FAME 2009 – Ceramics


Once my to tower was finished I settled into this nice cool and calm room to work on some ceramic plates. Grottaglie is famous for its ceramic tradition dating back hundreds of years so it only felt right to give it a go, although I didn’t have much luck last year.  I think this room is a million years old. I haven’t seen them since they’ve been fired and anything can happen in a kiln, yikes.

Lucy was working on her ceramics too and she introduced me to some savage new music while we were working . You’ll recognize this Galt McDermott tune from being sampled by Dan the Automator and Gangstarr amongst others. Sexy.

And then there’s this crazy genius Moondog. I’d never heard of him before but I’ve been listening to him loads since. You’ll recognize this one from the Mr Scruff tune.










FAME 2009 – La Torre

conor-torre-fame-09And so to the Tower. Angelo had this great idea of painting these towers in the countryside around Grottaglie. It was more difficult finding a suitable tower though as many of them store electrical generators and have wires coming out the top. Not so good with a cherry-picker.

We even door-stepped a princess, yes a real life princess, to ask if we could paint the tower on her land. She was totally up for it and even asked me why I wanted to paint something so ugly and I mumbled something about  it being beautiful when I’m finished with it. So we were about to set off when she realized that I wanted to paint the tower, not paint a picture of it. She changed her tune fairly fast, too much risk with the generator inside and all that. Dammit. At least I got to speak to a real live princess.

So this tower was the eventual candidate. I was well happy with the location, perched amongst the vineyards. Nice.





I took a looser approach to handling the figures this time round, using white emulsion and a brush with black spraypaint. The oil- based spraypaint and the water-based emulsion don’t like eachother but I think that gives a nice raw finish. 








FAME 2009 – The Soundtrack

Ok I don’t know how this happened but this tune was in my head the whole time I was in Italy. I think I overheard someone say ‘senza blah blah blah’ and I thought that word sounds familiar. Then this popped into my head – ‘Senza una donna (without a woman)’ and I couldn’t get rid of it dammit. Hey we all need a little cheese from time to time.  But check out the girl in the video, yikes, she was my muse the whole time I was painting.

FAME 2009 – Mmmm Food!

I2First up, how can I start blogging about my time in Italy without a dedication to all the beautiful food I ate? ‘Fame‘ meaning ‘hunger’ in Italian is an appropriate title for the festival as eating was nearly all we did. These cherries were freshly picked on Angelo’s farm and ready for market. Me, Angelo and Lucy spent our first hour together eating cherries from the tree. Nice. All this food (except the gelatos) come courtesy of Gilda (ciao bella), the backbone of Fame and Italy’s best kept secret.











I12‘The Hand of God Feeds the Hungry Pilgrims..’

Saul Williams – Twice The First Time

Finally found this after 12 years of searching. Okay maybe I didn’t look that hard. Anyway, I’ve been glued to Spotify since the beginning of the year. I was fairly dismissive of it until recently when I noticed they’ve obviously signed an agreement with a lot of independent labels so now I can listen to indie hip hop and electronica all day long. The ads are getting really annoying though.

Its amazing how when you can listen to almost any song in the world, you can never think of anything. Or else you just keep listening to what you already know. Strange. So anyway, this morning I needed some ‘get my ass painting’ music and remembered this old Saul Williams tune that my friend Caoimhe gave me on tape back in 97 from an old Radio Friendly show back in good ol Cork. Never forgot this tune but for whatever reason I could never find it. Until this morning, happy days. This tune is ridiculous. A definite contender for Best Hip Hop Tune That Hardly Anybody Has Ever Heard. His rhyming is so smart without being over the top. I’ve seen him twice in London and both times he put on a show that would shame most rappers. There was no stomping around the stage with his dick in his hand showing utter contempt and ignorance towards his audience.

“Not until you listen to Rakim on a rocky mountain top have you heard hip hop, extract the urban element that created it and let an open wide countryside illustrate it”


Absolutely savage tune from hip hop politicos The Coup. I remember reading about these guys about 15 years ago in The Source (back when the magazine was credible and back when it was my only window in a world known as Hip Hop) Anyway, this has no video but press play and enjoy the sounds. Funky as F**k!!

Oh yeah and I will get my Italy photos up soon, promise. Well maybe.

Meltdown 2009 – Baaba Maal

3630764284_c92bf4f04fCaught the mighty Baaba Maal at the South Bank Meltdown festival on Monday night. He put on a cracking show with an ensemble of 4 percussionists, keys, 3 guitarists, 1 bassist and 4 piece brass. Mighty sound. But the biggest sound of all was his voice. Such a sharp shrill roar from a thin frame. Most of his set was upbeat crowd-pleasing fare but the highlight for me was the opening track with just Baaba and an accompanying guitarist. Haunting, sorrowful and triumphant. Then again, maybe I’m just too moody for the party songs. 2 more gigs to go this weekend, can’t wait. Photo courtesy of Ian Duffy’s Flickr.