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For past readers of my blog you may be pleased to learn that I have posted an image I created (a little while ago now) of a water-colour painting, which aims to draw attention to the unsustainable pollution of the sea. Unusually it features a Merman on a rock, set in front of a dramatic and somewhat romantic sky and coastline. He seems to be attempting in vain to clean up waste and debris from the shore as the ominous grime and stain of an oil slick approaches from behind him.

This idea was originally pitched to The Marine Conservation Society, and received a positive reception, although I have been busy researching and developing my narratives for the Ethical Elephants, I thought it was time I presented this work. In light of the recent oil spill in the North Sea, it seems work like this is relevant.

I’m thinking of entering it into a prestigious illustration competition, so any feedback is welcome. I’m also thinking of producing some high quality prints of my best work (including this one) which will be made available for people to purchase a signed limited edition copy if they like the works.  Again any feedback on this is most welcome.


Hampton Court Palace

Image via Wikipedia

Yes I’m back again in the halls of the British Library to dig out little gems and treasures of information, ironically with quite a bit coming from the internet. None the less being here is very conducive to hard study, and I find it easier to get stuck into the more testing work. Today in my efforts I was working on the foundations of Boab’s book, who is the ‘Emperor of Emperors’ who has a home at Hampton Court Palace.

Of course this requires extensive research of the palace, and I feel I have only melted the tip of the proverbial iceberg. However it was enough to produce some solid foundations of the plot and its main characters, the start, middle and end of the book, so I leave here today feeling very satisfied with myself. I then had a good giggle reading the blog of a dear friend who is enjoying his time with adventures across America, with a visit to a far-flung organic farm no less.

He wiles away the time with wine and song, and I dig around to find Norse names for ancient Woolly mammoths. Life can be a funny business?

Hey there,

just an update for anyone that is interested I will be co hosting a one day event at Kings Place this Sunday the 24th from 11am-6pm. It’s a great concept encouraging contributions from young people potentially all over the world, to put together an half hour show of their particular interest be it music or interview. These will be played throughout the day at interval, as myself and co host announce and introduce in more detail the various live events and workshops that are happening throughout the day at Kings Place. This radio show and one of workshops will be happening in front of a live audience on the minus 2 level of the Kings Place Foyer. So no pressure!

Image representing RjDj as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I will be focusing on the Mozart ‘Unrapped’ workshop which works as an addition to the larger scale year long ‘Mozart Unwrapped’ series that has been ongoing at Kings place from late December last year. Mozart Unrapped is an interactive project where a selection of producers were commissioned to sample, mix up and respond to any music created by Mozart in their own personal style of music, be it Rap, Reggae or Indie etc. These track once completed were then submitted to the Mozart Unrapped website where members of the public were then encouraged to lay vocals and alter the potential structure of the tracks using a software application called ‘RJDJ‘. Needless to say the results have been impressive.

Part of my contribution will be interviewing the curator of the event, Giovanna Faso. Who is of Italian and Egyptian origin. Originally  trained as a classical pianist and singer at a conservatoire, she eventually grew tired of piano tours and wished to find ways that she could combine her love of classical music with her passion as a Drum & Base DJ, and thus this project was born. Please tune into the show if any of this interests you. I will leave links here and on my blog roll.

Kings Place international:

Giovanna Faso Mozart Unrapped site:

Well it has been some time since I last updated this blog which is quite bad of me, especially as quite a bit has been going on! But now it’s time to come clean. After many years of waiting, at long last my debut book will be launched in May at the Earth Galleries of The Natural History Museum.

The Natural History Museum. This is a panorama...

Image via Wikipedia

I can hardly believe it myself, and to be honest I won’t fully believe it until the day has happened itself! It kind of feels like fishing in a lake for years hoping to get a nice bite to eat and then landing an absolute whopper that almost sinks the boat! Crazy, but such is life and I’m very happy.

There has also been a bit more work from me art wise from my last update, so I will post some on the Ethical Elephants page… it’s some new face masks that are intended to be used as part of the launch for the entertainers to wear. Here you will see all the faces of the elephants as currently only four can be seen on their page at the moment, so this will be added to.

There has also been some work produced for my Elements project too, which will be posted here once I’m totally satisfied with it. It’s of a Merman poised on a rock in a polluted coastline, who is trying his best to collect waste in two plastic bags… quite a dramatic/romantic painting in water-colour, it’s a bit of a return to some very old themes I used to muse over as child in some ways.

Entrance to the Earth Galleries of the Natural...

Image via Wikipedia

Anyway I suppose the whole point of a blog is to keep people updated, so I shall have to try harder in the future. : )

As readers of previous entries will know, I have declared war on one of natures most cunning forms of mammalian life, the humble and yet formidable mouse. Today that war has moved beyond declaration and moved into action, in the form of the no nonsense looking pest control man who came round to my flat.

He was a little stern when I opened the doors, and had clearly seen much and become hardened with many years of battle in vermin control? He had the presence of a well-groomed cage fighter. There was a suspicious glint to one eye it seemed to me, and he possibly imagined I may be living in squalor? But upon arriving in my well-groomed and art laden living room (I need to sell more work) before being shown to the kitchen, his mood seemed to lift and be relieved that I wasn’t possibly hording rotting veg behind the cupboards?

The hazard symbol for toxic/highly toxic subst...

Image via Wikipedia

I then spoke about the night raids of the mice, and how a mentally unwell man who used to live the flat underneath used to feed and encourage them, old flats, cracked walls, gaps in airing cupboard floor boards etc… as he blithely layed out the poison; though the quantity however seems enough to paralyse a baby elephant? Seven little white plastic trays filled with tainted grain that look to me like little blue gems of death? He handed me a sheet to sign and then gave me another with a list of poisons, indicating with a circular mark which kind was being used on my unsuspecting mice. He then said to call again in two weeks, gave a friendly good-bye and left.

Whether or not this new tactic will work on these mice I don’t know? They are clever. I remember a trick that Mr Twit played on Mrs Twit from the great children’s classic by Roald Dahl, where he either altered the furniture, moved it around or stuck it to the ceiling. Now I did not stick my kitchen to the ceiling (that would require far too much glue?) but I did change things around a little. Looking at my kitchen through a ‘mouse’s eye’ I saw that I had inadvertently created a play ground for my fury guests to delight in. Little side boards, things plugged in higher up, a cable to run along etc… I could just imagine their nimble little hands clambering every where, and them ‘blessing the host’ when saying grace before they tucked into my seed bread?

So with quiet pleasure (and an inner raised eyebrow smirk of self-satisfaction) I changed a few things around to confuse them, and it worked!

…For one day.

The mice had given me ‘the two fingered salute’ with a few trophy shits again to let me know they were undefeated. So all I can do is wait, and let them nibble here and there of their own demise? A pearl of wisdom that was offered to me (like those given to any one fighting the undead in a vampire movie) was that the only true protection against mice was ‘wire wool’. It was to be stuffed into every crease and crevice. Apparently their continually growing teeth cannot chew through it? So after depleting the population as much as I can with poison galore, I will get some of it and stuff every nook, crook and cranny I can find in my living space; and judging by this old flat I think I will need quite a big bag of it?

On bank holiday Monday I took myself to Carnival… why I bothered I’m not quite sure? As all the plans leading up to the event ended in tatters, with a combination of several cancellations due to Bank Holiday weekend fatigue, slight apathy and sick spouses? A very London phenomenon, of which I’m sure at least a few of you who have spent significant time in London will be familiar? Never mind such is life, and like the British weather that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

Carnival Masqueraders in Trinidad and Tobago

Image via Wikipedia

All was not lost however, as I had the chance to show a Carnival novice around the place, and introduce him to the heaving crowds, gyrating costume wearers and the general clang and kerfuffle that has become Carnival. After being part of the parade once upon a time (wearing a huge pair of bat wings, the vastness of which kept getting tangled in the trees!) and gyrating for the assembled hordes, and then again for paying audience and float competition judges (coming a respectable forth I must say) I have pretty much glimpsed it all?

One thing I did not see however was the vicious smell that assaulted my nostrils on the tube on my way to the event.

Traveling on a sweaty, heaving packed out tube with your head cranked under some ones arm, while your trying to read the first part of ‘His Dark Materials‘ is never a great experience at the best of times. What made this incident much worse was the putrid (and I mean putrid) stench that was coming off the man next to me! How long one has to go without washing to be able to concoct such an odor only wise men and witches would know? Reading determinedly during a particularly exciting scene (my head stuck near an armpit) where the main protagonist Lyra was trying to escape the evil Mrs Coulter; there slowly crept into my face a fog more evil that she? Unable to move because of the cramped conditions I had to endure the pong. I tried to swivel my head to see if I was the only one to notice?

Striped Skunk

Image by Petroglyph via Flickr

Of course the great unflinching public barely batted an eyelid, while I was looking forward to making my escape. It smelt like to me as if a family of rodents after bathing in a fresh cow pat, had unwisely taken a holiday in the offenders nether regions and promptly died! I forgot the book (and there was no point in reading further because of the water in my eyes). The only skunk I was expecting to catch a whiff of was the herbal variety above ground? The next stop felt an age away, and I was impatient and worried that my beard and eye brows were starting to fall out?

Eventually relief came with the next stop, I got off as if it were my desired destination and then swiftly ran to the end of the very cramped tube. How any one is able to produce a smell like that whilst still alive is beyond me? But it thankfully began to fade like mist from my mind as I slowly rose, escalator after escalator, to the light and the comparatively fresher air above.

Chocolate Cake Flourless (1)

Image via Wikipedia

Well it is now Bank holiday Monday, and I’m about to haul my body off to the carnival. Thankfully the sun has decided to put in an appearance, which I’m grateful for, as even for England this August has been unseasonably cold! It has been a great weekend full of entertainment, and one of the highlights was an excellent dinner party hosted by my friend Philipp (the German spelling, not a typo) which is the subject of this entry. He and friends did a great job. We dined on succulent roast lamb (one a leg, and one a shoulder) flavoured with Rosemary and garlic, the leg was done with a spiced glaze (and I made the gravy). A gathering salads of lentils, walnuts and and endive, lettuce and avocado with a multitude of other ingredients all flowed forth, like the wine and great conversation. Pudding was delicious with a truly sinful ‘flourless’ chocolate cake… slim, cracked and densely chocolatey accompanied perfectly with thick double cream and perky strawberries. All of this was fit for the shrine of any domestic god or goddess and I’m positive that the great Nigella would have looked on approvingly? She would not however of approved of the mess?

The Twits

Image via Wikipedia

In the aftermath of gradual leavings of guests in the small hours, and some that couldn’t quite leave (like myself and few others) grew such an entanglement of glass, pots, spoons, spills, and crockery that the scene resembled a page of Quentin Blake’s illustrations from ‘The Twits’. Of course many were too tipsy to notice? After bedding lovingly provided I set about making a warm nest in the squalor. After eventually getting up (and seeing a few other guests fleeing the scene) I took a glance at the wreckage and understood why they were leaving. It’s just the kind of mangled mess you don’t want to see on a brightly lit day? That and to also glance in the mirror and see something that resembles a puffer fish staring back at you. To tell the truth I had been in and out of sleep a little, and on waking briefly I contemplated the clean up, which sent me back to sleep. Partly in concern at the industrial levels of noise that would have to be made in attempting such a task (the host was still asleep) and mainly cowardice at not wanting to engage with it at all (shameful of me) so being slightly perplexed, and seeing that it was almost 1pm (I thought the big clean up would be sooner?) and being due at another gathering at 3pm, I evoked the unconscious rule? ‘If the host does not wake, then one can escape!’ and I did. Observed languidly from a settee by a friend of the host (I will not mention names) I explained and he understood, and so I made my graceless shuffle to the door and out into the sunshine.

Philipp I will make it up to you!…

but what a great party!

Fishing in the Maldives

Image via Wikipedia

An estuary mouth and coastal waters, part of a...

Image via Wikipedia

As I have mentioned in my ‘About’ section of my blog I have started a project about the element of Water, being explored via the sea. From reading that section you will know by now that I’m passionate about conservation? Well I have taken the plunge! (forgive the pun) and have become a member of the Marine Conservation Society! Ok, so anyone reading this may not be swinging from the chandelier with excitement? But I am genuinely happy that I have joined. I see this very much as the first step to bringing the conservation project of mine to life. Of course MCS are doing a fantastic job already, but every little helps the cause. When I produce more research and art work about the project I will formally approach them to see if they are interested in my ideas? I would love to do a poster campaign, a book, marine inspired concerts etc… I’m bursting with ideas. Hopefully I can make a contribution to further strengthen marine laws, and have more marine reserves? Currently only 1% of British coastline is protected and only 3% in the whole world! Ridiculous! At the rate civilization is going at, tins of Tuna will become museum exhibits? As my new project develops I will post up my progress, in the mean time I look forward to my welcome pack and creating as many evocative images I can to help defend the seas! I’m expressing ‘childlike’ excitement you may well think to yourself? And I agree it’s totally true!

Warwick Arts Centre, at the University of Warw...

Image via Wikipedia

A little update on my progress. With a little determination I have managed to get through to David Dabadie of Warwick University. I left a voice message with the staffing team, and I have been informed that it and my contact details have been received by him, and that I’m to hear a response from himself shortly. Hopefully with his specialist advice and wisdom I will be able to find out an awful lot more about Hogarth and his contemporaries?

I also intend to ask him the best way to build a research project in case in the future I wish to pursue academic study? I figure talking to a professor is the best way to go?

Laboratory mouse

Image via Wikipedia

Aside from that little break through, I’m having some what of a mental breakdown about my mice! Natures little fury warm-blooded nimble packages of cunning and fortitude! I have officially declared war. Up until now the athletic little rascals, have only been treating me to the occasional glimpse, and the delicate sound of a hastily executed scurry, or a flash of tail has been far and few between… and so have thankfully, the initial shock and involuntary outburst of scream followed by immense cursing that are often prompted when one witnesses this type of mammalian life in the kitchen! It was only a flirtation, clearly?

Now however this is not the case, and I now find myself beginning to dread nightfall? After being away in Glyndebourne for the whole day (as mentioned in the earlier post) I came home to discover that they had executed ‘shock and awe‘ tactics in my cupboards! One loaf of my favourite seed bread was so thoroughly ravished that it’s entrails were strewn across the whole expanse. They had never been this brazen before? Never was a daring raid taken out on a cupboard previously. All food prior to this incident was left untouched. I suspect now that this was revenge for killing one of their masters? (a slightly greying one?) Caught him in a trap, and come to think of it this is when the offensive escalated?

Yes mice are vermin. But they are intelligent life, and any one who has gone into battle with them will understand their cleverness and tenacity? (I find it hard not to admire them) And also being a bit of a hippy I have been reluctant to retaliate with brutality. But these nightly raids cannot carry on! And surely it cannot be good for my health? Even with all the cleaning? (unless by now with intermittent exposure I have become immune to potential disease? Lol) So now the professionals have been called in. There will be traps and poison galore! (I will refuse glue traps if offered, I do not wish to gaze into the eyes of  a terrified alive mouse, mine and it’s heart pounding?) hopefully this will end the scourge and I will feel safe again to enter my kitchen past midnight without fear of ambush? Or find in the morning a spiteful little ‘trophy’ shit poised condescendingly on the corner of a previously polished and gleaming sink top. Uurgh! The little rascals!

Switch and monkey.

Why the title to this blog entry you may be asking yourself? Or maybe you even agree? The great thing about sharing ideas is that people often get to contribute their own and potentially add to and expand your own ideas (the blessing) the curse however (and I mean curse in its least malevolent sense) is after having grasped the new perspective or contribution, is that one has to go out and do some thing about it?

I have found that casually mentioning my ideas for this blog, and it’s broad over view and how the concepts feed into a wider narrative etc… I was promptly told by a very bright colleague that my idea was ripe for a Thesis and that I should very much consider a PhD! To be honest the thought had not entered my head. But as we discussed in more depth and detail, and I reflected on her suggestion and my thinking, I thought she had a very good point? I’m not suggesting that I leap boundlessly into the cavernous expanses of a PhD now, much preparation and time is required, but one could certainly explore the possibility and potentially lay the frame-work and arguments for possible further academic study? It could definitely add an edge and an even greater sense of purpose to my blog?  My explorations could be influenced by having these aspirations at the back of my mind, slowly adding tendons and meat to the bones?

Ok, time to act… as mentioned in my first post it is my intention to get into contact with Professor ‘David Dabadie’ again as my colleague suggested, maybe I should suggest this new idea to him and see what he says? Anyway all this talk of art and such, and I have showed none of my own… so as well as posting the odd image in here and there I will see if I can add a gallery to this thing?

Now it’s time for me to get myself ready on this sleepy Sunday, as I’m off to Glyndebourne in Sussex to see a production of Hansel and Gretal. It’s been a little while since I last saw some Opera, so I’m looking forward to this. I shall let you know how it goes?

Well first of all hello…

It’s my first blog and I’m already worried? After much nagging from dear friends I have finally taken the plunge into the vast churning sea of the ‘blogosphere’ (It’s actually in reality more like a tentative toe dip?) But now that I have had a little swoosh getting my toes wet reading all the ‘how to’s’, ‘do’s and dont’s’ (I still have much to read and learn) I have decided that I quite like it, well actually more than quite like it, I love it!

It is this new passion coursing through my veins for this form of communication that has me both enthralled and a little worried? I fear the Genie has been let out of the bottle? I can see over the next few months that my postings could well develop into fully fledged virtual megalomania! I mean, you can do almost anything on here? Write anything, talk about anything, quote anything, post clips, the works. Seasoned bloggers or readers please forgive my child like wonder at it all, but the potential is almost limitless? Now at last that my head has come to rest on the bosom of the blog, I shall suckle a while and gain my strength over the next few months and see what I can do with all this?

Ok must gather thoughts and explain why I’m here?

The Painter and his Pug, self portrait

Image via Wikipedia

As the title of my blog suggests I’m indeed named after William Hogarth (on the right) That great corner-stone of 18th century Renaissance Britain, Satirist, Painter & engraver extraordinaire. Although he has been dead for the best part of 250 years, no matter! I admire him greatly, and I am grateful for his influence both in my life and art, and Britain at large (my last exhibition at the TenderPixel Gallery was inspired by some of his social critiques. September 09). Another man, although earlier, who’s time over lapped a little with William Hogarth was Daniel Defoe. Famous for writing Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders. Why him? You may ask? Well apart from liking his work he frequented east London where I grew up, and like Hogarth was an outspoken man who was not afraid of social critique, and was put in the pillory for it.

Focusing on Hogarth and Defoe, I wish to further explore their lives and contemporaries and gain a deeper understanding of their legacies to the world, and how this has impacted on my views and work; both in terms of social critique (which for those that know me is never far from my lips) and my new explorations in environmental conservation.

All will be revealed…

but first I have to get hold of a certain professor who works at Warwick University, whom specialises in William Hogarth and goes by the name of ‘David Dabadie’. I’m sure he could have much to tell me? Watch this space…


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