Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tasty

Vladimir Tretchikoff has died. Who?


Yes, that Vladimir Tretchikoff, the man who painted The Chinese Girl, the image that blighted a million lower-middle sitting rooms, until it became an emblem of ironic kitsch. Obituaries have focused less on his achievements, than on notions of taste and critical consensus and artistic snobbery.

Oh well, if he'd been a better artist, he probably wouldn't have had any obituaries at all. As Arnold Bennett said: "Good taste is better than bad taste; but bad taste is better than no taste."

Also: anyone hear this idiot's guide to blogging? It focuses on the "whimsical" Little Red Boat, whose author touches on the old vs new media schtick, but neglects to mention the not insignificant fact that she works for The Guardian. Hmmm.

And, I'm astonished to say, this is the best record of the year so far.

28 comments:

The Ring said...

There are sad news. I like many of Vladimir Tretchikoff works. It was a good artist for sure.

Pisces Iscariot said...

I think Tretchi got a bad rap from some hack who'd recently discovered the word 'kitch' and not understood it.
"Give a dog a bad name..."

Spinsterella said...

Tim, I think you need to take a very long break from anything remotely related to Radiohead. It's messing with your mind.

Had a look at the beeb link - what an awesomely predictable bunch of blogs they've chosen. Dull, dull, dull.

Tim Footman said...

Yay! ESL kitsch spam!

Pisces: I just blame Michael Caine.

Spin: Sadly, I've already spent the advance, so have something of an obligation to stick with Rhead for a while.

Annie said...

You are down on poor Anna. She was old school and blogged a long time before she worked for the Guardian. Was probably her blog that got her the job in the first place. (And she does say "I work for the Guardian").

Tim Footman said...

Wasn't knocking her; was knocking the programme, which I found rather facile. I quite like her blog.

But I stand corrected - must have missed that bit.

patroclus said...

I think it's nice to see them giving so much airtime to girl bloggers - and the series seems fairly balanced and representative, so good for R4, frankly. Mind you I haven't actually listened to the programme (bloody dial-up, can't wait to get back into the land of broadband).

patroclus said...

Also I like the way Tretchikoff and Magritte used the same background. Nice matching colours on your blog, Tim, and I'm only saying that because I have taste. Do we get to talk about Pierre Bourdieu now?

Tim Footman said...

That's a point. And Tretch, of course, could do faces better than Magritte. I suppose La Grande Guerre (the one with the apple in front of the bloke's face) is just The Chinese Girl for students. PB, as I recall, would have said that was a function of capitalist oppression; although I could never work out if that meant he thought The Chinese Girl was better than La Grande Guerre.

That's the problem with academic Marxist rationalisation of class influences on cultural taste. The theorists never quite go through with it, burn all their Schoenberg records, and watch Love Island instead.

anna said...

Annaie's right about all those things - I did mention that, and make no secret of it, in fact when I was first approached I wrote an email refusing on the grounds that I didn't think they would want someone who worked in the media to be part of the programme, but eventually accepted on the grounds that it was about my blog - which I'd been writing for almost three years before I even thought of working in the media - I may have mentioned Guardian (Unlimited, actually, were I am a producer) a whole lot more, but as a rival media organisation, it would seem pretty unlikely that they'd let me advertise...

Anyway. Yes. Thank you very much for saying you like it. And apologies for being predictable, dull etc...

anna said...

Wow, how narcissistic am I - can't even spell'annie' right without trying to muscle in there...

Tim Footman said...

Thanks, Anna, and sorry again.

Before this descends into a Simon Reynolds-style handbags scenario, I'll clarify: I wasn't accusing you of misrepresenting yourself - it's just that the link between blogs and old media (or its new media avatar - what do we call it, old media 2.0???) is quite interesting. Things like Culture Vulture are clearly bloglike in form, but the 'blogger' is still responsible to her/his employer. I know of one journalist who also operates a blog on his paper's site (not The Guardian) who wasn't allowed to provide links to the Danish Muhammad cartoons. I can understand the paper's position (although I disagree with it) but is it really a true blog (like yours or mine or Annie's) if it has such corporate restrictions on it?

I just thought the programme could have investigated this area a bit more - the essential differences between the various manifestations of digital media - rather than the somewhat touchy-feely 7/7 stuff that distracted from Annie Mole's section (again, not her fault, I'm sure). I didn't get any idea or viewpoint about why blogging is seen as such an abomination by some legit journalists (see The Independent, passim). I wasn't after a Patroclus-style Adorno analysis, but it just felt like a feature on You & Yours.

I'll shut up now. Maybe it gets a bit more hard-headed later on.

Billy said...

Ugh, I really hate the picture. Something about it really creeps me out.

Spinsterella said...

I was just moaning because I've read, or at least heard of, pretty much all the blogs to be featured.

But I suppose in an 'introducing blogging' sort of programme it makes sense to start with the big names.

I'm not used to being ahead of the mass-media or popular culture on anything. Perhaps I should have been pleased with myself instead...

Wyndham said...

"Lower-middle sitting rooms."

We're not talking about lower middle-class people here are we? The people who own a copy of The Chinese Girl - rather, the very unchinese girl - stink of piss and have no teeth. I have one myself.

And never has the word "whimsical" been used with such archness.

Heather said...

I've just never understood why her face is green.

Did she have bad dim sum the night before?

Robert A. Swipe said...

Tim, I've got two words to say to you:

Banana.

&

Co.

So the cunts at the Cuntiad blog too, eh???

Quelle surprise...


Thanks for the Eno tip - I think that would make for a great cast.


Speak soon,

Bob

Robert A. Swipe said...

"I may have mentioned Guardian (Unlimited, actually, were [sic] I am a producer"

You couldn't make it up, could you??

Tim Footman said...

Billy/Wyndham/Heather: Spooky indeed. And utterly unChinese. She was Indonesian, I believe. He probably thought they all looked the same. No wonder he went to live in South Africa. The green face... probably dodgy nasi goreng.

Spin: Fuck that, babe, you should have been ON the show. "By contrast with Annie Mole's hearwarming tales of commuting, Spinsterella blogs about rubbish shags she had when she was 19." Spits out tea, writes letter to Feedback...

Bob: Now now, working for the Guardian doesn't make her the Antichrist. They've just promised me a tip fee, I'll have you know.

tom l said...

in the context of Dylan's interview, when he said he didn't know of anyone who's made a record that sounds good the past 20 years, it seems he was talking about digital versus analog quality. He just hates how digital music sounds. The usual audiophile stuff. When I was working in a CD store in the early 90's, I heard this kind of thing every day.

i'm taking up your recommendation on the 'album of the year so far'

and that is an incredibly hideous painting.

patroclus said...

>>That's the problem with academic Marxist rationalisation of class influences on cultural taste. The theorists never quite go through with it, burn all their Schoenberg records, and watch Love Island instead.<<

Well, apart from Germaine Greer, who actually went *on* Big Brother. And did Street-Paww'er (not that I'm calling her a Marxist cultural theorist) copy her by going on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, or was it the other way round?

*has brilliant reality show idea for Newsnight Review Island*

Tim Footman said...

Tom L: do get hold of Radiodread. It's funny, sure, but it's not a 'joke' album. They've got some seriously talented reggae musicians on board, and some of the horn work sounds like first-generation ska stuff.

Patroclus: Jesus, you're up early, even by your ridiculous standards. Yes, GG did go on BB, but she hardly entered into the spirit of things. I seem to remember she got bored and walked off. And JSP is just too dim to care about, I'm afraid. I want someone who's always hymning the praises of the working classes (eg La Burchill) to go on some low-rent Celebrity Line-Dancing extravaganza, with someone out of Hollyoaks and Vinnie Jones's step-niece. That'll learn her.

Betty said...

So, Wyndham has no teeth and stinks of piss. You learn something new every day on the internet.

I'm definitely lower-lower middle class, and don't have the Chinese Girl painting in the "lounge", but I'm pretty sure my auntie and uncle must have done in the 1970's. After all, they had a chocolate coloured velveteen finish sofa with the interchangeable units, and one of those huge brick fireplaces with loads of copper ormanents around it.

Who painted that picture of the crying toddler that was always in Woolworths?

Billy said...

It's been bothering me all day - who's got the best voice Anna or Annie?

anna said...

Ah, good old R.Swipe, hello there. Always a joy to find out you're still out there. Always. Always-always.

And dear boy, I said I was a producer, not a subeditor, and there's good reason for that.

Oh! Gosh, I'm sorry, I meant 'I said I were a producer'. Gosh, thats luckey. You wood have got all cunty and pedantick on my ass.

- Oh and Tim, yes, you're right, that would have made for an interesting programme, and is an interesting subject, but I think it just happens to be a different programme to the one they wanted to make at this point, as Spin said.

Hopefully they (or someone) will make a programme eploring those kind of questions another time.

Unless it turns out to be really dull. In which case they haven't.

realdoc said...

That Chinese Woman is very unwell some degree of heart failure combined with jaundice to make that colour I think.
P.S Can I be Tom Paulin on Newsnight Review Love Island?

Word ver=smnob the kind of person who would not have that painting in the 'good room'.

Tim Footman said...

Betty: It wasn't a painting. It was real, crying because its mum wouldn't buy it any Cresta. And it wiped its snot over the Breville sandwich toasters.

Billy: Yes.

Anna: "...but I think it just happens to be a different programme to the one they wanted to make at this point..." Which is a fair point, but does suggest that we should restrict our critical scope to execution, rather than intention. Surely "why do this at all?" is as valid a question as "is it any good?"

And don't mind Bob. He's just contemplating the idea of having the newest, biggest, sexiest stadium in the Championship.

Doc: As long as we don't resurrect the witless Alison Pearson, you can be anyone. I think you'd make a lovely TP. Billy is Rankin, Patroclus GG, I'm Morley, Molly's Ekow...

Blyde Neser said...

Brilliant blog, love it!