The Daily Philistine – January 2nd – Paul Kenton and Desire

Picture of the Day – Paul Kenton’s ‘Lights of Fire’

paulkentonlightsoffire

When my parents come to visit me in Birmingham, we often go out for lunch. One of our favourite Italian restaurants is next to a small fine art gallery and shop – part of a chain – and we’ll often pop in there after lunch to ogle all the paintings and sculptures that plebs such as ourselves will never be able to afford to buy.

The last time we were in, they had a few pieces by Paul Kenton on display. His were all wonderful, in a rough, basic sort of a way. He did one really interesting one on a shiny aluminium sheet – a scene of a rainy, downtown Manhattan, and he left the reflective metal uncovered to form the puddles and rain-streaked windows.

But the one that really caught my eye was this one, ‘Lights of Fire’. It’s stark, and stunning, and somehow really lonely. This may sound daft, but one of the bits that really made me fall in love with it was the ceiling office lights you can see in the top right, just barely shining through the reflection on the windows. It makes it feel real, the sort of thing that would be there, but that you wouldn’t really notice.

He’s done some amazing other pieces, too, but this was my favourite. I’ll likely never be in a position to own something like this (even with 0% credit, as advertised on the little cardboard label next to it), but if I was ever in the position to drop £750 on a whim, a piece of art like this would probably be one of the first things I’d spend it on.


Music of the Day – ‘Under Your Spell’ by Desire

Spotify Link: ‘Under Your Spell’ by Desire

This is a song I first heard when watching the movie ‘Drive’. ‘Drive’ had a brilliant soundtrack (alongside brilliant casting, brilliant cinematography, brilliant lighting, brilliant pacing…) and this is one of a few songs from the film that I still listen to frequently. I know little else about Desire, and haven’t listened to much of their other work, but I really like this one.

It’s again, a bit weird, it has a spoken-word bit in the middle which may be annoying, but I appreciate the timelessness of it – it feels like it should be a track straight from the 1980’s, played on a cassette in a car stereo on a long drive in the middle of the night. Which is probably why it was selected for the film ‘Drive’ in the first place.

The Daily Philistine – January 1st – Ralph McQuarrie and Everything Everything

Happy New Year! In an effort to contribute, in some small way, to a more positive year for 2017, I’m going to be updating my little blog here on a daily basis with a short article about a piece of music and a picture that I really like. This is a mostly-selfish attempt to get myself back into the habit of writing and to farm for more clicks, because I’m pretty vain in that regard.

A brief warning: I know very little about art, and even less about music. As such, my contributions will mostly be “I like this because I think it’s good.” That is the standard of critique you’ll mostly be seeing.


Picture of the Day – Ralph McQuarrie’s B-Wing Concept Art

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Sticking to type for my first contribution of the year, this piece is some Star Wars concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, who’s pretty much a legend in the niche category of Concept Artists. He defined the look and feel of the entire Star Wars series, and is probably about as responsible for its success as John Williams, the series’ soundtrack composer.

My reason for choosing this picture, though, out of the many possible options, is that it’s just beautiful. McQuarrie’s ship and vehicle designs will be his legacy, but as an artist I loved how he used light in each of his pieces, which is about the most generic art-critic-y phrase I could have used, but just look at that painting! The glow from the explosion, the deep, oceanic reflections on the planet behind, the faint outlines of the Imperial fleet, and the pale crescent of the Death Star, lurking in the background with deadly menace.

McQuarrie uses the light to define the shape of the new B-Wing fighter – the light from the explosion catches the all the edges of the ship, accentuates the curved surfaces, and makes the ship look powerful, and dangerous. He isn’t just designing a space fighter, he’s giving it a role, a character of its own, by telling a story in a beautiful way.

I imagine I’ll be posting more McQuarrie pictures throughout the year, and I’ll definitely be sharing more artwork where light plays a dominant part, since it’s about the only thing a philistine like myself can appreciate. For now, though, I think this is a good starting place.


Music of the Day – ‘No Reptiles’ by Everything Everything

Spotify Link: ‘No Reptiles’ by Everything Everything

‘No Reptiles’ is a weird song by a band I’d never heard of and know nothing about. I really can’t overstate how little I know about music in general, it’s frankly awful. I would make the worst radio DJ in the world, partially because I’d have nothing to contribute in terms of discussion and mostly because the bulk of what I’d end up playing would be soundtracks and shapeless ambient stuff.

Anyway, I picked ‘No Reptiles’ for today because the lyrics are mostly absurd and the music is full of variety and “energy”. The pace and the acoustics of the song change throughout its run, but always seem to be set to “slightly strange”, along with the singing. I’m not really sure what else I can say about it, because I really do know very little about music – it cropped up on my ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist on on Spotify, which is actually my main vehicle for broadening my musical horizons. Yup.