Wednesday, September 29, 2004

my bedroom is red

I inspired myself with that piece last night, here are the resulting pictures... except my room is red, and the light is coming through the hatch into the attic rather than the door.

getting older (again)

Further to my review of Opium last week I thought it worth mentioning that myself and Amy managed to go for a slap-up meal at our local on Monday evening and had finished by 5.30. Beautiful.

(the fifth) from the archives

Industrial accidents (08 03 04)


The other morning I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the No. 3. Across the road there were men working on the site of the old garage. For the last couple of weeks the demolition has been in progress and I have been watching with interest.

The highlight so far was the delivery of a large digger on a flatbed lorry. The balletic style in which it was manoeuvred off the lorry was quite amazing and very satisfying to watch. The trailer was bounded by road and fence, yet the driver managed to spin the thing around (pretty much on the spot) then, with the aid of the scoop arm, let it down gently off the side of the trailer.

After watching I felt so pleased, as though I’d done a day’s work myself!

But the other morning things had gotten even more interesting. Most of the garage was gone, replaced by piles of rubble. They’d even removed the petrol storage tanks from beneath the forecourt. The digger was atop the biggest pile. This looked somewhat precarious, but also gave it an air of dominance – particularly as I’d walked up the road and seen it silhouetted on the skyline.

There was also the new addition of a mobile crusher plant. A big yellow box on tracks, chugging away in a slightly cartoony manner: the kind of movements you’d normally associate with the Acme factory.

The digger was gouging chunks out of the pile of rubble beneath it and dumping these scoopfuls into the crusher. The box would rattle and chug a little, than a spray of particulate rubble would come out the other end.

The danger-factor was probably never there, but watching from a distance, with depth perception limited, it looked like a dance of death.

A head appeared from a hatch in the top of the crusher and looked like it was going to be hit with the scoop of the digger.

The digger looked like it was going to dump a scoop of rubble on the foreman. He was stood next to the crusher and I waited – compelled – for him to be buried beneath a pile of broken masonry.

Best of all came last. The foreman picked up a big rod, iron perhaps, or maybe wood, and started poking around inside the crushed. The digger continued. I watched, expecting the guy to be sucked in, or a limb to fly off, virtually seeing these accidents happening. Then the bus arrived and I left.

I’m sure nothing happened, but it’s strange how riveted I was by this demolition in action and how I not only expected, but was ready to watch, an industrial accident.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

someone like the moon

Walking the dog at dusk I’m suddenly surprised by the moon. Looking along the tree line, toward the slightly raised level of the road: streetlight, streetlight, streetlight, moon, streetlight, streetlight... Just sitting there, complete with a pole beneath; orange from the remnants of sunset, diffuse from my lack of glasses, like a motorcycle headlight through fog. But timeless, weightless, beautiful.

Turning 180 degrees to head home I’m greeted by the dusky sky. A thunderhead floats, silhouetted against the entire range of blue the sky can manage. That range taking up such an expanse of sky, the slow drift from bright, clear, daytime blue to night-time black filling my vision, and a hint, just the slightest hint, of direct sunlight along the horizon. Like a bedroom with the door slightly ajar, the landing light creeping in that angular gap and casting the longest shadow, so sharp near the door but drifting so gradually, almost imperceptibly, to darkness, not even sparing your cheeks from a blush of orange. Not sparing the room from that incredible richness of tone, more oranges – more blues – than a jumbo box of crayons and so smooth, so smooth that you cannot see the gaps, the changes. Try as you might, even if you know it’s there, even if you understand the quantum wonder within this pattern, it eludes. But still fascinates, still enthrals, still is enjoyed.

Monday, September 27, 2004

i, robot, shit

I got around to watching I, Robot yesterday and I thought it was pretty shit. It managed to retain hardly anything of note from the books (as hinted at by the ‘suggested by the books of Isaac Asimov’ credit on the opening titles) except for the 3 laws (although these do play a pretty integral role in the plot), the occasional mention of the nature of life and whether a robot could ever be classed as a sentient being. Even worse was the drab quasi-futuristic setting. It somehow managed to be like now, but greyer and with flashier cars. I know it’s meant to be set in the near future, so not much (perhaps) will have changed, but there was something that just didn’t sit right. It just felt bland and empty and uninspired with all the usual flashy staples of hi-tech: fast computerized cars, pervasive computer networks and, obviously, robots. But Will Smith’s character was straight from Bad Boys (or even the Fresh Prince) and managed to come across like a complete twat most of the time, as did most of the other characters. And the action was standard big budget, flashy, by-the-book Hollywood. Where was the verve, the style, the invention of the director that made Dark City and the Crow? Instead the robot action scenes looked like a cross between the Matrix (except, as with most films that copy bullet-time, the slow-mo was unnecessary and intrusive) and Star Wars Episode 1 & 2.

I wish people would stop wasting money on making this shit. And I wish people would stop thinking this shit was good, a quick glance at the reviews on IMDB shows most people rating it 7 or 8 out of 10. I do, however, agree with VIKI’s comments about the nature of humanity (the best bit in the film), perhaps she’d stop this kind of generic trash being made if she were in charge? Categorized firmly with A.I. in my book.


And speaking of A.I. (also mostly shit) there’s a great bit about it on the Donderevo site, see the ‘ski’ section for the AI debate and other fine writings.

some links

I’ve recently been reading some blogs by Geof Huth. He’s a visual poet based in New York. I particularly like this entry in his visual poetry blog, and another blog of his: one million footnotes.

I’ve also found (via the YAH festival) an artist called Ellie Harrison who is interested in the miniature of everyday life. There’s some great stuff on her site, although I’ve only scratched the surface so far I did enjoy ‘the daily quantification record’. It reminds me of the occasional projects I attempt to keep receipts and tickets in a scrap book as they seem to be all I have left of most days. The only problem is I’m not (yet?) disciplined enough to see these ideas through, but she is. Nice.


And here’s part of one of those spreads, it’s woefully incomplete but I still quite like it.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

cloud atlas, good but not that good?

I read Cloud Atlas and I rather liked it. But I’ve been surprised by the amount of praise it’s been receiving from the Booker judges. Yeah, it was good and the structure was interesting (and did actually work as part of the narrative to create tension and closure – more than just a gimmick!), but I didn’t think it was quite as revolutionary as people keep suggesting. I think what it has managed is something of a cross-over, two of the six stories that make up the narrative (or perhaps that should be two of the books that form the meta-narrative?) are really sci-fi and, like some of Margaret Atwood’s novels, take ‘regular’ fiction readers by surprise and delight them. By this I don’t mean that ‘regular’ fiction readers are stupid, just that the best sci-fi excels in the kind of big ideas that Mitchell tackles in Cloud Atlas, but don’t gain the same readership and cachet thanks to their classification as sci-fi/cult/geeky etc. I’ve certainly read similar stuff by sci-fi authors that has stayed with me for longer than Cloud Atlas.

Hellboy & Opium

Saw hellboy last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it’s to do with watching indy too many times as a child, but I really love all that occult adventure stuff (especially when it’s nazi occult adventure stuff!). And the man with the mask looked cool.

Before hand had a meal at Opium with Amy. It’s a beautiful restaurant and may very well rate as my number 1 chinese ever. We did, however, receive more confirmation that we’re properly old: we managed to finish our starter, main and coffee before any other customers arrived at the place. It reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where jerry is visiting his parents’ place in florida (the elephants’ graveyard of the states) where dinner is served at 4pm. It’s a slippery slope...


Uploaded another ‘short collection’ to monkey in fez. It’s the luminarium.


Here’s a couple of pictures of tonight’s attic action. I’ve been meaning to start taking some more abstract, patterns-of-light style shots for a while now. I’m not entirely happy with these couple (I think I prefer the first one), but they’re not bad considering I didn’t even need to leave my seat... the ways of the lazy photographer!


Also on the abstract theme I went walking in the wind again the other afternoon and took a few snaps. These were more process orientated in that I was trying to capture the feel of the wind and the walk with the motion of the camera and minimal conscious intervention in shot composition. Like the shots from the train the emphasis was on chance and movement rather than premeditated static shots. I quite like this philosophy, but I tend to find that although it’s fun most of the pictures are pretty crap – as with much modern art the idea far outweighs the execution. I do quite like this one of wind-blown grass though. (but i'm not sure how well it comes across in this small format...? a bit busy.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

updates galore

a fruitful days work. i've uploaded some new stuff to the monkey in fez gallery:
- pictures of the exiles
- cd artwork for the exiles
- pictures of seachange
- a new 'short collection'... more to follow later in the week.

some more

oh, and these as well...

a letter

a citation of sorts

and another

random googling

being vain i googled "paul hockett" and "monkey in fez" as i hadn't done so for a while. some results...

- the resurrection of mockup magazine.

- a nice fez.

- sock monkey with fez.

some good shit

just discovered a photographer called marc wilson who was exhibiting at the recent surface gallery show i failed to go to. i really like his latest stuff and i'm a bit jealous of all the locations he's found to photograph!

lunch time

well, not a bad morning. as usual the time seems to have sped past too quickly, but i have managed to get a load of webpages done (some pics of the exiles and seachange) and listened to some john cage and some silver mt. zion. now it's time for a bite to eat, a walk over the fields and perhaps a nap. later i'm hoping to do some more web stuff, i've spent ages on the band photos over the last couple of weeks so i think it's time to look at some more personal stuff. hopefully i'll get far enough that i'll be able to upload it all tonight.

the shape of today

right, it's 9.30. today is a day for creativity. there will be much creation today, i am not going to spend all my time reading blogs and random websites. although i might spend some time posting here...

went to london on saturday and i took lots of pictures from the train. i'm always interested in doing this, the fascination stems from the luck involved as to what you actually see (and manage to capture), the sight of lots that you wouldn't normally spot (backs of places, industrial sites), and the beautiful parallax effects as the foreground turns to blur and the background stays sharp. here's a couple for now, more later.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

walking in the wind

The wind is gusting; tumbling across the open fields so recently shorn of crop. I miss the tall stalks of corn, I miss the undulating waves sweeping over and through the fields as the ears yield to the breeze, sweeping down the hillside and breaking onto the path, becoming nothing but upright stalks once more – no spray, no splash, no swell, the dream of a sea. But today the wind has an intensity and a chill that I have not felt since spring. It is invigorating, refreshing, calming.

The trees rustle. Shoots of grass alongside the path bend and flap and dance. Dry earth shifts around my feet.

The wind blows around me. Cooling and drying my skin, scouring it clean of the world. And it scours the world clean of itself. Everything carried away on the breeze, eroded to nothing but pure, beautiful dust. And it blows through me, into me, troubling the folds of my clothes and the legs of my trousers, enveloping me, lifting me up, taking me with it.

I am there, in this magical desert, this place of stark cleanliness. A shimmering white plain, the ultimate victory of entropy, a permanent cool breeze parting to let me through even as it whittles away at me. It is here that I feel alive, it is here that I can breath. Gone is the suffocating weight of everything, a kingdom of stuff that wreathes me in expectation and desire, wraps me in disappointment, chokes me with lies and selfishness and so much more, so many things and contraptions and inventions and agendas and love and hate and good and evil and people that the air is clogged, coagulated with it all, stuff just materialising in my mouth, in my windpipe, in my lungs and I cannot breathe. I cannot.

But not here. The wind blows and it is good and sharp and fresh. It speaks of a world yet to come or a world long gone. There is the hope of possibility without the gnawing disappointment of the actual, the failed. I breathe deeply, taking in the cool air, stilling its force within me. And I feel nothing but warmth inside. The deep core of me beating anew, bringing me the sensation of life, of alive.

The air over my skin keeps blowing; I stride through it feeling immortal.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


you just need some kung-fu.

Friday, September 10, 2004

the perils of haircuts and the rest

The perils of haircuts

Yesterday was H-day. Time for my bi-annual haircut. I really hate haircuts, I just can’t deal with paying someone money to cut bits off me, nor the conversation I’m expected to make while this happens. My desire for a steady-state situation with cars and houses extends into the realm of hair – I just want it to stay the same. Unfortunately the hair dresser had other ideas and tried to do something trendy: there were swept back bits and swept sideways bits. Ugh. Luckily by coming straight home, having a shower and then making no attempt to style it again it seems to have found its regular, lowest-energy, ground state. Phew.


PJ has green shoes

Saw the marvellous Miss Harvey on Wednesday night. She had glowing green shoes. I wasn’t as excited by this as the third floor ladies, who all luurrrrve shoes, but it was fairly special. The gig was pretty decent too, although I couldn’t see that well for most of it, and there were (as per usual) a big load of twats comprising the ‘audience’.


Hound of the Baskervilles

And last night, in an attempt to stuff myself full of culture, I saw the Hound of the Baskervilles at the Playhouse. It was great, a fairly experimental adaptation with 4 actors taking all of the roles, often at the same time. The production was really special, with a Swiss Army Knife of a set that managed to be just about anything despite featuring only some wood and some books. This was helped along by some beautiful animations, formed from pages of the novel, which were projected as a backdrop to the action.

The way it was done, with the actors swapping props as they swapped roles and the frequent occurrences of 3 synchronised Dr. Watsons all conversing with the singular Holmes, was fun and incredibly slick, not to mention the metaphorical level that this idea brought into play. It sounds like something a crazed drama teacher would dream up for a 5 minute improv, but somehow it worked wonderfully. There was loads of energy and they looked like they were having fun (especially when miming a carriage ride or jumping onto a moving train, the movement coming supplied by the actors, the projection and elements of the set), but, despite injecting a lot of humour into the performance, the story still came across magnificently, preserving much more of Conan-Doyle’s word play than TV or film adaptations which concentrate on the hound running around the moors. Go here for more.



Driving home we also managed to catch some exciting sights. A crashed car (an old, white escort) in the middle of the roundabout between Bulwell and Hucknall. Somehow it had managed to take out a couple of bollards on the road leading to the roundabout, so must have been going at speed with a lack of control for sometime. Nice work there. And 3 lads with cans of Stella and tracksuits having a bit of a squabble with the security guard at Tesco, what larks for a Thursday night!

Coincidentally my brother sent this link to the Sonic Youth forum where a guy is talking about getting mugged in Nottingham. Ah, what a city.


And now, to work.

Monday, September 06, 2004

lsd strikes again

Didn't manage to get a huge amount done today, but i did finish the latest instalment of longshore drift. you can download it now, or wait for the old-school paper copies that should be appearing over the next day or two.


My brother, while distracting me, did point me to the beautiful microphones site, some very pretty pictures there (although quite big file sizes). You can get some mp3s from their record label's site. Well worth a listen, if a little hit and miss at times.

happiness punctuated with shock (but no awe)

So, Wednesday night, me and my lady watched dodgeball. Very entertaining, not quite up to the 5 star review it got in the Guardian, but certainly as good a slacker comedy as any of recent years. Let’s face it, no matter how highbrow you claim to be, people getting hit with stuff is funny.

Left the cinema on a wave of joy with a sprinkling of tiredness, as did Amy. We got in the car to head home. Amy drove into a pillar. Not fatally, obviously, but there is quite a scrape and a dent in the passenger side of our little Fiesta now.

So what happened? Proof, if needed, that happiness is a dangerous drug. We were in a space with another car parked to the right, a pillar to the rear left, and an empty space to the left. After getting in the drivers seat Amy, in her euphoric haze, managed to forget about the trifling matter of the pillar and saw only the empty space. She then proceed to reverse to the right at speed, pulling the front of the car across the empty space and meeting merrily with said pillar. Bugger.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not really all that bothered about scratches on the car (they add character!). But I do have a nagging fear of the day when we’ll need to buy a new one. I can’t bear the thought of this. I just can’t handle the ‘big’ purchases of modern life – anything that involves money, other people, time and effort gives me a terrible fear, be it getting new windows or a hair cut. There is this whole social contract to be negotiated and I just don’t want to. And, invariably, you get ripped off. I just want to be left alone to stay at home and get on with interesting stuff, and I want everything that is useful and necessary (car/computer/house etc.) to just keep working and hold it together. Is that so much to ask?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

(the fourth) from the archives

Here's a picture from Vancouver, 2001. I think it's a nice reflection of the perils of compensation culture.