Saturday, 29 January 2011

WILD photography competition!

Richard Long, A Line in the Himalayas, 1975
(watch this space for a full blog feature coming soon)

Feeling primal? For our WILD issue competition we're ensuring the survival of the fittest by asking you to interpret the following quotation in a single photograph:

"Thou strange piece of wild nature!"
-Colley Cibber, 'The Lady's Last Stake'

Please send all entries in high quality to before the deadline of 13th February with your name and 'Photography competition' as the subject. Entries will be judged by our Photography Editors on the basis of both artistic merit and adherence to the quotation. As usual, the winner will be published pride of place in the WILD issue alongside five runners-up.  Good luck!


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Urban Wilderness Revived

In the 1950s Detroit was a boom town. It was the world centre of the automobile industry and a hotbed for blues, rock & roll and Motown (which gets its name from "Motor City"). Now much of it is an urban wasteland. With its population around half what it once was, huge swathes of its once beautiful architecture are left in ruins.

But this is only half the story. Inspired by the city's history, the ambitious younger generations of Detroit are determined to re-kindle the once vital creativity of the place. Despite its potential defects (focusing almost exclusively on affluent white 20-somethings, and actually being some kind of footware advert) this documentary highlights the artists and innovators trying to recapture the spirit of a once great town.


Monday, 24 January 2011

Go wilder...

King of wildmen action painters Jack 'the Dripper' Pollock.

with your art, photography, poetry, prose and features for our new theme, WILD, as you now have until 6th February to submit them. And watch this space for a wild-related photography competition to be announced in the next few days!


Thursday, 20 January 2011

The Christmas Steps Celebrates Valentine's Day

After its success in the run up to Christmas, the monthly Artisan Market returns to Bristol's charming Christmas Steps on Valentine's weekend. Local artists and makers will be selling their wares under twelve teetering stalls. Take a walk down to the Steps for a unique shopping experience, or just a chance to take in one of Bristol's hidden charms.

The Christmas Steps Valentine's Artisan Market is Saturday the 12th of February.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

WATCH: Whistler Blackcomb - XXS

Whistler Blackcomb - XXS from Switchback Entertainment on Vimeo.

Exquisite tilt-shift video of a-day-in-the-life of Whistler ski resort. Just in case you're missing the snow in Bristol already.


Saturday, 15 January 2011

Poem of the Week: 'Mayakovsky' by Frank O'Hara

I have, finally, got into watching Mad Men and am now a full-blown addict. A cheeky poem from Frank O'Hara was slipped into the first episode of the second series, and I liked it so much I'm including it here. It's called 'Mayakovsky', and it is taken from his hugely popular 1963 collection, Meditations in an Emergency.

Frank O'Hara

Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.


Saturday, 8 January 2011

SEE: John Pawson Plain Space at Design Museum

"The state of minimum is not one of austerity nor deprivation. 
It is clarity of space." - John Pawson

The father of super-stripped back architectural minimalism, John Pawson's work breathes light and vitality in a month bloated with post-Christmas flatulence. Set inside the modest white cube neatly labelled 'Design Museum' (a short walk from the tube across Tower Bridge, where tourist-wielded DSLR lenses must be dodged like bullets in the Matrix), this exhibition covers a half-century of his projects ranging from Cistertian Monestaries to LA homes. All share, however, in the refreshing provision of a neo-spiritualist philosophy that is too often lost to the curvy pluralism of postmodern architecture. In an age dominated by the zany creations of Zaha Hadid that strive to outdo life's own complications by further confusing them, Pawson instead composes a series of quiet retreats "that offer a sense of refuge and order in a complex world". Step inside if you need a reminder that, under the ever-heavy cloud of ridiculous consumerism in today's ecological climate, less really is more.

Students £6, includes entry to 'Drawing Fashion', until 6 March.


Poem of the Week: 'Tusking' by Mick Imlah

Oxford Don and Poetry Editor for the Times Literary Supplement, Mick Imlah tragically died of motor neurone disease in 2009 at the age of 52. Imlah was best known for his poetry collections Birthmarks (1988) and The Lost Leader (2008), which both showed to best effect his characteristic wit, skills in punning and also a delectable display of rhyme. 'Tusking' is taken from the January 2009 edition of the TLS, and fits in very nicely with Helicon's new theme, 'Wild'.

Mick Imlah

In Africa once
A herd of Harrow
Elephants strayed
Far from their bunks;
Leather, they lay
Their costly trunks
And ears of felt
Down on the veldt. 

All forgot
The creep of dusk:
A moonbeam stole
Along each tusk;
Snores and sighs.
Oh foolish boys!
The English Elephant
Never lies! 

In the night-time, lithe
Shadows with little
Glinting teeth
Whisked tusks away;
Drew through the dark
Branches of ivory,
Made a great hue 
On their rapid run.

Hunters, at home
They curl up the bare
Soles of their feet
With piano-pleasure;
Sammy plays
A massacre song
With the notes wrong
On Massa's baby.

Out in the bush
Is silence now;
Savannah seas
Have islands now;
Smelly land-masses,
Bloody, cold,
Disfigured places
With fly-blown faces.

And each of us rests
After his fashion;
Elephant, English,
Butcher, Bushman;
Now only the herding
Boy in a singlet
Worries his goat
With a peaceful prod. 

But if, one night
As you stroll the verandah
Observing with wonder
The place of the white
Specks in the universe,
Brilliant and clear –
Sipping your whisky
And pissed with fear –

You happen to hear
Over the tinkle
Of ice and Schubert
A sawing – a drilling –
The bellow and trump
Of a vast pain –
Pity the hulks!
Play it again!


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

There are no words

... And on that note, happy 2011 from the Helicon team!