Blog Archives

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.



It was nerve-wracking, but lovely, to be able to be part of this literary festival earlier this month.

The feedback from my own reading was positive – and I hope not just polite. Anyway, the lack of blogliness lately is partly to do with the general pressing on with the second draft of the manuscript.

Some of you may have seen this video already. For those of you that haven’t, I think it captures the spirit of the event quite beautifully. The downside to reading myself is that I wasn’t able to catch other artists although I did see a wonderful film installation by the Greek artist Mikail Karikis called Sea Women which I would recommend.

Thanks to Metal, Rachel Lichtenstein and Syd Moore as well as my fellow Lit Labbers – some of whom, Penny, Farah and Miss Gish, make cameo appearances on the film.

Metal Moon

The eldest daughter has an artistic eye. She sees things that can be made into something else.
She makes things. I am very impressed by this. Perhaps one should not **be pleased by one’s daughters , but I, for one, am and am going to make a habit of saying so.

On a technical note, everything on the copper plate tableau has been glued down *closes eyes and hopes it wasn’t super glue* but the figure can be moved around anyway you like. It has occurred to me that she could make a stop motion film wherein it cartwheels under a crescent moon.

**For the sake of balance and not being too odious, being pleased with one’s children is always an ephemeral notion, most likely to strike on a Monday morning when they have been packed off to school with thanks, taking their scuffles and arguments with them, and giving a parent a moment of quiet reflection – at last…

Light & Shade

This is the kind of thing I’d like to paint one day. This was a photo I took of a metal ship’s container (painted camouflage-style) that was being used to store things in the woods near the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch, Essex. I find it really hard to pass weathered painted metal without wanting to take a picture; I like the peeling layers of paint mixed with rust.

There are some really accomplished photographers who sometimes drop by here and ‘like’ a post. This makes me feel happy and also that I should make more effort! I don’t really know what to do on the technical side with a camera, I just make it up as I go along, and often all I have is a rubbish mobile phone on me to work with. However, I have noticed that some photographers edit their shots to various, and presumably better effect. Many computers ago I had Photoshop, now I have nothing so fancy, but looking at other people’s work has made me occasionally try to use my own limited resources sometimes to tweak a shot. Here, I had a bit of fun drawing out the russet and golden hues, stopping a bit short of a gleaming gold leaf, which still contrasts with an almost, but perhaps not quite, Yves Klein blue.

I am drawn to Gerhard Richter’s abstract work, I found a corrugated iron fence last year that I loved and took a snap of here. I think my ships’s container shot above was a sort of homage to this kind of piece by him. Like yesterday’s all these links are subconscious until I get home and start looking at the images and seeing what words arise. Like Isaac Asimov wrote, I am ‘thinking with my fingers’. It’s a good way to spend another grey, cold and cloudy summer’s evening.

Gerhard Richter – Abstract Painting 780-1 1992

The Hackney – Essex Axis

I listened to a talk last night by Ken Worpole, specifically about his latest book 350 Miles: An Essex Journey. Ken lives in Hackney, but is from Essex and I was interested to hear his perspective on both areas.

Apparently part of the commonalities these two distinct areas share are that they have been or are variously despised by the rest of the country, both perhaps having been dubbed ‘the dustbin of London’. To live in either is to be, in some sense, lost; to have lived in both…

At least they share a nice line in Georgian porticos.

Soundbyte of the Night: Humans are the only animals who have not learned to live successfully in their habitat…

For Re:form

Don’t know about you love, but I have gained some industrial injuries off of that badge machine. Still, it were educational were it not!

Next time, I’m wearing smaller badges for my eyes…

The key to the badge-making tent

Meet Mr Origami

He’s a martial arts expert and I made him at TAP at the weekend. In case you were wondering TAP is a most cool and groovy space that has conveniently opened over the road from me, opposite the pub and next door to the mosque in the old waterworks. For photos of the current exhibition visit chocolategirl’s excellent blog.

As you can see I am no expert, but the mountain and valley folds foxed even the most crafty creatives on my table, including the kids. He was the original, but then I was forced to make a whole family.

I’m a bit proud of him.

WARNING: Don't look directly into his eyes

Hang out the bunting


A bit of autumnal decoration

Some of you may remember me fulminating a bit about bunting in the summer. I was never sure about it before, but now so long as it is not on your tent, I don’t mind.

I thought the blog could do with a bit of cheering up and this bunting is the handiwork of my girls, so I thought I’d show it off a bit. Well, not all their own work. There’s loads that loads of other people made earlier – all over Southend this summer as part of an attempt to make the world’s longest bunting, co-ordinated by a groovy arts organisation (WE HAVE HERE IN SOUTHEND!!!) called Metal.

They have it strung up on the avenue leading to their base in Chalkwell Park and pretty impressive it is too.  I thought I’d take some photos yesterday and I did.  The dog thought whilst I was doing that he would steal a child’s ball and run round at a million miles an hour with it. So he did.  It used to be that replacing a ball would be a matter of a £1 or two.  Not now, not in parks festooned with record-breaking bunting.  Not when the ball with canine teeth marks in is a Chelsea Adidas branded all over ball from Waitrose.  No, those balls cost £12 to replace.   On second thoughts, maybe bunting’s not all that.


Don't know which ones are the girls though...