Survivor’s guilt

The pandemic was good to me.

I thrive alone and so, even as the wife was not in her best place like most others in the world, though I was distraught by what the global “We” were going through, I could deal. Even before the pandemic I worked from home and spent many non-work hours in my office doing non-work things. Not necessarily a very guy thing but just a very introvert thing. I actually have fond memories of the isolation because within that isolation there was, without a better phrase to express it, a warm online camaraderie of artists who gave their time to create that warmth.

The 11th of this month was the four year anniversary of the start (as I noted here when it started).

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Suite for Orchestra, “Figures in a Landscape”

Cover: Jim Aitchison Correspondence Fields, oil pastel and graphite on paper, 2021

I finished the novel Figures in a Landscape by Barry England back in 2021 and was captivated throughout. In the story, two men escape from war-time imprisonment and flee across a spare landscape pursued by their previous captors. The younger of the two is the more innocent Ansell, and the older is the callused fighter MacConnachie. The novel, from 1968, has no specifics about who the antagonists were or where the action occurs.

England’s book was a pure and existentialist response to sentiments the late 60s regarding war and the value we put on life, ours and others, and how proximity affects that value. What he wrote transcends the specificity of the events contained; the detailed and exposed psychology of the duo in flight contrasts the ambiguous landscapes. I think of it, imprecisely, as a more “human” companion to Waiting for Godot. Bleak humanism?

I read the book several times and annotated the events and days (approximately 11) when those events occurred, converting what I felt were key moments into specific movements. They are:

  1. march
  2. village I
  3. helicopter I
  4. crawl I
  5. fire
  6. boat
  7. mountain I
  8. village II
  9. mountain II
  10. rain
  11. fissure
  12. crawl II
  13. helicopter II
  14. “we’d never have got”

The movements are generally grouped in threes, with #13 and #14 standalone.

(written from 16 May 2022 to 3 Feb 2024)

Suite for Orchestra, “Figures in a Landscape”–Coda

Slowness has occurred the last few months. Passive voice. I know the cause is that I’ve focused on learning Italian, but a few years ago when I was on a death march at work, every night I still took at least 30 minutes to work on my Symphony No. 1. Those days haunt me for their dedication under stress.

There’s no excuse.

Maybe I need to drink less?
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East German movie posters

I’ve been collecting movie posters for almost exactly three years and recently finished acquiring and framing a set of five distinctive East German posters. The poster mania started 1 Nov 2020 (according to my catalog notes) which was of course eight months into the pandemic when we were all finding new interests with our idle hands. It started with me describing the Italian sci-fi movie Wild, Wild Planet (I criminali della galassia, 1966) to Lisa with way more information than anyone would care to have who doesn’t love quirky, 60s, European sci-fi (“ok, so it’s directed by Antonio Margherita and is part of a loose four film cycle centered around the crew of the space station Gamma One…”). In my waxing about the movie I looked up the poster and made the fateful statement of how amazing it would be if I could find an original copy.

Well apparently it’s easy to find. And reasonably priced.

And as soon as Lisa saw the purple boots she didn’t care how boring it is that “Margheriti was otherwise known as a Giallo director and went by the name Anthony Dawson for this film to appeal to American audiences. Not to mention that he’s slyly referenced in Inglourius Basterds.” After I ordered it I was worried I was getting a reprint, but the back of the copy I received looks aged and has a stamp that looks authentic. And anyway, who wouldn’t want this on their wall:

Laser-Ray Girls? Count me in! There’s not one square inch on that poster that isn’t bonkers.
One section of the back of the poster, folded. 67-201 is the NSS number: it was released in 1967 and was the 201st film to be assigned a number. More info that, for some reason?!?, Lisa didn’t care about
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Getting introduced to the Barbarella canon

A month or so ago a picture from one of the Barbarella comic books came across my feed and it was graphic design catnip. There was an unexpected clarity from something I would have expected to be garish at best. I’ve learned that there is a legacy that she has left that is more respectful and appreciative than I would have thought. I mean, how can I be blamed…

Yes, she is in a clear vinyl outfit while lying in a shag-carpeted aquarium.
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