Carved trunk?

Earlier this year I heard about a carved scar on a tree outside Wagga Wagga.

I went looking for it while I was staying in the area over Christmas and think I found it.

I've heard that carving trees was a Wiradjuri custom to remember the dead, which might explain why the shape doesn't seem like those I've seen elsewhere for coolamon.

The horizontal lines appear to be evenly spaced apart, which suggests a deliberate design but I'll ask around and see what I can learn.

Australian Government priorities are rooted

It is shocking that the Australian Government has spent more promoting an "innovation agenda" than combating violence against women by people known to the victims.

An article today on the SMH website outlines advertising spending during the 2015-16 financial year, which included the longest election campaign in recent history:
The 2010 election advertising campaign cost $12.3 million, contributing to an annual total of $116.9 million…
Promoting the Turnbull government's National Innovation and Science Agenda cost $14.9 million…
A national campaign to reduce violence against women and children in Australia cost $13.4 million

This is a disgrace.

The Facebook page Destroy The Joint notes 71 women have died in this country in the year up to 20 December from domestic violence and 80 women died in 2015.

Complaints about 2016?

Jonny Negron

There's a lot to like about this image.

2017 resolutions

Not usually one for setting and sticking to New Year's resolutions but I'm entertaining a couple of ideas for 2017.

One is to stop using Twitter because I feel it offers very little return for the amount of time I spend posting. Some years ago I experimented with posting the same thoughts on Twitter and Facebook and found the latter generated more conversation. Since I've befriended many of the people I like on the former on the latter and see they mostly post the same things in both places, I don't think I'll be worse off.

Another is to stop buying musical equipment. My reason is that I have so much gear and use little of it, that I need to spend time thinking about what is continuing to help and what isn't. One idea informing this decision is this beaut quote about a sense of guilt that impacts on one's ability to make music.

Other than these two, I'm hoping to spend more time individually with my children. Time passes quickly and I realise I'm losing the opportunity to hold their attention as they age.

Making a bacon sandwich

Top five posts in 2016

Earlier this year I looked at the popular blog posts listed on the right-hand side and noticed they hadn't changed for years.

In recent years it was older posts that were bringing traffic here, so I stopped listing the most popular posts when it started to feel like more of the same.

Then a few months ago something happened. For some reason a bunch of visitors arrived from France and it suddenly the list on the right started reflecting more recent content.

Anyway, let's dive into the site statistics. The top five blog posts here in 2016 are:
  1. Disappointing sandwich

  2. Unsatisfying

  3. I need you to know

  4. Hallo spaceboy

  5. Valla Beach

Love this

Seen on Facebook this morning.

It really is special because there aren't many pictures with a cat where I feel like I share it's perspective, such as the "WTF?" shown here.

Last Christmas

Some years ago I recorded a cover of the Wham! hit 'Last Christmas':



While learning it I was challenged by how the phrasing shifts to accommodate lyrics that don't stick to a meter or rhyme. It took a while to get the hang of when to launch into a line at the start of a bar or hold back a beat. Particularly this line:
I keep my distance but you still catch my eye
By the time I recorded it, George Michael had announced he was gay. It interested me that the first-person lyrics, while not specifically written from the perspective of a male, infer that the lover being addressed is male:
A face on a lover with a fire in his heart
A man undercover but you tore him apart
Maybe next year, I'll give it to someone,
I'll give it to someone special
Many lyricists write songs for other singers. Musicians like Prince, for example, had a number of their hits delivered by others.

However, in hindsight, I wondered if George had not felt the need to hide his sexuality in what would become an early hit.

So, as George's manager announced that the singer had died from heart failure on Christmas, it surprised me that the lyrics also say:
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
George Michael's phrasing gives the impression that the words were just as important to his songwriting as the melodies. Another characteristic is his sincerity, it somehow seems dated when compared to the irony and ambiguity found in pop music today. It makes his apparent heart failure seem so much more poignant.

Wild honey



Been a while since I ate honey. 

This one comes from an abandoned hive that was found in a dead Kurrajong tree after it broke apart in a storm. It tastes sweet, like Paterson's Curse-based honey, with a slight taste of wax and a zing like minerals.

Christmas present

Here is a pic of mistletoe from the hopbush that's playing the role of Christmas tree for my household this year.

Below is an early present that my kids chose for me when they went into town to buy chickens for lunch tomorrow. Apparently the chilli sauces had numbers up to 15, when the size of the jar shrunk dramatically.

The kids tell me this chilli sauce has scorpion in it but I didn't see it listed on the ingredients. It's hot but not like eating a raw habanero off the plant, which isn't something I'd recommend.
I remember tears flowing as a result but the endorphin rush was pleasant.

P.S. On Christmas I got another bottle of wine from my out-laws. I drank one of these a few years ago and found it ready-to-drink then, so hopefully it's still got some spine.

Ghost Empire

Currently I'm reading Richard Fidler's book Ghost Empire and enjoying how he expertly demonstrates in this history of Constantinople how developments over a millennia ago remain within Western culture.

Justinian the Great, for example, oversaw the creation of the Codex that established Roman laws that continue to inform those practiced today.

Another interesting section discussed Nicholas the bishop of Myra, better known as Saint Nicholas and the inspiration for Santa Claus. While not explicitly stated, I couldn't help but wonder if the story of Nicholas resurrecting children butchered during a famine established the tradition of Christmas ham:
One tells how during a terrible famine, a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, where he killed them, placing their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, not only saw through the butcher's horrific crime but also resurrected the three boys from the barrel by his prayers.

This is one serendipity I've encountered while reading the book during the festive season. Another was when I read aloud the section on how Justinian developed a Roman silk industry after six centuries of importing the fabric from China via the Silk Road:

Two unidentified monks (most likely members of the Nestorian Church who had been preaching Christianity in India (Church of the East in India), made their way to China by 551 AD. While they were in China, they observed the intricate methods for raising silk worms and producing silk. This was a key development, as the Byzantines had previously thought silk was made in India. In 552 AD, the two monks sought out Justinian I. In return for his generous but unknown promises, the monks agreed to acquire silk worms from China.

Fidler notes many historians now regard this story as a fable and that it would have been a 6500-kilometre journey taking around two years for the monks.

The serendipity for my family was that after learning the story, we arrived at our destination to find my out-laws (so called as my partner and I aren't married) had a collection of silkworm cocoons with a couple of silk moths.



I've thought before how ghosts are a beaut metaphor for the resonances within history and illustrate relevance to contemporary audiences. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book as it's like a tour of foreign lands where the pace is quick but the snapshots are wondrous.

Far cough

Listening to ABC Radio National this week I heard about Desiderius Erasmus' advice on farting:
"Some teach that boys should keep in the gas of their bellies by compressing their buttocks. But it is not civil to become ill while you are trying to seem polite. If it is possible to leave, let him do it alone, but if not, follow the ancient proverb: Hide the fart with a cough."
De civilitate morum puerilium (1530)

Of course, I could not wait to share this information with my family. The outcome is we all giggle if someone coughs.

In fact it's a joke that has yet to get old. We would often find humour in farting and now it doesn't require the gas to start a chuckle. All that is needed is to clear one's throat.

Haunted

On Father's Day this year I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when this image appeared.



The photo by Daniel Etter shows Syrian refugees arriving on the Greek Island of Kos in August 2015.

I'd seen the image in the news around that time but for some reason the context of seeing it on Father's Day had a profound affect me. It's been in my mind for months since and I've found myself in tears at times.

Tonight I learned the tears of the man in the photo are tears of joy at arriving in Greece and I've found a sense of relief. For a long time I'd assumed he was the father of Alan Kurdi.

Feeling unacknowledged

Surprised to see the photograph on the cover of Griffith City Council's Annual Report for 2015/16 is my image.

This photograph was also used on the invite to the opening and shows three of the sculptures created during the symposium at Pioneer Park Museum in April this year. From left to right the sculptures are:
  • 'Eternity' by Tobel (cropped)
  • 'Solido Grigio Silenzio' by Francesco Panceri
  • 'Water is the Driver of Nature' by Hew Chee Fong 
Copyright laws promote acknowledging the work of photographers and it's good practice, however there would be room for my employer to argue they own the image as it was taken during work hours and using a phone they supplied.

I published it on Instagram, which also has a bunch of conditions that would ignore my moral right. They might even claim it was their photograph.

It's interesting that the moral right of an artist to be acknowledged does not extend to stating which artist created a sculpture shown in an image in the same way that one must acknowledge the photographer and also the details of other 2D visual art.

Copyright laws are weird like that because they're shaped by the lobbying of corporations and (so called) free trade agreements.

Family portrait

Round and round



Recently there was news that music released on vinyl records had overtaken music released via digital download in the UK. 

It surprised me as I'm not enamoured with records but, then again, this week I've also seen an interesting discussion of how the emotional content of music can be missing in MP3 files.

Another article pointed to the demise of rock music in the charts and it got me wondering if the medium isn't shaping the effectiveness of the message, because essential elements of rock like guitars and cymbals don't sound as good when they lose higher frequencies during encoding to MP3 files.

I have a theory that it was the rise of magnetic tape as a recording medium that contributed to the development of rock music, particularly the dynamics of the modern drumkit.

Anyway, I expect rock will return again for a number of reasons. I also have a theory that it resurfaces regularly because it's what record company executives know best.

But, not so seriously, how long before wax cylinder recordings make a comeback? Because I was excited to finally locate the Edison cylinder and playback machine at work this week.


Teasing out terminology

The other day I was reading The Daily Advertiser and admiring the word play in the headline for this article about a "hooker" on drug dealing charges because, as I may have written elsewhere, I'm a slut for word play.



The story of self-described "prostitute" Carli Kreyts using social media to sneer at police seemed a confluence of sex, crime and attitude of a kind that engages readers in a manner that may sometimes be dismissed as 'clickbait' -- particularly since Lavington is nearly two hours away from Wagga.

Then something interesting happened on Facebook, as women accused the newspaper of slut-shaming and argued the term "prostitute" is derogatory. It got a little heated as language implied the staff at the newspaper were less than professional.



However, to their credit, The Daily Advertiser changed the terms throughout the article aside from the quote that's purportedly from Kreyts.

I'm now curious to see whether an editorial from The Daily Advertiser reflects on this distinction between "prostitute" and "sex worker" although they have removed the Facebook thread where the discussion occurred.

It's a shame that debate has gone as it illustrated why "sex worker" is a preferred term, particularly as some respondents demonstrated negative attitudes toward the 'oldest profession'.

Jase on the bass



Cellist and Regional Arts Fellow Clare Brassil gave a workshop on looping in Leeton on the weekend and Ron Arel at The Irrigator took this photo of me.

It's kinda flattering to be called a "young" artist! Other people at the workshop were children, which lowered the average age considerably.

Reprints

As someone who only had a passing interest in Prince during his lifetime, I've really enjoyed discovering more about him as people look back.

One of those things that really captured my interest while he was alive was, of course, Dave Chappelle's impersonation of him.



It's really cool that Prince could laugh at the depiction of himself too, as shown in the use of Chappelle for this artwork.

So it was interesting to read this in GQ:
Davison: The backstory to that was—and this is the part Charlie doesn't tell—Eddie had wanted to play Prince his new album. So during that basketball game, Eddie's music was playing, via boom box, on a cassette. After that game, Prince goes over and he tosses the cassette out of the boom box and he says, "Let me ask you a question: Do you see me stop my show to do comedy?"

Eddie Murphy is obviously someone who, like Russell Crowe, is very passionate about music and I can respect that. This song he recorded with Rick James, who Chappelle has also lovingly impersonated, is one that I sing to myself a bit.

History lesson

Been thinking about this image since seeing it on Buzzfeed.

The photograph comes via Mark Tschaepe's Twitter of a presentation by Jose Lara.

George Orwell's line "History is written by the victor" springs to mind -- although, out of the context of 1984, that reads like an affirmation.

You for mystic

This painting “Playing (Tawamure)” (1936) by Ishikawa Toraji is a bit saucy.

I don't know art but I know what I like!

Via Hyperallergic

Oscar reviews The Invention of Hugo Cabret



Recently helped my son with his school assignment.

Organ donor

One of the things I've wanted to do while working at Pioneer Park Museum is record the old organs and offer them as a sample library.

Not sure it'll happen anytime soon but I was reminded of this aspiration while recording an oral history in St James Church recently, which is the oldest church in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

Shown here is a detail from the organ in St James.

Radio National

It's the end of another year and Cyclic Defrost have asked me to name five albums I've discovered and presumably want to share.

Once again I'm reminded how little new music I seek out. Most weeks I listen to a bunch of Junto tracks, as well as mixes like Solid Steel and sometimes responses to Naviar Records' haikus, although not so much of the latter since Soundcloud took away Groups -- but I won't write further about those can'ts here.

Sometimes I listen to albums from Bandcamp, mostly friends' recordings and things that have caught their ears.

Otherwise most new music I hear is on the radio if I go out during lunchtime, since current affairs and local news dominates the mornings and Phillip Adams' conversations in the afternoons.

Like many of my friends I've migrated from listening to Triple J to Radio National.

Currently there's concern among my musician friends that the channel will no longer run programs that feature music.

One of the things that I haven't seen discussed in this programming decision is the role the network plays in promoting music for adults.

There aren't many radio stations in regional Australia, let alone stations that promote music for a discerning audience. They've got a niche on the dial that commercial radio can't afford to focus on.

It's a shame they don't recognise the distinct place they occupy and capitalise on it because I won't be looking for the podcasts they're saying will replace the programs being canned.

Record labels should be concerned because Radio National sells music better than advertising.

I write this as a sometime critic for websites who sees plenty of emails and sponsored content but is not moved to engage. Yet it's also rare for me to change the radio station even though much of what is on RN is not the style of music I'd seek out.

You Oughta know



Been thinking about Alanis Morissette's 'You Oughta Know' since hearing it in the ute at work, the radio of which is tuned to a commercial station.

It's another modern classic and I've been enjoying reading about the song and thinking about the '90s elements it encapsulates.

The anger in the lyrics is palpable and kinda grunge yet the song has rock infused with loops, including that Stone Roses/Manchester-esque shuffle. There's another Nirvana connection in that it sounds like their onetime producer Butch Vig's band Garbage.

Co-songwriter Glen Ballard has said anger isn't something he associates with Morissette:
She wasn’t angry at all. There was anger that informed that particular song, but mostly it was … Actually, we did a broken-down version of “You Oughta Know” with a string quartet, and I was playing piano, and you can hear the ache in the song on that [version]. It’s really more about the sense of betrayal than anger, and the anger comes out of the betrayal. The 20 times we got together in 1994 were probably the happiest times for both of us, because we never stopped laughing. I thought I was the funniest guy in the world because she was laughing at virtually everything I said, and she was funny, so when people started describing her as this angry young woman, it’s like, okay, I don’t think they understand that that was just a moment. She was smiling and laughing the whole time; really she was.

I think any sense it's angry really reinforces the idea that that emotion stems from disappointment. Anyway, I wonder if the version with strings sounds like this mash-up.



The other thing about the production is that heartbeat bassline and shimmering guitars come from Flea and Dave Navarro, who were in the Chili Peppers together around that time and later toured as Jane's Addiction. Morissette married Jesse Tobias, who played guitar with the Peppers for a while too. I'm sure LA is a big town but the professional music scene suddenly looks kinda small!

The intimate details in the lyrics attracted attention and one wonders if it reveals how young Morissette was at the time. In the interview above Ballard describes a toll that touring to support the album took on her.

I need you to know

Why?

I have a pen



This week my son suggested I google "pen pineapple apple pen" and I've enjoyed the result, particularly the remix above.

Anyway, it was weird that the following day after I'd spoken to my colleagues at morning tea about the song. I returned to my office and noticed the words to the song on the whiteboard in my office.

hink again

Can't help but put this here. More here.

  P.S. hink again again.

Round and round

Wrote and recorded a song on my new electric ukulele last weekend.

The result took shape with two of the projects I regularly engage in, the Disquiet Junto and the Naviar haiku. Each project is a weekly prompt to record.

My electric ukulele came from "Sorebrain" via Ebay.

I got the idea for the chorus first, from the line in the poem about the ceiling fan. Then the Junto proposed composing a piece about ghosts and Al Capone's banjo.



I’ve passed trespass stolen keys to the city
drawn curtains on opportunity
like snakes and ladders I have risen
then fallen like an angel into prison

In my reflection is insight
I find clarity in hindsight
from hard sell to my hard cell
from life this truth I tell

Round and round
round and round
round and round
around it goes

I don’t think you understand
despite that card in your hand
which ever way the die spin
the house will always win

Round and round
round and round
round and round
around it goes

Then I gave the track an electronic makeover, with 909-style drums and a synth line from Native Instruments' Monark.

Toasted egg and bacon roll



Cooked my paramour an egg and bacon roll using only my trusty Sunbeam sandwich press. Be impressed.

This Land is your Land



So sad I'll never see Sharon Jones live.

Hallo spaceboy

Kevin Foakes shared a beaut collection of Russian record covers

This one reminded me of the spaceman used by the Wagga Space Program -- who ran the famous Unsound Festival earlier this century.

Valla Beach



Shared a couple of videos of Valla Beach earlier this year and have since published this recording from around then.

Valla is about a half an hour south of Coffs Harbour and my partner's family have a beach house there. It's been a site for great lightning pics and I saw an octopus and a seal and maybe a merman.

This video was recorded using a Rode Videomic on my Nikon D5100 SLR. I've added a couple of Valhalla reverbs, as well as a low C using Massive and mastered with Ozone 7.

A local government dynamic

Went for a job interview last week. I don’t think I got the job though.

There are two observations I’d like to make. The first is that I never perform well when I have a cup of coffee before an interview. The path from my thoughts to my mouth seems awfully short and I catch myself attempting to articulate incomplete sentences.

The second is a dynamic I’ve seen throughout regional local government. It’s a subtle conflict between the professionals who move into a region for a role and those who have lived there most of their lives.

(Admittedly I was wondering about it while watching body language during the time spent in an interview, but I’ve been thinking since on the ways I’ve seen it in my experiences with local government.)

This conflict plays out in various ways but they all share a contrast in perspective. The classic for me was when a general manager tried to put in place timed parking on the main street.

Sometimes it seems people won’t shop at a place unless they can park at the door. It also seems true of people passing through town though, as well as people wanting to park outside their business.

For an outsider it seems obvious that creating opportunity for people passing through town to stop and shop means enforcing timed limits on parking in the main street. For locals that is affront to the community they know. The idea that they might be fined for parking is not something that reflects their experience of their hometown.

Anyway, that’s one example. In various councils I’ve seen varying conflicts between the perspectives of local and visiting professionals. I don’t think the issues are black and white, I think this dynamic reflects a dialectic.

Raw egg sandwich



SPOILER! My experiment with cooking egg in a toasted sandwich failed.

Simon Matthews' Untitled

Seen at Flower Power in 2016 at the Griffith Regional Art Gallery.

Pioneer Park Museum gets a kick in the arts

Good Friday is known as 'Action Day' at Griffith Pioneer Park Museum and for 45 years it has been the event where many items around the site spring to life.

The next 'Action Day' at the Park on 14 April 2017 will see new activities added to the line-up thanks to Country Art Support Program funding announced by Arts NSW.

"Griffith Pioneer Park Museum's Action Day is one of the biggest events on the calendar and the expanding arts program will make it bigger and better," said Curator Jason Richardson.

Four artists will be employed to run all-ages workshops in media including photography, sculpture and print-making.

Griffith-based photographer Garry Bazzacco will run two workshops. The first will be introductory in nature, while the second will focus on camera functions.

Griffith-based artist Melanie Baulch will work with Richard Green to engage visitors in sand sculptures to represent and discuss local flora and fauna.

Wagga Wagga-based artist Christina Reid is a practicing print-maker and has experience teaching at Wagga Wagga TAFE, as well as having delivered a series of print workshops at Leeton's Parkview Primary School in 2016.

Ms Reid's workshop is designed to introduce the public to the variety of ways a print can be achieved. While exploring the possibilities of the material and equipment, the general public will gain an understanding some of the traditions and learn a bit about the history of print-making in general.

"Pioneer Park Museum has hosted many community-based arts groups and activities in previous decades and we're looking forward to giving our patrons an opportunity to explore their creativity," said Mr Richardson.

The 'Action Day' workshops are supported by Arts NSW's Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.

Action Day at Pioneer Park Museum is one of many great events taking place during Griffith's annual Griffith Easter Party 2017.

Disappointing sandwich



Another of my so-called remarkable sandwiches.

Shibuya sticker art

Via Tim Prebble's Music of Sound, where there's also this collection of stickers

For whom the doorbell tolls

My eldest helped make this short film as part of my response to the Disquiet Junto this week.


Another remarkable sandwich



Toasted banana and chocolate sandwich with my daughter.

Unsatisfying

UNSATISFYING from PARALLEL STUDIO on Vimeo.

200

This is my 200th post on here this year and it looks like I'm on course to overtake 2012 as the most post-y year yet.

Lifehacks



Thought I'd revisit my song 'Lifehack' and tried reworking the vocals, ending up with an a capella version.

Googling myself

Today I was googling myself trying to find a link from a couple of years ago. You know what? Google sucked.

The link sought was a remix by Ben in England. He records as Kelp and we've made a few remix chains together and he remixed one of my playground recordings. It was Restyn Park in Hanwood, which I'd offered after a Junto.

So I googled my music blog with the terms "Restyn" and "Kelp" and specified my site. It said there were no results and I noticed that the blog's URL gets an Australian "au" but Google's results don't.

This is quite frustrating for a search engine operator. Obviously they want to better categorise their data and having Blogger add the country suffix allows mapping, like Hello France.  But it'll then be skewed elsewhere, like when Marco shone a spotlight on my blog it shows up as "uk" -- actually, it doesn't. Anyway.

So I googled again with the same two terms and now just "site:bassling.blogspot.com" and there were some results but not the one I wanted.

In the end I went to my blog around the time of the Junto and looked in the next month to find it.

It did some weird that I was searching for specific keywords within a specific site and it couldn't find them. Particularly as they were words used in the URL of the page, as well as the heading.

Must be another of those mysteries of the internet. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Hello France

Lifehack

As I've been playing ukulele, I've found myself writing a few songs.



Thought I'd better record this one while I remembered the melody. The lyrics were written a couple of weeks ago in response to a haiku shared by Naviar Records.

They go:

That memory is hollow, drowned with sorrow
it will never be the same again

My hope is clear that a breath of fresh air
might make it bouyant and appear again

At the end of the day reinvention is an option
and it's good to remember you can always walk away

Then new life will spring from the heart of the thing
it may grow legs and run or take root and remain

From this day forth it sets a new course
and I can't expect to find comfort in change

For there's freedom in destruction
life a phoenix will rise from the flame

Arrogant cheese

When I bought this cheese it was half price and I was intrigued whether it would live up to the title of "world's best blue cheese".

I like many cheeses and, despite blue varieties being divisive, I like blue almost as much as varieties made from sheep or goat milk.

Jindi's "deluxe" blue cheese was nice but seemed a bit half-arsed. It tastes like a camembert trying to be complex. It's creamy and a bit salty but lacking in the variety of flavours, from washing powder to outrageous nasal infection, that usually overwhelm when eating a powerful blue.

The title "world's best" struck me as being incredibly arrogant but, now that I'm looking closely at the label in the photo, I can see it quotes an award.

I'm a bit skeptical of marketing that quotes awards as most seem to be a kind of circle jerk for businesses who pay to enter a competition that probably aims to raise the profile of an industry. Just look at the Academy Awards, which were started as a way for the movie industry to overcome a perception that it lacked the prestige of theatre.

Anyway, now that I look at the award I'm left wondering how long businesses should be able to quote awards in their marketing. This one has probably been used for over five years now.

I'm also left wondering if cheese judges in Wisconsin are the best people to evaluate a "French style" cheese from Australia. Sure it tasted good with potato and pickled chili but that's not much of a recommendation as almost anything creamy tastes good with potato and chili hides a multitude of culinary sins.

On it's own and on a water cracker it didn't hold up.

Vegetarian pizza-style



Jo toasts cheese rolls with ricotta cheese, passata, tomato, mushrooms...

Never glad rape

Pretty sure she means Glad Wrap.

Probably needs a trigger warning for spelling pedants like me.

Bingo!

Sorry but I couldn't resist one more Bingo! because Facebook still thinks I want to befriend random women.

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Scott McCloud has been mentioned a few times on this blog and I'm a fan of his scholarly discussion of comics and visual communication techniques.

The Sculptor is a graphic novel by McCloud that was published last year but it's taken me a while to get to it. It's a great story and I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just mention a couple of impressions.

It's beaut to read a story by McCloud after reading his non-fiction graphic novels and seeing how he utilises many of the ideas discussed in them.

As the narrative comes to a head (sorry but I couldn't resist the pun), there's this image of a man falling. It immediately brought to mind the falling man photo from 11 September 2001 by Richard Drew.

This powerful image appeared on the front pages of newspapers the following day and was controversial for being impactful. I've seen artworks that reference it, including Untitled #8, 2004 by Josh Azzarella -- which was the subject of a Disquiet Junto activity where I created the soundtrack in the video below.



I would be surprised if McCloud weren't referencing it in The Sculptor but, who knows, maybe it was a subconscious decision. The result is powerful though, as I found myself crying though the story of the graphic novel makes no reference to the watershed attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

Another possible reference is the similarity between the character of Uncle Henry and comic book writer Stan Lee. Again, maybe it's a subconscious choice by McCloud or just fanciful on my part.

In the text at the end of the graphic novel, McCloud draws comparisons between himself and the hero of the story, David. He details the significance of the name of the love interest, Meg, but I like to think that McCloud chose a notable figure like Stan Lee to be a mentor-like figure for David as a reference to the influence that Lee has had on comics or possibly McCloud himself.

And, while writing this, I've just googled to see if this was mentioned elsewhere and found I'm not the only one to see Lee:
It’s no coincidence that Great Uncle Harry bears a striking resemblance to former Marvel Comics impresario Stan Lee. Or that Death-as-Harry(-as-Stan-Lee) shows up to seal the deal with the young artist just after he plunges his hands into a block of granite, realizing for the first time his scope and potential.


P.S. Asked Scott on Twitter and he didn't think the 'falling man' reference was intentional.

Related articles

Even as someone who's written about Stephanie Scott and the problems with automated online content, it was still weird to see this collection of news stories on Facebook today.

No One Knows



'No One Knows' is starting to look like another modern classic.

I like how Dean Fertita seems to be contributing the vocal harmonies using guitar in this live version. Hadn't really considered how musicians need to interpret parts from recorded songs before speaking with Gustav Ejstes recently.

Tripping around Griffith

Found this gorgeous example of tourism marketing from yesteryear at work this week.

It was brought to my attention that it's a Humber in the picture, which is a car I associate with the Queen's 1954 visit to the Riverina -- although I think she only got as far as Wagga.

Wonder if the representation of a woman waving her hankie out of the car is meant to suggest it's the Queen? It's curious there's no driver, unless she got right-hand drive.

Anyway, the car reminds me of my Uncle Andy's Humber that had been part of Queen Elizabeth II's entourage.