Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Back to School

After 6 years of suppressing my creative urges, I’m starting my course tomorrow. I have to give a presentation on who I am, where I’m from and why I am here’. Here’s a few slides from it. I’d love to hear what you think – positive or negative!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

My Neighbour Nick: Part 1, Samuel Johnson's Cat

My neighbour Nick is a walking Wikipedia. He sounds exactly like Stephen Fry, has lived in something crazy like 60 countries and has the most fascinating mind I have ever come across. I've never been in his flat but I imagine it is like stepping in to a library. A messy one. "Why is a Dalek called a Dalek?" - This question followed a story about a newspaper ad he had seen selling the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set for £5. It had not become redundant to its owner because of the internet, but because 'her husband already knew everything'.

This morning over coffee I told him about the MA I am starting in September. He fished a picture book out of his flat which belonged to his mother's eldest sister, who if she was alive, would now be around 100. He talked about the Bologna Children's book fair and a man he met there who described to him how children's picture books are are like a game of peek-a-boo and likened it to the existentialist theory of if we can not see it, does it still exist?

We also discussed Whitstable (one of my favourite places on earth), and he told me the story of Samuel Johnson's cat, Hodge, that dined on Whitstable Oysters. How decadent that would be today, but in the 18th century, oysters were cheap and widely eaten by the poor. So as not to degrade his servant, Johnson would personally buy the food for Hodge.

'I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat: for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters, lest the servants having that trouble should take a dislike to the poor creature.' (James Boswell's 'Life of Johnson').

Anyway, that's just a little insight in to my Saturday morning conversation with Nick. And like he said, what is the point of knowledge if not to impart a little.

100 Things I Love

Today I wrote down 100 things that I love. A friend of mine once did it and posted it as a note on Facebook and i've been meaning to do it for ages. She recommend it if you are feeling blue or need a reminder as to why life is full of lovely things. Given my antipathy to many things in life, I found this surprisingly easy and enjoyable. No doubt on any other day it would be a very different list but anyway, today I love...

Antique shops, second hand bookshops, Pantone 186, Dualit toasters, bushel boxes, Whitstable, writing lists, sea air, drawing, Marmite on toast, sex, Hendersons Relish, Beagles, organising things, taking photographs, the cold side of the pillow, cricket whites, Angel perfume, Sideways, The Seldom Seen Kid, Doug Stanhope stand up, drawing, FFFFound, Twitter, punting, the smell of new carpet, Peter Blake’s work, My Holga, Crystal Palace dinosaurs, old radios, freckles, weekends, kindness in strangers, selflessness, Stephen Fry’s podcasts, Jarvis Cocker, Paul Arden’s books, Quentin Blake’s drawings, Stripy socks, Dr Seuss stories, Swiss Miss’ Blog, Yorkshire, Flickr, Cambridge, Kodak Brownies, the smell when you come out of the swimming baths, Rich in his Spurs kit, cockles, Henri Cartier Bresson’s drawings, beards, my All Saints shoes, Lullaby of Birdland, red wine, old black and white photographs, cheese, loyal friends, Wichita Lineman, An Affair To Remember, the plaques on Southwold Pier, Pelekas Village, Coraline, BBQ’s on the beach, Basset Hounds, Canvey Island, The Barbican, The Turbine Hall, drinking tea, cooking for friends, bed, the sound of rain on the roof, The Troubador in Earls Court, Caipirhinias, being inspired, receiving a hand written letter in the post, The Tuilleries in Winter, chocolate brown Labradors, Bougainvillea, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, my Macbook, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, red shoes, walks on the beach, Bianchi bikes, the Peak District, Eddie Izzard, playing the piano, Moleskine sketchbooks, my iPhone, drinking cider on a hot day, getting someone the perfect gift, ginger cats, my Robert's radio, old cameras, Roald Dahl’s stories, car boot sales, the smell of old books, Richard Hawley’s voice, Helvetica, Converse trainers and lobsters.

Thursday, 3 September 2009


VERY excited about the new ffffound app for the iPhone and iTouch.