The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Sunday, June 22, 2003
Dizzee Rascal and Peter Wyngarde

We spend most of our lives being hypocrites. We pretend to love and be committed to the work which we do for no other reason than to provide the means to live and to postpone death. As consumers of art, we are likewise “a trifle hypocritical” insofar as we profess to believe in and adhere to some remotely-defined sense of “standards” yet in reality prefer to consume art which defies every single one of these set standards. We understand instinctively that presenting the world with our unadorned, real selves will more than likely condemn ourselves to death or anti-existence. Thus it is that I am this week recommending to you two records which in many key ways express beliefs and ideas which could be construed as repulsive and repugnant. Then again, what happens if we choose to ban any art from our lives which dares not to agree with what we think? A glorified Thumperland, I would venture, and a far more dangerous and ultimately life-denying self-suppression which reins us in and will eventually cause a slow, internal death in ourselves. Or, to put it in a blunter, back-to-basics way, we nod our heads at and agree with Billy Bragg and fall asleep.

There’s a queer sort of convenient symmetry in the fact that Dizzee Rascal’s real name is Dylan Mills. The tongue liberator coexisting with the industrial oppressor. A graduate of the Roll Deep Crew who propels garage beyond comfortable aspirational notionalities, back into a post-punk/post-New Pop basement where souls combust. I once had a dream where I was standing outside an obscure and uninviting tube station – Trinity Station it was called, non-existent on the real Underground – somewhere in a perpetually half-lit and cold, undefined inner/outer London sidings (perhaps it was the eerily purple-skied, architecturally askew “SE29” immortalised in the recently discontinued ITV would-be avant-garde soap opera Night And Day). The entire inside of the station then proceeded to burst and explode outwards, casting ill-defined pieces of human beings out towards a well-defined destiny. If Boy In Da Corner, Dizzee Rascal’s debut album, were to be set anywhere it would be here, in this dreamed tube station, just before “the cupboard explodes.” There is a greyness in this record which almost outdoes the Cabaret Voltaire of 1981, but the architecture of the landscape is presented perfectly – pizzicato synth strings, riding a rollercoaster sans brakes, wot-u-lookin-at beats snapping at your heels and ears.

And also the distinct sense that Rascal’s been listening, funnily enough (because this album demonstrates no humour whatsoever or wheresoever), to Sylvian and Sakamoto. We know that there are precedents for this in ‘90s jungle, never more so than in the use of a sample from Sakamoto’s theme from The Last Emperor in Shut Up And Dance’s “The Green Man” (one of the greatest anti-drug songs ever, more so because it is entirely instrumental). In fact Boy In Da Corner is very much a sequel to and redefinition of SUAD’s flawed masterpiece Death Is Not The End, except here there isn’t even Kevin Rowland’s rehab acoustic guitar to comfort you. Certainly this Dylan’s vocal delivery might prove as unsettling and radical as the Dylan after which he was (presumably) named: 5000 wpm delivery speed, like the rapid fire of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” convulsing/combusting in an electric chair. And a perpetually hyper-epileptic, neurotic voice, verging throughout on tears; a laboratory rat taken out of its natural environment and struggling to cope with its incomprehension of the “real world.”

Because the Rascal is 17 and has just left school. Indeed, much of this record could be considered as poignant a lament for expired childhood as the staggering final chapter of The House At Pooh Corner. But there is no luscious middle England green woodland to facilitate Rascal’s passage into adulthood. “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” could be this record’s alternate title – but no, Boy In Da Corner, where he’s always been (“Dylan go and stand in the corner for the next twelve years. That’ll teach you not to sniff your armpits in class.”) – no title could be more appropriate than that. He realises the existence of something called death, another thing called guns, and yet another “thing” called the female of the species, which latter he seems to find particularly problematic.

Could the opening track “Sittin’ Here” have been Original Pirate Material had it been recorded five years earlier? The latter is of course the more “lived” record, a product of someone with experience of how much shit the world contains and has acclimatised himself to it. On “Sittin’ Here,” however, the fish has been compulsorily yanked out of its water and is wriggling to stay alive. Key perhaps that the first words we hear are “Lay back” (in the mortuary sense?), rapidly followed by “Get it right/Don’t be polite.” He has trapped himself in his room (“I’m looking into space while my CD plays…/I think too deep and I think too long/I think I’m getting weak ‘cos my thoughts are too strong”). The delicately disjointed Sylvian/Sakamoto melody/rhythm plays while outside we hear, distantly, police sirens and gunshots. He knows that sooner rather than later he will be compelled to take Tin Drum out of the CD player and enter the latter world, and it’s filling him with life-denying dread. He reflects on the childhood which has been lately taken away from him – “Only yesterday, life was a touch more sweet.” He cannot comprehend why he now has to exist “here.” Karen Carpenter isn’t that far away from him, aesthetically speaking – that unspoken but terrible dread which runs through the entire subtext of side two of the Carpenters’ Here And Now. He concludes “I keep getting vexed ‘til I think – what’s it worth?” before proceeding to spend the remainder of the record getting vexed.

Suddenly he is strapped into the chair of adulthood and away he careers, confused in his assumed confidence, on “Stop Dat,” wherein his tears jerk in (2) step with the extraordinary hyperbolic momentum of the music, a step further even than the suddenly tentative-sounding So Solid Crew. He strides through his estate, never letting his fear be smelt. He meditates on the meanings of his “screw face” (Skinner’s “bad day frown”) – “Screw face means I’ve underachieved…Screw face means LET ME BREATHE!” before suddenly veering into the Turkey Trot from hell. “Do the butterfly!” Rarely has the command to get up and dance been so utterly denuded of fun and life.

The single “I Luv U” you will already know. I still do not know the identity of the astonishing lady rapper on this track, but her presence is absolutely crucial insofar as it questions how much of Rascal’s rant is rooted in reality. She is, supposedly, 15, and has just had what she claims is Rascal’s kid – Rascal denies it vehemently and splenetically, refuses to acknowledge life-changing responsibilities, blames her for everything, accuses her of pestering him. She on the other hand complains (far less vehemently) that she “can’t go nowhere…these days” because he’s “following me here, following me there.” Is it all imagined? The parentage is of course admitted in the secret centre of the song; their exchanged refrains of “Oh well” as they both see life fading away from them. Her first “oh well” is a particular punctum, uttered just as the synth goes into an alienating minor key behind her. This won’t be the last occasion on the record where Rascal blames the woman for everything.

“Brand New Day” returns musically to the Sylvian/Sakamoto template, but now filtered and varispeeded to take the track into Boards of Canada territory. Rascal expresses disbelief that other rappers don’t “chat about what’s happening.” He warns, chillingly, that “it’s gonna be a hot summer…and an even hotter winter…and I ain’t talkin’ about the weather.” Has a “brand new day” ever sounded more unwanted, more dreaded? This is an anthem of anti-positivity, for it carries with it the far-from-remote possibility that a new day will mean death (remote comparisons – Tony Christie’s “I Did What I Did For Maria,” Roger Whittaker’s “Morning Please Don’t Come”). It’s one of the record’s standout tracks. So naked, so fearful. And yet, at the end, the track shuts off and Rascal says cheerfully “OK, next one…”

(Again fuelling my belief that the music which now matters has become localised, impromptu, speaking from the inside of their creators with no mediator to prevent/alter them from reaching your insides. The record as a record, a weblog entry, the importance of the unfinished, that all records should cease only with the cessation of life)

The “next one” is “2 For” and involves Roll Deep’s Wiley on production duties. Yes, it starts and finishes with a 78 rpm argument, again with a woman, and the initial thrust of attack is “I’m no female beater, but…[I’ll] slap that girl if she hates me” but this goes on to be an assault on all easy targets. “I don’t obey no policeman ‘cos they forget they’re human.” About the Queen: “I live street and she lives neat.” Still, this is beginning to leave an uneasy taste in the mouth.

“Fix Up, Look Sharp,” however, is terrific pop (the nearest the album comes to “pop”). Driven by a superlative (Bonham?) drum loop and an exuberant girl-group “Wooo!” (“Love Shack”?) this is exactly the sort of joint which Jay-Z should be cutting, even though lyrically it doesn’t venture much beyond “Flushing MCs down the loo.” What an image, though!

But this blip of confidence is soon overwhelmed by genuine confusion. The next three tracks are worthy of Tricky at his trickiest. “Cut ‘Em Off” seems to float around without any definable anchor. He doesn’t (momentarily?) seem to know who he is. Signifiers – “Review the situation,” “Socialise/Negotiate,” “Take part/Take over” – rattle around like some Pop Will Eat Itself lyrical leftovers, before Rascal exclaims over and over that you shouldn’t attack him because, like the halo in the benefit fraud ad, he knows where you live and knows where to find you (“I’m not a ratchet but I bang a lot”). Except, here’s the rub: “Just remember this – I AM YOU! If you think you’re real, do what you’ve gotta do.” An astonishing admission that he is more probably than not ranting to a mirror. “Hold Ya Mouf” doesn’t seem to be about much at all, apart from stating that “I’m a problem for Anthony Blair” – and how Rascal relishes that “Anthony” – and the abandoned signifiers of rifle clicks. Better still, however, is “Round We Go.” Propelled by what sounds like the decaying skeleton of The Magic Roundabout, Rascal muses tearfully that “it’s just one big circle here” and meditates on the multiple meanings of the word “friend” (this song is to the word “friend” what Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” is to the word “baby”). A shame that he had to follow that verse with more undigested spleen against Women Who Betray (His Perspective Only) – still, it’s the answer record to the Sugababes’ “Round Round.” What happens to those left behind, barred from participation.

Then we move slightly into Tim Westwood territory. “Jus’ A Rascal” has an incongruous amateur operatic chorus of “he’s just a rascal, Dizzee Rascal” which not only calls to mind Busta Rhymes’ “Branded” but also Gilbert and Sullivan. Roots can be found in the most remote of British places.

But then we move more decisively into Taliban territory. “Wot U On” and “Jezebel” are the problem tracks here. The former begins with the refrain “Love talks to everyone, but money talks more” and is powered by a sneering female chorus – the “I Luv U” lady returning, by the sound of it – of “Where’s yer cash, where’s yer dong?” and similar. On a bubblegum level it’s compulsive and rather amusing listening, but taken in tandem with sentiments expressed elsewhere on the record one is driven to wonder whether frustration and fear can find a better outlet than the demolition of easy targets. Doesn’t he like Mis-Teeq or something?

Then comes this track called “Jezebel” which is “I Luv U” from a different and less compelling perspective; an uncompromising attack on a 16-year-old girl who chooses to fuck indiscriminately, spreads VD and ends up a single mother. It’s bad enough that lyrically and politically this could have been the work of Paul Dacre, but near the end this line comes: “She’s the mother of two/Worse than that, two little girls, two more of her/Two more little Jezzies…” Straight away he then moves onto the track “Seems 2 Be” where he boasts of his impeccable sexual prowess. And one has to say an emphatic no to all of this. It’s odious and misguided, and indirectly colours everything else that he says on the record. And then I remember things like Trouble Funk’s “Woman Of Principle” and sigh inwardly at the undemolishable barrier between goodness of human nature and goodness of music. Because the unpalatable aesthetic truth is that one cc of Rascal’s sperm rocks more than the worthy massed bodies familiar to readers of the NME circa 1985-87.

Thus with complete and unfettered hypocrisy I can dive back into the terrific post-PiL rumble of “Live O” (not an idle comparison; listen to Rascal’s hugely Lydonesque cries of “Live O!” which sound more like “Libel!”) with more distended ghost dancing (“Skank out and jump about!” the camp commandant orders – or so it sounds).

Finally we reach “Do It,” the album’s closer and the album’s “Stay Positive” where, if I hear it aright, Rascal is trying to explain/atone for what he has been saying for the previous 53 minutes. That Sylvian/Sakamoto Camus-meets-bamboo motif returns and the sentiments of the opening track return also. “Everyone’s growing up too fast…No one understands us!” We are, as usual, encouraged to keep going – “Sleep tight, everything will be alright” – but if anything this quest sounds even more fruitless and hopeless than that of Skinner. “I don’t really ask much, so I don’t own much,” Rascal confesses. The track totters uncertainly to its end. Some studio chatter concludes the album – “I need to talk more.”

Selectively? Wisely?

It all reminds me of an equivalent ghost from the past.

”It wasn’t that difficult to find, was it?”

For the best part of 30 years, the solitary album recorded by the actor Peter Wyngarde was extremely difficult to find. Withdrawn by RCA after less than a week on release in 1970 – it was a tax loss – it was remastered for CD reissue on Rev-Ola by Joe Foster, only to be vetoed by Alan McGee on moral grounds (!). The masters passed to RPM Records, who recently provided us with the definitive Joe Meek anthology, and they reissued it on CD in 1998. Originally eponymously titled, with a front cover of the moustachioed Wyngarde looking moody and sultry in a check suit, it was reissued under the title When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head. Presumably this was the title originally intended for the album, or maybe RPM were trying to hook the Austin Powers audience. But the album is anything but camp, whilst simultaneously being nothing but camp. It is tongue-in-cheek, but seriously so; it is naturally very actorly, in the line of the Richard Harris/Jimmy Webb collaborations, but the mixture of mischief and anxiety doesn’t always seem acted.

Wyngarde was, in 1970, one of the highest-paid actors on British television, thanks to his starring rôle in the ITC biscuit-cutter spy melodrama Department S and its subsequent eponymous spinoff Jason King. He played an articulate, lecherous fop who somehow always managed to nail villainy as and where necessary. He was a distinguished stage actor with previous film/TV form; very good in Aldrich’s The Haunting, as camp as required in the notorious “Hellfire Club” episode of The Avengers, and a superb, if underused, Number 2 in the “Checkmate” episode of The Prisoner, meditating and practising karate in pre-moustache mode, looking and sounding astonishingly like Alan Rickman. On the CD reissue sleeve there is a priceless photo of Wyngarde, in Jason King mode, looking like a kinkier Charles Bronson; meticulously unruly shoulder-length hair, moustache with love pumps for handlebars, a knotted scarf, chest with hair and medallion, open leather suit and a belt which carried, on his left, a purse, on the right a pair of screwdrivers, and at the front, a pair of pliers. He wasn’t your husband, which explains much of his popularity at the time.

Naturally, in the light of “Macarthur Park” et al, record companies were keen to approach him for a quick-buck moneyspinning record – EMI suggested an album of Sinatra and Frankie Laine covers. Wyngarde, who readily admits to not being able to sing for toffee (despite having done Brecht and Eisler), instead took up the offer from RCA, who indicated that he could do whatever he liked. He took the invitation literally and took the whole project, if not himself, very seriously indeed. Enlisting the aid of musical director Hubert Valverde and producer Vic Smith, Wyngarde, in his words, “sat on the loo and put some words to tunes I’d got from the Valverde brothers.” They are lyric-poems rather than songs as such; Wyngarde sings only intermittently throughout the album.

And yet virtually the first we hear of him is his voice singing, to himself. After a quick cackling sample (moral: don’t take the record seriously), a brutal breakbeat storms in and a John Barry-esque brass fanfare enters, accompanied by a bassline which sounds as though it keeps getting kicked downstairs. But this dramatic opening then fades into the background, while in the foreground Wyngarde is singing a French song to himself, lighting a candle, preparing to welcome us into the album. An unheard doorbell rings and he walks across the stereo to usher us in. He immediately starts chatting us up, though becomes noticeably irked when he says, “No the lights haven’t fused, it’s candlelight” before returning unconvincingly to an intimate tone. Something is clearly not right here. “No, no, come over here. It’s closer to everything.” Everything here being equated with “my life.” “I’ve started on the champagne” he points out. Already pissed before “she” has even arrived at his house. But, as the album subsequently makes clear, there is no “she” – this is as much of a pantomime act as Judith Evelyn’s Miss Lonely Hearts in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, welcoming in an imaginary suitor, setting the table for two before realising that there is no one there and dissolving into tears, her head invisible in her hands. The only audience here is the listener Be seduced by the champagne and the chat and you won’t notice the rope he’s subtly winding around you. Or indeed the fulsome sleevenote penned by “Jason King” – “I can think of no other album that has brought me such continuous pleasure than this outrageously funny, original and versatile one.” And this intent was intended – Wyngarde again: “…having a victim forced to sit down and listen to it for 40 (actually 35) minutes.” To listen to him, to hear him expound his woes; there was no need for Elton John to commission a musical about Michael Fagin at the foot of the Queen’s bed, for this is the equivalent soundtrack.

(Remember, he’s supposed to be wooing the lady, but the frantic Bond-esque music is what’s playing on the stereo in the background, hardly music for candlelit dinners)

Now terrified, the “victim” is first led into a utopia of harp cascades as Wyngarde muses about the relationship between love and the month of April (never mentioning, but never forgetting, that it is the cruellest month). His picture book portrait of innocent, courtly love is curiously distended by a comparison with “the stinging taste of mint.” And he then, sinister in his sweetness, asks: “It is April…before a rainfall.”

The opening brass/rhythm motif then returns, now more forcibly, for the inevitable consequence of all of this. “Rape rape rape rape!” barks Wyngarde like an undersexed Alsatian, as a curiously familiar-sounding trumpet issues freeform screams behind him. This is the track “Rape,” the track which doubtless prompted RCA’s quick withdrawal (so to speak), the track which upped the value of the original album to £400, the track which dissuaded McGee from reissuing it on Creation, the track which (even though, or because, it comes so early on in the album) is the absolute cynosure of the album. If we doubt this, we only have to remind ourselves of the back cover of the original album – the complete antithesis of the front cover, showing Wyngarde, back to camera, seemingly pissing against a wall strewn with graffiti – all to do with rape: “Behind the newspaper I could see a copy of the Kama Sutra,” “He said he was a dentist, but I knew he wasn’t when he took his teeth out,” “She told me she was a vegetarian” etc. What bothers nearly every casual listener about this song is that it appears to be a comedy song about rape. Essentially an excuse for Wyngarde to show off his ability at multiple accents (look how big mine is), this song purports to demonstrate the different forms of rape carried out in different countries. And it clearly is not just about bodily rape; for America, we are told “We’ll never be late – except for that date with impatient Black Power,” while for Russia, Wyngarde states “Czechoslovakia is far more suitable.” The rape of countries and civilisations. And with Germany, he inevitably evokes Nazism: “…which all makes it comparatively kinky/With gas thrown in to get rid of the stinky.”

So is the seeming amorality of this song “Rape” more excusable than Dizzee Rascal’s lambasting of teenage single mothers? In the light especially of Throbbing Gristle’s subsequent examination of the unexaminable and unspeakable, it doesn’t seem so out of place or inexplicable as it might have done in 1970, and I also wonder whether Jerry Dammers didn’t cop an ear to the arrangements before cutting “The Boiler” with Rhoda Dakar (the inevitable answer record, of course). Now, as every schoolboy knows, irony and projected images are dangerous things to play with in the arena of music or art in general, and usually are taken literally with the subtext being ignored entirely. My view is that Wyngarde is clearly playing a caricature and at least attempting to use the comedy to draw out the far more serious subtext. But then one could say as much of Life Is Beautiful

The immediate lapse into drunken French balladeering – “La Ronde De L’Amour,” the same song we heard him singing at the beginning of the album – reminds us of course that the album would have been unimaginable without the precedent of Serge Gainsbourg; and indeed the album as a whole comes across as a sort of proto-blog Brit equivalent of Melody Nelson. It’s also important insofar as it presages what is happening now with everyone from D Rascal to M Ward – albums which have the licence to wander freely from song to song, for songs to disintegrate or mutate, for the artist to turn in on himself – in short, an expression of an as yet unconcluded life; what may all along have been the original intention of music on record, and its ultimate justification for its independence from, and its lack of inferiority to, the printed word (as with weblogs, these are all expressions and emotions which can’t neatly fit into the concept of a book. The data, however, is all there).

So, as I say, Wyngarde uses this record’s 35 minutes as any blogger would use a session at the PC terminal; to construct an impromptu world, to stop the pretence of “songs” wherever necessary, to insist that anything can indeed go. Thus we get another quick bucolic (if regretful) interlude in “Jenny Kissed Me” before the ballad “The Way I Cry Over You.” Can you believe that Wyngarde can cry? Valverde constructs the most graceful of arrangements behind him – an arrangement worthy of Scott Walker. Can you act tears? Will this record tear itself apart?

Or does it mean the end of life? We now have Wyngarde, in an Churchillian “old man” voice, reciting Auden’s heavily ironic and bitter paean to a mediocre and wasted life “Unknown Citizen” – wandering from channel to channel as though even bureaucracy can’t be sure of itself. “It’s When I Touch You” revisits the orchestral hush of “The Way I Cry Over You” but now there is gritted-teeth carnality in Wyngarde’s repeated whispers of “when I…when I…” Remember that the victim remains bound (and perhaps gagged?).

Wyngarde then decides to read out a letter from the Sunday Times of 28 September 1969 written by two teenage female skinheads from Great Bookham. You can almost see him creaming himself as he salivates over the details of how they dress. “Great…Bookham” he muses. How on earth did skinheadery reach there? Without warning, we are then plunged into a bizarre C&W soundtrack - “The Hippie And The Skinhead” over which Wyngarde intones (part-phased) the saga of “Billy the Queer, Pilly Sexy Hippie” as though this were an outtake from the American Song-Poem Anthology. Where the hell is he going?

Back to seduction. “Try To Remember To Forget (Riviera Cowboy)” is an eerie presage of George Sanders’ suicide note – the last thoughts of a bored superficial man who has suddenly discovered that inside there is nothing but burnt-out, long-spent emotion. “It wasn’t you,” Wyngarde reveals. Then “Jenny Kissed Me” returns, implausibly. “And it was…” before everything shifts into backward drum tracks, funereal piano and Hendrix guitar. This is what she’s like. Until the Mike Sammes Singers from the afterlife try to sing us out of this one with “Widdecombe Fair.”

We now come to Wyngarde’s take on late ‘60s freakbeat – “Neville Thumbcatch,” originally written by Vic Smith for his former band The Attack. Alternating between horn-driven Pro-Plus pop and dreamy verse interludes (the harp and voices on the latter are straight out of P P Arnold’s “First Cut Is The Deepest”), Wyngarde tells the story of a mediocre Everyman who prefers his allotment to his wife, and ends up with neither. Worthy of Blur at their sharpest, as I’m sure many others have commented, this provokes the question: what if this whole album is a reverie by Mr Thumbcatch of a life he fancies but will never have, wherein seeps the real grief of his wife’s departure? Or, what if this whole album is a reverie of a rapist and murderer? What is he doing to the victim?

Nothing, it would seem. As proved by “Once Again (Flight Number 10)” Wyngarde/King/Thumbcatch is indeed alone, his Other long since departed. But…”flight number 10…from where?” “Why is waiting so bare?” “My life wasted and gone.” “I know I’ve been waiting too long.” Would this album be as powerful if we hadn’t known about Leonard Cohen’s “Waiting For The Miracle” 22 years later? “I am alone in this world.” Even the victim is a fantasy. A real one would long since have given him the slip. Given the fate of Melody Nelson, perhaps he was in love with her too.

The utopian harp returns for “Pay No Attention” though the tone is markedly less sunny. And lastly, perhaps the most sinister track on the album – in many ways more sinister than “Rape” – is heralded in by a bucolic, medieval woodwind refrain. It’s called “April” (or is “she” called April?) and for the first time on the album Wyngarde’s voice is entirely devoid of warmth or love. His teeth are now bared and his mask has been discarded. He cackles, almost, at us for being taken in. “Think not I own my shame – it is yours, my lady,” he sneers. “My singing was meant to hurt.” He concludes, as though it’s the last thing you’ll hear before he plunges the knife in: “Why is April more than less a month of love…and all the rest a restless wander of my soul?” It is a terrifying moment in pop – he is asking us to connive in his lying, and persuading us to admit that it’s all our fault. We asked for the veneer.

And of course it proved to be a veneer. Caught out cottaging in the gents at Leicester Bus Station in 1975 (a quarter of a century before George Michael turned the same situation to his advantage), Wyngarde’s career is assumed never to have recovered, though on recent evidence he is fit, well, well off and working still. Sorry to disappoint you, as Jason King never said.

“The curiosity to see something is reduced, because a glass on a table astonishes me much more than before. If the glass there in front of me astonishes me more than all the glasses I’ve seen in paintings, and if I think that even the greatest marvel of architecture couldn’t impress me more than this glass, there’s really no need for me to go all the way to India to see this or that temple, when I have so many of them in front of me. But if this glass becomes the marvel of marvels, all the glasses on earth become marvel of marvels, too. And other objects, too. So, in limiting yourself to a single glass, you have a much better notion of all the other objects than if you had wanted to do everything. In having a quarter of an inch of something, you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you had pretended to be doing the whole sky.”
(Alberto Giacometti interviewed by David Sylvester in 1965, translated by Paul Auster: for the full interview see the current issue of Modern Painters)

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