Archive for October, 2010
I was back at Centro on Wednesday. They had an open day for prospective students, and I did another rambling talk about my work. I got to feel semi like a worthwhile person, too, when I found out the Centro PR department (a lovely fellow called Pepe) had organised a few interviews with Mexican magazines and websites about my wee exhibition. It does the ego some good to be asked about stuff like that. Fun day, all topped off when three Centro people (Sam, Daniel, and the aforementioned Pepe) trekked across town to a a fantastic restaurant called Tortas Jorge (Google Maps). Just in case, a torta is a type of Mexican sandwich (Wikipedia). The walls were full of photos, lots of bullfighting posters, a couple of mounted bull heads, and guitars. Most of the people there were middle-aged or older. A guy played the guitar, singing songs which my companions seemed to know the words to. We sat at one end of the bar watching the World Series baseball game, as behind us, the guitar player went off on some awesome acoustic guitar solos. Within the context of this Mexican style of music, he was like Jimmy Page. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Only made better by the San Francisco Giants beating the Texas Rangers, a team I fucking loathe. And yet again, the evening was a reminder of how friendly Mexican people are. I will keep on saying it, but I like it here.
Thanks to Pepe for the photo of us watching the game
I made a wee audio intro for my talk at Centro art school yesterday. It goes a little something like this.
I try and keep the baseball and life stuff separate on the blog; you’ve put up with my blabbing on about sports enough here, so just a note to those of you that do like baseball: as well as the infographics stuff I do on Flip Flop Fly Ball, I have a baseball-themed Tumblr site, where I do a couple of things. Firstly, I squirrel away nice photos that I like, so they don’t clog up my hard drive. Mostly old photos of players and ballparks. Second, it’s where I put all new FFFB stuff, including the pixelly baseball player drawings. That Tumblr site is called, ingeniously, Flip Flop Fly Ballin’. The above image is just my snarky comment about how many people use Tumblr. And should you want even more of me me me, then I still do twittering at twitter.com/flipflopflying. There’s a lot of yakking about baseball, but the season’s over in a couple of weeks, so it won’t be so full-on soon.
Some days, I’ll sit down, want to do some drawing, look at the screen or a piece of paper, and end up just cursing at myself. After doing this creative stuff as a job for ten years now, I’m still no closer to ever feeling like a professional. I still feel like I’m gonna get found out. I do my best, I deliver on time, but I still don’t feel comfortable as an, ahem, artist. Which is why it felt a bit odd yesterday when I did a short talk about my stuff and a workshop with a small group of students as a design school here in Mexico City, called Centro. It’s a really lovely place. Seems like it’d be awesome to study there. There’s a really nice atmosphere.
It’s an odd feeling doing a talk and showing people your work, especially because most of the time when I do stuff, the only feedback I get is when people take the time to comment or email about it. It’s rare to see or hear people’s reactions. It can feel uncomfortable when you press play on an animation or something and watch people watching. But, the group was small, so I was kind of okay, and kind of enjoyed it. Especially the workshop part.
Sam and Manuel (the two fellas at Centro who I’ve been co-ordinating with) and I came up with a fairly simple plan to present the students with a template of a pixelly character, get them to take photographs of random people and use the templates to do drawings of them. The idea being that it could be nice to have them do something where size creates constraints, and ways of working within those constraints; a concept that can be applied to other types of artistic work.
The template we used was the same template I’ve been using for my pixelly baseball players. It’s a template that is very enjoyable to use, and since I’ve been here I’ve found myself drawing some famous Mexicans in that style.
Left to right: a street sweeper, Subcomandante Marcos, Blue Demon, Emiliano Zapata, Miguel Hidalgo, El Santo, Frida Kahlo, a shoeshine guy.
So, we got them started on that yesterday. Next week I’ll be going back to see their work, and their work is going to be included as a part of a small exhibition of my work within the school. A whole bunch of images from Flip Flop Flyin’ all printed on foam board. Looks lovely. I’ll be doing another talk, too, which, I believe is open to all students this time, in a bigger room, so I’ll get another shot at trying not to mumble and feel too uncomfortable talking about my stuff. Here’s a few photos of the exhibition.
I wouldn’t walk 500 miles.
And I wouldn’t walk 500 more.
Not to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door.
Because, well, a thousand miles is a really long way. I mean, if humans walk at around 3 mph, then that’s, what, 330-odd hours of walking. Even if I walked for 12 hours a day, that’s still 28 days of walking and with all the will in the world, luv, that’s very unlikely to happen. Apart from anything, I only get 20 paid days off work a year, and it would use up all of them, and that means we won’t be able to go to Mykonos in July. It seems—no matter how much I love you, and I really really do love you, so don’t take this the wrong way—a bit of a waste of my time, and of time we could spend together on holiday in Greece.
Plus, if I was walking for a month, I’d have to either carry camping equipment which would slow me down or it’ll be really expensive to pay for four weeks of hotels. If you really want me to travel a thousand miles to see you, it’d be way quicker to fly. Take the train or the car, at least. It’d only be a few hours on the plane. And I could drive it in three days or so. That’d be fine.
Aside from anything, petal, it’s not possible for me to actually be a thousand miles away from you in Britain without having to cross water. Would those miles count? Or would I have to walk a thousand miles and add the ferry journey on top?
A thousand miles.. that’s like Helsinki, Warsaw, Vienna or something. So, my dear, light of my life, considering we’re both sat here on the sofa right now, couldn’t we just agree that in theory, I’d walk a thousand miles? Couldn’t we agree on that? And I’ll make us a cup of tea at the break. And if you want I could give you a foot rub, too.
Any idea if there’s anything good on On Demand?
A couple of weekends ago I DJed for the first time since about 1993. My friend Naomi does this kind of thing regularly, so I joined her at a house party and dragged pretty much the same songs out of my iPod that I played on vinyl nearly twenty years ago. Did it again last weekend, too. It’s as much fun as I remember it being. And “Hallelujah” by the Happy Mondays still gets ‘em dancin’…
As I mentioned a week ago, it was my birthday. It was, as birthdays go, a fairly shit birthday. The blog post about turning forty was written a couple of days before the day itself, I just scheduled it to go online on the day itself. What I didn’t know back then was that I’d have a shit-kickin’ cold (I always hesitate to call it flu). Started feeling a bit crap on Tuesday, went to bed and watched some baseball, fell asleep before the game ended, and woke up at least once an hour between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. Although one time, I woke up feeling rather pleased with the notion that Pennsylvania could be drawn as three objects: pencil, (weather) vane, ear.
I got up to go down to get some breakfast, took two cold tablets, choking on the second of them, spitting it across the room, leaving a chalky little circle on the carpet. Dressed. Put polo shirt on back-to-front. So this is what life is like after forty, is it? Rather than a fun-packed day exploring, eating, and drinking, I had a day that was mostly spent in bed. I did nothing other than watch baseball and Woody Allen films on my laptop. Not ideal. Not what I imagined my 40th birthday would be about. I ate some Oreos, drank Gatorade, took some useless cold tablets, and wondered why the hell Woody Allen didn’t tell Kenneth Branagh to tone down the Woody Allen impression in “Celebrity.”
In my hotel, a couple of rooms away, there was a British guy. I’ve heard him speaking decent Spanish to the receptionist, but he’s British. How do I know? Well, for one thing, its really easy to tell British people in Latin America. It’s not just a skin colour thing. There’s something about us that gives it away. Can’t really put my finger on it, but I guess Germans, French, whoever can also tell their compatriots. And, he gave me that look. The look I’ve not seen for a couple of years, since I was last in Latin America. It’s the look of, you are destroying my adventure, my adventure with the natives of this country, by being here.
Last week was pretty much a washout. And by the end of the week, I was glad to get out of the hotel room. Starting to feel better on Monday, I moved into what will be my home for the next three months. I replied to a few ads on Craig’s List during my first week here, and long story short, I’m now in a nice room in a nice apartment in a nice part of town. It’s pretty close to the two hotels I’ve stayed, in an area I’ve got to know quite well in the short time I’ve been here. For any of you who’ve been here before, I’m living in Colonia Roma Norte. Avenida Reforma is ten minutes away, and it’s only a little bit further to the lovely and enormous Chapultepec park.
It is, of course, weird living with people who one has only just met. But I seem to have done okay. Well, half-okay. It’s a three room apartment. A gay couple are the people renting out the other two rooms. Both of them are lovely fellows. Friendly, and offering help with any Mexican-ness or Spanish language stuff if needed. They have a splendid cat called Ceviche. He’s named after a wonderful seafood dish that I’d not eaten until Wednesday, which was absolutely delicious. The other room is rented out by a lesbian couple who, well, I’ve only ever seen one of them for about two seconds in the hallway. She didn’t say hello or anything. I’ve heard them moving around, but they mostly seem to open the front door, go to their room, and stay there all night. But they’re moving out in a couple of weeks, so hopefully whoever replaces them will be a tad more outgoing.
The other day I saw a man in a denim suit. A suit. Made of denim. It was utterly awesome in its terribleness.
Names that have been written on the side of paper cups in Starbucks when they’ve asked for my name, and I’ve replied, “Craig”:
Wednesday night was an odd one. Met up with my friend Naomi and a bunch of her pals. Stood outside the bar, one of them, visiting from L.A., took off my cap to see what my hair was like underneath. She told me I had great hair, and that I shouldn’t wear a cap; that I have the sort of hair she loves cutting, and that she should cut my hair. I said yes in that polite, maybe-one-day kinda way. A couple of minutes later, she returned with a fresh beer and a pair of scissors and started chopping away at my hair. This was at gone midnight. On a not overly well-lit street. It was clearly one of the strangest experiences of my life. But, oddly, I wasn’t that worried. She seemed to know what she was doing, and I’ve got a shit-ton of baseball caps that could cover up any horrors. As it was, she gave me a good haircut. And it was a pleasant change after my last haircut, not to listen to anti-Semetic comments while it was being done.