Books

Cadbury’s Novelty Cookbook

I got this late 70s/early 80s book from a charity shop a while ago. A lot of families in the UK had it when I was a kid I think. I got it out because I promised to make my friend a really ludicrous birthday cake from inside. The recipes are fine, various flavoured sponge cakes with buttercream icing (albeit with gratuitous Cadbury's product placement in every recipe). It's the choice of cake themes in the book that's a bit odd ...... Read More...

Diana Wynne Jones conference notes

A couple of weeks ago I went to an academic conference in Bristol focused on the works of Diana Wynne Jones. She is probably best known for writing the book that the Studio Ghibli film Howl's Moving Castle was based on, but she has around thirty other books aimed at a variety of ages. Even the ones aimed at children have a surprising amount of psychological and literary depth, and a willingness to explore very dark issues not usually found in books for that age group, giving her work a huge appeal to adults and academics.... Read More...

Midsommar

Last night, I saw Midsommar, a film I've had my eye on for a while. It's received very mixed reviews in the press, but I loved it. I felt it was pretty much what you'd get if you got Alexander Jodorowsky to direct the Wicker Man... Read More...

Behemoth Lives!

Margate is currently hosting a variety of art events related to T.S.Eliot (who wrote the Wasteland here almost a century ago), including a weekend dedicated to cats over Easter. I created this print based on Bulgakov's the Master and Margarita, and a giant painted banner version of it to hang up at the show. It was a bit last minute, but I got it all done on time. The show is on at the Viking Gallery off Northdown Rd over the long Easter weekend and until the 7th of April.... Read More...

Sea Serpent Bookplates

I've made these printable bookplates, in both A4 and US Letter sizes. Four per page. They are for personal use only- you may not sell copies you have printed, host these files on another site, or use the artwork for any other commercial purpose. The downloads are free, but if you like and use them, a pay-what-you-want tip is very much appreciated.... Read More...

The District Without Qualities?

So I'm back in the UK. For good now. Most of this week has been taken up with house-hunting, arranging vans etc. More on that soon. I don't like to count my chickens before they're hatched. However, I was tidying up the folders on my computer this week, and found these miscellaneous photos of Vienna from February.... Read More...

Diana Wynne Jones zine

I have a zine of articles about children's writer Diana Wynne Jones (of Howl's Moving Castle et al) I wrote this zine in 2011, also managing to interview her before she sadly died (you can also read the interview online here). The original edition was 1/6 of an A3 sheet, made on a Risograph machine. This was great when I still had access to an A3 Riso machine, but after I didn't it was very expensive and difficult to reprint, so it went out of print. Recently I did a new edition, with all-new illustrations, in a much more convenient standard A6 size... Read More...

Miyazaki’s Reading List

When I was in Japan I went to the Studio Ghibli Museum just outside of Tokyo. Sadly pictures were not allowed inside, but I wrote about it in my zine of the trip. I highly recommend the museum, it's magical. The bookshop was also stocked with Miyazaki's own favourite books, as well as books related to the studio's films. I didn't buy anything, as they were all in Japanese, and it would take me forever to read anything, but I noted down a lot of less well-known books I saw in the shop to compile a reading list (helpfully the copyright tends to list the author's names in roman text rather than try to make it fit katakana). Unfortunately I wasn't able to write down the Japanese author's names in most cases as reading unknown names written in kanji is very tricky. However Miyazaki made a list of classic children's books (including a lot of the usual suspects like The Secret Garden) elsewhere which also includes some Japanese recommendations.... Read More...

Polly’s reading list

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, based on the folk tale Tam Lin and Eliot's Four Quartets, is one of my all-time favourite books. The gifts of classic books that the protagonist Polly receives from Tom, the other main character, are an important part of the plot, but not listed anywhere in the novel. I made this reading list of the books for the zine of essays about Diana Wynne Jones that I made.... Read More...

This Means Nothing To Me

I have been in Austria for a week and a half now for teaching work. I meant to update last week, but some brutal 7.30 am start times, heavy snow, a lot of planning to do outside the classroom, and a diet of pure stodge in a small town with few dining options (and even fewer options for vegetarians) tired me out. It feels strange to be in small-town Austria, where not much tends to happen, while political turmoil with dire consequences for many vulnerable people goes on around the world.... Read More...