Does anybody listen to British folk-rock? Stuff that flourished, really, in the late 1960s on the back of the counter-culture and some of which floated away on a cloud of Tolkien influences into the 1970s. That wasn’t surprising. In its British incarnation the counter-culture took on overtones of ‘Merrie England’, the nineteenth century sense of … More Tolkien and folk-rock and us
It’s over a decade since I paid a stupid amount of money to attend a lecture given by Malcolm McLaren – yes, that Malcolm McLaren. It was touted as a ‘cyber lecture’ in which he was going to reveal the philosophy of his approach to art. And after he’d dribbled on about nothing for about four hours, he … More If writing’s art, what should we deliver?
I have never understood the appeal of post-modern abstract art – you know, the pile of ordure sitting in the middle of a whitewashed gallery, from which you’re meant to deduce some profound statement about the nature of society, and if you don’t ‘get’ it then you’re a stupid luddite. To me this sort of … More When writing isn’t writing?
The other day I heard a panel discussion on New Zealand’s national radio. They’d called together a group of Kiwi artists – a couple of composers and a couple of writers – to comment on their work. I usually listen to these things with a certain cynicism. Here in New Zealand I find ‘arts’ discussions … More Write it now: grounding your writing in practical realities
As far as I am concerned one of the more facile questions authors – or artists of any kind – get asked is ‘who’s your influence?’ It’s as if nobody can do anything original. There’s an automatic assumption that a creative artist – like a writer – has to be ‘influenced’ by the style or … More Write it now: who’s your writing influence?
I thought I would conclude my trilogy of deco posts with a few more glimpses of my home town – Napier, New Zealand. The place has spectacularly reinvented itself since its discovery, about 25 years ago, of its own modernist heritage. Today it styles itself the ‘art deco capital of the world’. And in many … More More wonderful architecture from the art deco capital of the world
Ever been caught when that ‘good idea’ floats in – and vanishes just as quickly, before you can get back to your computer? Just as you’re writing to a deadline or trying to make up your NaNoWriMo quota? History offers us a few ways out of it. Back in the nineteenth century a good number … More Five reasons why blank paper’s a writing inspiration