Thursday, 25 May 2017

George Egg: Anarchist Cook


Yesterday evening, a friend and I went to the Brighton Fringe show, George Egg: Anarchist Cook Part Two: Second Helpings, in which stand-up comedian George Egg combines cookery and DIY...


In this hilarious show, George Egg demonstrates several unconventional and unexpected methods of cooking, some of which may make you think, 'It shouldn't work, but it does!' (And some of which may make you think '...I need a wallpaper stripper...')


In this hour-long show, he singlehandedly cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner, interwoven with amusing anecdotes and advice on food acquisition, and a spot of poetry.


All in all it was a really funny and entertaining show! I haven't written much about it here because it's still running at Brighton Fringe, and he'll be performing it under the title, George Egg: DIY Cook at Edinburgh Fringe later in the year. And spoilers suck. So just take my word for it that it's worth going to! You will leave craving steak and a trip to your local B&Q.

George Egg: Anarchist Cook Part Two 'Second Helpings' is on again at Brighton Fringe on 28th and 29th May, and is a good and random show. Thoroughly enjoyed it (even if it did give me a craving for steak)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Life Rooms


After throwing pots on Sunday, my sister let me drag her along to the University of Brighton Gallery, which is currently home to the Cathie Pilkington exhibition, The Life Rooms.

Monday, 22 May 2017

A Cellar Full of Clay


You may remember that last year, sister #1 and I painted pottery skulls for my birthday.

This year, for her birthday, we went to The Painting Pottery Cafe and learnt to throw pots!


They have potters wheels set up in their bright and airy cellar, and after a demonstration of how to make a basic pot, we were able to take it in turns to make our own! My sister and I were in the second group to have a go, and were joking to each other that our pots were going to look terrible because we'd never done this before.


As it happened, my pot turned out pretty well!
My sister managed to damage hers, but the instructor was quick to fix things so she could continue, and her pot ended up looking really cute--she made the top into a heart shape! It looks like really expensive, and hasn't even been fired yet!

The workshop was well-taught, instructions were easy to follow, and the staff were friendly and helpful (and endlessly patient, considering they're going through the same procedure with novices hundreds of times this month!)

The Painting Pottery Cafe are running 50 minute long classes throughout Brighton Fringe, though have taster classes throughout the year, too. If you're local to Brighton, it's worth checking them out if you're looking for a fun and new thing to try.

We had fun with this workshop, and can't wait to collect our pots once they've been fired!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Silent Disco and Serenading Diners


Yesterday, a friend and I embarked on a silent disco walking tour, a Brighton Fringe event run by the most excellently lycra-clad discophile, Guru Dudu.

The tour sounded suitably ridiculous for my tastes, so I was eager to get tickets and find out what it was all about!

As it turns out, it's about making a complete tit of yourself in the middle of a crowded city, and having a ton of fun in the meanwhile--all whilst listening to some funky tunes.


Armed with headphones and after a quick 'happy yoga' session, we were off through the streets of Brighton, ocassionally stopping for a mini danceathon, or to serenade unwitting diners at outside restaurants with a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, or casual evening picnickers (who sang back, and were possibly a little squiffy).


It also involved frolicking through the Pavilion Gardens to the sound of the Kate Bush classic, Wuthering Heights, stalking through the streets to Everybody (Backstreet's Back) and a fashion parade to I'm Too Sexy.


Of course, no disco is complete without some Abba, which led to the playing of Voulez-Vous and lots of pointing and exclaiming, "Ah-ha!" at random passers by.

Part walking tour, part disco, part flash mob, this was one of the most fun and ridiculous things I've done in a long time! Though I'm naturally a shy, introverted and socially awkward person, it was impossible not to get into the swing of things when there are a good 30-40 other people also making utter tits of themselves, all in the name of disco!

100% Would Do Again.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Moulettes @ Brighton Spiegeltent


Brighton Fringe Festival always brings some great events, and this year that included a gig by the band Moulettes, which I went to yesterday with a friend.
I saw this talented bunch of people at Hurst Festival back in 2015, and was impressed then, so it was good to have the chance to see another of their performances.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wilde at the Warren


On Saturday, a friend and I went to see Box Tale Soup's production of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is one of the shows I've booked to see at this year's Brighton Fringe.

Performed at the fringe pop-up site, 'The Warren', this performance had more puppets than it did human actors!

I did wonder what it might be like, since that there were so many puppets, but it turned out to be thoroughly engaging, incorporating some aspects of dance/physical theatre, and of course those dry, witty quips that Wilde was known for.
The set and costuming was simple but effective, the puppets looked neat and the actors were on good form--two of the cast played several different parts, including the voicing of the puppets, and it was easy to distinguish the different characters.

It might be easy to pass off a play involving puppets as being 'something for kids' but this certainly wasn't.
This was the first time I've seen a performance of this story, and it's been a while since I read the book. The play was not only a good memory-refresher, but really enjoyable!

I'd recommend going to see it, but in my slow-poke manner I've ended up posting here after their performances of it are finished--but they are back with a performance of The Wind in the Willows in June (which is more child-friendly).

Monday, 1 May 2017

April Roundup & 365

A Spot of Tea (110/365)
After three months of not doing much (seriously, why is everything closed during the beginning of the year?!) I actually got out of the house a little more during April.

Very little more.

Still, I have things to write about in this roundup that go beyond rambling about April's 365 Project photos.

As with March, unfortunately some of my plans this month had to be postponed or cancelled, which seems like a fact of life at the moment!
However, I'll catch up with people soon enough.

Despite the cancelled plans, I had some fun this month, both with activities and with photography!

So without further waffling, here's how my April went...


Sunday, 23 April 2017

State of Mind

Daydreamer
(In moments of stillness, the action happens Inside)

In the process of keeping up with 365 Project, I've begun the second of my photography projects for goal #12 (Complete 3 Photography Projects).
State of Mind explores different emotions and mental states through a series of 'faceless' self-portraits, each one being a personification of those mental states or emotions: the residents of 'The State of Mind'. 

Inflated Ego
(That moment of smug big-headedness)
This is still a fledgeling project so I'm still developing the ideas!
Considering the subject matter of this and A Strange Pair, it seems matters relating to psychology are of interest to me, doesn't it!

Discombobulating
(Confused, surprised, trying to comprehend)
I started off using a few handheld props, but am looking to make more use of masks and/or headpieces, to give an effect of the head being Different rather than merely having something held in front of it...

Poisonous
(Those negative thoughts that catch us unawares)
In the image above, I reused the mask I made for one of the prompts on Delightful Aberrations some time ago! I'm glad I kept it. Comparing the above image to the one created last time I used this mask, I can see how much I've benefitted (technically at least) from my cheapo camera remote. Life is so much easier when you don't have ten seconds to rush between camera and backdrop!

Idealist
(Too many flowery thoughts, not enough roots in reality)
I also discovered that I can 'MacGuyver' together a flower mask using tissue paper, staples, an elastic band and a piece of bent wire!

This project has been fun so far, and I've started to think a lot more about each persona. I'll likely take more in future, since there are so many more mental states to consider--and just like Poisonous, they are not always good.

The State of Mind, like any state, province or county, has its bad guys.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Stop!

Things That Stop The Flow

After a few weeks of brainlessness, I'm finally participating in the theme challenge at Delightful Aberrations!
This week, one of the prompts was stop.
I worked this into my project, A Strange Pair, which I originally started partly for the challenge and partly for goal #12 (Complete 3 photography projects).

I've been continuing the project, and had planned to post all the images together when I'd finished it, but today I got my hands on the items to take the image above, which is a pairing that comes directly from Daniel Nettle's book, Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature:

"When asked to sort pictures of objects into classes, schizophrenics often depart from those categories most intuitively accessible to the rest of us, such as 'tools' or 'fruit'. One subject put together a bath plug, a padlock, and a circle of red paper 'because all three stop flows or processes'."
- Nettle, D. (2001). Strong Imagination: Madness, Creativity and Human Nature.
Oxford University Press, Oxford
Since 'stop' was one of the prompts for this week's challenge, it seemed the obvious choice! It works for the prompt, and works for my project, too!

I still have more ideas for A Strange Pair which I haven't photographed yet. It's a real exercise of the mind to figure out these pairings, without them being too obvious or typical!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

One Year Music Challenge: Top Ten


At the end of last year, I completed my One Year Music Challenge, which I did for a goal from The List:
029. Listen to 2 new musical acts every week for 1 year
I used this goal to push my boundaries and try music from genres I don't normally listen to alongside the rock/pop styles that I usually have on my playlist!
Between suggestions from friends and googling phrases like "musicians from [random country]", I ended up with a huge list of artists to try out--far more than I actually needed, in fact!


Once the challenge was over, I used a handy tool from traveltip to generate a map of all the countries from which I'd listened to music. I thought I'd listened to a lot of music from around the world, but as it turns out, it was only just under 19% of the world's countries!

Admittedly it was harder to find music online for artists from some countries. Then again maybe I was looking in the wrong place.

Anyway, this challenge was fun, and through it I found a lot of musical acts that I really liked!

Here comes my top ten.
Those that put up with my waffle on a regular basis can probably guess who is at number one...


10. Kitaro (Japan)
Super-relaxing New Age instrumental music! I first heard this artist in week 16 of the challenge, and go back to the music every time I want something peaceful to relax and daydream to!
Kitaro Official Website

Saturday, 1 April 2017

March Roundup & 365

Paper (60/365)
Though I titled this 'March Roundup & 365', I have to admit this post is mostly about, 'here are the photos I took for my 365 Project during March' rather than 'here are the things I've done'.

Unclothed (61/365)
Flying Leopard (62/365)
Drooping (63/365)
Fresh-faced (64/365)

I started off the month with the intention of doing a lot--another daytrip to Portsmouth (this time with my sister), a trip out with a friend from college, some local events and several trips out on my own to go to some museums, or just to wander around and take photos. That is alongside writing one piece of flash fiction every day this month!

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Way We Work: Flash Fictions 28-31


It's the end of the month, so here are the final four pieces for my flash fiction goal, written over the last four days!

Flash fictions 28-31:
Pareidolia - A supernatural story about seeing faces in things
Missed Connection - The tale of a man obsessed with timekeeping
Little Rituals - The story of a woman who counts
Finish Line - A tale of a woman who has to see things to their end

With the exception of Pareidolia, these are companion stories to Background Characters and Connections in the previous flash fiction post--about people with their little quirks and the habits they have to make life acceptable to themselves.

Hope you enjoy these ones!

Pareidolia
Date: 28th March 2017
Prompt: Orb

"It's a great image, good use of shadow, but you've got dust marks again," John handed the photo back to his disappointed student.
"I think it's in the film," said Emma, who had printed the same image six times with the same result.
"Let's see your film. Marks like this usually happen when the light catches dust particles in the atmosphere. Did you shoot with a flash?"
Emma shook her head and handed over the film. "I didn't need it"
John hummed as he studied the film through a magnifier at the light box. "It's definitely in the film..." He checked the other frames. "You've got dust in all of these."
"What can I do?"
"Clean your lens and reshoot. Pay more attention to dust in the air."

Emma nodded, knowing it wouldn't work. She'd already cleaned the lens and the mirror of her second-hand SLR camera, carefully loaded fresh film in a clean environment, yet still ended up with weird dust marks on all her photos. It didn't matter the location or the conditions she shot in, the annoying little circles continued to show up, like ethereal bubbles that had definitely not been there when she took the photo.
"My granny calls them spirit orbs," she commented.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Stories of Struggle: Flash Fictions 24-27


Here I am, nearing the end of the month, with nothing Done but photographs taken (roundup at end of the month) and flash fiction written.

There are four days left of the month, but here are my flash fictions from today and the previous three days--flash fictions 24-27:
Art Imitates Life: About strange happenings and an artist of particular talent
Green Triangles and Yellow Trees: The story of a blind man with synaesthesia, and a remarkable skill.
Background Characters: The tale of a man disconnected from those around him
Connections: A sequel to Background Characters, about a commuter who feels he is only existing, rather than living.

Art Imitates Life
Date: 24th March 2017
Prompt: Frame

In the upmarket part of town, Thompson's Gallery was where Grendel Thompson sold his paintings, and a few by select local artists.

Whenever Thompson completed a new canvas, he displayed it within an ornate, decaying gold frame in the window. It drew the attention of passers-by, who stopped to survey the latest of Thompson's works, and marvel at his talent for combining surrealism and photorealism.

Thompson's work was based on town life, featuring faceless figures of locals in odd situations, so people liked to see if they could spot themselves.
Whenever anyone recognised themselves, they would gasp excitedly.
Had they understood what would happen, those would have been gasps of horror.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Seas and Change: Flash Fictions 19-23


Though it's the only thing I've been posting this month (life has not been going to plan) here are more flash fictions.

This time, flash fictions for days 19-23!

Brighton, 1919: A sequel of sorts to Folk Tales of the Sea People, about Cadogan's son Julian.
Message in a Bottle...: A side-story to Folk Tales of the Sea People, about listening to Siren-song.
Travel Without a Ticket: A story about pushing againt barriers
Within: A tale of taking care with one's inner self
A Dragon's Name, A Dragon's Place: A sequel to How Helle Found the Monster (from Folk Tales of the Sea People)

I can't believe I ended up writing three new pieces in the Folk Tales... universe!

Brighton, 1919
Date: 19th March 2017
Prompt: Sea
Notes: A sequel to Folk Tales of the Sea People

The tide was out, and the bitter winter wind left the beach deserted but for one man.
Julian Browne, only a few days off his thirty-ninth birthday, ambled slowly over the pebbles, his coat fastened all the way up and a scarf wrapped around his neck to fend off the wind.

He wrapped his arms around himself as he continued along the beach, feeling the sheaf of papers concealed beneath the thick wool.
They were important, these papers. Ground-breaking, in fact. But in this, King George's England, they were considered the ravings of an unbalanced mind.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Not What You Might Think: Flash Fictions 15-18


Here's another batch of flash fictions, written for goal #26, as I try to catch up on posting what I've written!

Flash fictions 15-18 are:
Name Your Child Well - A story about names being the making of a person
Dirt and Diamonds - A scene in which some settlers get very cold
Passengers - The musings of a boatman
Morning People - A morning spent with a Morning Person
These tales may not all be what they initially seem, so please do give them a read!

Name Your Child Well
Date: 15th March 2017
Prompt: Autumn

She was named not for the season she was born in, but the next to come, named for the little tufts of red hair sprouting from her tiny head, for her rosy cheeks, and her brown eyes that peered out, inquisitive, from the pram.
Autumn grew up surrounded by friends. People flocked to her, drawn in by her warm smile and outwardly genial nature. They thought fondly of her when apart, remembering her glossy, fiery curls and chestnut eyes with that nostalgia that people think of the season she was named after: mild, comfortable, that sigh of relief after the heat of summer and that deep, leaf-scented breath before the freeze of winter.

Nobody thought about the tougher, less pleasant side of autumn: the dreary grey skies, the pouring rain, the mud and the slow fading of colour from the world.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

You Reap What You Sow: Flash Fictions 10-14


Though I've been completely lax in updating with flash fiction, I have been writing it, and as a result have ten new pieces to share here.
Rest assured, I'm not posting them all today. Even with short stories, that can still amount to a lot of words!

For today, here's flash fictions 10-14:
Sour Child - A gentle story about tradition and superstition
Over The Wall  - A tale of overcoming obstacles
Tailed and Chased - About seeing what is around you
The Herbarium - A story of a flower collector, and karma
Tongues - An unpleasant tale of death and vengeance

The first three stories are pleasant. The last two, not so much...


Sour Child
Date: 10th March 2017
Prompt: Lemon
Notes: I know nothing about lemons and their growth cycles, and the first three links I clicked on after searching were pretty vague and unhelpful, so don't imagine I know what I'm talking about.

After the trinity of Winter, Spring and Summer, Autumn was the Lemon Season, when - as the world lost its colour and most trees dropped their leaves, the sacred lemon trees bore their fruit in brightest abundance.

There is a tradition, here in the southern borderlands, that during the Lemon Season, a man was to walk three times around a lemon tree with his beloved, then with eyes closed, pluck a lemon from the branches and present it to her. The lemon would then be taken and cut into two, and they would eat the lemon together, and its flavour would indicate the future that lay before them.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Clocks, Collectors, Change: Flash Fictions 5-9

The Account of Eve Undermountain

After the first four days of writing flash fiction, I'm continuing on with it, albeit with the occasional rush to get it written at 11pm after nearly forgetting.

This time around I have five pieces to share, perhaps a little less morbid than the first three!

House of Hands - A story about a woman with a rather unusual collection
The Account of Eve Undermountain - The tale of a land without sun
The Truth Behind the Propaganda - A reimagining of a faerie tale 
End of Time - A world of dust, about to change
Oversleeping - About people who live by the Clock...




House of Hands
Date: 5th March 2017
Prompt: Hands

Elizabeth liked hands. She had a collection of them. She used to show them off in the front windows of her cottage, which stood on the main street and could be seen by any that chanced by.
Then the parish council said it was a little too strange, and didn't suit the nature of the village, and could she please refrain from displaying them in public view in the future, please?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

At the Bottom of the Bottle

Mouth

I managed to miss joining in with the theme challege on Delightful Aberrations these past few weeks, but this time around I actually got organised, and played around with several ideas using the prompts bottle and inside.

I ended up with this photo (among others, one of which I uploaded to my 365 Project). Didn't edit this much, just adjusted the levels a little and resized it for the web (because nobody needs a 6000px wide 300dpi version of this photo).

This is just a photo of an old bottle that I dug out of the ground as a kid. Something has marked the inside, and the glass itself is covered in scratches.

You can see my previous photos for this challenge on my Delightful Aberrations tag.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

An Octopus and Some Cautionary Tales: Flash Fictions 1-4


At the end of February, I decided that March would be the month I attempted to complete another goal from The List:
026. Write 1 flash fiction per day for a month
For this, I'm considering 'flash fiction' to be any story 100-1000 words wrong, and I'm giving myself a writing time of 1 hour. I'm working from a list of single-word prompts.

Since I don't want to bombard this blog with story posts any more than I want to bombard it with photography posts (oops), I'll be posting them a few at a time.

Today, I'm sharing the first four stories:
Pips and Stones: A story about food and waste, and not believing everything you read.
A Fresh Start: A cautionary tale about adapting to one's surroundings.
Pride Comes Before...: A short story about an angry, loud man
The Octopus Goes North: A sequel to Yam and the Octopus from Folk Tales of the Sea People

These stories are not all pleasant. Future stories may not be pleasant either. People come to sticky ends, people are not nice. And the Octopus? The Octopus Remembers...


Wednesday, 1 March 2017

DIY Glitter Boots

 
Do you ever find a pair of shoes that you can't bear to leave in the shop--only to discover they don't have your size?

That happened to me when I wandered into Primark during my trip to Portsmouth, and again a few days later when I went to the Crawley branch of the same store.

Alright, so Primark isn't a designer store or even a fancy one, it's cheap and cheerful fashion.

But damn, if I didn't want those glittery gold canvas boots.

Unfortunately the racks in both branches were filled with size 5-6, and little else.
I have big feet, and though Primark do my size, it's usually 'in selected styles only' (and usually sold out).

It was clear that I couldn't have those beautiful boots.

If I wanted some, I'd have to make my own.

Which is what I did.


I bought some plain boots from the men's shoe section (£10, don't mind if I do), then went online and ordered some fine iridescent gold glitter.

Though I had a vague idea of how to stick the glitter down, I googled for some tutorials to find out what works best.
Eventually I found the Step-By-Step DIY Glitter Sneakers tutorial on about.com, which appeared to have the best end result!


It worked pretty well; there are very few places where the glitter has come off, which is where I didn't spread it on evenly. It was fiddly to brush it on around the eyelets and I ended up using the applicator sponge to wipe it over them, cleaning them up before the mixture dried.

The hardest part is getting a photo of them in all their iridescent sparkly glory. They look amazing in sunlight, but it hasn't been sunny since I peeled off the masking tape and laced them up--so you'll have to take my word for it!


Am counting this DIY towards a goal from The List:
80. Refashion/upcycle 3 items of clothing
Smothering boring not-quite-white-not-quite-grey boots in glitter totally counts as a refashion!

If I had space (or need) for more shoes, I would absolutely be making more of these in different colours!

This is refashion 2/3. The first was a refeshioned retro dress...

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February Roundup & 365

Watching Clouds With Little Friends (33/365)

It doesn't seem like almost a month has passed since I made my last roundup post!

Most of what I did in February was walk, clean, and take photos for my 365 Project (goal #65).
I also went on a daytrip, customised some shoes, and spent several days dealing with some particularly unpleasant visitors...

Photography-wise, I did quite well this month. Since February divides into 4 lots of 7, I decided to focus on a different aspect of photography every seven days.

I also took more photographs for my project, A Strange Pair (part of goal #12), but I'll post those at a later date!

As with the last roundup, you can click on the smaller pictures to view a larger version.


February 1-7

I worked with macro photography, making good use of my macro lens conversion kit!

Purple Mountains (32/365)
Dreams of Autumn (34/365)
Cactus Blue (35/365)
Reproduce (36/365)
Feelers (37/365)
Diamonds on Jade (38/365)
My conversion kit isn't perfect -  if I use too short a focal length, I get a black vignette around the corners of the image - and of course it isn't going to work as well as a proper macro lens, but it's good enough for what I use it for.

Two of the photos in this set ended up rotated 90 degrees from the original, because I decided they looked better that way. Can you tell which ones they are?

Racing Thoughts (39/365)
February 8-14

The second 'week' of February, I chose shutter speed as my topic, specifically those outside the usual range that I use. This resulted in images where objects were 'frozen' in movement (fast shutter speed) and those where movement was blurred or ghostly (short shutter speed).

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Bing Bing Bubble Tea


On a recent trip to Portsmouth, my friend and I found Bing Bing Bubble Tea, which is tucked inside Sun Hung Chang oriental food specialists.


At Bing Bing's counter, I was completely spoilt for choice by the menu! There were tea-based and fruit-based options, and a good selection of toppings to choose from.

Eventually I went for the strawberry flavour, with ordinary tapioca pearls. It turned out to be pretty darn sweet, with a really strong strawberry taste! Though I opted for the regular size, it was more than enough, and was loaded with tapioca pearls--a lot more than I've had in drinks from some similar places.

I'm not as crrazy about sweet food as I used to be, but I'd had no caffeine that day so this really gave me a well-needed boost! If Portsmouth was closer, I'd probably go to Bing Bing Bubble Tea pretty frequently!
 
Drinking here means I've finally completed one of my goals from The List!
036. Eat/drink in 30 new places (cafes, restaurants, food stands…)
This has taken me so long, but it's finally done! Hurrah!
All the places I've eaten or drank at can be read about on my goal 36 tag!