Thursday, 21 January 2010

Looking for Eric; Monsieur Cantona that is.

The Ken Loach film Looking for Eric is a must for anybody with the slightest interest in the beautiful game. The interspersed sports newsreel footage alone is worth the price of the cinema ticket.

To see the skills of Cantona at intervals on the big screen is a treat not to be missed. There's a wonderful slow motion clip of Cantona's favourite moment; his unforgettable outside of the foot pass to Irwin. "You have to trust your teammates" says the flawed genius. Irwin tucks it away. The pass is the metaphor.

Ex-Manchester United footballer Eric Cantona, and his alter ego - postman Eric Bishop, a man with a troublesome son called Ryan and a pair of blue suede shoes, battle bravely against all odds. They get mixed-up with criminals, with the fairer sex, have stress at work, are kind to children, smoke harmless roll-ups, share a bottle of wine and even go jogging together. And like good heroes, yes, they come through it all together. If they didn't there wouldn't be much point to the film.

The many sayings of Cantona are there and like the sardines they are fed to the seagulls. Friends in the end are discovered to be much more than friends and, as happens in the real world, the petty mobsters and psychopaths are found to be unscrupulous and cruel. But they will be punished for it. We have more choices than we believe, says Cantona. And so, after a brainstorming session down at the pub, the crooks are finally defeated.

Drama, comedy and Cantona on the ball - and all for the price of a match programme and the half-time meat pie.

Go follow your trawler!

Pictures from an exhibition

The notion of 1989° as being the end of an era and the start of something new and unified - at least seen through European and American eyes - results in countless pages of notes and scribble, and shoe-boxes of postcard-size photos; part of the the documentary materials of history.

After the fall of the Wall there was cash to be earned in the sacked rubble and souvenir trade. Now it's nostalgia. In Berlin they hang nostalgia on the park railings for the tourists. And having acquired the tricks of the trade they hard-sell it. It's a class business.

cooking in the microwave

El Che

emancipator of the oppressed


Mrs Ceausescu

shut up
and eat your salami

On negotiating Ilya & Emilia Kabakov's Big Archive Labyrinth

"All persons aged between 18 and 28 who have been living in this village for more than 12 years should complete Form-16 or Form-16B and take it to the official sitting at Desk N12 in Room N3...

...and certify that no-one in their family has gonorrhea or other transmittable sexual disease...

...and that they are available for military service...

...and then take Form-32 to Desk N6 in Room 45...

...provided that they are not borrowing books from a friend who has a collection of more than 5 books or have a collection of more than 5 books themselves


The Soft Life

switch off the alarm
wake & swallow the pill
called Life

Title of an exhibition at MQ Vienna.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


During World War I (1914-1918) at least 21,000 new billionaires and millionaires were created in the USA according to Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (1881-1940); a man in receipt of two congressional medals of honour and a distinguished service medal.

In 1935, 4 years prior to the outbreak of World War II (1939-1946) he said: "For a great many years [...] I had a suspicion that war was a racket [...] Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out."

In 1935 there were throughout the world at least 40,000,000 men under arms. "Yes," said Major General Butler, "they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn't they? It pays high dividends."

The USA's brief participation in World War I (1914-1918) cost $52,000,000,000. So where did this money go? Who made the profits?

Butler lists the big profit takers: du Pont, Bethlehem Steel, United States Steel, Anaconda, Utah Copper, Central Leather Company, General Chemical Company, International Nickel Company, American Sugar Refining Company ... and so, and so on; not to mention 122 meat packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants and 340 coal producers. And of course the bankers who financed the "war to end all wars" as it was called.