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Friday, October 11, 2002

P o s t L I b

I found this wonderful parable in New Zealand poet Dinah Hawken’s contribution: ‘From a Whole Lot of Small Stories’. Soho Square IV, Bloomsbury Publishing 1991.
Hawken’s tale encompasses the playful essence of the male and female relationship, and offers a lucid premise to the feminine conundrum. Given the current state of women’s lib, to what extent may Hawken’s compassion have been guided by her experience as a social worker and psychotherapist?

-The Tug of War-

Is a scene that rises in her mind. A long line of men, say 100 facing north, holding a long rope. A long line of women, say 110 facing south, facing the men, holding the same long rope.
They are all dressed in late-nineteenth-century clothes, standing ready on the shoreline of a long New Zealand beach. A long line of surf is breaking.
The rope is clearly visible in the gap where the first man faces the first woman. Here the starter also stands. He is shouting in the megaphone:

‘Take the strain-get ready-go!’ So the tug of war begins. Equal weight and equal strength on each side.
Centuries of struggle are rising in the blood of each man and each woman and at the exact moment that they judge to be at the height if their physical and mental power, the women let the rope go.


© Dinah Hawken- Bloomsbury Press-1991


Dinah Hawken’s latest book is ‘Oh There you are Tui! (2001) Her first book ‘It has no Sound and is Blue’ (1987) won the award for ‘Best First Time Published Poetry Section’ of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1987.


posted by Walter at 10/11/2002

Thursday, October 10, 2002

T i n g e d


Why there are no cats in the forest

A parrot was what
He once had on his left shoulder,
The thought of it,
Which came long before
The actual bird
Which never came.
It never came.

It was never the season
For parrots
Which were unreachable,
Which nested on the highest
And deadest of branches
Of the tallest tree
In the farthest forest
And he lived in the city
And no one ever promised a bird
Or spoke to him.

And the season he was now carrying
A stray cat
On the same shoulder
Was that the thought of the parrot
Would not fly away.

A dream never flies away
But it can be destroyed
Or eaten.

Simeon Dumdum JR

© Soho Square 4 – Bloomsbury Publishing 1991


Spring arrives

The angels come down from the sky. They turn into bunches of roses, tulips, peonies, cherry blossoms, Camelias and chrysanthemums In the valley, fresh flowers are everywhere Angels come here to have a party. Next time you are on the street, go buy a dozen roses Bring them home, and don’t forget that you have 12 angels with you, to watch TV with you.

Introduction by Walasse Ting to ‘Spring Drink, Flower giggling’ an exhibition by Walasse Ting- The Soobin Gallery Singapore 2002


The arrival -by fire- of the ‘Butterfly Gangster’

Stirred by the ponderous noise of heavy Diesel engines and the sirens of Fire Department trucks rapidly approaching, halting and subsequently spreading sudden panic in our quiet residential area, we opened the windows on that early autumn evening some years ago, to see that the lower floor of the ‘Viking Sauna’ one block down was on fire. Fierce flames emanated from the windows of the somber brick building, blowing greasy black smoke over the neighborhood. The street was soon blocked by Police, as curious residents and passers-by gathered to watch the spectacle. Since the building was large, and the fire had spread all across its interior, it raged on for most of the evening, until it was finally extinguished, leaving the devastated building scarred and dysfunctional.

For years the ‘Viking Sauna’ constituted an ambivalent presence in our street, the building seemed to ooze shadyness and obscurity. Rumor had it that the owner was troubled by debt, and that the fire had been caused purposely.
The Sauna was part of a large partly empty building, situated close to a primary school, and covering half of the street. The building provided two entrances, one main at the front, and another smaller entrance at the adjoining street. During the next few days the building was cleared out and boards were fixed in lieu of the broken windows.
For much of two years nothing happened, furthering rumors that the fire had not been accidental, until finally the building was sold. A complete renovation ensued, leaving the structure intact, though looking more stern and industrial than before. Security cameras and an Intercom sytem were installed to the front and along the side of the building guarding the gray unobtrusive entrance. No nameplate nor other indication as to its occupant(s) was attached to the building. It seemed obvious though that an artist, or group of artists had acquired the building; since all of its visible space seemed allocated for artistic purposes. For a year none of my neighbors had a clue as to the main proprietor of the building, until a friend confirmed our lingering hunch. The ‘Poster King’, ‘Parrot Master’, and self professed ‘Butterfly Gangster’ –Walasse Ting- had come to town.

Ting runs a formidably prolific poster network, divided over many publishers, establishing a prominent presence on the worldwide web. One estimates that his graphic work and paintings rate among the best known works of popular art worldwide. Ting himself however, is a Houdini of selfrepresentation. Little of personal background is available. Pictures of him, alone or with his contemporaries, are scarce. Ting once said that Chinese artists are to some extent ‘Schizophrenic’. Apart from his poetry Walasse Ting focuses his interests on painting of which his main subjects are: women, animals, flower motifs, all painted in bright, almost fluorescent colors. Sexuality is a permeating presence in his lucid and instantly recognizable style, showing the influence of artists like Matisse, Picasso and Klimt

In 1964 while he resided in New York, Ting (artist and poet) and Sam Francis (editor) produced a book with contributions by a host of Pop Art artists; among others: Karel Appel, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Asger Jorn, Roy Liechtenstein, and Claes Oldenburg. The book ‘One Cent Life’ was issued in an edition of 2100 copies. During his stay in New York, in an article that he wrote in 1966 describing how he initiated the book, he would write


‘I wrote 61 poems in '61 in a small black room like coffin, inside room only salami, whiskey, sexy photographs from Times Square. No Bible, no cookbook, no telephone book, no checkbook. Two short fingers typing talking about World & Garbage, You & I, Egg & Earth.’

(Ting, 6)


A poem written by Walasse Ting in that same period evokes in brash visualisation, the couleur locale of the NYC Times Square area

everywhere 1 dollar 99 cents sex
fat gold
everywhere green spider
blond bombshell
everywhere hero sandwich
secondhand cinema
million neon lights twist flowers


From the introduction drafted by the Soobin Gallery by occasion of the Walasse Ting exhibit, mentioned earlier in my post:


‘It does not matter how ugly a women is, you always discover her beauty everywhere. So I never stop looking at women at the corner of the street, on the bus, then I go home very happy and make love with my wife and then I paint a picture. Walasse Ting describes himself as a “butterfly gangster”, which can be applied to his paintings. Everything he painted is real and showed the force from his body. He loves to draw women. He says, real women are more attractive than paintings. He says ‘Sex is color for love, it is the beginning of love and love is the end of sex.’


Biography Walasse Ting

1929 Born in Wuxi, China, but was raised in Shanghai where, by his own account, he first began painting on sidewalks.
1946 Moved to Hong Kong
1952 Moved to Paris where he formed close relationships with members of the CoBrA group.
1960 Emigrated to New York, where he became involve with pop artists.
1964 Published a book of his poems entitled “One Cent Life”illustrated with original lithographs by numerous American and European artists.
1974 Became American citizen
1977 Awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and published Red Mouth, a book of erotic drawings and paintings
2001 Resides in Amsterdam


For more information about Walasse Ting


N o t e

In regard of my previous post it made sense to verify which street numbers Ting’s studio is occupying. I checked it, finding the front entrance using number 100, and number 12 allocated to the side entrance.
Kozwitzky’s book says of the number 12 in the chapter: ‘Numbers their meaning and Magic’ (abridged):

-The highest knowledge can only be acquired by suffering in this world of matter, and this is the meaning of the old legend which is related to the number 12. There are 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 orders of the holy spirits, 12 angels of the heavenly divisions, 12 degrees of the damned, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 stones in the breastplate of the High Priest, 12 lions that held the brazen sea of Salomon, 12 years in which the planet Jupiter runs his course, and 12 Apostles.-

Of the number 100, Kozwitzky is brief:

-(100) God’s Favour, The Angels, and High Spirits-


posted by Walter at 10/10/2002

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Numerology – Number 6 –

I will not explain, why the number 6 is significant to me, suffice to say I am not displeased with what I’ve found in the very intriguing book: ‘NUMBERS – their meaning and magic – by Isidore Kozminsky, Australian Astrologist, Occultist and Archealogist. First published in 1912 by Rider and Company London.
From the chapter ‘Symbols and Meanings of the Numbers’ I have selected an abridged version, for sake of complexity, of Kozminsky’s explanation of the ‘The Number Six’


‘The 6th verse in the first chapter of Genesis tells of the separation of the waters. And man was on the earth by God on the 6th day to perform His Will. Six is regarded as the perfection of numbers by the Kaballists and Pythagoreans, and Nicomachus calls it Venus, to which goddess it was sacred, and thus it is regarded as an ideal love number. Some old writers assert that the manna which fell in the desert for 6 days was marked with the letter Vau, the Hebrew equivalent of the number. In the Sepher Yetzirah the 6th Path is the Mediating Influence through which infuse the increasing emanations.
In the Kaballistic Book of Concealed Mystery, the first verse of the book of Genesis is interpreted as ‘In the beginning the substance of the Heavens and the substance of the earth were produced by the Elohim.’

‘The 6-pointed star (the Hexalpha) or interlaced triangles, one pointing upwards as the triangle of fire, the other pointing downwards as the triangle of water, is the true seal of David and Solomon- the ‘Mogan Dovid’ or Shield of David. The symbol is also emblematical of Sherkun or union of the gods in India.
Six is the number of entanglement and binding, of union and seduction, of vice and virtue, and uncertainties in marriage, of love of attraction of the sexes and of beauty. It signifies all kinds of trouble and strife, but is capable of purification by knowledge and a good life. Mr William Jones relates that the Prince of Orange, who died in Paris in 1879, and was a sporting man, always withdrew his horses from a race in which they were classed under number 6 or number 11. Since this statement was first included in my early editions I have been sent many theories by racing men, some of which, though crudely expressed, contain many occult truths. So far as I can make out, 6 is considered unlucky by some sporting men. Some examples happen to fall on horses that have been interfered with by the men riding them or others. Then the idea of the 6th house in astrology- servants, etc.- would be well carried out in the number; bit a great mass of good evidence is necessary before any decided opinion can be given in a matter of kind.
The Occult Symbols of the number 6 are- The Lovers; the Two Paths; a Man between Virtue and Vice; Cupid with bow and arrow; the Goddess Venus.’

‘The Man between Virtue and Vice is shown as a handsome long-haired youth, with his arms crossed on his breast and a look of indecision on his face. On his left hand is Vice in light attire urging him to travel her way; on his right hand is the angel Virtue crowned and beautiful, with hair flowing gracefully over her shoulders. She is touching the youth on the shoulder and urging him to the paths of true beauty, true love, and true majesty, for the way of the right is rocky and uninviting at the entrance, but it is sublimely beautiful as the road is followed: therefore had Christian Rosy Cross to pass the allurements of the unworthy passions before illumination. Vice is delusive. She maddens her followers with a blaze of apparent beauty, which is ever in corruption and decay. Above the youth is the Spirit of Justice with shaft in bow, naked, winged and blindfolded, issuing from the Sun. In this symbol lies the true understanding of the number 6.’

-Good and Evil Days-

Ancient philosophers would determine which days were lucky or unlucky by applying the following rules:


‘To discover lucky days’

(a) Note the day of full moon. (found in any almanac)
(b) Count the number of days from that day until the end of the month
(c) Multiply the number of days the month contains by the number of days from full moon until the end of the month, and the result will be your answer.

Example- Full moon at Melbourne fell on April 19th in the year 1905. There are 30 days in april, and from the 19th until the 30th there are just 11 days. Multiply the number of days contained in the entire month, viz.30, by the number of days from full moon to the end of the month, viz. 11- equals 30 multiplied by 11 equals 330.
The fortunate days in April 1905 are thus shown to be the 3rd and the 30th.
If the result, instead of 330, had been 303, the answer would be the same. Had the result been 414, the days would have been the 4th and the 14th, and if it had been 441, it would have been the same. Again, had it been 544, the days would have been the 5th and the 44th, the 4th becoming exceptionally strong by repitition.


‘To Find the Unlucky Days’

(a) Find as before the date of full moon
(b) Count the number of days before full moon
(c) Multiply the number of days before full moon by the number of days the month contains

Full moon fell on the 19th of the month. We therefore multiply the number of days in the month by the number of days preceding full moon, viz. 18-equals 30 multiplied by 18 totals 540.
Now it is evident that we cannot employ the cipher, therefore we must eliminate it altogether, and account the 5th and 4th unlucky days in April 1905.

Note- Should it so happen that a date indicated as fortunate falls also amongst the unfortunate indications, then that date must be accounted unfortunate, it being an old belief that in most mundane matters the evil was more powerful than the good.

-- – Make your own Oracle


posted by Walter at 10/09/2002

Tuesday, October 08, 2002


‘A Bikini is a thoughtless act’
-Esther Williams- Hollywood Mermaid-


When the Bikini was officially launched by French engineer and inventor Louis Reard in Paris 1946, public reception was lukewarm at best. Named after the Pacific atoll where the H-Bomb was tested, Reard’s invention was contested by French fashion designer Jacques Heim, who 2 months earlier had introduced the ‘Atome’, called the world’s ‘smallest bathing suit’. Reard’s Bikini was small enough to be fitted in a matchbox, taking a mere 75 cms of cloth to manufacture. For years Reard ran a shop close to The Opera in Paris, claiming to sell the only ‘Original Bikini’. It was not until Roger Vadim’s movie ‘And God created Woman’ starring French sex kitten Brigitte Bardot, that the Bikini really took off. The thong, a current mass phenomenon was first spotted on Rio and St Tropez beaches in the late 70’s. But it was not until the 90s that slight bathing gear became a symbol of female casual assertiveness in the series ‘Baywatch’ Nowadays thongs and freely exposed bellybuttons have become commonplace, flaunted equally in the office or on the beach. The thong has now become a mainstream garment for women of all ages, girls and ladies alike, who are showing off their streamlined bodyshapes with detached bravado.

For a brief overview of contemporary thonglife:




-Lingerie de Paris - by Ellen Williams

To the French, fine lingerie is more a necessity than a luxury. Women from the United States and Japan are catching on, but with different takes on the subject of intimate apparel. Three Paris purveyors share cultural insights gleaned from serving an international clientèle.

We can make any shape with any bust. A bra can do anything,” effuses Poupie Cadolle, the grande dame of French lingerie makers. Her shop on Rue Cambon in Paris’s presigious 1st arrondissment, was started in 1889 by her great-grandmother and has passed down through generations of the family’s women. Today it is the last place in Paris to buy lingerie made just for you.

The restrained black-and-white window display at Cadolle tells you right away that this is a place of serious business. You’re drawn here by the shop’s reputation or by referral—many clients are sent by the couture houses, such as Chanel just up the street, so that Madame might help them contend with their “silhouettes difficiles.” Madame Cadolle, after 23 years in charge, still maintains a passion for her business. To prove it she spent an entire year perfecting her push-up bra—“very big now”—which she says can gain a small-busted woman an entire cup size.

In the street-level shop, customers browse through ready-to-wear merchandise—bras, panties, foundation garments, sleepware, handkerchiefs. Upstairs, in the velvet-draped custom-fitting rooms, Mme Cadolle personally fits couture clients for lingerie that costs more than most of us spend on the clothes everyone sees (bras $300-$600), depending on the fabric and complexity of construction). The majority are among “the happy few,” as she calls them, but in addition to her “three queens and one empress” she also has several ordinary women—such as an assembly-line worker at Renault—who, despite the prohibitive cost, feel there’s no substitute for what a custom-made bra can do for you. The result is so far superior, in fact, that Cadolle says most Americans are stunned by the improvement after only a preliminary pinning.

Mme Cadolle maintains that even a bra purchased in one of the Paris discount chains—Prisunic or Monoprix—will do more for your figure and be more comfortable than anything available in the finest American shops. It’s Mme Cadolle’s theory that the superior taste of the French goes back to the time of Louis XIV, when people all over France worked to create and refine the elegant excesses of those at court. The entire nation, she says, became sensitive to the highest standards.

Like a fine French winemaker, Mme Cadolle takes tremendous pride in guarding the traditions of a great national industry that transcends trends. She is pleased to consider herself responsible for bringing back the trend of the corset for underwear as well as outerwear. “Five years ago we sold 10 corsets. At one of the big lingerie shows last fall, 600 went in three days.”

Corsets (ready-to-wear, about $500-$650), she says, are among the most sought-after items by the Japanese in Paris. “Ten years ago the Japanese knew nothing of lingerie. Then the first one came, and she sent all her friends.” Cadolle believes her success with Japanese women came about because they covet the curvier proportions of the Western body, love all things French (which she says also explains the Japanese passion for the Parisian nudie-extravaganzas, like the one at the Folies-Bergère), and admire the Cadolle story of family and tradition.




This summer I passed by the Noordermarkt, a section of Amsterdam that I rarely visit. As I walked through a tight alley dividing the market stalls, slowly edging forward amidst a mass of mostly exotic women looking at the diverse merchandise on display, I passed a couple of stalls bulging out with a variety of every imaginable ladies’ underwear.
As I was taking a furtive look at one of the stalls, two pretty Moroccan girls both about 18 years old stopped to have a look at the colorful lingerie. The girls looked like they had just left a beauty parlor, both were richly perfumed, and dressed in tight fitting clothes, looking cheerful and elated. As they were rummaging through the pile of frillies, giggling and holding ever skimpier underwear out in front of them, one of the stall-keepers, an older guy, remarked with a broad grin: ‘You can use the fitting room right behind me.' pointing to a cloth hanging right behind him, separating the stall from his partly opened truck.You could tell from the guy's reaction, that he was versed in his clientele's ways. Initially the girls smiled at him, pouted their lips in mock contempt, and resumed their sensual quest.


-Thongs go mainstream-.

"It's not about seduction and feeling sexy,'' says Lanise Ingram 26, a Los Angeles resident, while sifting through a table of thongs at a Victoria's Secret store in Beverly Hills and holding three pairs. "It's about comfort and looking good.''
Today 19 million American women are wearing thongs. Since 1998, thong underwear has beaten the traditional brief as the fastest-selling panty. Sales increased 156 per cent between 1995 and 1999, jumping 25 per cent from 1998 to 1999 alone, according to NPD Group Inc, a New York purchasing-research firm. According to industry reports, 19 million North Americans -- some of them men -- own at least one thong, with 70 per cent of buyers aged 34 or younger. Victoria's Secret, the mid-price women's lingerie chain operated by Intimate Brands Inc, has seen thong sales rise 30 per cent since 1995 while all other panty types have increased just 5 per cent. In 1999 alone, Victoria's Secret sold more than 20 million thongs. Frederick's of Hollywood Inc, the original purveyor of sexy lingerie, introduced the thong in 1981 and now claims to sell more than 40,000 a week.’

April 2001


Today contemporary Japanese fashion has become a meter for global trend spotters, Japanese culture has shed traditional ties and inhibitions, publicly displaying a hitherto unheard of individuality. Young fashionistas have skipped cultural sensibilities and stifling protocol, expressing an ecstatic and almost shameless style consciousness.


-Japan’s anything-goes mentality-

‘She matched funky Converse basketball shoes, blue jeans, and a Thai hill tribe jacket and handbag with a lip ring and a tattoo of a Buddhist lotus flower under her navel, all topped by clip-on dreadlocks imported from someone’s head in Jamaica and scrubbed clean for 8,000 yen, or about $65.
This never would have been possible in Japan five years ago,’ says Ishimatsu, 23, a fashion writer. ‘We have more freedom now than ever before.’

-Christopher Johnson –IHT-


-Japan’s Invisible Revolution-

Tokyo,Japan- ‘For all their dedication and commitment to fashion, it’s only in the last decade or so that Tokyo women have added lingerie to their shopping lists. Japanese women only started wearing Western-style underclothes about 70 years ago. Until then, they wrapped themselves in layers of kimonos and let them suffice.
This all began to change as the result of a department store fire in 1932 in which 14 young women were killed. The women, dressed in kimonos, had escaped to the store’s roof. When they tried to climb down a makeshift ladder, they could use only one of their hands since the other was needed to keep their kimonos from flapping in the wind and exposing their lower extremities. Thus handicapped, they lost their balance and fell to their death.

Today, lingerie is considered the chicest of all clothing,, simply because it’s concealed. Known to part with huge sums of cash for suits or bags, Tokyo women will now bestow the same favors on underwear, presumably without blinking. Several small manufacturers run by young women have zeroed in on this relatively fresh market, supplying women with functional, durable underwear that is also unabashedly sensual.

Mika Noguchi, 37, president of paech John, a lingerie company, got her start at age 21, when she started a home shopping compay with her husband, Peach John, which emerged in 1988, is one of Japan’s most successful small companies, registering sales of more than 1 billion yen ($8,19 million) last year. Noguchi firmly believes that women want sexy, beautiful underwear in whatever situation they happen to be. Naughty-sexy, nasty-Lolita, functional-sporty, artistic-lacy, Peach John provides all the cliches.

‘A woman’s life is one long series of costume parties,’ Noguchi said on several occasions. ‘And Peach John is here to help her along.’

IHT-Kaori Shoji-


posted by Walter at 10/08/2002