New Toy


It was meant to finally arrive on Friday but the delivery company had a major computer failure, fingers crossed it arrives later today. photography is one of the few art forms I have never attempted before. My knowledge and experience with a camera is zero so a new adventure. Will post the first shot with the setting on easy operation when it turns up.

I have to walk for an hour each night as my vascular system is seriously bad. In Scotland from this time of year onwards that’s not a pleasant task. Hopefully this will motivate me to get out and about each day for the required amount of time. I find the architecture and flow of people in the city I live fascinating, so start here, learning documenting that.

One other notable walker round the streets of this city is Lord Monboddo. I have been holding out mapping out his activity on the streets until now. So start to get a grasp of how the late 17th century city functioned using lord M. and a few other figures as a guide for some of the pictures.

But first need to learn how to use it!

Update: Lost or stolen in post! Wait until Thursday get something else.

Simius Humanae Naturae Simia

‘The Ape Imitates Human Nature’

I did a Google using the search term “unemployed apes”. Did not expect to find much but was interested to see if any one was using the old metaphor in relation to current economic woes.

Ignoring the usual racist sites that researching this subject always throws up (pun intended: some very sick bunnies on the web on this issue) I got two examples I found interesting (the fun facts about niggers web -site not being one of them).

The Prague Daily Monitor, yielded a very recent few days old example  on a very popular European issue of the moment, should the unemployed work for benefit?

A  Czech politician and electoral canditate, Radim Bzura notes  that the unemployed (the specific target here seems to be the gypsy population of the country) must be made to work for benefits and  makes the connection to reinforce his point, that even apes in the zoo have to go to some effort to obtain food.

Its hinted in the press in the U.K that the Conservative government is about to unveil a similar work for benefits scheme at its forthcoming party conference. Was interested to learn in this article, that not only is the idea popular with the Conservative party in the U.K. or Radim Bzura’s  Czech Top O9 party (Tradition Responsibility Prosperity O9) but the Czech Communist party is also running with the idea as a vote wining slogan.

I wonder what Radim Bzura would make of the New York Times article from a few years back, “For Retired Chimps, A life Of Leisure” the article describes a chimpanzee sanctuary for discarded research chimps that received a 24 million dollar grant from the U.S government, as “in essence, a taxpayer-supported retirement home”, referring to Apes no longer used in research as “unemployed”.

What fate awaits such low status creatures as these, in this age of moral fiction, indignation and outrage?

Nonesense & Vagueness


After watching too much Chinese opera last night I thought I should try pulling myself out of a vague dreamy state into something more concrete so spent the last few hours reading an early 20th century philosopher John Anderson, that drifted me of into looking at Heraclitus, which made me think the reasons I had just read for John Anderson’s lack of successes outside of Australia looked a bit debatable. It is one thing that interests me about philosophy and academic study in general, the way referencing systems seem often more related to identity than study. Philosophical ‘greatness’ I have not got a fix on.

Anyway the last thought of the night reading Anderson was, perhaps looking at the one in the many issue, may prove helpful in thinking about the large amount of time I spend in a vague fuzzy dreamworld. In an ideal world I would spend the majority of time here. Why is that? Why is a vague, fuzzy, abstract, dreamy way into thought so important to being able to think straight?

I just spent an hour reading the problem of the many argument form the Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy (not for the first time). I have now lost the will to live, and think I will go watch some paint dry for the next few hours.

I don’t know what it is about the way a lot of philosophy is written but it drives me insane and I find it impossible to read. It seems, really rigid, unimaginative and its sense of order drives me nuts, everything seems to have a label, escape is not possible. Its not what it is saying its how it chooses to expresses itself, although its sense of order uggggh. I find myself reading a much smaller pool of philosophers who I seem to be able to read without any distractions of this kind. But I still dip my toe into the larger weirdness that is philosophy. Looking at unfamiliar cultures is interesting.

京剧《双投唐》选段 这时候孤才把这宽心放 关栋天 邓沐玮

A Day In The Life

So I am thinking about Lord Monboddo, Mark Bloch, and centaurs. I have no clue why they seem to be reacting and moving with each other in some way, other than to note it has something to do with context. Bloch, not with the story but how it is told type question. Not what you say (historical context and facts; but how you say it (how a narrative is read and understood in the present). Centaurs seems to have some relationship with filling in gaps, mind reading and asking questions. Lord Monboddo morphed into questions relating to psychology and history in relation to Bloch. The spear throwing centaur question started it.  Happy not to think about it to much and let whatever is going on in my mind run its course. But interfere with whatever it is in the next post and impose thought on it fleetingly.  But really I have no idea what these things are doing or why they live in mind and animate thought for the moment but would appear to be imposing a single line narrative on it already in an attempt to think and present in consumable form.

A heavy day dreamy day moving about the city, being in some other zone.

Who Killed Bambi?

‘Myth busting’ in popular science culture, traditionally finds complete fulfillment in origin. Once a single origin has been identified, it serves as an explanation for all subsequent development and no further explanation is required.

I watched the documentary “Requiem for Detroit” last night, I had no idea who made it while watching, but thought it was one of the most interesting documentaries I have seen in a while. Anyway I strayed onto you tube and came across an  interview with the director Julian Temple (partly explains why I liked it so much; I have grown up with his work).

I found his explanation of his initial ‘artistic inspiration’  and motivation for his involvement in the project rather funny but it’s also a very nicely observed introduction. Despite his nervousness in front of a live audience, he delivers a killer opening to his narrative, that captures attention and reaction straight away.

Learning French

The centaur threw a spear.

      The gentleman eats cheese. (1)

“When we take a bird’s eye perspective toward experiments studying sensori-motor cortex involvement when participants read or listen to language describing sensori-motor events (action and visual language), a few things stand out:

– Sensori-motor cortices can be activated during language comprehension. For instance, cortical motor hand areas can be activated when participants read verbs related to hand actions

– These sensori-motor activations can be fast

-Changing the activation level (via training or with TMS) of the motor system can influence processing of action-related language, suggesting a functional role

– Some studies do not replicate sensori-motor activations when participants listen to action-language

– Sensori-motor involvement is dependent on task and linguistic context

Of these findings, the latter one deserves more attention than it has gotten so far: Sensori-motor cortex involvement during understanding of action and perceptual language is task- and context-dependent.”


Embodied Cognition: Taking The Next Step


Examples of sentences used in lab experiment

Statements Of The Fucking Obvious

vlc 2013-09-08 06-16-19-62 


I was rather interested in a post Bill Benzon did on lit criticism here. Its a subject I have never done, it seemed to obvious a thing to do at university, I was well trained in certain aspects of this subject from a craft perspective and did not think it would be as challenging as sitting subjects I had no real experience of. I don’t think it will work but I want to take a break from my usual sources but want to keep writing each day. Will tidy up what are at the moment loose dyslexic notes on the hoof. The title comes from what I love about an aspect of psychology, the way it forms significant areas of research from very simple every- day observation (Its also in character, in regard to what is described below)  . Its not any different to drama at this level, psychology and art do not seem distinct things both activities draw from observation.

Going to go through a speech from Still Life, line by line. I introduced the author in the last post. Still life is not autobiography but it is drawn directly from an environment he knows.

I think its quite obvious what you have to do with a script. It does not need any discussion or explanation you just follow the instructions, practice and as soon as you are in front of an audience it becomes very clear were things are working and where they need to adjust.

Many years ago when I did this sort of thing I moved into a shared house with about 7 other people living in it. I was not around much, working strange hours, but about 7 months into my stay I found my housemates had got rather the wrong impression of what I was. I had mentioned something about work. They asked me what I did. I told them, the response was Ohhhhhh (said with some relief) that’s what you do. We just thought you were fucking mad, sitting in you’re room at night speaking to yourself. No, that’s called rehearsing lines.

These lines below, I know very well. I also know they work. I performed the play and then used the speech as an audition piece afterwords as it works  so effectively. But description on how they work from a performance perspective? I have no idea how to go about that in words. I also get to commit two cardinal sins, engage with a former profession that is aspirational for many people and therefore must be an indicate  of artistic frustration on my part and I also get to indulge further in ‘cod’ science or ‘pop’ psychology. The interest is with how audiences become absorbed in performance and other cultural rituals.

Latitude, Longitude and General Location

Going to go over a few lines from a speech in Still life. The setting is simple. Phil’s mother has died, He is in the Garden of Remembrance, at her graveside. A memorial stone has not yet been arranged. He has things on his mind. What do you have do do with the script to get it to work?

“The garden of remembrance. So whats to remember?”

The opening lines give the game away and the first important thing, getting a sense of where you are. Its spelled out and the internal sense and disorientation of the character is also unfolding in the words.

He is not relaxed in this place. Nether can the audience as it is you who is giving them the feeling of where they are. They are sharing in the unease and uncertainty. In order to make the illusion work. The first thing is sense of place. Every one in the room needs to be drawn into this sense and have a memory of where they are in this moment.   The garden of remembrance, slight sarcasm. So whats to remember, an aside to the audience, but unfocused its not trained in on them, Phil is getting a sense of environment, where he is, uncertain why he is here and also so far resistant to the atmosphere and stillness of the graveyard . The audience gets this sense to (if you do), it is not yet fully in the garden it is not yet fully engaged with.

Next line.

“I love her, I love her not.”

Still uncertainty, slightly quieter than the fist couple of lines but it is still thrown about vaguely, the lines are to self and thrown out into space but not yet directly to each and every member of the audience. Things are still uncertain.

A Perfectly Natural Reaction



“You embarrassed me.”

This is the change, the line you have to get perfect. Its delivered quietly, movement is still, intimate, he is now connected fully with the place he is in, what he has to do, this is the moment you also connect fully with every individual in the room. The line is addressed directly to his dead mother. The trick is to make everyone in the room feel it is directed straight at them. They get a sense of where they are and feel it directly. It must be utterly believable and direct, leaving everyone feeling you are talking personally to them.

Its the moment, escape is not possible for anyone as the audience is forced to fully participate in the performance here. What makes this the point of complete absorption is contained in the language or more specifically in the pauses and in  the words that remain unsaid. The conversation is not a natural one, the mind of the audience is having to fill in the parts where the mother interjects. Everyone’s mind is drawn in and has to actively participate. The setting makes this internal look inside the characters  mind appear perfectly realistic but it is the unnatural nature of the dialog between son and non-existent mother that ensnares the room into fully into being a part this event.

“Are you listening?”

I said. You Embarrassed me”

All is hushed at this point. All life in this space still and attentive. You cannot go wrong. Everyone is in place you have the full attention of everyone in the room.  You work out how to do it before you get in front of an audience the basic directions are clear but it is up to you to conjure the atmosphere of place. Which is done by clearly marking it in words, yet resisting and being uncertain of it. Its moving from that tension to a state of being relaxed and still and know exactly what to say and to who that is the killer (edit. rather confused paragraph).

But that is rather a lot of words to imperfectly explain the role of three simple words you, embarrassed and me. The delivery here is the key and it is simply to bring people directly into a place they know and allow them no other opportunity other than to confront what you are saying to them. The directions are quite clearly written. This is the one moment where Phil is calmly in control, it is where everything gets its sense of place. “Are you listening?” Louder but still controlled, leaves no doubt for anyone in the room what everyone’s role is in this space.

” I said. You Embarrassed me”



“No because you were stupid. For me that was a bonus. No everyone in the street had a mad mother.”

That sense of control is starting to go, but it has done its work in drawing everyone in. Uncertainty is starting to creep back in. He has questions to ask here.

“Some had a collection of marvel family comics, some had army badges, me, I had you, transparent, uneducated and you never spoke right neither.”

Its all starting to come out, the story becoming clearer, the anger is constrained and clings inside, it is not going to move to full blown rage, that does not work as you just lose all sense of place and its stillness and intimacy, if you over hit and go to far. Trail and error determines how to control the moment. For me with this one, I came into the rehearsal room after a nightmare journey one morning, had to start doing this as soon as I got in the door, I was just in time and no more, so was not in the zone,  my own frustration from the events of the morning just blew the thing apart at first and it just did not work. Was a dreadful start. But you live and learn. With this you learn by doing and working directly with the script up on its feet, not explanation.


Stick this up raw edit later the last post will be re-worked as well as I engage a bit more fully with some of the things getting added below in the references. I am also working from memory as I don’t have a script at the moment.


Creating Social Connection Through Inferential Reproduction: Loneliness and Perceived Agency in Gadgets, Gods, and Greyhounds.

The Effects of Cell Phone Conversations On The Attention and Memory of Bystanders