Category: Events and Outings

Missing Out (by )

Saturday night there was a reunion etc... that I really really wanted to go to. It was full of lots of the people I'd worked with at the campsite (the one where we got married). But... when I went to check up on the details it became apparent that it was going to be a giant disco type thing and I hadn't paid on time. I wasn't too worried about the payment deadline, I know they would have let me in anyway and I could have given them cash then and there because they aren't nasty people - I just might not have had a meal as they were catering etc...

However, I was still exhausted from my nuerology appointment and just with the general business of everything - I'd also been out recording poetry and doing business networking events etc... and as much as I was desperate to see everybody I just couldn't.

I couldn't because flashing, blinking, swirling lights cause my speech to slur and my coordination to go and I don't want to fall again, I don't want to hit my head again, I don't want to be slow at functioning for at least four days afterwards - potentially two weeks and though it shouldn't be - the main fear of wetting myself publically if this happens because that seems to be a thing as well.

Now I have been to events and lurked outside a lot etc.. and these days disco lights tend to either fall into gentle changing fuzzy lights which I am fine with or all singing all dancing lazer lights swishing and flashing and looking glorious - these I can not cope with.

I probably should have asked what the set up actually was but I don't like saying "I'm awkward please alter your event and make it less pretty so I can come" it feels destructive but also there is another side to it - I fear asking because then I find out if I am worth such a change to the person/people/organisation and though most venues and events managers have been fabulous - this was a social event and I found the thought of asking parralising. I could not have coped with the rejection if it had come so I did not ask.

Fatigue is a big risk factor for the seizure things so where as I probably would have risked going and spending all my time outside - I knew I was too tired plus I would have been even more tired once I got there due to travel times etc...

Another issue was cost - if I could have taken Al without it costing a whole extra ticket then I also would have gone. It is pretty much the sort of event he finds hard but he would have taken me incase of seizure, he would have been my safety net but it was too much money for that (because I'm a skin flint because I'm an artist and without Al I would be a starving artist so I just actually did not have enough money for a second ticket!).

So I am sitting here jealous and bitter, feeling increadibly sad and isolated, looking at everyones photos of them having a fab time and feeling angry at myself and the world and causality and rocks and well everything.

Cyber Punk London (by )

The Old and the New London

Years ago (over a decade actually) Alaric tasked me with illustrating two Role Playing Games he had written. I have been steadily working on them and part of that is finding suitable visuals to construct the very specific images needed. So I often trail around cities taking images of cyber punk type stuff and the fanciful - the weekend allowed me to sneak some pics 🙂

Ciggy bin face

Our cities are full of unexpected finds like this ciggy bin face - it is obviously a droid from Alpha Centuri and is fed up with people putting burning leaves into it's eye sockets!

Interesting micro structure in amongst the buildings London

Little micro structures hide, clinging to the larger buildings around them as if we truly are creating a jungle of a different type - covergent evolution, lies at the heart of this one 🙂

Pipes on buildings in London

There were so many great shapes and geometries but I had limited time as we were lit. rushing from the station to meet our friends. I want to go back and spend another creative weekend in London, catching as many of the little hidden textures as I can!

Looking up through the sky scrappers to a patch of sun light

As beautiful as the buildings are, there is also something menacing about some of them, they loom in and block out the light. But if you look hard enough it is still there, defiant of the giants that rise on metal frames.

A parasitic tower hiding in the sky scrapers London

Parasitic towers cling to their host buildings gloaming in reflected sunlight, the light was sunset light and was thick and golden, tinged with surrealism as the cities lights mingled with it.

Buildings reflecting buildings London

The city is a labrynth, including confusing and distorting reflection. They buildings are glass coated, they shine and reflect and capture each other's images, it can be hard to tell what is a building, and what is a reflection of a building on a building or a building within a building.

Steal and Glass rainbow reflection

The steal and glass and light created metallic rainbows and an eye rolling husband who was trying to make sure I did not walk off of steps or in front of cars as I was so captivated by the scenes.

Building geometry London

The building vary, some are angular and sharp and others are soft and curvy and some are curvy and angular but modular and it is a landscape of geometry.

Metal imitates bone and nerve

Again the shapes and angles begin to suggest something organic - in this case back bone and central nervous system - it made me think on what would happen if metal suddenly became alive - what sort of creatures would our cities spawn?

The scales of the gerkin London

Many patterns, textures and ornamentation where present and just waiting for me to capture them, the gerkin looks like glass scales, arching off into the distance. I am also starting a photo study of texture this spring and the buildings were a surprising source of such imagery.

Marshmallow trees and ancient church London

And of course hidden in this new glass and chrome London is an older London, and it cries out for stories and contrasts and has a kind of magic realism. These pictures scream... write us into a story, a poem, a piece on heritage and art... and that is indeed what will happen to these images, they will be appearing on my writing and art blogs in various guises as well as being used for drawing practice 🙂

marshmallow trees and red bricks hiding in glossy london

But really why are there giant marshmallows in these trees? And they were not the only strange and fantastical thing we found - a steampunk macarbe sat in the pub where we met our friends just before heading for curry on Brick Lane - there were clusters of young people preaching or goading or occupying London. There was a religious zing to them and they dressed in threads that were bare for aesthetics rather than worn to unravelling. I could not hear what was being said but they had followers with glassy zeal in their eyes. A passion pulsed in the underbelly but it was a safe fire, a cold fire.

Skeleton Seat The Water Poet London

We had a great meal and catch up with friends but as always I am reminded that my London is erroding, disappearing, I can not say weather this is a good or bad thing but London is bright and over whelming, like a million pieces of brain fire. Confetti of glitz and glam that may well tarnish or burn out in the blink of an eye. The markets are gentrified and hipster zones, interesting but no longer mine. Consumerism as always drives the city forward - this has not been lost on the natives living in all the envrions of London - a city of villages and zones.

Buy Shit graffiti London

Music and Friends (by )

Just at the point where Jean started to take to playing and learning songs for the keyboard/piano, our hammond organ decides to die. We are hoping we can still fix it but it is going to be a major job 🙁

So a friend of ours said we could have an old keyboard of his, it used to be his grandmothers. We picked it up at the weekend with a little musical distraction!

Jean playing with an epic synth keyboard set up

For Jean spotted his epic set up with phone and mic stand and coloured buttons all set up to the computer 🙂

He also has a tank drum from Bali, I love these instruments so he let me have a play and of course that meant Mary had to have a play!

Mary playing with a tank drum from Bali

It was great seeing friends at the weekend - some of whom we've not seen for 3 or 4 years!

Of course after school yesterday my poor old struggling laptop was kidnapped for music recording / song making to happen - this mainly seemed to consist of Jean shouting at Mary for talking over the recording!

Once again I've been amazed by our wonderful friends 🙂

Ada Out and About (by )

AdaLovelace the puppet getting ready for school show and tell

This week is British Science Week so Ada and the other puppets are out and about, Mary was so exstatic to find out that she could take them in to her school for show and tell 🙂

Of course she now has her own wish list of puppets she wants making!

The puppets are for our Science Outreach, Communication, Education stuff which goes by the name of Cuddly Science and will be appearing at the end of the week at Cheltenham Hackspace for a Science Cafe!

Ripples… (by )

Ada Lovelace the puppet reading Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

It's the anniversary of the author Sir Terry Pratchett's death, I have been working my way through the Discworld books, it is taking time as I still struggle with reading since the head injury. I've started with what I think of as the Rincewind Books.

The Colour of Magic The Light Fantastic Sourcery Eric Interesting Times The Last Continent Science of the Discworld The Globe

I've probably missed some out - I'm currently reading The Last Continet 🙂

Rincewind is one of my favourite characters, he reminds me a lot of my dad, being an accidental hero - thinking he's a coward etc... being a nice person, having issues with inanimate household objects that refuse to actually be inanimate (in dad's case it's coathangers).

Then I plan on reading the Death Books as I think of them. Death and Susan are again characters I love, especially when Susan has wild hair she can not control!

Reaper Man Mort Soul Music The Hogfather The Thief of Time

Again I am probably missing titles! If you see a glaring omission please comment!

Then The Witches Books (including the Tiffany Books as a subset - this is slightly unfair as Rincewind should count as one of the Wizards but the character sets are all so over lapped that there are many different ways you could divid it all up ie Hogswatch could be seen as a Wizard book as well as Death), followed by Vimes, The Services Books (De Word and Moist), Maurice and then Pyramids, Small Gods and another other miscellany I have missed!

Alaric bought me the graphic novel of Small Gods and I want to work my way through the graphic novels as well, I know there was a copy of The Last Hero that I gave to my brother but I'm not really sure where it ended up!

After that it is time for non-Discworld Terry Pratchett including the Long Wars books.

As you can see from the photo, Ada Lovelace the Puppet is relaxing with one of her favourite book - Equal Rites. This is most apt for the Victorian Maths genius who made the fist computer programme (or would have been if there'd been a computer to actually run it on!). She was educated but that was unusual for a women in her era, especially with maths and science but she excelled at it and this bought (and still does amazingly) a lot of hate.

She had to fight to be accepted academically, Equal Rites is about a young girl who ends up being a Wizard but is initially denied entry to the Unseen University. It seemed apt.

I actually took the photo for International Women's Day but I have included it in this post because apart from the issue of gender equality etc... it represents something else...

Ripples - "No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away" - this is a quote from the Discworld series.

And Ada in many respects represents a ripple and the on going legacy of Terry Pratchett. Of course it is only one element of how she came to be but it is none the less still an element.

The story begins with me at school - my Chemistry Teacher Miss Scudder tries to explain the Discworld books to me and writes it down in my leavers book. It was given as an example of Sci-Fantasy that I would love - she was right.

So my science teacher introduced me to Terry Pratchett's work, again she was not the only one but she was the most authoritive? If that's the right word.

The books sustained me through my A'levels and stupid amounts of stress that we poor on our young adults in education. Then to university where again the mirrors and parrelles with various books helped me.

And finally the point at which I really felt like jacking the whole science thing in... Science of the Discworld appeared where they look at the geology/formation of our planet (our universe is accidently created by the Wizards). This book reminded me why I was damn well studying rocks!

Then of course things went catastrophic health wise but JK, Pullman and Pratchett where there as my comfort reads (along with the three Annes and "coughs" the point horrors). Reading them took on a slightly more abstract purpose, they showed twisty corkscrews of lives, not the nice neat progressions that is expected.

In short they helped me reform to new paths and to climb around, under and sometimes into the obsticals that got in my way. They showed me that other routes are not wrong routs just different.

In many ways the books helped me think outside the box as it were - Cuddly Science, the art, the craft, the writing etc... all of that and how I use it and fuse it... is a little bit off centre as it were. Terry Pratchett showed me with his mirror worlds that that was great, that was how the world gets changed for the better... little by little by little.

So my science teacher introduced me to the Discworld, the Discworld, sustained my and kept me interested in science, taught me to think squiggly, squiggly thinking lead to me making puppets to teach kids science.

These are RIPPLES.


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