Archive for Glenn Gould

Workout 31 August 2012: The Peacock

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by spinoza1111

20 min Freedance with weights first thing to Journey to the Line and Glenn Gould playing Sweelinck. Fasting for an endoscopy at Queen Mary Hospital at 10:00 AM, sips of warm water only.

My landlord saw me free-dancing last October to Sweelinck on the football pitch. I think that’s when he decided to hate me because I don’t fit his idea of a Westerner and he’s homophobic even though I’m not gay (just happy). He’s raised the rent but it must be conceded that I enjoyed several years of unusually low rent.

Although the Peacock is a symbol of eternal life, in one of Jung’s seminars, the Peacock’s sharp bill is pointed straight at the Fisher King’s neck such that if the Fisher King makes a false move he dies.

Robert A Johnson, in “The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden” writes that “it is commonplace in the dreams of people who are capable of high consciousness that mechanical things do not work well [emphasis mine]”.

We dream of airplane crashes and maintain a critical attitude towards computers which so drain our energy in toxic little recursive stacks: you wrote a poem: if you do not act reflectively, the next thing you know you’re making Yet Another note to yourself to get printer cartridges, because you wanted to share it with a friend on paper. And of course God forbid the printer should jam, whether mechanically or in the queue.

But let us not speak falsely now: capitalism is a bribe paid for access to the tools of production, and software and computers are essentially one more way in which we fight for access to the tools of production.

So, I breath and cleanse and simplify. But before I’ll let go of my anger I shall describe it.

The victim, in Robert A Johnson’s book on the King and the Maiden, is the Handless Maiden. She’s the daughter of the miller whom Satan helped automate his mill.

An entire way of working taken as a whole could be “efficient” even mathematically, but, of course, Frederick Jackson Taylor’s “industrial engineering” thought to break tasks down and tell little “Schmidt”, a “Pennsylvania Dutchman” (screw you, Taylor, you racist, I’m German-American) to trot along and do as he’s told. His wife is too practical to not accept the extra money but his daughter is innocent and seduced by the next charmer that comes along.

But the Peacock is a symbol of eternal life.


Peter’s Crazy Aunt (Completed): This and Better May Do, This and Worse Will Never Do

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by spinoza1111

Listen to Clifton Chenier, the King of the Bayou!
Listen to Glenn Gould who will not let thee go save thou bless him!

Edward G. Nilges, “Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances on the Strand to the Music of Bach, and the Sweet Zy-Deco Sounds of Clifton Chenier, the King of the Bayou”, acrylic on canvas, 20 * 60 cm, January 29 2012 AMDG

Note: if the painting is truncated, click above on “Spinoza’s Blog” to see the post with other posts. I haven’t mastered how WordPress treats pix, nor how Apple handles them on a Powerbook.

I have decided to declare victory: this painting is done, and, as the Scots say, “this and better may do, this and worse will ne’er do”. The figure is colorful and this rather large (60 * 80 cm) canvas lights up the room with the way she leaps as an hart.

The numerous deficiencies cannot obscure the life in this thing nor its evocation of the bell-like tones of Poussin. Particularly noble is the twisting motion of the abdomen.

I am not bullshitting here. I like this painting and would pay big money for it if I were a collector. This artist, dammit, has thought about the play of light even if he manages to preserve every single mistake he makes, and he makes a lot, by means of translucent paint and cartoon transfer.

Besides, making art makes me feel good. Pity I didn’t put my foot down and do what I had to do years ago but there’s no point in crying over the past. Peter’s Crazy Aunt certainly doesn’t.

Zey vill laff at me at zee Zalon undt der Royal Academy but I shall show zem!

My next project is “Mama Kanumba del Cucamonga takes the Children to Power Station Beach” because I want to see the profile I drew realized in paint. I need to do more plein aire work on Lamma to get a better feel for our wonderful if abused natural environment, which is something I could only imagine when I was a kid in the Midwest, sketching maps of places, anywhere but around Lake Michigan, carved, unlike Lake Michigan, into all sorts of hidden coves and mysterious mountains.

Basically, the geologic youth of the Great Lakes isn’t their fault. They are big melting ice cubes from the recent past, whereas Lamma Island is the forbidden and mysterious peak of a great Mountain that used to oversee a Plain.

I like Peter’s Crazy Aunt’s expression, it isn’t crabby like the expression on my nude which I won’t post online…it is similar to PCA but naked, same overall colors, crabby expression. That’s because I was working full time when I painted on Dance of Victory.

I went dancing last night to an annual festival put on by a fellow Chicagoan. It was hard at first to foot it featly here and there like Ariel in the Tempest because I was on a wooden plank which moved slightly, it was cool (about 17 centigrade) and my feet were seizing up.

But o the power of music to move Helen, as William Kennedy wrote of Helen, in Ironweed, when she gets enough money for a hotel room and can play the Ninth symphony.

There was quite a large crowd of people and a bunch of Lamma kids who also danced. After the dance, three strangers congratulated my “performance” which surprised me because it wasn’t intended to be such, but, I was close to the band (Black Mariah). It gave them felicity which is the whole purpose of art. That was cool.

As I left I was cold and stiff. I started to walk down the steps like an old man but a far older man needed assistance. This always happens to me. On the MTR, a little girl gave me her seat last year but as soon as I, a weary Old Lo-Shih Teacher, took it, the Three Immortals, three really old Chinese guys, got on the train.

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

WB Yeats

State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 5 Jan 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2012 by spinoza1111


Edward G. Nilges, “State of ‘Peter’s Crazy Nuts Knucklehead Flibbertigibbet Aunt Dances on the Strand to the Music of Bach, and the Sweet Old Zydeco Sound of Clifton Chenier (le Roi du Bayoo)’ as of 5 January 2012”, acrylic grisaille on canvas, 60*80 cm.

Oops, the Dark Land between her legs is now the sea, for I live in a drowned world: Lamma Island and Hong Kong were mysterious, and perhaps accurst, or sacred, or both, mountain peaks at the end of the last Ice Age, when the seas had receded into frozen glaciers and the lands between China and East Timor were grasslands.

Which means she’s on the edge of a cataract of recent rain falling into the sea behind her and needs to mind the music and the step.

The tree’s giving way before her elbow is a disaster and it’s going to take more than a delicate spray of flowers against the sky to correct this; it makes it seem that the trees and the elbow are in the same plane and they aren’t.

But after my experience, a couple of years ago, with pentimenti on the portrait of Aung San Syu Kyi, I no longer fear making corrections: I’d tossed it aside because the eyes were out of joint, but started on it again a few months later, doing major eye surgery and the result was my best work so far.

My source technique (based on egg tempera painting as taught in Daniel V Thompson’s book) forbids correction and is unforgiving, but this is nonsense. “Shoots (zuschammen) into the mirror writing of its opposite”.

Grandiosity and its inverse depression are going to have to fight it out between themselves in the corner, since creating something new while listening to the strains of Bach, or Scott Joplin’s “Genuine Negro Ragtime”, is the most fun I can have with my clothes on.

Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances to Bach on the Strand

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 26, 2011 by spinoza1111

Listen! Click the orange word “Listen!” and the music will open in a separate window.

Edward G. Nilges, “Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances on the Strand: Line Study”: pencil, pen, A4 size, 26 Nov 2011

Edward G. Nilges, “Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances on the Strand: Chiaroscuro Study 1”: pencil, pen, fuser, A4 size, 26 Nov 2011

Edward G. Nilges, “Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances on the Strand: Chiaroscuro Study 2”: pencil, pen, fuser, and Gimp for paper tone & white highlights: A4 size, 26 Nov 2011

Edward G. Nilges, “Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances on the Strand: Colorascuro Study”: pencil, pen, fuser, Gimp for paper tone & white highlights, colored pencils: A4 size, 26 Nov 2011

“In the best of all possible worlds, art would be unnecessary. Its offer of restorative, placative therapy would go begging a patient. … The audience would be the artist and their life would be art.”

Glenn Gould

That is (das ist) about suffering, or painting, they were never wrong, the Old Masters: it was for them a contrapuntal and layered process. Michelangelo may have preferred his line drawing of the Sybil to the final fading Fresco, and we know Leonardo failed magnificently, like Orson Welles.

Music is harder, it has to be perfect?

The next step is the full size cartoon. I gotta figure out why my new camera isn’t working. I hate those diversions into tech, it reminds me of a former life. Perhaps I can get a shop clerk at Fortress in Causeway Bay to assist me. I like taking intermediate pictures to test them (by doing Leonardo’s mirror test) and to enhance them with Gimp.

My cheap assed scanner simply doesn’t register colored pencils. My camera shall do a better job on acrylics.

Sellinger’s Round, or, The Beginning of the World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 24, 2011 by spinoza1111

Listen to Glenn Gould play Sellinger’s Round: it will play in a separate window

Make a dance it’s like smoke,
Or drawing on steam.
But that was Creation for ya.
God was a child or an angel,
Playing on the strand,
Building castles of wet sand.

And so the children you seem to have lost
Like your car keys, tempest-tossed
In someplace so obvious you don’t look there.

After a certain age, a man needs a housekeeper,
Or a wife who’s resigned, or a grown daughter.
He doesn’t know how to make things sparkle
Unless he takes a class in it at the community college,
And there’s no money, or time, for this.

She makes it so and takes pride in it
And you clean up before she comes
As a way of honoring her.

She finds things and hides things, like sunlight and its shadow
Making dazzle patterns upon the green meadow,
Tracing the footsteps of Sellinger’s Round
Little boy lost little boy found,
And borne, weeping, in triumph through Jerusalem

Solstice Poem 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 27, 2010 by spinoza1111


In thinking we think we think
So in dreaming may we dream
Recursively, the alcoholic takes the next drink
While he, poor soul, is thinking of the one after that
In a wilderness of mirrors.

Salvation is found in the poison ivy
And the poison holly, in the dark time of the year,
When Southwell was shivering in the snow
Wondering, where to go,
Wandering round and round in the railroad yard
Life is hard.

So constituted through the will of an all seeing Way,
The Sky, Tian, all-ruling,
We stumble on towards morning.

Poem to sundry notes: Glenn Gould plays a Voluntary

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 24, 2010 by spinoza1111

Poem to sundry notes: Listen! Glenn Gould plays a Voluntary: the YouTube video will open in a separate window

The tourist in the Tower might get separated from his tour,
And hear childish whispering ghosts, like this music.
Playing tricks, stealing from the rich to give to the poor,
Edward Plantagenet, and his kid brother slain
Play tunes upon the wind to cleanse the stain,
For somehow in the order of Heaven
The victim must atone for the blackest villain
Until all our sins they be forgiven.
So they as blessed ghosts do laugh,
And play Byrd on an electronic piano,
“Taking upon themselves”, Shakespeare would indite,
“The mystery of things”,
As if those guys
Were God’s spies.

But I am an American,
A citizen of the United States,
Like Crumb’s Whiteman, man of glass
Who didn’t know his elbow from his ass
What is this matter of Britain to me?
Oughta mind my own business,
Stop reading all that Shakespeare bunk,
Go to Wall Street, make a bundle,
Blow my brains out in a five star hotel,
Or a furnished room in East Hell.

The matter of Britain is a matter of language
What I have said and how, buster, right now, pard
And the thoughtless inexpressible
Too deep for tears too late to mend
In my beginning is my end.

Note that it is quite probable that Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, slaughtered the sons of his elder brother, King Edward IV, and I believe it to be a vile habit of the comfortable to make a damned hobby out of “recreational denial”, from Shakespeare authorship denial to denial of the Holocaust, to denying the obvious fact that Richard had motive and means after killing Clarence and that courtesy of the Wars of the Roses, England had devolved to a gangster state.

The common theme of recreational denial is escape from the pain of life based on a diet of entertainment as opposed to culture, in which entertainment almost with no exceptions fails to identify with the victim.

The fact is that the Tower of London is more than a tourist attraction. It was a Golgotha for good king Henry VI, the founder of Eton, Edward and Richard Plantagenet, Anne Boleyn and any number of other unfortunates and this motivated the above poem, in which the innocent Ghost must atone for the sin of his murderer by frightening the goddamn tourists with half heard notes.

For how many vacations are a celebration of the pain of the other? See how she dances in Trinidad, so gracefully and so well. Well…she’s got school fees to pay. Most underdeveloped nations charge for public school, and isn’t that a kiss my ass.