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On a whim, I decided to listen to my “back catalogue” of about 10 recorded songs. Some have been recorded properly, with proper microphones, real instruments and a decent producer who knows what he’s doing with my weird and wonderful sound collages. (Thanks Dan!) Some are recorded from very occasional live performances, and some are just sketches still… waiting to bed in, be revisited and then worked up into something more.

While listening to the song that formed part of my final MA installation (unbelievably almost two years ago), it struck me that it was just as pertinent to the work I am doing now. The lyrics being the inner voice of a woman pushed to an edge. I am going to listen to this some more over the next few days and think about how this piece can be adapted for a new space and new work. It may well be that it is fine as it is…. During the MA show it was played on a continuous loop, but with hindsight, I think I need to give it some space… so that it can worm its way into people’s ears, with enough space, they might fill in the gap themselves, and carry it away with them more easily.

https://soundcloud.com/elena-thomas/keep-calm-loop-elena-thomas

KEEP CALM

Do what I say
Not what I do

Make do and mend
Don’t throw it all away
Darn the holes they won’t offend
Please do just what I say

Do what I say
Not what I do

Keep calm carry on
Don’t lose your temper now
Smooth the creases, iron on
Never start a row/ its not worth it now

Do what I say
Not what I do

Least said, soonest mended
Keep the peace with all
Never give up … ‘til the end
How the mighty fall.

Keep calm carry on
Don’t lose your temper now
Smooth the creases, iron on
Never start a row/ its not worth it now

Do what I say
Not what I do

It’ll all come out in the wash
Don’ t wash your dirty linen in public


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The thing about being an obsessional stitcher is, every piece of work takes a long time to complete.

I am still embroidering that first bra. It now has a smattering of embroidery all over it, all the way around, but it isn’t enough. I want it to be totally encrusted. I want it to be really difficult to see the bra beneath. I want its flaws masked and the surface glorious. I am desperate to see what happens to it when I have finished the embellishment and start to stitch the wires in to make it sculptural… so I’m stitching fast.

I also think one won’t be enough. I need more… three? four? seven? or all nine of them?

I think this one is quite me… big, tatty, loud, over-decorated, funny, over the top, with a hint of the Eastern European in its decor. Decorum it has not! It’s a bit of a floozie! I’ve chucked everything at it. It seemed to be right for this particular garment.

It makes me wonder whether, if I do do more, they will be different women? I said somewhere before that the songs I write come from a group of fictitious middle aged women I hold kindly in my head… I wonder if these will be their bras?


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I’ve had a bit of blog down time, due to technical issues – all to do with having blogs under different email addresses apparently. This is a sort of test post to see whether it is working. I know that this change-over has been a mammoth task. Most of the comments have been along the lines of how it doesn’t work like it used to.

But I like it. As long as the bugs are exterminated, all will be well. The advantages of having a blog here far outweigh the disadvantages as far as I can see.

 

So thanks everyone, I know you’ve worked really hard!

 

Onwards and upwards!


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It’s been a while now since I finished “that job”. Time and space have given me a little perspective on it. Despite all the stressful circumstances that led up to me resigning, I now believe that the time was not just right, but possibly overdue. Change was inevitable. Because I had changed. I now have a different set of priorities and needs and tastes and wants. When I started it I had no way of foreseeing what changes were going to happen to me, so thought that would be the job I would do forever.

Now, I think I’m no longer employable. Oh, I can do workshops on a freelance basis, I can teach a day or so at a time. Commit in the short term, be extremely professional, then go home. Go back to the studio, and think my own thoughts. Politically and philosophically I am no longer able to buy into the way our schools work. I need freedom, and I need to work where, if I am with children, I can provide freedom for them too.

 

I am unemployable because I am unable to sustain someone else’s thoughts and ideas. I am getting on a bit, and I no longer want to waste my thinking time. (Just like I send back food in restaurants that doesn’t live up to expectations. Waste of calories. I eat too many anyway, so I don’t want to eat rubbish ones!)

To the outsider, to the non-artist, and I think to my husband too… THIS is what looks like time-wasting. But it doesn’t work like that. THIS is the real stuff. Some days I can feel my brain fizzing. I can feel the blood rushing round in my veins. I’m not marking time until some randomly applied birthday hits and I can do what I want. I do it now. This artist won’t retire. Because it isn’t a job, it is my life, religion, philosophy. I can no longer conceive of putting myself through the “proper job” grindstone. Economic circumstances might alter so that I need to I suppose… but it would certainly be the last straw. But I hope to be thinking and making till my brain and/or my body gives up on me. I hope to go to bed one night, at 3am possibly, at the age of 93, having had a particularly brain-fizzy day, and not wake up in the morning.

 

Some ambition huh?

 


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