Sunday, 14 May 2017


Continuing my ‘back from the dead’ theme.

I went into work today - arrived at roughly 9am - eventually someone else came in to escape his whole family having norovirus. By about 1pm I’d decided I’d had enough and came home, then fell asleep for a couple of hours (I said I was run down). One of the things I had to do was start looking through the paperwork to move mortgages. I’d totally forgotten that I needed a passport or driving license. I have neither - and no credit cards. I was given a link to perform a personal credit check - it was scary how much they seemed to know about me (which was admittedly almost nothing - there isn’t much to know) so it came out as fairly average to ‘ok’. The whole process is really stressing me out. I used to be OK about things like this but now, post accident , I find myself really struggling with numbers and getting very intimidated by things that are not visual or out of my control. This evening I’m struggling to get my head around anything so I’m watching a film in the background. I have a meeting tomorrow with a client and I need him to be more structured - that’s going to be a fun conversation. I’m also hoping to get approval on stage 1 of something so that I can invoice for what I’ve already done - and need feedback from a client who ‘forgets’ to email. I also need to have a difficult conversation with a supplier who isn’t pulling their weight.

We have a couple of quite big gigs at The Printworks next week as the start of a live music season and on Sunday a local activist is holding a cross party all dayer to encourage people to get registered to vote, so it’s a busy time. Here’s the poster.

Additionally (and I SWEAR this will be the last feeble I ever do) I’ve done some work for Nicholas Wilson - who you may know as the whistleblower who exposed HSBC and a number of other financial institutions for fraud and other practices - he’s spent over a decade dealing with them at great cost to himself and is standing as an independent in the elections for Hastings and Rye against Amber Rudd. I’ve given him some advice on presentation and branded him - I’ll be doing his official election poster and leaflet too, I won’t vote for him - hardly anyone will - but he can seriously erode the Rudd vote if he gets the chance to make his case. Not everyone gets that and I honestly don’t care. He’s standing on the ‘ethical’ ticket - and I’m OK with that.

He insisted on my using his hat. Some people are funny like that

A bit about De Lange

Simon de Lange (not his real name - he made that up on a whim, even he didn’t know what it meant) was the friend who died about 10 days ago. He was 5 years older than me and originally from Hackney. He was a ‘character’ and had probably had far too much of the wrong kind of fun in 80’s London. Resulting in a spell in the Priory. He was able to replace his dependence on illegal pharmaceuticals later on by falling off a ladder and breaking his neck, leading to a lifetime dependence on morphine patches, made worse by an MRSI infection to the spinal column picked up in the local hospital. Over the last few years he had steadily declined - surviving on ice cream and red wine. He was a grafter, and a grifter. One time when I had a stall at a posh jumble he bought several items and I watched with some amusement as he slowly left the hall - and managed to sell everything he’d just bought for a profit to people entering. A few years ago he was on The Antiques Roadshow - he’s bought a large cache of revolutionary street posters in Cuba and wanted them valued. The expert was delighted by them and considered them quite valuable. So he sold them, only to be informed that they were contemporary copies - which lead to much grief and conflict locally - despite the BBC writing an earnest letter of apology to absolve him of anything underhand. When he died, his best friend from London was searching the flat to find his legendary strongbox and came across two loaded AK47’s under the bed that he was ‘looking after for a friend’ - the police were called and eventually declared them fakes - something that might have disappointed Simon. At one time he set himself up as a builder, restoring old houses and had a short career inflicting immense and irreparable damage to a string of listed buildings across the south coast. I don’t think he ever paid any of the fines. My favourite anecdote is about his complete horror of any kind of technology. When he bought an iPhone he find himself unable to use it, so whenever he wanted to post anything on Facebook - he’d wander back to the phone shop and demand that the staff post for him. Almost all his digital correspondence was a string of meaningless and disassociated emoticons. (A flower, an aubergine, two smiley faces and a kitten etc). He had apparently been dead for several days and was found by a friend who had been asked to investigate the smell. The cause of death was pneumonia. He was in appallingly bad physical shape but was still regularly requested to go to ATOS meetings to confirm that yes, having a broken neck - an untreatable spinal infection and the highest tolerance to opiates the hospital had ever seen were reason enough to be ‘on the sick’.  In a way - he has been spared a much worse fate as the damage to his spine was slowly robbing him of the use of his hands and feet and would continue until he wouldn’t have ben able to look after himself. He was funny, very random and very kind - and I liked him a lot.

PS - and I know it does seem that all I get to talk about these days is death - but as you may recall - my oldest friend died last year of Sarcoma - I have done a bit of design work with the charity Sarcoma UK and helped them with their 'big picnic' concept - the link is here - it would be fantastic if you could get involved in any way.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Back. Briefly.

I haven’t died or been abducted by aliens. I’ve just been really busy and distracted - trying to move things forward whilst dealing with all the shit that everyone wants to throw at me. Politics here and abroad are an absolute mess (except France - thank fuck for that).

I’ve been working my arse of, basically for less than minimum wage - working weekends to keep people happy. Generally that means people want me to work for free, or at least be on call 24 hours and complicit to the point of prostitution. I’m in the process of taking legal action over a non payer who is using thee of my brands to launch his businesses. I don’t need that.

I’m pretty tired and run down. Home isn’t much better. I’m trying to negotiate a new mortgage on my house when the current one expires in August - not as easy as it sounds as I have to try and generate money to repair the windows and front of the house - among other things. It’s a grim process.

A friend died suddenly about 10 dies ago. He was in poor health after an accident about 10 years ago (and an MRSI infection of the spine caught in hospital). His funeral is next week. I have two friends with terminal cancer and the nephew of one of my best friends was killed in a freak accident in Manchester last week. He was 18.

We have ‘issues’ with someone at work that is going to drag on for a few weeks and a supplier is really messing up. Most of the work I’m involved with is going really well, I’m on a roll - creatively - but the money is never enough. It’s really getting me down.

One of the reasons I haven’t written much is because I’m sure you’re all sick of the sound of my moaning.

I escaped from the studio to watch Alien: Covenant - which I honestly didn’t enjoy that much. I thought is was contrived, tried far too hard and a bit obvious. There was very little that was ‘new’ or inventive - it felt quite tired already. Perhaps it was just me.

The weather is getting better - I usually get into work at 7.30am top settle down and tune in before anyone else arrives. It makes a difference. I’m getting increasingly sick of people not acknowledging recipe of emails and artwork and general lack of any professionalism out there.

I’m really, really tired - I have to spend part of Sunday looking at the financial crisis I seem to have found myself in and wondering how to deal with it. I can’t actually think of anything nice to say - and the chaos of another General Election and associated fallout is already wearing very, very, thin. I bet you wish I hadn’t bothered.

As an aside - I’ve made friends with ‘Sue,The Benefits Superviser’ who was immortalised by Lucien Freud, a former well know war correspondent and a bloke who is usually in War Zones plucking diplomats off roofs while bullets whistle past his ears. Hastings. Still the capital of weird.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Update in earlier

All the extra daylight and getting up early has started making the days very long.

Not complaining.

I packed up all the clothes for the sale - I found loads of stuff I have absolutely no memory of buying, let alone wearing. This includes a Dolce and Gabana jacket that has appeared mysteriously but doesn't really fit very well, so I had no trouble deciding to let it go. There are about 30 shirts, many I never actually wore - or never would - some very good stuff that absolutely will never suit me. Some of the older stuff reminded me how much slimmer I used to be but I have kept a few things that are quite tight to keep me reminded what my body weight threshold has to be, one very good shirt in particular that screams 'enough and no more'. Basically - if you are slightly bigger than me you can walk away with about 3k worth of 90's menswear for 20 quid - including a Claude Montana Jacket of dubious origin. If you are slightly smaller - enough shirting and casualwear to last a lifetime.  I'm looking forward to being relieved of it all.

Not being able to remember where stuff came from now no longer bothers me - but there is another thing I've probably not mentioned - I seem to remember things that didn't happen. A good example would be films - I regularly read reviews of films that have not come out yet and am convinced I have seen them - or start watching something I've certainly never seen before yet absolutely find it all familiar. It's something I'm used to now.

The magnolia has started to bloom. Always my favourite thing at this time of the year. Only lasts a week but well worth the wait.

Anyway - if you are anywhere near Hastings next Sunday - we have a lot to offer, including a market, a florist, some food retailers, a DJ playing retro 60's and a bar. There will bd people doing complimentary therapy - whatever that is, some stuff for kids including a renting workshop and a spring planting club - and a jumble sale upstairs - open all day from noon. Everyone welcome.

Sunday Morning

Yet another break - sorry about that - I've been working really hard and generally by the time I get home, I'm out for the count.

In brief. The old guy who lives directly opposite died, and I think his wife is going to sell the house. Next door to them the new tenants have two people carriers and he parks his giant yellow work van outside my house every day, blocking the light. Next to them, the old guy is going very senile and looks like that house will also be sold. Next door to me is also going on the market in a couple of months and there are at least 2 other houses that may be sold soon too. I'm in a 'hot spot' - sadly - my house is the one holding prices back.

It's the Hastings Half Marathon today - they go past the house - and quite a few people I know are running.

I will be part of a 'posh' jumble sale event in the venue under my studio next week, I'm selling about 20 years worth of 'good' clothes that are too small (or too big) for me now. I'm looking forward to absolving myself of the past and all that 'stuff'.

I watched 'Noah' last Steampunk Sci-Fi. The second half was complete and utter pants. I then watched 'Snowpiercer' - which was a brave attempt at something that was never going work.

I managed to repair the leak in my kitchen - however - I will need to do more work to fit a valve for a washing machine, I'm waiting for it to dry out first - which is taking time and I have a bad feeling that under the particle board the kitchen is very, very damp.

Two new clients have been incredibly nice to me - not what I am used to. I have done a lot of very good work recently - it's odd how the drama of the last 18 months seems to have changed the way my head works and I seem to be much better at my job, I did some work for the Sarcoma Charity that helped Hannah before she died as a gift and they want to meet me and do more work together - and a client from years ago called me on Friday and was very keen to reconnect. It's not translating into income yet but I'm getting there.

I can't quite decide if the feral cats outside have 'fixed' my rodent problem - I'm waiting a while before I try anything drastic.

Next door are perfectly happy for me to move the toilet to the wall that adjoins their bedroom - I offered to do it when they move out but she just said go ahead. I have also had a moment of genius and worked out how to re-route a pipe from the kitchen upstairs so it doesn't criss-cross a wall (this makes a lot of sense to me, I doubt it will to you - but it's a triumph)

I've already had next years Council Tax bill - it's gone up nearly 20 quid a month in the last few years. I remember the good old days when I used to be able to pay it the day it arrived and not think about it again.

I've put on a little bit of weight - I'm actually quite happy about that - I look better when I'm heavier. On Wednesday I was in a charity shop and they had a Levis engineered denim jacket for a fiver - they were over 100 quid when they came out and I always wanted one, there are still over 50 quid on eBay. I bought it and everyone keeps telling me it really suits me.

I made another spectacularly good pasta sauce last night in the slow cooker.

The increased daylight has really cheered me up and made me feel more optimistic - I'm regularly getting into work at 7.30am - it makes a huge difference.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Monday 6th

Sorry about the break - I have been fantastically busy with work and it's been taking up all of my time. Rumours of my demise are exaggerated - although an aquaintance who runs a very large Facebook group is dealing with some fool who has reported that he died on holiday - people are very strange.

I have been working incredibly hard, not sleeping particularly well, that happens sometimes, and trying to keep my head above water until the weather gets better.

I still haven't fixed the fridge, I still have a rodent problem at the back of the house - but I now know that it is the cause of the feral cat fascination with the kitchen, and I probably need a few days off. I've been working at weekends.

I'll try and get my head together this week and update properly - if I can get my memory to work the way it's supposed to.

Having slightly more daylight every day is an incredible joy, believe me!

Sunday, 19 February 2017


When I came home from work on Friday night, the fridge had died. I'd only just cleaned it. It was 10 years old and had been quite expensive. Most of my friends expressed sunrise that it had lasted that long. In my house - nothing is allowed to last less than 30 years. I was, and still am, quite pissed off.

Had a long and complicated - but reassuring conversation with a mortgage advisor on Friday as well. Quite a lot to think about there.

I went out 'socialy' last night. Something I seldom do now - it was partly associated to a work thing. I bought myself and my mate Ian who is doing digital work for me a pint - that was a tenner. later when we were joined by friends at a much cheaper place - I bought a round of 4 drinks for fifteen pounds. That's £25quid all together. I could have cried. I can't get that out of my head - I can live for a week on 25 quid if I need to - and bought 25 cans of lager from the supermarket if drink was a necessity.

Last night I managed to get paella rice mixed up with risotto rice. It was actually quite nice.

Shaved my head and beard yesterday, now have about 4 days of looking deathly unwell until something grows back. Also, seem to have put on a little weight (wore a jacket for the first time in ages last night and it was a 'struggle')

Quite a bit of work to do this week - plenty of new stuff booked but not 'here' yet - which is a really worry. It needs to hurry up.

I have to work out how to get rid of the rodent behind the plasterwork without actually killing it. It's started digging holes in the kitchen floor.

Bumped into a neighbour who told me that the old guy across the road has started to go senile and his family are very concerned that he can't live alone any more - he has quite a large house, presumably if he goes into care they will have to sell the house to pay for it. New tenants have moved into in the house directly opposite - they have taken to standing in the window watching me. I'll have to start pulling the blinds. I presume they will get bored eventually.