I was reading about a Chinese tradition similar to an advent calendar that starts on this day. It’s 81 days until the Spring, and that makes a neat grid of 9×9, leading to the tradition of Nine Times Nine Pictures to Dispel the Cold- draw or colour a picture every day to get you through the winter.
Something I have been thinking about recently is how much the internet itself has changed in the past few years, possibly not for the better. I like the convenience of modern services like Google Maps or internet banking, but I actually think the level of interesting content on the internet has gone downhill.
I’ve been tired and busy lately. Here’s a great bubble gum advert from the 80s with a Kraftwerk-meets-Eurythmics soundtrack, and some odds and ends of interesting links.
If I remember my dreams I try to write them down in a notebook, to use for later inspiration. The one I’ve been using suddenly fell apart yesterday. I tried to stick the pages back in, but the spine was completely disintegrated. I think I’ll just start a new one and copy the old entries over. Here’s some various bits from it.
I had dream that there was a craze for parmesan-infused mineral water, and everyone was obsessed with the stuff. I didn’t like it, and was considered extremely uncool.
I haven’t eaten meat since the late 90s. Vegetarianism was on the rise at the time in the UK, but the selection of meat-free products was very poor compared with the current day, and many of them had to be bought in the health food shop.
Some tips and tricks for working with subtitles, text formatting and image descriptions.
The building I live in was built in the 1870s, and still has the original wooden windows. Well-looked after original examples are highly prized in the UK. Unfortunately mine were not well looked after by owners in the recent past.
Ruth had a dream that you could buy tins of something called “Greencheeks” that seemed to be tinned Kermit meat. I had to make this a reality in Photoshop using a stock can mockup template.
The main way to keep up to date with what’s happening on the ground with the Black Lives Matter Protests is via social media (and Twitter in particular).
It’s really confusing though, because there are a lot of people and organisations acting in bad faith and deliberately making communication and fact-checking difficult, and using manipulation strategies to drown out the real information about what’s happening on the ground.
It’s very unlikely I or anyone else will be travelling much this summer (I’ve not been more than a mile away from home for months now), so I thought I’d sort out and post some old travel photos. Here’s Roskilde from 2015. I posted photos of Copenhagen and Malmö at the time (you can see them here and here), but I forgot to do these ones.
I cleaned and reorganised one shelf that I’d never been happy with, and before I knew it, I’d spent pretty much most of the day cleaning and rearranging stuff. When you’re home all the time everything seems to get dirty so much quicker.
Not many people are getting to the beach these days, but I live right next to it (in fact I can see the sea from my living room window). It’s strange to live in a tourist town when there are no tourists.
I haven’t posted much this month because I was ill- not ill enough to need medical attention or be bedridden, but not ill enough to do anything much either. Was it the virus, or not? I have no idea because of course I wasn’t able to get tested, but the symptoms fitted, and the people in the flat next to and below me were equally ill with the same symptoms, and I live in one of the most affected parts of the UK. I also felt tired and grey for a long time after recovering- similar to after having glandular fever and shingles (not helped by doing something painful to my shoulder in the meantime). So it seems likely.
Amstetten is the most extremely average place in Austria. It’s a largish commuter town in between Linz and Vienna. You have no reason to visit it. Its main claim to fame is that Josef Fritzl lived there. I was there to teach in one of the schools as a visiting teacher.
I was supposed to be in Austria right now running school workshops, but obviously that’s not happening. Like many other people right now I’m unemployed as my whole industry has stopped existing overnight. Seeing as I’ll be spending a lot of time at home in the foreseeable future, today seemed like a good time to have a big cleanup of the living room.
Here’s some assorted photos from Deutschlandsberg. It’s a very ordinary small Austrian town near Graz. Although it’s a pretty and nice place, it’s probably not where you’d pick for a holiday in Austria (although they do get hikers and people coming for the wine trail in the summer).
Fertöd is also home to Eszterhazy Castle, a baroque palace often called “The Versailles of Hungary”. The Eszterhazy family were the ultra-rich landowners in western Hungary and eastern Austria, and have palaces and castles dotted all over the place. This wasn’t even their main palace. It’s now a museum with guided tours. The tour was all in Hungarian, but luckily with an English crib sheet.
Get a nice surprise in the post every month- sent out on the 22nd of each month. Zines, mini-prints, postcards, stickers. It’s a surprise.
There’s 50% off everything in my online shop until midnight tonight (GMT)
I’ve got some more of those 70s badges people liked so much (plus some mushroom and moth ones leftover)
I moved to this flat in January but only recently sorted out the bedroom how I wanted it. Due to the placement of the window, built in wardrobe and door, there’s really only one layout that works.
I have spent the past few days rearranging and cleaning my office. The old layout just didn’t work. I spend a lot of time here working, so it was time to change things round.
Here’s the best stuff I got for very cheap in the excellent charity shops in Bognor Regis (the only entertainment there). The reasons for so many good finds is fairly grim- lots of old people in the area who die and have house clearances of all the 60s and 70s stuff they were hanging on to. Everything cost less than £5.
Here’s another song for you- The Song is the Single by Barr. It originally came out when I was at university, and then ten years later, Brendan did a show at Power Lunches out of the blue, because he was in town for an art event anyway…
I’ve been out of action for the last ten days after a stage light fell from a shelf onto my head and I was left with concussion and back injuries…
This is the creepiest animation I’ve seen in a long time. I love it. The youtube comments are split between people being creeped out and finding it soothing. I’m in the creeped out camp- stop trying to glom onto me with your love, sneaky plasticine man. I don’t know you. Here’s some other interesting links too:
Five interesting links for you
So like a lot of people lately I’ve been thinking about the influence of the big social media sites, especially with all the news stories about how they have done little to nothing to stop far-right radicalisation in the past few years. I loathe Facebook, and would happily close my account if I didn’t use it for promoting events…
2018 was a hard year and felt like it lasted a million years rather than just one. I spent most of 2017 travelling around for both work and pleasure, visiting the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Japan, Croatia, Slovenia, France and Switzerland.
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 handful of interesting links
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.
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.
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.
Here’s some odds and ends:
I’ve wanted to write about some happier things for the last few days, but my mind has been very much consumed with the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 spent a low-stress and low-key Christmas with my friend Vicky up in Manchester, and have returned to Kent over the New Year to see hometown friends. I’ll be in the UK for a few more weeks (including my birthday), then heading off to Austria for 5 weeks for work, then a further 2 weeks in Japan, meaning I’ll be abroad until April. A variety of factors has meant that I’ve not worked full-time in months, and to be honest I’m itching to go back to work and being busy all the time.
It’s fair (and easy) to say that 2016 was not a good year for me. And the consensus is that it was also a terrible year politically, that has seen fascism and far-right politics on the ascendant. Here is a brief list of my positives and negatives for the year.
So Donald Trump just about won the US election, continuing the exhausting and depressing downwards trajectory of 2016, and the continual rise of the far right to power. Brexit and the election of Trump show how good the Right are at times of economic hardship in convincing people their problems are caused by foreigners and the Other, rather than that they’re living in a system designd to make the rich become richer, and keep a permanent pool of people desperate for work to drive down wages and conditions. Saying “oh it won’t make much difference” after events like Brexit or Trump winning is something you can only say if you and everyone you know and care about don’t fall under the categories of people such as POC, Muslims, women, poor people or immigrants whose lives are about to become so much more difficult. People always think “oh that doesn’t mean my friend/wife/neighbour/workmate, they’re talking about those weird threatening strangers, not those nice people I know”. It does mean those nice people you know.
So it’s October now. The last few weeks I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Kent and Sussex. Job-hunting is boring and tedious, and has pushed back moving house. All my things are packed up in boxes, ready to go, but the going isn’t happening yet. I’ve also had tonisilitis for the last week, which is finally clearing up. I’ve got too many of my own projects I need to finish. So not the most fun of times, but hopefully it won’t drag on forever.
Here’s some interesting odds and ends:
No posts for a week. I stayed with my dad for most of last week to go to a family wedding, took my laptop with me to do some work while I was there, but then stupidly forgot to bring the power cord with me. Here’s a relaxing video. I actually really don’t enjoy those “relaxing” videos of people whispering or crinkling things, they don’t relax me at all (and some of them are definitely aiming more at “attractive woman pays attention to you” than soothing sounds), but I like this one. Best enjoyed with headphones.
My mother lives in a small town in Northern France called Lassay-les-Châteaux. For a few years she’s had a holiday caravan in a park nearby, and at Christmas she bought a house in the town. The English version of wikipedia has practically nothing to say about Lassay-les-Châteaux other than showing photos of two of the three local castles- one in the town centre, the other two just outside. (The town’s name also sounds like it means “leave the castles” in French). The French entry doesn’t tell you much more, except that a lot of people were guillotined there in the Revolution, the local mayor doesn’t belong to a political party (after a long line of right-wingers), and that Victor Hugo visited once. It’s just not a place where things happen. If you want the quiet life, you can find it in Lassay.
The good thing about spending the summer in a small town full of old people is that there are a lot of charity shops and jumble sales, they often have good stock, don’t overprice and there aren’t a lot of other people looking for the same things as me (which is more likely to happen in a big city).
The past few weeks haven’t really given me time for blogging. I’ve been helping with house-clearances, writing a proposal for some freelance work I really wanted but didn’t get, and undergoing major dental work. I now have the next 10 weeks house-sitting in a small town at least an hour’s travel from anyone I know.
I haven’t written here for a while. Life has been very busy, and apart from a holiday to Italy, generally stressful and a little depressing, and I’ve very rarely had access to the internet other than on my phone, which doesn’t encourage updating a blog (although I’ve got lots of things I’d like to put on here). On a personal level, I moved out of London at the end of April. I was supposed to go down to Sussex to take care of my mum’s new flat until the Autumn. She inherited some money before Christmas, and moved house and bought a holiday cottage in France with it. The plan was she’d have some things done to the new flat and then spend the whole summer in France sorting out the holiday cottage how she wanted. “Some things” turned into “rip out all the electrics because they turned out to be illegal and unsafe, have all the walls replastered and replace the kitchen and bathroom”. Coupled with a builder with a very elastic sense of time, it’s only just being finished at the end of this week. That means I’ve been living out of a suitcase since April. I’ve been to Italy and Sheffield in that time (very nice), visited relatives (very stressful) and spent a very claustrophobic two weeks in a caravan in France with my mum where we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything because there was a fuel strike and then floods (I didn’t murder her).
I’ve been very busy this week. On Wednesday I moved all my stuff out of London and into storage until the end of May, and visited my dad, then took the train up to Sheffield to see friends and table at the Sheffield Zine Fest. I had a great time, but I was exhausted and fell asleep at 7pm on Saturday! I’m going back to Yorkshire this weekend for a friend’s wedding, and then Italy the following week (ridiculously, it was cheaper to go on holiday to Lake Garda, hardly the cheapest region of Italy, than it was to extend my tenancy a week in London. Let that one sink in… ). When I come back towards the end of May, I’ll then go to Sussex to house-sit for the summer.
My life has been both turbulent and boring at the same time lately, and I haven’t been writing here, as I haven’t had the energy. I have been suffering with health problems, dealing with family illness, and trying to keep my head above water in a London that is increasingly unaffordable and inhospitable. (And to make things even worse, this weekend a hometown friend died at a horribly young age. RIP Louise).
I haven’t posted here for nearly a month now. Family illness, upcoming major life changes, unsuccessful job hunts and other stressful things have taken up my time. I’ve had a lot of ideas for posts to make here, but neither the time nor energy to write them. Not a lot of fun happening round this way lately. I got to see Grimes play live though recently, which was something, at least. Here are some interesting links to share.
I haven’t updated here in a while. I worked long hours throughout January and also moved house. I’ve also now officially deferred my course until next year. I missed too much of the school year when I was ill. I’ll have a little while off, and then look for some work to tide me over. In between all that I turned 31. Ancient, really. I’ll have a bit more time on my hands over the next couple of weeks, so I’d better make use of it. Here’s some links of interesting bits and bobs to tide you over.
I’m not going anywhere tonight. I’ve never been much of one for NYE, and my options for tonight included spending lots of money I don’t have, or spending at least an hour crossing town. As I’m not drinking at the moment, feeling kind of quiet and tired lately, and totally broke until Monday, I’m happy to stay in. My preferred NYE social options are either going to a pub within quick reach of home, or going to a friends house/hosting them anyway. The problem with London is that everyone is so spread out with long journey times or awkward journeys if you’re not going via central, and transport is often such a horrible experience on NYE that it can become a bit of a mission to do even that.
I’m at my dad’s place for a couple of days over Christmas, I’m not feeling at all festive this year though, and it seems a lot of other people aren’t either. When I was growing up, they nearly always showed Watership Down on TV at some point over Christmas. It seemed perfectly normal at the time, but now it seems an odd and slightly depressing choice of film to repeat every year. So here’s the trailer as my half-hearted attempt at being festive.
In 2015 I’ve worked long hours in the day job (+ spending the spare time I did have in the summer helping to make DIY Space for London a reality) and not had much time for creative projects. It’s been good for my CV, and my material standard of living has improved, but I’ve not always had the time or energy to devote to doing much in the way of creative work or taking as much advantage of all the interesting things London has to offer as I could do or would have liked. I now have plenty of time and not much money until January, so now seems the time to try to figure out how to get a better work-life balance without going broke (always a challenge in an expensive city like London). It’s a month early to do New Year’s Resolutions, but why let a calendar stop me. I always feel much happier and focused with a to do list to work on. Here’s my goals.
Here’s some nice things I’ve found lately. Starting with this stop-motion cooking video by PES Studios.
I haven’t updated my blog since August. Since July I’ve moved house, worked in Cambridge teaching a summer camp, then worked long hours to help make DIY Space for London a reality (it worked, it worked!), and enrolled on a teaching course a few weeks ago. The first few weeks of the course crammed a lot of classes into a short period of time before we started our first placement, so I didn’t really have time to update. I also wanted to take my full name off my blog, to keep it out of the grubby mitts of the kids (I was teaching before in places where the students called me by my first name, at British state schools I’m Ms F- if it were up to me, I’d stay on first name terms) and move it to its own site, with a new layout. All this takes time and energy, of which I had neither. Some of the images and formatting on older posts may be a little wobbly until I’ve gone through everything thoroughly. They don’t always automatically import very well.
I’ve been really busy the last month. I moved from one end of London to the other, finished one job and did another short-term one, all in the space of a few weeks. When I’ve been at a computer in my spare time I’ve mostly been doing admin for DIY Space for London.
People who don’t make or read them much themselves sometimes ask me why I still make zines, even though the internet exists, and the world is becoming more and more digitally-focused, and I have this blog. In short, the answer is for the same reason I still have hundreds of records and books, and develop black and white film at home, even though I have an ipod, spotify subscription, e-reader and two digital cameras, and I’m far from a luddite: I feel the physical medium offers me something that I don’t get from the digital version.
Last weekend I went up to Manchester to do a stall and run a Zine 101 workshop at the first Northwest Zinefest. I had the luxury of a day off work, and enough money to take the train rather than coach, and stay at a bed and breakfast. The last time I was in Manchester was well over a decade ago, and it was nice to have a whole weekend rather than rush to and from the event.
I refuse to apologise for that pun, you’ll just have to suffer. Here is a photo I took of myself recently in my dad’s garden. I can’t remember the last time I had a new photo of myself bar a few awkward phone snaps when I’ve been out. Perhaps you could say I was communing with nature when I took this photo, but I was sat on a plastic bag to avoid sitting in anything nasty hidden underneath the plants, so I don’t think I was that in touch with nature. Luckily we don’t have poison ivy or dangerous snakes in this country, I was more worried about the milder perils of stinging nettles or fox droppings. I was also a little limited with angles and framing, because sticking a wide-angle lens in your face is rarely flattering, but I couldn’t get the distance to use my portrait lens because I didn’t have a tripod with me.
For quite a while now, I’ve been part of the DIY Space for London co-op, working to open a non-profit, co-operatively run accessible music, art and general creativity & activism venue in London along the lines of Wharf Chambers in Leeds. Operating in London has raised its own unique challenges. Most projects of this nature in other places can find a building and have trouble raising the money. We had the opposite problem- we had an incredible amount of goodwill, and people kept giving us money, but we had trouble spending it. London is in the middle of an uncontrollable property boom, and we had immense trouble finding anywhere suitable. Places went immediately, had residential neighbours or plans to build flats in unsuitable places that would immediately result in noise complaints, had legal issues or wanted ridiculously huge deposits.
For the past few months I’ve been weighing up whether to stay in London or to leave. I’ve lived here since 2011. In that time I’ve been a part-time postgrad (and finished the course), done an interesting but mostly not well-paid assortment of jobs, and lived in an assortment of sublets and property guardianships. Since the end of 2013 I’ve lived in a property guardianship that’s unusually cheap, but not at all homely, but far too cheap to give up needlessly.
This weekend I’m going up to Yorkshire to run a table and workshop at the Sheffield Zine Fest (Facebook event here) and see friends. I’ll have lots of issues of zines from both myself and Charlotte Richardson Andrews and some other goodies, and I’ll be running a workshop on getting started with zine-making (and my good pal Tukru will be running a hands-on minizine session).
I often like to get some fresh air in my lunch break by walking along the canal near my work. There’s not a lot there, just some houseboats and a small lock, and a lot of lunchtime joggers and the odd person eating sandwiches on a sunny day. I’m a big fan of canals, and I think I’ve walked along pretty much the whole length of this one at various points.
I actually attended this funeral/memorial for children’s writer Diana Wynne Jones over 2 years ago. I had meant to write about it for a long time, but I didn’t want to write anything without having the programme of speakers from the event to hand, and it stubbornly disappeared until recently when I had a big clear out of papers (and faded with some print rubbed off after 2 years), so here it is.
So now it’s 2015, the year of the future. I expect a fax to pop out of somewhere unexpected any minute now. I had a very sedate and teetotal Christmas and New Year due to injuring my shoulder and then coming down with a bad case of the flu that lingered on forever. I wanted to get a few creative projects finished over the Christmas break, but that put a spanner in the works. Already this year I have started a new job, been to Paris for a few days and turned 30.
I have kept scrapbooks like this since about 2002, sticking in things like ticket stubs, catalogues from art exhibitions, food packaging, passport photos etc. Future historians will probably not be that grateful to me. Once a year or so I also make a general list of things I like, to compare with previous years. The lists have been pretty consistent though, my tastes don’t change a lot. This scrapbook spans late 2011 to the end of 2013. I photographed all the pages and made this gif. I took photos of some other old ones too, but I haven’t finished editing the pages yet.
More like wake and talk and work and talk and work lately. I’ve been working teaching on a residential course in an ex nunnery near St Albans this week. I’ve worked for the company for a few years on and off, teaching the odd course here and there. Most of their work is residential, so I just do it occasionally. They hire out beautiful historical buildings and teenagers from abroad come for 2 week holidays. You take them out on field trips, give them lessons about cultural topics, and to improve their practical use of English, and do a creative project with them. This time we have been doing film-making. Last week they did a detective story, this week horror stories. No, you can’t see them, because of child protection rules at the job.
I’ve been using Pinterest for a couple of years now to keep track of visual research. It’s nice to be able to keep the pictures organised in categories, and automatically have the source noted. The site is also very visually appealing. If you go to the front page without having any interests or contacts set up, it looks a bit dismal, full of wedding dresses and self-help maxims. However once you have it set to what you want to see (and anything that bores you unfollowed), I find it full of interesting pictures.
I moved my blog over to Wordpress from Blogspot today, importing all the old entries and comments. Blogger was getting increasingly outdated, with not much variation in design possible, and since they upgraded the editor it started to do weird things to the text, even if the html view showed that not much was going on. Some of those issues have cropped up when I’ve imported the entries here, but with over 300 old entries it’s going to take me a while to fix them by hand, so please be patient.
So recently I’ve been spending a lot of frustrating time re-doing my website. I wanted it to work/look the same on computers, phones and tablets and be simple and unobtrusive and just work. It turns out making simple things that work properly is quite difficult. I was going for “so unobtrusive you barely notice it’s there” not “made on Geocities in 1998”. Anyway, I got people with various different pieces of equipment to test it and it all seems to work fine now. The artwork galleries are a little empty at the moment, but hopefully that will be remedied in the next few weeks with lots of new work.
Februrary has been a deeply weird and confusing month, for various reasons. I had to go to hospital with gastritis and a kidney infection. I didn’t have to stay in or anything, but I had to take loads of different medications and was pretty ill for about a week and a half. I had to also follow the most boring diet possible until my stomach healed up (like, literally nothing was allowed). I was basically eating the diet of a fussy toddler. I never want to see another quorn nugget as long as I live. My stomach is fine now, and I’m reintroducing various foods and drinks, but it’s weird to have to try to remind myself to eat proper meals again. I also lost weight. Society wants to tell you that you should always be happy about that for whatever reason, because women aren’t supposed to take up space in the world or something, but actually my weight was fine before (they definitely don’t want you thinking that). Now my clothes are a bit sad and loose looking. Hopefully now I’m back on proper food that will be sorted out quickly.
On Sunday I went to a meeting for DIY Space for London. My friend Natalie is one of the initial organisers (and I also already knew a fair few of the other organisers), and she told me about it last year, but I was either working very long hours in London, or was abroad for most of the year, so I didn’t really have a chance to get involved. I’m in London for the foreseeable future and actually have some spare time now, so I volunteered.
Long time no see. I moved house a few weeks ago, and the internet connection has been a long-running (and very boring) bureaucratic saga. Hopefully from next week we’ll finally have proper internet. I’ve been keeping up with stuff like email either on my phone or work computer, but that isn’t really ideal for things like updating a blog. At least I have unlimited data on my phone, which has been very helpful, although I never want to have to use my internet banking site on a phone again as long as I live.
I’ve reopened the shop now I’ve returned from my travels. There are some back issues of zines on there now- once they’re gone, they’re gone. I’ll continue to print from issue 12 onwards, but the older issues are now out of print. There are some colour Space is Ace posters for £4 each, and each order over £5 will come with a free black and white version of the poster while stocks last. I’ll have some interesting new things soon, keep your eyes peeled.
I should be doing more of this, but instead I’m working very long hours at the dayjob. I’m either being a hermit, or trying to squeeze in some sort of social life. I hate rigidly scheduling things in my personal life, let’s leave that to work.
I recently received my grandad’s stereo. He’s 89 and has moved into an old people’s home, and said he didn’t need it any more. He was an electrical engineer for Philips, so his choice of appliances can usually be relied on. I was expecting something from the 70s, but then it turned out he’d actually bought this one 3-4 years ago. I don’t know why he felt the need to buy a whole new stereo to listen to his 10 Shirley Bassey records. He once gave me a tape with Italian lessons on one side, and Shirley Bassey songs on the other. I guess he felt it was about time I took up both of those things.
For professional colouring in only. It says it on the label, see. Don’t worry, I’ve got a licence now.
Spending Friday night scanning as much film as I can bear, sorting through unscanned film photos / un-prepped digital photos and listening to Grandaddy. I’d rather be out, but I’m not, so I might as well do this. Three weeks feels like three years, and I’ll be glad to have a job again. I bought the film scanner in 2007, and it has probably paid for itself 10 times over by now. Usually the tea goes on the left, but it gets in the way of the scanner. I have a whole set of the penguin mugs, they are the best mugs.
On Saturday I did zine stalls at Brixton Record Fair and Bloody Icecream. I brought a film camera with me, and the film is at the lab still, but I took some (not fantastic) phone pics too.
This is the time of year when you’re thoroughly bored of Winter and want it to be Spring again. I’m currently stuck in Chatham, waiting for various things to happen, and looking after my mum’s cats in the meantime, who come to the front door and meow at me indignantly if I have the cheek to go out, because everyone has abandoned them, and they are poor orphan kittens (aka very spoilt cats).
The other day I had to go to Maidstone. I really can’t think of any other word to describe the place rather than dull. It has the usual chain shops if you want to buy some things, and a pretty town hall and museum, (and a prison with huge stone walls slap bang in the centre) but that’s about it. It’s the sort of place you go to run errands, no other reason. It’s not horrible, but not particularly interesting either.When I was at school I sometimes went to gigs at the student bar there, but it was such a pain to get back in the evenings I didn’t bother too often unless I knew someone who was driving. When I was really little I used to go to see the Sooty Show and pantomimes at the theatre, and that was the high point of Maidstone in my estimations.
Now I’m off to graduate. I miss Brighton.
I’ve always had a soft spot for 30s suburbia. These two pictures are a place called Twydall, near where my mum lives. I went along there to buy some wool, and I wasn’t disappointed, the area is full of old ladies. Also, the fact that the wool shop is called World of Woolcraft and is run by what could be the brother of the Comic Book Store Guy made me laugh.
I was in London to go to a private view for my friend Mark Pembrey. He does fantastic things with typography and printmaking, and he had an exhibition at Woolfson and Tay, a bookshop in Bermondsey. For some reason, I was expecting it to be in an old quaint building on a market square, but Bermondsey Square turns out to be super modern. In fact they were filming a reality show there, where various famous people had to run a restaurant/hotel. There were quite a few bored looking locals standing around outside the restaurant window to see if they could get a peek of anyone famous. The bookshop’s great anyway (although wonderful bookshops are always painful when I’m broke) and I had a better time at the private view, chatting to Erika, Mark, Zoe and our teacher Graham than I ever would have had standing around outside a tv set.
I decided to make a list of things I like. It’s not specific things, like particular bands or directors or food, it’s more a list of general principles of what I enjoy. My life recently has been controlled by people who have nothing to offer, and who have to create drama and pain in their and other people’s lives in order to not be bored.
The world and life aren’t boring. There are 10 million interesting things you can do that don’t hurt a fly. Anyone who is worth knowing, knows this. Actions have consequences, and anything worth doing doesn’t have negative consequences on other people. They say the best revenge is living well.
I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, because I’ve been working all hours to finish my MA project and dissertation (I handed in my dissertation last week). This is the kind of thing I’ve been doing. Yesterday I stuck on the Beatles Anthology, the longest documentary I could think of, and sat and just sewed and sewed until about 70% was done. I was in Spain for two weeks before that. I’ve got lots of photos, but I haven’t had time to develop the film ones and organise and post-process them. It will have to wait until later. The first week was fine, but the second was far more stressful than a holiday should be. There was a 40C heatwave, and the air conditioning broke down, and there were ants, and we both had insomnia and short tempers and it was too difficult to concentrate on the work we’d both been forced to bring with us. Stress. In two and a half weeks I should hopefully be all finished with my MA, and free to find a full-time job, and actually earn steady money again (I hope). I’m really broke right now, and I’m tired of being broke for so long.
These are a couple of photos from the end of a roll that I forgot to scan. Me & Marcos went down to Brighton for the day in March, and it rained torrentially, so we basically went from cafe to pub to restaurant. We went to meet up with my friend Vicky first at the Mock Turtle, a tea room down by the seafront that looks like a grandmother’s dining room. I’ve been there lots of times, and their food and drink is nice and reasonably priced. Vicky was running late, so I decided to get a cake for her as a surprise. I saw they had added a rainbow cake to the menu, and she loves that kind of thing, and I was curious about what it looked like.
So on Tuesday, me & Tukru went to the Girls Get Busy birthday party at the Alibi in Dalston. Dalston is a bit of a pain in the arse to get to from mine, you have to walk about 20 mins to West Hampstead and then get the Overground (and two night buses back). It’s also full of Nathan Barleys. There was Riot Grrrl karaoke, and cake, and Tukru and some other people I know djed, and overall I had a good time and met some nice people, although it would have been better if the prickish men hanging out round the bar hadn’t been there.
My friend Tukru came to stay with me in London. We went to the Girls Get Busy birthday party, and she went to see Wild Flag (I couldn’t get a ticket). While she was here, I dyed her hair, because it was boring her. We went for dip-dyed, as then you don’t have roots to deal with.
Marcos’ parents sent us a parcel of Spanish goodies. Mallorcan honey, cheese and hazlenuts. Ferrero Rocher, savoury crackers and chocolate covered almonds (although you can get Ferrero Rocher here too) and Llum de Sal with assorted flavourings, which is Mallorcan fleur de sel. They also sent Marcos some vacuum-packed ham, which has been named the space ham.
10th of January for the Document a Day project. I mostly waited at home for a parcel of birthday presents sent by my dad and did some uni stuff and tidying. Not the most exciting of days.
When we were in Mallorca, everyone did their best to ensure that we were stuffed at all times. The big curly pastry is an ensaimada, a Mallorcan speciality.