Monday, June 30, 2008


The Burial of Mickey Mouse: Part 24

Back to my bed-sitter after another of those evenings clutching each other on the sofa, I'm all wired up, impossible to go to sleep. I put my coat back on and go out again. It's past midnight, it's cold, it's crazy but I don't care. Walk down the dimly lit crescent of Primrose Gardens into England's Lane, cross over into Fellows Road then into Adelaide Road, keep walking. This is mad, go home. No, keep walking, reach my destination, tap quietly on the basement window.

"I knew you'd come back," he says, opening the door.


Saturday, June 28, 2008


I know it would be better to post longer installments but I keep getting interrupted so I may as well put up what I've got now and hope you'll come back for more.

T being a photographer, I have boxes full of pictures from that period, my first ten years or so as a Londoner. A wall of T's basement kitchen-diner is dedicated to a changing display of photos, often portraits of actors who come to be snapped for their portfolios. Sunday night dinners around the cigarette-scarred table provide an endless source of camera-fodder. Not sure who shot this Christmas dinner aftermath but they caught me unaware. Booze of every description is never in short supply and the meals, always cooked with gusto by the master, are traditional English fare: roast beef and Yorkshire pud, steak and kidney pie, boiled bacon, multi-layered trifle with lashings of cream. Strangely enough, none of those who gather regularly around T's table ever seem to suffer ill effects from such diet-defying food and drink.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Taking a roast chicken out of the oven, all glistening golden brown and smelling like celebration, no matter how often you've done it, there's a thrill. But when the two legs have been carved and eaten (discarding the delicious lethal skin) the celebration ends. The festive bird is just an amputated carcass, to be transformed tomorrow into sandwich, soup or salad. Nice, but not a thrill.

Isn't life a little like that?
No? Okay it was just a passing thought, when taking a chicken out of the oven.

The Burial of Mickey Mouse: Part 23

When I'm not at one of my part-time jobs - which now includes selling Brazilian handicrafts at a shop in Bond Street - I come and paint in the spare-room, the house quiet and still when T is at work. I've pinned to a closet door some sketches and clippings and I decide to do a painting of the door itself: a study of studies for an idea about an idea.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Yesss! The article is in today's Guardian. You onliners only can read it here but alas, without the pictures. Fortunately, however, my photophobic mug doesn't show up in the online version above my blurb. I'll have to deal with that when I see the paper version in a little while.

But enough about me. The subject of the article is much more interesting, don't you think?


Friday, June 13, 2008


It's been a brilliant week. Even the radical change in my daily routine was a bonus. I think I might start keeping normal working hours from now on instead of my crazy night owl schedule. Whenever I read the G2 section of the Guardian henceforth, I will see faces instead of newsprint, the smiling faces of those people I sat near on the third floor of the Guardian building on Farringdon Road. As a guest of the Women pages I was warmly welcomed and felt at ease in their world, taking my seat every morning amongst the rows of computers (same Mac I have at home), everyone focused on individual tasks but definitely part of a team, with much laughter floating over the top of the monitor screens. I'm so used to working alone that initially I was worried I wouldn't be able to write when surrounded by people, but the opposite was true. Each person's concentration was a boost to my own and with none of the distractions I have at home, I could get on with the job.

My job was twofold: one was to edit a feature about artists who happen to be older women - an idea which was among those I submitted to the competition last year. The article was due to be published this week but at a production meeting, it was realised that Wednesday's G2 cover story was about old men (why they have a harder time growing old than women do) so the oldie artists in the same issue would have been too much of a good thing. It's therefore been scheduled to appear next Wednesday - don't miss it, it's excellent!

My second task was to write the feature which you can read today, online or on newsprint. Many thanks to Beth Cassandra, Fran Sacred Ordinary, Marja Leena Marja-Leena, Penelope GrannyP, Rain, Rainy Day Thought and Tamar , who all gave me quotes to incorporate in the text. I hope they get lots of new blog visitors as a result.

The online version, for some reason, is missing the note which, in the newspaper, is printed at the bottom of the article: Today's Women pages were guest-edited by Natalie d'Arbeloff, the joint winner of our first Mary Stott prize.

I would have like to illustrate it but, understandably, the Guardian has their own design team and the image provided, while attractive, is not what I had in mind. In the online version there's no illustration anyway, so when I got home I drew the one below. Look at it while you read Where are all the older female geeks?

Update (1pm): Thank you so much, everyone, for all your encouraging comments and forgive me for not responding individually to each of them. It's a fantastic thrill to see your responses to my article. The reason it focuses attention on older women is because it was written for, doh, the Women page and because the statistics (if you can ever trust statistics) do say that there's a considerably larger proportion of geekish older males out there on the net.

I also want to make clear that I have absolutely no quibble with the fact that the illustration in the print version was done by a Guardian staff designer - this is their job and I was only there for a few days as a guest. In any case, I only did this cartoon after I got home last night and it took me about four hours! It certainly would not have made the paper's deadline. Blaugustine is where I can post my own images anytime, about anything, taking as long as I want. That's one of the beauties of blogging.

One more thing: it was not possible to add hyperlinks for the bloggers I mentioned but their blogs' titles are given, therefore interested people can easily find them via Google.


Sunday, June 08, 2008


Tomorrow is the start of my week as guest editor (see Nov.10 and Nov.21 Blaug posts) of Guardian Women so, wherever you are, I trust you'll be buying the paper or checking it online. The Women page is only published two days a week, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY.

Look out for me this Friday (13th) and next Wednesday (18th). The piece which was supposed to appear this Wednesday has been moved ahead a week.

Nervous, moi? Not at all. The churning of my stomach is due to some cheese I ate earlier.

See you later. Must concentrate now.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008


is here.

I spent most of the day wandering around the market with my camera and not standing at the shared table, like I should, where a few of my comic-like things were laid out.

A much more fun video focusing on the comics scene was done by the London Underground Comics people who organised the No Bar Codes event and you can see it on YouTube here.

Sometimes, especially in large crowds and busy social occasions, my verbal communicating faculties more or less shut down. Saturday was one of those days and all I wanted to do was to go people-watching, so that's what I did.

More of the autobio shortly.