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Leonard Cohen: Thanks for the Dance

Misc Posted on 23 Nov, 2019 17:14:17

A new, posthumous Leonard Cohen album arrived yesterday, Thanks for the Dance. It is quite something, especially this opening track, ‘Happens to the Heart’. The record carries a remarkable sense of presence, as if he never went away. In keeping with the music, the video is stark in its beauty and simplicity. It has echoes of Cohen’s years spent at Mount Baldy in the 1990s.

Agnes Varda 1928-2019

Misc Posted on 30 Mar, 2019 17:35:28

Very sad indeed to hear the news of Agnes Varda’s passing. A truly inspirational figure and up there with the greats. I first became acquainted with her films when working on my PhD in the early 2000s and have been smitten ever since. The Gleaners and I remains one of my favourite films of any director. It never ceases to enchant and inspire. Other stand out films for me include Vagabond, Cleo from 5 to 7, Daguerreotypes, The Beaches of Agnes, and the recent Faces/Places. But for me all of her work stands up to repeated viewings. I was very fortunate to see her in conversation at FACT in Liverpool last year as part of the 2018 Liverpool Biennial. The photograph above was taken afterwards outside FACT. I will miss her playfulness, creativity and indefatigable energy.


Misc Posted on 20 Feb, 2019 22:39:10

It has been a while since I’ve uploaded anything to the ‘Words‘ page on I am not sure why this is other than the fish just not biting. Not that I’ve really been fishing as far as I am aware. What tends to happen with poetry writing is not so much that I go looking for words, it is rather that they come looking for me. At least, that is how it seems with the poem ‘Gif’. Something snags and refuses to be dislodged. Because of this thing – an idea, feeling, disposition, whatever – making demands on my attention I am inexorably drawn in. Some sort of resolution then becomes necessary. As I started to work through whatever it was the image of a gif called on me to address it became apparent that it was a structure of feeling instilled by the nightmare that is the Brexit ‘process’ (if that doesn’t over-dignify what is otherwise better described as a horrowshow) that was slowly beginning to reveal itself. I don’t think the poem exclusively speaks to this, but the overwhelming feeling of ‘stuckness’ that seems to hang in the air is very much in tune with a national mood that is encapsulated by whatever it is that ‘Brexit’ has come to signify. It is not really a liminal condition as such because there is no obvious sense of an in-between state that is being traversed and negotiated. It seems more like a stutter, a tourettes-like spasm of time stuck on repeat.

The poem ‘Gif’ can be read here.