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!