Archives for posts with tag: Siouxsie and the Banshees
Into The Light, 2014

Into The Light, 2014
C Type Print
297 x 420 mm

Just a quick update on the different ways to see my work online:

Today sees the launch of my website: https://richardguest.art/ , which includes a print of the month (this month it’s the turn of Into The Light from 2014, which was taken on Hungerford Bridge, London, UK).

Works in progress, street portraits and sneak peeks of finished paintings are all featured on my Instagram feed. I update the feed three times a week, and you can find it here.

Ashley Lily Scarlett and I are still conversing in pictures…more news on Between Scarlett and Guest soon…

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– The Tinderbox, 2014 –

William Burroughs: Some people like neat suburbs. I always am attracted to the rundown and the old and the offbeat.

Quentin Crisp: In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast. Those who once inhabited the suburbs of human contempt find that without changing their address they eventually live in the metropolis.

Siouxsie Sioux: The suburbs inspired intense hatred. I think the lure of London was always there. I remember my sister taking me to Biba on Kensington High Street; I bought a coat and used to gravitate towards going there on my own later. But the suburbs were also a yardstick for measuring how much we didn’t fit in…I would definitely say that our early material, for at least the first two albums, was suburbia – where I grew up, and the circumstances.

It was an interesting kind of boredom. The days seemed to stretch out in an attempt to touch forever. One evening the local 7-11 was held up at gunpoint – the robbers were “from London”. Another time, some cows escaped from a nearby field and roamed the estate haphazardly mowing the suburban lawns. I lived in Kings Worthy for nine years and these are the two events outside of my own adventures that I can remember. It wasn’t so much that nothing happened there, more that what did happen never seemed newsworthy (it wasn’t until a long time after I left that Britain’s Biggest Love-Rat was revealed to be living there by The Sun “newspaper”- who knew?). If you were sensitive, intelligent, creative, fashionable, stylish or any combination of those things chances were you weren’t going to fit in very well. And you were probably either too young or had too little money to get out. So you worked hard at something that would buy you a one-way ticket to London.

During the Seventies and Eighties, there must have been tens of thousands of people joining this exodus from suburbs all over the country. Every one of them Hell-bent on recreating the city in their image – desperate to realise their fantasy of what an ideal London should be. And the city took them in.

In 2014, Chislehurst, where Siouxsie Sioux grew up is no longer a suburb, but has been absorbed into Greater London. And it’s widely acknowledged by the media that London has become more suburban in character. I think all us escapees brought the contagion with us – you can’t create the flipside of suburbia without carrying the values of suburbia inside you and one day they are going to want to get out.

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The Tinderbox is the seventh track on the Cocteau Twins’ second album, Head Over Heels (1983). You can listen to it here. The whole album is ethereal and beautiful with just the right touch of bright steel to lift it from being an easy listen. Tinderbox (1986) is also an album by Siouxsie and the Banshees. You can watch them performing Land’s End on the Old Grey Whistle Test here.

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Our relations with cities are like our relations with people. We love them, hate them, or are indifferent toward them. On our first day in a city that is new to us, we go looking for the city. We go down this street, around that corner. We are aware of the faces of passers-by. But the city eludes us, and we become uncertain whether we are looking for a city, or for a person.

(Extract from Some Cities (1996) by Victor Burgin)

– Night Shift, 2014 –

In 1986 I saw a TV documentary about the theatre director, and artist, Robert Wilson. There were the usual talking heads, interviews with the subject, and clips of RW’s work being performed. The production that stuck with me over the coming year was Einstein on the Beach. Visually and aurally stunning, it looked and sounded like the future.

Wilson structured the work not around a narrative arc, but from storyboards made up of dark charcoal drawings, images he had in his head and needed to make real. His designs are unlike any other’s – they appear to be symbolic – a pair of school desks, a crane-like structure, a steam train, but what do they symbolise? A story does unfold, but not in a naturalistic way, and emotional content is there, but not what and when you’d expect. It’s a powerful cocktail when mixed with Philip Glass’ score, Lucinda Childs’ choreography and Christopher Knowles’ text.

What got to me most in the documentary was seeing Robert Wilson drawing a picture of a crane on the side of the stage and then in a flash forward the final set design taking shape. He made making a big multi-media production out of something as humble as a charcoal drawing seem achievable. I was bowled over by his approach to such an extent that I wanted to be him. What I would have given to inhabit his head for just a couple of hours. Sadly, this would not come to pass – I’m Richard Guest to this day.

Before admitting defeat, I took my misunderstanding/ misremembering of his work to art college with me. With some help, over the four years of study, I worked it out of my system.

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– Monitor, 2014 –

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Monitor and Night Shift are the fifth and sixth tracks on Siouxsie and the Banshees’ LP Juju (1981). The album features John McGeoch on guitar, Steve Severin on bass, and Budgie on drums. Steve Severin had this to say about the album:  “Juju was the first time we’d made a “concept” album that drew on darker elements. It wasn’t pre-planned, but, as we were writing, we saw a definite thread running through the songs; almost a narrative to the album as a whole.” You can listen to Night Shift here.

You can see a trailer for the 2012 revival of Einstein on the Beach at the Barbican in London here.

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Painting has a nature which is not entirely translatable into verbal language. I think painting is a language, actually. It’s linguistic in a sense, but not in a verbal sense. I think that one wants from painting a sense of life. And I think that is true. One wants to be able to use all of one’s facilities in all aspects of one’s life.. ..You may have to choose how to respond and you may respond in a limited way, but you have been aware that you are alive. The final suggestion, the final statement, has to be not a deliberate statement but a helpless statement.

(extract from Jasper Johns: Writings, Sketchbook Notes, Interviews, edited by Kirk Varnedoe, 1996)