Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A nice moment

What a shit title for a post. "A nice moment."

Anyway, before I rip my titles to shreds any further: a friend popped round earlier, someone with whom I've had periodic discussions about work, my attempts to change direction and get more involved in art-related activities. Lately I've been conscious of the fact that I'm still where I am work-wise, but at least starting to move on in other ways. None of this was on my mind however when she came over, but as we were sat talking she noticed the ever-growing pile of drawings on my table. I've not told anyone about my recommencing drawing, except here on this site.

"Wow, looks like you've been busy," she said. Yes, and about bloody time I've been busy: finally doing something, on however modest a scale, rather than continuing to say I need to do something. It spawned a discussion occupying similar territory to the conversations summarized above, but it felt a little more real this time, that further goals are ever-so-slightly more feasible, since I've at least made a start.

So that was the nice moment, in a nutshell. I still feel like I need to make a further qualifying statement to add on to that and maybe to diminish it, but I'll relegate such a qualification by putting it in brackets at the end of this sentence (yes I still need to make so much more effort to change my present circumstances but I'm not using that as an excuse to further delay things that I can be getting on with in the meantime). There. That's that out of the way.

I'll perhaps post some more drawings soon. It'll have to wait until the weekend though, when the following two things

being at home

will be something experienced concurrently (so that I can photograph them properly).

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I'm putting word verification on to comments, for a few days at least, since I've been getting a number of spam hits since the end of last week. Just thought I'd let you know.

For the sake of pedantry though, "word verification" doesn't describe it very well - after all they're not proper words are they, just a random jumble of letters.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

A couple of things

Firstly, being in a busy, wonderful real-ale pub last night with a couple of friends, I saw something which reminded me why I love cats. The pub was pretty busy, a little hectic but with a good atmosphere. Meanwhile a black and white she-cat was sat looking out of the window onto the street outside, occasionally craning her neck having apparently spotted the most interesting thing ever: ears twitching like radar (does radar twitch? You know what I mean anyway), and paying no notice to the goings on in the pub. She seemed to be making a statement: fuck you lot, you bore me. It's all happening out there!

Secondly, today I finally got my hands on the new Einstürzende Neubauten album. I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm going to shortly.

At last. It's mine, mine!

Mine, I tell you! Mine!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Gutes Year (or how to ruin an anecdote)

After the way, that the discussion went on the prior thread, I only this had to try: write a post, translate you it into another language (I become with German for the will of the logical consistency stick) and translate you then it behind to English and give you it on the place out.

I thought, select would have lost becomes that I an anecdote that (hanging therefrom off, like well it is told) a very orderly punchline to see only like much, that it in translation twice over:

I was sat on a bus at Derby bus railway station a Friday evening ago some years to break open waiting, on that in Derbyshire because I wanted to visit my mother. When the driver sat there idling the time away, before he was due, to depart, asked a couple of youth that is received on the bus, and it if the bus led to Nottingham. The conversation is likes gone somewhat this:

Youth: Two halves to Nottingham would ask. They do not go are to Nottingham you.

Driver (somewhat laconic) : Nottingham? They will not have came much chance of to Nottingham on this bus. We go to Chesterfield.

Youth: Are you certain?

Driver: Very certainly. Chesterfield. You come along want, you, but you must pay to like everyone this other good passengers.

Youth: But it says Nottingham on the side of the bus! Why does it say that if it goes somewhere otherwise?

Driver (even more laconic) : Does ah yes, and it not say was has on the tire just as "goods year", but if so far it"?

Tranlated from: After the way the discussion was going on the previous thread, I just had to try this: write a post, translate it into another language (I'll stick with German for the sake of consistency) and then translate it back to English and publish it on the site.

I thought I'd choose an anecdote which (depending on how well it is told) has a very neat punchline, just to see how much it gets lost in translation twice over:

I was sat on a bus at Derby bus station one Friday evening some years ago, waiting for it to set off into Derbyshire since I was going to visit my mother. As the driver sat there idling the time away before he was due to depart, a couple of youths got on the bus and asked him if the bus was heading to Nottingham. The conversation went something like this:

Youth: Two halves to Nottingham please. You are going to Nottingham aren't you.

Driver (somewhat laconically): Nottingham? You won't have much chance of getting to Nottingham on this bus. We're going to Chesterfield.

Youth: Are you sure?

Driver: Very sure. Chesterfield. Come along if you want but you'll have to pay like all these other good passengers.

Youth: But it says Nottingham on the side of the bus! Why does it say that if it's going somewhere else?

Driver (even more laconically): Ah yes, and it says "Good Year" on the tyres as well, but if hasn't been so far has it?"

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Lied und tanzt

That title is probably very wrong German. Anyway, following last week's post in which I was waiting with some urgency for this week, it now appears that the release of Neubauten's new album has been delayed by another week or so.


The only thing that's helping to pass the time is this. Hilarious, mesmeric and weird in equal measure.

Monday, 22 October 2007


The last couple of days I've finally started to draw again. The process of blogging has been a trigger in some ways: the sense of wanting to articulate something, and hence having to find ways to actually articulate what that something might be. There have been other triggers as well including, for instance, a lot of good conversation over the weekend with different people. Not to mention the notion of having felt stuck for quite some time.

Perhaps this is a small part of (in the best possible way) getting myself unstuck again.

Here are a few of the drawings I've been doing: a further attempt to recommence the process of articulating something, if only for myself. I don't think as yet that they are succeeding in any way, but it's a start. The fact that there is now a they - the drawings - to actually be able to refer to, is the main thing right now: in itself, it's quite liberating.

Saturday, 20 October 2007


It's a particular source of frustration to me that I wake up at the same time on a Saturday morning as I do during the week, and rarely get back to sleep, regardless of the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed on Friday night. Such has been the case this morning, though on the brighter side it's equally a relief to realise that I don't have to get up and go to work.

This morning something else was impinging on my consciousness as well: a long, steady ringing tone, medium in register, occasionally fading for a brief moment before returning, sometimes seeming to come from the left, other times from the right. In other words, the internal orchestra that comprises my tinnitus (not that I want to give it too grandiose a description or anything) appears to have a temporary new addition.

I'd almost forgotten what this was like, lying there and listening in, trying to distinguish between external sounds and internal ones. I've become so used to the repertoire of ringing, whining and whistling that goes on, that for the vast majority of the time it really doesn't bother me at all. It used to scare the shit out of me: I'd be constantly finding somewhere quiet to sit and listen and work out whether the noises were fading or getting louder or whether there were any new ones (which would mean another nail in the coffin for my hearing). These days I'd probably find it more unsettling if the ringing disappeared.

The new tone I heard this morning shouldn't last. It was triggered by going to see a film last night: Control, the dramatisation of the life of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. Normally I'd have the earplugs in for loud music (and the music is done particularly well in the film) but on this occasion I just couldn't bring myself to do so. Much like the handling of the rest of the film there was something very satisfying in how the rawness and immediacy of the band's live performance was captured.

I normally steer clear of biopics: if the subject is one you're very familiar with, I find it tends to be an unsatisfactory experience, defined as much as anything by what has been missed out, misrepresented or glossed over. Not so in this case: apart from one or two slight irritations, I can't see how it could be improved upon. My friends and I were talking about it long after it had finished, which is always a good sign: as is my willingness to tolerate the ringing in my ears.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


so, does this work?

Monday, 15 October 2007


Because this is being released next week, apparently.

I do hope it's good.

*drums fingers for next seven days, waiting patiently*

Is it next week yet?

*continues drumming fingers*

Is it next week yet?

*drums fingers ad infinitum*

Is it next week yet?

*drums fingers even more than ad infinitum if such a thing is possible*

Update: is it next week yet here's a review of it for those interested.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Stream of consciousness (ish)

I'd threatened (if that's not too harsh a word) to anna mr that I would do a stream-of-consciousness post after she did one, a few weeks ago now. So here it is. It seems a good idea to do it right now because, following the previous post I wrote, and the wonderful responses it got from everyone, I've remained deep in thought about the whole blog-thing in relation to what I do and don't reveal. This has moved on to reflecting on what I choose to reveal - or not - about people around me.

I really don't want to think about it too much or it will stop me from writing about anything whatsoever. It would prevent me from writing about my mother, in whose company I've spent the weekend. It would also prevent me from writing about my grandmother, who lives close by to my mother and who will soon, all being well, reach the rather fine age of 92.

Again it feels like a question of motivation: I shouldn't really have any worries about privacy issues since no one here knows that much about me apart from what I've written, and anyone who does know more about me certainly doesn't know any of my family.

So where's the problem?

I tend to worry about these things, that's where the problem is.

But I want to write about how twisted my mother's hands are from arthritis. Not that arthritis is restricted to her hands (to understate the hold that the condition has on her): but they are, maybe, the area that I focus on other than her face. Hands are pretty crucial things after all. I'm used to seeing hers as they are now. I can't imagine the pain and frustration.

I used to feel guilty for not helping her out more. I go back home every so often and get mothered, and for a good while I used to think, I should be cooking for her, I should be offering to help out with whatever needs to be done. I changed my opinion, though, or came to a point of realisation: whenever she wants something done, she will ask. Otherwise she'll damn well get on with doing it herself, and she keeps as much independence as she possibly can.

She had an operation on one of her hands some time ago, to try and get the individual joints realigned to a more manageable degree. I rang her regularly and offered to go and see her at weekends if she needed help with anything at all: she responded with a list of jobs which needed doing, and she then described her frankly ingenious methods of getting round the problem of each individual task with the temporarily-limited means at her disposal . In other words, she didn't need my help or anyone else's, thank you very much: or if she did, as mentioned, she would ask.

My grandmother is becoming increasingly dependent on her: but at her (my grandmother that is) remarkable age, the fact that she still lives in her own home, the one she moved into when married, is quite something as far as I'm concerned. She's getting more unsteady as time goes on, and not just physically. At the end of each visit I say "I'll see you soon" or words to that effect. I'm increasingly conscious that there's only so many more times I'll be saying that: while that sounds like a sad thought, it's tempered by the fact that whatever happens, (to resort to a necessary cliche), she's had a damned good innings.

I'm often reminded of something my late grandfather said one birthday in the final few years of his life. He had a lengthy spell of illness and was clearly ever more aware of his own mortality, and one of his apparent coping strategies was to specialise in a fine brand of gallows humour. For a birthday present I'd bought him a new shaving kit. As he opened the box and saw what it was his eyes lit up, he smiled at me and said with enthusiasm, "Thanks! This will just about last me!" I remember bursting out laughing though being highly aware of the the truth behind the humour.

Note: I have to be honest (well I don't, but I'm going to be), this wasn't completely stream-of-consciousness, I had to stop and think and change a couple of things, but it's a lot more off-the-cuff than most of what I've written previously. It's a lot more spontaneous than next Thursday's post is shaping up to be, put it that way.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Advice welcome

A small favour, if anyone can grant it.

Does anyone have any clear guidelines on confidentiality issues with regards to blogging? There's a post I'd like to write, relating to someone I knew when I worked in a particular setting and they were a client there.

But at present, although I think the story is worth telling (and is fully respectful of the client), I feel uncomfortable. I think it's partially because I could do with a clear sense of where I stand in terms of confidentiality (maybe I'm wrong, but it feels like a whole different ballgame online as opposed to within the context of work itself).

It's also because the very act of writing about a client - regardless of the context - feels somehow disrespectful and, almost by definition, constitutes a breach of trust.

But I still think the story is worth telling.

As mentioned, any advice or pointers in the right direction would be most welcome.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Award (2)

Yes, I'm positively swimming in the things now. Well, I've got 3 anyway - thanks be to djkirkby who has deemed me fit to receive an award for making her smile. Which seems to be no mean feat given that she has confessed to me on a previous post that she has no sense of humour.

Not that I, nor anyone else for that matter, should believe such a thing: there's plenty of fun and games to be had at her site, one of the latest being a rather bizarre game involving mice and tea (don't ask - just go to the site and have a go, it's tagged onto the end of Monday's post I think).

Well it's a very nice thing to have had another award, so thank you very much dj! I do appreciate it. I shall bestow this very same award onto but why?: reason being, straightforwardly enough, that many of her writings make me smile. Hopefully, these are the very same ones that are supposed to have that effect.

Monday, 8 October 2007


Before I deal with the very nice business of accepting yet another award, I thought I'd note that I attended a pub quiz tonight: the first time since I wrote this post.

I mentioned this to my prospective team members (sorry, you'll have to click on the link to get the context) and, although they liked the idea, we settled on a workable compromise and called our team "We're Spartacus." Sod's Law reared its ugly head, as we submitted our name and our fee, the quizmaster informed us that they'd had an entire round on Spartacus last week. Typical! Oh well: plus points tonight were that

a) we didn't come last (third from last in fact, which seems quite respectable given the competitors and the good at quizzes/good at life ratio)

b) thanks to a good showing in the music round, we ended up winning 8 pints for ourselves (for a team of four, so that works out at roughly 2 pints each, according to my calculations)

c) it was a pleasant diversion from the mania that occurred between the hours of 8.30am and 4.30pm (at which point I was at work)

Saturday, 6 October 2007


Been meaning to post these up for a while, they were taken during a thunderstorm (obviously) between around 9.30 and 9.45pm in late July. This was not long after I got my digital camera and I was stood at the back door filming with a mixture of patience and excitement.Thanks to a friend of mine I've discovered at last how to convert the images into stills and into jpeg format.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


I saw this headline on a newspaper stand today:

Win Family Break At Alton Towers

I didn't get the chance to read the article. At such a difficult time however, my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with those who knew and loved the Win family.

Monday, 1 October 2007


Thanks to the dynamic blogger that is prada pixie, I have another award to add to my list (of one). I must admit to being rubbish with these things : I haven't doled out the last stack of awards in response to the previous one that came my way. My excuse is that I'm waiting for an ultra rainy day. Yes I know, we've had plenty of those, but it wasn't the right kind of rain.

I don't even know how many I'm supposed to give out, but what I like about this one is that no-one who has received it seems to know exactly what it's for: for me, that is precisely its appeal.

So, thank you pixie!

I shall bestow this on to just one other person, otherwise I'm in danger of passing it on to a number of people who already have it. For general all-round good bloggyness, frequently playful, thought-provoking and/or poignant writings, I salute you anna mr.