Archive for June, 2005

The one Ronnie

Friday, June 17, 2005

Van Gogh, Munch, Caravaggio. Mad as bag ladies at Hogmanay, but artistic geniuses to a man. I was excited, then, when I heard that another mad artist’s work was coming up for auction in Lincoln on July 2. If madness is the food of art then Ronnie Kray, one half of the murderous East End twins and occasional avant-garde decorator of Whitechapel pubs, has excess of it.

Ronnie Kray paintingPainted during Ronnie’s “Broadmoor Period”, Untitled Landscape with Cottage and Tree is one of a number of similar works depicting in bold colours a rough hewn landscape touched by a distant vision of civilisation.

Note especially the angle of the tree, the gentle disregard for perspective in the cottage and the shy, almost anonymous signature.

As bad art created by celebrities goes, it is right up there with D. H Lawrence’s A Holy Family.

Top 5 hate figures I have never met

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

It is difficult to hate people you haven’t met, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. It is possible these five are kind and upstanding folk, but I would still give the benefit of the doubt to anyone arrested for defecating through their letterboxes.

Aaron Feuerstein - fleece inventorAaron Feuerstein
At first glance it would seem that this elderly gentleman is guilty of no greater crime than resembling Christopher Lloyd in his role as Dr Emmett Brown in Back to the Future, but that is before you know he ran the factory that invented the fleece. I have written a fuller explanation of why this is evil, but for brevity’s sake it should be sufficient to say that fleeces represent the triumph of utility over aesthetics, the aspiration towards mediocrity and the grateful acceptance of the values of middle age. Shame on you, Feuerstein.

Keith AllenKeith Allen
It is difficult to choose between Allen and his co-composers in the pop group Fat Les, which rose to dubious fame with its hateful “anthem” Vindaloo. It is a song that celebrates the twin English virtues of macho overindulgence in curry restaurants and the sort of aggressive, graceless chanting that you associate with people who drape flags over their shoulders and wear “comedy” felt hats at sporting events. I have long wished to see Allen, Damien Hirst and Alex James trapped in a soundproof room and forced to listen to their song repeatedly until, weeks later, they would be released as broken, repentant men. However I have met Hirst (who is surprisingly gentle and courteous) and James is at least able to boast that he never starred as a nauseating thug in an advertisement for mouthwash.

Edward EvansEdward Evans
Edward Evans leads a largely blameless life. At least, until he logs on to his computer and becomes “giant_squid”, pretty much the only consistently unfunny person on the otherwise excellent pop culture website b3ta. Every week the website invites people to submit pictures for its themed competition, which can be anything from Hollywood films remade for the children’s market (eg The Texas Jigsaw Massacre) to parodies of the awful computer games of the 1980s. For no discernible reason, Evans responds to every competition by pasting a badly drawn bird called Mort onto a vaguely relevant background. I thought for a while he might be mentally ill, but a bit of research shows he is just a nerdy student at Nottingham University, where he passes time as a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

anne turdface geddesAnne Geddes
Not only is she the embodiment of mawkish and slightly disturbing baby fetishism practised by broody women, but she is also a friend of Celine Dion. It is enough to make the John Stuart Mill want to campaign for capital punishment.

zeta turdface jonesCatherine Zeta Jones
I wanted to include in my list Michael Lerner, the American inventor of the Baby on Board sign, but I could only find pictures of his two namesakes, the Hollywood actor who played the mayor in Godzilla (“Negative impact? That’s the goddam Chrysler building we’re talking about”) and a very ugly rabbi. Zeta Jones is almost as bad, however. She is annoying in many ways, not least because of her hastily adopted American accent and her hypocrisy in complaining that she felt “violated” by unauthorised photographs of her wedding when she had tackily sold the rights to other photos to another glossy magazine for £1 million. Armando Ianucci summed it up best when he expressed surprise that she claimed to be offended most by the snatched pictures because they showed her eating. “I would have thought she would be more offended because they showed her getting married to a giant dried apricot.”