Monthly Archives

November 2007

Newton Falkner and the billy

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Newton Falkner in Shepherds Bush Empire, originally uploaded by benaston.

Newton is a keen bean. He was on stage, mug in hand, at 9pm on the nose. As his entrance music wasn’t quite ready, he supped his mug of horlicks and engaged in a bit of banter before launching into song. This guy a genuine green machine.

The hour and a half set was a whistle-stop tour of Handbuilt by Robots with a fair sprinkling of popular covers thrown in for good measure. Newton applied his percussive guitar style to a range of popular tunes – from SpongeBob SquarePants and Ice Age to the Bohemian Rhapsody encore. In this vein, my favourite however, was a familiar Californian folk song; the Baywatch theme tune – I’ll be there.

And I was there, but it was just me; I was a billy.

Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo – The Original Installation

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Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo, originally uploaded by benaston.

A while back, when she was less well known, Salcedo made a big hole in the floor of our flat. It is art. (and we had a leak).

The concrete walls of the crevice are ruptured by a steel mesh fence, creating a tension between these principle elements of construction that resist yet depend on one another. By making the floor the principal focus, Salcedo dramatically shifts our perception from the inherent grandeur of the freshly painted walls, and exposes the dichotomy of wet and dry concrete.

In breaking open the floor of the Aston flat, Salcedo is was trying to expose a fracture in the pipes. Her work encourages us to confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with absolute candidness, and without self-deception.

Salcedo is of course famous for a similar crevice installation in the Tate Modern.

Je piens ma tasse

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Je piens ma tasse, originally uploaded by benaston.

This has been a project in development for about 2 years. The cup connoisseurs among you will see from the picture it’s been well worth the wait.

I opted for a traditional safari scene. The cup tells the story of a slightly overweight zebra who is attacked by a lion hiding behind a tree. It’s a narrative on dangers of ‘going green’ and a black and white ideology.

Rebecca’s cup is a commemorative piece. It celebrates, in extraordinary detail, the move into our current residence. Interestingly, it also explores in vivid bleu, possibility and hope for the future.


Norbert, Nancy and the leak

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The leak, originally uploaded by benaston.

One morning, Nancy, who lives downstairs, heard the pitter patter of raindrops. Not normally unusual, but it was sunny outside. Nancy walked into her hallway and noticed it was raining inside.

This is a bit of a problem, mainly because Nancy lives directly beneath us. We had thought it might be because of our leaking toilet (which is another story in itself), but Norbert’s plumber man fixed that. It then began to dawn on us that it was a much bigger problem.

Norbert and his plumber man started making big holes in the floor (as shown above). As I understand it, this is standard building procedure; make holes, fix it afterwards. So now we’ve got a big hole in our floor. And it’s still raining on Nancy.

In pt 1, page 20 & 21 of the Lessor’s covenant, it outlines a responsibility to repair and maintain… c) the conduits in under and upon the property. This is good news. It means Norbert won’t have to fix it.

What a mess.

Sandwich maker with experience urgently needed

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This badly worded yet ingenious ad is located in the window of a sandwich shop which obviously fancies itself a cut above the rest. Three weeks have passed and yet the ad persists – could it be that no one has made the grade yet?

Cut to: Interior of sandwich shop. Sandwich shop proprietor interviewing potential sandwich maker.

– So, tell me about your sandwich making experience…
– Well, I’ve always liked making cheese and pickle sandwiches.
– (With sarcasm) Oh right, I see, so you think you’ve got experience? Have you ever made an avocado and crayfish sandwich?
– Well no, but isn’t it…
– (Interrupting) Sorry, I had hoped you might have read the ad properly – we need someone with real sandwich experience. Cheese and pickle is no avaocado crayfish sandwich now is it?

Sandwiches available upon request.