Archive for August, 2007
Billy was limping a bit yesterday. He was still limping this morning, so we went to the vet. Poor little boy got a tiny tiny stone stuck in his paw.
But if I’d have known the reaction that Billy limping along with a bandaged foot would get from women, I’d have put a bandage on Billy’s foot every day…
As I mentioned, I’m leaving Berlin in a couple of months. I want to do a bit of travelling. Maybe stay in various places for a few weeks, then move along like Lassie with a passport.
It occurred to me that going to some places might not be as easy as just flashing the passport that Her Britannic Majesty’s Sectetary of State has assigned to me. And being someone who a) is a bit of a nerd, and b) finds information presented graphically easier to understand, I made a map of the visa requirements of the nations of the world.
Maybe this is useful for you too; although I take no responsibility for you being arrested in Namibia if I got it wrong. This map is entirely based on having a UK passport. And, although it seems most EU nations have similar rights of entry: don’t bank on it, Johnny German. Plus, if you’ve ever been to Israel, you’re a bit fucked when it comes to some Muslim countries: they don’t want you.
My plan, as it stands, is to go to Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and whatever other points around that ice cream-shaped continent I like the look of. I quite fancy the Galápogos Islands, and seeing some more of the US, too; but we’ll see if the money stretches that far.
Bonsoir. (I have two language settings: English and Foreign. Once some words from one foreign language get in my head, it’s tough for me to get them out and revert to the other foreign language I need to use. Ever since I arrived back in Berlin, it’s been s’il vous plait this, merci beaucoup that, much to my annoyance in the supermarket.)
Anyway, that was a perfectly superfluous tangent; here’s a drawing I did on the flight home from Paris. It’s called Bored mountains.
I was sat next to a French business man on the aeroplane. When I began to write in my notebook, I could feel him reading my innermost thoughts (“check Google for quite-nice-looking-when-chucking-a-javelin Dutch heptathlon lass,” “check Google for really tall, slightly goofy-looking, but still damn cute Russian volleyball player,” etc.). So I stopped writing and decided to give him the freaky-art-student-doodle-show.
I tend to be quite self-conscious when drawing in public, and usually do all I can to shield my drawing from any onlookers; but if someone’s gonna stare, it’s all I can do to stop myself drawing eagles with big spunky cocks and swastika armbands. So this bored mountains picture was a rather restrained result when one considers the options. I have since tarted it up in Photoshop with some nice dour colours, of course.
It’s up to you to decide why the mountains are bored. For me, they’re at a rock (ha! ha!) festival, waiting for Kilimanjaro to come on stage, who’s late cos he’s still backstage doing cocaine with K2 and McKinley.
I do wonder why I drew this, though. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the reason I think they’re bored at a rock festival is that I had just been at a rock festival myself. And earlier that day I’d been watching the women’s shot put on Eurosport, and their Alan Partridgesque commentator had described Belarusian silver medallist Nadzeya Ostapchuk as a “woman mountain.” That’s probably why I drew mountains with faces in the first place.
As you were…
For as long as I’ve been working on them, the characters I drew for the Observer Music Magazine had no proper unifying title. And in my giddy post-Rock en Seine period, I’m feeling more than a little proud of them, and feel that they shouldn’t be hidden away in the portfolio section of the site.
So, I searched my brain long and hard – for at least five minutes, anyway – and decided their big, flat, round heads would benefit from being titled Lollipops. Stupid, I know; but it’s the best I could come up with.
Anyway, they now have a section proper on the site, which you can visit, via the magical powers of HTML, by simply clicking here.
Err, I didn’t really do much. When push came to shove, lounging around in my hotel room watching the athletics on Eurosport was a lot more doable than trekking into central Paris in the mornings before the festival started. I did make it to the Centre Pompidou, though, which was very enjoyable. Plus, I got to see the la Tour Eiffel et la basilique du Sacré-Cœur through the Pompidou window, so I kinda sightsaw.
The reason I went there was because the organisers of the festival asked me to exhibit some work there. It was quite a thrill to see my work up there along either side of a path, and being able to skulk behind trees and watch people looking at my work. Actually, it was one of the nicest things that’s ever happened to me. I still feel quite giddy with joy.
Here’s a few photos. There’s lots more over on Flip Flop Flyin’ in the exhibitions section.
Rock en Seine was a lovely festival. Here’s some pictures.
Jesus and Mary Chain (my favourite band of the weekend)
Some security dudes
Kelis and – ooh la la – my drawing of the Chemical Brothers
The crowd at the Björk show
Je vais à Paris stupidement tôt le matin pour le Rock en Seine
festival, mais avant que j’aille : un lama dans les pyjamas.
I don’t really speak French, but that’s the joy of Google, right?
I don’t usually bother watching England friendlies, there’s way too many substitutions for the game to be of any relevance; but last night’s England v Germany game was, unsurprisingly, on German TV, so I tuned in. Not a bad game, not great either.
Two things caught my eye, though. First, the sartorial difference between the two coaches. While Steve McLaren dresses like the warehouse manager of the Asda store in Rotherham; Joachim Löw looks like he would be quite at home sipping a Radeburger, discussing the merits of Kurt Weill, in a dark corner of a bar near my flat.
The other thing was how funny it was to see that Nationwide seemed to assume that the TV cameras would be on the other side of the pitch. Those awful awful awful perspectiveless adverts that get put on the grass beside the goals seemed to have been put on the wrong side of each goal, so instead of having our perspective messed with, we TV viewers got to see nothing but a stretched-out blur of red, white, and blue.
Anyway, congratulations Germany on your victory in a perfectly pointless match.
I arrived in Berlin in autumn 2000. I had boxed up all my belongings, left London, dumped the boxes at my mum’s house, then puts some clothes and CDs in two suitcases, went to Stansted airport, and got on a early morning flight with a load of already-drunk Welsh football fans on their way to a Warsaw for a World Cup qualifying game against Poland (It ended 0-0, but you already knew that, right?).
Assuming I don’t die in the meantime, I’ll be leaving Berlin in 100 days time. Give or take a day or two, anyway; 100 days from now is when I give up my flat. I’ll be packing my seven-years-worth-of-stuff and paying a storage company to be my surrogate Mum’s-spare-room, and once again, packing a suitcase or two and… well, I don’t know what I’ll do.
And that’s the fun thing. I have no idea where I’ll go.
The nice, easy-ish, realistic option is to move to Ghent. It’s a town I love, and I have friends there already, and most people speak the English, and you’re even close enough to the British Isles to get a BBC signal on the telly.
The difficult-to-manage option would be New York. Visas, logistics, and the worrying healthcare system chew away like woodworm at the sparklingly beautiful thought of living in such a great city.
But the immediate thing I think that I’ll do is take some time off from life, and start living. Pack some clothes and my laptop in a big old rucksack and get on a plane to who-knows-where and see what happens. The idea of not knowing is fun. Maybe I’ll end up being a fisherman in Kiribati after all.
The title of this weblog entry references the Underworld album “A Hundred Days Off.” Not their best work, but still pretty smart, especially the first single “Two Months Off”.
Not particularly interesting, I know, but this is just a test, really, to see how this YouTube channel stuff works. Still, it’s a pretty cool ship.
Here’s a fun way to fritter away an hour of your life: search Google Images for logos that have the same initials as your own name.
Went to see Hertha BSC against the reigning Deutscher Meister VfB Stuttgart on Saturday. You’d think this dude with the scarves would be an anomaly, but there are quite a lot of chaps who dress up like this. Anyway, Hertha won 3-1. Woo hoo.
Today, the puny pixilated popular people that I’ve drawn are all comedians. Some are funny, some are not. All of them, though, have my respect for doing a job which would immediately bring me out in the sweats. Not just armpits and a fish-shaped-blob-up-the-spine sweating; but all-over, soaked-shirt, down-the-legs rivulets of brine. The idea of standing in front of a load of strangers all looking directly at me expecting me to make them laugh their socks off is utterly, utterly terrifying.
There are some Americans (Sam Kinison, Steven Wright, Bill Cosby, and Whoopi Goldberg), and some Brits (Cannon and Ball, Eddie Izzard, Harry Hill, Phill Jupitus, Jo Brand, and Roy “Chubby” Brown). Apologies to readers from non-English-speaking countries, but your comedy has kinda passed me by and will probably go forever un-Minipopped.
Ich bin on a roll, it would seem. Ten more new Minipops: South American hero, Simón Bolívar; old UK telly sports presenter, Dickie Davies; music-y types Tinariwen, Daniel Johnston, and The Knife; and a bunch of American writers, Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman.
If a German friend of yours has been on a gambling and lap dancing holiday in Nevada, and you want to ask them about their trip in their own language, you could say, “Wie war Las Vegas?” in an Elvis accent…
Anyway, whenever I forget to take my camera with me when I go for a walk with Billy, there’s always something good that I should be taking a picture of. So you’ll have to take my word for it when I say that I saw some green dog poo yesterday. Not a nearly-brown green, but a full-on British racing green. It was quite extraordinary.
And I also saw what must be the height in driver arrogance: a sign on the inside of the windscreen with a graphic of a tow truck in a red circle with a line through it, similar to a “no smoking” sign. The sign had a name and phone number on it, but the name gave no indication that the driver was a doctor or anything, which would have excused it. Of course, he was parked where he shouldn’t have been, and it won’t surprise you to know that the car was a fancy black Mercedes. Essentially that sign is saying, “I’m a selfish jackass and I think I’m more important than you.” I hope a particularly vindictive traffic warden sees that car one day. Actually, I hope a particularly vindictive traffic warden sees that car every day.
Finally, as you may have noticed, there’s a little banner in that column on the right with all the words in a funny foreign language. That, my dears, is a little exhibition of some of my work that will be on display at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris. It looks like it’ll be nice festival, in a lovely park about 10km from the centre of Paris. I’m mostly looking forward to seeing the Jesus and Mary Chain and Björk. Of course, I’ll be staying in a hotel rather than camping because I’m a big girl’s blouse. I’ve only ever spent one day in Paris before, so I’ll be getting up early to do a bit of sightseeing before the festival begins each day. Any tips on what I should see?
There are few things I enjoy drawing more than the little buildings that house Witham and Woodhall’s little museums. So I was happy to spend most of the weekend drawing this stuff: Witham and Woodhall’s Americanest Man.
The above link takes you to the version with music, but if you don’t want your boss to know your farting around on the Internet instead of doing what he/she pays you to do, you can click here to see the music-free version.
Anyway, The Americanest Man is a guy that Witham and Woodhall ran into whilst touring the Midwest searching for North American mammoth ivory tusks, which, legend has it, contain magical powers. They didn’t find no tusks, but the trip was worthwhile, as you will see…
A quick explanatory afterthought: The Americanest Man isn’t intended to be viewed in any way as an anti-American thing. It’s more gently ribbing the idea of patriotism.
Previous Witham and Woodhall attractions:
Witham and Woodhall’s Bruised Teddy Bear Zoo
Witham and Woodhall’s Dilly Dally Hut
Witham and Woodhall’s Atomium Crumb
Witham and Woodhall’s Trophiest Trophy
Witham and Woodhall’s Pebble Museum
For the last few weeks, I’ve been keeping a note of where I cross the street on my morning 500-metre walk to get a cup of coffee from Impala. I neatly traced over an aerial photo of my street, coloured it in with some nice shades of grey, and added a 40% opacity white line for every crossing made.
Then on Friday night, I watched Riding Giants. If you’ve not seen it, it’s a documentary made in 2004 about big wave surfing. Legitimately or not, the film is on Google Video; it’s well worth watching.
The closest I’ve ever come to touching a surfboard is holding a copy of the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl” LP in my hands, and watching all those surfing pioneers from the 1950s through to the present day is pretty amazing stuff.
I can’t help but look at my little walking-to-the-coffee-shop map and think: Craig, you’re such a fucking loser! Stop making these stupid bloody maps and charts!