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January on-the-go-compilation

I'm not going to be posting pictures of the physical artefacts this year for my on-the-go comps. They're going to be quite simple, apart from anything else - basic artefacts made from whatever I have close to hand. If there is one thing that is quite evidently true this year it is that I need to move faster, do more and recover more quickly. Everything must be streamlined, timesliced, unbracketed, tightened and shaved.

2017 is going to be a challenge. Anyway, here's January's playlist: little Jo makes up her mind.

tiny tiny kitten why are you so small

As promised, I looked out Scribble's diary. It was rather damp from where he'd trampled through his food bowl, and he seemed to be more interested in chewing than writing. A lot of it is smeared, torn and illegible. However, I did find this fragment:

Today lots of rug play with a new toy that shone a small light into my eyes! It had a string but not as good as the long feathery ones. Hello Lady! made purr noises sometimes and grr noises othertimes. I jumped out of the way of the light which I think was the game! Mostly because no attention sp

kitten photos, lots of themCollapse )

the kitten diaries ride again

For anyone who hasn't seen it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (probably?) or anywhere else, we've finally caved and obtained a small cat from a local rescue centre (kittens domestic shorthair, second down the page - Connie, Chloe and Cleo (the tortie) are still seeking homes, just saying). Naturally, our current cat is taking this somewhat ill. In fact, I found her diary today and it makes for incendiary reading:

dare you read the secret diary of a handsome black and white cat in the prime of her life?Collapse )

I'd give you his diary, but it mostly consists of the word wow!!!! interspersed with purring.

the weasel dream

I woke up from a whirl of strangely intense dreams this morning, including having a meeting with a colleague in pajamas and watching two black cats play in the sun against a mountain background.

But there came a moment when we clearly had to leave the house; the shadows were closing in on us and things were getting stranger and more threatening. I stepped backwards towards the group, and darkness came rolling in towards us. "We have to leave now," I said; and outside it was day, and bright, and nobody objected they just got their things and got ready.

But just as we were going to leave, I noticed a tiny weasel in a long narrow glass tank. It had a piece of string tied round its neck, like a lead, but this was too tight (it had grown while wearing the lead) and it seemed distressed. I took it out of the tank, and carefully eased the knot and slipped off the string. I noticed an even smaller tank it must have grown out of; this one was labelled "miniature weasel habitat". The weasel in my hands wasn't happy to be picked up, but wasn't biting yet, and seemed to have grown since I picked it up; its head was now the size of a walnut, and when I had picked it up it seemed the size of a marble. I slipped it back into its tank - still without being bitten - and we left the house.

But at the back of my mind was worry that we had abandoned a tiny weasel to dark forces unknown.
After my phone's last software upgrade, I was given a checkbox; activate life logging. Sure; why not; ever since ever my life has been recorded. So now my phone keeps an eye on my activity levels (though some of its conclusions are a little suspect - how did I manage ten minutes cycling, when I've not got on a bike in years?) and gives me prizes when I walk far enough. I opened the first few, before I realised that my prize for achieving an activity goal was then, was always, was every single time, an advert for a car. But it's nice to know I've been sufficiently active, I suppose.

In other news, David Bowie is still dead. My compilation for February reflects this somewhat, although I cruelly culled a great many Bowie tracks from the initial on-the-go, mostly for doing exactly the same thing as another Bowie track on the comp. As usual, there were compromises as I got to Youtube, though one of the great delights for any Bowie fan is his early, loving and enthusiastically sharing embracement of the internet. Never in your life will you go looking for a Bowie track and find the Youtube not-really-sorry face; want to see a video of the Bowie? A full concert? No problem, it's all there*. I could literally track down bits of Bowie online for years, I think and never, ever run out

So -- you don't have Taste of Honey by The Chemical Brothers. You've got the feat. Beck track with the weird hollowed out dancer instead (Wide Open). It doesn't have the compelling monotonous perversity of Honey, but it'll do. You're missing the Technova cover of Sisters Of Mercy's Temple of Love but I found a remix from roughly the same place. Red Lipstick (Naughty Club remix) by Vanity Kills is missing and I couldn't even find anything anywhere from the same Vanity Kills (it wasn't the metal band). So you have ABC's Vanity Kills instead, with its nods to (and indeed direct quotes from) Bowie. Extras: Look out for a Country and Western** take on one of the two Tin Machine performances (I've mostly avoided the well-trodden paths, bar Life on Mars) and a very wrenching guest starring from The Polyphonic Spree on a late, late Bowie concert. Here's the full track comp piece.

Initially I thought I'd decided to draw Bowie all wrong -- the wrong colours, the wrong pose, the wrong microphone and inappropriately in the purple rain. But it actually ended up looking quite a lot like the old Athena Postcards (which of course I owned).

*Almost all. That Spitting Image skit where he sings "Jealous Man" to Spitting Bryan Ferry - still missing.
**Yes, Bowie does a voice.
When I loaded my ipod for the new year, David Bowie hadn't died yet. Blackstar was keenly anticipated but not yet bought; and I was still listening to Sparks and especially FFS, dreaming of a wistful West End Post Punk musical set in the decaying music scene of a coastal town that ought to exist but somehow still doesn't. The first week of January was bright with hope; the second coloured with grief; by the third I was immersed in work, nose firmly set to grindstone. Somehow it seemed that very sweary, shouty ladies were fitting all these moods to a tee. Hello Peaches, Viv Albertine, Charlie XCX, Grimes, Gazelle Twin, Sleater-Kinney... Tracey Ullman?

Yes, Tracey Ullman. The video for sunglasses features Adrian Edmondson (in swimming trunks) in what I can only call a muddled narrative, reminiscent of that awful short-lived series which made modern videos to match classic tunes. Rather better is the doom-laden Sparks video - and the Kone video may appeal to fans of typography, minimalism and bright colours. Peaches and Grimes are vying for best dressed; I think Peaches wins, by a nose. Okay, it's not a nose. You've got quite a few live performances, as I was definitely picking from the bottom third of the albums this month, but I'm disinclined to apologise, especially as the version of Carrickfergus by Bryan Ferry is actually better than the one on the album (oh the harpist!) I had to sub in a couple of tracks after being presented with Youtube's copyright not-very-sorry face, so you have the still-in-the-same-vein but not as sparky Memphis Tennessee instead of Just Like Eddie by Silicon Teens, and Grime's Artangles has been replaced with the rather less chilled (but nevertheless awesome) Kill v. Maim.

The sleeve is an adaptation of the Penguin Cover of The Case of the Borrowed Brunette by Eric Stanley Gardner, design by Romek Marber. Here's the original. The reverse (not shown) features a piece of the Pelican paperback cover of Brown's Social Psychology of Industry, which features part of 'Junges Madchen vor Maschinen' by Raphael Delorme. I have a bunch of old covers from broken books waiting for similar treatment.

hashtag hourlycomicday

February 1st, in some ways, is the true new year. Not for businesses and accountants of course; their new year has now lagged so far we won't see it until April 1st. But in this ever denser, more productive, more intensely filled-in world, even the average individual isn't getting everything done by the end of the year. Take last night's yoga, for example (featured in the comic, if you want to see the position that made me go *ping). It was teeming with people. I'd expected that of the first yoga of the year. But maybe actually, it's this week sees the resolutions cracking in - the changes that people want to keep. I wasn't thinking that straight when I started on #hourlycomicday (it was 6.30am, for starters...


we don't need pencils where we're goingCollapse )

... and in summary, I have a little pain, in my shoulder. I could blame it on falling over last week, or the death-grip of the mousehand, or injudicious dolphins during yoga. But actually...

I know that feeling.
Friday light night was a bit of a washout, so apologies to people who I a) encouraged to go or b) tentatively planned to meet up with (damiancugley for sure). We got off the bus and freshly iced rain sheeted down, accompanied by slap-in-the-face gusts of wind. Attempts to shelter in doorways or get under cover resulted in us being chased out of fire exits because timscience had a cup of (very nice) mulled wine. Eventually mulled wine was finished and ruffled fluff was smoothed by an earnest young man with an enormous camera asking to photograph us listening to a Memoryphone, probably because of the fairy lights round my hat. If I ever turn up that picture I shall caption it with what we were saying at the time which is "Is this one just recordings of silence?" and "No, I think the storm broke it." We never made it out to the most distant Memoryphone (outside the Said business school we thought? The map was a bit abstract) but we had already stuck our heads in three of them by that stage (big head-height metal gramophone horns which burble away in themed soundscapes from different cities - church bells, museums and which look very much like a public information service for canal locks from a world where we like posters less and listening to instruction more) so it made sense to stick with the OCM Sound and Light Trail despite the weather.

It was scattered. We squelched up to the Natural History Musueum for Phantom Field, which ran really well on a dark windy night, Cicadas (arranged in a tuned circle in Wellington Square, with and enboothed DJ sparking up the excitement whenever people turned up) and then yomped back down to Pembroke College for Piano Migrations and Music box migrations, which were enchanting, magical and somehow appropriately seeping and sticking in the rain - after all, migrations don't stop when the rain comes down. (video links so you can see what's going on)

migration music box swallow piano
sparkpipes windphones

We caught a glimpse of the light-up umbrella spectacular in the Castle complex, but none of the parade, and spent a blessed ten minutes warming up in the Museum of the History of Science, watching projections of Northern Lights through the brass instruments. It was good, but without the contribution of the BEST PIE it would have been a sad cold end to the night. As it was we ended the night full of beef-chilli-cheese pie and the sort of chocolate brownie that suggests someone took a really long time getting it just right.
So, my four day's enforced leave have been pretty good actually. I've thrown a bunch of crap out of the studio (including various pens I never really got along with), done an underwear audit, nuked the toilet into some form of cleanliness and finally got a bloody haircut. On the fun side, I also watched Cinderella (drippy; scary; not enough villain), an experimental ballet/juggling show called 4x4 that was fresh from the Fringe (oooh gosh very experimental) and up-and-coming band Autobahn play Guardian's gig of the week, which as usual for Oxford was an empty room full of electrical fail. But once the guitars were mended, it was awesome!!!

Other things:


I got out the 3doodler again, to try making little black birds. This one stands up! And then I decided it was probably time for another weekly strip, now I have a tidy workplace to work in.

That's not at all recent -- if you look at the file names this one dates back to 2013, but the colouring was today and an attempt to work fast. I soundtracked with a Skrillex album as it was included on Prime. Unexpectedly, some of it was orchestral. But I think it did help me to work fast.

May compilation - all about the NO

Yes, I know it's September, but I got hacked off while setting up the May compilation playlist (I'd inadvertently included a rare remix of a song that is nigh-intolerable in every version available on Youtube) and between that and the broken scanner it sat sadly semi-finished for months. Visually it's an uninteresting piece. The cover is meh, and the only modern video worth a watch is Blur's Ong Ong (there are classics from Blancmange and Untravox, although both may lead you to marvel at how far video technology has advanced in the past twenty years). But as an exploration of the Negatory it is quite interesting, in particular the barnstorming Catch 22 from ravers Sheep on Drugs, for which I broke my five minute rule (it's worth it). Here's the full playlist:

If you fancy a listen, here's the Youtube playlist. I've subbed in a Marsheaux remix of Client for the Cherry Stone remix which is NOT ON YOUTUBE, which works OK, but for ARMS - well, only the Passion Pit remix would do: