Thursday, 31 March 2005


The man strolls down 21st Century Borough High Street with a long gait. He's wearing a Sherlock Holmeseque half-caped coat and carrying his deerstalker in his hand. Next to the sandwich bars, neon signs, cashpoints, fast food rubbish he's looking quite hilarious in his Victorian attire with his blond highlights. And he's quite some way from Baker Street.
Summer Time

I don't know why but when the clocks go forward it always fucks me up. I'm overly tired. Can't wake up at the right time. Its a good few days and I still feel like I'm minorly jet-lagged. Surely its time we stopped doing this to ourselves and just settled on one time or other!

Sunday, 27 March 2005

Itchy Feet

Bath salts melt into the water like cigarette smoke evaporates into the air. Slow curling whispers.

The exertion of gardening is apparent in the muscles of my back. A slow weekend has left me craving excitement. To see a wider horizon, drive on different roads, in new scenery, meet other people, listening to foreign sounds.

The vapour trails of jet planes criss crossing the skies draws my eye away from my daily routine. Oh for a journey that doesn't have a defined destination. Oh to feel hot sand between my toes and swim in warm water. To drive open roads, across the landscape of movies. To have awe. To be breath taken.
The Creep

Short bus ride home. Sitting looking out the window, a young man sits down next to her. She can tell out of the corner of her eye that he is looking at her intently. She pretends not to notice, but in actual fact sees that his hand is in his trousers. Uncomfortable, she contemplates telling the driver, how long would it all take to sort out? Walking distance from home she decides instead to get off the bus. Its 2.00am. She gets out and starts walking. Then she notices he has gotten off as well. She walks slowly. He overtakes and then waits up ahead until she has to pass him. She walks quickly. He walks quickly. She changes direction, thinking she could go into the pub and tell them she's being harassed. She says to him, please leave me alone. She turns back and sees a woman ahead. She catches up with the woman and asks to walk with her. They walk a little ways together. The creep disappears.
Dr Who

Personally, I liked Tom Baker, and everyone who came after seemed to be gradually more and more ridiculous. I liked the oddness but also liked when they took it a little more seriously. And I liked the assistants to be adult.

So to the new Dr Who - I actually thought it did a not too bad a job of going back to how it was when I watched it properly. Christopher Eccleston makes a good doctor. And yes I can see a wheelie bin eat a person, the London eye being used as a transmitter and the consciousness be down a manhole by the GLC building.

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

The Trainspotter

As we wind our way across the rooftops on our journey to London Bridge the man's excitement visibly rises. Nose pressed against the window feverishly trying to jot down numbers in his well-thumbed notebook. Its a busy time, evening rush hour - trains passing, laiden with passengers - his head is swiveling this way and that, desperately trying to make out the last digits of the treasured number. I think this trainspotter is interested in engines, he doesn't note down the numbers of the carriages (but then maybe nobody collects those). There appear to be numbers all over the trains - each carriage has one, each set of doors has them, each engine...

He's wearing a teal fleece and carrying one of those bags popular in the 70s as carry-on luggage. The bag is also green. He's carrying other old well used notebooks - the sort that have an elastic to help keep them shut. He's writing with a very ordinary but totally functional biro.

Watching him there I get this burning desire to ask him what exactly he does. Do you collect engine numbers? What's the aim, to collect all the numbers of all known working engines? What do you do when you have them all? Do you take your numbers home and put them into a database of some sort? How long have you been collecting them? But mostly Why?

As we stand up we are gathering by the door next to each other, and there's this moment when I am looking at him too long and too intently and it makes him catch my eye, that was the moment. And I bottled it, looked away and busied myself with my pass. When we escaped the train I watched him bustle along to the bridge. I expect he was rushing over the platform 6, where the trainspotters tend to gather at the far end. I've seen them, videoing, writing with pencils that have to be licked, or talking into dictaphones. Trainspotting gangs.


Monday, 21 March 2005

Monday's Life Class

Top row: first three (from left to right) 5 minute poses, far right was the first picture of the night - 20 minute warm up pose. Middle row: 30 second drawings all done with left hand. Bottom: last drawing of the evening 40 minutes - I personally think its one of the best drawings I've done for ages. Really managed to get some form, three dimensionality, depth and tone and a feeling of the woman.

All original drawings £25 excluding postage and packing (A1 sized). Or althernatively, A4 sized prints for £5 excluding postage and packing. For further details see the lifedrawing gallery or email me.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

Saturday, 19 March 2005

DAUK Film Night

Pops roped me into going to see two documentary films shown by the Democrats Abroad UK. On friday night. Not really sure what posessed me. I roped in Bails.

We arrived. On the door was a man who looked like he was trying to emulate a 30s movie star - blue suit, very high pulled up trousers with red braces, round thick rimmed glasses, bald. He looked rather suprised but I think that was because of his prescription. Inside everyone was very serious and intellectual in a sort of academic kind of way. We tittered at the back.

The hosts of the event couldn't quite decide what to do - start on time or wait for those who hadn't arrived yet. They waited. For half an hour. On starting there was some confusion as to whether to explain why we were here and what the Democrats Abroad news was. In front of us 5 people sighed heavily and finally piped up that since we were starting late couldn't we skip the speeches. Herman thought yes, perhaps we should and then launched into a brief intro, only to be interrupted by the long Joan Baez haired woman who snapped either we skip it or I'll do it. Herman shut up. Joan Baez hair started into her speil. The 5 huffed and sighed and squirmed in their seats.

So then they started the film. The lights in the lecture theatre dimmed. The video started. It was barely audible. Someone asked for the volume to be turned up. Herman, at the podium with the controls turned the lights on and off for a couple of minutes, evidently trying to find the volume. Then he lost the picture (data projectors - rather temperamental). Then he found the picture and turned the lights back on. Then 2 others ran up to help. The three of them stood round the podium turning the lights on and off, losing and finding the picture. Finally they said its as loud as it can get (better to blame the equipment than admit defeat). Bails, Pops and I had quiet hysterics. Lights out, picture on, some debate as to whether the film (which had been running through the lights on lights off section) should be rewound to the beginning. The 5 said NO. The rest of the audience thought yes. It was rewound and begun again. Still could barely hear it.

We left after the first film. Is it any wonder they couldn't win an election Pops wondered later.

Was an interesting film though - Unconstitutional about how the Patriot Act went too far too fast.

Friday, 18 March 2005

Three Things

A little girl in a navy blue uniform plays in the shadows down a lane between the railwaya nd a block of flats. She hangs off the grill fencing close to a line of parked vehicles - a couple of VW camper vans, an ice cream van and a car with its front end stripped.

The man next to me on the train reads the 2005 Yearbook for Jehovah's Witnesses. A small book printed on shiny paper with those illustrations that fill a bottom corner and are printed right up to the edge. Opposite him is a builder with his sweatshirt tied around his waist, his teeshirt slogan reads real tits fake tits who cares? they all taste the same.

Two tiny boys play footabll against the doors of some garages. A plastic multicoloured tricycle abandoned to one side.

Thursday, 17 March 2005


Man says to the help desk operative at the end of the phone, "I've got one of your special offer cards and I'm trying to load it up but I'm a bit drunk and I'm not doing it fast enough".
Evening Light

Its light in the evening! Standing waiting for the bus with the sun still up, shadows drifing down the sides of the buildings, a cool breeze blowing pleasantly, its hard to remember the heavy oppresiveness of winter even though it finished (for now) only 2 days ago.

We've entered that confusion between the major seasons that sees people in the same street on the same day wearing shorts and teeshirts or coats. Early adopters in vest tops, driving open top cars blaring summer tunes, sandals and painted toenails.

The lightness of being seeping back into your bones. Winter fug that had taken up residence in the space between my eyes is dislodged by looking at the bright light sky whilst relaxing riding the bus after work. I will probably be avoiding the tube for a while, with its dense and overbearing atmosphere in favour of a view (particularly after work).

The reality of blossom, new leaves, beers in the evening sitting outside and the joy of parks will be on us. Roll on.

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Through a Window

The barmaid sits slumped on a stool arms resting on the bar, head nestled in the crook. They're open but empty. No beers to be pulled. No balls rocketing along the baise. No old drunks nursing pints in the corner. No smoke curling lazily skyward. Nothing.

Monday, 14 March 2005

Peckham to Elephant

Strings of towerblocks and low rise blocks, scraps of grass, trees dwarfed by the buildings, improvements as after thoughts when the brutalist architecture has proved not to work. Concrete walkways. Glass corridors. Wooden fencing round the gardens on the ground floors, already broken down and rotting, the patches inside still uncared for. A playground in the classic 70s style - scaffold A frame structures painted orange and blue. All thats left are a couple of lengths of chain, swings long gone.

Friday, 11 March 2005

Scattering Ashes

As a family we have finally reached a point where we feel ready to scatter Mum's ashes. She has been dead for 9 years so far, so it can be said that it has taken us some time to reach this point. We're planning it in the summer.

Did you know that you can have your beloved turned into a rocket so they can take part in a fireworks display? No really! Pops also read about a woman who had her husband turned into 275 12-bore cartridges and she and 20 close friends shot 70 partridges, 23 pheasants, 7 ducks and fox with him.

Fact is stranger than fiction. I'm finding it all a bit bizarre! (Actually I'm quite attracted to the idea of being made into a firework).
Her Name is Rio

I can't get that Duran Duran song out of my head since Pops got back from Rio. He wasn't impressed with carnival (too santised, not nearly enough nudity, and couldn't get a close enough view - seemed to me he was a bit disappointed that he couldn't tell if the women had bare breasts). However, between sunburnings (its quite close to the equator down there and the sun is somewhat higher in the sky but in the quest for a suntan he kept not taking the advice of ladies in the chemists by not buying a high enough factor) he seemed to enjoy the beach, watching the vendors plying their wares - sarongs, hammocks, sunglasses, drinks, shrimps on sticks and stuff. And the obligatory pic of Rio's statue of Jesus, I liked the fact a cloud was passing over at the time.

Thursday, 10 March 2005

Are You Dancin?

At the hypothetical Blogger's Disco over at Troubled Diva, Mike the DJ has asked for requests. I requested Stuck in the Middle With You by the Stealers Wheel because by the time I've danced for 75 tracks (listing so far at time of writing) we'd probably be doing routines and stuff and this sort of seemed appropriate. Oh and it encourages you to think of really bad men (Michael Madsen, nuff said). And Mike will donate £1 to Red Nose Day - its all fur charidy!

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Bus Journey

"Can you tell us when you get to Picadilly mate?" Picadilly is such a silly sounding name, especially when said out loud. The kids on the back of the bus are singing advert tunes, espeically the krazy frog ringtone 'tune'. The light dips slowly, lengthening days - spring is definitely in the air. Anti-war protester in Parliament Square has an impressive number of badges on his hat - more badge than hat actually, and a large collection of banners. Silent, staunch and alone he stands facing the Houses of Parliament, hunkered down into his coat. I bet none of the stuffed shirts inside give him a second thought. In Whitehall we passed a horseguard without a horse, looking short and vulnerable while balancing a huge white plummed hat on his head with a serious looking underchin strap, as a small gaggle of tourists try to make him smile. A couple of doors down some other kind of guard suspiciously eyes a tourist who has sat down on a ledge of his building to tie his shoes. Swinging into Picadilly where the once lovely bright neon lights have been spoiled with backlit advertising, the man and his kids get off and greet their mum on the side of the road.

Monday, 7 March 2005

Monday's Life Class

Prolific. Its the way forward. Top row - we had the first 20mins, then 2x 5mins. Next row - 2 mins drawn with the lefthand (not my usual hand). Next row first 3 = 30seconds not looking at paper, next 2 = 30seconds but looking. Final one 20mins.

The woman was a photographic model by day and really knew how to strike a pose.

Candid Arts Trust: open access sessions and more formal taught courses in both life drawing and painting. Behind Angel tube, Islington - first left down City Road. Contact: The Candid Arts Trust, 3 Torrens Street, London EC1V 1NQ, Tel: 020 7837 4237.

The man with Elvis hair, the man with too short sleeves, the man wearing a black necktie, the girl with a white skiing jacket and the woman whose feet barely touched the floor sat opposite the man with stand-out blood vessels on his temples, the woman reading The Time Traveller's Wife, the lady in a pale pink scarf, the man with the pointy nose, the woman on chapter 35 and me. In between stood a man listening to an ipod and wearing a quilted barbour jacket of the sort best seen on a stablehand who kept staring at me writing in my notepad. I couldn't decide whether he had a tic or was irritated but I got distracted by the man stood next to me who couldn't stop rattling his change in his pocket.

Friday, 4 March 2005


She stood alone at the bar with two pint so larger. I stood next to her trying to get served. After some time an arm reached round her and tried to grab one of her beers, she held onto its bottom saying, "no, that's mine". So the arm tried to take the other one and she said, "no, that's mine as well". The owner of the arm said, "one of them must be mine!" At which she turned round and exclaimed, "Oh its You!" I laughed. He said to me, "the worrying thing is I pinched her bum before I tried to take her beer and I thought she knew it was me cos she didn't do anything about that - was a little concerned when she thought I was just trying to nick her beer though." Quite.

Wednesday, 2 March 2005

Cold and Damp

"I think I'm getting a cold," she says in a deep husky voice.

"Good," he retorts in a slightly agressive manner, "join the fucking club!" She laughs heartily. "Oh, its just I feel shitty, and then the lousy weather, and my crappy job," he continues [this could be me, I think].

"What you need is a project," she chirps in her best girl guide helpfulness.

[Yes. That's what I have, I think].

Tuesday, 1 March 2005


Two boys bound onto the bus. One has a Swoosh sweatshirt on. It has one of those pockets across the front which has an opening for each hand. For a little while they play fight - pretending to land punches on each other. Swoosh then fell into a seat for a while. Fumbling in his central pocket he pulled out some plastic string, a knotted wad of pink and blue. Then he stuck it back deep inside and brought out a set of keys with a keyring made of homemade plastic makrame. Then he found a miniature telescope which he stared at his friend with until they got to Manor House and shot off into the dark.