Excellent moment to be turning the spotlight on what a repulsive, disgraceful, unprofessional, catastrophic, deeply deeply stupid and dishonest organisation ATOS is.
I am really, really looking forward to the Paralympics. I also really, really, really, really hate Atos- what a company who hold public contracts are doing sponsoring shit in the first place is a pressing enough question but for the last few years I’ve also been closely involved in battling to prevent Atos taking away the £65 one of my best friends is afforded per week to cover food, bills, loo roll (you know, crazy indulgent shit) and any other needs they might have. The process is mindbogglingly unscientific and bastardly to such an exacting degree that the evil-mongers at Amazon could only fantasise about the level of invasive unpleasantness they achieve.
They also break the law; their data protection act compliance is so poor as to be laughable and yet despite even interventions by MPs, they seem to be unstoppable. The idea that they are sponsoring an event for disabled people is such a grotesque joke it feels like it must be part of the Saw: 2012 tribute or some other morbid shitfuck for people with no imagination for real problems. Yet it’s really happening!
I really hope some of the Olympians and Paralympians or reporters will bring this up. Atos, for flavour, told my old landlady (who had never been given the all-clear from stage 4 cancer) that she was fit to work because they had seen her walk 60m, with difficulty. Presumably her failure to qualify for the 110m hurdles was only because of her desire to be so ill.
Gross and tragic in equal measure, it is frustrating that such a wonderful event is going to be marred by these cuntboilers gaining even an ounce of positive publicity by directing funds they should have been using to, say, pay someone to keep address records up to date to get their name on everyone’s lanyard.
having had to support my wife as she dealt with these bastards I can only endorse the hatred and disgust
I decided to avoid the established canon of 20th Century Artists (Picasso, Matisse, etc) as that would be boring and because in the end they don’t engage me as much. Even so this was hard.
In the end I went with my gut response to artists work that I have seen and which continues to stimulate me. So in roughly chronological order:
For picking up the baton from the Impressionists of painting in shimmering strokes of intensely hued colour to represent light and adding undercurrents of intense emotion. For his robust yet subtle compositions. For the sheer delight that I get from looking at his work.
For interrogating the family. For her industry and lack of good taste. For her obsessiveness and perseverance. For the variety and intensity of her work.
For his deadpan use of found images and opening a door that Warhol and others have walked through since. For his handling of materials and colour – particularly grey. For his sense of mystery and being both either/or.
For being a pioneer: planting flags where subsequent artists have settled and made a career while Bruce marches on. For his lack of sentimentality and for making me laugh.
Also in the running:
OK well this is a potential minefield of opportunities to get blown up by my condescending or crass remarks but here goes:
Joni Mitchell Back in 1974 I was in a fairly eclectic London bookshop with my Mum, Dad and sister where they were playing Court and Spark over and over again. Being in a bookshop in those days was the equivalent of browsing through Tumblr - the opportunity to skim wide-eyed from one subject to another in a waking dream - and Joni provided a perfect soundtrack. My Dad like the record so much that he bought a copy there and then and took it home. I can pretty much say that it is the one record that I can sing the songs from start to finish (with a few la-la-las thrown in). It has great melodies and smooth arrangements that sugar some more bittersweet lyrics. As a teenager the words seemed bewilderingly adult and were the first insight that I had into a woman’s perspective on relationships with others and oneself. It still remains my favourite of her albums although I also love Hejira and the Hissing of Summer Lawns.
Rickie Lee Jones If I was ever going to do a One Week One Band I’m pretty sure that I would write about RLJ. She is a frustratingly inconsistent artist although I still find even her weaker material (various covers) enjoyable. She is probably best known for Chuck Es in Love which created the persona of a retro-Beatnik hip(pie) chick which has often been used to define her ever since.
I’m not even sure that I can do justice to what it is I love about her work. Beginning with songs like the Last Chance Texaco she has an ability to weave narratives that embody a sense of aching sadness and hope against hope that resonate with my default melancholy. Her second album Pirates is ( I think) at least partly a response to her relationship and break up with Tom Waits but never addresses that full on. Instead it takes the feelings of joy and loss and lets them inhabit other narratives. Her songs can often seem haunted by the ghosts of other melodies and fragments of lyrics that suggest roads not taken or eternally repeated mistakes. She has since released albums in a a variety of different styles. Ghostyhead sounds something like trip-hop. I once described The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard as sounding like a Gospel album by the Velvet Underground. I could go on. I am a fan.
Nina Simone I first heard her when My Baby Just cares for me became hip in the early 1980s. Pigeonholing her by that tune alone would be the equivalent of linking RLJ to Chuck E. Since the mid-80s I have heard and owned various compilations by Ms Simone since then and everything I have heard has been extraordinary. She is an exceptional piano player -sophisticated when she wants to be, primitive when it suits the mood. Her voice embodies depths of grief, anger and passion - whether she is singing her own compositions or those written by someone else.
Janelle Monae Ms Monae has only released one album and an EP (plus a few guest appearances here and there) but I find her an exceptional artist. Like the previous performers she has a distinct sensibility which allows her to explore a range of styles without losing her own voice. Like RLJ she creates narratives which are haunted by less explicit but more personal emotions. She works with great musicians and the woman can dance too.