Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Life Trek: The Next Generation

At 2:22 on the 22nd of August, my niece Imogen Judith Lines was born. 6pounds and 15 ounces of pure miracle child.

Here's a close up of the new Cub.

Going to the hospital to visit her reminded me of one of my earliest memories... the birth of my younger sister Johanna. At the time, I was only 5, and my elder sister Camilla (Immy's mum) was 8. It was a baking hot summer's day in central California, and my father made us walk all the way to the hospital, (which was literally miles away from our home).

We were made to wear masks to protect the baby from germs (which apparently I was very unhappy about... as if I have germs), and I can remember finding the whole thing very strange indeed. My mother had bought us presents, which she said were from Johanna, and I genuinely believed that they were... Although I couldn't work out how she had had time to go get them, what with just being born and all.

I can remember having to get up on my tip-toes to see into her little cradle thing, and seeing the strange discoloured banana protruding from where her belly-button should be. This, of course, turned out to be the umbilical chord. (As a side note, "Belly-button" in Spanish is "Umbligo" which I think is far more fitting.)

Imogen shares a lot of similar features with Jojo, so I'm sure that made the connection all the more potent. But it really was strange how I felt so much like a small boy again when I met her. Of course, I became very aware of my size in comparison to her... And I was very scared about holding her for the first time. Such a delicate thing should only really be held by a ninja master.

Here I am holding her for the first time.

But I couldn't very well miss the opportunity to meet her properly and give it a go. If only to be able to show her the picture when she's a bit older of the day we first met. She is a joy and a blessing, and I am so happy she has joined us here.

Congratulations Camilla and Mark. Your baby is beautiful.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Everyday Art - Example 2.a

The Tobacconist

As any regular visitors to my Blog will know. I have a project called Everyday Art. That's where I create artwork in everyday locations. Usually placed there for other people's enjoyment.

I've shown you a lot of examples which I've done in my workplace. But here's a slightly different one. It's a piece I did while talking to a smoker with an open tobacco tin. Whilst he rolled his cigarette, I quietly and surreptitiously took a nearby scissor I could find and cut the image of the man into paper.

Once it was finished I placed it in his tobacco tin so he would find it when he next looked. I caught a picture of it:

Example 2.a - The Tobacconist

Friday, 14 August 2009

Another Idea I will Never Finish - Example 1.

I get ideas all the time for scripts, TV shows, Adverts, other Musical Projects, Sculptures etc etc. And the vast majority of them I never see through to completion, as one can only spread one's time so thin.

Anyway, It's pointless me holding on to these ideas if I'm not going to use them, so instead I think I'll post them up on here for your amusement. Here's an idea I came up with yesterday on the tube.


The sensational new musical featuring the music of ABBA!
Viewer discretion advised, stage show contains blood and dismemberment

Brief Synopsis/Plot Outline:

Set in 1972 in a once busy, but now failing abattoir in Sweden. The slaughterhouse is run by our 4 main characters Frida, Björn, Benny and Agnetha. 2 sexy Swedish couples trying to make their love of meat into a career. However, hard times have fallen on Sweden, and people just cant afford high quality butchered meats.

During the course of this struggle to make ends meet, A jealous health inspector by the name of Fernando Heels falls in love with Agnetha. His unrequited obsession causes him to threaten to close the abattoir if he cannot have her for his own. Rather than prostitute herself in this way, she takes her trusty meat clever and takes Fernando's life. She tells Frida, Björn & Benny and they help her dispose of the body.

A slew of detectives begin to investigate the disappearance, and many must be killed by our heroes to protect the business and it's dark secrets. Over the course of time, each of our protagonists develop a bloodlust to kill and consume humans (which inevitably leads to their downfall). The final scene sees them standing in a circle and simultaneously striking off each others heads with a synchronised cleaver strike.

All of this is set to the astonishing hits of the much loved pop group ABBA. Some of the highlights include: "Knowing Meat, Knowing You", "Head Over Heels" & "Thank You For The Bodyparts". A full list of the songs included is below.

  • Money, Money, Money
  • Knowing Meat, Knowing You
  • Ring Ring
  • Fernando
  • Under Attack
  • S.O.S.
  • Head Over Heels
  • Take a Chance on Me
  • Slicing Queen
  • Does Your Mother Know
  • Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
  • Super Trouper
  • Thank You For The Bodyparts

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

I will be saving up for...

A Roland TR-808. Here is what it does:

If I don't get this within a year it is possible that I will have brain failure.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Reacting to Repetitive Writing Rhythms...

When you are a writer of music, words... in fact anything... you can get into a rhythm.

Now, there are good writing rhythms and bad ones, and I have fallen to both of them probably equally. The only real difference in them is that it is very easy to fall out of a good one, and very difficult to get out of a bad one. This being said, I have learned a few techniques to prevent bad patterns emerging.

Recently I noticed that every time I sat down to play, my hands always twisted to the guitar to form the same chords, same progressions over and over. Some of this could obviously be my subconscious telling me I haven't written "The Song" with that set form, but a lot of it is part of an unhealthy writing mindset.

There are two good ways of approaching this problem that I have found. Both of them are acts of diversion. One of them is to pick up a different instrument, one that you are unfamiliar with and try and write on that. Or indeed, try and play the instrument you are using (in my case, guitar) in a different way. Play it on your lap for example, or left-handed. Lots of people use effects to make the guitar seem alien, and that's a totally valid option, although it can often create a dependency for the player.

The second way... The Cover... is the way I have opted for this time around. I decided to learn another artist's song by ear, and interpret it in the way I see fit. I have chosen to learn and play "Daniel" by Bat For Lashes. It's a song that I really love, by an artist that really inspires me.

I've used this 'cover' technique several times with different bands, (and on my own) and it has never failed. When you see how something can work differently to how you are used to, It opens your mind to trying new forms.

I shall be working on it over the next week and if it's any good, I'll post up the results.