You get two posts today as I catch up. Can’t find a catchy enough title for this project, but this is only Day 2, we’ll see. Do I work on Sundays (tomorrow)? Dunno, we’ll see. If you missed it, the beginning of the previous post has an explanation.

Today I pulled “My Archive”.

Already, I can’t remember what I was thinking when I wrote these out. But there’s a lot to be done with “My Archive”, that’s for sure, whatever it is. I’m not certain quite where the line is between my archive and family history at the moment, I suppose it’s things that I made or things that are about me – but who cares? So there’s a bit of the process emerging which is that I have to have a bit of a think and a bit of a write first before I settle on what it is that I’m going to make. The writing, thinking and doing might not all get represented in the blog post.

I got a bit distracted by the perennial blogging software/where to publish/how to publish bullshit and that’s the last time I’m going to mention it. But when I’d calmed down and thought about it, I realised that actually scanning some negatives that I shot in about 1980 or ’81 and putting them on Flickr with some tags and a bit of a description was a worthwhile enough thing to do, it does get me engaged with organising the massive cloud of stuff that’s on digital platforms and in cardboard boxes, the only real index of which is my brain. Just writing stuff down instead of thinking about it is really useful, if only because it helps me to stop thinking about it.

R01-S23 Gig 1980/81
1 of 23 in the first roll

I’m not entirely happy with how the album got embedded from Flickr in WordPress, so I’ve replaced it with just one image. You can jump to Flickr if you want to see the whole thing and maybe like and comment and stuff. Maybe you recognise some of the people I don’t. Or the venue. Or know when it was. None of which I have much of a clue about – some archivist.

It was shot on HP5, and these are straight from the scanner, no cropping or colour correction yet.

I was using a flash, so wasn’t at the stage where I was experimenting with pushing the film speed to extremes. I know that I got my first SLR for my 15th birthday, so this is most likely to be 1980. Tony joined the Zenith Hot Stompers in October 1981 and so this will be before then. If I didn’t fear contradiction, I would say it was a configuration of the New Delta Jazzmen – Tony Davis, trumpet; Mick Jones, trombone; Clive Millward, drums; Pete Barnard, banjo; I don’t know the clarinet or bass players. And I’d also say it was upstairs at the Booth Hall at Hereford, but I have no evidence for that other than forty-year-old memories that are very unreliable.

This was just the first 24-exposure roll, there’s another 36-exp one to do, which might yield more clues.

It’s very odd looking at pictures I made forty years ago and trying to think about what I thought I was doing. I can see that I was experimenting and getting my eye in. But it was hard then, not having near infinite storage or the ability to check what you just shot. Experimentation with shooting live events was risky when you wouldn’t get anything back till you’d had some time in the dark room. There are plenty of rookie composition mistakes and bits where the person I was shooting turned their head at the last minute, but again, you just don’t know that until you develop the film.

So how does that add to my archive? Well it’s a bit more action research, I suppose. I’ve done something, thought about it, recorded some data and written about it. It’s not nearly as organised as I want it to be, but it’s an improvement. Progress.

learning how to work out loud again – ANIMation 001

I lost the knack. And I started a job where I found it hard to do it consistently, so didn’t do it at all. And I got diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 56, which explained an awful lot.

And after the raging and choruses of “no wonder!” I’m now settling into being able to do a day job and do other stuff too, trying to work with my brain’s constant search for novelty and variety rather than against it.

But I’ve not been writing here or very much anywhere online. Posting to Facebook feels like it just creates an obligation to respond and engage. There’s fewer folk here and hopefully not as needy.

So I came up with a scheme. I made 15 little cards with “genres” on them “forms of expression” if you like, definitely not “content types”. They’re things I like making, don’t worry about it – oh and I’m not going to say what they all are until I’ve got at least one set of 15.

I’m pulling one out of the pile every day and making that the focus for today. And then writing a little bit about it. So it’s the old schtick of “do cool stuff and write about it on the internet” but maybe not as cool and definitely not with anything else in mind but a desire to ship something everyday. WordPress isn’t the perfect blogging tool (and the block editor hurts to use), but it’s what I’ve got. There’ll be a day for playing with blogging software, but it isn’t today.

Yesterday’s was “Animation”. So I made a couple of things. One was while I was having lunch, I made a little time-lapse loop of people going in and out of TK Maxx. I put it on instagram because that seems the easiest place to host things like that. Not ideal, but again not today’s battle.

Then after having a bit of a think, I spotted a picture I took in the woods a while ago of a tree trunk that someone had drawn a bear’s face on.


So when I came back I imported it to GIMP and made some blank layers on top. I faffed with pencil width for a bit to try to match the marker that the original was done with. And then I traced the bits I wanted to keep in this piece onto the first transparent layer. I do this in some contrasting colour so that it’s easy to tell which is the drawing and which is the original – for this I used a bright red.

When I was fairly happy with it and knew that the lines kind of joined up well enough, I got rid of the transparency and started filling in blocks of colour based very loosely on the original (I also made the “inner” of the ears bigger and the eyes bigger and solid black). That’s the point I’d got to when I sat back and thought I should write it up a bit.

It looked like this:


Next I copied this, freehand and quite sloppily another three times so that I had four frames that look the same but are very slightly different. When turned into an animated GIF, the looping makes it look a bit more lively (it’s what I remember as the Roobarb & Custard effect, because I’m old). I’ve done some of this here before, but can’t be bothered to search back.

Anyway, now, shrunk down a little, it looks like this:

and that pleased me enough to let it be for another day.

(yes, I did write about it yesterday, but didn’t post here – progress not perfection) – stop moaning you’ll get another one in a minute and then you’ll be sorry.