I seem to recall when flicking through a dog-eared copy of Dr. Benjamin Spocks seminal work ‘Baby and Childcare’ there isn’t a chapter recommending the development of language that encourages a fucking moronic unworthy father to repeatedly go ‘wooooo’ ‘wooooo’ over and over and fucking over for the best part of half an hour whilst maintain the exact same robotic tone, pitch and volume. I believe it doesn’t then advise to do the exact same precise thing just as I’m trying to go to sleep before ‘soothing’ the infant off with an impromptu gig, which includes the classic ‘woooo’ chorus. What a fucking Cunt.
Because of the vast amount of boozing I’ve been doing for the past few days I undertook the decision to abstain. I’d also run out of grass so I was in for a double whammy of misery. I was fully aware of this as I cycled home and parked my bike in the van; even as I entered my flat I knew that there was nothing inside to delight me in the same way a wine and spliff does. Despite this I took the time to make a roast, and even as I ate it, crying out for a glass of Claret as it was, I fought back the booze-urge and focussed my attention onto the food and nothing else.
The evening passed through a cycle of cigarettes, tea, TV and abstinence. I knew once I’d made it to 11 I’d be okay, getting there was another thing. But there was one little light in the alcohol-free pit of horror.
I was looking forward to watching the Alan Yentob’s programme on Surrealism, despite Alan. Relying as I was on a crack team of researchers to plaster over the cracks, even I was genuinely amazed that the programme was a 24-carat balls up from the opening shot to the last. Fundamentally the hairy cunt didn’t even tell the viewer what surrealism actually is.
Yentob virtually ignored all the female surrealists though one was mentioned, despite being capable of eye popping misogyny, surrealism is the first movement in art history to introduce the ‘female artist’, and they got a lot closer to the true understanding of the concept than most of their male counterparts. Step forward Dorothea Tanning, Leanora Carrington, Eileen Agar, Meret Oppenheim (she did the seminal ‘dejeuner en fourrure’ (hairy tea cup and saucer)) and the muse and photographer Lee Miller, whose eye features in Man Ray’s metronome as vengeance following a doomed affair.
Alan mentioned but failed to recognise Hans Bellmer and completely ignored Yves Tanguay (whose work was plagiarised by Dali) both genuine exponents of the movement and more crucially members of the group, I’ll touch on that shortly.
To add insult to injury The BBC punctuated the programme with very basic and crass visual antonyms, like Alan talking on a phone, which became a banana, then some flowers etc., isn’t ‘surreal’ it’s merely the juxtaposition of objects and coveys nothing outside of the fact Alan doesn’t know what surrealism is.
Firstly, to be in the movement, Andre Breton its founder had to let you in, if he booted you out as he did Dali for being a self seeking Franco supporter then you were no longer a surrealist, merely a follower or at best, a devotee to the fundamental concept of, as Lautréamont (whose death predates the movement by 60 years I hasten to add) put it, ‘the chance encounter on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and umbrella’, Alan acknowledged the quote at least. George Melly who heavily featured (Alan’s mate clearly) should know better calling himself a surrealist, especially as he’s a so-called ‘expert’ on the movement.
Secondly surrealism was a largely literary movement and political by nature, communist to be precise, the idea behind surrealism was to shock the public into a different way of thinking about the human being in society. Essentially it was a dark movement designed to impose itself onto the subconscious via it’s two basic themes of sex and death and there are plenty of examples where this manifests itself in genuinely upsetting works, outside of the media friendly works of Magritte and Dali, of course, and Alan playing with a fucking inflatable moon on a beach dressed like a Woody Allen in the last part of ‘All You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex but Were too Afraid to Ask’ ain’t it.
So, what is surrealism? Well as Alan couldn’t be pissed to do so, I will enlighten you. It’s like that moment between being awake and asleep, the where the fuck..? or what the fuck..? experience we have every bloody morning just before you realise you’ve a massive woody, in my case. Or it can be the very moment when the hairs stand on back of neck when you thing you caught something otherworldly out of the corner of your eye. Put it this way, The Blair Witch Project is a lot closer to the fundamental gist of what constitutes surrealism than Monty Python, say.
I’m in a fucking awful mood. I’m knackered out and it’s raining again. But there is hope. Big Brother starts tonight, and I’m a unashamed fan. So much so that Piqued may suffer in order to contribute to Watch With Mothers (link, right). I will certainly be reviewing tonight’s opener tomorrow so why don’t you join me then.
This is one of my favourites