Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
The Leeds Arcades Project has tracked these plot outlines down and can reveal some of the plot idea's for the first issue.
Issue 1, which was entitled 'Permanent Revolutionary' saw Benjamin misjudge his time jump and land in 2012.
In this Time Period, Asja was long dead but Walter found a copy of her autobiography, 'Permanent Revolutionary', and was utterly dismayed to find that she only talked about him in one chapter, and even then, somewhat disparagingly. The portrait she painted of the needy, dull, Benjamin, hits Walter like a slap in the face.
The issue ends with Benjamin deciding to give up his attempt to travel back in time to win back Asja, in a time period before things between them turned sour. The newly bitter Benjamin instead sets the controls on his time machine to the far future and steps Into the Rip. As he does so he utters the line;
"The age old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love is a lie, useless and not even funny."
Walter steps Into the Rip.....
Monday, 28 April 2008
As the 19th century became the 20th century, music halls began to lose their popularity. One music hall artist, Mark Sheridan, who sang ‘Here We Are Again' and 'I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside', got so depressed with the decline of Variety that he shot himself in the head in a Glasgow park in 1918, while appearing in Pantomime.
With Variety in decline theatre managers came up with the idea of nude dancing to woo back audiences. They presented shows with a mixture of naked girls and variety acts. There was one drawback however; the girls weren’t allowed to move by law, so were forced to stand motionless. They therefore depicted tableaux from history or popular stories.
Some of the names of these tantalising shows were; We Never Clothed, Bearskins and Blushes, The Naughtiest Girl of All, Halt Who Goes Bare?, Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds and Strip Strip Hooray.
Once inside the theatre, the presentation often bore little resemblance to its title. One newspaper reported after seeing a show, “If that was supposed to be sinful, sinning must be on the way out!”
Friday, 25 April 2008
Thursday, 24 April 2008
The kinds of acts one could expect to see at Thornton's were singers, dancers, jugglers, conjurers, performing animals, swimmers of the channel, shipwrecked sailors, people with freakish disabilities, 'tightrope dancers', campanologists, sword-swallowers and flying children.
The performers were known as "turns", because they would have to queue and wait their turn back stage.
The audience weren't all that sympathetic to poor acts and it soon became sport to throw things on stage. What was thrown at the entertainer depended on what was to hand; fruit and veg, dead cats and dogs, rivets and bits of timber, boots and shoes were all common missiles.
Between the rear stalls and the exit doors was a wide area known as the Promenade, and during performances on stage, 'ladies of the night' (prostitutes) would walk up and down the promenade touting for clients.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Benjamin in the Future was originally planned to lead into another series with a transformed Benjamin travelling through time. Salech only got as far as a few rough notes for the ending of his first series. Reading the notes, we can see how 'Benjamin in the Future' was to segue into the new series...
"One day during May 2068 I saw something really beautiful. It was the middle of the afternoon. There were loads of people and everyone was crying. An entire café in tears…..A tear-gas grenade had landed. If I hadn’t gone there that morning I would never have seen it. While I was there, before my very eyes, a gap opened up in reality and I saw, briefly, another world. A breach in reality, giving us a glimpse of another way of living."
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
List of Musical Numbers from Thornton's Varieties:-
Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way,
Any Old Iron,
I’m Henry the Eighth I am,
I do Like to Be Beside The Seaside,
My Old Dutch (which tells the story of a couple married for 40 years who have to be separated when they enter the workhouse),
Lilly of Laguna,
The Chocolate Coloured Dandy,
When Father Papered the Parlour,
Don’t Have Any More, Mrs Moore,
If it wasn’t for the ‘ouses in-between,
Boiled Beef and Carrots,
Every Little Movement,
She Had Never Had Her Ticket Punched,
If I could see this for 1/6 What could I see for a Quid?,
Just like the Ivy,My girls a yorkshire girl
Monday, 21 April 2008
Friday, 18 April 2008
He met Felice Bauer in 1912, but although their relationship lasted 5 years, in all that time they only met 17 times (the longest been a 10 day stay in a hotel in July 1916). Despite the infrequency of their meetings they managed to get engaged twice, and their relationship only ended when Kafka contracted tuberculosis and thought he was about to die.
At the age of 36 he became engaged to 28 year old, Julie Wohryzek, but Kafka ended this relationship after he met Milena Polak.
Milena was married to the man who translated Kafka's work into Czech. The affair didn't last long and they broke up after a year or so.
By 1923 Kafka was living in Berlin with the ultra-orthodox Jew, Dora Diamant. By this point his health was a mess and he died a year later.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
"I positively fixed my gaze on the faces that I had around me, some of which were of remarkable coarseness or ugliness. Faces that I would have normally avoided for a twofold reason: I would neither have wished to attract their gaze nor have endured their brutality."
"I read in my newspaper; 'Richard was a young man with understanding for everything in the world that was of the same kind.' This sentence pleased me very much."
"I was incapable of fearing future misfortune, future solitude, for hashish would always remain."
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Ruskin's dreams and waking reveries were dominated by the notion that Ursula and Rose were one and the same.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
At the already slightly disabused age which Swann was approaching, one contents oneself with being in love for the pleasure of its own sake. At that stage in life, one's already been affected by love several times. Upon recognizing one of its symptoms, we cause the others to be reborn.
Since we possess its song engraved in its entirety within us, we don't need for a woman to sing the beginning to us in order to recall the rest. And if she starts out in the middle, we're sufficiently attuned to that music to join our partner immediately at the phrase where she's awaiting us."
Monday, 14 April 2008
Late in life, he developed an interest in spiritualism, which he used to try to communicate with Rose. Indeed, he was persuaded by a medium that Rose was trying to contact him. At one seance, the medium succeeded in getting the two of them to briefly talk. Ruskin wrote of that night, that it amounted to "the most overwhelming evidence of the other state of the world that has ever come over me."
Friday, 11 April 2008
And for each of these different varieties, there are ready made fabrics, ornaments and phrases. Ermine enhances the whiteness of the bosoms of the women of the north. Batiste was invented for translucent skin, and fluttering lace was made for quivering breasts. As white as pipe-clay, Holland enfolds the honest hearts of the Flemish women, blue-eyed housewives; their foreheads adorned with silver, women who follow their husbands, on slow boats, all the way out to China. There, for the yellow-skinned women, the silkworm, in the sunshine, crawls across the mulberry leaf.
And we lust after them in a million ways, we kiss them in a thousand styles, we call them all kinds of names.
Gazing at his mother’s breasts, the young lad with the little pointed cock experiences a precocious erection. Through the half opened door he has glimpsed the maid changing her chemise. By the age of twenty he will be craving for the tight bodiced plumpness of a tarts shoulders, all spilling out in tight folds of flesh. Escaping from his family the wine-merchant’s clerk heads for the boozer, belching in his cider as he runs his coarse hands all over a trollop’s tits. The old man with the dribbling toothless mouth clamps his tough gums onto a young strawberry pink nipple, and still flaccid, he ejaculates too soon, inside his trousers.
And, according to the occasion, the setting and the social class, we say with various intonations, gesture, glances: “OH, do let me see, would you? May I…..er…..just touch it gently, do you mind? Oh god, show me your tits! Just show me your tits, will you!!” To which she replies: “Hands off, no chance, drop dead.” Or “Is that nice? You can kiss them. Stroke it, just there..”
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
There is the withered boob of the negress that hangs down like a pouch. It is as dry and empty as the desert.
There is the boob of the girl who has just left her village, neither an apple nor a pear, but comely and decent, made to excite our desires, everything a boob should be.
There is also the matronly boob, considered simply as a sensitive area, the part that gets elbowed in a scuffle, that gets bashed, right in the middle, by planks being carried along the street.
There is the good boob that belongs to the wet-nurse, the one that the baby's fingers sink into as they snuggle down, so as to suck more comfortably. It has a network of blue veins. Families pay it their respects."
Tomorrow: The Pumpkin Boob
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
From the letters of LeedsArcadesProjects team member, Gustave Flaubert.
To Louis Bouihet, 10 Feb 1851.
My dear sir, there are so many different kinds of boob. There is the apple boob, the pear boob, the lewd boob, the bashful boob, and god knows what besides.
There is the kind created for the coach driver, the big plump down-to-earth boob that you pull out from under a grey cardigan, where it sits cosy, warm, cheerful and firm.
There is the metropolitan boob, weary, flabby and lukewarm, bouncing up and down in crinoline, the boob that is displayed by candlelight that peeps out from under black satin, the kind you rub your cock over, the kind that disappears swiftly.
There is the significant segment of boob which is lit up by chandeliers and flaunted from theatre balconies, white boobs of seemingly infinite circumference, like the desire which they spark. They smell good, this sort; they heat the cheek and they make the heart beat faster. Pride glistens on their sumptuous surfaces, they are rich and they seem to be telling you disdainfully: “Go and wank yourself, you wretched thing. Wank and wank again.”
Tomorrow:-The Uddery Boob
Monday, 7 April 2008
Friday, 4 April 2008
Much of the Arcades Project is concerned with Prostitution, something that clearly obsessed Benjamin. Indeed there is reason to believe that Benjamin frequented prostitutes himself and possibly had his first sexual experience with a prostitute. We shall return to this theme later.
For today a little cultural history from Taiwan, where TheLeedsArcadesProject has just been on holiday. A uniquely Taiwanese phenomenon is the Betel Nut Girl. They are a common sight along roadsides: scantily clad young woman selling betel nuts and cigarettes from a brightly lit glass enclosure. Though betel nuts are chewed in many regions of the Asia-Pacific, the betel nut girl phenomenon is distinctly Taiwanese. Because they wear scanty clothing and hang around on roadsides, Betel Nut girls have often been likened to prostitutes and indeed are regarded as prostitutes by many people.
There is some evidence that Betel Nut selling can lead to prostitution but most of the girls deny that betel-nut selling is the beginning of a slippery slope. "If I wanted to be a hooker I could sit in a comfortable club and chat to men; I wouldn't be here sitting in this booth like an oven, choking on the pollution."
Thursday, 3 April 2008
“Everything is thought. The task is to make a stopover at everyone of these many little thoughts. To spend the night in a thought. Once I have done that, I know something about it that its originator never dreamed of.”
Walter Benjamin, June 1928
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
16 August 1927. From Benjamin's diary
“I find I have been able to restore my equanimity by imagining that her failure to come was due to the influence of someone else. For my vanity, and the probabilities of the situation, do not allow me to consider the possibility that she deceived me from start to finish.”
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
14 August 1927. Benjamin's diary:-
“I shall presumably not see L. again, and I shall make only modest attempts to do so. But I have caught myself trying to conjure up her face, specifically to recall that expression (that coldness, that refusal to make contact with me) which is the source of my current situation.”