Sunday, April 27, 2008

I just listened to the new Portishead album, Third
It's awful.
There are three listenable tracks on it; the rest is just mournful rubbish, badly enough written that you remember that Beth really can't sing. It didn't matter with the material on Dummy and Portishead, but this material does her no favours. The whole album smacks of desperation, and not the angsty torch-song desperation of past glories but the desperation to get something out there and be recognised again.

I'm listening to Diamanda Galas now to cleanse my ears.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I've just read that Humphrey Lyttleton has died, news which was not unexpected but which is still exceptionally sad. It's funny how people you've never met can come to be such a huge part of your life; for me, rushing to the radio at 6.30pm on a Monday to catch "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue", "Humph" has been visiting my front room for the last twenty years, making me laugh (or groan) out loud. I don't know anyone who didn't listen to this programme and there is now a huge and irreplaceable hole in one of the best bits of British culture.
It's the end of an era!
My trusty iPAQ 5550 is now gone after many years of service. First the 3970 and then the 5550, replaced by the new eee PC.

The eee is annoying me as I upgraded the RAM to 2GB and it shows this in the BIOS startup screen, but only 1GB is available by the time Linux boots.

Research time!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

THIS is incredible!
Scriptographer is a free plugin for Adobe Illustrator which allows you to write your own plugins in Javascript.


This is a sample made with four of the scripts from the website. All the effects are procedural and this was done in about ten minutes. The plugin is not completely bug-free, nor is it the most obvious thing to use, but it is certainly worth a look.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back in the swing of the workshop again, making things.
I came back from Italy bursting with ideas, materials and a commission, which I managed to finish today. Something for a client who told me only "I like anchors"!
Here it is:

This is quite unusual for me in that it is a bit literal. The anchor is the catch which closes the bracelet. The chain is made from rusty old spring washers which I cleaned up, and the anchor is variously made from a piece of an old stove, an antique broacher, a file handle and two ball bearings from inside a broken projector. The little stone hanging from the chain is a natural garnet crystal.

The piece is for a colleague who used to be a steelworker in the docks in Genova. He now makes furniture and jewellery from steel. His website is here.

In between working on this, I managed to make a pair of cufflinks too:

Which came about because I noticed that the steel washers were exactly the right size to hold some aquamarine discs which I bought ages ago and had never found a use for. The stone in the centre is an orange sapphire. The steel helps protect the stone, which is fairly fragile.

I've been asked to send some pieces off to an exhibition in Malaga, which is exciting.

Not much else to report. Largely still catching up from the holiday.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What a holiday!
Despite having the new laptop with me, I completely managed to avoid making any posts here, which is SO stupid.

The first part of the holiday included some research on St Hubert, going to St Hubert's Church in Idsworth, which is very beautiful:

Click on photograph for more images.

We went to Italy! To Genova, a place I've visited before but which I had never visited properly. An amazing mediaeval town on the side of a mountain; narrow alleys and streets, funicular railways, glass elevators, castles and an incredible cemetery:

Click on the picture for more images.

We also went to Campo Ligure to vist a friend, Janos, and to Valenza, where I bought some enamels and burrs.

I want to live in Genova now!

Finally found a copy of a book I have wanted for YEARS: Luigi Serafini's Codex Serafinianus, an insane encyclopaedia of imagined things, written in an untranslatable language:

Most of it is compelling and incomprehensible:

Bits of it are just plain disturbing:

Martin Gardner first alerted me to this book in his own book, "Metamagical Themas" and from one illustration there reproduced, I knew that I had to find it.

Back to work today...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just back from a brilliant trip to Genova in Italy where we watched the disbelief on the faces of the citizens as Berlusconi won again... The visit was primarily to catch up with Janos and some of his friends, a visit to various jewellery shops and the like. We did SO much more, however I am completely exhausted and will write more later and post some pictures too.

Monday, April 07, 2008

In Brighton!
We've had tons of snow here and it's bitterly cold but sunny, which is great. We're getting ready to head off to Italy on Thursday. Went to the "Rock & Gem" show yesterday at Brighton racecourse, which was very interesting: bought some rough garnets, tourmalines and a couple of chunky faceted quartzes for which I've already had some ideas.
The weather yesterday was so grim that we didn't go out at all, so cabin-fever drove us out today. That and the fact that we had to pick up currency and Dingo's new phone. Everywhere we went today, we found strange things, such as Barbie hell...

And then we watched this idiot driver trying to get his enormous truck through the tiny lanes, destroying shops, clothes rack, furniture and very nearly people too:

I've also been using the eee PC to do various things, such as this post and processing the images in it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

More terrorist stories today. I see that another batch of vaguely foreign-looking johnnies has been accused of trying to blow up aircraft:

I'm sure that one on the bottom left is Craig David, wanted for inflicting terror on music-lovers across the globe.
Maybe it's a new version of Celebrity Squares. Or University Challenge.