There's a theme running through the blog this week. And it's all slightly Macabre. With this I'd like to introduce you to Caroline Green from Portland, which, is the largest city in the State of Oregon (see I may come in handy for pub quizzes or The Chase one day). I first saw Caroline on Twitter and instantly loved the mural that was in front of me. The mural is painted on the side of a The Goldsmith building in her town. She had three days (till the first Thursday of the month) to paint in a 10x14 foot space. The mural stays up until the end of the month which then gets white washed over ready for another artist. This idea was started back in 2009, I hope they still get a different artist each month, last mural I could find was back in 2013. Have a look here to see Carrie's Mural in it's different stages. Perhaps you have been, or, are from Portland and come tell me in the comments below.
Caroline's other works caught my eye too, in fact for some weird reason I keep staring at them without blinking, I wonder, I look away and have to turn back really quickly to see if they have moved in the painting. You know a bit like Dr Who's Weeping Angels, but, on canvas. This series of paintings is called Humanoid. Described on her home page as pieces of art inspired by the human condition and influenced by medicine... “that explore the relationship between curiosity, fear and ignorance. Randy Young, curator of Gallery Zero describes the works as being "extremely dark surreal imagery".”
To learn more about Caroline here's her website, if you are on Twitter she's there too linky above.
BEER that I brewed!
The Embalmer NPA 5.5% Eden Brewery, Cumbria
See I kept the Macabre theme going even with the beer! I had forgotten how dark this beer was when I brewed it. We didn't skimp on the hops either! Chinook, Cascade and Eldorado (always when I hear this I remember that shocking TV series made back in the 1990's). The lovely waft of aroma that greets you first is Eldorado thanks to me! I choose that one out of the three to go in the fermenting vessel a few days later! Here's the discussion between me (the haven't really got a clue about beer expert) and the boss (the head brewer who created this beer) that went..
Boss- “Which hop do you think should be added?”
Me- “What?! Haven't we put enough in already”
So I sniffed the three and choose Eldorado
Boss- “What have you chosen that for?!
Me- “Cause it smells better than the other two. Why, which did you choose?”
My response was 'Apricot and Peach goes better with chocolate than pine' I mean who has ever had Pine chocolate'. Chinook has Pine characteristics if you didn't know.
So in went two stocking balaclavas of Eldorado. No pressure there then.
So I'm drinking it now and it's lovely with a little bitterness, at the end. So let me take you to my boss who will tell you better than me how it should taste and why it's called an NPA. Oh and why we called it The Embalmer (watch the film clip). OOO there's some swearing in the clip.
Well if I have another one of these it looks like I'll be “missing Monday and come up smiling on Tuesday” (Withnail and I)
If you'd like a beer review from an outside source on The Embalmer, here you go. My old friend Greg who Tutors many sport coaches in many sports, and, likes no sorry loves his beer (I since discovered).
COVERED IN WEEDS
I just had to buy this little Alpine flower from the Lowther Castle Plant fair last weekend. It was this little plant that sealed the deal for a themed blog this week. The Alpine plant was bought from Hartside Nursery Garden here in Cumbria. I had already bought some alpine plants from him last year, which are doing amazingly well. Saxifraga ferdinandi-coburgi (to you, me and anyone who can't pronounce it let alone remember the name it is better known as) 'Drakula'! Yes I was drawn to it purely for the name, and bought it because of the name! I'm simple like that. I asked them why the name Drakula and he didn't know. He thought maybe it was because the buds of the flower are a small round drop of blood red.
But, you see the flower when it does emerge in all it's bloom is actually Yellow! Now that's reason two for getting this Alpine plant. Turns out it is so named because of the teeth like rosettes (the green stuff) are very very sharp! And yes I did poke it, didn't quite draw blood but I can imagine if I poked it hard it would.
So when I re plant it after it's flowered I will be ever so careful it doesn't bite me back!
Photo Credit (Yellow flowers)
North American rock garden society site. Purchased from Alpines Mt. Echo; photo by Todd Boland
I used to spend hours in HMV, Virgin records, Our Price and second hand record stores 'back in the day' searching through the Vinyl and later the CD's and DVD's but these days it's a different story. It all started a fair few years ago now when I decided I wanted to try something new and not from my favourite authors James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell. Whilst I loved their creations I thought it was time to broaden my horizons. I have a method on how I choose new books and you probably won't like it and I can spend hours just like I did with the records.
I stand in Waterstones near the door (the one near me starts at Z), And I cast my eye over the front facing books first and then the spine facing ones. Yes I am judging a book by it's cover and the title! If I like the look, I read the gumph on the back, If this is successful I proceed to the first two sentences. This is the crucial bit, it will either make me put it back or finish the paragraph. I then flick randomly through the book reading the odd sentence. If I like it, I buy it, but I won't necessary read it that month or year for that matter. I have tons of books I've not read yet, but one I managed to read before they even thought about making the film was ..
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The front cover has a drawing of Death (see there is a macabre link in Musings too) dancing a jig with a pigtailed young girl. The first chapter is entitled Death and Chocolate. Well who would not continue after chocolate?!
“First the colours.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.
HERE IS A SMALL FACT
You are going to die.”
and I continued to read, in-fact if my memory serves me right I was stood there reading this book till chapter two entitled 'Eclipse'. At this point I thought I'd better go and pay for this book. However it took me awhile before I re picked it back up (I was finishing another book – slow reader with not much down time). I flew through the book, eagerly turning the pages. I loved how Death was talking to me about his three encounters he had had with The Book Thief. The book starts with the three colours he sees her in at the point he arrives in her life. Red, White and Black. Clearly it's not a fairytale, people, *spoiler alert* die in it, but it's not a morbid read, it may warm your heart in places, parts will make you smile, or, smell the engine oil on the road and the plumes of smoke. You may laugh as you imagine a white skinned, blonde hair boy covering himself in thick black charcoal (and his hair) sprinting as fast as he could (in a Nazi ridden Munich) to emulate the great Jessie Owens. The film starts with The Book Thief, Liesel on a train with her mother and brother heading to Munich.
I loved the book and I will be reading it again and again. I was eager to watch the film when it came out at the cinema but I was too slow and thus have only just seen it. I was impressed (It was a few years back that I had read the book), very nicely done. And if I'm honest the only film to have ever made me cry was Stand By Me (when River Phoenix's character dies in it poignantly he'd died the week before I'd seen this film and I was a fan) and this one did too, right at the end when war things happen. A tear trickled down my check and I was caught out by The Man, who seemed moved (and smirked) that I can actually cry at fiction. So if you've read the book, take a fresh approach and watch the film (of course it's filmed differently, Death isn't narrating to you, only at the start and end of the film, and they will sketch on details). Liesel is exactly how I imagined her in the book too.
If you've seen the film, now go read the book, it's an easy read and a page turner.
Tunes for this week – hmmm what shall I choose for the Macabre theme? Tricky one! I wasn't sure what the operatic piece was called that I liked and I had heard of it long before Britain's got Talent Finalist sung it but here's his version Rhydian - 'O Fortuna',
The Rolling Stones - 'Dancing with Mr D'
Blue Oyster Cult - '(Don't fear) The Reaper'
Wait can I do one more please..
Guns & Roses - 'Knockin on Heavens door'. When the first chord is strummed on this song I always get a tingling feeling through my arms.
Have a great Easter break, leave a comment as you pass by on any of the above. See you this time next week. Thanks for stopping by.