Balance Month

It's Balance Month. But I won't be doing any of this. (Have you seen 'Man On Wire'? It made my head hurt)

On Saturday evening, H Ren and I held our sporadic conference as to what the theme for July might be. Although my inebriated state led to my forgetting said theme (it was Carnival, OK?) she later reminded me: July 2011 is Balance Month.

Contrary to this theme, I then went on to have terrible insomnia the last few nights and feel distinctly out of balance. I’m much more on-theme today, though – thank goodness – so thought I’d post something up to honour it. I’ll come back and write some more about the idea of Balance – which I think was part-inspired by debt, balances and payback again – later on.

But for now – after my Twitter-based brush with one of my very favourite writers, Margaret Atwood, on Monday and my conversely Twitter-based failure to get Carol Ann Duffy to read a poem which mentions her (there’s some balance, perhaps?)…Here is a poem by CAD which has a great image of ‘balance’ in it.

I was reminded of it recently and remembered how much I like it: the highlighting of text-as-image, words-as-thoughts and thoughts-as-objects – and in such a brief poem. The sense of how we create the world, generate risk and failure, strive or don’t-strive to achieve things, and live through thoughts and images are all really palpable, despite its brevity:


This is the word tightrope. Now imagine
a man, inching across it in the space
between our thoughts. He holds our breath.

There is no word net.

You want him to fall, don’t you?
I guessed as much; he teeters but succeeds.
The word applause is written all over him.

– Carol Ann Duffy

Oh and if Carol Ann Duffy happens to read this (teehee!) then here’s my previous post containing a poem about you (or rather, your name – and names generally). There’s a few links to ‘Talent’, in fact…


A friend of mine has just started a new blog, which he’ll be updating with articles he’s both read and will be writing – mainly about parasitology.

As someone who’s interested in Vermin (which themselves are viewed as parasites) – and other things deemed ‘unsavoury’ by we Humans – I’ve no doubt it will prove very interesting…

The blog is here, do have a look:

June: Convergence Month

I realise it’s a little late, but I declare – on behalf of The Palace of the Gorgeoisie – that June 2011 is:


For some reason this word and idea had cropped up variously in my mind of late – and it seems like quite a positive notion, of flowing together, uniting and joining-up. Our good friend Mr Wikipedia says that it is, in fact, all sorts of things – from mathematics (which will somewhat go over my head, I fear) to net Goth Festivals (bless). The full range can be read here:

Although reading about convergent and divergent thinking ( ), it seems I’m much more a fan of the latter…

In March, I was in Lyon (see post ) for an event – and realised I’d previously read something about a brilliantly barmy museum being built there: the Musee des Confluences. I was researching a (never to come to fruition) idea about chaos theory when I heard of it. This building, at the Confluence from which it derives its name, was one of the (only) examples of attempts to render Chaos Theory architecture, though elements of it appear very often I suppose. As one architectural site put it, as the building deals with the overlap of science, society, technology, biology and ethics, ‘spaces mutate into one another via penetration, deformation, coexistence, breakdown and variability’.

Sitting on the fork of the Rhône and Saône rivers, the building seems to attempt to become the water flowing either side of it – physically and conceptually mixing together, echoing the elements in which it is sited. Perhaps there’s a subtle difference between ‘convergence’ and ‘confluence’ – but it still seemed a great physical example to kick off the monthly theme. I think it’s a brilliant and bonkers project – one that France would still have the guts to see through, even in times of ‘austerity’ (I like that about the French). Alas, it was not finished when I visited in March, but I hope to go back and see it when it is.

There’s information on the museum at the following link, and a picture follows:

Change The Subject Month (February), Clean Month (March), Foxy Vermin

February’s theme was a roaring success at H Ren’s suggestion: Change The Subject Month. As the name suggests, nobody noticed that it was, in fact, Change The Subject Month – because every time they did, we created a diversion or changed the subject. I also tried to harness the power of Changing The Subject in day-to-day life, when things were not to my liking or somewhat uncomfortable. Although I’m fairly good at that anyway, so the theme came as second nature.

My favourite moment of Changing The Subject was where H Ren – when asked the question as to the theme – feigned some crisis, looked panicked, ran out of the room (knocking over a chair) and then returned some minutes later. She was impressively non-specific about this ‘crisis’ and, duly, the conversation moved on to other Subjects and nobody knew about the theme. I’m all in favour of such sneaky themes as they turn life yet more into a game, which is surely the point of the whole venture.

After a discussion in the very wee small hours of Saturday morning, having been ‘night-clubbing’, Ren and I are still unsure as to whether we – in our inebriated state – agreed on a theme for March. However, neither of us could actually remember agreeing one, so we have accorded that, if one was agreed, it is now forever consigned down the back of the sofa on which it was (or was not) come up with. We don’t need it anyway, there are infinite Themes.

SO  it is with all due fanfare (perhaps a fanfare of vacuums) and pomp (feather duster feathers raining from upon high) that we declare March to be Clean Month. This is also to co-incide with H Ren’s venture to set up a cleaning company in Bristol. She and our associate, Mr Kevin Dennis, are to ‘clean up Bristol’ – but not in that horrible, racist way that Griffin and his bacterial cronies might use the term. Actually clean it, and leave it sparkling, ordered and divine.

March is also, of course, the month of spring cleaning for many. So get yer marigolds on and give everything a jolly good once over, eh? All other interpretations of cleanliness are to be encouraged (except the horrible ones, thank you) of course, so I invite any thoughts to do with ways to embrace CLEAN in March.

In other news, I have completed my 6th foray into the world of Vermin: cockroach/envy, or ‘Admiration’s Cloud’. I am going to commence work on the final piece – a slothful fox – and then want to start coming up with some costume ideas to take them to the Festival of Nature in June (this is not confirmed yet, but in discussion).

Foxes are usually associated with slyness and swiftness – qualities I do indeed associate with them. As with all the pieces, the cultural hotch-potch from which all these animals arise is quite an interesting part of the process for me; the animal in the imagination, as influenced by how it relates to anthropogenic activity. Certainly there are clear connotations in Dick King-Smith’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ or other children’s stories. One of my favourite uses of the fox was in the film ‘Red Road’: a direct parallel with the animal was drawn with one of the characters (the divine and excellent Michael Fassbender, in fact) who, when disappearing from view on the CCTV after an illicit liaison, appears to morph into a fox and reappear on the other side of the scrub.

However, I am now left – in my self-imposed ‘system’ – with Sloth as a deadly sin and feel like mammals are under-represented (rat is the only other piece with a mammal). I’m interested in why many consider foxes vermin at all. Personally, I love finding myself walking with one, when going home in the wee small hours. There’s something quite ghostly about them – not least in that cry, which all city dwellers know and some no doubt despise (maybe that’s it?). Like all animals I have written pieces for (and I would say ‘for’), they are survivors: abundant, resourceful and all too much a mirror of our own waste.

Of course, there is the class element as well – foxes are particularly verminous for people in the country where, to survive, they kill livestock (as is in their nature). My own view of the contentious fox-hunting debate has always been that it is not really to do with foxes: it is to do with class, the city versus the country, and our fear of being deemed ‘barbaric’. There is no doubt that foxes can cause damage to people’s livelihood, but to hunt them with such pomp, glee and gore does seem unnecessary. On the other hand, those ‘hunt sabs’ who take it upon themselves to inflict harm on humans, or to spend their lives in pursuit of the red-coated pursuers should really reassess their priorities: is it really the biggest problem that Britain (or any country) faces? I don’t think so.

So here’s a synthesis: let the Hunt Sabs be the ‘foxes’ in ‘Drag Hunts’, where the dogs, horses and haughties all chase something other than a fox – a person who lays down a scent for them (not, as I once thought, the hunting of glamorous trannies). Then, if you need to control the foxes, just shoot them. Or poison them. Something quick. That way, everyone’s busy, the foxes are controlled, the poshfolk get their pomp and the hunt sabs stop the ‘hunting’ bit – the dismembering, the stress, the gruesome blood-smearing. But then maybe that’s not the point. I’m just trying to be practical.

That was more of a ramble than I intended. But it might form the basis of some of the poem.

Manifesto Month

Welcome to January 2011, fellow humans.

H Ren and I, Celeb (another moniker) – who form The Palace of the Gorgeoisie – have declared this first unit of the year as Manifesto Month.

So, we encourage you to begin working on your manifesto and we will all converge at the end of the month to compare notes. This is serious, people – it’s going to shape the whole year…


It’s that time of the month again…No, not that one – it’s THEME CHANGE time.

H Ren and I just attended the galleries and took a late luncheon after one had one’s interview with the Man about one’s Allowance (dole). Our discussion ranged around a few ideas – including the persistent yet too-bizarre ‘Tap Tap Tap Month’ until we set upon our final, defiant theme, it’s:


Yes, in spite of all the Liquidations, Administrations, Downsizings, Unemployments (and I speak here from very personal, current experience) it’s time for some end-of-year BOOM. Of whichever sorts we see fit. Of course, with H Ren’s imminent show and the fortune that awaits from the wealthy artistic benefactors lurking out amidst the towers of Bad Debt (was there ever a good kind?) BOOM is sure to be just around the corner…

To celebrate, here are a selection of serious booms:


Also featured is Basil Brush, who loves to say BOOM and is also very Dandy (for a Fox) as well as fitting in nicely to H Ren’s recent sub-theme/look of Game-Keeper. Perhaps she’ll take Basil out with the Duck of Prey. More on the DoP later in the week…