Thursday, 29 March 2012

Facebook or not Facebook; o shit am I getting old?

I'm thinking about whether to go on Facebook.Well I'm in the socially embarrassing but advantageous position of not having a facebok page..Advantageous because lots of people are using it and so there's a history which I can discuss with people I know and value.A friend of mine was saying to my partner that facebook is a waste of time,full of superficial drivel.My son really likes it,although an aquaintance said his one line comments  drove him nuts made him 'unfriend' him. A big question for me is, where I am I going to take time from for this new cool thing?As each new gizmo has arrived,we have seen a corresponding decrease in the time we spend together.The time dads spend with family is abysmal. I did hear it has increased  slightly in recent years though,up to a wopping  average of something like 10 minutes a day.My kids say well what are we going to say anyway,its boring! (talking with parents) I say its not that we are going to have some riveting conversation or play an exciting game or anything neccessarily,but its just that we can be around to interract.The converse is true for computer conversations-I dont hear the conversations,unlike the ones that happen offline here.We used to be a party to the conversations of our community and family-now we are not.That's the thing that has been disturbing me;which I couldn't name for ages.You dont know who is there.The community isnt listening.Its secret. I don't want every conversation to be public-but once apon a time you knew what was going on-not so now. Also the person on the computer isnt in the room.I mean they are in body,but they aren't here.That's a loss.We don't need any more losses in the home.We need increases in time alone,time without stimulus,time to talk,to listen I'm about to be labelled "old" and written off from comment by my kids.But I'll never be written off as I have a sense of the timeless and the valuable that will have its way.
Its obviously a cool tool.For keeping in contact when you are away from friends colleagues or family.For me as an artist and a poet it could let people know what' on, it could direct them to this blog,to my website etc
But lets not overrate Facebook.People have been talking for a long time.News has always travelled fast.Web media or not.Anyway,to finish, I wrote a poem about facebook a few months back which I'll share with you now.Kind of a modern take on unrequited love.I think it should be a song- I keep hearing steel guitar and country melodies accompanying it.........

One thousand two hundred friends

One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
Even though I have eyes for you only
One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
You just don’t seem to want to know me

Ive twittered and you don’t tweet back
Ive texted chatted tried to hack
Made posts that really mattered
Ive networked myself to the bone
And you. you wont even phone

Cause I’ve got  One thousand two hundred friends and I’m still lonely
All the while with eyes for you only
One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
You just don’t seem to want to know me

My Eyes are tired from googling darling
Hoping you will appear on my search engine
My blackberry is out of juice
Called the help desk for a truce
Ive upgraded my peripherals twice
Made my profile nice
But you don’t even want to know me  

Cause I’ve got  One thousand two hundred friends and I’m still lonely
All the while with eyes for you only
One thousand two hundred friends and I feel lonely
You just don’t seem to want to know me

Ive seen you on trade me
I’m ready to buy now baby
But youre bidding me farewell
My watchlist is saying sell  
And I’ve got  one thousand two hundred friends and I’m still lonely

Sunday, 25 March 2012

2 dollar shop art

I am noticing some unfortunate trends in art.The first of which is the "more is better" -you go to 'barns' crammed full of paintings,many of which are so underpriced that the artist would be making nothing.Then there is the pressure to reduce the price of the painting so that it will sell.I notice that other trades people are not asked to reduce their service costs or hourly rates for say,fixing my car,but somehow its ok to ask this of artists? Its a valid point that "well, you do want to sell it don't you?", but I am wondering if we have only seen the thin end of the wedge here.The drive for efficiency and cutting costs in our culture today also affects the art 'market' Are we going to see mass produced 'originals' produced by factories of workers somewhere in China trapped on a minimum wage producing art for us?
Unfortunate and sad that the works become worth less in terms of their value;they become a decoration open to 'market forces'.I suppose its partly because art tends to be in the main money spent after everything else-its excess disposable income.And if artists are doing it in their spare time,and its not their primary source of income,then they might be prepared to put a low price on it.
Fortunately,quality, relevance, meaning and innovation in art are still hard to find and worth every cent when you do find them.They are the rare treasures,the natural antidote to a truckload of artworks destined for the supermarket.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Say please!
The other day I realised that I had left my bag in the staffroom so I went back to get it and seeing that my seat was taken and I couldn't get my bag myself,asked in a polite voice "Could you pass me my bag?" I couldn't believe my ears when the woman sitting next to it said "Say please!" and the person next to her said "whats the magic word?". I said "I asked you politely" feeling shock and indignation at the request.
My partner informs me that 'please' comes from 'plea' which means to beg. I also have been at a shop with my children where the woman wouldn't serve my children  and berated them for not saying please.I told her that it was a transaction, and while recognising it as a cultural form of politeness, it was no indicator of rudeness if one didn't say it.Moreover, in the second scenario the shopkeeper clearly did not understand that a transaction was taking place ie money (and her livelihood) for an ice cream.If anyone needs to beg then it should be the shopkeeper.
Its one thing for saying please -and indeed 'thank you'- to be a cultural habit, and another for it to be a mandatory request which if not given the goods or services are withheld.
In the Cook Islands and many Polynesian cultures no one says please or thank you-they are mystifyed by its use as to them taking and enjoying the food or whatever is thanks.I believe in New York when ordering food one says "I'll have.........".  No 'please' demands.
Postscript: Scenario: I rudely reached right over them and grabbed my bag.

Monday, 5 March 2012

I wish I was Justin Bieber-a poem by Duncan Hill

If I was Justin Bieber I would buy an island and build a swimming pool longer than the one in Chile which is in the Guiness Book of Records and is over 15 football fields long

On second thoughts if I was Justin Bieber I would end world sickness by promoting healthy lifestyles to those poor people in Third World Countries who are basically not using proper hygiene and are in the position they are  through their own fault and I hate to say it laziness

If I was Justin Bieber I would use my position to end world poverty
I would make sure that every village in Africa had a McDonalds outlet

If I was Justin Bieber I would be so famous as to feel ok about myself and therefore avoid death by suicide or overeating

If I was Justin Bieber I would sleep better knowing that millions of people are keeping watch over me on Facebook

If I was Justin Bieber I would probably attract someone like Ange and then she could finally be free of that baby faced two- timing bastard Brad and then we would probably find ourselves in the Womens Weekly looking happy

If I was Justin Bieber I might end up in rehab or shave my head or go to the east or go gay

Actually come to think of it I hate Justin Bieber
Hes such a show off and his music sucks