Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Which Five Would You Choose?

I don't go a bundle on Simon Schama as an art historian, but this is an interesting little exercise from the rather clunky 'Civilisations' programme on the BBC.


Schama picks his top five paintings, and gives the reasons why he considers them to be masterpieces.  It's a nice, wide selection, with good arguments for their inclusion.

He chooses...

Las Meninas - Velázquez

In terms of a royal portrait, it's certainly an audaciously modern and unique take - the King and Queen are just distant ghosts in the mirror, trapped by the frame, whilst the artist and the act of creating their image takes centre stage and the minor characters of the court spill out in a procession of vigour and life across the canvas.  We are the King and Queen, in fact.  That's almost an act of treason!  Sovereignty lies in the people.  It's a hugely intelligent, modern and influential piece.

The Night Watch - Rembrandt

I saw this earlier this year in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  It's stunning, and crackles with energy and movement.

The Ceiling of the Wurzburg Residence - Tiepolo

Now, I've been to Wurzburg a few times, but I've never seen it.

The Madonna of Loreto - Caravaggio

I'm right on board with this one.  Caravaggio rocks.  For sheer 'how did he do that?', no-one touches him. Painter of the people. 

and lastly

Starry Night over the Rhone- Van Gogh

Schama argues that the reason it's there is for sheer sizzling, cosmic at-one-with-universeness, and I can see that.

See what you think!  

Which paintings would you choose?

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Yes Fan Convention and Yes at the London Palladium, Sunday 25th March 2018

Well done everyone, here we are at the last leg. Brace, brace, because this one's an epic.

Yes, today is the biggie.  Fan Convention (massive thanks to Brian Neeson) AND last concert. It's a big coming together, and also the big letting go.

It starts with British Summer Time contriving against us, with the clocks going forward an hour (although some people put their clocks an hour back by mistake..).  Having had about 10 minutes of sleep, we have to leave the hotel before breakfast to do a Yes Bus Tour of London.

The 4 hour bus tour is an absolute hoot.   Abbey Road, Advision Studios, and to my deep pleasure, the house where Something's Coming was photographed, which sadly, I've always wanted to see. Seriously.  Here it is.

(Although we weren't taken to here, which was photographed at the same time and must be very close by, as the band are all wearing the same clothes, right down to the sunglasses still hooked into Jon's pocket.)

Thrillingly, the bus tour also involved being taken to the demolition site that was Blaises Night Club, where the only known picture of the band with Tony O'Reilly was taken (rather oddly) in a sauna.

Then it was back to the Palladium just in time for the big moments of our two favourite tribute bands.  Seyes...

and Fragile, with the lovely Claire Hammill, who I last saw on tour with Jon Anderson.

Even Roger Dean was persuaded to sing.

There was a display of Roger's iconic artwork, plus memorabilia.

I've got this single!!

Here's Roger's original 1972 artwork for the sleeve notes of Close to the Edge, showing how he papered over a mistake in the credits.  It's all hand-drawn! Even the lines round the edge.  I can't tell you how exciting it was looking at the original of the thing I've owned for decades - it was like looking at the original artwork for Lucienne Day's Spectators.

Here's Roger signing my CD (even though I can't play a CD)...

book signings by famous authors with excited fans...

band Q&A... 

It was a jam-packed day.  So after dinner and a couple of glasses of champagne, it was time for the final show of the tour.

Wait, who's this here to introduce it?  None other than the very droll jazz-tastic ex-drummer of early Yes, Professor William Bruford.

And we're off.. "Welcome to Sunday Night at the London Palladium!" shouted Steve.  We looked down at our 'Yes Bingo' cards and ticket the first box.

I'm sure by now you can tell which songs these photos are from.  Yours is No Disgrace for starters.

Even from where I am sitting in Row G, I can see that there is a tear in Jon's eye.

"Mouse One - I've told you before - light up your fag...PUFF!!!"

It's scary how far you can zoom in from Row G.

Yikes!  Who's this?  Oh yes, it's Trevor. 

Now, to be fair, some people heard the voice of an angel, authentically singing Tempus Fugit like it should be sung. 

I heard 'Squaaaaaaaaawkkk!!!" 

A crowd mercifully on its feet and down at the front for the encore.

And that's it.  All over.  Thank you, gentlemen, thank you.

The parting of the ways.