Christmas Deux

Yol: I feel really sick after that mince pie.
Me: How was it?
Yol: Delicious.

'All the books...'

'All the books in all the world don’t make me a better man than you': Thomas Jefferson.

Well, I got loads of books for Christmas so there goes the little hope for self-improvement I had left. Time to start thinking about possible new year's resolutions.


Only two drinking days to Christmas left...

...and that pretty much says it all. I like the fact that although there's only tonight and tomorrow I've managed to fit two more 'let's meet for a drink' drinks in before Turkey Day.

For my art...

Jesus, stop me if you've seen these before. Talk about overkill but I didn't have pictures of the new work to supply so these got dragged out again. Anyway, I'd figured out what happens next (which is the tough thing for anyone) and just needed a few more packs of cards to work with. Pretty much the same thing I'd used already but the pack of cards I had previously came from a tourist souvenir shop in Bayswater about 15 years ago. This is pretty standard 70s soft-core Playboy type stuff I figured, I'll be able to pick it up anywhere around town. Anyway, the Soho Bookshop, Lovejoys on Charing Cross Road and Harmony (I guess the name relates back to the days of shops selling "Marital Aids") all have nudie playing cards. Sadly they're all themed and called things like 'Cum Sluts'; 'Teenage Cum Sluts' and 'Shaven Teenage Cum Sluts' (and these are just the ones of men) and not really what I was after at all. I don't suppose people go down to the basement of Lovejoys and ask for something 'a little bit milder and less hardcore'.
Personally, I blame the internet for ruining pornography.



sunday morning in Hackney, East London

...I look out the window and I thank god I live in Hackney. Admittedly this is a rare occurence and depends on the alignment of the sun shining on a clear day across some place of architectural interest.

One of the things I hate about Hackney is the lack of the collective sense that public space belongs to everyone. At one extreme it manifests itself in a feeling of insecurity in public spaces which lots of people seem to associate with the area, and at the other, people chucking their rubbish all over the street or letting their dogs dump in the middle of the pavement where kids walk.

As I get older it upsets me more and more to see these feckless thickos throwing their sweetie wrappers on the ground while they wait for the bus when there's a rubbish bin next to them. What is it with these people? Were they born stupid? There was a particularly nasty guy at the 25 bus stop outside Whitechapel tube station on Monday. He had a piercing through one eyebrow and he was eating a Twix (all the chocolate off first) before chucking the wrapper on the floor.

I remember another time on the bus to Shoreditch from town, a young trendy looking woman was eating a chicken supper out of a cardboard box on the bus. When she finished she put it on the empty seat next to her. When a middle-aged guy got on the bus and went to sit there he asked her if it was hers and she said 'No' and gave him a filthy look. He just picked it up and put it on the floor.

Anyway, I should start photographing these people and posting them on Flickr in a dirty bastard group.


Sunday in East London: Fosterart

Sunday in East London
Originally uploaded by Catfunt.
The show I was in has just finised and I went along on the last day to see the work. It looks great and they did a very nice job of hanging the work.

I'll be in another show in January at Transition.


For this Chinese boy...

...Christmas is just all too much. You go a whole year without going in phony pubs once and then you find yourself on consecutive days in 1) An All Bar One, 2) An O'Neils 3) A gastropub in Waterloo where they serve brandy in a miniature water tumbler. Charity shops are full of nice brandy glasses - what is their problem? Anyway, I've been giving out lots of drunken Christmas hugs to people I barely know in these places which is my small contribution to the season of goodwill and all that. Tonight Shoreditch. Please feel free to stop me and ask for a hug if it'll help get you through the next couple weeks.


machismo: the show

I've been 'designing' the invite for the Machismo show that starts in January and also marks the launch of Garageland.

The thing I do like about my design solutions is that they're centred on my software incompetence and hence the bulk of my effort is put into the pre-computer phase as the actual execution will always be pretty simple. So I did spend a large chunk of the day thinking about what led to this.


'"Jeff Wall-esque?" Did you really say that?'

So the other thing that I really liked at the Chelsea School of Art gig was the fact that it was payback time for the students in their assessments of their tutors' work. I was looking at this (admittedly bland) piece by one of the Foundation tutors, and there were three young rockin' art students who looked like they could've lived in my street (but they weren't poor enough) and one turned to the other and said 'It's very Jeff Wall-esque, isn't it?'

(NB: Er, like, no - it's nothing like Jeff Wall, underpants boy.)


No Idea

I've no idea what this band is called or even if they have a name. But they were playing at Chelsea School of Art at a tutors' show that I went to. I think it's the foundation course tutors and included work by John Clayman who I've shown with at Transition.

One of the many highlights of the evening (besides seeing my friends, natch) was the array of "individualistic" art student fashions: a mish mash of Hennes, Primark and charity shops - I think I counted at least three men wearing tea cosies on their heads.


David Lammy comes to visit

The second day of the workshop at Spurs with another group of very very nice ESOL students. But wait a minute, who's that who's dropped in? It's culture supremo David Lammy who's also i) MP for Tottenham and ii) a Spurs season ticket holder. He was a lot funnier than his Turner Prize speech that I watched on telly last night.


White Hart Lane: The Showers in the Visitors' Changing Room

I spent half the day "teaching" (it's a very progressive laissez-faire form of teaching that most educational professionals wouldn't recognise) a website building workshop at White Hart Lane, "home of the world's famous Tottenham Hotspurs" (as the announcer used to say) to a very lovely crowd of teenagers and their ESOL teachers. Anyway, Dave, one of the learning support centre managers showed us around afterwards. These are the showers in the visitors' changing rooms. Dave has a nice schtick and says something like "these are the showers the away team use, so David Beckham, Thierry Henry would have used them." For a brief moment you feel their presence in the (shower) room. Dave tells me the home team ones are much much nicer. Look at Flickr for some pictures of the pitch.


Jim and Greg's Party: the cab office

I'd just like to say to everyone I spoke to at Jim and Greg's Party last night: I'm really sorry. Things started out really well but then me and Yol decided to have a few drinks at home before we went to Jim and Greg's. Then we got the bus over there and having not had a drink for 30 minutes had a few to catch up.

Anyway, it's Christmas and this is what people do at Christmas. On another note we went to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang tonight and it was excellent. I now love Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer. It's so much better than the terribly overrated The Constant Gardener which we also saw this week.


Thorn Light Bulb Packaging

This is my favourite piece of design at the moment and here is a very bad scan of it flattened out. Interestingly it looked much better as a 3D object - it's quite fussy flattened with the repetition of the bulb and the "Thorn" on every side of the box. Available from fashionable Broadway Market, £1 from the hardware shop.


The Heath Quartet: Purcell Room

Went to see the excellent Heath Quartet at the South Bank with my friend Steve. There's something I like about the empty stage.

Anyway, they played a piece by Volans (2nd Dance from White Man Sleeps); Hans Abrahamsom's St Qt No 2; Janacek's Intimate Letters and after the interval Beethoven String Quartet No 2, Razumovsky. It was fantastic and we sat in the middle of the front row and it was free as it was part of the Martin Musical Scholarship. Did I say it was brilliant?


King, Queen, Five

Like Erno Goldfinger but I've painted the ladies in silver enamel paint.


Pair of Fives

"So what do you do in your studio?" people ask all the time (OK, maybe two people have asked). Stuff like this is the answer. It's on show at the moment at Transition and Fosterart (you can find the links yourselves) but also reviewed on the BBC website (see I put a link in for that).


Chelsea Embankment

Friday night I got the tube from Whitechapel over to Sloane Square and walked down to the river. I stopped to take a few pictures. From there it was pretty much downhill as I got very drunk (but had a very nice time) with a few of my work colleagues at the BIMA Awards. Between 1997 and 2001 I used to go to loads of these things and they were insane. I hadn't been to anything like this for a while and it was all very low key and subdued. Personally I liked the madness of early nu media UK and the sheer unsustainability of the whole thing. Now it's like an industry do for bankers but without the ostentatious display of wealth. I still wear a black suit and tie as I don't have a "black tie" outfit (if you see what I mean). At least I don't wear brown shoes with it like I used to.


Test Post

This wasn't working. It is now.


Insite Workshops

I spent the weekend, as promised, teaching people how to make websites for the Channel 4 project I look after. A really nice bunch of people who (so they say) got a lot out of the two days. While you couldn't code a website from scratch, if you struck with the tools and teaching you could go on to use something like Dreamweaver because what you would understand things like page structure, accessibility, writing for the web and so on. I made a small site over the weekend to show the team how stuff works. This is it.


Go And See My Work

Q: How hard is it to find classy Christmas presents for the man in your life who already has everything?.
A: Not easy is it girls. Or so you thought.
Ask yourself "Does he have a set of girlie playing cards with all the interesting bits painted out?". If the answer is "No" then you owe it to him (and to yourself) to pop along to Acid Drops and Sugar Candy in Shoreditch and Hackney. Until 18 December.


John Peel Tribute Video

The John Peel tribute video ("Ever Fallen in Love") is actually really really good. You can see it here and if that doesn't work try here.

This weekend, Matthew...

I'll be teaching one of the ORIGINATION INSITE workshops. This is the site I built previously to test out the "site-building" tools (I use the ironic quote marks because it's actually a large chuck of Flash rather than HTML but as I have aged I have less of a problem with this than I would have done in the past. Plus I don't see any other site builders that enable people with very few IT - never mind Internet - skills to make a site in two days.) My site is about my in-laws and has some lovely old photos on it including this one of my pop-in-law and his sister.


Another Chance to see

For all both the fans of my work I'll be showing two pieces at Transition and Fosterart as part of Acid Drops and Sugar Candy. If you fancy a drink up I'll be at the Transition private view this Friday.

Uncle Brady's Homemade Flame Thrower

I thought my good friend Jett Loe was the craziest American out there (not including the ones that are elected on their stupidity craziness)but that was before I was directed to Uncle Brady by my all-new-favourite website Make: Blog.


Jarhead: The Movie, a review

Went to see a preview of Jarhead which is based on the book about Anthony Swofford's experience of the first Iraqi war. It's very very good and succeeds in doing all the macho war stuff in a frightening but very human way: there's a scene when the Marines are waiting in the desert for the war to start and have taken to watching various Vietnam war films. During the helicopter attack in Apocalypse Now they all go apeshit singing and screaming along to Wagner. In the background you can see the film projected and the gooks getting the crap blown out of them. While this is a deeply disturbing scene you can completely identify with what's going on.

The main reason I thought the film was better than the book was that so much of the story: basic training and Desert Shield was about boredom and repetition and while the film captures this in a rich visual way, the writing only captures this by being boring itself.

The desert is empty except for sky and sand with almost no sign on the enemy. This captures both the overwhelming technological superiority of the US forces in their ability to engage the enemy from a great distance and the sense that of this being an empty war about rhetoric and perceived rather than real threats. The film is beautifully edited by Walter Murch and shot Roger Deakins.

Also my wife who took me doesn't normally like war films thought it was great.


Tim O'Reilly interviewed

Bill Thompson interviews tech guru Tim O'Reilly for the BBC World Service's Go Digital.

Text or MP3

My friend Jett Loe

My ex-colleague and friend Jett Loe has taken to producing a podcast from Belfast (Letter To America) where he is currently stationed. His main marketing tool seems to be writing to people in his address book and saying "You get mentioned in Chapter X, check it out buddy" (full transcript below). So far I've listened to 3 episodes on this basis and still no mention. It reminds me of the two rival authors in a Martin Amis book (The Information)where one anonymously delivers a copy of the New York Times (a big fucker of a newspaper) to the other one with a note saying "There's something in here that'll interest you" figuring in his vanity he'll spend days crawling through the columns looking for references. BUT then the first author worries that there might really be a mention of his rival and spends hours pawing over the paper to make sure there are no references. Not that me and Jett are rivals, of course. Chapter 8, the very best one so far, is excellent.

The Transcript in Full:
"went for a piss...man - every second of the show is gold!
forget about episode 7 - listen to episode 8 - think you get a mention
in that too

On 08/11/05, Paul Murphy wrote:
> maybe you mentioned it when i went for a piss...
> you can pause it??
> ;-)
> P x
> On 7 Nov 2005, at 22:42, Jett Loe wrote:
> > nope just checked - u mentioned in chapter 7 - (which is the weakest
> > chapter of the bunch by the way - chekc out chapter 8 - it rocks...)
> >
> > On 07/11/05, Jett Loe wrote:
> >
> >> hold on - let me check which chapter u in...
> >>
> >> On 07/11/05, Jett Loe wrote:
> >>
> >>> watcha talkin' bout willis - we discussed at length you post about
> >>> yol's dreams - did u listen to the right ep? + chapter 8 now up -
> >>> maybe u in chapter 6...
> >>>
> >>> On 07/11/05, Paul Murphy wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> I listened to the show and there was no mention of my blog
> >>>>
> >>>> ;-(
> >>>>
> >>>> You tricked me.
> >>>>
> >>>> Actually i thought it was pretty good and will be remixing Mr
> >>>> President with an NWA soundtrack
> >>>>
> >>>> P x
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On 28 Oct 2005, at 18:48, Jett Loe wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>> hey there buddy -
> >>>>> just lettin' ya know that madeinchina69 was topic of discussion in
> >>>>> chapter 7 of LTA -
> >>>>> all the best
> >>>>> jt.
> >>>>> --
> >>>>> Jett "Demon With a Glass Hand" Loe
> >>>>> Listen to the Podcast at http://lettertoamerica.blogs.com"


White Skull

Well the thing has been done now. 'Bout 60 people came through my studio on the Open Studio weekend (I like to capitalise the O and S in 'Open Studio', it give it gravitas) and a few people seemed to like what I'm up to. I'll post some pictures of the studio when I get a chance. In the meantime here's White Skull, a particular favourite with the gothic visitors.


Digibox and 40GB drive

My loyal reader ("Hello Yol") will be pleased to know I now have a working DigiFusion Freeview/Recorder that's up and running. The only problem I find with being able to pause live TV is that most of the time it barely feels worthwhile restarting them.


My wife dreamt...

I've told you about my wife's dreams, the ones where she wakes up in the morning and won't speak to me because of some vile perfidy I committed in my sleep. This morning was the worst so far. I had slept with someone, albeit when drunk, and my wife was very upset. What upset me is that the person I'd slept with in her dream was someone who, in real life, had changed the apostrophe in their surname to a full stop because they thought "it reads the same, it just looks more classy". So O'Malley would become O. Malley.


My price is...

...actually very low. The good folks at the place I sometimes work gave all their employees a free digibox with PVR to mark the launch of their new TV channel. Once I'd checked I was eligible for this benevolence this became the best place I'd ever worked and I told everyone. Anyway, the first box had a broken remote control and the second one had no remote at all. I wouldn't say that this cheap attempt to buy my loyalty has back-fired on my employers (as yet) but it does make me wonder. Maybe I'm in the group of nair-do-wells who they'd be happy to be shot of and are wondering how much more of this abuse I'll put up with.

Getting Shit Done

In yesterday's Guardian Dave McCandless wrote in praise of Getting Things Done, David Allen's productivity guru-book. I read the piece and was wowed. I don't know McCandless but I suspect from what he says is that he's a filthy pig when it comes to the work-place. The only thing that saves me nowadays is the fact that I share my desk at work otherwise it would be covered in shit. I thought of my friend Adam who collects out-of-date newspapers like he was some weird old-person. Adam bought a new computer recently. I suggested that he buy a wireless keyboard and mouse as the only way that they wouldn't get buried in the detritus that is his desk. Anyway, Adam's going to try the Dave Allen book. My wife says we don't need to as all the shit we have is actually stuff we want to keep rather than stuff we just haven't got round to.

The decorators come; then the electrician to fix the things the decorators broke and then the decorators to put it all back together again...

...just so we can have different coloured walls. Anyway, Huey is here chasing large grooves up the wall to install a light in the hall. "You didn't have a hall light?" I hear you ask, wondering if we live in a cave. No, we had a perfectly good hall light that somehow the Polish painters managed to disable while painting. This is surely some kind of Mossad-type stealth skill that ranks alongside being able to disable a man with a single blow: killing the electrics while painting. Danny (no, not Danny Blackman, Danny Polonia) did regularly manage to flip the trip switch while he was here. Painting. huey, the electrian is baffled as the electric cable in the wall no longer carries electricity, hence the neeed for a new cable. Like an X-file.

So the decorators return on Monday to put good the destruction Huey is wreaking on the new paint job. I may have to paint the living-room myself when they leave, the new colour "Kelp" from the Dulux range just has too many bad memories for me.


Bianca Brunner: art round the corner

Went to see a show around the corner from us at Fiona Banner's studio that featured a bunch of invited photographers including the excellent Bianca Brunner. The other remarkable thing about the show was the proliferation of underage bar staff, the oldest probably not much more than 15. Yol said they were probably an artist's kids (does Fiona Banner have kids?). Anyway, it's an ill-conceived show supposedly curated by Ekow Eshun and Richard Benson. More pertinently it's sponsored by PSP as part of its My Beauty Picture Show which probably explains why Iain Sinclair's name was spelt wrong in Ekow's introductory text and nobody noticed or cared.

Batman: Open Studios QA

OK. There's no official Quality Assurance programme for my open studio weekend so you are taking a bit of a risk, particularly if what you like is watercolours (and artists who can draw a bit). So in this spirit, this picture is to give you an idea of what I do. You can decide if it's your kind of thing.


Consider Yourself Invited: Martello Street Open Studios 2005

I've been to quite a few open studios in my time. I've walked down an out of the way, seemingly deserted corridor and peered into an almost empty, badly-painted white space and seen the face of the already crest-fallen artist drop a little lower as I grimaced and spun on my heel effectively dismissing their efforts of the last one or two years in a couple of seconds.

So I've decided to open my studio for the weekend as it sounds like a lot of fun and it meets most of the criteria. It's out of the way (up a staircase away from most of the other studios); it's very small with very little natural light (perfect for displaying art) and has a sense of its own history (it used to be part of the toilet block) and for a while in the 1970s it was the headquarters of Throbbing Gristle and Genesis P-Orridge.

I've been in my studio since January last year and in that time have drawn and painted guns, bullfighters, Apu from The Simpsons and random scenes of violence. More recently I've been intervening with a pack of playing cards that was recently given away with Arena magazine.

The private view is on Friday 28 October between 6 and 9pm and beverages will be available. The open weekend continues on Saturday and Sunday from midday to 6pm. Nineteen other studios will also be open besides mine. Martello Street is closely situated (as an estate agent would say) to fashionable Broadway Market with it's many pubs, bars and restaurants. On Saturday daytime you'll find a "Farmers' style market" selling tomatoes from the Isle of Wight, second-hand jeans and other such unnecessary crap at the Market.

Martello Street Studios - entrance on Martello Terrace
10 Martello Street
London E8 3PE
Adjacent to London Fields BR Station
Buses 26, 48, 55, 106, 254, 277, D6 and get off on Mare Street
My phone number 07710 452 158


Kieffer (not Kienholz)

I loaded some photos from a few weeks ago in iPhoto as they'd got buried in Yol's masses of wobbly photos of magazine layouts that she's been using for her research. It had been from a local gallery visit one day when I was at home. Anyway I dutifully tagged them in my usual derisory way and came to work. In a break between extracting less dull data from extremely dull monthly Webtrends data I decided to add a few bells and trimmings - like a description to the set I'd created. Then I thought I'd blog it. It was at some point in the middle of an anecdote about the first time someone, a girl I kissed in fact, had told me about the artist Ed Kienholz that I realised I'd spent the morning mixing up the artist Ed Kienholz with the artist Anselm Kieffer. An easy mistake to make. The girl, let's call her Julie (becuase that's her name), became a lesbian (or may well have been a lesbian already, it's such a long time ago I can hardly remember). Anyway, I've corrected my error - mostly by adding extra tags rather than deleting the incorrect ones - following the "four tags good, eight tags better" school of thought.

The link will take you to my favourite French language art blog's coverage of the Kieffer show.

(Full disclosure: This is the only Franch language blog I've ever looked at and this is the only entry I've ever looked at. I know it's Kienholz Kieffer because the blog has a picture of one of the pieces from the first part of the show)

Next week idiotboy mixes up Julian Schnabel with the son of John Lennon.


"This light in the hall," says Pshamak

"...was always working?" I think he's asking more in hope that anything else. We have reached the stage where we are happy to pay them just to leave the house. I think it's called Krakow syndrome or something like that.


A painting aside

Don't have time for a full update but a snippet from this morning.

There's another decorator painting the outside of a house down the road, doing a very similar job for the Lithuanians who live there. I thought the decorator was Estonian. I said to Pshamak "There's another decorator a few doors away. I think he's Estonian." Pshamak looked disgusted and said "Have you seen the job he's doing? My job is much better." It turns out the decorator is Lithuanian so I told Pshamak he's not Estonian but Lithuanian. "Same thing," he said with a smile.


Polish painters

After a tense few days peace has broken out between my wife and the painters. We went away for a few days and drove around the Norfolk coast which was very beautiful and managed to get four walks on four different beaches in two days. I now want to live in a caravan at the top of a cliff overlooking the North Norfolk coast - I saw a few that are blighted by the fact that their pitches will soon be at the bottom of the cliff rather than the top.

On our return of Saturday night there was paint everywhere and two Poles - Pshamak and Magic (which is probably Madjic but I like Magic better) painting in the dark. They were going to come in on Sunday which wasn't according to plan but after the boss lady left it became clear that Pshamak didn't want to work Sunday as his sister was arriving that day and his girlfriend was leaving the next. We wanted a day without them so we had a beer together and sent them off to a party in Tottenham. We cleaned up the house, made a long list of demands of things we weren't happy with and had a very long chat with the boss today. She was very understanding (Her: "Oh, I'm sorry I thought you wanted a shit job." Me: "No, no. If I wanted that I would do it myself."). Things have picked up since then: they call my wife "Sir"; clean up after themselves and all is well despite Danny (not the Antiguan one, a Polish one) trying to electrocute himself today (and more pertinently blow up the computer at the same time). We will see.


My wife says...

It's only day 3 of the painters but my wife is losing it. She phones up regularly to regale my with what they did next: "You wouldn't believe...". Today's list includes Pshamak burning the worktop in the kitchen with a hot coffee pot straight off the stove (rendering my earlier comment to Yol "He seems the more together of the two" redundant); Danny leaving the front door open constantly so the cats could go play in traffic; Danny saying to Yol "warm my cup of tea up for me, nuh?" and when she said she would show him how so he could do it himself he said "I don't like to take advantage, see?"; Pshamak changing the plugs and light switches without turning the fuse box off ("I didn't like to do that. Yolanda needs to work." Sweet.); Pshamak announcing to Yol that there'd be no electricity in most of the house as he had cemented up the plugs and light switches and had to leave it off overnight; more I can't remember. I daren't go home.


From my wife: The Decorators

John Cusack
YZ writes:
"It's day one. Danny and Pshamak (the P's silent, but if you're Polish Pshamak can hear it) finally show up a week and a half hour late to start painting and decorating the various bits of our house that look even more scuzzy than the other bits that aren't being done because to have the whole thing done would cost us more than the GDP of a small developing country.

They start off by burying anything remotely useful (TV, cheque books, shoes, car keys and so on) under blue sheeting which is then taped down for the duration (estimated time 7 days, realtime 20 days). This takes the best part of the morning then Danny takes a break to go and buy some shoes and sardines and Pshamak knocks off for the day, mumbling something about having to go finish off somewhere else. You have to admire his honesty I guess. The thing with Pshamak is, I can't help feeling that he probably speaks English perfectly well and just uses the fake accent to make communication all but impossible. Which would fit in with PJ's theory that he's actually John Cusack researching a new role.

The communication thing is also a bit of a problem with Danny, whose thick accent (he's a Rasta from Antigua) means I have to ask him to repeat everything he says including 'Can I have a cup of tea please', 'I'm over here - having a bit of a lie down', 'I'll have some of that stomach medicine you mentioned', 'I'm going to pick up my son now so can you close the windows upstairs' and 'Where's the pear juice you bought me? I'll take one home and leave one here for tomorrow' ­ at least twice. He's a well cheeky one that Danny. But at least he sweeps up before knocking off.

Of course the communication thing between Pshamak and Danny is priceless. Neither one of them can understand the other at all, so it's like being in the Chelsea dressing room. But at least John Terry's shoes aren't buried under blue plastic sheeting."


"I can't go to Hackney...

"...looking like this," said my wife, "I look like a cunt."

Last night she dreamt she was at an opening party for Habitat. For reference she was wearing a white linen top and pale lime linen shorts.

This picture of Ron Maiden is in no way a reflection of her current state of mind. Having said that our next door neighbour just popped round, back from holday (2 weeks in Greece since you ask), and as soon as I opened the door she said "Are you OK?" and put on a very concerned face. So who am I to criticise anyone for anything? (I have shaved now though).

David Essex and Tommy Roberts circa 1987

Hey the good old days! While the cool people (my wife for example) were out with Leigh Bowery and going to cool clubs (the names of which escape me temporarily) I was hanging with my homeboy David Essex. Apparently he's really mean and is notorious for never buying a round in Annabel's or Stringfellow's or wherever it is that people with unironic mullets go these days.


Mister Magnesium (tm)

My wife has started telling me her dreams: 'Mister Magnesium had had his throat cut and the hole was 8" long and he was seven feet tall. I wasn't scared of him although I knew he was trying to kill me because he didn't know that I knew he was trying to kill me.'

'The one the night before had Graydon Carter ("Who?") and load of Vanity Fair parties,' she says.

Pulp Covers: Spillane

Trying to tidy up the house produced 5 black bags of rubbish and assorted boxes of things to go the charity shop. I can't throw books away so the whole process takes much longer - first, identify them as books I won't read or consult again in my life (or ones that can easily be obtained) then box them up, then wonder whether St Joseph's Hospice round the corner really needs a load of Derrida, Freud and Lacan. I probably should skip and burn them Nazi style.

The big thing is that the house looks as cluttered as ever.


Steve Bowbrick and me by Naomi Woddis circa 1988

Not much to say really - you're better off reading the notes by clicking on the image. I'm clearing rubbish out of the house on this beautiful bank holiday while my wife is at the seaside with Maria and Jim. I found this. It's nearly from 20 years ago. I'm so old.


Passed Out

This isn't me. It's from the blog of a guy on Flickr that I follow. It's called Los in Baghdad. The passed out guy is in the US Army in Iraq. He's on leave. It feels like it makes my musings on my new iPod/iBook/rain outside my window a wee bit shallow and insignificant.


Time to upgrade

I've been thinking about upgrading the OS on my iBook for oh, about 2 years now but will finally get around to it this weekend I hope. The big reason for not doing it before was the fact that I'd have to reformat the drive and I live in fear of erasing useful data or not being able to open it from the back up. Anyway, I've found this very handy site and am planning on losing all my passwords and data upgrading this weekend. Alternatively I could go down the traditional route and buy a new iBook with 10.4 already installed on it.


My Italian in Laws

I mentioned Channel 4's Insite project a few posts ago and here's the site that I built as part of it. It's old photos of my wife's family with a few words telling you something about the pictures. Full disclosure would involve me saying something like "PM is a freelance contractor currently employed by Channel 4 on the ORIGINATION INSITE project" but that's not really my style. Honesty I mean.

"When I rule the world..."

"It's a question of control," says my wife. At least once a day she'll start to say something like "In my production of 'Guys and Dolls' they won't sing that song because it's not very good' or "When I'm running a bed and breakfast we'll serve baked fruit (like peaches) for breakfast". It's hard to remember them all so I'm going to start writing them down here (for the good of humankind). I think they're Open Source and can be implemented freely as long as you retain the original credit.


Scotch Egg Picasso by Yol

The thing that has always struck me since I first encountered Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon, about 25 years ago, was the relationships it posits between the fields of Western and African art and culture. While potentially the creation of the work could have raised all sorts of questions about the role and function of art in different societies and so on, Picasso's masterly PR and marketing machine meant that he remained the focus of the ensuing discussions in art history and criticim for the rest of the century.

This is Yol's interpretation using a Scotch egg, baked potato and baked beans. The willow pattern plate is a nice touch.

Insite Origination: Channel 4

There's this excellent website and project being run by Channel 4, the UK broadcaster. Basically they're encouraging people to tell the stories of incoming cultures to the UK by building a series of websites. To this end they're running a series of workshops across the UK. They've already been to Bradford, Bristol and are running some in Wolverhampton at the moment. I wish they'd had something like this when I was a kid.

These are some of the sites they've made that I liked:

Traditional Asian Drag Queens
Pickled Cabbage (Serbians in Bradford)
Turban - Harphuman Singh's story