Monthly Archives: January 2014

Graffiti & Hinge

I went out twice yesterday, each time the heavens opened on my head. Maybe they are trying to tell me something? Buy a hat? Remember your umbrella? Whilst I sheltered from the storm with the dog, I found this container which had been given the usual decorative finish by some locals. I do like a pimped up hinge featuring rust spots. Takes my mind off this fearful weather.

I never thought I would write this, but, how I long for a hard frost – one that gets into the ground and makes the dog lame if he runs on it. At this point in seasonal proceedings we both have mud fever and do not much care to leave the house.


How to Write like Ernest Hemingway

How to Write like Ernest Hemingway.

Think of the children

This is a lovely little blog run by a school librarian who finds many hidden gems lurking on the shelves. For anyone who ever went to school…

Overdue Loans

NWF cropped

Ah, the facts.  This looks like a reassuring read. I prefer Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s take.

NWG cropped

I mean, because nothing conveys the horrors of nuclear war better than a baby trying to block out what seems to be the Twin Towers on 9/11, right?

Or is it Ronald McDonald as a child screaming at his parent’s choice of wallpaper for his new bedroom?

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On having to go slow & a sunset

My mind can run too fast for its own good. Like an over-revving engine, if it is allowed to go on unchecked, parts will blow.

It took me an awfully long time to get this; even longer to accept that when I consider it is running slow, it still might be running a deal faster than what others might consider a regular speed. It’s a genetic thing – I see it in others in the family – in my case it became pathologised. Maybe that process helped me to realise I had to work at it to get things back into balance. Medicalising the mind, or the subjective life experience does not help with the actual work that the owner of the super-fast and speedy mind has to eventually embark on, should they wish to not live the life of a Mayfly.

Technology is the enemy, in a way. Everything is so fast and accessible; if you let it, it will feed the beast – and I do. At least I realise it, mostly. It is therefore an interesting experience to work with equipment that, rather than speeding the process up, slows me right down.

Apple, I salute you.

Sunset on water meadow  © MEA Russell

Sunset on water meadow © MEA Russell

Composed on a very old laptop with Windows because… no-one’s got all day!

Tunnels & Light & Words

If I were an artist, with a studio and paints and rags and stuff, today I would just sweep the whole lot aside onto the floor. I might jump up and down on canvases and throw tubes of oils out of the window. If I were a potter, I’d take pleasure in throwing each piece at the wall and watching all the work smash into little pieces on the ground.

Take that, I would say, although no-one would hear me.

It wouldn’t be in a fit of rage either. It would be a calm destruction. A clearing of the decks to start anew. If there’s one thing I dislike over all things, it’s being stuck.

Words don’t lend themselves well to being torn asunder. There they will remain, 2D and lifeless, on the screen or the paper, waiting for someone to string them together for long enough to give them meaning. Individual words are fixed in nature, evolving barely in one lifetime. Maybe that’s why I like poetry – you can make them do things they don’t ought to. Stuff square words into round holes, make them work a little harder for their imagery.

I find these properties of words frustrating sometimes; I really do. Still, I shall kick on, in my head, at least. Meanwhile, enjoy these clouds heading in the wrong direction…

clouds on their side

Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth at Snape Maltings

Underground Guerrilla Signs..

Guerilla signage – superb.

Joe Blogs

My friend Darren sent me a linkto these rather excellent alternative London Underground signs…

(click image above for link to original photographers blog)

Apparently they’ve been appearing for some time now, but like 99% of passengers, I’m sad to say I’ve missed them..

They’ve been done so well, that to a regular commuter, their utter familiarity as part of an accepted, everyday visual clutter, results in them becoming almost invisible, losing all meaning beyond their colour and shape..

Well it’s a lesson learnt for me. I usually pride myself on at least attempting to see beyond the day to day, and resist the automatic filters that city life can generate.

Rest assured, that I will certainly be keeping a much sharper lookout for these signs from now on… How I would’ve loved to have noticed Shepherd’s Pie, overground, Gas mark 4 on a journey into work, it would have…

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This Winter

Poem by me, illustration by daughter. Some of the formatting has taken on a life of its own. Oh well.

This winter, we wade in paddy fields
With no rice.
I’ve never known the land like it
In my lifetime
Which grows longer, every minute.
Whether I do, or don’t.
It’s the only thing I know how to measure
As, relentless, hungry
We power up our earth’s atmosphere
Shooting carbon atoms into the sky.



Thickly-iced polar vortices spun by
Fatal fingers slam down the east coast

And purple heatwaves head south

Lost in smoke. And above the clouds

Clear air turbulence
Lurks invisible between every isobar
Waiting to send your in-flight meal, flying
And, still, some people wonder,
What any of this has to do with them…
Whilst in England
We wade in paddy fields.

‘Live before you die’ from Dreamtime Films

Apparently some people wonder what it’s like in my head… Well, a bit like this truth be told.

Worth a few minutes of your time even if you don’t want to know or indeed care what goes on behind my eyes, which will be the majority.

Are you alive?

Cabs, Brooklyn

I remember I said in the last post that I would blog up another of my travelling sister’s pictures. In the last post, I erroneously suggested that the cabs weren’t yellow in Brooklyn, but as you can see here, my mistake. Still, the whole set-up looks pretty groovy and hip to me.

Which brings me to a slow-dawning realisation I’ve been having – the opposite of hip and probably excruciatingly embarrassing if you are related to me: I want to be a cowboy. For an awfully long time I thought I wanted to have a gypsy lifestyle, but the truth is I’m just not hardy enough for all year round. I am however determined to spend a day travelling in a vardo and a night camped out this year. Determined, I tell you! I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve been getting my itinerant lifestyles all mixed up because I really don’t dress like a Romany, but lately I’ve been even going to work in my gold cowboy boots… with tweed trews. I know it’s wrong, but I really don’t care. Plus there’s the oversized cowboysbag. All I need now is the belt, the horse and the hat. It’s all fitting together in my head now, and when I go to Devon next – I’m gonna wear a stetson and probably be disowned.

After I’ve been wanderlusting in Cumbria this year, I might take me a trip to a ranch in Montana – for the big skies and the horses and the cattle. If I see a rattlesnake though I will just die. It sounds a bit like the start of a poor country song (in my head anyway) but I haven’t got any music for you today, just these cabs.


Joni Mitchell anyone?

Same boat trip, same skyline

Namely Manhattan.

Compared to yesterday’s image – what a difference a day makes.

manhattan twilight

Pictures courtesy of my sister, currently sojourning in Brooklyn in a hotel with retro cabs (and a remote control for the blinds and the skylights (in Italian)). Maybe I should show the shot of the taxi rank tomorrow, they are pretty cool and not at all yellow.