Friday, April 29, 2005

love lists

1. Vanish stain remover - it really does work!

2. My tulips flowering

3. High Street gutters with drifts of pink cherry blossom from Canongate Kirk

4. Late Junction

5. Jam making inspired by reading 'The Domestic Goddess' by Nigella Lawson

Loathe lists

1. Hello / Picassa 3 days trying to upload a picture

2. the election

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Cherry Blossom Admiring Time

is something I think happens in Japan - I've not had a huge amount of luck finding any info about it online. I think people gather in parks and have picnics drink saki and write haikus.

There are some spectacular blossom displays in Edinburgh at the moment, St Andrew Square, Gordon St in Leith, and in the ususal suspect parks. Waiting in Portobello High Street last night for a bus a group of children had great fun scooping up handfulls of pink petals from the pavement and flinging them into the air.

A friend of mine talked in a very scathing way about a friend of hers who would take his bicycle and take a tour of trees in blossom 'He goes to see the same trees every year'. So ??? Like the Japanese the wonder of a cherry tree in bloom after the gray of the winter is a miracle and I'm happy to rediscover it every Spring.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

a memo to myself

to write something about Derek Jarman - Michael's drawing made me haul out the Tony Peak biog from my shelf last night

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing

penguins going through security - probably a publicity stunt. Via Caterina.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Tchainova Czech Tea House Otago Lane Glasgow

Romancing yourself

Stitch & Bitch Cameo Cinema Bar

thursday 6pm - we're the ones with the needles! If you want to learn come along. Email me if you need to borrow some wool & needles in advance.

Cake man & Cup cake boy

Whether by happenstance or design, Cake Man Raven has become the city's most visually strident opponent of the restrained preciousness that has overtaken the baking world. Few would confuse the results of his labor with anything found in Real Simple. Instead, Mr. Dennis's cakes and Mr. Dennis himself - or Cake, as he identifies himself over the phone - have a sense of the epic about them. For the Rev. Al Sharpton, he once made a model of the Bible turned to Timothy 2:15 ("Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved"); for Cab Calloway's 80th birthday, a songbook with a grand piano resting on top; for Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Borough President, a replica of its Borough Hall, twice. When the rapper Jam Master J died in 2002, he made a cake in the shape of a large Adidas sneaker with a gold chain and two turntables on it.

more here

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A little bit here A little bit there

quick link via Superhero Designs as my computer is being slow and weird... spring convulsions?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Local artist dies

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, the artist once interned as an enemy alien who later turned the entire country into an open air gallery of his work, died yesterday at the age of 81 after a long illness.
His last outing was a few days ago, to his retrospective at the Flowers East gallery in London - but anyone interested in him only has to look around the streets of the capital and dozens of other British towns and cities.

"He was a vital member of the Independent Group and can be regarded as one of the fathers of pop art. His public works, including the designs for Tottenham Court Road underground station, reinvigorate images drawn from comics, design and advertising and place them back in the public domain."
Wilfred Cass, founder of Sculpture at Goodwood Park, West Sussex, described him as "one of the greats, unquestionably". The park holds London to Paris, his last major piece, a 25ft bronze and timber train based on fond memories of childhood trips to the Continent: it filled the Royal Academy courtyard in 2000, before steaming on to Goodwood.
"He could do so much," Mr Cass said. "Other artists are one-string fiddles, but Eduardo was good at everything he turned his hand to."
The artist, who was knighted in 1989, once described himself as "an old poor pro", and accepted hundreds of public commissions.
He enjoyed the unique distinction of having thousands of commuters tramp through a creation every day in his spectacular 1980 tile decoration for Tottenham Court Road tube station. He also gave a major collection, including most of his archive and the contents of his studio, which instantly re-filled with new work in progress, to the National Galleries of Scotland.
He was brought up in his Italian parents' ice-cream shop in Leith, Edinburgh - where he later claimed he had to work from the age of four - but his world changed drastically when he was 16 and Italy entered the war.
His father, grandfather and uncle all died when the ship carrying them to internment in Canada was torpedoed, and the boy was himself jailed at Edinburgh's Saughton prison.
He collapsed in his studio in the late summer of 2000, when London to Paris was completed, but he was still deluged with work. He never fully recovered. Many who knew him thought overwork contributed to his collapse.
At the time his youngest daughter, Emma, said: "The poor old thing, I think all artists like to go out with their boots on."

From The Guardian

At the top of Leith Walk you can see Paolozzi's scuptures the big foot and hand.

Friday, April 22, 2005

How to make the world a slightly better place

Get a book of stamps - find some postcards - I pick up free ones all the time at bars and cafes - 1.Write to people you would love to hear from but never have time to contact
2. People you always think about phoning late at night when they will be in bed and you don't want to wake up
3. People going through a hard time - a bit of real post instead of another 23 missives from the Bank of Scotland.

Post them forget about it. The good karma from this is incalculable.

Once you have got into the swing of this and really it only takes about 10 mins out of your lunchtime you can expand the good karma exercise. For no reason whatsoever except that you found a packet of teeny tiney green envelopes send your female friends a rose sented tea bag, a creative partner a Darth Vader chocolate lolly ' You saw a lolipop of the Dark Lord of the Syth - the embodyment of all that is evil and corrupt in the galaxy... and you thought of me?' was the email I got back... one of the nicest envelopes I got in the mail was a selection of hot chocolate sachets.

In dire necessity great ecards here. But remember some real mail is a wonderful thing.

Hand Knitted Superhero costumes

why ... because you can

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Local Heroes

How the people of one small Scots fishing village launched their own record label - and became a global phenomenon. From The Guardian

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

surfers at dusk

no good wrong day

Ever had one of these? Saturday I'd had all planned out a series of diverting pleasurable events starting with sleeping in, getting some wool from the charity shop... then it all went wrong. The garden centre I'd planned to buy some tomato plants was closed (permanently) I'm a militant non driving public transport taking pedestrian so buying plants would now be problematic. I went to the funky wool shop only to have my quiet browsing of skeins interrupted by someone I really did not want to talk to. I fled across the park muttering to myself trying to talk myself into enjoying the new spring leaves on the trees, the fresh air, spring blossom etc etc. And the more I tried to look on the bright side of life ta da ta the grumpier and crosser and grouchier I felt. I thought I'd salvage it by going to an independent bookshop. I know the owner slightly and the last time we'd met was at a funeral so I relived that funeral then she said an aquainance of both of ours who had died recently had committed suicide. I hadn't heard. I went home and gave up on trying to have a pleasant day.

Interestingly I only began to feel better on Monday when I met someone told them about the terrible terrible day and she sympathised and said how frustrating and how painful to hear about the suicide. And after the sympathetic and accepting response I began to feel so much better my mood lifted and I went to the beach and walked alongside the surf and felt my equilibrium return.

What is interesting is how often we try to talk ourselves out of our authentic response to life's events. And in pushing them away they persist all the more just turned into a grouchy irritable out of sortsness. Acknowledging the real feelings behind made it possible to leave the irritability and move on.

TV Turn Off Week

starts next week. More info here

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Holgas and mermaids

great tips on using a Holga camera.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Friday, April 15, 2005

Knitters against Bush from the fabulous Knitty - great archives

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Goddard's Knock

It's something about the quality of attention. WH Auden says that curiosity is the one human passion that can be indulged without satiety. And he's right, there's always something to be noticed and then noticed more deeply. It's a self-replenishing source of energy. If we move through the world touching things with delicate attention they come alive under our fingertips. In the snowlit corridors of mountain hotels and long journies across the white plains of Turkey, people and things seemed to sparkle and thrum.But it also struck me that it's not enough to be attentive. You need to pay attention to the kind of attention you're paying. Otherwise, the quality of our noticing shapes what we notice. That's apparent in this photography thing. Over the years I've been taking pictures with my camera, I've noticed that I've started to take the same sort of pictures. Framed things in a certain "aesthetic" way. Picked certain objects to photograph and ignored others. I was talking to Laurie and Rob, the camera and soundmen on this shoot, about how boring this was getting. There's a great story about Jean-Luc Godard. His Director of Photography would get on set before shooting, spend hours setting up lights and camera angles to create a perfect, beautiful shot. Then Godard would step up to the camera, look through the viewfinder, and before calling 'Action' he would kick the tripod and shoot the whole scene on a random skew. Of course, in the film it looked weird but wonderfully correct. Similarly, Lars von Trier says that the best thing an actor can do for him is to fuck up. Sometimes the crap, the ugly and the random generate new beauty. So towards the end of the Turkey trip we started to deliberately mess-up shots. Holding the camera up in the air, vaguely pointed at people to get an fresh frame. Photographing random things. My patron anti-saint, Oscar Wilde, said that art is a raid on the predictable. And the skew-whiff art that I think is the best art makes life less boring. It stretches the perceiving eye to perceive more. It's like when I watched Godard's Alphaville on the way up to Haworth and suddenly Yorkshire train stations seemed like 1950s nouvelle vague. Knocking the tripod can surprise us with stuff we didn't expect to notice.

From Do Buddists Watch Telly?

Stitch & Bitch Edinburgh

7.30pm Cameo Bar Home St

If you want to learn to knit come along. We're the ones with the balls of wool - easy to spot.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Film Premiere !

In Kirkcaldy Fife tomorrow night at the Adam Smith Theatre. Children are going to be bussed in to see my friend Stuart's feature length documentary on 700 years of the Kirkcaldy Fair. As the doc has tied up the use of my camera for about a year and half I consider myself at the very least an executive producer. Sadly no links. Google fails us.

You know some of my friends think I'm

some kind of workshy refusenick because I'm so reluctant to purse more paid work in the tv field - read this and be put off for life... it perfectly reflects my experience and of friends of mine.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Knitti Politti

Sister, Can you sapre a square? A 4x4 inch kitted or croched square to be exact. Artist Cat Mazza needs your patricipation in her 'symbolic gesture of awareness and intolerance' against corporate giant Nike's sweatshop abuses. Mazza and her collective are stitching upa a social protest made up of hundreds of orange knitted and crocheted petitions quares to form a huge blanket, comlete with familiar white whoosh, that she expects to deliver to the company by next holiday season. This may seem emphemeral at best, but microRevolt's strategy is based on French philospher Felix Guattari's idea of 'molecular revolutions' where, Mazza explains, 'social change happens through small acts of resistance.'

'MicroRevolt is using knitting as a way of talking about an economic crisis', states Mazza... 'Knitting can be considered a radical practice in a culture so used to buying things,' she explains, 'and knit hobbyists are a meaningful group to mobilize on the sweatshop issue because they understand thelabour process that goes into making a garment.' Knit yourself a place in the political revolution at

via Bust

Friday, April 08, 2005

3 degrees of separation

Just got an introduction to someone via email in a foreign country for a project I'm working on. And it only went through 3 people. There is a famous study which I can't remember the title which consisted of someone trying to get a package personally to someone in another state (it was done in the US) and the average number of people the package moved through was 6 - hence 6 degrees of separation - and its modern equivalent 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

So asking for things how does it work? You have to be specific and clear and ask as many people that you know. So instead of being all British and self depreciating when you meet an aquaintnace and they ask what you are up to. Tell them and follow up with 'I'm really looking for a Tibetian speaking person to help me subtitle my footage' and with any luck they will remember their flakey friend who disappeared into the Buddist monestry and dig out their contact details and they will hopefully know someone who knows someone. Of course now with the internet and the great god google the world really has shrunk - though a referral through someone always is easier as you come with a kind of stamp of approval.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet travel writing opportunity

"I am currently building and serving as the editor for a guidebook on the Himalaya region, specifically Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. It is for Things Asian Press, a small publisher in San Francisco. The book will be eclectic and anecdotally-based and feature the writings of inspired travelers from around the world.
If you can recommend anyone you know who has traveled to any of these areas in recent history and might be interested in contributing to this project, send them my way. I'm looking for seasoned travelers who are also skilled writers (evocative, humorous, academic, etc.), who can offer this book some excellent insight and soul. Expats or former expats are also a bonus. Naturally I'm working with deadlines so if you have anyone in mind, please forward their contact info soon, or have them contact me."
Thanks very much for your help!

via superherodesigns

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

throw more pots ! - quantity not quality

process not product - always banging on about this in my classes.


In their book Art and Fear, authors David Bayles and Ted Orland tell a story that illustrates how lowered expectations encourage the repetition necessary for creative skill development. A ceramics teacher divided a class of novice students into two groups. One group was told that their final mark would be based completely on the number of pots they produced. More pots, higher grade. The other group was told that they would be graded purely on their ability to produce one perfect pot. The perhaps not-so-surprising outcome was that the best-quality pots were all produced by those who made the largest quantity of pots - those who, without attachment to the result, had set out to make as many pots as possible. They had learned how to make better and better pots. It seems that even when we are not deliberately trying to do so, we inevitably learn from our mistakes.
Slowly it begun to sink in: I had to be willing to keep at it, to learn from the doing. If I wanted to learn how to write or paint or do any form of creative work, I had to be willing to do it over and over again, even if the results were not what I wanted. - Oriah Mountain Dreamer, What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul
The freedom and spaciousness allowed by "simply start - it's alright to do over...again and again" process yields the treasured pot. And not the paralyzing tension of "it must be perfect and innovative." There's a lesson here for business.
I heard Oriah Mountain Dreamer speak Sunday and if you have a chance to hear her speak on her current book tour, go (book tour calendar). She presents a fabulous eight-point template for creativity sprinkled with Rilke and Rodin stories, Rumi and William Stafford poems all topped off with a writing exercise.

From Evelyn Rodriques's Crossroad's Dispatches

Monday, April 04, 2005

film/doc folk in Edinburgh

mouse down to my entry about the Idea Factory Events at the Cameo cinema. I went to the first one tonight and found it quite helpful was able to renew a few 'network' links and get some info which is helpful for a doc project. Another two events one tomorrow night and one on Wednesday. Both FREE!

blue sky thinking

Saturday, April 02, 2005

At last !

got my 'Compare and Contrast' with Alan Wilson's photos up. Sorry about the delay but I seem to have some kind of jinx on the technology.

Obviously I use colour film unlike Alan and a Lomo camera. Tiny fits into my coat pocket and very very basic. I mostly use it on manual. It has a nice iris like effect which you can see on some of the photos and because it light leaks it occasionally does extraordinary effects in colour like the first one I posted. Of course its all entirely arbitary and accidental. I'll go through a few rolls where everything is pretty pedestrian and then others when the photos come back rather 'eccentric'. Its nice to get surprises. I've also got a photo of 'Wall. Huh. What is it good for' but seems to belong to my prescanned phase. More info about Lomo's here.

On an entirely different note go here to see where creativity can go wrong. Link from my friend Lauren.

creatve voyage - Porty at Night

Alan Wilson - Wall. Huh What is it Good For?

Friday, April 01, 2005

creativevoyage Portobello II

creative voyage portyII

Alan Wilson's Porty