Thursday, 18 December 2014


I find myself in the middle of a block of unexpected but very welcome in-house work, which is a relief, as the 3 days work I had been booked for this week have not yet materialised - and don't seem to be coming any time soon.

Another strange spike in hits on here - I think it may be North Korea prying on me..

Fiendishly busy at the moment - and unable to post the small number of Xmas cards I've bought because now that the Post Office has closed and has moved to WHSmiths - it's a no-go zone at lunch time.

I watched The Apprentice last night, I wish I hadn't. It's rubbish, a truly absurd waste of what was once quite a good idea. It isn't even funny.

Many thanks to everyone who commented and contacted me about Debenhams', I'm glad I'm not alone. I can also confirm that they are desperate to get you to sign up for some form of card whenever you buy anything. The staff here are a mix between people who couldn't care less and people who have clearly been in shop work all their lives and take it far too seriously. They also seem to have a very high staff turnover, and a different sale every 2 days.

I solved the mystery of the blocked toilet with the application of common sense. I was right - there was no tangible reason for the toilet to keep blocking, it turns out that it was my fault - I usually buy really cheap, recycled toilet paper - but about a week ago I picked up some much more expensive stuff that had been reduced - it turns out that this new stuff doesn't do the normal 'fall to bits when it gets wet' thing, and bulks up - becoming indestructible, and blocks the cistern. That explains why it was reduced, although I cannot fathom why anyone would design such tosh.

When I got home from work, the power was off - just came back on now at about 9.15.  had to deal with the old woman next door - she has a small LED light but wasn't sure where the candles were - if she needed them, or if she should go to bed. Managed to make a cheese sandwich by candle light.

Fortunately - I had a film on this laptop - it's The Servant. Couldn't think of anything better.

Studio Xmas party tomorrow night. Bound to end in tears.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


I'm sitting in the studio. I have been asked by 3 clients to set aside 1 day each this week for work - but as yet, none of the work has turned up - it's almost certainly all going to arrive on Friday - so I will have to turn at least 2 of them down, that costs me money I can't afford to lose, I'm fuming. Given up on the gentle prods and reminders.  Of course - if anyone does find that I no longer can complete the day they asked for - they will be livid and blame me for not being available, 24/7 - unpaid, waiting by the phone.

In other news, my essential gift to myself for Xmas was a computer software training manual - they are really expensive because they go out of date so quickly - I intend on spending Xmas brushing up on my print and layout skills, not that there is anything wrong with them - but I'm 'obliged' to be at the top of my game - so that people can pay me less for doing more work in a shorter timescale.

It was really cold at home last night - but for some reason, suddenly got much warmer at about 10pm - I almost considered staying up.

Pushed the boat out a little bit earlier by buying a set of cheap screwdrivers and some shoelaces. Rock and roll.

One great thing about the new Aldi is that it sells a lot of fruit - last night was a persimmon overdose.

I've now paid every single bill I'm expecting before the end of the year - next one due is my mortgage on Jan 1st - and I've set aside a bit of cash for that too - so everything I spend now is 'on my own time' - as it were. I'm not actually planning on spending a penny if I can help it, except for food. I have a stack of films to watch - quite a few jobs around the house that need doing - and I have to gear up for my new website after Xmas - basically just collate all the images and wait for the people who are doing it to 'find the time'. It could be a long wait.

Watched a couple of films last night while I was trying to do stuff at home, including Judy Dench in 'Mrs Henderson Presents' - the very fictionalised and rather mawkish story of The Windmill Club in London - did a bit of checking - it cost £20 million to make - which is absurd, and took almost nothing at the box office. It was a rather amiable and inoffensive little film that lacked any real bite or heart - I think they tried to do too many things, and Will Young was a bit rubbish. Later I watched 'Let Me In' - the Hollywood version of the superb 'Let The Right One In' - remakes are generally rubbish, but this was almost perfect - missing one key scene - but that didn't matter, really beautifully shot.

I was in Debenham's earlier - searching for, don't laugh - something that poaches just one or two eggs at a time - rather than four, which seems standard. I've had a couple of contraptions in the past and they were all rubbish. The search continues. Debenhams' in Hastings is an evil place and I'm quite sure that people go in and don't come out.

This is really interesting, Hastings is in there at number 6, I remember this station from early visits when I was living in Brighton, and liked it - the new station is rubbish.

I think my bike needs a major service, something else to do over xmas - brakes and gears are not behaving well - and considering the glut of very poor drivers in Hastings recently - it's something that needs attending to.

In Waterstone's earlier - I noticed that most of the xmas stock appears to be made up of blogs and Tumblrs that have been turned into books - it's all cyclical. Some irony in there.

Monday, 15 December 2014

It's happened again

Massive peak in hits on here last night associated to a random post several years ago - Phishing robots at it again.

Went to work specifically because I had two meetings, both of which were then cancelled. One was cancelled because her little boy had his nativity play - which I thought was quite reasonable. The other, not.

Filling the time, made the terrible mistake of totting up my earnings so far this year - a disaster. Cannot understand how I can work so hard and earn so little.

A friend has become quite successful selling her prints, she has just done a joint show with someone I was at college with who does the same - he was a nice bloke and we got on, he's become quite successful  he has one particular print he sells regularly and has done for years - I think it's probably made him a lot of money. It's identical to one I did that is in our college year book. He's about 4 pages away from me in the book - but a world away from me now.

I have a friend who is an architect, his girlfriend is one of my old students, lovely couple. His dad lives in Hong Kong and has a manufacturing company, last year he was bullied (probably the wrong word... strongly encouraged) to model for one of their products - a dressing gown - it wasn't supposed to be seen by anyone - I was in ESK (Local discount warehouse) earlier today and there was a giant display of them - very cheesy pictures, draped around a random girl in a 'simply sexy 'nothing underneath' dressing gown. He's mortified. Obviously I felt the need to take a photograph and post it on Facebook for him. In his other life (he's a massive over achiever) - he does this - he's one of the 10 or so best recolouring experts in the world. Obviously he's much younger than me.

I have some loose ends - work wise - that I need to tie up this week, but as I'm right at the bottom of the food chain, I can 100% guarantee that nobody will get back to me until Friday at the earliest - and I will have a flood of urgent things to do next week - none of which will actually be looked at until the new year. ( I get a timed download confirmation on all data transfers)

I hoped I had a bit more money in the bank that I actually have - I'm 'sort of' solvent - if it wasn't for my tax bill I'd be OK. Last year a couple of well paying jobs turned up in the New Year- this year I don't know - I really need something to pick up a bit after Xmas or next year will just be horrendous. I've paid my council tax until April and my studio until the new, and apart from work on the house, I don't actually need to spend any money - but the day to day cost of keeping it all going on just my income is crippling me. Not really sure what to do there.

I saw my neighbour bend over top pick something up earlier - she's quite 'big' - her joggers slipped down to reveal a HUGE tattoo that covers her backside.

The most exciting thing I did today was search out some decaf ground coffee (M&S) - however, a quick trip  to the COOP revealed that they are combatting the opening of the Aldi by actually dropping their prices - a good thing, they are quite affordable now. The 3 for 2 offer on Colgate toothpaste actually undercuts the Pound shop.

Yesterday was made better by back to back 1950's Science Fiction films

Sunday, 14 December 2014


A long week and a very bumpy ride.

I have managed to finish most of my paid work - not yet sure about next week - I may have a couple of in-house days - I also need to go to both London and Brighton. Paid a few bills, did some cleaning and serviced y back - essential after a brake cable came loose on the way to work last week.

Just writing a list of thins I need to do over the xmas break, I also made an attempt to read the Xmas Radio Times but frankly - I wasn't that bothered and it was far too difficult to read - it is very badly designed. It always was.

On the good side  after Xmas there will be an exhibition of original artwork from early ladybird Books at the De La Warr Pavilion - looking forward to that.

On the bad side - the toilet is mysteriously blocked for not tangible reason.

I think we are having a joint Xmas party next week with another studio in Hastings - after that - I'm going to lock myself away, although I am going to a lunch on Xmas day - and although I'm invited out on NYE, I'm almost certainly going to stay at home. I need to have a 'think' about work.

Made the mistake of being in town yesterday - bedlam, in a bad way.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tuesday Evening

Worked in Brighton today - freezing morning with white ice everywhere but warm-ish and very windy this evening.

On the early train, a group of men were going to Brighton - I think for a stag party, they were all Slipknot fans and talked about Death Metal all the way there, one of them had apparently seen a decapitated corpse one after an accident, it was 'awesome' - he also wanted a new kitten and was going to call the RSPCA after the weekend. Another had apparently applied to Mastermind to answer questions on Death Metal - but hadn't heard back yet. They are all staying at The Jury's Inn hotel - which has always struck me as the worst name for a hotel in the history of the world.

Work was hard, very tiring and stressful. . . but I need to eat.

I bought a sandwich at lunch time at the large COOP on London Road - it was MUCH cheaper than my COOP. I was furious.

On the way home I caught the same train as one of my old students - he's working at an agency in Hove and was really enjoying it - had a nice chat all the way back. Pleased that he is doing so well.

Here's a picture I cribbed from my cousin's facebook page - the woman in the middle is my Aunt Edith - it's her 90th birthday, she used to work at British Steel and was 'important' in early commercial computers - her and her husband were very 'smart', well turned out couple who changed their car every year and always went to Cornwall on holiday. We had virtually the same post card every July, and they usually sent us a packet of kippers in the post. I think she was very well respected at work but not so much at home - however, once her husband died - her life changed for the better. She used to feed and tame the feral cats that lived at the steelworks - she was the only one who could handle them. The story, as I understand it, is that she looked like Jane Russell when she was young ( I remember her as a child and I find this VERY easy to believe) and had many suitors, one was the son of a wealthy family who was very keen - the other was a bit of a middle class tearaway who rode a motorcycle and wore tweeds, of course she married the wrong one, he was badly injured in a crash soon afterwards and was a semi invalid all his life - I think he was quite a frustrated man, never a good mix - smart, intelligent, over achieving woman and an angry and resentful stay at home husband. I just remember her being fiercely intelligent, which she still is. The woman on the left is my aunt Eileen - also very smart, and on the right is my Uncle, George - who was 'big' in the interior decorators industry when it was a proper trade and not the domain of ponces like Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. He fell off a roof a couple of years ago fixing the TV ariel and survived injuries that would kill a younger man. All of my mothers family are the same - tall, strong, thin, never ill, live forever if they look after themselves, and never retire. Just as well I take after them.

I am working in-house again tomorrow - I have to do two days work in one - it's being presented on Thursday morning, no absolutely no latitude there. I need to take a day off soon.

Monday, 8 December 2014


So far today - I have been very busy, we needed to edit and re-write large sections of a very important consultation document that will be going to some really important people 'in Europe' - the levels of literacy I encounter frequently in my industry ( believe me - I'm fucking Shakespeare compared to some) make me wonder how many designers cope - between the two of us it has taken nearly two days to produce 10 pages of concise, evaluative, carefully nuanced prose that might just open the doors to a bit of decent workflow.

After that - because I'm a very important and successful design consultant with letters after my name - I had to sew the name tags onto a shepherd's outfit for my colleague's 5 year old son while she was on the phone and we could get it driven up to the school where his nativity is being held.

It was much harder than I expected.

Working in Brighton tomorrow - I had expected another piece of work to be completed for a deadline tomorrow - but the presentation has moved to Thursday - which is a relief - I would have been here all night.

It's very cold, and nearly dark at 3.30pm.