Monday, 20 October 2014

Sketching in the front line


Just happened on this Washington Post blog Drawing up the drawdown by Richard Johnson, a sketch artist who just got back from a stint embedded with US troops in Afghanistan. Forget the latest camera equipment and Pentagon reporting restrictions, all you need is a pencil, a piece of paper and a good eye. A stunning example of how less is more.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Still life


This is the view when Our Man ventures from the bunker. It's his neighbour's house, perched precariously on the side of the same steep hill as Our Man's. There's something about how the houses in this neighbourhood are carved into postage-stamp, gravity-defying plots that just makes you want to fist pump in the air and proclaim your independence from all those pesky Laws of Nature and Common Sense and such that we hear are so important.

BTW, you may be wondering why Our Man has shut up about politics and become quite the boring non-satirical online recluse who is into watercolours (of all the semi-retired things forchristsakes). Or maybe you're not, but no matter, he'll tell you anyway. He's taking a leaf out of the Kate Bush PR handbook. That is, he's realised it's better to shut up until you have something worth saying. Our Man has nothing to say just right now, so he'll shut his cake hole. Radical, Our Man knows.

But he will return. Like Caesar or MacArthur. Or herpes.

Anyway, in the meantime, enjoy the (pretty?) pictures.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

True Colours


This latest effort at a water colour really doesn’t do justice to the subject matter, a subtly stunningly beautiful temple garden in Kamakura, but I learnt a bit about the dangers of mixing too many colours before they dried and trying to be too clever with what I had. Which brings Our Man to Hirohito. Unwilling sock puppet of the military (Japanese or American, both are strong candidates) or leading instigator of Japanese militarism? Our Man can’t separate all the hues of current and past bias but this chap in the NYT makes a reasonable summary of the arguments and an explanation for why Hirohito’s true colours still matter to Asia today.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scotland’s exit


Our Man isn’t sure whether he has any right to offer an opinion about Scotland, having no vote, being English and living on the other side of the world. 

But that hasn’t stopped him before. Or David Beckham, who’s equally unqualified from offering his insights either, telling Scots that he saw their passion on the football pitch (er, playing against England) and therefore the two countries are better working together, because, er, they have more in common than they have apart. Like ying and yang, Laurel and Hardy, Posh and Sporty, yeast and sugar. You know. Or something.

But.

While faffing about sketching and colouring a shot of a Victorian London doorway he took on his last trip back to Blighty, Our Man was struck by how odd a concept Britain and the United Kingdom is. We don’t even know what to call our country. UK? Britain? England? I suspect it’s something to do with empire and all that. I mean, Victoria even called herself Empress of India. Slightly un-PC, eh Vicky? 

Well, it’s over. And if Scotland leaves, the union will be dissolved, the marriage of two unequals will be left to history. 

And maybe it’s about time. If not on Thursday, then someday soon. The arguments about currency and jobs and all that are secondary. Independence is its own reward. 

And if you accuse Our Man of being superficial and not really knowing the issues, the split loyalties of Celtic and Rangers fans, of first footing and, er,  kilts… you’d be absolutely right. I mean, Scotland’s like a whole other country, right? 

Right.