Chris Niblock

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Homepage: https://chrisniblock.wordpress.com

Rock Music, Murder and Mystery…

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Introducing DS Glyn Tudor…

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The ‘Real’ writer’s block…

 

It’s far from easy to write a full-length novel.

It’s even harder to get it published.

You can help me get my novel, ‘A Stirring in the Blood’ published through amazon’s kindle scout scheme. Just click on my book’s cover picture below. That will take you to my kindle scout page, read the short extract, then nominate it.

I can’t promise you a share of the royalties but I will be grateful.

 

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Featured Painting: Pete Postlethwaite, actor

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Pete Postlethwaite (1946-2011)

My portrait of the actor, Pete Postlethwaite was recently bought by the owners of The Green Dragon, Little Stretton, Shropshire and now hangs in the bar above the chair the actor used to sit in. Best known for his roles in films like; The Usual Suspects and Brassed Off, he was also an extremely accomplished stage actor.

Steven Spielberg called him “the best actor in the world” though he was far too modest a man to describe himself in those terms.

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Spots before the eyes…

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Picture this, you buy a house for £471,000 and discover that you have a Damien Hirst spot painting on one of your walls. It’s painted directly onto the wallpaper so you think, “I’ll have that off there, mount it and sell it – it must be worth a few bob.”

No problemo, you might think, but you would be wrong… oh, so wrong. It’s not yours to sell, not without a certificate of authenticity signed by Mr Hirst anyway, and his company Science have got that. You see, the painting was originally bought as a present for the previous owner and, when he sold the house, he was given an alternative version of the painting on canvas in exchange for Mr Hirst taking back ownership of the original, which should have been painted over.

Now, I’m sure Mr Hirst is acting within his legal rights (there are precedents for this) to demand the return of the, now portable wall painting, for destruction. Incidentally, I’d be happy to lend him a hand with the destruction of any of his works, but I digress. The real artwork apparently is  in the concept, not the work itself – in this instance a few scribbled half-circles of  colour and some written instructions on a scrap of paper. I note the youthful Mr Hirst has misspelled surrounding on this early example of  one of his certificates of authenticity.

Call me naive but I’ve always assumed that an artist was a man or woman who, not only conceived, but created works of art with his or her own hands!  After all, if you pay $12 million dollars for a Picasso, you have a right to expect that the great man himself actually put the paint on the canvas. Surely, it ain’t a Picasso if he didn’t!

What makes it different in the case of a Damien Hirst or others of his ilk? And if they do get someone else to turn their ideas into a physical piece of art, shouldn’t the maker also get a credit for his work?  I think a little more transparency is called for here. When this type of work is displayed in a gallery or placed with an auction house, perhaps the catalogue listing should be something on the lines of; ‘A spot painting by (insert the name of the assistant or contractor) based on an original concept by Damien Hirst.’

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Featured Painting: Purple Haze

Purple Haze 1

After months of work, I’ve finally finished a second painting of Jimi Hendrix. Unlike the first, this one is for sale. Painted in oils on canvas, it measures roughly 600 mm x 500 mm. Enquiries to: chrisniblock@hotmail.co.uk. If Jimi isn’t your favourite, I’m happy to accept commissions for other rock stars, screen goddesses and even your dear old uncle Fred!

The painting is based on a famous photograph by Gered Mankowitz, the British photographer who has chronicled the rock music scene for the last forty years. He photographed Hendrix in 1967 at  his studio in Picadilly. He found him to be a “quiet, humble and modest man. He wasn’t remotely the sort of wild man of rock n’ roll that people have come to think of him as.”

I think this comes across in this picture, as does Hendrix’s sense of humour. Some of Gered Mankowitz’s portraits are now part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

 

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Astronomically High Mileage

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When I finally sold my old Daihatsu Fourtrak it had over 250,000 miles on the clock – roughly the distance from the earth to the moon. But this impressive mileage pales into insignificance compared to NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft. So far,this remarkable machine has clocked up a staggering 12 billion miles and is still going strong! After a journey of 36 years, Voyager has finally reached the final frontier (as they use to say on Star Trek) and left our solar system to journey on across interstellar space. On the way it has visited Jupiter; providing us with some startling new information about its moons, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

About the size of my old Daihatsu and weighing 3/4 of a ton, Voyager was built to last. It’s powered by nuclear batteries which won’t run out until the 2020’s or beyond. However, radio messages from its transmitter now take 17 hours, travelling at light speed to reach us.

It’s a fascinating thought that barring a catastrophic collision in the vast emptiness of interstellar space, Voyager 1 could still be clocking up the miles long after the men who built it, indeed the whole of mankind has become extinct. In the event that Voyager may one day come into contact with an alien civilisation, it carries a gold phonograph record containing music and speech along with the sounds and images of earth.

I just hope the aliens can dig up an old record player to play it on!

72933-Voyager-Golden-Record

 

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