Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Doodling doodles

There was a piece in yesterday's Guardian on how Google celebrated Leo Tolstoy's 186th birthday with a doodle that cartoonized three of the Russian writer's most well-known works. The delightfully vibrant images were created by artist Roman Muradov (who also designed and illustrated the graphic deluxe edition of James Joyce's Dubliners; I purchased a copy today—just look at that cover).

Muradov's illustrations—depicting notables scenes from Tolstoy's War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich—got me wondering: Could an artist do the same for Astral Weeks? Could moments from Van Morrison's masterpiece be illustrated to—I'm directly quoting Muradov here, from a piece he wrote on Google to accompany today's doodles—"evoke the atmosphere of the stories without giving away too much of the narrative or details." If an artist were to attempt this, what would those moments be?

Perhaps one from "Cyprus Avenue," slightly embellished ... The narrator with a vessel of cherry wine tucked in a pocket, a deserted train station, a vacant locomotive idling, an engine driver smoking idly. This scene highlights Astral Weeks crisp and distinct "consciousness of place." Our wine-quaffing narrator and our brooding conductor unwittingly meet at the train station, a place one visits to visit other places. They are both preoccupied with escape: one doggedly pursues it while the other actively facilitates it. Then there are the splendid parallels between the locomotive and the wine, each a means of attaining freedom from others and ourselves.

Where are the Muradovs who read this blog? I need one of you to get cracking on this illustration ...

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