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The Letter A

Art - Art is important, don't you know? It's much more admirable to work for art than it is to work for money, though the latter is necessary more often than not, and the former never needed for survival. But that's why it is important and remains so. It remains important because art is about self respect. It has often seemed to me that creating art isn't just about being a wanker and pretentious (though it is those things, of course), but rather than the use of the word is also about demonstrating that you respect what you do. That it is important to you. That it is Art, with the capital A. Respect what you do and call it art. Don't respect what you do and call it hack work. Fortunately for everyone, all those terms have various definitions, and you can apply each to yourself as necessary, often swapping from day to day.

Air - Air is a novel by Geoff Ryman. I will be reading it shortly.

Advertising - I know I should hate advertising and there are times when I do. But the truth of it is that I am mostly so use to it that I don't even notice anymore. For example, take this statement from artist Tony Harris, who illustrates the fine Ex Machina series, about product placement in comics:

If you want your comics just be quiet with all the belly aching. Jeezus. This is no different than ANY ad that has been placed in comics since the dawn of time. And guess what? AD REVENUE is what keeps comics going. NOT sales. There arent enough fans buying books to keep the industry going. Period. No argument. I have worked in the industry for 17 years. I know this to be true. I got in right at the tail end of the last BOOM. Then the bottom dropped out.

But of course, I should have realised it was there.

Amnesiac - I am fascinated with amnesia. I think, upon occasion, I'd like to have amnesia. Imagine waking up with a clean slate. Imagine knowing that you lost everything. Would you fight to get it back? Would you be someone different? Such potential. I would probably only want to be an amnesiac for one day, however, and then know everything upon waking up in the next.

Radiohead released an album called Amnesiac. It wasn't very good.

Art - I like nice art. I like pretty pictures. I have been known, upon occasion, to buy a book because I like its cover. I hope to have a cover that inspires such impulse purchasing, myself.

A Silver Mt Zion - A Silver Mt. Zion are a band that is, if truth be known, now called Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band. Do you think it frustrates them, then, that people don't use this new band name? Or is it simply that changing your band name, no matter how subtly, from album to album, is simply much too pretentious even for someone like me to pay that much attention to?

Aliens - I believe in alien life forms. Why not? Big universe. Still, it's not like I need to believe. I just figure they're out there, and since I have no proof, I say I believe. What I like best, however, are the religious people who believe in God, but not aliens. "I ain't never seen no alien fucking mothership," the Pope might say, if I ever asked him, "but I talk to God every day."

Akira Kurosawa - Kurosawa made some of my favourite films. Seven Samurai. Yojimbo. Sanjuro. Yes, my favourites are the ones with Toshiro Mifune, and one day, perhaps, I will write an autobiography about Mifune, or at least a story about him. Why is it, then, that, having bought Red Beard, the last film Kurosawa and Mifune made together, six months ago, that I have not sat down and watched it?

America - I'm fascinated by America, possibly because it's such a big thing in the world, but I've never been to it. How, I often wonder, can a place be so influential when millions have only seen its representation?

Art - Art is also about being a pretentious wanker, like I said. It's worth saying twice, however, and worth noting that being a pretentious wanker has its place and its use in life. Much like Lee Harvey Oswald had his place in the JFK assassination.

This is a meme. It works like this: If you'd like to play, leave a comment. I'll give you a letter. Then you post ten words beginning with that letter in your journal and explain why they're important enough to make the cut.

Patrick O'Duffy (artbroken) gave me 'A'.


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May. 2nd, 2006 01:08 pm (UTC)
OK, I'll play. Letter me.
May. 2nd, 2006 01:15 pm (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2006 01:30 pm (UTC)
I'd like to play, too.

May. 2nd, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2006 01:49 pm (UTC)
You're wrong about the Radiohead.

Gimme a letter, I'll give it a go!
May. 2nd, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
Ditto about radiohead and amnesiac. I prefer it over Kid A, it's supposed companion.

Fire me a letter, soldier!
(no subject) - benpeek - May. 2nd, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - May. 2nd, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - frogworth - May. 8th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 2nd, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
May. 2nd, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
"If you want your comics just be quiet with all the belly aching. Jeezus. This is no different than ANY ad that has been placed in comics since the dawn of time."

Wow, maybe if he keeps on telling himself that, it will become true. Sorry Mr. Harris, but in the majority of the history of comics characters were liscensed to appear in ads outside their strips, in tie-in products and merchandise, etc. the ads didn't appear within it.

"AD REVENUE is what keeps comics going. NOT sales."

Wow. I guess all of those paperback collections and ad free comics are only losing money, period, no one makes money off them, which is why all these companies keep publishing them.

I love the rest of the quoted post, which seems to be from the Dave Sim school of reasoned discourse:

"What I said was NOT Opinion my fine fellow. It was FACT...I work in that industry, and I am privy to a lot of things you arent. I simply stated that I thought it was another fluff piece that you guys use as an excuse to bitch. That seems to be the favorite thing to do on the internet nowadays. Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch!!...You absolutely would NOT under ANY circumstance call me or anyone else on earth a dick to thier face...I wish you would though. Cause Im a 6 foot 2 inch country boy from the south. You'd get stomped. Sean Penn style."

May. 2nd, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
well, i have no true idea how much the ad revenue thing is. but it shouldn't have surprised me that product placement was taking place.
May. 2nd, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
Very cool, Ben...

I've been busy enough lately that I can't do much but scan things I'm reading - but you managed to make me stop and read and reread the post. I like that.

Email me off-board, will you?
May. 2nd, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
yep. done.
May. 2nd, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
Hi Ben, Good list. Here is a quote from BANKSY about Art I think you'd like...

Is graffiti art or vandalism?
That word has a lot of negative connotations and it alienates people, so no, I don't like to use the word 'art' at all.

Please give me a letter...

Clare (Keeper of the Snails)
May. 2nd, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Art
i've been looking through the stencil sheet stuff banksy has been doing lately. looks neat. anyhow: i do like that quote, and i think he's right about it to a certain degree. there are a lot of people alienated by the word.

anyhow, your letter is


May. 2nd, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
Okay, gis one.

I'm glad someone else thinks Amnesiac was a bit crap...

May. 2nd, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)
for you, my man, it's B
May. 2nd, 2006 09:26 pm (UTC)
1 - Tony Harris is a damn fine artist, but a complete dick. He went ballistic at me once years ago for saying that Obergeist wasn't his best work. And it's always depressing when artists reveal how badly they write.

2 - Amnesiac wasn't awful, but it wasn't very good.

3 - It's O'Duffy.

4 - Hit me.
May. 2nd, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
you know, i think i keep forgetting to put that O in because of the actor, patrick duffy. he was in DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, if i remember right, but he's more well known for some sitcoms later.

as for harris, he may indeed be a dick. i dig his work though, and that's enough for me.

your word is


because it seems appriopriate.
Debbie Does Dallas-PLEASE can you help? - (Anonymous) - Jun. 2nd, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Debbie Does Dallas-PLEASE can you help? - benpeek - Jun. 2nd, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
May. 2nd, 2006 11:48 pm (UTC)
oops. i already gave that. so delete and now

May. 3rd, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
Since X is gone, it may be safe.

(Though the X section of my CD collection is surprisingly full.)
May. 3rd, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)

(no subject) - ashamel - May. 3rd, 2006 01:09 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2006 06:10 am (UTC)
If I get J, you can forget about the children.
May. 3rd, 2006 06:17 am (UTC)
not the children!

hmm. okay. how's about... I.
(no subject) - joey_j0jo - May. 3rd, 2006 06:22 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 3rd, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
How, I often wonder, can a place be so influential when millions have only seen its representation?

Maybe it's influential because they've only seen its representation... Society of the Spectacle and all that.

Geeza shot then.
May. 3rd, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
i think it's a V for you, mr. duncan.
May. 3rd, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
You XXXXXXX, Peek.

Yours affectionately,

Keeper of the Snails.

P.S. Have handed the task over to my friend Dr Grump...
May. 3rd, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: X
May. 3rd, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC)
Hi Ben,
I came across your site as Clare Dudman made sure that X marked the spot. Please may I have a letter too? I'll try and make every word relevant to crime fiction, so take it easy on me please...
Thank you.
Another blog to read now!
Best, from sunny Wales,
the crimeficreader @ http://itsacrime.typepad.com
May. 4th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
Re: Letters...

but, and here's the trick, you can't use the word 'murder' at all :)
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Ben Peek

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