Here I am

I have barely updated this blog since the summer because I’ve been both very busy and rarely home. I spent most of September in Australia (a last minute trip off the back of bargain basement flights), with stop-offs in Singapore and the Emirates, visited friends in Nottingham almost as soon as I’d come back and recovered from jetlag, stepped up gig promoting in Margate and am in the midst of arranging to move house (while also trying to make sure I meet all my deadlines in the day job). I took a lot of photos in Australia, and also some field recordings of city and wildlife sounds that I plan to use in animation, but I haven’t had time or energy to organise or post-process them. Right now I’m working on a new website for the gigs I put on locally, and that takes priority.

My work computer also died, luckily when I actually had the money to replace it. It feels luxurious to go back to a desktop Mac after five years of having so many cables going into a Macbook. On moving my files across I also discovered a load of folders of forgotten photos which are still worth editing. I also replaced my ailing scanner, so can once again scan film. I have a whole folder full of unscanned negs, and a fair few undeveloped films in my fridge, so expect a lot of photos in the next few months.

My workspace may look clean, because I can’t concentrate with a messy or dirty desk, but I feel overwhelmed by chaos in the rest of my tiny flat right now. I’m currently waiting to move, and have my workspace shoved in a corner of the living room next to a Riso machine and the laundry drying rack, and a load of music stuff filling the bedroom, and it feels like I’m swamped by stuff. The new place is much, much bigger and I don’t have to have the studio/office stuff crammed into the bedroom or living room, which will certainly be a luxury. I have a lot of projects that have been on the backburner until I have more space to work on them.

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Bismuth

 

Hello from the southern hemisphere where I have had a great time in Singapore, Melbourne and Tasmania, and am planning to go whale watching in Botany Bay (NSW) tomorrow. I won’t be back in the UK for another week. In the meantime here’s some new press shots of my friends’ band Bismuth I took a few weeks ago at the original UK Botany Bay. Joe’s sunglasses broke on the drive down to Margate, and I remembered I had these green mirrored ones in a drawer. I got them for a few euros from a vending machine in the street outside this opticians in Graz in Austria a while back. I didn’t even need sunglasses, I have prescription ones, they just looked cool and the novelty appealed. I never wore them, as they are too big for me. They’ve found a new home on Joe, who they look much better on.

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It Came From the Merch Table

So this weekend I’m putting on a little festival in Margate (more info here, and a blog post of band samples to follow). People loved the poster, so I got some merch printed up to sell at the festival, and some local friends to model it in an impromptu photo shoot. It’s currently not available online, but if we have any left after the festival it will be listed afterwards (t-shirts from 34″ to 48″ chest) . Thanks to Claire, Guy and Alex for posing.

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Bloody Head

So here’s another gig I’m helping to organise and did the poster for. This time I went for a pretty simple design. Spilt blood speaks for itself. £5.50 advance, £8 on the door.

Bloody Head

Bloody Head are friends from Nottingham, (and have some of the same members as Moloch). Doomy hardcore with a slight disco tinge. Also check out Steve’s illustration work and zines here.

Honey Ride Me a Goat

Kent experimental stalwarts. I think the first time I saw them must have been fifteen years ago, but they’re still going as strong as ever. At one time they used to do a lot of double bills with my friends Let Our Enemies Beware (a band much missed).

Allfather

Anti-fascist doom metallers from my hometown. They are also involved with running the excellent Astral Noize magazine.

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Dachau

On my way back from the Tyrol, I stayed in Munich en route to the airport, and visited the Dachau concentration camp museum- it was the first Nazi concentration camp and served as a template for many of the others. I think it’s important to visit these places, so it’s not just an abstraction in a history book, and to remind yourself that these things can happen again in “normal” places like the suburbs of a large modern European city. I think it’s especially important in the current political climate too, with the rise of the far right, and populist politicians creating scapegoats out of groups such as immigrants.

The museum is free (and compulsory for all schoolchildren in the area to visit), but you can also pay to support it by going on a tour, which I did. These photos are mostly quick snaps which I took in the gaps of the tour.

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Schwartzsee

A short train ride or couple of miles walk outside Kitzbühel is the Schwartzsee (“black lake”). It’s full of minerals washed down from the mountains that give it the glassy black effect. Normally in the summer you can swim there, but there had been heavy rain for the past few days, and so the water was too cold and I settled for a walk around the shore instead.

The lake was also surrounded by alpine meadows. I learnt the German word for meadowsweet that day (the yellow flower in the foreground)- turns out to be the straightforward Mädesüss. The Mäde part is to do with it being used to flavour mead. (Or Honigwein as they also like to straightforwardly call it in German). Since I spend a lot of time in rural Austria and Germany, I’ve been trying to build up my vocab of wild plant names in German.

Under attack!

Even train stations in the Tyrol are picturesque.

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Kitzbühel

So here’s a couple of assorted photos of Kitzbühel town. It’s a ski resort in the Austrian Tyrol, about equidistant between Salzburg, Innsbruck and Munich. It’s a very exclusive and expensive ski resort, with a Cartier shop on the high street, but I was there in the summer to run a school workshop, and the children I taught were from very normal backgrounds, being the children of local teachers, nurses, hotel staff etc, rather than the international jetset. I won’t write a lot about the town and the trip here, as I’m writing a zine about it. Most of the houses (and the hotel I stayed in) in the area were pretty chalet-style, with balconies covered in flowers, like this one.

Even the local graveyard has spectacular views. That’s one of the foothills of the mountain from which I took the photos in the previous entry.

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Beige Palace & Dead Kaczynski

Here’s another gig poster I did (this time for a gig that’s already passed, because I’ve been so slack about updating this blog). Two mates’ bands- Beige Palace from Leeds and Dead Kaczynski from Medway. There was a huge storm in the middle of the heatwave that evening, and it took Beige Palace seven hours to do the three-four hour drive from Yorkshire, and the audience was smaller than you would have hoped due to the weather, but both bands played great sets (and are keen to come back to Margate). Enjoy the EPs below.

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Hahnenkamm

Long time no see- I haven’t updated this blog in a while, due to a family death and dealing with selling the house, legal matters and other life stress. In the meantime I’ve been to Austria and Germany and organised a few gigs and a small festival. More on that later.

In July I went to Kitzbühel in Austria for work. I was there to run a workshop in the local middle school, and the mayor gave me and my three co-workers tickets for the local ski lift. The weather was pretty bad the week I was there, but was fine enough one day to go to the top of the Hahnenkamm, one of the local peaks. Kitzbühel is 700m above sea level, the ski lift takes you to 1200m and then there’s a fairly easy walk up to the 2000m height of the Ehrenbachhöhe.

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Jazz snails

Another poster I did for a local gig I helped promote.

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