Monthly Archives: March 2009

last one I promises…

….and what waited for me was genius and I’m lucky to be a part of it. Some of the musicians who I work with are incredibly talented and often leave me wishing I was even a fraction as good as they are at their craft. Tonight I worked with Return of Thanks, Four Foot Locker, The Severy Dawn and (half of) This Tuesday. It left me realising that, in that respect, I’m an incredibly lucky individual. One of the bands, Goodbye Gravity, couldn’t make it in, which is a shame as that would have completed the set almost, but, being honest, tuesdays at the WYAC are an AWESOME lineup. They put up with me suggesting things for a start when it’s obvious that, technically, they know far more than I do… But I do know a good song and can see ways of making a string song better and we had some corkers on the boil during the night. And that’s before I even mention Sir Nick of WYAC who is a pleasure to work with and one of the best things we’ve been a part of creating. Which, if you’re reading this, does not mean that I’m still not sad to have seen Kamichi finish Sir N of W, just that when it comes to recording and running the studio you’re THE MAN and you make others seem slight and inconsequential by comparison.

If’n you’re so interested check out their myspaces. They are going places and I’m lucky to know them as they and I grow.

Less good was finding the recording studio in a total state and one of the doors so badly treated it’s hanging off one of its hinges (and, with 9 screws in each hinge that’s VERY badly treated indeed) and two of our three drum kits in the wrong room and those responsible offering a very implausible lie as if I was a complete nit. And three calls to various places complaining about such things all being met with answerphones.

And of course in ways it was both my last night and just another…

It’s a strange life and I leave feeling very odd indeed. I was also overcharged in the garage buying a drink (Feelgood apple and blueberry – yummers) while waiting for the bus. Grr. 

AAAAnyhow, I’ll stop wittering on about this now. Onwards.

Sigh…

My last day is today, at the arts centre in a management capacity at least… But I’ve found out on arrival at the centre tonight that it’s not quick enough for some and I’ve already been deleted from the system…

Sigh… My last day had not exactly started well…. 

That said I had a brilliant day with the ict mob and was asked back, which is positive, and the art exhibition tomorrow with the art students will be a corker from the looks of it, so that’s good as well. Still, a maudlin mood maudlinier so far. Still… onwards to see what’s waiting for me.

Loads to add….

…just not loads of time to do so… Will do a fuller update soon but, as these things are bouncing around my mind a couple of updates: a blogged twitter if you will.

((and I dislike Twitter incidentally. I did sign up, and may come around to it, but as soon as I got a sign on confirmation and viewed the starter page I  realised that it was very much not for me)).

SO:

House of Heroes: The End is not the End. Only available in the States at the moment but this band impressed me like no other a number of years ago when they released their House of Heroes CD (not apparently their debut which I mistakenly thought it was). The content was… obtuse… but the execution was fabulous. And then they went quiet and I followed their myspace, downloaded a couple of demos, and finally the follow up cd is out and it is a total cracker. It’s pretty much been my sole soundtrack to the past weeks chaos and it’s a blast. Well worth the attention. Some CDs make me want to grab a guitar and learn to play and this is very much in that realm. Raven is my song of the year, possibly the past few years in fact. The last song that grabbed me this much was a fabulous Five Iron Frenzy song whos name I can’t remember off hand for the mo’ but will add later.

Also; just recieved the proof of another book and it looks pretty cool. Will post about that later (sorry) just noticed the time and I’m teaching at 10 with the ICT group. Onwards.

One door shuts….

…firmly. Four years with a full stop today at lunch and new challenges ahoy.

For the past four years I’ve been the manager of a thriving arts centre. It’s had its issues but for the most part we’ve done some awesome things. Gigs all over, made some good friends, played a lot of shows, all sorts. It’s carrying on, I’m doing less. From next Tuesday I’m down to one night a week instead of two/three and all the paperwork hits another’s desk. For the most part that’s an entirely good thing just seems a shame that in ways my involvement is ending with a whimper. A planned staff social was cancelled as people pulled out for one reason or another, a lunchtime meeting with my superior and my replacement ended with a couple of small snubs as things are handed over and, more than than, I had to pay for my lunch and lend one of the other people the money for half of theirs.

Sigh…

Still, whether it’s recognised or not, I’m happy for the most part of what we’ve achieved in the past few years and enjoyed a good percentage of the challenges that were set in front of me. In a lot of ways it was a hospital pass so to have remained unblemished was an achievement all told 🙂 The person who’s taken over is a different kettle of fish and will do some things better and some things different and that’s the way I’ll have to accept it from now on in. I look forward to seeing where the centre goes, just strange that I won’t be doing the steering.

Sounds morose. Next week I’ll probably be delighted and loving all of my free time. 🙂 Yak who? I’ll say…

The main problem is that instead of taking it easy for a while, which would by far have been the preference, I’m now taking over the hours I’ve dropped at the centre at college as well and there’s a similar feeling of powerlessness inherent in that role in as much as I can do the job to the best of my ability but I’m at the mercy of others who seem to not want to be so bothered. Tricksome and hard to keep morale and motivation up for myself and with the people I work with when some extremely dubious decisions are made but, hey, as of now I’m just a worker bee 🙂

Diff subject 1: Watched last Gallactica last night. Lump in my throat as I still think it was an awesome achievement all through, despite some decisions that still grate. I hate any pitch that contains the premise ‘…but we’ve sexed it up’ and think it was a poorer show for it’s occasional overdwelling on the cheaper aspects of life in general. Which made it all the more ironic that, as a show finale, the final message was a decrying of the worst aspects of forward progress that the worst of Gallactica took on board.

The premise though, WHAT a premise. And when Gallactica was great it was peerless. Certainly one of the very few shows in my life I stop to catch and watch, no matter the business and the busyness. The end? Well, I’ll certainly be watching it again and some of the shots were heart rending and powerful in equal measure. Did I enjoy it?

 

 

Dunno. Some bits were amazing, some… overly drawn out (although who can blame them). Like I said I’ll watch it again but the final third felt as if it dragged a little and some parts were as clumsy as I’ve seen the show manage. Other parts were graceful and beautiful and those I loved. Still: the best show on tv currently and sadly missed: so say we all.

Won’t miss the electronic bagpipes music though. That was and remains awful.

Diff subject 2: received the new House of Heroes CD which I had to import.

WHAT a corker. Beautifully paced and orchestrated, as was their first cd, better written than their debut though. Well worth the listening to if you want rock that does something different. Very interesting content and is now a regular on my ipod(s) and will remain so for a long while I think… Add ’em on Myspace, tell ’em I sent you 🙂

Diff subject 3: next week sample copies of Sylver 3 get sent out. This is tricksome for a number of reasons. 1: I’m still final editing the last 100 pages (although I have three weeks top to tail to do so…) and 2: it leaves almost no time to sort out quotes. Which is sort of kind of my fault in many ways (was supposed to have been done for Jan but life happens) I hate the way these things all come upon me but hey ho, I should be more focused, driven and mercenary some times – if I wanted a level of success that is. Sometimes I’m happy just being the small little me, helping out a hundred kids or so rather than knocking on any doors of supposed success, but I’m also supposed to think to the benefit of the people who’ve published me (which I do and am grateful for) and that should require me to be a little more driven and egocentric. Sigh…

So: buy my book. Flipping now. Any or all of. You choose.

Thanks :O)

I should do more, but hey, I’m tired today and the battery on the macbook is running low (not to mention the fact that it’s beginning to make some strange and suspicious noises).

Strange day… And youth group to come so no time to think… Onwards and up/downwards.

Say hi to Totoro

SO the weekend was pretty busy all told. Mum’s day took priority of course so Saturday was taking daughter out to buy things and Sunday was the normal cook, clear up and all that jazz. Was fun, except for the washing machine breaking down which meant all jobs cooking wise were doubled at short notice 🙁

We even found time to buy a new hamster, now named Totoro, because, again, daughter had been pining for one. We’d lost one to old age about a month or so back and she’d saved up her birthday money and that’s what she wanted to buy.

When we got to the garden centre that sold small animals we found there were only two in: a chinese hamster which was very small and very cute and another that had a sign on the cage which said ‘requires special care’. When asked it turned out that someone else had bought it, not treated it brilliantly and returned the hamster in a bit of a nippy state. Instantly daughter was insistent that that was the one we had to have and, a couple of days in, Totoro seems a little calmer and happier so that’s good. Daughter read her a book the other day and I’m not saying she listened attentively but she didn’t go to sleep through it so that’s good then.

Apart from that I’ve now moved into full time at the college pretty much split between visual arts and ICT. Which is a funner mix than I thought it sounded at the beginning. Shame there’s no planning time built in but then again there never has been anyhow and, for the next two weeks I’m delivering someone else’s lesson plans anyhow (which has its own pitfalls but hey, saves on the schemes) and it’s not until after Easter that things hot up in both departments.

IN fact it’s time to get onto the next job I notice: onwards.

I don’t know why, but…

… last night, just as we were heading out to run youth group, there were four police cars, empty, and one fire engine, full of people, presumably firefighters, blocking the road directly in front of us + had the police helicopter flying overhead through much of the night. Which was a bit strange. 

Also: last nights youth group = very good. Higher intake than normal and all five of the … ones who cause us more issues than any other on the evening plus three new faces but, all told, it seemed to go very well indeed, which was good as I could have fallen asleep just prior to it starting I was so wrecked.  These past couple of years doing the youth group on the council estate have been pretty good which, bearing in mind we’ve now done it every term week for the past 15 years, is good… This is possibly the best year on year group of terms we’ve had I think* which is strange because this is the first year wifey and I have been considering taking a break… We’ll see, still mulling over that one – although a decision would have to be made soon so that appropriate things can be done to see if it’s still runnable, but having now done this so long we’ve seen three other groups start up and stop around us…. Dunno. It’s been a good run with a couple of hard years interspersed, but it is something that we feel that we do well – certainly the craft table that wifey’s bought into force more this year than ever has never been quiet… 

Ahhhh changes changes. Who knows what any year will bring.

*and yes, for the benefit of the group leaders who read this I know that last weeks was pretty dicey but I think we dealt with things pretty well and this weeks reflected that.

Yes yes yes I know: branding…

So this is my third theme in as many months… Which is awful and I should just stick to one. But the last theme, whose name I can’t remember, had text that was just that little bit too dark and problems were caused.

This one is also not exactly right as I’m going to have to rescale images to fit in soon but, apart from that, it’s clean, simple, colourful where it needs to be and, best of all, Mac orientated 🙂 Which I like.

Sigh, one day the perfect theme will come along, until then stick with me! I’ll try not to change it too often…

 

Currently watching: Battlestar Gallactica last few eps 🙁 Currently working on: Sylver 3 final draft. Currently listening to: Thousand Foot Krutch. Currently playing: Wii Fit, when time allows, and trying to get into Gears of War 2.

Expression Gallery/Pixelmator manual.

elephant001-small

ele-002-small

Doing the image thing as an emergency valve against all of the words I’ve had to edit this and last week… Uploaded a few images to the Expression gallery which can be found here: http://gallery.expression.microsoft.com/ 

I’ll be adding more as time goes by, some even not about elephants 🙂 🙂  partially as it’s so easy to participate in their gallery pages and partially because I like to use Expression and think the results are fairly strong, if I say so myself, egotistically 🙂

There’s some other nice stuff up there so well worth a few minutes having a mooch around I’d have said.

Also was contacted by team Pixelmator asking for permission to use one of my images in their next manual which is hugely exciting and of course I said yes straight away 🙂 Big fan of both Pixelmator or Expression so am happy to see some of my pictures going all over the place.

…and also…

Just sitting and editing book to find daughter home (well, that bit wasn’t a surprise, I did open the door for her) and see her watching Funky Fables on CBBC.

A: it makes a lovely change from flipping Nickoledeon which is by far one of my least favourite things on the planet and b: the art style is fabulous. Very cool indeed. Wish I’d seen it weeks ago to show the animation students 🙁

Th’ zone.

Recently I’ve been taking the classes I teach out to the college cafeteria. This is not because I’m a shameless exhibitionist or egotist but because I want the guys and gals to be aware of the zone. Sometimes there’s a place we find ourselves in where the creativity and joy springs forth easiest and that feeling is something I wanted them to find. For some being in a crowded, noisy cafe was unhelpful for the creative process, for others it was liberating.

It got me thinking about where my zones are. Predominantly my zone is the bus to and from work which I have sat on, off and on, for 15 years or so now. I’m such a regular that I can anticipate the bumps and corners and write, draw and edit in a pretty smooth fashion. Better still I appreciate the difference in pace and the lack of people talking to me. My other zone is rapidly becoming the local Wetherspoons pub which I’ve taken to going to in a morning, grabbing a coffee or two and sitting in a space that has excellent natural light and visibility. It’s an up and down thing: to see grown men sitting and drinking heavily at 10 am or so and talking with the volume that drink unlocks is a sad thing, the architectural feat that the pub has achieved is a good one. It’s been a pleasant place to me more than not though. 

Lastly the other place is moderately less accessible but possibly my favourite place: the East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton who’s size belies the fascination I have for it. I wish it were closer because I’ve been there only on family holidays and not felt able to spend a concerted amount of time sitting in it and writing but one day I’d love to have a clear sweep of a day or so to sit and write with no other calls on my time. One project that I would LOVE to get onto came specifically from an hour long coffee break there and if I pursued the project more it would feel fitting to do so in the cafe for an amount of time.

 

The East Beach Cafe from the outside
The East Beach Cafe from the outside

 

... and from the inside.
... and from the inside.

 

 

 

What I had forgotten was that music also inspires a zone for me, with editing and drawing more than writing. There are various rules I have to follow for it to be successful though: nothing new that I haven’t listened to at least a dozen times, nothing on shuffle, nothing which would bring up another project, not too loud, not too quiet and so on. Todays zone soundtracks were Duke Special’s lovely “I never thought this time would come”, Five Iron Frenzies “Quality is job no 1” and a couple of random House of Heroes tracks (RELEASE THE NEW CD IN THIS COUNTRY YOU SLUGS). In the Valley of the Dying Sun is, I think, my favourite song of the moment and can be found on their myspace if you fancy a listen. Lovely stuff.

Anyhow, apart from that having possibly too much of a lazy day after yesterdays shennanigans (also been asked to cover way loads more sick leave at college which is a good thing, financially, and a mixed thing in terms of time and energy levels). Did edit a few chapters of Sylver 3, more news on that later, although I’m enjoying it, and still on track for May I think… 🙂 and since then had a coffee and a pair of pears. Now to tidy up a little bit afore everyone gets home and makes a mess 🙂 (Weds is my day off in the week) and then onwards to the next thing all over again.

Movement on the sock top 10 as well… Will get onto that laters 🙂