Sunday, January 27, 2008

Deadly Accurate Character Assessment!

Take a piece of paper and note your answer (a, b, c, ...) to each of the following ten questions.

When do you feel at your best?

a) in the morning

b) during the afternoon and early evening

c) late at night

2. You usually walk .....
a) fairly fast, with long steps

b) fairly fast, with little steps

c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face

d) less fast, head down

e) very slowly

3. When talking to people, you ...

a) stand with your arms folded

b) have your hands clasped

c) have one or both your hands on your hips or in pockets

d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking

e) play with your ear, touch your chin or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with ...

a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side

b) your legs crossed

c) your legs stretched out or straight

d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, You react with ...

a) a big appreciated laugh

b) a laugh, but not a loud one

c) a quiet chuckle

d) a sheepish smile

6. When you go to a party or social gathering, you ...

a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you

b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know

c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

7. When you're working or concentrating very hard, and you're interrupted, you ...

a) welcome the break

b) feel extremely irritated

c) vary between these two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) red or orange
b) black

c) yellow or light blue
d) green

e) dark blue or purple
f) white

g) brown or gray

When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep, you lie ...
a) stretched out on your back

b) stretched out face down on your stomach

c) on your side, slightly curled

d) with your head on one arm

e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are ...

a) falling

b) fighting or struggling

c) searching for something or somebody

d) flying or floating

e) you usually have dreamless sleep

f) your dreams are always pleasant

Now score yourself with a number for each of the questions, using the following scales:

1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
(a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
(a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
(a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add the total number of points you scored are check your character analysis:


Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered and one who is extremely domineering. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.


Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, one who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.


Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.


Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever broken.


Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the
moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.


People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Okay guys, how did you go?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mystery Object - It Gets Harder!

A confession - I genuinely had no idea of what I was looking at when I saw this first photograph.

Nope, it's not your super fab C21 ball-point pen collection.

Three clues. Everyone of you has one or two in your home right now. And it's much closer than you could ever imagine. And you'll have one like this beauty here soon enough.

Ok, a more close-up view might help. Any wiser?

No? Mmm. Here is a photo of how 'it' will look in situ at home on your desk. PS There is some misleading redundancy in this pic.

You guessed! (Didn't you?)

Your next pocket-portable high-tech computer! The keyboard and screen are simply projected onto your flat objects of choice.

Don't wanna wait - I want mine NOW! I've always had problems with delayed gratification. Of every kind!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Return of the Euphronios Krater and the Elgin Marbles

Euphronios Krater, Greek c. 515 BC

Two issues can arise round culturally significant objects - their possible illegal excavation and exportation, and their appropriate ownership and location in this day and age. These issues of course are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

To the first issue. The Euphronios Krater (Greece, c.515 BC), claimed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to have been purchased in 1972 in good faith, depicts exquisitely painted Homeric scenes.

Euphronios Krater - 'Side' A

Euphronios Krater - 'Side' A Detail

Euphronios Krater - 'Side' B

Italian authorities declared the krater was illegally removed from Cerveteri, north of Rome. The krater was recently returned to Italy, the carrot facilitating this was Italian archaeological digging rights, and ownership of finds, for the Metropolitan Museum. Fairly straight forward and a good outcome!

To the second issue. There is a hard-argued, often heated and on-going international debate as to whether or not important artifacts of antiquity that are of great cultural significance should be returned to their place of origin and greatest significance. Even if legally acquired or purchased in the past. The argument for return is that such objects are indissolubly tied to national and cultural identity. Galleries and museums, if the current owners, usually do not want to surrender their crowd-pulling treasures.

I'd like to consider the cases of the Elgin Marbles and the Pergamon Alter.

The Elgin Marbles were removed from the Parthenon between 1801 and 1812 and sent to the British Museum, with Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, gaining permission for the action from the Ottoman (non-Greek Turkish occupying) authorities in Athens.

Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin

These marbles are sculptures from the two pediments or triangular spaces above the front and rear of the building, and many of the deeply carved single panels (or metopes) and many of the bas-relief panels of the continuous processional frieze above the columns and around the four sides of the building.

Sculpture from East Pediment

One Metope - One of the Scenes of the Battles of Lapiths and Centuars

Two Panels of the Processional Frieze

The marbles were housed in a new purpose-built wing at the museum, the Duveen Gallery.

The Duveen Gallery, British Museum

There have been a number of arguments fielded for the marbles remaining in London. That they have been rescued from certain deterioration had they remained in Athens. That they have been better cared for and restored. That they are open to all the world to view and appreciate.

Such arguments may have had some validity in the past but now do not seem relevant - just seem spurious and self-interested. The marbles would be housed and cared for within an inch of their lives in Greece. Some things are of such global importance that they should have funding from beyond the borders of the country in which they are located, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Karnak Complex at Luxor in Egypt. Ease of international travel would make them readily accessible. And so on, and so on.

There is now talk by some in Britain of a permanent loan. Heading towards a good outcome?

The same arguments surround the Pergamon Altar, 170 BC, Turkey, now in the Pergamonmuseum, Berlin.

Pergamon Altar, formerly Turkey, now Berlin - Detail

The real fear of many museums and galleries is that anyone acceding will set a precedent. And there will be a run on many of 'acquisitions'.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Richard Du Bois - 50's Body Builder, Physique Model, Mr America, Movie Star and Evangelical Pastor

Funny what a bit (or a lot) of googling can turn up.

I'd seen beef cake Dick Du Bois about as a 50's physique model and body builder, mostly poolside. Pretty AND macho. That square jaw. And that smile - 50 million watts. To say nothing of his luscious bod. Doesn't your pulse just beat faster and faster!

But there was more. Dick became a winner of the bodybuilder's 'Mr. America' and 'Mr. USA' in the mid-1950s.

But there was more and more. He graduated to the movies as Richard Sabre, supporting Debbie Reynolds and Jane Powell in the 1954 MGM 'Athena' ...

... and Mae West in her stage act in Las Vagas and elsewhere.

But there was even more. As Richard Du Bois, he took on Pentecostal evangelism as pastor at the Gospel Lighthouse in West Los Angeles. For 19 years. Sadly there seem to be no pictures of this last and perhaps most dramatic phase of his life - where he was known for communing with extraterrestrials. Now that really would've been a great movie role.

Finally, I particularly like these kinda goofy shots ...

... and these private ones, which are nicely more casual, relaxed and intimate.

Dick Du Bois died recently Santa Monica, California, aged 74, leaving a wife, Gladys. And memories of a guy as cute as all hell ... and 50's slicked up hair styling of absolute perfection!
Adam Raphael, Photographer - A Reprise


I posted on Adam Raphael on 9th November 2006 - and, a short time after and quite unexpectedly, a copy of 'XY Foto' (Issue 4/Winter 2005) appeared on my door stop. Featuring his work.

The compositions are quite formal, restrained and classic in feeling. It's in the disposition of all the elements and the often reduction of the background to something minimal and subdued - non-intrusive to maintain the focus on the usually single figure. A classicism which is all somewhat paradoxical given the real (sensual) subject matter. It's as though I was observing images from a mainstream commercial photo shoot, only the guy/s had forgotten to put their clothes on.

For example, this guy in white jocks could be setting out for an important meeting at work, except that he's probably not adhering to the dress code, and can't place his briefcase.


While this guy below seems to be considering what might be put into the up-coming chapter of his PhD, if only he could get his mind off his new purple tank top and repress the urge to flash his super erotic trail. No judgment here, of course.


Most of the guys in this selection of Adam's work could be singer-dancer-waiter-models. Who, when they step out of frame, you well know will remain models. Even in bed, wearing their ankles as earrings.



Others, more intriguingly, could be quite other - their model image in part achieved by the photographer. For example, this be-toweled shower dweller ...


... and the guy propped up in bed and draped in voluminous white sheets ...


... and finally this boy-next-door type.


I particularly like these two a bit less-than-obviously manicured long-haired blokes in their respective beds.



My valuing of Adam Raphael's work has drifted from something more aesthetic and technical to something more visceral.

In particular, it could be said I appreciate it because of the non-representatively high percentage of 'cute hairy blond guys'.

But this would be unfair to 'the organ between his ears' - which created these beautiful images!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Good or Bad Photograph?

This is not a great photograph. It seems to me. In terms of composition, it doesn't appear more than a bit of red towel thrown down on some concrete and a guy plonked down on top. With the resultant image being not particularly well managed - various bits are cut off without obvious reason or intention: the head, right knee and part of the right foot. And there's some strange lighting.

But there is something interesting and novel about the picture that isn't immediately obvious. And which holds my attention and then makes me wonder why I'm still looking.

In part it's the pose. Reclining but with the legs and feet unusually towards the viewer. Okay, better to see the crotch!

What I particularly like is the twisting round of the torso that emphasizes its fleshy muscularity. But without any resultant tension or straining. Only a lazy sensuality and pliancy. And the counter twist of the head back to the viewer for engagement.

To elevate the chest and so make it more visible to the observer, the body is supported at the back on one forearm - the other arm straight and behind too, with hand to hand, giving a triangle.

In the 'artistic' though seemingly uncontrived disposition of the forms, the photograph in some ways reminds me of Michelangelo - for example, the study for Adam on the Sistine Ceiling.

I like the less than usual lighting - seemingly random over the body but in fact high-lighting a line down through the shoulder, crotch, thigh and sole of the foot. And the golden hair picked out on the upper torso by the sun.

I don't image the photographer or model calculated these effects - these things are operating at an intuitive level.

But maybe it's a lousy picture and I'm just raving on! And horny!
Funny What You Find in Your Wallet - Proust and 'A la recherche du temps perdu'

A clear out of your wallet can be quite a revealing and instructive experience. And sometimes an intense journey into the past.

One Mongolian train ticket - a single to Huhot, the capital, at 12.50 old yuan (then, ~$A2). Though I ended up sleeping on the floor, and under my seat, which had already been 'taken' by someone who managed to get into the carriage first - through the window.

One Paris Metro ticket, one of ten bought as a 'carnet'. On a day when I had change and didn't need to have my fare from a fellow-traveler.

One Maria Callas concert ticket, from when I was a kid living in London. From Dorothy C. who was an administrator at Covent Garden, and part of whose responsibilities included the box office. A moment of nepotism.

One business card of Miss Li Li, the grand-daughter of the last cook of Tzu Hsi (or Cixi), Dowager Empress of China and proprietress of 'A Homelike Restaurant: Chinese Court Cuisines'. Already posted.

One unused cheque from my central London Commonwealth Trading Bank account.

But most importantly, photos of 'my man'.

Wallets die and are superseded by their next generation. And these things obviously get transferred on. With the possibility of intense memory experiences one day! As that triggered by the 'petite madeleine' (a small plain cake) for the central protagonist in Marcel Proust's 'À la recherche du temps perdu' ('Remembrance of things past', 1923).

Une Petite Madeleine

Marcel Proust

Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, on my return home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called "petites madeleines," which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin.


And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom , my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the meantime, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks' windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the shapes of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness.

I've had the past similarly triggered, but incredibly infrequently and perhaps without the intensity experienced by Proust. The author is however writing of a common enough human phenomenon - his readers do identify with such an event. So I long for another and try to remain always open to it. It's not just the memory of the details of the event and its unfolding that are addictive but the almost overpowering underlying and associated emotions.