Catullus Bound: exhibition of drawings and books, Senate House
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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8M ago
Tenshiko tied by Kirigami I’d never heard of Japanese rope bondage (aka shibari, Japanese for ‘to tie’) until a chance meeting led me to draw in a club for performing this elaborate and consensual pursuit. Its fluctuations between dominance and submission gave me a setting for my translations of Catullus, the poet of hating and wanting. Some of my shibari drawings are on show throughout Michaelmas 2023 in the lobby of the Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, London. The exhibition leaflet is here.  Showcase 1 Being a top (the one who ties) is about humility. Be ..read more
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On having it easy, and not, and my beautiful mother
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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2y ago
Kathleen, my mother I wrote this for a college old girls' thing. I was pleased to be told it 'might not meet their criteria' as it is about not meeting their criteria. My mother Kathleen had left home, which had not been happy, by the age of 16. Her father, a good man whom I never met, was a stonemason on the Earl of Pembroke’s estate in Wiltshire; he rented a damp tied cottage with a spider-haunted outside toilet and poached the Earl’s trout in the River Nadder which ran past the garden. She became a telephonist. Allied Command was based at Wilton House and she once disconnected Wins ..read more
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Big Voice London cover pictures
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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2y ago
BVL, formerly Big Voice London, now reaches beyond the capital to inspire students in non-fee-paying schools to explore the legal system. Since 2017, Peter Sloper and I have been doing the covers for the students' annual reports on how they would change the law. Graphic design: Peter Sloper Illustration concept: me. Execution: me or Peter 2017 For the background I used the painting overalls of Ben Wilson, the Chewing Gum Man - I write about being out on the pavement with him here. 2018  The only year I've managed to pool all four themes into one illustration ..read more
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Life class and a Gerry Adams court case: sketchbook muddle
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
Don't take anything for granted. Things I sort of took for granted were the weekly life class, the Good Friday Agreement and live drawing (with permission) in the UK Supreme Court. Two are currently impossible because of Covid-19 and one is under threat because of human idiocy. This muddled-up sketchbook has become an accidental record of two, with overtones of the GFA, in that a court case in central London involving Gerry Adams (although absent) did not require massive security. It shows life drawings from a couple of weeks' sessions, and sketches R v Adams (Northern Ireland) w ..read more
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Catullus cover-up
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
The nineteenth-century iconography of Catullus still has us in its marmoreal grip.  Take the detail from John William Waterhouse's Ariadne (1898) on the cover of A Companion to Catullus (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). The princess from Poem 64 reclines among cheetahs. There are also poppies - maybe a little laudanum helps the model through the ache of posing in St John's Wood. Favourite Poet (1888) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema adorns John Godwin's Reading Catullus (Liverpool University Press, 2008). The BBC website uses Le Moineau de Lesbie ('Lesbia's Sparrow', Charles Guillaume Brun, 1 ..read more
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Shibari (Japanese rope bondage)
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
Catullus: Shibari Carmina, my illustrated free translations of 60 poems by the late Roman poet Catullus, is published by Carcanet Press on 25 March 2021. Discount code from me if you are friend or family x Bemused by the equipment, the stagecraft and the risk of permanent nerve damage, I wonder if it would just be simpler for them to have sex. But that’s missing the point. I’m at a performance of Japanese rope bondage (shibari or kinbaku), the block-and-tackle pinnacle of BDSM in which a DIY-minded master suspends a submissive from a beam or ceiling hooks. I’m also sketching, in the ..read more
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A Court of Specialists: Judicial Behavior on the UK Supreme Court
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
Wisden will be rather thin next year, so if you like chunky facts and statistics why not console yourself with A Court of Specialists: Judicial Behavior on the UK Supreme Court, a volume to make the spotters’ eyes sparkle. Pop it on the shelf next to the UK Supreme Court Yearbook, where it will come in handy for compiling Zoom quizzes of an esoteric nature whenever lockdowns are in operation. (The American spelling reflects the key market of the publisher, OUP.) The author, Chris Hanretty, is Professor of Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London. Although he is a political scientist ..read more
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Judging by appearances
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
Pope II, Francis Bacon, 1951, Kunsthalle Mannheim Online hearings, eh. Screenshotting and drawing from the screen are illegal. I don’t see the point of drawing from memory when you can google the postage-stamp faces. Robed or not, the judges trapped in their doll’s house squares on Skype for Business evoke Francis Bacon’s screaming popes. The stifled command, the confinement, the frustration with the bundles. Above the Master of the Rolls, the grid lines of polystyrene ceiling tiles recede to infinity. They echo the popes’ geometric cages of paint. The Master of the Rolls’s camera ..read more
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Caged for Justice
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
In my Hancock's-Half-Hour-directed-by-Kurosawa lockdown life, I injure my nostril doing a home Covid test. Not much blood. Have I left the swab stuck up there? Panic. Meanwhile the population is dividing into shelterers and shoulder-bargers. For distraction I turn to the fourth mock virtual jury trial run by Justice, the law reform and human rights organisation. It starts half an hour late because there are three rival jury lists. The judge assures us that no hearing in his experience has ever started on time: 'There is always something, so don't rush away saying the technology is no good ..read more
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The adventure of the empty public gallery
Drawing from an uncomfortable position
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3y ago
What can the public see in today's hastily improvised, virus-adapted virtual courts? Not much. The public gallery has for the most part been removed. Today's lucky dip is in the Court of Appeal. Selected cases have been streamed from here since November 2018. The service has been suspended for the duration, but one exception is Hoareau & another v The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. This concerns citizens of the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean seeking to return to the islands following eviction by the UK to enable the US to build its Diego Garcia naval fac ..read more
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