Astonish Disturb Seduce Convince – Freud Portraits

Lucian Freud @ The National Portrait Gallery:

Astonish Disturb Seduce Convince

These four words were used throughout the exhibition to capture Freud’s intent – and he doesn’t fail to deliver. The grandson of Sigmund (the psycho analyst) was born in Berlin to an Austrian Jewish father and so in 1933 his family had no choice but to flee.

Renowned as one of the great realist painters of the twentieth century, Freud’s work spans over an incredible seven decades and goes through many transitions. Some of his early work starts out almost childlike and quite two dimensional. Gradually over time he starts to breathe life into his faces, bringing flesh alive in a very textured way. Finally he progresses to much a more rough and striking vision with paint almost daubed onto the canvas and after moving to a much larger studio, his later portraits are of a gargantuan scale – both of the paintings size but also the sitter. For me the most striking element consistently throughout his work, is his ability to perfectly encapsulate apathy, depression and other human emotions.

In the 90’s, his series of pictures entitled “Benefits Supervisor” featuring Sue Tilley (a friend of another sitter for Freud, the performance actor Leigh Bowery) are certainly some of his most ambitious large scale works. I wonder how “Big Sue” as Freud would call her, felt about seeing one of her images complete with over large stretched skin folds and sweat chaffing – especially in view of the fact Freud was also known to make all his models appear much older than in real life. Freud did not judge his sitter he merely observes and Yet it was one of these paintings that enchanted the world at auction went it went for £17 million – the highest ever achieved for a living artist.

Many of the colours on Freud’s palette are reminiscent of how I would visualise the second world war years; dark insistent greys, deepest conker, Ochre, Sienna and camouflage tones. Few of his paintings contained any pastel or what you might refer to as pretty colours. He used light, texture and colour to add to the overall feel and mood of a painting but it was to be his remarkable flesh tones that critics would comment most about. Some facial expressions and patchy muted skin tones were so dark they looked as if they belonged in a morgue and yet at the same time made you feel the painting, rather than just seeing it visually.

Later in his career, flesh was to become punctuated with daubs of heavy leaded Cremnitz whites, almost sculptural in their texture. There were also times when he piled the paint on in quite an aggressive manner. This worked well on toe nails and pubic areas but in one of his later portraits the face is actually made in this angry manner and close up looks almost as if the sitter had leprosy. But Freud had complicated and sometimes disconnected relationships, so of course it could have been a technique or perhaps just plain anger.

Freud was nervous about using what he called conventionally beautiful models (although he did have a thing for Kate Moss) and instead mainly painted from his close circle. This suited him in another way, he was confrontational and sometimes argumentative yet despite producing such astonishingly revealing and intimate portrait’s, he was a deeply private man hardly ever giving interviews.

He was particularly clever at revealing the angst ridden and suicidal. I looked straight into the eyes of the artist John Minton painted in 1952 and without knowing anything about him thought here is a man who looks like he could take his own life, which in fact is exactly what he did. This image was haunting and painful.
“I’ve always wanted to create drama in my pictures, which is why I paint people. It’s people who have brought drama to pictures from the beginning. The simplest human gestures tell stories”

There is something quite dark and sinister about a lot of the emotions expressed in Freuds work as if somehow the world is too much for him and that he sees it through a twisted psyche full of torture and unfathomable complexity. Many of his images convey a vulnerability which is boldly present in his work  Large interior in Paddington – where one of his daughters posed uncomfortably in the foetal position for hours on the studio floor, her lower half exposed. I found it quite moving to hear she had once said “this was the only way of having a relationship with my father”

Freud documented his marriages and relationships with his family in his work. We follow some of his relationships to their conclusion, initial portraits are bright and full of hope and as time goes on we clearly see the tell tale signs disillusion and discontent….

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The ALL Lives Matter Trap…

All my life I’ve been a curious person…
Especially curious about people, religion and food. It came naturally to me to travel the world and have as many experiences as possible as soon as I was able to. Among my many adventures, I travelled the shanty towns in South Africa, covered most of Egypt and spent time on as many Caribbean islands as I could. In each place I came away with a lust for the language, memories, experiences, new food sensations, an eclectic taste in music but most of a all a rich array of friends from every background, race, religion and I’m very proud of that fact.
I have a daughter of mixed ethnicity. I grew up in a children’s home where sometimes I would be the ONLY white kid and I was taught from an early age what words not to use and what words hurt.
A couple of days ago I saw one of those posts where someone uploads an image. This one repeated the same phrase over and over again “Black lives matter”. For me personally this thought comes as naturally as breathing, however I did wonder a) why this was on Linked in, b) Why only black lives? So without hesitation I responded naturally with “ALL lives matter”. Without knowing it I had fallen into a trap. Apparently I am among good company, alongside Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley and Hilary Clinton. According to one blog I have now been presented with
“saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem”
Well that WASN’T what I meant to say or imply and to be honest if the slogan had been “black lives matter TOO
I doubt I would have done anything but hit the like button, as this is a cause close to my own heart. However it was too late, my comment was misconstrued and provoked an outpouring of racial slurs including
     “why do you people yes white people such as yourself continue to
marginalised the black struggle?”
and climaxing with  –
My social circles and travel adventures have been wide and varied

With my various friends and exes. Do I look like a white supremacist?!

White supremacy similarly to your racist ancestors. I feel people like you would like to see the reintroduced of the Atlantic slave trade”

So the irony was, that due to me trying to NOT see colour as the indicator of value to life I was actually perceived as being against equality.
Sadly no matter how many times I tried to explain and defend myself the person who levelled all of this simply would not accept he had made an awful mistake.
All of this abuse came from a so-called Humanitarian, human rights campaigner and diversity award winner. A hater is a hater. Just because he or she may come from a minority background does not make any difference. I was judged badly and it cut like a knife.
I’ve presented speeches on equality and diversity. I have campaigned for sex workers, the disabled, young people in care and offenders. I CARE and it is no shame to say “ALL people matter” – only from now on I will remember not to fall into this particular trap, make sure you don’t either!
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They died too young: Several major stars of the hit TV cop show Hill Street Blues had their lives cut tragically short.

Michael Conrad played the unforgettable desk sergeant Phil Esterhaus.
As the adorable sergeant, he brought a sensitive, calming influence amongst all the haste, chaos and drama and was known for his subtle turn of phrase.

During the fourth series in 1983, Conrad became seriously ill but he didn’t let urethral cancer stop him going to work. He wanted to be surrounded by his “on set family” and he passed away during the shooting of the police drama. Charles Haid (Andy “Cowboy” Renko) said “he died in the saddle”

Esterhaus was written out of the show in a moving episode called Grace Under Pressure in which he dies making love to Grace Gardner. When the sergeant’s cause of death is announced, Andy Renko can be heard saying – “Damn that was a good way to check out”

His successor Robert Prosky (Stan Jablonski) hard had shoes to fill so thankfully was written as an entirely different character and changed the famous roll call end phrase from “Let’s be careful out there!” to “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.”

Born October 16th 1925, New York City
Passed away: November 22, 1983, Los Angeles, California aged 58
Won two Best Supporting Actor Emmy Awards, 1981 and 1982

René Enríquez was a Nicaraguan-born actor and according to IMDB the nephew of General Emiliano Chamorro, one-time president of Nicaragua.

Enríquez played the Hill’s Latino captain Lt. Ray Calletano. A character often caught between the open racial ignorance of Lt. Howard Hunter and his inability to rise in the department.

Enríquez died of pancreatic cancer, the same year as Kiel Martin also passed away.

Born Nov 24th 1933 Granada, Nicaragua
Passed away March 23rd 1990, Tarzana, California, aged 56

Kiel Martin was best known for his role as lovable-loser, rogue Detective John La Rue. Known as JD on the Hill, his trademark Italian shoes were as cheap as his chat up lines and his Rolex as fake as his integrity. JD showed the darker and more complex effects of being a cop. JD was a real sleaze too, if it moved he tried to “nail it” and one particular encounter with the glamorous Joyce Davenport is one rebuttal not to be missed.

Real life mirrored his on screen battles – chain smoking, heavy drinking and twice divorced – he wasn’t so much acting as revealing his own soul. Martin’s first wife was the daughter of actor/crooner Dean Martin.

It was eventually a bitter battle with lung cancer which finally took his life. Martin was once in contention for the lead role in the Oscar winning film Midnight Cowboy. He also acted alongside Robert Mitchum in the movie Moonrunners, which inspired the TV series Dukes of Hazzard. Like many others in the series, he also starred in iconic TV favourites – Perry Mason and Ironside.

Born Kiel Urban Mueller, July 26th Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Passed away December 28th, 1990 Rancho Mirage, California, aged 46 years

Trinidad Silva (JR) played the Diablo’s gang leader Jesus Martinez. Known for his catchphrase “hey Frankie!”

Jesus was a clued up character (*spoiler alert*) who later in the series transformed, when he switched sides to work for the justice department.

In 1988 he and his family were involved in a serious car accident. Silva was killed at just aged 38 years old. Silva’s wife and son escaped with only minor injuries. The driver of the other vehicle pleaded guilty to drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter. The film he was making at the time, UHF was later dedicated to his name. Michael Warren who played Bobby Hill believed Silva died on the verge of becoming a huge star.

Born January 30th 1950, Mission, Texas
Passed away 31st July 1988, Whittier, California (aged 38)

Fan of Hill Street Blues? Why not join this Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/501486633206475/

Charlie Daniels is a life-long fan of the hit cop show and author of the UK best-selling book Priceless My Journey Through A Life Of Vice (Hodder, 2006) – in which the hit cop show is mentioned. 

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Serial killers? Traffickers? FEMINISTS?!

Yesterday I mentioned about the MEP Mary Honeyball determined to shut down the sex industry using trafficking as an excuse when her agenda is actually gender equality. Today I read her draft paper.

She believes in the Nordic model where the clients are automatically judged as a criminal. She seeks to educate women out of prostitution (regardless if they want to be educated!). She states from an out of date academic paper that up to 90% of prostituted women have suffered some physical or sexual harm before becoming vulnerable and turning to prostitution. The first two paragraphs are not about trafficking but about how unequal women are because prostitution exists. She states Prostitution is a very obvious and utterly appalling violation of human dignity. She goes on to stress that, as shown by data from the European Commission, the majority (62 %) are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and women and girls account for 80 % of identified and presumed victims how these figures can be accurate (or how they were even collated ie from brothels or the streets?) I have no idea buy it is clearly not the case on the internet portal Adultwork, I have been a member for years and you can spot the hundreds of women (mostly working safely from home) who want to be there among the few dodgy profiles. You can also spot the decent clients, they have verified feedback and make for a safer meeting. 

The most contradictory point of this proposed bill, is the last part where Mary states According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Holland is now the top destination for victims of human trafficking which begs the question – why the UK is now considering the Nordic model? The thing is I accept that legalising prostitution has failed to prevent trafficking in Holland and that legalising or decrimalising are complex issues but a move to criminalise clients is tantamount to blaming an undertaker for death.

As a young woman, I spent many years advocating both legalisation and decriminalisation. Having now worked legally all over the world you may be surprised to know that I have changed my mind.

The truth is changing the law doesn’t change peoples behaviour.

In fact legalising brothels for example means naturally those with addictions, the under-age and those who cannot work in a work environment will find unsafe underground ways to continue, creating thus a two tier system. The bottom line with brothels is no brothel worth its salt will look twice at a young girl, an illegal or a drug addict these groups will still continue and a demand for them will still exist while ever there are men with dubious motives who like to play in the shadows.

After two decades closely associated to the industry I believe there is another way to tackle the serious issues that doesn’t involve changing the law but I am afraid that will take me a few hours to explain and another day.

According to the MEP, we are all now reduced to being vulnerable victims, we will be taken to places of safety if the police seek to investigate, it is assumed we are not educated and need taking in hand and all of this in the name of equality!

If we sit back and allow feminists like this MEP to use their agenda of inequality to push the industry further back into the shadows their actions will be far more dangerous than any trafficker or serial killer.Image

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Prostitution – stop the merry-go-round debate about changing the law!

This week there will be a political proposal to criminalise the clients of sex workers such as myself. Propaganda, statistical abuse and myth, is being abused by religious and moral zealots who push forward in order to forward their own agenda. Even the actor Rupert Everett has championed the rights of Sex Workers in the Guardian this week against an ever increasing tide of feminists and now even property developers, who seek to push the industry further underground…

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MEP Mary Honeyball was EXPOSED on LBC radio admitting a gender bias for her proposed criminalisation of paying for sex. She made clear she was less interested in men paying for men only the demoralisation of women. In other words she is OPENLY using the current trafficking issues to hijack a debate based on feminism not sincerity. I am FURIOUS! I have already been head to head with her on the Daily Politics show explaining I am both a woman and a current sex worker. (I wrote a book years ago about the industry and quit at that time but since returned for a few reasons).

Who is she to put into place any new laws that would affect me consenting to sell my own body? OK so prostitution isn’t the best career in the world but hell – right now I chose it over income support! NOT all sex workers are victims, I have hundreds of adult aged, British born, consenting sex work friends! I find Mary a smiling polite lady but her agenda far less than honest. 

Mary is just one in a long line spewing out statistics for drug addicted street girls and applying the victim idea willy-nilly across the whole industry blanket style. She has met those who have been exploited, yes she’s met girls like me who were in care and groomed and her words give the illusion of having her heart in the right place BUT when I asked her why she couldn’t just tackle the abuse and exploitation issues instead of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” her response was the standard feminist bullshit. So now women have the vote but shouldn’t be allowed to have control over who they sell their own body too because it offends (a few) other (mostly man hating) women? 

I’ve been saying for YEARS changing the law is not the way to prevent street girl deaths, trafficking or exploitation. Once and for all to stop the political farcical merry go round that is if to legalise, criminalise, decriminalise bullshit-debate. It is time to solve the real issues not change the law.

I am waging WAR on Mary and the others who hide behind serious issues to push their own agenda. Who will give me a voice?

 

90 women involved in sex work are missing or murdered in the last ten years

– the last thing anyone needs is another moral witch hunt. People like Mary Honeyball pose a far bigger threat to sex workers than serial killers and traffickers and in fact could even make the impact of such poison far worse!

 

Charlie Lee Daniels

www.preventingoffending.co.uk 

Koestler Award Winning Writer, Bestselling author of Priceless, My Journey Through A Life Of Vice 

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Season of goodwill?

I don’t usually do Christmas. In fact I have escaped many times abroad or done my bit volunteering in order to miss the excess, materialism and greed I feel it brings.

As a spiritual (but not religious) being, I value the chance to spend quality time with loved ones and to reflect ahead for the forthcoming year. I also take a chance to look back at those we loved and lost in 2013. Who will ever forget the passing or indeed the life of the extraordinary freedom fighter Mandela, a man who changed the world for so many. A man who held no bitterness towards those who had made his life intolerable and who showed no sign of self pity despite great suffering.

In April I attended a night out with my junior school buddies back in my home town. At the start of the evening one of my friends passed on her condolences for the loss of my foster father. I dropped my glass with the shock. I had no idea. It had happened the week before and the funeral had not yet taken place. My family were gathering at that exact moment to mark his passing.

When finding out about my loss at the start of the night out I had two choices – be miserable and bring everyone else down – or put on a brave face and cherish the fact I was coincidentally in my home town surrounded by those I had grown up with at the time I was fostered. For once I was the one behind the camera that evening instead of jumping in front of it like a lunatic. We raised a glass to my dad’s memory and I thanked my friends that evening for their loving support. 

The next day I awoke and it was my birthday. I had to make a phone call that was cripplingly painful, to find out the circumstance of his death, about his long battle with cancer and to ask why I had been excluded from any knowledge. It was explained to me there were concerns I would want to turn up (unwelcome) to his funeral. I explained I wouldn’t dream of going and causing any discomfort and that I respected their wish for me to no longer play any part in their lives. It is my own belief that post death the soul lives the death is only for the body which becomes an empty shell. So although I would have loved to have been given the chance to attend his send off I would mark the passing in my own way.

Devastatingly not only was I banned from his funeral, I was also to be wiped from family history when his obituary appeared. But I was able to take solace in donating to a charity in his name and felt safe in the knowledge I had made my peace with him, in person a couple of years ago. I had rang him one evening unexpectedly and 5 minutes later I was able to tell him I loved him to his face. I knew it would be the last time, I knew it would be goodbye. He was far too emotional for me to ever put him through this kind of surprise again so we had a photo taken together, which I cherish more than any gold.

So on that birthday, I took a trip down memory lane and went back to the places my dad would take me as a young girl. I included the much-changed Peace gardens where years before I chased the pigeons and later watched my own daughter do the same. Then I found myself walking around the Cathedral in total awe of all it’s resplendent glory. I recalled the times my father would have quietly explained everything in there to me and the love I still have for history as a result. I lit a candle and sat for a few moments in quiet contemplation. I gave thanks for the first 5 years of my life when he was such a strong presence and for the odd times I shared with him after he left and moved away. 

Now before you start thinking I am the Christmas Grinch, let me tell you this is not actually the case. You see that is my way of looking back. Now I am going to look forward. Tomorrow I will be going to stay with my partners sister, who has all but adopted me as the sister she never had and tonight I spent the entire evening on an assembly line wrapping gifts for my partners large tribe of children. I reflected on my lost opportunity to be a better mother and I felt a sharp stab of guilt but reminded myself that the future is more important than any past that we may regret but simply are unable to change. As I wrapped the presents I became more and more excited knowing the thought and care we had put into the choices and the humour we had enjoyed choosing some stocking fillers to make them smile. Then I remembered the joys of Christmas as a child including a camera I had been given by my nan that inspired years of photographic obsession and just now I had wrapped one up for my partners daughter. There was also an MP3 music player (charged and with music already loaded) for my partners disabled son who does the most heart rendering interpretations of popular songs, all in his own inimitable style. Each of the young people had presents we knew would make them happy including the girlfriend of one of the boys who is also absorbed as part of the tribe, as her own family doesn’t take a big interest, I know how that feels and so I took great joy in filling her bag and wrapping her gifts with love. 

Christmas is for the children. New year is for the future. It is the present – not the presents that really make our world. (Charlie Daniels)

 

 

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Dealing with dramatic change: Hand grenade in a fish bowl?

At some point in our lives, most of us experience that devastating tornado that comes out of making dramatic changes. It can be so powerful and so painful that we will do almost anything to prevent it happening again. We look back at the mess that occurred, the human collateral damage and the crushing blows we unwittingly caused and we vow to avoid this again at all costs. It may have been a messy divorce, a sudden career change or even something more life changing. Either way our subconscious mind suddenly learns to fear major change.

Then there are those of us who simply excel at procrastination. Especially when the choices you want to make seem like an impossible mountain to climb or you know the resulting effects aren’t going to make you very popular. Sometimes we hang around on the basis someone or something else will come up and do the “dirty work” for us.

And what if we don’t know how or what to change? How about when no amount of thinking, processing information, weighing up the odds seems to provide any solutions? What about when it feels as if we are going around in circles and there is no end in sight?

When faced with the scariest crossroads in life,
what are the things you can do?

  • Get some professional advice if you need it. Support can make the difference between surviving and thriving. In my personal experience men are much more reluctant to do this than women, but it isn’t accepting defeat to ask for help – it’s a very pragmatic thing to do and of paramount importance for those dealing with addiction.
  • Challenge your motives. Are they pure? What is making you want to induce this change? Is there even a tiny little devil jumping about in your mind or a little bell tinkling? Think very carefully before making any major changes that negatively affect others. What is truly driving the desire for change? One of the biggest mistakes we often make is working on assumptions, paranoia or misinformation and then regretting our reactions at a later date. Balance, perspective and  honesty can all make any transition process much more pure. Changes made on anything less, can quickly become toxic mistakes and have negative repercussions for all affected.
  • You might think what’s right for you isn’t right for others but… sometimes it’s best they learn to live with it. Ultimately those who really love you and are closest to you cant be happy if you’re not! If things continue as they are it could be more damaging than the change. Is it the fear of change or loss of control that holds you back? Self esteem, respect and confidence all come from knowing yourself and trusting your own judgement.
  • Don’t over think. A lot of what we worry about or imagine will go wrong often never does. We can drive ourselves insane with things that never actually transpire – it’s wasted energy. Be realistic about the risks – not neurotic!
  • If possible once you have picked a course of action – stick to it. Focus totally as if nothing else matters. Throw everything at it with all your energy and don’t let others throw you off course. It’s the same advice for navigating a tight-rope, head up, shoulders back, one foot firmly in front of the other but most significantly of all – do not look back while you are walking the rope or it will throw you off balance. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and in the long run it may turn out that this was not the best way forward but at least it changed the energy and made things happen.
  • Clear the clutter. Removing all unwanted obstacles can help you see what really remains. I’m not just speaking metaphorically, having a spring clean brings up a little chaos energy sometimes it helps us see things with more clarity.
  • Damage limitation. Before jumping off the cliff decide what possible outcomes might occur. You need a parachute – are there people you can trust to talk to about this who could offer an ear or more usefully be onside quickly on an emergency basis? What about your timing? Whilst you must not use this as an excuse to put off the inevitable you still need to try and ensure you’re being sensitive to others. Can you remove any people, obstacles or objects from the line of fire? Consider any damage that might happen and what you will need to do to repair it as swiftly as possible. Actually imagine you are going to throw the hand grenade into the fishbowl – more fish MIGHT survive if there’s a bucket handy!
  • Can you soften the blow for others? Are you going to have all change happen at once or in stages? Sometimes cold turkey or total change is the only way, but not always…
  • Try and be honest when faced with the consequences. Both with yourself and others. Try and keep your integrity intact. It’s surprising how much respect can assist in moving things forwards but if you blow things by being dishonest or not accepting responsibility then you may cause more issues than solutions in the long term. However there is a difference as we all know between what you admit, what you never reveal and the timing of any bombshells.
  • Smile – bounce – adapt. Now you’ve made the move be positive. Don’t dwell. Keep smiling even when you don’t feel like it – believe it or not it can make a difference to your state of mind. If you keep punishing yourself or allow guilt to take over you will waste time on regrets that may not be based on anything tangible. Use your energy to bounce back, to reinvent yourself or your surroundings if need be. Re-paint, re-organise, re-pair, re-innovate your life. Adapt to the changes by being more flexible and with the knowledge that the investment you make now will pay dividends.
  • Select your company carefully. Surround yourself with those who inspire, encourage you and have your best interests at heart. Any period involving change can be a challenging time you need people to lift you up – not drag you down.
  • The clean up process. So now you have made the move and you are dealing with the repercussions. How can you rebuild or replace? Don’t try and rush this part, a strong house needs firm foundations.
  • Learning lessons. Everything we go through, especially those events with negative energy can give us some astounding insights. Sometimes we can’t do anything more to change things for ourselves but we can use our own experiences to prevent disaster for others, meaning the pain was not in vain.

ALL experiences are valid. If we make mistakes what is important is we learn from them. This is true personal development or growth.

 

 

 

 

Charlie Daniels is the author of Priceless: My journey through a life of vice (Hodder). She is also a campaigner http://www.preventingoffending.co.uk

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