27 December 2010

2010 review

I do this same quiz every year.

1. Was 2010 a good year for you?


2. What were your New Year's Resolutions and did you keep them?

See previous entry.

3. Do you have any New Year's Resolutions for 2010?

See previous entry.

4. Where will you be when 2010 ends?

Watching Sonic Youth & Shellac in London, unless I keel over before then.

5. Who will you be with when 2010 ends?

Almost everyone I know, it seems

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

7. Where did most of your money go?

All the boring things in life.

8. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Pavement re-union

9. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? dramatically thinner. This isn't a good thing
iii. richer or poorer? poorer, about as dirt poor as it's possible to be

10. What do you wish you'd done more of?


11. What do you wish you'd done less of?

wasting my time on pointless things

12. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent it lying on my stomach groaning/asleep. I got good presents, but it won't be going down as one of the good Christmases.

13. How many one-night stands?

Nil. In fact nil to any kind of love life.

14. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't really hate people.

15. What was the best book you read?

David Sedaris- Someday Me Talk Pretty

16. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Warpaint, Best Coast

17. What did you want and get?

To start my MA. Freaks & Geeks and Daria boxsets. Fisheye convertor. Amp not made in East Germany, and without dodgy electrics.

18. What did you want and not get?
Most things in life

19. Favourite film of this year?

Nowhere Boy. I didn't go to the cinema much.

20. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 25. I was supposed to have a Twin Peaks party, but it got cancelled because the snow stopped anyone from coming to Brighton. I had to go to work on my actual birthday because I didn't dare book holiday because I was in trouble for missing work the previous week because of snow-related transport problems (not the most reasonable of bosses). I didn't have any cards or presents to open because the snow had stopped them arriving. After work, me & Vicky had some Japanese food and watched some films. At the weekend we went to an MEN gig and I got very drunk and danced with JD Sampson. My presents arrived 2 weeks later. I had fun, but it could've been a lot better.

21. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Where shall I start?

22. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
The same as usual. I wouldn't say I'm particularly adventurous with clothes.

23. What kept you sane?

24. Who do you miss?
My own self in more cheerful days.

25. Did you make any new friends?
Yes, I did. Lots of good people on my MA course.

26. Quote a song that sums up your year:

"What did you want to see? What did you want to be when you grew up?"

27. Where were you when 2010 began?

In Reading with Chris and the two Bryonys.

28. Who were you with?

see above

29. Did you fall in love in 2010?
30. If yes, with who?


31. Are you still in love with them?

32. Did you break up with anyone in 2010?

Yep, boyfriend of 4 1/2 years.

33. What was your favourite month of 2010?
This is hard to say. There is no real candidate for a good month.

34. What was your favourite record from 2010?

Merriweather Post Pavillion- Animal Collective

35. How many concerts did you see in 2010?

Not as many as I'd like to have. I saw a fair few though- Pavement, Matt Groening ATP, Marble Valley (Steve West's side project), MEN, Melt Banana, some friends' bands

36. Did you have a favourite concert in 2010?


37. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2010?
Bouts of heavy drinking interspersed with none at all. Doctors don't like that answer. Can't drink at all right now though.

40. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2010?

41. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2010 and change something, what would it be?

Most of the things that were crap are things I have no control over. I probably wouldn't have wasted any time on some totally pointless things, but then you only realise how utterly pointless it was with a little hindsight.

42. What are your plans for 2011?
Do as I like, not as I think I should. (This doesn't involve bank robbing or puppy drowning)

New Year's Resolutions

I'm doing this a little early, but never mind. I'm in the mood right now. Every year I look at the resolutions I made at the start of the year, and see if I kept them, and then make some new ones. Sometimes it reads more like a to-do list, but I guess that's just how my mind works.My life is kind of a blank slate at the moment, it's both crappy and freeing at the same time.

2010 New year's resolutions:

1) Be more social - I sort of kept this one, I was certainly less hermit-like, but lack of money and anxiety problems kept me inside a bit

2) Keep in better touch with people- I think I managed this one

3) Trade more zines, send more letters and mix cds/tapes- I traded quite a lot of zines, not enough mix cds

4) Get better at baking biscuits and pies- didn't happen, although I did start to master the mysterious art of the french macaron

5) Use up that giant box of fabric- halfway done

6) Take more portraits of people for "serious photography", as opposed to "serious" landscapes or snapshots ...of people- not really

7) Fret less- HAH!

8) Work my way through my love film list of obscure classics- still to be done

2010 was not a good year for me, and I certainly didn't complete the list of resolutions. Oh well.

Resolutions for 2011:

1) Pay off credit card. Debt is like a millstone round my neck. No debt=freedom

2) Get a job that doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out, and doesn't pay peanuts (helps tremendously with no 1)

3) Throw myself into creative work. Now is the time. Being productive also makes you feel better.

4) Get back into the swing of being a good penpal. Non-bill letters are always delightful to receive.

5) Get back into good health. I'm a bit of a medical disaster zone of late.

6) Try to visit at least one of my lovely friends scattered round the globe who have invited me to stay, whose offers I've just been too poor to take up.

7) Remember that other people's insecurities are their problems, I don't need to tippy-toe round their fragile little egos whilst feeling guilty about it.

8) Read lots of interesting and thought-provoking books. A selection from the 501 books book I've got will be a good start . I've also got a guardian end of 2009 list somewhere which was stuffed full of interesting things.

9) Make good use of the fact university has a J-STOR account, and keep myself updated with research in the fields that interest me (classics, history, archaeology, art). Sometimes I just wish life were peer-reviewed.

10) Avoid stagnation. Don't plod.

11) Continue to learn how to hand-typeset and get good at it. Improve book-binding skills.

12) Finish unfinished projects and stop procrastinating.

26 December 2010

Xmas haul- Stephen Fry book, Daria boxset, book of vintage fabric designs, macaron book (more baking should be like a lab experiment), fancy headphones, writing paper, sticky letters hello kitty sunglasses and gouache (thanks Tukru), eaty stuff, some toiletries, giant reflector (need to iron the silver and gold covers).

Also got a delightful illness and spent most of yesterday asleep and today lying about going ugh.

17 December 2010

Pentheus & the Bacchae film- proposal for my next uni project

I wrote this proposal for my next project at uni to send my tutor. I'm doing an MA in Sequential Design. Basically I can do anything I like, as long as it's based on storytelling in art, and after the term I've just finished, you have to set yourself your own projects. So here's what I'll be working on after Christmas (subject to any changes suggested by my tutor)

So this is one of the films based on Ovid's Metamorphoses that will make up my major project. It's going to be an animated film about 3 minutes long, animated with paper cutout puppets done in the style of greek vases. It's one of the nice blood-thirsty Greek myths.


My next project is based on a section of Book 3- the story of Pentheus & the Bacchae, I'm going to use the Euripedes play http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bacchae as a base more than the poem though, because I like that version of the story better.

Basically Dionysus rolls into Thebes with his chaotic entourage, Pentheus the local king refuses to let the people go and join in his rites, and has Dionysus arrested. Pentheus interrogates Dionysus, who puts a spell on him not to recognise the god, and Pentheus gets nowhere while Dionysus plays with him. Dionysus then uses his magic to escape the palace, causing it to fall down in an earthquake. Pentheus is unharmed, and when a mysterious messenger (ie Dionysus in disguise) arrives and tells Pentheus that the women of Thebes, including his mother, are in the forest with Dionysus making milk and honey spring out of the ground, decorating their hair with snakes and tearing cows apart with their bare hands, he wants to go and investigate.

Dionysus persuades Pentheus to dress up like a woman to infiltrate the women-only rites. Pentheus goes into the forest, and climbs a tree to get a view of what's going on. Dionysus then turns up, and points out Pentheus to his followers, who rip him apart with their bare hands. Pentheus' mother, still under the spell, goes home with his head as a trophy, until the spell wears off and the horror of what's happened hits her.


One of the ideas often used to analyse the story (more in later times than in contemporary Ancient Greek thought though) is to have Pentheus representing the Apollonian side of the Apollo-Dionysus dichotomy, but with Pentheus as a pale over-rigid copy of Apollo, who is usually Dionysus' equal.

Pentheus represents order, sobriety, the city, hard masculinity, logic over emotions, and the desire to impose order and logic on the chaotic, but without the lightness and power that characterises Apollo. He's the king in the hierarchical structure of a city, with the women under his authority, and under the impression that he is truly in control. He wants to organise and control things because he is afraid of disorder, not because it's in his nature like Apollo.

Dionysus represents disorder, magic, altered states of consciousness, wandering from place to place, acting on pure intuition and emotion, and loose associations rather than hierarchies, and is always accompanied by his group of Maenads/Bacchae, women totally removed from the standards of behaviour expected of them in Greek society.

I want to emphasise this aspect in the aesthetics of the film. Bacchae are a common decoration on Ancient Greek wine amphorae, and I'd like to have the film in the style of the vase paintings. There are two types of Greek vase painting, red figure (black ink backgrounds, terracotta people) and black figure (terracotta background, black ink people), and I'll use the different styles to represent the two different aspects of the story.

The city will be represented in red figure pottery, it's the later style and was considered more sophisticated at the time. I also thought the smooth, featureless black backgrounds are a good fit for the feel of the city.


Black figure pottery is the older style, and I thought the rougher look of the natural terracotta would be a good fit for the wildness of Dionysus.


Initially the city scenes would have the black background, and the forest scenes the terracotta background. When Dionysus is being interrogated though, the city background will change to his colour to show that's he's in control. When Pentheus' mother recognises what she's done, the colour will change back to the city colour.

There won't be any dialogue. I'm planning to have greek words appear and disappear, like the lettering on the pottery, with words from the play, but not for people to understand or read (unless my audience turns out to be surprisingly hot on their ancient greek), mostly for aesthetics, but sometimes for storytelling effect. When Pentheus is firing questions at Dionysus I want the words to continue appearing in Pentheus' colour, even though the background has changed to Dionysus' colour, to show how he's trying to assert control (and failing). The words will also be really tiny and packed in to show how pointless his words are, to contrast with Dionysus' lack of an answer, and self satisfied smirk. When characters appear, their names will also appear in slightly scattered letters round their head, like they do on the vases. This will also be useful for identifying Dionysus when he's in a disguise.

So the story will be told mostly through the movement of the characters, and also with sound. I've written a lot of theoretical/historical stuff here, but I want to be able to use the look and feel from the art historical context to communicate the feeling of the story to the audience without any prior knowledge or explanation being necessary to understand it. Hopefully this will work.

I was researching ancient Greek music, and I've got no wish to do some historical reconstructed thing with the sound, but to take a couple of aspects from it.

I happen to have two harp type things, which can be tuned however I want, which seem an appropriate instrument to use. The Ancient Greeks had strong ideas about what scales/tunings went with what kind of settings, so my idea was to borrow some of those ideas to also increase the contrast between Dionysus and Pentheus

I think Dionysus' bits would be tuned in the Phrygian mode http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_mode#Ancient_Greek_Phrygian_mode
It was named after some mountain people in Asia Minor (where Dionysus is often said to come from in stories) who the Ancient Greeks found a bit strange and exotic, and they thought listening to music in this mode made you wild and excitable. To modern ears it sounds a bit sinister, and it gets used in jazz, which sounds about right for Dionysus.

Pentheus would be in Hypodorian, because that was associated with military matters. Also the harp-thing's already tuned like that. I think his bits will be in more rigid rhythms, and Dionysus' looser.
A - B- C- D E-F-G- A

I haven't given much more thought to the sound- I'm going to do all the animation first and then do the sound afterwards to fit in. I know I want an eerie silence when the Bacchae look up to see Pentheus in the tree.

(this bit was aimed at my tutor, but hey, might as well be you fine readers too)

So what do you think of that so far? The way I've explained it does sound a little theory/background heavy I know, but I can picture it in my head how it looks and is, and it will be easier to show when I've done sketches and a storyboard. I'm hoping to have it finished (or nearly so) by the review of work day, because I've got a lot of free time coming up after Christmas.

Toy Theatres

Here are some pictures I scanned from a library book about toy theatres. Click on them to get bigger versions.

09 December 2010

Cinderella Syndrome


I was set a uni project where I had to retell the story of Cinderella in some new way. I ended up producing a picture book of the Ugly Sister visiting her psychiatrist. I decided to do illustration because I don't draw much, and I don't feel confident about it, so it was good to force myself to draw the whole thing. I drew the people 1920s style just because I felt like it.


1- "So, tell me what's on your mind ..."

2- "She wasn't actually invited, but she had to come anyway, because it's always about her ..."


3- "Hmm ..."

4- "So she shows up, and we didn't even recognise her at first. I don't know where she got that dress from, but I know she couldn't've paid for it ..."


5- "Go on, my dear ..."
... what's the time ...

6- "That stunt with 'accidentally' losing the slipper, it was pathetic ..."


7- "And the worst thing was that all the papers dubbed us 'The Ugly Sisters'"

8- ... a clear case of hysteria ...
"Ah, yes, a very interesting case ...."


9- "And so she sells her sob story to the press, we didn't have to take her in you know, not the least bit grateful ..."


11- "Anyway, and then he turns up, slipper in hand, totally taken in by her little act ..."

12- "Some of the lower class papers falsely suggested that there had been some kind of toe-cutting incident, but the social humiliation was bad enough in itself"


13- He'll see through her soon enough, mark my words, and then where will she be?"

14- "Same time next week?"
... another two guineas ...

03 December 2010

Lots and lots of reprinted zines

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So I reprinted loads of back issues of my zines.

Prices in GBP
B&W 1/4- £0.65
Colour 1/6- £1
B&W 1/6- £0.50
Colour 1/8- £0.50
B&W 1/8- £0.20

Flat rate postage for as many zines as you want:
UK postage- £0.70
Int' postage- £2

Or use Etsy
(I recently changed my Etsy over to GBP, so some of the prices might be weird unround numbers still, but you can now shop in the currency of your choice)

Buy 2 1/4 zines and get issue 9.5 free, buy 4 1/4 zines and get a free mix cd (picture below)

UK people only- you can also send me an SAE + a loose 1st class stamp to get a zine- email me for the address

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Free mix cd if you order 4 1/4-sized zines (I did them for the Alt Press Fair, and I had some left)

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 13.5 / Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell 11.5 SPLIT
Tukru came round my house and we made a mini split zine in one evening.
1/6th 24pgs b&w £0.50

Hot famous people
True Blood
Elliott Smith
Aubergine Parmaggiana recipe
Pleasant guitar tuning.

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Some of my side

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Some of T's side.

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 13

24 page quarter-sized b&w zine £0.65
The pains of learning ballet
Equally painful school drama competitions
Panda cake recipe
Lists of stuff

Essentially the same moderately entertaining rubbish I usually fill my zine with

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 12.5
1/6th b&w- £0.50

Here's the zine I made for my second year of the 24hr zine challenge. You have to make 24 pages in 24 hours, with no pre-planning allowed. It's about the best gigs I've ever been to, my best bargains at charity estate sales and crosswords. 24 pages. 24 pages, 1/6th size

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 12
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

*An interview with myself that soon turns into book recommendations
* Haiku ode to Papa Hemingway
* Guide to collective nouns for birds
* My days of selling software to the nuclear industry
* Monthly lists of small pleasures

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 11
24 page 1/6 colour zine- £1
This time I've concentrated on pictures.

Longing for spring
Pic n mix sweets

Fanzine Ynfytyn 10
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

Ireland Special!

This one's about my road/rail/boat trip to Co Cork in Ireland in the September of 2009 with a 11 piece country band called Dolly & the Clothespegs. Features midnight ferry rides, colcannon and wonky Dolly Parton covers

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 9.5
12 page 1/8 zine- free when you order 2 1/4 zines
1 evening handwritten super-mini zine about Canterbury

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 9
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

That time I didn't dance with Kathleen Hanna
Thinking about charity shops- things I always look for, special things I'm currently looking for, things I would like complete sets of
Tribute to those 2p machines on piers
Review of my childhood ambitions- how far have I got with them?

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 8.5
24 page 1/6 zine- £0.50

This is the zine I made for the 24hr challenge in July. 24 pages in 24 hours. It's a cute square pocket sized zine with 24 pages and articles about:

* buying a ridiculously impractical bike
* trying to learn to like gin
* vegan stirfry recipe
* assorted top 5s about important stuff like the Fall and cakes
* doing a stall at the London Zine Symposium
* accidentally eating bacon when I got given the wrong order (I've been vege for 10 years)

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 8
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

This issue's mainly a sort of musical history of my life. Also features seagull hate page and souffled omelette recipe.

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 7
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

The strangest English teacher possibly in the world
Story of the 8 Emperors
Brighton Pier at Sunset
And much much more!

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 6
36 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

All Tomorrow's Parties festival
Pete & the Pirates Interview
Lists of Small Pleasures
Really Delicious Brownie Recipe
And much much more!

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 5
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

about children's music lessons and other strange occurances

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Fanzine Ynfytyn 4
24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

short stories, reasons to not visit Reykjavik in January, and photos of the Eden Project

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24 page quarter-sized zine- £0.65

about the time I spent studying in Budapest

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Imaginary Uncles 1
12 page 1/6 zine- £0.30

I started writing 100 word descriptions of imaginary uncles as a pleasant time waster on long train journeys. Here's 4 uncles with drawings

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Pobble Eh Come 2.5
16 page 1/8 zine- £0.30

cut 'n' paste nonsense

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Oh For Olives
16 page 1/8 zine- £0.30

cut 'n' paste nonsense

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Polazine 1
16 page 1/8 zine colour- £0.50

tiny photography zine of fuji instax photos

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Flick set with more page details


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