Ma Chambre

So here’s my room. I moved to this small unfurnished flat in October, and until the New Year I didn’t have a bed or enough shelves, so everything was in boxes all over the place, and it didn’t look great. The other room has both the living room stuff and my desk, which isn’t ideal. Photos of that will have to wait because it’s currently covered in a load of paperwork and art stuff.

Pictures stuck to the wall- an assortment of postcards, photos I’ve taken, and prints friends have given me. I found the 70s bedsheets when I was clearing out my nan’s house (I now have about 7 different duvet covers because of this). The cushions were a gift from Morocco.

The chest of drawers also came from my grandparent’s house. The glowing thing on the left is one of those essential oil vaporisers. I mostly use a mix of lemongrass, cedar and bergamot oils in it (I have one in the other room too)

This flat has no storage outside of the kitchen cupboards. I would love to have an actual wardrobe and get rid of the clothes rail. See the edge of the fake Marimekko curtain. I realised when I moved that I actually previously had it hung up upside down, and the hem is weighted with a chain.

Lots and lots of books and cameras. The shelves are modular ones from Muji made of recycled paper. Each row is a separate unit. Every time I move house I think “my life would be so much simpler if I wasn’t interested in books, music or art- I’d have no stuff” (The records and art stuff are in the other room). I guess you can weigh up that trade-off yourself.

 

New print- Sheep Skull

So here’s a new illustration I did. It’s actually based on a drawing I did when I was 17 that I found while sorting out some paperwork recently. You can buy monochrome and colour prints for £3-£30 over on the shop.

I’ve also uploaded the artwork to Society 6 to create tshirts, vinyl stickers and other goodies– please note, if you order, the goods are printed and shipped by the printing company rather than me.

Trying to be nicer to myself

Today is the last day of my 32nd year on the planet. As someone with a mid-January birthday, I particularly hate how January is assigned to be the hate-yourself-and-vow-to-change-everything-about-yourself-in-a-punitive-way month. Rather than futile and harmful diet and gym plans, I’m trying to be nicer to myself and less viciously self-critical about my appearance.

It’s hard though when you live in a society that actively wants you to hate your appearance. As a woman you constantly receive the message that the only thing that matters about you is your appearance, and it isn’t good enough, and will never be good enough. I try my best to avoid harmful media, whether it be traditional or online, but it’s a constant onslaught, and you’d have to be a hermit in a cave to avoid it completely.

I was going to write a lot more in-depth about the topic and was drafting and thinking about things all afternoon, but it was just exhausting and made me feel really sad, and I ended up deleting it all, especially as it was stirring up memories of some horrible, horrible things men have said to me over the years (such as “you are so horribly overweight, I’m embarrassed to be seen with you in the street” when I was the same weight I am now).

So yeah, I guess all I’ll say is be nice to others, and try to be nicer to yourself, despite the onslaught of messages telling you not to be.

2017 in photos

In 2017 I went to ten different countries, and was rarely in one place for longer than a week between January and September, which is both exciting and unsettling. Here’s where I went and what I did, using my Instagram photos (because I don’t have camera photos of everything, and even when I do, I haven’t edited all of them). Obviously loads and loads of images under the cut. If you’re wondering how I went to so many countries, I work for an agency that sends me to teach school workshops abroad, my mum lives in France, and I won the plane tickets to Japan.

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Some thoughts about having left London

(A sunset I saw on the beach about a month ago)

So I returned permanently to the UK in September and moved to Margate. I grew up in Kent, but haven’t lived here permanently since I was 18, which feels like a long time ago. Settling in has been both good and hard. I travelled non-stop essentially from January to September, and adjusting myself to being in one place and the idea that I live somewhere has taken a while. It’s also kind of weird pretty much only being surrounded by people I’ve known for 1-2 months- you feel like the awkward new kid at school.

I spent the last four years mostly in London, and frankly living in London is brutal. I came to the realisation recently after a conversation with a friend who returned to Leeds after years in London, that you just get used to this continual background low-level rejection from people in the capital. Whether you are worth talking to or acknowledging as a person depends on where they place your value in terms of status or connection. People speak to you with one eye over your shoulder for someone better to talk to than you. People you have met and spoke to many, many times claim they don’t recognise or remember you, I guess because you weren’t important enough to remember. People would look eager when I said I worked somewhere prestigious (museum) and then their face would drop when it turned out my job was extremely unprestigious (tourist information desk and tickets). If you’re not status or money-focused (I’m not) it can be quite a grim social environment. Even so-called “alternative” places could be like that- very focused on whether you knew the right cool people or not.

Of course I have/had like actual friends there (most have left or are planning to leave) I like and enjoy spending time with, but with busy schedules and everyone only being able to afford to live in peripheral areas, there’s a whole lot of logistical wrangling and booking things in a diary two weeks ahead to actually get to see them.

Also it seems pretty much the only way to meet people for relationships was via internet dating, which is extremely depressing. No-one speaks to you in places like pubs or gigs. Some people find dating sites a wonderful expansive use of technology, I find them a depressing neo-liberal way to commoditise people. My few very short and depressing attempts at using them gave me a strong impression that people felt they were ordering up some customised person off a catalogue. They weren’t looking for a real human, just a nice lifestyle accessory with every feature to their satisfaction (and probably very unrealistic expectations). Aside from the nasty harassing messages that most women get, even a good chunk of the men who were ok in messages were nasty in real life, and because they felt it was anonymous and we’d never meet again, it was ok to be nasty. (Either a lot of people have been reading those terrible MRA pickup guides, or they have independently become an arsehole). For example, who does things like look into my noticeably green eyes and then start telling me at great length that of course the most attractive eye colour is blue? Why? What result do they think that will get other than pissing me off and making me leave? You also of course have no reference or background for this person, and have no choice but to believe what they tell you about themselves, making it ideal I guess for compulsive liars. It’s better to retire from the field.

Socially and logistically, living in a small town again is pretty different, and I’m still adjusting my brain (I still mildly panic when I look at a clock and it’s an hour before something, because I would already be late in London). I’m still always so pleased at the way that people seem to genuinely want to talk to me as a person though. They remember meeting me! I keep getting hugged! I get introduced to people’s friends. When I initiate conversations with people, they are happy to chat to me, rather than making it clear I’m essentially filler material until they spot a better person. It’s actually pretty sad that I notice this, and makes me wonder what the hell I was doing in London.

In pretty much every way, my life is easier, despite the fact I have way less money. I can just about afford to live alone and not have to live with a million housemates, everything is in walking distance, and people are nice to me. I should have left London way earlier.

“I cried for madder music and for stronger wine”

I have Bacchae prints available again. The text says “I caught this young lion myself without a trap”. Based on the scene from Euripides’ Bacchae where Pentheus’ mother tears her own son’s head off with her bare hands while under Dionysus’ spell and parades it round the stage. Available from me as a print here for £6 or £12 depending on size. Ideal festive gift for all, look how red it is.

It’s also available here as a coffee mug. Ideal for drinking the consecrated blood of your enemies from every morning. (Please note- the mug printing people send them out direct- I only supply the artwork)

It’s so funny how we don’t talk any more

Vintage Russian image of a 60s computer with punch tape

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.

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Valentina Tereshkova stickers & Write More Letters patches

Photo of patches and stickers

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.