Thursday, 30 November 2017

November 2017

It is still early days but I am remaining strong in the face of winter. Busy helps. Lots of busy. Maybe too much busy?

Kier came to stay, and took me and Alex to see Jane Weaver at the Trades Club (our local, impressively good, small venue). I’m not particularly a fan of her work but she was weirdly intoxicating live, helped by a pretty stunning visual show. I had fun.

Kier achieves the special accolade of being one of few people who have been to visit TWICE since we moved! Clearly can’t get enough of the north, that boy.

Yeah, I keep falling over. (Although since drawing this I haven’t fallen over once, which is a relief, maybe I’m not totally losing my dignity) (Did totally lose my dignity at least 4 times in the last month though)

FREELANCE FEARS! (Things have picked up since I drew this though, and long may they continue to do so, because I am not good at dealing with uncertainty)

In that (very brief) quiet window, and needing to occupy my brain, I threw myself into a few too many personal projects which I am now desperately scrabbling to wrap up in time for ridiculous self imposed deadlines. Yay!

This is not a great drawing but I just wanted to share that Danny Brown was just INCREDIBLE live, like, top 10 shows I’ve ever seen. Absolute hero.

Lovely Saturday outing with Grace and Vicky, friends from my North Wales college days who’ve both ended up in Manchester (only 45 min from Hebden Bridge!)
We’ve all been so busy this year it’s taken time to find a moment for a proper catchup, but so glad we are now.
And then Justin’s friends Nick and Ailie (and their two beautiful whippets) came over for dinner, which was very lovely.

Some days you just feel some kind of way

But then inevitable crushing comedown of course

I am running and it’s still not fun, but it’s SOMETHING and so I persist. 10ks more often now. Feeling strong.
Also, making friends! I met Sarahjoy at Quaker church and she’s GREAT.

In my early attempts at Hebden Bridge friend-making I started going to the Ladies Circle. It's kind of good but also kind of like a cult maybe? I'm not quite sure but they sometimes do fun stuff and I sometimes still go, and life drawing is great, I really need to go more often.

So much live music this month, what a joy… Lapalux, Iglooghost, Daedelus (twice), Jane Weaver, Danny Brown, Teebs… Just when I’d started thinking I was getting lazy about going to shows, I have been super motivated. Teebs was GREAT and super endearing too. Such a joy to finally see him live after so many years loving his work.

Very much enjoying the work of Hot Tod Hot Dogs and Hot Sauces, my new fav local food people, who have started running pub-up vegan hot dog kitchens at various spots… For the next few Wednesdays they’re going to be at our local (and best pub in Hebden Bridge), The Fox and Goose, hmu if you wanna join me sometime!

Sometimes it’s like this.

My Sundays when I’m not off having adventures have fallen into a particularly lovely routine. I get up and take Charlie for a run, then go to Quaker church. I potter through town after, check out the charity shops, grab some groceries, and then get a Burrito from my other local food hero… Uh, the burrito guy? I should really learn this name. Anyway, I eat my massive burrito, catch up on all the chores I’ve not had time for during the week, then wash my hair and refuse to leave the house again for the day. I’ll usually then cook a big tasty Sunday dinner for Alex and Justin, and all is well and right with the world.

In the interest of balance…

Sarah and Megan came to visit for the afternoon! (Sarah is one of my oldest school friends and it’s still VERY disconcerting to me that she has a child. We’re grown ups, aren’t we.)

Got really excited about Pocket Camp, the new animal crossing game on iPhone (still am quite excited tbh). This is a terrible drawing, because I WAS PLAYING TOO MUCH POCKET CAMP (In all honesty I was actually playing not nearly enough pocket camp because of other commitments like WORK and DOG WALKING and HOUSE TASKS, UGH)

Dog ownership, eh. (Charlie loves sticks. Not having them thrown for him, just selecting them off the floor, or having them suggested to him, and then happily carrying them along for a bit)

Yay mum time!

So here’s the thing. We have to move out of our house in the middle of next year. I am turning 30. [whispers] it might be time to think about buying a house. I am tentatively looking at houses. I have fallen in love with a house that might flood. OH DEAR.

(Also it snowed and we went to the Todmorden Lamplighter parade, which, for Brighton locals, was a bit like the Burning of the Clocks, but kind of… maybe, better, and easier to actually see the things?)

Still thinkin’ ‘bout that house. It’s amazing you guys. It’s decorated like the ultimate grandparents house and initially I liked it ironically, but actually I think I like it for real. Someone has decoupaged pansies around the bathroom door. It’s got about 5 different varieties of ever more garish pub carpet throughout. It has THREE TOILETS. It has a room that appears perfectly designed for skyping and hiding and crying which I’m calling the Skyping hiding crying room. It’s spread over four floors and has two front doors. It has THREE TOILETS FOR GOODNESS SAKE. And if I just hold off on the avocado toast for a couple of months maybe I can actually afford it (with some fairly heavy help from my parents, hello)

It’s TMI time, but I just wanted to say that if you’re a lady and you’ve never tried out a moon cup (other brands available) because you think it’s too gross, but you’re still using pads or tampons, please let me tell you that you are straight up WRONG every alternative is like 100x grosser and I have no idea how I got through my teenage years without one.


(But seriously, hello Brighton, hello December.)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

October 2017

On the first day of October I was like ‘hey, maybe I should do Inktober!’ And then did an ink drawing so terrible that I immediately decided not to. I’m not going to share that here because it’s TOO TERRIBLE. But anyway… Inktober was a thing started a few years ago by one artist who wanted to return to trad hand inking skills by forcing themselves to do a drawing a day for the month. Since then it’s expanded massively and at this point, isn’t even strictly about using ink (although lots of people still do), and isn’t even strictly about analogue processes, with some people working digitally… It seems mostly about creating a drawing a day, and as I reminded myself after my inky failure, I’ve been doing this EVERY SINGLE DAY for coming up on 5 years now.

So that made me feel less bad about failing to inktober, given that, really, I am inktobering anyway just by continuing this drawing a day project, and in fact, I have been inkvembering, inkembering, inkanuarying and…. Anyway, you get the point.

I was trying to explain this whole project to someone who I admire creatively earlier this month. He is prolific in his own creative endeavours and I wanted to make it sound like this super cool thing that I do, but fear I ended up just sounding incredibly egotistical, at one point suggesting that if I manage to keep this nonsense up until I die, maybe someone will take all my silly drawings and put them in an archive somewhere. (I still do hope that might happen. Egotistical though it is.)

Anyway, I did another shitty ink drawing on the second just to confirm I wasn’t cut out for this inktober malarkey, and then abandoned the entire attempt on the third and did a collage…

Over the last few years I’d built up a fairly hefty stack of loose leaf drawings — all my freelance commissions, personal projects, things for Alex, things for my main job… some really intricate, fiddly stuff that I obviously wanted to keep, but some stuff that was just sketches or basic scans to be improved digitally. Finally had a sort and got rid of the stuff that wasn’t worth keeping, and put the stuff that was worth keeping into a much more easily searchable folder system. Further source for smugness.

Our friends Dan and Zoë came to stay!

They took Charlie out for a very long, very muddy walk, and I LOVE it when people do this for me, because walking this doggo 2 or 3 hours a day gets tiring for me and Alex and Justin, and it’s so lovely to have other people do it every once in a while. (Obviously guests are not obligated though, please don’t feel like I’ll force this on you if you come and stay)… Ridiculously, even though I love it when people do this for me, I also kind of miss it/Charlie while they’re gone, there’s NO PLEASING ME apparently

It’s all been smugness so far this month, but ALSO MAYBE I AM AWFUL. I don’t know. Sometimes I become filled with the fear that I am actually terrible in some way, and sometimes several of those terriblenesses come to breaking point at once and I do a sad drawing about it. Spending too much money on nice things for myself while the world burns? Check. Too many selfies? Check. Staying up too late doing pointless internet browsing? Check. Becoming listless/distracted because of lack of sleep and making basic errors at work? Check. Turning down social engagements because of anxiety/laziness? Check. Also Alex says I’m ‘Full of hate’, which I dispute, but will accept that maybe I have a slight hate overspill sometimes.

But you know what, maybe I just needed to be gentler with myself for a little while. Eat better, sleep more, work a little less, make time for lovely things. (Not going to say I’ve fixed everything but sometimes recognising you might be awful and remembering to try and change that is half the battle — the other half obviously being actually changing, which is... harder.)

Also, much though I am a persistent rain complainer (rain is one of the main things Alex thinks I am filled with hate for, and they’re right, because I am), I quite like Autumn. Everything gets quieter and smaller and my wardrobe always works best for this time of year. I like the chill in the air before it gets properly cold and I like the distant smell of bonfires and dead leaves and winter.

Justin has watched most of this year’s Great British Bake Off with me (and Charlie) and it’s been nice to have someone to share it with. (I still haven't had a chance to watch the final though so no spoilers please!)

Alex ended up getting entered into the Yorkshire Carcassone championships… It’s played with draw-3 rules, and a chess clock, so we did a bit of practice using these rules and it is SO MUCH MORE FUN that way. Highly recommend. Also the local pub sometimes serve bangin’ momos but on a super ad-hoc basis, so it was a delight to FINALLY get some in my belly.

Caaaannnn’tttt connnncentraaaate because I’m tooooo excited

About going to London again! I love London.

Had a lovely meander on Saturday with Alfred before he transformed into Daedelus for an incredible Village Underground lineup featuring him, Lapalux and Iglooghost. I really really suck at late shows but somehow managed to stay standing up and even dancing until 3am which I have never managed before and will likely never manage again, but guys, IT WAS WORTH IT 🙃

After a lovely Sunday, Monday was time for (somewhat) serious-business-face, with a couple of work related meetings and a couple of fun related meetings. Some of my best people are in London so it’s always a treat to make it down there. That was the day of that nightmarish desert sandstorm which turned the sky a nauseating shade of yellow too. Briefly convinced it was apocalypse time.

I’ve definitely mentioned this on all the social media channels already, but we’ve done a reprint of our old house’s vegan cook-zine, the Maison D’arc Manche cookbook. Previously it was full colour print but we’ve switched things up to riso, so it’s kind of cooler and kind of weirder, and double the recipes in one! HMU if you want a copy, I’m selling them for a fiver inc. postage (and I’ll be selling them at zine fairs in the coming year!)

Little repeat pattern pondering.

I went to Cardiff for a couple of days 20th – 22nd. Land of my Fathers, innit. I’ve only actually been there once before, almost exactly ten years ago, to visit my then boyfriend for the first time. I have a lot of FEELS (good ones, but feelsy ones) around the place as a result of that, and this going back was kind of a chance for more of that. I drew some drawings about these feels which are kind of good but also kind of terrible and maybe also kind of personal so I’m going to keep them to myself (I kind of regret drawing about feels when I could maybe have drawn about buildings or weather or music or food or any of the other wonderful experiences I had over the weekend, but ho hum, the heart wants what the heart wants)

Got back to rain rain rain. While I was away the flood sirens had sounded in Hebden (initially just as a test but then for real). This place is basically ALL RIVERS so it’s hardly surprising how flood prone it is, and we knew this when we moved here, but still. It’s kind of terrifying how fast those rivers fill up sometimes.

The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge do Thai food a few nights a week and it’s amazing and cheap and nourishing and has never failed to make me feel about 5x better than I did before I went in (plus, despite only having lived here 9 months you ALWAYS meet people you know in the Trades which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how social you’re feeling)

After my couple of weekends of too much fun in Cardiff and London (but more specifically, many hours spent on public transport), I succumbed to the inevitable. Snot. And feels. And then more snot and more feels.


Feeling a bit (but not much) better, heaved myself over to the Egg Factory to hear the lovely Sarah Corbett talk about her book/movement ‘Craftivism’ (which in all honesty I was a little cynical about, but now I think she’s doing great work, you should check it out). Tried not to cough all over everyone.

Went back to the Egg Factory the next day for Amanda’s birthday and mostly lurked in the corner with Amy eating loads of cake and watching people play ‘bat the ferret down the trousers’ 👀

FORGOT HOW CLOCKS CHANGE WORKS and ended up atop a large hill in the middle of nowhere with Charlie in the dark. (Alex saw this drawing before I added the caption and thought I was quietly having a breakdown, but it’s okay, it’s literal darkness not metaphorical darkness, I’m actually fine)

Elly and Jak came to stay for a couple of days but I was horrendously distracted and still quite ill and not really a very good host, SORRY GUYS

Just done a day of November and it’s going okay so far. Fingers crossed for forward momentum and good things to come...