Friday, April 30, 2010

Janet masked

Zooming about today. To the gym again this morning. Still a very mild mannered workout, but good to be getting back into the habit. And feeling okay about it. Listening to The girl who played with fire on the hulk legs machine. Also putting together the first draft of a press release for This Concert.

In the afternoon, after flyering my Twitten and dropping more leaflets off in The Eddy pub. I called around to Janet and Ken and was given a lovely cup of Earl Grey and much quality chat. Janet discussing her composition using fabrics of Canadian rainforest in her former home of BC. It will have 3D elements and branches will poke proud of the surface.

From there bombed up to town to meet Aimee and Lakshmi in the hotel in Victoria. A good dose of gossip and conversation, not to mention overpriced drinks. Aimee is choosing to stay in Dubai for the time being on account of being a high flier. Tootled home on the train, and met Lorraine who'd been out with work friends.

Didn't need rocking to sleep tonight.

Below Janet modeling a mask she'd made.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Working on designs for A Guernsey Double this morning. Having a free hand in how the book is going to look is great. Although there is a socking Guernsey Arts Commission logo to accommodate. Being art director for a day was good fun, but God it eats time. Also fixed a couple of the poems. It is almost ready now.

Otherwise a slightly sluggish day. Watched the final Prime Ministerial candidate's debate on TV this evening, with Calliope snoozing on my chest. What a loathsome slither of liars: Cameron plastic and vacuous, Clegg plainly a bit dim, Brown a one man Shakespearean tragedy. God help us. When Manchester United play Liverpool I have often felt that it's wrong that both teams can't both lose. But almost miraculously, these politicians all managed to lose their adversarial debate, dissembling away on immigration and economics and tax.

Below a triptych of t*ssers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Gordon Brown, still our Prime Minister, had a lousy day today. Filmed talking warmly to a labour voter on the street, his lapel mic was still working when he climbed into the car and denounced the woman as 'a bigot'. An utterance instantly relayed to most of the UK TV companies. Brown was then driven off to do a radio interview. He was also being filmed, but may not have realised this, as he rocked back in his seat as if punched when the tape was played to him, and buried his face in his hands. His apology was lame. Meanwhile the woman in question, a labour voter all her life, a widow who used to work with disabled children, was furious. Brown was then driven back to her house, where he stayed for 40 minutes and emerged with a weak smile saying he had been forgiven, and that he was "a penitent sinner". There is a fine play to be written about what was discussed in those 40 minutes. This is the day labour completely lost it, by alienating even staunch supporters. Inept is not the word for it. I don't want to vote for anyone.

Otherwise little to report. A long walk today to the garden centre on the other side of town to get stuff to combat the gastropods which are (as Richard and Jane would say) absnailing into my planters. Listening to The Girl who played with fire (follow up to the Girl with the dragon tattoo) on my iPod. A long chat with Matt once I arrived at the garden centre, who was in London meeting a guy who is conducting one of his pieces. Home and giving my study and house a much needed tidy and general chuck out of stuff. Fiddling about laying out the programme for the concert too this morning.

Phoned First Matie to wish her happy birthday. Will see her over the weekend. Spoke to Lorraine this evening who had been with Dawn and her daughter tonight. Apparently the word on the street is that I'd gone down quite well at Downs School. Most of the evening given over to loafing and watching football on TV. In fact I only worked for a few hours today, and it was good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back on the treadmill

Working on A Guernsey Double. Still some last minute fixing to be done, but now near enough completion to send off to Bob and Jane in Guernsey for some comments.

Also caught up on a backlog of billing.

One good thing is that I have taught myself over the last few weeks how to use my CorelDRAW software, which is allowing me to lay things out and design stuff.

To the gym for the first time in ages today, having been debilitated by a chesty affair that simply would not cough off. Starting very gingerly, and feeling atrociously unfit, but it felt good to be ingoring people in the gym again.

Off in the evening to go to a local poetry night called Desperate for Love. An interesting night, and I enjoyed young American poet called Elizabeth Guthrie the most. The poetry was lapped up by the regulars, although I naturally had my reservations about some of the work, which makes for good discussion afterwards. Still about 100 times better than watching TV.

Had a few chats with people about This concert during the interval, and handed out some of the inevitable flyers. Some people already knew Matt, and one woman said Adam the vibes player was her hero, so this was made it a much easier.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A flyer foray

An 8.00pm start on some advert copy for my lovely French clients, which was all done by 1.00pm. Matt called around at lunchtime and we went off for a flyering foray. Once you start looking you realise that there is hardly a square yard of Brighton that isn't already postered, or any ledge in a cafe or pub that doesn't have promotional material piled there. We added to this general marketing noise, Matt taking one side of a lane and me the other and popping into the shops and leaving flyers where we could.

We wound up in The Basketmakers where were able to put posters in the toilets, and leave flyers there. It would have been rude not to have had a cheeky pint so we did, sat talking to a retired teacher called John at the bar before going our separate ways. Me popping into The Batty to flyer and poster there too.

A quiet night, with little to report. Bastard snails are already after the marigolds I planted yesterday. I swear they can jump.

Below an A4 poster the Landlord put in the gents of the Basketmakers. Lovely.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chilling out

A marvellous feeling of relief, that there was nothing hideous or demanding to be done today. Walked home from Lorraine's house to feed Calliope. Encountered lots of police and a St George's day march -- which seemed to be a thinly disguised fascist gathering, which provoked a few scuffles as the day progressed. I wanted to punch their heads as I walked past. Later I could hear these geniuses outside a pub near the station shouting In-ger-land! In-ger-land! And, I think, Sieg Heil!

After Calliope fed, I returned and we drove up to a garden centre next to the racecourse high above town. Mist rolling in from the sea, and Lorraine and I mooched about looking at plants. I bought some for my window boxes which had been reduced to rotting sticks by the snow and frost. I opted for mainly yellow things, so lots of small marigolds, plus some orangey red geraniums, and a selection of yellow plants for bedding, plus some dark red verbina. Also looked at fishes, as there was a Maidenhead Aquatics up there too. Tempted by chanda ranga, Indian glassfish, which I have only seen recently in shops, but eventually thought better of it.

Back to my place and a happy hour spent with Lorraine supervising the planting of my plants into window boxes. Calliope happy too, barging about ambushing things while we worked. Lorraine gets a weird delight putting her hands into soil.

Lorraine returned home, and I spent a happy evening anticipating watching Match of the Day where Chelsea beat Stoke by 7-0 and regaining their lead of the Premiership by one point from the evil Manchester United. Anton trying to hex Chelsea's season by prematurely congratulating me on Chelsea winning the league.

Beset today by a rare feeling of tranquil happiness. All is well in my Pooterish little world despite below thugs and idiots outside the station.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fantastic voyage

Lorraine drove me off to hospital today after I had employed a home enema kit. Not too long later I had the dubious pleasure of having a tube inserted where the sun has never shone. I had a splendid Irish nurse, and when not jabbering to her in Woody Allen mode, I was eyeing the screen which was showing a movie of the world's pinkest tube train journey as the camera moved up inside my guts. It reminded me of that movie The Fantastic Voyage, where a submarine is miniturised, and injected into someone's body. It's not a movie I wanted to be in, but still a fascinating experience. The most uncomfortable thing is that they pump you full of air, which is disconcerting.

Then wheeled out, given a cup of tea, and released back into the wild, having been told that they'd seen nothing of note. Every single person who dealt with me at the Royal Sussex County Hospital was pleasant and efficient. Lorraine waiting nicely for me in the waiting room and we pushed off. Being bloated with gas is not a great thing, and I was in the car park when the first of it released, soiling my pants with what turned out to be Vaseline. One of the reasons Lorraine is so top is that she takes stuff like this in her stride, and doesn't simply gag and drive off at high speed.

Home and showered, then off to shop. Went with Lorraine and bought her a birthday trinket, a green ring, from one of her favourite shops. Then we had a quick coffee with Sam, then shopping and back to her place to tidy up and get ready for the evening. Beth and her pal Kayleigh helped Lorraine cook up a lot of Indian grub. Anton, Anna and her brother Mark came around bringing Klaudia and Oskar who watched DVDs until they slept. Good to see Mark who I've not seen for some time. And sitting about forking down lovely food, and chatting to good friends, was a great end to what had been a surprisingly good day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blue skies and a Puffin

A beautiful blue skied day, and hot. Walked home this sunny morning from Lorraine's place and got to work on poems. And then in the afternoon caught the train to Southease where I met Kate at the station with Puffin her new dog, a lurcher. Puffin is a rescue dog, and Kate and her are bonding well. In fact she'll soon be reading that Puffin like a book. (Arf.)

It is a playfully nippy thing and zooms at full tilt into the backs of your legs, but apart from that and its perpetually long face, it is a lovely dog. We walked to the nearby village of Rodmell along the banks of the river Ouse. Everywhere unseasonably sunbaked after a short dry spell. We decided to take a short cut across the fields but found our way blocked by fences and hedges. Puffin when on a lead simply sits down and has a look around quite often.

Great to walk and talk with Kate ambling around the fields for an hour or two. Eventually we went back to the river and followed its sweep across the river plain. Kate pointed out the spot where Virginia Woolf killed herself, where there was a single white swan ghosting about on the water.

Then across the fields into Rodmell. Passing sheep and gambolling lambs (poker I think). There we headed for the Abergavenny Arms and drank a cold beer (PK) and a cold cider (First Matie) outside in the suntrap pub garden.

Farewell to Kate there, who had to carry a tired Puffin home, and I taxied to Lewes and trained home to Brighton, to meet my lovely Lorraine. We had another quick drink, and ate some Chinese food, in a new restaurant where we seemed to be the only customers and were serenaded by a young Chinese guy on his keyboard.

Below Virginia Woolf reincarnated as a swan. Kate and Puffin and lambs, a skull-pebble in the path, and some lambs.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lorraine's birthday

Working hard on the Guernsey Double poems this morning, then at midday whizzed about picking up posters for This concert, and buying a card and flowers for Lorraine.

Lorraine escaped work early and we went for a walk in Woods Mill, which is now officially in Spring. Lovely to go there in the middle of the week with only a nature photographer stalking about among the afternoon shadows. The wood anemones out, and the first bluebells, and the may trees blossoming, and the lake's still surface being broken by big muscular carp. All very relaxing.

Then back to Lorraine's house to get ready to go out with Beth and Mark to Riddle & Finns. Handily Mark works there part time, so we were able to dine like royalty, and sup champagne while slurp down wasabi oysters, and get a staff discount to boot. I had a really nice fish pie. All very cheery and nice, and Lorraine happy and enjoying herself, which of course was the big idea.

Below at Woods Mill and Beth and Mark at the restaurant with their fish risotto, and fish curry respectively. There was no shot of Lorraine she was happy with however.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Back to school

Off to school again today. Scrambling up a steep learning curve, but it was much better this session, and I enjoyed myself. As before, the children were interesting - 10-11 year olds and many of them very bright, asking lots of questions and listening well.

Funny however, when almost everyone is listening, your antennae keep twitching for the one or two kids who are not engaged. Teachers afterwards encouraging with their feedback. As I was leaving a delegation from one class gave me a card saying "We (heart) your book" with a picture of Skelton Yawngrave on it. Another teacher gave me a wad of two stars and a wish comments, i.e. two things they liked and which were positive, although one or two of the brighter (but interestingly not the brightest) kids thought it was too childish for them, the comments were often very positive. Overall an excellent (if slightly daunting) experience to stare into the faces of your potential audience and have them interrogate you.

They all loved mum's paintings too. Confirmation if any was needed that she needs to do more--and harder--work for me.

Before I went in today I told Lorraine and Anna about an anxiety I'd been having: that I would appallingly expose myself to the kids due to some unspeakable wardrobe malfunction. Of course I would be arrested and spend at least ten years in jail.

I'm pleased that didn't happen although imagine my horror when at Anton and Anna's to drop off Oskar's present when I discovered I'd been walking around with my flies undone all the time.

My lovely Godson was four today. He is a great kid with a wonderful personality. Had a nice time sitting in the garden, eating pieces of the most delicious homemade fudge (peanut butter fudge) with Klaudia and Oskar playing happily around and about, while drinking tea with Anna and Anton. Felt like the summer was starting.

Viral video for This concert...

Just a bit of fun really. Start it playing, and click on the screen to take you through to You Tube where you get a better look at it. Both Matt and I look appallingly hung over and rubbish in it. I blame Lorraine, secret camerawoman, and party holder.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Poetry focus early this morning, and the poem I have been struggling with about The Little Chapel coming good. Also sent off an advert for a Guernsey Double (even though I am still finishing some of the poems) to a mag in Guernsey. Also ordered A4 flyers for the concert. Feeling overwhelmed still.

Out in a sunny afternoon, buying a dinosaur-based present for Oskar, after some consultation with Anna (who has already been passing around flyers for the concert), and some aviator shades, which--judging by what I saw on sale--are this year's thing. Reminded me of a pair I had when I was 16, and these were cosmic. But then again so was I.

Passed Anna the Godmother's house and bumped into her and the Godbairns. Oskar straight away curious about what was in my bag, and Klaudia telling me cheekily that she knew, and squeezing my arm. Sweet how the kids seemed so pleased to see me. It is a wonderful thing to have Godchildren. Anna very cheery and nice as usual. Lovely woman.

Feeling worn out. After a zombie chat to Lorraine on the phone, yawning my head off, I ended up editing a YouTube snippet for This concert, which I sent to Matt for approval in the middle of the night.

And so to bed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Skeletons, Sea mist and Spacetoads

Slightly infuriating morning trying to get on with preparing to go into Downs School. Running out of paper and ink, and technology not cooperating.

Running late I jumped into a cab and soon found myself making a cup of tea for myself in the staff room, before being marched down into one of the classes. A quick chat with their teacher Mrs Kennedy, and children ran into the room, taking some time to settle. Sudden surge of panic, but after a slightly clunky beginning I read a couple of chunks of the story to the kids, and talked about being a writer and fielded lots of questions and began to relax into it. Managed to get to the end of the session, and I think it went fairly well. Using Mum's pictures was a massive help. Then up and repeating the experience to another class. Conversation took a different route here and I read out slightly different sections, and this was not so successful, but still okay.

Then I was shown out of the class and ambled out of the school feeling somewhat dazed and drained, and my admiration for teachers increased. I felt under prepared, and was more of a walking show and tell. I think I could have been a lot better, but as it was my first go it wasn't too bad.

Lurched home feeling much relieved and unburdening myself to Lorraine. In the evening had a long chat with Paul Francis (aka Dr Spacetoad) in Paris. He is seeing two women tomorrow: a clairvoyant and a karmic astrologer. The clairvoyant has news for him apparently, but the karmic astrologer keeps interrupting her when she tries to tell him. So it goes.

I took myself for a walk at dusk today down by the sea. Sea mist rolling in, making everything look gorgeous. Some snaps below.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Urgh. Woke up at Lorraine's house after a few hours of sleep. Rehearsal! Home, fed Calliope, showered, stumbled back to Lorraine's place clutching my score. From where we drove to Sussex University for an early This concert rehearsal, this time with musicians and choir together. Unbelievably had a hangover again.

A sense of everybody being a bit off the pace today, and I fluffed some lines as we went through, but I put this down to partying but at least Lorraine and Matt were in the same boat. However I was reassured by old hands that it is good to have 'a rehearsal like that'. Even so, when not fiendishly concentrating, I really loved it.

Struck by how beautifully Ellie plays violin. Matt has written some gorgeous stuff for her to play, but I'm just amazed at how full of feeling her tone is. Lorraine drove Matt and me back to Brighton, and then Lorraine and I had a chilled afternoon having lunch nearby, before she went home.

Spent a quiet evening in with Calliope, working on bits and pieces and listening to wonderfully readable The girl with the dragon tattoo.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A housewarming

Feeling histrionic and overwhelmed this morning. Up early and struggling with one of the last poems for A Guernsey Double. Lorraine cooked a late breakfast and just after this, Anna came by with Klaudia and Oscar. The children made straight for my special wooden black box with skulls on. In it I have been secreting sherbet lemons, which were my grandmother's favourite. Recently I added some skeleton pirates and jumping beans. The kids left with sherbet lemon bumps in their cheeks, and Anna went to take them to the beach. Anton off walking in Norfolk with Martin.

Lorraine went home, and then Matt came by for a chat about the This concert business. Calliope sitting squeezed up to Matt and looking intently at the score. After Matt and I were done I had a much needed haircut from the annoying walrus-faced man.

Then to Lorraine's house, to help prepare for Lorraine's housewarming party. Broke off to consume, with Beth, Mark and Lorraine, an Ace special from Ace Pizzas around the corner, which seemed to have everything on it. And I finally had a chance to take a look at the video Lorraine shot last week of the first rehearsal.

Many people came, and Lorraine very pleased and relieved that everyone liked her house so much. Sam came too which pleased Lorraine (although reprehensibly swapped my iPod for his to provide cooler tunes) and a good time was had by all. There were folks from Lorraine's old street, and some new neighbours, Dawn, Cath, Matt, John, Lorraine (who I met the other week), Jan and Martin, Jess and Andrew, Mark's folks Richard and Glenda and many others. Lorraine's friends are a lovely bunch of people. The night ended at around three, Lorraine's house having been thoroughly warmed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

About my business

Up in a blurry way with Calliope treading on my head wanting prawns. Bob snoozing in the futon in study. He had a cup of tea and once he stopped looking at me in a faintly accusatory way due to his hangover, he he stalked off into the Twitten. Only then was I able to clear up the scraps of bloody fur and feathers that had found themselves in his bedding.

Radio bleating in the background about the election and the ash which has paralysed air travel, and is poised to rain carcinogenic sulphurous horror on us and the rest of Northern Europe.

Worked on poems this morning, and bits of admin. My nice French clients got in touch so spent the afternoon writing about festivals in Southern France. After this was done began to toy with laying out the A Guernsey Double book myself on Corel as I may be a control freak, and suddenly it began to look really nice.

Got paid by two of my clients today, in a very welcome and timely way as cold winds were scooting though my account. Later Lorraine came around this evening and made us one of her especially good coconut and fish curries, and all was well sitting on the gold sofa.

Below Mum has been hard at work painting some pictures of characters from Skelton Yawngrave in the second kind of darkness. I go into Downs Junior school on Monday and they will be great to show the kids. The girl is Grace Brown, and the cats are Tibia and Fibula the sleek six legged cat.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Good progress on my poems this morning, which was a relief. Realised today something I should have realised 30 years ago. That it is much easier to write poetry to a brief (i.e. in this case writing about Guernsey) than just to float about waiting for inspiration to strike.

Then off out to have a cup of tea round at Lorraine's house. Beth, Lorraine and I mooched off and bought vegetable samosas from a nearby health food shop. Then after munching one of these, with chili jam that Lorraine fed me, I zoomed off to buy washing powder and visit the printer to enquire about prices for A4 sheets. In the afternoon worked on laying out an advert for A Guernsey Double using a photo I shot recently of me and Richard, one of the very few in which I don't look gormless.

Late afternoon a soft knock on the door from Bob, who'd manifested himself in the Twitten. Had a good night out with him walking between pubs, generally putting the world to rights. The old mad dog on good form, and despite firm agreement not to do so at the beginning of the night, inevitably we found ourselves forking into a cheeky curry and, in Bob's case, a vindaloo.

Meanwhile in other news a huge plume of volcanic ash from Iceland, high in the atmosphere grounded almost all flights in UK airspace. Curiously little coverage of its health implications in the media.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sock stealing

Mad dreams. My fishes had all bred and I needed to find a new tank for the fry before they were eaten. Found myself on a farm full of huge stampeding cattle. Then on a tractor that tipped over breaking my leg, but nobody would believe it was broken. I then punched a belligerent man's face and woke up. Exhausting.

Crumpets and coffee with Mum and Mas. I asked Mas if he had experience post traumatic stress after returning from Korea, and he said he hadn't. He'd been a US Marine sniper. He said the people he shot at appeared so small they might have been fleas.

I met Jana for the first time this morning, who on holiday from the Czech Republic was coming around to go for a walk with Mum. Very pleasant and funny woman, and I was sorry I had to rush off.

I decided to walk to Mill Hill because I am porcine. Typical to hit a fat peak shortly before being on stage and launching books etc. Before I left, Mum gave me a folder full of pictures of Skelton Yawngrave characters, which should come in handy for my wheezes and schemes.

Home on the train listening to the Girl with the dragon tattoo.

Home found myself looking at a ball of socks. One of several that Calliope, registering her disapproval of being left alone, had distributed about the house. She'd also savaged the toilet paper roll too but was soon appeased by prawns. A million things to do, after a spot of shopping, and I simply got on with them.

Below a line of light at St Pancras station.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Running to the station with a piece of toast in my hand. Reached the ticket barrier. A few seconds before the train left a man passing through the gate stopped and began a lengthy query. I found myself roaring, in an unacceptable way, Oh come ON! and barging past the protesting train employee, and leaping onto the London train with seconds to spare. Felt slightly ashamed of myself for this rudeness.

Trying to dial into a teleconference from the train, but this proved impossible. Turned out that when I arrived at the agency the call had been cancelled, but no-one had told me. Spent the rest of the day slightly peevishly reworking stuff after legal feedback had rubbished all the lines, and rather gratefully slipping from the agency after it had been presented and approved.

Then off to Edgware to visit Mum and Mas listening to The girl with the dragon tattoo on my iPod. Loving it although it is hard to say why.

They had discovered some beer lodged in the back of a cupboard six years past its sell by date. Even I didn't drink this. Showed Mum and Mas the score Matt had written, just because it is such an interesting thing, and we sat about shooting the breeze, and drinking some wine and eating a good deal. All good fun. Felt dead beat quite early though. And so to bed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A toilet door

Monday morning. My usual train cancelled, so was unable to work on poems this morning.

A bitty day at Keith's agency, and when not presenting concepts in a teleconference to a European client who sounded as if he wanted to hang himself, spent much of the afternoon trying to sort out a single headline for a campaign. Usually I have no trouble with headlines but this one emerged, as Keith observed, like someone passing a kidney stone.

Listening to The girl with the dragon tattoo, which is enjoyable. Not much to report otherwise, as it was a day which after yesterday's excitement, seemed rather mundane in comparison.

Below a sign to the gents at Keith's agency which has been stealthily customised, and makes me laugh.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Crossing the Rubicon

Lorraine I decided this morning, is actually some species of angel. I crawled out of bed, and she fed me tea, a bacon buttie, pills and orange juice till I could function again.

We drove to my place where we picked up Matt and headed off to a rehearsal room in Sussex University. Today my Rubicon was to be crossed. The first rehearsals with members of the Tacet Ensemble. My secret horror was that I would miss all the cues in the music, and look like a chump. However the rehearsal went better than I dared hope.

Amazing to see proper musicians at work. They just sat down and played, and instantly the piece was alive. Ellie was on violin, Thomas on marimba, Adam on vibraphone, and Glen on piano, and they made the sonorous sound that hung in the air in what I can only describe as a magical way. I was happy with how I performed too and the words and music seem to fit one another perfectly, and I found most of my cues. Matt had always said that we'd know pretty quickly if it was going to work or not. To me it seemed to work brilliantly. Matt's music is absolutely spellbinding.

To be part of something so beautiful, and to work with such musicians was an experience like no other I've ever had. At the end of the rehearsal they clapped Matt and me, which Matt later said was the first time that they'd clapped a new work in the ten years he'd been involved with them. Back in Lorraine's car afterwards I felt an amazing surge of relief that I hadn't screwed up. I'd crossed my Rubicon and all was well. Matt very happy too.

Home and lazed for the rest of the day, with the most excellent Lorraine. Feeling hung over still, and also elated. Brilliant.

Below some shots of the rehearsal taken by Lorraine.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Angels in their octaves

A glorious hot day in Brighton. Shirtsleeve weather. Lorraine and I had a few chores in the morning. Including going off to talk to more people about microphones, and picking up a box of A6 flyers for the concert. Pleased with how they looked.

Main business of the day was to go to St Michael & All Angels to rehearse the choir parts for the concert. The first half will have two Madrigals, and Matt's composition has the choir coming in for the last few variations. Due to an untimely organ fixer turning up, and a saga about a locked door, we had to repair to the church hall. Lorraine singing with seven others. Got that thrill of hearing the choir sing the refrain I'd written which starts 'And now my source of joy has been revealed/May angels in their octaves follow you'. Beautiful. The choir are making a gorgeous sound in the madrigals too.

Then an afternoon of lurking in the Basketmaker with Matt, his friend Tanya briefly, and Lorraine. Feeling cheery and full of fun. Then we three went to the Brighton Tavern chatting to lots of folks. Ended up rather drunk and insisting on yet another curry with Lorraine, which we had with Beth and Mark. Home to Lorraine's place, where I was put to bed.

And Chelsea got through to the FA cup final. All good.

Below Matt conducting the choir in the church hall, one person hidden. Lorraine second from left singing like a bird.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Dolphin music

Working on poems again this morning, in the luxury of my study. Calliope continually barging about on my desk only slightly breaking my concentration. Then after a fair day's work doing bits and pieces off to an electronics shop near Lorraine to talk to people about radio microphones.

Trrained with Lorraine to visit Wayne and Matt in West Worthing. Smell of the sea as soon as you step from the station. They live in a beautiful building called Dolphin house, which had been built as part of an immense hotel which was never completed. Matt went through Lorraine's alto parts, and then looked at some of my cues for spoken bits in the concert.

While L was singing, I looked at Wayne's paintings. They were strangely involving and held the eye for ages. I was studying them in Matt's study while L was singing. One was a mazy interior of a pub, another of the two sides of a drag queen's persona, and another a gorgeous but simple abstract.

Then all off to a Nepalese curry house. Really excellent food there, and a bottles Gurkha beer, a smooth tasting lager, whose labels sported a stern faced Gurkha.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Yellow face

Back up to the smoke, discovered on the train I had left my poems at home. Instead started listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as recommended by Anton. Swedish intrigues, and quite enjoyable. Confirmed my order for flyers for the concert on arriving at work, and saw that Mum had sent me some excellent paintings of characters from Skelton Yawngrave.

Work fine, and had to present yesterday's concepts, and then sat with a freelance art director called Andy who was lately married to a woman from southern Italy. We were working in a little office, with this weird electromagnetic radiation streaming through the windows. Suddenly it was summery outside, with people shedding coats and jackets, to sit on the grass outside the office under the strange yellow face in the sky.

The rest of the office gathering around to hear a broadcast to all the agencies across their network. And I had to find another place to work before I broke into a bout of Tourette Syndrome. Overhearing vacuous guff about 'business philosophy' makes me feel maniacal. As I was leaving I overheard some distant American saying agency X got through its recent crises thanks to a near-mystical 'corporate courage'. You operate in a f***ing business sector almost immune to the downturn, you smug w***ers! I felt like shouting. Good I didn't as Keith asked me to come in next week, instead of Friday.

Felt buoyant and cheery leaving work. Suddenly it was a kind of weekend. Home, and Lorraine and I had a beer in The Battle of Trafalgar after she returned from visiting her mum and dad in Kent. All well in the world, and plenty of time to get myself sorted for next week.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Back to Glamoursmith

Up to work with some agency amigos today in Glamoursmith. Working on my A Guernsey Double poems on the train. Spent the day working on concepts for a Multiple Sclerosis treatment. Found this site here of radiology art.

Home and in the evening ordered some flyers for This concert... and then listened to the midi files that Matt had sent me. For the first time I could hear the compositions for each of the variations. The music is absolutely gorgeous. I can't wait to performed by living and breathing musicians this weekend (as opposed to a computer composition program). Now neurotically worrying about being able to find my cues.

Also found time to follow Manchester United's fortunes, and swap texts and calls with Anton. I watched them being knocked out of the Champion's League. After the fell event, no further texts from up the hill as the Nazgul shadow of football depression had fallen. It's a funny old game.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Up early and working on A Guernsey Double -- making some good progress. Also fiddling with flyers for This concert. Called by one of my agency amigos Keith, and will be working in London with him for the next three days, which will be fun. But trying to get everything done is making me feel twitchy.

However late in the afternoon made some time to wander about by the sea with Lorraine, and look at more wildlife photos in the exhibition they have there. She loved them. Thence to The Cricketers for a single pint of Harveys, where I talked Lorraine's head off, and managed completely to forget a call I was supposed to make to my pal Al's husband Mike who is opening a restaurant.
Home to roast pork. I never bought joints much before, but after Lorraine and I had good chunks, I sliced and wrapped the rest. This means I can have pork curry, stir fry and so on four or five more times. When you live on your own, you forget about doing things economically sometimes.
Lorraine headed for home with a cold emerging. Me, I'm ready for bed.
Below one of the flyer versions, back and front.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Knowing the score

Up early and working on poems. Then at lunch, feeling like I'd done a day's work off to Lorriane's house, where Brian was being shown around with Anna, and laughing at Lorraine's paddle stairs up to her mezzanine level which he said he wouldn't be able to use after drinking on a Friday or Saturday night.

To two tropical fish shops with Beth and Mark. I simply bought fish food, though found myself very drawn to some Congo tetras. Beth buying two albino catfish and two mollies. Then Mark, who was having a fish themed day, off to his part time job in a fish restaurant, and I lurked about with Beth and Lorraine. Lorraine and I going for a walk in the local park, with her giving me some good advice on how to approach the school work I am going to start soon with Skelton Yawngrave.

Heading back home and up the road to babysit the Godbairns armed with some Easter eggs. Both wide awake when I arrived, and Klaudia walking about their bedroom announcing that she was not tired and could stay awake till tomorrow. Oksar mad keen to explain about things about his pop-up books and motorbikes. Both talking simultaneously until my ears wilted. I read them some stories, and got them bedtime milk and then they fell asleep angelically.

Spent the next three hours learning lines and pouring over the score of This concert will fall in love with you while sipping a Polish beer I had helped myself to. Feeling better about it now that I have really studied the score, not that I am a fluent music reader, but even I can work out some of the cues and so on.

Home after Brian Anna and Anton arrived, speaking to Lorriane. One of the cats has gone awol. But fortunately returned. All well.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A sip of Yebisu

Being assistant to Lorriane putting shelves up in her new house today. I have little DIY confidence, but Lorraine just excellent at it. Reminded of my Grandmother at one point, standing on a chair with screws in my mouth. Been thinking of my grandparents a lot lately, due to writing poems about Guernsey, and I will dedicate them to their memory.

At one point we popped into a Japanese shop, where I bought a couple of tinnies of Yebisu, and am nostalgically sipping one right now as this was the beer of choice when I visited Hiroko in Japan with Toby and Romy. Nice older Japanese guy in there, saying goodbye to us in Japanese, after I mentioned I'd been there.

Watching the Secrets of the Solar System. Fantastic series. Today, talking about the possibility for life under the surface of Mars. And creeping about in caves looking at slimy organic things unpleasantly called snotites sliming from the cave roof and dripping with acid teardrops. Nice.

Toby called tonight, talking of weirdly warm weather up in Deviation Road.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Up and working on poems having been woken by Calliope. Surprisingly unjaded after the party last night. Woke Lorraine to explain my genius, then walked down the road to buy bread from the French Patisserie and returned to breakfast on fresh bread, kipper and fried tomatoes.

Little to report. Lorraine downloaded performances on the camera from last weekend so I may be able to start editing film for the This concert thing soon.

Gloriously Chelsea beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and are now favourites to win the league. Eager to discuss this with Anton, who was less keen when I went up the road to hang out with Anton, Anna and Brian, and gorge on Anton's delicious pizzas.

Anton's new craze is his iPhone. It has a million 'aps'. One of which is an ability to tune into a million radio stations, and be plugged into his stereo. Anna, who also has a iPhone, showing me the tea-making ap, into which you program your family or colleagues names and then shake your phone, and it randomly nominates who next must get the teas in.

Brian (who also has an iPhone) has an ap which should be called gaydar but isn't, which enables you to locate other guys with the same ap on their phone. This being Brighton there were dozens of photo profiles of available gentlemen within a few hundred metres. Amazing technology.

Anton, Brian and I off to the Eddy, meeting Lorraine en route for a late drink. Nice to be in the pub, with them, and then to toddle home afterwards.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter rant

Driving about shopping in DIY and some interesting furniture shops with Lorraine today. These kind of shops open on Bank Holidays as the non-God bothering folks in the UK see Easter as a signal for home decoration. Eventually stopped in a little cafe in Hove for coffee and a bite, which was fun.

As you know, I rarely look away from my own Pooterish existence in this blog. But the current crisis in Catholicism sends me apoplectic. How can these people dare to pose year after year as guardians of morality when they are actually causing lifelong damage to children in its care, or at best turning a blind eye to it? If Christ was alive he would storm straight into the Vatican, standing out against all the gold and opulence in his workmen's clothes and turn over their filthy tables and shame them. No wonder people would rather spend their Easter choosing bathroom tiles.

Later Lorraine and I went out to the Eddy to have a fast drink with Anna, Brian and Brian's pal Stacey. Quite lively in there with some themed party going on, with people dressed as land girls and dad's army soldiers. Lorraine and I then pushed off to another party (yes we are that cool) in a trendy club called Koba, where there were a couple of rooms rented. Plush seats and a nice dancefloor to celebrate Tracey, a pal of Lorraine's, 40th birthday. Tracey, a nice woman I'd met once before, works in education but has a past in DJing, and did a bit herself during the night. The music was fairly remorseless drum and bass (some of which I quite like) but after three hours I found myself yearning for tunes and melody. Nice folks there but it was hard to talk to any of them due to the music-free throbbing.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Making an elephant float

Brain balking at more poetry, after putting in a heroic stint earlier in the week. Ended up doing things like cleaning my aquarium. In the afternoon headed off to the magic cafe and stared fruitlessly at my poems until it was time to stop.

Mum has been painting some characters from Skeleton Yawngrave, which was good.

Down by the seafront there is a photography exhibition 'Wild Planet - celebrating wildlife photographer of the year'. Some amazing photographs which look fantastic blown up, such as this swimming elephant.

Finished listening to Mark Kermode's It's only a movie, read by him. Inoffensive, and quite likeable.