26 March 2013

The Embarkation at Dover (1520s)

Here's some photos of a painting I like. It shows Henry VIII setting sail for the Field of the Cloth of Gold for his swank-off with Francis I. The pictures aren't the greatest, a tripod and polariser would improve them greatly, but you can still see all the details.

Laine, Wolle

 On Sunday I went to an exhibition about wool at Somerset House with Natalie. As well as the expected demonstrations of things like Fair Isle and weaving, they had interiors and artworks made out of wool.

19 March 2013

Sheffield Zine Fest (redux)

backpack zine distro 

(Jen on the Backpack Zine Distro stall)

 I went up to Sheffield for the weekend with Tukru in tow (albeit on separate cheap coaches), to visit Chella and Sarah and run a stall/workshop at the Sheffield Zine Fest. I had a good time with my friends and meeting new people, but I think I'm allergic to Sheffield. My face and sinuses swelled up as soon as I got there, and by Sat afternoon my tongue felt so big I could hardly speak (not so great when you're supposed to be giving a public talk), and I got no sleep Friday because there was so much pressure on my sinuses. In a photo of me I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I took some anti-histamines and decongestants, but it made no difference. My sinuses and face suddenly deflated on the way back around Derby. I'm obviously allergic to the North. Or possibly steel. I'll have to use plastic cutlery forever. 

My friend Steve's birthday is 3 days after mine, and while discussing how crap our mid-winter birthdays are, we came to the conclusion that capricorn is a crap starsign, and also what is the point of a mer-goat? Does it slither out of the sea to eat your laundry and glare at you with its funny eyes, and then slither pointlessly back into the sea? 

1913 zips 

 Here is Chella doing her important study of zips and other useful things invented in 1913. Looks like there's no correlation. Perhaps it's a sampling error, or a false negative. Let's whip out the chi-square tests and the calculator and feel very scientific and important in establishing the non-significance of the number of zips currently about your person. I'm glad I never have to take another statistics exams. Or at least that is the way the evidence is leading. Perhaps the data is wrong and one will be sprung upon me tomorrow. Fear statistics exams.


 The venue was amazing. It has green carpet like astroturf and is filled with the greatest hits of mid-century furniture. They have a giant slide, but I put off going on it, and then it was shut and it was too late. Story of my life.

Here's the rest of the pics here.

Signal to Noise


On Sunday night I went to my friend John Newman's sound installation at the Deaf Cat in Rochester, put on by the TEA people. There was a Damo Suzuki improv gig the previous night when I was away. I'm sure they organise these things when I can't come specifically to spite me. I also went to watch at their band dating event they put on on Thurs. They got musicians to fill out a profile, then assigned them to a band, gave them 2 free rehearsal sessions, then they played whatever they came up with on the night. It all worked out very well. There were soundscapes and something that sounded like a Talking Heads rehearsal.

  I wasn't sure if I'd be back in time from Sheffield to come on Sunday, but I said I'd take some photos for John if I could make it. He created a script to collect tweets featuring certain keywords such as noise, and then generate sound and visuals based on the text. That was shown, and there was improvisation from various people. I think that's a good basis for bands to work on, get up on stage and join in when you feel like it, then get back down when you fancy a drink.

I brought a tripod and shutter release with me, and a box of tacky 70s filters, because why not. I was glad of the tripod and shutter release, because the cafe had no lighting, so these photos are all about 6-8 second exposures (hence the rainbow sensor dust dots, which I quite like). No-one was moving too much. The filters weren't much good, because they tend to rely on there being points of strong light for their effect. There were William Burroughs films projected at the same time as the improv, but the layout of the cafe meant that they had to be on a different wall than that behind the musicians.

I also managed to do two things I'd meant to do for at least 3 years. Give Matt McN the boxes of sheet film I'd got for £1 each, and buy Shareef's album. Matt has finished at art school, and doesn't have the same access to the large format camera, and Shar's old band broke up, but never mind. Champion procrastinating. Afterwards I went with Bee and Matt to the pub, and drank honey jack daniels that tasted like drinking cereal. Rochester Wetherspoons gives me the creeps.



12 March 2013

Sheffield Zine Fest

On Saturday I'm going up to Sheffield to visit my friends Chella and Sarah and also do a table/talk at the Sheffield Zine Fest. It's from 12-5 at the Electric Works S1 2BJ. There will be around 30 different stalls, and a full schedule of free workshops, including one from my friend Cath on feminism in zines.

Here's the details of mine. Fairly basic stuff, but I've done it before, and people seem to really appreciate it. I wrote a lot of the same info in this post.

Getting Started With Zines- Emma Falconer 2pm
Have you ever wanted to make a zine but didn't know where to start, or started making one and abandoned it for various reasons? The workshop covers tips for getting started, persevering with the project, overcoming common problems and what to do with the zine when you've finished it. The talk aims to be non-prescriptive, and show various different ways of approaching making a zine, and to deal with the attendees' particular wants and needs. Questions and discussion very much encouraged. Please note that the workshop doesn't include starting work on a zine there and then, it's intended more as a springboard to starting your own work.

11 March 2013

I saw mushroom head, I saw skies are red

mush preview

Here's a dress I recently made. I'm not very practiced at taking photos of myself, I'm usually on the other side of the camera, and it felt very awkward (and that's probably why I look so bad tempered). The remote control only cost £3, and has to be pointed directly at the camera, which doesn't help. It also didn't help that I don't have any space to use the 50mm lens, so I had to use the 28mm, which is really not a good idea around faces, especially if you've recently been having sinus trouble like I have, with the resulting puffy hamster face. None of the photos facing front were at all to my liking, and the ones from the back just emphasised my scoliosis, so you're not seeing those either. I still need to finish off the hem and the sleeve edging, I prefer to slip-stitch those by hand.

I made the pattern myself. I had this vintage dress I bought in 2001 and wore to death. The fabric started disintergrating, so I unpicked it, and traced it to make a pattern. The original had a draw-string neck, which I never liked, so I turned it into a gathered, darted neckline on the pattern. The patterned fabric was a remnant from Fancy Moon, with a lining of plain black cotton from a local place. I only had 1.5m of the mushroom fabric, so I had to be very careful about laying and cutting the pieces to make sure I could match the pattern and fit everything on the fabric. For reference, I'm 5ft8 and medium-sized. If I make another from this pattern with a lining, I'll probably add a little more ease into it.

10 March 2013

Werebitches and devils

On Friday, my friends Tukru and Louise had their first gig (for Tukru in 10 years) appropriately on International Women's Day. The band only formed a couple of weeks ago, so it was a bit nerve-wracking for them, but everything went fine. I tried to take some photos, but it was in the cellar of an old restaurant/bar, where you could touch the ceiling and there were no stage lights, so I didn't get anything much usable. On to the next one! I don't know if they'll come to regret being called Sean Bean Death Scene in time.
I also really wanted to see the headliners, Whitedevilwhitedevil. Three of the members, Adam and the Boast brothers, used to be in a local band called Let Our Enemies Beware who I really liked. They didn't disappoint. It was immense.
Here's the song I particularly liked of their set. I also like how the artwork has the lyrics, and the end line of the 2nd song is "Fuck what everyone says. I eat snakes." This kind of stuff is one of the few pleasures of spending time in Medway. I suppose the pure unrelenting grimness of the places produces intensity.

07 March 2013


Every so often I like to write on here about things I like, and why I like them. I've (finally) been finishing my zine about Vienna, and there's a section about Hundertwasser in there, but I didn't really have enough space to say everything that I wanted to say, and in a b&w zine obviously you totally miss out on the colours, which are a major part of his work, so here is a longer thing about him and his work. I've visited the Kunsthaus/Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna quite a few times, and I wrote about one of my visits here. I first came across his work in 2001, when I was 16/17, and bought a £3 book from a discount shop because it looked interesting from a quick flick through. I'm glad I did! All the pictures in this entry are either taken by me, or come from hundertwasser.at. I don't feel like I've really caught  my exact favourites here, but collecting images from lots of different sources and making sure they were all credited properly would have taken a long, long time. Here's an overview of some things.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an Austrian artist, architect, fashion designer and environmentalist. He was born Friedrich Stowasser in 1928 and died in 2000, very famous in Austria, Germany and NZ, but not really a household name in the UK. Sto means hundred in various Slavic languages, so he started using the pen name Hundertwasser, and his first name gradually mutated into Friedensreich, which means "peaceful country" in German. His family were Jewish, but managed to spend the war hiding out by pretending to be Catholics. He joined the famous Akademie des bildenden Künste in Vienna, but found it stifling, and left to travel the world. Originally he was a painter, but he also became an architect and graphic designer, designing a lot of buildings and stamps in Austria and New Zealand (where he eventually was also given citizenship). Strangely he was also a supporter of the Christian Democrat party.

Both his paintings and architectural work are based on concentric flowing organic lines and spirals, with bold colours

What is not but could be if

Here's another 8 tracks mix, no theme this time, just songs I've been listening to a lot lately.

1) Zoom!- Super Furry Animals (see my entry about Gruff Rhys' Separado film)
2) What Is Not But Could be If- Silver Jews (I'm so glad I caught their final tour)
3) I'm On Standby- Grandaddy (about sums up the last few weeks)
4) Dry The Rain- Beta Band (I've been listening to the Beta Band a lot recently, makes me think of being in 6th form. Scary to think that was well over a decade ago.)
5) Like New- Deerhunter (would love to go to their ATP this year, but looks very unlikely)
6) Sisters! Brothers! Small Boats of Fire Are Falling From the Sky!- A Silver Mt. Zion (I didn't get to see them last time they played over here, a pity)
7) Romantic Rights- Death From Above 1979 (More Canadians. Pure testosterone and sweat. Again missed them in 2011. This is turning into a regret list of gigs I've missed in the last few years)
8) Rhoda- Slint (On the other hand, I didn't want to go to their reunion in case I was too disappointed)
9) Paint it Black- Fennesz (Austria's finest. I don't think you'd know this was Paint it Black if you didn't know already)
10) Taschenrechner- Kraftwerk (Auf Deutsch. Übrigens, sie sind besser auf seine Muttersprache meiner Meinung nach, und mit Wortspiele/Witzen die englische Version mangelt)
11) No More Workhouse Blues- Bonnie "Prince" Billy (It's always good to be someone's favourite horse)
12) Dymuniadau Da- Datblygu (This doesn't appear to be on Spotify or available for download easily. Best Welsh language goodness)
13) Gyroscope- Boards of Canada (Not Canadians)
14) Chappel Hill- Sonic Youth ( Again, glad I caught one of Sonic Youth's final shows)
15) Independence Day- Elliott Smith ( Never saw Elliott Smith either. Another pity)
16) Mushroom- Can (I like songs about nuclear war.)
17) Frozen Warnings- Nico (I don't know why people call The Marble Index "unlistenable". I think it's a lovely album. Nico herself was a pretty horrible person though)
18) All is Full of Love- Björk (I should make a playlist about robot love)

03 March 2013

Serious colouring in


For professional colouring in only. It says it on the label, see. Don't worry, I've got a licence now. 

 Here is a highly enjoyable song: 

Mystery film

I found this film at the bottom of a plastic sleeve full of collage stuff. I'd carefully cut round each picture on the negative, so it was individually cut out with a neat border, and I have absolutely no idea why I did it. The orange mask on c41 film makes it impossible to see the picture unless you hold it up to the light, and cutting the pictures out individually from 120 film is a stupid idea, and I would have known better since I was about 16. I first started using medium format film in 2004, when I was about 20, so I really don't know.

In 2004 and 2005 I worked in a photo lab, and you had to feed the film in as strips- individual pics would just get caught in the drum. At the beginning of 2007 I got the film scanner, because I no longer had access to free development, but the film scanner also takes strips of film. You can put individual negs in, but it's a pain to keep them flat. It would make sense if you were doing contact prints by hand, but I have never had the equipment to do colour contact prints. My only guess is that I saw a tutorial for some alternative photography process that required it, and didn't get round to it, but if I'm interested enough to do something I usually do get round to doing it eventually. I don't know, it's a mystery. The photos are very clearly of Reading, and the film is some of the professional Fuji stuff I got a huge bag of for 50p a roll in 2005, and then kept in the freezer for the next 3 years. I just don't know why I took these pictures, why I cut up the negatives so precisely and pointlessly, and what I was planning to do with them. There are a couple more in the Flickr set.

02 March 2013

Through the pinhole

pin 1
Last night I scanned about 20 rolls of film. Here's the first one, some pinhole photos I took in Cornwall a few years ago, using the Diana + (you can remove the lens and use it as a pinhole camera). I think they're of St Ives and Mousehole. They're pretty soft looking, because I just rested the camera on a wall rather than use the tripod. Here are some I took using the tripod and with colour film with the same camera, they're much sharper. I like these monochrome ones though, they're quite eerie looking. 

Storming an onion

Something from my sketchbook- the text in the picture says it all really. (If you can't read it/my handwriting, it says: "Recently I was reading an article which described getting through psychological defenses as storming a castle or like peeling an onion. Here is how you storm an onion"). I debated adding some kind of siege engine, but  didn't have space really.

If you google "storming an onion" you only get one thing- people discussing how to understand an INFJ personality type on the Myers-Briggs system. That's a pity, I wish there were more onion storming about.

01 March 2013

Once it's on you'll never want to turn it off any more


Spending Friday night scanning as much film as I can bear, sorting through unscanned film photos / un-prepped digital photos and listening to Grandaddy. I'd rather be out, but I'm not, so I might as well do this. Three weeks feels like three years, and I'll be glad to have a job again. I bought the film scanner in 2007, and it has probably paid for itself 10 times over by now. Usually the tea goes on the left, but it gets in the way of the scanner. I have a whole set of the penguin mugs, they are the best mugs.

notice board
Here's the current stuff on the noticeboard for the nosy.


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