Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Marvin Gaye in Ostend, Belgium and other things

There are certain songs one remembers the moment one heard. In 1973, lying in the bath in London, I heard Walk On the Wild Side by Lou Reed on my boyfriend's pea green transistor radio. Indelible moment. The same goes for Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing, which I heard in 1983 on a fashion designer's mixtape in New Delhi, while working on a clothing collection. Boom, it got me me right in the hormones. What a song! Still thrills me, decades later. 

Sexual Healing

Marvin Gaye's singing has been a part of my life since my teens with his marvelous Heard It Through the Grapevine.

A couple of months ago I learned a little about Marvin Gaye's really hard life. Read a bit of his biography online. What suffering he went through! 

At the lowest point in his life until then, he took an unlikely refuge in a small seaside town on the Belgian Coast, called Ostend. 

"By the early 80s, like soul itself, Marvin Gaye had fractured into a million pieces. He was washed up, drugged out, underselling, overweight, mid-divorce and promoting an album Motown hadn’t even bothered to let him finish. Belgian concert promoter Freddy Cousaert met Gaye in London, a bloated wreck, and took it upon himself to improve the lot of the fallen star. Gaye would later say he “didn’t even know where Belgium was”, but that he “left it to the hand of God”. The hand of God, it seems, fancied a waffle. Gaye boarded the Southampton Ferry in the spring of 1981 with his son Frankie, heading to the sleepy fishing town of Ostend to be guests of Cousaert, staying in his house, and joining his family."

Richard Olivier's Marvin Gaye: Transit Ostend, a documentary made of Gaye's time there shows him soberly revelling in the incongruity of his surroundings, staring out over the grey waters as if they were an aquatic mirror of his melancholy, strolling along the King Albert I promenade where he took an apartment, singing the Lord's Prayer inside a church, even visiting a fisherman's bar (long since torn down) and attempting to play darts with the locals. Gaye talked of Ostend in terms of a retreat, a penance - two years earlier, he had attempted suicide by cocaine overdose in Hawaii. In Ostend, however, he professed to be living a cleaner, even monastic life, purging his past sins with plenty of jogging, sea air and even forsaking sex.

Remember Marvin from Daniel Elbel on Vimeo.

Barely 18 months after quitting Ostend, Gaye, stricken by cocaine-induced paranoia, tormented by the push and pull between his good faith and bad habits, was shot dead by his bible-bashing father, in a probable act of subconscious suicide. Although it's assumed he always intended to return to the fatal dazzle of LA, the truth is, he was in two minds - just weeks before leaving, he bought a 21-room manor outside the city. Ostend could have been his salvation.

Magical Rings With Secret Compartments Inspired By Famous Novels by the lord of the rings, Theo Fennell

Every couple of months I need to see this video of the Georgian National Ballet rehearsal. The troupe is called Sukhishvilli. 
It's one of the most exciting dance performances I've seen, ever. 

A FaceBook video of some marvelous mechanical kites, made by a Chinese artisan, Zhang. A KickStarter video about the same man, whose kites are not just charming but marvelous works of art and ingenuity.

Ooh, such an intriguing title, The Flight of the Shadow. 

A few lovely book covers.

An animated chart of 42 North American butterflies

Selene by Albert Aublet

 (French, 1851–1938)
An addictively fun game, Line Square Dot. Try to get the dot into the box by making the dot bounce off lines

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 12th 2016

If you are traveling, even backpacking at any age, it's handy to have backpacker's or traveler's insurance. InsureAndGo Travel Insurance, especially if you rent a moped, for example. 

New York Public Library Digital Collection


New York Public Library Digital Collection

New York Public Library Digital Collection of vintage menus. 

Learned this today, that our brains are extremely skilled at "gaze detection" and usually know when someone is staring at us.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy having lunch on the set of Star Trek.

My dear nieces, author, Phoebe Nicholson and artist/musician, Faith Eliott, have collaborated on a book of Phoebe's poems.

The headphones Faith made, on her website, FaithEliott.com

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Free channel for international music from the last 110 years, Picasso's first painting etc, early Spring

After days of grimly gray skies and rain, it's lovely to see the sunshine again.

Fantastic! This website lets you explore music from almost any country in any decade since 1900.

So many obscure treasures from far flung corners of the planet.

Radiooooo.com is so fun! You can add songs too. 

One of my favorite romantic films, love song sung by Julie Delpy

Picasso died today in 1973. Here's his first painting, at age 8:

my inner teenager wants this

             Painting of koi fish by Terry Gilecki

 Painting of koi fish by Terry Gilecki

Painting of koi fish by Terry Gilecki

                                     Folk Art Papercuts by Suzy Taylor

Illustration by Artuš Scheiner for Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1924

               Illustration by Artuš Scheiner for Under Command Of Magic by J. Š. Kubín (1920s)

                              Illustration by Artuš Scheiner for Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1924)

                 Illustration by Artuš Scheiner for Under Command Of Magic by J. Š. Kubín (1920s)

                            Illustration by Artuš Scheiner for Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1924)

                 Cover illustration by Artuš Scheiner for Božená Němcová's Disobedient Kids

Map of the stars by Andreas Cellarius 

Portrait Of Young K.M By Nikolaos Lytras

 May there be more peace in the world. 

Illustration by Gyo Fujikawa

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Berkeley 1968-1973 Poster Collection

A great collection of political posters on the University of Berkeley website. Here
Link via Pat Brownlee with thanks. 

The UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections holds 250 posters concerned with the advocacy for peace, equality, and harmony during the Vietnam War era from the University of California's Berkeley campus and other regions in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

In 1979 Helmut Jung of Gold River, B.C. donated the Berkeley Poster Collection to the Library. A portion of the collection was previously exhibited at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery on the UBC campus from October to December 1999. 

While the posters indicate both known and unknown authorship and publication, the entire collection demonstrates similar ideals and perspectives. The posters were all produced between the years of 1968 and 1973, a period in which the social and political climate both in the United States and South East Asia provided the genesis of tension that is seen throughout the collection. The representation of each poster within the collection is unique and eclectic supporting the idea that underground and guerilla group movements played a large role in advocacy, peace and equality. Some of the groups that are represented used acronyms on the posters such as 4973 and RAPE. 

Many of the posters were produced on computer paper while the rest are either poster or cardboard paper. Some of the posters have versos which were originally produced for the mass media.