Another Country

Someone Else’s House-George Shaw 2018

Somebody should have told you
That there was never any future
In lying supine,
Idly dreaming
Of your lost glory days
The vanished grandeur of your imperial passage
When you subdued the very waves
And subjugated the nations of the world
With boots pressing downturned faces
Further into the mud until they choked,
Striking accords and treaties
Then perfidiously reneging
Carrying cargo requiring whips and chains
A-looting and a-raping
Destroying and acquiring
Wholesale pillaging
But you know, all for their own good
A civilizing mission of course
Truth be told it was all a bit of a burden
But somebody had to do it and who better than us?
Quite quite but can you see the future
In dreaming of a past that was actually a nightmare
And how it poisons your present
Making your current decline
Take on the bouquet of a corpse
Your empire resulted in beaucoup bad karma
And a backlash that reverberates and echoes
Not only did you oppress and degrade the colonized
But we dehumanized ourselves in the process
Turns out that your manifest destiny
Was to be exceptional only in dissembled aggression
Yet you still wrap yourself in the flag
Butchers apron, a filthy bloody rag
While cultivating a loathsome air
Of detached superior nonchalance,
Fundamentally supercilious
Undermining any attempts at seriousness
With a deadly withering irony
A scornful reproach of all decency
Yet we are still surprised
When we encounter all the hate
Displayed by neighbours and others
Further a-field, all over in fact
Can’t they see what we did for them
All those ungrateful so and so’s
Can you believe that they think of us as some
Stricken beast too stupid to know that its dead?
Well we will show them one day
If only the enemy of the people
Those traitors and bleeding hearts
Would stop talking us down
If only we could rouse and wake up
Then we might dream
Of starting over again, though this time
We would make sure that the sun
Never ever never sets

Ballardian Visions

Le Reve-Henri Rousseau 1910
Le Reve-Henri Rousseau 1910

I have previously highlighted the influence of the Surrealists and Pop Artists upon J.G. Ballard, one of the few modern writers whose name is now an adjective; the word Ballardian conjures up visions of dystopian modernity, denuded man-made landscapes, the all-consuming nature of mass media, entropy, psychological withdrawal and anomie.

This most visual of writers has been a source of inspiration to artists in his turn, either directly referencing his work or by touching upon Ballardian themes.

I have taken liberties with this selection of ‘Ballardian’ imagery. Obviously Rousseau pre-dates The Drowned World and Warhol is directly stated by Ballard as an influence in The Atrocity Exhibition, but in some sense they seem to me Ballardian. The unconscious forms its own connections, there are no accidents and there are no coincidences.

Wittgenstein in New York-Eduardo Paolozzi-1965
Wittgenstein in New York-Eduardo Paolozzi-1965

Spiral Jetty-Robert Jetty 1973
Spiral Jetty-Robert Smithson 1973

JG-Still-Tachita Dean-2013
JG-helmut newtonTachita Dean-2013

Peter Klasen-The Fire Mouth 1965
Peter Klasen-The Fire Mouth 1965

Jackie-Andy Warhol 1964
Jackie-Andy Warhol 1964

Crashed Cars Exhibition-J.G Ballard 1970
Crashed Cars Exhibition-J.G Ballard 1970

Orange Car Crash-Andy Warhol 1963
Orange Car Crash-Andy Warhol 1963

Westway
Westway

Balfron Towers
Balfron Towers

Autopia 2-Dan Holdsworth
Autopia 2-Dan Holdsworth

Bergstrom Over Paris-Helmut Newton 1976
Bergstrom Over Paris-Helmut Newton 1976

T.V Murder, Cannes-Helmut Newton 1975
T.V Murder, Cannes-Helmut Newton 1975

Scenes From the Passion:The Hawthorne Tree-George Shaw 2001
Scenes From the Passion:The Hawthorne Tree-George Shaw 2001

Someone else's House-George Shaw 2018
Someone else’s House-George Shaw 2018

Peter Klasen-Blue Dream 2018
Peter Klasen-Blue Dream 2018