Tag Archives: WYAC

Way back when, when I was a different me…

So for a variety of reasons I’m chucking out and binning a lot of stuff, some of which reminds me of different aspects things I’ve been up to over the past 20 or so years.

From 2005 (?) to 2010 (?again ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I managed a very wonderful youth arts centre. Marvellous fun it was too with lots of music and film evenings and pretend journalism courses and artwork nights and drama and all sorts. Some amazing teens walked through our doors and I’m still convinced that one day I’ll hear their names in a context that their talent deserves.

We were, in many senses of the word, a fantastic team. Not just the youth workers but the kids as well (and many of their parents too).

We even did gigs at Woking band stand, generally in ABSOLUTELY freezing or rainy conditions, and I often look back at those adventures and smile.

But one of the things I remember most is the bus journey to and from work. It was actually a very happy 75 minutes either way in many ways. I didn’t have anyone asking me questions, giving me tasks, all that fun stuff. It was just me, my music, and whatever I was writing or drawing at the time. Occasionally I’d tell people I love drawing on busses and, more often than not, they’d get the wrong idea.

I’d often (and still do) listen to podcasts and one of my favourites, then and now, is Mayo and Kermode’s film reviews. So one day, one a bus, I drew this:

… and then the next time I was on the bus (I seem to remember it being Tuesday and Thursday nights) I turned the sketch into this:

Now all I remember about it really is that I was on a bus, with my laptop perched on my knees, anticipating the curves and bumps of a journey I’d done for 10 years or so (having used the same bus for my prior job as a computer games artist).

It would have been around Jan-Feb time (as I was testing out not only a new piece of software on the lappie – Microsoft Expression Design – but also some lovely fonts from Comicbookfonts.com – something I used to treat myself to once a year). I vaguely remember this being, almost word for word, what the two said to each other (may have added cruxial but bearing in mind MKs mastery of the English language I may not) and it made me giggle to myself on the bus. So I drew this.

I miss being able to time artwork to bus timetables.

Unexpected places…

Daughter told me that one of my images (the one everyone seems to call the eyeball) had turned up in her school as a 2m square banner in the school chapel. I was aware that it had been mentioned in the past but, tbh, I’m so unused to things not happening at the moment that it’s … delightful (for want of a better word) to see something that does. Very surprising. Was in the school on friday dropping off files on a DVD (more on that later) and had a quick look see – and photograph.

Love the architecture and feel of the new school (although some disagree) and was very pleasant to see the pic in situ.



Was also at the Boileroom last night for a staff enjoyment of final day with kids (mixed feeling this year, again more on that later) and one of the staff team performing at the close of the day. Four acts through the night all good, first time seeing Natascha Sohl and Flame to the Fire and they were both excellent. Midgar brilliant as ever and Redwood showed the kids how it’s done ๐Ÿ™‚ Also went to a friend playing at the Guildford Community Centre which was ace and met up with an old friend and his wife who I’d not seen for 3 years or so. Lovely day it was. Mostly.

Found time, at the first two gigs to draw these using brushes (plus a few photos too). Enjoy. I loved the doing of them.

Grrr except I can’t show them as the iPod touch won’t connect to the network. Will upload later. Pics attached tho.



Because you (should have) demanded it (2).

I’ve now had my twitter sell out moment. Was youth working last night and it was an awesomely good session bar some caveats. Best bit was, after fifteen years of doing shrink plastic artwork, I found out that water soluble pencils work on shrink plastic. Revelation!

((The sell out moment was that, when I dashed upstairs to get some more stuff for the session I did a twitter post to say about it. Shocking.))

Anyhow: couple of pics here. More to come when I get time to play again. They are a pig to shoot – wanted to focus on them more than background but seemed to have gone the other way but hey… They made me smile although I’m also giving them both away to friends today.



**one additional caveat I should have mentioned: I only had two inktense water soluble pencils on me (my new pencil of choice following a long focus on the other Derwent pencils I always forget the name of… Colourtint? Anyhow because I wasn’t expecting to need them I only had two that I’d been doodling with earlier in my coat as well as the more standard Shrink Plastic standbys of the four colour lead ones and the normal WHSmits specials. Lesson learnt: next time charge enough materials budget to by Inktense pencils ๐Ÿ™‚ but that’s the reason why the colour on these two pix are a little samey ๐Ÿ™‚

last one I promises…

โ€ฆ.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.ย 

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

Loads of work to get done, but first…


Reflective mood ahoy. This weekends been both good and bad, mostly good it has to be said: two birthday parties split across various parts of the family and the couple with 93 years combined on the planet both seemed to enjoy themselves very much.

The problems, such as they were, came from another angle and it’s set me thinking… Although the questions asked have no real answer really. But they have reminded me that there’s something I need to be doing and it may as well be now.

WYAC readers of the blog will have been aware that I said there was some news centre wise on the horizon. I’ve told a couple of people so far but hey ho, time to blog it because some things need to be sorted out now for the next six weeks and that means that the whole stuff needs to be known.ย 

For the past four years I’ve been the manager of an arts centre. It’s been fantastic fun, loads of paperwork, excellent times and teeth grindingly frustrating. Depends on the day really. I’ve loved it and the kids I worked with though.

And then it stops for me in April. Mostly. The WYAC will still goย onย of course – it’s too ace a place to stop ๐Ÿ™‚ – but my involvement will be massively curtailed. I’ll still be in one night a week to do an animation course we’ve been aiming to do for the longest time, well, four years bar a couple of taster sessions ๐Ÿ™‚ ย but that’ll be it. I’ll probably be in over hours a little for the summer school but apart from that I’ll be muchos quiet on the event.

TBH it’s a bittersweet thing. I’m cutting back because between the teaching, the writing, the teacher training and the looking after two kids, one with special needs, is draining to say the least. Add to that a centre with staff that are ace but all require attention and thought, 100 kids a week at times, 200 overall, equipment provision and all the rest it’s just a little too much to juggle any more. There’s still loads of projects I wish I could have worked on, loads more I wish I could have done, and the leaving is a temporary thing, in as much as in December I’ll have another meeting to decide whether I go back up to the full hours a week or stay back at a night or leave. It’s strange to feel that I’m both leaving and staying. Doing things and letting things go. Odd mood.

Anyhow that starts on April, both art course and reduced hours. A temporary replacement has been found to keep things ticking over until the full hours left over are allocated and I’ll be on the sidelines cheering whoever on to take the place to a level I couldn’t manage. We did do a lot though, just not always the things I’d hoped for. I have worked with some AWESOME bands though, from the much missed This Years Dropouts, Downside Orchard, Forget The World, Kamichi, The Blooms and others and the still with us and still awesome Ollie Grant, Severy Dawn, Return of Thanks, Sons of Aquarius, Killing Mercury, Innovia, Traces (yeah, you’ll always be TOTD to me ๐Ÿ™‚ ) ย and many others and I’ve learnt a lot from them as I hope they’ve learnt from me. In fact, bearing in mind I’m an artist and they are the talent, musically, I’ve defo learnt more from them ๐Ÿ™‚ (Actually I’ve probably forgotten loads of band names in there so sorry if you’re not mentioned). I’ve also had the chance to work alongside Open The Skies and Midgar and expect much of them… They’ll be making the big noise soon I’m sure.

So, yeah, if you’re reading from the WYAC side it’s been an honour and a pleasure. I’ll be around that’s for sure but see way fewer people than I’d like. That don’t mean I think any less of anyone there, just that, for a while, I need to get some family space more defined and especially the family needs to regroup a little as autism has been rearing it’s head and roaring more of late and we all need to take stock of the way that things have moved around in our house.

Hmm can’t remember where I’m going on this score. Anyhow, I’m in the process of sorting out the April stuff and then, wow, it’s on to getting a couple of good nights sleep for a while…! Not tonight though, got loads of emails that need to get sent out ๐Ÿ™‚ So, on to work, again, and, WYAC wise see you tomorrow night and tuesday.



OK so plans are in place for things to change for me in April. Not saying just what, but in ways it’s happy and in ways it’s sad. Will mention what come March time, I think*, in more detail. Have got to start telling people by then anyhow and, typing that out I suddenly realise how close that date is.


Anyhow, one thing that just struck me was that, despite not being a musician really (I can’t play any instruments, can sing but not in a manner that anyone else would want to listen to) I’ve spent a lot of time over the past four years with musicians and become more and more a part of that world as I’ve become a little less involved in drawing and writing.
Only a little less, mind, I’ve spent the whole morning writing, for example, and a lot of last week drawing. But while I was doing so I was also checking out web pages like http://www.orangeamps.com/ because I’m decking out the arts centre I mange with some new amps and drum parts and I’m very hopeful that Orange amps are going to be a central part of part of the refurb.

The thing is though I’m not a muso and have no interest per se, but Orange amps just strike me as lovely pieces of kit. Some of the guys I work with or have chatted to in the past like Mark from Stupid Dog/Suprtailor or the spectacularly talented Andy Wilson Taylor of Midgar both recommend them, which is good enough for me. Design wise they’re ace though, and surprises me I’d not heard of them before last year or so, especially as they’ve been going for forty years.

But hey ho, shows the amount I’ve become pulled into the music zone that I’m plying about and enjoying checking out amp specs. Go and, indeed, figure.

LAstly, spent the morning word doodling and, hopefully, a plan for that one will come in the next few weeks Still mulling over hitting the London Book Fest (worth it? I’m in two minds, we’ll see) and teaching in an hour (less than in fact) so must be dash.


*actually I say mention but will probably bore everyone to pieces with such stuff.