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What was your original face?

I’ve got a bike

Culture Posted on Mon, August 22, 2011 20:21:13

a new bike

Han-shan and Shih-te stonerubbing

Chinese literature Posted on Mon, January 11, 2010 20:58:32

The well known stonerubbing that has given most of us the visual of Han-shan and Shih-te, is based on a painting by Luo Ping (1733-1799). The painting is now in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

The stonerubbing is from an engraved stone stele in the Hanshan Temple in Suzhou. Carved by Tang Renzhai some time in the years 1875-1908. The stele is larger (125×60 cm vs the paintings 78.7×51.8) with some minor differences in the details.

Source: Page 174-175 of Eccentric Visions: The Worlds of Luo Ping

Zürich : Mueseum Rietberg, 2009. – 3003 s. – ISBN 978-3-907077-44-3


Culture Posted on Mon, January 26, 2009 19:08:06

Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000

Culture Posted on Mon, December 29, 2008 08:20:24

This 1976 film by Alain Tanner is available on DVD from It’s a few years since Jonas turned 25, but this film is still worth seeing.

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Månefestivalen 2008

Music Posted on Wed, July 30, 2008 20:04:15

Månefestivalen is a 3-day festival in Fredrikstads old town. This years saturday-headliner was going to be Mick Jones’ Carbon Silicon
and since my second daughter is a huge Clash-fan we just had to go.
Blog ImageThe last time I went to a concert in Fredrikstad was a festival in Kongstenhallen in 1978 or thereabout so it was probably about time…

Fredrikstads old town is a beauty, we strolled the streets, had a pizza and generally enjoined ourselves. The first few bands we skipped, it was a bit too warm, about 30 celcius. The first band we saw were a canadian punkband, The Invasives. Hardworking and very good, the singer even borrowed my hat:

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The norwegian band Datarock gave a blistering performance before one of my old faves, the 22 Ladybirds from Finland came on:
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I’m not up to date on what they have been doing since their 2nd and 3rd album. They
played some songs that I recognized and plenty of unfamiliar stuff. The bass-player alternating his bass with synthesizers. It looked like they improvised some stuff also. I was really impressed.

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And since the local fotball heroes in FFK also beat Brann 2-0 during their set, we felt great up front.

As a replacement for Carbon Silicon they had found the Damned. Not a bad replacement if you ask me 🙂 They started with Love song and played lots of old favourites. Here’s the Captain himself:

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The Damned were very good, even my wife enjoined them 🙂 she had expected some serious, monotonous noice I suspect, but that is not what we got. They have humour and can really play. A spastic keyboardplayer with some serious dancesteps in him, a singer with a good voice and a Captain in front in full command of the situation. I even got the chance to shout It’s a love song when he introduced the first song with This is for you… and pointed at me.

All photos by Åsne!

We also visited the 2 stone circles at Lundeby in Råde earlier in the day…

Père Ubu

Adrian Henri Posted on Thu, July 17, 2008 19:44:37

I hadn’t thought much about who or what Père Ubu was. Suffice that they made one of my favourite songs, 20 seconds over Tokyo. That the name was from a play by an french author didn’t matter much. Untill I came over the picture below.

Père Ubu is a figure in the play Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry. He features in several of Henris paintings. For example in the center of his most famous one, The entering of Christ into Liverpool (more on Henri and the painting: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde).

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The above, showing Henri as Père Ubu is from The Liverpool Scene, Edward Lucie-Smiths book from 1967 (between pages 64 and 65).

Below is Jarrys woodcut of Père Ubu taken from the Gutenberg projects etext of the play (click on the picture to go the etext).

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A poem

Adrian Henri Posted on Wed, July 09, 2008 20:27:35

Who is this looking out from behind the soup-boxes?

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I first read his poems in a norwegian translation by Lasse Tømte:

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(The above is the back and front of Tømtes third and last, edition of Henris poems. Published in may 1975 by the alternative publisher Forlaget Frustra. )

3 years later, in Notting Hills Record and Tape Exchange, I found the first two Liverpool Scene albums. And heard Love story for the first time. Adrian Henri laying down the first words with a precision worthy of Gary Snyders Rip-rap-technique:

You keep our love hidden
like the nightdress you keep under your pillow
and never wear when I’m there …

Love story is sadly not in the easiest available poetry-collection, which is the various incarnations of Penguins The Mersey Sound.

To read, or better hear, the rest, it I think you must dig out the Liverpool Scene album Amazing adventures of, the lyrics are printed on the inside of the foldout.

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Or click here

Equally good is the poems in the Universes-suite, starting with Gallactic Love Poem (that must have taught John Cooper Clarke a trick or two):

Warm your feet at the sunset
Before we go to bed
Read your book by the light of Orion
With Sirius guarding your head
Then reach out and switch out the planets …

(This is in The Mersey Sound btw)

The standing stone at Hasle

Prehistoric Norway Posted on Mon, March 10, 2008 20:00:54

Tjølling in Larvik has several prehistoric sites. On road 303 between Larvik and Sandefjord, about 500 meters after the takeoff to Ula, on the north side of the road some 50-100 meters out in an open field stands Hasle-steinen. About 4,8 meter above ground it is one of the larger standing stones in Norway.
Blog ImageÅnund (11 years and about 135cm) and the stone, november 4th 2007.

Placed at the highest point in a terrain that slopes towards Indre Viksfjord in the southwest and towards Hemskilen and the Istre-Syrist river in the north-east. The placement a few meters north of the absolute top can be explained by the fact that when the sealevel was higher (about 5 meters 500CE), the wind and waves on the the Viksfjord-side saved a bigger accumulation of matter to the south of the stone.

If the stone was raised as early as 200-400 BCE, there was a narrow isthmus, from the stone it was 50 meters to the beach of Hemskilen and about 150 meters to the sea at Viksfjord. It has been suggested that the stone was raised as a sign that boats could be dragged over land there.

Blog ImageChristian Olavius Zeuthen (1812-1890) drawing from 1845 (p. 191 Viking vol LXVIII, 2005).

A local tradition links the stone to the first Vestfold king, Halfdan Kvitbein (or Hvitbein, i.e. Halvdan Whitebone), that may have lived up to the mid-700. According to Snorre Sturlasson he was buried (“hauglagt“) in Skiringssal at Skjæreid. That the eid (i.e. isthmus) in Skjæreid is the the istmus were the stone stands is unlikely.

have been several burialsites close by, even another standing stone (that was moved and parts of it used as a bridge over a brook on the farm). 10 to 15
meters from the stone, N. Nicolaysen found in the 1860-ies, a large
flat stone that the local farmer called the giants grave. This may be
one of the two flat stones that a later farmer, Hans A. Hasle found
when digging in may 1913, close to the standing stone. These flat stones was placed upon smaller stones, and there was a circle of smaller stones around (diameter 3 meter).

Blog ImagePhoto of professor Gabriel Gustavson (Vestfold oldtidsminner p. 517).

Doctor Arent Augestad, wrote down a story in 1903 that he had heard
from an 80 year old woman of Hasle farm. She had heard it in her youth
from an old woman (probably Sibille Eriksdatter, that died in 1847).
Sibille once came from town with her child and heard noices in the
wood, she thought it was her husband trying to scare her. They were
both young and she was not scared. Then a large darkclad man runs
towards the stone. Around the stone were many people, and the man flew
into the crowd and caused great alarm, and then everything was gone.
Sibilly still wasn’t scared, but when she came home it took a long time
before the could tell anyone what she had seen – wrote doctor Augestad.
(Source: Tjølling bygdebok, 1974, vol. 1 p. 131)

Blog ImageFrom Professor Gabriel Gustavsons Norges oldtid p.144 fig. 596 (Oslo 1906).

The God of Time

Culture Posted on Tue, February 05, 2008 19:27:12

Mithras is the god of a roman mystery-cult, which flourished from the 1th to 4th century of our era. Their rituals was performed in the mithraeum, either a natural cave or a building imitating one. Apart from representations of Mithras himself, other sculptures has been found. Here is a statue of a lion-headed god or man found in Sidon (Lebanon). The mask has an open mouth and it’s been suggested that it spew forth fire. Pretty impressive in a dark cave I would imagine!

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Similar figures has been found elsewhere. Here’s a relief from Rome:

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Here he holds two torches and lights a fire with fire from his mouth. The four snakes might be the four seasons. And finally a relief probably also from Rome (but now in Modena):

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Notice the zodiac and his Pan-like, cloven feet!

These pictures and more can be found in Manfred Clauss The roman cult of Mithras (recommended before starting on John Cowper Powys Porius if you don’t know something about Mithraism beforehand). Mithraism is fascinating because most of what is known is physical evidence like statues and the like, what little is written is christian anti-mithraic pholemics. Clauss’ book is mostly about iconography btw.

John Cowper Powys

Culture Posted on Wed, December 19, 2007 21:01:38

Having long felt that I have read myself into a corner, in the sense that I read about the same things over and over again (se reading list for evidence), and not being able to find anything new and exciting! … mid-life crisis raising its head probably.

There is however, light on the horizon. Margaret Drabble wrote an essay about an author in TLS (
November 14, 2007) that I may have seen the name of, but never seriously considered: John Cowper Powys. The essay is about a new biography by
Morine Krissdóttir “Descents of memory“, and a new edition of Powys’ “Porius“. I promply ordered both. I like excentric englishmen, and Powys seems to fit the bill, having a society, or more exactly, his family has a society: The Powys Society, and a sense of exclusiveness about his authorship that I like (being a snob in such matters). (The publishers blog has links to other reviews)

I’m now halfway into Porius and hooked. This is really an amazing novel! It’s set in Wales in the week from 18 to 25 october 499. The setting is Arthurian, but not your standard Arthur-fantasy. Not that the setting matters much (it probably does btw), its a fairly complex novel with several figures and many questions covered. It must be a mix of modern and ancient thought, so reading is like dipping in and out of the unknown. There is pagan, ancient greek and even christian elements here, but mostly what easiest can be described as nature mysticism I guess. (There’s even mentions of Mithras, which led me to order this). It’s a help to have a guide to all the names and (a few) concepts: John Cowper
Powys’s Porius: A Reader’s Companion.

A Glastonbury romance is on the way (from the same publisher), to ensure that something is at hand when I’m through with Porius.

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