Sunday, 23 November 2014


I was just about to settle down with some coffee... but the Archers came on and I had to get up to turn the radio off.

A long week. managed to get a lot of work done - I'm 'probably' mostly booked up until Xmas - and there should be reasonable money involved - I'll certainly get through to the new year in once piece (famous last words) . I'm working inhouse for a couple of weeks - that will be exhausting but it's 'solid'. Clients have been really difficult but I'm holding my own - I'm on a couple of joint projects, one in particular, the guy I'm working for can no longer speak to the actual client because the relationship has broken dow so badly - I'm glad I'm at the end of the food chain on that one. Tomorrow some print is being delivered to a client in London, which means I'll have to pay the print bill quickly ( I need a good relationship with the printer) and will have to wait for the client to pay me - that's where I worry. I'm also a bit worried that all the work I'm doing now will not be finished before Xmas (clients drag their feet) - so it could be Easter before I get paid. This s why I'm constantly chasing my tail.

Alarming article in the paper today here that illustrates my anxiety.

Vintage Desert Island Disks on the radio - Sue Lawley talking to Clive Stafford Smith. I'd forgotten what an utter snob she was. At least with Kirsty there is some genuine affection and admiration for her guests - with Lawley it's just "oh , you funny little man - fancy that - wasting your life trying to save people's lives - you are peculiar"

I've been forced away from the media this weekend - basically - it's become the season of bashing men. Driving a wedge between the sexes isn't going to do much for equality. The DM today have an article about the 'model/TV presenter ' Melanie Sykes who is on a celebrity game show. She famously beat her X husband up, regularly - it seems, and was eventually arrested and cautioned - she seems to have a drink problem. Now that she's back in the public eye - of course her X husband has been dragged up ( I doubt he had any choice - there would have been journalists outside his house every day - basically, if he didn't talk - they would have made his life a misery and just printed what they wanted anyway). He doesn't really say much - but the comments after the article are a revelation - telling him to get over it and that he probably deserved it, would have been very different if it was the other way round.

The White Van man bollocks that the entire fucking British media has been so obsessed with this week is just absurd. Snobbery versus inverted snobbery. Seriously - I wouldn't be happy to live next to someone who had idiotic flags outside his house 'until they are rags, then I'll put more up' - and neither would anyone else, and I'm far more of a Labour supporter than he is ( his personal politics look very UKIP). It's bad enough living next door to someone who cheerfully admits that 'we only rent, so we don't DO gardening' - the house looks abandoned when the lights are out - and as they attract seagulls to their pizza filled bin bags - the front garden is rubbish and rotting food strewn on a regular basis. Mind you - they probably hate living next door to me - I can't afford to fix my render - but at least I have a nice box hedge and a bay tree, not sure how they feel about the large sex pistols poster visible through the window. Someone made the point in today's Independent that while some people rejoice in seeing a street of houses that are all flying the flag of St George - there are plenty people who look at the same scene and are genuinely frightened.

Both dogs have been behaving strangely this week - Alfie greyhound now misses meals and sleeps all day, but is otherwise quite content - it's probably just hibernation.

There are now at least a dozen homes in Hastings with their Xmas lights up - mostly it's the type of person who has more decorations outside than inside, The local council has put up the same decorations as last year (and the previous 10 ) and an Ice Rink has been build in the shopping centre. There is a 'grotto' in there as well - very 'disney' - it has crowd barriers around it. M&S are stocking up for Xmas and have moved the sandwiches every day this week. I hate Xmas.

Thursday, 20 November 2014


Every piece of work I have at the moment is either, 'on hold' - 'about to go on hold' - 'not confirmed' or 'cancelled' - that's not including stuff I'm doing for free - and I'm still expected to carry on with stuff that might get cancelled, and 'cope' if everything needs doing at the same time. That's the reality of freelance.

It's the 'big' *cough* Xmas lights switch on tonight at our local shopping centre, no celebrities this year (we had Chesney Hawkes once) - just the backing dancers from the local panto. Getting colder. I'd forgotten that when you work at home, you do need 'some' form of heat.

I've managed to get a lot done today already - mostly because I worked late at home last night - I was here at 7.30am and frankly - I'd be quite happy to go home now - have a break and work later - but I'm waiting to find out if I'm needed for a meeting today, so I can't.

WHSmiths in Hastings has again reviewed it's stock policy and now refuses to carry any magazine titles that are of any profession use or personal interest to me.

If things don't pick up today - I may work at home tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Bumpy Ride

Not a great week so far. A big project is on hold - the client is so difficult that the agency I'm working with is thinking of walking, I don't blame them - but it will cost me a lot. This is what happens when you have the wrong people commissioning design. It's been a very difficult brief from the start - we've all kept our heads out of sheer bloody mindedness, and I've always been determined not to get beaten by it all - it 'should' be a really good piece of work with some decent visibility, and I need that.

Another job has gone to print - it's only a tiny little job and I'm not making any real money - unusually, I'm carrying the print bill - I don't usually - It's not enough to mark up a handling fee - but it's going to be a pain to get the client to open an account with the printer I selected - I hate managing print, if anything goes wrong - I have to pay for it. I'm already getting sleepness nights. A piece of branding work I've just completed went really well - but there is a digital element that I have to farm out and the chances are it will eat up all the fee - and I've done another quick job that's going to go into Heals's - but again, of no monetary value. I 'think' I've just picked up 3 weeks inhouse between now and Xmas, but not at a very good daily rate - and it's a really full on piece of work.

On the other side of the coin, one of the guys in the studio has a sideline in buying and selling URL's - he's been doing it for years and just buys up words, packages them together with the Twitter/FB/Instagram etc - and sits on them until someone wants them. The more commonplace words sell for the most money - particularly if you tag something like 'direct' on the end. He makes quite a bit out of it - and yesterday he sold a SINGLE word for more money that I make in 6 months, and far more than most novelists will ever earn for a book. I am clearly in the wrong industry.

Small dog has really ramped up the ante on her bladder capacity - she's been pissing in the house 2 or 3 times a day - it always happens in cold weather. Senile greyhound has become increasingly grumpy - barking at other dogs - it's quite embarrassing - all the other dog walkers give us a really wide berth.

My hard drive was repaired - the engineer was able to extract the drive, replace all the bits that connect with the outside world and put it in a new case - she only charged me £25 but I gave her £30 - the new enclosure was worth at least 15 quid, that's probably less than the 3mm aluminium Porsche designed bullet proof case it came in - that had to be broken open to extract and repair the drive.

Had a strange conversation earlier in the week with someone I know who has had a sex change. One of the most difficult things when you trans is the legal management of a change of identity - apparently it's quite a big deal, however - the only agency that came out of this with any grace or credit - was the Inland Revenue - who apparently have a dedicated department specifically for people who have transitioned, partly because it's a major issue that you could be 'outed' through multiple administrative processes, payroll etc - and that would be illegal. They are better trained and far more sympathetic than any other department she's dealt with over the last 20 years. It's almost worth considering. *joke*.

By getting rid of the robot post from 2011 - I've successfully dropped my hit rates down to almost nothing. I think that's a result.

If anyone is considering upgrading their computer (Mac) to Yosemite - I can strongly recommend it - I'm really happy with the results.

I seem to get caught in the rain every time I leave the house. Like it's stalking me.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Dog V Duvet.

Sunday pm.

Cleaned the house yesterday - wasted a bit of time trying to save my failed hard drive and contacted a local engineer who’s going to look at it for me and try and save the content. Lucie - who made the failed drive, seem to have the worst customer care service in the world - their website designed specifically to put you off contacting them, and have apparently lost all record of my product registration. I gave up in the end.  I’m pretty sure I can save the content - I managed to find quite a lot stuff on other drives and have my most recent jobs on my work drive - but most of the last 6 months is missing. I’ll be calling clients and asking for back-ups.

Yesterday was so depressing I did the only reasonable thing possible - and went out for a drink with a friend. It helped. Keeping it really quiet today, I’m going to look at some paperwork later - I have a piece of work in print at the moment I need to chase up on, a paid job that’s turning into a nightmare and 3 unpaid jobs to complete before xmas. I think I may have some more paid work coming up - but not much.  I’m going to have a catch up with another designer this week and talk things through - I did think about something along the lines of a networking group locally - might float that again.

The dogs got into my bedroom and pulled all the foam out of my duvet - it looked like Santa’s Grotto. I needed a new one anyway.

One of the downsides of living at the seaside is the damp - just spent an hour rubbing linseed oil into the doors and furniture - everything goes mouldy here - mostly anything made of wood gets a light dusting of mildew on a regular basis - in particular anything like the area around door handles or where things get touched by my hand. Good thing I like the smell of the oil, and it’s probably good for my hands. Doors and draws regularly get stuck during damp seasons too as the wood swells.

As expected - my hit count on here has gone down to ‘normal’ after I deleted some rogue posts that were attracting robot his - by about 1000 per day.

Dark at 4.30. Bloody depressing.

Friday, 14 November 2014

I might change the name of this blog to 'Black Hole'

Seems more appropriate.

I just deleted the strange post from 2011 that gets up to 1000 hits a day - I'm curious to see what happens next. I'll probably get no hits at all.

The work I was supposed to be doing today was cancelled, after I'd managed to get to the studio early in gale force winds and driving rain.

I did a few things, including archiving - I rationalised about 20 years work and brought it home so I could mirror it onto another hard drive. I also brought plenty of work back with me for the weekend, and my accounts. I had a phenomenal headache so didn't start util about 5pm. To my surprise, frustration and utter horror. The very expensive, 3TB, hard drive with the 4mm thick steel bullet proof case, isn't working. Won't even boot up. I'm fucked. It's full of stuff I can't replace.

This weekend looks rubbish already.