Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Darwin's Theory and Van Gogh's Ear and What Really Happened

Son S in Japan has started a blog. Go here to read his first entry. Tell
him I sent you!


It's dark when we go to work and dark when we return. I don't hear birds around our house anymore during the week-days. However, at work there are birds in the trees above the bark chipped playground. And over the fence, in Lindsay's Creek, there is a dead drake. Today one of the teachers spotted ducklings. Ducklings in June is a weird thing. Maybe evolution is having an effect, because ducklings born in spring in this particular locality are not destined to live long. They are either eaten by cats or dogs or black-backed gulls. So just maybe these ducklings have been born out of season in order to have a better chance. A good example of Darwin's law of survival.

I got home and played some of our I-Tunes selections while I cooked dinner. My selection included, ELO's 'Mr Blue Skies', Beach Boys 'Good Vibrations', Foo Fighters 'Razor', The Verve's 'Bittersweet Symphony', Patsy Cline's 'I Fall To Piececs', Kate Bush's 'Cathy's Song', Emmylou Harris' 'Evangeline' and Jerry Rafferty's one-hit wonder 'Baker Street'.
The last song always takes me right back to England in the late-seventies and a little room in the staff lodgings of Heath Lodge in Welwyn in Hertfordshire. We were waiter and kitchen-hand respectively. It was a grey winter in 1977. Sometimes on our days off we would walk through country lanes and villages (similar to the setting of the TV programme 'Midsomer Murders') to get to the 'Big Smoke' of Welwyn Garden City. I remember the dismal sound of crows cawing in bare elm trees, and seeing red-breasted robins, their scarlet chests a welcome slash of colour. Other times on our days off, we'd take the train into London. I must say my knees have never felt so cold as they were in London that winter.
Once when we were walking down an ordinary street in Welwyn, we saw a plaque outside a place where Vincent van Gogh once stayed. Son M has just been reading a biography about him. He told me that Van Gogh only ever sold one painting. And contrary to urban myth, he didn't cut off his ear and post it to an ex-lover, he accidentally slashed a little bit of his earlobe with a razor blade; that's all. So much is known about him because he wrote regular and open letters to his brother. I think if he was alive today, he might have had a blog. My favourite Van
Gogh painting is 'Sunflowers'. What's your's?



rel said...

"The Starry Night."
I dropped by to welcome kumonkey to the blogsphere.
I spent a weekend in London, 3 years ago. Went to 221b Baker street to visit with Dr. Watson and peruse Holme's digs. I hope to make a longer visit some day.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Chief, I love Starry Night, too. Also Irises, also Sunflowers. Also the one of the person standing in a field...and Potato Eaters.... When I was eighteen, and just graduated from High School, my friend and I celebrated impending adulthood by taking a bus to Los Angeles to see a fantastic Van Gogh exhibit. I found a baby mouse there and carried him about all day, and named him "Vincent." Don't remember his fate. But that's probably more than you asked for. Osaka isn't far from Kobe. My son and his family will be so near your son!

Maya said...

I think his self portrait - you can see so much anguish in his face. I do love the Potato Eaters - we got to see a study for it as well as the above self portrait on holiday in Finland at a special exhibit there. Amazing.

McDinzie said...

do you really think van gough would have bohered with a blog?? I think he would have seen it as technology he wouldn't bother with....I base this on my knowing a couple of artistist who just dont care about the cyber world...i could be wrong :)

I went to visit son S....but will he know which aunty it is??!?!?!?

and I am so jealous of you feeding out....even though it was only 5 years of my life living on a farm deep inside me I miss it...and now I am just a townie!!!!!!!


"wheatfield with crows"
mainly because of Kurosawa`s movie `Dreams`... Martin Scorcese plays Van Gogh in a brilliant(ly bad?) cameo.
E has a print of `The Bedroom` in her bedroom.

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't forget Right Down the Line, by Gerry Rafferty! :)

Anonymous said...

my favorite painting of his is crows over a wheatfield and the self-portrait where he's holding his palate and wearing that awesome floppy hat. I saw that painting in person. I wept it was so beautiful.

Jan said...

We have a print of Night Cafe at Arles which we bought after visiting Arles...
it's a brilliant painting, lots to see and lots of characters.
Each of them has some terrific story!

Becky Willis Motew said...

I guess I would have to join the crowd and say Starry Night too, CB.

I love how you remember your time in England from a song. Isn't it amazing how sound can do that? Also smells.

"Good Vibrations" is a great tune and I should crank it up.


carole said...

I like 'Night Cafe' and 'Starry Night' too.

The seasons are all out of synch here in England too. There were roses in April which was more like June. We've had sun and rain and everything is growing amazingly big.

Kay Cooke said...

rel - Thanks for visitng Son S.

pepek - Maybe our sons will meet up one day - you never know.

maya - Isn't it a shame he never knew his work would be so well loved? Bitter irony, I call that.

mcd - Yes visiting the farm always brings back fond memories.

kumonkey - Must look up that film ... Your recommendations are always worth a look.

michelle - Realy? Never heard of it ... will look that up.

jan - I am so stunned at how popular Van Gogh is even among this little blogging circle.

becks - God vibration always takes me right into the middle of my thirteenth summer ...

carole - Apparantly our May was the mildest since 1939 ... and then June hit!

Kay Cooke said...

becky - Fox Paw!!! I meant Good Vibrations of course ...

Kamsin said...

I think my fav is Starry Night.

jessica said...

hello chiefbiscuit, thanks for the comment! i think you're right about van gogh having a blog if he were alive today, he might even have sold paintings to someone other than his brother (if he has this blog in 2007, and wasn't already the famed VG everybody knows and loves, otherwise of course he would sell paintings, all of them, twenty million times over. just needed to clarify the different time factors i ignored with the above statement). also, what drew you to welwyn? if its okay to ask such things...

Kay Cooke said...

kamsin - Starry Night seems to be the one most people like.

jessica - Welwyn had a job for two kiwis - we looked in NZ House for Sits Vac. Kiwis were / are sought after as we are good workers. :)

apprentice said...

I like them all, but the iris one is wonderful as they're one of my favourite flowers, and I like some of the pictures he did in northern Europe too.

I'll think of you as we hit the soltice this week, can't believe it is here already.

I feel like you are the other person on the side of an Austrian clock, I get sun you get rain. I get light you get the dark. But it's pissing down here so that theory doesn't hold water lol!

Unknown said...

the one with the boot - although I love the sunflowers one for the detail - so infinite and exacting at the same time!

Catherine said...

Starry Night, I think. My parents had a print of one of his portraits, but it was so faded I didn't really appreciate it at the time. If you see this comment in time, try and catch Simon Schama's "The Power of Art" on TV1 tonight - it is on van Gogh. The first two in the series were brilliant. It's rather late so I record them to watch later.

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