Monday, 28 November 2011


I have had about 10 emails from people offering work in my chosen new field. They've all been lovely, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful. And I want to agree to them all, it's right up my alley. One of them was in New York. Another was a scheme at the BBC. And I would a million times rather do them than supply teaching.

Unfortunately it was all unpaid.

If I didn't have to earn any money, I'd be laughing.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The most wonderful time of the year

and other big fat lies.

I would like to start an alternative campaign for an anti-Christmas day. All singles, Jews & atheists welcome to join me. We will have a pagan day of festivities and the transport and everything else will stay open. I will also get the gays and the Muslims to join in with me, they don't seem to bother with it much. They deal with it by ignoring it with dignity. *

*I will make an exception for Christmas decorations and lights, I like those. You may keep them.

Saturday, 26 November 2011


Despite my pile of lovely new books, I'm working my way through Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (again). They're just good yarns.

My favourite idea is that people have daemons, animals spirits which express a part of their nature. One of the baddies has a snake, for example, another has an evil golden monkey. It would make it very easy to suss out what a person is like right away, if we all had daemons.

In the stories, children's daemons can change form until they hit puberty when they remain the same animal for the rest of their adult life. I wonder if Philip Pullman means that children's characters are not fixed but adults are? I'm not sure if I believe that.

Anyway, I want to say mine would be a cat (moody, lazy, independent, solitary, night animal, yes all of that) but that's probably boring and predictable.

What would yours be?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

rich not like us

I idly signed up for a rich people's tutor agency, and they regularly send through jobs like this. I wouldn't go for it but it gives you an insight into a very different world.

Live in nanny/tutor/study buddy for a lovely family in Moscow, starting as soon as possible:

Looking after 6 year old boy, teaching him English and offering intellectual stimulation
Family looking for bright tutor, preferably Oxbridge educated
Excellent perks offered such as travelling (in very smart style) with the family, separate apartment in Moscow for the tutor
Generous salary up to 40k per year
Work not too taxing, mainly involves playing with the boy and doing some basic English work

Full time tutor for a family living between London, Cyprus, Switzerland and their yacht in the Mediterranean

Their twins are 11 years old and need a tutor to start as soon as possible
Salary is £40-50k per year
The children have two nannies, so no nannying duties are required
Qualified teacher preferred

Two nannies... mainly involves playing with the boy...

Why do they even bother having kids?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Charity shop haul

Must. stop. buying. books.

I was pleased to find the Sylvester Stewart (Sly Stone) autobiography but I'm a bit trepidatious to read it.

Was burned by Bob Dylan's biography, and finding out your idol is just a flawed human being, capable of being a total shit, just like the rest of us.

Here's one example of why I love Sly. Thankful N' Thoughtful, about still being glad to be alive when you've nearly lost it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

On not being scared of the dark

Tomorrow I'm starting a short new workshop with an artist I admire fantastically. Her work is beautiful, funny, passionate, Japanese influenced, technically breathtaking, sexy, intellectual and dark.

The hardest thing about workshops, apart from the fact that they finish at 10.00 pm and I no longer live around the corner, is coming up with ideas.

I realised that all the artists at the studio that I admire are not scared to embrace darkness in their work. (I don't want to link here but if you were to say, Google I devour tiger and wife in images you might find the artist I mean.)

They are fearless in their subject matter and execution and I'm realising I don't want to make pictures that are just pretty or superficial. I want them to be about something. Maybe I'm just shallow but tapping into your imagination, your fears and desires and drives, is not so easy.

I remembered my dream though and did a little research on chained bears. My unconscious was clearly politely tapping me on the shoulder going "Excuse me, but will this be any use?" Chained bears it is then.

I came across this sad post (but with happy video about bear rescue.) It's good title for the print too - the Cruel Life of Dancing Bears. I'll let you know how it turns out on the other blog.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Is this what it's going to be like from now on? All the things we tell the children at school (summer = hot, dry, sunny; winter = cold, wet, dark...) are starting to sound quaint but all wrong, like some corny snowbound Christmas card scene.

Remember Bonfire Night years ago? It was always freeeezing... I remember my fingers and toes turning to icicles as we waited with our toffee apples for the fireworks to go off.

Yesterday we went to see the fireworks along the Thames & had to peel off coats and jumpers and scarves because it was so warm.

Today was beautiful, but I can't help thinking that this unseasonal warmth is not unconnected to the fact that Tim now has to blog whilst wearing his snorkel and flippers.


I removed the last post because it seemed churlish, especially as I spent most of yesterday frantic because I thought one of my colleagues might have been knocked down and killed on Bow roundabout when I couldn't get hold of her on Facebook, text or voicemail.

Turns out she was in the pub and was fine. I guess I must care about them a bit after all.

Also, why are the government and TfL so bloody laissez-faire when it comes to cyclists being killed? The car truly is king...

Monday, 7 November 2011


I was reading the free Guardian book of short stories this morning on the tube. First short story by William Trevor, apparently the master of the genre.

Didn't like it. It's the kind of writing that gets described as lyrical, which always sets alarm bells jangling.

In the story, a woman discovers her married lover has left and returned to his wife and kids. Anything strike you about this paragraph...?

"When spring was about to come and then did not, one morning Anthony wasn't there. Waking early, Mary Bella heard the car...

...His clothes, his inks, his pens, unfinished Dijon, his books: all these were gone."

Wait a minute - his unfinished Dijon? WTF? What kind of a man takes a half-eaten jar of mustard with him when he leaves you? A skin-flinted tightwad arsehole, that's who. She had a lucky escape if you ask me.

PS Here is a lovely programme on Iain Banks talking about the Wasp Factory, book lovers. He seems like a lovely man.

Maybe I will do a print based on the Wasp Factory.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Ooh. A new exhibition proposal (and vaguely book related, for all those who turn up here in the vain hope of finding a bookcrossing.)

It is going to be in a bookshop in Broadway Market. And will feature prints inspired by our favourite books. This is the project I've been waiting for all my life.

But can I think of an idea? No.

What would choose as your favourite book, if you had to make the cover, or illustrate it?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

What does it mean?

I'm sick, my body's falling apart . Somebody shoot me and put me out of my misery, please.

The fever is making me dream, well, feverishly.

I dream about an old college friend I've lost touch with. In real life she's married with two kids, living in Brighton. In my dream, she is still a lodger in a ramshackle old house that she lived in as a student, it belongs to her friends' parents (hmmm...) and stuck because she's in a low-paid job and is struggling to pay off her student loan. She asks me for advice.

We go out into the city (it must be Norwich, though it is nothing like the city I knew) it is derelict and covered in graffitti. On a traffic island in the middle of busy roads, there are men with an animal on a chain, making it do tricks for money. I know for some reason they must be Russian.

For a moment I think it is someone dressed up as an animal, but with horror realise that is a real bear. Like no bear I've ever seen before though, only half the height of the men, with a long, thin muzzle. 'Tam, it's a real bear!' I want us to stop and confront these men, but she pulls me away, unconcerned. As we walk on, I see these men are everywhere with these chained up animals.

Then my dream turns into slopes as it frequently does, and we slide, slide, downwards, uncontrollably. I wake up.

Bears. What do they mean?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


Grayson Perry seems like a nice man, he's quite charismatic and interesting, but I don't like what he does much at all. He just makes big pots and then transfers pictures onto them.

There seems no real craftsmanship or innovation or ideas, it's like the art world has just gone 'Craft! Edgy craft! Craft with edge! Transvestism! How very, very cutting edge, my dear!" And hence the Turner prize & the British Museum and all.

When you look at the shape of what he does without all the embellishments, and take away what you know about this colourful artist... what he really makes is bog standard with glossy pictures applied on top.

As opposed to someone clearly blazing with talent, like Lucy Rie, who stopped pottery being all clumsy & hippy & earnest, but turned it into a real art. (You can see what I'm talking about in the great V&A Handmade in Britain series on the iPlayer at the moment, where you can also see Edmund de Waal being quite stupendously pretentious, like he can't help spouting solid gold nonsense for Private Eye's Pseud's Corner. Quite put me off buying his book.)

And Perry's tranny character is creepy. Soz.