Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A memory a day - 36 - Paradise Wrecked


Still on the same trip(about 13 years old). Now in Beira, Mozambique on the beach, a most beautiful white sandy beach with the eery prescence of the murky orange rusty shipwrecks. Apparently left from the civil war and some have even been especially kept to provide a breakwater!

Friday, 24 February 2012

A memory a day - 35 - Beira bulldog


This is the same summer trip. This is the road to Beira, Mozambique. A road full of potholes proving for quite a bumpy ride. The kids by the road were playing a game of run in the road, lie down in front of the approaching car, scare the living hell out of the now ashen driver I imagine and then get up and run off as quickly as you could before you got runover! It was certainly causing much amusement by the side of the road, not so much inside the jeep though...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A memory a day - 34 - Punch Drunk


13 years old, my first encounter with alcohol.

My dad had taken me to stay with friends on a trip back to Zimbabwe. I have lots of beautiful memories of this summer but one of the least exotic but vivid is that of having my first gut churning, head crushing and somewhat anxiety inducing hangover!

I laid in bed at said friends house feeling seasick wondering how I had come to wake up on a ship in the roughest of seas and then recalled a gargantuan bowl of scrumptious red juice, full of fruit and what turned out to be rum and feeling a strange confidence for a shy child gleefully chatting with strangers. That confidence soon turns to mortifying embarrassment overnight! Didn't try that again for a while! (not that any of it felt any different at any other point in my life!!)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A memory a day - 33 - Sweet smelling yellow bellies


I've been working with students lately who are looking at Penguin Book Design and it reminded me of the English Bookshop in Milan where as a child staying with my pa he would buy me secondhand Penguins. Perry Mason tales with sweet smelling yellow bellies and green tatty coats. I suspect the penguins on these editions were those of Tschichold rather than the oh so cute and animated ones of Young but they had still seen lots of pairs of eyes! I don't think I'd have the same colourful memories if I'd read these from a kindle! Long live lovingly worn old mildewy books.

I was suprised to find you can in fact give your kindle a spray with this! Eek!

Monday, 20 February 2012

A memory a day - 32 - Nan


This is my Nan. She was actually my dad's nan, so my great nan. She was a beautiful old soul. When I was around 7 or 8 we would visit her in Withernsea, just North of Hull. I'd go swimming in the brown north sea at freezing temperatures and then we'd trudge back to Nans back through the beachfront towers, turning a corner to see a towering lighthouse, then bathed in the warmth of Nans dining room sat at the table for her most delicious bean and potato stew probably followed by a mug of Horlicks. Nan's husband Cliff would be in an armchair by the fire throughout this experience sleeping, cribbaging or generally observing the world at large. I'm not sure he ever left that chair!

The back room was filled with games and books and boxes of craft making goodies. Heaven for a child with such a love for stationary and making things. But most importantly Nan kept the most stunningly magical garden of flowers and vegetables I have ever seen. Although my memories of the seafront are all of cloudy chilly days shivering in a towel, all the memories of nans back garden are of brilliant sunshine and vibrant flowers typifying any persons dream of an English Garden with a touch of the land of Oz.

It was also nan who told me that the furry leaved plants were rabbits ears leading to many scary thoughts of earless bunnies in the undergrowth for quite some time!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Flamingo Valentine


I am crazy busy beyond all belief this week so a memory a day will resume next week. In the meantime happy Valentines day in advance! If you think Valentines is a bucket of tosh well here's a pretty flamingo, there is always time for flamingos!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A memory a day - 31 - Sore Bottoms and Humongous Hairdos


A little unbalanced this one but so were those ladies so nevermind. When I was about 10 or maybe younger (sorry going back a couple of years from the last one) my dad looked after a friends studio for a few months while he was away. It was an amazing studio in Mile End, London, a vast space in a converted warehouse. The thing I loved the most about it was the hammock that went from one end of the studio to the other. I wasn't actually there on the evening of the doodle above but loved the image of it when my dad told me about a party he'd had. Three curvy ladies were enjoying the hammock, round bottoms fitting perfectly, until, wallop the whole thing collapsed and there were three sore bottomed pear shaped lovelies on the floor!

The other wee memory of this period was that dad used the shampoo that belonged to the follically challenged artist who the studio belonged to for the time was there. Dad had a pretty thick full head of hair but after using miracle grow on it for a few months it became a lustrously thick mane of mammoth proportions!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A memory a day - 30 - Toothy terrors


About 12 or 13, braces to straighten rather protruding fangs, which I actually quite like the idea of now! The scariest experience here though was the orthodontist telling me before putting the braces on that he thought I was a prime candidate for a new kind of teeth straightening where they would pull all my teeth out, straighten them and then put them back in. I completely believed him so after many gummy nightmares I was a quivering wreck upon going back for the next appointment where thankfully he just glued some rather ugly lumps of metal track to my teeth instead.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A memory a day - 29 - Basta Pasta eatza Pizza!


Still around the same age discovering Italian food for the first time. Not gourmet delights just yet but proper Italian Pizza Napoletana with Anchovies, crusty bread with every meal and Tartufo for afters! I couldn't wait to introduce my wee boy to Tartufo's when I took him over for the first time. It's just a chocolate ice cream with crunchy chocolate powder on the top but this was a proper treat for me as a nipper. At home with my mum in England pudding was fruit (fruit!!) and fizzy pop in the fridge was unheard of. Mum called the water in the taps council pop. Not that I mind now, she was looking after my health as all good mums should! And I actually rather like fruit nowadays....

Monday, 6 February 2012

A memory a day - 28 - Coke Can Car Keys


When I was about 12 years old we had a fabulous summer driving from Italy over to Portugal where we stayed at a house a few miles from the beautiful Algarve coastline with my Grandfather, his wife and their sons(my uncles). A fabulous villa it was, in the middle of nowhere with an outdoor pizza oven to cook the dinner in, lizards running up the stone walls and ruins nearby. My uncles were my age and youger (my Grandfather remarried) and when we discovered that pooin rhymmed with ruin we took great delight in singing this song everytime anyone went near it. Oh the hilarity! Pffff.

Anyway, dad lost the one and only set of car keys we had on the beach in the sand, we searched and searched to no avail. Upon telling a local farmer this he was convinced he could handcraft us one from a coke can. He did indeed make a beautiful key from said can. Alas it didn't work but it's a nice memory none the less!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A memory a day - 27 - Mrs Hagg


My art teacher in the 1st year of secondary school was called Mrs Hagg. And boy she did live up to her name. Uninspiring lessons drawing shoes and bricks. The most excitement there ever was was when a fellow pupil wet herself as she hadn't been allowed to go to the toilet poor girl. I never did particularly well and ended up steering away from art and becoming far more engrossed in sewing and making for quite some time.

My path went from making my own clothes, a job costume making, then embroidery by hand, then digitally. And it was then that I discovered digital art and interactive animation which opened up a whole new world. After an animation degree and an MA in Animation (to my disbelief I got a distinction!) I have come full circle to where I was as a wee child who loved to play with pencils and stationary. Funny how things evolve.... Oh and thanks to Gary my beloved who thought this was a picture of me!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A memory a day - 26 - A moment on the lips

Around 12 years old still I am crossing the road and someone shouts out of a car window "out the way Porky". Owwwweeee, distraught by this I tell my mother I am embarking on a diet. My mother presumably trying to be helpful draws a picture and sticks it on the fridge. "A moment on th lips, a lifetime on the hips". This was rather nice. What wasn't so nice was the mouth watering temptation of the Cadbury's Creme Egg that was sellotaped on top of it. My mother is a great believer in willpower. I didn't inherit this trait so it the chocolate egg didn't stay there long although the tempestuous relationship with food has remained!

Friday, 3 February 2012

A memory a day - 25 - Please sir I need a wee!

About 12 or 13 here at secondary school. I was quite a solitary shy young thing so the idea of drama club really excited me. A chance to be somebody else and throw off some inhibitions and maybe even make some friends. Unfortunately I was rubbish at acting, really rubbish. The only line I ever got in a play was "Please sir I need a wee" in Willy Russells "Our Day Out". Oh the humiliation amongst stifled giggles!

The familiar sizzle in my cheeks led to giving up drama shortly after. I think I'd also thought there'd be good parties but alas no, these parties were just the source of more awkwardness. Ah the pains of becoming a teenager.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A memory a day - 24 - Painty Potty Diorama




A bit of an odd one! - Still in my dads studio in Milan. We made this little diorama from plastic kitsch toy bits and clay and then sploshed it all in green paint. It was a present for his sculptor girlfriend and also to celebrate the fact there was finally a working bathroom in the studios. At the time I remember being so proud thinking how much she'd love it. Looking back, erm, interesting present...hmmmm

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A memory a day - 23 - Pasta Pussycats

Back at Corso Garibaldi in Milan my dad had a ramshackle studio in the heart of soupy Milan with a sleeping platform and the delicious smell of oil paint and tobacco smoke in the air. (possibly not delicious to all but for me even now the smell of oil paints brings back such sweet feelings for times past)

Cats hung around everywhere particularly these yowling minnies. The local ladies would leave the stray cats great big bowls of leftover spaghetti bolognese for dinner. Lucky them!