Friday, December 29, 2006

Best Books I’ve Read This Year
(not in any order)

The Sound of Paper – Julia Cameron
Walking On Water – Madeleine L’Engle
Re-imagine! – Tom Peters
The Creative Habit – Twyla Tharp
The Treehouse – Naomi Wolf
What Do I Do When I Want To Do Everything? – Barbara Sher
Maximum Ride : The Angel Experiment – James Patterson
Selected Poems 1923 – 1958 – e.e. cummings
Tessere (Weave) – Roberta Furlanetto
Heaven : It’s Not The End Of The World – D. Lawrence

Creation Spirituality – Matthew Fox

Monday, December 25, 2006

Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, Nadolig Llawen, Happy Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Email Anxiety and Telephone Phobia

I know.

I don’t call … I don’t write … I don’t respond to emails. I rarely answer my phone. Or return messages.

And I haven’t been to visit for ages.

I like people communicating with me … I really do. I like to hear your news … to know what’s going on and how you’re doing.

But my fear is this … if I communicate back to you, then you’ll communicate back to me AGAIN. And then we’ll have “an on-going dialogue”. And you’ll want to know how I’m doing and when I’m coming to visit.

And because I have a deep need to please everybody all the time, I’ll tell you things about myself that I’ll later regret. I’ll say “yes” to invitations and make arrangements. Then I’ll start planning how to get out of them.

It comes from a time in my life and “career” when I dreaded every phone call, every letter, every appointment, every visit. People always wanted “to talk”. And it was my job to listen. And to come up with something. And they’d go away a little happier. And then think we were friends. And invite me round to dinner. And I’d say, “Great!” and get my diary out.

Now I live in a little bubble. Mainly a cyber bubble. Chat rooms. Blogs. That sort of thing. Though I do chat to the girl in the coffee shop as well.

I divide the day up into 3 sections: daytime, evening and night. I get through them one at a time.

Please don’t think that’s sad because it’s really working for me. I’m being more creative and productive than I have been for a long time. I have got friends and people who care about me (they are the ones who are not put off by my long periods of silence and my failure to respond to their communications). I’m working slowly, steadily and methodically. And I have faith. And family.

And I’m desperately trying to keep it like that for the time being, because I’m so easily thrown off kilter. Then it takes me days to get it back together.

So as we go into a New Year … be patient with me. Very patient. A good way to keep in touch with how I’m doing and what I’m doing is through this blog. Put it in your favourites. Add comments. It’s surprisingly personal and usually fun.

And of course I’ll come to visit. Give me a call sometime, or send me an email … lets get something in the diary. Maybe make it a regular thing.

But don’t hold your breath.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Talking about teddy bears ...

When I was in University in Aberystwyth, during the charity Rag Week some guys would raise money by extortion. They would raid the girls' rooms and kidnap their teddy bears and hold them to ransom.

They called themselves the Pooh Klux Klan.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be ... #1

In the summer, me and my Dad went to St. Fagan’s (please don’t make me explain … go to … … thank you.) They have this area where they have rebuilt different types of houses in Wales for each decade of the 20th century. And the last one was a PREFAB. Exactly like the one I grew up in (more on this in a separate entry … when I get around to it). I have very little recollection of my past (therapy, anyone?) but this brought back lots of memories. Even inside it looked just like the home I used to live in. And in the bedroom … on the bed … was a copy of a Rupert The Bear Annual … JUST LIKE I USED TO HAVE!

And that book scared me to death.

It was old and smelt musty (is that the word?). I don’t like the smell of old things. It was also falling apart … and I don’t like things like that either. New or nothing for me.

And as for the stories and the drawings …. OMG! Totally frightening. I used to read it out of some macabre and masochistic pleasure, I think. Like watching horror movies. Or car crashes.

It was horrible. I’m still shuddering now as I write this. (Some things you don’t ever get over.)

But it got me thinking about teddy bears … and how weird and frightening they are. So here are my views on the some of the heroes and villains. (All villains and only one hero, by the way.)

Rupert The Bear (Rupert Bear, technically speaking … for all you geeks out there) was always so po-faced, old-fashioned and fuddy duddy (and probably smelly, too … if his book was anything to go by). And he had such scary people in his stories. And such surreal (drug induced?) adventures. Nowadays he would get an ASBO. And quite right too. “Rupert is really a small boy with a bear's head - although a furry back has been spotted whilst Rupert is having a bath.” Ewwwwwwww!!!!!!!!! And who the hell talks in two-line rhyming couplets? (You can tell I’m really working out some issues here).

Paddington is a bear who usually wears a duffle coat, a rather shapeless hat and, on occasions, Wellington boots. Where are Trinny and Susannah when you need them? Many people also know that his favourite food is marmalade and that he originally comes from Darkest Peru. That’s the best thing about him … I know someone from Peru and they are the coolest people. After the Welsh. But that’s still not enough to make me like him.

Winnie The Pooh. What a doughnut. Just having the name ‘pooh’ is enough for me. If ever a bear needed to sort his life and get some new friends it’s him. “Pooh is a bear who is always hungry and wants food all the time to settle ‘the rumbly in his tummy’” So … a bear with an eating disorder eh? What a great role model for obese children. He needs to shape up and get his sh*t together. Maybe he needs a life coach. Or a brain implant.

And then there’s Superted. OMG … the coolest bear EVER! MY HERO!!!!!

A brief synopsis … “A faulty teddy bear is removed from the factory line and dumped down a chute into a cellar. Almost immediately, Spottyman, from the planet Spot, lands his Spotty Rocket nearby, breaks into the cellar, and uses cosmic dust to bring the teddy to life. They visit Mother Nature on her spaceborne cloud, where she gives the teddy a potion which grants him superpowers. Accordingly, he adopts the name SuperTed.” (taken from Come on people! It’s a story of redemption, purpose and meaning in life … so uplifting in these difficult times.

His aim in life was (and probably still is) to save the universe and put Texas Pete in jail. I’m not from Texas btw … I’m just Pete … Cardiff Pete doesn’t have the same ring to it so let’s not go there. You gotta love a bear with a mission. And he’s got the COOLEST website (and … no… he’s not a cross dresser). But he has got a secret identity. My son used to have a Superted bear that came with an ordinary teddy bear outer fur (nearly said skin but that was a bit yuchy) that you could pull off to reveal … SUPERTED!


And the DVDs ( … just in case … go on … you know you wanna!)


Today I met the animator of the original Superted series on television - Steve John. Take a deep breath ….I know you’re excited.


I bought from him one of the original drawings! It’s a key one which means it is the first in a small series of animations. The first one is drawn by the lead animator (ok … Lead Animator … let’s show some respect) and then the next few are drawn by others (subordinates – pah!). It’s a collectable because when the series finished in the 80s, much of the work was destroyed.

I’m so chuffed.

It’s going to be my son’s Christmas present. But don’t tell him.

He’ll probably flog it on Ebay. Ah well …

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Think I’ll Start Eating Vegetarians

Seriously. If a diet of vegetables is so good for you then they should taste better … don’t you think?

For Christmas my Dad and I have been invited to my cousin’s house to have dinner with her and her family. Vegetarians. The lot of them. Not that I think they all want to be. The husband’s got this look of bewilderment every time he sits down at the table. His wife won’t tell him most of what he’s eating because she knows he wouldn’t like it (Quorn, anyone?) And the kids are just biding their time … you can tell. If you went in there with beefburgers strapped to your body they’d tear you apart like a pack of wolves.

But vegetables have feelings too, you know. Have you ever heard a carrot scream as it’s ripped mercilessly from its home in the ground? The pain of being peeled alive and then dismembered and thrown into a pan of boiling water. That’s gotta hurt. And potatoes get their eyes gouged out. The least they could do is stun the vegetables first.

I came across a blog written by a full-on, hard-core vegetarian (those words just don’t belong together, do they?) She talks about ‘non human animals’ as though we’re all the same species. But … and I’m not making this up … she has put her cat and her dog on vegetarian diets. She herself admits that this is not natural, but then goes on to say, “but natural is not always healthy”. Kind of undermines your whole argument there lady!

But if animals aren't supposed to be eaten, then why are they made out of meat?

Seriously, though, I don’t mind vegetarians. It’s anti-vivisectionists I really can’t stand. There’s one who has a table in the shopping centre in Cardiff. He wants me to sign his petition. It’s not that I’m in favour of animal testing. I just want him to do something more positive and affirmative and not expect me to get involved in his campaign. And I don’t mean fire-bombing some scientist and his family … or robbing the grave of someone’s grandmother. What I had in mind was for him to knock on the door of Huntingdon Life Sciences and say, “Let the beagle go … take me instead”.

I guess what I’m saying is that if we care about the other members of our species, and regard them as our friends, then we need to step up. Offer ourselves in their place so as to end their suffering. But nobody’s going to do that, are they? Especially not at this time of year.

I know it’s only a small start … but I’m going to save a turkey this Christmas. I’m going to eat a vegetarian instead.

Oh, and on a final note … and this worries me a lot …
If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yesterday I went, with my Dad, to the Wales Millennium Centre. We didn’t see Captain Jack or Gwen (who’s turning into a right slag, by the way) but we did go the Craft Fair that was being held there in the Foyer. Very good it was too.

In particular, I met Maria Hayes - a Visual Artist based in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Looking through her portfolio, she’s doing some pretty cool stuff so I thought I’d give her a ‘big up’ here on my blog. View her work at

She’s recently done some collaboration with Diversions Dance Company (also based at WMC – These are a couple of photos of her work …

(HOW COOL is that picture on the right???)

AND … I found out that there’s a monthly Arts and Crafts Fair at Newport Market. If I could get my act together … and get a crew together … I could do Brecon and Newport every month! There’s a special Christmas Fair there next weekend so I’ll go and check it out.

ALL OF THIS … has come about because I recently employed a VA (Virtual Assistant) to do some research for me. She’s produced a Visual Arts Report for events, openings, private views and sales across the arts and crafts scene in Wales. This will be regularly updated and expanded to give me opportunities for networking, promotion and sales (my job now is art production, marketing and sales – my third career so far!). So a ‘big up’ as well to Kathryn and her crew at!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tools Of The Trade

My Palette and my Overall

Other Tools Of My Trade:

Paper (all sorts – try not to throw any away)
Craft knives (lots)
Tippex (loads)
Marvin Medium (gallons ... use it for everything)
Acrylic paint (love the smell)
Magazines (for cutting up ... and they smell good too!)
Really nice pencils and pens (can never have too many)
Sponges, rollers, brushes, string, fingers (for putting paint on)
Kitchen roll and cling film (for taking paint off)
Gold leaf (messy)
Anything sparkly (for surface texture ... and sparkle)
Gloss varnish (shiny ... seems to bring everything to life)
Sticks and stones (for breaking my bones)
PC, scanner and printer (for all sorts of things … obviously)
Masking tape (for … well … masking things)
Water (for mixing, thinning, and cleaning up)
Books (for ideas and inspiration)
Sketchbooks and notebooks (for journaling, processing and recording)
Cappuccinos at AJ’s (for thinking, planning and writing)
Bed (for dreaming)

Monday, December 04, 2006

10 of my favourite smells ...

  1. magazines
  2. paint
  3. chinese food
  4. new carpet
  5. the sea
  6. fire
  7. frying onions
  8. tar
  9. nail varnish
  10. wood

10 of my less than favourite smells

  1. metal
  2. anything old
  3. stale cigarette smoke
  4. oil
  5. marker pens
  6. plastic
  7. raw meat
  8. air fresheners
  9. spices
  10. swarfega

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