… there’s always art.
I’m humbly conscious of the fact that this modest little blog has extended its tentacles well beyond the borders of the benighted UK, but wherever you happen to be reading this, it can’t have escaped your attention that, as a nation, we’re currently experiencing a few local difficulties. We’re being overwhelmed by a tsunami of news. There’s no escaping it; headline stories that would recently have unfolded over the course of several months, now all happen in a single afternoon. The existential horror and bleak new reality (to us Remainers, anyway) of Brexit; the self-serving treachery, cowardice and plain human inadequacy of the Leave ringleaders, who all ran for cover – along with the traumatised PM himself – as soon as the result was confirmed and the full scale of what they had unleashed began to sink in; the almost total absence of political leadership just when the country needed it most, as the two main parties turned in on themselves and embarked on rancorous internal power struggles and blame games. The Labour Party is still in the process of cannibalising itself – a split seems the only plausible outcome at the time of writing – whereas the Tories are traditionally far more ruthlessly efficient at this Game of Thrones business and, sure enough, have already appointed their new leader and, by default, the new Prime Minister – the pro-remain Theresa May. No election is necessary (how about that!), even though as a nation we’ve now ‘won back control’, apparently. It’s the satirists I feel sorry for.
There’s more. Crashing down into the middle of this domestic debacle, like a cartoon anvil from the sky, and at 2.6 million words, weighing about the same, arrived the long-awaited Chilcot Report on the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Its verdict was as unequivocal and damning as anyone could have hoped for, yet its central character, Tony Blair, once he has negotiated a handful of uncomfortable set-piece interviews with his trademark evasive guile, will return, not to prison (he was never there!), but to the lucrative international lecture circuit and ‘peace building’ initiatives in the Middle East. Good for you, sir.
In other news, Andy Murray won the men’s singles at Wimbledon, and a moth landed on Ronaldo and became a social media sensation. Plus more bombs, shootings, and something else about Donald Trump. I’m getting a headache, now.
Which brings us back to art. It’s wonderful to immerse oneself in creative activity at any time of course, but in the midst of the current mayhem, it provides a particularly valuable sanctuary, and means of keeping things in perspective. The following selection is from before and after the EU referendum; as far as I can tell, my life-drawing has been blissfully unaffected by Brexit so far.
This is Jenny from a month-or-so ago:
Edurne (I can’t help feeling the first image would lend itself well to the MDF-cutout treatment I experimented with recently…):
John Cooper Clarke played the wonderful novelty song ‘Transfusion’ by Nervous Norvus on his show recently, which inspired me to knock up a little sketch on the iPad:
Here’s lovely long-limbed Laura from a couple of weeks ago:
Earlier that day, it was announced that the pioneering rock’n’roll guitar legend Scotty Moore has died, at the age of 84. The news was almost entirely obscured by more prominent stories, but I figured he’d contributed more than enough joy to the world to warrant a quick iPad tribute:
(I feel another video link coming on – that’s Scotty on guitar, accompanying some singer…)
Zoe, from last week (well-behaved new puppy companion not shown):
Finally, another quick iPad drawing (likeness not included – sorry, David!), this time inspired by the stupendously uplifting Talking Heads movie Stop Making Sense, which for some reason I’d never seen in its entirety until a couple of nights ago. A life-affirming jewel, right on cue.