My evenings as an early teenager were spent alone, as both my parents worked late shifts. As a result, I watched a lot of TV. Rising Damp was always a favourite. Rigsby was a horrible little bastard, but the way Leonard Rossitter portrayed the character ensured that you were never wholly unsympathetic towards him.
I’ve outlived this bench. It went up when I was in my 20’s, and the last time I was back home in Leeds I noticed it was reduced to nothing by the rusted stumps. The truly committed Romantic can apply the “pathetic fallacy” to almost anything, even a knackered old bench.
I’ve been trawling through my digital archives, and found several paintings that I’d completely forgotten about. This is one of them, from a period when I was working exclusively in black & white.
This is a collaboration between myself and my wife. I do the drawing (see below), and she does the glass work, which involves all manner of alchemy and a pocket demon of a kiln. This was a Christmas gift for a family member, and there’ll be similar collaborations in future.
My mocked-up book cover for Alan moore’s first published collection of short stories. Often mis-labelled as a ‘novel’, it’s rather a series of loosely-connected vignettes that cover a timespan of thousands of years, all located in and around his hometown of Northampton. The first story – ‘Hob’s Hog’ – is set circa 4000 BC and is written in a compressed version of Anglo-Saxon that was deliberately intended to be “difficult” and designed to, in the author’s own words, “keep out the scum.” It works, but those who persevere are rewarded with history of England that, whilst fiction, is probably more reliable than the Dan Snow narrated documentaries on the BBC. Moore himself appears in the final chapter, as he tries to get his head around what it all means, detecting the recurring themes of fire, black dogs and skulls. All of which I used to design the above cover.
This was the last painting I ever made for the Project Mogwai series. There’s echoes of ‘Christmas Steps‘ and ‘Friend of the Night‘ here, but with even more dense areas of black, which make it virtually impossible to scan or photograph. The visual metaphor of out of the darkness, into the light seems an appropriate attitude to have as we stumble exhausted but not without hope into 2021.
One of those when after finishing the drawing I had no idea what to call it, so turned to the bookshelves for something to “appropriate.” In this case, it was Jim Lewis‘ The King Is Dead. Jim who? Between 1993-2003 he had three novels published – Sister, Why The Axe Loves The Tree and The King Is Dead. All three are unusual enough to warrant the attention of any readers jaded with the plop that lands on the tables in Waterstones, but The King Is Dead is his best, with a powerfully-evoked sense of time and place, ringing with the authentic chime of experienced pain. According to Wikipedia, he has a new novel scheduled for release next year, which I will be picking up.