Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Put my photoshop skills to good use ; )
Have a great Christmas and i'll see if anyone is still reading blogs in the New Year!


Simple Pleasures

I can't tell you how happy these 3 little darts can make me. This is how long it's taken me to get another 180 (it was July). It looks so simple when you watch the professionals! I plan to make it a little less rare of an occurrence ; )

Friday, 19 December 2014

Albums Of My Year

Most of these were released this year, a few were not, but they were new to me. These are my top 10 and most listened to albums that i came across in 2014.

1. Benji - Sun Kil Moon ( a classic from Kozalek)
2. Colfax - The Delines (ditto)
3. Singles - Future Islands (can't get this one out of my head or off my stereo)
4. Strong Feelings - Doug Paisley
5. After The Disco - Broken Bells
6. Royal Blood - Royal Blood
7. Husky Rescue - Ship Of Light (dropped of the stereo a bit these days, but got a lot of early play)
8. Out Cold - Invasion Of Love
9. Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Sun - Damien Jurado
10. Haw - Hiss Golden Messenger

and a special mention of the Magnolia Electric Co. 10th anniversary reissue with a great demo version disc.

also a nod to my mate Chris Kasch, who continues to turn me on to quality music.

The Winner! Benji by Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bit Of George For You- Rewild The World

This is a couple of years old now, but i watched this George Monbiot TED Talk again the other day and thought I'd share. The reintroduction of wolves and how they even effected the course of a river is fascinating. I do like a good TED Talk.

Monday, 15 December 2014

More Dads!

If you're bored of them, look away now!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Yep, It's Come To This...

Look at this poster by the local fire service (I'm not even going to get into the design aspects, what's going on with the typography ghost?!). Me and Marky saw it the other weekend and couldn't quite believe the message. Maybe just don't drink and cook would have been a better angle (though I couldn't endorse that! cooking's just that bit more civilised with a glass and a good tune). This was more like just keep drinking, but forget about the cooking part... Get a takeaway! Haha I still can't believe this is a public message. No more cooking, nourishing your family, get a take away it's safer! Well, we all like a drink ; )

Look forward to the ambulance services poster in a few years when people start dropping left right and centre!

Sweet Jesus... "get a take away!"

We're doomed!!! Idiocracy!

Monday, 8 December 2014

New Ferment On

Yep, got my ferment on again last weekend, what a lovely way to spend some time. Much slicing and shredding. Two huge cabbages helped create this batch. Recreated my last one that was so good, with the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds and chilli. Then I took it up a notch and made this one which is still just cabbage, onion and carrot... But I made a spicy pepper paste, which got mixed through. I hope it turns out good, tasted great at the time.

I managed to make two jars of this, each on holds 1 litre

I'm definitely into this sauerkraut and kimchi vibe, it's so simple to make, really tasty and very good for you and your gut. The first batch of red cabbage that I made is now coming into its own. It's taken a month, but it's good. You've got to be patient with these krauts, especially as the weather is cooler. I've got a hot pepper sauce fermenting away and I'm leaving that out for a good month before I give it a blitz and refrigerate. The ones I just made should be good by Christmas. Now go make some kraut!

I used a beetroot end as a plug on top, i thought it would add just a little deep red colour,
but it's really going for it!

Bulk version of my last kraut, about 2 litres worth

Friday, 5 December 2014

Blue Peter Book Awards!

The Silly Book of Side Splitting Stuff has been short listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards, as one of 3 books in the Best Book With Facts category! Well done to Andy Seed and all involved at Bloomsbury! I've posted about the books before, they're great fun to do and working with Claire at Bloomsbury is always an absolute pleasure. Let's hope it wins!

(For those of you around the world who don't know what Blue Peter is, it's a long running kids tv show and a big deal to all of us who grew up with it.)

You can watch the big reveal of the shortlist here, it starts around 19 mins in.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Hifest 2014

The first Hastings Illustration Festival takes place this Saturday in the Atrium of Sussex Coast College. It promises to be a good, fun, illustrationy day out! Me and Griff are going to be screening our animation short 'Wish List' and talking a bit about it too. I believe that's at 1pm in a side room somewhere. Anyway it gives me a chance to share it again here! If you're in the area try to come on down. There will be lots of fine wares to pick up before Christmas, lots of prints, cards, books and much more. You could even take part in a collage workshop run by my good mate Martin O'Neill of Cut It Out Studio fame, or pick up one of my studio buddies, Tim Marrs, splendid prints! That's the hard sell done for this year. I look forward to catching up with my fellow illustrators. See you there!?

WISH LIST from GRIFF on Vimeo.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Clay Owl

Got the clay going again, hooray! Started with a little slab cylinder which i paddled out to this body shape. Just wanted lots of bit's and lumps for the thin white slip to run over. Not sure yet what i'm doing with the windows on the base, probably a bit of sgraffito of some kind. I just wanted to make a little plinth for him to stand on.

I feel weird when i make things with no function, even if it doesn't get used for it. I was going to make a lid, so something could go inside the plinth, but then i decided to just keep this one simple, get it done and move on. I want to get this clay thing going again and make good pots, so i'm going to have to blast through some stuff and try and solve the problems along the way. The problem with it now as opposed to back when i was making the pottery before is now i know much more! I know what to be fearful of, all the things that could go wrong, all those little problem areas.
Also, now i want much more, better pots. My standard has sky rocketed, but my skills haven't. It's going to be a struggle, but i'm just going to have to do it. Suffer with me!  ; )

Anyway, it's a start and it was so nice to lose myself in the making process. It was good to be back!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Crippled Black Friday Procession

In honour of the madness that is Black Friday, which we now do over here even though we don't do Thanksgiving! WTF is that about?... well, i think it's pretty much the monster that is Walmart. Not quite happy enough with their billions, they've now got their English branch ASDA working overtime for them. It's not even a national holiday here, but people are out there fighting over a flat screen tv for a few quid less!

Anyway, thought I'd roll with the Blackness and give you two bands to listen to. The Black Heart Procession (love them!) and Crippled Black Phoenix. Enjoy!

Phantom Poodler

Got another couple of streets in the pipeline, along with providing free bags to put the stuff in. Here's one of the signs in action. I need to make them a bit more resilient, i should have put this flat onto the metal fence behind, but thought that might make it more likely to be taken down!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Well, they're not going to win any design awards, but they'll do a job. I just bashed these out and started putting them out there. Surprisingly of the 4 i've put out so far, 3 are still up. I think that one was just your common drunkard trashing! Anyway, it was something. Got to try and get local people to think and perhaps take back bits of their own community. Got to do something to finally reduce the amount of dog shit on our streets (which happens to be next to a primary school, which makes it even more maddening!). I added the #loveyourstreet just to make it look a bit more like an active anti-dog-poo campaign and not just me putting up a few doodles! #youforgotyourshit 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Taking To The Streets

I promised I'd try and do something about the amount of dog crap on our local streets at the start of this year. I haven't. I had ideas, but got stopped by all the practical issues. I was focusing on pavement presence, but that's very tricky... it's not a substance that's easy to interact with!

Anyway, i was walking to the studio the other day when i saw these simple signs down one street. Probably just one individual who has also had enough. Councils and whole communities seem to have just accepted it, given up and just resigned themselves to shitness. These basic signs caught my eye though, it felt like it was community endorsed, just because there were a couple along the street. I thought it must make any dog walker think twice about not picking up any crap, they would know someone cared, they might even be watching. I don't think it takes much. It just takes a unified community. If no one accepts it then i'm pretty sure it would reduce dramatically, but if they think no one cares, then why pick it up?

Then the next day i saw this little flag on the ground. It made me smile because a couple of weeks ago i had stuck the yellow one below into a small pile of crap at the same place. They'd obviously seen it and were inspired to make their own! I have a comrade on this street. It's also made me re-think using these little post it note and lollipop stick flags. 

I know, not the cleverest slogan! but every time i'd see my scribble i'd smile.
I like it's bluntness, it's so basic it works. It has a ring to it.
I could see it catching on, so feel free to use it in your neighbourhood!

So i'm in my beta-testing mode. I decided to stop thinking, searching for a perfect solution and just start trialling things on the street. See what sticks. I know there's another street that has a sympathetic soul on it, so I thought i'd follow their lead and knock out a quick set of signs i could laminate and fix up along our street. So that's what i did and i'll post about those next.


Monday, 24 November 2014


Isn't it weird that we don't get this kind of information shared at school. That we couldn't possibly handle different approaches. That it's not a definitive single approach. It's these kind of things that always excite me. I do like numbers... Unless they relate to tax and my accounts. Can't stand those!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Great Ferment!

I don't have a photo of the final kraut, just this one when it was freshly made.
It all settles and packs down, reabsorbing that liquid. The red from the onion leaches
out to give the kraut a nice soft colour too.

Cracked into the second batch of krautchi that i made at the weekend and it was SO good. It's just so easy and yet so tasty. I absolutely recommend you get this stuff on the go in your kitchen. I'm going to still be playing around with mixtures, but i will be making a double batch of this one again soon.

 It was 1 white cabbage, 1 red onion, 1 carrot, 2 cloves garlic, small piece of ginger, some dried chillies and about a tablespoon of coriander seeds. I sliced the cabbage, onion, garlic on a mandolin, grated the carrot and finely cut the ginger. Just put all those veggies in a big bowl and sprinkle on about 1 tablespoon of salt (Himalayan pink for me). Then crunch it all up with your hands for about 10 mins, until it's dripping with juice. Then i added the seeds and chilli, mixed it all through and packed it down hard into my jar, you want it all covered with the liquid. Cover it with a couple of the outer cabbage leaves (give it another shove down with your knuckle) . Leave it for a couple of weeks... or more. Done. Easy!

My first kraut that i made at the class was ok, but i was expecting more in the flavour, more fermented. It just tastes like nice cabbage in a very mild brine. I can happily eat that, but it's lacking.
I shall just leave it longer and see how it changes. This newer one was just more like i was expecting. It has a good zing to it. The small onion definitely helps for me and i love the little coriander hits! I've been mixing the two krauts together, which also works for me. Going to make a fermented hot chilli sauce this week i think.

Tracey has more fermented stuff going on her blog too at the moment so pop over there and have a look.

Or head over to Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation if you really want to go fermental!

Monday, 17 November 2014

What A Bunch!

Some of you might recognise this one. Thought it was only polite to join our motley crew ; )
No one's safe! #schoolrundads

Friday, 14 November 2014

Dad #7

You can't go wrong with a bit of high vis.

Monday, 10 November 2014

A Rare Night Out

Went to see The Delines again last night. Back on tour and playing just down the road from us in Bexhill at the De La Warr pavilion. Amazing band. Had my parents down for the weekend, good to see them and have my Dad as resident handyman for a weekend...then the house goes to shit until the next visit!
Anyway, it meant that me and Jakki got a rare night out together. Had a chat with Cory (keyboard and trumpet) after and you might like to check out his other cool music project on bandcamp.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

My Morning Commute

The Sea was very still this morning and the sun shining, so i did a loop down and along the seafront and back up to the studio. You forget what you've got somedays.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Happy Bonfire Night *!% *.....*!

From the archive. Bonfire Night, 5th November, Guy Fawkes, fireworks etc etc.

Original Parallel Universe, created for The Sunday Independent's Review section.
I really miss having that weekly spot, wish i could find another one.

You can see more of my revised range of Parallel Universe at Yellowhouse

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Got My Ferment On!

The Fermenting class was great, it took all the mythology out of making kraut and lacto-fermenting food. Made it normal, human and even gave it a political edge, which i liked. Taking back control of your food. Forgetting the big boys of food production. Grow a cabbage, use some salt… that's all it takes. Anyway, both me and Mark are now solidly into the idea of fermenting. To not fear bacteria and over rely on the fridge. It's ok to store food outside of a fridge and promote bacterial growth, good little microbes working away for the benefit of your body. I'm ready to make my next batch and mix it up a bit, while i wait for this one to ferment sufficiently. Then i think i'm going to explore Kimchi. I'm going to need Sandor's help for that one. Sandor Katz is the guru of fermenting foods and has a great book, which is seen as something of a fermenting bible. I'm going to have a good read and see what else i can make (well, once i borrow it from Marky!). I'm that little bit more inspired to get growing my own produce next year now, but that has it's own set of obstacles to overcome… small plot, lots of shade and walls on all sides, which seems to have created a snail/slug haven. Shit!

the green is lettuce leaves that i used to stop the cabbage rising to the surface
and it's weighted with a small glass jar filled with water.
I should have just used the outer cabbage leaves, but they got discarded earlier. 

.... and i did make another batch! I wanted to keep the ball rolling. This one has white cabbage, carrot, red onion, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds and dried chilli. One head of cabbage makes about a litre of kraut, once you pack it all down. I'll leave this one for about 3 weeks. The red one i'm going to start eating this weekend and see how it is.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

My frightful family! I'm a bit wobbly when it comes to face painting, but i think I got away with it ; )

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Being Human

Funny and deeply depressing at the same time. What's wrong with these people and their thoughts about everyone else? Everyone should get paid decently for the work they contribute. This is key, less profits and much fairer realistic wages. The balance has all gone terribly wrong. It is paradigm shift time. We can't just keep on accepting it is how it is because it can't be any different. I'm hopeful that we are all starting to see beyond that. Russell Brand gets a fair amount of stick for his efforts and daring to make money from a book!... but he gets it out there and you can't argue with someone basically asking us all to be fair, kind, look after each other and be a bit nicer, rather than just look after yourself, make as much as you can, and shit all over others to make it and then punish them for having less than you! .... and how nuts is that woman!?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


I know I've posted some from this album before, but I'm forcing it on you! I've listened to this album so many times this year. This song has really grown on me, it's an amazing song, amazing stories, all in the space of 6 mins. That's the power of a good song. Great writer and musician. familiarise yourself with Mark Kozelek, Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters. (He was also in the film Almost Famous, as the bass player in the band)

I'm also adding this live version of a song from the same album, Benji. It feels so portentous.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Double Dads

It's half term now, so no playground drop-offs and pick-ups. I was giving you blog readers a break from the School Run Dads, my twitter followers were not so lucky! Here are a couple i never shared with you. I'm going to keep them going for as long as they still entertain me, but i won't share them daily. I'll accumulate a good few then batch them up. I'll probably put them all together as a section on my website at a later date.

It's fun keeping an eye on the dad fashions. It's making me look and focus on what and who's around. This last one i actually know, he seems like a nice guy. His name is Morgan and it was a gift when he walked into the playground in these red chequered trousers. I'm assuming he's working in a kitchen somewhere. Obviously it doesn't look that much like him, but that's not the point! I just enjoy pulling them from my memory once I'm back at my desk.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Food Fermentation

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a food fermenting workshop which takes place tomorrow just down the road at Moose's Kitchen. It's being run by Darren Ollerton of Ferment Revival for Octopus Workshops. We're going to be making sauerkraut and hopefully learn some cool stuff along the way. Been reading a lot about fermentation this year on root simple and the Dervaes family's Urban Homestead. Old school methods of preserving food, a useful skill I thought. I'm also being accompanied by my mate, gardener Mark, my permaculture pal. If you're not already reading his blog please do, His Own Two Feet. He writes great posts full of thoughtful and useful stuff.  I'll report back on how it went and what we learnt.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Tattoo Triptych

I've been messing with these simpler, thicker pen drawings. School Run Dads included. Also looking at my old sketchbooks threw up some old ideas, which triggered a mini set of 8 so far, but there are many more. I just felt these three hung together best, mainly due to colour. Hell, the third one isn't even really an idea! I just made a drawing i liked. That's about all i'm asking for from my work at the minute! It's testing little paths to see which ones want to open to me. In the past these would have been a starting point for me to focus in on and draw up a little better. The bird tattoos would have all been drawn up. Not now. That's enough for just me. Commissions are a different beast, different expectations. I'm still not satisfied, but these kind of images are placating me... for the moment.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wish List - Money Box

Wish List, based on a traditional earthenware money box in Hastings Museum. This drawing was sitting there next to the little pig image of previous post (the stump he's sitting on is also a rustic tobacco jar in the museums display). I was working on doing a whole sub-set of Wish List based on the museum's collections.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Ok. I'm back in business. I finally have got around to getting some new clay. 100kg of the lovely stuff. Not your potter's Tonne, but then i'm not a proper potter! I'll settle for my 100kgs, lots of ideas to finally start making, got to get back into the feel of it. Got to get that electric wheel running and start fulfilling the promises i made to myself. Got to teach myself how to throw good pots. It's got to happen this time. Wish me luck. I'm going in!

Friday, 17 October 2014

School Run Dad #2

Another quick, from memory, drawing of a dad in the playground yesterday. Let's see if i can keep these coming.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

School Run Dad

Saw him at the school gates the other day and just had to get a mental drawing down. Pale camo waterproof "suit" with over sized trainers, all in pristine condition. I'm more used to his platform boots with metal toe caps and long leather raincoat look, I think that's what caught me out the most!  He's about 6ft 4ins tall too, so he stands out! This guy actually lives just up the road, but has never said a word to me.. not even a nod of acknowledgement.

Oh, i told you my drawings were getting simpler!! Don't think i can boil it down much more ; )

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Mess We're In!

Yeah, I wish!

Trying to figure out the workings of modern day companies is clearly beyond me! I  spent 40 minutes of maddening discussions and eternities on hold, trying to sort out an obvious solution (only to me, apparently). I'd done 15 mins before I was cut off the first time and after 40 minutes (but getting no nearer to a sane solution) i was cut off again! Fuckers!!

How did it come to this? How do systems and procedures get so fucked up, to the point where the person on the other end is almost uncomfortably laughing at the craziness of what they telling me. Systems, diversions, no one department accountable. No one is accountable anymore... and it doesn't seem important to anyone to be so. My problem isn't huge. It's just a fridge freezer that struggling after 5 months. The manufacturer was happy to send an engineer, but then they don't have one in our area. Anyway, they were happy to take it away and replace it. A note was sent to the company that sold us it… it couldn't be that simple though! They will collect the old one and after 7-14 days will refund the money.... But no replacement! I have to actually buy a new one and then wait for the other refund! What?? Are they living in the same world as me? If i fucked something up and had to do it again imagine me billing for it twice! And telling them it's ok, I'll pay them back for the first fuck up in a bit, when it suits me. Imagine. I'd be out of work pretty soon ( not that I fuck up, my clients love me! ; -)

Nuts! It also leaves me with no fridge or freezer between them picking it up and a new one coming. I guess I'll just stop them picking it up until I have the new one (paid for twice at this point!). They don't care about one customer, their business will go on. All i can do is get my money back and take it elsewhere. Just not deal with them again, not give my money to them again. that is my protest, not that it means a shit to them. It would if everyone did it though!

I'm shocked by the nonsense of it all… and how it didn't seem like nonsense to them! I even tried to get them to authorise Jakki, so she could help deal with it. I couldn't do that over the phone, they'd have to send a letter for me to sign and return! I told them that was pointless, the issue would be dealt with within the day. I asked them why the 'security' questions to confirm i was the account holder were even asked, if i now couldn't authorise someone else. Surely they just proved i was the account holder!! Why even bother with that layer of bullshit if it means nothing? They laughed uncomfortably again. You see how a system develops with absolutely no logic. It's just how it is. "it's our policy".

Bullshit. Time for monster companies to go. There's a lot of anti corporation sentiment around and it seems to have been building fast over at least the last five years. Times are changing, it's not just radical, fringe thinking anymore. We've been sold a pup. If we can't change it we just have to ignore it, turn our backs to them. Give them nothing to feed off. Let the monster wither. Decentralise, localise, deal with your own town, things you can actually change. I'm fed up with it.

As to the bigger issues, if companies paid more to their employees and paid their due tax, we'd all be doing a lot better. The government is scared to tax them and then subsidises their low pay with benefits to help working families survive. Double bail out. We're effectively paying to supplement our lousy salaries! Ridiculous. Pay folk more money, they'll start to buy stuff and support other people running businesses. Forget growth. Growth is over. How can you keep expecting to make more year on year and not shit on people along the way? Am I ranting now? Oh. Fuck it. You can't sell school shirts for a £1.50 and trousers for £3 and not expect there to be misery somewhere along that supply chain. People buy them though (we buy them!). Thats changing. I'm starting to change. People buy them because they're not getting paid enough, they can't afford to shop consciously, ethically, see how it all works? It's pissing me off and it's not just because of a fridge! Honestly after those phone calls I wanted to go stick my head in the oven, but then the oven probably wouldn't have worked either! What a world we've created. Let's start taking it apart again. I think we can do better.

Vote BLANK. Have you heard about this? We'll have our election next year. I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the idea of not voting, I always vote, although i understand the thinking behind it. If you make another mark, or comment on it, it's a 'rejected vote'… but if everyone just left it perfectly blank and placed it in the ballot box it would be acknowledged. You acted, got up, went along and posted your vote. If there was a massive turn out and say only 40% of those were for all of the main parties… well, i would hope that would send out a strong message and be the start of change to the current system.

Friday, 10 October 2014

More From The Past - Sketchbook

Thought i would share some more from these old sketchbooks of mine. These are from the same notebook/sketchbook, Life Behind Glass - 2001. I wanted them to show up here bigger, but sometimes i have an issue with blogger's sizing. Too big and they clash with the side bar, but then the other option seems a tad too small. Oh well, just click on them to see what they say.