Magnificent obsession

Second in a series of three

For my friend ND the kitchen is not merely a place of useful things.  It will have in it the beautiful, the rare and the unusual.  I share objects from my record of the kitchen.

Appropriately, a pewter plate for “Daily Bread”.

 

An intricately carved wooden plate.

 

A similarly-carved wooden plate with a folk art bird.

 

Let’s call this an objet d’art in pewter with no obvious use.

 

A wooden relief work

 

This elegant, antique grinder of some sort.

 

An old-fashioned scale with the photographer reflected in it.

 

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

June, 2021

 

My photographs 

 

Magnificent obsession

First in a series of three

I have never seen a home like this in my life.  To call it a museum is to limit it.  This is the home of my lifelong friend ND in Cape Town.  For many years it has been the place of a relentless collector with a sharp eye for the beautiful, the rare and the unusual.  In recent times there has been talk that he and his wife will crate the contents and  move to a smaller place.  For the record, I hurried to capture what I could and could kick myself because quite a few objects are out of focus.  Still, I share what I have of this magnificent obsession.

And everywhere, the books, the books.  He was an editor for several publishing companies in his time and added books to the collection.   The following pics, mainly ceramics, are in the dining room.

Here you can see the range of interest in the backdrop of books to this rather quirky horse:   The Oxford Book of Villains, (significantly) a book on Collecting, Human Origins Reconsidered, etc.

Ceramic pots in a Japanese style.

The contrast of these two women figures I find fascinating.

By contrast, this rather grotesque visage.

The glaze on this vase is striking.

An engraved vase with a South African theme.


I’m not sure but I think this figure has something to do with Neptune.

If this well-worn, well-used object once had a practical use, it is certainly not on display for that.  It’s just an elegant object.

This is for me one of the most remarkable pieces in the house  –  a man against the wind.

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

June, 2021

My photographs

On the dining-room table, just because …

La fête des fous / The feast of the mad ones

Third in a series of three

The Cape Carnival or Klopse (Pr. Klawp-sa) as it is specifically known, is probably the reason for these three posts.  There are few things that touch me as the experience of these disciplined, wildly colourful musicians and singers marching along in a strict platoon, singing and playing the traditional January, February, March song.  For all my travels, there a few moments like this for me.

On the surface, the Klopse is clearly an inheritance of the Mardi Gras in New Orleans – the instruments, the hats, the costumes.  But most often the songs are in Afrikaans, the language first spoken as a derivative from Dutch, by the slaves.  “Al die meide hol da’ bo in Boomstraat, Boomstraat.  Wat maak julle so laat daar bo, in Boomstraat, Boomstraat?”  [Trans.  All the girls are running ’round up there in Boom Street.  What are you doing so late up there in Boom Street?]  Always, with a tongue in cheek, a glint in the eye –  an old folk knowing.

Perhaps the most fascinating for me in the Klopse festival is the “front-walker”, in Afrikaans, Voorloper, a single man (I think he has to be young) who is the total opposite of the orderly platoons of musicians.  His movements seem truly unhinged as he becomes the rhythm of the music behind him.  Here is the inheritor of the Dionysiac tradition  –  the insanity of ecstasy.  At times it seems that he has four legs and four arms, a disorder of elbows and knees, on an impossibly supple body.  His head twists and thrusts, as his body gyrates and convulses.  My theory is that this does not come from the Atlantic Ring and ultimately from New Orleans.  I would suggest that it is a convergence of African, Indian and Indonesian traditions,  a grotesquerie to frighten away the evil spirits.  It is spectacular to witness.

Voorloper

 

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2021

 

Images

My drawings 

Klopse – source unknown 

 

La Fête des fous / The feast of the mad ones

Second in a series of three

These cathartic public expressions have been with us from forgotten ages and perhaps as long there have been those who would stop them.   As the original intention of the Mardi Gras  –  the public confession of sins  –  faded, so the church was less inclined to approve of what gradually became more raucous.  In recent years, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro uttered anti-festival sentiments.  In the 1970s and 80s the apartheid government in South Africa tried to segregate the many observers and limit the areas in which the carnival took place.  In each of these cases it was barking against thunder.

Mardi Gras masks

This letting down of the hair, letting go, being a little mad, generally speaking, has a good effect on a population.  Of course, the way in which this happens has evolved into different forms.  I believe, for instance, that rock ‘n roll serves the dionysiac urge in us.  Then too, there are modern-day sports events and protest activity the latter which, unfortunately, sometimes turns violent.  Drug-taking and alcohol seem to provide the necessary release, but more often than not end in tragedy.  This is because it is chemical and not emotional.

If the festival and its madness grow organically from a community and serve to affirm people in a fun way, it is a good thing and probably the reason that it is as old as it is.

© Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2021 

 

Images

My drawings

 

See also

Septentrion  http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com    13.10.2019

 

 

 

 

La fête des fous / The feast of the mad ones

First in a series of three

Festivals that have a touch of madness seem to be universal, from the grotesquerie of the Chinese New Year to the Feast of St John throughout Europe and into North America.  Prior to this there was the centuries-old cult of Dionysus in the Mediterranean which thrived on ecstatic worship.  The Mardi Gras in New Orleans spawned festivals in the Caribbean, Venezuela, Rio, all the way down to Cape Town.

The Feast of St John in the mid-year

Some observe that such festivals are connected to seasons, for example, the festivals of harvest, and that they originated in the Middle Ages.  It is probable that festivals, though they have changed entirely, have a far older origin and might even be pre-historic.  What is clear is that the need for festival madness persists.

Dionysus, a mask found at Antibes

Of the Atlantic Ring festivals, Rio is the best-known and largest.  Cape Town is a proud inheritor of this colourful tradition and has added elements from the East.  It adds colour to an otherwise puritan country and the traditional songs (“January, February, March”)  touch me deeply.

 

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2021

 

Images

Feast of St John –  marieandree.centreblog.net

My photograph, drawing

 

See also

Septentrion   www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com    13.10.2019    Here we see the tragic extent to which Dionysiac madness can go.  My drawings of the event.

 

 

“The Chain” – Fleetwood Mac

This song was the opening number on the Rumours album in 1977.  Today’s You Tube informs us that the song has been listened to 79 million times.  So, if I attempt to cast my thoughts on the song and there is a wakey-wakey response (“This song is 43 years old”), I have reason.

“The Chain”, together with “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975), pre-dates Disco, Reggae and, later, Rap, and style is entirely different.  For me, “The Chain” is visual music with dramatic textural contrasts  –  a moment of total silence, perhaps unique in the history of popular music, contrasted with vein-splitting fuzzy guitar hard-drive rock ‘n roll.  These contrasts I sorely miss in the music that followed from the late-1970s.

Start with the spare lyrics  –  from “Listen to the wind blow  /  Watch the sun rise  /  run in the shadows”  – strangely wind-like singing  –  to the teeth-clenched “Damn your love, damn your lies” ; from the steady, muted “footfalls” (see “running in the shadows”) of the opening moments to the burrowing bass guitar motif, the music builds to a crescendo that splinters into a dazzling display of the fuzzy guitar solo.   Add to this the telling break in the lyrical lines “Never break the Never break the chain.”

The lyrics that end the song “Chain, keep us together” are trimphant (?) after the verbal violence.  The word “chain” is sung over three different chords (E, D, A ?)  Do these chord shifts make a further point?  The repeated line “Running in the shadows” keeps sentimentality at bay.

If one of the criteria for classifying art is staying power, then “The Chain” is doing fine.

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2021

 

Source

Wikipedia Fleetwood Mac, The Chain

 

Images  

My graphics

The beehive tombs, Micene, Greece

Perhaps the place is haunted, I thought at the time I visited the beehive tombs on the Micene penisula in Greece.  It’s not that I was scared.  I was calm, but curious.  It was that first view of the tomb that made me uncertain.  I looked at the entrance at the end of the long uncovered passage-way between stone walls.  I knew I was looking at prehistory.

The entrance itself is as narrow as it is tall, with the triangular opening at the top making it look taller.    I entered the tomb and was struck by the high-domed roof.  It was built with decreasing circles of limestone bricks, looking much like a beehive.  The construction, considering when it was made, was impressive.  The people of Micene buried their dead here, long before the Greek civilization flourished, at least 1500 years b.c. in the late-Bonze age.

These tombs – there are several of them – have the floor space of a small church, with the dome 13 metres above the ground.  There must have been wooden structures on which the dead were placed.  These structures disappeared over the centuries.  The well-known 19th-century archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann maintained that he had found the grave of Agamenon  –  he who featured in Homer’s Iliad as a mythological personage.  Schliemann’s theories have been criticized.

My footsteps sound on the limestone floor.  The acoustics is remarkable.  I call out to make a test and the echo is sharp.  How did it sound, three thousand years ago, when chants sounded at a burial?  What did these people look like?  What did their labguage sound like?  All that is left is the silence hanging from the limestone dome … and the passing of all things.

 

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

May, 2021

 

Source

Wikipedia

 

Images

Entrance – historywiz.com

Cut-away  –  wikipedia.org

Interior  –  hiddeniac.atours.com

Roof – hipgreece.com

Interior  –  giclarhistorty.blogspot.com

 

Was this Agamenon’s grave?

Western Cape moments

Second in a series of two

The journey continues and will probably not stop.

The figure that the Hugenot monument in Franschhoek.  As a child I remember my mother having a special reverence for this figure.

Artwork from the forge at Montebello in Newlands, Cape Town.

Moonrise at Somerset West.

Sentinel Rock, Hout Bay.

 

Perhaps one of the more bizarre images in South Africa –  four-mast sailing ships in the veld.  I’ve been told they are part of the film industry in the Cape.

The spine bone of a whale at the Cultural History Museum, Gardens, Cape Town.

A whale “hand” in the same museum.

© Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2021

 

My photographs

 

My shadow on the beach at Strand.

 

Western Cape moments

First in a series of two 

I think there is just a whole lot of longing and nostalgia going into these two posts.  The images I place are a fraction of what I could place.  I don’t have a theme that binds these images.  It’s just as they come, with some comment.

If you look back from Boyes Drive in the direction of Simonstown, this is what you see.

 

The Broken Temple on the main throughway in upper Bellville is one of the most imaginative architectural designs in the country.  You can philosophize about this building.

A cartoon sketch of Cape Town in a bout of wind.  I can’t say who the artist was.

 

This shot was taken from the Milnerton Flea Market  –  the windswept clouds over Table Bay.

 

I took this shot of Devils Peak from the southern suburbs.

 

Fish Hoek is a town that has had the public sale of liquor forbidden for many years.  Here is a bottle of wine, rather ironically labelled.

 

This shot was taken from Gordon’s Bay.

 

This is a treated shot  –  the shadow of a tree on the wall of a historic church in Somerset West.

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2021

 

My photographs

 

 

 

 

Korea moments

Second in a series of two

As I said, there is no binding theme in the Korean moments.

I saw this charcoal landscape in the Museum of the City of Seoul.  It is a traditional work always setting the human presence into perspective in a dramatic landscape.  You have to look quite carefully to see the human shelter.  They had forbidden me to take photographs, so if anyone looking Korean knocks on your door …

 

The modernity of the Koreans is a relatively new thing and they do it so well.  I think is one of the Samsung buildings.

 

At the vast cemetery Bi-San Ri, I saw this hooked cross on a rise.  It is of course the opposite of its use in the West, a symbol of health.

 

Here was this little Buddha smiling at the world in a public garden.

 

This is the Time Capsule at Chomoroso, a suburb of Seoul.  This edifice, probably erected in the 1960s, contains artefacts of our (Korean) times  –  cultural, spiritual, technological, historical.  It can resist an atomic bomb so that something of our world survives.  I couldn’t help thinking of North Korea when I saw this thought-provoking place.

 

This is the vegetable pancake, but be warned, it is highly addictive.  How I miss it!

 

At a Japaenese mask-dance performance, I saw this striking woman and had to act quickly because I did not want to offend her.  I have an idea that she was already offended.

 

This painting, in a most traditional style, pokes fun by giving the man a cellphone.

 

Imagine my surprise when, at an art exhibition at a station, I saw this image of Table Mountain.  The name of the artist is in the righthand corner.

 

©  Will

http://www.willwilltravel.wordpress.com

Les Semboules, Antibes

April, 2021

 

My photographs, published by RotsWolk Publishers

 

While the teenagers were tricky, as they are elsewhere in the world, the little one were a delight.  They enjoyed learning the Cape song “January, February, March” that I taught them for the names of the month.

 

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