Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Michelangelo's Noah in the Sistine Chapel

"Noah . . .  became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent . . . "

"Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness . . . "

"Shem and Japheth  . . . turned the other way so they would not see . . . "

An exhibition of actual-size reproductions of images from the Sistine Chapel is currently to be seen at Vienna's Votivkirche.

Michelangelo's depiction of Noah's right hand, seen here in close-up, is unusual to say the least.

It might be an interesting exercise to compare Noah's hand with the artist's depiction of a cloven foot in the following picture of Noah's sons sacrificing a couple of rams.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

zodiac heads

The bronze heads to be seen at Vienna's Belvedere Palace until a few weeks ago represented the 12 heads of the 18th cent. zodiac circle of animals at Yuanmingyuan - the Palace of Calm Seas - in Beijing. Twelve figures adorned the water-clock fountain in front of the palace until 1860 when the site was destroyed by British and French troops during the Second Opium War and the heads were looted. Seven of the heads have since found their way back to China. Four recovered heads were in possession of a world famous fashion designer in Paris according to information available at the Belvedere. Five heads are still missing. May they return safely home. The artist is Ai Weiwei.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

three skyscapes

Crows not flying as the crow flies

Sunset over Vienna Woods 

The morning and the evening star
 crows dance on the breeze  

 a contrail streaks over the sunset  –

   venus comes into view

Venus, seen from Vienna, is illuminated by sunlight from the right side (west).  At this time of year she can be observed from a little after 4pm when she is the only visible star in the sky.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

king of the mountains

An interesting email in my box today:
What is the speed of gravity?

The speed of light is 299,792,458 km/sec.
(commonly referred to as 300,000,000 km/sec.) ,
so where do we go from there?

Can anything, perhaps gravity, travel faster than light?

Thursday, 17 November 2016

the last supper . . . a private affair

Broken News: Frau Merkel and Mr. Obama met officially for the final vier augen (four eyes) session, a 3 hour meal in a Berlin hotel. Just the two of them.  What did they find to talk about over the bratwurst and marillen-krapfen? How to control wars and world events? Certainly. How to deal with their bogeyman Trump? Definitely. A Nobel prize nomination for Angela? Possibly.  After all . . . Barrie himself . . .  and even Dylan . . .  so can't rule it out. 

And after the repast, during after-dinner cocktails perhaps Barrie went so far as to suggest Angela might like to visit him and his folks in Hawaii when she finally hangs up her official trouser suits for good.  

And maybe she even reciprocated. And invited her American, the so-called World's Most Powerful Man, to call on her somewhere in Deutschland when the political fall out has settled . . . perhaps wicker chair baskets on the windswept island of Sylt . . . .  the brief touching of hands from across the sea . . .  the ruddy sun sinking below the far horizon . . .  the sand blowing in their eyes . . . as it does . . .   

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

president-elect collage

It's a president-elect collage and it's a work in progress. I can't make up my mind about the border. Perhaps something Mexican?

The collage features from left to right and top to bottom: the Sidney Opera House at night, the 2016 super moon, the word Triumph, a Donald Trump t-shirt, TV 'star' Niqab Nora, a Halloween Clown, the US president-elect, a bag of US money, a one dollar bill, Angela Merkel about to be sucked up by a man with a Dyson, the Stars and Stripes banner, a small oriental carpet, a grim Hillary Clinton, novelist Jack London and some of his characters, and last but not least a placard for peace - We Shall Overcomb !!!    

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

hotel vegetable soap

hotel vegetable soap
sodium palmate, 
sodium palm kernelate,
tetrasodium etidronate, 
tetrasodium edtra, 
sodium chloride,  
titanium dioxide, 
glycerine, parfum 
and aqua
100% vegetable!
hygienically sealed 
in cellophane wrapper
suitable for vegetarians
do not eat

MQ's light show

the topmost lantern is the moon

The Green House

The Green House by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1906) painted on a piece of wood is today attached to a metal frame, and we are able to view it from both sides. A green house with occupants perhaps?

Kirchner's The Green House hangs close to Zybnek Sekal's The Cruelty. See post below. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Christmas in MQ

Among the works on display in MQ's Mumok is Zbynek Sekal's  The CrueltyDie Grausamkeit. Wood, paint, razor blades. 
  Christmas is a season of goodwill and at the same time a season of cruelty.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

haiku: winterreise for beethoven

stormy weather ahead;

tonight's for the moonlight 

and breaking the ice.

closely observed by a statue of beethoven the pianist is playing a passage from schubert's winterreise in slow motion . . . that is to say at melting iceberg speed.   

bovine haiku and a reply

now at zenspeug:

old bull meditating -


on his lingam 

austrian cow

chewing the cud 

- sun on her yon

(top haiku published here courtesy of John at zenspeug) 

Friday, 11 November 2016

Jim Clark - Formula 1

Fritz Köthe's painting of Formula 1 driver Jim Clark is a special favourite of mine.

Whenever I gaze at it in Vienna's Mumok, and that is often, I slip into reverie. I dream that I'm back in Britain and it's 1964.

I think no-one could have anticipated the great changes that have taken place in motor racing since 1964.

It was an innocent time, that time before John Player Special and Marlboro pumped their millions into Formula 1.

In 1964 I was a teenage boy. And Jim Clark was my hero. He was FI World Champion in 1963 and 1965.

This was a time when racing cars were identifiable simply by their colours.

I remember how proud I was when I first heard the words: British Racing Green.

Jim Clark was killed in a motor racing accident in 1968.

He was 32.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Draining the swamp - an opportunity for Britain

At the EU's commissariat this morning they must be choking and spluttering over an unpleasant breakfast of hypocrisy and sanctimonious cant.  These apparatchiks haven't a clue how to react to Donald Trump's stunning election victory.

A cynical but suitably mild letter of congratulation signed by two (or possibly more) of the EU's many presidents (Junker and Schultz)  was despatched yesterday under a cloud.

Irrelevant and uninteresting comments have passed through uncertain lips. These people look bewildered.

One of the main reasons, if not the main reason, for Donald Trump's success, which Europe's mainstream media has so far failed to mention in their misleading reports and 'expert' analysis, concerns the man currently sitting it out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Julian Assange, the  Wikileaks editor, has never been properly charged with any criminal offence and yet he remains effectively incarcerated as a political prisoner in London, contrary to the UN's advice and instructions following a 15 month in-depth investigation which has found in his favour.

Today, by fortuitous circumstance, there arises an opportunity for Britain to redeem itself. The prime minister should get on with it, and do what has to be done in official circles and behind the scenes.

We may anticipate that when Donald Trump moves into the oval office one of his first orders will be that Julian Assange walks out of the Ecuadorian embassy a free man.

The mosquito swatting season is over. The swamp will be drained. May it go well.

Dieu et mon droit.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Harrison Birtwistle

Last night I had the privilege of meeting with Sir Harrison Birtwistle shortly before his Wien Modern concert. We spoke about non- musical matters.

During the evening he answered questions from the audience. The following comments are, as he says, of their time:


   What I am doing is in the spirit of the moment. I don't change my music. It changes me. I couldn't write a different music than I write now or at any other time.

   Minimal is now. It is a reaction to something. When they throw their dirty washing in the corner after the event it doesn't interest me.

   The proms is not about music. It's a celebration . . . about nothing.

   It happens that things globally are of their time. You can't be original. 

   You have to be able to feel the draught under the door. 

   Boulez' Le marteau is one of the most important things written since the end of the 2nd  World War. 



Watch on YouTube - it's the best 5 minutes of the American election.

Monday, 7 November 2016

un po' di umorismo italiano - a little italian humour


O Signorina! Just one word, one word only, and I shall be the happiest man in the world.  


At the military hospital 

Now then number 7 how are you feeling today? 

I feel much better doctor. In fact I have an appetite like a horse. 

Like a horse? Very good. 

Nurse, make a note. Half a ration of hay for number 7. 

A bad memory

It seems a long time since we met. How's your father?

Sadly, he died. 

Oh dear. He was a lovely man who enjoyed life. 

One year later:

It seems a long time since we met. How's your father? 

He's still dead. 

Venezia -  View to Giudecca from Zattere 

At the pizza takeaway 

Would you like the 5 euro or the 6 euro pizza? 

I don't know. What's the difference? 

One euro. 


micro-poem 'cutting the cheese' accepted at haiku universe
7 nov 2016

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Thursday, 3 November 2016


the wonderful miracle of light and sight

information arrives
from surfaces 
of objects
which apparently do not exist
 unless the mind
creates them


 enters a black hole 
of darkness
(the brain)
and there
(or somewhere else)
         it is decoded 
and an image appears


Wednesday, 2 November 2016