oil inspiration

Bin getting really into Duncan Grant & Vanessa Bell's paintings recently. I find some of theirs are in a simillar direction to what I want to do with my oils.

With these ones, I like how well the person sits with the nature around them, soaked into it. Really like how the strokes all come together, flowing in different directions to create the shape. The lottery of colour weaved and winding a figure out the Earth (like a wave out the ocean). I think the lack of detail on the faces especially adds to this too - no real personal distinction, its just a person in some shape, just as you may paint a flower arching in some shape.

This is probably the best example:

This one especially, the face kinda rises out of the foliage. The darkened outlines too on his knees and his right shoulder lean him outwards too and give him a slight distinction.

Oil Paintings

so continuing on from the last post, bin keeping at oil paintings. Just doing my third at the mo, and having a break inbetween.

As I said before, what I'm enjoying most is the way you can mix oils on the canvas. I'venever enjoyed colour, its always been a finnicky point for me, but I spose that's because I never went near a theory book for it or tried to understand how. Using oils gives me the time to do this, by practicing it, and learning as I go along.

Anywho here's the second one I did, its of me nan.

Quite happy with this one, though not really as its not what I was going for.

What I want to do with oils, is have the paintings be really loosely defined at the edges, then all come together in the focal point (in this instance that'd be the face) What I'd change is have the outer edges of the painting - eg the shoulders - be really loose & abstract, all paint splodges coming together, like flower petals, rising up to make her face. I want all the splodges to feel like nature coming together to make something. The idea being that we are like waves; how waves rise up out the ocean and form for a minute and we point and say 'hey look its a wave', people are the same: We rise up out the Earth, form for a moment of time, 80 years or so, then fall back into it, like waves do.

This is the idea I want to imply with my paintings. Not capturing that at the mo, but I feel if I continue I will. I think at the mo its because I'm new to it and still toeing quite a conservative line. When I've got the confidence of the medium I'll be able to express what I mean properly.

With this in mind, I'm going to break one of my rules. I've always believed that an 'artist', be it a painter, writer, animator or whoever, should try their best with what they're trying to achieve (the message, not just the technical ability). if you're not trying your best your setting in stone a limit of your abilities that is lower, and is a harder standard to reach further from. Your also not developing. Hemingway summed it up neatly during a conversation with Fitzgerald (from his book A Moveable Feast):
"He had told me at the Closerie des Liles how he wrote what he thought were good stories, and which were really good stories for 'the post', and then changed them for submission, knowing exactly how he must make the twists that made them into salable magazine stories. I had been shocked at this and I said I thought it was whoring. He said that it was whoring but that he had to do it as he made his money from the magazines to have money ahead to write decent books. I said that I did not believe anyone could write anyway except the very best he could write without destroying his talent"
This 'destruction of talent' is the reason why I've chose to avoid the industry. Perhaps its pig-headed to do so, but I don't care, its only my opinion. Perhaps im setting myself up to fail, but again I don't care, I may end up 27 with no 'experience' behind me except my own subjective avenues but I'd rather explore them than some other pursuit. I also know its an ignorant perspective (ignorant of the virtues of the industry) but still the main thing I want to do is my own thing. I'd rather walk at my own pace & do that than be caught up in some whole other world.

But for painting with oils I'm going to break this for a moment; I think what I need to do is continue practicing: be conservative about it, if that's all I can do. Most of all I must just keep at it. Keep knocking them out and getting better technically. It's like Dylan said, 'Write ten songs a day, throw nine away'. The gems will begin to shine.

When I have my confidence with them, I'll be able to be freer with it and explore how I want to use them. I spose this is the standard way really - Picasso learnt to paint traditionally & realistically very well before he went into Cubism. Ralph Steadman too - he was a very accurate & articulate, traditional painter, painting landscapes and still life and such. He got his abilities up, then he met Hunter Thompson, got crazy, and his drawings completely changed..

My main inspiration, I'd say is still Kathe Kollwitz. I love her looseness. Altho she didn't work in oils (atleast that's not what she's known for) the way the lines curve & caress and disperse freely is (referring to the waves idea above) what I want to present.

Also love Lucien Freud just for the sheer thickness of his paint, & his auterial eye.

Also getting very into Duncan Grant & Vanessa Bell. I think these two touched on what I want to do at times, and in their varied exploration threw up some interesting ideas.

If you know anyone else I should look into, let me know. 

I do find I'm very 'conservative'. Painting, writing & such you learn things about yourself (for an auteur POV), infact it was playing Chess I really realised how conservative I am. My friend I usually play with would make big sweeping moves - throw the Queen out into the centre ground within a few moves - whilst I'm there, hushing my pawns along, little by little. As I've got more confident with chess, I've began making bigger sweeping moves, this will be the same for painting, in time.

Right, time to get back to it. Will post the painting up when done. Not liking it at the mo, but must keep my integrety, not let the Lilly Briscoe blues take over, and just keep at it.


your magnetic movements still capture the minutes i'm in

Did a new Dylan painting.

I have to say that I don't think of my paintings as 'art' really, other people use that word sometimes (tho I spose flippantly) and it's nice to be complimented but I don't. These don't say anything - but I don't mean that as a bad thing. They are just done out of enjoyment. I see it like this - the same way you dance to a song you love, that's you reacting to the energy of the music. This is just me doing the same. Painting was completed whilst listening to Highway 61 thru headphones, on repeat, late into the night.

Anywho, this was my first attempt at oils and I'm defintely glad of how it came out. I don't think it's great, but it's a good start, and I felt I learnt alot doing it: I've never been one for colour, I usually just ignore the idea of it completely, or if I do use it am quite blaize & throw it down in an abstract way instead, but oils really give you time to play with colour - mixing on the canvas. This was a great revelation. Watercolours are the opposite - you gotta be very fiddly & precise with your colour mixing before you lay it down, was great to not have to do that.

Everytime I do a painting I mean to not say much atall but always end up spouting off about this and that. Oh well, tis the way the penny drops. Every painting is a lesson learn'd

Here's a great quote from the man from his book Chronicles about his sound (or his art/style):
"The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the "Blonde on Blonde" album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That's my particular sound. I haven't been able to succeed in getting it all the time." 

Here's the photo it's from.

the other path

Following on from what I wrote about students attending university, I want to make clear the other path has equal & contrary merit.

NOTE - Reference to university is made in a general sense, although specifically is about my own ballpark (the arts). I'm sure it will encompass other subjects also, but some it will not

In short, uni for me was great to have those three years to really focus on growing (being like a sponge and soaking everything up), the chance to sit down and get on with it, but also the support, and especially the motivation to do so, something that I thought was necessary for me to keep me chained to my work station.

However, I feel strongly that someone, with enough conviction (strong emphasis on the word conviction) can simply (but not easily) do it on there own.

I always felt that, to take the example of a photographer, you don't need the best equipment, you don't need a Canon 5D or expensive tripod & lighting kit; most of all you need ambition, desire, commitment & conviction in yourself. Someone who has those will go out with a £2 camera and shoot everything they wanna shoot in total passion.

One of the best people I've met in the last year is my friend Steve, he didn't go to university, but has all these attributes in abundance for his field (singer / songwriter / music). Talking to him about uni, his idea was that he saw all these people going off for three years and thought 'how do I play catch up?' How do I do that without spending a penny?

Having not gone to university, you stand in the distinct advantage of not being anywhere between £20,000 to £75,000 in debt, and yet (potentially) as well qualified as your competitive peers who did attend university. Altho this may make you shiver in your boots with denial, it is true. Considering that your specialty is a creative venture; qualification comes in the form of a strong portfolio & passed clients, rather than A*'s & B's or 1:1's.

What you don't have is the three years spent with an open-pass to exploring your subject of choice in that prosperous bubble. There are great virtues to be hand from attending university. However, this is where your unspent £20,000-£75,000 comes in - see it as your golden ticket. Live cheaply (at home or in cheap rented accommodation) & get well acquainted with your camera, lightbox, canvas, (whatever). Use the local library to read about them technically, explore the worlds galleries online & keep up with contemporary trends: whatever you want, use the internet to aid it. Make the internet your new best friend and keep your use of it virtuous. Watch endless Youtube tutorials, and not just from nobodies, from masters in their fields, explaining it all intricately. Converse with the multitudes of people on the same path as you, online, get to the bottom of whatever it is you want to get to the bottom of. Be your own boss & push yourself: Schedule yourself a course as if you were a student - an hours researching in the morning, a photoshoot/studio session at mid day. DONT compare your efforts to those around you else you'll get stuck in first gear (unless your blessed with a vibrant & active home town)

You just gotta have the conviction in yourself, most of all.

This is hard, I don't think I could have done this, I think I would have wavered personally. This has been my plight since finishing uni, to write my own course of study (in the books I read, things I do) and keep developing with the same will & wings I developed at uni. But it's tough.

It's also hard to convince those around you that this is a virtuous path. Uni is almost like a free-pass in this regard, your family will determine that 'My son? He's at uni..' with pride and contentment. For them to see you take the other path and say 'He sits in his room and reads books and draws pictures' doesn't hold as much weight in societies eyes. But the one who does it with self-infused conviction, commitment, passion, and everything else, will be a very wealthy fellow.

busy bein' born: a pat on the back to students everywhere

There's a certain brand of cynicism regarding students that you hear from time to time, with even the employment minister Esther McVey recently branding students as 'snobs' who should work for Costa, but there's a very valid case for the worth of students to society.

University is a chance to exist within a bubble, a safe-haven where although you're likely skint, you're skint in the 'beans on toast' sense, rather than the anxious, over-bearing dread that comes part & parcel of being 'real world poor'. It's a bubble where for three + years you have few commitments besides your course of study, and are free to focus on your work, and your own chosen path within that framework.

One of my favorite things about returning to Falmouth University recently was to see all these young people walking about, each with a young-scrunched up face, lost in the thought of their own creation; perhaps trying to figure out some new thing or tie loose ends of there own desires. Each with their feet on the ground and their heads in the clouds.

Uni is a bubble where the freshness of youth can transpire to great things. We see this most voicefully in the sciences, where new ways of doing things, new potions and tonics for societies ills are remedied. Its my belief that cancer won't be cured by some government think tank or multi-million pound contract, but someday - perhaps on the offchance - in some university laboratory.

We see it too in my field, the arts. Art in the 'real world' has a habit of being a grand echo chamber, with icons of the past (1) repeated with tired acclaim (2). Unfortunately the acclaim most modern art receives tends to be thanks to its value in auction houses & ticket prices rather than its true worth to us.

Good universities are what Socrates would refer to as midwives: breeding grounds for newness. In the real world, under the shade of capitalism, great artistic ventures can be cast aside as phantom-plans, when really it is only the smell of money they do not engineer. At uni you have none of those obligations (the need to make work that is financially viable) and so you set off on your ways for other, more sentimental means.

Its the job of all students to take their three years and grasp them with both hands. It is a time of limitless prosperity for themselves as a person, and themselves as an artist, thinker, scientist, whatever. To be in that bubble, surrounded by like-minded folk, all pointed - with fresh insightful vigour - to the future, is a real opportunity for growth. With the right attitude, students bloom not only with their subject, but as people, growing rounded & worldy in lecture halls & libraries, in conversation & relations.

People often chastise the outlook of students as dreamers and idealists, and yes often this is fair criticism. However it is in this naive, playful wonderings that we find the most concentrated effort of new thought. Naive stabs in the dark, yes, fair; but one of them will hit the mark.

I'm a big believer in youth, I think your early 20's is the perfect time for newness. Much like footballers, you have the risk-taking naivety of youth that implores you to try new things, the (virtuous) confidence/arrogance to dignify your vision with great integrity, and are physically & mentally at your peak. You've also not been trodden with the ways of the real world enough to lose any of this. It's a time when the 'folly of enthusiasm' is all around, and the indifference of wisdom' is distant & unheard.

That's about all. A pat on the back to students everywhere.

Humblin Hubblin

Click to view it properly

It's easy to forget how small we are..

Sincerity part 2 featuring Bobby D

Following on from thinking about the importance of sincerity to art (first bit).

'Art' you can think of as 'articulation'. We forget that though words are vast and can be bent to present a fathomable 'articulation' of what we want to say, they are weak, loose-fitting definitions that can never fully pronounce what we really want to express. If we agree with W.Benjamin that works of art are mere deathmasks of the original (link, number 13), then words are merely pale stabs in the dark.

Talking about her husbands lyrics, Olivia Harrison (George's wife) said "George usually referred to the lyrics of Bob Dylan when trying to make a point or elucidate his own feelings of isolation and frustration brought about by things in and beyond this life. Many times he said "I wish I knew more words", but perhaps all the words in the world, including the Sanskrit and mantras integral to his vocabulary, could not fully express his depth of feeling and realisation"

This is true of all of us, and its the reason a certain song (or painting, poem, anything) can be so cherished for us in moments of heartbreak (or joy); they seem to pronounce so much more what we are trying to articulate than our words ever could.

This I feel is in the succincticity of all parts strung together; the melody, the beat - fast or slow, & the lyrics themselves, all joining, working together to relay the depths of what we feel inside & wish to express.

A very good example of this is Dylan on the track 'Positively 4th street'. (Note - A good example if you are  familiar with his other work, so apologies for my rose-tinted view) On this song Dylan sounds defiantly self-righteous, so scornful to his ex in lyrics that kick off with "You got a lot of nerve, to say you are my friend, when I was down you just stood there grinning".
However its not only in his lyrics but in the self-righteous way he sings them, the beat of the drum chugging away, and the melody which sweeps in and commands a sense of resolution to the scene he portrays. This ain't Charlie-Chaplin-Dylan caught in play-rhymes or serious contemplative solemn Dylan like we've heard in previous songs; this is him with his back up & his tail withdrawn from beneath his legs.

Words alone can't command such articulation. For example the lyrics themselves could be imagined in a broken, detached voice, distant and silently self-righteous. But the character he presents is one we can all find within ourselves when the time calls.

Another example, which is perhaps more widely recognised, would be Sinead O'Connor on Nothing Compares to you. Again, the words, her articulation of those words, and the simple, sad karaoke-esque backing track all tie together. With this example, we have the video too, which sticks in your mind just as emphatically as the rest.

On second thoughts, this post has a degree of hypocrisy when levied against the preivious post on the subject. Subjectively for myself, Dylan speaks volumes, however what's to say Christina Aguilera singing Diirty - written by someone else, perhaps not with her full 'sincerity' behind - can't speak with equal truth  for people as Dylan does? It's certainly sung with equal gusto, and afterall, art is in the eye of the beholder, regardless of its conception.

The same could be said for a Beyonce song (who I feel is simply playing the game) or a One Direction song (who, undeniably, are as factory-processed as they come). Is sincerity really fundamental?

I spose at the very least it's a great lynch-pin, if something is sincere, then it is worthy of consideration. If someone truly feels something then it is a statement to adorn the great human tapestry. Culture is a reflection of us, in our place & time - regardless of whether that's Sinead O'Connor singing despairingly about the death of her mother or Robin Thick singing ironically & testingly about rape.. Irony, malevolence & disdain are sincere emotions too afterall..

Then on another level, even if Robin Thick wasn't sincere, the reaction to it from the masses (people unflinchingly dancing away) too tells us something to further our understanding of ourselves & our current condition (culture).

Anywho, thoughts thoughts thoughts. Roll on.


Today one thing we are all drawn to think about is this sense of loneliness that pervades with social media. With growing melancholy, each of us, meandering slowly into a state of self-conformed isolation. When working long hours by yourself, stuck behind a computer in a room in a house, or perhaps during unfilled evenings, you may find yourself drawn to Facebook or checking emails etc: This is a lust for social interaction. It's a lust born from atavistic desires, the longing and necessity for community that is twice-trodden into the wellbeing of all humans and other beings. However, clicking through status updates, messaging long-lost friends - a solemn coldness is born of it all, and rather than fulfilling our lust we are left a little cold underneath.

'Her' comes to grips with this sense and shakes it in a not-too-distant future setting. It's not a fantastic film, a little unformed round the edges, but it does provoke questions in the way it envisions a plausible near-future. 

One thing that has concerned me recently regarding all this push towards a strange & detached future we're building for ourselves, is virtual reality headsets. I think right now they personify our vision and where we are headed. VR headsets will raise even more questions (and hopefully answer a few) about us and our needs. For example with a VR headset we will be able to lunch in East-side Manhattan, take an evening stroll along the Rialto and sleep in the comfort of our own beds; or perhaps have a dinner-date with a pal half way across the world, look around the restaurant, interact with other virtual-real people - imagine a virtual world populated with real people all walking around and interacting from the comfort of their own front room.  

 I have contradictory feelings towards it, on the one hand the teenage boy inside of me rears his head and shouts 'Wow! Amazing'  It's the same way I feel about cloning; it's messed up, the wrong path to tread for what we truly desire (contentment, peace), however its bloody marvelous and a testament to the genius of humans; we have gone so far down this path why not push it as far as we can and see what happens, perhaps that will be the footnote of the human lifespan of this Earth.

On the otherhand though I feel it'll only raise more questions about what humans really need. VR Headsets will further the question Facebook proposes & the lust for social interaction. Despite all this interaction and lottery of possibilities, will we too, when we remove the helmet and feel the real world, really be left cold and detached? In social interaction, is there something tangible in 'feeling' the other person, their energy & subconscious bonds? & if so will all this technology really offer any solutions or just further the chasm?


Anywho, one other thing that's raised is the thought (which I hadn't considered before) but if each of us had a device in our pocket that was so alive, so interested in us, new us personally & hung on every word, would that be of some beneficiary to our way of being? A personal PA that is unintrusive and dedicated to pushing us, caring about us etc. Would that make us all better? And if so who has the right sensibility and wisdom to design the psyche of such a tool? What virtues would be placated as THE virtues?


With visions of the future, utopian or otherwise, I am always drawn to recall Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The wearing of VR headsets, the fulfilling our time with distraction, is just another version of his Soma. It's just another way we can come home from work and distract ourselves until the next day. Or is it? Who knows.

Some wise words from the Dalai Lama:

"Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”


You could write this video off just as some wacky fella from Belgium. Do that aswell if you like, but it makes you think about sincerity. Note, assuming this is for real and not a joke.

Sincerity I think is key to art. If someone is saying something that they feel sincere about, from a  sociological angle we can use it to futher our understanding about the human endeavour. With this fella for example, he is obsessed with marbles. Bit odd, you might say, but it is an obsession nonetheless. If he was equally obsessed with something a little more usual, perhaps his body, working out, then we may not question it or write it off. 

This leads us to ask, why is it usual to be obsessed with your body/looks rather than something like marbles? They are both passions. Both worthless in the end, so why do we do them? Why do they make us happy & keep us compelled? Is it to be wrapped up in something that is the draw?

Anywho, hope I haven't lost you. But to turn back to sincerity. I find sincerity is key in art. Sincerity is the departure point from the audience to the work, from the audience to the soul of humanity itself. It is the departure point, meaning without that truthfulness & earnestness imbedded compounding every word, brush stroke, movement, how can we trust it?

Sincerity is key. Even if there ideal they are presenting is (perceived by you) wrong, sincerity enables you to trace it - where they coming from? At which point did there feeling become broken off from you're own, their eyes blemished & haized in this way? Trace that vein to the big human heart (we all want happiness, we all want to avoid suffering, we all live we all die). You can forgive innocence, you can accept a different opinion to your own if struck with conviction, you can emphasise - admire, pity, be GLAD for naivety etc etc. 

E.G the songwriter Elliot Smith. After listening to his album a few times I got bored of the whiny broken heartedness of it all. But that aint an act, it isnt something masqueraded or suggested by the record company. He's broke & sounds broke. He's sincere about it. This is the problem with people on X-Factor & modern pop music in general. They are told to 'sing joyful' or sing 'poignantly tragically' etc, but it ain't the truth of how they're feeling, there's nothing beneath the big bellyful singing.

Another example is the futurist art movement. I feel very little in common with the futurists, infact they are quite counter to my feeling about the world. They were people around the turn of the last century obsessed with what was going on around them & the optimism that bloomed from it - motor cars, big great feat's of architecture etc. They were wide-eyed at the new capabilities of man and heralded this new mechanical world they saw growing around them. They believed in a loss of humanity in the shadow of the machine. Marinetti, the leader of the movement, held great revolutionary opinions like "…destroy the museums, the libraries, every type of academy… …the great crowds, shaken by work, by pleasure or by rioting”… …We will glorify war – the world’s only hygiene – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.". I don't agree with this, but sincerity lets me see what led him to this point. 

Art to me is all about unrolling the endless truth of humanity. It's expression of everything in ways that words cannot suffice. As Bukowski put it "An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way." Without sincerity we ain't saying nothing atall, just treading dead water.

Big Sur

Just got through watching Big Sur. (you can watch it online here). No comments like 'it was good' or 'i didnt like it' because its not one of them things you can just yes or no to like that. I enjoyed sitting through it most of all for my interest in Kerouac & the Beats, whether its a good film to the uninterested eye, probably not.

I read Big Sur 5 years ago & I don't recall it too well. All's I remember is the colour of death that gets thicker & thicker as the book goes on. This is Kerouac at the end of his days, sick of it all, grown old (in mind) and just a general wearyness that suffocates everything. They got that feeling in the film & it's very true.

Big Sur is like the bookend to On The Road. What began in youthful excitement & freshness & was alive, grew old, got drunk  bloated (because what else was there to do?) & ready to die.

What I love with Kerouac is his ability to repose his statements, actions, from a later more thoughtful position, and to do this honestly, to look at the root of it (& to find the humanity embedded in each wrong action, right action, misaction, any action etc).

It's interesting that cinema (& culture) are turning towards the beats. When On The Road came out I was really skeptical, worried they'd kill it by making it this grandiose, Happy Meal Toy & teenage hoody-wearing thing. Making everyone know but know one really know if you get what I mean. However, now i'm looking at it out of pure intrigue. When contemporary culture reaches back into the past, after something specific, there's a reason for that reaching. You get this clever amalgamation of past & present. Like with Apocalypse Now, why did Coppola choose to reappropriate Konrad's Heart of Darkness in the Vietnam setting? What was he saying about his contemporary surroundings in doing so? 'The Horror, the Horror'..

I see the same now with James Bond. Compare it to the films further down the line & we get this sequential step through modern history. How they shoot the cameras, how they pace the shots, how the unravel the plot. All these metathings are the imprint of our time.

& that's the same with these directors working from Kerouac's novels. They are interpretations, expressions of our time. Big Sur is full of very arty, wandering shots, looking at birds in the sky, the sun through the trees, but all in that contemporary gaize, like it coulda been lifted straight off Vimeo.

I'd like to see the whole Duoloz legend spelled out. Each one taken up by a different director, different actors, a lottery of appearances, each actor, each film a different perspective on the same man. Because eventually, we'll see between them all, the blurry vague truth of his character(much like anybody's), all the shades & succincticity.

Life Update

Sorry for the witless title; it's 2:42 & my heads buzzing from listening to the whirr of the computer & the sly-blinding of the pixel for the last 4 hours. So if this reads a little off-the-mark, that's why.

Havent posted on here about what i've been up to in ages, & thought it might be nice to have a recap.


The magazines going really well, from strength to strength really. It's getting better with each issue, more formed, more sculpted to what we want. Getting better also because we came into it as amateurs, & naturally made mistakes. Slowly the errors are getting ironed out & the ideas are blooming.

One thing I like about doing the mag is that it brings a natural flow to my life; you have this wave that builds - you gather the content together, get the interviews done, go about selling the advertising space - it builds & builds for a month. As it reaches the peak you're all flustered & driven to get it done, then the final week comes, no doubt, I find myself there till the last minute, doing the design, getting it all in order. Then finally it's done, sent to print - wave comes crashing down, the feet go up & the day is spent breathing calmly.

Infact this wave was a problem before - that's why we switched to doing the mag bi-monthly. The problem was, you'd get it printed, but then straight away be onto the next one - no time to bounce back.

But that is nice, now, it has a natural flow - the wave that builds, then you have a month where it's easy-swimming, & youre all ready for the next one by the time it comes around.

This 'natural flow' suits me quite well. One thing i'm really working on with myself is tuning myself from being a 'reactive' person (Shit! This needs doing! Quick! Panic!) to being proactive. Proactive makes sense, is logically correct, however I read Notes From The Underground recently & Dostoevsky seemed to sum up the proactive life accurately for me.. 'The life of twice two's four is not life atall...'

Yes it is. Stop procrastinating you bum. Get your work done.

I really enjoy the mag in general. Quite simply, what do I love to do? Talk to people about things that interest me/things that they know deeply about. Doing the mag I get to brush shoulders with some really interesting people, & get educated folk* to spill the beans on interesting subjects like climate change, University fees, homelessness, travelling etc.

*educated folk - as in, folk who know much about there given subject. Not necessarily people who are scholared in it.

It's also been an avenue into unexpected areas, we're getting alot of support off people we werent expecting or weren't aware of.


I haven't posted about this atall yet, but i'm currently working away at something which is  really exciting for me. For the past couple of months I've been going down to Falmouth each week. I'm working with the students there in a mentor/director role to make a tribute to the Beatles film Yellow Submarine. I'm really pleased to have the opportunity for several reasons:
1) to help pass on whatever knowledge I can, I like helping people, really like it. Hopefully my knowledge ain't too scatter brain'd & inane, ey?
2) Work on a tribute to the Beatles! As if, ha.
3) Be back in beatufiul Falmouth. Literally love Falmouth. Aaaahhh.
4) Get a bunch of skills. I still, & hopefully for a long time will, firmly believe that life is all about experience. This is a great chance to get so much experience. I'm learning alot about how to try to motivate people, how to manage people, & to do it all with conviction & assurance, regardless of the sometimes open-endedness that the work entails. (film making is alot of decision making)
5) Great to be back around young & prosporous folk. I spose you find this in any university town, it's one thing I hold dear from my time in uni. Everybody goin' about in a state of prosperity, getting better at something. Whatever it is; be it their course of study, their practice, or perhaps just life. Everybody is active. Thinking about something. When I first got back on campus I had a little chuckle to myself seeing all the folk walkin round with there little scrunched up faces, no doubt thinking about some deep down thought for their dissertation (or perhaps how much change they had handy for the laundrette). It's great.

Anywho, in a nut shell, loving it. Really thankful to have the opportunity.

It's fun working in the Yellow Submarine style too. It's much simpler than how I typically tend to draw, very appealing to look at, very colourful & fun. It's not too hard & very playfully creative, drawing lots of swirling plants & curved lines.

It gives me a good appreciation of the style too. When I first watched the film I saw the style as strictly amateur. Although I did realise it was ignorant to see it in this light, I still didn't appreciate the artistic quality of it. Drawing in the style really makes you appreciate it.. the welcoming aesthetics (curvyness of everything), the interlaced pop-iconography & Britishness, the use of colour, and the intended naivety & simplicity of it - that which I originally wrote off as amateur!
Here's a bit of concept work:


Besides all that, i've started getting back into reading more & just living. Am really enjoying being in Torquay at the mo, feels great feeling we're doing something positive for the town (the magazin) & I think it's going to be a great summer.

Ciao for now.

PS dyed my hair blonde. Haha.

three short poems


I heard Plato from the cave,
& how living is easy with eyes closed
& I saw the people on the streets, politicizing there small worlds & making ends meat
& I know that people know their own lives best, and nothing of the unknown.


A bedroom full of books & halfwritten manifestos,
post it note quotes,
concerning all sorts, mainly life, death, living & dying,
& sincerity be at the heart of it.

You are what you eat

Smother yourself with indolence
& indolence you shall be,
watch all the while the most scant of times
& as such you shall see.
Each evening
make friends with gluttony
Lay a bed
& lie in it, slovenly

I remember you well..

..in the Chelsea Hotel.

Tribute to my future home & Cohen/Joplin

Working nine to five..

My mate told me a funny story once. He said every time he was rotor'd in to work 9-5, he'd be walking along the long grey dreary road to work, all the while, Dolly Parton ringing in his ears.. "I'm working nine to five..."

Any who, tonight for the first time in a while I just spent the evening reading. It's nice to just dig your noes into something it ain't seen/felt/smelt/heard in a while..

I read again 'wage labour and capital' by Karl Marx. It is a text that has been lingering around (my brain) recently, in relation to unfostered thoughts of the economic system, the welfare state, the dole etc etc. reading it over I realised what a 'founding impact' it had on the way I view work. To quote an early paragraph..

"the putting of labour-power into action – i.e., the work – is the active expression of the labourer's own life. And this life activity he sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of life. His life-activity, therefore, is but a means of securing his own existence. He works that he may keep alive. He does not count the labour itself as a part of his life; it is rather a sacrifice of his life. It is a commodity that he has auctioned off to another. The product of his activity, therefore, is not the aim of his activity. What he produces for himself is not the silk that he weaves, not the gold that he draws up the mining shaft, not the palace that he builds. What he produces for himself is wages; and the silk, the gold, and the palace are resolved for him into a certain quantity of necessaries of life, perhaps into a cotton jacket, into copper coins, and into a basement dwelling. And the labourer who for 12 hours long, weaves, spins, bores, turns, builds, shovels, breaks stone, carries hods, and so on – is this 12 hours' weaving, spinning, boring, turning, building, shovelling, stone-breaking, regarded by him as a manifestation of life, as life? Quite the contrary. Life for him begins where this activity ceases, at the table, at the tavern, in bed. The 12 hours' work, on the other hand, has no meaning for him as weaving, spinning, boring, and so on, but only as earnings, which enable him to sit down at a table, to take his seat in the tavern, and to lie down in a bed."

Still very much today, tho one change. The worker still sells his 'life activity' to secure the 'necessary means of life', however, many workers have forgotten the simple humble beginnings of the trade-off they partake in - they see money as the reward, as a separate commodity, entirely unbound from their 'life activity'. They therefore spend their money (most indignantly in the voice of the great I am) tyrannically, dumbly, lavishly, indolently, furiously.. It is not their hours spent spinning, weaving, boring, typing, building, shovelling, clicking that the modern worker hands to the cashier -- to them it is simply money; they have lost the connection.

The modern wage-worker who spends his cash so fleetingly and can, on consideration, admit so, can also then (- once he has re-established the connection of his life-activity (labour) and the wage he trades it for -) see that he works beyond his needs. That the money he spends away on nothing is actually hours he's spent typing, building, shovelling etc for nothing. If he were not to burden himself with waste - several pairs of trainers, the latest gadgets, expensive sandwiches that still only fill a hole - he would not need to exchange so much of his 'life activity' for wage.

Any who, the above is a bit of a characterisation, so to fully divulge that character I'm thinking people roughly my age (young adults) with somewhat disposable income still (if not the ideal of a disposable income) . It's not an assassination of a particular kind of person; I can sometimes be this way myself, it is an assassination of a indolent way of being.

Mulling over  the other benefits you get from work with my mum, she pointed out job satisfaction, the joy of a job well done. This is true, however, it turned me on to something I believe is heady-prevalent in our society; just a landscape of socieatical nihilism. What I mean by this is simple;

With capitalism as the driving force, every nook and every smear that causes a crease in expenditure is ironed over once-twice; 'how can we squeeze this to make more money?' 'Where can we trim the fat?' (Not forgetting as Marx above suggests, that your wage-labour is simply another commodity much like the tools you use or the computer you type at) it is all about maximising profit

One example of this is McDonald's. McDonald's is a restaurant. It is (I know, I know). However you don't see a head-chef waltzing about the open back kitchen tasting the onion rings. There are no head chefs or suet chefs . Rather than hire skilled workers at a higher price, what McDonald's has very cleverly done is hire unskilled workers; rather than having the head chef, you give every pawn his one job. You! Flip the burgers. You! Toast the buns. You! Slam the cheese. As they are unskilled workers, they are employed on minimum wage, and easy to replace. This is the theory of the factory process line. Of course you can delve deeper, (like a Buddhist, exploring the interconnectedness of the whole world) where do they import there beef from? Is it slaughtered here or abroad? How many people are involved in that process, that back in the day, would have all been performed on a farm, before a dinner plate. The capitalist world often seems nonsensical & illogical, however remember, the logic lies in profit, regardless of the route to it.

So, with this happening to all areas of all employment (look into your line of work, do you see it?) we have moved ever graciously away from the big boss. Back in the day, your boss was visible, he was probably the bloke who owned the biggest house in town, or bought everyone a round once in a while. At work, you would probably pass him and maybe coyly say hello, or at the least know which door his office was behind.
Now however, the king (the big boss) has distanced himself greatly from the pawn. In between himself and them, he's put all the pieces, many knights many rooks, even bosses and bosses on top. The pawn now stands 50 lines ahead of the king.

To the pawn (the common, modern wage-worker) the king is invisible. He is just some man with a lotta money someplace distant, perhaps abroad, or perhaps part of a board,  some uptown twat in London.

So, returning then to job satisfaction, my point is this; for my generation, many of us had our first job experiences working for some big corporate chain like this - McDonald's, tescoes, HMV, sainsburys etc etc. we were bathed in it. and its a fool who doubts the power of formative experience in moulding lasting opinion.

My question to the lasting-practice of this king-pawn conundrum - how much empathy can be expected of the pawn when his master sits so far away? For these big corporations, they can thank their lucky stars that compassion within communities has grown colder and colder in the last 70 years - where we now instinctively imagine a tanned man with a beard to be a terrorist, or consider in equal measure,  whether the man holding the child that's not his own is either a good-Samaritan or a pedophile.

If the world were a little warmer, perhaps dominos pizza workers wouldn't care - and infact be rather happy - that the fresh, untouched, still warm pizza they had to bin because of legislation was now in the hands of someone who would have otherwise not eaten tonight. Or perhaps people working in supermarkets will 'give away' stock by merely turning a blind eye to his fellow man as he leaves without paying. Who does the working class feel empathy for more? One another? or the fatcat miles away. If we keep getting poorer and those corporations keep on swelling, perhaps we'll see a tilting of the balance..

Any who, that's that, socieatical nihilism, on your street corners, in your nearest tescoes.


Patti Smith: Advice to the young from Louisiana Channel on Vimeo.

Gotta keep your intergety about's you.

Also, this that a few of you may have seen before. Saw this on the net a while ago & found it so true. We planned to print it in next month's magazine but unfortunately ran out of room. Check it :

Digital Disatisfaction

Working on the magazine, most of my work recently has been done sat in the glare of a computer screen. It's been this way for a while now, when we were making Dark Descent we spent whole days sat behind a computer.

I think there's something strange that happens when you're on a comp. For example when animating at a computer, at the end of the day, you dont seem to feel the same level of satisfaction as you would if you'd spent the whole day working on paper & a light box. Same for writers - filling 30 notebook pages is much more satisfying than a hundred Word document ones.. Even if you'd completed twice as much work, working digitally you are left feeling a little empty.

I think this is because of the loss of the whole physical game; When you're working with your hands, you've got this over here, this over there, you have to get out your chair, go get stuff, look through drawers etc etc. What'smore you can pick it up at the end of the day, move it about, look at it. It's there. Sat infront of a box, your whole work is created within the box & when the light blips off your work has vanished for the time being.

I'm not bashing the box; i'm a huge fan of computers, especially when it comes to animation; whole films can be made in the box goddamit! Go consult Ralph Bakshi .

So what it's all about for me is overcoming this digital dissatisfaction. A couple of things I do;
  • If i'm going to be working at a computer predominantly for the day, I lay out a little schedule. eg:-
1 hour - Draw up sketches for bla bla bla
3 hours - Design template layout for next issue
 -------1 hour - have lunch --------
2 hours - contact new contributors / advertisers
etc etc.

  • Another thing I think is important to do is to keep a list of all your achievements throughout the day. Whatever it is, it's nice to have a check list that you can look back at come the end of the day. Even things like 'updated the Magazine Facebook page'. It may seem small & needless to record, but it still took 20 minutes/an hour of your time.
  • Also, be active elsewhere in your life. I think this is why so many people are getting into running now; you spend all day at a desk, then go for a run, helps revert that inbalance in nature.
I find these little methods also stop me procrastinating so much, or atleast, help me be aware of when I am procrastinating. If you have a day schedule, regardless of how feeble it may seem, it still lets you be aware of the track you are on.

Also to be aware of how innumerably handy these little whirring boxes can be; sending out emails may seem simple, but look at your immense productivity! 40 years ago, writing all those letters, heading to the post-office, mailing them, that woulda taken some time..


I implore everyone who reads this blog to watch this documentary about human treatment of animals. A warning though - it's not the pleasantest way to spend an evening - infact rather harrowing - but very beneficial. It's also not '14 year old anarchist' material if you get me, it's spoken very plainly (by Joaquin Pheonix, no less) and factual.

Anywho, without further ado:

Just to clarify, none of the following is written with a hostile tongue, please don't read it as such.

There are a few defences for meat-eating, most often, people will defend it as 'the circle of life'. This is true to a degree, however, it's simply not necessary to eat animals in this day & age. Each species has a fantastic virtue, developed in the 'survival of the fittest'. For example a Leopard its speed. Sharks the ability to smell blood from a mile away. Birds, there intuitive ability to fly in formation. (Don't mention the sloth) We should use our fantastic virtue, our conciousness (I think, therefore I am) to be above murdering other being's.

Another defence for eating meat is farming being good for the environment. This is true in the idealistic image of farming - happy pigs, rolling fields, a bloke with a stick of hay in his mouth etc, but that isn't the truth of the world. Consider the impact of capitalism on farming. If they can make the quantity of their produce bigger, their production method cheaper, & any other means to undercut their business rivals  - of course, logically, they will. This has led to it's natural conclusion, demonstrated in the documentary above; The truth of modern farming is live chicken's on a conveyor belt - 'whats the most economical way to kill them?' capitalism asks; to have them catapulted into a brick wall at the end of the line, any live one's being stamped to death by steel toe capped boots. This actually happens. As if.

'It's natural to eat meat', true. But let's not pretend we are these all natural being's; Afterall, it's not natural to wipe your arse.

Oh and finally, I promise you, dinner is not boring without meat. At first it can be, when you're still stuck in the 'chicken & veg', 'sausage & mash' routine, but soon enough you'll be filling your plate with all the flavours of the world.


I think it's important for people - not necessarily to become vegetarian's - but to understand that eating meat is a choice. Be aware of you're choice when you sit down to dinner; was it worth an animal's life for you to fill your belly for an hour or two?

A great benefit I have found from being a veggy is the moment that veil drops in your mind. I remember walking along a roadside with my pal and seeing a huge billboard for McDonald's. It was a massive blown up picture of a Big Mac. That moment I saw this as no different to it being a human corpse up there, blown up big, all bloodied & battered, resting inbetween two buns, the stench of death. Anywho this was the moment the veil came down in my mind, & I saw it for what it was. I feel that vegetarianism is a pathway to feeling the interconnectedness of the whole world & the beauty that permeates. Eating meat is the closed curtain:- children don't see the connection between those chicken's in a field & those chicken nuggets on there plate. Adults don't see the connection between a rare rump steak & a bloody cows arse. But this is a beautiful thing - the moment the veil drops & you're able to feel that compassion within, to a greater extent than you've felt before. As Tolstoy put it;

"This is dreadful! Not the suffering & death of the animals, but that people suppress in themselves, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity - that of sympathy & pity towards living creatures like themselves" - Tolstoy
Do have a think about it. I see it as one of those things, once you have addressed it - looked yourself in the mirror & made the concious choice either 'I am okay with eating meat' or 'I don't want other animals to die for my dinner plate', you are able to reap the benefit I said above. It's good to abolish your ignorance, wherever you find it.

It helps you reckognise your own level of selfishness also - I don't mean to use this word as slander, I mean it in the true sense, how we are all selfish to some degree (the baby crying for milk, the man in a traffic jam kicking off about his right of way). Vegetarianism is simply saying i'm not cool with death for my dinner plate. It is not black & white - i've heard vege's chastised for walking on the ground incase they kill a worm, or whatever. My own level of selfishness finds it hard to extend any further passed vegetarianism. For example into being a vegan. I would love to, & have great admiration for vegans, but it's too much for me, too much of a lifestyle choice in terms of money & time spent pursuing the cause. This is where my selfishness draws the line - the simple practicality of being a veggy.

If you're interested in giving it a go, check out this great initiative set up by Paul McCartney.

New Year manifesto

1) Drink coffee not tea.

2) Love love always

3) Anytime you see yourself reverting to inaction - anytime you see yourself pity yourself ('oh well I have had a long day..' 'well I am tired..') replace it with action - Jump up! Paint! Read! Whatever.

4) If you can fall asleep watching a film you can fall asleep reading a book

5) Wake up & read. Whatever youre reading add's that glint of perspective to your day & your life.

6) Only watch TV programmes you already intended to watch.

7) "Go to bed already asleep" - Brian Clough

8) Remember your integrety, and be aware of its feedback; "when you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it - don't back down and don't give up - then you're going to mystify a lot of folks." - Dylan

9) "Be Here Now" - George Harrison

10) "Write in recollection & amazement for yourself" - Kerouac

11) Stay focus'd & be intent on your pursuit

12) Remember that life is a choice, & wherever you are & whatever you are doing is a choice

13) Sincerity & honesty - most earnestly

14) "Scan not a friend with a microscopic glass / You know his faults, now let his foibles pass / Life is one long enigma, my friend / So read on, read on, the answer's at the end." - Sir Frank Crisp

15) Drink water not coffee.

16) Be aware of your ego & contentiously quarrel with it

17) Humility trumps pride.

18) Ears as big as your mouth

19) Be like a sponge & soak it all up. Committed to experience

20) Sometimes its healthy to remember you're an animal

21) Stay prosperous, be wealthy

22) You only need enough $ to stay afloat

23) "I've had money, i've had none. But i've never been so broke that I couldn't leave town" - Jim Morrison

24) Be aware of your ignorance,

25) Abolish your ignorance.

26) Pleasure for reward not gluttony

27) The best time of day is the night.