Friday, March 23, 2012

Memories are Made of...

Today the opposite of tomato is an empty bliss beyond this world

graphite & putty eraser/30x20cm

(Re)presenting the third of the footballer portrait drawings processed with immediate reference to photocopies of images sourced from a recently-acquired copy of the 1970 – 71 edition of ‘Charles Buchan’s Soccer Gift Book’, the self-styled ‘world’s greatest soccer annual’.
On this occasion, the subject depicted is one Norman Corner, another old pro hitherto unheard-of, having plied his trade in the lower divisions & nether reaches of the Football League during the period just prior to my developing an interest in the game: nevertheless, the late Norman (who passed away in February of last year, 3 days after his 68th birthday) was clearly fondly regarded by those who saw him in action for Bradford City, for whom he primarily saw service (of a nature, one imagines from the eulogies, that is commonly referred to as ‘yeoman’ in such a context), over the cusp of the Sixties & Seventies, assisting in a successful promotion campaign from the (good) old Fourth Division in 1968-69.
A glance at the bald statistics of Norman Corner’s playing career throws up an intriguing anomaly of sorts: why did he make only 5 appearances for Hull City in the 4 years prior to a stint at Lincoln City that preceded his Bradford days, when he scored 4 goals during the course of them (including, it transpires 2 on his debut)?

Again, the source image displays its particular generic aesthetic, the human subject squinting into the bright sunlight in which the photograph was taken, with the subsequent degraded photocopy bleaching further any tonal subtleties, to which appearance the drawing, as processed, attempts to be guided by & intends to be faithful, bestowing a certain ‘faded’ quality that might suggest an inherent nostalgia: the ‘hauntological’ aspect & implications of such a device might be something to be explored further.


The Caretaker 'An Empty Bliss Beyond This World' & 'Patience (After Sebald)'

A soundtrack inspired by a visit to the cinema to see Grant Gee’s ‘Patience (After Sebald)’, a pottering documentary in the footsteps of WG Sebald’s walking tour of parts of Suffolk that features in the author’s meditative ‘The Rings of Saturn’. Shot in grainy monochrome, the film is accompanied by The Caretaker’s quiet background score based upon samples of music appropriated from Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ song cycle, short fragments of which are subjected to what might best be described as a sonic ‘scouring’, foregrounding a surface hiss & crackle, then repeated cyclically in the best traditions of minimalism. This looped repetition of a simple motif as (half-)heard through a haze, a fog, of static produces a dreamlike, nostalgic, melancholic state that unassumingly complements the visual aesthetic & mood of the film.
In the manner that Philip French describes, at the close of his review of ‘Patience’, as being inspired to seek out more of the music of the composer after watching the film ‘In Search of Haydn’, so the ‘Patience’ score has led me to explore in greater depth the work of Leyland James Kirby, aka The Caretaker, which I had previously sampled in a couple of small doses, one via inclusion, most appropriately given his prevailing aesthetic, within the contents & course of K-Punk’s ‘Metaphysics of Crackle’, as has soundtracked numerous drawing processes here in the past.
Thus both ‘Patience (After Sebald)’ & its exquisitely-titled predecessor 'An Empty Bliss Beyond This World' have been listened to (& subsequently purchased via download in the interests of ‘essential’ investment) during the drawing of Norman Corner, someone of course no longer of this world but lost to the mists of time & vagaries of memory, informing the process & infusing it with a suitably nostalgic & at times profoundly melancholic air, with An Empty Bliss..’s ghostly echoes of fragments of 1930s ballroom tunes appropriated & manipulated from scratchy old 78rpm records redolent of a time past even further back in memory than the 1970-vintage footballer photographs, creating a most ‘hauntological’ atmosphere indeed.

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