Waterhouse, Windows, Whacking drums

A good weekend:

JW Waterhouse @ the Royal Academy
357px-Circe_Offering_the_Cup_to_Odysseus

Femme fatales, Sorceresseses, Sirens, maidens on the cusp of womanhood…these are definitely the obsessions of JW Waterhouse, the post-pre-raphaelite of the late 19th/early 20th century. Cinematic in their drama and hyper-real in their execution, these paintings are ravishingly seductive. The detail is astounding – Waterhouse is a master of technique, sometimes photoreal in the Academy tradition and other times more impressionistic, but always in the service of the picture and it’s story.

These stories are almost always exploring the contradictory nature of women (as he saw it): seductive but dangerous, powerful yet vulnerable (the picture above is Circe the sorceress in her pomp and power just before falling victim to Odyseus, who can be seen skulking around in the shadows),  and nymphs with the power to hypnotise (check the mesmeric stare of the lead nymph and Hylas in Hylas and the Nymphs. Sexy stuff!)

Ezra Pound dismissed his work as ‘merely beautiful’, but that’s a silly thing to say. Waterhouse must be one of the last artists to really use classical and mythological themes to express his ideas before the modernist movement came along and swept all that away. And if you’re going to paint Narcissus lost in his reflection whilst Echo pines away next to him, it should definitely be painted like this. There’s nothing wrong with beauty, silly Ezra

Recommended:  visit at your earliest opportunity.

Windows
My mum bought a new computer last week with Vista on it. What a nightmare of an operating system! I had thought, despite all the negative press, that if couldn’t be that bad. As it turns out, it is.

It went back to the shop and a Mac Mini has been acquired in it’s place. The slight extra cost is well worth it for getting a computer that, you know, actually works.  I hadn’t recommended it at first, as I thought continuity and familarity with Windows might be the best option. Wrong.

Be scornful of ‘prettiness’ and the lack of ability to ‘get under the hood’ all you like, but user experience is product design is important. Apple gets that and for some reason the majority of the tech world still don’t really understand that and think Apple is just marketing and hype.

Whacking Drums
I played my first maracatu gig in three years on Saturday. No rehearsals, but it all came right back. Maracatu is so awesome…gearing up for Notting Hill Carnival now. Can’t wait!

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