Tuesday, 27 April 2010

You may have noted a slightly melancholic turn in the last few posts- sorry. But returning from America to this little daft land has its existential effects, especially during the election, which is more Dads Army than usual.
Also, we enter a certain difficult arena at the university; in short flags must be flown, opinions must be traded, mud must be thrown, in something called the assessment of design.
Luckily the Americans have largely absolved themselves of taste issues over the last century ('It's not about taste- it's about what tastes good' - Gene Simmons of KISS). India and China are doing so today, but we are stuck with this taste thing. So here's a little moment of pure truth:
On my way home today I popped in to the White Horse as usual, which by now you know I understand as somewhere very pure, pleasant, and honest. 'Joy' came up to me wearing a striking leopard skin outfit. I said, as you would...'I hope that's not real!' She replied 'Of course it's real baby, otherwise I wouldn't be wearing it would I!' And there in that second or two, I cheered up. There you go I thought- there's no such thing as fake.

Friday, 23 April 2010

An afternoon with old friends brings joy and sadness. That's what happens when you are my age. People you never thought would divorce, people get ill, people get fat. I retreated with a smile of resignation to Spotify and my eighties classics (Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke etc) in the twilight. The Sisters I feel were particularly impressive for their generation (anybody agree?) They are kind of filmic, and I always distrust the word 'filmic' in relation to almost anything.
University is a sort of Sisters of Mercy record right now; we sit and wait, we are on the eve of dread.
Saw some Sisters fans the other day. They had grown very large indeed, but had all bought XXLG Sisters outfits and were tucking in to breakfast in a Wetherspoons. You don't expect SoM fans to be anything but razor thin living on a diet of sulphate and cider, but they'd clearly stuck to the cider. They were talking of their shifts and their mortgages and their kids. Nothing wrong with that I thought (not being exactly slight myself) and then, about the 'bond' they still shared with the kids; the kids they had obviously just encountered at some goth gig the previous night. Lovely I thought.
Let us all 'rock on' (but not in that David Essex way).

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hilarious! back in the old days Ms Thatcher said 'There is no such thing as society'. I admit I wondered at that linguistic twist for a good while. Now, Mr Cameron says we need something called a 'Big Society'. I have no idea what he means.....the transformation doesn't make much semantic sense.....unless it is just the vested interests of the tories that matter, and they will say anything to get elected. This could really piss you off if you are a half decent scholar.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

..And this is Las Vegas!

Friday, 16 April 2010

This is the bit above that bit.
This is Downtown Houston for those of you who might have wondered. Of course it's only the pavement bit.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Bye the way, if you want to dissolve education (make us all morons) a good move would be to put it in the hands of a bunch of Richmond housewives (set up your own schools!) That appears to be the Tory manifesto. It sucks so big it made me sing the Dad's Army theme tune in the shower with joy (not)

Reality Bites

There are several ways to deal with a hangover. The first, historically for me at least, is to return to the scene of the crime. This I did repetitively in my youth, for it effectively rejoins you with the fun you might have had, but can't remember, so you can sit in some kind of warm glow with 'snow falling in your head' wondering about nothing. At least you are in the same place on the planet while it spins around doing whatever it does.
This was not necessarily a good idea today, for it transpired that for some reason Bethnal Green was some kind of loonies day out. Sensitive souls like myself with hangovers do not respond well to crazies in sports wear who won't go away talking about being mates with 'Mad Frankie Frazer' (who I believe was actually an Elephant and Castle crook) and being mates with the Krays (not the same mathematical set). They do not respond even to conspicuous tall pimp like fellas shouting in to mobile phones like they are going to kill someone, nor is it particularly sustaining to listen to the pure gibberish uttered by one's care in the community fellow drinkers, who insist Gordon Banks is still a goalkeeper in the lower leagues. It is actually enough to send you running home for some cottage pie and an afternoon nap. The answer to this inordinate wandering about of the lost is simply to INSTALL SLOT MACHINES. They will keep everybody happy for years whether you are bonkers or not.

P.S. Am trying to download Las Vegas Art Friday Grateful Deadish video for the next post, but even Julie is too hungover to function.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Thoroughly discombobulated. Woke up at 4pm yesterday, 4am today. Our bodies and our minds and (most importantly) our digestive systems have no idea where they are. I'm not sure Alan de Bolt-On writes about these horrific effects of long distance travel in his 'Art of Travel', but somebody should. In fact, I suspect he and all travel writers ignore this horrific state in the name of the theatre of the absurd we now inhabit.
So I took myself out, creaking in every limb, to Clerkenwell to deliver film for processing. This was not an easy task, as young ladies with baby buggies sped past me. And well, I looked hard at the new world around me, and I was profoundly worried- shut businesses everywhere, new buildings going up everywhere- square this circle!
The Americans laugh at our little political tea parties. You know Obama goes on the television to explain policy IN SOME DETAIL every day. I worry Britain will become the first post capitalist economy by simple deferral, because we are being treated like babies. By the way the post capitalist economy may be a necessity- but you can be sure if we are there first we'll balls it up the more- because everybody is being treated like babies.
However, in order to wee on lamp-posts I stopped by The White Horse.
To my amazement, after a little while and a bit of liquid consolation, 'Coco' came on and danced to 'I'm In Love With A German Film Star' (The Passions- early eighties). This just happens to be my favourite record (depending on the mood) My Vegas mind (still there!) realized she'd hit the JACKPOT- so I tipped her a tenner- she was well surprised. That's Vegas for Yer.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Back...feel like shit of course, have to listen to Steven Fry of course, have to realize England as Dad's Army of course.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Last day. This is the last time I'll be sitting here with the steady beeping of the casino floor, perched at a round table that is too high, and on a stool which is too low, with two Bud Lites and the manic speed slotters for company (on the hour every hour, they resume bashing away). I shall miss them all.
However, enough of the sentimentality, I did venture up The Strip yesterday. I calculated a visit to City Centre, Las Vegas's 2010 attempt to fabricate a 'real centre' should be complimented by an immediate dash the 1970's Riviera where I could oggle some old fashioned Bulgarian cocktail waitresses in authentic Vegas garb.
CC was fucking awful. I actually think I hate 'contemporary' architecture. The feature bit of Danny fucking Leibeskind full of posh shops with nobody in them and one table of idiots fine dining in a weird pod is a travesty, a travesty.
The retreat to the 1970's was more complicated than I had hoped, for the Vegans have contrived such a rat trap of CC that it's hard to escape, and I was, well, enveloped, in crappola. I stood there in panic on some walkway above something and below something else amidst a hell of angles in stainless steel gaping at all this shit and thought 'I've spent fifteen years of my life loving this place, and now look what they've done!' Where's the fun of replicating the Renaissance gone?
They complained of traffic on the bus back to the Riviera (vegans don't do infrastructure very well) and of course, the Riv just looked kind of sad, like an old dog waiting for the end. I embraced the old dog with tears in my eyes.
So then the only option was a treat at The Girls of Glitter Gultch' back 'home' downtown, where you can happily rid yourself of $100 in about a millisecond with some girl from Minnesota. And of course, there are lots of lovely girls from Minnesota to enjoy. They had refurbished the place to look EXACTLY THE WAY IT WAS! A triumph of the imagination in my opinion. The lovely girl from Minnesota remarked 'Well I think it used to be green, but now I think it's red' It's hard to tell in the black light where the bartender has to shine a torch for you to check your change. Happy Days.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Last night another encounter with the art market. This time the broker, like a real estate broker, not a dealer (which is more effete). If I can remember just some of the stories she was telling I'd be doing pretty well, for many lemon drop martinis were consumed. There was the one about her dating first Batman and one the USA's more renown twentieth century artists at the same time, and hanging out in the Playboy Mansion, and something about Howard Hughes. One thing is for certain, her world, and our world, were a thoroughly entertainingly zillion miles apart, and I wonder whether meaningful contact between these aliens and ourselves is possible. Of course, this is probably our fault, because we have not had enough fun. Fun is good currency with the Americans and lousy currency with the English, at least when we are incarcerated in England.
And another thing, I now appear to 'appeal' to older women, like the over fifties. When and how did this happen?!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Can you believe that this, the Ruvo Centre, just being finished in Las Vegas (guess the architect ha ha) is.............. wait for it.......a treatment centre for those with scrambled brains. The Las Vegas Sun architecture correspondent yesterday had his work cut out trying to get over the bleeding obvious and reassure the world of it's true quality!
Seventeen years since I was first here, and it's easy to feel like some kind of aging lothario with bulging stomach and pills and rather grisly beard and reading glasses. Somebody who's feet begin to ache and who feels a twinge. No Cindy Crawford miracles for me I fear, I've made my arm chair and I'm going to have to sit in it. Bethnal Green could flatter (!) but there is nothing like this city of such frenetic addition and subtraction to bring on inevitable contemplation of the dance to the music of time, when for instance there is a 50% sale at Macy's if you buy before noon, and 80% if you buy before noon on Monday. Venturi and Scott Brown did not like the new Vegas which was my old vegas, and the new new vegas is something else entirely. For one the skyline is full of ordinary buildings, sure some of them have tents on top, and some have wonky lines but they are the apartment blocks and the administration blocks and the other blocks of the new generic city, which, frankly, is not up to much, for it is the perfect representation of some new generic life of which I heartily and instinctively disapprove. And every time I run the shower I think of the sinking water levels of Lake Mead, and I'm wearing a tee shirt which is extraordinarily 80% bamboo. Poor fucking pandas I found myself saying, but I bought it anyway, for it was remarkably soft to the touch.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Julie got a message from Jesus on her mobile phone. Presently she's watching the Americans kick ass against an inter-gallactic army of bugs who've just nuked Buenos Aires (?). Later she's timetabled in the man who lives with bears. There's an army of slot enthusiasts over there playing slots against the clock and making, collectively, very strange noises indeed. I'd forgotten just how inter-gallacticly weird things are in Las Vegas, it can cause some pretty serious fraying at the edges. The TV is full of advertisments for illnesses you might GET if you take the product advertised, and there seems to be a vogue for buying all your meals for a month in one go delivered by UPS (presumably medication comes extra). That way, you are apparently sure to lose hundreds of pounds (!!) Tony Orlando's proved it ('Get two weeks free!'). And Cindy Crawford has managed the delicate art of traveling backwards in time by looking younger by getting older (we need SERUM!) and TWINS are everywhere, it's the only way you can tell the difference between one person and another (ie no difference). We paid $20 for TWELVE chocolates and I'm beginning to long for cottage pie, and the future, if this is anything go by, is played out to a soundtrack of crappy Beatles records for all eternity. Vince Neil (yes, Vince Neil!!) is now a corporate executive.
Oh God, they're off again with the speed slots. Is there a technique to this BEYOND hitting a button very quickly? - Ah, yes, some people use both hands! And people are walking around in pyjamas.
Under such circumstances, it becomes essential to reach for another Bud Lite.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Cowgirl bikini craps dealers. Quite something.
It's not every day that you wake up with $800 worth of art in Vegas. There's plenty of the other kind of art here, the place is cleavage central, but this was real art, like a painting. How did that happen? Art Friday meant the Grateful Dead (not the Grateful Dead, a Grateful Deadish band even looking like them) noodling away to us in the cool night air, and me pretty loved up with the whole thing amidst lots of Las Vegas art, and Las Vegas art is special, a sort of unpretentious dime store surrealism with, yes, lots of painted cleavage. It certainly beat the hell out of the London art crowd and here they are used to making deals, so when they need to pay the rent, and you've absorbed sufficient noodling - deals are done. We bought a painting (sin citiscape) drawings (burlesque life drawing classes) and an alien nude table. Alien nudes are also very popular amongst Las Vegas artists. I'm wondering whether the table will actually ever arrive in the UK, but hell...

Thursday, 1 April 2010

There's something happening here..and I wish could get my head around what it is. You can smell it, this widespread unease, primarily with regard to the whole shooting match of the economy. Examples crop up every day- the State of California is so broke it is selling off it's own buildings for instance, and how can that make sense? The State of California is going back to renting? The news is full of futures in 'self employment' which means as far as I can see- every man for himself. People are busily crossing their fingers. The republican frenzy may well be a representation of this economic vampirism. In the UK the conservatives are hardly seen as a vehicle of economic imperative, but representatives, Dad's Army style, of the status quo- duck houses in moats etc- which is hardly the same thing. Met a one eyed oil man. Toying with the notion of lunch in a Steak House strip bar, but first I shall sit down and read Colin Rowe's 'Transparency; Literal and Phenomenal', then it's on to Vegas tonight.