Monday, 15 March 2010

Two drawings, poor quality

Sorry for the longish (though not by my standards) absence. My scanner has become unavailable, which I find frustrating as I have been producing work at a fair old lick. In order to try and show something, I have resorted to that bad old standby, my shitty digital camera, which some of you may remember from this blogs earliest days. I improved my chances slightly by blu-tacking the pictures to the wall, but they are still inferior quality reproductions, and you will (all things being good) see much better quality versions of them in the future.

There was a time, when every single drawing I did was inspired directly by a song. I have returned to this theme slightly of late, and here are two of the results:

L'homme armé
Pastels, black fineliner, coffee, pencil, biro

L'homme, l'homme, l'homme armé,
L'homme armé
L'homme armé doibt on doubter, doibt on doubter.
On a fait partout crier,
Que chascun se viengne armer
D'un haubregon de fer."

In english:

"The man, the man, the armed man,
The armed man
The armed man should be feared, should be feared.
Everywhere it has been proclaimed
That each man shall arm himself
With a coat of iron mail."

Or more lyrically:

Oh, the Man, the Man-at-arms
Fills the folk, fills the folk with dread alarm,
With dread alarm.
Everywhere I hear 'em wail
Find a good strong coat of mail
Perhaps you'll then prevail."

Bedlam Boys

"For to see my Tom of Bedlam, 10,000 miles I'd travel
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes, to save her shoes from gravel.

Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
Bedlam boys are bonnie
For they all go bare and they live by the air,
And they want no drink nor money.

I went down to Satin's kitchen, for to beg me food one morning
There I got souls piping hot, all on the spit a turning.

There I picked up a cauldron, Where boiled 10,000 harlots
Though full of flame I drank the same, to the health of all such varlets.

My staff has murdered giants, my bag a long knife carries
For to cut mince pies from children's thighs, with which to feed the fairies.

Spirits white as lightning, shall on my travels guide me
The moon would quake and the stars would shake, when' ere they espied me.

No gypsy slut nor doxy, shall win my Mad Tom from me
I'll weep all night, the stars I'll fight, the fray will well become me.

It's when next I have murdered, the Man-In-The-Moon to powder
His staff I'll break, his dog I'll bake, they'll howl no demon louder.

So drink to Tom of Bedlam, he'll fill the seas in barrels
I'll drink it all, all brewed with gall, with Mad Maudlin I will travel."

Students of the history of art will notice that the faces in Bedlam Boys are an allusion to the last engraving in William Hogarth's series 'The Rakes Progress', which portrays a scene in Bedlam Hospital, in which Hogarth expounds the belief of his time that dissolute morals and insanity were intrinsically linked, with one rising inevitably from the other.

It is also worth noting that though both these songs are (roughly speaking) traditional, the versions I specifically had in mind when drawing these pictures were not particularly so. I was thinking of Camerata Mediolanense's version of L'homme armé and In Gowan Ring's version of Bedlam Boys. Both of these songs are absolutely fantastic. So fantastic, indeed, that no one has uploaded them to youtube in their entirety. A crying shame.

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