27 February 2009

back-handed compliment

I was walking along Western Road yesterday, and this guy approached me making serious eye-contact.

I tried to tune out from what he was saying and intended to just walk on by, but one word rang out that completely threw me off guard - "paintball".

He asked again "When was the last time you played paintball?"
me: "er, when I was 15"
him: "when you were 15? How old are you now?"
me: "32"

I walked on. He called after me something about having a "babyface"...

When I got home, I made sure to check the portrait in the attic.

25 February 2009

The black hit of space

After a couple of (essential) phone calls, I made it to the coalface by twenty-past-nine.

If anything, this blog has at least made me keen and punctual – if only so that I can report my clocking-in without any sense of guilt.

I could be lying of course. But you’ll just have to take my word for it. I’m a good catholic boy, I don’t tell fibs.

At present, I am valiantly fending off a shitty cold which has been lurking since last Thursday. Current symptoms include that horrid burning catarrh sensation you get in your nose; my brain has apparently been replaced by cotton wool; and my taste buds have deserted me (which somewhat marred pancake day).

No doubt it will erupt into something really nasty as soon as the weekend (and my birthday) arrives…

I just spent my tea break composing an overwrought dirge on the piano. I find my fingers and ears are always drawn to the lower keys, seeking out those deep, dark, leaden tones.

Then I wasted a fruitless hour searching for something elusive on the internet - Procrastination by any other name.

I should probably have some lunch now, so I can have a long uninterrupted stretch of activity this afternoon.

------------------------LUNCH BREAK------------------------

…Eeek, I just typed that ellipsis and the computer started emitting a high-pitched whine, as if it had had enough. I am aware that in composing prose I am all too easily tempted into using this tool to string together disparate trains of thought.

Perhaps I should keep an ellipsis count…

Then again, perhaps it would make my writing too considered…

Having this stinking cold allows me to at least feed my trio of minor addictions: Olbas oil, Halls extra strong, and Ribena. Indeed, if I could smell anything, I’ve no doubt I would smell like a giant menthol. And it’s merely a matter of time before my teeth fall out from all the sugar.

Eureka! I’ve just discovered that Ivory Black gives a deep and almost impenetrable black – the kind of black you find in the shadows of a Francis Bacon painting.

Goodbye Lamp Black…

I spend the remainder of the afternoon over-painting black spaces, to render them deeper and darker – a thoroughly therapeutic exercise.

23 February 2009


Keen as mustard. I was out by 9, brush in hand. I’ve missed 2 weeks due to snow and Paris, so there’s a lot to catch up on.

Have been using this rather opulent cobalt violet for a commission piece.

It reminds me of the foil you used to get on Dairy Milk chocolate (the nicotine fiends among you will probably be thinking of Silk Cut). 

It is 10.33, time for a cup of tea.

The commission is to depict SPQR in purple neon, and is based on this classical inscription

[I didn't take this photo, I found it on the interweb]

SPQR is an initialism from the latin phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus.  It apparently crops up all over Rome on manhole covers and statue plinths and graffiti scrawled across the walls.

Very little procrastination to report today - just good honest werk.

Look! I have close-up evidence:

14 February 2009

Neon Painting: Cry For Help

Seeing as I'm touting myself as some kind of artist, I thought I'd better start providing some evidence:

This is Cry For Help, 2006, oil on canvas, 80 x 100cm.

This was from the first wave of neon paintings I started when I picked up the brush again in 2006. It has been shown in 2 exhibitions in Brighton and Hove, and has travelled to The Hague, when it was chosen for the Red Cross Summer Exhibition 2008. Apparently there was interest in buying it from the International Crime Court! But they didn't put in a high enough bid in the end.

It currently resides in our friend's flat in Amsterdam, after they kindly collected it from The Hague.

You can view (and buy!) more of my werk at Saatchi online and Artists.de.

9 February 2009

Electronics for Dummies

Last Thursday I opened up our old Sequential Circuits Six-Trak and re-installed the factory patches. I also cleaned 20-odd years of grime off the contacts of the buttons - It works a lot better now.

After that, I opened up an old radio and had fun conjuring free-jazz electronic noise out of the circuit board with my bare hands.

4 February 2009



Today has started well. I was in the studio just after 9. Would have been earlier had I not stopped to try something out on the piano. And now Drive-In Saturday has just come on the stereo…

10.39am: For some reason my iPod thinks it is Christmas – It has just played The Knife Christmas Reindeer followed by France Gall Chasse-Neige. It is not snowing outside. It is pissing down with rain.

This is what is directly in front of me as I type.

As you can see, I don’t half take a crap photo (I tried taking 2 and they were both terrible, but I see no point in spending the next hour trying to get one shot in focus). I think the subject of the photo is testament to my strong work-ethic and self-control – these bottles have sat here since I moved in during August 2006.

From right to left we have:
Schnappe de Rosas (Rose Schnapps) – about a sip taken
Palo (unidentified brown liquour) – approx. 2 sips taken
Herbas de Menorca (a Camomile liquor) – worryingly half-drunk.
Anis (Ouzo) – half-drunk, French style, diluted with water
Pomada (apple schnapps,recommended served cold) – again half-drunk
Gin (no explanation necessary) – Unopened

Please observe, temptation hasn’t exactly been tapping on my shoulder, though I should point out that the majority of time I have spent in this ‘studio’ has been during the day (I could probably count the nights on one hand). So draw your own conclusions.

My hectic weekend seems to have landed me with a cold-sore – which is a nice thing to take home to the wife tonight. It brings to mind a conversation I overheard in a local charity shop: One of the old dears was talking to a little girl and commented that her mouth looked sore. Her accompanying Grandad piped up “Oh yes, she’s got a dose of herpes, haven’t you dear?” Silence...

3.15pm: I’ve run out of momentum.

Wildlife watch: I spy a heron across the field. I take a crap photo. Look there he is, lurking near the tropical fish farm, planning his supper.

In between all these exciting goings-on I still found time to make some headway on this new werk.


There will be no Wednesday Painting this week due to adverse weather conditions.

There will also be no Wednesday Painting next week, because I'll be in Paris.

Some of you out there may be thinking: "But we've not had last weeks scintillating instalment yet!"

To this, I hold my hands up and I apologise - I will do it tomorrow.

I have to go and work in a cold shed now...