Try to write surrounded by the cacophony of a gargantuan gaggle of mingling women, and you too will find it difficult. In the office at BLANKSPACE blogging in the low light of the one desk lamp amidst the indefinable roar of a thousand women gathered for the Women in Creative Industries event. The turn-out seems to state the event is a success; so does the racket, I really can’t hear myself grouch. Thoroughly enjoyed my stealthy spy-like jaunts out of the office and through the thronging crowd. Basically what that means is I went to get some free wine and listened to some talks about blogging and art. Good stuff. Looking forward to the next one. We could do Men in the Creative Arts, and just play poker and drink whiskey. Anyone up for that?
OK, books. I may have mentioned this before once or twice, but you know books? Yeah? Well, I like ‘em. They are nice. Booklike, mmm. I’ve started doing this thing where I post some photos of books I’ve got, then I say something mundane about them. I saw it and saw that it was good. Books can teach you the secrets of life, the magic of forgotten lives, the thoughts of the long dead, the possibility of a better future, and the scientific advances of five hundred years of methodical process. But, if you’ve ever asked the question “can cats paint, and if they could what would they paint?” then you may have drawn a blank. Sad. But I can tell you now that cats do paint; they do, it’s true, it’s true. The question you should be asking yourself is not do cats paint but why do cats paint.
The first book we will look at today is of course Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Busch and Burton Silver. This is a real book. And it’s not a weird cheaply made piece of crap compiled and published by a stinky, woolly-jumpered, unwashed nut-job (probably). It is a lovely glossy art book starting with historical context, pompous but convincing theoretical analysis of the cat artists’ motivation for self-expression, pictures of cats, and some not-half-bad abstract expressionism. The ‘theory’ seems to be just that some cats have aesthetic values, and this is illustrated by an anally retentive cat that just has to rearrange the magnetic coloured letters on the fridge into mono-coloured groups.
Top artist in the book is ‘Romantic Ruralist’ Smokey, who apparently paints figurative representations of flowers and sheep. Most noteworthy about Smokey’s art is that it is all upside down upon completion. Most of these cats (read ‘all of them’) are just trying to get that bloody stuff off their paws by wiping it on the walls. But this book is great for weirdo cat-people, Outsider Art fans, and collectors of really, really fucking stupid books. Everyone’s happy; bonus.
What to make of this next book cover (see below)? For 20p from the local Help the Aged it seemed like a necessary evil. I cannot imagine the chain of events and decisions that lead to this photoshoot being conceived and executed. “Ok, if you could just take your shirt off please. Ok, that’s great. Now I’m just going to pop this paper bag over your head. No, no, it’s ok, don’t worry: I’ve cut holes in it. Eyeholes, one for your mouth and of course it’s got ear holes in it too. Perfect.” “Oh yes, I forgot about you. Erm, just put this blonde wig on and hang on to his back.” This minor masterpiece of ambiguous and dubious imagery can be yours for only eighty Australian cents. A bargain at half the price.
Last but not least is the most sinister of all; a book I bought a few years back, just after leaving university, while researching a piece of physical theatre I wrote and artistic directed called How to Kill a Rabbit for Bear Thoughts Theatre Company. The book is Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors by the pseudonymous Rex Feral. It’s a mysterious little tome full of advice on how to make pipe bombs, silencers, lock picks, and the like. As well as ‘practical’ advice like that it also has chapters about how to plan your attack, how to deal with your own emotions after a successful hit, and how to maximise your chance of getting away with it. I have no idea how realistic it is, it’s probably all bullshit, but just in case I won’t be posting any images of anything which might be dangerous, or useful to lunatics. You’ll have to make do with the cover and contents page of this silly little book. I might be teetering on a high horse here, but you can never under-estimate the weird internet people.