Monday, 31 August 2009


Another successful class at the DCA earlier for Nine Trades, and you can see plenty of photos on the official blog: LINK

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Disco Caligula 2

DJ Benetti has posted another Disco Caligula mix up on the ItaloBlack blog, and very fine it is too: LINK

Friday, 28 August 2009

WGG Test by Paul McCarthy


Despite my financially straitened circumstances I splashed out on a few items in recent weeks:

Unica Zürn, Dark Spring £3.89

André Breton, Anthology of Black Humour £4.47

Carpenters, Love Songs £1.20

Thursday, 27 August 2009


My Nine Trades article has been published in the Edinburgh-based listings magazine The Skinny: LINK

Monday, 24 August 2009

phase two

Another good, productive session at the DCA print studio earlier this evening, and I've updated the official Nine Trades blog accordingly: LINK

Saturday, 22 August 2009


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

Parapine was an undisputed eminence in his special field. He knew all there was to know about typhoid in animals as well as human beings. His reputation went back twenty years to the day when certain German authors claimed to have isolated the Ebertella in the vaginal excreta of an eighteen-month-old girl, so creating an enormous stir in the Halls of Truth. Only too delighted to take up the challenge in the name of the National Institute, Parapine had outdone those Teutonic braggarts by breeding the same microbes, now in its pure form, in the sperm of a seventy-two-year-old invalid. Instantly famous, he managed to hold the limelight for the rest of his life by publishing a few unreadable columns in various medical journals. This he had done without difficulty ever since his day of audacity and good fortune.
The serious scientific public trusted him implicitly and consequently had no need to read him. If those people were to start getting critical, no further progress would be possible. They would spend a whole year on every page.
When I came to the door of his cell, Serge Parapine was spitting steady streams into all four corners of his laboratory, with a grimace of such disgust that it made you wonder. Parapine shaved every now and then, but he always had enough hair on his cheeks to make him look like an escaped convict. He was always shivering or at least he seemed to be, though he never removed his overcoat, which presented a large assortment of spots and still more dandruff, which he would scatter far and wide with little flicks of his fingernails, at the same time bringing his always oscillating forelock back into position over his red-and-green nose.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Meat Boys

When I arrived home from work earlier today I was very excited to find amongst my post the amazing Meat Boys, a new comic by the mighty Norwegian artist Kier Cooke Sandvik and his friend Ottar Karlsen. Kier contributed some beautiful drawings for the current issue of Yuck 'n Yum, and he is just an all-round nice fellow and a super talented artiste. Click here to order a copy for yourself, all you have to do is mail your address, and upon receipt of the comic send something of your own in return. I've not yet decided on what I'll be sending, rest assured I'll be figuring that one out over the coming weekend.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


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

It was warm and cosy in the cinema. An enormous organ, as mellow as in a cathedral, a heated cathedral I mean, organ pipes like thighs. They don't waste a moment. Before you know it, you're bathing in an all-forgiving warmth. Just let yourself go and you'll begin to think the world has been converted to loving-kindness. I almost was myself.
Dreams rise in the darkness and catch fire from the mirage of moving light. What happens on the screen isn't quite real; it leaves open a vague cloudy space for the poor, for dreams and the dead. Hurry hurry, cram yourself full of dreams to carry you through the life that's waiting for you outside, when you leave here, to help you last a few days more in the nightmare of things and people. Among the dreams, choose the ones most likely to warm your soul. I have to confess that I picked the sexy ones. One point in being proud; when it comes to miracles, take the ones that will stay with you. A blonde with unforgettable tits and shoulders saw fit to break the silence of the screen with a song about her loneliness. I'd have been glad to cry about it with her.
There's nothing like it! What a lift it gives you! After that, I knew I'd have courage enough in my guts to last me at least two days. I didn't even wait for the lights to go on. Once I'd absorbed a small dose of that admirable ecstasy, I knew I'd sleep, my mind was made up.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

labours of love: the Nine Trades project

First draft of the Nine Trades article I have written for the Skinny:

Like so many people thrust dazed into the big grown-up world after art school, I have to pay the rent somehow and this involves going to work. Instigated by the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and funded by the Scottish Arts Council, Nine Trades of Dundee takes as its noble aim the bringing together of the lofty art world and the mundane workplace. These two areas of life would all too often seem poles apart. For Nine Trades, nine artists will each create a project that brings together their art practice and their day job, the goal being “a significant, inspiring and ambitious exchange and collaboration for both parties.” So far three projects are already underway in Dundee with myself, Alan Grieve and Fraser Macdonald trading in telephone banking, hairdressing and waste management respectively. All concerned have brought radically different approaches to the brief. Macdonald’s idea is to set up a team of ‘Garbologists’ who will be “recycling the notion of what an artist is by utilising/declaring acts performed as refuse collectors as artistic practice”. They have set up HQ in Friarton Depot and established “an art movement run like a trade union, with legislation and task lists.” Meanwhile working from Nori hair salon, Grieve has a ‘comment of the week’ wall of texts and drawings inspired by dialogue with his colleagues and clients. Eventually the material will be compiled and published as a magazine to be distributed throughout salons across Dundee. My own idea is to recruit call-centre colleagues who draw doodles during their working day, then training them in screenprinting at the DCA print workshops. The resulting artworks will be framed and re-presented on the walls of the office, engaging the workers with their unconscious artistic output. The ‘Automatic Drawing Project (Service Class)’ is at the halfway stage so far, and really the most gratifying thing has been seeing the enthusiasm and commitment shown by people who would never normally dream of setting foot inside an art gallery, yet alone taking a class in printing and being happy with the results. All the Nine Trades artists are keeping a blog to document their progress over the course of the project, and each will have a Duncan of Jordanstone student working as an ‘apprentice’ to provide valuable assistance and know-how in realising their task. So far the whole process has been a delight, and artists and tradespeople alike will be eagerly waiting to see the fruits of their labours.

Friday, 14 August 2009

O'Gar - Playback Fantasy

Originally posted by Queen Of Blood on the Robots for Robots forum, this video illustrates the great Italo-disco dichotomy of crappy TV production values and a beautiful, poignant tune.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

random rules

When I'm using Facebook I often like to post a YouTube video with no explanation, just as a way of generating some instant curiosity or amusement. These clips I will happen upon during the day's surfing, and what follows are a few of my recent faves:

Monday, 10 August 2009

Public Holidays

My proposal for the Yuck 'n Yum Cupar Arts Festival multiples project:

'Public Holidays'

Reading a library book, the first page is usually filled by the ticket. The ticket provides an instant narrative, giving you the dates of previous loans and telling you whether you’re alone in your interests or share them with other past readers. For the Yuck ‘n Yum multiples project I propose a silkscreen print of the library ticket for my favourite book, Maldoror by the Comte de Lautréamont. The Dundee University library’s edition dates from 1946 and I hope to create the artwork by photocopying the original ticket and creating a limited-edition print. This will display a list of the days over the past 60 years that the book has been enjoyed by university students. The finished print can then be put to use, either by cropping and using it as a bookmark or by displaying it as a calendar revealing the dates of these appointed “public holidays”. The object will mark an essentially private experience by entering it into the public space.

I anticipate making these at the DCA print studio where I have recently been trained in screenprinting as part of the Nine Trades project.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Automatic Drawing Project (Service Class) statement draft

The compulsion to draw while the mind conducts seemingly unrelated operations is often referred to as “doodling”, not a word I personally favour, connoting as it does the frivolous. In fact there is much of value to be gained from these drawings, being unencumbered either by the demands of style or by any aesthetic convention, the fleeting trends and the seemingly-timeless so-called rules that govern the process of making what we are taught to think of as “art”. Interestingly, the style of these drawings (created while on the phone, using a computer, or just waiting for any work-related hold-up to run its course) is generally wildly heterogeneous. Depending on the individual, these drawings can run the gamut from faithful figurative depictions of daydreams to wildly ecstatic-cosmic-psychedelic abstracts. The surrealists always had a great fondness for play, as evinced by their legacy of games such as Exquisite Corpse or by techniques such as automatic drawing. The idea of course is to encourage access to the unconscious mind, that mysterious realm where the irrational lurks and exercises a lasting and hidden influence over our everyday conduct. What the Automatic Drawing Project (Service Class) sets out to achieve is the reconciling of the worker, that usually anonymous call-centre drone, with the playful, subversive aspect of their creative inner life. By co-existing with their hidden and discarded artistic output through its display and elevation (the enlarging, framing and re-presenting of their original drawings) the finished installation will affect a lasting reconciliation between worker and artist.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Automatic Drawing Project (Service Class) / Two

Another fabulously successful Nine Trades session took place at the DCA earlier this evening, and you can read my report on the official Nine Trades blog: LINK

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


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

Every morning we saw our doctor, time and again we saw him, surrounded by his nurses. He was a scientific luminary, we were told. The old men from the charity hospital next door would come jerking past our rooms, making useless, disjointed leaps. They'd go from room to room, spitting out gossip between their decayed teeth, purveying scraps of malignant, worn-out slander. Cloistered in their official misery as in an oozing dungeon, those aged workers ruminated the layer of shit that long years of servitude deposit on men's souls. Impotent hatreds grown rancid in the pissy idleness of dormitories. They employed their last quavering energies in hurting each other a little more, in destroying what little pleasure and life they had left.
Their last remaining pleasure! Their shrivelled carcasses contained not one solitary atom that was not absolutely vicious! As soon as it was settled that we soldiers were going to share the relative comfort of the bastion with these other men, they began to detest us in unison, but that didn't stop them from begging for the crumbs of tobacco on our window-sills and the bits of stale bread that had fallen under our benches. At mealtimes they pressed their parchment-skinned faces against the windows of our mess hall. Over their crinkled rheumy noses, they peered in at us like covetous rats. One of those invalids seemed cleverer and wickeder than the rest, he'd come and entertain us with the songs of the day. Père Birouette he was called. He'd do anything we asked provided we gave him tobacco, anything except walk past the hospital morgue, which incidentally was never idle. One of our jokes was to make him go that way, while supposedly taking him for a little stroll. 'Won't you come in?' we'd say when we got to the door. He'd run away griping for all he was worth, so fast and so far we wouldn't see him again for at least two days. Père Birouette had caught a glimpse of death.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Klein & M.B.O. - Dirty Talk

An incredible, very loveable and super hard rocking piece of Italo disco-infused proto-house and an all-time favourite. Released in 1982, produced by Mario Boncaldo and Tony Carrasco, with a great vocal performance from Naimy Hackett who never really really talks dirty and just giggles sweetly sometimes in a sort-of-teasing manner. My favourite mix of this track exists somewhere out there in the world (I know not where exactly) and was featured on a NEON CD we compiled a few years ago. This version is the closest thing to it I could find on YouTube, but there's innumerable alternatives; the USA connection, the European Connection, the Full Vocal mix, the Greg Wilson edit, More Dirty Talk, Wonderful Dirty Talk, Dirty Club Talk and so on and on. All of them are great and perfectly timeless, so enjoy.

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Due to my present straitened financial circumstances I've been trying to avoid spending too much of my wages until such time as the Nine Trades fee is due. I forecast the coming weeks to feature some selling of records and a great deal of staying in.

Peter Jensen silver foil / black jersey sweater £12.50

Louis Ferdinand Céline - Journey to the End of the Night £7.10

Jean-Paul Sartre - Saint Genet £3.05