Monday, September 29, 2008

David Copperfield 'Puzzle'

This is seriously cute!

Try it out.

So how does it work?

Took me a sec or two but it's clever!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Prince Teo - With Old Faithful About To Blow!

There's something about having ya head in a dark hairy crotch. Muscular legs apart so ya can smell the musky butt. With the hot hard cum-dribbling dick down ya throat. Just when it's about to blow!

Honestly, there must a trillion things I would NOT be rather doing!

Exposition Universelle of 1900, Paris

People Strolling Towards Pont Alexandre III and L'Exposition Universelle, Paris 1900

L'Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900 - Champs de Mars

Well, here he goes again with all that old film footage stuff! Remember the 'Brighton Beach 1898' post?

So what IS it all about?!

Look, I think it's the window-into-the-past thing, mainly. And when it's everyday life captured, I identify - there's real connection. And I can truly enter into the world of, say, 1900. A distant world where there is only horse drawn traffic. And women are in long dresses and very big hats. With the almost ubiquitous parasol. And things seem more leisurely.

And it's also seeing what's familiar ... but 100 years ago. La Tour Eiffel, Place de l'Opera, Le Palais Garnier, Pont Alexandre III, Le Champ de Mars, and so on.

I particularly love the way people react so excitedly when being recorded by the new fangled contraption - waving, pulling funny faces, doing little quirky dances, walking backwards to keep in view!

What surprised me about this clip is the sophisticated use of the panning technique - for example, following say a carriage, and then picking up on something going in the opposite direction - to give an arresting dynamic rhythm.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shakespeare and Company (1919-1941 and 1951-Present) - Legendary Parisian Bookstore

One day during an extended stay in Paris in 2003, I was sitting outside Shakespeare and Company. On a bench round a tree out front. And dreaming about the earlier days of this legendary bookstore.

When a group of expatriate Americans began to form on the sidewalk. A middle-aged writer put out a chair, a box full of his newly published novel and began autographing front pages. A dancer in her late 30's began talking about her career and immediate plans. And her companion announced he'd just finished shooting his film, and was going into post-production. Which provoked the novelist to stand up and join the conversation. A woman came to the first floor window over the entrance to the store, and began gazing out -
an Iris Murdoch taking a pause in writing. After about half an hour, everyone noisily de-camped to a church nearby for some literary function.

It seemed - incredibly - that some faint trace of the famed character of the bookshop seemed to have lingered on!

In 1915,
Adrienne Monnier opened a bookshop with the first free lending library in the French capital - 'La Maison des Amis des Livres'. At 7 rue de l'Odeon on the Rive Gauche.

Adrienne Monnier (centre)at 'La Maison des Amis des Livres'

The firm was a proto-type for Shakespeare and Company, established by her lover and aspiring bibliophile, Sylvia Beach. The newer bookshop continued the tradition of overflowing bookshelves, and photographs, drawings, antiques and bric-a-brac all piled up.

Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach at Monnier Family Farm Savoie

This first Shakespeare and Company opened in 1919, settling in larger premises in 1921 at 12 rue de l’Odéon.

Shakespeare and Company at 12 rue de l’Odéon, Sylvia Beach Out Front

The firm, so named as 'my partner Bill ... was well-disposed to my undertaking; and, besides, he was a best seller', soon became a meeting place for artists, and writers, such as William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, F Scott Fitzgerald and TS Eliot ...

Ernest Hemingway Outside Shakespeare and Company, with Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier

James Joyce with Sylvia Beach

James Joyce with Sylvia Beach at Shakespeare and Company

... with Sylvia Beach instigating such projects as the publication of 'Ulysses' in 1921.

Hemingway (in A Movable Feast) wrote tellingly of the atmosphere of the enterprise at this time, and particularly of its proprietor:

'Sylvia had a lively, sharply sculptured face, brown eyes that were as alive as a small animal's and as gay as a young girl's, and wavy brown hair that was brushed back from her fine forehead and cut thick below her ears and at the line of the collar of the brown velvet jacket she wore. She had pretty legs and she was kind, cheerful, and interested, and loved to make jokes and gossip. No one that I ever knew was nicer to me'

After some years of financial difficulties, and rescues by friends and admirers, the company finally closed in 1941.

But Sylvia Beach allowed George Whitman to use the name in 1951 when he re-opened Shakespeare and Company at 37, Rue Bûcherie (, his converted apartment opposite Notre Dame de Paris.

Sylvia Beach Whitman, Bill Clinton and George Whitman

This second institution maintains much of its own quirky original character ...

... even up to someone sleeping in the makeshift bed on the first floor - where I'd ventured up to continue browsing ...

... and, then, make my own 'writing pause' appearance at the window.

And, in my turn, be mistakenly photographed from below!

But the real point is that the tradition of the place continues - with new generations, from the likes of Henry Miller, Anäis Nin, Lawrence Durrell, and Alan Ginsberg up to the present. Encouraged by a regular schedule of events, such poetry readings, literary discussions and so on.

In a world of elites, globalisation and cultural homogonisation, young artists of various persuasions are still supported and nurtured - even to the extent of being given a bed and roof over their heads when needed!

So it's a living tradition and not some horribly preserved holy relic - like Saint Anthony's toe nail, all bound up in a gilded quartz crystal box to be quietly and reverently peered at!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Paradox: The Truly Hot Boy-Next-Door

I find good-looking guys usually fall into one of two groups: the guy-next-door (who you'd like as a friend and whatever) and the hottie (who you wanna fuck with, a lot).

But every now and then, there's a guy is in both groups - at once!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Josephine Baker - Various Types of Rebellion

Born Freda Josephine McDonald on 3 June 1906 in St Louis Missouri ...

... Josephine Baker was a dancer and street performer at 13, on the Vaudeville circuit and Broadway as a chorus girl in her mid-teens, and dancing semi-nude in Paris at 19 ...

... famously in her banana dance on the stage of the Folies Bergeres in Paris ...

... as seen in this footage recently discovered in the USA ...

... becoming 'the most sensational woman anyone ever saw' (Ernest Hemingway).

Defying the sexual mores of the time in this way however has its price - being constructed as a kind of wild primitive and magnetic animal. Not that she cared at the time.

But all this trivializes Josephine Baker's other and to my mind larger and more important achievements.

Principally in the French Resistance during the Second World War, where among other things she smuggled intelligence into Portugal in music sheets - to gain the Croix de Guerre and Legion d'Honneur.

And then as a champion of racial freedom, supporting the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 50's. By, for example, refusing to perform in front of segregated audiences. Making charges against the Stork Club in New York in 1951 for refusing to serve her - with Grace Kelly defiantly leading her from the nightclub. And by speaking at the March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr in 1963. This stance was also worked out at a personal level in raising her 'rainbow tribe' of 12 adopted children from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

Obviously this has resonances for gays, in demanding equal rights and fighting discrimination.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Me and Orangutans - A Long-Term Love Affaire

My love affaire with the 'person (orang) of the forest (hutan)' began when I was living in London. I used to go to the zoo to see 'George' - we seemed to connect at times, our eyes fixing through the bars of his cage. Often for quite long periods. So gentle, calm, sweet, focussed. Hopefully, there's not too much anthropomorphism here!

And the affaire has never diminished. And was given a huge boost last year with an up-close-and-personal episode in Vigan, the Philippines. There was lots of hand holding, general touching, nose stroking, and head patting. Mostly both ways, with much eye-to-eye work! So lucky - usually zoos won't allow you to get so close!

Orangutans are now only found in Borneo and Sumatra - with only 20, 000 left in the wild. So when I saw the clip 'Nyaru Menteng - A Glimmer of Hope' encouraging people to help save these extraordinary creatures (, I couldn't resist a post. These snags from the documentary are followed by the footage itself.

So the babies ...

... and some juveniles ...

.. and all put together:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Frederick Ashton (1904-1988)

When I was a kid living in London, I remember seeing Frederick Ashton as one of the Ugly Sisters in the Royal Ballet's 'Cinderella'.

I recall two things vividly.

The first was the psychologically complex characterization: the warm, teasing, self-centred, loving, vain, vulnerable, shy, sly, nervous ... monster! In comparison with Robert Helpmann's much more broad-brush-stroke panto creation - as the other sibling. Some of all this is captured in the following photos:

The second occurred at the Ball. Each sister was vie-ing for the tall handsome prince as partner, as opposed to the other short ordinary-looking one. Of course Helpmann's tough and go-getting sister wins out. But then cunningly and placatingly whispers something in her gentler sister's ear - drawing a surreptitious but long glance at the diminutive prince's crotch. With a slow lascivious smile spreading over her face!

After the performance, I was introduced to Ashton and asked him to sign a book I'd just been given about his choreography.

I'm sure he sensed I was gay. And without being able to think just what to say to a young fag, gently declared that it was raining outside and my book would need a mackintosh (raincoat) to get it home safely.