Friday, May 31, 2013


Lucy is in the sky with diamonds as far as I'm concerned! She has posted a wonderful, blush-inducing paeon of praise for La Vie en Rosé and The God Interviews . Go to Box Elder now and marvel at this generous, perceptive and of course absolutely accurate appraisal of these two books which, if you don't already have them, why not? 

After the initial flurry of interest when they first came out, the books have fallen into a kind of black hole where I sometimes feel they will remain, unless people like lovely Lucy suddenly point them out and say what they think and then a few more people discover them and hopefully a chain reaction begins. 
The books are listed on my sidebar but that's probably not enough to count as good PR so I'll just add that if you do want to order either or both, you can do it via the official links (Blurb and Lulu) as above, or via Amazon, or simply by sending me an email and I'll post copies to you myself.

And if any of you have a knack for publicity then I'd be happy to have you act as my PR persons. These things that 'go viral' overnight, how does that work? What can't something that's really good go viral? As you see, I don't lack self-belief, it's just that I hate self-promotion. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Still not entirely free from the grip of that tenacious virus which has zapped my energy and replaced the usual contents of my mind with repetitious song you ever get that? Suddenly the words of a pop song you heard about a century ago are playing non-stop in your head? Down and down I go, round and round I go, under that old black magic etc etc. Somebody take the needle off the broken record! 

However the resolve to get on with continuing the autobiography is still there if not yet the actual getting on and so to fill this blank space with something relevant, here are some pictures. The first one is of a construction I made in 1984 to serve as housing for an illustrated journal I drew in 1973-74 - that's the journal on the right. If you turn the handles below either of the columns on the left, a short paper scroll unwinds with my name on it. 

The Continuing Story NdA 1984/1974  Mixed media construction. W 40.5 x H 23 x D 10 cm

The next two pictures are of cast-paper experiments from 1996. I made the mould in plaster of Paris then poured the homemade paper pulp into it, adding some colouring. When it eventually dried, the paper was lifted off the mould and behold, an ancient relic!

 The Scribe 1  NdA 1996  Cast paper. W 20 x H 14 cm

A few alternative versions emerged from the same mould - here is one of them:

The Scribe 2 NdA 1996  Cast paper. W 17 x H 12 cm 
The process is great fun but incredibly messy and you have to be willing to sacrifice your kitchen blender to make the paper pulp, it's useless for anything else afterwards. Serious paper-casting artists do this sort of thing with appropriate equipment in appropriate workshops but for me, it was just one of many non-sequitur technical experiments.


Monday, May 13, 2013


Laid low by that thing called "a cold" which is actually a slap in the face, a kick in the gut, some well-placed punches to nose and throat and a bit of eye-poking. Whatever measures you take to get rid of this agressive viral squatter, once it has occupied your premises it will happily guzzle all the Lem-Sips, hot toddies, cough syrups, echinacea and whatever else you consume in self-defense but it will not leave until it's bored and decides to hunt for another innocent victim. What the tiny thug likes best is wrecking well-laid plans, so my train ticket is in the wastebasket along with my anticipation of a fun day of drawing with a group of other artists who met up (without me) for a Portrait Party in Oxford on Saturday.

Doesn't it look just like it feels ? This is an image of the Cold Virus from here

Since most of my energy is blown into tissues every few seconds, work on the Trans-Siberian images has been interrupted and even reading feels like too much effort. Music doesn't penetrate the fog and the computer is too demanding, so sleep and/or televison are the remaining options. Normally, I rarely turn on the tv except for the evening news and maybe an occasional film, but in the last few days I've overdosed on tv at all hours of day and night and this, I'm sure, is how total brain removal is achieved. 

Your own mental content is pushed out and replaced by an unceasing stream of innumerable other people's mental content while you sit there hypnotised by the flickering screen. Some interesting, intelligent, informative, amusing things flicker by along with various degrees of idiocy, banality, violence and perversity but the flow of images and sounds doesn't differentiate between them anymore than an ocean differentiates between sailboats and sewage. 

I can't prove it, but I'd be willing to swear that the more time is spent in front of a tv screen, however worthy the fare, the more creative energy and originality is drained out of one's consciousness. I suppose the same thing could be said for sitting at a computer screen all day, or staring at any of the other digital gadgets feeding our brains visual and auditory information 24/7. Have you noticed the glazed, zombie-ish expression on the faces of teenagers, as well as pensioners, or any age group in between, who spend a great deal of their time staring at screens, be they small hand-held or wall-sized ones? 
Anyway, it's only taken me all day to write this little blogpost so all is not lost. I will get on with getting on with the autobio, yes, and with Trans-Sib, of course. Give me another day or two to exterminate the woolly, creepy, sneaky, mushy, malfaisant, Machiavellian "common cold" and all will be well.


Sunday, May 05, 2013


Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer (silently) the slings and arrows of outrageous (or delightful) fortune or to blog about them - that is the question!

One of my resolutions for this new year was to continue and complete the online autobiography The Burial of Mickey Mouse which I began way back in 2005 and left hanging in mid-stream in 2008. But doubts about the validity of this project added to normal procrastination guarantees that it will remain in limbo unless I kickstart it back to life. 

The doubts I have concern the issue of self-exposure, which of course includes exposure of others who have affected one's life. If you are world famous, dead or alive, and of interest to the general public, your life might be the subject of a biography by someone qualified, or unqualified, to write it. But if you are not world famous and still alive and decide to be your own biographer because, after all, you know more about the subject than anyone else ever will, how much should you reveal? This a rhetorical question because the horse has bolted: I've already written twenty-four autobiographic episodes in which I exposed myself pretty thoroughly so why am I now debating pros and cons? 

The mystery of identity is one which has fascinated me ever since I was a child: who is it that looks back at you in the mirror? And who is it that looks out of your eyes at the world? I am not really interested in the psychology of the self but simply in what it is: what is that thing which has my name? Genetics, heredity, history, biology, physiology etc. have only partial answers and I'm not going to list all the philosophical or spiritual theories, beliefs and speculations about the Self. 

It's not information I'm after so much as the encounter with that thing which is "me". Like someone or some thing you've heard a lot about, seen in pictures and in films but have yet to actually come face to face with. It's not that I don't have 'self-consciousness' - quite the contrary. But it seems to me that in the telling of the story of my life something would emerge which I could not know if I did not tell it. Perhaps because the effort of condensing the story and focusing mainly on that which marked me most deeply is in itself a way to dig up the "Mickey Mouse". 

Looks like I've stopped debating and decided to carry on autobiographing, doesn't it?