James White Art

“Adaptability and creativity will become two of the most valuable character traits in the future. Nurture them”. James White and Adam Timlett

INTERVIEW WITH Artist: James Robert White 

Current location: Hackney

Current happiness levels out of 10: 7.5, it was 8.5 til the EE broadband ‘helpline’ came into my life and ruined my day.

Favourite film: Matthew Barney’s Cremaster series is one that affected me in a way that films generally don’t. It is very much an art narrative rather that a movie film but after 8 solid hours it did leave a few marks in my brain.

Favourite musician: It’s too hard to pin down, the way my mood changes its different every time I listen to anything.

Favourite artist: Da Vinci:- his attitude to creating is something I have always strived to emulate. The interdisciplinary range of work shows such a creative and engaged mind with the freedom to think, explore and incorporate in diverse fields of engineering and science as well as some of the most competent and sublime art that I have seen created.

Favourite book: Gorgias, by Plato. It’s basically a guide for winning any argument that you could get yourself into.  It really teaches you to burn orators with impunity.

Favourite colour:  White, But I am desperate to try out the new Black 2.0 (super black) by Semple I think. I am already working on a couple of ideas as are most artists I should imagine.

Favourite area of London? It’s whenever I come across anything new, something that’s just opened, popped up, put on or been built.

Favourite food? Place to eat? Thai, and I still haven’t found anywhere as good as Tre Veit on Mare st. And I’ve tried a fair few across London.

Favourite procrastination technique? Is defiantly thinking about what I should be thinking about, (art, science, meaning of life etc.) but not necessarily all at the same time.

Brief synopsis: 

James Robert White has worked as an artist for over 25 years. He started developing an insight for science and art from early on in his life. Having developed and mastered his own painting techniques, James has been able to create a unique style, creating works that are understood by scientists as examples of ‘complexity’.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 22.23.16

You studied a degree in Fine Art. Did you find that necessary/a good grounding to your career path now. The fees are so huge for people attending University these days – do you believe a degree set you up for life in your career?

I had a tough time at college with half the tutors saying art and science could never mix and the other half loving it. I left the campus in the 2nd year and started a studio mostly where I lived as well, the lecturers who were on my side came to me to have tutorials and really encouraged me. It was hard to receive competent advice from people who couldn’t understand what I was doing and had no frame of reference to judge it. It required an understanding of the language of both art and science to be useful and most of the tutors didn’t have it.

I can’t imagine how people do it today on a low income. It’s why universities/colleges are full of people who can pay rather than good artists. I must admit, having a degree might matter to some but I don’t think it has any bearing on how good you will be as an artist. If they refuse to teach you about the business side of it then it still fails where most other vocational courses can and do succeed. You are better off going out there and finding mentors. People whose work you relate to and just asking them to be a mentor or just for ongoing advice. If you have a few of those then you have essentially got all that art school has to offer apart from production facilities.  And you have to learn how to sort those out for yourselves pretty quick when you leave so you might as well get on with it.

How have you found the collaboration between the sciences and the arts. I did start reading the academic papers you sent me. In all honesty I feel my brain isn’t wired correctly for maths/science… they are subject materials I have never found that easy. How have you found learning about the science side of things as an artist. 

I can’t really do maths very well. I am very discalculous, (the math’s side of dyslexic, of which I am as well). It came about by being able to grasp the concepts and me finding another way to a) understand them, and b) if at all possible, prove them. I still have to have things explained in a few ways before I spatially think them through. Each time I engage with new concepts it makes me have to think in a different way. I’m very stubborn and I like to get things right and to take them as far as possible. I really can’t relate to the way a lot of artists say that they are dealing with this subject or exploring something or other. Get it dealt with, find what you are looking for. Go all in, not half way. Don’t be scared to fail.

You work closely with Adam Timlett – a Philosopher of Science – what actually is a ‘philosopher’ of science and what is your relationship? 

Philosophy of Science is a sub-field of philosophy that engages with the methods of science and the robustness of scientific research and outcomes. It is about the thought processes that encompass scientific discourse and research. It questions and analyses the concepts and methods as well as the findings and results.

Adam and I met about 7 years ago and have been working on a range of things over that time. It really is about the conversations and the thinking that comes out of them.

“James seeks to explore the concept of complexity, and the central idea that ‘nothing exists on its own”. Would you say that this is a play on the need for human connection? What are your thoughts on social isolation in today’s society? 

The nature of complexity in the natural world by definition means that nothing exists on its own. We all know evolution can trace all of us back to bacteria and single cell organisms.

But as far as society and the alienation that pervades us, I think it is largely due to the human condition and education. We as humans work best in groups but unfortunately, not as one group. We are left with constraints of tribe as a means of survival in a global world. We are watching this play out with some tribes losing out where others are thriving with the change. Isolation is compounded by the scope of life around us, there is less conformity of collective thought and this is isolating even amongst peer groups these days.

When you began to have talks with different people for your work – for example traders, financiers, genetic scientists, physicists, and other post disciplinarians – what was the common thread that linked everyone up? 

The use of data and what it can bring to the table an also what it can’t. Why it is necessary, and how to use it for actionable insights.

“Millions of simple interactions that result in the complex phenomena we see around us.. can you explain that statement more? So perhaps the interaction is not really that simple?  For example can complexity ever be simple? For instance although you are depicting complexity in your paintings – was that a complex or simple task? Hmmm… 

Adam:  The idea about complexity depends on your attitude and approach. Some people believe complexity is ‘complex by definition’ and shy away from trying to simplify what is apparently complex. However, science generally only makes progress when what seems very difficult to understand is actually shown to be relatively more simple than we first thought. Therefore, as a ‘Philosopher of Science’, I believe that eventually complexity as a science will make progress only by revealing relative simplicity in some forms of complexity. This could indeed be that millions of simple interactions which cause apparently complex phenomena. The main evidence for this particular idea exists already. There are very simple programs and simulations of apparently complex behaviour like flocking algorithms which look similar to both flocks and shoals and also stock market movements in a crisis. There is also the ‘grandfather’ of complexity software, James Conway’s ‘Game of Life’ which you can play with on the internet for free if you want, and decide for yourself! However, unpredictability does seem to be a core feature of complexity. It is what you can do about it that matters more.

Do humans make life more complex than it needs to be? How do we keep it simple? Adam, advice reasoning information decemination?

Adam: This goes back to the previous question really. If we think of life as ‘algorithmic’ the result of lots of little local decisions which add up to unexpected results, then we need to understand the ‘algorithm’ of our lives a little better. Some areas of life are inherently complex and unpredictable, like software development which I work in and which always tries to be innovative and often fails. Yet we can now identify methods that have emerged recently which seem to work because they emphasise communication and freedom to change your mind and re-take decisions and choices. This is a very good way of dealing with unpredictability if you do it in a strategic way. An example of this is the ‘Agile’ approach to software development which is now very popular and involves far less planning and more communication. The same basic principle applies to using mobile phones to meet up. More communication helps you to organize successfully despite unpredictability.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Looking, listening, talking, reading and drawing sketches on any old scrap of paper. When these things happen or I am doing them, inspiration just comes. I think I have an inquisitive and responsive mind. So I don’t really think about it as I can’t turn it off.

Have you experienced a creative block/or black hole? 

The early part of the year was rough, I actually wrote a blog on it and how I got through it. It resulted in a great piece that I really like and means a lot. So block isn’t something to fear, it’s more of a person you battle with yourself. There are only two ways to go with it in my experience. one is to ignore it and come back to it later. Or work through it with a vengeance and get used to making crap that doesn’t work until you break through it. I recommend the latter, because I feel I come out further along the path and that I’ve won in some ways. You can read and see it here

What do you think you would do if you weren’t an artist? 

I’d probably sleep better if I didn’t have such an unquiet mind.

What is the most important thing in life? 

People and truths.

Do you feel like you’re on the right path? 

The right path, I don’t know yet. But I’m very happy with my path. I own it.

Your favourite current artists?

It’s the same answer as musicians, it is different every time I look at art. I think it is because I’ feel’ as well as ’get’ certain art, and feelings pass. But when they first get through that’s the good bit. But it’s Greg Dunn today’s favorite artist. He is a neuro scientist/artist.

Where can we see your work? 

Only one show booked up so far this year, in Brighton. But tomorrow I am guest editing ‘I am sciart’ and being featured on Artsyshark over the summer. But we are working on a couple of really big projects involving one of the big Royal Societies in London.  We’re fleshing them out over the next six months and will publish one of them as far away as in two years time.

What is the most beautiful thing about art for you? 

The most beautiful thing about art for me is that as a species, we do it.

How’s giving up smoking? Any thoughts on complexity on addiction? 

Giving up smoking went well, but giving up nicotine not so well. But I am starting to think about it now though and it will come up in conversation with Adam I am sure. It’s how the inspiration thingy starts. I haven’t thought much about the complexity of addiction too much until I realized how difficult it is to give up cigarettes or alcohol.

Adam: I think it is one of those things that makes you realise how tricky the mind can be, because we are so good at fooling ourselves that everything is ok and it is just one cigarette. I suppose it relates to the necessary property of the mind which seems to be that it is unable to predict itself that well. The better you get at predicting your future behaviour and feelings the better you are at not fooling yourself about the effect of your immediate action like not having a ‘quick’ cigarette. Or telling yourself you are just going out for ‘one’ pint. Other people can predict your behaviour very easily, but you cannot. I guess it takes a lot of practice; you have to be more defensive in your behaviour and honest about your frailties.

The next big election is coming up in England (again) – do you have any hopes or thoughts on this? Artists can be influential… 

Get out and vote, old people turn out en masse, and they have robbed the future of young people by lapping up what the five special interest press barons throw at them through The Daily Mail, the Sun, Telegraph etc, and it makes me mad. Governments don’t care about young people because they don’t vote. If you want to change that, then vote, be active. And don’t let them get away with it..

Favorite quote to leave us on: 

“Adaptability and creativity will become two of the most valuable character traits in the future. Nurture them”.

Follow James!




TWITTER: @jameswhiteart and @joestare


Thanks James and Adam! Very educational!





“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”  Kafka

From: Europe

Current location: Australia

Current happiness levels out of 10: Can be anywhere from 1 to 10 depending on the day.

Favourite film: The Seventh Seal (among many others)

Favourite musician: Don’t have just one

Favourite artist: Can never have just one

Favourite book: How To Grow Herbs (among many others especially including the works of Franz Kafka)

Favourite colour: Black and White

Brief synopsis: I am a full time artist living in Queensland Australia with my partner (Fee) and daughter (Jazz). I draw most of the day in a modest studio I have on my property.


Is Loui Jover your real name..? Or your artist name. Sorry to ask.  

A -That’s fine for you to ask. Yes it is my real name, it is of Hungarian heritage.

You most enjoy working with ink and paper – why is that and what led you down that path? Do you choose relevant books as a platform?

A – Many years ago I used to make colorful oil paintings on stretched canvas to begin with however I grew frustrated with the progression of my drawing abilities so I deconstructed my creative method back to ink and paper and have enjoyed the journey so much that it has stuck. I choose books based on their quality and not their subject, I like the fact that the words are not obvious and that it is about the drawing this would be to much of a cliché for me, I rather enjoy the fact that the words and image may not unite giving the work a little edge and abstracted meaning.

Who are the women in the pictures?

A- they are women I find or make up or copy or know or meet.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 16.51.34

And… why are they crying?

A – I am not sure why they are crying?….there may be a million reasons I leave this up to the viewer to decide, I do not draw stories…i just want to add an emotive aspect to the work however do not define the reason for the emotion.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 16.52.05

I would describe your art – as quite romantic – would you agree? Or how would you describe it….

A – I do think many of my works are ‘romantic’ in notion (you are right to say so) I think deep down I have a romanticized view of life, reality is far to stark and frightening for me. Wherever you look humans are causing some kind of mischief, so I rather draw humanity in my own way or in a way that people who want a respite from the world may like to look at, to escape for a moment to a world where romance and introspection live large.


Would you describe yourself as a romantic?

A – too much so. Not a romantic so much as in the Jane Austen sense but one whose inner being yearns at times for the freedom of the Gypsy (as a romantic would see it) or a life of a time when the artisan thrived, when things were not so mass produced, so much the slave to money or to war, a different romance that I think many actually yearn for but deny for the sake of reality and survival…….I like to stop and listen to the rain not just rush through it.

Is the ink stenciled on?

A – no all the drawing is hand done with brush and sumi-e ink

You are a full time self representing artist – have you found that a rough road – or did the path open naturally for you?

A – I do represent myself, I did have work in some galleries but found it hard going, the internet has made it easier to represent yourself, but in the end it is the work that speaks to people if they don’t want to buy it then nothing I can do will make them, if they do then am lucky and can make a living. I like representing myself it works for me.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 16.51.15

You say you draw everyday – where do you find your inspiration?

A – It is a little bit of a youthism… there are some days I don’t get to draw but not too often, inspiration is never a problem really, just look around and there is a multitude of things that can effect ones creative juices, the secret I think is to not just look around but to ‘see’ then it is up to your ‘inner interest’ to process what you ‘see’ and make your personal need to express and create… ignite. In saying this I should clarify that I…  like everyone else on the planet do have flat days where I would rather lay around then make work, thankfully for my creativity these days are rare.

What is your daily regime – are you strict with yourself or does the self discipline of being an artist come naturally?

A – I do have the impulse to draw so working comes quite naturally to me, I am above all a dreamer (the romantics way of saying lazy) so I would just lay about reading poetry or watching films if I did not have this natural compulsion to draw, hopefully it lasts as it has all my life already.

Have you experienced a creative block/or black hole? If so.. how did you get yourself out of it?

A – I have but thankfully only in very short periods, there are times when the external world can overwhelm and creativity takes a back seat or suffers this void which, in turn can sap the creative inspiration and thought…you have to be somewhat selfish and insular to be an artist at times, you need to be able to ignore a lot around you and be greedy with your time. People who are not creative can at times see what you do as flippant and time wasting, it is hard to show ones worth when art is seen just as a fiscal issue which in truth is arts worst enemy.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 16.51.24

Your favourite current artists?

A – I recently went to an Ai Weiwie exhibition combined with Andy Warhol and enjoyed it. Overall I like a lot of work around that is very different form my approach, but overall I have no one favorite and I have little to do with the art world in general.

Your favourite writer is Kafka. What is it about Kafka that holds your attention? Would you describe yourself as a bit of a deep thinker?

A – I don’t think I am a deep thinker?…even though I try to think a lot (usually lying on the floor or lounge) and hope I am doing so deeply, yet I am not so sure what thinking deeply is in the first place and that’s why perhaps I do not think deeply, I feel my thoughts wander too easily so I skip over things I should be going in deeper about, so I will try and think deeply on this part of your question at a later date 🙂

I like to read Kafka for a number of reasons, (these may have nothing to do with deep thinking) I like his use of language (even though they are translated, I only read english). I think with writing of this calibre the magic of the writers language can cross barriers like original phraseology. I also like the ‘feeling’ his stories offer, a forboding, a deep emotional aspect that gels with me, there is a depth to his writing that takes work and effort to enter and can be engaging on many levels, I also like the fact that he himself was so fatalistic, in reality we are not meant to read anything he wrote, he specifically asked for it all to be destroyed on his death, yet it survived…there is a romantic notion there that is very enticing for me, a tragic element and one that defines the real artistic journey perfectly.Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 16.51.07

What is the most important thing in life?

A – understanding the reality and inevitability of death and making a kind of peace with this notion – otherwise you are just always frightened and turn to silly things like religion for a shallow solace.

What is the most beautiful thing about art for you?

A – influencing a young mind. I remember when I was young and first saw the work of Picasso, this magical world opened up for me, I still hold this feeling in check for I am yet to find that exact elation again so in turn it feeds my need to create…art is a deep pool so beautiful to swim in, one needs to tread water well and not sink into the abyss where the magic of art has drowned and has become an everyday thing…you need to keep art as dreaming otherwise it becomes just graphic art or craft or even worse pointless commercialism.

Were you not a fan of Damien Hirst’s diamond skull then?

A – Lol….I like something about Damien Hirst but I am not sure it is his artistic nature…I think I admire his business acumen and ability to fuck the philistine quarter of the art world…..he ended up representing himself and left the udder of the “art establishment”…I can’t but admire such audacity and self worth…bravo to him and his silly expensive skull… I always wonder who the poor sod was?…this skull he used is real so I wonder if the poor owner could ever fathom that he would end up being so rich… eh

loui jover

If I should ever visit Australia – where should I go…?

A – I really like the alleyways of Melbourne and the street art they offer so free, so vibrant, so urine smelly but always inspiring. I also really think Tasmania (Hobart) is brilliant quality…estranged, a little cold, fresh and quite close to the end of the earth.

I see you’re also a fan of Charles Bukowski.. have you seen Tales of An Ordinary Madness.. that is one messed up film…

A – Lol…so is Barfly with Mickey Rouke …I like that this mess of a man could write like an angel at times…again in essence he was a romantic..deep under the armour and layers of everyday filth he could express his inner being this… is the sign of the real artist….. no matter what the circumstance they can still make beauty…..


There’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
There’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the ****s and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

There’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do


That was so interesting. Thank you Loui!

From across the seas.. wishing you and your family a fruitful and full life.. *off to watch Barfly*..

Best, Becki Bx


Saatchi online portfolio


Tweet some love people! Twitter

Oh and tweet me too! @ohdearyme 




Graffik Gallery is the go to place in West London for acknowledging and tipping its hat to the edgy urban artist.

Their latest collab is with French painter/sculptor called Clet, who sources antique road signs and creates on site in the Graffik studio. Clet has even gone so far as to work with figures of authority. The Mayor of Paris loved the wit of the artist so much he ended up collaborating with the artist.. (Boris Johnson take heed). 

Road signs: symbol of undisputed authority, signifying obligations, duty and limitations, are modified in order to contradict the strict conception of legality as an absolute religion.

censura 027

All of Clet’s works can be found on the streets of many European cities (Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Barcelona, etc.) and some non-European cities (Hong Kong, New York..).


The artist’s main purpose is to actively claw back public spaces.


BELOW: As Clet mounted his “smile” installation on Palazzo Pubblico the artist declared, “with one little line, there is a transformation from a historic palazzo to a communication of modernity.”


For more information on Clet’s work you can contact, 284 Portobello Rd, London, T. +44 (0)20 8354 3592

Follow Clet HERE

Becki Bx





Artist: Mr Adrian Mills

From: Rugby ,Warwickshire

Current location: Suffolk

Current happiness levels out of 10: 7

Favorite film: Singing In The Rain

Favorite Book: (Novel) The World According To Garp (John Irving), (Children’s book) The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)

Favorite colour: Orange

Screen shot 2014-10-20 at 21.58.44

You say you aim for your art to be ‘contemporary’ can you go into that in more detail?

I try as time goes on to change my style, this isn’t a conscious thing but my work changes as I change my art materials, for example I have just changed pens and my work has become more finely defined.

You create images for both adult and children – do you have a favourite audience to create for?

I think it’s a very fine line from the children’s work and adult, as much of them are characters’ I do enjoy working on the adult themes as I sometimes think maybe my work is too dark for children but I have a very exciting project lined up so lets see how dark I can go.

You have studied art to a Masters level – did you find that imperative for your skills? Can art really be learnt?

Before I started my masters in which I need to finish, I thought I was a good artist but I have learnt so much from that course. I have learnt to draw as view, to see life as stories and watch the world in a different way. “Art can’t be taught but the way of you seeing art can.”

the lady in london-2

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration from every day life, I always carry a sketchbook around with me…since I can remember. I am always writing down questions and what I see on my travels, and you never know when they may pop into your head. I also did a project in which for a year I drew everyday things. This helped my skills as an artist and encouraged me look at the world a different way. I sometimes wonder if everyone looks at the world in a different way.


Have you experienced a creative block/or black hole?

Yes I go thought many creative blocks as life gets in the way and work. At the moment I have many projects and cant get moving on them.

So what do you do to get out of it? Tips?

Normally a day in a busy city normally works, seeing art and creative people. This helps me to start believing in myself again.

Has it been difficult to carve a career as an artist? Was it a childhood dream?

Yes, I have worked every day to cultivate my skills as an artist. I have always drawn and was lucky as a young boy to have a friend who loved art as much as me. I always knew I would always have the skills as a creative and have always spent a lot of time with artists, so I knew that is what I would do. I couldn’t imagine what life is like without art?

What do you think you would do if you weren’t an artist?

When I was young I wanted to be a stunt man as I watched too much of the The Fall Guy but I never learnt to drive or… a time lord! I work in care so I think I would have been a nurse as I like caring and helping people.

day -2

Your favorite current artists?

Like music it depends on my mood but I am a big fan of Turner, I love his big spaces and moods. As for children books I love Shaun Tan books, his writing and energy and the great Catherine Rayner . I have just found a great children’s artist Chris Applehans and look forward to seeing his future work.

What is the most important thing in life?

To be nice to everything and leave something nice and good behind for people to talk about.

What is the most beautiful thing about art for you?

I sometimes speak to people who say they are bored and don’t know what to do, I feel I can not be bored as I create images, dreams that it seems people can’t get out in any form. To feel that mood when you are drawing is so special.

Do you feel like you’re on the right path?

It’s been a long path as I work part time on the other days… so every spare minute I create my art. I have an exciting project in the works so I do feel like it’s all finally coming together at the moment.

What would be the dream?

To travel the world, for people to like my work and give up my part time job and draw every day.

Looking at your life from ten years ago – are you where you wanted to be?

I did think I would of got my art out by now but I am happy that I am still trying.

The next big election is coming up in England – do you have any hopes or thoughts on this? Artists can be influential… no?

I am very interested in Politics and have strong views, having been a young man in the 80s. I have always been interested in the daily politics cartoon which still runs in the UK. It must be a hard job to do… to make a comedy out of the politicians. Or maybe not as politics does seem to be a comedy most days.

Favorite quote to leave us on:

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Links to work:

Enjoy! Becki Bx





Article by Duncan of/from Philosophy On Ice

A small indicator of my respect for any given person leans on their tendency for using profanity, and their acceptance of it as a linguistic necessity for communication. It is no accident that those who are most interesting in life usually are partial to using ‘bad language’; that term being one which should no longer apply to such diverse and useful words that only the babyish prudes of this world wince at in public.

Let’s start with blasphemous words – the easiest to discredit as offensive. In meaning, they are usually synonymous with cursing, often with a sense of incredulousness. ‘Jesus Christ!’ one might exclaim, as they see their beloved kitten dive into a blender without scruple. ‘Thank God that Whiskers has not been reduced to mincemeat!’ they might add, before comforting the kitten at once, and licking it with a fresh tongue as a weird means of interspecies bonding. Most people will have had the experience in life of being given a good telling off by religious individuals who hold an eerie sense of religious propriety, defending as they do so that ever more lenient third commandment (for which the punishment is death, by the way). On these occasions, however, you can have good reason to politely tell them where to stick it.

ALBUM PREVIEW: Dance Spirit ‘The Sun Also Rises’ – 

Aside from being invasive on your belief system, whatever it may be, these zealots are failing entirely to acknowledge the true usage of these words. When I exclaim ‘Jesus!’, I am not calling for the return of the prophet, or addressing a pubescent Spanish boy. What I am really saying is ‘Ouch’, ‘Wow’, ‘Oh no’, or one of various other uses for the curse. Whilst trepidatious about being stoned to death for using the words themselves, it is understandable that these individuals would not want to indulge in using the words, but one ‘should’ not impose this absurd notion on others.

Let’s talk about ‘Fuck’ – everybody is intimately familiar with the word. Here we have a word that is so diverse that it can be annexed to any sentence. ‘Fuck off’, ‘Where’s my fucking Lego’, and ‘Get the fuck out of my conservatory’ are sentences that are all rather incoherent linguistically but of which simultaneously are all perfectly understandable to us. If you have Lego, that is. The point is that the word itself is stripped of all meaning in most cases, and simply used as a tool for emphasis in language. ‘Get the fuck out of my conservatory’ provides a much more austere, uncompromising request than the dithering, pathetic ‘Get out of my conservatory!’ alternative. Aside from this, there is a more obvious connotation of the word. The general meaning of ‘having sex’ is attached rather frequently; genitals becoming a childish focus and a running theme through most ‘filthy’ language. ‘Twat’, ‘Piss’, ‘Shit’, ‘Cock’, ‘Dick’, ‘Arsehole’, ‘Cunt’ – the more sensitive the area of focus here, the more offence that ostensibly seems to be caused.

If you were wincing as you read that brief list then do not worry, it is entirely natural – I winced a bit whilst writing them. It is because we are taught from an early age, as a matter of simplicity, that these words are bad in themselves. Which they are not – neither phonetically, nor as a word with a direct reference to a body part. ‘Bad language’ is entirely based on the context in which particular words are used in any given situation, in which we can deem them rude or offensive, or indeed humorous, emotional or profound.

Profanity, of course, can be inappropriate too – it is clearly a situational judgement. Should we liberally be swearing at or around children? It would probably be wise that we do not. Not because of the idea that, stripped of meaning, these words are bad, but simply because it is probably not a healthy environment for a child to be constantly surrounded by sexual references, which profanity often has attached to it. In the same way that we censor violence, some things are prudently not exhibited to credulous minds that may or may not understand the meaning of such things yet. Exempting children though, if you feel you are not enough of a grown up, and you believe you must in fact be censored from these things, you have probably not actually emerged from that childhood squeamishness at all.

The bottom line is; we should not be treating ‘bad’ language as bad at all, but simply as another tool available to us within the art of language. Whilst these words are not always appropriate, if you can learn to use them correctly, they can be incredibly effective and incalculably useful to us. The only reason they should ever be described as ‘offensive’ must be in direct relation to the rest of the words uttered within the sentence, within the context of that situation.

Do you agree/disagree with Duncan? Tweet your thoughts or leave a comment! @ohdearyme @PhilosophyOI #ohdearyme 

ohDearyme takes submissions… do you have something to say? Get in touch….

Picture 17

Close Me
Looking for Something?
Post Categories: