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Boring? But I'll persevere

Updated: May 26

"Somebody's boring me. I think it's me." Dylan Thomas


You've probably noticed that I've been a bit uninspired of late. Indeed my reading figures of late have been down. Which could be for all manner of reasons, and besides I'm talking in single digits here, because this is a very niche, even hidden, corner of the blogging world. So it's actually no big deal, and it isn't a big deal anyway because readership is not what this blog is about really. It's about keeping my brain active in my old age.


I was rather taken by the installation above as an illustration of my present moment with reference to this blog. The words say "I will not make any more boring art" - over and over which is sort of boring. Repetition - which is what I very frequently do. And yet that piece of art - obviously at least one art gallery thinks it's art - is sort of interesting, in that it makes you think. Even if the thought is 'What a load of rubbish'. And what are those handrails there for? I have to say that that is the real puzzle for me. Maybe when one is bored one gets tired so one needs something to lean on. Maybe we need help to get through it all. Maybe it's something completely unrelated - a ramble, a diversion, a detour ...?


It's by an artist called John Baldessari - a name that was vaguely familiar to me. He died at the age of 88 in 2020 in Los Angeles - an ugly city - of which he said:


"If I lived in a great beautiful city, why would I do art? ... I always have to be slightly angry to do art and L.A. provides that.”


Well I don't need to be angry to write this, but then this is not art and I'm certainly not trying to make art of the visual kind. It's just not in my skill set.


But do I need to be bored to write? Well maybe, seeing that my starting point for the entire blog was the statement on my Home page "I like food and I'm bored." Bored in an almost existential sense that is. And seeing as how boredom seems to make me a bit philosophical I tried to remind myself of what existentialism is. I 'did' it at university in my French classes. So I looked it up and basically was reminded that existentialism says your life is all down to you. Your choices entirely. Nothing is foreordained, or anybody else's doing. It's all up to you. Which is sometimes a bit despairing and frightening, but at others gives you an immense sense of freedom, even power perhaps. It depends on your mood.


But back to John Baldessari because he also ties in nicely with another activity that I thought I would tackle today, and maybe write about in a roundabout way. Indeed it was my inistial thought. Decluttering. I was going to write about beginning to rid myself of some of the cookbooks and magazines on my desk waiting for their place on my blog. Baldessari ties in because he apparently doesn't like to throw things away - even though once he famously burnt everything he had made that was hanging around his studio. His reasoning for not discarding things:


“It’s hard for me to throw anything away without thinking about how it can become part of some work I’m doing ... I just stare at something and say: Why isn’t that art? Why couldn’t that be art?” John Baldessari


And that's sort of why I have all these books and bits and pieces lying around, not to mention the Ideas notebook. They're all things that I might be able to write about some day.


So today I was going to write about Rachel Roddy's book An A-Z of Pasta which has been sitting on my desk for a while and has been a source of inspiraton for several posts. But it's time to find it a place on my bookshelves and move on to one of the other books waiting for attention. Hence the notion of decluttering. Being boring, decluttering, An A-Z of Pasta - all these things were swirling around in my head, and then, there was John Baldessari epitomising a bit of all those things. Maybe not the pasta.


But just to continue the ramble I thought I'd look and see if John Baldessari had ever painted or made an installation that had something to do with pasta and low and behold I found there is a young chef called Guilano Baldessari and below is a sample of his work - 'Recipe resembling pasta al ragù'. Nothing from John on pasta though.


Haute cuisine - and sort of ridiculous - and expensive - like the art of John Baldessari - apparently one of his works sold for over US$4 million - but not like the dishes in Rachel Roddy's book which is aimed at you and me.

I see I have detoured again. What I was going to say was that I actually began with what were going to be just a few narcisistic words about being boring, when I started another decluttering exercise - absolutely deleting unneeded pictures from my Trash file in Wix. You have to be careful about this because when they're gone they're gone. And I did manage to get rid of many, but I ran out of enthusiasm because I kept on inadvertently sort of crashing the system, and it was all getting too slow. My fault again, because fundamentally I have allowed the trash to get to be far too full.


And now I have rambled enough and so with reference to what was going to be my real subject of the day - Rachel Roddy's book - I will now just say that I loved the book but not just for the recipes - of which there were many worth trying but also because of her words which were plentiful and interesting. Some informative, some reflective, some instructional and some simply lovely stories. I have no doubt that I shall return to it again before too long. It's worth buying. After all:


"Every day millions of us are united in doing the same thing. We take a packet of pasta from the shelf, we tip the shapes into boiling water, we make something to eat." Rachel Roddy

Not today though - tonight I'm experimenting with those pickled peaches.


As I was near finishing David received the two lovely photos below of one of our granddaugters with her friend together with her words:


"I did a colour run ... I wasn't even planning on doing it but thought why not?"



So very, very much in keeping with what I have been rambling about today - existentialism - why not? - and art - yes I'm sure that John Baldessari would think it was art. Not boring though. Joyful. Decluttering - hmm - those jeans are very deliberately torn but could be seen as making something fashionable from detritus.


It's a bit like an exercise that Baldessari did with his students when when he was teaching:


"he’d have a student throw a dart at a map of LA and they’d all go to the spot and hang out all day for inspiration, taking pictures and videos."


I had some friends who used to do a similar thing when bored - they would open the street atlas of Melbourne randomly and stick a pin the page somewhere, then go and explore.


David and I have taken to asking each other at the end of the day what we learnt today. Well I learnt about John Baldessari, reminded myself of existentialism and also that some schools can make sport - well physical activity at any rate - fun. The teachers participated too. More than fun. Real joy. They had COVID last week. How things can change in just a short time.


Too quotes on which to end:



It's certainly been slow and a bit haphazard. Boring - well that's for you to decide.



I suspect, however, that is not true.

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24. Mai
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I don't think about being bored. I think about being tired, but the two whilst linked are separate. Doing a Colour Run is neither boring or tiring ...apparently and judging from the reslts too! 😘

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