Sad news about artist Jeanne-Claude, who died last night at a New York hospital from complications of a brain aneurysm.
Jeanne-Claude was 74 and the wife, partner and collaborator of Christo. Together they made some incredible, joyous art, including wrapping the Reichstag in Germany, the Pont Neuf in Paris, the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland, a Roman wall in Italy and Snoopy’s kennel (after Schulz drew the above cartoon). Jeanne-Claude and Christo always denied their art had any deeper meaning other than helping the viewer experience familiar landscapes from a different perspective. They always refused any sponsorship and financed all their temporary installations through the projects, including the sale of their preparatory drawings, collages, scale models and original lithographs.
After last year’s successful debut, Soundtrack, Cardiff’s international film and music festival returns this week for another ambitious programme exploring the relationship between sound and celluloid.
Proving that sequels can be a good thing, the 5 day festival kicks-off this evening with an opening night screening of Powell and Pressburger’s sublime and tragic masterpiece the Red Shoes. Ravishing, sweeping and utterly powerful, the Red Shoes tells the story of a lead ballerina, torn between her Mephistophelean impresario and the young, ambitious composer of the prophetic The Red Shoes ballet. It’s an explosion of grace and colour and a perfect opening choice for a festival that aims to reveal the symbiotic relationship between film and sound.
And nicely done too: fresh from winning an Oscar for Powell and Pressburger’s previous classic Black Narcissus, the Red Shoes’ cinematographer was Jack Cardiff.
The rest of the festival programme lives up nicely to its opening night promise. On Thursday Cineworld hosts the world premier of Separado!, Gruff Rhys’ psychedelic western musical in which Gruff takes us on a pan continental road trip in search of his long lost Patagonian uncle, the poncho wearing guitarist Rene Griffiths. The Premiere of Separado! will be followed by a Q&A featuring Gruff Rhys, co-director Dylan Goch and Guardian journalist and author Will Hodgkinson.
This so good. Peaches’ aching, bass hungry Fuck the Pain Away as done by Miss Piggy. Amazing AV concept.
Buzz Magazine has just posted this good piece on the opening of Cardiff Arts Institute.
It’s a fair review that picks up on the Institute’s kitsch and tongue-in-cheek approach while picking apart some of the venue’s features, such as the manifesto and the ‘Nothing Special’ wallpaper – which have already received a tiny amount of attention already – calling them “mildly masturbatory touches that didn’t quite hit the mark”.
Come on everybody, clap your hands
Ar ya lookin’ good?
I’m gonna sing my song
And it won’t take long
We’re gonna do the sweep, and it goes like this:
Come on, let’s sweep again, like we did last summer
Yeah, let’s sweep again, like we did last year
Do you remember when, things were really hummin’?
Yeah, let’s sweep again, sweepin’ time is here!
Of course, you don’t need Chubby Checker to point out when there’s a whitewash about do you? The Press Complaints Commission has just released its report into alleged phone hacking at the News of the World. No surprises then, that the self-regulating commission states there was “no new evidence” of widespread phone hacking at everyone’s favourite Sunday newspaper.
The Guardian reports today that the ‘PCC also said it was not “materially misled” by executives at Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid and that it did not believe senior managers at the paper knew reporters had illegally intercepted phone message left on mobile phones’.
Cate Le Bon
The shop window of the newly-opened All Saints store on the Hayes is full of beautiful, antique sewing machines. They sit there in nice rows, neatly aligned and dormant, subservient to the window aesthetic. Once individual icons, their sole function now is just dressing for the multi-million pound St David’s 2 complex. Their heritage equally pawned and ignored as customers head for the cash-till.
Okay, they’re probably not antique anyway, they’re probably snap-fixed in Spitalfields and have less milage than Katie Price’s typewriter. But looking at those sewing machines on the weekend felt like standing outside the Point just a year ago, pondering the future of Cardiff and the embarrassing cultural death that seemed to be conspiring against it.
The Coal Exchange already closed and the Point served with a noise abatement order that would ultimately contribute to it’s closure, it felt like a solemn question mark hung over the head of everyone who loves dipping their daps into the city’s music venues. With the craggy spires of St David’s 2 emerging above the horizon it seemed the city couldn’t give a shit about our heritage. Shut down, decay and move on – like Cardiff always has done (look at pictures of the old decaying docks in the seventies for instance, and compare it with Bristol or Manchester; history you can still see and touch).
Cardiff doesn’t love us, you see. They won’t close a tiny, cobbly lane for Swn Festival and having shown little support for the Point are prepared to lose yet another venue in the Globe. But like the beautiful suckers we are, we love Cardiff. We fight to keep the Vulcan open; we put our hard-earned into Kruger and 3 Syllables gigs; we sit and watch the colours change in Bute Park. We buy chips on Caroline St, but we put the wrappers in the bin. We suffer the closure of a venue, or the loss of a promoter, but we move on; or we stand up and do it ourselves.
When I was young I used to collect Copper Cards from the local bobbies. Based on the baseball card craze, it was one of those community relation drives to instil understanding and respect of the work of the police force in the young. You were given a wall chart with several topics and spaces for the cards – I think we obtained ours from a constable who visited our primary school – and then spent months collecting them fom police stations or PCs on the beat.
It was a pretty cool idea and as me and my mates were already big fans of Panini’s football sticker albums we all went crazy for Copper Cards. We’d seek out coppers on the beat and shout “Oi, copper! Got any copper cards?!” before trading them back in the school yard, slowly and frustratingly building our wall chart masterpiece. Of course, there was was always cards you’d never get hold of and the price of these almost mythical items rocketed. Swapping a ‘doubler’ wasn’t good enough, you’d need to add a bag of Flying Saucers and a copy of Whizzer and Chips just to begin negotiations. I’m unsure how many completed charts are out there but I remember well how I managed to finish mine – knocking on the door of the WPC’s house down the road and hounding her for weeks, my ligging skills proving successful even at an early age.
Of course this is before it became a risky business to stroll home from work if your job is a newspaper seller and your path takes you near a mob of gurning police constables that look more like stormtroopers on Red Bull than bobbies with a smile. But it seems that the Copper Card is back – with a twist.