Feet - Borges & Mick Jagger
Saturday, June 10, 2017
los pies mojados y
la puta que murmura If you can´t give dollar, gimme a lousy dime
Capítulo 17 Rayuela
(Hopscotch) Julio Cortázar
I will not translate the above fragment from Cortázar’s
novel Hopscotch as it has a nasty word which I do not want to associate with
the lovely photographs I took of Peggy Nilsson and her feet.
I had to find some sort of reference to feet to justify
the inclusion of these photographs. The other one (in Spanish) is this link
and this one
which is about Mick Jagger finally meeting his idol (who would have known?)
Jorge Luís Borges. Mick Jagger has denied the story (Jagger knelt at Borges's feet) told by Borges's widow María Kodama.
|Ilustration by Fernando Vicente|
Napoleon's Hat & His Bidet
Friday, June 09, 2017
|Rosa 'Chapeau de Napoléon' June 14 2017|
In our Kitsilano lane/garage door garden we have two moss
roses. One is Rosa
‘Chapeau de Napoléon’ and the other Rosa
‘William Lob’. Both
have that curious filigreed growth around the blooms which if you rub with your
fingers smells like pine resin. The roses are fragrant but only bloom once.
Curiously to some but certainly not to me I think of a bidet
when I look at Chapeau de Napoléon. It is called that because before the bloom
opens it is supposed to look like Napoleon’s hat.
I think of a bidet because Napoleon had hemorrhoids. This
was probably because of his constant and long campaigns on a horse. He traveled
with a bidet and in his will:
Inventory of my effects, which Marchand will take care
of, convey to my son.
dressing-case, that which is on my table, furnished with all its utensils,
razors, &c. My alarum-clock: it is the alarum-clock of Frederic II. which I
took at Potsdam (in box No. III.). My two watches, with the chain of the
Empress’s hair and a chain of my own hair for the other watch: Marchand will
get it made at Paris. My two seals (one the seal of France, contained in box
No. III.). The small gold clock which is now in my bed-chamber. My
wash-hand-stand and its water-jug. My night-tables, those used in France, and
my silver-gilt bidet. My two iron bedsteads, my mattresses, and my coverlets,
if they can be preserved. My three silver decanters, which held my eau-de-vie.,
and which my chasseurs carried in the field. My French telescope. My spurs, two
pairs. Three mahogany boxes, Nos. I. II. III., containing my snuff-boxes and
other articles. A silver-gilt perfuming pan.
You will note the mention of the silver-gilt bidet!
If anybody reading this is interested in the best info on
moss roses you will find it here.
Gender Uncomformism & the Mexican With a Sombrero Sleeping Under a Cactus
Thursday, June 08, 2017
|20th century Fuji instant film - scanned and manipulated in this century|
Being almost 75 years old puts me squarely into the last century,
that 20th century when most people worked from Monday to Friday and phones were
black and you had to dial them. I lived in the icebox age and home radios were important.
In that 20th century as a boy I looked at maps that had
sleeping Mexicans, wearing large sombreros under a cactus, Argentine gauchos swinging boleadoras, Chinese women harvesting
rice while wearing conical hats, American cowboys on horses and perhaps for
Canada it was either a beaver or a red uniformed Mounty.
The world is no longer that neatly predictable and ordered. You can buy sushi in Mexico City with avocados, tomatillos and chillies. Argentines, who
used to make fun of Americans for chopping their meat for hamburgers, consume
them at MacDonald’s.
For me there were women or men, boys or girls. Confusion started setting in by
the time I was a late teenager in Mexico City and in Austin. It has steadily
become more confusing while losing all that meant stability for me. There was
Kodak. There were Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Packards and Studebakers. My bicycle was a black Raleigh. I took photographs and never captured them.
And of course only those who lived across the street ever
died or won the lottery. I was immune to death and had plenty of bad luck.
As soon as I wake up in the morning I go to my Samsung
Galaxie and look up what is happening in the Trump world on CNN.
It has taken me a few months to make our new Cruze shut up
from warning me about narrow lanes and construction zones.
My life has become much more complex (but paradoxically simpler in other ways) and like my former
deceased friend Abraham Rogatnick I say to myself and to others, “I am glad I
am not long for this world.”
In that former 21st century my National Geographics (a
member since 1968) avoided writing about conflicts and poverty. The Kodachrome
or Ektachrome photographs were dazzling but you never saw what was below the
horizon. There was no garbage and no disease. Drugs did not exist and the world
was firmly heterosexual.
I have been struggling now for months to read and remember
all the information in my January 2017 National Geographic which is a special
issue called Gender Revolution. The lovely pink haired young person on the
cover is quoted as saying ‘The best thing about being a girl is, now I don’t
have to pretend bot be a boy.’ I am still digesting this with interest and
My idea of masculinity and femininity is now obsolete old
A few weeks ago I met a 6 ft person dressed as a woman at
a dance performance. I was told to call her by the name of Niki (short of
Nikita). When I first saw her I thought she (he) was a drag queen. Niki
corrected me and said, “I am a she and I have
undergone operation to confirm that.”
It is patently obvious that Mexicans no longer sleep
under a cactus. My daughter Alexandra, who was born in Mexico City teaches in
Lillooet. She is much too busy to sleep siesta. And I belive that my Argentine cohort, Pope Francis is far more ready to face this changing world than I am!
Tendril and Spray
Wednesday, June 07, 2017
|Top Clematis 'Josephine' right Clematis 'Duchess of Edinburgh'- Bottom Clematis 'Diamantina'|
Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis
Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray
Clutch and cling?
Burnt Norton – T.S. Eliot
In literature the rose has no competition even from the lilies
of the field. On the other hand the clematis has almost no references in
The clematis is one of my Rosemary’s
favourite plants. I
dislike how careful one must be in planting it or moving it as it is easy to
break its stem and it will then be game over. Then there is the difficulty in
that there are at least three types of clematis that have to be pruned at
different times of the year. Clematis montana and siblings can if you are not
careful bring down one side of your house while the wisteria and the bamboo
work on the other side.
There are a few clematis that are indeed fragrant like
Clematis armandii which is much too big
to ever grow now in our small Kitsilano garden. Most are pretty to look at and
In spite of it all I do have a favourite and this is
Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’
which is beautiful before the flowers open,
beautiful when the flowers are open and beautiful when the flowers are spent.
I wrote about T.S. Eliot’s Quartets here
. Burnt Norton
the first of them is the one that mentions the clematis
Hail Little Mary
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Some 25 or more years ago I was teaching photography for the
Outreach Program of Emily Carr (then called Emily Carr Institute of Art &
Design). In this program artist/teachers (that’s what we were called) were sent
to remote British Columbia communities for weekend seminar/hands on/classes in
the arts. That particular weekend in question I went to a remote western
Vancouver Island community called Ucluelet. When I checked into my hotel on a
Friday evening the woman at the desk said, “A friend of yours has left a number
for you to call.”
This was most amazing as I had no friends in that community.
I called and the person who answered (she always had a fog-horn kind of voice)
said, “Hi, this is Little Mary, Mary Arnold. How would you like to go with me
to a Halloween party tonight?”
I went to pick her up. She was then about to be married to a
pharmacist whom I instantly liked. Little Mary (she was and is 5ft tall) looked
very strange. I had first met (and photographed) her in the late 70s when she was
19. I looked at her getup. "What are you dressed as?" I asked her. She replied, “I am dressed
as a Ukrainian whore.”
That was the last time I saw her until a couple of days ago
when she came over to our Kitsilano home for a visit.
Little Mary Arnold by all accounts should have died many
years ago as she did live a hard life. She could drink anybody
under the table with her fave Grand Marnier.
But I have to reinforce here my delight, admiration and appreciation
of someone I can really call a good soul.
At age 19 she had a perfect body (by the standards of the
day and any other days). She had a preference for performing to Frank Sinatra
songs. But what endeared her to me is that she also liked The Police’s Message
in a Bottle.
Mary Arnold’s family has been plagued by tragedy through the
years. Her two brothers (as tall as she was were jockeys) died before their time. Mary Arnold
herself (her only vice now is 6 cigarettes a day) seems to be doing just fine.
One of Mary Arnold’s many talents besides cooking is her
stupendous vision for designing clothing (and costumes) for ballerinas and
modern dancers. She is currently hoping to get a grant to pursue this
As for me all I can say is “God bless Little Mary.” Of
that I am sure as Little Mary attends 8am Mass every Sunday.
Looking at all the pictures that I took back then when she was 19 I am struck by the look of sadness. Could it have been that at age 19 she might have seen too much? I can attest that now Little Mary smiles and (yes!) laughs loudly. What a privilege to be able to photograph someone 37 years later!
A Party Favor
Monday, June 05, 2017
|Hosta 'Party Favor' June 5 2017|
One of the many moments of excitement is walking around and
noticing little details. Some years ago (around 20) I used to go to American
Hosta Society Conventions. Each of these conventions always featured a free
convention hosta to those attending. These hostas, I believe are rare. One of
them in my garden is Bob Solberg’s Hosta ‘Party Favor’. It is not variegated so you might not notice
it. The leaves are a mid gray and they are nicely ruffled.
Today I noticed the yet to open flowers on the scapes. A
scape is the stalk on which the flowers emerge. There are those who say that
hosta flowers are the least interesting feature of the plant. I do not agree.
In this blog I have scanned rose blooms before they open. Those of Gallicas
particularly neat as are those of moss roses.
Many hostas have brilliant white flowers with lots of
scent like the species Hosta plantaginea. It is sometimes called the August Lilly.
The white of these flowers are startlingly white, almost fluorescent.
|Hosta 'Green Fountain'|
But hosta flowers can be beautiful before they even open.
Some of the remind me of the Martian weapons seen in George Pal’s 1953 film The
War of the Worlds or of little birds.