Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Not what I was looking for

I just came across a link from Google images to a site which teaches you 'how to draw anime hot girls'. I'm not joking. It's so pathetic: I imagine these men who can't get a real girl to like them sitting in their bedrooms at night fantasising about these impossibly proportioned, big-breasted woman-child creatures, trying to draw their own and then having a wank over them. Jesus!

Why, you might wonder, would I be searching on Google images for girls? Well, I'm doing a little job drawing a female character for a charity website. In search of inspiration I innocently (but half knowing-squirmingly) typed 'girl drawing' into the search bar. Really, the stuff that comes up when you hit return is not exactly inspiring me, put it that way.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Firstly, it is obscenely hot. We have just devoured the leftovers of yesterday's lunch, seated in a most civil manner at the garden furniture outside. I knew it was hot, I know I don't burn easily, but I was definitely getting a little pink out there by the end of the meal. Not good. By the time I'm fifty years old I'll be wrinkled as a scrotum. It's so quiet out there, as if nothing can be bothered to stir itself to do anything. I certainly can't stir myself into action today. I put in a titanic effort to get some roughs sent off before lunchtime, and having crawled painfully, brain bleeding, up to that difficult target at 12.17pm, I duly scoffed as my reward the wondrous foodstuffs we had brought home from our friend Naomi's house. I am now back indoors, belly full, watching my skin gradually grow less radiant and writing this.

Naomi's salads yesterday were a triumph. Pearl barley, tenderstem broccoli, butternut squash, red onions, pumpkin seeds, all brought together companionably under a dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and parsley. I could eat that salad until I'm sick. Which would be obscene.

Speaking of which, the obscenity I intended to write about was something that I thought I was alone in noticing. That bald one from Masterchef - Gregg Wallace - is it just me or does the way in which he eats make you shudder too? I mean, what kind of weirdo puts cutlery in his mouth so deep and for so long that you think he's trying to eat the bowl of the spoon or see what the metal tastes like? Those poor forks sometimes get fully two seconds of in-mouth action, I swear. When it's his turn to taste the food, I have to look away. It grosses me out. To my delight yesterday, I discovered that Naomi shares my horror - we laughed like drains about it.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

I mean, seriously,

what is the matter with me? I spotted a word I recognised whilst being traumatised by those pictures of the mucous plugs and typed it into the enlightening Wikipedia. What horrors awaited me! Meconium is this horrible dark brown shit that babies pass in the first couple of days after birth. Go on, go and look at the pictures in the link. Sometimes the babies pass it in the uterus and breathe it into their lungs by accident. I need to lie down, this is too much.

I must stay away from these things! I should be working on an illustration and I'm reading about childbirth?


Dear lord, I was just doing a bit of light reading (ha!) over on Dooce and came across this post on mucous plugs. When you're pregnant, a plug of mucus (unsurprising, given its name) forms at the neck of the cervix to block it up. Now sometimes it falls out when a woman is close to her due-date, yeah, it just slips out like some kind of slug or a giant vaginal bogey. I have never heard of such a thing. I Googled it for images, which was probably a big mistake cos now I NEVER NEVER NEVER want to have a child. I thought it was already pretty gross to have to squeeze an enormous thing out from between your legs but holy Christ this was properly sick. I can't believe she wrote about that. Dooce is very funny in places, but it also scares the crap out of me when she jokes about childbirth and other random stuff. That's one brave lady.

Homicide Saturdays

Today is one of those days when you wish you'd never got out of bed. Everything is a chore, even eating breakfast. We've been to town to do our weekly food shopping. I thought I might die, or at least someone might die at my hands. Saturday mornings in Waitrose easily induce thoughts of homicide - you get the grumpy mothers with three brats in tow, who treat you like you've personally offended them if you don't move out of their way; you get the dozy old couples who can't find anything or reach it once they've found it; you get the impatient young couples like us, who spit out swear words scattershot at adults and children alike. I don't care if your fucking daughter hears me swearing - leave her at home if it matters that much. It would certainly make me swear less or maybe I'll just run my trolley over her head next time. How does that sound, hm?

Right. Calm. Spouse is making soup. I'm sure it will cheer me up. It worries me that food makes me so happy. We bought a crab to have with some pasta tonight, and that will probably make me the happiest person alive for about eight minutes while I'm eating it.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Cheese Fridays

Nah, I'm just kidding. I can't remember what we ate on Fridays, only that as children my sister and I were left to our own devices on Friday and Saturday nights. Both of my parents worked incredibly hard in the take-away when we were young. I never really appreciated how much they did for us - they sent us to private schools from infancy because they cared for us much more than themselves, and we lived quite an impoverished early existence, sleeping all in one bedroom and sharing the upper floors of the take-away with our employees and other friends. My childhood was filled with their many different faces, most of whom have gone away, but some who remain very dear to me - my aunt and my cousins especially. Most of the people who worked for us always had time for my sister and I - I don't think as an adult I am quite as patient or indulgent with children as they all were.

So on Friday nights, when everyone was busy downstairs with the orders of chicken chow mein and chips with curry sauce, we would run amok, making tents and pretending to be tramps, creating trains of cardboard boxes, trying to brew our own perfume. Our upbringing was crazy - the antithesis of careful parenting. We watched the TV adaptation of Susan Hill's 'The Woman in Black' far too young and I'm still scarred by that experience many years later. I still remember the terror of having to go to bed that night. I'm sitting here in the middle of one of those almighty June thunderstorms and watching clips like this. This bit nearly killed me as a child of eight years old.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Duck Thursdays

When I was very young and we lived above my parents' take-away, Thursdays were always duck days. My dad would be preparing and roasting ducks all day in his enormous oven, hanging them up on big hooks as they became ready. On those evenings we would each have a leg of duck for dinner accompanied by pak choi or Chinese broccoli and plain rice, with plum sauce for the duck and lots of soy sauce over the whole plate. It was divine, one of the greatest pleasures of my early life.

My dad is probably the best cook I have ever known; his knowledge and skill are so instinctive. I really need to get him to show me how to make some of the things he used to feed us, things that to me are still the purest taste of home. It would be tragic if he didn't tell me the secret of braised belly pork or his unparallelled Hong Kong curry, how to make that weird steamed pork patty or what on earth fish he uses to make homemade fish balls. These are things I must know.

The best Duck Thursday I remember was when one day after school, instead of being brought home, we were taken to the local forest for an impromptu Chinese-style picnic. It was just normal food, which to us was our roast duck dinner, eaten out of foil trays whilst sitting on the water tanks that are dotted around that bit of woodland. I can still recall the way my food looked, all crammed into the tray with the dollop of plum sauce starting to seep and disappear into the rice. I still recall climbing with my sister on those water tanks. My parents were full of surprises, making the ordinary just that little bit extraordinary.

Tonight should be Duck Thursday, but I watch my waistline these days :-).

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

So now what?

What on earth have I done? It's not like I've got anything interesting to say.

Pillow talk last night was on the subject of the 'value' of art and whether the monetary value of a piece of art (well, we were actually talking about ceramics) is directly linked to its emotional value. How much are we influenced into liking something simply because it is expensive, or is it the opposite case that if we like something that we give it a higher monetary value? Is this always the case? Was it ever the case and if so is it still now? We digressed onto the exclusivity of modern fine art and how buyers such as the Saatchi brothers take it upon themselves to be the tastemakers for the wider population. Are they to blame for all this shite, wanky modern art that is expensive as well as ugly and pointless? I don't think I want to write about that too much today. It was too much of a headfuck last night. This is what you get when two over-educated people get married. It's that thrilling.

But you know, I found it thrilling. I couldn't sleep afterwards.

Monday, 22 June 2009

here we are again...

So I've decided to start this blog because there are sometimes things that I'd like to write about that don't really fit into my other blogs. I like to rant. My soapbox gets lots of usage in normal life, but these kind of things aren't always suitable to put on a blog based on illustration, design and other arty pursuits. So here I am, writing crap for no particular reason, just being me...