George Bush’s art…….NO.

What is it with evil leaders and art…..a very weird combination – Hitler and George Bush – there has to be some sort of correlation.

I like art – but art used to make a mass murderer seem human is just not right. Art shouldn’t be used to excuse atrocities such as the Iraq war or the killings of thousands by remote controlled drones.

Oh but it’s fine – Stalin was a much misunderstood man and maybe Hitler would;t have become such a fundamentalist if he’d got into art school – this is just the sort of thing i was encouraged to consider at school and up to a point it provides context but it cannot explain the actions of these people.

I appreciate that art is a hobby or form of therapy for many people – ex-world leader or otherwise but choosing to exhibit such work invites comment from a larger circle of people – whether critical or positive.

So this is my comment on the publicly known work of a man who may wish to be humanised and forgiven but cannot.



Queer Times…

With the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales – note not Scotland or Northern Ireland – it is worth looking at a/ how far we have come in equal rights and b/ how limited the changes in 1967 actually were.

Firstly, if you were lesbian this law did not effect you – lesbian relationships had never been criminalised because authority did not consider it possible for women to have such unconventional liaison’s – this was famously believed by Queen Victoria.

It is also not representative to say that homosexual relationships were not able to be had before ’67 – they were clandestine but so too were those after the change in legislation. Specific clubs and safe houses were available to those who knew where to find them. 1967’s legislation did little to change the situation as those with the ‘condition’ were only allowed to have sex in private – i.e: an empty house – so no hotels, and if consenting and over the age of 21.

Furthermore, policemen upped their efforts to catch men out or planted plain clothes officers in public toilets – a popular spot for cottaging and other secret acts of intimacy.

Throughout the years of criminalisation art provided a method of coded visual communication for the LGBT community, along with a more permissive liberal environment in the theatres and music halls of the early 20th century, not forgetting the bohemian movement of the Bloomsbury group which included artist’s such as Duncan Grant.

It is only in recent years that gay geniuses such as Alan Turing have been pardoned of their sentences relating to their sexuality.

The Tate’s exhibition in London of Queer Art through the 20th century reveals the aforementioned language of a wrongly persecuted people. It shows the protest of the age and how far we’ve come – whilst still showing that we have further to go within our own generation.


(photo: couple in a Photo Booth in 1953 – careful lads!)

Dali: exhumed

Sorry I haven’t written a post in a while I have been busy with travelling and the like after having finished my A levels ….anyway here is the newest post:

As you may know, Salvador Dali’s casket has recently been exhumed following the claims of Narcis Bardelet who says that Dali was her father.

According to the embalmer and chief judge, Dali’s characteristic moustache is still intact after all the years he’s been under the ground – like a watch set at 10 to 10 – just as Dali like it.

Dali is buried at the museum that he himself designed in Catalunya.

The paternity scandal surrounding the artist that died in 1989 is still continuing and no final statement has been made…

Why you should not read The Kite Runner

I have, for the last year, been put through the pain of  having to not only read, but study this book – hailed as a best-selling eye – opener onto the issues in the middle east….not so in my opinion.

  1. The writing of this book is what I would call mediocre – there is employment of foreshadowing and such – these are things I was aware of from the age of 12 I’m sure. The over-worked structure of this apparently very well crafted redemptive arc provides outlandish coincidences – yes it is a small world but is a person really likely to meet and recognise someone in the whole of America that they haven’t seen for 20 years. But wait you say – narratives are fictitious, they are creations…all well and good but the truly skilled writing dupes his or her reader into believing these shadowed coincidences – they are the shadows not the blinding rays of obvious sun – metaphorically speaking.


2. The politics…..and this is were this book really falls flat in my opinion. Despite Hosseini being a Afghani his book adopts a very westernized, colonial view of the conflicts in his homeland. There is little comment on the actions of America or Russia – the Russians are brutish yes – but they also helped to arm the future Taliban forces – nothing is mentioned of this. Americans reading this at its time of publication – on the eve of the Iraq war might well have used the reading of this novel as a way of seeming pseudo-worldly. Another point: Assef – the neo-Nazi blond boy whose read Mein Kampf……but doesn’t know what ethnic cleansing is….how does that work. Politically flawed – ’nuff said.


3. The interspersing of Farsi could be seen as a way of showing that the narrator is speaking in his mother-tongue but other books that do this make it far more subtle. The inclusion of Afghani dialect seems like the kind of thing that editors and publishers would drool over without considering that the protagonist has fully adapted to his life in America and we are told that he has a medical degree. The book panders to Americanism throughout which seems tragically ironic given the destructive involvement of the US in the Middle eastern conflict of the past years


4. Class and Race are critiqued but nothing is done to redress the balance – Hassan and Ali are still sacked despite the family links and the word of the rich kid takes precedent over that of the truthful minority. The Hazaras continue to be ignored by the novel and it is condoned as ‘this is the way Afghanistan is’ – tradition cannot be changed. the rift caused by Amir’s spoilt lying could be mended easily and it isn’t – soooo frustrating.


I could go on but it would be so long and riling. What did you think of this book?

Comments much appreciated!

Hans Rauter, Holland and the Hunger Winter 1944

Holland’s World War 2 Resistance movement has often been overlooked due to the fame of their French equivalent – however the operations carried out in the Dutch area of Gelderland – chosen for its large amounts of woodland that made hiding easy, were arguably just as important in the Allied effort to end the war.

1944 was, for Holland, one of the harshest winters that the country had experienced for many decades – thousands of people were forced to walk for days in search of meagre amounts of food – such people were known as hunger walkers. Many died of starvation and frostbite that year. It was into this context that groups of SOE agents were parachuted in order to further the Allied battle against the Nazis from the inside.

Such agents were named after groups of rivers, vegetables – anything that was distinctive but still ambiguous enough to go un-noticed by the Germans. Such agents were kept alive by their own wit and the precarious supply drops of the RAF – operating radios from secret rooms and abandoned sheds – transmitting the movements of Dutch resistance groups back to places such as Bletchley Park.

Perhaps one of the most terrifying operations of that winter of ’44 and following year was the mistaken identity and consequent murder of Hans Albin Rauter – the chief for the whole of the Nazi occupation of Holland – he was on a trip home from a barracks on the evening of the 7th March when he was fatally ambushed and his car filled with 234 rounds of machine gun fire by reisitance fighters. Such things did not go un-noticed.

The same amount of Todeskandidatan – death candidates – were rounded up from all over Holland and shot at dawn the next day – 134 of which were shot and laid out along the road beside Rauter’s wrecked staff car. The resistance fighters responsible for Rauter’s death were not amongst the dead.

The events of the Hunger winter of 1944 and the dutch resistance are used as the basis and inspiration for Mal Peet’s brilliant novel ‘Tamar’ – a proper yarn. Read It.

Image: Rauter’s gunned car – you can see the shear amount of bullet holes.

Thanks for reading!

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