Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wednesday, already

I'm being interviewed tomorrow by a film crew - I'm still in two minds about it. By complete coincidence - an academic is looking for information on a related subject via The Design Council - and I may be talking to them later. Really not sure how I feel about all this - suddenly out of my comfort zone (which I'll admit - is very small, and somewhat shaped like me in the foetal position)

Yesterday - I had to send a catalogue to a client, they had left it at my studio on Monday and needed it back for Thursday - to an address in Brighton - just down the coast.

I went to the post office, never an easy experience in Hastings - it was going to cost me £12.98 to send by Parcel Force - exactly 2p cheaper than a return train ticket. If I wasn't busy - I'd have taken it over myself and had a day out. It's roughly the size of a Thompson Local. I was appalled. Apparently, according to the woman - it was the only way to guarantee delivery and 1st and 2nd class were much more expensive. I'm told it is because Royal mail intend to discourage the parcel business. I can't quite get my head around that one.

Work is tricky, awkward, unsatisfying and very complicated at the moment - the financial return is minimal - this looks like a running theme for 2015 already.

Rifkind and Shaw - what idiots. Rifkind just managed to make things worse simply by opening his mouth - being that detached from reality is really quite an achievement. My only experience of Jack Straw was about 10 years ago - at Crewe station. I was on a train to Manchester Airport to catch a flight to Gatwick - the train was held up by 30 mins so that Jack Straw (I think he was Home secretary at the time) and his 'staff' of meatheads with guns could catch up - when he arrived, we all had to move into another carriage so he could have some space and privacy. I missed my flight - so did several others. Shame twitter wasn't available at the time - I would have been an active user that day.

The software I'm using to sharpen up my spelling and grammar is really crushing what's left of my self-esteem, every sentence I type includes at least one incorrect use of a verb. I'm clearly an idiot.

I watched Interstella again last night - it was really boring 2nd time around, the story made much less sense and the dialogue was even less comprehensible. Don't even talk to me about the science....

Someone who I had a VERY difficult working relationship with a few years ago wants to connect with me on Linkedin - I cannot fathom that at all.

Senile greyhound refused to walk more than 100 yards today and went back to bed. I feel that this is due more to attitude issues rather than advancing age.

Two houses on Canute Road now have their Xmas lights up. Hastings is like that. There is a large house up on the Ridge that I can see in the distance from my Bedroom window that also has a fully decked exterior.

The Mother of Chris Kyle was on the radio earlier today commenting tearfully about the end of his killers trial - whilst, of course I have every sympathy for any woman whom loses a son, and the man who killed him is responsible for his actions - her comments that the guilty verdict was an example of 'God looking after us, as he always does' didn't make a great deal of sense - not sure how she explains God's lack of attention when her son was being killed - or when he was himself killing hundreds (by his own admission) of people - and taking pride and pleasure in it.

Monday, 23 February 2015


I spent the weekend in the studio - there was no internet access, annoyingly - nor today - so I came home early. This may, or may not, have had something to do with David Cameron being in the building a few doors away.

It's cold, wet, windy and dark. Nothing changes.

Quite a bit of work to do - not that exciting nor interesting nor well paid. Just manageable.

I've brought some work home with me - and tomorrow will be busy - just cracking on.

Today I accidently wasted £15 on something by not stopping to think, I'm furious with myself.  This comes after a week of challenging myself to eat on about £3 per day - so you can imagine my irritation.

There is an abandoned wheelchair in the middle of the road in one of the better parts of town. I would love to know the backstory.

When I was much younger - I used to stay up to watch The Oscars - now I can't even be bothered to check who won.

My old studio building in London, panther House in Holbourn, has just been sold for £28,000,000. I can't really add anything to that.

The purple Alliums have started to come through at the front of my house - that should help cheer everyone up.

Friday, 20 February 2015


I came into work early - despite the rain. It's rained since about 5pm yesterday and I'm constantly surprised by how much capacity a greyhounds bladder has.

Last night - for some unknown reason and probably because I was bored and it was dark and wet - I ended up watching snippets of Eastenders 'live' special. I did manage to watch a film about giant spiders attacking New York at the same time. I really don't understand the attraction of soap opera, especially one like Eastenders which just seems to be an orgiastic 'snuff movie' and exercise in misery and control. Apparently - piecing together the bit I saw and from reports in the papers - A man killed his brother, an old woman killed her son and a small child murdered his sister - and there was a brassy hard-faced blonde wandering about with a gun, who has also killed someone in the past and gone to prison for child abduction. Nobody seems to understand that a 3/4 bed Victorian terrace in East London on a garden square is probably worth the best part of a million, and they all live in squalor. For some reason every one of the odd occasions I have seen Eastenders, someone has been killed. I assume it must happen every episode. I do remember once catching the last few moments and watching Martine McCutcheon die on the street in front of me. It's pretty obscene, really. What do people get out of it?

I have a client coming over later and I have to work over the weekend because I'm shooting and it would be disruptive to everyone else if I did it today. I don't mind - I had nothing planned.

Thursday, 19 February 2015


I had one of those deeply unpleasant experiences today that essentially defines why I'm such a fucking loser.

I have a leather chair, 1930's - smart, boxy armchair - very deco, really like it. One of the dogs managed to dig the horsehair out of the seat and worked her way through to the springs. So - I cleaned it up and put a new canvas base on it, removed all the stuffing and measured up for a new cushion. I have some good heavy duty cotton canvas to make an inner cushion cover base and I bought an old wool plaid blanket in Oxfam (actually from the English Heritage shop) for the cover - I washed it hot so it felted, otherwise the dogs would pull the threads. All I needed was some foam. There is a shop in Hastings that sells it, they have a big sign on the door - 'upholstery foam sold here - cut to size'. They are one of the 3 main haberdashers in Hastings, I think there is a lot of home sewing in this town.

I went over at lunch time with the measurements - 50cm x 50cm x 20cm. There was a woman sitting behind a counter and a couple of old women in hats and coats lingering about, looking suspicious and very shifty. The woman behind the counter screwed her eyes and pretended to be writing something - she made me wait just a beat too long, clearly trying to fathom what I was doing there. I explained I needed a single piece of foam, 'Oh yes - we can do that - what size' - I went through the measurements - alas, they don't do centimetres - only inches, so it needed to be re-calculated manually (I'm 48, I was taught metric at school FFS, she's probably the same age as me - where has she been!!). Once she clearly had a sale, it all started going wrong

"actually, we don't carry stock - it will need to be specially made, and brought over from the factory - it will be at least a week, and it's a special size, it will have to be 3 layers stuck together (what the fuck - I see this stuff in skips all the time??) - and it will expensive, but never mind - it has to be right for you". 

At this point she decided it was too much to deal with - she had to get 'Graham' who was hidden 'upstairs' to call the suppliers and place the order - she scuttled off, then returned and asked me to wait. At this point one of the shifty old women walked through

"I'm afraid you don't seem to have what I'm looking for"

she said loudly, and swanned out (This is now turning very Mike Leigh). Graham then appeared with a piece of paper - a bespectacled man in his '50s - looked me up and down with an unnecessary leer on his face

"you're in lunck - they can do it"

 I also bought a reel of black cotton and a zip - the bill was written out - £54.70.  You have to be fucking joking.

I left the shop with a big hole in my current account, only a vague promise of the foam 'in a week or so' and a feeling I'd been robbed. Dealing with people is hard enough on a day to day basis - I should have just walked out. The cushion foam cost more than the chair - and I still need to spend a day making the cover.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Last night was 'Fat Tuesday' - yet another legendary Hastings piss up. Every pub had live music, the town was full of drunken revellers in random costume - and I found myself helping to man a set up projecting a film on a giant wall at the side of a pub. Big chunks of the footage were out-takes from the Derek Jarman directed video for 'The Queen Is Dead' but The Smiths (My mate Richard shot the footage) and there were a number of scenes from 'The Blue Angel' with Marlene Dietrich. It sounds rubbish but worked really well. One of the windows of a local bar collapsed for no reason, sending screaming girls with flowers in their hair running up and down the street. How we laughed.

I have to set up a photoshoot this week for a massive number of pink girls accessories, finish a couple of really tricky jobs I've been avoiding and plan some more financial stuff - I have an appointment with an accountant to discuss changing my status from Sole Trader to Limited Company, but I also need to be really careful about the implications when it comes to re-mortgaging. My head is spinning.

I think the dogs may have had a fight or something yesterday while I was at work. That's really worrying me.

I left work early today and came home, I didn't actually feel very well for some reason, but I'm OK now - as it was a staggeringly lovely day - I walked along the seafront - loads of people sitting on the beach looking out at the calm sea and blue sky - basking in the sunshine and unseasonable warmth. Popped into the Jerwood Gallery and saw the new exhibition of Chantal Joffe paintings - better than I expected, and they have had a re-hang - some great work on show now. All made me feel better. I declined to buy a really large mirror with a good frame for £2.50 from the Hospice charity shop - I already regret my decision.

Monday, 16 February 2015


Work early - quite foggy. Have to leave at 4.30pm, have a friend from Brighton working in Hastings and I've agreed to meet up later for a coffee.

Spent the weekend being practical - this includes more garden clearance and general tidying - looks a lot better now. Filling in the holes dug by the dogs, quite time-consuming, and general house stuff. I also cut and fitted a 2 inch hardwood base into the Chesterfield, as the dogs have a habit of trying to dig through it. Let's see how the manage against that.

Yesterday was a friends birthday and I agreed to meet them in town for a lunch with her partner. It has been a fairly busy weekend in Hastings, ANOTHER festival - this one being the 'Fat Tuesday' Mardi Grass with costumes, parades and a giant party. Sunday had another parade and there was a lot of live music - this continues until the 'actual' Tuesday - when it will be multiple bands playing all day all over town. How anyone ever gets any work done - I don't know. It was also a staggeringly nice day - with actual sunshine. We met up on the seafront, went for a couple of drinks - including in the 'Crown' which is now refurbished and full of trendy London types - then on to a brasserie for lunch. I had vegetable paella - which was actually just vegetable risotto presented badly. I only spent about £30 all day but I actually resent spending anything at the moment, so I had to grit my teeth. Later we went to a pub called 'The Carlisle' - which is essentially a heavy metal / punk bar with two large stages and constant live music. It's painted purple and may look a bit shabby, but it's well maintained and popular with bikers and the young. It's EXACTLY like any music venue in South London back in the 1980's - when people could still afford to live there, very friendly and full of X-punks and middle-aged men in leather jackets. Part of its appeal is that it has ample parking outside for motorbikes. In the space of an hour over 2 rooms I saw 4 bands - all of them quite passable. After that - at about 5pm, I was able to go home - eat the vegetable soup I'd already prepared and watch a couple of films before bed time.

This week is looking wobbly already - not absolutely sure how it will pan out yet, just need to keep on top of things. Heard this morning that someone I used to be very friendly with has had a stroke and is in hospital - we fell out badly because of their unacceptable behaviour to someone else. They are quite well know - so it will be something people want to talk about. I don't.