I realised recently how much I miss getting comments and having conversations on this blog. I know that people read it and they seem to enjoy it, but I don’t get much feedback or reactions outside Facebook.
When I moved this blog from Blogspot over to WordPress for the superior design features, I stopped getting as many comments, because the default WordPress comment system isn’t that great. It doesn’t have any notifications or nesting or other basic features. So I’ve added a new comment plugin today to make replying a much nicer experience.
I also decided recently I should do more regular short posts on here, rather than saving it up/putting it off for ages and then doing a massive entry.
So leave me some comments! Don’t be shy! Let’s talk. (Keep it polite and respectful of others, I hope it barely needs saying that I’m not going to tolerate any bigotry or abuse here).
I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings lately about social media. It seems we’re going through quite a dark Wild West sort of period with how the internet is affecting society. Everyone is on the internet now, your 60 year old uncle, all the people you didn’t like at school; but the unspoken social contracts about how to use it in a civilised manner just don’t seem to be there.
While unpacking my art stuff, I found some long-lost screen-printed patches, and some packets of kraft paper sticker blanks I had no memory of buying. So I rejigged some old artwork to create some stickers.
The stickers are £1 for a pack of three, and the patches £1.50 each. Prices include UK postage. Find them here.
Here is my one second a day video for September. Features Hamburg suburbs, Heidelburg, small towns in Baden-Württemburg, the Kent coast and a gig from British Sea Power and Everything Everything.
So I moved back to Kent last week. (I’m knackered after travelling round Germany for three weeks and then moving house back-to-back). To Margate in particular. I grew up in Medway, a little way to the west, but left when I was eighteen to go to university, as it didn’t feel like there were any opportunities for me. Nearly fifteen years later, here I am. A lot has changed in that time. London is not a desirable place for young people to live any more. Not because of crime (going down all the time), or pollution, but because it’s so impossibly expensive and offers such a poor quality of life.
I return to the UK for good next week (?!?) after a year spent mostly abroad. It will be back to service as normal round here, and I’ve got a whole load of photos of different places that I have yet to post.
I’ve got a fair few new readers lately (mostly from my photos of Japan), and the bio on here isn’t very forthcoming about myself. A lot of the time my approach to blogging is Look Here Is A Thing, but I think a lot of people prefer something more personal to keep reading. So here’s one of those 50 Things About Me things, (with one for luck).
Here’s a giant slab of cheese from Sweden I’ve been enjoying lately.
Also I haven’t been updating this blog as much lately, because I’ve just been so busy. I went to Croatia, Slovenia and Austria for work and pleasure in June, and then came to Cambridge at the start of the month to teach on a residential course. My contracted hours were already high, and I’ve been doing a lot of overtime covering for someone who was hospitalised. I’ve worked 160 hours in the last three weeks, so it’s no surprise I’ve had no spare time. I only have one more week left to go however, so expect some photos of Austria and the former Yugoslavia, as well as other things.
In the meantime, here’s some links.
North Korean Interiors
Ta-Nehisi Coates thinks about Raymond Chandler
Full text of the Manual by the KLF. How to get a number one single (and then burn all the money on a remote Scottish island)
What exactly does doch mean in German?
Colour photos of Paris from 1914
I’ve now got these tree and snail badges made from vintage charms from the 70s available in the shop. The trees are £4 / US$5 / €5 and the snails are £3/ US$3.75 /€3.75 (exchange rates may fluctuate).
On Thursday I go off to spend 6 weeks in Central Europe. One week in Brno in the Czech Republic, then five weeks in various places in Austria teaching. Then in March, I’m off to Japan for two weeks.
So I will closing the shop from 3pm GMT on Weds the 18th of Jan. If you want zines or ribbons or badges, this is your last chance until April.
I wouldn’t say I was particularly tidy, but I do like to keep my living environment clean. I spent a few years working in restaurants when I was younger, and a big part of the job was keeping the restaurant and bar as clean and pleasant as possible. Especially at the end of the night, you can’t go home until everything is spotless, so you get used to cleaning things as efficiently as possible, and in a way that makes sure it all looks shiny as well as being hygienic. This has also been useful in making not-so-nice rented places in London a lot more pleasant to live in. (It has also given me the side-effect of finding housework to be an effective hangover cure)
I’ve come to realise lately, a surprising number of people find housework difficult and turn out not to know things about laundry, unblocking drains etc that I thought everyone knew. It still seems a bit patronising for me to write these tips (but also quite militant in my aversion to dirty tea towels and unrinsed washing up), because they’re obvious to me, but I know now they’re not obvious to a lot of people, and New Year seems an appropriate time to write them.
I don’t really find many online cleaning tips that helpful. They’re either aimed at Americans and talk about things you don’t find in British houses and products that aren’t available here, try to convince you that anything can be cleaned with white vinegar and baking soda (tip: sometimes that doesn’t work well), or they’re for the kind of obsessive person who loves to buy special brushes to clean inside blinds. I just want my place looking nice without spending too much time or money doing it. I haven’t recommended many specific products, the generic supermarket stuff is fine.
Here’s what I want from cleaning really:
- You don’t feel nasty because you touched something and it was mysteriously sticky or dirty
- You can invite people over without feeling ashamed
- You spend as little time cleaning as possible for the biggest result
- But without spending a lot of money on special products
- Everything is shiny and smells nice with the minimum effort, and you like being at home
So here’s some tips after the cut, for anyone who wants them.