In case youse wonderin’ about the picsh at the top of the blog and the name of the blog an’ all that, a brief explainance…
It was 1981, I was visiting friends in Americaland, and ended up in Boston. Boston Mass that is, not the original Boston, in Lincolnshire, England, where I was delivered into a world so unprepared that five hours in, some poor woman leapt to her death from the Stump (the tower of St Botolph’s Church … Botolph’s Town … Boston, geddit?).
As an arty-farty bastard, I had to take in the museyrooms, including the very wonderful Fogg. And not being much of a consumershopper type, while my companions was doing the merchandising and stuff, I found meself in front of a Chinese scroll painting, entitled On Grieve-Not Lake, by one Wu Hong, late of the Qing dynasty. Pulling out a sketch pad and my trusty 2B (or not 2B) in a desperate attempt to look artistic, there was time to make a hasty sketch of two thrids of it, before chums came and dragged me away for chowder at Legals.
That sketch surfaced again recently, when some old portfolios of badly drawn boys and goyles were being cleared out. Two perforated pages from a book of heavy drawing paper, with pencil scribbles wandering across them, just screaming to be fixed in ink. In my failing memory, the original had been an ink drawing, so something Rotringish was applied to the fading lines, with the result you see above, gentle readist.
Obviously an ability denied to the traveller of the early Eighties was that of searching Webland for things one previously had to go and experience first hand (how tiresome — and yet how beyond the reach of the vast majority of humanity). But checking out the Boston Museyrooms online catalogue, using every search filter imaginable, led finally to the conclusion that the picsh was no longer there (if it ever had been — was it all a dream, was I somewhere else altogether?).
It took a long time to find. A side issue from a vague plan to kickstart kreativity was becoming, as so often happens, a full time occupation. But there, finally, it was, under the title of Yanzi Hill and Mochou Lake, by Wu Hung — curse these foreign Johnnies and their alternative transliterations. And it’s a painting!
One can buy fine reproductions of it from a site called FineArt-China (so if anyone wants to buy a starving artist a gift to bring some scant pleasure to his final days …). Now I want to complete the last thrid. Where’s that pencil?
As to the name, let us go all Wikipedial:–
“The name of Mochou Lake originated from a beautiful woman called Mochou, which means ‘do not worry’ in Chinese, from the Liang dynasty who committed suicide to prevent herself from being married to an undesirable man.”
Ah, the pile of bodies I’ve been responsible for on that basis! Ho hum.
But for a blog title I like the translation that captioned the Fogg’s copy, and as ‘a man of sorrows, and acquainted (or at least on first name terms) with grief’, it seemed to have a consolatory or at least hopeful tone, that would lull the reader into a false sense of optimism, which my writings would soon drain out of them.
This means you. See you anon …