Successometer... Burroughs... Backmasking

Forget the Goatskin certificate stamped with "first class honours," forget job offers and internships, Google is the new commander and chief when it comes to post graduate success.
That's right I Google myself when I am bored! And others it is true. But that is only because I rely on Google to indicate/gauge my own success. And at the minute I am feeling pretty swell as I have just discovered that one of my zines "Altered Meanings," is included in UWE (Bristol)'s Artist Book Special Collections.

William S. Burroughs believed that when you rearrange text you find a new, more honest meaning. Three notable Burrough's books were written in this way and are now known as the Cut Up/Nova Trilogy. Messages can be hidden but pertrude on a subconscious level. Many other Authors and artists have adopted this technique. Similarly hidden meanings and honesty are believed to be found in back masking (famously adopted by The Beatles and famously not adopted by Led Zeppelin "If there's a bustle in youre hedgerow, don't be alarmed now," becomes "Here's to my sweet Satan, I sing because I live with Satan" hmm) and there is a whole form of psycho analysis based around this technique. Again it can be found in images, subtle placement of images, or images flashing rapidly in between frames on film all are said to speak to the subconscious and somewhat controversially. Back to Burroughs, the man was fascinated with both mind control and how the 'man' wishes to control and cure the human condition - whether this is through machine, medicine, lobotomy, sex...

"but words are still the principal instruments of control. Suggestions are words. Persuasions are words. Orders are words. No control machine  so far devised can operate without words, and any control machine which attempts to do so relying entirely on external force or entirely on physical control of the mind wil soon encounter the limits of control."

Language is most definitely a virus that controls us, it has placed the question of purpose into our mouths. It has lead us to become destructive. It has lead us to become paranoid. It is probably innate. Language is the human condition.

I am interested in how the subconscious speaks to the conscious though dreams, through literacy, through free flow writing, self expression, dreams and spontaneity.  How it sort of irons out our conscious thoughts and can almost become a new voice of reason or chaos respectively. This Altered Meanings project is ongoing so watch this space for more developments.

This Decade's Mine/Album of the decade...

If you have Spotify you can hear my highlights of the decade here : Now That's What I Call a Decade 2000 - 2010

It is that time of year again (I am not referring to Christmas). I will make the trip down Oldham Street and into Piccadilly Records, a journey I take often, but, at this time of the year, as I pay for whatever difficult-to-get-hold-of CD/vinyl there is an added perk. On the counter, amongst all the zines, flyers and free badges, there it is. Highlight of my festive season. Piccadilly Records' Albums of the Year. An opportunity to catch up on all the music I have missed, equally to brag about all the music I haven't. Only this year, it will be Albums of the Decade - Oh boy! I have not made that journey yet, and I wish to compile my own list right here first.

It was the decade when politics became a personality contest (thanks to some Freudian psychology gone horribly wrong); 9/11 sent aftershocks throughout religious groups, colliding cultures, terrorists and conspiracy theorists alike; war struck a controversial chord within each and every person in the western world; the digital era finds it's footing and molds a whole community dependent on connection speed rather than geographical placing; a western generation would be born and not know life without the internet; music piracy and theft hit a peak thanks to the internet and file sharing causing cuts in the overall creativity of the music industry; thanks to nano technology not only can we carry our entire music catalog around with us, but we can expect to live forever (that one may not be quite true, yet); global warming has secured an apocalypse for the human race and it is closer than we think... but there may still be time to solve that one.

2000-2010 has been a very important decade for me personally, it has been a pivotal decade, the decade where I have become an adult. I have had to deal with things like teenage angst, puberty, adolescent love/lust, Exams, Exams, Exams, hormones, life changing decisions, high school, then college, then university, another life changing decision, one insane allergic reaction, messy messy messy nights out (and in), a couple of suicide attempts (not by me), death (for the record, neither suicide nor murder), throw in a couple more heart wrenching decisions, more hormones, becoming a fully grown adult person, financial instability, un petit depression, a lot of tears, a lot of laughter, a bit of betrayal, a first class honors degree and I think we have just summarized my life in the last decade. A shaky one. But at every low, and at every high I have had a piece of music by my side. It was the decade I discovered music in a serious way. The decade that I fell in love with David Bowie. The decade that I broke my addiction to Queen (I listened to nothing but for most of my childhood) and branched out. A decade that I am proud to be a part of.


Now for the important bit.

(much trickier than I thought, check out playlist for my highlights of 00-10:
Now That's What I Call A Decade 2000-2010)

10. MGMT- Oracular Spectacular

New age and beautifully innovative.

9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell

For energy, dancability and personality

8. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Isolation and heartache fed the beauty of this album (I'm just off into hibernation for three months then...)

7. Jamie T - Panic Prevention

Witty lyrics, Jamie T rivals Alex Turner as story teller of the decade, only I feel Jamie's songs are slightly more edgy and experimentally diverse

6. The Libertines - Up the Bracket

Finishing off what the strokes started, molding the music of this generation

5. The White Stripes - Elephant

Minimalist rock n roll

4. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in the People

Anti minimalist Canadian Super group, lo-fi, quirky well written songs.

3. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Innovative production, unusual vocals, well crafted

2. Arcade Fire - Funeral

A new surreal world created another Canadian Supergroup, a beautiful album with some perfectly written songs

1. The Strokes - Is This It
This was probably the album that saved a generation. Before this all the kids had were mainstream radio stations, nu-metal, a fizzling out hip hop scene, (ahem) 'vintage' music, and Coldplay. Things were looking bad. Nothing was happening. Then The Strokes arrived. It was the perfect antidote for the times. Everything about this band opened my eyes as a 15 year old adolescent. Skinny jeans and trousers two inches too short, disheveled hair, leather jackets, knackered high tops. This band had an unkempt sexuality oozing from their Stratocaster and Epiphone guitars. Even the album cover (UK version different to US) oozed sexuality and roused my curiosity. A kinky simplistic photograph donning the words "Is This It" in sans, red type, echoes the album's raw simplicity and entices us in. The title is filled with dissatisfaction, disappointment and angst that perhaps ran parallel with the feelings towards the music of the time, but they are most certainly not the emotions provoked by 'Is This It.' So you peel back the cellophane wrapper, swing open the case and pop out that most obsolete music format, the Compact Disk, place it into the stereo, and what can you expect? Music that has influences from drone bands of the past such as The Velvet Underground, catchy and disjointed licks reminiscent of Television, and a sort of dry, don't-give-a-shit energy of proto-punkers The Stooges. The songs are unpolished, roughly cut yet perfectly ensembled. All of it seems so obvious and familiar but no one else had released this album, it belonged to The Strokes. All glory may be rested upon Julian Casablancas' having written the album, but each other Stroke added their own style to the sound. It may be Casablancas' baby, but it could not have happened in the same way without the procreation and influence of Nick Valensi, Albert Hammond Jnr, Fab Moretti, and Nikolai Fraiture. Yes the have grand names, they look good, they have written three great albums (not to such great critical acclaim however), not to mention some stellar solo projects. This is what started it:

If this album had been released a year later it would have been too late, it helped shape the music scene of this decade, paving the way for bands like The Libertines, The Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Arctic Monkeys and many many others. It secured an audience and dare I say a scene for a lot the bands featured in this list. It is an album misunderstood by older generations who simply don't get it, that is because they weren't there which only assures it's place in this generation's hearts.

Is This It is not only the album of the decade but the album that kick started the decade.

Northern Soul Dancing...

Nowhere to Run Spotify Playlist

My Boyfriend's Band This... My Boyfriend's Band That...

It isn't often that I use this blog as a plug for others but...
So Drummer extraordinaire Andrew Moss and his band Bony Ghosts are regulars on BBC 6musics Tom Robinson's Introducing show (he bloody loves them!) This week their song "The Curse" features on the podcast, so download it would ya! They are approx 37mins in, but there is also a lot of other great new bands featured so don't just skip to the best bit... DOWNLOAD HERE!

Photos: Mandi Goodier originals (before I made books and Mick Rocks career was all I wanted!)

A Very Bob Dylan Christmas...

Bobby D?... Have you... please tell me you haven't.... I mean how could you... I don't mean to be rude... but... have you been straightening your hair???? You kinda look like an old Kurt Cobain.

I hear Bob's to star as a lead vocal in the next Muppet Christmas Movie (source: Adam Buxton). Still got to love a Bob that loves Christmas!

Now let's just juxtapose that with one of the earliest examples of the music video directed by D A Pennebaker (and a personal favorite track)

Note: Bearded fella in the back Allen Ginsberg he's probably 'contemplating Jazz' with another hip cat, Bob Neuwirth.

I guess "Must Be Santa" was inevitable.
Right feeling Christmassy as hell now (hell's not so Christmassy by the way. I'll start feeling festive in December - there's plenty of time for that.) I'm off to roll around in some tinsel.

My First Artist Book...

Here is my first ever self published book, made when I was six/seven. It was a school project called "My Best Fiend" based on a childrens book of the same title. It is full of naive drawings and endearing spelling mistakes. It also makes very little sense to any one who isn't me...

Here is the synopsis (complete with spelling mistakes)
"This is a story about my best friend (who's rely a fiend.) Read about the gunge and waht about school and the lake."

"Like thay alwas say 'you little devel' ha ha ha"

Here you can see I dedicated it to Karen Moriarty, however it was originally dedicated to Mrs Dickinson. I changed my mind because I probably had an attack of conscience and was unsure how appropriate it was to dedicate a book to a teacher I adored. (Yes I thought about stuff like that at such a young age!)

"The man went flying on the gunge."

"Karen shouted note fight. But we all put our names on the bottom. Karen put teachers have fat toes. And accidentally put my name on too."

"Next day was satturday and Karen went to a lake and fell in."

£12.99 at the time - bargain! Imagine what that Mandi Goodier original is worth now!
(also dig the way I spelt published - puberlished)

All in all the story was pretty rubbish as were the illustrations. I was generally good at story telling and drawing but obviously just crumbled under the pressure of a potential publishing deal - which I clearly blew! We got up to much better mischief than that in reality. We used to sit at the back of the field, in the over grown bit, eating wild berries and being late for class. The teachers always complimented us on our vivid imaginations! There was one game called treasure where we hid each others toys, Karen brought in some fake gems, I buried them and lost them forever. We used to play farm yard animals at break time and eat all the crisps on the ground that the other kids had dropped, when the playground supervisor saw this, she made us stand by the wall for the rest of break, we commenced drawing on the ground with stones. The time I had to sit in the naughty corner for biting a kids shoulder, Karen came and kept me company even though she had done no wrong. I made up a sweet ghost story about the fallen rail track that ran across the back of the school (if you ever make the journey Manchester - Liverpool via Warrington, you pass my old primary school) I invented a psycho killer I dubbed the Red Murderer. Before we knew it kids were coming up to us from all directions and years, reporting sightings of a sinister red shadowy figure, or hearing crying babies (his victims - I watched a lot of horror movies!) Come to think of it, maybe I was the fiend! I have not seen nor heard from Karen since the age of eight. I thought I saw her one time a couple of years ago sat in the street, I just walked past not saying anything.

Stolen from Viceland...

It just made me laugh...

"First they came for the bikers and I did not speak out – because I was not a biker;
Then they came for the townies and I did not speak out – because I was not a townie;
Then they came for the metrosexuals, and I did not speak out – because I was not a metrosexual;
Then they came for THE HIPSTERS – but there was no one left to speak out for me…"

Pastor, (ahem) Niemöller?

The Waitress...

The business men, middle aged, greying, thinning, fattening, sit around their San Pellengrino with a slice of lime and nicoise salads, discussing interest and numbers. The mothers at the next table wonder if they know what it means to live. The mothers, late twenties/early thirties, new buggies blocking all ways to the table, sit around smirmoff and lemonade/pinot grigio, breastfeeding, and say things like c section and perspective, the elderly couple at the next table smile, knowing that they have a lot left to live. The elderly couple, serene and sweet, sit with a double gin and tonic and a large glass of Chianti, a newspaper crossword and a book, at peace at ease, they use no words, they need no words, the table of teenagers to their left wonder how much longer they have left to live. The teenagers sit around their margarita pizzas, rolling their eyes at each other and offering quips of sarcasm and materialistic comments, use words like adidas and iPod, the waitress walks by and wonders when they will learn to live.

The waitress holds in her hand a tray, fresh San Pellengrino precariously balanced on it. She takes it to the business men, they laugh ignoring her presence. The girl is a sell out. She has sold out on all morals, not permanently, just for this job. She offers the men a sweet seductive smile, an attempt to seem affable, a push for tips. She doesn't see it but her fake seductive smile actually distorts on the journey from her lips to the retina of the recipient, it is a smile tangled with a creep and a psycho, it is intense and OTT. They shoo her away, barely a thanks muttered. They assume she is a child who understands nothing about living, that she is unintelligent, that she knows nothing beyond Warrington. They judge her, she is angered, and in turn judges them. Self important ex-yuppies, all grown up and still stuck here. But she doesn't know them, just as they do not know her so she lets the judgment go. She approaches the table of teenagers who she secretly envies but in no way wants to be. Offers a lame attempt at rad spiel - an ironic attempt, nothing serious. If anything an attempt to make them laugh, a satirical dig at their own behavior - as if they don't take themselves seriously. It turns out they do take themselves seriously and she is met with blank faces and insulting whispers. She takes their desserts over, a candle sticking out of one, another fake smile and a rendition of happy birthday. They are not expecting it, she wishes to embarrass the young tykes, serves them right. But they dig it. They dig the waitress who's idiolect is a bizarre concoction of 60's slang, jive talk and the modern trend of uncertain utterances. She uses words such as "like" "dig" "hip" and "David Bowie."

A fly buzzing round the restaurant captures the attention of a business man. He shoos at it lazily. In a pathetic attempt to impress the aging yuppsters, the heroic waitress dashes across the restaurant menu held high over her head, ready to swat. Quickly before her eyes a red light flashes. Her brain cries quickly -NOOOOO. It has sold out on most of its morals but this one, this is an important one. She is in no way a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, only cares slightly about animal cruelty (is mostly just afraid of animals), yet this is a moral she has adopted believing that it will keep her out of a lot of trouble with the psyche, karma and ultimately the law. Do not kill anything that crunches. If you hear it crunch, squeek or scream when killing it, you have definitely done a bad thing. The menu high above her head, the fly trembling, 2000 images of it's life flashing before it's eyes, of dung and newspapers and trash and fresh food and flight and repeatedly flying into windows. The business men look at her with greed, lust and anticipation. Her eyes flick between them and the fly and then an image of her self reflected in a mirrored wall then back to the men. She timidly lowers the menu, the fly makes his escape, the men look at the slightly unhinged young woman.
"Erm, can I get you anything else?" She offers from a reddened face.
"Yeh actually, we ordered some garlic bread, where is that?" She looks at their empty plates
"Erm, sorry. I'll just get that for you."
"No no, forget it."
She approaches the chefs, the boys in the kitchen. The boys in the kitchen are convinced she writes erotic fiction in her spare time, initially as a wind up and, since she made no effort to deny this, it wasn't too far from the truth, it stuck, they dug it. She cringes at forgetting the garlic bread, they give her a new one. She takes it to the table.
"I said forget it!"

The elderly man beckons her over with a polite grin, orders two cognac and asks for the bill. She graciously pours them out and takes them over. The mothers, now tipsy, place their well fed new borns back into their prams and also ask for the bill. The final two tables also make hand gestures for the bill. The draw into the air using an invisible pen onto an invisible ticket which is held in the palm of their hands. She prints all four placing them onto shiny silver trays, reflecting a flawed, image of her face. She pauses. Her image is transfigured by the dents and scratches upon the tray, made by cash payments, coins and tips past.

She attempts small talk whilst taking card payments. Yes, one last push for loose change. A vulture. A begger. Not proud. She hates small talk so has resorted to just saying anything that is on her mind, something which has mixed reception, blank looks, silence, conversation, giggles.
"Say do you know the music video to David Bowie's Heroes?" The business men ignore her. The card payment goes through the machine, she feels like telling them. "I'm not stupid you know. I have a degree. Someone once actually said I am intelligent and I should..." But remains silent. No tip on card. She leaves an "Enjoy the rest of your day," at the table, a long with the reflective begging tray. When she started this job she didn't care about tips, just earning an honest wage. It turned out Waitressing is not a simple task and if it wasn't for the tips she would quit. But she was still honest. She was sure of that. She went the extra mile to earn that tip, and knew when one wasn't deserved. It was all false in one sense but if it made her work harder for the customers, then they were happy, the boss was happy, she got her tip, she is happy, who cares about authenticity. The kids leave the service charge. The new mums leave a pound. The elderly couple enjoy the forced conversation and place in her hand a fiver. She is warmed by their generosity and thanks them graciously, half ashamed, half enlightened - she isn't that shit after all. She clears tables ready for the next lot. The suits, the girls night out, the young families, the first dates, the last dates, she anticipates all walks of life. They are all living. None of them as she would as none of them are her. She wonders if they will ever know how living really is. She wonders if she will ever know how really living is. She waits for her life to begin. But it is already upon her. She panics.

My Dog Ate My Blog...

Here is one neglected blog from a not so neglected soul.
There is a reason for the neglect this blog has suffered.
In fact there is more than one.
Negligence is quite a negative thing, yet I assure you that my excuses are positive.
It is like when I went on holiday with my dad as a child, and neglected to call my mum, I would apologise for my negligence, normally in tears, and she would reply
"Don't be sorry, I know you haven't rang because you have not had the time, what with all the fun things you've been doing."
Typically the fun things would be running down super steep sand dunes to the beach, or tiresomely and feebly attempting to climb back up the dry tumbling mounds, or queuing up to go on the camp site's sole water slide, gaining a verruca (a verruca I still have, 15 years later), being stung 4 times consecutively by the same wasp (I still bare the scar on my stomach), watching magic/illusion shows, playing bingo, spending hours on the arcade machines - figuring at an early age that learning to drive will only be a negative thing due to the series of crashes accumulated during a game of ridge racer.
It is in the same vain that this blog has been neglected.
I have been doing too many good things, and have not had the time time.
So here is my list of good reasons to neglect a blog.

1. Parlour Press
Yes folks, Parlour Press is here, a new tour de force in book making.
Five rather attractive ladies donning a rather attractive set of handmade books.
Libby and I spent a day with a feast of oatmeal and raisin cookies, millionaires flapjack, soup and lemon and ginger tea... and inDesign, and Nouvaeu-esque typefaces, and swirls, and paper, and doodles..... Eventually we got us a logo. Later I spent the evening with a packet of sour sweets and wrote a sugar induced manifesto... I actually thought I was Allen Ginsberg by the end of it.

Contemporary book makers or contemporary folk, close vocal harmony group that the hip kids are going to dig?

2. Manchester Artist Book Fair

Parlour Press took it's books on tour, to the Manchester Artist Book Fair. The build up to this event comprised of many many many days and evenings spent with a half dead printer, cutting down A0 paper to A4, sewing books, ruining books, rescuing half eaten paper from the mouth of the half dead printer, folding, rolling and sticking until final I had a set of books/zines to sell.
8 Altered Meanings
8 Transitions
13 Identity
6 Scrolls

At the book fair we were met with a combination of praise, interest and propositions.
Everyone at the Parlour Press managed to sell. There was a small impact to my stash of hand made zines/books - which truly did have a D I Y feel. We were naive young whippersnappers at the book fair compared to the stalls and stalls of pros. The new school. We learned a lot from our first fair which we will be taking with us to the next fair. Yes there will be a next fair...
I have sent 4 books on tour with Lucy May Schofield. So long books, Seeya in a year....

3. Out of the Cupboard

Finally, somehow, somewhere amongst the chaos and anxiety caused by the prospect of making books, my mum managed to actualise her promise turning the spare room into a studio. I have now left my temporary home within an old cupboard and I have a desk. Not only do I have a desk I have my grandad's old wallpapering table - which is where I constructed my books. My mum wishes to paint the wall papering table black - to comply with the rooms colour scheme of black an white. There are two reasons why I do not want her to do this. 1. The black paint my scratch and rub off onto my work. 2. (The reason I haven't told her) There are numbers and markings on the table in my grandad's hand. My studio is a little bland at the minute, all I have on my wall is a Andy Warhol print of a gun (over layed and offset) and a newspaper print of three men jumping from the WTC (this is a dark piece of inspiration. It is a sign of the times, the frailty of humanity, it also reminds me that when I am low I can always jump - this makes me not want to jump and thus inspires me to carry on, make the most of things.)

4. Manchester Literature Festival

I attended three events and wrote three reviews which can be found on the Manchester Literature Festival Blog. It was quite enjoyable, but I can't help feeling with a little more notoriety behind me I could have wrote of some of the bigger names such as Martin Amis and Will Self... Here are my posts:
Six by Six
Writing about place

There is Magic in Looking at Words and Pictures

5. Goldsmiths Open Day

Yes it is time I considered my future. I recently took the Vann for a visit to Goldsmiths University where we looked at the course Art Writing. There was a super massive queue which on our walk to the back Lucy and I simultaneously announced two Dad jokes "It's like Alton Towers"/"This ride better be worth it!" making all the hip kids in the queue stare with disdain.
As you may or may not know I like to write, but I also like to design and image make. I have found quite a comfortable relationship between these two in the form of artists books. It is now time to decide which aspect of this relationship I wish to work on a MA level. I have visited two courses, LCC - Graphic Design, and this Goldsmiths course. Design or writing? I am 100% torn.
London will be ours.

6. My Dog Ate My Blog...

This one isn't true. I do not have a dog.

7. Work

I have to earn money to save for a Masters.

8. Audio
One final distraction, Podcasts and Audiobooks. Adam and Joe are my new full time friends. In fact I think I may be suffering some kind of Adam and Joe related disease. I wake up early on Saturday mornings to listen to their breakfast show - thus making me a member of the Black Squadron, I listen to their podcast in the week and then this last week past I listened to a backcatalogue of old podcasts, I sing their jingles at work to help the day flow, I have adapted their idiolect... Yes I am addicted and they have even made their way into my dreams. Lucy Vann seems to be suffering similar symptoms. We need a diagnosis from Dr.Sexy (that in itself is a Adam and Joe reference). STEPHEN?

I have also been listening to the old Mighty Boosh radio series which I had almost completely forgotten. Noticing similarities between the Howard Moon character and a certain ex-tutor makes it extra extra hilarious. (Tutors should not be offended by this remark)
Masses of audio books have been consumed - does this mean I can say I have read the books or just listened to them?
Also I am collecting and listening to spotify playlists.


I wish to revive the art of mix tape.
So if you have spotify make me a playlist.
It must be 21 songs long (or there abouts)
It must be about yourself/your current frame of mind - it seems the music we listen to at certain points in our lives reflect the way we feel. Songs should not be chosen for the sole reason of - 'oh man I'm showing off my obscure music taste' or 'you are going to just love this.'
Other than that you are on your own.
To send a playlist simply drag and drop the title of your playlist into an email. Or ctrl click (right click PC users) and copy link. In return I will send my playlist.
Send them here

and I will love you forever!

2 Songs That Make You Say Yeah By.... The Sonics and Ssion

Here are the wonderful Sonics... Psycho!

This is how I feel (and unfortunately look) sometimes....

Yes folks that was Ssion with Dayjob. Check them out on spotify, they sound completely different. DIY electro with a punky edge. Makes you want to dance!

Do Nothing...

On Saturday evening I went to watch Simon Amstel's "Do Nothing" tour at the Lowery, Salford.
Now I want to be his friend.

He is a very intelligent and funny man. His comedy was humorous, honest and extremely philosophical. You don't come across this in comedy too often. I went to see Russell Brand's "Scandalous" tour earlier in the year (which was insanely funny, buy the dvd!) who is similar in many ways regarding honesty, philosophy, sexuality. But I felt more of a vulnerability from Amstel. Brand is out there, over the top, sure of himself. Amstel is more of a shy, considered character. I was able to see a lot of my own character within him, which instantly made me connect with him, relate to some of his stories, willing to take on his ideas, his message "Do Nothing."
He thinks and considers things regarding overcoming the 'self' and living in the moment (as oppose to the past and future). He seems to be of the slightly obsessive personality type (projecting a series of qualities on to a person who he barely knows and falling in love with that character). He is awkward in social situations (all of which is sounding familiar). He want's to know how he an overcome all this.

"Let's run down the champs elyees to the Arch de Triumph," One of his friends called whilst drunk in Paris. It was 3 in the morning, the roads were clear, she was living in the moment. "All I could think at that point was, well it'll probably make a good memory,"

Simon's message that evening was disguised within his humor, I took it on board as an enlightening talk (as opposed to a stand up) knowing that I, like Simon, will probably be unable to over come the self, and live in the moment. A lot of people left discussing his sexuality, which he was in no way shy about, why should he be? yet people seemed to be taking this away as the main issue raised - again similar to Ol' Russ' stand up. (Both Brand and Amstel do kind of make this point though - Tragedy + Time = humor.) There are always going to be people that find tales of sex slightly uncomfortable and controversial. Even though the message was disguised, it was still out there, and I would suspect that when Simon's sexuality became a tired point of conversation, people began to discuss the philosophy behind his show. Not in depth, I hazzard a guess that conversations did not extend to the Plato/Socrates denial of the material world.

What I took away with me was a flicker of inspiration, a sort of inward confidence that I was to go away and start living in the now, not the past, not the future. I was going to go away and live exactly as I pleased because none of this is real, it is only moment and once that moment has passed in will cease to exist, so grab it. Grab it regardless of consequence. Let go of all moments past that cause embarrassment, or hurt, that cause you to throw your hand to your face and cry 'why did I do/say that?' - of which I have many. YES SIMON YES I AM GOING TO LIVE, IN FACT LETS BE FRIENDS AND WE'LL BOTH LIVE. I was absolutely elated! I was going to learn acceptance...

"I was in a cab and I was complaining about a bill, it was outrageous, but I couldn't do anything about, so I asked the cab driver, what on earth should I do about it, to which he replied, "Do Nothing," and he was right. He had summed everything up. Acceptance. I need to just accept that it has happened and it is there."

So embracing this new found spirit, I decided to take Simon up on his open invite to Big Hands (a great bar with a killer juke box on Oxford Road) and I would become his friend. We would discuss the 'self' in depth and get on super great. But, I didn't go. I failed to follow Simon's advise and live in that moment. I also failed on another level because as I was considering going I thought "That would make such a great memory." God damn my ability to take advantage of moments, rather than consider taking advantage of a moment and allowing anxiety to take over... or afterwards thinking "You should have just said/done..." Maybe this is why we drink and drug. Let go of inhibitions, just be in a moment (and then forget it!) Not that I am condoning losing control or the behavior it results in.

Simon gave a great show, that was incredibly funny and immensely deep.

There is also a great song by The Specials called do nothing.

In other news the Manchester Literature festival is in full spring.
Checkout this blog for reviews
Lookout for my review on Jenny Uglow's talk entitled "Words and Pictures".
Will be posting more next weekend

The Man With Beautiful Eyes...

Here is a beautiful hypnotic little animation of Charles Bukowski's "The Man With Beautiful Eyes". I just had to share it.

Stumble Upon "Start Writing Fiction"/The Fear...

If someone types a blog and no one is around to see it, does the blog exist?

I'm going to come clean with whoever, if anyone, is reading this. If this is a personal blog then let's get personal. Why not? I have a tendency to cover my reality under a facade of fiction, meaning , however abstracted or embellished, generally my fiction is the way I am feeling. I just can't express it any other way. I know I am not very articulate, my tongue is clumsy, it has a slight lisp and it doesn't appreciate the difference between 'th' and 'f' it is occasionally lazy and cannot be bothered pronouncing 'r' ('w') or 't'. My mind clearly suffers some kind of embarrassment and decides to turn away from the situation leaving me lost for words, even dumbfounded. In conversation, I am not articulate. But when I write, my mind is there. It is my body that switches, it goes into autopilot, lets my mind take over. Free flow. A lot of the time I cannot remember what I wrote until I reread it. And despite the occasional grammar mishap, or the fact that most of the time I cannot spell, which I can only put down to a possible tendency towards dyslexia, it does flow quite well. Generally negative emotion is translated into a form of expression, but sometimes you feel so down that it is difficult to persuade the self into any form of action, or expression. It becomes a silent scream, which I then swallow, down to my stomach where it turns to sick. Now I am going to spit it out. I am going to stand on the top of a mountain and spew, and scream. I'm gonna write it on here. Honestly. How it is.

I have not been having the best of times lately. Some people leave university ready for the world, ready for the rest of their lives, keen and eager. Eyes wide open, full of naivety and arrogance. Others are ripped from it's womb kicking and screaming and absolutely terrified. I am the latter. I suffer from a loss of perspective, the long term caused by irreplaceable feelings of loss, loss of friendship, of community, of appreciation, of home. In the long term, there is a future, it is, much like the Orange slogan, bright. There is plenty to look forward to but it is too far away and it is covered by a blanket of day in day out minimum wage, loneliness, and time. It is important after university to recover, mentally, emotionally and financially. Unfortunately, there is no greater medicine than time. Time cures everything, sickness, loss, love, lust, anxiety, fear, and inevitably life itself. Like most medicines, time has side effects. Time's is itself. It requires patience. It requires that you wait and wait and wait, a process which can drive you crazy.

So here I am. Waiting.

Tonight, I sat at my desk, (situated all too uncomfortably with in a built in wardrobe) back turned to the the world, desperate to escape. They found water on the moon. Could it be a chance to escape the insanity of humanity? Start again. Imagine that. Alone. Give the mind infinite space. None of the noise that comes with life on Earth, consumption, manipulation, war, celebrity, emotional relationships, mortgages, poverty, illness, medicine, overpopulation, morality, politics, social status, physical relationships, wealth, global warming, culture, slavery, survival, violence, law, ownership, enter other noises here.................................................... It is endless. Then to be sat there, alone in your own kingdom, on your own world surrounded by silence, you would turn your face back to that little planet you used to call home and it would send you crazy. You would miss the noise. You would crave it. You would become jealous of that planet and all it's noise. All it's problems. All it's frailty. You would want it back. So you would either leave, or transform the moon until it was in the same condition, if not worse. You would use up all it's resources (cheese) and destroy it. No matter how many light years away you travel, it will still be there, there is no starting again, only continuation, self development, self help. Life is a struggle on every level, emotional, physical, mental, survival. It is a challenge, and nobody knows if it's rewards are worth it, but we still carry on, like salmon in the current of a gushing stream. And we struggle, and we wait it out. Wait and wait and wait.

I am waiting.


Something will happen eventually. I was thinking of this, wondering whether my patience would pay off. Whether all the things I have been looking into will bear fruitful. I have been fearing the seeds of my future. I have been craving significance. I was wanting someone to pat me on the back once again and say actually, you are quite good at this, at something, at anything. This was a confidence boost after many years of generally being told I wasn't. So I guess I was missing the attention, I guess this is attention seeking. Maybe it is, but it is also therapeutic, my tears are dry. Whether anyone reads it or not. I'd rather not. It's quite embarrassing to show yourself naked to the world, that is why we wear clothes (or are clothing the cause of the embarrassment?). I have journal's where this type of stuff gets written then closed, or developed, or mutates into a new form of expression. So why type it on my blog?

Hurricane Katrina

I have been wanting to be a superhero of late. I have heard from distant friends who are unhappy, or have experienced something terrible, and been desperate to step in. To save them. Like a parent. But I am too far away. So this, in a way, is my first attempt at a superhero act. So they all know that they are not alone. That I often think of them. Then to anyone else who can relate to this, you don't have to be a graduate, you could just be terrified about the future (who isn't?) Everyone gets scared. Everyone has a facade. Some are easier to see through than others. There was one person who I thought had no facade, I found out just how thickly it was plastered over herself when I witnessed it crack, sat next to a pool of her blood. Some people will never allow themselves to be read. Some people will lead you on. Some people will touch you. Some people will turn their backs. Some people will embrace you. Some times, there isn't anyone but yourself that can save you. All that you can do is wait and hope that time turns fear into excitement. Change is inevitable. All ends start again.


I was looking at my computer, twitter lit up my room. A brief glimpse at my friends. They all continue to live, to have lives, are surviving. We continue to live separately. A tear began to roll. All I could think was "What the hell am I doing? What am I going to do? Is this it? Is this life? Is this living? Is this my life now? What happened? What am I going to do?" I reached to my mouse to search for a distraction. I hit the 'Stumble Upon' button on my screen. Stumble upon is a tool bar which randomly materializes a decent website based on your interests - it is perfect for procrastination, boredom, and distraction. It randomly generated a writing page. It's title screamed at me "START WRITING FICTION". My lips curled into a smile. And that's really the reason why I stated writing all this. I just wanted to tell you about how I hit the stumble upon button and it told me to start writing fiction. I wanted to share that small moment with you. How everything else came to be in this post I have no idea. I guess I just had a lot to get off my chest.

But that's enough about me.

I apologise to any soon to be graduates that I may have just terrified. It's not all doom and gloom. Make the most of the moment you are in. Worry about the rest later...

This post is dedicated to everyone who was Design and Art Direction class of 09. The final year of DandAD, of Undercroft.

Soviet Space Exploration...

This is what I am into at the moment. Isolation. Freedom. Fear. Loneliness. Survival. Pressing buttons. Escapism. Tin cans. White Noise. Gamma Rays. New worlds. Exploration of space/self/mind. Silent sigh. If you scream in the middle of space and no one is around to hear you, do you make a noise? R.I.P Laika.

A New Design For Life.../Advanced Physics A la Mandi...

"The Tralfamadorians had no voice boxes. They communicated telepathically. They were able to talk to Billy by means of a computer and sort of electric organ which made every Earthling speech sound.
'Welcome aboard, Mr. Pilgrim,' Said the loud speaker. 'Any questions?'
Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: 'Why me?'
'That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?'
'Yes' Billy in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs embedded in it.
'Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrm, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.'"
"'How is the patient?' he asked Derby.
'Dead to the world.'
'But not actually dead.'
'How nice - to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.'"

-Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5.

What if life was ordered differently? Non-linear. We are currently free to move around in space but not time (space-time) what if we were able to move freely through time, not space (time-space) in a 4th dimension. What if we were time travelers?
Time would be circular, us at a point in the middle. The circle would then move around us, sporadically intersecting with us, at the central point. Would we never know or always know what is next? Would we mourn losses, or just wait for moments to reoccur? Would we live forever in a circular patch of time? Would we remember birth? Would moments become re-visitable? Would cause-effect/chaos theory become none existent? (Do we not need chaos theory in order to propel life in the first place?) Would a linear life (space-time) have to precede the circular life? Could circular life exist in Death?
Is time-space incomprehensible? Probably not. Space-time is reality, us free to move around, make choices but have absolutely control over time. No ability to stop it, to accelerate it, to fast forward it. Then time-space could in fact be none reality. Freedom to move time, but absolutely no control over the space we live in. Could time-space already be possible? Is time-space our memory, our mind?

If you can answer all these questions you have probably mastered time travel.
But what would happen if time travel were possible, there would be no such thing as the present or a future, just a past. I have mentioned this in a past post about time travel, if it were possible would you change anything. I wouldn't. Despite the crap that one goes through at some stage. I would enter into my past in a passive state. All the missed opportunities, all the sorrow, and bone idol activities I would witness and placidly and accept knowing that because of these moments I would not be who I am, would not think how I think, would not have met those I know. I would go back to re-experience. To see the faces I miss. Billy Pilgrim (Slaughterhouse 5) had many opportunity to avoid his personal fate and the fate of others, he changes nothing. He relives experiences.

A new theory for time travel/eternal life.
I know little to nothing of physics beyond GCSE. I can successfully explain the red shift theory, I can wire a plug, and I can name all the planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune... Pluto isn't a planet!) I am not going to pretend that I understand the mind boggling intensity that goes into putting real theories together. Nor the maths. But I can sort of draw a diagram...

Very basic idea. Perhaps circles can screw and change shape to intersect with other lives. At the beginning of 3rd (this time last year) we were set a mini brief entitled "Intersections", this is as much insight as we got into the brief. I produced some animations which I didn't show to anyone, but I wish I would have thought up this bad boy! An intersecting design for life!
Revisit... 2hours later.
I have been thinking about this. What would be the point in time travel if you didn't change anything. Mix things up a bit. To end life with a series of possible ends, choosing the life in which you felt most fulfilled. Living multiple lives. I was bought up on a firm set of catholic beliefs though all the male figures in my life were pretty much agnostic/atheists which lead to much confusion. When I gave up on religion in my teens, I spent a lot of time with my Grandad on a Sunday evening whilst my mother and nan were at church, discussing at great depth religious philosophy or the Rolf Harris Art show that was invariably on TV. These moments I cherished in his death. A moment of privacy inside each others thoughts that was shared with no one else. It also lead to more confusion and ultimate sorrow when, in his final months, he took his first holy communion and gave into God... When I was much younger, maybe 10 or 11, and growing out of the idea of heaven and hell, I began questioning the after life. What is there? I experimented with numerous possibilities, paranormal ghosts and ghouls, reincarnation, nothingness and so on. My favourite possibility from that time being that when we die, we simply travel back to our own birth and live life again. We go on to live out every single possibility, every path, every destination to which our lives could lead. This would be infinite of course and there would be no death. It would also include living as a boy, as a different race, as a rich man, as a poor man, as a genius, as a chav and so on. It would be interesting to reach an end and view all the different lives you would have lead, a sort of possibility tree, to decide on the most fulfilling branch. To look at all the people you have met, to out that meeting some of them was in fact always destined no matter where your life fell. Yes I would absolutely tinker selfishly with the past. To take risks knowing that failure would be a mere twig on the possibility tree of life. Maybe this is a view we should take into life anyway. Every mistake we make in life, and even life itself is nothing but a blink from time's eyelid, so why not take a few chances, live a little, mix it up a bit.

The inside of Battersea Power station.

Character Profile #1

(Hey British Mac users, ever noticed how there isn't a hash key on your keyboard? If you find yourself needing to use this symbol hit alt and 3 and it will appear #)

Mr Letterpress...
Lurking in the eastern quarter of the old bindery, in MMU's Chatham building, is a creature mysterious to mankind. His sole purpose seems to be maintaining the upkeep of the letter press equipment occupying the room. His strange habits seem to do the trick, keeping students, technicians, and tutors respectively at bay. He has many different methods of defending his territory including obsessive compulsive tendencies with regards to cleanliness of the area, over-protectiveness with regards to the lead letters, anxiety towards experimentation with alternative pressing methods and layout and ultimately, the tale of the demise of the letterpress industry.
A very interesting specimen. Perhaps most interesting is the mystery of how he came to reside here (so sudden and ominous are his appearances that no one truly knows when to expect him and can only assume that he is ever present in the room.) Rumor has it that Mr. Letterpress was never officially given a job at MMU but mysteriously appeared at an interview, put on his apron, and settled immediately into his self appointed role. Maybe MMU never quite had the balls to let this gentile man down, or perhaps his fragile exterior is hiding a much much darker, frightful interior which is only revealed when threatened. Another rumor is that he is not an employee of MMU but a memory of the Chatham building's bygone purpose. Chatham (the building that houses half of MMU's art and design students - graphic design, illustration, architecture, photography...) previously belonged to the printing industry. Could he be a ghost from the days when Manchester's printing industry thrived? An obscure specter, stalking the press. A piece of his own history. A bitter reminder of the fragile state of, not only the letterpress industry, but all industry, of technology, of the future. He could be a ghost. He is pale enough. No one knows where he appeared from, his history is an enigma. He once spoke to me of his beloved industry, how computers destroyed it all and I swear I saw a tear in his eye. I could not help but envision himself chained to a factory gate yelping and begging as it's exterior was torn down; as lead letters fell to the floor and crumbled beneath heavy, falling, machinery. His story was circular, every ending lead back to the beginning, which meant he turned ever so slightly repetitive and even more slightly difficult to get away from. He is more than happy for you to leave him though. He continues his story to an internal audience with no problem at all, then potters about, finding students to shout at for using equipment incorrectly, or compulsively cleaning and arranging the equipment. What we have to remember about this little grievance is, he is only doing his self appointed job. No matter how unhelpful he seems sometimes, he is in fact only trying to help. No matter how many students tell him to "Leave me alone," or "Fuck off", he is in fact a ghost eternally chained to this relic of the design industry, he will forever return. Just like most of the staff in MMU's School of Art, a truly fascinating character that will not be forgotten.
If anyone out there knows of Mr. Letterpress' darkened history, please fill in some blanks...

(Below is a comic I made one sleepless night. If John Walsh was ever to see this, I apologise, you look nothing like this. It was in second year, I had met you once and could not remember what you looked like properly.)

Ukraine's Got Talent...

That is a fact.
This lady, Kseniya Simonova creates a beautiful live animation using naught but sand, a light box and her bear hands. It is a skill I have never seen before but apparently everyone is doing it. This one has a great, moving narrative to it which the others seem to lack. It is fascinating how such simple materials can create such strong visuals. Who would have thought the whole "Got Talent" franchise would pick up on something so unique and stunning.

Other videos I have watched to day that are well worth a view include "A Town Called Panic". The very same French duo that created the Cravendale adverts also make these amusing shorts about a naive Cowboy and an Indian who are kept in line by a horse. They are fun stop motions.

Finally, I discovered, (whilst watching CBBC - don't worry I start work again soon...) a fun and quite clever series called Ooglies. Once again stop motion, and real imaginative shorts (you have to look past all the computer generated bits and the intros). I actually laughed out loud to one or two of these. A real sweet idea. Skip to 2.50 mins on the link.

.... Finally, finally, you cannot mention stop motion without mentioning PES... Below is "Roof Sex" but "Western Spaghetti" is also good.

That is enough animation for tonight.

Gordon Burns' Fan Zine...

Last night I infiltrated the Big British Castle (BBC Manchester) to attend a "Journalist Trainee Scheme" launch. It was basically telling the people that were interested in the scheme, the who, what, when, where and how's. I attended feeling a little bewildered about the current direction of life, and knowing only that I am creative, I can write, so why not? I sat next to a friendly bunch of people from interesting and different backgrounds who introduced themselves immediately. Nothing about this evening seemed fake, awkward or forced. Everyone was just, nice. Well that is the background as to why I was at the Beeb, but I am mostly writing this as a post to tell you a little story about Gordon Burns...

In the North West we have a news program imaginatively named, North West Tonight. It is presented by a man named Gordon Burns. You may also recognise Gordon from television game show classic, The Krypton Factor.

I was sat in a room full of various people, all either longing for a shot a journalism, or a chance to penetrate the big British castle and arouse its demise from within, or maybe, just like me, were there for a vision of a possible future. Suddenly the atmosphere changed. I felt my blood warm and a prickle at my neck. There was somebody famous in the room. It was Gordon Burns. He enters at 5.45, before going live on air at 6.30. I conceal a scream, grin stupidly and put a halt to any attempts at asking for an autograph. I am a fan of Gordon Burns. It constantly sounds like his voice is about to break, it wobbles and has an unruly tendency to change pitch. He is brilliant. He stood before us, all polished and ready for the News. It was bizarre seeing him out of context, I mean, he has legs. You never see that on air, but he has them alright! He begins into a captivating story about how he got into journalism. He speaks flawlessly (despite the little breaks in his voice which I was amused to find happened off air as well as on) without utterance on the subject and I wonder how well practiced this story was. His eyes never once rolled to the left as if searching his mind for the memory, nor did they glaze over in the fondness of telling the tail, his visual world disappearing from the BBC bar to the memory of his youth. His eyes were all over the audience, picking out the eye contact of various people. I attempt to hold it. There is nothing like a good bit of eye contact, especially with a celebrity. His tale was of how, as a boy, he had been in a 'Rugby' school. Football was banned. There was no talk of it. No playing it. Nothing. Just rugby. But little Gordy and his friends loved football. As a result they started a team and entered a league. It took off and every one wanted to take part. Before long little Gordy began publishing fixtures, league tables and reports into a little stapled zine, which he then sold using the proceeds to pay for bus fares to matches and kit. And they sold. When the Headmaster found out he insisted that Gordon stop selling the zine. That it was now. Officially banned. Then he suggested that he tried his hand at something more productive, like rugby. But little Gordy cared not for Rugby, he was all about the footy. So, he picked up his suitcase full of home made footy fanzines and took them a yard out of the school gate where he continued to sell them. Now that the zines were prohibited merchandise, all the kids wanted to get their hands on one. So they sold better than before. A local paper picked up on the story and little Gordy was taken to the local Gazette and interviewed. It was then little Gordy got his first taste for journalism. Gordon, if you are reading this, I am definitely up for writing your biography. I propose we make it in a similar style to your zines and sell them outside the BBC from a suitcase. I can summarise the whole thing in a similar way to how I summarised the above story. A page a chapter, a neat staple in the middle, a couple of quick sketches/portraits, and a photocopier. It will be beautiful. Call me.