Monday, February 5, 2007

You musn't give your heart to a wild thing. Holly Golightly

I love books like these. I have some great postcards that are themed on these, which obviously means I spend far too much time in places like Passionfish.

I was just looking at Wikiquote, which is a spin off from Wikipedia, the democratic home of knowledge on the world wide Simon Webb. I happened upon , as one does, e. e. cummings and discovered some great nuggets, which fortunately, I do feel rather obliged to share with you.

Art is a mystery.
A mystery is something immeasurable.
In so far as every child and woman and man may be immeasurable, art is the mystery of every man and woman and child. In so far as a human being is an artist, skies and mountains and oceans and thunderbolts and butterflies are immeasurable; and art is every mystery of nature. Nothing measurable can be alive; nothing which is not alive can be art; nothing which cannot be art is true: and everything untrue doesn’t matter a very good God damn...

no sunbeam ever lies

a politician is an arse upon
which everyone has sat except a man

Love the last one best, but check out the site because there are loads more.

In the course of my works at the Ministry today, I found a great paper from Demos by John Holden - Demos is the heaven every researcher wants to find themselves in when they die - which answers many of my questions about the current funding crisis for culture that many local authorities currently find themselves in the centre of. I learnt some interesting facts:
  • Decreases in spending on culture have occurred more sharply in unitary authorities (like Portsmouth)
  • Some of the problems with funding are caused by the fact that culture contains many non-statutory services, so they are the first to face funding cuts. Arts have been particularly hit by this as people see it as a more 'highbrow' area and the services are usually smaller. Local authority-run arts services are being, and have been, closed all over the country.
  • The South East has been particularly hard hit as it is seen as economically stronger and - rightly - much funding has recently gone to rebalance pockets of poverty in the North, creating a North/South divide in funding settlements.
Holden makes an important point:

"What is obvious is that some local authorities are at their limits. Caught between the immovable objects of obligatory spending and limited resources, the inevitable result is that local authorities will make cuts in areas of discretionary expenditure. They have to do this, regardless of whether they want to, or whether their citizens want this to happen."

You can read his paper, download and/or print it, here. I can say this with copyright impunity as Demos (sound of angels singing) publish all their stuff under a Creative Commons license, which is why we love them. Ok, it's why I love them, but if you give them a chance, you may just come to love them too. Love your Demos. It's yours and it's free.

I was surfing the Simon at the weekend and was stunned and a little trepidatious to discover that someone has made a film of one of my favourite memoirs of all time (James Frey, you blew it for yourself there, and not in a kinky way, either): Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. In so doing, I also discovered that he has a great website, and even a blog that he seems to post to infrequently, and most important of all, he has a new book that I knew nothing about.

As his website will tell you, but I am more than happy to repeat here:

The #1 New York Times bestseller, Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year - round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull, an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

The library has both Running with Scissors, and Dry, both of which I have read and can highly, highly recommend. Burroughs has a way of writing that is so intimate, charming and touching that I should be furious with envy. Instead, I have a slightly disturbing desire for him to be my best friend. I'm thrilled by the film and terrified that it will be terrible.

Talking of author memoirs, I'm also keen to see the 'other' Capote biopic (I'm sure the directors and stars are so pleased when people refer to it as that), Infamous, starring Toby Jones in the starring role. I saw Breakfast At Tiffanys on tv the other day and cried and cried and cried. I loved the Phillip Seymour Hoffman Capote, and as I'm a little bit dangerously stalkerish about Hoffman too, I'm worried in case I like the new one more.

I worry about all the wrong things.


Dill said...

Hey hun,

is the memoir about James Frey about his book a million little pieces?

S. xxx

Mark Wright said...

Hi Sarah

Just to say, quoting Randy Jackson of American Idol fame, that E E Cummings is indeed captain of the dog pound. He's worth investigating further - try for example. It might be .org though!

Love to all!