dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sean Donoher

By Sean Donoher, HM Prison Garth

Ampitheatre of aroma.
Burning dew, intoxicating vapour.
Offering to sensations,
Floral breakfast.

Paranoid bench seats one.
Angst ridden heavy coat.
Pocket Lao Tzu mocking.
Eden with personal serpent.

Guardians on natural valium.
Motes in sun, dance.
Birds hushed by cathedral.
Worlds breaks through in whispers.

Busy bees enter brain,
Designing interior nightmares.
Sunburnt mark of Cain.
Bootlace redemption screaming.

Mist filled sunken garden,
Memory an ethereal see-saw.
Nirvana stained with monsters.
Karma offers knife or cloud

The blog just realised that this year’s best Koestler artwork (and still my screensaver) had an accompanying poem of the same title in the written works category. Sean Donoher really owned this year’s competition, and although this effort was kinda overlooked, it had probably the best line of all: Paranoid bench seats one. Alicia Stubbersfield (poet and judge) had no time for this though, saying he should have started the poem from there. Garth is a lifer’s prison by the way, so that’s quite sad, but take nothing away from his talent. He’s been man enough to put his name on his work publicly. Anonymous rings alarm bells. Personally, anyone going by the name anonymous should not win. And a poem should not win over prose. But there you go. ATD don’t make the rules. I just [try] to judge. Sean, at time of writing, has no idea he is featured here. Much like an author has no idea when someone reads his or her book when he or she is brown bread (dead).

Below is verse from a long and disturbing poem done 5½ years ago. See the similarity between Donegan and Donoher? Writing like this is where it all began. Quick-fire ideas, three-word lines, 4 word verses, bam.

At market stalls
In shopping malls
Upheavals in cathedrals
Demons wonder medieval 

Easily defeated
From inside unseated
A single word ‘Nooo!’
Conquers it so

But once in its grip
The balance is tipped
Foreseeing years ago
Our destiny’s flow

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Good Vids

Here's a video attempting to lay out the truth for you in simple layman's terms. It's awfully kind of someone to bother trying to do this for us. We're born and we live and we work and all the rest of it but when was the last time anybody stopped to tell us what the purple plague is going on, eh? Any instances come immediately to mind? All we want to know is the story so far. That's it. Not a lot to ask. Who we are, what we've done, who's in charge, and so on. Add some powerful male narration, stirring animation... and bingo, you have a recipe for enlightenment. Not hard, is it, and yet there is sooo much ambiguity out there that sometimes we can watch an advert and not know what is being advertised. ADVERTS DIE!!! Why teach us geography in school when you could be educating us about the dangers of gambling addiction? The point is this: In a world of contradictions and blurry fuzz, sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of  awe-inspiring reason, skilfully depicted on screen to rebalance the books. Funny how even atheists can't help getting a few cheap shots in at religion though... Everybody whose anybody knows the absolute truth and the absolute truth is that it's nothing but a grand scale slanging match. Take Tom Jones as an example and "listen to nobody but yourself".

“And if I gotta die tonight, if this weight is gonna kill me tonight, then so be it.” Somebody commented that this was the most inspirational quote in Bodybuilding History. Er—no, don’t think so, it’s actually corny as hell. Okay? This kind of thing would sound bearable if spoken by a Green Beret behind enemy lines, not a heavy-duty bodybuilder in a cushy gymnasium. No disrespect to Kai, mind, because he has arrived from nowhere, can’t really imagine him doing a Jay Cutler and showing you around his crib, bragging his head off. Listen, some of these guys need a whopping 300 pounds plus of muscle just to house their world-beating egos. They are bloated and proud and awesome. Kai, artist and body-popper extremo, is undoubtedly the most talented of the bunch when it comes to jaw-dropping antics on the stage, although Marvellous Melvin Anthony and Darren Charles deserve a mention also. As for classical no-nonsense posing, manly posing, Nasser El Sonbatty and Dennis Wolf get hollers. Some of them dance around and shake their ass. C'mon guys. When you're wearing citrus-coloured knickers on stage, it's not a wise thing to do.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Koestler Art 2012 Winners

What? Are you kidding me???
 These 2 were right up there in the prizes, and with apologies ATD does protest quite vehemently. There's no way these pair are beating some of the other entires who didn't win squat. Sorry, but no way Jose! These might have been knocked up with pen and crayon during a short journey in the Group4 sweatbox. Congratulations and all that, not taking anything away from these, the lower one has an angle about it, but there were better. Much better. A scribble with a pen is just that, and never beats a planned, time-consuming composition. Which proves that if another person's judgement of your work means more than it should to you as an artist, then you should either consider another passion/career path or get used to a world of hurt, unless you're lucky and your work is adored for some unfathomable reason, because judging, even when done by experts from a range fields, is prone to, well, barking mad decisions, you could say.
What is it with art? Why do we have these types who read into it so much? Those who think an unmade bed or a shark cut in half is worthy of a place in a gallery? Get a grip of yourselves! It seems that the general rule is this: If it goes on a canvas and hangs on the wall, it's art. And they're not shy with the mark up, either, when it comes to pounds and dollars. 
For cost, if you're an artist, add up your time in hours, expenses in materials, travel fees incurred to acquire those materials et cetera, double it for some profit, then add a couple of noughts for good measure. This last part, with the noughts, is the most important part of the whole process. That's the way ATD sees it. 
Eat a shish kebab with salad cream. Spew it up on some silk in a frame. Mix it around with a bog brush. Let it dry. Hang on wall. Attach price tag. Voila. You're an artist.
Pricing it is the easy part. You're thinking a 100, maybe a 1000 buckaroonies. That's you're 1st mistake before you even got going. It's either rip them off, or get ripped off yourself. Somebody is deffo gettin' ripped off, that's for cocksure. So you wanna charge at least 10 bags of sand (grand), if not a 100 bags. Yes, 100k. On eBay. Today.
Again, no disrespect to the winners above, but they are like totally poo. And, in all jest, it's fun to make fun out of the winners, because they won. It's the ones that get overlooked you gotta respect. 
AND, finally, criticism of your work is not a criticism of you. It's when someone criticises both you the person AND your work which means you got serious problems. Man up your thick skin and be your own judge. Diversify. Prove them wrong. Ignore them. And keep truckin'. 
ATD: piebald77

Koestler 2012 - Main Bunch

Only 1 of these was given a highly commended badge for being best of the rest.
 Made in Ibiza by Matthew Peart, 
Kemple View, On Sale For £100
 Untitled by Lee Smith
HMP Manchester, On Sale For £40
(good to see biro says Piebald77)

 Dawn Eagle by Anon
HMP Risley, On Sale For £80
 Oliver by Steven Beattie
HMP Kirkham, Not For Sale

 Still Here by Sean Donoher
HMP Garth, Highly Commended
Special Piebald77 mention  
for outstanding multiple entries 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Jigsaw Man

 Jigsaw Man, Lee Rigby 
HMP Liverpool, £80

Joint 1st and 2nd place for ATD. Can't quite decide. One of the art judges had just a single word to sum this up, and that word was "No." As they moved along the paintings, all you could hear was "No, no, no, no..." What do you expect though, from experienced set-in-their-ways critics who have to quickly sum things up on the spot? Judging anything is so goddamn subjective. Still...that judge don't deserve eyes! Ya hear! ATD will say again now to you what he said to them then... "I'll buy it!"

Good jobbie, Lee. Take no notice of your official Koestler placing.

The Rose Garden

Koestler 2012

The Rose Garden by Sean Donoher, HMP Garth, 
Not for Sale

This is ATD's screen saver. Need ewt else need be said on the matter? A majestic mixture of strokes and patterns. Looks like DNA circling blue brickwork with finely balanced interlocked blades in the centre.

Village Life

Koestler 2012

Village Life, by David Cragg, HMP Altcourse
Highly Commended

"Highly Commended" is more or less a pat on the back for what Art Till Death believes is a much more deserving effort. Don't know where he got Ba Baa's The Barber's from, but that's a stroke of genius right there. The only connection that comes to mind is the outro to 2Pac's Troublesome 96' song, in which he repeats the words la laa, ba baa, like a sheep. It's good.

This artwork make's ATD's Top 3.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

About Schmoe

SCHMOE is a brand of fiction exclusively for weightlifters, bodybuilders and gym goers. It is a form of flash fiction at the moment, which means small segments of self-contained stories, scenes or sketches ranging from a couple of hundred to over a thousand words. This means that you can digest it in small bite-sized pieces, just about anywhere.

Not everyone likes to read chunky fat novels. They can take weeks if not months to finish. These short morsels can put a smile on your face in minutes. Think of SCHMOE as a fictional magazine. Apart from glossy pictures, what do the best magazines offer? Education? Entertainment? This too. And told by a storyteller, not some journo (will all due respect). Never mind you can't beat ityou can't find it. Not like this.

There are people out there who this content will really resonate with. You might be one of them. If you love training and you love reading fiction then this is for you, no question about it. You’ll find inspiration and laughter throughout.

Heard of a film called The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke? Art Till Death predicts a film called The Bodybuilder in the not-so-distant future.

Don’t fear if you are not an iron-pumping freakazoid with tons of muscle. There is something here for anyone who steps in any kind of gym for any reason too. Keeping fit and being healthy is a mainstream preoccupation. We all have bodies to keep.

SCHMOE 1 was conceived right here from 2010 onwards. It is also available all in one place for download onto Kindle, where it can be read seamlessly. SCHMOE 2 is brand new material and will not be viewable here at all unfortunately. There will be no more fiction here actually, apart from occasional samples maybe. But plenty to look forward too.

This ‘niche’ challenge has the odds stacked against it but is quite exciting all the same. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

More Noteworthy Characters

by A.J The Anonymous Journalist
Robocop had top-drawer villains. 

District 9's finale was as good as anything.

T-800, red-eyed to death. Flosses twice daily.

The psychic aliens in A.I are light years ahead.

Hannibal is misunderstood. He's a scholar at heart.

Shin-stabbing Chucky was even worse than a gremlin. 

Bolo Yeung. A baddie and proud of it.