October 31, 2005

Shiver and Shake

A cover of Shiver & Shake comic from 1974. Shiver was a ghost, Shake was an elephant. Some more below..

The Shiver part of the Shiver & Shake comic was full of strips revolving around ghosts, ghoulies, etc. The poster on Scream Inn reads "Ye Scream Inn - One Million Pounds to anyone who can stay all ye night in ye Haunted Bedroom". A different character was suggested each week by a reader to see if they could meet the challenge - I think you can guess the inevitable regular outcome...

October 28, 2005

Fruitfully Autumnal greetings card by Jane Ray.

Bleak House on the Beeb - One Opinion

This is a brief review of the latest BBC costume drama based on Bleak House by Charles Dickens. The first part of fifteen or so was shown yesterday. Probably of most import to UK readers, but you might find it interesting generally.

If you haven’t read the novel Bleak House, I urge you not to watch the BBC’s adaptation of it. Not because the TV serial particularly gives away the mystery faster than the book, but because you will miss out on hearing Dickens deepening of the mystery in his own way. This goes for most adaptations of great novels – they are so good in the medium of writing, that a film usually seems to me quite superfluous. You could argue that nowadays who has time to read a weighty tome of some 950 pages – but I argue back that you will not experience Bleak House by watching a television version of it, so unless it’s a masterpiece of film in its own right, why bother? And I do think that the clues are more obvioius shown visually than they are read in words, although that maybe partly that I know what happens already. Hard for me to say.

Ok, there’s a good ensemble of players, and they can bring Dickens’ brilliant observations of character to life, not that they weren’t brought to life before in the authors incisive way. I especially enjoyed Burn Gorman as Guppy, and Nathaniel Parker as Harold Skimpole. And if you like all the side characters, including the red-herrings of the plot, so far there seems to be absolutley no-one missed out, unlike the last BBC Bleak House which dropped even the Jellybys (I think?) The first episode is indeed crammed full, and takes us up to page 180 of my copy of the book, so only about 800 pages to go – it must slow down later on?

The detail of the visuals are impeccable as ever these things tend to be, but that for me doesn’t conjure up the atmosphere of the book – things are all a bustle, and there are some pointless jump cuts, but over all I find the look of it not remarkable enough. I’m not sure just what I’m asking for – just something extra imaginative that uses the film medium to say something new, and not merely running reverently through a classic. The nearest I’ve ever seen to this is the masterly take on Great Expectations from the 1940s, by director David Lean. Still I might get into it as it goes on – despite my carping, it’s a good watch.

So, if you can, read the book and catch up with this on dvd from your library later on. If you’ve already read it, then read it again – preferably aloud to somebody else, and defnitely with exceedingly silly voices for Grandfather Smallweed, Mr Turveydrop and Mrs Bayham Badger.

And just to give a taste of the famous first page, which starts with the single word ‘London’. This is the second paragraph:

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds.

Excerpt from the complete text on Online-literature.com, where you can also read an interesting essay on the book, which starts off by talking potatoes.

October 27, 2005

Derain: Charing Cross Bridge, 1906

October 26, 2005

Frida Kahlo - Tree of Hope, 1946

Rachel's photo of a tarn in the Lake District.

Cat on Sofa, #2 by Johnnynorms (that's me). If you want to see more of my drawings, then head over to Elbowroom.

Windier Days

A man appears on a weekly basis to blow leaves from A to B.

A magpie walks up the railway bridge instead of using its wings.

I notice we have the syndrome where we involuntarily start whistling along to TV themes. Some of the worst for this are Antiques Road Show, University Challenge. Try whistling to the 10 o'clock news though, it's a string of monotone pips over an urgent drum track - because we have that syndrome our mouths pursed in readiness, and then we were foiled.

One thing that I love sharing with Rachel is reading aloud - we have got about half a dozen books on the go - Thomas Hardy "Far from the Madding Crowd", Anthony Trollope "Barchester Towers", Paul Kingsnorth "One No, Many Yeses", Hugh Lofting "Doctor Dolittle's Garden", a book about 20th C art, and a book about 20th C literature. I think that's it! Trollope is very much a Sunday read, and Dr Dolittle is a soothing one for last thing in the evening. And I'm really getting into doing Dorsetshire accents for the Hardy.

October 24, 2005

Clifford Harper illustrations from The Guardian.

I don't know who he is, or what he's inventing. I like all the little gauges.
I've been informed by blogist Mike Overall that he is in fact Nikola Tesla, and he's demonstrating the world's first ever radio. Mike says 'In fact, the band Tesla was named after him and their first album was "The Great Radio Controversy" after the patent wars between him and Thomas Edison. He was a man out of time, man out of time...'
Thanks indeed Mike!

Six different tree barks. From Garden magazine.

October 22, 2005

Salvador Dali -Girl at the Window, 1948. Not surreal at all. I'm not a big surreal Dali fan, I prefer Max Ernst, Joan Miro and Rene Magritte. If you like surreal nonsense, have a look at the Random Surreal Generator at the bottom of the blog - you can have one on your blog by copying their html code into your template. Don't forget that you do NOT have to resort to FISH to be surreal.

Subgenius Food Pyramid, from The Church of the SubGenius website - sort of subversive satire.
I believe a blog should be whatever you want it to be, but helps if you know what you want it to be. I feel the need to write a bit on Different Kettle of Fish, as I’m a bit bored of just posting paintings from around the web, and I haven’t got around to scanning much of my scrapbook files in. I love writing anyway, so that’s a good enough reason to do more of it.

When I was out walking just now, I thought of various things I wanted to write about, but now I’m sitting here at the computer, with some wonderful Duke Ellington on my headphones, my mind has become a hollow cavern of forgetfulness! It was a smashing sunset in the park – all sorts of deep rich red, orange, pink and yellow. A great colourful glow I wanted to bottle up for later. It made me think of that phrase which I here deliberately get wrong: “Sunset at night, Shepherd’s delight. Sunset in the morning, Shepherd’s warning.” Yes something defnitely askew with that!

For those that can pick up Radio 3, Duke Ellington is Composer of the Week starting this Monday – which means 5 hours of his music (minus the talking about it). It’s on again the week after in late evening. I like his simpler jaunty numbers, but it’s the Suites that I’m particularly enjoying at the moment – “Suite: Black, Brown and Beige”, “The Deep South Suite”, “The Perfume Suite”, “The Queen’s Suite” and others.

October 21, 2005

Antoni Tapies: Great Painting, 1958

12 pink panthers

Henri Rousseau - Portrait of Joseph Brummer, 1909

October 19, 2005

Otto Dix: Portrait of Anna Berber, 1925

Emil Nolde: Child and Large Bird, 1912

October 18, 2005

Rodchenko: Line and compass drawing, 1915

October 17, 2005

Morandi - Still Life with a Dummy 1918

I think this is from Miquel.com Look under Random Interesting Images.

October 13, 2005

Odilon Redon - Guardian Spirit of the Waters, 1878

October 12, 2005

Michal Sopko - The Giraffe, 2005

Barry Mortimer: I am laughing and dancing here, 2005.

This bit of weirdness is from the great collection at Bad Album Covers. You might even find something cringe-making that you once owned yourself. This one is inexplicable. (For more links about awful album covers see

October 11, 2005

Paul Klee: Fish Magic, 1925

October 09, 2005

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Self as a Sick Man, 1920

October 08, 2005

Henri Matisse: Rumanian Girl

October 05, 2005

Portrait of an Armadillo, by Brook Slane

October 04, 2005

Franz Marc: House and dog and ox. Is this the right way up? I think so, but I had to turn it 180' from the original file to get the dog and ox this way up. Particularly good online collection at The Athemaeum.

October 03, 2005

Surreal photomontage by Grete Stern.

October 02, 2005

Stamp design by Sara Fanelli

October 01, 2005

Fernando Botero - La Corrida