Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
......that's how I would describe the weather today.
I'm trying to revel in the winter, rather than let it get to me.
Walking about yesterday I wandered through a big pile of fallen leaves. One whiff of the musty earthy smell from them threw my mind back to being a kid in Bradgate Park.
All a bit Merchant Ivory, soft focus back-lit memories of mittens and cold ears, but an involuntary smile can't be fought off, or argued with.
I wonder if in thirty years, my kids will catch a whiff of frigid salt air somewhere and be transported back to childhood ?
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Does anyone else remember asking their Mum to save washing up liquid bottles and cardboard when they were a kid ?
I remember how even more important it seemed at this time of year, because it was time for the Blue Peter Christmas craft assault.
Wire coat hangars, tinsel (fireproof of course !), candles, what could possibly go wrong ??
John Noakes, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves..........am I mistaken, or did the object emerge week by week, with each of the presenters adding their own creative flourish ?
Lots of ; "Here's one I prepared earlier".
Of course it seems obvious now that some poorly paid research assistant had done the earlier stuff, but back then I actually believed that Valerie had spent all morning sorting the technical difficulties, in order to make the process even easier for me.
I only bring it up in response to Beachfreak's comment on the last post.
I think he may be right on track.
Off to the beach now to get some materials.....................see you there.
Monday, 10 November 2008
Bit of a gap there..........technical issues, and general fatigue.
On a more positive note, a good amount of work done at the studio, including a couple of commissioned pieces. Always nice to get paid !
The leaves are all off the trees here, and the rain is currently lashing the windows. Not easy to get out and paint in such conditions. I'm resigned to sitting by the fire and burbling away on the laptop.
Thinking back over the last week or two, I realise that for the first time in several years, we didn't do anything much for Halloween, or Bonfire Night. Just another sign that the kids are getting a bit older, where does the time go ?
Christmas soon........I'm thinking traditional, you know, a walnut and a spinning top for the kids, maybe a single posh chocolate for herself.............
Thursday, 2 October 2008
at the life drawing group, but I'm thinking of creating one.
Maybe we all get lashed, put huge canvas' on the floor, pour paint all over each other and drag each other across them ?..........artists naked, model sitting on a stool fully clothed ?
I wonder if the public at large are stupid enough to join in with the slightly hysterical tone of the BBC this morning ?
Picture the scene, some eighteen year old students, who have spent the last five to six years being constantly pressured by educational establishments and their parents, are away from home for the first meaningful time in their lives. Knowing very few people in their new environment they nip out for a couple of pints.
Next thing they know, they are are prostrate, vomiting with a bag on their head, being screamed at by a Nazi..............which of us can honestly say they have never found themselves in a similar situation ?
Anyone who joined H.M.Forces in the 1980's will be very familiar with this sort of training.
Apparently the military still indulge in this sort of thing. Really ?
Men and women who are about to be sent to, or have just returned from, wars in hot foreign countries feel the need to get thoroughly trollied with their mates, and arse about.
The people should be told, it's an outrage, and such a new phenomena.
Old Hogarth was perhaps using a little artistic license, or maybe he tidied things up and the reality was worse, my point is hopefully obvious, people getting hammered and making themselves look stupid is not a new thing.
It's not big, or clever, but at one time or another most of us have got a bit Pinot Grigio'd and made errors of judgement.
If my vague memories of being young, enthusiastic, callow and inexperienced are correct, I was feeling the pressure a bit.
Economically the country was in a hole, and I had joined the military for work. However, as a thinking young man I took the responsibility of that decision fairly seriously.
The received wisdom at the time was that Ivan the Terrible could rip through the Fulda Gap any day he liked. A good friend of mine in a forward unit in Germany had an officially stated life expectancy of six minutes, post kick-off.
Odd though it may seem, we sometimes got a bit pissed up.
Could it be possible that these kids are just letting off steam ?
Monday, 29 September 2008
Went to a friends birthday party on Saturday evening. The gent concerned, and his wife, are renowned for their gatherings, and true to form it was a very pleasant evening.
Another thing they have a reputation for is their taste in art, which leads me neatly on to the
piece above. They own it, you see.
I really enjoy knowing where most of the 'big-bits' are, and not only is this a large canvas (28"x36"), but it is also one which I am very happy with. Another nice thing is knowing that it is on a wall being loved.
As a foot note, here is the sister painting to it, which I doubt I will ever sell;
Thursday, 25 September 2008
A busy couple of days, with oddly conflicting emotions.
Yesterday a good friend of long-standing rang me out of the blue. Because of his work abroad, and our mutual crapness as regards keeping in touch, his call was entirely un-expected.
It transpires that he and his lovely wife are expecting their first child in December.......I was very excited at this news, and hugely amused that they are expecting a girl.
Sadly, two other pairs of friends lost family members yesterday. One of the lost was a very young child, the other a lady of advanced age.
Big stuff, big thoughts.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
speed and surprise !
Sorting some work out earlier, I stumbled on this from a couple of weeks ago.
All three are obviously quick sketches, and are not hugely accurate. For me, the speed and vibrancy are the thing here. I often struggle to get that feeling of life and movement into large finished paintings.
Maybe the answer is not to try. Working with pastels, on big sheets of paper, is really working for me at the moment.
The format of the class also helps. The clock is ticking, the pose may be only five minutes long. You can't mess about, so getting on with it instinctively yields results that are either really wrong, or really right.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Don't bother with Banks, buy art.
Look at it this way, it's inflation proof, can't be effected by men in red braces having a bad day, does not come from a whole in the Middle East, (so no-one will invade your country for it), the pipeline won't be shut off, is transportable if you move to Outer Mongolia, is easier to carry than bullion, is tax deductible if you hang it in your office, looks way better than a pile of share certificates, and if I die before I do many more the price will skyrocket.
I can be contacted by the usual means.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
It's good to get back in the saddle, so to speak.
For various reasons, the last few weeks have been a nude free zone. Like so many things, drawing from life is about practice, so I was rather happy to fluke this piece on Tuesday evening. It's nice and big too (A2), I think it deserves a frame.
On a slightly less satisfying note, have a look here;
NUJ film shows police obstruction of journalists
Obviously I have an agenda here. As anyone who worked with me in my previous life will remember, my attitude to being 'moved on' by the boys in blue, was occasionally a bit militant.
The reasons why are many and varied, sometimes I just wasn't having it, sometimes I wanted to finish my cigarette, but mostly I was standing up for what I believed......and still believe.....was the whole point of being a photojournalist.
If individual police officers are allowed to obstruct journalists, either with or without the tacit approval of their superior officers, it's a short step to needing permission to attend a news event/protest/riot/carnival/magistrates court.
What next ? 'Embedded' photographers, journalists and TV news crews in each major Police Headquarters ?.........now where have I heard that idea before ?
Beware the ever creeping erosion of press freedom. Once the pesky irritation of mouthy press snappers is removed, you'll only see what your local Superintendent allows you to.
Apparently everyday folk like all of us, are being told to put their camera's away on beaches, in town's and many other public places. I can't wait for that to happen to me.
You'll probably hear the bang from wherever you are.................
Friday, 5 September 2008
to selling the work -
I have bought and sold a few everyday items over the past year, so I reckon it might be worth a go. It might just be luck, but I have had nothing but good experiences with it so far. I seriously hope that things don't change now. Here is a link if you fancy a look.
Plans are also afoot to get some things organised at the shop for Christmas. (SORRY, I know it's WAY too early to mention the C word, but I'm only bringing it up to make you understand that I have not been just sitting on my backside all week).
In fact, in other news, I went back to Gatwick in the early hours of yesterday to pick up my friends. (See the post 'long day' below). They landed safely at 4.47am. Sadly their holiday was a bit of a trial, they won't be going back to Morocco for an all inclusive pool holiday anytime soon, but there was no aircraft drama. Praise be.
Oh by the way, for you local folks interested in life drawing, the next six week series of classes begins next Tuesday, (The 9th). For more details, drop me a line.
The piece at the top of the post is a quick sketch of the achingly beautiful Claire. Trying to do her justice in ten minutes is a very tall order, but this is one of my favorite recent attempts.
Back soon. x
Sunday, 31 August 2008
We went to have a look at Art on the Prom, which turned out to be a really good event.
Seventy three artists, lots of punters, VERY hot.........what's not to like ?
This seriously well thought out installation, was made for the event by a group of artists called Purplesnail. (http://www.purplesnail.co.uk/blog/).
The standard of work was high, I was particularly impressed with the younger artists and photographers, who's orginal methods of presentation gave me some food for thought.
I'm hoping to be part of the show next year, maybe the weather will be as good as it was today !
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Bit of a long day today.
I had agreed to take some good friends to the airport, Gatwick.........bit of a long way but they are proper humans and so more than deserve it.
We spent four or five chatty hours making our way down there, catching up, gossiping, having a laugh with the kids, stopping in scruffy lay-by's to indulge in the male sport of al-fresco urinating, etc.
After walking them to Departures, I returned to my car, turned on the radio, and was instantly battered by the news of the terrible aircraft accident in Madrid.
I nearly went and dragged my friends and their kids out of the terminal. How irrational. I KNOW that's not how it works. I KNOW how safe air travel is. (Statistically). I KNOW that the chances of two fatal accidents on the same day are almost beyond calculation........but I instantly threw a pink one.
All the way home the radio kept updating the story, and I kept trying to not think about how the ripples of grief were spreading outward from Madrid, and how my friends and their children were insulated from this tragedy, sitting in the airport waiting to risk their lives in the pursuit of better weather.
Much later, from home, I rang my friend at the airport. I had said I would tell her that I had arrived safely. I didn't mention the Madrid crash, neither did I mention how frightened I was in regard to their safety.
Apparently their flight had been delayed, she didn't know why.
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Now, those of you who know me personally probably also know the two ladies pictured above.
However, for those of you who have not had the pleasure, they are Sally Wallace and Jenny Rumens.
I could ramble on about how lovely, generous, enthusiastic, supportive and generally brilliant they are, but they would only get embarrased.
Suffice to say, without their constant support, I wouldn't have a studio to work in, or the luxury of two seasoned experts with a good kettle, at my fingertips.
So, it gives me great pleasure to commend their blog to you.......
Get yourselves over there and be as supportive as you like. Considering that they have only had a computer for three or four weeks, I think they are doing pretty well !
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
It's a long way from here.
However, the place is beautiful. Please excuse the sloppy montage of the view across Loch Tummell above, but I thought it was high time I got back into the saddle and wrote something. So did it in a hurry.
We stayed in a cottage at a place called Glen Isla, north of Dundee. Fantastic views, loads of heather/sheep/rain..........even narrower roads than Norfolk !
We were out and about every day. I think we covered nearly five hundred miles in and around Angus and Fife. Occasionally we came across the odd less than salubrious place, like the eatery below...............sadly we didn't have time to stop for a cuppa.
On the whole I think Norfolk could learn a lot from the Scottish approach to tourism. Just for a start, the roadsigns, road surfaces and parking, were all better.
Another thing that was really obvious as we came home, was the slightly dishevelled look to the English countryside. All the walls, hedges, and gates I saw up north, (including Northumberland) were noticeably better kept than a lot of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk.
The Scottish Glens, and lowland farms were, by and large, very neat. Maybe it's more rain or some other environmental factor, but the whole feeling was of diligent maintenance, and things being done to last.
I'm sure we'll be going back.
I suddenly realised today, we have been back a week, but it has taken this long to answer the e-mails and ansaphone messages, unpack the clothes, take my dear Mum home, and start to figure out what's next.
More on that note soon.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Just a quick idea of what's been happening in the yard at the studio.
This sculpture of a wave is a collaborative piece I'm working on with three other artists.
Tony Eadson is the other bloke in the pictures, Annie Lloyd and Jenny Rumens are the female half of the team.........not to mention our all round admin guru, and Lady in charge; Sally Wallace.
The piece is for Salthouse 08, the annual art exhibition held in and around the church and village of Salthouse on the North Norfolk coast.
It's pretty much in the bag now, I'll post some more images later.
(Oh, by the way, if you are going to be on the coast road on Thursday morning, beware of travelling rogue waves !)
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Friday, 6 June 2008
Get out and paint a bit.
That was my plan for today. In fact, it was the last thing I thought about as I nodded off last night.
Sadly as I awoke to the sound of the British summer in full flow, I quickly amended my plan to;
Lay in bed and watch UKTV History.
Even more sadly, as I was doing my best to imitate a pile of freshly laundered clothes piled inertly on the bed, Herself spotted me and cunningly issued a list of instructions disguised as a conversation.
So here I sit, having done some admin, cleaned out the e-mail inbox, paid a bill, thought about what to cook for dinner, listened to the radio, singularly failed to smile about the horrible soggy weather, and finally got wet fetching dog food.
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
It's true, honest.
Open Studios came and went, it was okay but generally a bit down on last year. (Footfall and turnover).
This week sees a brief foray into the city of Norwich, with a bunch of other painters and sculptors.
We are showing in St. Margaret's Church, St. Benedict's Street, until 5.00pm on Saturday. If you are in the Fine City between now and then, come and say hello.
I'm invigilating today and all day Saturday, so if you would rather keep your mental image of me as a dashing young blade with a freshly polished pallette, it might be best to avoid those days.
Thanks to those of you who started to sound concerned by my absence, it warms the cockles.
That will be all.
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Is it me or are things looking a bit dark ?
If you factor in coastal erosion, credit crunches, house sales in free-fall, fuel prices sky-rocketing, staple foods costing 50% more than last year, Slippery Gordon trying to fuck us over for EVEN MORE road tax, people organising the disappearance of their kids for money, more child abuse in Jersey, a Bristol teenager on remand for alleged terrorist offences, some retards STILL using mobile phones while driving, not to mention the lack of security in our voting system, the lack of an effective opposition in Parliament and my aching head and back.........it's hardly worth getting up in the morning.
In other news, I have been chained to the easel for several days. On the whole I'm very happy with the results and have delivered a good number of finished pieces to my fabulous framers.
Norfolk Open Studios starts on the 17th of May, so everything needs to be done and dusted by then.
If you fancy a sneaky preview, the Private View will be on Friday the 16th, 6-8pm.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
There is a phrase that describes how I felt while working this evening;
In the zone.
I know, embarrassingly hackneyed, over dramatic, even possibly a little too transatlantic, but I can't construct anything that comes closer to how I felt.
The sheer joy of finding a straight uncluttered connection between eye and brush is hard to beat. All the stupid things went well; the paint felt like double cream, the strokes fell unerringly into place, I didn't care that I was never going to cover every inch of the surface.
Best of all, I felt that for once I was confidently doing justice to the beauty of the model, like kicking a rugby ball and knowing it will find touch, or diving into a swimming pool and knowing that you have hardly caused a splash.
It don't happen often friends, so I'm grinning like an ejit, on my way to making a big G&T, and trying not to think about how I repeat it all tomorrow...........
Monday, 14 April 2008
you know what..........
Mustn't grumble, lots of work, even a new commission, so I hope you'll forgive my lack of posts.
Open Studio's is looming large on the horizon, (starts May17th), so I'm thrashing the canvas' all day and into the evening.
I'm trying to do several pieces at once, but still have to organise the invitations to the private view, not to mention finishing off a ten foot high collaborative installation for another show in July, and two, metre square pieces for a show in Norwich at the end of June.
Relaxing all this art......................what you all up too ?
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
..............of a certain degree of bias in my work.
A certain fellow blogger and visitor to these e-ramblings has noticed that I mainly paint women.
I know that for most of you this will come as a bit of a surprise. But having had a look through the archive, it would appear there is some justification for this observation.
In order to try and redress this imbalance, here's a bloke.
Don't say I never listen to you.
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
90 years ago today the Royal Air Force was formed as an independant arm of the British military establishment.
Happy Birthday to all current, and retired boys/girls in blue, wherever you are.
Through Endeavour to the Stars.
(I'm at back right, behind the aircraft).
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Today marks a year since the start of this blog.
The rambling chronicle of my days and work was begun in a fit of pique. I was convinced that to avoid lonely, ear-off, VanGoghesque mentalism, I needed to reach out into the world and tell people that I exist.
With no planning and hardly any idea about what I would/wouldn't say, no real sense of how much to reveal of myself, or whether anyone would read the results, I just rattled the keys and blagged away at it.
I'm proud of the resulting electronic refuge I have created for myself. It's not all good, it's not all very considered, but it is all straight off the bat.
I love the fact I can rant on here, or that I can get a bit sentimental and too arty from time to time, but the thing I love the most is the supportive, funny, considered, rude, flirty and occasionally filthy comments left by friends both old and new.
Thank you to those of you who's faces I can conjure instantly to mind.
You are, as always, deeply loved and appreciated. Not least for your support of yet another example of my unpredictable, and sometimes difficult to live with creativity.
To my electricfriends, I genuinely appreciate the time you spend dropping in to check out my wafflings. Judging by the map you are spread far and wide across four continents........a fact that astounds me.
Some of you......Smack, Kitty, Sally, Sweary, Gone-Back, Hangar Queen, Travelling-geezer,.........have become regular contributors, I always get a buzz reading your comments, my love and thanks to you for making the effort.
As my daughter would say; "I'm feeling you".
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
One of the pieces I'm working on for Open Studios is this one of herself. Getting time in the studio together has been a real challenge of late.
With the normal everyday requirements of work, the evil ones, food shopping, domestic drudgery and the fact that it's not exactly tropical round here at the moment, the road has been uphill.
A half decent Pinot Grigio and a new heater at the studio clinched the deal last Friday evening, by the look of the forecast I better get something warming in for this Friday........Rum perhaps ?
Oh, by the way, open invite time again. This Thursday evening, 6 til 8, a private view of Student art and photography at the C21 shop.
All the work is exam coursework by year 11 pupils at North Walsham High School, and well worth a browse. The little darlings get a hard time for being snot's most of the time, this is a different side to them, come and have look.
The show is on over the Easter weekend if you can't make Thursday eve........but the wine will be gone.
The C21 shop, 38 High Street, Mundesley, Norfolk. 10am-4pm, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon.
Friday, 14 March 2008
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
I know everyone is wittering on about the weather, but having just got back from the beach I have to say despite the wind and rain, it's magnificent down there today.
The wind is what Norfolk folk call a 'Lazy Wind'. It's too lazy to go round you, so it goes straight through. Stumbling along into it is like having prolonged ice-cream-brain-freeze. Add abrasive qualities of seemingly jet propelled sand, small stones, dried sea-weed and rubbish, and you won't be needing to exfoliate for a week or two.
I'm having to think hard to describe the wind, mainly because I was hypnotised by the light. Fabulous shafts, like spotlights flashing through the clouds. Every moment a new image is lit up, then disappears, like watching mackerel flash near the surface in August.
I'm going to try and paint something inspired by the weather later. The thought of trying to capture something of the elements always excites, but the butterfly's of inadequacy are waiting to creep in at any moment. Repeat after me; less is more, less is more..........
I suppose that's part of the thrill.
To change tack for a moment, the elements have created their own collage behind the old sea defences here. A sudden collection of sea-borne rubbish has been formed by wind and tide into a
a seductive muddle of shape and colour.
There must be a way of making something cool and arty from it.........the cogs are turning.
Thursday, 6 March 2008
I harbour a dream of travel.
I don't mean a foreign package holiday, my dream is to own a scruffy camper van and go and have a look round.
I really like the idea of slowly traversing little country lanes and coast roads, buying hedge-veg and catching mackerel as I go.
I'd take a cut down painting kit and a camera, throw some paint about at last light or dawn overlooking wide rolling landscapes or rocky cliffs.
Not shave much, have long proper conversations with herself, watch sunsets, get Pinot Grigio'd on deserted beaches, then come back home and work the sketches studies and photo's up into BIG canvases.
Maybe go right round Britain, then France, possibly a ferry to Spain, what about Italy ?
The small matters of mortgage and teenagers need to be sorted and incorporated respectively, but I think it's a realistic proposition.
So if you see a stranger with an improbably large straw hat and a glass of something chilled, madly scrubbing away at a canvas, obviously needing a shave........come and say hello.
Friday, 29 February 2008
So Harry is on his way back from the Hindu Kush then.
I have to say that I think it was exactly the right thing to do for him to go and be part of the operational role of his unit. His credibility as a young officer would have been completely undermined if he had not taken part.
Some of the squaddies I heard interviewed on the radio seemed to have a genuine affection for the man. While I don't imagine that the army would put a soldier on the radio who was critical of Harry, those I heard sounded authentically impressed with him as a young officer.
In my experience, respect and professional compliments are not lightly, or easily bestowed by the British serviceman.
It's a bit of a shame that the cat got out of the bag early, but I am filled with a warm fuzzy glow that my former colleagues of the British Fourth Estate were not in this case culpable.
Given the current penchant for endless serial inquiries into the sad, accidental and ultimately wasteful death of his mother, I think that there may have been some less than altruistic motives behind the silence of the Red-Tops ............but it's the thought that counts.
The painting at the top has absolutely nothing do do with any of this, but I am partial to a nice arse.
Friday, 22 February 2008
Strange how things sometimes fall into place. Or maybe more accurately how, on occasions, events, senses and surroundings conspire to fit together in a way that seems designed rather than accidental.
This photograph was taken, early one morning last week, from the cliff-top at the edge of my home village.
I was up early to travel fifty miles in the fog and frost for a photographic job. In order to beat the weather, and because I am not hugely familiar with the marshes down towards Beccles I gave myself ample time, and could afford to briefly stop and enjoy the dawn.
Now, getting back into the car I decided I needed a change of music. The particular CD I had in the slot had been spinning away on shuffle for what seemed like weeks, I don't remember what it was, just that I needed a change.
I shoved my hand into the map pocket in the door, and without looking grabbed a home burned compilation, shoved it in and bimbled off into the freezing fog, happily singing along to bits of Led Zeppelin, The Kooks, Frank Sinatra etc.
To cut a long and fairly tedious journey short, I wound my way across country, creeping along Hammer House of Horror country lanes. Finally a bit too lost to keep driving I slid into a gateway to ascertain exactly how long I would be away from home, and whether I would have to eat my own leg........or the very old wine-gums under the seats.
Unfolding the map, and foolishly trying to orientate me with it/it with me, I looked up at the exact moment that an aperture in the freezing candy-floss slid silently open.
Eyes drawn, jaw open, I gawped down a marsh surrounded lane.
Willows like ranks of Grenadiers, their neatly pollarded Bearskins uniformly dropping to the misty limits of my vision, guarding the watery meadows left and right.
I think I said "Oh", just in time for the opening chords of "Cut my Wings", by a grizzled old Hobo called Seasick Steve to burst out of the speakers.
The view suddenly changed in my mind to an imagining of how the rural Southern States , where this music was born, ought to look. Weird, almost an out-of-body experience.
I was kind of staggered, moved to the extent that by the time I got out of the car with the camera to record the moment, the fog/mist/mog?/fist?, mocked me and dropped like a big bag of something heavy. Whump. Gone.
Makes you think.
Sorry about that !.........work work work, good for the bank manager, not good for the thoughts of Chairman Knifepainter.
Now, the Poll, thanks for all your support. I'm not sure my opinion is any more worthy, but I think all of yours are.
I'm off to paint the bristles off some brushes now, but I'll be back with a proper post tonight.
Tuesday, 5 February 2008
The cherub in this picture is variously referred to here as The Firstborn, or The Evil One, or occasionally I even use her name.
I'm fairly sure that this picture was taken in the summer of 1995, we lived inland at the time, and Herself was eight months pregnant with Laughing boy.
Now to the point of this rambling.
I need you to help me convince the now teenage Evil One that I'm right.........Okay, okay, I can hear the snorts of your derision from here. Oh ha ha you say, convince a teenage girl that her Dad is correct. Right after you cure the common cold and fly through the air using only your arms and the power of weeeeeeeee, you giggle.
Well, I think weight of numbers and the very fact that your opinions are not mine, could swing it.
The issue in question is this;
Girls look better Curvy than Boney.
The poll is on the right, don't let me down.
Saturday, 2 February 2008
Friday, 1 February 2008
I can't claim authorship of this, it was sent to me on an e-mail, from an old friend and former colleague. Thanks Phil.
British Army answering machine message :
Thank you for calling the British Army. I'm sorry, but all our units are out at the moment, or are otherwise engaged. Please leave a message with your country, name of organisation, the region, the specific crisis and a number at which we can call you.
As soon as we have sorted out Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, The Congo, marching up and down bits of tarmac in London and compulsory health and safety at work training, we will return your call.
Please speak after the tone or, if you require more options, listen to the following numbers:
If your crisis is small and close to the sea, press 1 for the Royal Marines.
If it is distant, with a tropical climate, good hotels and can be solved by one or two low-risk bombing runs, please press 2 for the Royal Air Force. Please note that this service is not available after 1630 or at weekends.
If your enquiry concerns a situation which can be resolved by a warship, some bunting, flags, a damn good cocktail party and a first class marching band, please write, well in advance, to the First Sea Lord, The Royal Navy, Whitehall, London SW1.
If your enquiry is not urgent. Press 3 for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.
Thank you for calling and if you are interested in joining the Army (please, please, please, although retention is fine and we are right up to strength) and wish to be paid little, have premature Arthritis, put your wife and family (or gay lover) in a condemned hut miles from civilisation; and are prepared to work day and night whilst watching the Treasury eroding your original terms and conditions and promising a better pension, serving mainly in sandy climes, whilst picking up rubbish and putting out house fires all over the UK, while fireman and binmen have a little holiday; then please stay on the line.
Your call will shortly be passed onto a bitter, passed-over Recruiting
Sergeant in a horrendously fronted, yet grotty little office down by the
Have a nice day and thank you again for trying to contact The British Army
Thursday, 31 January 2008
As everyone in any kind of business knows, this time of year is a bit light on the old cashflow.
Christmas debt, credit crunch, sub-prime shitters, whatever, choose your poison.
So with a lack of gold and a heavy heart, I have by turns been chained to the easel and the laptop all week trying to eleviate the fiscal freeze.
It would appear, that despite my best efforts to turn an honest coin, I am barking up the wrong cashpoint...............(if you'll forgive a mixed metaphor).
What I need is to do is get elected, or maybe become a peer.
I was bombarded with T.V. adverts throughout the festive period and into January.
What about ?..............to make sure I got my self assesment tax form in on time.
No fucking wonder, with all those salaries to pay for the kids at Uni, and wives "working" for their M.P. husbands, they need to get their cash flow up !
I'd like to see what they declare as taxable income. Wankers.
Of course, if you are a member of the Upper House you just do a few introductions.
Facilitate a nice warm handshake between an arms dealer and the MOD procurement chappy, and Bob's your uncle, nice little tickle, Antigua here we come.
Instead of feathering his own nest that fucker ought to spend his time sorting out a good deal on body armour for the lads in Iraq and Afghanistan............or maybe a nice big order of top quality Union Jack's for the boxes they keep coming home in.
A particularly amusing line on Radio 5 yesterday came from a Labour MP trying to convince the listeners and the program host, that our Parliamentary representatives employ their wives because they work so hard, for such long hours that it's the only way to avoid marital breakdown.
So I suppose the poor Donkeys of the chattering classes all go home on time every night then do we ?
Pull the other one, it's got fucking bells on.
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
Been playing around with the appearance of the site, still not sure yet what I think. Let me know your thoughts.
Also, I have added a neat little thing called snapshots. If you roll over to the unmissables on the right, you'll get a box with the relevant blog in. Go to the bottom right of the box, click, and you'll be there...................cool.
If you think it's NOTcool, then feel free to disable it at the top right corner of the box.
Been to the studio all day, had a lovely natter with an old friend and a new one. The new one has commissioned a painting of herself.
She's gonna look fine, oh yes.
Also managed to finish a medium sized seascape, which is a sort of maybe/commission/sale.
All in all a full day.
Monday, 28 January 2008
Picture the scene; Saturday morning, Herself and the Firstborn are away to the city on a mission to purchase shoes.
Me and the Lad have no plans. Speculatively, I offer him the possibility of sitting fairly still while I paint his portrait. Surprisingly he gives up the coveted role of Chief Watcher of the Cartoons, and agrees.
Actually, he's a pretty good subject, and the opportunity to catch up with each others news is really good. Amazing the things that go on in the village and on the school bus that I have no clue about. Weird how every time I spend a long time talking to him, his maturity seems to have leaped forward since the last long chat.
Sometimes I wonder if I sleep for months at a time. The pace of change seems so fast with both of them.
After three/four hours, including a lunch break of fishcake and chips from the village chippy, this was the result.
Overall it's a bit dark, and a bit blue, but I think it'll be ok with a little tickling up here and there.
The real pleasure was in the fact that he really loved it, and dragged his Mum up to the studio on Sunday to have a look.
Thursday, 24 January 2008
So, having figured that I have taken my digital photography as far as I want to, the obvious and long pondered question has been; "What next ?".
After more than a year of deliberating and writing lists of pro's and con's, I have decided on a course of action.
The bit of kit in the picture is a monorail camera. The sort of thing that some toggy's in their forties and older, (including me), learned their trade using.
Oh yeah, by the way, this one is now mine.
I'm not going to get all dewy eyed here, this is not an easy bit of kit to handle. There are some issues with using big old fashioned cameras. From my standpoint however, they are the antidote to hosing your subject down with a Digital camera, ending up with 200 frames, then spending all evening hard wired into Photoshop to end up with ten images.
The way I see it, beautifully lit, silky, black and white portraiture is the way to go.
Watch this space.