Tag: People

Takashi Murakami

by Alex on Dec.22, 2009, under Blog

I first came across the work of Takashi Murakami at the Serpentine Gallery in 2002 and instantly loved it. I can’t tell you why and have long got over the small-penis syndrome that I once had in being absolutely useless at any kind of art critique be it literary, performance-based sculpture, paintingy stuff or other. My opining can be extended with relative ease to such prosaic genius as ‘I like it’ and perhaps my favourite – ‘it is nice’, something that would probably have my secondary school English teacher turn in her grave (assuming she’s dead, which she probably is).

Takashi Murakami [singlepic id = 709 h=150 float = left] Takashi Murakami  (26)

From pure Tove Jansson through Smurfs on acid to melting Mangaesque monsters his art is seen on ‘canvas’ and in sculpture, on shoes, vehicles, buildings and to my surprise he’s the guy what done Louis Vuitton’s Monogram Multicolore.

Takashi Murakami  (62) [singlepic id = 759 h=105 float = left] Takashi Murakami  (57) [singlepic id = 750 h=105]

I’ve also read about some Kanye West stuff but have little interest in that after seeing Mr ‘West’ prancing about on stage supposing that he was very cool sporting frankly ridiculous glasses at Wembley, and it wasn’t even sunny!

I’ll not rehash easily googleable biographies but after failing to to find a decent single repository of his works I’ve created a gallery here, I hope you enjoy it!

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How much do you value your time?

by Alex on Aug.22, 2009, under Blog

I’ve often resented having my time what I consider to be wasted when paying for a service. If I’m to spend my money in a supermarket I do not want to have to queue slash wait in line for 10 minutes – my time is valuable to me and I think it reasonable that if you want me to spend my money and time with you then you need to serve me quickly and efficiently and, if you can manage it, with a smile and maybe at a push a happy word. If I’ve paid not an inconsiderable sum to take the train to the airport, referring specifically to London’s Heathrow Express, I strongly object to being subject to aural advertising from which I cannot chose to escape. I’d not say that I harbour particularly vandalistic tendencies but were I to be able to get hold of a handy pocket-sized EMP device (electro-magnetic pulse – one of them things what frys things electric), I’d have no qualms in taking out the speakers that offend me so.

Anyway, this post was not to be me ranting about impositions on my time.

A friend of mine clearly has feelings on this subject that exceed mine to the power n. Well actually with Paul one may never presume what his feelings nor motivations for his actions might be. I’ve witnessed acts of such oddness and banter of such randomness that I’ve been 100% certain that save he and I, no one else party to his doings has had any idea that he’s fooling around, a man of true Morrisesquetendency and someone with whom I wish I’d taken more opportunity to hang out when I was in the UK.

Over a period of six weeks, Paul recorded all the time and money he spent as a consumer and has subsequently invoiced over 50 companies for time he spent with their brand. “I did this for two main reasons: firstly, to further understand how I spend my life as a consumer, and secondly to challenge the basic assumption that consumers are subservient to brands.”

Brilliant! Why indeed should we as consumers be used as free marketing tools? His study has received much attention – 12,000 site visits as of last week and one example of his press coverage is this post in London´s Metro (newspaper).

I’m sure Paul’s got a lot of people athinking, perhaps most notibly the MD of Cranberry who may well be lamenting his somewhat sarcastic response to Paul’s invoice, especially when compared to the response from Pret a Manger who actually paid up, albeit in a very tongue-in-cheek manner – nonetheless a very astute PR decision considering the coverage Paul’s getting and worth many many times the value of the cheque they sent to him.

Read aaaaall about it at #sixweeks and follow Paul on Twitter here

Crudders, this is brilliant. Were I to to be wearing a hat I would most certainly take it off to your good self, I hope to catch up with you when I’m back in London.


During the #sixweeks study Paul received 40,000 unique visitors to his site and estimates the story reached an audience of about 250,000. See an overview of #sixweeks here.

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Barney, and his life in poetry

by Alex on May.25, 2009, under Blog

He introduced himself as Barney. I’d arrived back at Hotel Paraiso Tropical in Alajuela and he was the newest resident, planning to settle here for a few months. ‘What will you be doing here?’ I ask, ‘writing a book’ replies Barney.

And he has much to write about – the horrors of Vietnam and its ever-lasting effects on him; an abusive father whose apology to his family was to shoot himself in the head; being sexually abused as a child; the one and only (to date) love of his life; having several business successes, and failures; a loving yet sometimes misguided mother who died of cancer; dealing with his alcoholism; holding a gun to his own head then firing its only bullet through the bedroom door on hearing his mum telling him not to kill himself; a vivid dream in which his life’s love guided him through all the previous scenes; living in a homeless veterans shelter for two years just prior to retiring to Costa Rica; and waking up on the morning of his birthday in 2006 being bombarded with thoughts and images which he’s now turned into a book about his life, in poetry.

It’s not hard for him to write, it’s all simply in his head and flows forth when ever he puts fingers to keyboard – a poem for each experience. The review copy is pretty much done, written in about six weeks. He’s going to get it printed, bypassing publishers and send it out to a pretty high-profile list of reviewers. Barney knows that he has something that people will want to read, something from which people can learn, learn from his mistakes and the mistakes of those who have brought misery and hardship to his life. All in poetry.

He’s already decided on the titles of his next five books and will write then here in Costa Rica. Once the money comes in he’ll buy some beautiful tropical land on the coast and build his perfect home in which he can write to his heart’s content.

Barney’s read some of his poetry to me. It’s touching and invites the reader to reflect on how they’re living their life, I can’t share any with you but am looking forward to the book being published.

Best of luck Barney!

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John Oliver

by Alex on Apr.27, 2009, under Blog

“Work all night on a drink a’ rum” sang John Oliver as he walked behind us. It was a Friday night in Granada (Nicaragua) and we’d had a few beers so my response could be nothing other than “Daylight come and me wan’ go home”. Dreadlocks sprouting from the top of an otherwise shaved head, John walked with a limp and looked as it he lived on the street. We finished the song, we laughed and joked and then he introduced himself – an artist, a street poet. I was out with Franzi, whom I’d met at a cafe earlier that evening and so that John might share a love poem with us, we pretended that we were ‘together’. John’s eyes shone brightly as he recited his work, powerful words spoken with passion, as if straight from the heart. His poetry was moving as was the fact that this talented man, who might well have a very different life were he to have been born elsewhere, lived on the streets, scraping a living from people open to paying him for entertaining them with his work. (continue reading…)

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