Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Connections & Beauty

What i like about life and the internet, blogs and emails, is the new connections we make around the World, that just would never have happened in the past (thanks Tracey for the fermenting email).
I had an email from my friend Clay in Georgia the other day. We've been working on a book together, on and off, for a while now. The book is getting there, i'll share at some point, but more than the book it's been nice to have the communication with Clay. A talented man with many interests and a shared one in music. Our communications always involve some sort of music sharing angle... started off by our love for a bit of Van Morrison.

Anyway, this time Clay tipped me off to Benjamin Clementine and this lovely little video.... and subsequently La Blogotheque's youtube channel, lots of other great music, nicely filmed.

and a bit more of him

Friday, 20 March 2015

Halfway Between Useless and Potential

Busted this old gem out the other day. Great album by Malcolm Middleton.
Brilliant songs, brilliantly funny sad songs.

and to prove my point!...

Monday, 16 March 2015

Molina Day

Jason Molina 16th Dec 1973 - 16 March 2013

Friday, 13 March 2015

I Made Butter!

... In a jar!!

Thought i'd see if it was true, could it really be that easy, just a bit of agitation? It was.
I just put some thick double cream in a jar and shook it for about five minutes. First it just thickens, then it goes to that kind of clotted cream and stays that way almost unmovingly so. I stopped for a bit and wondered if it could go anywhere else, then picked it up gave it a few more vigorous shakes and then liquid appeared. Liquid and a hardening, slighly yellowing mass, slooshing and thudding around eachother.... Butter!!... and i'm presuming, butter milk.

Just like that, cream to butter. Give it a go just for the experience. How have we lost touch so badly with these simple components of everyday life. Just so detached.

Sauerkraut and now butter, have really helped me wake up to how much stuff we can simply make. It's like magic, alchemy and i love it. I was looking at water kefir today, but i'm put off by the amount of sugar involved in making it.

I'm going to spend the rest of the year exploring other new things to make and ferment.

Butter!! Ha.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Me on TV!!

Blimey, time flies!

It's been a week since i went up to Manchester to appear LIVE on Blue Peter to collect our Blue Peter Book Award for winning the Best Book With Facts. What a whirlwind!

It was great to finally meet up with the author Andy Seed and talk shop.. and Bullseye!! (another old TV show, Andy was on it once and i was very jealous!).

I just about found my way to the correct studio in time, though no thanks to any of the reception staff at 3 of the BBC buildings. Straight into practicing my line for a question i hadn't been told yet! Anyway, it all went pretty smoothly and hopefully my nerves were tucked a little under the surface.

Me, Andy, Malorie Blackman (childrens laureate), Pamela and Thomas.
(photo borrowed from Thomas' facebook page!)

It was also really nice to meet author Pamela Butchart and illustrator Thomas Flintham, who won the Best Story. It was funny when Thomas turned up with his long hair, beard and glasses! I even had the same colour t-shirt, but slowly cooked myself in my top as i had already been mic'd up (Thomas later changed it anyway, but it was a similarity too far!). You should go and check out his fun website, lots of lovely stuff!

It's utter madness in those TV studios, so many people and cameras and cables etc, all in one pretty compact space. They do a great job of putting it all together.
I managed to get a few photos from the day... i won't put them all up!

Radzi striking a post show pose

All go backstage. Writers, Publishing rep and twitter!

Thomas with his trophy, brotherhood of hairy illustrators!

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted, but now it's back to the real work, I've got a books worth of Here's Hank art to deliver in just over a week. 57 illustrations, they're going well, but the count never seems to go down!!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

We Won!!!!!

Amazing! The Silly Book of Side Splitting Stuff, won the Blue Peter Book Awards best book with facts!!!

Congratulations to Andy and all involved at Bloomsbury. Also I'd really like to mention the designer Claire Jones again, i think the design and her fantastic cover design had a big part to play. I think it was a very child friendly book.

Haha, we won!!

I even get to go on Blue Peter later today, wish me luck!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Nearly Time

Thought I'd just remind you of The Blue Peter Book Award again. Not long now until we'll know who the children voted for (please be us... please be us!). You can find out on Blue Peter, Thursday 5th at 5.30-6pm on CBBC.

Anyway regardless of who eventually wins they're all great books that kids should go and read. Books themselves are the real winners here and anything that can encourage our children to read and enjoy books should be applauded!

Here are the three books from the Booktrust website:


Jenny Broom
Illustrated by Katie Scott

Shortlisted, Blue Peter Book Awards

Take a leisurely wander through a marvellous museum of animals with this book endorsed by the Natural History Museum. There are more than 160 different animal specimens to discover in its pages, which are laid out in the style of carefully curated museum exhibits.
Publisher: Big Picture Press

Corpse Talk: Season 1

Adam Murphy

Shortlisted, Blue Peter Book Awards

Corpse Talk, the 'show that brings the dead famous to life' is a comic style history book that introduces the reader to historical figures. Acting as the interviewer, artist and writer Adam Murphy digs up the bodies of famous people from the past, and interviews them in a talk show style. He asks both about what they are famous for and also how they died. The comic illustrations show Adam interviewing the dead as well as snippets from when they were alive, showcasing the moments that they are known for.
Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff

Andy Seed
Illustrated by Scott Garrett

Shortlisted, Blue Peter Book Awards

Ever wanted to know what kind of animal an aye-aye is? Or how much gravy the boot of a Mini Cooper Convertible can hold? What about which country's residents dine on maggot cheese? You can find out all the silly things you could ever want to know in The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff.
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Monday, 2 March 2015

Oh, and a little interview...

This interview is on the Booktrust website along with others from the Blue Peter Book Awards shortlist.

Scott Garrett on The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff and being nominated for a Blue Peter Book Award

29 January 2015
First of all, congratulations on making the Blue Peter Book Awards shortlist! What's it like being nominated for a Blue Peter Book Award?
Great! … I only wish I'd written it!! ... and I hope I get a badge.

Can you tell us something no one knows about The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff?
The jester on page 43 was inspired by Mr Claypole, who used to be on an old children's TV show called Rentaghost. He used to really annoy me!

Do you think you would have enjoyed judging a book award when you were in school?
Yes! Although I was never very good at reading at school, books took me ages to read.

The Blue Peter Book Awards turn 15 this year - which books were you reading when you were 15?
It's hard to remember exactly, but i guess whatever we were reading at school, so probably Romeo and Juliet, alsoJude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy.

In fact I remember drawing the little boy Jude sitting in a train carriage. I had a brilliant English teacher called Mr Strange (that really was his name!), who always set projects that had a drawing option. An English project where I didn't have to write!

I loved drawing  and thought I was getting away without having to do any real work, but he was much smarter than me and realised this was the way to get me involved in the books. He was right and I'm reminded of him every time a publisher sends me a manuscript to illustrate. Mr Strange was a smart man and a great teacher (I read lots of books now). This book is for Mr Strange (Peter).

If children enjoyed reading your book, what would you recommend they read next?
Hmmm…they could read the other one, The Anti-Boredom Book of Brilliant Things to Do. That has awesome pictures in it too!