The man with the yellow violin

I miss the man with the yellow violin.

His high notes raised my commuter spirits every morning when it was needed. I was low, and he was an inspiration.

Violins usually play on mourning or sadness. They indulge the sympathy of sad story told by real life. The sound touches the soul of compassion.

But this yellow violin was destined for King’s Cross cross-ways amid commuter rush. The music and his enthusiasm and the spark was there to soothe and delight. That moment to stop and hear and reflect the morning commute. The wondering why I am here at this time in my life. The potential of it all, the parallel worlds alongside my daily grind. I am here to listen and my particular train is in vain because I know it wasn’t meant to be. Where it was taking me was the source of my despair. The beautiful soaring sequences were familiar and timely. They melted my heart in broken realisation of the route I was taking that morning.

The mourning yellow violin was special and bright, and my morning was special and bright to me. The blues had thawed the melancholy and the yellow lion spirit had brought the light.
I wondered if he enjoyed his job. I didn’t have to wonder. It was obvious. I mean, I projected. I wondered if I enjoyed mine. But, I enjoyed the commute, and I miss it now. I miss the man with the yellow violin.


The space art creates

Art is for the audience. For the audience to enjoy, appreciate and have opinions – freely. In a society where enjoyment, appreciation and opinions are usually for some agenda, art is the only space where it doesn’t matter and for that exact reason, it matters. So much.



Exhibit A: This letter. Oscar Wilde.

My dear Sir

Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression.

A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.

Truly yours,
Oscar Wilde

Scribblings of success

What can you do well in front of hostile strangers? What do you keep doing even when there is no room for you in that world?

There is no drive when it is easy. And it is easy to find fault with your work, but it’s not easy to stand up and be proud of what you’ve done when no one else understands and thinks much of it. Who do you choose to hang out with – and how can you serve these people? How receptive are they, to what you do? If they aren’t appreciative, what other groups of people might be?

Success isn’t about creating inherently good things. It’s about putting work in front of the harshest judges, to pitch and deliver your best and aim bigger and better than that, and do it now because what’s unrealistic now will be realistic later. Pain is a fire you grow through and where there is pain, there is growing up, and strength in the torn muscles, and when your comfort zone and your friends are no longer around, how do you survive?

Quotation Curation

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn’t know the market place of any single thing.”

– Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

“The first step – especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money – the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.”

– Chuck Palahniuk

“When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it.”

– Mark Victor Hansen


What’s the point of art? Part 2

Culture provides us with the psycho-biological advantage of greater adaptability.


All human cultures tend towards cultural slowdown and comfortableness. Art is a form of rebellion against this; a necessary antagonism against mainstream cultural mores to ensure our survival when the circumstances change.

Hood explains cultural mores can become the crab’s rigid shell, preventing us from growing and changing as a species. A crab needs to split its hard shell and expose a soft new shell capable of allowing new growth.

And so artists feel fragile and unworthy and unnecessary precisely because that’s their role in society, to be vulnerable and expose human nature at the forefront of uncertainty and soft shells!

Hood says fine artists (whose primary work is to affect the mind or spirit rather than fulfil a function) do two things: “crack the shell of cultural rigidity” and “restore adaptability to changing circumstance on which life depends”.

This means thinking outside the shell; imagining ideas and solutions and stories that are not there because they are beyond the current environment and constraints. And we constantly need more as the environment is changed by new ideas and resources. It’s a constant cycle of creative inspiration – right?

“Creating the new shell, art and science function as the growth point of culture,” he says.

Art must challenge our daily life to allow our minds to imagine new things, as a matter of survival, so we are prepared for change.


So, the point of art here?

–          Advancement for advancement’s sake and creative survival.

–          Greater adaptability to different environments

–          To provoke new thoughts and new ideas and freedom from circumstances

Is this answer good enough for you? Comment now!

What’s the point of art? Part 1

The assumption behind the question “what’s the point of art?” is often utilitarian. There is no inherent worth of art so it must do something to justify itself. While the philosophy itself has its flaws – is everything a means to an end, always? – we must tackle the question on those terms.

And I have found a good answer from visual artist David Watson Hood’s lecture in 1998.

He says artistic and scientific creativity both “evolve descriptions of the world that are more enabling than pre-existing interpretations”.

What does that mean? Art simply enables us to describe the world – is that all? The descriptions are all so different and contradicting and confusing. It is no dictionary definition of the world, no objective verification of real life. If we use art as a tool to discover truth – of the world or, more likely, ourselves – then we end up here:

“How many geniuses have wasted their potential because they chose to search for truth via art (a completely forlorn hope, by the way) rather than via science, the most reliable way to truth (though nowhere near 100% reliable)? Frankly, I feel that the time I spent on art (reading about it, experiencing it, even trying to do it) in my youth was misspent).” – from a forum on the sciences.

This questions the point of the entirety of human culture. Animals use violence and/or sex to order and make sense of their worlds and while our closer relatives may use rudimentary tools, we are the only animals to have a complex conceptual or material culture.

So if animals do not need one, the question is how has it benefited us as a species?

The psycho-biological explanation

We need advancements in material or conceptual culture because it provides for our desire for comfort and security. Whenever we gain power over resources – through ideas, understanding and abilities – it appeases our insecurities; but it is brief.

We quickly become accustomed to increases in our power over our environment and we need continual advancement to cope better with the changes and developments around us. In addition, our own advancements change the environment and present new challenges.

And so culture provides us with the advantage of greater adaptability. It explains where there are so many of us (and growing!) all over the Earth.

But do we need it?

…More next week!!