Jewellery Post: Spring in Byzantium

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16 and a half inches / 42 centimetre antique bronze finished copper pin and copper chain necklace with acrylic mirrored beads, copper cross charms and antiqued copper discs, bronze cross-charm chain.

An unusual and Byzantine-inspired delight, heavy on the cross motif, this necklace combines complementary hues of cool blue and earthy copper to maximum effect.

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19 and a half inch / 49.5 centimetre vintage gold-plate curb chain with gold plate pins, brass branch, gold plate findings, glass pearls glass crystals, and glass cathedral beads, glass droplet bead.

A rich and sumptuous necklace perfectly suited to seeing in the spring.

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16 and a half inch / 42 centimetre gold-hue snake chain with brass branch charm, crystal leaf buds, and hanging glass drop.

See in the long-awaited spring with this golden branch and glorious new growth!

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Gold-plated ear wires, brass branch charms, and red crystal beads.

Gorgeous, glorious garden earrings ripe for wearing with dark red.

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Copper ear wires, brass tree branch charms, brass rings, and acrylic “gems”.

These pale green “leaves” will sway and rock like real leaves when you turn your head.

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Raw brass setting with butterfly pin back and glass cabochon, decorative plastic pearl halves.

A dainty and elegant brooch especially good for use in costume, this will add a splash of impressive colour to any outfit and would look especially well on a tweed jacket.

Art Dump: Fruits and Friends

The business of posting the kind of content that belongs on a blog – ie, words – remains in limbo, it seems, although I have finished rewrites on a couple of stories so I’m going to lay undue blame at the feet of a minor exercise for my silence. Here are some pictures, instead:

Persephone’s Wager (2013) CLICK ON IMAGE FOR PRINTS


Art Post: Bad Boys

In theory I’ve been laying the groundwork for a portrait of Persephone taking pomegranate seeds from her lover’s fingers, in practice it took me a while to warm up yesterday, and then I carried on my relentless hatred of drawing in black for a bit, and ended the day with a few hours of plugging away at a hyper close-up digital painting of two pomegranate seeds in their casing. You’d think that wouldn’t take too long, but the more closely you look at natural objects the more depth and variation of colour you find and the more effort you have to put into replicating it. There have been some amazing pinks and browns inside that pomegranate.

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click for prints

An Offering of Choral Music

I should be back to posting more regularly soon, as I’m sure everyone has missed my inane digressions into entry-level 12th Century history, obsessive sobbing about T E Lawrence, and vague burbling about art and music, even if no one’s missed my self-important lectures about how to write.

In the meantime, I have brought an offering of 10 hours of plainchant, because why not?

Jewellery Post: Fleur & Stars

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8 inch / 20 centimetre brass star connector and coin bracelet with brass and coppertone findings, and matching fish-hook wire earrings. Please note that unless specifically stated earrings from this shop are NOT made with silver or gold ear wires and may cause discolouration of the ear-lobe.

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A lovely addition to a belly-dancing costume or simply a beautiful gift for a friend who loves dangling bracelets. Either way this little set is perfect for anyone who suits autumn colours, and is interesting without being too out-there.

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(Both of these listings and many others can be found on my Etsy store).

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18 inch / 46 centimetre gold plate, raw brass, and vintage glass pearl choker necklace. Note: as the large pearls are sourced from vintage necklaces, some of them have experienced rubbing and loss of pearlescence in patches.

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This gorgeous, dandy necklace is perfect for anyone who loves a little pre-Revolutionary French bling, and looks just as lovely on men as on women! It can be worn on its own or paired with a long pearl string.

Jewellery Post: The Three Crosses of Golgotha

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15 and a half to 17 inch / 39.5 to 43 centimetre multiple-strand gunmetal, silver plate and polished metal disc chain choker with silver plate and silver tone charms (crosses, wings, and holy medallions).

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This busy, intense gothic masterpiece is striking and unique, and would go very well over a black, high-necked shirt, or with a low-cut dark-coloured dress.

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Jewellery Post: Doctors & Dissection Men

Large brass gold-tone setting with red seed-bead “jewels”, glass cabochon with anatomical illustration (as featured in “Doctors & Dissection Men”) encircled with fine gold plated chain, gold plate pins and rings, glass beads, and a standard brooch back. Gold plate fish hook wire earrings with gold plate rings, and glass beads.The perfect present for fans of the macabre, the mystery of the human body, or just unusual and outstanding jewellery, this brooch will liven up any outfit, from an elegant dress to a lab coat, and with matching earrings to complete the bold and daring look there is sure to be no one as anatomically-dressed at any event you attend (unless Heidi Klum is there!).(listing is the click-through link)
Click on image for listing.

Large brass gold-tone setting with red seed-bead “jewels”, glass cabochon with anatomical illustration (as featured in “Doctors & Dissection Men”) encircled with fine gold plated chain, gold plate pins and rings, glass beads, and a standard brooch back.
Gold plate fish hook wire earrings with gold plate rings, and glass beads.

The perfect present for fans of the macabre, the mystery of the human body, or just unusual and outstanding jewellery, this brooch will liven up any outfit, from an elegant dress to a lab coat, and with matching earrings to complete the bold and daring look there is sure to be no one as anatomically-dressed at any event you attend (unless Heidi Klum is there!).

100 Works of Art: (Audio) Szamár Madár, Venetian Snares

The 100 Works of Art series of drivel is a blog challenge thing which mostly involves me talking at incoherent length about things I like and how I relate to them. So far I’ve done twenty-five on paintings, sculptures, and photography, and one other one on music.

27. Szamár Madár, Venetian Snares

It’s not often that I can pinpoint a song which not only got me into a specific artist but an entire genre, but Szamár Madár redirected a lot of my feelings about instrumental and electronic music – previously focussed on repetitive examples of techno, trance, and psy-trance – into breakbeat, and by way of breakbeat also into DnB (Pendulum, hacktastic though they are, helped with that, and I won’t claim that the video to Showdown didn’t have a hand in that) and jungle, in a kind of backtracking through spheres of influence, and
then later primed me for dubstep.

Szamár Madár sounds like someone has taken a hammer to a soundtrack of someone’s unhappiness. It is splintered, fractured music, and is definitely the best track on what I have taken to referring to as “The Hungarian Album”, mostly because I find Rossz Csillag Alatt Született a little hard to pronounce. The rest of the album too is full of jagged edges and bleak grey squares and the flight of pigeons, but Szamár Madár‘s frantic rushing in sudden bursts of sound is the most electrifying of listens. If pressed I would say my favourite of Venetian Snares’ albums is not Rossz Csillag Alatt Született but either Winnipeg Is A Frozen Shithole or Detrimentalist, two vastly different sounding works – Winnipeg is a frantic mess of broken, aggressive sounds and layered pieces that sounds like someone having an angry breakdown in the middle of a wasps nest and borders on being more sonic assault than music (which is why I LOVE it), while Detrimentalist might almost be played in a club.

But the track I’m talking about now is, as an example from Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, is superficially classical in vein. That was what drew me to Venetian Snares in the first place. Back in the early noughties I was enormously into club mixes of classical music – a subgenre of which there were never enough skilful examples, and which I am still very much attracted to – and I had hoped initially that VS would be able to provide.

What happened instead was this weird snarl of strings and minor chord screeches came on like a violent scene in a modernist ballet and seized my listening mind by the throat. It is a series of small explosions – a painterly piece not in the sense that Debussy or Liszt might try to evoke a painting that represents a great scene, but painterly in the sense that it evokes something more like one of Francis Bacon’s frantic brush stroke chaoses resolving into an anguished face. Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto 1st Mov contributes to the classical sound, as it is one of the samples used in the track, but the construction, the choppiness, and the bursts of scampering movement sound very unlike the stately, nostalgic sound of Elgar’s uninterrupted compositions.

Szamár Madár started me down the road to my own weird creations, and demonstrates more fully than any other track I can think of the ways in which genre boundaries can be effectively smashed by sampling and a creative approach to what constitutes a song. It draws on soundtrack, ballet, and sonic art to create an adventurous, discordant, threatening and unsettling approach to sound which eventually also led me to Iannis Xenakis and other experimental composers and creators, and broadened my enjoyment of music considerably from its early constricted folk music roots.

100 Works of Art: (Audio) Let’s Go To Bed, The Cure

Having dispensed with visual art, the 100 Works of Art rambling about stuff I like has moved on to music. This is simultaneously more and less intimidating: it’s harder to talk bollocks about music and sound impressive because more people know what you’re on about at entry level and you have to step it up and get technical, which I assuredly cannot do about music.

26. Let’s Go To Bed, The Cure (1987)

My relationship with The Cure was brief but intense, like most things during sixth form college. Due to an accident of good timing I went from being a dedicated little bedroom goth to being the sudden proud owner of several very large posters, two video compilations of their music videos, one live video, and a couple of mix tapes of rare recordings for twenty quid from someone in the pub my friend worked at. This was the first and last time I ever managed to strike lucky on the “dodgy people in pubs” front.

With a catalogue spanning about as many years as I’ve been alive, if not more, and a slew of extremely catchy pop-goth chart songs as well as the more gloriously dreary grey-hued extrusions of Pornography, it’s difficult to pick a Cure song. Aside from being Cure Songs, majestic in their ridiculous storytelling and Fat Bob’s whining voice, they have personal connections: Friday I’m In Love from long before I tried my hand at backcombing my hair, bleating from a shitty clock-radio while I read children’s fantasy novels in my bedroom, or the later terrible half-choreographed goth two-step at B-Movie to Love Cats every month. There was the ongoing relationship between the whole of the KissMeKissMeKissMe album and the lurid, lustrous, purple Poppy Z Brite novels and atrocious short stories about vampires I read while listening to it and scrawling notes in pink biro. I have been every teenage cliché and many of them while listening to Fat Bob’s fab band.

Let’s Go To Bed is at its heart a tug-o-war. It is an uptempo song with slightly sinister and melancholy lyrics – a combination you’re going to see a lot of in this section because it is possibly my favourite kind of song (“I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things”, quoth Tom Waits, and I could not agree more) – and the tug-o-war is as much between the imagist nonsense of the verses and the straightforwards, unpoetic stubbornness of the subtly changing choruses as between the “I” and the “you” of the song.

But I don’t care if you don’t
And I don’t feel if you don’t
And I don’t want it if you don’t
And I won’t say it
If you won’t say it first

The chorus is an ugly dare, and in a world of songs about how love would go so right, or where love has gone wrong and I’m sorry, baby (or how we’re going to hump it all night, because emotional fulfilment is no longer the euphemistic core of lyrics that it once was),  it’s almost off-puttingly realistic. Certainly I’ve been in more than one relationship where it seemed there was precisely this kind of brinkmanship going on: I’m going to bite my fucking tongue and not say it until you do. I’ve used it as the basis of characterisation in numerous stories, because that ugly dare is an excellent source of tension as one or more characters struggle to force the other/s to spill their guts while reining back their own compulsive need to confess BUT I DIGRESS.

The music reinforces the sense of push-and-pull, with a very quick movement (technical terms: I do not know them) up and down the scale in what sounds like two-steps: the bass has the same two-part step, which really does put me in mind of some sort of dance where one partner tries to yank the other in one direction, and is immediately yanked backwards themselves. It’s a neat trick, and one which for me holds the song together through the drawn out breaths of the verses with their more photographic and less emotional lyricism.