Friday, June 10, 2005

Don't Sleep With One Eye Open

I made this mistake the other night, woke up with a very painful eye that appeared to have a pebble caught under the eyelid and ended up in the eye hospital being told I had slept with my eye open and had some small scratches on my retina as a result which, fortunately will heal within a couple of days. Scary. Be warned. make sure you close those eyelids tight.

Anyway, wresting creativity from chaos and in celebration of this brush with real life, I thought the incident would provide an appropriate title for my new clippings service: ONE EYE OPEN

This survey released, Monday 6 June 2005, by The New Economics Foundation reveals for the first time how far Britain has gone to becoming a nation of clone towns. A clone town is a place where the individuality of high street shops has been replaced by a monochrome strip of global and national chains, somewhere that could easily be mistaken for dozens of bland town centres across the country. By contrast, a home town has a high street that retains its individual character and is instantly recognisable and distinctive to the people who live there, as well as to those who visit. A border town is on the cusp between a home town and a clone town. Of the towns surveyed, Clone Town Britain reveals that 42 per cent can be classified as clone towns, and a further 26 per cent of ‘border’ towns under threat. If your town is not listed, you can download a form to do your own checklist.

Check out this marvellous new photo-atlas - and weep.

Speaking at a press conference for Pugwash (June 3rd), Robert McNamara, the US Defence Secretary at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, described the UK and US policies towards nuclear weapons as ‘immoral, illegal and militarily unnecessary.’ He also said their attitude was ‘very, very dangerous and destructive of the non-proliferation regime which has served us so well.’ He said the dangers and threat surrounding the 1962 Cuban missile crisis were similar to those that exist today. About 2,000 US strategic nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired in 15 minutes.
[Source: Richard Norton-Taylor. ‘McNamara attacks UK nuclear policy’.The Guardian 4.6.05]

The angry ghost of Emmett Till is rising from the grave. In August 1955, the body of the 14-year old was recovered from a Mississippi river. A month later, two whsite men were acquitted forb his murder by an all-white jury, causing an outcry that helped kick-start the US civil rights movement. Fifty years on his case is finally being reopened and an autopsy performed.
For articles:,,1499873,00.html
For pictures:
For documentary:

It also inspired the Young Bob Dylan to write his first protest song, according to one of the most interesting Dylan books around – 'Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan's Art' by Mike Marqusee [The New Press. 2003]. He records that Dylan’s girlfriend Suze Rotolo (seen on the front of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan) was working for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and booked the then unknown singer on the bill of a CORE benefit concert In February 1962. Dylan decided to write something special for the occasion, which was ‘The Death of Emmett Till.’

Marqusee writes: ‘Dylan was born in the same year as Till, as was Muhammad Ali, who has always cited the Till murder as a critical moment in the formation of his own racial consciousnesss.’

The obituary of the artist Mark Boyle, who died on May 4th, finally appeared in The Guardian (June 6th). At the time of his death, he was working on his contribution to the exhibition ‘Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era which is running at the Tate Liverpool until 25th Sept. Boyle and his partner Joan Hills’ contribution to developing light shows in the 60s is now being properly recognised alongside their other work as The Boyle Family of artists.

Their light show achievements are featured in a stunning recent book ‘Visual Music: Synaesthesia in Art And Music since 1900’ by Brougher et al [Thames & Hudson 2005], produced in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles earlier this year. It’s only fault is that it stops too short to cover the current vibrant veejay scene. Also recommended: ‘The Sound of Painting: Music in Modern Art’ by Karin V. Maur [ Prestel. 1999]

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