By way of some resolutions

Having some time off work leads naturally enough to spending some time thinking. Not necessarily high quality thinking but this is what I've come up with so far (somewhat spontaneously and more for my benefit than yours and in no set order):

* The Modern Defence as the universal answer to any move by white (Steve, that's 1...g6 regardless of what white does).
* Read a book about the Modern Defence (or just make it up as I go along - the jury's still out on this one).
* Persist with The English as the universal white opening but with a more aggressive bent.
* Look at endgame play. Basically if I haven't won (or lost) when there's still a reasonable amount of material on the board then I will once we get into the endgame.

* Read more books.
* Read less shit books.

*Watch more films.

*Spend more time painting.

So this is what I have so far. Should I surmise certain facts from the fact there are whole areas of life that aren't covered? There's no mention of relationships, friendships and social stuff. So should I assume that all these areas are OK or just that I'm ignoring them? Maybe I'll go and think about these things next.

The picture, BT, is of Mikhail Tal.


Things I like today

Because I'm essentially a very very lazy busy person I've started a much smaller bite-sized blog on Tumblr that you can have a look at. it's called 'Things I like Today' and the idea is that it makes me do something nice everyday or failing that think about the things that I like doing or even just things that make me happy (sometimes).

Check out 'Things I like Today'.


Awopbopaloobop, Transition

Originally uploaded by Catfunt
This is the painting that I did for the current show at Transition. This is what the website says about the show:

The synthesis of music and art has a long history from pop to post modern, with particular songs becoming integral to the making of individual pieces of work. As Peter Doig recently remarked when asked if he listened to music whilst painting, 'don't all artists?'

Lyrics can develop a particular artistic poignancy and with this in mind Transition have asked over sixty artists to make a new work inspired by a favourite lyric for the show Awopbopaloobop.

My lyric is from Robert Johnson's Rambling on my Mind: "I got mean things, I got mean things all on my mind."

Things I like today...

The Wrestler: Mickey Rourke has the hair to end all hair (think David van Day meets Nicola big-tits-whatever-her-name-is) and is stunning as an aging wrestler in this new wave-ish Darren Aronofsky film.
Places to eat: Tre Viet near me and Soho Japan (for the lunch specials) in town.
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill: mostly for the cricket and Trinidad in New York.


It's *Rod* not *Rob*, Campaign

Campaign gets the name of Kangaroo's new CEO (and my new boss) ex-Channel 4er Rod Henwood wrong. Nice quote about Ashley though.


JG Ballard in French with my pic of the man on the cover

A really cute French publishing company, called Tristram (after Shandy), asked me a while ago if they could use a picture I'd taken of JG Ballard. They sounded really nice and I liked the stuff that they did (as well as the translation of JG they were doing Lester Bangs) so I let them use the pic for free. I then forgot about it. But the other day three copies of the book arrived in the post and it looks very fine too. Not surprisingly they reversed the image so JG point out rather than at the spine.


Brand, Ross, Sachs and The Daily Telegraph

I was a bit worried about the lack of coverage of the Ross, Brand and Sachs affair so have waded in despite having no first hand knowledge of what's going on. There's an excellent piece at the Telgraph's website by Neil McCormick where he points out amongst other things that Brand's listeners on Radio 2 are also license fee payers:

The notion of the BBC as a public service broadcaster is being much cited, with rather old fashioned concepts of how it should be upholding some kind of moral code. But everyone pays the license fee, including Ross and Brand's vast legions of fans. Some people actually want edgy, reprehensible humour on their radios and TVs, and would be more offended by the stuffy blandness of most BBC output. Maybe we should start emailing Jonathan Dimbley, and demanding he get a bit more saucy?

My favourite bit though are the comments, some are relieved that some journalists are prepared to keep the whole thing in proportion, see the other side and so on. The others are patently nutjobs (the best bit "If you think they are acceptable you shouldn't be writing for the Daily Telegraph."):

They shouldn't have been engaged by the BBC in the first place - at any price - not even if they paid to do it. If you think they are acceptable you shouldn't be writing for the Daily Telegraph.
As for your infantile remark about the off switch, where is the off switch for the licence fee, where is the off switch for the hundreds of millions of pounds that are poured into the BBC from the taxpayer's coffers.
Catering to the puerile cretins who appreciate and applaud such behaviour is not my idea of public broadcasting.
Good riddance to Brand and, with luck, to the other moron, Ross.

That told them.


Business Quote of the Day, 22 October 2008

“It’s not about having shitloads of shit.”

I work in a very classy place.

Alexa Chung and *Gary Hume*

So we went out with Maria making the schoolboy error of not ordering out and staying in to watch Arsenal take Fenerbahçe apart in the Europen Cup, in the process missing Adebayor's transformation from Saturday's donkey but with a worse first touch to last night's near Henry-like prefect finisher. Anyway on the upside in the dodgy but local Cat and Mutton not only did we run into (Yol says you use this in preference to "spotted" or "saw" as it implies an intimacy that patently isn't there) the extremely talented clothes horse and TV presenter Alexa Chung but also the fabulous Brit artist Gary Hume. For those or you who know Alexa's work but not Gary's here an interview with the man himself.


Chess, game 1

I played my first game for Hackney Chess Club last night. Playing fourth board (there are only four) for Hackney against some team whose name I never learnt I lost to someone we shall call "John" (mostly because that's his name). I'm looking for some way of embedded a PGN viewer on the blog so you can play through the game but haven't found one that works with my current technology set up. In the meantime you can (if you can be bothered) play through the game and groan at my mistakes. I will add some proper notes when I get a chance (not that many games sell on the fact that they've been annotated by the loser). In the meantime some top level thoughts:
* I dicked around too much in the opening failing to develop my pieces and castle- John may not have "known" the generally-seen-as-being-good moves in this opening after move 6 but he developed his pieces fast and castled early.
* I wasn't flexible enough in my opening play
* I failed to see his threats early enough and then i underestimated them
* I blundered at the end when I might have saved a draw
I think I need to do some more work on the middlegame (and endgame and opening...)

John v. Me
16 October 2008
League Game
Golden Lane Community Centre

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 e6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 a6
5. Nc3 Qc7
6. Qf3 Nf7
7. Bd3 Nc6
8. Nxc6 Nxc6
9. Be3 b5
10. 0-0-0 Bb7
11. Bf5 e5
12. Be3 Ne7
13. Qg3 Rc8
14. f4 d6
15. fxe5 dxe5
16. Rf1 Ng6
17. h4 h5
18. Nd5 Bxd5
19. exd5 Qd6
20. Bxg6 fxg6
21. Qf3 Bc7
22. a3 Kd8
23. Rd3 Be7
24. Qg3 Rf8
25. Rxf8 Bxf8
26. b4 Be7
27. Bc5 Rxc5
28. bxc5 Qc5
29. Qe5 Qg1
30. Rd1 Bxa3
31. Kd2 Bb4
32. c3 Qxg2
33. Qe2 Qd5
34. 1-0


Arriving in New York..

Arriving in America properly was delayed by the zealousness of the US Immigration service who decided to send me into a small over crowded room to await review. From out flight there was only a black man with dreadlocks, a white guy who turned out to be an actuary and me. Most of the people in the room seemed to be older ladies from Eastern Europe who shared hairstyles and taste in clothes with my mother-in-law. My wife who retained the right to wait with me while I was reviewed said it was probably because in my passport photo I look a) very dark-skinned and b) more importantly, like a serious jihadist. I can kinda see what she means by the photo but I suspect it was the fumes from the unlikely cocktail of beer, wines red and white, bloody mary, beer and brandy that I unwittingly breathed all over the immigration lady while I was being electronically finger-printed that set the alarm bells ringing. The room reminded me most of the dole office in Birmingham where I used to sign on as a teenager. But here they had guns and were more smartly turned out. They seemed to really buy into the idea that they're protecting the homeland. Anyway, once they'd reviewed my case I was allowed to leave without questioning so I never found out what the problem was.
The thing that I noticed first is that Yellow taxis don't look like they used to - but it is 18 years since I last came to New York. Instead of the menacing death machines of Travis Bickle they look like a cab would in a Disney film.

Things done so far: ate in the diner round the corner (twice); hung out in Central Park (twice); Frick collection (twice - once to see in they had cafe only); tea from place on corner (twice); Bloomingdales; Pylones; walked around a lot.
I kept seeing the Frick in NY's best kept secret-type lists so it obviously isn't that much of a secret. It is an amazing collection amassed at the start of the 20th century by old man Frick (aka "The most hated man in America"). For your money ($15) you get an amazing Bellini, an amazing Duccio, Cimabue, a couple of very good El Grecos, two excellent Holbeins, a couple of Titians, a very nice Ingres, a great Velazquez and others I've forgotten.


Unité d'Habitation, Marseille

This is part of a series of pictures of Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in the south of France. I made my family visit Marseille specifically so I could go and see it. I first saw it in slides as an 18 year-old on an art history A level course in Birmingham. It's the sort of thing you don't forget. Years later I got to live in Trellick Tower for a year due to the kindness of Chris Collins. Not the same but not bad. Maybe tower blocks need sunshine to fully work.


George Bowbrick aka Warren Mitchell in The Saint

I was watching The Saint on itv.com as you do when you're writing the entire copy for a website that hasn't been built yet - maybe you don't but hey, I don't go around criticising your working methods - and came across a bit that made me go 'Fuck me' (as you do when you're watching old episodes of things with Roger Moore in). It was an episode called The Charitable Contessa and although set in Rome was patently shot in the same place as all the other epsiodes (somewhere in West London I suspect) and had a cast of kids and British actors playing Italians with duff accents. My favourite (so far, I'm only halfway through the ep) is Warren Mitchell playing an Italian taxi driver called Marco de Cesari. With a name like that he could also be the hero of a very steamy Mills and Boon. That's Warren in the picture above. But more than that my very first thought was 'Fuck me doesn't that Italian taxi driver look like Steve's dad'. Then I thought 'Oh. It's Warren Mitchell.' Anyway, I've been thinking about George (Steve's dad) because I'd been looking at pictures of his much belated funeral on Flickr recently. Anyway, I guess I'm writing this all here because for every story you ever told George he always had one to tell back at you.

This one's for George Bowbrick aka Warren Mitchell aka Marco de Cesari.


Richard Prince at the Serpentine

In keeping with tradition we go to see a show that's been on for months on the final weekend. I love Richard Prince but the show is disappointing. There isn't enough work for a start and what's in there is pretty patchy and tries to explain the Prince phenomena within the traditional language of art production, namely a selection of different pieces from different bodies of work. I saw some of the nurse paintings at Sadie Coles in 2003 as well as the earlier Publicities and one of the things that struck me is Prince isn't simply about appropriation but about serial appropriation. He doesn't just borrow something the once, he borrows it over and over again which makes the impact all the greater. Publicities in particular is for me an archetypal Prince show - he does almost nothing that sits in the realm of what we still think an artist does: he chooses some pictures from his own stash, has them framed and in a few cases embellishes them with (almost certainly faked) celebrity autographs. This isn't to say that there isn't an acceptable face to Richard Prince - he paints as well as anyone and there's a reassuring intelligence at work - it's just that this isn't the most interesting one.


Tates Modern and Britain: Street & Studio versus The Lure of the East

Typically, despite the fact that a walk down Vyner Street at this time of year reveals that most galleries are closed for the summer or in the hands of private hires, I still manage to miss or near miss the summer blockbusters I've been promising myself to go and see for the last three months.

Orientalism at Tate Britain promises much, largely inspired by the Edward Said connection implied by the title, and sadly doesn't deliver. The revelation for me on coming across a small oil on paper picture of Sarajevo from 1922 by Stanley Spencer in the very last room was that most of the stuff I'd been looking at before didn't have any great artistic merit. Even from an anthropological point of view the show doesn't engage. The imperialist values that seemingly imbue Orientalism have never really express themselves in the purely visual and the show struggles to get to the heart of the matter. The show opens with portraits of Victorian orientalists in arab outfits, the white boy wannabees of their day, moving through architectural studies of Cairo, a very disappointing room showing what the western imagination thought went on in the harem (dull) before petering out in the early twentieth century. The whole thing did make me wonder how things might have played out differently had there been no islamic prohibition on self-representation during the western explorations of the middle-east.

Street and Studio at Tate Modern which you've now officially missed is great because as well as the stuff you'd hope to see like Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans the curatorial team have pulled out some seemingly slight but equally powerful pieces you're less likely to have seen. Coming a few days after my visit to Tate Britain Ed van der Elsken's five pictures of a Hong Kong woman again highlighted what was missing for me from the first show. What had appeared to be a set up sequence of a model in the crowds turns out to be way nastier. As Elsken's is quoted in this extract from the Tate gallery notes:
Ed van der Elsken’s tactics were more aggressively voyeuristic. He followed an anonymous woman around the streets of Hong Kong, creating a sequence of pictures that is reminiscent of a tracking shot from a movie. ‘I followed this babe around for a while. She knew I was doing it, and didn’t like it one bit’, he confessed.

Polish-born (but now based in Germany) Timm Rautert's 1974 sequence 'Germans in Uniforms' made me laugh as did Cindy Sherman's 'Bus Riders' from 1976. Sherman's reconstructed the look and poses of a series of people observed on the bus and taken self-portraits. For half the pictures she's blacked up and here's my drawing of one of these black bus riders. Here's my drawing from a sequence of anonymous street photos from 1960s Berlin where passers by posed with a man in a bear costume. I made a list of photographers/works to find out more about (some I'd never heard of):
Lewis Hine
Arnold Genthe's pictures of San Francisco's Chinatown
Martin Chambi
James van der Zee
Arturo Ghergo
Malick Sidibé (I never followed up last time from the Barbican show)
Laurie Anderson's 'Fully Automated Nikon [object/objection/objectivity], 1973 and the stuff it's inspired that's happening now.

Rght at the end of the show is Rineke Dijkstra's two screen video projection 'The Buzz Club, Liverpool, UK/Mystery World, Zaandam, NL' 1996-7 where young club-goers, much the worse for wear in several cases, dance in front of a white screen to a techno soundtrack that seems to be coming from an adjacent room. Larger than life on the wall it's a powerful piece about inhibition, control.

The Real Tuesday Weld at St Pancras Church, last Wednesday

There was a book launch or art show or something and the a band playing called The Real Tuesday Weld. We liked them a lot - they were laid back and looked like mature art students. I liked them because they didn't have to try too hard. They played in a corner of the crypt and it was very dark. There may be none of the band members in this picture but it's a good representation of the gig.


If you look hard you can see...

Me and Yol took Leon and Betty to the Grant Museum of Zoology which, as I tell anyone who'll listen, is one of my favourite places in London. We also managed to see the Skeletons show at the Wellcome Collection and visit Ultimate Burger, Maplins, Paperchase and Robert Dyas (aka Bobby D's). The picture above is of one of the squid specimens from the Grant. If you look at it carefully you can see it looks like an old Chinese man in traditional gear.

More pics from the Grant here.


Great Yarmouth: The Camel Race

Great Yarmouth
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
We spent the day in Great Yarmouth with the outlaws. While waiting on the pier I was watching the camel racing arcade. Basically you pay some money and you get a bet on a mechanical camel that races (albeit quite slowly) along the tracks and the winner gets something. Then I realised that the names for each of the camels were meant to be reflective of the desert setting for the game but in piece of latterday Orientalism they came out as:
Mohamed, Abdul, Bogieman, Kismet, Gobi, Sultan, Yasmin and Bagdad.

The world is a very strange place.

Black Power Salute: BBC4

There's another chance to see on iPlayer the BBC documentary about the Mexico '68 Olympics and the events around the black power salutes delivered by Olympic medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos and the anger and reaction it provoked.


Publish and Be Damned, 2008

I hadn't been to P&BD for three years - I hadn't realised that it was so long but it moved to Rochelle School a while ago and I'd never been to the new venue. Inside it was hot and very very crowded. What I love about the event is the lack of explanation and any kind of conventional sales material: most people just lay their wares out of a folding table and that's all the explanation you need. At one end of the market there are publications that ape various commercial magazine conventions like a fixed format and logo but usually with unrelentingly non-commercial content (the copy of Mono-Kultur that Yol bought me on the Wu Tang and chess) and at the other the one off artist books, like the map of Hackney with a CD of Ridley Road market traders talking about property prices. In between you get the very fanzine ones that vary from Harry Pye's The Rebel to plain B&W photocopies that look most like Sniffing Glue but with lower production values.

More pics here

My first thoughts on leaving the show were that although it's not that well known an event it is very inclusive and very participatory which has remained pretty much the case since the first fair. The other thing I've been thinking about since then is to wonder what effect the internet has had on self-publishing and in particular the low-end fanzine part of the market. While you'd believe blogging, free webspace and free software to manage your blog would have killed off publishing as a mode of self-expression Publish and Be Damned seems to demonstrate the opposite is actually true. Pushing through the crowds with the their carrier bags full of dead trees and ink or waiting 15 minutes to get to the front of a particularly busy stall you realise that there is something quite special about stuff written, montaged, scrawled, copied and printed on bits of paper that are then (in many cases) lovingly folded in half by hand and stapled especially when it's as good as Calvin Holbrook's Hate Magazine.



My family
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
There isn't really much to say about this except that I love it.
(L to R) Myron, Yolande, Hilton, Pat and Bert.

It puts a lot of pressure on me coming from a family as cool as this.

I think I opted out with black Converse, chinos and black t-shirts as my default position.


If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be v. Popbitch

I went to see the Chapman Brothers' show at the White Cube (If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be) the other week and I realised that what they do - yes, everyone else realised this a long time ago, I'm just stupid - is they make mash ups. I saw the show, marvelled at the small watercolours by Hitler that they'd bought and modded (and made much more palatable) and largely forgot about it. That's the problem with art, like evil and booze, you quickly become inured to it.
What made me think about it again was a link in Popbitch today to graffitied pictures of Keira and Sienna on Flickr. I'm not sure what it means, if anything, but when I looked at the Keira pic about 30 minutues after Popbitch arrived it had some 400 views. A couple hours later it's reached over 8000. Maybe it means something about art in the gallery versus art in the street. Probably not. I also noticed that I'm the only one so far who's favourited it. Maybe all that means is Popbitch readers don't have Flickr accounts...


The Seventh Seal on 4oD

The Seventh Seal on 4oD
Originally uploaded by Catfunt

While in all honesty it probably isn't a career defining moment for me I have to say how happy I am to see Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal make it onto 4oD, Channel 4's VOD service. Although my colleague Alma is effectively running 4oD these days and I am a secondee over at project Kangaroo (a secondment that is in a temporary hiatus) I am happy to take any credit that is available for this.


New insults around the office

My current favourite:
"You taxi-hailing media wanker"
Courtesy of Jody, directed at Tim.



Olympic Posters: Canada

Olympic Posters: Canada
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
At the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood there's a very good show of Olympic posters through the modern age including this detail from the Montreal Olympics. (Full poster here). I was standing in front of it with my niece Betty. She looked at it shaking her head and said "That's not right." I'm not sure if she means the kid doing gymnatics with the man dressed only in green underpants or the general air of desperation that pervades these badly lit, badly shot and badly styled pieces of 70s memorabilia


Bird Scarer in the fig tree

Bird Scarer in the fig tree
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
My father-in-law, Egidio, makes these fantastic bird scarers to put in the fig tree to stop the birds eating the figs. The figs don't get eaten but I think it's probably the grumpy looking man constantly peering out the window giving them "male occhi" (literally 'bad eye') that keeps them away rather than the plywood cats with luminous green eyes and red triangles for noses.


They're builders, what do you expect?

Looking down
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
In the foyer of the Stassi-style building (apparently I can't call it 'The Stassi building' anymore in the same way that M&S can only sell Moroccan-style chicken) where I sometime work there was a lady with too much make-up complaining to the security guard and the head builder about the language the builders who are refurbishing the block have been using. This is made worse by the fact that they're 'working in close proximity to my staff' as the lady put it and that they're saying things that are 'totally unacceptable'. The self-same builders have been drilling directly above my desk for the last three months three times a day. Personally I'm happy if they swear all they want as long as they stop with the fucking drilling.


Posh and Becks, Scarecrow Festival in Martham, Norfolk

These were my favourite scarecrows. The Posh is *genius*.

Scarecrow Festival in Martham, Norfolk

The Elvis was my second favourite. The best one is Posh and Becks.


Steve (or is it a Russian dissident?), circa 1988/9, Chantry Point,

My wife was going through some of the old shit I keep in the house and one of the things that fell out was a contact sheet from the old days. Taken around 1988 or '89 the pictures are of people I was at college with, taken around the flat I lived in half-way up a tower block on the Harrow Road. This one's of Steve (who is most decidedly still around); there's another one of me and Guillaume (now in Los Angeles landscape architecting) and one of Jojo. I've no idea where Jojo is now.



Originally uploaded by Catfunt
Went to see Goldfrapp with the excellent Chris who'd spent the last month phoning up the Royal Festival Hall to see if they had any returns. Finally they did and we ended up in a box on the right hand side of the stage, hence the weird view in the pics. They was a multi-instrumentalist with a beard and lank hair dressed in baggy white shorts (he has his back to us in this shot) who seemed to do all the music despite the presence of a harpist, keyboardists and a small string orchestra. Biggest cheer was for 'Strict Machine' (maybe it's not called that but you know what I mean).


Asparagus at the plot

Asparagus at the plot
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
Our asparagus should be ready soon although the frost did get some of the emerging shoots. I noticed M&S was selling English asparagus today when I was in there buying pork (outdoor reared too) to go with some bean curd and the salted black beans I'm cooking at the weekend.


Pretty in the snow

Originally uploaded by Catfunt
As my wife says even Hackney looks good in the snow. Me, I like Hackney whatever the weather. Check out Snow White in the white snow. Yowsah!


You dig the tunnel I'll hide the soil: White Cube

I always imagine I'll write long lyrical posts like Andrew or Steve. In joyful anticipation I put the words, page and images together while riding the big bus from home down to Bethnal Green or Hackney, foolishly imagining I'll have the time at work to put these imaginings together. The reality is this, a picture by Harland Miller from the show he co-curated at White Cube and instead of poetry a series of bullet points:

    The show's based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe

    It's in the basement of Shoredtich Town Hall as well as White Cube.

    The Town Hall stuff is better.

    At first I thought having Poe in a dusty disused basement was too twee for Poe's work. Actually it gets the humour pretty well.

    The best work in the show is funny. The worst overly gothic.

    I once got a taxi in the 'seventies back to Chantry Point where I lived when I was very drunk. The taxi driver, a bitter bitter man, whose wife left him while he was in hospital had memorised the complete work of Poe while he lay there, wifeless and recovering. He said "It's what kept me sane" as he gripped my hand through the small money hole in the glass partition. He patently wasn't sane and had lost the plot a long time ago. He insisted on reciting the poems as proof of his feat. I remember he did The Raven and Lenore. He recited them at high-speed in a flat monotone like someone reciting the times tables. I've always imagined setting up an audio book label where cab drivers read the world's greatest literary works in a gruff "If I had that Ken Livingstone in here I'd give him a piece of my mind" monotone.


Cardiff aka Karloff

Cardiff aka Karloff
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
She's called Karloff. That's what the people who gave her to us called her. We call her Girlie or Cardiff - much better names for a cat.


Originally uploaded by Catfunt
I've been taking pictures again. I even went to see the Deutsch Borse prize at the Photographers' Gallery. We wandered round for ages and then I said to Scotia "I know who'd I'd like to win" to which she replied that they'd announced the winner already and it wasn't my guy. "How do you know?" I said. "Well, the big banner they have over the doorway is a bit of a giveaway," she said.


The Last Shadow Puppets: The Age of Understatement

Track Listing for the album due out in April:

1. "The Age of the Understatement"
2. "Standing Next to Me"
3. "Calm Like You"
4. "Separate and Ever Deadly"
5. "The Chamber"
6. "Only the Truth"
7. "My Mistakes Were Made for You"
8. "Black Plant"
9. "I Don't Like You Any More"
10. "In My Room"
11. "Meeting Place"
12. "The Time Has Come Again"


What do you do in the Studio?

 I was hanging around the studio the other day and decided to photograph the most recent work. I'm not sure even if this is that recent - I just haven't been there that much this year. I'll post some more on Flickr when I get round to it.
Posted by Picasa


Allotment: The Fox

allotment: The Fox
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
There's a very tame fox at our allotment.

The first year we were there one of our pumpkins disappeared over night. The very nice and hard-working chairwoman for the allotments suggested it might have been a fox. I said "Don't be silly, foxes don't do anything for Halloween."


Peter Doig at Tate Britain

Went the the tail end of the press view for Peter Doig's show at Tate Britain. By then all the serious journalists had left (probably off for lunch at Black's) leaving just me and Sarah Kent and the very nice guy who told me I couldn't take pictures because I wasn't a proper photographer. I was, like, how did he know I'm not proper?

We bumped into Peter (see what I did there?) on his way in as we were leaving. He was his usual charming self and despite being in an obvious hurry stopped to chat. He'd helped work out the room layouts as he had very specific ideas about the way that one picture should be visible in the corner of your eye or the way that the diagonal sight lines are very long. He was also really pleased to be at Tate Britain rather than Tate Modern. Having been there the day before with his dad he said that it was for people going for a nice walk rather than going to look at the art. I think the default position for many visitors to London is to go to Modern simply because so much fuss has been made about the building whereas (within their own remits) Tate Britain has a much better collection.


I don't know why I'm promoting these bad people

I took some pictures of the artist Peter Doig's studio in Trinidad last year. I then let Design Week magazine use them in the print version of their magazine on the condition that the pictures were credited and I retained copyright. They didn't pay me but as the writer of the piece is my wife I figured it was fair enough. Now it transpires the pictures are on the Design Week website but without the credit I asked for, and as far as I'm concerned without my permission as I only supplied them for print. Anyway, Peter's work's great so make sure you have a look before the feature, with or without the pictures, disappears under Design Week's subscribers only archive.

Peter Doig at the Saatchi Gallery
Peter Doig on Wikipedia
Peter Doig at Victoria Miro
Studio Film Club: what's on


Me by my niece

Me by my niece
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
This is a more up to date view of me (see two entries previous for me in my prime) by my niece just over two years ago. I prefer Paul's (although my niece is obviously incredibly talented).

Dad and me

Dad and me
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
I like this one.

Me by Paul Clarke

Me by Paul Clarke
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
From around 1990 or possibly earlier. Thinking about it I was still living in Chantry Point so 1989 or even earlier. He did it from memory and got most things right: I smoked, I had (and still have) round glasses, a penchant for black, not shaving and hair cropped at the sides. If only I looked this good now...


Car near Brick Lane

Car near Brick Lane
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
Apparently it's a Honda Z600 or so my friend Steve says. It was a very nice day, clear and dry with the sun coming in low from the south the way it does in the winter in England. We went to the Beigel shop and had herring (for me) and a cream cheese and smoked salmon for the wife. We walked down Cheshire Street afterwards carrying our stewed cup of tea looking at the pirated sportsgear and being accosted by gangs of chinese selling pirated porno. It's Brick Lane, everything's knocked off.