Sun of gOd
Sun of gOd, which logically states that the Sun is a conscious living organism, should definitely be taught in schools and universities all over the globe. It is an educational tome, especially for blinkered people, who are indoctrinated to believe from an early age that organised religions is the be all and end all of the human race's very existence. Even people with a broad viewpoint on the puzzle of consciousness, the Big Bang and its eventual consequential explosion of humanity, which is now evolving into the futuristic state of Artificial intelligence, should study this philosophical and enjoyable, thought provoking book.
Gregory Sams , the author who brings 'our solar benefactor in from the cold in which it was forcibly cast out by today's dominant religions', writes in a humorous and accessible style. His prose coherently illustrates in my mind that our three main 'modern' religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity have a tendency to act as a stranglehold on their fundamentalist followers. However, cynical secular scientists, especially those who believe in the multiple universes theory, which incidentally Sams articulately disputes in his book, are not the only people who will enjoy reading this fascinating book. Curious scientists would certainly benefit from reading Sun of gOd's religious theme which focuses on our universe as a consistently expanding 'whole'.
Sams' sensible rhetoric, backed by illustrations, comments and quotes from historical sages should sway even the most boxed in brain that one could benefit in part from a pagan viewpoint on life and our very existence. And yes, Sams' philosophical book has convinced me that the sun possesses intelligence and consciousness, which as the star at the center of the Solar System not only bestows life on our planet's inhabitants an nature, but also on all substances.
Sun of gOd is not only educational for people who have never stopped to deeply think that the universe is 'brimming with intelligence', but also for people who are already aware. As Gregory Sams puts it, 'the ancient Sumerians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, the Maya, Inca and Aztec, and the early Nordic, Celtic and Native Americans cultures may have known something that we do not.' Sun of gOd works on all levels, not only as an enjoyable and fascinating book about the mechanics and mysteries of our galaxy and beyond, but also as a reference book to be dipped into time and time again. Recommended!
Andrew Logan An Artistic Adventure
Andrew Logan An Artistic Adventure is a beautifully produced Art book, stuffed with full page colour photographs of Andrew Logan's international life and work. (I resisted the temptation to rip the photos out of the book, frame them and hang them on my walls!). Philip Hughes, the director of The Ruthin Craft Centre, the book's publisher wrote the glowing forward. The illustrious art critic, Marina Vaizey wrote the Introduction, and the reverential text is supplied by Fennah Podschies.
Andrew Logan, who was at student at the Oxford School of Architecture in the early Sixties, deserves the reverence. He is an iconoclastic artist who has been working prolifically in a wide spectrum of 'Art Media' including Sculpture, Portraiture and Jewellery since the early Seventies.
'For him everything is make-believe. He has snatched a dream out of thin air, his cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces are built with everything you and I have thrown away... He ought to be the most revered of artists who has made no distinction between his life and art,' is an apt description from the late Derek Jarman, a friend and collaborator, who once lived in a studio above Andrew's old home in Butler's Wharf, before their building burned down in 1979.
Over the years, Andrew has collaborated with global artists like Brian Eno, and his list of admiring patrons reads like a list of Who's Who. The late H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Bono, Julie Christie, and Anita Pallenberg are just some of his supporters. Andrew Logan's work has been exhibited all over the world including the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, the Flower East Gallery in London, the Victoria & Art Museum, the Hayward Gallery, Bonhams, the National Portrait Gallery, Sotheby in London, the Royal Academy of Arts and Somerset House
'A surreal art event for all round family entertainment,' is how he describes them.
Some of the best known names in the fashion, arts, and media have taken part, either as contestants or judges. David Hockney has been a judge on more than one occasion.
'The artistry of the conestants' and audiences' costumes was wide-ranging and often astonishing and some have since become famous and notorious,' the book's chronichler has stated.
Andrew's first contest was thrown in one of his former London studios, a converted jigsaw factory at Downham Road in Hackney with himself playing the role of both Host and Hostess. Since then, there have been eleven Alternative Miss World events, including the fourth one held in a tent on Clapham Common in 1978. The late actor Divine was one of the presenters, and the Judges, including Lionel Bart and Joan Bakewell were incarcerated in a cage.
"The orthodox world I live in threatens the free spirits who on these occassions let rip with an exuberance and joy to outrage a million matrons .... it is like walking among a gallery of brilliant art objects - each enjoying each. Most brilliant of all - Andrew Logan - creator, wizard, puppet master, promoter of choice,' reminisces Bakewell.
The resultant Alternative Miss World film, directed by Richard Gayer, was premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square and Cannes. It was also infamous for receiving an injunction from the organizers of the annual Miss World beauty pageant. The case was thrown out of court by the judge, Lord Denning, who said that no one was likely to confuse the two events. The barrister on the case was Tony Blair, who went on to become the Prime Minister of Great Britain!
The book's chapters are devoted to Andrew's existence as an eccentric and original artist. The Alternative Miss World events are recorded in photographic detail, as are his celebrity portraiture of icons like Elizabeth Taylor, his close friend, Zandra Rhodes and Maria Callas. His unique glass jewellery often decorated with stuck on incongruous objects, was described by George Melly as 'the Faberge of the Eighties.'
'The mirror of the universe has been my life for thirty years. It has energy like no other material. The humble grain of sand transforms to glamorous glass,' Andrew says, explaining his obsession with working with glass.
'Andrew Logan works both as sculptor and Master of Ceremonies in a world of artistic adventure; in this constructed universe, like Lewis Carroll's alternative, the unexpectedly large meets the infinitely small, and suspension of belief is rewarded by extraordinary surprises,' is just one of the profound quotes in the book.
At the back of the book, there are several pages of dedications to Andrew Logan's wide circle of fascinating friends titled 'Gods and Goddesses', most of whom have been circulating in his orbit for years.
So, drool over the sensational colour photographs of his one of a kind jewellery and ogle his life size sculptures, several of which are displayed in his extraordinary home, The Glasshouse studio, designed by Michael Davis, his partner. One of Logan's best known sculptures is Pegasus: A Monument to Hope (1980 with 'subsequent interpretations and editions up to 2008'). He 'first conceived the idea of Pegasus, which years later led to the making of this sculpture series, as a child of 11 years of age. Obsessed with Greek and Roman myth, his imagination was fired by the winged white horse that sprang from the severed neck of the Gorgon, slain by hero Perseus.'
Wings have remained a theme in Logan's work, first manifested in early sculptures in broken mirror of birds. Andrew Logan has often said that during the creating process, he felt he was 'a tool, that Pegasus symbolised a bridge between the physical and spiritual dimensions, and that the winged horse and his message of hope belonged to the the world.' In fact, Pegasus: A monument to Hope was the first sculpture that Logan made after the fire at Butler's Wharf studio. Since then, he has created a new Pegasus during each decade.
Although one can still get the full impact of Andrew Logan An Artistic Adventure without reading the words, the text plays a vital part in understanding Andrew's work and life. But, it is the exquisite photographs that really helps this glossy Art book become the definitive respective of England's most individual and futuristic artist. He is such a prolific creator, I am sure this interesting book will be the first of his many retrospectives to come.
Tales Of Brother Goose
Brett Nicholas Moore
I bet Mother Goose is turning in her grave. Brett Nicholas Moore, who is a quirky and original writer has written a sophisticated and humorous book called Tales of Brother Goose, a clever modern day satire on Mother Goose's late seventeenth century stories and rhymes.
Brett Nicholas Moore is the Prince of the denouements. His story's ultimate twists are consistently surprising. He's such a good short story teller that I paradoxically never wanted his tales to end, but also couldn't wait for them to finish so that I could discover his unpredictable endings.
I loved his post climax in "Puss in boots". Most of the old fairy tales have an evil protagonist and the one dimensional violence is dealt in a simplistic manner. Some of the action in Brett's version is explicitly lurid to suit today's reader's jaded palette for gruesome deaths. I hope I'm not giving away too much when this story has a postscript happy ending, a theme reminiscent of the old tales when the good character(s) wins.
All Brett Nicholas Moore's stories are top-notch, but I preferred the ones with human characters to the animal ones. It's hard to decide which tale I liked best in the book, but one of my favourites has got to be Cinderella. It's a salacious hoot! (Like in all his stories), just when I was led into a false sense of security, Brett shocked me into laughing out loud with idiosyncratic nuggets of displaced 21st century life. He really knows how to startle the reader, especially when he uses modernistic slang and lingo, incongruous in his faithfully parodied old fairy tales.
Brett Nicholas Moore is an incredibly clever and inventive writer, proved by his hilarious and individualistic "Tragedy of Errors." This Shakespearean spoof about the political intrigue in the court of a king and queen is so unique, it's worth buying Tales of Brother Goose for alone. Buy it, but not for the kids.
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins
I first clapped eyes on Rupert Everett when he exploded on the London scene in the late Seventies. I was vegetating at a smart sit down dinner for Andy Warhol in the newly refurbished Casserole restaurant on Kings Road. It used to be a nice ordinary restaurant, populated mainly by drugged out members of the British aristocracy, where you could sit at wooden tables and fall happily into your soup. Then, Nicki Haslam, the social interior decorator put white billowing tents on the ceiling, transforming the restaurant into a pretentious Bedouin styled scenario.
'The restaurant was packed. There was nowhere to sit but I was about to fall down, so I squeezed on to the edge of a banquette and had a quick nap. A few minutes later I opened my eyes to find three extra-ordinary faces looking at me with amusement. Lady Diana Cooper wore a hat like a medium's lampshade with long white tassels. Next to her sat Andy Warhol under a weird peroxide wig, plonked the wrong way round on his head, and Bianca Jagger was sleek and glowing beside me with delicious smelling pomade in her hair. We introduced ourselves and I apologised with half-open eyes for the intrusion,' is a quote from "Red Carpets and other banana skins", Rupert Everett's recently published autobiography.
My memory has it that Rupert stormed into the restaurant and brazenly plonked himself down next to Bianca and stole the show. All eyes were on him as this handsome looking intruder chatted her up like there was no tomorrow. But, "Red Carpets and other banana skins" is Rupert's autobiography not mine.
Rupert Everett is a gifted actor, whose role as Guy Bennett in "Another Country" in 1984 blasted him to international stardom. Since then, he has worked periodically on the stage, specifically for Glasgow Citizens, and appeared in countless 'A' list movies including "Dance With A Stranger", "The madness of King George III" and wowed Hollywood for his work on "My Best Friend's Wedding", in which he portrayed Julia Robert's gay best friend. In 2007, he will be seen in Matthew Vaughn's new film, "Stardust", in which he co-stars with Robert de Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, and "Shrek III", in which his distinctive voice again provides the Prince Charming role.
Rupert ('Roopie Poopie' to his friends) is unlike the majority of modern day celebrities who hire ghostwriters to script their life stories. Unlike the Jordans of this world, he has physically written his autobiography, titled "Red Carpets and other banana skins", and has done a very good job too. He's primarily an actor but his life story is so well written, he could easily cross over into becoming a professional writer if his parts dry up. But, as he is a character actor as well as a leading man, that concept seems highly unlikely.
I gobbled up Rupert Everett's exhilarating, celebrity stuffed life story. I couldn't put it down. For me, I thought the early chapters about his formative years were the most interesting. One really gets to know the author when he writes amusingly about his childhood and education: prep school, followed by Ampleforth, the catholic public boarding school, where he was educated by monks. Rupert was brought up by his upper-class parents in 'an old pink farmhouse with a moat, surrounded by the cornfields of Essex.' His father was a major in the Duke of Edinburgh's Wiltshire regiment before becoming a stockbroker. It's surprising that Rupert turned out to be so artistic. But, the first film his mother took him to see was 'Mary Poppins', which made a huge impression on him. In later years he would play Julie Andrew's son in "Duet For One".
'And then when Mary Poppins flew effortlessly down into the film something changed for ever. Was it that Julie Andrews looked and behaved somewhat like my mother?' Rupert recalls.
Rupert Everett's CV boasts a string of beautiful girlfriends, including a tempestuous love affair with Beatrice Dalle, the French actress. Unfortunately for his female fans, he is now totally gay. His showbusiness anecdotes about Dalle and his other famous girlfriends, i.e. Madonna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone and Doniatella Versace are insightful, which isn't surprising as these famous women are amongst his closest friends. Although Rupert didn't dish the dirt in his book, he made up for it by writing intrusive anecdotes about his celebrity friends. 'Madonna had a barbecue at her beautiful house on the bay.. it stood in front of a huge expanse of sea and sky and had a strange, uninhabited feeling. You wouldn't know she lived there; there was nothing personal within it.'
Rupert is an astute observer and a witty commentator about the wild escapades in his glamorous life. He's definitely a man who loves people, and has a gift for wittily writing about them without being vindictive or bitchy. He also knows how to laugh at himself. When he tried internet dating, he writes: 'In France at that time there was a thing called the mintel, which was like a computer, connected to your telephone. There was a screen and a keyboard and you could cruise online, so in the evenings I would make contact with people all over the region, then Mo and I would set out in the car with our map, to villages in the Alpes Maritimes, or to some suburb of Marseilles, only to find that the young Olympic athlete who had written so disarmingly about his sexual agility was in fact a roly-poly baker who would be hard pushed to touches his toes, let alone anything else.' Mo was his beloved black labrador, and when he died, Rupert wrote so movingly about losing his best friend, I cried.
"Red Carpets and other banana skins" is a well-written and fast paced read about an iconoclastic thespian's exciting life, and who knows? A chapter of the book might one day be adapted for Rupert's coming of age story. He would ideally like to make a movie about his encounter with a drag queen in the Bois de Boulogne when he was a boy. If the film turns out to be as funny, vivid, thrilling and sophisticated as his autobiography, it will be definitely worth viewing.
The Frugal Book Promoter
Anyone who wants to publicise their books on the cheap need look no further than The Frugal Book Promoter. I'm a newly published author and it's my Bible. Carolyn Howard-Johnson tells her readers How to Do What Your Publisher Won't. Her book, which is worth buying for the useful URLs alone is the Mecca of how to launch and market for next to nothing. It deals with everything you want to know about promotion, networking and beyond. She gives succinct advice on everything to do with marketing and publishing, including copyright, Psychology, pitching and most of all, how to get publicity for your new book for free - or for peanuts.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that even if a book publicist is assigned to publicise your book, it's still imperative to do your own self-promotion as well. She points out, you know your book and yourself better than anyone else, and that includes a professional publicist from a conglomerate publishing company. If your book is self-published, The Frugal Book Promoter is a lifeline. Glue yourself to it, and follow Howard-Johnson's ingenious and generous advice, step by step. It's full of important advice, like having to start publicising your books at least twelve weeks before publication date.
Carolyn's marketing ideas are unique. 'Using Free and Low Cost E-Books To promote' is one chapter heading - proving that she is way ahead of the promotional game. Not surprising, as she used to be a professional publicist. Her advice on how to write a Media Release and build your own Media Kit is priceless. She also gives invaluable tips on every publication topic you can think of: public speaking, your launch, libraries, writing contests, your Website, internet radio - tips for your TV/radio appearances. Even how to link yourself in Wikipedia.
If you want help on how to promote and publish your new book for virtually nothing, then 'The Frugal Book Promoter' should be your sole choice for a desert-island book. I'm not going to let it out of my sight.
Memoirs Of An Exorcist
Memoirs Of An Exorcist reads like the day of a life of an exorcist; not surprising, as it's first time author, David Devereux started studying magic when he was a teenager and has been a professional exorcist for twenty years.
He writes in such a humorous and down to earth way about his first hand experiences of exorcising homes, pubs and offices that he comes across as totally convincing.
'Exorcism is an extremely specialised task that calls for a great deal of training, a very particular skill set, a confidence in one's abilities that borders on arrogance and a team of people who work well together under pressure. It's really not something to try if you have any choice in the matter.'
The most interesting thing about Memoirs is how Devereux describes his extraordinary job of an Exorcist as perfectly normal. He candidly describes the hair-raising jobs which Athanor Consulting, a 'ghost busting' company, which he co-founded are hired to do. His clients aren't esoteric weirdoes but are professional people who need their homes cleansed or pubs and businesses cleaned of malign paranormal influences.
Scientists, sceptics and disbelievers in magic of any kind will probably dismiss David's autobiographical account of an exorcist as pure fantasy. But, it doesn't matter if the reader is a cynic or a fervent believe in psychic entities of the malevolent kind. Memoirs Of An Exorcist is a highly entertaining book, whatever way you wish to view it.
David Devereux makes a living from exorcism and in his book, never escapes into fantasy. The matter of fact way he recalls his out of this world experiences is normal to him. To him and his grateful clients, his job is necessary and normal, rather like the role of a plumber. And I should know.
Devereux came to do some 'Spot Cleaning' (chapter seven) in my office when weird things suddenly started to happen to my electronics one Christmas. I'm pretty cynical, and didn't believe in stuff like curses or exorcism before he came round to cleanse my room. But, I quickly changed my mind after his extraordinary session, which I can only describe as 'magical'.
'Once a tulpa' (the word comes from Tibetan and means thought-forms), 'has been identified as the cause of a problem, the task is to catch or corner it, and then eliminate it. Since these are artificially created entities, there is nowhere to which they can be returned and so they must be destroyed. This process generally involves draining them of energy to a point where they can no longer hold themselves together and then hitting them with a concentrated blast of energy to effectively blow them apart.'
A fascinating read, especially if the reader like David, believes that 'the universe in which we live is wild and mad and scary,' and know that exorcism is the only solution for 'strange noises in the night and things that move by themselves.'
Blahnik by Boman
I just happened to be in Selfridges/London last year, coinciding with Eric Boman and Manolo Blahnik's book launch. There were queues and queues of eager fans lining up to get their newly purchased books autographed by the fashionable duo. It was all very civilised, even though security guards were holding back the frenzied mob, while Boman and Blahnik relentlessly signed with tireless good humour and charm.
Blahnik has been the ultimate cobbler to the stars since the Seventies, and Boman is a veteran, top photographer who's been photographing beautiful women for years (his most recent book, "Dames" show-cases his portrait-photogaphy). It's fortunate for Manolo that Eric came up with the novel idea of photographing his old friend's shoes. It was also conducive for the book that he supplied the witty 'photographic conversation,' for although Manolo's shoes are the most exquisite in the world, a book would have been pretty one dimensional with pedestrian sole snap-shots of his pumps without Eric's creative input.
Boman has not only managed to produce imaginative photographs of the beautiful shoes, but has elevated Manolo's footwear to museum status. Thanks to his original and highly imaginative photographic compositions, the elegant pumps have been transformed into classical portraits.
Boman and Blahnik's old friend Paloma Picasso has supplied the foreword, helping make this beautifully produced book a must have gift, especially for people with tasteful shoe fetishes and aficionados of superior glossy art books, the kind which are too exquisite to grace coffee tables.Amazon USA
Checkered Past : A Visual Diary Of The 60's And 70's
Checkered Past is an intriguing art book which should appeal to a wide audience. Peter Schlesinger was a prolific amateur photographer in the late Sixties and early Seventies, snapping his interesting friends. He put his vast collection of photos in his beautifully bound Wallace Heaton books. Now he has put them in his book Checkered Past. Most of his subjects were and still are famous from the rarified worlds of the British aristocracy, Society, the Art World, Fashion and Showbusiness. But, what is really fascinating about this glossy book is how Schlesinger has managed to take such impromptu snaps of well known people, going about their daily business whether it be in an art studio or at home. It really is an insider's glimpse of lifestyles which makes the reader feel an active participant. Peter also wrote the amusing text and his old friend Manolo Blahnik, the international shoe designer supplied the foreword. Ogle David Hockney, Paloma Picasso, and larger than life personalities like a younger Bianca Jagger. It helps if you actually knew Peter's subjects, but it doesn't matter if you haven't met any of them personally. Checkered Past is a fascinating sign of the times and it makes a good coffee table book, too!
Outside the All Stars
The moment I reluctantly finished 'Outside The All Stars', I wanted to sit down in one of the book's locations, a London 'caff', and devour it from beginning to end, all over again. According to Jonathan Asser's bio notes, he 'facilitates experiential education groups for non-compliant, violent prisoners'; provocative material for the urban and insular world his world weary personalities inhabit.
Asser is a beautiful writer whose realistic poetry impresses and stuns you in every rhythemitic and compelling line. 'It was raining fish in Spearmint Rhino' opens his poem, 'Downpour'. His pounding poetry is original and has a unique kick in its nihilistic tail. At the end of each unconsciously clever sentence, I was compelled to go back and re-read it, just to make sure the hilarious lingo was dynamic and unique as I initially thought.
The downbeat existence in 'Outside The All Stars' is on the bleak side, but is unconventionally funny too. 'He was tracked by his cleaner for days, through the bowels of Camden, Kings Cross, Isle of Dogs, Barking Creek Barrier and the Rotherhithe Tunnel,' is the startling opening of his long poem, 'No Mercy'. But, readers searching for orthodox love might be perplexed in 'Outside The All Stars'. For, the love affairs aren't romantic in the conventional sense: 'if the cuffs weren't so tight, he'd probably smile at the way she'd coshed him while he'd trimmed her toe nails.'
Jonathan Asser's impressive poetry sustains the narrative's mood in such an even tempo that Miles Davis, the text's taste-bud, would have thought that the modern day poems were coooool. Highly recommended for fanatics of classical poetry.
The Impersonator is an intriguing and tantalising book. Its author Diana Hammond is an elegant writer, whose compelling prose makes it impossible for the reader to put the book down until its suprising denouement. The subject of the book is a mysterious male chameleon whose personality is slowly revealed by Hammond in glimpses and tantalising twists. The impersonator is everything to everyone who believe they are madly in love with him. Little do they realise, his act of giving himself totally is a charade. This is a beautifully written, original and quirky book which kept me guessing until the very end.
© Frances Lynn 2006