Diary

Artistic Cravings

20 June 2006 | Diary

I find myself going through cycles of wanting to consume different sorts of art in a similar way to how other people get culinary cravings. Sometimes I could want to read so much that I feel I could literally eat pages from my books: just tear the softer pages from their bindings, scrunch them up and shove them into my foaming gob. It’s as though the conventional way of sucking symbols up through the eyes isn’t quite efficient enough a process to satisfy the desire: only primitive devouring and digestion will do the trick.

I’ve never actually tried to eat a book though, you understand. Just imagine the paper cuts.

It sounds weird, I know. But in my defense, William Wordsworth said something similar about nature; that he sometimes loved the Lake District so much that he had the desire to eat vast fistfulls of grass and soil so that nature could exist inside as well as out. I wonder if Wordsworth had been a creature of the suburbs instead of the countryside, he would have felt as passionately about concrete, space raiders and dog muck.

At the moment I’m acoustically fixated: I’m in the mood for music and I know exactly what I want to listen to at given moments. Mostly working from home right now, I have the freedom to do this but I find some of my choices of what to listen to as peculiar as the foods chosen by pregnant women: Tom Waits followed by Art Tatum / Liquorice Allsorts followed by raw onions.

Today I put on a ‘best of’ CD of The Animals. In particular I was interested in listening to ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and ‘Roadrunners’. Why? Beats me. I’m not a fan of the animals. I like Rock n’ Roll just fine but at the end of the day, I’m a jazz fan. But whatever the personal preference, today I wanted to hear The Animals. It’s playing right now as I type this (which is in itself, somewhat uncharacteristic).

So I wonder why artistic cravings take place at all. With food, cravings occur when your body is lacking in whatever vitamin or mineral you crave. But your body doesn’t require art does it? Perhaps it’s some kind of psychological/socially constructed imitation of food cravings: the constructed and natural words getting their wavelengths crossed (like how urban birds are reported to immitate popular mobile phone ring tones).

Does anyone else in my immediate blogosphere have similar cycles and unpredictable intrusions from bands or authors or directors with whom you wouldn’t normally concern yourself?