make something every day – make photos 001

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that today was “Make Photos”. I can do that. I feel good about my photography. I’ve been doing it for a very long time. I mean, I suppose, technically, I’ve been writing longer, but it doesn’t feel like that and I’m just much more comfortable with an open brief to “Make Photos” than to “Write”.

So it felt like a bit of a day off. I just grabbed images when they came to me and when they didn’t, I went out with my eyes open for them. It reminds me that it’s a feeling that I enjoy, the disconnection from the normal folk and the madness of the world to just look at what is in front of me and decide whether it’s something I want to record or whether there’s a different way of looking at it than usual.

Untitled

I don’t like talking about what they might mean – same with all the work really – I don’t know what they (should) mean to you, they were just there today and called to me.

On the other hand there are some things in there because they’re interesting to me and I want to know more. There’s the plaque on the Telephone Exchange that shows that that bit of it was built in 1937, which is the year my dad was born. The box that the candles came in, from Andrew’s dad’s garage, I think held 2 dozen 15 3/4oz cans and has some interesting instructions for turning the box into a display stand and some sort of standards certificate on the base, which might have research and blogging potential.

For some reason, I took some random snaps of food in Waitrose – “something, something, climate crisis, unsustainable food supply chain, something, we’re fucked”.

And then there’s the mix of peeling paint and derelict ground with plants growing on it and bits of pavement and walls that you might not notice unless you went out with your photographer’s eyes in.

Untitled

A note to self though that there’s another job to do on editing, cropping and choosing ones to share – making photos is more than just pointing and shooting. They’re taking a while to upload to Flickr, but soon they should all be here Make Something Every Day #1

A good day.

make something every day – writing 001

Today, I pulled “Writing”. Yet again, I probably spent more time thinking about what sort of writing I mean and what I wanted to do with today than on actually typing (or scrawling) anything.

I can’t see me ever being the sort of professional writer who gets up every day, has a cup of tea, dashes off 5,000 words no matter what and then gets on with whatever else it is that they do. I mean, I might make it there before I die, but it would be by accident rather than design at this stage.

But I do enjoy writing. I enjoy putting together an argument or a story, working out what’s really important in what I want to say and getting rid of the bits that get in the way of that (usually).

And it does deserve to be on the list, because writing something more substantial than diary-like blog posts and a few tweets is something I want to be able to do, I think I’ve got some substantial things to say and actually, now I think about it, I remember that the whole idea for this “make something every day” thing came out of an idea of focusing on writing – I thought I might try to turn out a short essay every week – but the prospect of doing that and only that was too triggering for my ADHD brain (mainly because it would mean I wouldn’t have time for any of the other things on the list).

So today I did two things, I suppose. I tested out the Tweet Storm action in Drafts with a little 9 tweet thread.

Before posting it looked like this:

Screenshot 2021-08-24 at 21.29.14.png

And then, after lunch, I wrote about 500 words draft on “What were the 1980s really like?”

I got sidetracked again by thinking about writing tools and blogging software – it’s a curse! – but it’s OK, the project isn’t about doing the thing all day, no matter what and not thinking about anything outside of your subject area. So I cut myself some slack and had a nakd bar.

Oh and I suppose I wrote this post as well, but that doesn’t count, does it?

make something every day – craft #1

[late publishing from yesterday’s activity – another two-post day today then (I hope) ]

“Craft” today. What does that mean? I can see that in the set of cards I made, I’ve distinguished it from craft that is mostly about reusing waste (like the origami boxes made out of Caffè Nero bags.) but it wasn’t immediately obvious to me what I’d been thinking of, preferring as I do to leave definition to emerge from what it actually is, rather than making a detailed plan.

Is it knitting? I don’t think I was imagining a day of engaging with knitting. Perhaps something papier-mâché? Nah.

At this point I was already late for work, so I trotted off to church and got on with emails and writing promotional materials for lunch, as you do.

Then my colleague, Andrew the caretaker sent me a text asking whether I’d like this box of candles.

WhatsApp Image 2021-08-20 at 14.35.34.jpeg

Yes! Of course. Not just another example of ways to build community out of stuff you have lying around, but also a craft activity. So now some time today will go on washing and chipping away at some lumps of old wax. Yes, there’ll be some recycling into new candles, but I’m also going to try some whittling like I did with this carrot a while back.

IMAG0756.jpg

make something everyday – music 001

OK, so the answer to the question of whether I work on Sunday was “yes, kinda”.

There’s a reason for the sabbath. At a practical level it’s about unwinding and connecting with people we care about. Today was my son’s birthday and I’m glad I had a good long chat with him.

But I did pull a card and it was “Music” and so I was thinking about it most of the day even if I didn’t make anything that I can share here. Obviously this can’t be about me making a totally finished product every day and it won’t even be something small and unpolished. Today’s one of those days. I didn’t make anything new that I’m willing to share, but I am willing to share what I went through.

Firstly I wrote something to my friend Steve Lawson. He’d posted something about people who sing and accompany themselves needing to put effort into both the singing and the instrument they play rather than just letting one carry the other.

This is how I feel about my music. I’ve put hours into both singing and ukulele playing, but ultimately I see myself as a singer who accompanies himself rather than a ukulele player who sings (and the latter is how I think I’m mostly perceived).

I subscribed to Steve’s music on bandcamp last year and that got me his whole back catalogue and regular new music that he makes that he doesn’t release more widely. Steve’s stuff is very experimental – he plays solo bass and pushes in all sorts of directions what playing solo bass might mean.

Anyway, I said:

“I feel at the moment like I’m on the edge of something new. I’m getting a lot from listening to your subscription releases and thinking about how to make new music. And it’s something about using my voice as an instrument for experimentation in the same way you use your bass, rather than only trying to refine the voice and uke. I still work on making my strumming and fills more interesting, but I also need to do something that stretches the dominant instrument without being held back by my lack of technique in the accompaniment… I think.”

I’m not sure what this means. I’m not going to be suddenly making free jazz dooby-dooby biddly-bop experimental electronica stuff, but I am experimenting with what is possible, both in terms of recording and performance. And I made a start on that today – my time included playing uke and banjo, singing solo and singing with uke and recording bits of all of them, exploring some ideas – it’s sketchbook stuff, which is an important building block, I now have a bit more of an idea of what I’m aiming for and a process for getting there.

Make SOMETHING EVERY DAY – MY ARCHIVE 001

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.

IMG_20181004_131829_292

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:

bear

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.

Signs of life

Three things popped up on my radar in Guildford this week. Promising signs of things starting to happen. They might not all be to everyone’s taste, but it’s all better than the void in new activity that’s had to pervade for the last year.

1.

First one, I can’t find anything official on yet – so I guess it’s still just a rumour – but I hear that Zero Carbon Guildford are going to be taking on the empty retail unit at the bottom of North Street formerly known as New Look (so, interestingly right between TK Maxx and McDonalds).

I got this from the local Labour Party newsletter (yes I’m still a member, no I don’t know for how much longer) which says

 after some essential work they plan to open: a zero waste shop , a café, Library of Things, Cinema and Meeting space. They will be needing lots of volunteers as things open up, so keep in touch through https://www.zerocarbonguildford.org/ 


2.

Then there’s The Boathouse or Soulspace which is down by the river next to the Weyside Pub (for very aged readers, The Jolly Farmer). Again, details are sparse, and building has only just begun, but I’m on the mailing list – it’s café and coworking and dedicated space for local charity halow (who currently we see a lot of at Guildford URC) as far as I can see. They’re doing some right things, reaching out to community to see what’s needed and I’ve sent them an email, so we’ll see.


3.

Finally, there’s news of redevelopment of the old Burymead House site at the bottom of Portsmouth Road (between The Cannon and the Wycliffe Buildings. It’s been undeveloped for twenty years – twenty years where it could have been used for *something* but has just been left to wilderness (and not even very good wilderness – too much rubbish and rubble still left lying around)

So now it will be 303 “co-living” spaces and branded as Guildford Plaza – it looks like student accomodation for people who’ve just finished being students. So I expect much criticism (enough students already!) but I’m on the fence currently between “it’ll never happen” and “ooh 300 new neighbours!”

In Tuttle last week, I realised something.

It feels like the last ten years have flown by and I haven’t done anything.

I’ve done lots of things that were important to do, but compared with the five years before that, none of it feels very significant. And I’ve lost the habit of talking about it out loud. It gets stuck inside me and then I have to do some other activity that lets it out.

If I want to know what I was doing at some point in say 2009, I can look to the archives of this blog to give me some sort of anchor point. There are ways of doing the same with, like, 2016, but it’s nowhere near as reliable.

I do need to perform, in some way. My work at church can’t provide that at the moment. And in the middle of a pandemic, there isn’t much that can, but I can have a go here. That’s what this is, just putting words down, one after another. Writing and then deleting whole paragraphs that express the thing in a different way. Groping towards understanding and some sense of meaning. Getting the muscle memory back of taking the thoughts that for a while have been swimming around and then suppressed and actually doing something else with them. Without shame or fear of comment.

Or I could go and pick some more fruit in Animal Crossing.

Hello again

is this thing on?

it seems that it takes a very long time for me to get round to writing anything at the moment. partly i blame the facebook. It’s a lazy excuse. Take responsibility.

Am I so boneheaded that I would rather a) scroll through blip after blip of my friends’ odd choices of what counts as news or some lunatic theories about how the world works and b) take part in the same ridiculous charade of self-expression by allying myself with somebody else’s thoughtshower? Yes, clearly, yes I am precisely that boneheaded.

I heard two things this week that brought me back to myself. "You need to express yourself more" and "Put your own house in order before going around telling other people how they could improve their lives." These are not new thoughts. The voices that say this kind of stuff to me have been with me for a while. But I’ve been ignoring the voices. Taking the FB meds and ignoring the voice within.

Sorry.

I gardener

This morning I popped out to have a closer look at the broccoli that is growing in my newly-made vegetable patch. Now there are two things (at least) to know.

One is that I didn’t set out to grow broccoli. I mean I did, but not properly, big plants, I had a packet of sprouting purple broccoli seeds in the cupboard because I tried them as an addition to my sprout mix (usually lentils, mung and adzuki beans) but they grew a little more slowly and weren’t very interesting, a bit cress-like, and so I gave up on that. And then with lockdown I thought I’d see how they turned out if you let them grow for a few days so I sprinkled some on a few pots of compost and watered and waited and they kept growing and so then I planted them out in the bed when I prepared that, but I was still waiting for them to die. And they haven’t, they’re too close to each other and this weekend I was thinking of thinning them out a little and transplanting some.

Oh the other thing to know, is that I have close to zero experience or knowledge of how to grow anything that I actually intend to eat. My gardens over the years have been decorated with flowers that older relatives would come and plant for me. I’ve had a compost heap for the last three years since we moved to Guildford but it’s been input-only. That meant when I did open it up a few weeks ago there was loads of good stuff in there, but it was bloody hard work getting it out. And, as I’ve discovered, there was a lot of un-rotted organic matter in there – like seeds, so I have an interesting collection of weeds that might turn into something edible.

So that’s why I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube and learning by killing things.

Anyway this started as a story about finding bugs on my broccoli. So that was one of the things that I did that was standing between me and writing, I had to locate and clean a spray bottle, load it up with soapy water and give the little blighters a good old soaking.

run, fat boy, run

The other unexpected facet of later middle-age for me is that I became a runner a couple of years ago. Of course I started out as a plodder and waddler, but with some practice and perseverance and the amazing C25K programme I convinced my body and my mind that I could both run for more than thirty minutes at a time and that in that time I could cover five kilometres or more. Today, for example, I ran for forty minutes and that meant about six and a half thousand metres.

It still astounds me that I can do it and continue to do it, but it has helped a great deal in this time of pandemic houseboundness to have a good reason to start every other day with a bit of a bounce around the neighbourhood. And as I am fortunate enough to live next door to greenery, it’s a pleasant aesthetic experience too (though not for anyone coming in the other direction, approached by a sweaty bald man in his fifties).

but the writing though

I suppose getting into the garden YouTube sub-genre has helped shock me into seeing what a load of horrible imitation broadcast media stuff there is out there. This isn’t what we started this stuff for. This isn’t what I got excited about blogging in order to do. I don’t want my blog to be just a kind of wannabe Guardian column (or worse!) but it can become like that, very easily, especially if I don’t write anything at all and then it’s a wannabe Guardian column that never gets written.

And running has taught me to just keep going, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that you’ll get to 5k (or not) today. Just keep putting one word after another, Lloyd, and trust that it will make sense (not to anyone else necessarily) or rather that the doing of it will move you into a space that is different from the one you awoke to.

PS

I also did some traditional blog software ridiculousness before I started to actually write. On this occasion it meant using the block editor on wordpress.com for the first time. But this has all been one block, a Markdown block and the only formatting I’ve used in the headings. But it’s not hurting anyone, is it?

PPS

never end a blog post with a question mark.

Pandemic Tuttle on Zoom

We did the first one of these this morning.  I’m up for doing it weekly.  Will do a better invite next time.  At the peak we had 16 or 17 people.  It still felt manageable.

And Brian broke us the news of the Prime Minister’s infection while we were live.

But Facebook won’t allow me to post the contents of the chat window because something in there goes against Community Guidelines (I think it was a particularly crufty URL from Brian).  Anyway, that’s why I still have a blog.

These things were said:

09:59:03 From Brian Condon : Suggest we use the chat as well for people who want to speak.
09:59:19 From Brian Condon : Chat back channel
10:03:26 From Caron – @pcmcreative : Hi Brian, a back channel is an excellent idea. I approve.
10:09:51 From Brian Condon : Yes – like David Brin.
10:11:32 From Brian Condon : https://twitter.com/GreenwichDiary/status/1242400655966384128?s=20
10:15:25 From Brian Condon : Very wise.
10:17:29 From Brian Condon : https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/oxford-study-coronavirus-may-have-infected-half-of-u-k.html
10:27:00 From Brian Condon : Anybody used VOIP cards? https://voipcards.tomarmitage.com
10:29:31 From Lloyd Davis : do mute if you’re not talking to avoid grabbing focus
10:29:40 From Brian Condon : Hi Andy Broomfield!
10:29:46 From Andy Broomfield : Hi
10:29:54 From Brian Condon : Nice to see you!
10:30:21 From Andy Broomfield : I can’t hear anything, but nice to see everyone
10:31:21 From Andy Broomfield : Ok, I can hear people now.
10:32:04 From Benjamin Ellis : Lovely to see everyone – I have to hop off!
10:37:58 From Jon Husband : The physical-distanced version of the casseroles period in 2012 in Quebec .. people marching through the streets banging pots and pans for a month .. obviously not feasible now
10:38:03 From Tall Man with Glasses : Feel free to add a song 🙂 https://open.spotify.com/playlist/42UpuT00Y7L8zl4x3CVjEA?si=ryme9yooQ3Wa5yQ0exvCMQ
10:38:13 From Jon Husband : Re: #clapforcarers
10:38:27 From Al Robertson : Spem in Alium, Thomas Tallis – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cn7ZW8ts3Y
10:39:13 From Jon Husband : The cannabis stores here in Québec are experiencing a significant surge in demand .. and have an excellent delivery service to boot
10:42:07 From William : www.ChatMutiny.com
10:47:34 From Dd Davies : https://www.dddavies.com/#/statue-of-wall/
10:47:53 From Andy Broomfield : Hi Anke
10:48:13 From Brian Condon : Hi Anke!
10:48:31 From Caron – @pcmcreative : If anyone wants to talk to me about pivoting to digital with a mind to extending back into the physical when the time comes. Book a call. https://calendly.com/pcmcreative/30min-video
10:49:07 From Dd Davies : link above is to images of my statue of liberty built from construction timber. I then do a performance piece whereby I dismantle it. It is called When Things Come Apart.
10:56:13 From Caron – @pcmcreative : Dd I love the photo with the rainbow. Solid construction, nice. Thanks for sharing.
11:01:39 From Tall Man with Glasses : Not sure if there are any classic sci-fi/LEGO fans out there, but I’ve made a model of Dewey from Silent Running and submitted it to the LEGO Ideas platform. Any shares or votes would be greatly appreciated – https://ideas.lego.com/projects/3dbf0870-bb20-4589-9a1c-7b7503e82ccf/comments_tab#content_nav_tabs
11:02:35 From Andy Broomfield : Generator brighton is having a virtual code hack thing in April https://generator.horse
11:04:02 From William : Peter Woolbridge at Liverpool – But if you add me on LinkedIn I’ll connect you.
11:04:09 From William : William Wardlaw Rogers.
11:06:07 From Dougald Hine : I’m going to have to head off now, folks – lovely to see you all!
11:08:13 From Caron – @pcmcreative : Free for the next 4 months – https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/advertise/conferences-training-events
11:08:18 From Tall Man with Glasses : I’d love to see that 🙂
11:08:22 From Lloyd Davis : Contribute to the running of this ridiculousness – https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8nIQCx9XTT
11:08:43 From Brian Condon : https://www.watsonbuckle.co.uk/covid-19/coronavirus-self-employed-income-support-scheme-seiss/

11:09:41 From Anke : I’m off, great to see you all
11:09:48 From Lloyd Davis : thanks anke 🙂
11:10:04 From Andy Broomfield : Bye Anke, nice to see you
11:10:12 From Brian Condon : Bye Anke!
11:11:30 From William : Perhaps if you can post the saved chat file on the FB group – that’d be useful.
11:12:09 From William : https://www.facebook.com/groups/freelanceheroes/?ref=br_rs
11:12:48 From William : https://www.facebook.com/groups/142964673673928/?ref=br_rs
11:14:28 From Bushra Burge : great idea
11:16:28 From Dd Davies : Tim Ferriss – well worth looking into what he has to say about pretty much anything.
11:24:46 From Brian Condon : https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1243496858095411200?s=20
11:28:52 From Bushra Burge : I have to go
11:28:57 From Bushra Burge : sooooo good
11:29:01 From Bushra Burge : to hang out
11:29:03 From Lloyd Davis : bye bushes, thanks for coming
11:29:08 From Lloyd Davis : bushra
11:29:12 From Lloyd Davis : x
11:29:30 From Bushra Burge : happens all the time lloud
11:29:56 From Lloyd Davis : yeah i get lloyd a lot
11:30:10 From Lloyd Davis : haha autocorrect

I'm the founder of the Tuttle Club and fascinated by organisation. I enjoy making social art and building communities, if you'd like some help from me feel free to e-mail me: Lloyd dot Davis at Gmail dot Com or call +44 (0)79191 82825