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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Stanley Spencer

Watching Jon Snow talk about Stanley Spencer and war art on Channel 4. Wonderful. So moving. I love Spencer. Here's a postcard of his Resurrection.

Cute little stone gargoyle

Just the kind of thing I like.

Proposed Charlie Chaplin sculpture

Here's a pic of the Charlie Chaplin 'tramp' sculpture model in situ in the upstairs hall at the Cinema Museum.

I love it's ghost-like quality.

The Cinema Museum is in the Lambeth Old Workhouse, where Charlie, his half brother Syd and his mother went for a period when they were destitute. That's where the Cinema Museum is located today.

Etching press

We're trying to negotiate getting an etching press - every home needs one! There's one in Rye we were thinking of trying to get to see today. But really it's been very cold and we didn't make it in the end.

However when I started googling I discovered I like a lot of Rye Pottery, and that it's inspiring another pottery session, possibly coming on very soon.

There was something called 'hopware' that was produced at a place called Cadborough near the end of the eighteenth century. I love the relief design of the springs of hops. Apparently the pots were made from local clay.


Richard has sent me the rehearsal copy of 'Talisman Crew'. I love it.

It's really micro-hoose.

Inspired by Richard's blog about the band, I've posted an old postcard of the Warren, on the cliffs at Folkestone.

Lydia's party at the Cinema Museum and the Tramp Monument proposal

Twas Lyd's big birthday bash last night. Matt did my hair for me in Victory rolls. We ate jam tarts and enjoyed a superb austerity bash.

The Cinema Museum is proposing a Kennington monument to Charlie Chaplin's 'Tramp'. We partied in the big hall with the mock up for the tramp monument. It was made of cardboard. Huge. Looks gorgeous.

We all would be a fool not to allow this lovely monument to exist. Come on everyone, support the Cinema Museum's excellent proposal!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Matt's artwork

Matt has been making some wire sculptures of his studies of line on paper. Beautiful. Here's a taster.

Cinema Museum

Tonight it's Lydia Pappas's birthday party which she's holding at the Cinema Museum in Dugard Way. I have to dress up 1940s style and I'm going to sing some Doodlebug Alley songs with my ukulele.

Foulkestone rehearsal

Just had a cracking Foulkestone rehearsal. Sadly I didn't have the tape recorder set correctly. I'm particularly taken with our new song 'Talisman Crew' which is one of John Cowan's poems adapted for a contemporary performance. The poem has been edited to leave out many sections, set to a strathspey and sung over a loose, minimal house backing.

All Skin and Bones

This very nice folk singer at Spoonful of Poison alerted me to the joys of the Warner Collection. I did a little You Tube search and found a very nice version of Skin and Bones from the collection which I will maybe sing with Richard in Foulkestone. The lyrics are so nice as they are a kind of mediaeval type of poem or homily and it has made me think of adapting more middle english verse for our group.

There was an old lady
All skin and bones

She thought she’d go
To church one day
To hear the parson
Preach and pray

But when she got
Unto the stile
She thought she’d rest
A little while


And when she got
Unto the door
She thought she’d rest
A little more

She looked up
She looked down
She spied a corpse
Upon the ground

The woman to
The parson said
Will I look so
When I am dead

The parson to
The woman said
You will look so
When you are dead

The woman to
The parson said

Chorlton Arts Festival

I've just heard that I've been selected to read from my book 'For the Messengers' at Chorlton Arts Festival this year. Cool.

Scaledown - tales from the Orchestra Pit

Had a lovely gig last night at Scaledown at the King and Queen on Foley Street. Thank you Mark Braby for putting me on.

The lovely John from BlackDogHat came down and gave me some support as did my old chum Sarah Clarke. Sarah and I had sherry, toasting our recent happy days in Madrid.

Richard Sanderson, Foulkestone colleague played his melodeon with various effects alongside the bearded Mark Pilkington. It wasn't the Mark Pilkington from Manchester. I made a fool of myself asking him if he had come down from Manchester that day. He hadn't of course. But he had got a synthesizer he had built out of all kinds of assemblages, and it looked like a telephone exchange.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Pennine Folk

I think I'm really a Pennine folk artist being from Bolton. Walking on Winter Hill, hiking up Cautley Spout (okay that's Cumbria)

Spoonful of Poison

Ooooh that was a really great night last time. A classic. Well done Vis, well done everyone! The Boilermakers rocked (well they improvised) and everyone else was ace, including the Wormlady and Miss Roberts.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Bermondsey Wall

Matt and I are going to play along to Bermondsey Wall, a silent film made in approximately 1932 about Bermondsey in London. It's scheduled for the end of May this year and I think we'll be performing it at the London Metropolitan Archives. I'm watching it now and thinking about the sections.


The two pot heads have worked well. The 'Reuters plate' (I did a relief picture of the rescuers at Christchurch after the earthquake) and the Durer inspired hare haven't worked so well. Good learning and two good results. Happy.

Sculptures cooking

The Boilermakers

Matt and I operate a new piece of machinery

Boilermakers. 1+2 by JudeCowan

Paul Sandby

My friend Charlotte has given me a lovely postcard book of Paul Sandby works. Absolutely lovely. Thankyou Charlotte.

There is a lovely etching from a series 'Twelve Cries done from the Life' of Part 1st: Will your Honour buy a Sweet Nosegay' With my interest in posies, I particularly liked this one.

Folksy shop

I've set up a folksy shop for my handmade art. You're welcome if you want to buy anything. Or not!

Where's my life?

Monsieur Nil Chance has a friend. Not sure of his name, for now he's just called 'Where's My Life?'

More of Monsieur Nil Chance

Monsieur Nil Chance

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Vis the Spoon

I'm playing Spoonful of Poison at the Urban Bar in Whitechapel tonight. With Matt. It will be our first live Boilermakers outing.

Here's a drawing of Vis the Spoon which I did last time I played there.

Anthony Caro

Watching 'Romancing the Stone: The Golden Ages of British Sculpture'. Enjoying the sculptures of Anthony Caro, which I wasn't previously familiar with. Also rather moved by revisiting Paolozzi. I didn't used to like his stuff and now I do. How things change.

Last night I sculpted a little clay head - we called it 'No Chance Man' or 'Monsieur Nil Chance'. I'm going to take a photo and put it online. And then do another little sculpture.

Ah! Sunflower records

Here's the logo for my record label, Ah! Sunflower. I drew it at work on a post it note and edited it for use on the back cover.

Lamb & Tyger front cover

This is the picture I used on my Lamb & Tyger CD.

Book Illustration

I'm watching this BBC series on illustrated books. I'm starting a course on illustrating children's books at the City Lit next term. Really excited about it! I don't believe illustrated books are just for children. They have of course been talking about Tenniel who is a god. I have some of his illustrations, other than his most famous Alice pictures, here on my shelves.

Lamb & Tyger CD

Oh dear, producing more of these. How horrid to spend the day doing this kind of thing. And I'm also having to reaudition for my choir, we all are, so I'm having to listen time and time again to the Bach B Minor Mass Gloria.

And I'm trying to do my college task for presevation for the archive qualification I'm doing distance learning at Dundee University.

All in all not the greatest day, but I do feel surprisingly cheery none the less.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Carrot soup

Just making carrot soup. It's one of my favourites. I've gone for a very lazy version, putting in near whole carrots and I'm going to mash them in a little while. Think it's going to work well!

South Riding

Enjoying watching Winifred Holtby's South Riding on the BBC. I always liked that book, which I read alongside Vera Brittain and it's nice to see it televised. Lovely shots of Yorkshire inter-war, very nice period drama.

Passion and politics in small places, says the BBC website. Yes, I like this kind of thing sometimes. Looking forward to the next episode.

Specially enjoy the shots of the beach in the sunlight. Reminds me of visits to Scarborough and its ilk as a young 'un. Also like the scoring - the sounds and music I enjoyed a great deal.


A very kind chap called Tony let me and Matt have a go at litho in his studio at London Bridge today. He does wonderful art, mostly of male beauty. I was doing well with my litho but then I made a mistake and mixed up the gum arabic and the white spirit and my stone lost its grip. I'm going to have another try in three weeks time or so. Looking forward to that. Knackered now.

Train window - sketch

Paisley poets - John Cowan

Monday, 21 February 2011

Great Granddad's Poetry

Paisley Poet - John Cowan

British Museum - prints and drawings - a research visit

Had a fantastic day today, visiting the prints and drawings room at the BM. It's so secret, you have to go behind the Michaelangelo cartoon to get access.

Matt and I spent the morning looking at Stanley William Hayter's etchings. In the afternoon we went through a box of Edouard Vuillard's and a box of Toulouse-Lautrec's lithographs.

After that we say the temporary exhibition of Eric Gill material in Room 69a. A very small exhibition but worth it.

Friday, 18 February 2011

The flight crew check seat belts and stowed away luggage

This is not the right narrative order, but I'm sure we've all done it so often it makes sense anyway.

Over the mountains

The ground looks abstract

Another plane taking off

Taking off

Plane taxiing

Madrid Airport

Back to the cafe for one last meal

More sketches of art in the Reina Sofia and people looking at stuff

Before that we had breakfast

Forgot to say that before we went to the modern art museum, I had a coffee in the Bar of Jesus - it was called something like that.

The picture's upside down. Maybe that's modern art.

Reina Sofia museum of modern art

Next day hopped along to the modern art museum. I sketched a bit of Guernica.

Goya in the basilica

There was a painting with Goya in it the tour guide said. The very friendly and expressive guide seemed to want me to sketch Goya's self portrait. So I did.

Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, Madrid - el tour guide

Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, Madrid

Hostal Villar

Hot chocolate at the Bar Central