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 I thought of my friend Adam who collects out-of-date newspapers like he was some weird old-person.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.