Tuesday 26 May 2009

Browser wars

Logic dictates that, since I find this interesting, somebody else in the world might too. The graph below shows the browser by which the last 500 visitors to this site made that trip.

Exciting, no? Alright then, no... but good to see a few mobile device browsers creeping into the charts at least...

Thursday 21 May 2009

Francesca Woodman

Last weekend, I had the good fortune to be in Edinburgh. Quite apart from the joy of climbing Arthur's Seat, one of the highlights of my time there was a visit to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, an excellent endeavour and a short stroll from the heart of the city along the beautiful Water of Leith footpath.

Anyway, at present the ground floor of the gallery is taken up with an exhibition called Artist Rooms, which includes a lot of Damien Hirst (including a sheep in formaldehyde). This was great, but the room that affected me most was that given over to the photographs of Francesca Woodman. Her black and white photography in the late 70s and early 80s was simple but effective, powerful and evocative - often, she would use blurring or movement in her pictures to make the audience work harder. Certainly there was plenty of symbolism in her photographs, and surrealism too. I say "was" - sadly, Francesca committed suicide aged just 22.

Doing a quick Google image search for Francesca's work will provide a rich bounty. Go and have a look, it's worth it.

Friday 8 May 2009

Sleep with me

Not quite the first, but one of the earliest gigs I went to was Billy Bragg, back in 1990. It was quite a night, and remains in my mental "top five greatest gigs" list to this day. Uncle Bill was mesmerising, just him and his guitar and a barrel full of amazing songs.

Support came, according to the gig poster which I still have, from The Cole Porters. Not credited on the poster though was the support act I want to mention here, one Caroline Trettine. She went on first, just her and her acoustic guitar, and sang with beauty beyond words. I maybe fell in love, a little, for the spellbinding 20 minutes or so that she was onstage. I certainly bought her debut album, the sublime Be A Devil, on CD from the merchandise stall straight after her set, no small commitment given that this was back in the day of student poverty and means-tested grants (no loans back then). I still have the CD, of course, and it is still a favourite.

So why am I writing about this? No, not to herald a post in which I finally count down that oft-mentioned "top five greatest gigs" list, no (though I will do that someday). Just that this morning, quite by chance, I happened upon Caroline's MySpace. And on her profile, the first song that displays in the list of playable tracks is the highpoint of that debut album, the haunting, passionate ballad that is Sleep With Me. Go on over there and have a listen, right now. You'll be glad you did. See if you maybe fall in love, a little, too...