For the last three years or so I’ve been creating bespoke art works for individuals based on my conversations and gentle interviews with them about their memories, interests and passions.

Whether it’s a piece of music or a book, a TV show or movie, or places and times re-visited in the mind, people enjoy sharing their stories.

The art works are made on canvas with pin badges representing memories, moments in time and favourite things.

The piece shown below features more than two and half thousand badges detailing, errr… me! My favourite bands, films and TV shows, as well as iconography, literature, art, places and sports are all represented and collated onto the canvas.

 

STUART 001

The works are intended to depict memories and spark conversations, bringing to life a personal history; they’re a visual, living biography of the person.

I have spent the best part of 25 years as a journalist interviewing people and talking personal favourites across all sorts of subjects.

The pieces help bring a private social history to life.

It’s a floating living biography of the person as the source of imagery and anecdote.

If you’d like to talk about commissioning your own Memory Pop for an individual, family or as a profile of your business, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.

The size and number of badges impacts the time taken to create each work which in turn affects the cost.