Blog, Philosophy

Desert Eel

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You know what I’m completely sick of? Seeing those ‘inspirational’ quote posters, but when you read the quote it quickly becomes apparent how utterly meaningless and hollow it is, like the soul of a career politician. They’re complete rubbish; an eel in the desert makes more sense.
People go mad for them at the moment. They’re littering social media like rubbish on a hot day at the beach. But here’s the thing: I’m convinced that people are pretending to understand them in order to make themselves seem cool and inspirational. Those people share them on their social media, thinking “Ah, yes, everyone will see how cool and deep I am when they see this intellectual, philosophical shit” not realising (or caring?) that the words are empty and the quote makes no sense.
Alarmingly, though, the act of people sharing the quote legitimises the poster’s meaning as something does makes sense: if loads of people claim to understand it, then it becomes something that can be understood. Even if the quote is still meaningless, and those people are probably lying.
It reminds me of when people use long words because they want to show how clever they are but in reality they don’t fully understand the words and so end up using them in the wrong context and essentially looking like a complete knob.
Even more annoying is when the quotes are from people that no one’s heard of (again, I’m sure they’re made-up people) but the fact that they’re being quoted makes it seem like their nonsensical opinion matters and you should care. You shouldn’t care. Don’t even think about caring.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a cool font and a bit of bokeh nature photography but, I mean, shit, will people write literally anything just to get a few likes on Instagram?
To be fair to inspirational posters, there are many out there that contain quotes that are indeed uplifting but, unfortunately, as is the case with so many good things in life, the idiots have capitalised on the idea and filled the pot with rubbish.

I realise that I’m probably swimming upstream here and should perhaps just get over myself. The internet has become a place where anyone’s ridiculous, ill-informed opinion is accepted (including mine!) and that’s just how it is in the 21st century. So, I made my own inspirational poster:

DSC_0235 Edit


That’ll Keep ‘Em Out

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Well the good news is that I won’t be having problems with rabbits eating the vegetables in the garden any more, thanks to my firm but fair method of pest control (see below).


The bad news is that I don’t think it’ll work for the squirrels because they’re crafty little buggers and I think they’re politically motivated because they systematically targeted all of the strawberries last year. Ate them all, before they were even ripe (have I complained about this before? I complain about this on a regular basis). They know that strawberries are my favourite fruit, you see; they’ve seen what joy I gain from growing and picking them. I think the squirrels are upset due to the time I chased little Jimmy around the garden (I don’t know if the squirrel’s name was Jimmy) and the fiasco with the bird seed. That’s when things turned sour, but, see, I don’t think it’s possible to reach a truce with squirrels like I have with, say, the spiders that live in my window or the little vole who resides in the flower bed. Squirrels are bastards, and they’re smart. While I think my friend’s suggestion of land mines might be a little counter-productive, I’ve got to start putting up anti-squirrel propaganda around the garden or spread some rumours about them to the other animals or something because that strawberry shit was too far. Squirrels are devil sympathisers, after all. No, really, they are, I’ve seen it.



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It’s April Fool’s day tomorrow, so now seems like a good time to tell you about the running joke I’ve been playing on my Mum for the last couple of years. Like any sensible grown-up she writes food shopping lists and leaves them in the kitchen, adding to them whenever food inspiration strikes and eventually taking the list to the shop so as to remember what to buy. It’s a good idea. However, if you leave your shopping list lying around you leave it vulnerable to other people adding things to the list without you noticing. Like ‘snakes’. Other than the fact that writing ‘snakes’ on someone’s shopping list is hilarious, the funny thing was that the first time I did it she couldn’t read what it said and she thought it said ‘snacks’. The other funny thing was how, displeased, she would always cross it out as if, if she didn’t cross it out, she’d accidentally buy snakes in Sainsbury’s. Hopefully one day she’ll forget to cross it out, black out and unintentionally buy some snakes, which would be fun (until they get loose in the house, and then there’d be trouble).


It became a running joke in the house to the point that other people started joining in. And then it evolved from snakes to, well, anything. One time my partner Max and I added ‘crocodiles’ and ‘lemons’ to a list.


Eventually, though, my joke backfired and someone got one of my shopping lists. Touché.


Does anyone play pranks on April Fool’s day any more? I find the unnecessary number of rules confusing (you have to prank before noon, while wearing golf shoes and waving your left arm?) and most pranks are just mean. Don’t do mean pranks, folks, because if you like doing mean things to other people you SUCK.


Forgetting Things

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I like the concept of forgetting things.I also like the concept of losing things:
You own something, it exists somewhere – you just don’t know where it is. You did, at some point, know where it is because you put it there – and, chances are, being an inanimate object that cannot move by itself, it’s still there… yet its resting place eludes you. I like to imagine what the thing you’ve lost is doing right now, usually while you’re looking for it. It probably watched you storm past, angrily throwing things out the way in your tempest of fury and lateness and for God’s sake, it was here earlier, where is it?!
I like to imagine it looking puzzled, wondering what all the commotion is about.

It’s less funny when you lose something because you put it somewhere and someone else moves it to some stupid place where you don’t know where it is. That’s really annoying. It’s also slightly unnerving because it brings to light the fact that most things happen when you’re not around to witness it. In fact, pretty much all of the stuff that’s ever happened, including stuff happening right now, happened without your knowledge. Maybe don’t think about that too much.

Forgetting things is funny because you can go the whole day, bumbling through your normal activities, thinking about all the hundreds of things you think about but all the while forgetting something really important that you remembered yesterday. Then, while you’re chopping up carrots for dinner you look out the window and see an eagle fly past holding an ice cream and you think “Shit! I was supposed to pick up a card for my Mum.”
Memory really is a strange thing.
I have an alarming number of memories where I have no idea if they really happened or not. I’ve gone days thinking that something happened before it becoming abruptly apparent that it was actually a dream and I don’t, in fact, have to find a pair of shoes for a persuasive king cobra I met in Memphis. Now my default assumption is that is probably didn’t happen, then it’s a nice surprise when someone else remembers the same event and it turns out that it did happen.

Or did it?


January Is The Longest Month

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If you’ve been in a coma since the start of 2016 (which, let’s face it, most of us have) let me give you an update; it’s week 1486 of January, year 2759; my skin is so pale I’m almost translucent; the entire world has run out of money; there are only three hours of daylight per day; I hung up my washing in 2409 and it still isn’t dry; my shoes dissolved in the evil, perpetual mud long ago; oh, and it’s STILL fucking January.
Today is the 30th and I can’t flippin’ wait for February. Compared to January, February is a walk in the park. A gentle spring breeze. A warm towel after a dip in a deep icy plunge pool. You get the picture.
It was, however, pretty quiet at work this month (many people took to drawing eyes on their eyelids and napping in their office chairs from 9 to 5.30) so I had the opportunity to direct and film a video and also mess about on InDesign and Illustrator. The video was quite unexpected, as the team won some sort of corporate unemotional award and thus had to produce a video about how awesome we are. Luckily the proofreader is secretly a talented scriptwriter and I happen to know a little bit about filming so we got together and planned the thing, arranging a day to film and organising props and character roles and so on. I’ve never directed a whole team of people before, so while it was easy and fun to put the scriptwriter’s ideas into a storyboard and bring the concept to life, it was a test to keep all the ‘actors’ focused, to nail their lines, to get the shots in the limited time, battle against a camera that wasn’t cooperating, and to politely tell people why we can’t suddenly include a shot of a T-Rex devouring a roast dinner or have everyone say their lines from a canoe. So, while it was stressful for me I think from the outside it looked like an organised and calm affair, which is the key – make it look like you know what you’re doing.
After the filming chaos I had some fun exploring the truly mammoth programme that is InDesign. I use it every day but it’s an incredible learning experience to test what it can do and familiarise myself with its endless features. In the end I put together a bogus newspaper with headlines such as ‘Loggers fell the Enchanted Forest’ and ‘Robin Hood arrested for tax fraud’, for some reason, and rustled up a logo for a sinister airline company which I named Wreckless Airlines. Even though it took me no time at all, I’m actually pleased with the finished product and I put it here in the Design section of this humble site. I went for a kind of danger/blood smear look which I think is jolly nice.

If you haven’t already, check out last month’s ramblings – you can navigate there by pressing the orange writing next to the improbably tiny arrow below the comments box – and, until next time, make the most of today and tomorrow because (devastatingly) we only get one January a year.


Suck it, 2015

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It’s that time of the year again where I feel obliged to summarise the last twelve months, reflect on the events and come up with some sort of deep and meaningful philosophical insights that make my (wonderful, loyal) readers go “Ahh, yes…” and then tilt their heads to the side, looking thoughtfully towards the ceiling.

Well, suck it!, I’m not doing that this year, mostly because I can’t think of anything to say but also because 2015 has been a great year and for some reason it’s harder to think of philosophical insights when things are going well than when you do something idiotic, everything goes tits-up and you’re forced to wonder where it all went wrong. There’s lots to like about 2015. Even though the summer barely got above a pathetic 17 degrees (which, need I remind you, was resolutely matched by December) I spent loads of time outdoors and at the beach, exploring the South West and appreciating the beauty right on my doorstep. I enjoyed every season. I improved my photography and started to learn a new language. I went to Helsinki. I experimented with making videos and with graphic design. I got a better job. I challenged myself with trying new things and I took up new hobbies. I probably looked like an idiot a lot, particularly while trying out my new hobbies but, hey, who cares, life’s not all about standing around trying to look cool. If only it was OK to tell that to strangers standing around trying to look cool.
“Um, excuse me, life’s not all about standing around and looking cool, you know.”
Maybe we should all just stick our middle fingers up at them*.

Middle fingers aside I glide my way into 2016 feeling peaceful. Feeling motivated to make this year even better than the last. I hope you feel the same. I don’t make new year’s resolutions (apart from the one I made years ago when I resolved to never again make a new year’s resolution) so I don’t have any willpower-backed proposals for myself. This isn’t surprising. Honestly. I keep going on about it every year. How I never make new year’s resolutions? Ringing any bells? No? OK, we’ll move on.
Perhaps you’ve made some new year’s resolutions – to quit smoking, or to go running more, or to choose a more positive outlook, or to stop sticking your middle finger up at strangers for no reason. Whatever it is, good for you. Challenge yourself. Think differently. And most of all, happy new year!



*Or, if you prefer the British option, glaring at them while they’re not looking.

Happy Shoe Year1

Blog, Philosophy

Self Portrait

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How do you view yourself? It’s a big question, one with no right answer, or any answer at all, in fact. I do think, though, that the British are quite good at not taking themselves too seriously – we love to take the piss out of everything and, happily, that includes ourselves. (Which is more than can be said by, say, I don’t know, *cough* the Americans). And this is great, because it means that I can now lead seamlessly into laughing at myself – or, more specifically, laughing at a self portrait of myself. I’m sharing this with you because, well, quite frankly I think it’s hilarious, but also because it’s so important not to take yourself so seriously. It’s taken me years to get to a space where I can do that, and, alas, there is still work to do. But I would hate to be the person whose perception of themselves is such that they can’t laugh if they make a silly mistake or do something embarrassing in front of their boss or trip over the shoelace of their super-cool Nike’s, fall arse over head and look like a twat.
You have to laugh and, I’m sure you’ll agree, life’s more fun if you do!
I drew this picture of myself – the image of the lovely lady at the bottom – with my best-friend-parter-in-crime, who also drew himself – the handsome young man at the top with the curly hair. The point was that we share a disliking of our side profiles (if it sounds trivial, it’s because it is). I can say with confidence that everyone has something they don’t like about their physical appearance, but often this thing is something that no one else can see because that person has spent so much time looking at it that it becomes this huge thing to them. Yet, all their friends and family have never even noticed because they (I hope, anyway) don’t cast such harsh judgment on someone they love.
So, what point am I making? It was fun and funny to draw my side profile because doing this made my harsh opinion of myself seem silly because my exaggerated drawing showed how untrue my perception really is. Likewise, I could laugh at my companion’s self portrait, because that’s not what he looks like either.
Well, actually, you know what, he does have a huge triangle erupting from his forehead at 80 degrees… I’m kidding, of course he doesn’t.
And now I’ll encourage you to do the same, if you want to. Or, at least, have a laugh at mine.

Oh, and don’t worry about the guy with the huge lips on the left. I’m not sure what he represents, but, damn, just look at those lips!