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RIP Harlequin Day 2009-2018

Harlequin on the Bed

The artist's cat is dead, alas.

Who will wake me from my nightmares now?
Who will bat my fairy lights and call me down to breakfast?
Who will join me on the sofa?
Who will chase the bubbles I blow?
Who will be my gentle, neutral topic of conversation at work?
Who will doze in the garden?
Who will spread havoc until she is forgotten?

Background and foreground, front and centre, in the main action or just for atomsphere, she was a cat always passing in and out of comics. See you in the funny papers, Harlequin Day.
It's been kind of rainy this week hasn't it? The perfect week for whichever amazon delivery service it was to have a brainfart and just leave a package near to the front door. Hope it's wrapped in plastic! I said, as I hoiked it in out of the dark/wet/cold and definitely still drizzling night. It wasn't. But this is not the true horror. As I tossed the sodden package into the bin and tossed the hopefully ok item (it was) at Tim, I noticed some muck falling from it. On closer inspection, these were small, black slugs. I scooped them up and slung them out of the door. Then I thoouught to check the package. Turns out whatever Amazon cardboard is coated in, it's irresistible to slugs. There entire underside of the package was black, writhing and teeming with slugs. It was like the beginning of a horror film. It was disgusting. It was in the blue bin before rational thought was even engaged. And then the checking for and disposal of the stray slugs. I found one the following morning, dead and flattened on the kitchen floor. I guess I'm the real monster here.

Never mind that though, play this! September's compilation is a little less banging than last month's so should be good for Friday listening. Despite the intriguing still, there aren't really any unmissable videos in this lot, so you can just leave it playing an undertab and get all the fun that matters (although the Sink Ya Teeth song towards the end is quite fun because they're a great band to look at as well as listen to).

You have a few substitutions -- the amazing Mondkopf remix of Pieces of You was not on Youtube (though something pretending to be it was, groan) so you have the Baby Monster remix, which is also good, not as good, but good. Minerals by the Evenings (yes, I'm still working through the Oxfordbands pile) isn't up on Youtube in its original state, so you have the Trademark Peridot remix. Peridot is one of my favourite minerals, and this represents a good trade. It can sometimes be hard to find the right Negativland track and this was one of those occasions. Drink it up is just as good as Announcement though, if not better. Oh, and here's the cover:


No playlist sorry. Got to run

inktober round-up post

The decision to participate in #inktober this year was made pretty lightly, to be honest. I didn't look at the prompt list or even think about it much. Most pictures were drawn by starting with a line and seeing where it went, though here and there I did an initial splash or used a bleedthrough from the prvious day. As the month went on, the metal spiralbind on my sketch book (which was a cheap item with fibrous paper not well suited to drawing on with ink) started to debind, cat scratches and hair (my cat found the ink endlessly fascinating) began to build up and the whole thing got a bit smeary. But I had this idea that I had about 30 bottles of ink, and I did; every single picture is a different ink, and most are drawn with different brushes and nibs. It was like unwrapping a new present every day, and while I didn't have much time for the unboxing (2-10 mins typically) I did what I could in the space that I had.

inktober-2018-01.jpg inktober-2018-16.jpg
inktober-2018-21.jpg inktober-2018-28.jpg

the full month, with high click-through detail, should you wish to see how badly the ink spread and smearedCollapse )


These may also appear on my twitter @cleanskies or my instagram @mrsjeremyday.

August compilation: Jump the Glass

It took me a while to get round to assembling my August playlist, but in the end it finally emerged from my mess of bookmarked songs, mostly from my walking commute, a few bus journeys. The local bands resurgence continues, that slightly annoying Underworld/Iggy Pop collaboration features, a few sweet blasts from the past turn up, and there's a random classical track or two, because why not? I'm still drawing "covers" but actually creating the CDs seems a bit wasteful nowadays, so the covers just stay in their sketchpad.

Here's August's:

As ever, we have a Youtube Playlist, but this month I've been less successful at filling in the gaps, so the Red Star Cycle track (that's a local band) has none of the soaring strings that make My Body Bleeds a great track, and you have a boywithatoy remix of the Evenings (another local band) track, which is pretty good actually. Mirror of Dirt from Robot Swans (you've guessed it - another local band) is not as good as the Tao of Dirt. But here are almost all of them:

Sadly, the play-out track is not on Youtube, or if it is, I can't find it. It's Sexy Breakfast's extraordinary track Fade to White (I wouldn't recommend that you put those search terms into Youtube, incidentally) which replays a chunk of the Snowman's Walking in the Air and shoves it, protesting every which way, into a huge throbbing slab of classic Oxford Mathrock. I should really upload it myself, but that'll probably have to wait, er, till after I've built myself an easy music video creator. But fortunately I had two play-out tracks in the original playlist and Fosca's The Director's Cut is a great track, so that's fine.

The videos are uniformly missable, apart from this one:

You're welcome

July on-the-go: into the Jum Jem Gym

2018 is my year of digitising everything; no skips, no excuses. There are twelve shelves on the CD rack, and I'm going through them all. June brought O and the Oxfordbands compilations; July R, and the dubious delights of a folkttronica trio called Robot Swans. Opera, modern classical, punt-based hip-hop, this is the year of listening to it all. This summer also saw the arrivale of the machacha delights of going to the gym; spinning, rowing, chasing pulse rates, spin counts and static miles and metres. It reminded me a lot of playing pokemon, except I was both trainer and monster. There also seemed to be a sinister aspect to the gym; dysfunctional exercisers, the heavy smell of ketones and sour breath, the glances and cross-twitches of comparison, status, attraction, repulsion. So I imagined a trainer gym full of japanese scroll-painting horrors, and it seemed to fit the music.


We have fewer substitutions again this time, as I suffered a benign algorhythmic burp that alsmost seemed to generate the tracks I wanted (literally in the case of Revlon's Muscles I think!) however, you don't have quite the right boywithatoy track, the Nailbomb Cults track is a different (although just as good) slice of speed metal and I had to sub in one of the Robot Swans tracks - but not the closer, thankfully, which may be the ultimate platonic perfect folktronica plaint. I also couldn't find anything by Flooded Hallways - search ghosts suggested some deletion had occurred - but Deeq had a couple of tracks up including the Nemrot one I've included here, so that's covered. Deeq's video's a nice slice of normcore, and the Presets one is kind of dizzying, other than that you can leave it playing in the background unless you fancy dropping in for Pulp, which is accompanied by a film-studenty noirish fan video about escalators and shoplifting sunglasses.

CR ACK gallery

Woke up this morning from a dream about converting a hoarder's townhouse into a gallery. This person, played by a friend (best man Alex) but obviously not the same person, was moving out/moving on but had been something on the scene. His house was full of the fascinating crap that accretes in such places, along with quantities of filth, insects (I discretely moved my feet out of the way of some huge carpet beetles) and the usual decay. The entire bottom floor had been extended and knocked through creating what would be a decent space "but you can't see that right now as there's so much crap against the walls" I told my investor, who was here with the TV crew, because it's not really happening if there isn't a documentary.

Here's a mock-up of what the gallery would look like. The house already had a big crack down the front - and was a well-known party/hangout space for the local arts scene, informally and affectionately known as the Crack House, with that slight frisson of naughty that artsfolk like so much. The idea was to work with the crack and the dilapidation, with minimum intervention for safety and structure.

Upstairs there were two large rooms that would work for installation and performance spaces. The attic wasn't open yet, but that would provide a good project in a few year's time. It was small for a gallery, but two other problem properties, one corridor thin and the other rather larger with good-sized rooms, could potentially provide spillover space, if the deals on those properties went through (they were on streets round the corner, so there would be a little walk between the galleries).

I was pretty excited about this, as you might imagine.

Oxford in May and the Maytenders

My favorite month in Oxford is September (nothing beats that sense of indrawn breath just before the students arrive) but May comes a very close second. The green of the trees, the birds, fresh yellow sunshine on golden stone. This year in Oxford the tow paths are being widened. Each week seemed to bring a different route through the works. Some mornings I listened to the birdsong. Others I took a more parochial route, listening to the songs of my own species.

Here's what kept my feet steady in May:

This is bookended with Metronomy songs; leading with one of their last big hits (I'm Aquarius" and closing with their first ("you could easily have me"). The video for Aquarius is a silly bit of superglam sci-fi fluff; you could easily have me is a manic memeish animal-headed chase scene at least partly set in Oxford, and dates from when they were a local band who performed with cupboard lights on their chests. I was a fan, of course.

Heaven 17 and Jessica 6 provide robotish glamour with that faintly disturbing quasi-fascist edge some high 80s style had. I found a nice performance of Mess Around with an old Ray Charles whooping is up grand style, though the version I favourited was just the one from the calpol ad. McDull (the weird Japanese interlude) was a cult children's animation of some note; I got a CD of it in a pile of library chuck-outs. The songs are weirdly hypnotic. Boys Noize and Negativland bring the politics this time - be sure to watch the videos of Yellow, Black and Rectangular for classic nucleur paranoia and Mayday for surveillance state panic.

Van Demons Allotment

I've been feeling a bit down this month, of what source I don't know. Obviously the denture is bugging me, and I got a bit ill, and I've been feeling the cold (although, as my mum reminded me, it's obviously got quite cold again) and there's a sense at work of a changing of the guard, what with my boss leaving, and a whole bunch of other people leaving, and me feeling like what I'm doing isn't exactly gripping me any more, or isn't quite in the place of what's happening that I need to be operating in any more. I need to not parlay this into leaving though; if I leave near learning I theoretically have to pay back tuition. So for the next 18 months to a year I'm doing what I'm doing, whatever it is that I'm doing. But I feel like I need something new.

So, the allotment. It turned up on the Yammer at work, in the manner of these things, just as I was fretting about a bunch of squash seedlings I'd just germinated and didn't have space for, and a blueberry bush that has outgrown my garden, wondering if anyone with an allotment might want to take them. Instead I took an allotment. It's on Van Dieman's lane, a tiny interstitial residential plot-set of about fifteen plots backing onto gardens with plumbed in water-troughs to fill your watering can (speaking of which, I need a galvanised watering can I can paint DAY on in rough red letters, where do I get one of those? Ebay?)

It's been a bit neglected for a few years, and it does need a bit of work. But the allotment sheds contain communal strimmers and a mower to get things started, and above all, it's a good plot. The previous occupants had left down a bit of weed supressor and the soil underneath was lovely stuff. Here it is:

There's a load of crap in there; paving stones, a sort of compost-y thing, some herb bushes. Discoveries await! Not tonight though because it's bloody freezing.