This in turn reminds me of the other ways I've found things which have gone on to be inspirational, comforting, interesting or a source to be further researched - I wouldn't have got into Magritte if Gary Numan hadn't used one of his paintings The Pleasure Principle (Portrait of Edward James) from 1937 as both the inspiration for the title and cover image for his 1979 album The Pleasure Principle (which I still have on very crackly vinyl and very marvellous it is too) - you can see a version of the painting and a copy of the album cover side by side here and I wouldn't have found out about the life of Leon Trotsky if it hadn't been for hearing about him in the Stranglers song Heroes and you can hear a version of that song from 1977 here though of course when I found out more about both of those things by looking them up in the encyclopedias held in the school library rather than typing the details into a search engine.
Which is another roundabout way of saying that my opening quote for my dissertation (which deals with my relationship with the use of language around art) doesn't come from an artist or a book about art but a writer - my beloved Joyce Carol Oates. And I got into her work by coming across a copy of her incredible book My Sister My Love from 2008 in a charity shop. It is a reimagining of the Jon Benet Ramsey case but with ice skating as opposed to beauty pageants as the background. It is incredibly difficult and painful reading but very wonderful too and if you haven't read it - I would urge you too, or anything by her really as her work is incredible - powerful, thought provoking, clever, insightful, disturbing, and just wonderful.
The dissertation is another reason why the post it note is so empty compared to usual - as in the time that hasn't been taken up with funeral prep and travelling to and from (it involved an overnight stay) has been mostly taken up with it. But I am finding it much harder than this blog aka my research journal and each word is torturous to write. But I have at least drafted the introduction, decided on my source material and key texts....just got to finish the thing now - but given everything that's going on at the moment - really struggling to concentrate on it.
Which is where the 'working late' note comes in on the post it note - as that's what I've been having to do to make any kind of noticeable progress, but other thigs which I have done this week are:
finishing and mailing off academic poster to York University for a conference next month.
contacting the researchers suggested by York University as being useful to speak to as their research is in similar fields to mine.
contacting the Gothic Studies group at Sheffield University for the same reasons.
The note gallery manners refers to a meeting that was cancelled at very short notice for the third time - am reminded of Oscar Wilde's maxim 'to loose one parent looks like carelessness and to lose both looks like carelessness' and it's tricky. It's a local gallery and one day I'd like to have work on show there - so am reluctant to name them - but equally if this is how they treat prospective clients of their gallery then do I really want to be involved with them? Anyway I'm going to take a chickeny approach and so won't name them publicly on here - but will name them if you ask me in person.
There was something nice in the week though - even if my concentration drifted at times whilst watching it and listening to the wonderful sound of the accompanying organ and that was the screening of the Cabinet of Dr Caligari at Leeds Town Hall as part of the film festival. The only film festival screening I've been to this year - some years we've done the get 6 tickets for the price of five (carefully researching each film on the tinternet first - a lesson learnt after we saw a film called Heretic which was potentially a really good story let down by v poor camera technique - so swimmy was the handheld camera that it made me feel sick at oner point and someone asked in the Q+A afterwards - why didn't they a tripod and the acting was a bit sixth formy too) and one year we went for broke and got passes. At one point I saw 6 films in one day. And by the end was almost begging my husband to let me stay at home and not make me go to the cinema - words which normally never issue from my lips as watching films is one of my very favourite things to do.
I'd not seen the Cabinet of Dr Caligari in one go all the way through before and it was a treat and it was also a treat to see just how influential it was in terms of set design on one of my very favourite films - Son of Frankenstein from 1939 which features so many of my favourite actors - Bela Lugosi (who this blog and my twitter is named after) Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone (my favourite Sherlock Holmes to watch though John Moffat is my favourite Sherlock to listen to) and Lionel Atwill. If you haven't seen it - then do as you're in for a treat - the relationship between the Creature and Ygor is glorious as is the set design.
And in other film news - very glad to have spread the love of Douglas Sirk films to my tutor, I heard of Douglas Sirk through reading about John Waters film Polyester - which is his (Waters) homage to Sirk. If you haven't seen a Sirk film then you must - the colour and sets are utterly sumptuous, and whilst they may appear a bit hammy and schmaltzy and superficial they are actually insightful and quite devastating critiques of the social hierarchy of 1950's America. And Rock Hudson has never looked more beautiful than he does in All That Heaven Allows.
She did ask me if I'd thought of doing a phd on John Waters but I;d be afraid too - in case I got sick of him and could no longer enjoy his work or worse - found something out about him that meant I could no longer idolise him.
Well that got longer than I thought it would seeing as I've not really done much course stuff this week - this gives me hope for the next round of dissertation wrangling.....