Anodyne
Saturday, November 28, 2009
 

Weegee, Drunk Tank, Los Angeles, c. 1950
 

Interview with a visiting academic who can't fathom what we're doing at CSA or why. His scattershot questions. After a while Steve and I leaned forward and started addressing his professional-quality microphone directly.

Q: What's your model?

CJB: We don't really have one. We couldn't find one we liked so we made our own.

Q: Adorno?

CJB: He's funnier than people think he is, but he wouldn't like anyone we've ever showed here.

Q: What art writers do you like?

CJB: T.J. Clark, Clement Greenberg, Donald Judd, Peter Schjeldahl, Thierry de Duve, Jeff Wall.

Q: The photographer?

CJB: Yup.

Q: He's written art criticism? Really?

After a while you start thinking you might be wasting your time.

Q: Is it a labor of love?

CJB: No really. Love's less work.

ST: It's a praxis.

CJB: [nodding in silent agreement]

The question of audience. The recognition that the audience might be dead, or not even exist. The hope that your work will somehow conjure an audience into being.

The new photographs, the cameras unfamiliar and a little awkward to operate. The refusal to apologize any longer for my practice. The right to be as bad as everyone else. (The corresponding obligation to improve, or at least to try and improve.)

(The memory of David Mamet's story about the wedding he once attended, where the bride and groom promised "to try and love one another." "The marriage, of course, was doomed.")
Thursday, November 26, 2009
 

It is the nature of the business
 

Oh, nooo!
 

Guard Shack, 2009
 

War Game Tree, 2006-9

Third and final incarnation of a picture.
 
Little kid playing on today's motif in the sunlight, mom lurking nearby. No love in her eyes for the bald photographer in the fluorescent red Goretex jacket. If I was my friend Owen Kydd, I'd know the child's name by now, be invited home for dinner, receive birthday cards from the parents and a free range organic turkey at Christmas. People open up to Owen. Over at Anodyne HQ, the Fuji's power-up beep is just a klaxon call for scrutiny.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
 

"THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST. AS YOU KNOW THE BOOKS ARE OVER 30 YEARS OLD. IT IS PRINTED ON HAND MADE PAPER,WHICH IS VER DELICATE. THE BOOKS WERE PURCHASED FROM A STATE OF BOOK COLLECTOR. THE BOOKS WERE ALL IN ITS ORIGINAL BOXES AND NEVER USED. BEFORE SHIPPING THE BOOKS, I SPARAY THE BOOKS WITH LYSOK DISINFECTANT TO MAKE SUR TO KILL VIRUSES, BACTERIA, MOLD AND MILDEW. SOME OF THE SMELL THAT YOU NOTICED IS FROM THE SPRAY. THE BOOKS SHOULD BE AIRED AND USUALLY ODOR DISSIPATES. WITH 30 YEARS AND HAND MADE PAPER IT IS REALLY AN ANTIQUARIAN BOOK AND THEY NORMALLY HAVE SOME MILD ODOR. IF YOU PURCHASE ADDITIONAL BOOKS, I WILL MAKE SURE THEY ARE AIRED AND SPRAYED BEORE SHIPPING TO YOU. I HAVE A LOT OF BOOK SELLERS WHO PURCHASE FROM ME ON A REGULAR BASES."
 

Imperial County phototour
 

"Dear Mr. Brayshaw: the solicitors [sic] at Helps Law Offices would like to put you on FINAL NOTICE that any utterance, phrases, sentences, conversations, decrees, statements, speeches, or declarations made by our client of either a humorous or non-humorous nature, if used on your 'weblog,' or in any writing in any forum, must be credited to our client in a form acceptable to her. Hence, the use of a 'dash' or other symbol does not properly credit her. She is not 'The-Symbol-Formerly-Known-As-Prince.' 'L.' is perfectly acceptable. Please understand that Ms. Helps is an independent entity and makes no promises, guarantees, endorsements or renewables about exercising 'humour' or being a 'good conversationalist.' Please understand that we will hold you personally, and Pulpfiction Books, its agents, employees, and associates jointly and severally liable should this happen again. Yours very truly, Helps Law Offices."
 

Countdown to Ecstasy

Woken c. 730am by the garbage truck, the other garbage truck, the glass recycling truck, the paper recycling truck, the City of Vancouver sewer clean-out truck with the slurpy hose, car alarm going off, sure it's being burgled by all of the above.

Clock radio goes off: "...right back after Nickelback."

-It's like waking up in friggin' Guantanamo Bay.

-No, they'd be playing Aja there.

Torrential driving rain. Ragged guy with wet garbage bag of trashed textbooks on the doorstep.

-Sorry. I can't use any of these.

-Why the fuck not?

Phone ringing.

-What's the most recent book you have on learning English. I need its title, price, publication date, and page count.

-Well, we have a languages section--

-That's not what I asked you now, is it?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
 
Fun hour-and-a-half loading photo software onto the office computer in preparation for new pictures. Erik Satie on the office speakers. Outside, flat grey sky, shush of Main Street traffic, snow on all the North Shore mountains. Neutral light, revealed in the new pocket camera's test prints as milky smears on mirrors, glass, water.

My winter fleece vest, zipped up tight to my chin.
Monday, November 23, 2009
 

Payback Time

Anybody with an RRSP, or anyone who owns property, plans to own property, or uses government services of any kind should read this short article very, very carefully. Anyone tempted to blow the warning off -- "It's the US, stupid, not Canada, I read about it last week in The Economist!" -- should note that many European and Asian economies are in exactly the same boat.

"Even as Treasury officials are racing to lock in today’s low rates by exchanging short-term borrowings for long-term bonds, the government faces a payment shock similar to those that sent legions of overstretched homeowners into default on their mortgages.

With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.

In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." (my italics)

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