Flip Flop Flying

3,204: Ten unconnected thoughts

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1. Why do we mime the words to songs when we have our headphones on? I mean, people sometime do sing along, but those people can be viewed in two ways: full of joy or a bit mental. But where is the joy in miming? I mean, I do it. You probably do it, too. Why? Why? WHY?

2. There has never been a pair of headphones that has drowned out the sound, (or indeed the vision out of the corner of my eye), of a beggar or chugger. They all know this. We’re not fooling anyone by pretending to not hear them.

3. Simon and Garfield.

4. Why aren’t sketchbook covers as plain as possible? Why do they have silly patterns or other people’s pictures on them? Chances of you drawing in same style are is slim to non-existent.

5. A wee bit of appreciation for keys. I was thinking about them recently when I was opening the door to the building. Such a small item that gives us a level of mental protection and actual protection from whoever.

6. Correct pronunciation of Adidas is ADD-idas. Not Ad-EEE-das like Run DMC say it. Correct pronunciation of Nike: not like I grew up saying it, rhyming with like. While we should be saying Ni-keeeee, it’s fun to think of other words ending in -ike pronouced that way. I’m going for a hi-keeee. I’m going for a bi-keeee ride. The wee Dutch boy put his finger in the dy-keeee. Three stri-keeees and you’re out. Mr Trump’s supporters are big fans of the Third Rei-ch-eee.

7. I like going to bed or waking up at iconic number times. Especially the house or techno times: 3.03, 8.08, or 9.09.

8. Every police/detective show should come, by law, with a DVD commentary from an actual police officer or detective to let us know how much of what we think we know about them because we’ve seen it on telly is actually just bullshit.

9. I wonder if there are any cigarette aficionado out there in the world.

10. Friendships are good: I like this person enough to want to spend more time with them. And they seem to like me enough to do likewise. Convenient.

A wee bit of artwork
It was cloudy on Sunday. Clouds were low low low, so they were covering quite a lot of the Fernsehturm

Fernsehturm and clouds

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Other business
Last week, I unsubscribed from following a lot of arty sites on my Feedly news aggregator. Colossal, Booooooom, It’s Nice That, that kind of thing. I always thought it was good to keep up with what other people are doing, but in the last year or so, it’s felt like a chore and an exercise that promotes self-loathing and bitterness. I don’t want to feel those things every day any more. And the way to do that was as simple as pressing the remove button. I no longer have to see what is popular or “doing the rounds.” And it’s helpful to simply not know if other people are doing thing vaguely similar to what I’m doing. I kinda hate it when people mention something like, “oh that’s a bit like X” or “I’m feeling the Y vibes,” and I don’t need to impose thoughts on myself. Two opposite feelings come out of that: a slight feeling of sadness, but also a feeling that I might be on the right track. It’s happened a few times recently. I don’t need it any more though. There have been times in my career when I’ve been more successful and more popular, but I kinda think that my work is a lot better now than it was in those days. (I mean, everyone thinks that, though, right? Maybe I’m entirely wrong. I bet Prince thought his albums of the last decade were better than his 80s albums, too.) But I like this feeling I’ve had for the last week, of not knowing what other people are doing. And to shoo away those self-loathing vibes for a while, frees up brain space to loathe Leave voters even more. They deserve my loathing more than I deserve it.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
TVC 15 by David Bowie

On this day
Not even trying, 17 January 2016

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Begging the question

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Written by Craig

January 17th, 2017 at 12:18 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,203: Blurry photos

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Ordinarily, I’d just delete these photos. But the other day, I looked at the ones I’d taken in Berlin all together. These are the crappy photos that get taken accidentally. Pressing the button before I’m ready, or when I’m putting my phone back in my pocket but haven’t closed the camera down quick enough. There is a beauty in them, I think, when they are gathered together.

A wee bit of artwork

Jizz Plate. Acrylic on polymer clay. If anyone has any connections in the bone china fine ceramics world: I'm more than willing to work out some sort of licencing deal for my hot and steamy plate vibes.

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Upper East Siders by Actrese again. Fourth time this month.

On this day
Well well well, in all the years of doing this blog (since April 2005), I have never blogged on a 16th of Jan.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
L’Hôpital’s rule

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Written by Craig

January 16th, 2017 at 1:30 am

Posted in Blah blah,Photos

3,202: Embedding the week

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Snow

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The American embassy

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Melting

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Other business
I bought some bird food recently. A bag of six balls of mushed together seeds and stuff called Meisen-Knödel which, the packet tells me translates at Fatballs. This, dearest of all readers, made me giggle for a not insignificant amount of time.

One of the fatballs was hanging from a nail on the wall of the balcony. I sat there looking out seeing no sparrow after no sparrow come and eat it. A massive feast was hanging there in sub-zero snowy Berlin, and all the spadgers were ignoring it.

Yesterday morning, I made coffee, walked back to the room, and saw a hooded crow (ie. a much bigger bird than a sparrow) on the balcony eyeing up my fatball. He took a coupe of jumps at it, stabbing at it with his bill. On the third attempt, he stabbed at it in an upwardly manner, dislodging it, and sending it flying down to the ground where it could’ve took someone’s eye out.

It didn’t take someone’s eye out. Instead, it attracted the attention of another crow and a couple of mighty pigeons. But the intrepid hunter saw them off with some crow noises and flapping stuff. An inappropriately saucy sentence follows this one.

Any bird that’s so enthusiastic about my fatballs is alright by me.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Yeah by LCD Soundsystem

On this day
Mexipops, 15 January 2006. It’s interesting to look back and see that this was kinda the start of the idea that became my Atlas, Schmatlas book. There’s a note on the progression of the concept a couple of days later. Six days after that, I’d done eight countries and the project was alive. Back then it was called the FFF pictorial atlas of the world. A mere year-and-a-half later it was called Atlas, Schmatlas and being heartily ignored by customers in book shops, partly due to the fact that noted funny Web site The Onion published their funny atlas Our Dumb World a mere three weeks later, thus, somewhat understandably cornering the funny atlas market.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Limit of a function

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Written by Craig

January 15th, 2017 at 12:48 am

Posted in Blah blah

3,201: Morning views

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Guten snowy morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Eh up

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
TVC 15 by David Bowie

On this day
Bullshit, 14 January 2008

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Half-life

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Written by Craig

January 14th, 2017 at 2:49 am

Posted in Blah blah

3,200: Sevens

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I’ve had this idea knocking around for a while, but at my old apartment in Mexico City, didn’t have an oven (just the gas stove part with a cupboard underneath which, now that I write it, seems pretty weird), but quite soon after arriving in Berlin, I saw loads of Fimo in the art supplies shop and got on the case. The idea was to make replicas by hand as close as I could to an actual 7-inch single. I had the correct dimensions of the record, the label, and the hole drawn out on a piece of paper, and used that as a guide. But I wanted it to still be totally freehand.

The reason for 7″ singles: it’s the perfect pop music format. It is small, it contains two songs, one on each side, and the labels and artwork are often wonderful. And ever since I bought Baggy Trousers by Madness in WH Smith in 1980, it’s what I think of when I think of buying music.

I also had a self-imposed rule: No fancy labels. The most evocative for me is when the labels are generic record company labels. When we think of a Beatles single, we think of the Parlophone design. So many record company 7-inch labels are wonderful and if you ar of an age where you grew up with them, you can visualise them immediately: CBS, Epic, Decca, RCA, Motown, etc etc.

The Fimo sevens didn’t turn out that great. I felt the idea was pretty good, but the reality of them, especially when varnished, was quite poor. The first couple I fucked up the varnish. A month later, they’re still sticky. These will go in the bin.

The third one was just rubbish. I didn’t flatten the Fimo properly.

I stopped varnishing them at this point. In one way they are preferable, but mostly they feel lifeless.

Time was very much of the essence at this point. The Bowie one was going to be an Xmas present. It was getting close to the day in question, and the varnish wasn’t dry. This forced me to think again. So I did a watercolour version. The tacky varnish was the best thing that could’ve happened because watercolour and gouache on paper versions is the way forward.

George died, so the next one was an easy choice.

After putting some of these up on my Instagram, I was commissioned to do a 12″.

I’d not really considered that before, but it turned out to be a wonderful idea. I got some 300gsm paper that’s thick like cardboard and got to work.

This is the only one where I recorded various steps of the process. It’s a wonderful record, too. I’m happiest with this one. And there will be more to come.

Other business
Walking through Hauptbahnhof yesterday, I was reminded of one of the things I enjoyed the most when I first moved to Berlin. I used to live near Ostbahnhof and I would love standing on the platform and looking at the signs telling you which trains were coming. Yesterday, I glanced up at the big board and the first names that popped out into my eyes: Amsterdam and Warsaw. I love European train stations. That the trains aren’t just going to somewhere else in the country, they’re going to other countries! And while the romance of train travel quite often fails to live up to the idea of it, looking at a board and knowing that I could just get a ticket and be in Budapest or Basel is still thrilling for me.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Warszawa by David Bowie.

On this day
Busy doin’ nothin’ in Oregon, 13 January 2009. Aaah, Oregon is lovely. I miss that place.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Nuclear fallout

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Written by Craig

January 13th, 2017 at 3:36 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,199: Doodling and not reading

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Here’s some watercolour doodles. I’ve not used watercolour a whole amount recently (I’ve mostly been painting with gouache), so did some doodling to get my hand in a bit.

I brought a book with me to Berlin. I bought it in Brighton last year (2015, I mean). It’s been right next to my bed in three different apartments ever since then. I’ve only read about ten pages of it. That got me thinking.

Other business
Watching Carry On Abroad the other night. First time in ages. I’d totally forgotten about Charles Hawtrey’s sunglasses. I had a quick look at the Wikipedia page on Carry On cast members, and he appeared in the third most films. 23 of all 31 of them. The only actors that appeared in more: Joan Sims (24), and Kenneth Williams (25). Enough of that, though. Check out these shades, dudes.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
A New Career in a New Town by David Bowie.

On this day
On me head son, 12 January 2006. Couple of photos of headgear that I bought on my first trip to Mexico.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Nuclear holocaust

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Written by Craig

January 12th, 2017 at 2:22 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,198: A nice walk

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For a few days, I’ve been feeling like I’ve not left Prenzlauer Berg much, especially in daylight. I’ve been to other parts of the city (mainly Kreuzberg, though) in the evenings, but I’ve not done anything that would amount to sightseeing. (I don’t need to do sightseeing in a city I lived in for eight years, but you know what I mean: it’s just nice to remind yourself of the details, innit?) After a walk around the park and a trip to the art store to buy a sketchbook, I kinda realised it would be a nice day for a longer walk. It was cold, yes, but it was also a clear blue sky. Get some daylight and sunshine in me. In the end, that longer walk was four hours and eleven kilometres long. Three stops along the way, which is why it took longer than it really should’ve: book shop, pub for a quick pint, and supermarket on the way home. Listened to David Bowie the whole time, which was nice.

One of the remaining guard towers from the Wall

Double fuckyousun

Stood here looking at the colours of this reflection for a couple of minutes. It was lovely

This part of the city between Hauptbahnhof and the Reichstag is one of my favourite bits of the city, especially when it’s snowy. It’s just blank and empty and I like that

A wee bit of artwork
I stood next to the window the other day and drew the view.

Other business
Well worth a listen is Limmy’s techno remix of the Fry’s Turkish Delight advert that was on telly in the UK in the Eighties. I guess “well worth a listen” only really applies, though, if you were around in the UK in the 1980s and also like Limmy.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Station to Station by David Bowie.

On this day
An old thing, 11 January 2011. Simple thing, combining the idea of that phrase “there’s no I in team” and that thing I learned when I was a kid, how to spell Mississippi, like M-I-double S-I-double S-I-double P-I

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Street punk

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Written by Craig

January 11th, 2017 at 3:43 am

3,197: Snow

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There was the briefest of flurries of snow when I was in Berlin in November 2015. It didn’t stick around for more than a few hours. But there’s been snow on the ground for the last four days. And that has made me happy. I like Mexico City a lot, but the relatively narrow band of weather types does my head in a bit. It’s not too cold in the winter, it’s a bit warmer in the summer, it rains in the summer. That’s about it. For someone who grew up in those islands off the coast of Belgium, I’m used to a bit more variation. And for someone who spent eight years living in Berlin, I’m also used to a bit of snow. It was good to get reacquainted with it in Mauerpark.

The first signs. I stood out on the balcony in my underpants to take this photo. It was cold, unsurprisingly. But it was a nice cold, knowing I could get back into bed the moment I’d done the picture

The camera on my phone is terrible when it comes to dull light. Everything’s really blue-y

More on the way!

Melting a bit

But yay! it’s back!

Sunday, the park was full of kids sledging

My hand was very cold after doing this

Crows

And the lovely part of the park where the birches are was even lovelier

A wee bit of artwork

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That was yesterday. And they still haven’t picked it up. I had a bath around 9pm, listening to the new Brian Eno record, but every time I heard the big heavy door to the building close, I was ready for the doorbell to ring. Totally ruined my bath. And Syrians think they have problems…

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Upper East Siders by Actrese again. Third time this month already.

On this day
One last London-based blah blah, 10 January 2008. I don’t really remember much about this day. The photos create a false memory, like oh, I must’ve done that. Pretty sure I had lunch with an old friend from Lincoln, though. Sadly, I just don’t remember that feeling of being on the verge of a big trip. I guess I couldn’t’ve known at the time that, like the cliche goes, the next day was going to be the first day of the rest of my life. (Of course, it’s possible that there will be another of those at some point, but it was the first day of the rest of my life up until now and for the foreseeable future.)

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Stone washing

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Written by Craig

January 10th, 2017 at 3:17 am

Posted in Blah blah,Photos

3,196: Fuckyousun

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When I was visiting last year, my friend Kaja and I gave a name to something we all know that is especially prevalent at this time of year in latitudes like this: the fuckyousun. It’s a joy to have some sunshine in the winter but it’s also quite low in the sky, which often means it’s right in your eyes. The fuckyousun, though, is the reflection that blinds you. Here’s two photos of fuckyousuns near the Fernsehturm, and a double fuckyousun on Behrenstraße. Regard!

A wee bit of artwork
Mauerpark Nr. 7. This one is acrylic, gouache, and coloured pencil on paper, and about 50 cm square.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Upper East Siders by Actrese.

On this day
Self portrait w/ self portrait, 9 January 2010.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Levi Strauss & Co.

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January 9th, 2017 at 2:59 am

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3,195: Embedding the week

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Hairy lamppost

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Ping pong anyone?

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Ant and Dec

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A wee bit of artwork
I like drinking and drawing. I enjoy not thinking about it too much. I did these in Schwarzsauer, my favourite bar in Prenzlauer Berg. It’s one of the bars in Berlin where smoking is still allowed, and thus, I can vape indoors, too. I’d done the first drawing and my friend wanted to see a drawing of her hand. Hands are tough. I’ve not practised drawing hands for a really long time. I can see in the drawing the light tentative uncertain marks of the thumb. While doing it, my brain snapped into focus: that’s not how you draw, Craig. And that was it. It freed me up to draw how I draw, not trying to draw a perfect hand. And it’s not even close to perfect, but it’s a pretty good representation of how I draw a hand.

Real life

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The hand of @cosmicpotatoe and her exceedingly generous grade for the drawing of her hand

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Other business
In my dream the other night, the three Top Gear men sacrificed themselves (told you already it was a dream). They were lowered into a massive blender with some lemon zest and sandalwood oil and the resulting liquid was sold as Man Perfume. This is where the dream ended, but I imagine Man Perfume being the scent of choice for all white, straight, dull, middle-aged man who likes Paul Weller and Oasis #realmusic, who voted Leave, who revel in not knowing much about politics but having massive entrenched opinions about everything anyway, and whose favourite film is Scarface or Goodfellas. Basically a nuance-free caricature of my enemy.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Three of them came quickly in succession. The song entered onto my proper list, though, is always the first one. I’ve had snippets of all three of them coming back and forth. They were, in the order that they appeared: Ultralight Beam by Kanye West, Emotions by Mariah Carey, and Hands Up (Give Me Your Heart) by Ottawan. Kanye was in my dream. We were painting on a plate, lots of little doodles of food and star signs. He watched me do two or three and then did loads himself. He was very very good at mimicking my style. It was impossible to tell at the end which were mine and which were his.

On this day
Parrot, 8 January 2011. A Venn diagram that describes a moment I had in a conversation, my brain couldn’t find the word parrot and in its place the words “monkey” and “pigeon” came out. One from the jungle, one a bird. Mix ’em together: parrot.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Paninaro

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January 8th, 2017 at 2:19 am

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3,194: Morning views

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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To all the Beliebers and all the Directioners and to those who do not practice a religion, I wish you all a very guten morgen.

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Guten morgen

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A wee bit of artwork
I saw some of these old style spool knitting things in a shop window recently. They were nice. This drawing is very much inspired by them, mixed with my old Mountains drawings. If you dunno what I’m talking about, go to Google Images and search “antik strickliesel.”

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
The thunderously good Work from Home by Fifth Harmony. Thinking about this song for a moment, I got to wondering when the rapping part of songs like this became a thing. It has become very common. Is it just a cheap and easy and quick way to deal with the feeling of having to have something a little different before we come back for the last choruses to fade out? I assume that there must be times when the rapper is on the same label, or a friend of the band or producer or just fuck it, Snoop Dogg will do it if we pay him enough. It feels like the modern pop music version of the rock guitar solo which still seems to be very very popular in a genre that likes to think of itself as edgy and rebellious.

On this day
More anomalies, 7 January 2010. I liked those early days of Google maps. The anomalies where images were digitally stitched together were interesting. I had a look at some of the locations again and the anomalies have been corrected. Yes, it’s “better,” but it’s also worse for it. Glad I took screenshots when I did.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Paninaro (song)

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Written by Craig

January 7th, 2017 at 2:09 am

Posted in Blah blah,Music

3,193: Mays ranked

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Derrick – 10/10
Invented music with his mates Kevin and Juan.

The month of – 10/10
Good solid month. Not too hot, but deffo t-shirt weather for a few days at least.

Brian – 9/10
Made a fireplace out of a guitar.

Simon – 7/10
Invented the doof doof drums on the EastEnders signature tune.

Maggie – 7/10
Wake up, luv, Rod’s got something to say to you.

David – 2/10
Played for Man U, thus automatically docked eight points.

James – 1/10
The best of a bad bunch on the awful telly show he does, in the same way that eating a firm stool might be preferable to eating diarrhoea.

Theresa – 0/10
Worzel Gummidge after a makeover. Tory scum.

A wee bit more artwork
Plant on the kitchen windowsill.

Other business
I’ve been listening to a bunch of Andrew Weatherall mixes recently. There’s a ton of them online. Specifically, I listened to three newer mixes and one from 1994. I love how his DJing is the same but different and still as exciting as it ever was: Cream (Annexe), Liverpool, 1994, Boiler Room, 2012, Resident Advisor, 2015, Gottwood Festival, Anglesey, 2016

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Elizabeth Taylor by Claire Maguire

On this day
A long weekend, 6 January 2011. I had a weekend away from Mexico City in a place called San Gil in Querétaro. My memory of that weekend was mainly of how absolutely relaxing it was to get away from Mexico City for a few days. I’d only been there for four months at that point, but already the desire to escape was strong, and that has continued.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Pet Shop Boys

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Written by Craig

January 6th, 2017 at 2:59 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,192: Two drawings, two paintings

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A drawing in my notebook of a man with a UFO for a hat, a drawing of a woman eating breakfast done quickly last night in the Paper app, and two more paintings of the park (Mauerpark Nr. 6, and Falkplatz Nr. 4*).

* A note on the different names on what would seem like the same park. Falkplatz is a small park. I live right across the street from this park. Mauerpark connects onto Falkplatz. It has a different name because of it didn’t used to be a park.

Other business
It came to my attention the other day that Tipp-Ex correction paper has been discontinued. Back in the 90s, I would use it in drawings and sketchbooks a lot. I’ve had this packet of it for about six years, so clearly I don’t use it as much as I once did, but it’s always close at hand. (A good example of this is the fact that I brought it with me on this trip.) I’m a little sad that this packet now has extra gravity. I will use it more sparingly, I will think twice about using it. Which, in reality, probably means I will virtually never use it again. I might as well frame it. Perhaps I should just do that.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Upper East Siders by Actrese. Really good song this.

On this day
My hopes for 2007, 5 January 2007. Still not happened…

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Culture of the United Kingdom

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Written by Craig

January 5th, 2017 at 1:45 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,191: Qualität Straße

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A couple of days after Xmas, I saw some Quality Street on sale in a supermarket. Bought a tin. For me it’s quite difficult to assess something like that on its merits, because Quality Street is so wrapped up in childhood memories of what Xmas is. (We were a Quality Street rather than a Roses family. The newer interloper Celebrations can get fucked.) Obviously, the design of the tin has changed for the worse, but really, it wasn’t that great when I was a kid: just a nice cosy vision of an old-fashioned Christmas that probably never existed anyway. Taste them without those thoughts of Xmasses in years gone by, and, y’know, they’re really not that special. The green triangle is kinda nice, but the rest of them are pretty average.

It’s also a little grating to buy a Nestlé product. It’s something I virtually never do. I think in the last year I had maybe one Kit Kat. Still one Nestlé product too many, though. Two too many now.

The only real joy with Quality Street that remains is holding the coloured cellophane wrappers in front of your eyes.

Here is a photograph of my desk:

Here is a photograph of my desk with the purple hazelnut in caramel wrapper in front of the lens:

The pink fudge wrapper:

The blue coconut éclair wrapper:

The green milk choc block wrapper:

The yellow toffee finger wrapper:

The yellow toffee penny wrapper:

The orange orange crème wrapper:

The brown toffee deluxe wrapper:

And the best wrapper (worst Quality Street, though), the red strawberry dream one:

A wee bit of artwork
Downtonfuckingabbey. I’d had this nearly-finished drawing on my computer since 2012. All that needed doing was the tower. I was sick to death of seeing it in my “to do” folder so I gave it some gunge, because I couldn’t be arsed to do the tower properly. I look at it now and wish I’d taken a little more care drawing the gunge, but still, I don’t want this hanging around any more. I’d rather have it as a finished failure than spend any more time acknowledging it when I open that folder.

Other business
John Berger died two days ago at the age of 90. I suspect every art student since the Seventies has read and been influenced in one way or another by Ways of Seeing. I’ve long since lost my copy of the book, but the accompanying BBC four-part series is on YouTube. Worth watching if you’ve never seen it: 1 2 3 4. And while we’re at it, here’s a good interview, and here’s Berger drawing Tilda Swinton.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I’m in Love with a German Film Star by the Passions

On this day
If I had a hammer, 4 January 2009. A simple bit of audio.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Bovril

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Written by Craig

January 4th, 2017 at 1:55 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,190: Alfajores

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If you saw the title of this post and started salivating, then sorry to disappoint you. It’s just the name of a mix I made in the summer of 2013.

Twenty-seven years on, and I still listen to Chill Out by the KLF* a lot, and I remember thinking that it might be fun and interesting to try and put something together in a similar fashion. Clearly the mix below isn’t anywhere near as good, but the process was what I was interested in. It sounds alright, though. I like it. I’ve only shared it with a small handful of friends, but because I was in the mood to do another, I thought I should put this one online first. Hope you enjoy it.

* Twenty-seven years before Chill Out was released, the Beatles put out their first album.

A wee bit of artwork
I think this is the first thing I’ve done since being in Berlin that’s even vaguely Mexican. It’s based on the shape of a one of the juice or torta stands you see around Mexico City.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I Can Change by LCD Soundsystem.

On this day
Sandy Koufax, 3 January 2009. This was probably the first drawing with a mobile app that I did that I was genuinely happy with. And I remember it so clearly. I was reading “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy” by Jane Leavy on the train from Bellingham, Wa. to Portland, Or. I was sat on the left side of the train, facing forwards, therefore not on the coastal side of the train which would’ve given me a nicer view. At some point, I stopped reading and had a go at drawing.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Second Boer War

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Written by Craig

January 3rd, 2017 at 1:29 am

Posted in Blah blah,Music

3,189: The day after

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Good day for a walk, New Year’s Day. Especially if you can get yourself out of the house early. I under-slept, but still felt the urge to get up and see the mess from the night before. Not in a judgemental tsk-pesky-kids way, just that I’d watched the fireworks going off in and around the park, and was curious about what was left over. I was half expecting the park to be more trash than grass. There’s also a nice quietness on the morning of January the first. Being right next to a park certainly helps with the motivation to put on socks and shoes and layers of clothes and a scarf and gloves and a coat.

The pavement and road outside the building was covered in spent fireworks and dust and discarded packaging. Broken and unbroken beer and sekt bottles. The trees across the street which are in my morning view photos are, I believe, ordinarily the place where birds sleep. Where do birds go where there are fireworks going off all around the city? They must be shitting themselves. A number of them probably die, right?

And yep, there was a ton more Silvester* debris in the park. A couple of people walking their dogs, some joggers too. There was a dude working on something on the graffiti wall, and a handful of people who looked like they were on their way home: tired, happy, laddered tights, drinking beers, smoking weed. And lots of trash.

* Germans refer to New Year’s Eve as Silvester. The reason for that is that it’s Pope Sylvester I’s saint day. He died on 31 December 335, apparently.

Here’s some photographs in and around the park.

A wee bit of artwork
The Berliner Fernsehturm.

Other business
And while we’re on the topic of fireworks, here’s a quick dirty chart based on no real data other than making a mental note of things

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Elizabeth Taylor by Clare Maguire.

On this day
NYE, 2 January 2008. I had (what I thought was) a migraine (but subsequently found out is a cluster headache) so no boozing. But a magnificent night at the Royal Festival Hall in London, watching Super Furry Animals play three sets.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Suzerainty

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January 2nd, 2017 at 2:41 am

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3,188: Embedding the week

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Xmas is no excuse for such shoddy parking.

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Artwork for my ambient album, "Sunshine and a Bag of Quavers"

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Lids at the bottle bank

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Qualität Straße

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Hiya

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First time I've found Marie Sharp's outside of Belize. The best salsa habanero imo.

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Good night, sweet warrior. Your people would be proud of you. Rest in peace.

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Pretty happy that four of these are recent paintings and that my dad is in the middle. Thank you, damen und herren. Guten Rutsch!

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New Year's Eve vibes.

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It was nice to have a quiet Silvester. Bottle of wine, listening to music, painting, and then watching the fireworks in and above the park from the window. I tend to work on two or three paintings at the same time. Switching while allowing bits to dry, then switching back, and continuing the process. Not a revelation, of course. Here’s the one I finished last night at around 1am. First of the year.

Gleimtunnel. Gouache and coloured pencil on paper, 24 x 17 cm.

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I Can Change by LCD Soundsystem. Same as yesterday.

On this day
NYE, 1 January 2009. Regarding a New Year’s Eve in Bellingham, Washington. I still do that thing with the sport chart, btw. It’s pretty boring though. Just like that last sentence.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Afonso I of Portugal

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Written by Craig

January 1st, 2017 at 2:30 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah

3,187: The song in my head when I woke up this morning

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Every day of the year, I’ve taken a note of which song is in my head when I wake up.

In 2015, the winner was Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. That was in my head first thing in the morning 14 times. She was also the top artist of the year (48 times).

In 2016, the song of hers that appeared the most was State of Grace (4 times). And she was third on the list of artists (21 times). So, here are the top ten artists of the year in my head when I woke up in 2016.

10. Charli XCX
7 times: Vroom Vroom (3), After the Afterparty (2), Gold Coins (1), Famous (1)

7=. Galantis
8 times: Peanut Butter Jelly (8)

7=. Justin Bieber
8 times: Sorry (5), What Do You Mean? (2), Love Yourself (1)

7=. Super Furry Animals
8 times: Inaugural Trams (4), Bing Bong (1), Mt (1), Night Vision (1), Walk You Home (1)

6. LCD Soundsystem
9 times: Dance Yrself Clean (2), New York I Love You… (2), Tribulations (2), Drunk Girls (1), I Can Change (1), Yeah (1)

5. Petite Meller
13 times: Lil’ Love (5), Milk Bath (3), NYC Time (3), Barbaric (2)

4. Beyoncé
17 times: 6 Inch (5), Formation (4), Sorry (4), All Night (2), Forward (1), Pray You Catch Me (1)

3. Taylor Swift
21 times: State of Grace (4), 22 (2), I Know Places (2), We are Never Ever Getting Back Together (2), All too Well (1), Blank Space (1), How You Get the Girl (1), I Knew You were Trouble (1), Love Story (1), New Romantics (1), Red (1), Shake it Off (1), Stay Stay Stay (1), Treacherous (1), You Belong to Me (1)

2. One Direction
39 times: One Thing (6), No Control (5), Best Song Ever (4), Drag Me Down (4), Live While We’re Young (4), You & I (4), More Than This (3), Story of My Life (3), Little Things (2), Night Changes (2), History (1), Kiss You (1)

1. Coldplay
44 times: Hymn for the Weekend (6), Adventure of a Lifetimes (5), Fun (5), Up & Up (5), A Head Full of Dreams (4), Amazing Day (4), Birds (4), A Sky Full of Stars (2), Hurts like Heaven (2), Ink (2), X Marks the Spot (2), Magic (1), Paradise (1), True Love (1)

So yes, Coldplay. They get a lot of shit, and I can absolutely understand why, but I like them. I think they’ve got better. I think they’re a better pop group than they were an indie band. I find it quite interesting that a band like that would go in a poppier direction rather than a rockier direction the more successful they get. I mean, they are an audio distillation of a gap year student having an amaaaazing time in Asia, but they always seem so happy and so appreciative of their position. They’re great. And what they did at Glastonbury this year was really lovely.

And, the song that was in my head the most in 2016 was Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis. Eight times. I saw them live at the Corona Capital festival recently, and yep, they were a massive load of fun.

Anyway, after the horseshit year we’ve just gone through, and the massive potential for shite next year, it almost feels sarcastic to say it, but: feliz año nuevo, guten Rutsch, and happy new year.

A wee bit of artwork
Not sure what’s going on here.

Other business
I had one of those “huh? of course!” revelations the other day. Looking for black tea in the supermarket, the only thing I could find had the words fair trade on the front. Leaving aside criticisms, it suddenly hit me: if it doesn’t say that on the front, then it deffo isn’t fair trade, right? I mean, if Big Macs were fair trade it’d say it on the box, right? And I mentally scanned everything else I buy from the supermarket and felt bad. Unfair trade is a feature not a bug.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Siege of Lisbon

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Written by Craig

December 31st, 2016 at 1:39 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah,Music

3,186: Morning views

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Fröhliche Weihnachten!

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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Guten morgen

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The song in my head when I woke up this morning
I Can Change by LCD Soundsystem.

On this day
Blue bear, More, and More again, 31 December 2008. At this point, I’d just got the Brushes app for my iPod touch. I’d been messing around with a few free/cheap apps, but when I got Brushes, that was it. That really was the beginning of something challenging pixels as the main thing that I used. I can still feel that excitement when I see these first few drawings I did with Brushes.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Trebuchet

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December 31st, 2016 at 1:29 am

Posted in Blah blah,Photos

3,185: Arting myself into 2017

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Thought I might show you some work-in-progress and ideas I plan on working on during 2017. This is partly an effort to kick myself in the arse and get going on them. It’s a to-do list made public. I like them as WIP and ideas, so I should really try doing them. Of course, when I check this blog post again at this time next year, I will find that I’ve only finished a small portion of them, and in a way, that’s fine cos hopefully new ideas will have been more pressing. If I can get ten of these done, though, I’ll be a happy fellow.

There’s plenty of stuff that needs finishing off. The most obvious of those is the U-Bahn lines. I’m here now, and it feels right that I should do it while I’m here. I’ve done three of the ten lines so far, but two of those are the shortest lines, which is to say, I’ve still got 159 of 196 platforms to draw.

I wanna keep playing around with the late 80s/early 90s Adidas stuff. (A few early things here.) In my head, it would be nice to experiment a bit and create some sort of massive thing that uses a lot of their designs and makes one coherent piece.

A Berlin version of the Mexico City (2013) and London (2014) pixel drawings. I would’ve done this in 2016 had it not been for the feeling that I hadn’t done enough photo research while I was hear last winter.

This Bodybuilders drawing is unfinished. I want the beach to be full of bodybuilders, male and female.

I don’t remember why this came into my head, but I started drawing quick pictures on Sketches, the first drawing app I ever used on my first iPod touch. Don’t remember why I used that app. But it was fun to get it out again, considering I’ve use iPod and iPad apps so much in the last eight year. Fun to go back to the app that started it all for me. Anyway, I started drawing singers that were on the Now That’s What I Call Music XIII compilation from 1988. I did four of them. There are 32 in total. I wanted to do them really quick. Just two or three minutes each, rough as fuck. They’re stupid drawings, they’re not really important, they won’t be “popular” but for some reason I like then, and it should be easy to finish this series in one evening if I get my shit together. Here’s ones I’ve done: Yazz, Womack & Womack, Jane Wiedlin, and T’Pau.

Princes is something I began on the day he died. Everything you see below was done that day. The idea is do a Minipop of him for every year of his famous life. I really want to find time to finish this before the first anniversary.

I have a picture story related to the Pixies song Tony’s Theme on the go, and something called Twin Eltons which has been sat on my computer since the summer of 2001. Pre-9/11. Which feels mental that a) I have something that old still on my computer, and b) I still like the idea. I’ve got something called Mountain Beyond the Sky which is about a bunch of kids who go on a journey. And this which I just refer to as giraffe story at the moment, about this fella:

I’ve been working on and off on some data visualisation about Ravel’s Bolero for three years. Would be good to wrap that up, too.

Re-approaching the infographic project regarding Maurice Ravel's Boléro.

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Gotta do some more of these Octagonz fellas. They’re a lot of fun to do using the Pixaki pixel art app on the iPad, on the sofa, in front of the telly. These 32×32 line landscapes, too: beach, countryside, glacier, skegness, and this one of an Adidas Superstar trainer:

The last few now. This has no title other than the working title of big fucking pyramid. It’s a big fucking pyramid. Basically the idea is to mix up old school raving with a Mesoamerican pyramid. In my dreams this would be a print with UV and fluoro inks. I keep adding bits here and there. It could do with a two-day burst of action to kick it along a few steps, mind.

The next three things to mention all involve a decent amount of writing. Two of them involve drawing, too. Jesus Christmas is gonna be a short comic story about a guy who runs a barber shop in a mall. I’m a little bit fascinated by the crappy bits of shopping centres. The bits in corridors off to the side, or down near the car parks. So that’s gonna be about one of them. Table 31 Guy is about a guy who goes to Belize for a bit. Fictionalised travel writing, essentially. That’s about 25% done. And something currently called Sherbert which will end up with a different name. This is the biggest of all the projects. A story about a jobless chap in his thirties who lives alone.

But mostly, more paintings. More paintings of Berlin (some of which I’ve put on the blog in the past few weeks, and more jungle paintings (some of which were in yesterday’s Best Of round-up) when I get back on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Painting painting painting.

I really hope to look at this post at the end of 2017 and see that I have knocked some big holes in this list because, yeh, as you might be able to tell, I have trouble staying focussed.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Love Action by the Human League.

On this day
Out and about, 30 December 2010. That was a nice day, walking around, seeing art, eating food, enjoying being Mexico City.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Potential energy

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Written by Craig

December 30th, 2016 at 3:04 am

Posted in Artwork,Blah blah