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Alan McCluskey

You've found your way to my "home" page. Me? Alan McCluskey - the fruit of a mixed marriage between a young English woman and a dashing Irish man in uniform who met in Brussels at the end of the War. Me? Someone who erred onto the continent many years ago and never found his way back. Someone who roamed from mathematics to teaching English to making art videos to editing magazines to working on the Web ...
Here are some more clues about who I am. If you'd like a more traditional presentation, follow this path.
If you can read French, the quote below from Ouaknin's book will give you a taste of what drives me on...

Dans le domain de la pensée, il faut se hasarder difficilement, s'aventurer peut-être dangereusement, travailler, car il ne s'agit pas d'une pensée qui suit une route préétablie, mais d'une pensée qui trace elle-même sa route, qui se trouve elle-même en progressant.
Marc-Alain Ouaknin, Lire aux éclats - Éloge de la caresse.


Here are a few of the books that have had an influence on me.
I used to be a fervent reader of James Joyce's, in particular Ulysses and parts of Finnegans Wake, (I haven't managed to read it all)...
Edward de Bono's books have been with me for more than 25 years. Amongst the more recent ones, the following are important: I'm Right - you are wrong, Serious Creativity, Conflicts - A Better Way to Resolve Them
... not to mention James M. Barrie's Peter Pan!.. and Tolkein's books, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Where has all the magic gone?
On a slightly more serious level, Tom Peters' book Thriving on Chaos was a source of much inspiration.
Another author who has been with me for years is Ivan Ilych, in particular: Deschooling Society, Tools for Conviviality, Medical nemesis, Towards a History of Needs
  • Michel de Certeau, L'invention du quotidien 1. arts de faire
  • Andé Gorz, Métamorphose du travail - Quête de sens
  • Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stenger La nouvelle alliance- Métmorphose de la science
  • Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
  • Jostein Gaarder, Sophie's World
  • Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point
  • Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature. A necessary Unity

He turned away from her suddenly and set off across the strand. His cheeks were aflame; his body was aglow; his limbs were trembling. On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of life that had cried to him.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


My Grandfather, Percy Gibbons, was organist and choir master in Wareham, Dorset. God bless his dear soul. I myself sang in the church choir as a child. Here are a few of the composers I particularly cherish and one or two more recent discoveries.
Claudio Monteverdi, in particular Vespero della Beata Vergine, Orfeo and above all l'Incoronazione di Poppea. It fills me with wonder to think that he was at the very beginings of opera and yet was able to create such sophisticated, melodious music.
Johann Sebatien Bach, including Matthaus Passion and Messe in H-Moll.
Music by Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.
Music by Claude Debussy, in particular the String Quartet, the opera Pelleas et Mélisande and the Préludes pour Piano with a great attachment for La Fille aux cheveux de lin
Gabriel Fauré's Requiem, Maurice Duruflé's Requiem and his organ music and Henryk Gorecki's 3rd Symphony.
Contemporary composers like John Cage, Xenakis, Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio. What a wonderful exerience to hear Cathy Berberian sing Berio's work at the Salle Patino in Geneva or to interview John Cage during his visit to Geneva with Merce Cunningham.
Traditional Irish and other Celtic music (Brittany for example)... as well as more contemporary artists like Francis Black, Tri Yann or Alain Stivel.
A very recent discovery for me has been American Indian music, at least the "World Music" versions of it, like "Sacred Spirit".

The sun had not yet risen. The sea was indistinguishable from the sky, except that the sea was slightly creased as if a cloth had wrinkles in it. Gradually as the sky whitened a dark line lay on the horizon dividing the sea from the sky and the grey cloth became barred with thick strokes moving, one after another, beneath the surface, following each other, pursuing each other, perpetually.
Virginia Woolf, The Waves.


I got to know contemporary dance through video dance... not dance for the sake of the movement, but dance that has the body express itself...
Ottone, Ottone by Walter Verdin with the choreograph Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker
... really beautiful!
Hoppla by Wolfgang Kolb also with the choreograph Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.
Un chant presque éteint as well as Ils vivaient surtout dans les villes by Jean-Claude Gallota, Claude Mourieras ... old favourites, but still very moving.
Never Again by the DV8 Physical Theater, a video directed by Bob Bentley.
Roseland by Walter Verdin with the choreograph Wym Vandekeybus.
Hail the New Puritan, Charles Atlas films Michael Clerk for Channel Four.
Monteverdi amours baroques, a choreography by Noemi Lapzeson - a shame it has hardly been seen elsewhere than here in Switzerland.

C'est la fin du jour dehors, on le sait aux bruits des voix et à celui des passages de plus en plus nombreux, de plus en plus mêlés. C'est une ville de plaisir qui bat son plein la nuit. Et la nuit commence maintenant avec le coucher du soleil.
Marguerite Duras, L'amant.


I'm no longer much involved in videoart, so the tapes I like are probably not the most recent ... but they're still really worth looking at!
All the videos and installations of Bill Viola.
Francisco Ruiz de Infante is a very interesting Spanish artist, see in particular: Lugar Commun, Le premier voyage (quatre jours), La maison de redressement
Comme s'il y avait des pyramides as well as many other videos by Jacques-Louis and Danièle Nyst
Tri Sestre by Marina Grzinic and Aina Smid
If you are interested in seeing these tapes, try contacting:
Heure Exquise in France, Phone: +33.20.432 432 Fax: +33.20.432 433

Moving mists on the hill as I look upward from night and mud. Hanging mists over the damp trees. A light in the upper room. She is dressing to go to play. There are ghosts in the mirror .....Candles! Candles!
James Joyce, Giacomo Joyce


I don't get much time to go to the cinema, but it has still had quite a great impact on me ...
Almost all the films of Jean-Luc Godard, including: Passion, Prénom Carmen, Détective, Le Roi Lear as well as the videos and scenarios (including): France Tour Détour Deux Enfants, Scénario du film Passion, Histoires de Cinéma, Allemagne 90
Lots of films of Wim Wenders, including: The State of Things, Paris Texas, The Wings of Desire
La Maman et la Putain by Jean Eustache
Mauvais Sang by Leos Carrax staring Juliette Binoche and Denis Lavant
Stalker by Andrei Tarkovski
Parsifal by Hans Jurgen Syberberg
L'amant by Marguerite Duras
Blade Runner adapted from Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep" by Ridley Scott

... Que reste-il des paroles si elles ne sont que la promesse des faits? Que reste-t-il des paroles si les faits les trahissent? Que le discours soit donc en même temps des actes ... Comprenez bien ceci: un mot peut être une pleine charge d'amour qui court à la rencontre de l'humanité...
Anne et Daniel Meurois-Givaudan, De mémoire d'Essénien. L'autre visage de Jésus.


For a very long time I avoided anything to do with spirituality.

As a kid I'd been to church in England, but as an adult, religion as practised in churches, seemed to me quite out of touch and without spirit. Somehow I knew there was "magic" out there, I could feel it all around me if I cared to admit it, but I suppose it scared the hell out of me...

... till the day when I found myself asking an acquaintance who was interested in reincarnation to give me the names of a couple of books that might open new doors for me. He suggested reading Henri Gougaud's Les sept plumes de l'aigle and Marlo Morgan's Mutant Message Down Under. Then I stumbled across James Redfield's two books about the Celestine Prophecy and a lot of things fell into place.

Another very important book for me was Anne and Daniel Meurois-Givaudan's De mémoire d'Essénien. L'autre visage de Jésus a most poignant first-hand account of the life of Jesus which differs considerably from what the Bible has taught us.

Shortly afterwards, while standing by the Ruau - a bubbling stream that flows down from the nearby mountains and winds its way through the heart of the village of St-Blaise - I was astonished to realise that the Ruau was flowing throught the middle of me. I had become one with the stream and, through it, the whole universe... I wasn't at all frightened. It was an extremely reassuring feeling. That fleeting glance jogged me awake. I realised I had often had similar, albeit less poignant, experiences without ever paying much attention to them...

Paraphrasing Gregory Bateson: We need to be ready to understand there where there is as yet apparently nothing to be understood.

My leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still. I'll bear it on me. To remind me of. Lff! So soft this morning, ours. Yes. Carry me along, taddy, like you done through the toy fair! If I'd seen him bearing down on me now under whitespread wings like he'd come from Arkangels, I sink I'd die down over his feet, humbly dumbly, only to wash up. Yes, tid. There's where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us then, Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlthee, mememormee! Till thousandsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given. A way a lone a last a loved a long the
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey,
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Created: January 1st, 1996 - Last up-dated: July 9th, 1997