Black Sea Bronze: (I Don’t Want To) Go To Chelsea Drug Store

My long-time collaborator Martin Jones and his coven of sonic warlocks at The Sinister Insult have released a new mini album under the name Black Sea Bronze. Recorded over the course of a single summer’s day, the results are, in his own words, “burlesque instrumentals for an uncertain future.” My own assessment is that somewhere between Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and Peter Green’s The End Of The Game comes this, a soundtrack for the greatest early 70’s post-hippy comedown movie never made, or perhaps an alternative to some scenes from the best films from that era – Mike’s lost night in Soho in Deep End, or just about any key moment from Goodbye Gemini, Dr Phibes, etc. The overall impression I get is of tarantula-eyed girls on Xanax, wandering from room to room in a Ladbroke Grove flophouse, streetlights and candles throwing crazy shadows across torn psychedelic posters, followed by a sinister figure in a Mr Noseybonk mask, reaching out for them with white-gloved fingers, but never quite making contact.

Black Sea Bronze – (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea Drug Store (Bandcamp)

Everything Must Go

I realise that there are far more needy causes these days, but in my need to turn a coin I’ve reduced the prices on all paintings and prints for sale. Full details here.
If you can’t afford the posted price, make an offer, and you might be surprised. All enquiries:

Stone Junction

This mock-up cover is for one of my all-time favourite novels: Stone Junction. The author, Jim Dodge, is one of the greatest writers you’ve probably never heard of. He published three novels during the late 1980’s to 1990’s, and went off to do something esle instead. Those three novels – Fup, Not Fade Away and Stone Junction – make most other far more prolific writers look utterly redundant. While reading them you feel you are in the presence of an ancient bard, parsing powerful wisdom with wit and passion. I cannot recommend this one highly enough, but must also warn you that afterwards you’re not going to be able to go back to reading (insert name) as they’re going to look rather insubstantial by comparison. It would be like going from The Stooges to Wham!, or from Coltrane to Kenny G.

The Red Kite

Here’s my most recent drawing mocked-up as cover for, appropriately enough, a book about red kites.

Kes Lives!

My new Facebook banner. In my imagination at least, Kes lives.

The Red Kite

Here’s another new ink drawing. Along with this one, that makes two for 2020. We went on holiday to mid-Wales last year, and one of the memorable expriences of that week was each morning seeing red kites soring above the woods in the valley below. They’re like something from another dimension.

Toby Hay – The Red Kite

Half Man Half Biscuit

A new mock-up, for an old fave. Half Man Half Biscuit were the first band I ever saw live, at Leeds Polytechnic in 1986. The support band The Walking Seeds got heckled by the rowdy mob who’d come to shoutalong to their new heroes, and asĀ  result stomped off before the end of their alloted set, the drummer petulantly flicking the V’s to the front row. The Biscuit eventually took to the stage, looking like members of the crowd had just picked up some band gear and decided to have a go, but tell tale evidence that they were the real deal was the picture of Marilyn Monroe glued to the bass player’s guitar, embellished with the word ‘slag’. I’m somewhat amazed that they’re still going, but I suppose that living in this country they’re never going to lack for subjects to spit their sarcastic bile at. They’re as uniquely British as the character who appears in the poster (a drawing from 2011), and anyone who recognises him will be really showing their age.

Half Man Half Biscuit – National Shite Day

Raptor: A Journey Through Birds

Another mock-up. This is a good book, wherein the author covers the length of the British Isles – from Orkney to Devon and several points in-between – to document the fifteen indigenous birds of prey. All my personal favourites – Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Buzzard, Merlin – are there, along with several others such as the Honey Buzzard that I knew very little about. He deploys an efficient prose style that stretches to the poetic when required, and displays a level-headed reverence for these creatures that are, right now, undergoing increasing persecution. Recommended.

Lean On Pete

There is always that dream of escape, but there is no place to escape to, you just run into yourself.
Willy Vlautin

A good book, adapted into a good film. The author has often been likened to John Steinbeck, which in terms of his themes is not inaccurate, but Steinbeck was a lot more lyrical in his prose. Vlautin just tells it in some of the sparest prose I’ve ever seen. I’ve not enjoyed all his books but this one had a Kes factor that I could not help but respond to. This mock-up cover usesĀ  drawing from about ten years ago, one I’d completely forgotten about. We all need a Pete to lean on.

The Austringer

I’ve not made an ink drawing like this for a long time. I used to make ink drawings on an evening when, after a day at work, there’s just not enough juice left in the tank to do any significant painting. It’s quite therapeutic, especially when you get down to the actual inking itself. Different muscles to those required for painting come into their own and the mind starts to drift life a cloud. This one came out really well, better than I had hoped for, so I might do some more.

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