More Obsession

I know I rarely post about music and I also know that I’m still obsessed with Your Body is a Weapon by the Wombats, but I’m completely and totally hooked on this amazing cover of Bowie’s Sound and Vision by Beck. It features over 160 other artists, from yodellers to choirs to an orchestra to rock guitarists and even a hugely cool guy playing a Theremin! As if that wasn’t enough, it was recorded in an intimate environment where Beck stood in the middle of the audience who revolved around him and in turn had the musicians revolved around them! You can watch the entire 360° experience online, but for now just dive into this brilliant song…

Trompe L’oeil

Oh and as a quick aside, the painting that is the subject of The Goldfinch in the article below is an example of a “Trompe L’oeil“.

I’m waiting patiently…

So, you haven’t got an idea what it means either?

Well, it means “deceive the eye” in French or as we’d say a “trick of the eye” and describes the art technique of using realistic imagery to create an optical illusion of depth. The simplest and most obvious example of this is the image below…

Trompe L'oeil

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

One of the biggest problems with starting a book on the Kindle is the “how bloody big is this thing?” question. I think a great invention would be something that changes the weight of the Kindle based on the story you are reading. However if that was possible then I’d have probably never started The Goldfinch  by Donna Tartt as it comes in at a hefty 800 pages.

Set mainly in New York it centres around a boy who loses his mother in a terrorist attack in a museum and finds himself leaving the scene with an incredible, priceless painting. As the years go on and his simultaneous guilt and love of the painting grow, the author does a really good job of not giving you a clue how the story will end. As per normal I don’t want to ruin the story by talking too much about it, but it’s a great combination of theft, guilt, coming of age, loss, redemption and some pretty intense drug taking set in contemporary New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam. I particularly liked the intense relationship between the protagonist Theo Decker and his friend Boris, even though it was pushed to extremes at times.

Even ignoring the great story, one of my favourite parts of the book (not a plot spoiler) was the details about antique restoration, yes I know that sounds like a completely boring subject, but trust me it’s very interesting.

By the end of the book I was completely sure that the author had made up the painting and its artist, Carel Fabritius, that the story revolves around – so I was completely amazed to find out that both of them are very much real…

Carel Fabritius The Goldfinch

Anyway it’s a really top recommendation from me, let me just find a couple of my highlighted passages…

Water streamed down the windows, quicksilver heavy, sealing us into the car

Wow, “quicksilver heavy”.

And just as music is the space between notes, just as the stars are beautiful because of the space between them, just as the sun strikes raindrops at a certain angle and throws a prism of color across the sky – so the space where I exist, and want to keep existing, and to be quite frank I hope I die in, is exactly this middle distance: where despair struck pure otherness and created something sublime.

Beautiful! go read it!

More quotes…

Have also recently re-read the brilliant “The Memory of Running”. I love the story of how Smithy finally begins his transformation so much…

“When did I become so turned in on myself that I swallow feelings like fast food and everything tastes the same salty way?”

Also read the second book in the Oryx and Crake trilogy by Margaret Atwood and just wasn’t impressed. The Year of the Flood is the story of when mankind is wiped out by a super virus that floods over the planet but the characters were just… bleagh.

It did have some good passages though…

“Beauty is only skin deep, she thought. But why did they always say only?”

Player One

Haven’t read a Douglas Coupland book for ages… as ever the story doesn’t add up to much but the little snippets of genius are frequent…

“by the age of twenty, you know you’re not going to be a rock star. By twenty-five, you know you’re not going to be a dentist or any kind of professional. And by thirty, darkness starts moving in — you wonder if you’re ever going to be fulfilled, let alone wealthy or successful. By thirty-five, you know, basically, what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life, and you become resigned to your fate.”