Dana Bubulj: Sculpture, Film, Shadows, Art

Their work, words and wonder

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Roundup #4

It’s been a while, mainly because of being busy/rundown and as my laptop has come down with what I have and is refusing to boot outside of safe mode. It’s all great fun. As such, not doing a web round up right now, just covering films and the like I’ve been up to lately (that, upon editing, I’m amused to see flow topically):

The long way to a small angry planet, by Becky Chambers, got a lot of perhaps undeserved chagrin on my part, due to being an ultimately quite sweet thing I read while feeling quite misanthropic and uncharitable. The start of a series, I believe, and beloved of many of my friends, this story introduces one of those casts that feels like they’ve been workshopped on Tumblr, complete with sentient AI romance and a poly (bi?) femme!reptilian-alien. But to be fair, a nice enough space adventure that can be read quickly. [edited to rephrase] 

So as a palate cleanser I went onto 1984 (George Orwell), which, despite pretending to have for about 10 years, was the first time I’d read it. I’ve not seen any film adaptations either, if we’re not counting Brazil. I found it amazing, and in particular, the idea of Newspeak was fascinating to me in its conscious obliteration of nuance. I was reminded of a comment of… Nabokov’s I believe, when discussing translation of poetry and how it was impossible to do so with Russian due to the richness of the language and vocabulary. English is similar. A French friend working as a translator has often commented to me how difficult it is to get nuance across due to French’s comparatively smaller vocabulary. The sheer point of multiple words that, arbitrarily can be summarised under the one umbrella, is to differentiate (‘No, not just oak. Winter oak, that’s the noun!’). Newspeak is like a perverse take on creating Platonic ideals while reducing the capacity to speak, to give voice to their thoughts.

But then I like semiotic discussions, and I digress.

I never wrote up that PCC marathon I mentioned in my last roundup, did I? Well three nights in a row certainly stopped me turning down the left too soon. It was good to see A Streetcar Named Desire on the large screen. It has been so many years, probably since doing it at school, with Williams’ lush stage directions making the scenes so vivid. I remember having different sympathies back then, than when watching it now. I hadn’t remembered the subplot of Blanche’s potential romance with Stanley’s friend. Or the baby, come to that. The acting is of course superb, with Kim Hunter and Vivien Leigh well realised. Brando’s Kowalski covers charismatic masculinity to ugliness and violence well, though I’d forgotten how antagonistic he actually was from the get go.

Tarkovsky’s Stalker [Youtube], which I’d not seen the entirety of before, did well by being on a large screen. That said, the film had two to three possible endings before it actually finished – by which point we were wondering if it ever would. A set of character studies, it revels in long, slow shots of each of the three protagonists’ faces. The self-styled archetypes on their way to a place where wishes come true – each there out of desperation. A quiet film, with some fantastic colour work on the worlds. Were the threats of the zone real or imagined? It’s not really clear. Ponderous, with some wry comments on the nature of writers that were definitely played for laughs.

Another classic film was L’Age d’Or [also on Youtube in entirety] by Bunuel and Dali. A series of not-entirely connected surrealist scenes of political resistance, uncontrolled sexual urges and political satire, with a fab intro on scorpions. There was some gallows humour, and some marvellous silent-film overacting.

On the note of artificiality, I saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou again, this time in the cinema. Perhaps my early dislike of Wes Anderson is being tempered as I mature, perhaps enjoyment is often situationally based. Either way, it was great to see the film on screen – in particular the shots of the documentary films. I had forgotten that Jeff Goldblum was so fabulous in this one. Anjelica Huston stole the show, and I love her. Also Seu Jorge Bowie covers are great.

On Bowie, went to the Tricycle and saw Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars, live at the Apollo in 1973. With a precis from the last remaining spider, who was very into his epic rock, the film was great to see large and loud and live. Even if that guitar solo of Ronson’s went on approximately 300 times too long. Made me think I’ve been far too harsh about live recordings of songs before, generally preferring the studio version for roundness of sound. But there were some nice versions of songs, including from albums I’m not massively familiar with but will definitely have to go back to.

Speaking of retro, there was a fab double bill on at the PCC of Electric Dreams and Her – both love stories with AI though very different takes. Electric Dreams, from which the song of the same name came about, follows a guy with quite frankly rubbish takes on women in a love triangle with his musician neighbour and his accidentally souped up computer, which has gained sentience and creepy entitlement issues that are half played for comic relief but also the voice of the grubbier bits of this generation’s geek culture. Another story of the Internet of Things gone terribly awry, this was actually pretty fun to watch (though there was a moment at the beginning we were trying to remember whether it was pastiche or of its time, it’s so very dated). 

I had been meaning to catch Her before this, so I was glad it came up. It gave me a lot of feelings, despite essentially hanging on the principle that you’d fall in love with Scarlett Johanssen. Joaquin Phoenix was fantastic as a very believable, and not particularly sympathetic (if very relatable) man still mourning the loss of his marriage and not managing to do real relationships. As a writer of others’ feelings, an AI OS you can talk to seems a natural fit for his emotions, and it’s left vaguely ambiguous whether AI is fully reflecting his projections or actually sentient in a more autonomous way.  I found the surrogate scene pretty hard to watch, as the idea hit close to home, though I did enjoy the film –  There were some quite amusing comments on exclusivity in the singularity age, and some fab subtle tech futures. That said, I never ever want to watch phone sex on screen, and this film made me more than once, which I shan’t forgive. Actually, it’d be an interesting double bill with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as it shares themes of mutable reality and memory within a man’s impressions and projections of love.

For a nostalgia-esque easy night in, a friend and I rewatched Hackers and Constantine. Hackers was and is absolutely ridiculous and great fun, even though when watching it I couldn’t shake the bit in my head going “when did Sick Boy go to the US?“. Also couldn’t stop seeing Matthew Lillard as simultaneously his chara in The Good Wife, and Fred, the guy who wants to be Godzilla in Big Hero 6. There was quite a sweet (and not all white(!)) ensemble cast too, in a Dark Angel kind of way. (Also, Jolie, Yes hello.).

Constantine holds up in the era of superhero/comics adaptations and while he’s not my Constantine (the sarky blonde in a trenchcoat whose heart is broken and friends keep dying), he was one of mine. Also Rachel Weisz is lovely and I maintain this.  As an aside, after reading a great interview with Keanu Reeves I watched Street Kings on Netflix, which was ridiculous but was definitely one for good performances from a bunch of people I recognised with Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans (US) and Hugh Laurie all starring.

This weekend I finished the main plot of The Witcher 3, which I’d been putting off for a while because I have a tendency of leaving things right before their end for ages. Found a lot of parallels between Ciri and Buffy (of vampire slaying fame), which is all I’ll say as I don’t want to spoil it. On the Dlc now, and enjoying being trounced again by various beasties while carrying out challenges from a genie type omnipotent master of mirrors who is essentially Q from Star Trek. Some nice character work, with some great humour.

While buying tickets for Logan the other day, I was struck by how rugged and old the poster made Hugh Jackman look. Almost Geralt-like. The film was silly but enjoyable, though definitely not for the squeamish in Robocop level gore. Also not content in killing just the one black guy, they do their whole family. Sigh.It was also very disconcerting seeing the guy from Narcos channelling Gary Oldman as a ridiculously over the top Southern villain. The sniping between Wolverine and the professor was great, particularly in its meta references to literal X-Men comics. Again, like Hackers, I was left with a distinctly Dark Angel vibe in its plot and particularly ending.

I also watched Neil Gaiman talking about his collection of Norse Mythology, acknowledging those that came before and their visions of the translations. His take on them sounded decent, and something I’ll probs borrow at some point. He made quite an interesting point I’d not thought of before, of the limited cast of the Myths, with the particular edda sources perhaps being a particular focus, how generally speaking there aren’t any goddess-centric stories, perhaps because they were told in different spaces, private spaces, women-centric spaces where the stories were told for reasons that weren’t captured by the already historicising Snorri. There are giantess especially, that said. It made me want to go on a Marina Warner binge.

With regards to events, at some point I’ll write up BIFM‘s WIFM event for International Women’s Day, which was a positive, short panel that brought together leading women in the field of Facilities Management. But that’s shop talk, so ought to be split out.

Visited the Oxford Playhouse last month to see The Winter’s Tale, a play I did not know at all. Interesting after remembrances of King Lear and The Tempest: families undone by doubt and mistrust, with regret and estrangement, a bit of Pygmalion thrown in at the end. Some nice contemporary spliced in, with a compere/bard that I was expecting to turn around and go ‘anyway, here’s Wonderwall’ at any moment.

Tune in next time for Ikarie xb1, past futures, why Bri-nylon will save you from the temptations of mysterious carpet sellers and the Central St Martin’s Fashion in Film series.

Anyway, here’s wonderwa–  In closing, Suede’s The Asphalt World has been in my head all day. I’m OK with this.

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Roundup #3

I have had a soft spot for Tom Gauld since his Guardian comics. His longer narrative comics (like Goliath), are lovely, and there is a quiet contemplative nature to them. As such, I was pleased to get Mooncop, his latest, which chronicles a policeman on the moon as people gradually leave to become more and more automated. Devoured in one sitting on the tube, it was dry and hopeful. Definitely recommend.

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On a completely different note, I read Red Riding 1974 by David Peace, which is part of a larger series that I do not think I’ll be able to read. It was recommended in a discussion on Twitter a long time ago about the pervading darkness of 70s Yorkshire, and certainly the story of serial child abuse and murder, gruesome crimes and police corruption, as well as a protagonist who is not a good person, was definitely unrelentingly bleak. There was apparently a tv film made, which could be interesting, but definitely one you’d have to be in the headspace for.

Speaking of headspace, I’ve just finished Sara Maitland’s A Book of Silence, which has given me a lot to think about. Throughout walks and time spent in various wildernesses and deserts, Maitland writes about the history of silence and contemplation with regards to inner and outer worlds, and of prayer. Quite engaging, full of personal anecdotes and analysis/awareness of experience exper wheniments and wider narrations. While I have reservations of extended solitude in my own life, having had negative experiences before, there is something to be said for deliberate quiet and thoughts – either in walking or other activities. I find there are moods in which I will go walking, usually at night, through the streets of London, in silent witness of the dark metropolis that so has my heart. I wish I had been more receptive to the beauty of Skye, but was too distracted by midges, by the mundane. Perhaps once with a better sense of self and am less broken. Also, remind me to write about Accidie at some point.

And there’s something to be said about the physicality of action – the walking, the writing, the drawing. While I tend to have some kind of ambient music on as a white noise filter, there is a quiet focus in doing. There is an odd reference in the first Expanse book (Corey), referencing V.B. Price‘s death-self. I looked it up, and found it chime with some of the other bits I’d been reading recently. “Cleaning away the normal patterns and wastes of my day. I prepare to meet myself on the page, to see what is there”.

Girly Juice is a treasure trove of mostly NSFW blogness, which I mention because she also wrote a fab thing recently on scheduling writing that I need to go back to and properly absorb, but talks about how to deal with energy/creative bursts and dearths. Generally through planning – properly caning it when you can, and have reserves for when you can’t. Also useful to remember: having day start/finish rituals, and writing down ideas with more notes than you think you’d need for later. When I’m in a slightly off headspace, I can barely take a moment to process the thing I’d like to think/write about without being bombarded by several thousand other things spinning off, all of which with potential. I recently experimented and wrote a list of things I wanted to cover, as below, as well as as many of the spin-offs as I could.

Pre-emptive thoughts to process once I get back to them deliberately

  • on silence (Maitland, Goldsaito)
  • on assessing the world (Perec)
  • on building your space (Bachelard, supply chain tweet)
  • on guilt, on bridges burning/building
    • they built that bridge right over the old one
      • London bridge is falling down falling down
      • We who live in a tower / always a castle
      • Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair
  • on business with yourself
    • the process (idle hands, cooking, drawing)
    • the silence of making, the dialogue of making

As you can see, it’s a bit exhausting.

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Here comes a Thought‘ – from Steven Universe, Mindful Education

I actively would recommend you taking the time to read Craig Mod’s How I got my Attention Back, which I found through Warren Ellis’ great newsletters. It’s a nuanced commentary on our addiction to the internet and social media without the usual hand-wringing and erasure of those who need those networks to survive.

“But the quieter my mind became, and the deeper I went into my own work, the more I realized how my always-on, always-connected state had rendered me largely useless.”

 

I recently did a shop at Present & Correct, which seems to be a lovely stationer/art shop of slightly retro graphics and typography. They have a lovely twitter of interesting things too. My fave purchase was definitely their Copper tape, made with real metal. Aside from looking great, it can hold some shapes, so in running it along the bottom edge of a journal page I’m able to kink it to find it more easily. Still using Bullet Journal. Might see what technology can do for me, particularly in regards to providing clean slate grades, with something like a spreadsheet with conditional formatting that blacks out cells once there’s numbers in them, so that I’m able to build data without comparison. Not sure if it’d be massively helpful, but worth a shot as I’m conscious that mood is very much a reflective thing, and so is graded as “better than yesterday/earlier”. I read a thing recently that I can’t find about in order to find something ‘worse’, like a year, say, it’s got to be objectively about 100 times worse for it to register as a new level. So if I were able to have particular indicators of each level, that could be a more objective chart. But who knows.

Other joys have been creating cocktails with Briottet’s Liqueur de Coquelicot de Nemours, which I was introduced at The Jolly Botanist in Edinburgh, where I had about five of its eponymous cocktail gleefully. At home it’s simpler – some poppy liqueur, some Unicorn Tears gin and tonic water. I was also reminded of the glory that is Mr Fitzpatrick’s Blood Tonic Cordial, having had copious amounts of it with lemonade (and later with gin & tonic) at the lovely Vout-o-Reenees surrealist club on various occasions – most recently at Molly Parkins’ private show of paintings. (On that note – Parkins’ paintings had an odd feel to them: that the landscapes within them had been brought forward in a wave to crush against the window of the canvas. There was a deadness to them that worked in the darker sea images, but elsewhere less so.) Have attained fruitbat status at work, and have started eating a lot of mangoes, for some reason. Also must go back to Brü in Harrow, which has the fab distinction of actually being open late.

Absolutely thrilled to have seen Escaped Alone at the Royal Court, as I have wanted to see Caryl Churchill performed professionally for years. The cast of four women were really good at the fragmented conversational quality that is so hard to get right written down. Their inner worlds were so fleshed out, with hints throughout that frame their trapped-ness. All the while is interspersed satirical apocalypses, from cave ins to plagues, with society breaking down acutely and generations developing differently, in a viscerally wrong way. We came out after the 50 minutes with knees broken from the ‘restricted legroom’ seats, and chatted about Mrs Jarrett’s role, where from her ‘terrible rage’, her outsider nature in class, in relationships, in history.

In other theatre news, saw a scratch night at the Omnibus in Clapham that showed a lot of promise. Amy Acre (who I’ve definitely reviewed once or twice over at Sabotage, performed her new show, Insomniacs’ Sleepover, which showed some promise and definitely stopped too soon (due to the nature of the evening, not the actual show). The surreality and desperate attempts to try anything to get to sleep, self-help recordings and lectures and possibly new friendships as relationships break down. The other show I caught was When We Died by Alexandra Donnachie, which was a darkly comic narration of a woman at a funeral home confronted with the body of her (I assume) rapist. The character’s voice is great throughout, and only alludes obliquely to her past with the man on the slab, with heavily pregnant pauses and nervous nattering. Both very different, but worth catching.

Actively loved T2 (Trainspotting sequel). While it does have its flaws (notably in its use of women), it had a script could both have me in stitches and emotionally invested in the characters. Well, particularly Spud, obviously. It did so much good to have rewatched the first one very recently, as why I particularly loved it was the cinematography and music, which stood well on itself but worked best in its sometimes very clever and subtle callbacks to visuals from the first film. Obviously sometimes this was a bit anvily, but I think they acknowledged that (“this is just nostalgia!”, he shouts, up on Arthur’s Seat), and kept it strong nevertheless in a story about having grown up, and revisiting the past (in locations and relationships). The past is a different country, and all that.

Catching up on The Good Wife, slowly, though had forgotten a large majority of the plot. I miss Kalinda. Finding Taboo interesting, with some inconsistent characters, but Tom Hardy gives it his all as a slightly bizarre creature. Not sure how (or if) it’d get resolved. Saw Mean Streets, which made me sad rather than anything, on behalf of Keitel’s character. Also Full Metal Jacket, where I suffered from crowd blindness and thus could not actually differentiate most of the characters. Enjoyed the pilot for Mr Robot, so will probably go back to that.

Have managed to get over the issue I had with Destiny, and enjoyed it thoroughly for a few days.Definitely looking to go back to it and play more, though I am continually annoyed by its lack of local co-op. On that note, I am also slightly frustrated by lopped off content within DLC, which I may purchase at some point (but not right now.). Started Dragonage: Inquisition as a single hand hatchet wielding dwarf, and have thusfar not managed to die *as* often as I used to with games where you control whole parties. Having only watched people play previous games, a lot of the plot content is one I don’t have, but I shall trust my current companions and see what happens. On a completely different gaming style, I started Stardew Valley, which had a similar kind of frustrating learning curve as Destiny, except perhaps more so. While I’ve liked games like that in the past, there doesn’t seem to be as early a payoff to grind to make it actually worth it. Also the 2am KO is frustrating as all hell. Started playing Two Dots on my phone, which reminds me of snake crossed with connect 4, and all the addiction of candy crush. This’ll do nicely.

The last two weeks has seen a rash of orders to the Prince Charles Cinema. I shall look forward to, in the next month or three: A Streetcar Named Desire, Stalker, Electric Dreams/Her double feature, L’Age d’Or, The Aquatic Life of Steve Zissou, Ikarie XB-1 [Voyage to the End of the Universe], Things to Come, Ghost World and Mad Max: Black & Chrome. Gosh.

Fab things online

And to finish with something glorious:

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25th Jan 1851: I’ve fallen in love or imagine that I have; went to a party and lost my head. Bought a horse which I don’t need at all.” – Leo Tolstoy

Roundup #2

Following on from last month’s roundup, time has passed, a year has changed. On a personal note, things are more positive. At least more so than the white-noise of December.

in girum imus nocte consumimur igni

‘We spin around consumed by the Fire’

Books & Media

Of things read recently, they’ve been all over the place, genre-wise. Claire Trévien has a fab review over at Sabotage of Akwe Amosu’s Not Goodbye – I loved “Prayer for Rain“. Currently reading Margaret Atwood’s Hagseed, which I adore. I am a sucker for takes on The Tempest, and this has a fab unreliable narrator too of a creative director who is reenacting his revenge for being ousted from the local theatre festival through a production within a prison workshop. Some lovely touches, not least in the nice play of protagonist “Felix” and nemesis “Tony”.

Devoured Bitch Planet Vol 1 [DeConnick, De Landro, Wilson, Soma, Peter, Cowles] in the one sitting – shall definitely grab the next one when it comes out. Set in a futuristic women’s prison it covers corruption, racism, sexism and revenge with some characters I look forward to get to know better. Also caught volume 1 of Faith: Hollywood and Vine [Houser, Portela, Sauvage], which was light and cheerful, though I’m unfamiliar with the original source comics. On another comic note, I’m currently subscribed to Shade the Changing Girl [Castellucci, Zarcone, Way] which is massively trippy and will need some re-reads, as the world expands. I have a lot of nostalgic fondness for Shade the Changing Man, as I used to get odd issues from the 10p boxes – it usually worked in that fashion – completely different locations, worlds, dangers. I must actually try and track down an omnibus collection so I get more context(!). Love how the new Shade’s worlds combine, and how the madness bleeds through. Gorgeously drawn.

On a book note, never have I missed my stop as much as when I’ve been reading Aliette de Bodard‘s The House of Shattered Wings, which was a slow burner but enjoyable alt-history fantasy with fallen angels, houses of magic, old grudges and the conflict from the colonisation of South East Asia. The first in a trilogy.

In my catching up with classic films I’ve never got around to seeing, I saw The Godfather I & II – which were (obviously) great. I almost want to go back to the first one and rewatch having seen the flashbacks/history of Brando in the sequel. The cinematography was stunning, with some lovely framing and echoing of poses/situations.

Another thing I adored was 3% [Netflix, Brazil], which is a bit like The Hunger Games, if they’d addressed the resistance from the start in a series of ‘tests’ given to 20 year olds with the goal being to leave the deprivation of inland and go ‘offshore’. Engaging cast, and a plot that had me hanging throughout. Roll on the next series.

Started Destiny on PS4, which would be great as a co-op if people were not all level capped wandering about while I get destroyed by knight swarms at level 4. I object in principle to games that won’t local co-op. It’s one of the reasons I’ve bought so many Borderlands 2 DLCs – local co-op is fun. You sit with your people and shoot things. You don’t have to have a solid internet connection, or be online at the same time in the same way. That said, anyone who wants to shoot things in Destiny with me, let me know.

Speaking of video game mechanics – started Watchdogs, which I enjoy except for the fact that I’m generally slow to pick up controls, and the sheer amount of GTA-like driving quests end up in me somewhat annoyed at the thing for not escaping police in time again.

Out and About

No Man’s Land, NT Live – I couldn’t get tickets to the actual performance, so ended up watching it live at the O2 in Finchley Road. Not knowing anything about the play (or indeed, any of Pinter), I came to it fresh. The cast were great, with McKellen and Stewart playing off each other fabulously as always, and quite enjoyed listening to their Q&A afterwards reminiscing on the original performance and the take on dementia. Reminded me, in some aspects, of Sleuth, that manages to really ramp up the tension between Olivier/Caine to almost uncomfortable levels.

For something completely different, Kiki’s Delivery Service at the Southwark Playhouse was wonderful – with Eiko Kadono’s story adapted for the stage by Jessica Siân. I’d not known it had a separate life outside of the Ghibli, and it managed to stand completely independently, with a small cast managing to convey a whole lively town well through some great costume changes and movement. The cat puppet and actor was also fabulous. That said, probably because I did see it mid-December, a story about a girl who messes up on her job and lets people down (even if she does pick herself up from that knock) was a bit too close to home. Christ on a bike, I’m glad December’s over.

Cinema – Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them – which was whitewashed fluff with some great creature design but some questionable plot and character choices. Saw Attack the Block (Cornish) at BFI IMAX, which was definitely a good film to see massive. It survived the screen well. Will have a look to see what else is on there. Became a member of the Prince Charles Cinema, something I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but realised there are a few things coming up I’ve my eye on (mostly the Tarkovsky season).

In another real-life thing, found a cafe (Brü) that opens late in Harrow that has decent tea and ice cream. But also opens late. It almost makes the place less of a ghost town after the shops close. Went for a wander in central London near New Year’s – past midnight you’ve got to step through a forcefield between the completely deserted tourist traps to where the life is, with open food and bars and people. Quite bizarre. Must do more of that, particularly as I’ve signed up to do the Half-Moonwalk.

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Still using Bullet Journal, and starting to track moods and actions in earnest. It’s also a good way to actually do the scrapbooking I enjoy doing as and when, rather than saved up forever. Got a new phone that’s got a decent “manual” camera that I am definitely enjoying getting some use out of (as above, N18).

Online

Recipes

Going to try and do some takes on some of the cookbooks I’ve got in a more formal fashion. Happy to have success thusfar with Gordon Ramsay’s roast pork butterflied with sage and garlic and tied up again. Similarly, got a lot of compliments for a take on Nigella Lawson’s parsnips mashed with porcini water and liberal amounts of nutmeg and thyme.

AOB

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Dorothy Parker, 28th June 1945, reproduced from Letters of Note

2016 Charity Centurion – Summary

Goodness, it’s over, this year’s Charity Centurion with James Webster –  100 pieces of art and poetry in roughly 30 hours, uploaded to an album on Facebook (I’ll try and find a more easily shareable link soon).

We’re planning on selling these to raise more for Macmillan, along with last year’s for Shelter – so we’ll figure out a decent way to show them online. Thank you so much to all those who supported us with prompts across social media and donations (here’s that link to the Charity Centurion Just Giving page). We couldn’t have done it without you.

Things I learned throughout this process:

  • High chairs and low tables do not a happy back make, and by Sunday night I had even more sympathy for copy-monks than I had already.
  • I finally managed to get a handle on the Chinese ink stones I’ve had since uni and not managed to use to my satisfaction.
  • The J. Herbin ink bought from Cult Pens way back when is still lovely and I need to supplement the reds/pinks I have with more blue/green/browns.
    • On that note, I still adore that site’s “Deep Dark Red”, which is the colour of blood.
  • Other stationery note, Papermate’s Ink Joy Minis, bought in a pack from Ryman for a few quid, are amazing.
  • In keeping the initial prompts more hidden than last time, the works were more related to each side as autonomous entities away from their source. Which actually worked out quite well because it allowed them to flourish a lot more.
  • We had a lot more Classical prompts this time around. Which was interesting (and often involved research!)
  • When sleep deprived, Webster’s poetry is fabulous.

Did something fun to the prompt ‘You’ve got it all backwards’ – claiming it and writing a short text piece, forcing Webster to do art (~meta~). Ended up with a four panel cartoon from him, and a nice way to approach the suggestions with a different perspective.

Speaking of doing things with a bit more background prep, there were one or two homages – to old art deco posters, old postcards, and reference books. Should do more of that, I think – as publishing itself is such an interesting and varied visual medium.

I also used one or two pages from a job-lot of old learning-to-read books I bought for this weekend, but didn’t end up using much from. It’s always more satisfying keeping pages removed to a minimum and seeing what you can make from the text in the discarded edges.

Three more favourites under the cut:-

Read the rest of this entry »

*blows dust off*

An update of sorts.

So that Poetry Art Centurion James Webster and I did last year? We’re doing it again, this time for Macmillan, because Cancer is, well, Cancer, and it takes too many. It’s next weekend, and I’m mildly terrified that I won’t be up to the challenge, my ink having gone copper with rust. But it’s a challenge, and we’ll definitely be posting about it on the social medias [links: Pinstripeowl Instagram, Webster’s Tumblr, possibly my [Pinstripeowl] Twitter and the Webster’s Official Book of Faces]

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Webs and I winning SEO for our Poetry Art Centurion. An awkward event name, maybe?

Speaking of Instagram, I’ve been working on a project inspired by Kenneth Rocafort‘s amazing diary page sketches that are a delight of my twitter feed. See also Jeffrey Alan Love. Twitter art makes me happy. Art makes me happy, if happy is the right word. But I digress. This year I started the imaginatively titled ‘ddoodles2016’, which are usually 1-2 minute doodles usually in bed before I go to sleep. Posting to Instagram has, for some reason, managed to keep me on it without ‘cheating’ (well, weekends don’t count) on days in a way I’m quite enjoying when I sit to think about it. Most of them are scratchy and/or terrible, but keeping a routine is doing wonders for the feeling of slight artistic stagnation. I have lots of plans for this year, oh yes.

Luckily his nibs is a joy to work with, and bouncing off someone’s ideas/inspiring/moulding concepts is one of my favourite things. I’ll keep you posted.

Poetry-Art Charity Centurion

In lieu of dusting this blog off, I’ve instead got some news to paraphrase from the lovely James Webster:-

With Britain in the grips of a housing crisis (not enough homes being built, ever-increasing numbers of homeless households, both house and rent prices spiralling up out of reach) and with a government promising further cuts to vital services, we wanted to do something to help.

As an artist and writer who’ve collaborated before on projects (including a work published in Issue 1 of Verse Kraken), we knew we wanted that help to involve putting our creative output to some concrete use.

So, inspired by the efforts of previous poets who’ve completed the ‘100 poems in a day challenge’, we are setting ourselves the task of creating 100 pieces of poetry/prose infused art in the space of a single day: Saturday 16 May.

If you’re able to spare anything at all to sponsor our efforts, we would be incredibly grateful. If not, then tweeting us some support during what promises to be a very long day would also be fantastic.

1. Sponsor us! The Justgiving page is here. All support would go to Shelter.

2. Share us! The more people you tell, the more support we get and the more people will see the creations on the day.

3. Inspire us! That is a lot to create, so we need prompts and things to base the pieces off! We can be contacted both on our blogs and elsewhere on the wires (@websterpoet and@pinstripeowl).

We’ll most likely be blogging about the work as well, so do keep an eye out for developments.