Wednesday, 10 April 2013
I've been horrendously ill this past week. Or it felt like horrendously ill, despite younger siblings cheerily asking how my 'cold' was. It wasn't a cold.
It was the plague.
I kept myself sane by watching the entire first season of 'Homeland' from my plague-pit, interspersed with bouts of disorientated sleep. I love Homeland. I swear it's the best thing I've ever seen on television. And I'm not exagerating.
When it first came out I made a serious point of avoiding it, because having read so many fantastic raving reviews from people who's opinion I rate highly and admire, could only mean it was indeed the-best-thing-in-the-world-ever - thus, the last thing I wanted to do was watch the damn thing. I don't like television, as a rule, it
feels like the biggest waste of time in the world (for some reason films don't come under this category of time-wasting, they gets filed under 'culture' in my brain. Actually, no matter how unbelievably skint I become, there are 2 things that I shall never deny myself - books and films. There's logic in there somewhere.) So 'Homeland' was duly avoided, until one fateful weekend home sitting with a glass of wine with the mother, who point-blank refused to miss an episode despite my visitation (at the time it was near the beginning of the second season) and so I sat and watched it with her.
'Who's he? Is he good or bad? Is he a spy?'
'We don't know yet Freya, that's the point-'
'What is Rupert friend doing in this? Is he good or bad? Oooo pointed brooding close-up shot!'
And thus in a very short time was I completely hooked. I am now a complete addict, despite being a little disappointed over the decision to go ahead with a third season - I hope it doesn't end up feeling like it was made purely for financial reasons. It is hard to see where the story can progress naturally to now, without blowing up into melodrama.
The only other TV series which managed to skewer through my defenses with its pure brilliance is the Danish political drama 'Borgen' which is equally fantastic, albeit in a very different way.
I still don't watch TV.
Monday, 23 January 2012
Have you ever played Articulate?
If you haven't, you're missing out on the best boardgame ever invented. I'm including 'Monopoly' and the home-wrecking 'Trivial Pursuit' in that bracket, so please, take me seriously.
For the tragically un-initiated, you have a box of cards, on which are 5 of 6 different categories/subject matters, just as in the afore-mentioned Trivial Pursuit. The idea is to describe as many as possible within one minute to the other members of your team - how many they get right determines how many steps forward you can take around the board.
I can tell you're salivating at the very prospect. But life just doesn't get better than this.
My family got it for Christmas several years ago and it fast became an inseperable part of Christmas tradition. This year marks the first time in my adult life that I have come dangerously, perilously close to wetting myself in front of my family. Such are the risks undertaken when playing 'Articulate'.
Sadly therefore the following cartoon only really makes sense to 4 other people in the world who witnessed my near asphyxiation* when playing in the 'World' category.
'Wall was there, place in Germany!'
'Good! Erm, place in London! Dr Jekyl and Mr...??'
It's not funny unless you were there, I know, I know, but after recovering I vowed to draw the dear pair - so here we have Dr Jekyl and his little-known alter-ego, 'Mr West End', cursed to toe-tap down the streets at the first sign of night fall...
*Weirdly enough I googled that word to check that I spelt in right, and also 'death by laughing'. Ah, wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_from_laughter
Monday, 16 January 2012
If you've never heard of it, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, and if you're not watching it, what the hell is wrong with you?
I am obviously referring to Martin Gattiss's and Steve Moffat's 'Sherlock' of BBC fame, not the ridiculous, clunking behemoth travesty that is Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes' franchise.
Emphasis on the inverted quotation marks. It's not that I have a problem with Robert Downey Jnr or Jude Law, what I have a problem with is the shameless sexing up of a literary character combined with absoloutely no regard for the original source material whatsoever. They could've called it anything at all given the relativity to Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories, but 'Sherlock' is obviously a recognisable cultural character, thus, less of a gamble than say - gasp - making an original film.
The BBC adaptation draws far more from the original Sherlock, albeit with the necessary sexing up, and works fabulously for it. Benedict Cumberbatch has the most amazing, alien-y (in a good way) face. Thus far he has succeeded in eluding my attempts to pin him to paper, after 'Tinker, Tailor' last year I tried in vain for days to get a likeness I was happy with, to no avail. It's the mouth. I'm never very good at mouths.
So I've just spent a morning off work doodling carelessly away, until I've finally got close-to-happy-with. It's not terrible, anyway.
This ridiculous Sesame Street-ish cartoon, however, I have no defence for.
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Inevitable post-holiday rustiness has put me off drawing for a while, but as I was gifted so many awesome drawing-themed presents this year (a beautiful moleskin sketchbook (gift AND a curse - I've always scoffed at moleskin devout artists, but have probably just been converted) drumstick pencils (surprisingly brilliant lead) and more, I succumbed to their tempting cries and started doodling.
What ended up appearing was the story of a girl and her lobster. The little lobster has been appearing in my doodles for quite a long time, as he is a cuddly toy won for me by Boyfriend in one of those grabby machines in Vegas. Lobsters aren't inherently cute creatures, but this Lobster is the most adorable little bean-stuffed toy in existance.
Anyway. It seems much more family friendly to depict a little girl befriending the little lobster after he was washed up on the beach, rather than two slightly drunk tourists in Las Vegas spending 3 dollars worth of quarters before victory.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
So I was working on this as a Halloween piece, but obviously, I'm crap, so it's a couple of days late.
It's supposed to be a rather weird rendition of Disney's 'Grim Grinning Ghosts', or Hitch Hiking ghosts, or whoever they are - they sing a rather catchy little tune in any case, which most definetely is not a regular on my ipod, a long with the Benny Hill theme tune and Mission Impossible.
I have nothing else to report! Hope everyone had a good Halloween y'all.
Monday, 17 October 2011
Hello... BRAND SPANKING NEW GYM.
Yesiree, obviously the most important thing to do when you move to the big city is find a ridiculously cool NEW GYM that JUST SO HAPPENS to be right next to your flat, which you tooootally new when you got the place.
Why am I writing like this? Because I have been submitting myself daily to the range of classes that are available at said new gym, most of which are ran by perky small blonde females wearing tank tops with their hair in bunches. The cardio work-out, it would seem, is to defend oneself against the barrage of innocent punctuation that is hurled at you from their pink-lipsticked, ever-grinning mouths:
‘!!!!!!!!! .... !!! !!!!!!!!!....!!!!! Aaaaaand...’
‘-!!! -?!??-:D :D :D :D !!!!!! -!!!’
There are probably words. Probably? I’m not honestly sure, I was felled rather quickly by a rogue exclamation mark to the hip before tripping on a comma diving for cover.
Actually, that’s not true. That’s only been the experience of a handful of classes so far, namely the godforsaken shite that is ‘Zumba’ (read – ‘prancing-about-like-a-twit’) and ‘Total Body Conditioning’ (likewise). The other classes have been fantastic, I loved-but-was-crap at Yoga, ditto Pilates, and have been channelling my inner Rocky to Boxercise.
Obviously, the thing that really makes or breaks the class is the instructor. The core gym team members that I’ve met have all been fantastic. Originally I had planned on drawing them all at once, as the majority of them are brilliant characters: Gum-Girl with the dyed-blonde afro at reception, Andrew, the unfailingly enthusiastic motivational trainer (‘Think about your GOALS! Think about you want to ACHIEVE! Never leave a soldier BEHIND!’) Rose, the space-cadet elderly Pilates trainer... everyone from the cleaner upwards is brilliant blog material, but as I’d like to take my time with them, for this post you’re only being introduced to the darling Michael and ‘Sphinx’.
First off, Michael isn’t really a darling. He’s a tiny, absolutely gorgeous, absolutely gay, Californian Pilates instructor, with a sadistic streak quadruple his height. His shtick is to force you into a terribly painful position, and then start to tell a long, bitchy story, either insulting Britain or someone he has met on the tube, feign outrage if we don’t participate conversationally, and then force you to hold it for another five minutes. Of course, if you DO answer back, he comes over and leans on you to make it ten-times worse. Continuing the story the entire time.
‘Sphinx’ is pretty much just ‘Mr T’, and he does the Boxercise classes. Obviously. Actually, he just IS Mr T. Er. That’s kinda it.
I’ve been playing around with vectors and the pen tool, just practising and trying out a new style of finish on Photoshop. I thought I’d just include the finished Michael with the original sketch, just for interest’s sake – I love the cleanness of the vectoring, but I obviously need to practise a lot – it seems to lose the fluidity of the sketch, but I guess that happens with plain old pen and ink anyway.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Blogging is supposed to be therapeutic. I can see why such a large number of people do it – it’s a chance to sit down and quietly assess what’s going on in your life, appreciate what you have, and realise that the things that bother us, really aren’t as big a deal as we might think.
Or at least, that’s what I’d be telling you if this was the end of an episode of Scrubs.
Instead, blogging for me has become a chance to take stock of ‘what-the-hell-I-did-this-week’. This past week has seen me exploring the dark recesses of London town, after a run-in with a crazed landlady resulted in losing both a holding deposit, and a flat.
Requisite catch-up – my current theory I’m running with is, if one is capable of getting a flat in London, perhaps one can get a job!
Whatever. The point is it feels like progress to me. Not in a monetary sense, of course - once London was finished kicking my purse to the curb, it then tore it to shreds and burnt the contents – but in a life-style sense, it feels like the right thing to do. It’s a step forward, a big change, and as I’m constantly reminded, there’s no point remaining in Scotland while all the jobs are Down South. So I’m taking a gamble, and setting myself up with a place to live, before I then knock on each and every door in the animation business in quick succession. Twice.
Of course, when/if this fails, I shall cry myself to sleep and get a job in Pret. This shall then count as Not Failing – I like Pret. They sell porridge.
So how was London? London was big, awesome, scary, brilliant and loads inbetween, including ridiculously hot (25 degrees) and very busy. My flat-hunting method of choice involved downloading the Tube Map App on the Blackberry and getting off at a stop that I liked the sound of. I’d then walk for hours in one direction before I found another one, going into every single estate agent’s along the way. Not an especially sophisticated plan, I’ll be the first to admit, but it worked - I have acquired a rather splendid little place in ‘Cricklewood’ (which, despite the name, is not actually inhabited by hobbits, elves and Tom Bombadil, but apparently plays host to a burgeoning Turkish community).
The best part of the whole trip however, had to be the very first estate agent’s that we walked into. Upon entering, we were met by what could only be described as stereotype in its purest form. The vision that greeted us was ginger, about 6’2, and wearing a suit so ridiculously cheap that the nylon audibly whizzed and squeaked as he made a bee-line towards the fresh meat, booming out indistinguishable pleasantries in a thick cockney accent.
Sweating profusely, fake-Rolexed, gold-ringed and shiny-shoed, our charming cowboy estate agent John spent the next hour making fake phone calls to landlords and lying through his teeth to tenants, before taking us on a flat viewing without asking permission from the current inhabitants (who turned out to be asleep in bed, with a baby beside them). He chain-smoked and downed countless cans of Coke the entire time; professed to having a splitting hangover (‘You know, just like in that film, wossit...’The Hangover!’), whilst in between phone calls he would put his feet on the desk and give his shoes a quick spit and polish using the ‘Shine-In-A-Can’ from his desk drawer.
Weirdly enough, we didn’t take any of his properties. Still. God bless you, random cowboy estate agent man. Without you the world would be a duller place.
Sunday, 28 August 2011
No, I don’t have a job yet.
Stating this fact with bald abandon has become an alarmingly regular occurrence, conversationally. It has also begun a habitual, almost ritualistic erosion of my ego. This was possibly needed.
As previously stated, I’ve moved back into the family home for a few weeks (by gum, yes I am a graduate statistic), as the jobless, penniless state doesn’t really work all too well with city living. Surrounded by the temptations of going ‘out’ (alcohol and casinos, lunch dates and coffee) one finds what little one had of finances rapidly depleting. Returning back ‘Up North’ to ‘The Country’ where nothing opens on a Sunday and pubs close at ridiculous hours, I can do nothing with the no money I have but spend my days applying for jobs whilst weeping into a bottle of wine.
The problem is, seeing as I never went home much during my university years and I come from a very small town community, old faces from the past keep floating up from the fog and cheerfully asking ‘what I’m up to’. My standard grade maths teacher cheerfully bellowed after me while I was out running, a primary school teacher initiated a chase round Tesco’s (lost ‘em round the seasonal aisle) and a run-in with an ex’s mothers resulted in the ONLY instance of knee-jerk lie:
‘I have, like, a job! Somewhere really cool! And it’s awesome!’
This led to a bit of soul-searching and a decision to broaden my horizons, so when my mother asked me if I’d help out with an Amnesty International Can-Rattling collection, I decided to embrace my altruistic side. Why not?
Partly because it involved getting up at 7am and driving to Inverness. Partly because I had to wear a yellow fluorescent bib, which served to attract an impressive number of wasps. But mostly, because people on the street are nutters.
Being less glib, it has resulted in my first semi-political little doodle. After only 5 minutes of holding a can, wearing a bib, carrying 3 colourful Amnesty balloons, armfuls of stickers and smiling inanely, I was accosted by my first loony.
‘What’s it for then?’ She barked. The old lady had actually bothered crossing the street after spotting me from afar, but the tell-tale sign was that she was not fumbling for her wallet.
She looked blank, so I continued helpfully. ‘Human Rights?’
Her face immediately clouded over.
‘Human rights? Human rights?’
Much head shaking and dark muttering accompanied by ‘significant looks’ followed before she dropped her bombshell.
‘I don’t believe in human rights!’ She shrieked. ‘What about our rights? It’s just not right!’
What. A. Nutter.
‘They come over here, steal our jobs, them Arabs, them, others, them...you know’s!’
‘Well, we’re more about, like, anti-torture. Anti-’
‘DEPORT THEM ALL! THAT’S WHAT I SAY!’
You’d think that’d be a one off encounter, but worryingly, there were probably 3 or 4 more after her who hurled pretty much exactly the same torrent of ignorance and hate.
How can anyone be seriously anti human rights? I concluded these same people most probably the give five pounds a month to the RSPCA.
Weirdly, it was an uplifting experience. Not weird in that collecting money for charity was uplifting, but weird in the sense that for every blind idiot, there were 10 more people who would empty their purse of all their change – and not even want a sticker.
Mental lady actually gave me 50p in the end, anyway.
C’est la vie.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Every Saturday morning, I have a routine.
Or, realistically, every Saturday morning I try desperately to maintain the dream of a routine. That dream is that wherever I am, I may run to the nearest newspaper outlet and purchase the Saturday Guardian, then sit and devour the supplements over a cup of green tea with soya and a steaming bowl of porridge. Doing thus I may simultaneously embody the Guardian readership stereotype whilst educating myself upon world affairs.
The latter part of that sentence is a shameless lie, as in reality I merely giggle hysterically over the heroic Tim Dowling’s latest columnly-exploits before skipping to this week’s Blind Date, usually finishing off around the ‘What’s Hot / Not’ section. Thus the actual more intellectual features can be read at my leisure throughout the week, preferably again over breakfast while other people mill around the kitchen, fooled into thinking how intelligent I am.
The ‘other people’ in question at the moment consists of the wonderful Reece, an eccentric fellow animator who is spending his copious amount of free ‘just-graduated’ time being wonderfully creative, painting amazing masterpieces despite inebriation and playing the drums with abandon at 3am. He’s putting me up for an indefinite amount of time while I try and cobble some free-lance work together and continue job hunting. This has resulted in the strange twilight zone of living out of a suitcase in the city that has been my home for four years. Strange times indeed.
Thus, my Saturday morning dream rarely comes to fruition. It’s strange to realise that I haven’t woken up in the same location in a successive Saturday for months – whether it’s been differing locations in Dundee or visiting family and friends in Edinburgh, Glasgow, or home to the Northlands. In between was America. I feel like playing a country and Western song and whinging about being tumbleweed blowing in the wind.
Last week saw me travelling over to Glasgow sans Sat-Nav (Total. Fail) to retrieve the boyfriend from his family home back to Dundee. The boyfriend is currently being kept very busy kicking his heels, waiting for his job to start in September. Luckily this all-consuming amount of free-time has not resulted in any kind of itchy impatience or slow-burning madness at all, thank goodness.
As testament, for example, he most certainly has not taken to playing the ‘Muppet Song’ (for those of you ignorant to this piece of musical genius: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_tupPBtWQ) on repeat for hours on end – such as on the long drive through infuriating roadworks that may exist between Glasgow and Dundee, or, say, on return from a daytrip to Edinburgh zoo, with a car full of crying Zanti staff and their resulting murder threats...
Nope, he’s the picture of sanity and good health. And I haven’t been reading too much Tim Dowling at all, and any similarity between the above picture and any real-life event is purely coincidental.
Small Edity Thing: Awite guys, for those of you reading this on 'Running Downhill', my blog's now also being hosted by the nice guys over at www.imagineanimation.net - in case you were wondering why there's less swearing and less mention of me being drunk... I'm going to ease into it. Or at least wait until I'm actually employed ;) Still trying to find things to write to the wider community about, so for a while, bear with me, while I write about myself :D