Category Archives: In My Life

2008: Work

Like I said, I’ve been meaning to post a summary of my last 18 months. Perhaps easier if I split it into two: work, and personal. So, work: I started freelancing in the middle of 2007, and I’ve done a whole bunch of interesting jobs since then (see my CV for full details).
Continue reading 2008: Work

Dave’s birthday party

After a Christmas and New Year period spent almost entirely at home (I needed to recharge my batteries after 6 months frantically commuting backwards and forwards to London), I thought I ought to have at least one night out in Sheffield before returning to the smoke. So glad I did. I went to Dave (Attwood – drummer from Rumpus & Baby Long Legs)’s birthday party, and had that kind of wonderful time which always seems to happen when I hook up with the Shefferati.
Jokers wild
Continue reading Dave’s birthday party

Havannah House

Havannah House garden

This is a photo of the back garden of our squat – Havannah House, on Grove Green Road, Leytonstone (I forget what number we were – 189, I think).

The time I spent here, from 1993 to 94, was probably the happiest of my life.

The garden was knocked together with the one next door – the next door house was "the party house", gutted inside, painted black with flourescent designs. Every other weekend, we would hold a massive party – hundreds of people would fill the party house and the garden. These parties were legendary, and passed into East London history.

At the back of the garden, you can see a rubbish tip. All sorts of stuff was buried in here, and it was quite fun to dig around in on an otherwise dull weekend. I once found an old car in there.

We had some sort of electricity feed, though I don’t think we ever paid for it. The party house had gas nicked from the mains – to have a bath, you had to go out through the garden, into the party house, light the pilot light (and hope that the wind didn’t blow it out), then climb up a ladder to the bathroom and start running your bath. You had to keep checking that the water coming out was hot, because that pilot light was forever blowing out. Sometimes you would have to go up and down that ladder several times while waiting for your bath to fill up.

Our only heating was a portable gas heater. Every few weeks you would have to trek over the road to the shop with your empty cannister, then somehow struggle back the couple-of-hundred yards with a full one.

The window panes were cracked and surrounded by gaps. Huge lorries thundered down the street all night and made the glass rattle. Throughout the winter, a cold breeze blew through the panes. Our room was above the garage/lockup, so it was even colder than the rest of the house. Luchie and Michelle were in the other front room, Marie and Laura in the two back rooms, and Brian lived in the darkened chaos of the downstairs room. The slightly feral Ben camped next door in the semi-derelict party house, where he made some sort of a living fixing old TVs.

One morning, I woke up with my bed shaking. The house directly on the other side of my bedroom wall was being pulled down. By the time I got dressed and went outside, all you could see on the other side of our bedroom wall was a bare wallpapered spot hanging out over empty space.

Havannah House was knocked down late in 1994 to make way for the M11 link road.

Magma Beard

Anyone who knows me knows my beards. Until my wedding day (on 1/2/3 – or 2/1/3 if you’re American) I went clean-shaven for most of my life. But on that happy day, I got best-man Ed to carve something new in my face, inspired by my new Paul Smith suit complete with thigh-length drape jacket.

Ever since then, I’ve kept some variation on the same theme. Since Gill and I never did get around to exchanging rings (and since Ed had promised to make us wedding rings), I guess you could say that my facial hair is my wedding ring (NB: the same doesn’t apply to Gill). It has evolved since then though: through subtle changes in facial anatomy and less subtle rescue jobs on shaving cock-ups, it has crept around my face, grown thicker and thinner, stripes have changed position, angle and number. A few months ago at Razor Stiletto I had my face painted, tiger-style, with a couple of beard-stripes doubling up as tiger-patterning. When I got home, I thought I’d take the similarity further (forgetting that I had done something very similar exactly two years earlier).

Going tiger-striped seems to have inspired me to new shaving confidence, and to trust my facial hair to find its own shape. Shaving has now become an almost meditative activity, a sort of automatic-drawing but with a sharp implement, where I allow the contours of my face and the movement of my razor to conjure up new patterns of their own, with little conscious intervention from me. As a result, things have got sort of… well, fancy.

Here’s the latest result:

Magma beard

For the first few days after it shaved itself, I couldn’t help thinking that the design was somehow familiar. I was sure I’d seen it somewhere before. Then it struck me: it looked just like the logo for 70s French operatic prog-rock band Magma. OK, so it actually looks quite different now that I’ve seen the original again, but it was close enough to jog my memory.

Any suggestions as to which prog heroes’ logo I should carve into my chin next? Hmmm, carve into my chin… [thinks]… my face could become like some sort of prog-rock Mount Rushmore.

Email meltdown

Some time on Sunday, my email software went into meltdown. All of my emails received between Sunday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon went straight into the void. As usual, my computer was sick at the same time as I was, so it took me three days to spot this.

I’ve you’ve sent me an email recently, please re-send as I may not have got it.