Friday, 31 July 2009


Extract from Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey to the End of the Night:

Could I, I thought, be the last coward on earth? How terrifying!… All alone with two million stark raving heroic madmen, armed to the eyeballs? With and without helmets, without horses, on motorcycles, bellowing, in cars, screeching, shooting, plotting, flying, kneeling, digging, taking cover, bounding over trails, bombarding, shut up on earth as if it were a loony bin, ready to demolish everything on it, Germany, France, whole continents, everything that breathes, destroy, destroy, madder than mad dogs, worshipping their madness (which dogs don’t), a hundred, a thousand times madder than a thousand dogs, and a lot more vicious! A pretty mess we were in! No doubt about it, this crusade I’d let myself in for was the apocalypse!
You can be a virgin in horror the same as in sex. How, when I left the Place Clichy, could I have imagined such horror? Who could have suspected, before getting really into the war, all the ingredients that go to make up the rotten, heroic, good-for-nothing soul of man? And there I was, caught up in a mass flight into collective murder, into the fiery furnace… Something had come up from the depths, and it was happening now.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Automatic Drawing Project (Service Class) / One

The Nine Trades project got off to a great start earlier this evening at the DCA, and you can read the full illustrated report on the official Nine Trades blog: LINK

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

paparazzo addendum

I raided Gayle's Facebook account for a few extra photos she took of the Yuck 'n Yum launch and a snap of me pointing a camera during our visit to Cupar.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


So I went to the DCA after work to discuss the forthcoming Nine Trades project over a drink or two. Anyway I drew a doodle of my own today and here it is:

Sunday, 26 July 2009

the keyhole

I'm a semi-regular visitor to a music forum called Robots for Robots, a site for fellow disco and electronic music enthusiasts. This thread invites robots to show off the insides of their homes, and the results are interesting. It only goes to prove there are plenty of people out there with a bigger vinyl habit than I have.

Typical comment: "hey, that's Discoland - Chorus and Disco Company peeking out on the lower shelf in the middle? Awesome record."

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Yuck 'n Yum @ Cupar

The headline act

The remains of lunch: pizza, vegetarian quiche and a stuffed olive

I eat said quiche, not very flatteringly

Gayle takes a photo

The crowd

Friday, 24 July 2009

Cupar Arts Festival

In October Yuck ‘n Yum will be taking part in the Cupar Arts Festival. On Saturday we are heading over to deliver a short presentation of our plans; what follows is a rough sketch of the proposal.

Yuck ‘n Yum will don the guise of a company handing out free samples of their latest “product”. In this case the merchandise will be editions of works of art. This can be a print, a badge, a short film or audio piece. This would be something that can fit in a small satchel and is affordable to produce.

The works of art will be handed out by voluntary “Yuck ‘n Yum Art Distribution Agents” or “YYADAs”. Each ‘agent’ will wear a branded skip hat and t-shirt whilst sporting the official Yuck 'n Yum knapsack, exposing the public to our brand.

The representatives will shuttle from venue to venue distributing art to the public along the way. We believe the projections of artistic exposure to be astronomical.

Of course we extend the invitation to all artists and friends to become an ‘agent’ for the day. We believe the experience on the frontline will be invaluable to your good selves and something you can take pride in.

Just think of it:

Your Grandchildren – “What did you do during the Great Cupar
Arts Festival of 2009?”

You (full of pride with a tear in your eye) – “I was a YYADA”

“Ask not what your local arts scene can do for you, but what you can do for your local arts scene”: Former Dundee Resident
Rolf Harris (we think)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


The Nine Trades project is certainly very web2.0-friendly, as it now has not just one abut two whole blogs. This one HERE is for the PAR+RS site, and I think it's going to be open for other participants to document their progress in addition to my own inane ramblings.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Extract from Mary Gaitskill, Veronica:

I walked down a hallway crowded with gorgeous people. Lush arms, gold skin, fantastic flashing eyes, lips made up so big and full, they seemed mute - made not to talk but only to sense and receive. So much beauty, like bursts of violent color hitting your eye together and mixing until they were mud. I passed a bathroom and heard the sound of puking quickly covered by the music on the stereo. Rich, dreamy mud of sound. A girl met my eye and I was amazed to see her face emerge with such clarity. For a second, I was startled to think I knew her from childhood. Then I realized she was a movie star. I had watched her on TV with my family. She was looking at me curiously. I smiled and walked past. My father had loved her on TV. If he could see this, he would reach up and scratch his ear, not knowing what to say. Jean-Paul had scratched his ear just before he leaned in to kiss me. His kiss had been surprisingly sweet. I ducked into a bathroom to call my father and tell him about the movie star. I closed the door and sat with the phone cord wound against my chest, listening to the phone ringing in the dingy kitchen in New Jersey, my call hurtling through the night, over the cold ocean to land in that dingy phone.
I was going to show myself to my father, living big and bold. Mostly when I called him, I was stilted and hidden. Now I would show him something. I didn't know what. But I would show him. Jean-Paul had fucked me shallowly a long time before finally sticking it in. I was still drunk with feeling between my legs. The room blurred and swam in my eyes. I heard myself murmur, "I love you, Daddy." But when he answered the phone, I couldn't speak. His voice was a mild voice, tired and kind. There was nothing big in it. I didn't know how to speak to it. I was abashed before it. "Hello?" said the voice. "Hello?" Darkness spread around me, and in it I was tiny. "Hello?" Across the ocean, my father sighed. "Hello?" He hung up. Comforted, I went back to the party.

Monday, 20 July 2009

stop press

The summer 09 issue of Yuck 'n Yum is now online and available for your delectation:


Read it, and read it now!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Cracked Actress: The Enigma of Shaye Saint John

Shaye Saint John describes herself, with the caps-lock key forever on, as THE WORLDS RECORD HOLDER FOR HAVING THE MOST PROBLEMS! Her star shines brightly even among the attention-deficit-disordered parade of freaks and curiosities that makes up Web 2.0, and in such company there’s no denying she’s got the OMG WTF factor in spades. Based in California, Shaye appears in a series of 2 and 3-minute short films (or “triggers”) on her own YouTube channel and on her maddeningly labyrinth, impenetrably HTML-botched website. She documents her life spent on a compound for physically challenged people, a self-portrait in a state of perpetual confusion and conflict, sometimes in a wheelchair, sometimes walking, floating or dancing, sometimes whatever else she feels like doing. These videos show her fractured face and prosthetic limbs, the quadriplegia the legacy of an unspecified accident, all fed through a digital FX shredder and edited with a clinical just-so comic precision. Shaye talks non-stop in a speeded-up panicky monologue, the voice of Porky Pig speaking in tongues, an amphetamine Alvin Chipmunk addressing all her split personalities in turn. I first became aware of the phenomenon through the writer Dennis Cooper’s blog, which in May hosted a special Shaye Saint John Day suggested by the young Norwegian artist Kier Cooke Sandvik. Says he, “One of the best things about Shaye is how varied the reactions to her are, and how that seems to say something about people. I, like Dennis, don't feel very creeped out by the videos, while others seem to think they're nightmare inducing. I think they're hilarious. Shaye's constant enthusiasm, even in the face of horrors like her face being burnt to a crisp, is the funniest and scariest thing, I guess.”
Although details are sketchy, the 92-minute Triggers Compilation DVD credits one Eric Fournier as writer and director. In a 2005 interview with Bizarre magazine Shaye described him as being “among the few people that I truly trust” and claimed that he “lives in my guesthouse and is at the ready with his camera when I have a little notion.” The film’s distributors, the Los Angeles-based Indican Pictures, were unavailable for comment. Shaye’s last MySpace login was back in 2008, leaving her fans posting various “where’s Shaye?” messages, and really the best source of information is the anonymous postings left on blogs and messageboards where the devoted can meet up and exchange rumour and hearsay. Shaye is a group of four Chicago art school alumni. Shaye is a performer at the California Institute of Abnormal Arts. Shaye is Fournier in a dress, wig and mangled mask. No commentary or insight from her creators is forthcoming, so for now Shaye exists entirely in her own self-generated funbubble, her audience communicating mostly via the comments pages on her YouTube channel:
almadora (1 month ago)
you terrify me... i love it... i cant stop thinking about your stuff... who are you??
scary as hell... brilliant. i've already caught myself doing 'the hand thing...! (!!) " help me...!

Shaye's website:
Shaye's MySpace page:
Shaye on YouTube:

Saturday, 18 July 2009


At the start of last night’s Yuck ‘n Yum launch, I was on DJing duty for the first half-hour or so. What follows is an illustrated list of what records I played:

Moral Support - Living With Passion

Topo & Roby - Under the Ice

Mr. Pauli - Jap Fab

GJ Lunghi - Acapulco Nights

Klapto - Queen of the Night

Mel & Kim - System (House mix)


Last night saw a successful launch for the summer 09 issue of Yuck 'n Yum at the Hannah Maclure Centre in the University of Abertay, Dundee. The zine itself ought to be online very soon, but for now here's a few photos from last night's shebang:

DJ Bob's Cassette Hour

DJ Stephen Bloe

DJ Scott Neon

Ran Dan Discotheque

Friday, 17 July 2009

Self-Portrait Day: Objects of Desire

For a long time I've been a big fan of Dennis Cooper's blog, but have only recently started commenting and communicating with other users on there. I made a contribution to the current themed day, Self-Portrait Day: Objects of Desire. Here's what I put, and if you're not at work or easily shocked by depictions of nudity then you may like to see what the rest of it is like: LINK


Well, I suppose here's where I'm outed as a heterosexual. My objects of desire are selected according to a few archetypes:

Beatrice Dalle - Gothic Euro art-house beauty

Diana Dors - Traditional cheesecake pin-up

Louise Brooks - Chic with an air of scandal

Bizarre magazine (the original fetish version, not the modern lad-magazine rubbish)

I would also nominate the following music video: Rose - Magic Carillon

I suppose these all these choices each represent an image of a woman frozen in a specific moment in time, perfect, unobtainable and unknowable.

Thursday, 16 July 2009


No sooner is a new issue of Yuck 'n Yum complete than a deadline for the following issue is set. Dribs and drabs from the present installment will find their way onto this 'ere blog in the next few days.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


So I have now set up a blog for the Nine Trades project, kind of a sub-blog if you like, and it can be found here: LINK

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Extract from Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre:

My eyes were covered and closed: eddying darkness seemed to swim round me, and reflection came in as black and confused a flow. Self-abandoned, relaxed, and effortless, I seemed to have laid me down in the dried-up bed of a great river; I heard a flood loosened in remote mountains, and felt the torrent come: to rise I had no will, to flee I had no strength. I lay faint, longing to be dead. One idea only still throbbed life-like within me--a remembrance of God: it begot an unuttered prayer: these words went wandering up and down in my rayless mind, as something that should be whispered, but no energy was found to express them -

"Be not far from me, for trouble is near: there is none to help."

It was near: and as I had lifted no petition to Heaven to avert it- as I had neither joined my hands, nor bent my knees, nor moved my lips--it came: in full heavy swing the torrent poured over me. The whole consciousness of my life lorn, my love lost, my hope quenched, my faith death-struck, swayed full and mighty above me in one sullen mass. That bitter hour cannot be described: in truth, "the waters came into my soul; I sank in deep mire: I felt no standing; I came into deep waters; the floods overflowed me."

Saturday, 11 July 2009


I've certainly been eating well these past few days, and right now I'm in Leeds to enjoy some of my dad's excellent cooking. Last night we had guinea fowl wrapped in Parma ham with a Marsala sauce and minted new potatoes, peas carrots and cabbage.



Friday, 10 July 2009


I'm very pleased to say that there's been an instant response from my work collagues about the Nine Trades project. It now has its own website up and running, and you can see my profile:

There's links, a brief bio, a few pictures and eventually there'll be a blog for participants to update on their progress.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


A few photos from last night's outing to Piccolo, an Italian restaurant on Perth Road, for Ross' birthday. Later I'm off down to Leeds for the weekend so may post something from down there.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

trade redux

An amended draft email complete with newly updated logo:

Subject: Nine Trades of Dundee

Calling all call-centre workers and would-be artists!

Are you a secret artist? Do you draw doodles when you are on the phone? Now is the time to turn your doodles into fabulous screen-prints that will decorate the walls of the call-centre!

In collaboration with the Scottish Arts Council and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design we are offering call-centre workers the chance to get some FREE classes at the DCA screen-printing workshop. This will only take about two hours of your time for about 4 weeks. By the end of it you will be a skilled printer with your very own portfolio that you can keep forever! The prints will be framed and displayed on the walls of the office, and when we are all finished there will be a grand exhibition opening with champagne and canapes and the like.

If you are interested in this opportunity to get some FREE art training and your very own FREE print then just send me an email stating what sort of time would be suitable for you. The project has already been receiving TV and newspaper coverage, so this could be your big chance!

Times are not yet decided for the screen printing classes, but we are thinking Thursdays at around tea time or early evening at the end of July. If another time might suit you better, drop me a line and let me know. This is just an email to introduce you to the Nine Trades idea, and all feedback is welcome. I look forward to hearing from you!

many thanks
Ben Robinson

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


The mighty Yuck ‘n Yum hype-machine continues its march onwards:

“Hi all Yucks and Yums the summer issue will be launched on the 17th of July at the Hannah Maclure Centre. It looks to be a top evening with Randan Discotheque serenading our guests on the rooftop terrace and DJ Bob taking a trip down memory lane with his Cassette Hour. Plus Stephen Bloe and friends will keep the tempo upbeat with their DJ sets. It starts at 8 and finishes late, hope to see you all there.”

Chances are that NEON will also be DJing at some point so watch this space.