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Friday, June 01, 2018

Field of Dreams: Why MLB Holds the Key to Solving the Midlevel Gallery Crunch

Major League Baseball used collective bargaining to go from chaos and scandal to fortune and functionality. Why can’t galleries?

The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: June 01, 2018 at 08:11 AM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: art, business, culture

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   1. BDC Posted: June 01, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5683854)
OK, I read this, and didn't have much of an idea what problem the writer was addressing when he says

an entire tier of galleries—as well as many of the non-star artists they exist to champion—are being pummeled into submission by recent conditions, threatening the stability of the entire ecosystem


So I read several other pieces on his blog and was only slightly more enlightened. This guy is writing for insiders in his own industry.

That said, I am not sure his analogy between labor organization in MLB and labor organization in the "midlevel gallery" makes any sense at all. The whole history of pro baseball points to the midlevel getting increasingly hammered, at least over the last century. Major-league franchises and players are like the high end of the gallery world. The midlevel would be the independent high minors, which haven't been tenable in a long time.

This tends to be the case with a lot of entertainment industries, I imagine. At the very top you've got the major leagues, the top symphonies and ballet and opera companies, the Hollywood studios. They're doing huge deals. At the very bottom you've got independent minors and amateur/rec leagues, and community orchestras, and school programs, and independent films – they make no money but are a labor of love and people put a great deal of spare time into them. (As they do with small local art galleries.)

Then there's the middle tier that can't compete and/or doesn't exist, in all these worlds. But whatever that is in the art world, it's no analogy to Major League Baseball.

   2. Man o' Schwar Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5684096)
I thought it said "medieval gallery crunch", and I was super interested. Players in full armor with jousty sticks? Count me in.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5684099)
I imagine that a jousty stick would make more of a "ping" or a "dong" against metal armor. I think what you're looking for is a bludgeony stick.
   4. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5684102)
The less galleries there are the better the world will be. Unfortunately the downtown of my town has 4 or 5 of them and all of it is overpriced junk. You want $2,000? For that? Why couldn't this space have been a Five Guys?
   5. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5684125)
There are plenty of galleries near me, selling schlocky stuff for tourists that I don't care for, but I'm not sure I understand the opinion that the world would be better if fewer people were making and consuming art.
   6. Man o' Schwar Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5684130)
I imagine that a jousty stick would make more of a "ping" or a "dong" against metal armor. I think what you're looking for is a bludgeony stick.

Oh, you're right. A bludgeony stick would be far preferable.
   7. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:33 PM (#5684134)
There are plenty of galleries near me, selling schlocky stuff for tourists that I don't care for, but I'm not sure I understand the opinion that the world would be better if fewer people were making and consuming art.

Well, are you currently happy with the state of America? Look at all them galleries. That can't be a coincidence.


At one point in time cave paintings were considered art that doesn't mean the world would be better off with more people making and consuming cave paintings.
   8. Omineca Greg Posted: June 01, 2018 at 02:36 PM (#5684136)
Henri II of France died jousting.

####### with the Huguenots is bad mojo though, pretty much everyone who did it ended up dead.

And then Henri II had the gall (not the Gaul, pay attention) to put his mistress' ribbon on his lance instead of his wife's. I'd link to a picture of Diane the Mistress, but honestly, at least half of them are topless, and unlike the people here who get off on fooling The Nanny, I abide by the site's terms of service.

His wife?

Catherine de' Medici.

No topless pics of her, what an uggo. One is reminded of a Rundgren couplet...

She's got saggy thighs and baggy eyes
But she loves me in a way I can still recognize

All of their three sons were complete boneheads (they must not have inherited that from their dad, if he had a bonier head the lance wouldn't have killed him), but that's what you get when there's no Uncle Charlie (I'm referring to My Three Sons here, not a curveball) to take care of them. Although that William Frawley was such a piss-tank, I wouldn't let him take care of a houseplant. Can you imagine, "Sorry Bill, you just don't have it anymore, we've decided to go in a younger direction...William Demarest." Demarest was born in 1892! He used to work with Al Jolsen!

Anyway the kids,

Francis II...BONEHEAD! Married to Mary, Queen of Scots. You know who wore the pants in that one...

Then he died, and we had...

Charles IX...BONEHEAD! Check out his mistress, flat as a ############# pancake!. Or a crêpe. Or whatever. And a little mama's boy too, when he got the tu'berky werky and died, his brother...

Henri III...BONEHEAD! He trusted a Dominican (not the country, the monastic order, don't be daft) and blammo...GUT STAB! Talk about out of the frying pan and into the friar (get it? get it?)! So, his BONE HEAD didn't do him any good 'cuz it was a GUT STAB!

Next King was Henri IV, the first Bourbon King (the last Bourbon King was William Frawley (glug glug)).

I may be only the third best Greg at history on the board (and maybe not even that high...) but I still got some mad chops.
   9. SandyRiver Posted: June 01, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5684175)
Two-thirds of a pun - P.U!
Actually, very nice puns, assuming such things exist, so I'll attempt to better them (or worst them, YMMV) based on one of your themes. It concerns an abbey in England having an open house at which they served that country's classic seafood combo. A satisfied visitor walked up to the nearest bald-headed guy in a brown robe and asked,
"Are you the fish friar?"
"No, I'm the chip monk."
   10. BrianBrianson Posted: June 01, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5684195)
The less galleries there are the better the world will be. Unfortunately the downtown of my town has 4 or 5 of them and all of it is overpriced junk. You want $2,000? For that? Why couldn't this space have been a Five Guys?


Is $2000 a *midlevel* gallery? Yikes! The problem seems obvious to me - art has (for whatever reason) abdicated evaluating the quality of art as an important factor (to focus on the "message" or something? I don't know). So, apart from conspicuous consumption, what point are galleries serving? Last time I was at an art gallery (Tate Modern), I could look at 100 pieces, come out, say only one was any good, and everyone I was with immediately knew which one I was referring to. I like art - when I have spare time, I like to haul out a batch of art and appreciate it - but really, if I had been given the contents of the Tate Modern, I would've binned more than 95% of it. Why are they doing this? Like, I'd like to have some good art, but other than buying reprints of Tom Thomson's stuff, what can you do?

I'd say rant over, but I'm gonna remain upset about it for the rest of the day.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5684204)
(for whatever reason)

I think it's extraordinarily difficult now to do novel work in representational art.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 01, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5684211)
art has (for whatever reason) abdicated evaluating the quality of art as an important factor
Someone's going to call you a snob in about 10 seconds.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5684216)
I believe that makes him a philistine, not a snob.
   14. Omineca Greg Posted: June 01, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5684222)
I think it's extraordinarily difficult now to do novel work in representational art.

Do you think that's truer now than it's ever been though?

It's always extraordinarily difficult to do something novel.
   15. stevegamer Posted: June 01, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5684234)
The crappy art you see now won't seen much in the future, most likely. Crappy art & crappy books are soon forgotten, and lost to time.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5684240)
Do you think that's truer now than it's ever been though?


If by "now" we mean since the late 19th century, then yes, absolutely.

For centuries painting (easier to restrict it to just one discipline) was on a long, clear, one-way upward climb from shitty unrealistic paintings to marvelous realistic ones. Then people got bored with that, and we got stuff like impressionism, and after that was all done, we got stuff that was less and less realistic, like cubism, and after that it became increasingly difficult to put a new visual spin on everyday objects, so abstract art became more the focus, but that was exhausted quickly in many directions (Mondrian, Pollock) and it's been tough going since then for painters that really want to be original. Lots of performance art nowadays, digital art, heavy references to pop culture or whatever. Who are the famous painters that just paint things? I'm not sure they exist.

(If there are any actual art experts here, I apologize for offending you with my lazy and superficial knowledge)

Realism > Modernism > Post-modernism > "Uhhh..." is a pretty common progression.

Think about jazz, which you know better than I do. Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman were never going to try and beat the great bop masters at their own game, so they took the art into wild crazy rule-breaking directions (modernism). And what happened next? A lot of the lauded work was all about incorporating new influences, Asian sounds, rock, funk, eventually hip-hop (post-modernism), etc, as if people were already exhausted by the potential of the form and could not make new sounds without borrowing them from other disciplines. And by the 80s the biggest jazz musician was a shameless revivalist. (I know this is impossibly reductionist.)

   17. Omineca Greg Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:00 PM (#5684246)
Maybe I'm not using the term "representational art" correctly.

I'm thinking that because this still gives me a boner, we know three things.

1) I have a good imagination
2) I'm not quite 50 yet
3) This is representational art

...as compared to this Per Kirkeby, which doesn't even give me a tingle (although to be fair, it might have when I was 14), so it's abstract art.

Am I off base?
   18. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5684247)
I agree with that.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5684248)
Maybe I got carried away but as I see it modernism and particularly abstract art grows out of a feeling that representational art is over, man, it's all been done. Painters like Matisse were the last gasp.
   20. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:20 PM (#5684253)

The less galleries there are the better the world will be. Unfortunately the downtown of my town has 4 or 5 of them and all of it is overpriced junk. You want $2,000? For that?


Regular people tend to think art should be cheaper than it is (perhaps because of the stereotype of the starving artist, or stories about Van Gogh being unable to sell any paintings). I mean, your taste is what it is, but that $2000 work might represent $500 in materials and 100 hours of work. How much do you get paid for that much of your time and effort?
   21. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5684254)

For centuries painting (easier to restrict it to just one discipline) was on a long, clear, one-way upward climb from shitty unrealistic paintings to marvelous realistic ones.


This is not the best way to put it. First, it is only somewhat true during one brief period of European history, and doesn't apply, say to non-Western painting, Egyptian painting, etc. Second, it ignores movements such as Mannerism.

Also, 'realistic' isn't really the correct word. Renaissance one-point perspective is mathematically elegant, but it assumes the observer has only one eye, for an example. It's better to say it is highly naturalistic in many, but not all respects.
   22. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:25 PM (#5684256)
I thought it said "medieval gallery crunch", and I was super interested. Players in full armor with jousty sticks? Count me in


There was a TV show a few years back called “Full Metal Jousting” that was pretty great. Those show jousters from Medieval Times we’re not up to the rigors of the real deal.
   23. Omineca Greg Posted: June 01, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5684257)
Well, then I'd be inclined to say that innovators will always be coming along and finding new ways to express themselves that are both novel and relatable to by a large audience (large in this context means more than the few people who have years of interest in the field). I'm not sure when or how. The relationship between what's being represented and how it's being represented is almost infinitely flexible.

That doesn't necessarily mean that there's a parallel relationship between the academy and success with the unlearned masses though...things come in and out of fashion in different places at different times; then different creative spirits put them down in permanent form.

Some of it is just syncretism, you don't even need genius to do that.

But there's people, they have the talent, and they see things a certain way, and that's it, one of many new paths forged.

Painters in the early 20th century, the ones who went all abstract, they had no way of knowing about computers, virtual reality. And they didn't have the information at their fingertips that everyone has now. The chance that some genius with an internet hookup will see something that tickles their fancy and send them off in a new directions seems so much greater than before.
   24. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: June 01, 2018 at 06:38 PM (#5684290)
"Midlevel Gallery Crunch" was one of the unsuccessful cereals Quaker Oats come out with in the 70s, like "Golden Oaties" and "Orange Quangaroos".
   25. Man o' Schwar Posted: June 01, 2018 at 06:54 PM (#5684296)
"Midlevel Gallery Crunch" was one of the unsuccessful cereals Quaker Oats come out with in the 70s, like "Golden Oaties" and "Orange Quangaroos".

While plentiful and cheap to obtain, it turns out that flakes made from the discarded canvases of failed art students are not, sadly, part of this complete nutritious breakfast.
   26. McCoy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 07:15 PM (#5684307)
Regular people tend to think art should be cheaper than it is (perhaps because of the stereotype of the starving artist, or stories about Van Gogh being unable to sell any paintings). I mean, your taste is what it is, but that $2000 work might represent $500 in materials and 100 hours of work. How much do you get paid for that much of your time and effort?

We paid a local artist $800 to paint a commissioned piece. It took him like 10 to paint a 3 by 4 piece. I go to art fairs and you see "artists" selling prints, paintings, and photos for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. When virtually none of it is original and a lot of it is simply copying off whatever is trending on etsy or pinterest.
   27. Greg K Posted: June 01, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5684310)
Next King was Henri IV,

Ironically he was stabbed to death for not ####### with the Huguenots.

Which I suppose makes the moral of the story "don't be the King of France if you want to die peacefully".
   28. PreservedFish Posted: June 01, 2018 at 07:40 PM (#5684312)
This is not the best way to put it. First, it is only somewhat true during one brief period of European history, and doesn't apply, say to non-Western painting, Egyptian painting, etc. Second, it ignores movements such as Mannerism.


You know more than I do so I'll just stop talking now.
   29. Omineca Greg Posted: June 01, 2018 at 08:04 PM (#5684321)
Ironically he [Henri IV] was stabbed to death for not ####### with the Huguenots


Mr K is far too demure to point it out (he wants people to be interested in history for noble, not prurient, reasons), but Henri IV's mistress has the hottest portrait of all.

I know what plays in Palookaville (that's French for "City of Palookas")

Literal sister-on-preggo sister lesbo lust, stiff nipples pinched roughly, turning their bathtub into a watery erotic utopia. Lipstick lesbianism at its finest.

And from 1594. Talk about Pre-Code.

This painting is so hot, it was often displayed with a curtain in front of it. Which kind of defeats the point of displaying it if you ask me, but what do I know.

This painting is so hot, that when the Green Party in Germany announced their support for same-sex marriage in 2002, they made a poster with a mock up done with contemporary models. Kind of like this poster, but with nudity and no lego blocks.

No, I don't understand French people either. Anyway, you can go see it at the Louvre.

   30. cardsfanboy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 10:51 PM (#5684413)
I know zero about art. So I'm just having fun here. But Bob Ross, a not great artist(not bad, just a middle of the road type of guy), has proven time and time again that he can create a piece in an hour. If you include expense of equipment in the equation, and are willing to sell it reasonably, you should be able to get $50-100 on every piece of work you make. That isn't a bad gig to be honest, considering that most artists are doing the work that the love, you are getting about $30-70 an hour to do something you like...

The issue for the gallery type of artists is that they are overpricing their material, either intentionally by limiting the amount they produce or accidentally by overrating their value. It's a skill of course, and great pieces are worth more, but ultimately the expensive pieces you are paying for the name or reputation....screw that, the fact is there are tens of thousands of artists who can produce good material, but it seems to be that if you aren't selling pieces for $2000 minimum, you are wasting your time.

Comic book artists are making $200 a page.... there is plenty of money out there for artists willing to sell their work. If you want to compare artists to sports players, it's all about figuring out the way to monetize the "art" ....and art is very easy to monetize, and it's something that a ton of people could get into, for every single major league ball player, there are probably a thousand artists that can produce something equivalent to dogs playing poker...and that is the point, since there isn't a "top league" like the MLB/NFL/NBA/NHL it makes it easier for the equivalent for a double a player to make more money in the art world.

The crappy art you see now won't seen much in the future, most likely. Crappy art & crappy books are soon forgotten, and lost to time.


Maybe, but at the same time, crappy artists still will get paid if they don't over rate the quality of their work. Their pride is the biggest weakness to them making money.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: June 01, 2018 at 10:52 PM (#5684414)
Note: my previous comment is clearly just a quick reaction to the thread, it's clearly no an informed opinion, it's just a knee jerk reaction to the article.
   32. Omineca Greg Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:11 PM (#5684426)
   33. Sunday silence Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5684434)
wall mural in Poland:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Art/comments/8nnmkj/girl_with_a_watering_can_natalia_rak_mural_2013/
   34. BDC Posted: June 01, 2018 at 11:44 PM (#5684440)
$30/hr sounds good, fanboy, but that’s ~$63K a year if you work 40-hour weeks, never take a break or a vacation, and sell every last piece you produce, without a middleman or infrastructure. (Without storing, shipping, or handling: people basically have to drive up hourly, put money into a coffee can, and drive away with an artwork.)

At that rate you are selling over 2,000 artworks every year. Even if you live in a big city with lots of buyers all sharing a taste for the precise item you can turn out hourly, and the initiative to drive up with cash for your unadvertised artworks, where are they going to put all that art after a while?

This is why nearly all artists have day jobs :)
   35. BrianBrianson Posted: June 02, 2018 at 06:45 AM (#5684461)
$30/hr sounds good, fanboy, but that’s ~$63K a year if you work 40-hour weeks


Sure does, since that's more than I make, for less than I work.
   36. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2018 at 07:24 AM (#5684463)
The problem is, as BDC notes, it's tough to get that much work as an artist. That's a best case scenario.

Or it can sometimes be tough getting paid for that work. An artist friend of mine can't always get paid up-front for work. So on a few occasions she's completed a piece only to find that the person who commissioned it isn't as interested anymore and doesn't feel like paying*.

As a result, she's a waitress/artist.

*Though I like to feel I'm contributing to the other side of the ledger. I paid her up front for a piece a couple years ago and haven't received it yet. I'm pretty sure it's done, I just haven't had a chance to pick it up.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: June 02, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5684479)
The idea that an artist could sell 30+ canvases per week is a pure fantasy, even if they're priced at or below $50. If every artist tried to do it, it moves from fantasy to absurdity. But of course there are people trying something like this model, you can search Etsy for "custom portrait" and see a billion options for $20-100 portraits that I guess the artists can pump out in about one hour, but I also assume that for most of these folks it's a side gig.
   38. PreservedFish Posted: June 02, 2018 at 09:21 AM (#5684480)
I paid her up front for a piece a couple years ago and haven't received it yet. I'm pretty sure it's done, I just haven't had a chance to pick it up.


Let's see ... a baseball playing Lynx? Moose? Cassowary?
   39. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5684487)
If you're a good enough artist or if you've got good enough recognition it isn't a matter of selling 30+ canvases per week but of selling 30+ or more prints per week. The Jackson Junge gallery sent a booth to an Atlanta art fair and my GF liked some of the work on display. When we were in Chicago we picked up two prints from the gallery. The Mayor of Mayhem and Vintage Vino. They each cost something like 60 bucks. She has sold hundreds of these prints if not thousands and thousands in one form or another. More than half of her work has still not been purchased. She wants between $2,000 to $15,000+ dollars for her original work.


A lot of it is of course needing enough money to make a living doing it and since a ton of people aren't queuing up to buy their stuff their prices go up in the search for that one person who will buy the $10,000 cup of lemonade.
   40. Omineca Greg Posted: June 02, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5684490)
Train wheels a-running thru the back of my memory,
When I ran on a hilltop following a pack of wild geese,
Someday everything is gonna sound like a rhapsody
When I paint my ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Isshereallygoingoutwith...him?

Andy was a Catholic
The ethic ran through his bones
He lived alone with his mother
Collecting gossip and toys

Every Sunday when he went to Church
He'd kneel in his pew and say
It's work
All that matters is work

He was a lot of things
What I remember most he'd say
I've got to bring home the bacon
Someone's got to bring home the roast

He'd get to the Factory early
If you'd ask him he'd tell you straight out
It's work

No matter what I did it never seemed enough
He said I was lazy, I said I was young
He said, How many songs did you write
I'd written zero, I'd lied and said, Ten

You won't be young forever
You should have written fifteen
It's work

You ought to make things big
People like it that way
And the songs with the dirty words
Make sure you record them that way

Andy liked to stir up trouble
He was funny that way
He said, It's just work

Andy sat down to talk one day
He said decide what you want
Do you want to expand your parameters
Or play museums like some dilettante

I fired him on the spot
He got red and called me a rat
It was the worst word that he could think of
And I've never seen him like that
It's work
I thought he said it's just work

Andy said a lot of things
I stored them all away in my head
Sometimes when I can't decide what I should do
I think what would Andy have said

He'd probably say you think too much
That's cause there's work that you don't want to do
It's work
The most important thing is work
It's work
The most important thing is work

Reed/Cale


   41. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 02, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5684492)
A lot of it is of course needing enough money to make a living doing it and since a ton of people aren't queuing up to buy their stuff their prices go up in the search for that one person who will buy the $10,000 cup of lemonade.


I'm very much an "I don't know art but I know what I like" kind of person, my wife is a bit more sophisticated in this regard but what we both have agreed on is that if we see something we both love in a gallery we buy it immediately if it doesn't cost more than a house payment. We learned this the hard way when we found a beautiful botanical piece in Santa Fe* and dithered and equivocated for a week on whether to buy it, and then when we made the decision and called the gallery they said it was sold.

We don't have a lot of art in our house but what we have we both love and are proud to display.

* Santa Fe has probably the best stretch of art galleries in the country on Canyon Road. Now in my experience if there are 60 art galleries maybe 50 of them will be nothing but crap, but what I love about this stretch of galleries isn't just the general quality but the variety - one will specialize in meso-American art, one on old masters, one on 19th century American west, etc. Near the top of the hill there's a gallery that specializes in sci-fi and fantasy-themed art, and the first time I walked in I was confronted with a giant 8x6 acrylic called "Gandalf Confronts the Balrog" that was just spectacular. It was something like $30,000, which I would never pay even if I had a place to hang it, which, according to my wife, would only be in some sort of oubliette.
   42. bookbook Posted: June 02, 2018 at 10:53 AM (#5684496)
Oooh. A bunch of baseball fans looking down their noses at art and artists? Count me in twice!
   43. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5684500)
Let's see ... a baseball playing Lynx? Moose? Cassowary?

To be honest I forget what it was exactly...I look forward to the surprise!
   44. Omineca Greg Posted: June 02, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5684504)
It was something like $30,000, which I would never pay even if I had a place to hang it, which, according to my wife, would only be in some sort of oubliette.


bungalow and oubliette
samsung and godiva
baby you can bet
there's pools of sweat and saliva
you say it's not a grecian urn
but you know I'm a quivering lyre
deeds of fame and notes of
Fire

stealing from the Boss and Byron
in almost equal measure
when we go down into the oubliette
we'll forget everything but pleasure
put the "man" in manacles
you'll be the abbot to my friar
'cuz when we kiss
Fire

you don't have to be cool to rule my world

pretending not to see his gun I said let's go out and have some fun

invoke them no more, bid adieu to the muse, and try the effect of the first kiss of love

Fire

bring bring bring your flowered hat

bold lover never never canst thou kiss

it's centrifugal motion it's perpetual bliss it's that pivotal moment

Fire

the drunks upon the curb and dames in dubious doorways forget their monday names

Amour, mama, not cheap display

Fire

Fire

Fire
   45. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 02, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5684579)
WAT
   46. Omineca Greg Posted: June 02, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5684596)
I was just saying what everyone was thinking...

Yeah, sorry. That was just me fooling around. I've recently switched from English Breakfast to 立山小种 and I've been having some pretty wild mornings.

I just like the word "oubliette", so I thought I'd write something about it. It riffs on Springsteen's "Fire", but then I thought it wasn't pretentious enough, so I started jamming as many quotes in as I could, on the "when we kiss, fire" conceit. I got Keats (twice), Byron (three times if you count the name drop), and Plath from poetry, and Joni Mitchell, New Order, Faith Hill, Sixpence None The Richer, and Prince from pop music. I only have a couple of regrets...

One, I couldn't work Ted Hughes into it...

He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment's brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was

Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin's attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway

Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon's gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other's face

Hughes


...but I figured that not many people would know it.

And the other regret is that I posted it. I'm getting a fairly good collection of self-rejected posts in my Gmail drafts. I think this one should have joined them.

But that's what happens when you're dancing with Sweet Lady Lapsang Souchong.

Affects your seemliness.

Plus it makes your house smell like a burning pine tree.
   47. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 02, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5684600)
Well I know what lapsang souchong is from a Colin Hay song, so I have that going for me.

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