David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

30 May 2009

Flight of the Conchords posters

bLOGOS/HA HA has been enjoying many of the posters shown at OMG Posters!

In particular those for Flight of the Conchords. This is from a set of two by Aaron Horkey, for their May 24 show at Los Angeles.

FotC poster by Aaron Korkey

And this is Tyler Stout’s poster for their Portland OR show. It goes on sale June 1. (Update June 2. They Sold Out in a flash, as did another I was watching several days ago. Interesting.)


28 May 2009

A turnip for which books?

Last week, prior to the official 'planting' of Tom Nicholson's book Monument for the flooding of Royal Park, I sought confirmation (thank you BG) about the edible plants once eaten around here, the western central Victorian district formerly inhabited by the Dja Dja wurrung, Watha wurrung and other tribal groups.

Volcanoes were still active in western Victoria as recently as 10,000 years ago. Their lava was basalt, a molten material that flows easily, creates plains, then breaks down quickly to produce a fertile soil. When the white settlers arrived in western Victoria, the volcanic ground was abundant with an edible yam daisy, a tuber known as murnong. Above ground the murnong/yam daisy appears somewhat like the dandelion plant, with a drooping yellow flower.

Women gathering murnong and other food,
as sketched by squatter Henry Godfrey, on November 1, 1843.

Drawing from the artist's sketchbook,
La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria.

( from here )

The squatters' sheep appreciated the murnong too, and soon eradicated the bulk of it : a staple indigenous food source.

Time passes, and passes again. It is a decade or more since I first heard BG, on one of his tours of local indigenous history, talk about the volcanoes, the soil, the murnong, the Dja Dja wurrung and others who lived from of these fertile grounds. When I saw the following image and read the accompanying article, the print version was headlined A turnip for the books, I remembered BG telling us that after the yams were gone the new people realised the land was also excellent for growing potatoes, which it is, and I wondered (A turnip/potato/murnong...) for which books? Thoughts of unwritten books and lost libraries.

This image of the Actor of Looking is from last week's edition of our local newspaper The (Daylesford) Advocate.

The Advocate
19 May 2009

GIANT turnips have sprouted in Springmount paddocks, providing hearty meals for the sheep.

Springmount farmer Rod Taylor said he had three paddocks with turnips as big as 28cm by 20cm thick.

"Anybody I've told doesn't believe it until you pull them out of the bag,'' Mr Taylor said.

"My wife tells people we've got turnips as big as Rod's head.''

The turnips were keeping his 66 sheep going because the grass in the paddocks had suffered due to the hot weather and no rain, he said.

"The sheep wander into the paddocks when they want a good feed of turnips and then wander away to eat grass again,'' Mr Taylor said.

He said the over-sized turnips had been grown without water or fertilizer, and they had been a month late sowing them.

Mr Taylor and his wife Margaret have been at the property for 25 years and grew the turnips with fowl manure, lime and by deep ripping the soil, he said.

He said the company where he had first purchased the seeds in Ballarat was shocked by the size of them.

"They said I've seen some turnips but that is ridiculous," Mr Taylor said.

26 May 2009

Projection-Space as Perpetual Illusion Machine

FOR NOVELTY in window displays you can’t beat this “perpetual motion machine” as a means of attracting the attention of passers-by. Powered by magnets concealed in the tracks, the steel ball whirls round and round, bewildering those who pause to watch.

Scores of people will walk right by an artistically decorated store window without giving the display a glance. On the other hand, another store window with a novel display catches the eye of every passer-by.

An unusual novelty, particularly if it is puzzling and mysterious, will attract and hold more attention than a $100,000 painting by a 16th century master.

The reason for the attraction is this: Movement always arrests the eye. Herewith is described a window display novelty which always commands attention. Not only once, but time and again. It consists of a device suggestive of the ever elusive phenomenon: “Perpetual Motion.” Unlike many of the so-called “perpetual motion machines,” it has no gears, belts or levers. It consists simply of a polished steel ball rolling “perpetually” around a circular track.

Suspended above the track is what appears to be a huge permanent magnet, which is for illusory effect only. The device makes a very puzzling illusion. The ball rolls about 30 miles in 24 hours, while an indicator records the mileage. Passers-by will pause time and again to see how many miles the ball has traveled...

(later) ... the mileage indicator is mostly for psychological effect, but may be dispensed with. Curious passers-by will stop daily to see how many miles the ball has traveled. New signs will greet their eyes. With very little trouble, a mileage indicator from a bicycle can be remodeled to serve the purpose.

This “perpetual motion machine” compels intention. It is an excellent advertising attraction for any store window. Few passers-by are artists; every passer-by is curious.

The device will attract considerable attention to any display or signs set up in your window along with it. While watching the ball their eyes will fall on the signs.

“Perpetual Motion” Machine Makes Novel Window Display
(Modern Mechanix. July, 1931 : full article here )

25 May 2009

Visitors enjoying: John Brack retrospective at Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria

bLOGOS/HA HA observes the singular emotion ascribed by the National Gallery of Victoria to all who regard the art of John Brack at their current retrospective.

23 May 2009


Your correspondent has an ambivalent view of art schools : this, before and after getting the boot from the VCA/National Gallery School in 1974 : before and after an invaluable 18 months as a Media Arts student at RMIT, 2003-04.

So, was cheered to read in today's The Age (below) of rebellion in the student ranks.

Uni 'ripped heart out of VCA'
Robin Usher
May 23, 2009

CONCERN over the future of the former Victorian College of the Arts continues to grow after a graduating student was applauded at a presentation ceremony for criticising the college's takeover by Melbourne University.

Filmmaker Robbie McEwen accepted his degree last week before declaring in front of vice-chancellor Glyn Davis and other university officials at the Melbourne Recital Centre that "people could thank the University of Melbourne for ripping the heart out of the VCA".

College lecturers who were there say the applause from students and their families was long and sustained, while Professor Davis appeared stunned...

( full article here )

Also, for background :
Staff, students at former VCA in crisis meetings
Robin Usher
May 21, 2009

... But students have organised their own campaign and set up a website, savevca.org, that invites protest letters to federal Education Minister Julia Gillard. A spokeswoman for the VCA Student Union, Alison Hope, says students are also taking up the issue themselves by posting videos on YouTube...

( full article here )

the SAVE THE VCA website ( here )

Sign the SAVE THE VCA PETITION ( here )

22 May 2009

Extracts from the Commission of Report: Regarding 'Monument for the flooding of Royal Park'

bLOGOS/HA HA yesterday traveled overland to Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, for the launch there of Tom Nicholson's Monument for the flooding of Royal Park.

From the journal :
Expedition departs General Store at Spring Creek diggings before midday. This delayed by such a taking on of neighbourly wishes being without exception to the greater bounty of our fortune and for a safe return of all. A monument is proposed.

Welcomed at Daylesford boundary by Councilor McCleneghan's Mayoral Delegation, many prominent persons and a good number of others. General procession then to official reception at Town Hall followed by a civic luncheon. A public holiday is declared and a monument proposed.

Pass through Korweinguboora to hearty cheers of loggers. A monument of timbers to be raised at that place. Oaths of fidelity exchanged & All give thanks. Exit the Wombat forest without further incident.

Abandon camels at Ballan Station. Hasty toasts with local beer and another monument proposed! Board crowded train not a little merry, acknowledge encouragements of other passengers and together all in high spirits cross the Western basalt plains to Melbourne.

Upon reaching that place, entire company embarks to the Royal Park to offer there our respectful pause at certain monuments to fellow travellers. Lids were dipped at the sorry one and a souvenir or two of nardoo-sown soil taken from the other. From there, without delay, attempted passage through the crowds, our sights and readiness by this set entirely upon the prospect of the Launch.

We are once arrived and many times welcomed; fine wine companions wise wit, and both flow in generous supply: the newly minted volume is at high-table and
beckons the inspection of us all. Come the moment, words are said & instead of Launching it is thought a better plan and more prosperous to plant the thing into our own common soil. A handful of the nardoo ground suffices this effect, and everybody cheers! A monument is proposed. (all laugh and exeunt)

Photos above from various sources, courtesy:
Future Archive Holdings

18 May 2009

Save the Melbourne Museum of Printing

When I turned on the radio yesterday morning it was halfway into a program about the Melbourne Museum of Printing, about it's importance and potential as a working collection (the best of its kind according to the Smithsonian) and it's current predicament. (Artworks_ABC.RN. Eleventh Hour for the Melbourne Museum of Printing - click here) Hence yesterday afternoon's Save The MMOP open day with demonstrations of printing, limited edition prints for sale and a performance by Primitive Calculators.

When the Primitive Calculators first played, nearly thirty years ago, to pull a crowd of typography fans was unimaginable. Apparently, no longer. These days Melbourne has some renowned typographers and a base of interested others. Stephen Banham's Death To Helvetica T-shirts et L! So, there was a big Sunday arvo turn out and it appeared to this observer to be an embrace of generations: the skill and appreciation of those who'd hand set The Argus joining with the bright-eyed prospect of generation Fontographer. I noted this quote writ large on a calender there:
We ought to take a fresh look at tradition, considered not as the inert acceptance of a fossilized corpus of themes and conventions, but as an organic habit of re-creating what has been received and is handed on.
Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy, 1962
One friend, a musician/designer/editor and former master of the bromide camera, scalpel & hot wax said he initially presumed the crowd was primarily there for the band but then decided, no, they were really there for the Type and the MMoP. Yippee! Marvellous Melbourne!!

Inside the MMOP we danced the sardine shuffle, we looked at things, bought T shirts, badges and limited edition prints (below).

We photographed everything in sight.

The toilets were a treat, too. His and hers as serifs and san serifs, every spotless inch covered with the printed history of type and the press.


bLOGOS/HA HA went for the lot: the type, the art, the MMoP ... and certainly for the Primitive Calculators. Do that Dance! Do that Dance!! Doooo thaaaaaaat Daaaaaaaaaaaance!!!

It was great, too, to meet Danius Kesminas at last. He of SLAVE PIANOS (particularly Foreign Knowledge, the documentary monodrama) and The Histrionics.

For me, one unnecessary necessary-act epitomised the total commitment of the MMoP vision. With an eye to every detail, those behind the Open Day project had, along with everything else they'd prepared, made a couple of signs for the outside food stalls, for SNAGS and VEGIE BURGERS.

Most would just write it, surely - one minute and done - but these few sheets had been individually letter set, inked and printed, then taped up like any other, as if no big deal. As if it was the only way. I sure hope they get the patron and support they deserve.

15 May 2009

Da!Da! 1909!

Before there was Dada there was Da!Da!
This c.1909 poster is from the Library of Congress archives.

Library of Congress_poster_The Newlyweds and their Baby_Da!Da!_1909_600x300

14 May 2009

Flip Twice for Double Feature

What Joy to receive in today's mail a small envelope with a primitive, double feature movie inside. An old flip book, a response to the recent blog about movies and comics, from childhood fellow traveller D.

Flip forward and it's Tom & Jerry.


After intermission, turn it over and flip the other way for Droopy. *Cover poster a fine somedog looks at something ...

DROOPY flip book_sRGB_500h

13 May 2009


What was that?
cries the River Free

I was once your Burden
sings the Delta to the Sea

And now, a bow
All Three:
(laughter, exeunt)

The previous post recalled DC comic character The Riddler and his question mark logo. From the great parade of comic fashions - costumes, capes and masks - his is near enough the favourite at bLOGOS/HA HA.

On Dualism's Stage, I usually regard the question mark as a female sign : spiral and wombful. Ditto the Riddler's tease to Bat Man's LOGOS : He Man, upright citizen, phallic Imperator, exclamation hammer! Zap! Pow! Bam!
While Batman was always poised and in control of his emotions, Robin was a highly excitable young man. Throughout their exploits, Robin would often find some event, some comment, some thing, completely unbelievable. On these occasions, he would exclaim, "Holy (insert words here), Batman!" What follows is a list of such outbursts.
("Holy read the list here Batfans!")
Still on question marks, I was intrigued several days ago to 'uncover' this 1922 image at the Library of Congress archives.

woman holding ? placard_via Library of Congress
[Unclothed woman behind "?" sign], 7/28/22

bLOGOS/HA HA is interested in Labels, and reproduces the
LC Label below. It includes a helpful and unhelpful NOTE :
Title devised by Library staff
TITLE: [Unclothed woman behind "?" sign], 7/28/22

CALL NUMBER: LC-F8- 19377[P&P]

REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-npcc-06771 (digital file from original)

RIGHTS INFORMATION: No known restrictions on publication.

MEDIUM: 1 negative : glass ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller

CREATED/PUBLISHED: [19]22 July 28.


Title devised by Library staff.

Date from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negatives or negative sleeves.

Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947.

This glass negative might show streaks and other blemishes resulting from a natural deterioration in the original coatings.

Temp. note: Batch two.


Glass negatives.

PART OF: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

DIGITAL ID: (digital file from original) npcc 06771 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.06771

CONTROL #: npc2007006770
How do the LC Lablers know the woman is unclothed? She is/the image is an emanation of the Supreme Goddess as Void, with projection-space for image whereupon we may project and see "unclothed woman" et al.

Another recent fun find is the 1950 sheet music for THE THING. On the cover, in the centre, between the name of THE THING (THE THING) and the nailed and bound wooden box, floats a big bland question mark. [What is this thing called THE THING? Huh?]

Below is a slightly later version, from 1952, with neither ? nor !
(Just looking, thanks.)

08 May 2009

Primitive Calculators at the Melbourne Museum of Printing


Melbourne Museum of Printing (MMOP) is a working museum of typography and printing. Since 1993 the museums focus has been on the retention of traditional printing methods and equipment. Initially established as the Australian Type Company – containing a comprehensive collection of printing presses, typesetting machines, types and other print-related artefacts in addition to its Monotype-based typecasting machines and matrix collection. In due course, it became the last remaining typefoundry in Australia and should, by commercial norms, have closed in the early 1990’s when proprietor Michael Isaachsen turned the whole collection into a non-profit museum.

* Primitive Calculators ( website here ) will start around 4pm

06 May 2009

On being : one, two, a thousandfold

The previous post was in response to an isolated cartoon frame ("TWO OF ME?!") seen at johan urban berquist. Johan Urban has since referred me to Pappy's, about whom more soon. But first...

Bendigo in the 1950s and 60s had three old picture theatres: The Plaza, The Princess and The Lyric. (The Lyric burned down; The Princess was pulled down to make way for a petrol station; and The Plaza was closed down by the Catholic Church, who owned the lease or somesuch, after the theatre defied them and showed Last Tango in Paris > Last Flick in Bendigo. After that a new and charmless cinema complex was built : "THE END". Until one of these three broke ranks and increased admittance to 1/3, they each charged us 1/- (one shilling) per session. For that we usually got two films, with a lively intermission, and sometimes a cartoon and/or newsreel.

An aside : in the mid-60s I was sent to a country boarding school (for 4 years) where I became one of the projectionists for our regular Saturday night film screening. Weekly duties began with the collection, and later the return, of the heavy cans of 35mm film. Then we needed to check that each spool had been correctly returned by the previous user. Thus to roll the entire film at high speed through our fingers, only lightly touching it as it passed to feel ("Ouch!) for any nicks or breaks, which would then be cut and glued and spliced together.

Saturday night in the projection box was mechanical illumination magic. Open the curtains, reveal the screen. Play on the record player (where we secretly first auditioned a then-banned copy of Purple Haze; heard Sgt. Peppers teach the band to play, and one year spun my own birthday treat, the Wild Cherries' Krome Plated Yabbie) the ancient spiral of Wurlitzer 'music for entering & departing cinemas'. With everyone in, lights out, kick off the first projector, watch the numbers wind-down until : Pull away the gate/ Let there be Light/ Let there be ILLUSION! Keep an eye on the film; watch and adjust the burning of the arcs; be ready to synchronise the changeovers from one reel to the next: watch for the scratched signal at the top right of the screen, then all systems go; second signal, switch to second projector. One spool out, next spool in. Thread it. Rewind that last spool, put it back in the can. Sometimes a breakdown : the film snaps, is jamming, or running off the sprockets, even melting on screen (very exciting!). A few days later pin up the posters for next Saturday night's films. Ah, those posters!

One year our class inaugurated a regular, next day, Sunday film discussion program. From that group, one of us would later host for many years a similar film discussion program on Melbourne radio and inaugurate a specialist film festival. Two of us (including one who edited and showed his first 8mm films in that school projection box) would become 'art-house' cinema projectionists. My own interest in the idea and expressions of "projection-space" continues in this blog and elsewhere. Here's my 1966 drawing of one of our Australian made 35mm cinema projectors.

Returning to comics: On a Saturday afternoon in 50s-60s Bendigo most kids arrived well before the pictures started, all armed with comics. Some to read, some to trade. Before the lights dimmed and the projectors rolled the place was a cross between a library and a bustling market. As far as I could ever determine, trade values seemed quite arbitrary, a matter of persuading some other kid that your this was worth three of his that. Building up the numbers seemed as important as establishing any standard of quality. How many comics have you got? Two boxes. (Impressive!)

Comics were also the main pleasure when we went for our piano lesson. Again, we would try to arrive early to dive into one of the several large boxes of comics owned by, and stored under the bed of, the son of the piano teacher. (Years later, thanks Kelvin!)

At home in the front room performing the obligatory grind of daily piano practice I often had a comic on the music ledge as I played the easier scales over and over. He marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again. Early Minimalist!

I've been reviewing my days in junior comic culture after reading Pappy's recollections at his Golden Age Comics Blogzine. So much in common. In fact and spirit.

Occasionally a curious person will ask me, "What's the oldest comic book you have in your collection?"

I think it's a fair question, but my answer is, "I don't know." I'm surrounded by books and comics. Half the time I can't remember what I have. However, Uncle Scrooge #7, September- November, 1954, is the oldest comic book I have that I personally bought off the comic book rack. That I remember.

My first experiences with comics were with two boxes of coverless and otherwise poor-condition books. The first box was in my neighbor Allen's basement. He led me down some wooden stairs.* I sat under a light set up by the furnace and looked at comics his older brothers and sisters had read to pieces. As I recall, they included one with a horror story about a flower turning into a gorilla--or was it the other way around?-- and a coverless issue of The Human Torch. I was mighty impressed by that flaming on stuff!

The other box of comics was one given to me by my cousin, Dickie. It included a lot of Dell Comics like Francis The Talking Mule, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and many Walt Disney titles.

That was in 1953. I was a first grader, six-years-old...

( Pappy's full article here )
So many comic influences! From English import children's picture sequence (comic?) magazines Jack and Jill, and Playtime to Rupert the Bear and various strips in Wonder Books and Boys Own annuals...

Derived from my small collection of Boys Own and Girls Own annuals, in 1988 I serialised Culture Corner with Uncle Pete
- The Saga of a Girl's Search for the Source of the Latest Art -
in Melbourne University's student newspaper Farrago.
In 1981 Paul Taylor used the scene-setting image from episode one of Culture Corner on the cover of the (Latest) Art & Text (#2), the "new Australian art magazine" he edited out of Melbourne.

... to the daily comic strips read in Dad's copy of The (Melbourne) Sun : Ginger Meggs, Bluey and Curley, Al Capp's Lil Abner and his deathless though-often-holed detective Fearless Fosdick.

Also from Dad's paper,
Dennis the Menace, The Potts, Brick Bradford, Rip Kirby and, later, Modesty Blaise. Disney favourites included Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck, The Beagle Boys and a particular affection for Gyro Gearloose's "Little Helper" with the light bulb head. Here as The Thinker (after Rodin) perhaps.

The DC Universe characters: Phantom, Batman, Superman, The Joker, The Riddler with his Question Mark logo. And the character from the 5th dimension with the intriguing name of indeterminate pronouncibility Mr. Mxyzptlk ( pictured earlier above, discovering a poster).

Later, the Marvel Comics' superheroes and supervillans: Green Lantern, Hulk, Flash and their variously exceptional companions. Classics Illustrated were studied and collected for the getting of wisdom. But, eventually, graduation was by way of MAD. ( I still search out certain old MAD covers.) After that Spike Milligan (Puckoon especially, with Spike's ratty drawings), The Goons, Monty Python, Leunig, Beckett et al. The following, via Pappy's, is from an advert for the MAD Reader.

( x 1000 )