Clouds and Colours

Colour – a catch-up of recency. The mountains of North Wales inspiring new works from Inky Conditions. The client branding coming to bright fruition. Unchecked blooms in rusted pots and planters made from gathered wood. Being out in the world of Idea Capture as professional illustrator. And loving this. The train journeys partnered with Death In Ice Valley and its mesmerising slowness of podcasting. Sometimes Joni Mitchell. Which brings us back to the clouds.


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Tiny Houses Too

To change the mood a little, I stared (beady-eyed with these brown peepers) some pallet wood blocks into the shapes of little houses. A Welshness of cottages happened. These have been a happy aside to an otherwise maladjusted week. I added more lately some very tiny ones.

There’s a fit, somehow, with Inky Conditions. I made an insta-comment that they were in some way a merging of Inky Conditions and Cut-Out Poems. Will I make more?

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Tiny House, My Teabag

I understand there’s lots of staging, and the best friends are sometimes not that, but… I’m kinda addicted these early mornings to the Tiny House, Big Living series on the Travel Channel. And for all the comfort psychology, nesting and The Poetics of Space, it’s the people I find myself drawn to. Even the toothiest and most wholesome of them (and, yes, I do use wholesome derogatively) pull me in with their exuberant warbling, their staple-gunned ‘oh-my-gosh-ness’ and their unlikely average heights (but then again little people in little spaces is no fun, right?). And I know that it’s the scripted-or-otherwise ‘can-do’ that gives me a buzz – or a shock of shame; and it’s the partnerships that speak of possibilities. Open minds on open roads. For anyone privileged enough. Which I was.

At the suddenly funkytown Arts Trail where I showed my work, perhaps the thing I was most proud of (a contender being my design and build of the Tiny House-style leaning pop-up stands) was that someone bought the ‘My Teabag’ print. Shown here above, see? The young lady of a young couple, laughing and then asking. My reaching for it from a ledge. And the not much needing to talk about it, just knowing that somebody got it and liked it enough to want it in their home. It’s one of the Inky Conditions pieces which, more than any other, I allowed to percolate – or more correctly mash – for any significant time. Selling it felt like telling my first real story.


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How Did I Get Here?

Exhibition, of a sort, coming up. I was thinking how the last time I showed work – like a show with its own poster and a degree of outlay – was, uh, way back in 1990. Imagine that. You weren’t even born. This internet was all fields. What’s more, it was in Hong Kong – pre-handover. Fringe Club, just up from the banks; island-side. Now here I am. How did I get here?

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March 21st. Something of a blogging fulcrum (which sounds like a fruity insult – ‘a rich epithet’, as an elderly neighbour of ours referenced last week, in relation to a phrase which had fallen from her lips), by which is meant for as long as this blog has been alive, there’s been something to say about this date. Tom Waits Day, I’ve previously styled it. The calendar’d context of A Town With No Cheer, with its hummingbird trapped in a closed-down shoe store – remaining for me one of the great lyrics ever penned. Today, this year’s version, is blinding in a miserable March 21st… or, otherwise put, it’s well-lit.

On a beach – our favourite of that region – in North Wales, there’s a moment in the pre-storm when I look up from the interesting branches, and find that in all directions there are no people to be seen. I am entirely alone. Whether this is the weather, or the final weekend of the rugby, I don’t know. But not a single dog-walker, no walking dog. A train goes by behind me, my new ears makes a stranger of the sound.

I continue beachcombing, foraging for fascinating pieces, and I realise that I am completely, thrillingly, everlastingly-in-this-moment happy. I want to do this forever. Sometimes the wind just stops. The sun appears. My phone dies, which, but for the loss of its camera, I don’t mind. B. will reappear from the West Shore. Our friends live just over… there.

Before the phone rolls a six I get a snapshot of the skies. Between then and now I push further into Inky Conditions, readying the project and myself for a first exhibition of sorts. And today – this blinding (sun-in, sun-out) March 21st, I free a newly-rusted cycle from the pile of bikes in our lean-to, and ride up to the big farm; talking to the horses as I walk the last of the hill.

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With the Birds

I was sitting in a little park – a shared garden area – just off Baker Street. It was a Saturday morning and I was waiting for my slot at the barbershop just around the corner. I was early. I sat on a bench and fed some birds, or likely just wafted crumbs in their general direction. A police officer walked the diagonal path across the gardens, and passing me, commented on the gathered tweeters. ‘You’re popular,’ said the PC. Then as they walked off, added: ‘with the birds.’ Funny thing is I’d got the joke already.




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Criminal Desires

Italian crime drama, Gomorrah. With Season 3 just newly devoured, it’s got me wanting, craving again the comedy antidote to those criminal core behaviours. The alternative, I mean, rather than an opposite; and real bathos, I mean, by comedy. See, ganglord? How not every declaration is crystal? I love the drama, of course, and the well-delivered types, the darkness. It’s the absence of rooted everydayness – the slightest capacity for standing in the wrong place, for a surprisingly squeaky voice from a dry throat – which becomes the loudest thing for me. Because this is so about me – watching pantomime villains with none of the panto. Ineptitude, doubt, self-consciousness and de-railing – the things that dreams aren’t made of.

I find myself watching Gomarrah through two pairs of eyes – one frowning, one upside-downing: impressed at how the confederates waiting to parlay (and slaughter) have arranged themselves into that horseshoe formation; not just themselves but their fancy cars too – whilst simultaneously I’m alight with comic fantasies concerning the moment someone in the brotherhood suggested how they should stand, and someone arguing petulantly otherwise. Unmentioned choreography in all its arch-campness. The car with the broken headlight, or annoyingly stuck on full beam.. ‘well I don’t know how to turn it off!’ Just anything, frankly, to illuminate the stumbling loveliness of realness. And, yes, because I have a problem with concrete-headed alpha types; brooding and, ultimately, passion.

Best part of half-a-dozen years ago, I wrote a thing here about EastEnders villains; specifically the long-gone character, Michael Moon. It’s nice to know that the observations and goose-pimples of a younger and undoubtedly gorgeous me still represent my case. That there is form in the criminal archetype, which having been seen – and loved – will always trouble my watching any such effort which fails to deliver the goods with the baddies.

Does the lightly, cleverly, comic version of Crime Drama exist?

I skim back through a notebook and I find scattered scratchings on the subject – even efforts to set up the premise. Or brief character profiles. The nightclub owner who only talk in metaphors and ever-ready analogous scenarios. ‘Have you ever listened to a harpsichord?’, he languidly asks, when the copper rocks up. ‘No,’ says the beak, ‘and put a sock in it, cos you’re under arrest.’ Why do crime lords presume they can engage with a windy snippet of culture; assume to be understood? Yes, I have issues with authority, criminal or otherwise. The desire to subvert is funny and strong. And I’m going to start staking it out.


Link to 2012’s Michael Moon piece, here.

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