diamond geezer

 Wednesday, September 29, 2004


One of my favourite sections of Private Eye is Pseuds Corner, in which various choice titbits of textual over-importance are held up to national ridicule. There's clever writing and there's overblown tosh, and sometimes the border between the two can be very thin. I have a particular dislike of the people who write pompous notes to accompany classical music ("The flute melody is accompanied by gentle, unobtrusive semiquavers, retaining the tranquility of the movement while fleshing out the score with a particularly romantic view of sonority.") I loathe reviews of literature that pontificate in depth about themes which the authors almost certainly never put there in the first place. ("The abandonment of metaphysical foundations establishes the context of Murdoch's particular interest in existentialism, and the essential Nietzschean assertion that modern man is trapped by a process of imagined self-determination.") But I reserve my deepest hatred for the art critic.

(before continuing please click here to take a look at a piece of art, thankyou)

If you pick up a free London Underground map this autumn you'll see that the front cover features a specially-commissioned piece of art by Emma Kay entitled You Are in London. Essentially it's 12 concentric rings, each the colour of a different tube line. I like it, it's simple, clever and effective. However, Transport for London have let an art critic loose on reviewing it, and the result is pure bollocks.

(before continuing please click here to read a pile of crap, thankyou)

It takes particular skill, or bravado, to waffle so effusively about so little. It takes an unlikely leap of faith to suggest that the target motif "playfully combines the Tube line colours with art historical references, graphic design and our collective memory". And it takes a complete jerk to describe a few coloured rings as "compelling", "deceptive" or a "memory audit". When wandering around art galleries I often have to refrain from gasping out loud at the utter drivel that art critics have written about the works on display. Can't they just shut up and let us read what we want into the images that we see? "12 rings, nice." Much better. (I'm glad to see this morning that Annie agrees with me too).

Of course, there's a far better work of art to be found on the Underground map leaflet, and that's the map itself. For those of you who are interested (and I suspect that's most of you) the BBC are screening a 30 minute documentary tomorrow (BBC2, 7:30pm Thursday) about the history of the map and its creator, Harry Beck. His sublime topological distortion transformed society's mindscape to reduce London's amorphous physical environment to an interconnected psychogeographical clarity. It's bloody clever, too.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream