Thursday, 30 November 2006

laughing man

Ceramics Class

Laughing Man is finished. Not sure I like him as much now that I've glazed him. But thats the haphazard nature of ceramics I guess.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Yellow Electric

Woke up after dreaming about a gorilla that had been sitting in my neighbour's tree and then took to terrorising the neighbourhood - nobody could get to or from work. There was a dark grey sky and strange electric yellow light shining off the few remaining leaves. The rain was pouring. Finally a flash of lightning followed by a whack and rumble of thunder that shook the window.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Free Bus

They're everywhere these days, easy to board, no collection of tickets, commonly known as free buses to locals of the routes (dreaded bendy buses to the rest of us). Friday night Bails was debating whether she should touch in with her oyster and save her pennies unless a revenue protector (ticket inspector) got on. It seems this free riding has seeped into the public conscious as an tap-on-the-wrist naughtiness rather than the law-breaking we were reliably informed it was (amounts to stealing) when we were debating it elsewhere.

I remember the old days on the routemasters when we'd all pretend to be alseep when the conductor came upstairs. The technique involved slumping over each other, eyes closed, mouth open. You could adopt a number of stances - head back on the hand rail, or chin down head hidden by parker hood, or head against window (very uncomfortable and not to be recommended). It has to be said that you were most successful when alone and far less convincing when travelling in a group of 6 (we'd never heard of narcolepsy at the time).

Thursday, 23 November 2006

laughing man

Ceramics Class

I made this laughing man after I saw some pots from the Congo in the window of a weird shop on the corner of St Anns Road. Its owned by a Turk with grey hair and a died black mustache with ends that he twists carefully. He gets them from a village, they come packed in banana skins. Anyway, I thought I'd make a version. I didn't really want it to come out looking quite so comedy. But I glazed it this lesson so maybe it will look less obvious when its finished.

Sometimes on the tube its all about the shoes. Largely because of walking with your head down, following lots of others up stairs and escalators. Boots are back. But it is winter again. First a black pair. Huge hairy things, with jeans tucked into them, and pomp pomps on strings that flap around the ankles. Then a man with timberlands on that are too big, or not done up properly that make that gushy sound when his foot pushes down - like air being compressed. Then some comedy wellies, sorry ironic wellies (so last year) with pink spots on.

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

One Crazy to Another

Bus. Woman gets on. Talking about racists. They all racists. Even to me. Theres no need for it. At first I think she's talking to the woman opposite. Eventually everyone looks away and tries to ignore her. Her rant goes on. I stop listening.

A woman wearning a brown mac and a pair of pink fairy wings as a hat (the tie wrapped round each ear and secured on the left-hand side with a blue plastic clothes peg) tires of the ranting and says to the woman, "you should get off dear - go to the chemist here [gestures out the window] they'd have something for you there. They may even find you a husband." Ranting lady talks on seemingly oblivious. Pink fairy wings lady repeats her comment. Several times. Then changes it slightly, "you should go to Stamford Hill, there's a ministry there, they'd find you a husband".

A moment of lucidity passes over ranting woman. She looks pink fairy wings in the eyes and says patronisingly, "No darlin', I'm going home to watch the set." And then just as suddenly as it came, the lucidity is gone, she's back in her internal world, ranting about the racists, occassionally muttering, "she's schizophrenic, she is."

Tuesday, 21 November 2006


She loves him so much she can allow herself to be totally submissive to his kiss. She leans her head back, her under-chin exposed, neck fully extended. He leans over her. Their open mouths touch lightly. Their eyes are closed. It lasts a few moments. Its too personal to watch.

Monday, 20 November 2006


A woman must have been in the park with her rollerblading kids. The wheels of her basket-trolley had yellow leaves stuck to them, going round and round and round. Probably the park was muddy from yesterday's rain.

* * *

Wind blows a swirl of yellow leaves around the black tarmac as I wait for the bus. A windchime clanks dully from across the street - the grey and white building of the Mount Zion Church of God, with its England flag flapping against its upper window. The wind drags leaves along the street, they must be dry and crisp, sound like cardboard.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Peckham Rye

The revenue at Peckham Rye obviously needs protecting greatly. Twice this week the revenue protection squad was out in force, flanked by police in illuminous yellow jackets, writing fine tickets and handcuffing people. Last week they were doing an airport style security check on arriving passengers, presumably looking for knives and guns. What was it they used to say at the end of roll call in Hill Street Blues? Be careful out there.

Thursday, 16 November 2006


Ceramics Class

Last week I made this pot, this week I spent all class transfering lifedrawings onto it - technique used was to pinprick along the lines of a photocopied lifedrawing (A3), place the drawing over the pot, rub charcoal dust across the holes to provide a guide line. Then traced the drawing with a needle into the clay. It needs 3 drawings to complete - I only managed to do 2. Took some time! Next week will finish transposing the drawings and then send it off for firing. Not so instaneous after all this ceramics.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

How to Eat a Sandwich (On a Train)

We're not talking about the type you get when you're travelling with your Nan. You and sibling sit backwards, Nan and Grandad go forwards. Nan lays paper napkins over the table and presents you with sarnies wrapped in tinfoil (probably saved from previous use), doorstoppers prepared at 5.00am while everybody else slept. Sandwiches that are brought out the moment the train sets off, the departure station barely behind you. No. We are talking about sandwiches downed by commuters on their way home.

So, when it comes to sandwich eating are you a two bite or one bite mouhtful? In public, its probably best to avoid the two-bite, if you want to be able to chew without looking like a hamster. Also, try not to devour an eighth of the sandwich at each bite (remember, if you eat slower it will make you feel fuller). Always chew with your lips closed. Try not to chose smelly fillings like tuna or egg.

I'm amazed at the number of men (generally) grabbing a sandwich on the way home. Aren't they worried it will spoil their supper?

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

London Alphabet
F is for Fashion

So it follows that from great ego comes great fashion. A city full of egos means even the outlandish are ignored and remain largely anonymous, free to express their sense of style in whatever freewheeling eccentricity takes their fancy. Priding ourselves on being first, foremost, cutting edge. Our stores are bigger, flashier, most up to date. Our fashion colleges world renowned, fashion designers scouring the neighbourhoods for the latest in street style. Eclectic, perhaps, or maybe just anything goes and nobody will stare at you (I hadn't realised I was weird until I went to Denmark with pink hair). London allows you to be whatever it is you want to be and however outrageous that is you will find a niche to fit into.

A is for Architecture
B is for Bridges
C is for Crowds
D is for Dusk
E is for Ego
London Alphabet
E is for Ego

Londoners feel they are the centre of the universe, well perhaps not quite, but certainly the centre of the UK, looking down on our suburban and rural neighbours with pity and a certain amount of disdain. (I hasten to add that I don't condone such behaviour, I'm just noticing). Living in the massive conurbation rubbing shoulder to shoulder with nearly 8 million others its easy to forget that anything else exists. Partly because you have to work quite hard to reach its edges and there is this constant magnetic draw towards its centre. I know a number of people who only leave through airports when travelling abroad and probably don't know any of the delights beyond the green belt. So we feel privileged to have such culture, transport and wealth on our doorstep, ignore the poverty and dirt, and are shocked when companies, government and services relocate to the north or Swansea, so indoctrinated are we by the mantra, "tired of London, tired of life".

So I'm offering up Ego as London's E - and anyone who is from anywhere else but here will have some recollection of the self-absorbtion we Londoner's have and our inability to understand the plight of towns and cities beyond our reach, together with our total lack of understanding that someone may prefer to live elsewhere.

A is for Architecture
B is for Bridges
C is for Crowds
D is for Dusk

Monday, 13 November 2006

Shortage of Posts

You are being held in a queue. We are very busy at the moment and all our posts have already been read. We value your readership and if you continue to hold, something more inspiring will be along shortly...

At least I hope so. I'm having writers block. I'm sinking into a routine so mundane that I have no inspiration at all. Coupled with the fact that the minute I am still (horizontally or just sitting) my eyes droop shut (I always find it difficult to adjust to the change of time). It seems always to be dark! I'm spending all my time going between home and new house, painting and concerning self with tiles and uneven floors. Its not terribly exciting I tell you. Not at all.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006


Autumn finally seems to have arrived, and we're nearly in winter. I sat watching the dark fall this evening at 4.00. Slowly it happened but definitely closing in from 4.00. Totally dark by the time I left work. Leaves are falling into the street. Yellow and brown. Seems late for it. But perhaps I'm remembering wrongly.

Sunday, 5 November 2006



The sky is alive with the dull pop and sizzle of fireworks. Occassionally a louder boom. Sometimes passing close to a private display some green or red sparks float into the sky over a rooftop. An acrid smell in the air and smoky mist. I didn't see an organised display this year, too busy painting.

Friday, 3 November 2006

Going Home

Its dark as work ends. We huddle into our coats as we wait for the train. Staring down the track longing to see the faint yellow glow of its windows rounding the corner.

On the train 3 sarf london men chat about trainers. Particularly a pair of red and cream converse that one of them was wearing when he met a bird from Southend. Generous arse, gold heels. His hand gesture seemed to imply he enjoyed her.

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Ceramics Class

Before the half term I spent the whole lesson glazing all the bits and pieces that I had made in the previous weeks. It took long and was impossible to tell what the results would look like. This week all was revealed. Some of them turned out nice, others were a terrible mistake. I'm not keen on that oatmealy look that pottery can have!

Still its all trial and error.