Monday, February 26, 2007

recent Happiness Experiment entries

Walking down to Cucksmere Haven beach, East Sussex

Another jog along the beach path east of Brighton marina

FilmFour Oscar night party at the Electric Cinema, Portobello Road - champagne, apple and cinnamon cocktails

School photo of N & D

Fresh mint tea

Reading about Spurs victory over Bolton - especially Robbie Keane's goals

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beside the seaside - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Jogging along the coastal path east of Brighton marina - the morning sea

Farley's rusks milkshake from Shakeaway, Brighton

A quiet night in at Mariners

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Brighton rock - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Walking along the coastal path to the East of Brighton Marina at sundown (with a God sky)

Playing rummy en famille

Listening to Robert Elms on Radio London - including What's All the Fuss (this week, about Joe Meek)

Live action - Thursday's Happiness Experiment entry

Doing a touch+go live web demo of Breaking the News at a Skillset/LDA event at The Guardian Newsroom - the very building in Farringdon Raod where i started my career as a runner in AKA's studio

Giving N a book about codes to encourage him away from screens during his half-term and hearing about his decoding activities from today - D got a beautifully put-together activity book around Tintin and Snowy (published by Egmont who also publish Herge's albums)

Immersing myself in the Battle of the Bulge through Scott Turow's Ordinary Hero from the London Undergrouind, warmer and marginally safer

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


"Life is nothing without enthusiasms"

Richard Pankhurst, husband of Emmeline, father of Christabel, Sylvia and Adela (c1835-98)

Glasgow Walker - Yesterday's Happiness Experiment entry.

Reading Scott Turow's Ordinary Hero - Band of Brothers meets Saving Private Ryan, a good ol WW2 yarn like the 60s movies we grew up with

Visiting Glasgow's Kelvingrove art gallery/museum - a refreshingly original approach to showing a diverse collection coherently

Chatting to Stuart Cosgrove in the Choose Life office about all things Channel 4

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ballplay - Sunday's Happiness Experiment entry

Getting muddy playing rugby with N and D at Kenwood

Chatting with my ex-partners Marc and Rochelle Trup in Winnington Road

Listening to Spurs putting away four in the FA Cup including two by Robbie, Captain of Ireland and all-round good egg

The Empire Strikes Back - Yesterday's Happiness Experiment entry

Working out the editorial for Empire's Children Interactive

Chatting with Chris Bisson (Kash from Shameless) about his family history as discovered in Empire's Children

Reading Niall Ferguson on Empire

Notes from an eccentric art gallery

200207 Kelvingrove art gallery, Glasgow

William Strang - portrait of lady in red hat (vita sackville-west) 1918
Red (hat) + green (blouse) - Passion (picasso)
Very distinctive face

John Lavery - RB Cunninghame Graham 1893
John Buchan - moorland browns

Jacob Epstein - RB Cunninghame Graham 1923 bronze
Windswept hair
Another distinctive visage

Percy Wyndham Lewis - Froanna (the artist's wife) 1937
A different kind of brown palette - red/browen lifted with blue (incl her eyes)
Warmth and intimacy of an interior with only a sliver of daylight yet something cool about her
A superficial modernism

DG Rosetti - Regina Cordium (Alice Wilding) 1866
Use of gold - cf Klimt
Unusual, not conventionally beautiful face (big chin, wide apart eyes)
Mediaeval vibe, courtly romance
Symbolism - flowers, emblems

John Byrne - Self-portrait in Stetson 1989
Kinky Friedman
Cf Stanley Spencer

Constable - Hampstead Heath c1830
St Paul's alone on the distant skyline
North London as open countryside
2/3 sky

Optician's sign - part of John Quinton Pringle display
God's eyes in The Great Gatsby
90 Saltmarket, Glasgow (c1896)
Cf Seurat; Delaunay

Ben Nicholson - Still life 1946-50
Finishing off Picasso's Cubism
Classicism of De Chirico

Edward Baird - Unidentified Aircraft (over montrose) 1942
45% sky - cf Constable
Very original composition - another way of showing its about (off-stage) sky
Townscape cf Schiele
Upturned faces have a certain graceful calm in spite of fear - religious

Lowry - VE day 1945
The right artist for celebration
Memory: VE day 50th anniversary with U in Belfast
Restrained pallette cf Bridget Riley's egyptian paintings
Fades to white in bg

Ossip Zadkine - The Music Group 1926 bronze
Bought from the Exhibition of Jewish Artists 1943 - what and where was that?
Cf Picasso - Demoiselles d'Avignon - mask-like faces: Man Ray - portrait of woman with mask

Craigie Aitchison - Wayney Dead 2 1986
Cf Klee - universal simplicity
Honesty/loyalty of animal's mourning
Flower symbolism cf Rossetti - this is a universal flower of no particular kind

Monday, February 19, 2007

Thinking about Empire

Some notes on Empire:

Flows of: commodities, capital, labour/population

Spread of: law & order, governance, forms of land tenure, banking

British Empire challenged in Jamaica in 1831 and 1865 - what's the story?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Winter Sun and Irish Moon - Yesterday's happiness experiment

Showing off London - taking my sister-in-law Elizabeth (from Dublin) on a walk from Charles Dickens' house on Doughty Street to Waterloo Bridge via the Inns of Court

A rare visit to the theatre (with Elizabeth, Bronagh, Joan and U) to see Frank McGuinness' new play 'There Came a Gypsy Riding' at the Almeida, Islington - featuring a cracking performance from Eileen Atkins.

Taking D to his guitar lesson - sneaking a look through the window at how comfortable he is with the instrument, then a sunny interlude in Avenue House park with my book (a WW2 yarn from Scott Turow)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dream #3326

Good last bit of dream just before i woke this morning:

i am running down the hill at Hale Lane [Mill Hill, London NW7 where i grew up] when i notice i've no running shoes on, just white short socks, but i'm enjoying the flow and ease of it too much so don't care - just delight in the speed of the running...

How you listen to music

"I can never hear lyrics. I've got a real dyslexia with lyrics."
Paul Abbott, scriptwriter of Channel 4's 'Shameless' on Desert Island Discs

It was interesting to hear this throw-away remark (I missed it when I listened to the first broadcast last weekend), interesting because I have a similar relationship to song lyrics. Strange for a lover of Dylan and similar but I really struggle to engage with lyrics in a whole or analytical way. They're more like part of an audio collage to me. Glints of light, a diamond spinning in the dark.

A good rounded choice from Mr Shameless punctuating a raw, honest, insightful and illuminating interview:

1.Good Vibrations
Performer The Beach Boys
Composer B Wilson-M Love

2.Ode to Billie Joe
Performer Bobbie Gentry
Composer Gentry

3.Sweet Soul Music
Performer Arthur Conley
Composer Conley/Cooke/Redong

Performer John Lennon
Composer John Lennon

5.Children of the Revolution
Performer T Rex
Composer Marc Bolan

6.Town Called Malice
Performer The Jam
Composer Paul Weller

7.Video Lullaby
His son Tom Abbott with his band Kid4077

8.The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Performer Roberta Flack
Composer Ewan MacColl

Record: Town Called Malice
Book: Complete works of Arthur Miller
Luxury: Writing pad and pencils

Particularly like his One Record - it's an explosive song, brilliantly exploited in 'Billy Elliott' - a kicking the wall song. Yes, really kicking. He zooms in on it as an expression of creative anger, constructive shouting, exactly as his writing is.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reflections on the Fundamentals of Life

These notes stem from Jonathan Raban's 'Coasting' and Julian Temple's forthcoming 'The Future is Unwritten' about Joe Strummer.

'Coasting' first made me reflect on what are the essentials of life as Raban sailed around the coast of Britain in a pretty basic vessel, focusing the mind on those essentials.

There's a theme of campfires in the Strummer film I saw last night - communal fire as the hub of happiness and music.









SEX - Reproduction

LOVE - as child
LOVE - as parent

Milk Love
Honey Love (love of life) [Erich Fromm]







[This is a work in progress ]

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fun & Games - Recent Happiness Experiment entries

Giving a keynote speech without nerves and with a fair fluency - in the case at the Digital Futures conference

Having a chat with Chris Bisson - Kash from the wonderful Shameless

An early morning wander across a freezing Manchester

Getting The Name's Bondi, my old iMac, up&running again in our new room

Reading Ted Hughes' The Iron Giant with D

Putting up my Abram Games print (in the top hall)

Rules of the Movies 2

When people drop their shopping, the bag always contains round fruit [by U]

People always have french bread in their shopping (in those brown paper shopping bags)

People always move the steering wheel around, even when they're driving down a straight road [courtesy, much though it pains me to say, of Sky Movies]

Evil butlers have no tongues [by N e.g. Stormbreaker, Goldfinger]

Superheroes with high strength are fat [by N e.g. Fantastic Four, The Incredibles]

Dustin Hoffman will always run given half a chance (e.g. The Graduate, Marathon Man, Kramer vs Kramer)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Lunchtime walk and talk with James E

Literary chat with Russell B on the way home

Citizen journalism from the site of A Bomb in Victoria Street

Friday, February 02, 2007

Food for thought - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Reading blog print-outs on the tube home about webby things

Chatting with Frank Boyd about creativity and connections

Two poached eggs on black bread

Bookpeace - Today's Happiness Experiment entry

Hooking up with Nigel at Girton for an alumni dinner - the peacefulness of the courts, corridors and especially the wonderful library

The bookish vibe of Cambridge

The full moon over the wall of Sidney Sussex - straight out of Atkinson Grimshaw (see yesterday)