Tuesday, November 21, 2006

When is it art?

Sometimes artists use materials that are difficult for them to control. So, for example, using a very broad brush means your painting will (can not) capture small details but maybe that's OK or even desirable. So is it still art when the artist is just unskilled with the tools. For example, one day, some artist may discover a technique to capture fine detail with a broad brush. Now anyone using a broad brush can capture fine details and must choose not to (or choose not to learn how to). Does that change the quality of their art? Does it make a difference that they could have conveyed their intent more precisely? I don't think so.

Why am I suddenly thinking about art? I saw a poster for a band in Tokyo called "Bump of Chicken". I have no clue what was supposed to mean but that's not the point. Just because I and other native speakers know how to use English to create "fine detail", does that mean that someone else who only knows how to use it as a "broad brush" is wrong? If this was a public sign then I think the answer would be yes but it's not. A band's name is a (small) piece of art, not a means of conveying practical information and if the artist chooses a medium in which he is unskilled or which is difficult for him then I suppose the result is still legitimate even if it makes no sense to someone skilled in the medium.

So from now on, I'll look on dodgy English usage as abstract art.

Irish people everywhere

We arrived in Tokyo after a rather gruelling flight involving unexpected overnight in Paris and Ríona doing a fair amount of screaming (actually she was pretty good for quite a lot of the trip, she just seemed to be bored for the last few hours). Didn't do much the first day and didn't realise it was Friday (not Thursday) otherwise I would have made a trip to the office to get some bits and bobs.

Anyway, so here we are in Tokyo on Saturday morning and we take a trip out, stopping for coffee. After we order another westerner comes up and orders. "American coffee please". Oh for f*ck's sake, he's Irish. I didn't try talking to him, I assumed he lived here and foreigners living in Japan can be a bit odd, wanting to keep away from tourists but after a while he came over to our table and introduced himself (he heard my accent). He's an accordian player named Jackie Daly (what are the chances!?) and he's playing a few concerts. What's more he's here with Paddy and Bridget, a Japanese couple who live in Ireland and are apparently quite well known and they live a few hundred metres from Midori's parents house!

That's just ridiculous

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Cluster bombs in Lebannon

Intersting analysis on the cluster bombs dropped in Lebannon after the cease fire had been agreed. They seem to have used about the worst type of cluster bomb available (in terms of long term civilain casualties) despite having had other options.