Not having posted for four weeks, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd dropped off the face of the earth, but I was just having an extended Christmas holiday and settling back into work again. I didn't feel inclined to do a retrospective of the year gone by and I've a horrible feeling that next Christmas I may not feel like doing a retrospective then. In short, I'm somewhat lacking in global optimism just now.

That as may be, things here are going along as normal.

Back to work again. The only thing that happened this week - apart from my usual teaching and colleagues suffering from colds, flu and sprained ankles - was a short intermediate show by the Level 5 BA Jewellery and Related Products students, where they had to make work out of really  non-traditional materials.

Mateur and Colourials - 5

Mateur and Colourials - 4
Work by Xiao Yang. Eggshell, spices, wool.

Mateur and Colourials - 3
Work by Effy Ma. Bread, sugar, plaster, pigment.

Mateur and Colourials - 2
Work by Tilly Wright.

This weekend I was back at The Herbert on what seems to have been the first day of winter as I had to scrape snow and ice off the car for the first time. It warmed up to a wet, cold day:

I was teaching a workshop on precious-jewellery making and in a mere six hours (well, six and a half: we over-ran a bit), the participants made silver rings set with moss-agate. Everyone finished them but most still had to polish them up at home.

There is another next week on using found objects.

This workshop was part of the Craftspace "Made in the Middle" show which is currently at The Herbert and you will recall that I wrote about the opening of this show before, here.

As part of the show, I've put a piece into the handling collection:

Run of the Mill - Handling Collection

Rather amusingly, this was returned to me this week for reconstruction as someone felt that the nail element was too sharp to be handled safely!

'Elf and safety, innit?!


Songs used to be just "songs" and anyone could perform them. Over the holiday, Dingo pointed out that at some point the concept of "covers" came along but we couldn't work out when this happened. It may have been at the point when performers started to write and be identified with their own material but it isn't really clear. When Thelonious Monk "performs" Duke Ellington's 'Mood Indigo', we don't think less of him; when Chrissie Hynde "covers" Radiohead's 'Creep', there it is viewed as something second-rate, inauthentic, unoriginal. It seems to me that the important thing is that the "cover" brings something new to the material, exactly as musicians always have.

A minor digression to introduce a fantastic performance of a fantastic original! Nostalgia 77's soul version of White Stripe's 'Seven Nation Army'.

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Comment by Brigitte Martin on January 19, 2017 at 9:56am

That's why the Blues is the best music form. The humor, the rawness. Incomparable. HAHAHA!

Comment by 2Roses on January 19, 2017 at 9:35am

Here's the definitive Champion Jack Dupree cover of "Somebody changed the locks on my door" 

Comment by Brigitte Martin on January 19, 2017 at 8:27am

Killer, this is so awesome. Blues is my absolute favorite music style, I will be listening to Big Mama Thornton and others from the genre all day today... Billie Ray Vaughn, oh my. How will I be able to get any work done? Thanks so much. Keep 'em coming you two.

Comment by 2Roses on January 18, 2017 at 11:46pm

The reverse on the "cover" concept is when a cover becomes much more famous than the original. Elvis is credited with kick-starting rock n' roll music with "Hound Dog". He homogenized the tune for white audiences of the time. Here is the unadulterated original by Big Mama Thorton. 

Comment by Brigitte Martin on January 17, 2017 at 3:40pm

Hilarious!! OMG, I am howling.

Comment by The Justified Sinner on January 17, 2017 at 2:29pm

Well, that is quite a straight reading of the classic Dolly version, which is surprising given "Wrecking Ball"! Cake did a cover of this which is less than straight but their version of the ghastly "I Will Survive" is by far my favourite of their covers:

Comment by Brigitte Martin on January 17, 2017 at 8:30am

OK you two. Loving this conversation, not craft related, but what the hell. Here's another one for you: Say what you want about Miley Cyrus, but girlfriend can sing and turn a tune like it's nobody's business. Thoughts?

Comment by The Justified Sinner on January 17, 2017 at 1:47am

Brigitte, that is rather good. I love Zeppelin but have hitherto ignored Heart. I didn't need the tissues, though! 

2Roses, a favourite for me, too. Especially if I either totally love or totally hate the original. I'd like to hear the DB "Let's Dance" cover as that whole DB album is the only one I don't own and "Let's Dance" is also the only track by him that I loathe.

I do think that the term "cover" needs to be dropped but I'm fighting a losing battle there. 

Here's another favourite:

Comment by 2Roses on January 16, 2017 at 1:40pm

"Covers" are a particular favorite form of music for us. It is particularly intriguing to hear what an artist will add in an arrangement, vocalizations etc to the original. It seems the further away the cover gets, the more sublime it becomes. Such as an acapella song that caught our ears recently.   It was so artfully and uniquely done that it was halfway through the song before we realized that it was a cover of David Bowie's Let's Dance.  This is a time-honored form of musical expression that does not seem to be shared so much in the visual arts.  

Comment by Brigitte Martin on January 16, 2017 at 8:47am

Re the idea of the "cover", that's a good one to think about. Hm, sorry, I am not of help here other than that I completely agree with you that a cover of an original song should add something distinctly original or else it's just a copy. Here's an example when things go well: Led Zeppelin"s "Stairway to Heaven" covered by the female group HEART. I never was much into either Led Zeppelin or Heart, but this particular combination of their styles blew me away. I hope you'll enjoy this one. Have some tissues ready at your desk. Happy trails this week, Dauvit!

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