Saturday, November 28, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 4. Goodnight Saigon (Billy Joel)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #4, we find Billy Joel with Goodnight Saigon (#1 in 1983). Its striking lyrics reflect on the Vietnam war. "And who was wrong, and who was right? It didn't matter in the thick of the fight." Right. The video was as impressive, focusing on war images and children playing with war toys. The song did not score highly in the USA, which could be due to the critical notes in an era when the Vietnam war was not fully digested. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pawn sacrifice

The recent Edward Zwick movie about American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer and his fight against the Soviet dominated chess world is a must-see for me. The poster is clever and effective, suggesting the turmoil in Fischer's brain when he plays Spasski for the world title.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Contemplation

Going through my Flickr archives, I found that I had not blogged this 2009 photograph of my wife in Shanghai yet. Time to correct it: not only do I like the shot very much, but with her staying with the family in Shanghai right now it is very appropriate.

Camera: Canon Powershot Pro1, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.4
Focal Length: 7.0 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Polar ice

An artist who has not yet featured in the blog: Russian painter Alexander Borisov (1866-1934), whose main claim to fame is an abundance of polar landscapes. With winter arriving here in the Netherlands, this example from 1904 seemed a good choice for today. More about Borisov in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 5. Nothing compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #5, we find Sinead O'Connor with Nothing compares 2 U (#1 in 1990). This Prince song catapulted her to the top of the charts all over the world, including a four weeks spell at #1 in both the UK and the USA. The video clip helped - who can forget her shaven head and the tears on her cheeks? Whereas the clip admittedly bordered on kitsch, from a musical point of view there is nothing wrong with this beautiful love song, and certainly nothing wrong with the sincere personal heartfelt rendition. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Take it or leave it

Autumn inspired: a work my wife made earlier this year on a round canvas. By adding actual leaves later, she created a mixed media work that I find very appealing.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

To catch a mackerel

Flickr, once responsible for a large part of my on-line time, has been reduced to a footnote over the past year or so. There are a number of reasons for this, one being the departure from the site by many of my dearest Flickr friends. A case in point is jenny downing, who is still active on FaceBook but not on Flickr. I dug up an old favourite from her stream that I had not posted yet in my blog. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 6. Belfast child (Simple Minds)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #6, we find The Simple Minds with Belfast child (#1 in 1989). Based on the old Irish folksong She moved through the fair, recorded for instance by Loreena McKennit, this is one of a number of awesome songs inspired by the tragic situation in Northern Ireland ("and the war is raging in this Emerald isle"). It does end on a more hopeful note though ("The streets are empty, life goes on - One day we'll return here, when the Belfast Child sings again"). Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Les feuilles mortes

Another example of my digital art, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. This autumnal tapestry is based on a picture I took eight years ago in the park near our house in Almere (which incidentally we finally sold last week). The link leads to the original photograph.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lest we forget

Over the past few years, I have made many posts inspired by the so-called Great War (1914-1918), on the occasion of Armistice Day (11 November) - lest we forget. Here (like last years, updated) I collect links to all of them rather than re-post one or two. If you want to click just one, I suggest the first one, which has some astonishing background information. The image above is sourced from here.

11-11-08 Poem: In Flanders' fields.
11-11-08 YouTube: Documentary on Britten's War Requiem.
11-11-08 Paintings: Returning to the trenches (Nevinson).
11-11-08 Flickr favourites: Lest we forget.
11-11-09 Vintage posters: In Flanders' fields.
11-11-09 Paintings: La guerre (Gromaire).
11-11-09 Photojournalism: Remembrance.
11-11-10 Paintings: Over the top (Nash).
11-11-10 En Vogue: Vogue May 1914.
11-11-10 Poem: Suicide in the trenches.
11-11-10 Photojounalism: The fallen.
11-11-11 Under cover: Motion Picture May 1918.
12-11-11 Photojournalism: Armistice day in London.
12-11-11 Photojournalism: Armistice day in Minsk.
11-11-12 Art-iculations: Artists who fell in the "Great" War.
11-11-13 Paintings: Armored train in action (Severini)
11-11-13 Flickr favourites: Poppy.
09-11-14 Miscellaneous art: Blood swept lands....
10-11-14 Paintings: Still life with poppies (van Gogh).
11-11-14 Flickr favourites: Voices fading on the winds of thought.
09-11-15 Vintage posters: Step into your place
10-11-15 Paintings: A star shell (Nevinson)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A star shell

There are many paintings that have been inspired by the Great War, but for consistent quality, one can always fall back on Christopher Nevinson (1888-1946). This chilling vision depicts the trenches lit up by an exploding shell. It dates back to 1916, shortly after he was invalided out of the Royal Army Medical Corps. More about Nevinson in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Aquatic ballet

A water reflection shot I took earlier this month near our home. Not a personal favourite, but it got a good response at Flickr. The title is courtesy of my Flickr friend Rainer Blankermann.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/5.9
Focal Length: 20.0 mm
ISO Speed: 250
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 7. Angie (Rolling Stones)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #7, we find The Rolling Stones with Angie (#1 in 1973). This song from the album Goats Head Soup was released as a single when I was 16, just at the time that I really started to get interested in pop and rock music. Nothing in their repertoire comes close to this world-wide number one hit, a heartfelt mournful ballad about a doomed love. The inspiration for the lyrics have speculatively been attributed to varied sources: Keith Richards' long time love, Anita Pallenberg, David Bowie's ex-wife, Angela Bowie, and even David Bowie himself, whom Angela claimed to have once found in bed with Jagger (it was in fact Keith Richards' daughter Angela who inspired the name choice). "Everywhere I look, I see your eyes...." Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Hello

The new Adele single Hello comes as usual for this artist with a great cover. The lack of any text is effective, and the photography is an excellent example of chiaroscuro. More about Adele on the linked Wikipedia page.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Routine video by Steven Wilson and Jess Cope

I've decided to put this under miscellaneous art, because that is what this is - far more than just a YouTube video. Routine is one of the best tracks of Steven Wilson's fantastic album Hand. Cannot. Erase., released earlier this year. Jess Cope of Owlhouse Studios created a stunning animated video for this song, and the combination works perfectly. A bit of background information and the link to the video can be found in the link below.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Les Châteaux de la Loire

A 2015 release that I came across in a music blog. Ellesmere is the brain child of Roberto Vitelli, bass and guitar player from Italian prog band Taproban. The music on this album is worthwhile, but the cover is really exquisite. It was especially created for the album by the singer, Luciano Regoli.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The party's over

When the cleaners of the Museion Bozen-Bolzano in northern Italy came in to clean up the remains of a party, they became a bit too enthusiastic. A con-art installation, named ‘Where are we going to dance this evening?’ by artist duo Goldschmied and Chiari was tackled as well, leaving nothing but a clean floor and baffled museum staff. Not the first time something like this, not the last time undoubtedly. The art piece has been reconstructed meanwhile. Full story in the link.

web site