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Monday, 29 November 2010

New on sunnyside lane

Home made oil paint

Honestly, my boyfriend is not only gorgeous, he is hilarious! Well, I am holding a large glass of wine. I do drink occasionally, as you can see. I seem to be in some kind of strange painterly ecstasy. We're standing in front of a rescued canvas, on which we have been trying out my home mixed cream oil paint, made out of powder, linseed oil (boiled) and beeswax. Bit gritty but it worked as a mixer. Soon there will be large canvases painted in the garden.

Fire! Fire!

We have a beautiful new iron grate and a wonderful open fire in the lounge. It works, the chimney draws well, it's gorgeously warm. See!

9.5mm v. 8mm

Although Matt has got the 9.5mm projector and camera working to a degree it has been difficult and there are lots of problems. For example the wheel that spins around and blocks out the sprockets in the middle of the film strip is bust. He has done a great job, even cutting the wire that lights up the bulb and plugging the wires directly into a transformer. He focused the film on a little bit of paper. However it was hard work. The camera works okay, and seems practical but because of the projector difficulties we have decided that it will be less hassle to go for the 8mm option, as it's easier to get good machines in working order. And if we want to leave films running automatically as part of an installation we need something more usable than a broken hand-cranked Pathe projector, cute though it is. I have a lovely 8mm projector, more recent, and which has its own beige plastic charm, so we're off to a good start. We're hoping his uncle may have an 8mm camera in his loft. Really excited about making some films, especially seeing as I have a PhD in film history!

More sketches!

I just can't stop ... loving the sketching thing

Here's one from La Loma

To see the sketches blog, visit

Saturday, 27 November 2010

For the Messengers - Mumbai

Did some more sketches today in my lunch hour. Here's one from 2008, the year which my book 'For the Messengers' studies.

Lucia Nogueria and 9.5mm

It's Saturday, and I walked home via the Tate Modern as I often do on a weekend. The evenings are great for seeing the work as it's not too crowded. I like to see a small part of the collection seriously and think about it for the next couple of weeks. Today I watched Lucia Nogueria's film, her intervention in Berwick. Enjoyed the static camera and the movement in the frame. That's something I like about early film. It had a nice texture, with the wind and the kites, the shadows and the grass and flowers, and shot in black and white grainy analogue film.

My 9.5mm movie camera arrived today. It hasn't got a lens, but I presume it needs one. I'm looking forward to filming some material on this amateur Pathe stock, and projecting it on the home projector. I see Matt has got the projector off the shelf. It's old but cute. He particularly admires the Bakerlite plug. He reckons he can get it to work, so there may be some amateur B&W film soon to share. Not till next year though.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Bolton Elephants

Here's a lovely site with pictures of Bolton elephants.

The Elephant Gate in Bolton

Humphrey Jennings and the Elephant Gate in Bolton ... in this documentary they're making a big fuss about him linking exotic and industrial climes ... ut the elephant is known as the Bolton image ... it's on the town crest ... Bolton is exotic, I always found it an exotic landscape as well as a Lancashire one, through the links to India through the cotton trade and the recent large immigrant community, the Pakistani shops their bright goods in the red-brick rained-on cobble streets.

The Man Who Listened to Britain 1

Humphrey Jennings

In the furtherance of my developing immersion in British surrealism I'm watching a documentary about Humphrey Jennings on Youtube. It's very helpful, and free. It's 'The Man Who Listened to Britain'. Recommended.

Posy blog

I've just started a posy blog, for the little nature arrangements I like to do. I've liked to do this kind of thing ever since I was little, picking little blue forget me nots and arranging them in the doll's house vase.

I'm particularly keen on natural looking arrangements.

I don't plan on being particularly strict with this category, for example, posy 2 is really a rather interesting mushroom that Matt and I encountered when walking Solly. It's a huge fungi growing in the side of a trunk. Looks like a gnome has thrown flour in it. Very strange.

Emmy Bridgwater

Dabbling in the waters of British surrealism at the moment ... love Emmy Bridgwater's work. This one is called 'Night Work Is about to Commence'. I think the greyish palette is lovely and I like the themes of domestic work, one which occurs time and time again in my own art, specially my poetry and song. What's that bird looking at - seems ominous to me. Definitely a night time painting.

The Vacant Chair

My post punk minimalist duo with Richard Sanderson is coming along. An avant-folk outfit, we're going to do traditional and parlour song. I've just sent him chords and music for 'The Vacant Chair', the civil war, anti-war song. I'm going to play Microkorg and he will play electric guitar with fuzz pedal.

The only problem is that we can't decide on a name. I fancy Foulkestone, but Richard prefers either The Unwelcome Companions or The Charming Interior so far. Perhaps we'll end up with none of these names ... who knows?

Ciudad Jarez 2010

Another of these little sketches I've been doing in a journalist notepad of the stories from round the world that I shotlist for my job for Reuters.

This is a very poignant image for me. Mexico, the lost children ... the bleeding hearts and bodies ... it's just not fair ... anger seems too petty a response ...

Quite Contrary - Snakeperch Press

Matt's version of a Winston Churchill speech is in this lovely, slim tome.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Desperado Housewives XMAS EP

Hurrah! This is now available in our new online shop. Hurry while stocks last ...

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Mexico City 2010

Uploading new sketches to the Sketches blog - do have a look,

In this sketch you can see the terrified bull jumping out of the enclosure, the sand of the arena falling off him as he leaps. I hate bull fighting.

Duck disaster

Two of our lovely ducks were hurt yesterday ... they seem better this morning. We're going to leave them in the pen more of the time, and only let them roam supervised. Shame.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Ducks eating and flapping

Look at the gorgeous swirls as Philippovich flaps.

Frosty when I let the ducks out

I had to break the ice on the pond this morning. Ducks doing well.

Walking out the door I was assailed by the scarlet berries on this bush. Overpowering. They look unreal. I guess coz the frost sticks to the leaves better or something, they are almost flourescent or something ...

Cardamon rice pudding

This evening I made an Indian style cardamon ground rice pudding.

Frosty morning

This morning when I fed the ducks it was all frosty. Very beautiful, but the bolt on the fence gate that keeps the dog out of the ducky area was all cold and shiney ... I took some pictures.

The washing line takes pride of place in this photo.

For the Messengers - Hat Yai

Woman wading through the floods at Hat Yai. Her lovely stripey dress, her delightful spotty umbrella ... was funny how her head disappeared into the dark space of the gateway beyond ...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

For the Messengers

My first poetry collection, For the Messengers, will be published early next year, the launch is scheduled for Feb 2011. It's about the video stories I archive for Reuters. Today I started a series of drawings to interpret the stories visually as a parallel exercise. This is set in Indonesia, the volcano in the background is Mount Merapi.

Commuting textures

Blow these up big to see the subtle image

Commuting textures

Commuting textures

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Coptic binding

Watching a bookbinding video as I'm hoping to make a book of poems / fragments / drawings from my trips to Orbyhage in 2009-10. I don't know if coptic binding is a good idea though in this instance.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Passing by ...

... in the cab


We went shopping yesterday in the cab. Today we ate the ham that we bought. There's plenty left, we got a huge piece for ten pounds, on special offer. Here's a photo I took of the Sainsbury's the sky looked nice through the window and I like the chair.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

What Loving - Naomi Woddis

I present a poetry and music show for Reel Rebels Radio with Naomi Woddis. She is a lovely poet, I really connect to the emotion in her work, it's not overshadowed by other concerns. Her work slips into the heart so simply and beautifully.

What Loving

calls this way? His words a virus, slippery
as an eagle in flight to your eager ears. Loving
is a gun sleeping in a worn holster or a hymn
for those who know what praying is.

Some days he'll tilt his head towards you
like the sun, conjour up a sound and roar.
Others he'll leave you ice bound. What's left
is to hurl your voice upwards and sing.

Anyone can call you sugar. It's not a sign
of anything other than a need for virgin hope,
the gull-cry plucking the air like a violin.
Get a pen, make a poem out of this-

you can be your own savior.


Just been shopping and took this picture on the way back from inside the black cab. Lovely texture, the streaks look like musical notes with square ends to the notes.

Ikebana posy number one

I like to collect posies ... of flowers and plants and bits from walks and the garden etc, so I've decided to do a series of them. This is number one.

Jude in the kitchen

See, I do do stuff in the kitchen (like pull long Thai dance silver fingernails out of the bottom drawer, I used to do Thai dance, you know ... )

Desperado Housewives XMAS EP

Available now for pre-order!

Comes in lovely sock for xmas. 6 tracks from the intrepid Desperados to play as you baste your turkey

1. Lentils : Kath

2. Thinks (See You Later) : Jude

3. Waltzing away from Winter : Helen

4. Hole in the Hedge : Kath

5. The Song of the Unsung Heroine : Helen

6. Ta Dee (Last Night) : Jude

The Desperado Housewives are Helen McCookerybook, Kath Tait and Jude Cowan

Photoshoot, comparing colours

I wanted to post this alongside the Mantegna Saint Sebastian just because the colour palette interests me. Also the shapes of the shower shots with their contained-ness relate somewhat to the saint shots in my opinion. Saints are shown separate from the world, but not yet in heaven in some kind of 'saint box' with their martyrdom.

I'm trying to plan a new series of photos, and am becoming very interested in colour and relating the pictures to previous artist work, which I know is such a cliche but at the moment I can't stop myself. I don't want to manipulate any of the photos digitally, even though they are taken digitally. I want to set myself the rules that they are published how they are framed and taken and then stuffed in the scanner. A bit like Dogma rules in film making.

The Embodiment of Pain

I'm getting a little into scapegoating and Saint Sebastian and saint shots. It's probably working at Reuters. There's a huge iconography of Saint Seb out there. Here's Mantegna's Saint Sebastian. There's a horseman in the left in the cloud. I like that kind of irreverant joyous touch. Also he must have really enjoyed putting that arrow through Sebastian's throat and out through his forehead.

The colours are a little like the palette that emerged naturally in the shower photoshoot.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Matt's painting of Shoreham

Blanaid scanned in Matt's gouache painting of the Shoreham scenery

The boot of the new cab

We've got a little problem with the starter motor. This is where it's lucky Matt is a mechanic. He's going to fix it at the garage we got it from.

Here's Matt and myself reflected in the shiny black boot during our day out in Shoreham.

One more from the photoshoot

I really like the colours in this shoot ... how would you describe them - sallow, pale pea, urine ...


I love Bulgakov. I'm reading Diaboloid at the moment on my commutes. But he does the same themes the same treatments. When you find an author you love, you should know when to stop.

Matt in Shoreham

I really like this photo I took of Matt. I'm using it for a composite surreal type picture. He didn't like it at first as he felt too self-conscious about the way he looked. However, now he has got used to it and actually posted it as his picture on facebook - it shows how you can change your opinion on things quite easily.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

And another

from when I turned the water on - I like the face shapes - glasses, mouth ...

Another from the photoshoot

Surreal photoshoot

I've been looking at various surreal artists works recently and am also thinking about self-portraits. And reading Bulgakov (one of my favourite writers). So I did a strange photoshoot this evening. The light was rather good I thought. Nice colours, nice textures. Matt took them on my Sony.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Feeling like a trip to the beach

Although Winter is coming, perhaps because Winter is coming, I am aching to go to the Seaside and do sandcastly things. Now we have the cab, maybe we will go. Here's a picture to inspire vintage seaside activities - so sensual - bare feet on the sand, feeling that damp grainy-ness and shells. Where else do we take our shoes off and walk along the bare ground?

Desperado Housewives - Kath and Jude

Helen took these nice silhouettes of us recording.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Matt at Shoreham

Fountain pen sketch of Matt and Solly

Blanaid in the new cab

Blanaid behind the wheel of the new cab. In the driveway.

Samuel Palmer

Just to give you an idea of the lovely pics that Palmer made in Shoreham. Some people think they're twee. I love them. Maybe I have a twee mind.

Author shot 2

I had to crop them down to head, neck and shoulders. Hope they'll be okay ... you could say I was going for the gravitas often associated with a Russian or East European writer.

Author shot 1

I had to have a go at doing an author shot for Donut Press. I couldn't do anything too theatrical or unusual. Matt took a very simple one of me in the back garden. We took it in the morning because the light is so nice then. They look quite serious.

Taking different photos

I'm really trying to take photos different to those I've ever taken before. You know how you can settle into the tried and tested ways of looking at things? I'm trying to break those habits. But still take photos that are either interesting or useful for image making. Have been looking at the abstract expressionists with Matt (Miro, Kandinsky, Malevich) and using it to try and develop my way of seeing. Photography seems to help as you have to frame what you take.


Great sky, great day. So picturesque. Shoreham is one of my fave places, and so easy to get there for a good outdoors walk now we have our own black cab.

New cab

We have our black cab. Gorgeous. Took it for it's first spin to Shoreham, former home of painter Samuel Palmer with whom I have a bit of an obsession.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Desperado Housewives - New EP to come

Helen and Kath came round today and we recorded our new EP for our new shop on the internet selling our home-baked goods. It was my first attempt to use the home equipment to record guests. And it's pretty good. We did six songs, two each. One with harmonies from all the gals, and one just on our own. I am to mix and burn the CDs, Helen will design a cover and Kath will knit a basic limited edition cover. Get one, they're going to be so cool. I'll post the shop address when they're ready for buying.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Cevanne video on Youtube


I have just come across the rather experimental musical artist Cevanne. Recently Late Junction played a track of hers about her sister when she was seriously ill in hospital. I found it quite moving. I like the fact she seems very open. She's a composer and musician from Suffolk, and here's her myspace page for anyone who is interested.

She has a fun video on you tube where she talks about herself. It's in the post above.

We will be free‏ - new song in the making

Plans are afoot for a new song for Matt and me, on accordion and vocals ...

It's to be sung like a glorious hymn-folk song from the fringes of Old Russia as it appears in my imagination.

Here's the lyrics. So far ...

When the Working Class Still Believed in Paradise

We will be free
We will be happy
We won't be sorry
That we were born

We will be young
For eternity
We are the chosen
Behold the dawn

All of you people
Listen and learn
Swell our small number
Add to our throng

It's not mathematics
It's not chemistry
It is our spirit
That moves us in song

All of you people
Hear and be glad
We're going over
to sweet paradise

We will be happy
Rise like the sun
Blazing our banner
Embroidered with light

We will burst joyous
With true love and pride
come and be joined
on the other side

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

There was an old woman ...

... tossed up in a basket

... this soundtrack has been hidden on soundcloud because my box got too full. If you want to hear it, drop me a line ...
thanks, x

Gothic bride photoshoot with roots bouquet

In my back garden, with some roots out of the old dustbin. Bin eyeing them up for a while (ho ho).

Falling over

I like a bit of slapstick. Mabel Normand is an idol of mine. Here I am falling over doing something on the barge. We were leaving Old Ford Lock at the time.

The Crown pub sign

Maybe this is a pub sign that could inspire the pub sign record cover for Lamb & Tyger. I like the spooky village pub situation of the sign rather than the painted sign itself, although it is a good job and an interesting picture with some thought behind it.

Morning at Tottenham Hale

The Lock

Strange distorted picture of Matt operating the lock. You get some interesting photos when you're in a lock, the light is different, the angles are different.

This looks a little like some of those strange Walter Sickert paintings.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Plaster pictures

Started doing two plaster pictures tonight, fresco style. One rough, to which I added cat litter (why?) one smoother. I don't know how I feel about either of them yet or what I'm going to do with them. They are drying outside the back door, but I don't think I can continue tonight. I think it's really the thing that I haven't done any painting for so long I have no idea what it's all about for me any more. Tomorrow I shall return to them.

Autumn colours in the local park

Ducks out of the pen

The ducks rarely leave their pen. We're trying to encourage them to make the most of the garden. However the dog saw them and started jumping about, so they have gone back into their pen. Shame, we want them to start using the pond, and feel free to forage around for worms.

Walk to work

Here's a video of my walk to work over the Millennium Bridge. First attempt to do a little Flip video, post it to Youtube and then post to the Blog. Brilliant.

Of course, I don't mean the video is brilliant. But the fact this has all worked.