Archive for November, 2010
I remember watching this clip of Mike Oldfield in the studio recording a version of the “Blue Peter” signature tune on the show when I was nine-years-old and being very impressed that one person could pretty much make a song all on his own.
Last week, I mentioned that in the spring of 2009, I had a couple of jobs cancelled after I’d been working on them for a while. One of the jobs I wasn’t that into; mostly because the ideas that I had kept getting shot down by the client in favour of the client wanting more and more Minipops. In the end, the Minipops-based work that I’d been working on was rejected. The other job, though, was the kind of job that I wanted to do simply because the 13-year-old Craig would time travel to stab me in the head if I didn’t do it: an illustration for Duran Duran.
Annoyingly, I no longer have the emails from that project, so I’m just gonna have to go on my memory of events. First things first, the client was the merchandising company who do all of Duran Duran’s tour stuff. The guy who I was dealing with there was a lovely fellow and an absolute joy to work with. He’d seen an old drawing of Duran Duran I’d done of them in their heyday, around the time of Rio:
Apparently one member of the band really liked it. Frankly, that was enough for me. Nick Rhodes likes my drawing! Yay!
So they showed me a bunch of photos of the costumes they’d be wearing on the tour, and the idea was to do a similar drawing, but updated to look like the band looked like in 2009.
Which I duly did. I sent off my drawing, and I got notes back on tweaks needed. That was done six times. Some of the tweaks were bigger than others, some were simply things like changing the order of the band members. Until we finally settled on this version.
Everyone happy, time to present it to the band. And, well, one member of the band vetoed it. That’s why it didn’t happen. I wasn’t told which member of the band it was, but I already knew that Nick Rhodes liked it, and my first instinct was that it was Simon Le Bon who vetoed it, which I was told wasn’t the case. So it was one of the Taylors. Shame. I’m proud of it, though. It’s a good drawing.
Ignore the moronic title that someone has given this YouTube clip, cos it’s not from the eighties. (There is a massive ranty blog post to be written about YouTube. I will get around to it one day when I’m feeling cunty enough to do it justice.)
Anyway, the above clip will either mean something to you, or it will not mean something to you. If it doesn’t mean anything to you, do yourself a favour: click here and watch part one of episode one, and then keep on clicking ’til you’ve watched the whole series.
Full size version here.
These screenshots of Google Street View of Bellingham, Washington are interesting. In the post-midnight world, lying in bed, lights off, laptop open, it felt like I was looking at some sort of visual metaphor about my life. Street View link
This image is on the Wikipedia page for Our Lady of Guadalupe. I did not know that God painted it. But there he is, painting away, with what seems to be a pretty awesome easel. Our Lady of Guadalupe is actually only about ten kilometres from where I live. I’ll go and see it one day. One day…
Here it is, the cover of my forthcoming book Flip Flop Fly Ball. I remember one day back in the spring of 2009, when I was in a right shitty mood, two things I was working on were cancelled. One of them in particular would’ve been awesome. For me, at least, specifically because of the people involved. I’ll write a blog post about that some day. Well, on the day that two things were cancelled, I got an email from the publisher of my third book Atlas, Schmatlas, saying they weren’t interested in my proposal for a book about baseball infographics. As days go, that one sucked.
But, what it did do was make me think about what to do with the graphics I’d created for the proposal. The sporty stuff on Flip Flop Flyin’ was never particularly popular, so it seemed like a good idea to create an offshoot website so non-sporty people could ignore the sports if they wanted to. While I was building the site, designing the masthead, creating more graphics before it went online, the name of the site in my head was going to be High Cheese.
In the end, though, I went with a baseball-related pun on the name of my regular website. It went online mid-June 2009, and with the help of Twitter, fairly swiftly became the most viewed part of the Flip Flop Flyin’, ahem, empire. In July 2009, I had a couple of meetings with book industry people in New York, and I got to work on a newer, better proposal. By December, I had a deal with Bloomsbury USA, and the work began.
I immersed myself in baseball in the German winter, through the Torontonian spring and summer, and finished it up in the Mexican autumn. And now, it’s completely finished. And I’m allowed to show you what the cover is like. Here it is. Of all the graphics in the book, this one took the longest to do. Mostly because it has to be different things to different people. It should speak immediately to those people who’ve already seen my work as “that English dude’s infographics book,” and it should speak to people who’ve never seen my site, and just happen to be sauntering through the sports section of Barnes and Noble.
Anyway, I’m pretty proud of it.
It’s out in the spring next year.
Man, there’s a lot of ugly stuff in the Premier League. And I feel especially sorry for goalkeepers, who seem to bear the brunt of the designers’ more idiotic ideas.
I’ve done this for Major League Baseball and the National Football League, too. You can see those over at Flip Flop Fly Ball.
I walk across this street every day. It’s large. Eleven lanes of traffic in total. During daylight, it’s impossible to cross the whole street in one go before the lights turn red. This isn’t aided by the somewhat cavalier attitude drivers have to the lights turning red.
Some of the pedestrian crossings here have animated walk signs. Little LED green men. The coolest thing is that they speed up as the time runs out. I’ve stood and watched the animations a few times, and, well, because I’m interested, I took some photos so that I could re-create it in ImageReady. Which you can see below. Clearly this isn’t particularly interesting…
In an effort to get it online as soon as possible, I kind of ignored my instincts, and decided to make the animation simpler. That was a mistake, so I spent this morning doing what I’d originally planned. So here, again, but properly this time, is A very short film about Florida, the second in a series of
Very short films about the states of the United States
The second in a series that may or may not reach 50 episodes. The first part is here:
Very short films about the states of the United States
I’ve mentioned before that some people in Mexico City seem to have trouble pronouncing my name. This is most noticeable to me when I’m getting a coffee in Starbucks. They ask my name, write it on the cup, and then I get to see what they think I said.
After the first few mis-hearings of my name, I decided that I would play my own silly game. When the server asks for my name, I reply—in a normal, clear voice—Craig. If they repeat a name back to me as a question, checking that they had heard correctly, whatever they say to me, I reply that yes, that’s my name.
So far, as well as the occasional Craig, I’ve been called—in alphabetical order—Creak, Crek, Drake, Erick, Fred, Grake, Gray, Greak, Greg, Grek, Grey, Joel, Kreg, Rag, Trey, and Troy.
A couple of days ago, though, this is what I found written on the side of my cup. Any ideas?
Saturday night, my flatmates and I went to see the Yo, México show at the big plaza downtown, Zócalo. It was a show with lights, projections, fireworks, and all kinds of theatrical dancing; all combined to tell the tale of Mexico’s history, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Revolution. Aside from it always being nice for the brain to see people dancing in unison, the highlights were the light projections onto the buildings on three sides of the plaza. It started off with projections of forests, then woodcut-ish type ships coming over the ocean, and soon got a bit weird, with very clever projections of the buildings themselves onto the buildings. The lights were done in such a way that fake shadows were projected, and made it look like the building was crumbling, melting, the columns shifting side to side. It was pretty. And it was impressive. I seem to have totally lucked out in my timing of coming to this country. I’ve seen the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Independence, the Day of the Dead, and all of this.
Afterwards, we went for a beer. I’ve probably mentioned before that my flatmates are gay. So, naturally, we went to a nearby gay bar called El Marrakech. Of course, as we walked towards the bar, my mind was going over things. I knew it was no big deal, but, as a heterosexual man, I did have that slight feeling that I was going to be looking behind the curtain. And it was busy. Lots of men dancing. We met a few of my flatmates’ friends, people I’d met before when they’d visited the apartment. We had some beers, chatted about this and that, and frankly, I was enjoying it. I enjoyed the music a lot. It was basically like listening to my favourite pop music really loud. The DJ was on a podium above everyone, shirtless, handcuffs hanging from his jeans, and dancing in a fairly sexually aggressive manner. And because of the anniversary, they were projecting photos of Emiliano Zapata onto one of the walls. I’d never noticed before, but suddenly, in the context of where I was, he looked quite gay with the big moustache and bullet belt. One gay bar down, and we were heading across the street to some other place that I think was called Oasis.
This place was more of a club than a bar. Twinkly lights everywhere, and a drag dude lip-syncing to a Mexican disco-y song on a tiny stage. More beers. One bald guy at the bar was eyeing me up. Another guy said hello, put his hand on my shoulder and tickled all the way down to the small of my back before I could tell him I didn’t speak Spanish. One of my flatmates looked at me and asked if I knew him. I said no, and he laughed his head off. Then the first stripper came on. Hair gel, Paris Hilton-y shades, lots of oily muscles, and a tiny lime green Speedo which could not even attempt to conceal his erection. Dancey dancey dancey until it was time for him to remove the Speedo and show us that, yes, he’d got a massive erect cock. With a cock ring. I think he must’ve oiled that up, too, because it looked like a cylindrical glazed donut.
It was time to leave. The bald guy smiled as we left. I smiled back, because, well, it’d be rude not to. We got in a cab and came to the gay area that’s quite near where we live, but halfway, the cab driver told us to get out, because he’d got a flat tyre. He didn’t charge us a penny, and as luck would have it, a bus pulled up right behind him going our way. We hopped on, and within a minute or so, the same cab driver was bombing alongside the bus trying to squeeze ahead of us before his lane disappeared. It wasn’t gonna happen, but he tried, the bus swerved a bit, but all was good. Until we got to the next set of traffic lights, when the drivers started yelling at each other. It got to the point where the bus driver got off the bus and looked like he wanted a punch up in the middle of the street. I’m fairly sure all that stopped him doing so was the honking of lots of cars that were being held up by the bus we were on, just sat there driver-less in the middle of a busy street.
Another couple of bars, one called Lollipop, with the stickiest floor I’ve ever know. It could not have been worse if they’d have washed the floor with Coca Cola every day. That bar wasn’t doing much, so we went a few doors down to Macho. (Who’d've thought it was a gay bar with a name like that, eh?) More shirtless dudes dancing here. More good music. And a guy in a cowboy hat who squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezed his way past me in a way that, were I to do that to a woman, she’d have grounds to report me to the authorities. Again, my flatmate found it hilarious, telling his boyfriend that “Craig’s pulled a cowboy!”
I was flagging by around 4am, so I left them to it. They stayed out dancing until daylight, while I walked home, passed the burly guys handing out cards for strip clubs, and fell into bed feeling somewhat flattered to have had some attention from people “interested” in me, regardless of gender, during what can only be described as an incredibly enjoyable evening.