Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Reality : "that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away"

Philip K Dick - Reality - Ilfracombe sea front

Thanks to This Is North Devon
Up here in Su's sunny attic room I have the GQ magazine Bond* special to cheer me up in my illness (terrible cold, missed work). Even when  listening to the new Muse album in the background GQ is 90% garbage ....but this one has a really great article on Philip K Dick by music critic Charles Shaar Murray. Very inspirational stuff.

Among the stuff in the article I didn't know:

  • PKD was a classical music buff and actually wrote some music
  • The schizophrenia in his later life he described to friends as the mind of an early Christian transported into his mind by a time travelling artificial intelligence
  • Terry Gilliam said of him "For everyone lost in the endlessly multiplacating realities of the modern world remember: Philip K Dick got there first"
  • The K in Phillip K stood for Kindred
  • Dick himself described reality as "that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away"
It is vaguely dreamy here,contemplating the unlikely clear sky blue of reality through Su's velux windows (while overdosing on Lemsip), but when you are ill and on your own the only empty place you want to be in is your own place. After six weeks in London, I'm feeling a bit homesick. It's usually about this time that something happens in the sleepy perpetual twee of Englands Westcountry that makes you wonder what reality you are living in. Sometimes it's Great White Sharks being seen in the Bristol channel, sometimes it's the village you live in popping up in classic psychedelia.

After the incredible live Felix Baumgartner jump at the weekend we now have North Devon's follow up - Damien Hurst's 65 foot bronze statue of a woman with big boobies and her guts hanging out is lifted into place into place in sleepy Ilfracombe harbour. It's being shown live on the BBC as I type this.
What music could be appropriate? Also Sprach Zarathustra? Fanfare For The Common Man? Space Dementia? Drink Up Thy Zider?

Thanks to Belfast Telegraph
The boobie statue is called Verity* apparently and it'll be there for 20 years at least. Full report with my own pics and hopefully some gurning locals when I get back.

Reaction in the London press is not so positive

"Damien Hirst's new statue is a dangerous monstrosity  The giant bronze woman holding up a sword in Devon not only resembles the art of totalitarian dictators, it is helping Hirst destroy British art"

Of course it's hideous and I hope it's dangerous. Those are two words sadly lacking from the endless open air retirement home created West of Bristol. I live nearby (most of the time) and Ilfracombe needs all the attention it can get from people who are still interested in this reality (not the next one). Real Exmoor locals, who are a lot more lively and iconoclastic than you might think, will be loving it and good luck to them.

As for reality, Ilfracombe was the Monaco of the Victorian age, and has been sadly neglected for too long (I've seen more lust for life in Whitby). I expect Verity will at least make Ilfracombes next subjective 20 years move faster than the previous 50. Disbelieve her all you want, but she isn't going away.

*It's just occurred to me that VERITY is the name of the Madonna's character in the Bond film Die Another Day.. so perhaps this is all very strange Bond film hype

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