The Doom-Mayonnaise confusion…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: Elba emerald, Gibraltar green, Staten silver, Pitcairn pink, Crete cream, Falklands fawn, and Manx mauve.

A couple of days ago, as I was emerging with my shopping from the big supermarket in the middle of town, I spotted Tony Mayonnaise, poet from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League, sitting on one of the benches outside the shopping centre. I tried to sneak past, pretending to look at my watch as if I was running late for something important, but he spotted me and waved.
‘Hey, scruff-bag!’ he shouted. Passers-by turned, glanced, and examined my attire.
‘Hello, Tony,’ I said.
‘Simon,’ he said.
‘Eh?’ I said.
‘I’m Simon Doom now!’ Tony said.
He explained, that although he and Doom had been rivals in the world of surreal poetry for many years, they had decided to cooperate for a short time, and also swap names. He asked me what I thought of the idea.
I stood open-mouthed for a good minute, and then managed to utter, ‘I can hardly suppress my indifference, Tony – er, Simon.’
He stared back at me for a moment and then shrugged in a limp, nonchalant manner, and said that I should fuck off – which I happily proceeded to do.
I departed, but he shouted after me and requested that I pause. He slowly sauntered over and solemnly handed me a copy of his latest spoem (spoof poem), saying that I should put it on ‘that crappy blog thing,’ that I do…

Crinoid tube bastard chosh-monger.
Tune button rasp – cone disaster twelve?
Dreary carapace acronym and dragon boots?
Nope nope nope nope nope nope – chosh!
Cool juice doddering spoon chosh-comb.
Time button theme – disc upset twelve?
Hopeless moon clarity and bucket seeds?
Nope nope nope nope nope nope – chosh!
Croaking cloak February bus chosh-muzzle.
Tune button scream-box – ant blemish twelve?
Modality milk train and plank idiocy?
Nope nope nope nope nope nope – chosh!
Cumberland rain set popular chosh-cream.
Time button mauve melody – apparition fish twelve?
Triple cork sound dish and repetition cloth?
Nope nope nope, May bee, May bee – chosh!
Simon Doom (?) 2021.

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More lino print shenanigans…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: curved, barbaresque, teleologically, funiculate, mizzly, pythogenic, kirtled, and runny.

That lino print, the one that I showed you the design for a few days ago, but didn’t tell you much about (as I was rambling on about printing ink going crusty in its tin instead), was eventually printed, in a small edition, dried, numbered, and initialled in pencil.
Do click here!

The print turned out reasonably well, I suppose. I expect that you’ve been thinking and worrying about it since reading the earlier post; perhaps you’d like to see the thing, dear reader?

Lino print. 2021. Oil-based ink on Japanese Kizuki paper, about A4 in size.

Goodness me, what a noisy night it was!
Those jagged white zigzags, charging about the sky for hours and hours, frightening the owls, rattling the tiles on the roofs as they passed. How they managed to navigate round those two crescent moons without banging into them, I don’t know! Look at that cheeky low one, zipping in from the right, it’s heading for the horizon, isn’t it? Did you notice there is a sort of horizon included in this picture? It’s not really that obvious. What about the fact that those two holes drilled through the land look just like the two moons, but lying on their sides? Why don’t the moons, being so convincing in their night-time role, look like holes in the Stygian sky then? Maybe they do? Of course, they may be just the eyes of a giant owl?
Oh, I do like a puzzle!

Is this the sort of thing you expect when an artist talks about their new work?
Me, I can’t stand all the usual bullshit (well practised at art college) that they like to come out with when interviewed, all that desperate talk of form, my personal view of the world, texture, contrast, incorporating the optical and the emotional, memories of childhood, being at one with the subject matter, the proposed relationship with the eventual viewer, the hidden feelings subconsciously imbued in the image, the nature of time itself, the ageing process, the spiritual, gender issues, politics…

See, the white zigzags are all pointing to, and heading towards, white discs – I think when they eventually make contact it makes the discs turn into little triangles, the ones that are at present littering the sky. Cor blimey, what a night it was!
Or, would you rather have me to go on about my formative, troubled schooldays for a while?…

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Just a few short, but pithy items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is another from Flann O’Brien’s very strange 1930s novel, The Third Policeman:
I ordered a bottle of whiskey, precious stones to the value of £200,000, some bananas, a fountain pen and writing materials, and finally a serge suit of blue with silk linings. When all these things were on the floor, I remembered other things I had overlooked and ordered underwear, shoes and banknotes, and a box of matches…

Excuses for being late. No. 466.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I was taking a photo and waiting for a cloud to move.

Overheard on BBC radio:
‘Now it’s waiting for the final hurdle to cross…’

‘What are you working on at the moment, Professor?’
‘Oh, it’s a mammoth task.’
‘A mammoth tusk?’
‘Which? A task, or a tusk?’
‘Oh, right ho…’

Apparently he was a relative of the famous classical composer, hence the name. Do you think music runs in the blood? You know, moving down from generation to generation? I was online looking up lap steel type guitars and came across the clip. It’s from a long long time ago. Oh, that band, what an odd bunch they look! To me, they all seem uneasy and perhaps a bit shifty. I do like the dancing lady with the flexible rotating wrists though – oh, and the unseen singer with the lovely diction. I imagine the director of the film shouting out, ‘Alright lads, let’s go for a take, and remember to hang onto your cheery smiles throughout – I don’t want to see any glum faces!’
Please click here.

And speaking of diction and good English, I just heard a BBC reporter use the word ‘somethink’ instead of ‘something’, as if he thought it was a real word. In fact, he used it twice in his report, so it wasn’t just a slip of the tongue. It’s the sort of thing a cheeky London Cockney geezer would come out with – mind you, he’d probably say ‘samfink’ instead.

Is today Spam Day?
It is for me!
Here’s a nice piece, fresh landed, still squirming and oozing in my comments box. It seems to be from someone with the unlikely name of Mecontacty:
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Well, Mecontacty, thank you for getting in touch! And I am glad to have been of some help to you, my dear fellow. I do appreciate your support in all matters magnificent, although, as you may guess, I don’t have much time for lrisure these days. Do not hesitate to get in touch again soon – I do like the way that you blather on!

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Lou Swimmin.

A single overheard remark:
‘Nancy! It’s only the sodding flavouring in it!…’

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It’s not a map!… No, it’s not a map!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s rather nice fish names are: the Central Mudminnow, the Footballfish, the Lemon Shark, the Pencilfish, and the Orbicular Velvetfish.


Hm, one Sunday afternoon in June, I happened to be wandering down by the great wide brown muddy river south of Dulltown; there’s not much to photograph there, except perhaps some drab blank modern architecture, and some sloppy water swirling and rippling where the great wide brown muddy river is joined by it smaller pal the narrow brown muddy river.
There’s a walkway by the great wide brown muddy river with a chest-high steel fence to prevent people from accidentally, or deliberately, falling in.
The top of the fence is fairly wide, just about wide enough to entice foolhardy drunks to climb up and stand on, to wave and show off.
I think the structure was finished with white paint over an undercoat of pale blue; it is weather-beaten now, and a bit corroded; there are plenty of dots and speckles in grey and brown of different sizes covering most of it.
Gosh, it didn’t half look like a map!
A very detailed map. A map with land, and blue sea, islands and inlets, and probably some cities and towns infested with humans, maybe this is somewhere just north of the Mediterranean?

I thought that I ought to take a photograph of it.
Whether it would be an interesting photograph, or not, was uncertain. But I thought that I might give it a catchy title to intrigue my audience, and draw them in – a title like ‘This is Not a Map’ – and it could perhaps be seen as a vague reference to my favourite artist, Rene Magritte.

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Football for Surrealists. No. 14…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s instruction is to snip round the protruding flaky edges with a pair of sharp scissors, tap all four sides with a forefinger to locate any voids, drip a small quantity of olive oil onto the centre of the top and give it a brisk rub with the palm of the hand, press an ear to one of the sides and listen for any sounds of ticking, locate the cardboard break-away patch near the bottom and pull it off – underneath you will see a dial marked in degrees and egg-weights, check that the readings are within the limits specified in the accompanying documentation. You can now press button ‘A’, and as soon as the green light starts pulsing, go and have a ten-minute walk, say, to the corner shop and back, or around your garden, if you have one.

Today, I thought that we might have another look at that scruffy junk shop football book from 1950, it’s called Football Parade. I don’t really know what that means – are there regular parades of footballers?
I have never heard of such things. As you may suspect, dear reader, I haven’t much interest in the game, but I have noticed that when a team has won something they like to celebrate by driving around their home town waving from an open-topped double-decker bus, with their gleeful fans shouting and singing in the streets along the way.
Perhaps a photo of the front and back covers might be in order at this point?


Aren’t those frozen-in-time, hovering chaps great? As are the classy-looking caps shown on the back cover!
Coloured caps with floppy tassels? What’s that all about, then? If you had one, would you wear it much?
Today, how about a peep at the book’s title page?


This chap is Stanley Mathews, he is the ‘presenter’ of Football Parade – later on he became Sir Stanley Mathews. He must have been exceptionally good at football!

The whole page is nicely done, isn’t it?
Even the slightly three-D lettering, yellow with a thin black border, looks pretty striking. And then Stan’s name in white with a black border hanging in space in front of the grass.
The figure painting is impressive and stylish too. I wonder if it is one of those pictures, like the others in the book, where the artist, the illustrator (not credited of course), has taken a black and white photograph and ‘enhanced’ it with colour? It looks like that to me.
It’s a strange technique, isn’t it? The images look so ‘right’ and so ‘wrong’ at the same time. Stan has a nice tan, hasn’t he?
So, the book was sold exclusively by Marks & Spencer Ltd, eh?
What a funny thing for M&S to sell!

The whole page is so very nicely proportioned – I do like it! It is pretty strange, too. I feel that I’d like to cut it out of the book and frame it, and hang it on a wall, but no, only a Philistine would ruin this historic volume!

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Some overheard and misheard snatches of café conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s architectural term is Tablinum – a room with one side open to the atrium or central courtyard. I used to have one of those, but eventually I had to have it bricked up – it was always full of squirrels and pigeons.

‘The panoply?’
‘Lancaster bomber, Brian?’
‘A fighting chance of fondue?’
‘Two-thousand Euros Gordon?…’
‘It was still a good entry, though!’
‘Then the wizwag fell by the wayside’
‘Pink, yellow, and generally big, Tony.’
‘Amy, Amy! On any subject you think!’
‘Mottle-fume with pineapple deepness?’
‘So, it was a depressed awareness calling?’
‘Madge, Lilly – monsters, robotic monsters!’
‘And did you eventually get that parcel, Stan?’
‘A muse, the last of the downsizers? Unbelievable!’
‘So weird, so identical, as was the whole massive problem!’
For some information on how these lines are compiled, you could click here.

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Trying to avoid the skin on the ink…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s cuttlefish is the one in the reading room of the library, researching humans, and deciding what is to be done about them.

Do you like the title of today’s post, dear reader? It looks like I might have meant ‘milk’, not ink! But no, it’s ink…
Intriguing, isn’t it?
But really, this is supposed to be a post about the design of the next lino print in the great, seemingly never-ending, series.
Look, here’s a relatively interesting photo!


See, it’s all very well buying nice traditional linseed-oil-based printing ink that comes in a tin; it is very nice to use, and the prints look good, but after the tin has been opened for a while a skin forms on the surface of the ink, and getting the stuff out, avoiding the skin, becomes a bit, shall we say, messy – and you certainly don’t want ragged little bits of the skin eventually rolled onto your lino block, do you? Goodness me! No!

I don’t know what other printers (proper ones) do about this problem, there must be a well-tested solution to it, but what I did was make a circular disc out of a bit of stiffish tinplate, drill a hole in its middle, and fasten a nut and bolt in it. Once it’s sitting in the tin, on top of the ink, it stops the air getting to the stuff. There is a notch in the edge of the disc, so that when the thing is pressed down (using that bit of metal tubing with the blue sticky tape on it) the ink oozes up, via the notch, from the murky depths, to be scraped off with that old table-knife with a squared-off end to its blade, next to my tea mug, to be then transferred to the glass board and the roller.
It does work reasonably well, and I don’t get many lumpy skin-bits on my blocks.
‘Lumpy skin-bits on your blocks, Dave?’ But what about the print design?

Oh, yes, the print design – there is the scratty little preliminary sketch!
It seems to be another of those surreal ‘landscape’ ones, doesn’t it?
Big white zigzags swooping down from a black black sky – perhaps they are heading for those two holes in the ground, do they intend to zoom down them?
Hm, hello, I see the moon is out… Oh, there seem to be two moons out in this one!
I see that I’ve written the word ‘Moons’ by the side of the drawing.

I don’t know why I had an open tin of ink next to the clipboard with the sketch on it. Perhaps I was just about to start doing some prints when I noticed that I hadn’t taken a photo of that sketch for the next design?

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Some opening lines for stories never to be written…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s unusual china teapot is the one shaped like a fat grinning pig – it is a really excellent pourer.

His name was Brad Stiffler, but down at the local golf club they called him ‘Scrumpy Bill’. He didn’t like it, and the members always evaded explanation of why they called him that. One moonless, owl-hooting night, he went down to the course and gleefully filled all eighteen of their holes in with concrete. But driving back, on his way home with his bag of tools, he suddenly realised that he had…

‘Percy, shall we make some sandwiches to take with us?’
‘Yes, why not? I’ll get the rolls out.’
‘Well, Patricia, I’ve not yet seen that expensive new wallpaper that you purchased yesterday…’
‘Alright, Simon, I’ll get the rolls out.’
‘Are you ready to drive down to the police station now, Philippa?’
‘I think so, Rodney, I’ll get the Rolls out.’

Mary Stealth was sitting in the half-empty cinema watching a film set in 1950s Britain; at one point in the story, the heroine dashed into a public phone box to report an outrage. Suddenly, a male voice in the audience shouted out, ‘K2!… K2!…’ The phone box was indeed an original K2 model. Mary decided that at the end of the film, she would linger for a while in the foyer, and see if she could spot that other vintage British telephone box enthusiast…

‘Why are you always hanging around here, at the pier?’
‘Oh, you’ve noticed, have you?’
‘Yes, I come here every day myself, for the discarded burgers and ice dream cones – what brings you here so regularly?’
‘I have a gull-friend.’
‘A gull-friend? But you are a pigeon, like me…’
‘I know it’s unusual, but we…’

She had been alone in the module for several months. Her goal, the 500 tonne ovoid asteroid was now visible in the distance; she could see it slowly revolving. Mabel Noy’s task was to give the great rock a very slight nudge – slight, but just enough to cause it to eventually miss Earth by several thousand kilometres. She looked around the module for something to throw – a book, perhaps? There was that thick single-volume copy of War and Peace, that she had now read three times…

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Follows the outgoing with reasonable dispatch…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjective are: bountiful, tapetal, puristic, elaphine, uliginous, lithotritic, and bumbling.

Come on, dear reader, let’s pretend that it’s 1934, and we are just a little bit posh, and we live in Britain – let’s also pretend that we regularly buy and read the Daily Express newspaper. We probably have, in our glass-fronted bookcase, a copy of their Enquire Within – a compendium of useful information on every topic under the sun.
A sore throat? Go to page 273. Wondering when to pot out your annuals? Go to page 363. The best way to roast a woodcock? Try page 28.
Yes, it’s that sort of book.

Across the head of each page there are printed some words of wisdom or a proverb for you to fleetingly glance at in your quest for knowledge. I will include some of these with today’s selection.

Page 467. (A bird’s nest is a natural eggcup.)
1. The line of head is the most important line on the hand. The two hands should be carefully compared – the left showing the inherited tendencies, the right the developed or cultivated qualities. A poor or non-developed line of head in the right hand indicates a lack of purpose or ambition. A clean-cut, deep line of head indicates strong mentality.

Page 22. (Read the hints to husbands and wives.)
The Dutch Oven.
A miniature roasting and toasting apparatus designed for cooking small things, which could not well be cooked by means of the Spit, or the ordinary oven; they are suspended to the bars of the grate, the hooks with which they are furnished are moveable, so that what is being cooked may be readily turned.

Page 308. (Night is not dark to the good, not day is bright to the wicked.)
Rules for the Preservation of Health.
Noxious gasses:
Decomposing animal and vegetable substances yield various noxious gases which enter the lungs and corrupt the blood.
Therefore, all impurities should be kept away from our abodes, and every precaution be observed to secure a pure atmosphere.

Page 298. (Books aid thought – they should not supersede it.)
3. Old bark, is an astringent and tonic. It is used externally in the form of decoction, to restrain bleeding from lacerated surfaces. As a local stringent, it is used in the form of decoction, as a gargle in sore throat and relaxed uvula. It is used internally in the same diseases as catechu, and when combined with aromatics and bitters, and intermittent fevers.

Page 120. (A fool or a physician at forty.)
3. The Umpires.
Before a match begins two umpires are appointed, one for each end. They should have an all round knowledge of the laws of cricket and be quick to apply them, impartial, firm, good-tempered. They must see that the game proceeds methodically – that it begins at the agreed-upon time, and that the stumps are dawn at the fixed hour, and that an incoming batsman follows the outgoing with reasonable dispatch.

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Mail Art Postcard. No. 4849…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s cuttlefish is the one sitting outside a café in the sunshine with Richard Dawkins FRS FRSL discussing the nature of religious belief.

WP F 4849 DSCN6330

Yes, another of my mail art postcards – a simple collage on bright card using clippings from an awful cheap magazine that I buy specially for cutting up. It’s not much of a ‘collage’, is it though? Just a big eye slipped in beside the bed. It really doesn’t look that out of place.
Do you have a big eye installed by your bed, dear reader?

‘Theseus! Theseus!…’
‘Can you come here a minute, dear?’
‘No, I’m busy with something. What do you want?’ Where are you?’
‘I’m in the bedroom – the eye has come back again!’
‘Oh, Ariadne, I thought we’d seen the last of that back in April, when we had all those eyes and noses popping up everywhere in the house!’
‘I know dear…’
‘All that money we spent on that bloody fake exorcist, too!’
‘Will you just come and look at it then?’
‘What colour is the eye?’
‘I don’t see what that matters, but it’s a green one.’
‘Green? We’ve only had blue and brown in the past.’
‘What are you doing? Why don’t you come and see the sodding thing?’
‘I’m in the conservatory, I’m doing a bit of whittling.’
‘Whittling? I hope you are going to sweep up afterwards!’
‘Yes, yes…’
‘Just come and deal with this eye! It’s not a bloody Minotaur, you know!’
‘Now what?’
‘Damn! I’ve just nicked myself with my whittling knife! You shouldn’t have mentioned the Minotaur!’
‘The eye… It just winked at me…’

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Just a few short, but pithy items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is another from Flann O’Brien’s very strange 1930s novel, The Third Policeman:
Another door was opened by MacCruiskeen and I was handed a magnifying glass, a very ordinary-looking instrument with a bone handle. I looked at my hand through it and saw nothing that was recognizable. Then I looked at several other things but saw nothing I could clearly see. MacCruiskeen took it back with a smile at my puzzled eye.
‘It magnifies to invisibility,’ he explained…

Excuses for being late. No. 465.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I was carefully considering voicing my concerns.

Heard on the BBC Radio:
‘Where does all this leave us with?…’

‘Look, I’ve got a small portrait of a saint, see, it’s got a lot of gold leaf on it.’
‘Oh yes?’
‘Do you think it’s iconic?’
‘No, I don’t think so, it’s too old…’

Today, I can’t decide whether to demonstrate, or just remonstrate…

Even at a young age, I never warmed to Elvis Presley.
I found him a bit creepy. A bit too cocky and confident. And perhaps a bit smarmy and false.
Later when I discovered proper rock and roll, and blues music, I could hear where he’d got his style from – which somehow made his stuff even worse.
There was only one song I could stand to listen to. It was Mystery Train – but that wasn’t for his voice of course, which sounds surprisingly weak and lacking in emotion, but for the lovely sound of the bass and the guitar. Click here to hear.

Spam Time! Spam Time! It’s Spam Time again!
Here’s a nice piece, just flopped into my comments box – it seems to be from someone with the unlikely name of Kimberso:
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My dear Kimberso – thank you for getting in touch! And howdy back at you!
I am intrigued and excited by the idea of this Doxy Palpace thing you are suggesting – I have never gambled, but I do have lots and lots of spare cash kicking around – I can’t wait to get tarting and dive into this project of yours! Do tell me more!
Best wishes from Dulltown!

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Pam Demmic.

An educationalist being interviewed on BBC radio:
‘The impact is absolute huge!…’

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What?… Why?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: Tolstoy turquoise, Orwell orange, Faulkner fawn, Steinbeck silver, Austen azure, Vonnegut violet, Poe pink, and Wilde wisteria.

What do you mean, “What? Why?” ?
Well, it’s a pretty boring picture – isn’t it?
Is it?…
Of course it is. It’s not at all up to your usual standard!
What is my usual standard?
Well I… I mean, it’s just a pretty featureless dark grey plastic lid, on a… What is it the lid of?
It’s my compost bin.
Well, there you go!
Do I?
Yes – and those flowers…
Yes, they’re not even in focus!
That’s right.
Just a few blurred buttercups! I mean…
What do you mean?
Look, if you’d only adjusted the camera to increase the… you know…
Depth of field?
Yes, and…
Ah, but, suppose this is a puzzle picture.
A puzzle picture?
Hm. something which the viewer doesn’t immediately recognise, but they somehow feel obliged to linger on for a moment, to…
Linger on?
Yes. But isn’t it nice that all those buttercups have chosen to surround the compost bin like that – the compost must be putting something into the soil that they like… Juxtaposition…
You heard me!
Yes. Perhaps when I took this photograph, I was juxtaposing…
I see… Do you juxtapose much?
Oh, all the time…
So, you were juxtaposing the very close up, detailed, drab, grey, industrial, plastic lid, against Mother Nature’s delicate bright flowers, intentionally made distant by their slight fuzziness…?
You got it!…
Have I?
Oh, yes. What do you think of it now?
It’s still a crap photo…
Oh, right ho…


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The lino print with those radiating perspective lines…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: slovenly, wanchancy, matricular, halogenous, contrahent and waspish.

A few days ago, I recall that I mentioned protractors, those lovely little semicircular plastic things with tiny tiny very technical-looking degrees marked on them. I think it was something to do with a new lino print. (click here)
Let’s open this creaking old door, trot down these cobweb-strewn stairs, into the dank smelly basement, and see if we can locate an actual print – ah, here is one of them, sticking out from under a six-month-old copy of The Times, that has, for some reason, green gloss paint spatters on it.


Lino Print. 2021. Oil-based ink on thin Japanese Kizuki 4 Monme paper, about A4 in size.

Oh, yes, those radiating stripes look pretty convincing, don’t they, dear reader?
Protractors are so handy, they are a boon to the artist and draughtsperson. See how the stripes get wider as they spread out – if I’d just measured out the bottom edge in equal amounts with a ruler, it wouldn’t have looked half as good – well, I think so.

This is a picture of something that no-one wants to see.
What do you mean by that, Dave?
Well, the thing in the middle looks like a TV screen, or a computer monitor/display, that has gone wrong – just white, nothing on it – it is one of the scariest things one can encounter these days.
You look up from your tasty meal – ‘Oh no!’ you exclaim, ‘What new hell is this!…’

Goodness me, what a busy background!
It’s as if all the interesting stuff has jumped off the screen and into the sky instead!
I wish the person who discarded that thick disc, and that nasty rectangular prism, on my nice new stripes would come back and remove the bloody things!…

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How about some more of those Crush names?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s architectural term is Guilloche – a pattern of interlaced bands forming a plait, an enrichment on a moulding. I had some of those, but I got fed up with them and had them chiselled off. (Click)

Veronica Crush, writer from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League, now living in New York with tall tree surgeon and heir to a multimillion dollar fortune, Monty Tick, was never known much for her writing, but she could certainly come up with some great names for her characters.
It is rumoured in arty circles that Veronica Crush isn’t her real name, and is one that she made up in her teens. Tony Mayonnaise, an idiot poet belonging to that clique, who was married to Veronica for just one tumultuous week, once told me that she was originally called Pamela Rose Dank.
Anyway, as she still produces more names than she needs for her work, she regularly sends me some to share, free of charge, (she says she hates the US term ‘for free’) on my blog – so that budding writers who are stuck for memorable names for their characters can help themselves.
As usual, she has cheekily slipped a real person’s name into the list, see if you can spot it.
The solution to V’s little puzzle may be found via the link at the foot of the page.

Sir John Monster
Ronnie d’Bloy
Fanny Mildew RA
Bryan Woolshirt-Tath
Sir Larry Liquorice
‘Mad’ Joe Bazalgette
Clarry Candlelight-Dims
Ellie Fann-Tunter
Rudolph Goyle MA
Lord Victor-Hupps of Sproatley
Baroness Ingrid Trotz
Harry ‘the cat’ Henchman
Brenda Bendah QC
‘Cheeky’ Charley Mockers
Gemma Jem
Montague Clarence Harps
Florence Torrents

Please click here for the solution to V’s puzzle.

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What are those TV ads really trying to tell us?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s very nice moth names are: the Reed Leopard, the Sallow Clearwing, the Narrow-Bordered Five-Spot Burnet, the Hebrew Character, and the Common Plume.
If you were telephoned by a scammer who wanted your bank details and full name, which of these would you choose to give them?

Bring back the wow! – you could pay less for more! – we are big on quality! – let there be fruit! – it is smoothly satisfying – ninety-seven percent of the germs! – and we’ll give you your money back! – with rich and tasty beef! – just select the perfect card! – velvety ice cream! – intense shades! – you could save thirty-five percent! – whatever life throws at you – the odours get trapped – it kills ninety-nine percent of bacteria! – you can stream episodes now! – it takes care of your soft surfaces! – breathe happy again! – it’s where odours hide! – £8,269! – the power of purple! – all your favourites! – technology and comfort! – inspired by you! – get something extraordinary! – Pro-Scooter Two! – kills germs beautifully! – get £50 cash! – and zero sugar!…

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Just some guitar nerd talk…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s corkscrew is the one that relaxes, stretches, and straightens out in the night.

Yes, guitar players are usually very keen on guitars, some even worship them, and only talk of them in hushed tones. Yes, in hushed tones…
The ones who are mad-keen on guitars are not usually the best players though – quite often the really good players don’t give a toss about their guitars so long as they sound alright – which is I think sensible, because that is what the instrument is for – it’s really there to be heard, not looked at.

I was chatting with a friend of mine, who unusually, is not only a dedicated guitar nut, but is also a very good player – we were discussing Fender guitars, in particular, old ones. The old ones are apparently the best, and are worth piles and piles of money, even if they are scratched, battered, the paintwork crazed and worn, have bad frets, and have been badly kicked about for the last sixty-odd, or more, years.

We were talking about how we’d noticed that the head, the headstock (US), on ancient Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, often looks a much darker shade of brown than the rest of the neck. I remarked that I’d once heard that after applying the name of the model and the Fender company logo, the transfer, the decal, onto the head of the instrument in the factory, they would spray over it with a different type of lacquer to protect it from getting scuffed and defaced in future use.
We discussed the possibility that this lacquer would for some reason age differently from the normal lacquer, and would go brown, probably due to the effect of sunlight, as the guitars sit, unsold and forgotten, in music shop windows for decades – hence the dark heads on the old ones.

Recently I had the chance to look at the head of a real 1970 Telecaster (by the way, for you nerds, the body is probably a ‘Dakota red’ respray) and I was able to take a photograph of it. One can clearly see the two types of lacquer, the one on the front, over the logo, which has gone very nicely brown, almost ‘gold’, and the remains of it on the edge of the head where some of it has flaked a bit and worn off over the past 51 years.
I suppose this photograph would only be of interest to proper guitar nerds, still, just in case there is such a person reading this, here it is!
Whoa! Isn’t this a great photo?…


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Some snatches of misheard classical singing…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is another from Flann O’Brien’s very strange 1930s novel The Third Policeman:
This cabinet had an opening resembling a chute and another large opening resembling a black hole about a yard below the chute. He pressed two red articles like typewriter keys and turned a large knob away from him. At once there was a rumbling noise as if thousands of full biscuit-boxes were falling down a stairs. I felt that these falling things would come out of the chute at any moment. And they did, appearing for a few seconds in the air and then disappearing down the black hole below…

Yes, classical singing, on the BBC, on the radio, in my workshop.
Classical singing isn’t really my cup of tea, but I don’t like working in silence.
Those singers have lovely diction, they must have spent years and years honing it.
It’s a pity I can’t seem to make out what the hell they are going on about, though.
Perhaps I’ll just jot down what I think they are saying, and maybe try to figure it out later?

‘Mulsie, oop, de lar! Ah…’
‘Height! Height! A popper torp!’
‘Woodie woo, woodie woo. Cigar! Cigar!’
‘A E, A E, A E, A E, No end – and six fine tarts!’
‘The wee gappy nail! Oh, gappy? Nay, nay!…’
‘My new journal is happy-dissy, my dear.’
‘Peace a’lar – dammy-ho – you jester!’
‘Bastarda bastarda!’
‘And gups to the peeper! Oh, my iffy legs…’
‘Hot eggs and do-do do-do do-do new.’
‘Phwar, the minister! No, no, no!’
‘The key – is toast!…’
‘I spat on a spy-toe – oh, on a spy-toe!’
‘Preem, preem, preem, This is the wood that I know…’
‘Parakeet me!…’

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A protractor, Dave?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected adjectives are: flapping, paramagnetic, faveolate, cunctatious, trolloping, sarcenchymatous, morganatic and fruity.

Yes, a protractor – there’s one in today’s photograph – an instrument for measuring angles, typically in the form of a flat semicircle marked in degrees along the curved edge.
It’s a great word, though, isn’t it? It should be something far more impressive than a flat thing for measuring and marking out angles. Something like a large and new style of agricultural tractor – a shiny, great rumbling red one belching black smoke!
The reason that I’m mentioning the protractor is that, I’m not sure if it was actually used in the design for this lino print…
So, why would I have?…
Oh, I see!… I get it now!… Yes, it was used…

WP DSCN6339 No 2

A sketch for another lino print, done in what looks like black ballpoint pen on that little workshop clipboard. Look, towards the top of the picture, there’s the piece of lino for it, mounted and ready, on its plywood base – oh, and partially visible underneath that, you can see the block that was used for last week’s print – you can just make out that diagonal ‘rain effect’ on it – the block does look remarkably clean, it obviously hadn’t then been inked and used at the time this picture was taken.

I now see why the protractor is nonchalantly sitting there on the drawing pad – there is going to be a white, glowing, blank rectangle dominating the centre of the frame, a bit like a TV or computer display with nothing on it, below that there will be some stripes which radiate from some central point to give the feel of perspective – Oh, I do love my stripes!
Yes, if you want your radiating stripes to look even, and suggest depth and distance, it’s a good idea to mark them out pretty carefully using a protractor – perhaps 8 or 9 degrees between them?
Looking at the photo, I reckon I was just about to use that ‘H’ pencil (with the blue sticky tape on it to remind me that it is a ‘hard’ pencil) to mark some tiny dots, and then use that shiny aluminium ruler to draw in the edges of what would be the stripes – then, if they looked alright, I’d use the black ballpoint pen to make them more permanent.

Oops! I just started yawning as I was typing this – pretty dull stuff, eh?
Sorry dear reader – but the final print should be a bit more interesting…

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It’s another very quick one…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s lost plectrum is the one eventually found on the floor, under a hassock, in a back pew, on a Monday morning, in Westminster Abbey.

Yes, I suppose it’s vaguely annoying when you knock out a pretty slapdash piece of work, that takes only a few seconds, and people seem to like it a lot more than the piece you have sweated blood over for many hours…
A while ago I showed you a print taken off the mucky inky flat glass plate that I roll my lino printing ink out on. (Click here to see the post!)
Yes, the speckled patch of black ink usually ends up roughly oval, about 20 cm. by 12 cm. in size, with thicker blobs and smears around its edges. Oh, by the way, I once heard someone, a printmaker, refer to the initial blob of ink out of the tin and plonked onto the glass as the ‘well’. Isn’t that nice? The ‘ink well’, the source of the smaller quantities that you roll out.

Anyway, in that earlier post I explained that when the printing session is over, and I’m cleaning up, I generally scrape the ink off the glass with a palette knife, wipe it onto a paper towel and chuck it. Where the blade of the knife scrapes across the glass, it leaves marks and trails of uneven density – which, if you lay a piece of nice thin Japanese printing paper over it and do a quick ‘decalcomania‘ print – the streaks produced look amazingly three-dimensional, and also rather attractive.

These are very quick and easy to do, I like them.
I did another of them a couple of days ago – I hope it’s not too much like the earlier one.
I do like the look of these, but I’d hate to see lots of them all framed up nicely on a gallery wall – just a couple of ’em is plenty.
See, I didn’t even bother initialling and dating this one. Dramatic, isn’t it?…


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David, this is the art gallery…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: galaxy green, Pluto pink, Venus violet, Mars maroon, Orion orange, Mercury mauve, Pleiades purple, Uranus umber, and black hole black.

When I was a young lad, I was occasionally taken for a visit to the surprisingly good Dulltown City Art Gallery. I found it a very strange place, unlike any other place I’d ever been, it was nothing like a department store, a post office, or a railway station. It had high pale rooms, and it had some pale, cold to the touch, columns, and heavy-looking front doors that seemed to be made of thick dark bronze with knobs on, but at that age I didn’t know what bronze was.
Right in the middle, there was a life-size, or larger, white marble shepherdess accompanied by a sheep and a lamb, also of marble. She was amazingly smooth and lifelike – just look at her hands and fingers – how could she have once been a rough square block of stone? It seemed impossible!
And, there were pictures. Sailing ships on realistic seas, how could that painted water be so convincing? You could actually see the water doing its waving, and almost hear it slapping and splashing.
There were landscapes with dusky mountains which were just catching a few golden rays of a setting sun – and look, it seems there’s a storm brewing, with murky brown clouds approaching from the right-hand side.
There were some full-size, life-size, painted people, frozen in serene mid-gesture, they were wearing pale robes, men and women – oh, and some of them didn’t have any clothes on.
That shocked and puzzled me, but even back then I was sensible enough to not ask for an explanation, of who they were, and what they were doing. Actually, I’m still not sure…

When I was a bit older, I started going there on my own, especially if I happened to be in town, when it started raining. I still liked the marble girl and her charges, and the big glossy oil paintings. There was one very large painting I always went to look at. It was painted hundreds of years ago, and it was very well done, but I was always drawn to it because it has a really badly painted chair with a bowl of fruit on it in the bottom left corner – it always made me smile – and it cheered me up, I realised that artists, even very good ones, sometime got things horribly wrong. The Annunciation.

There were other pictures in the gallery that I didn’t think were very good – ones which were more recent. What were they doing here? They weren’t very realistic. There was one showing a bit of land and a distant sea, in deliberately drab colours, it had some straight lines in it too – nature doesn’t have many straight lines. Just look at those clouds! They look like they are made of heavy iron, and that they’ll fall down any minute! Not half as good as the old sailing ships, and those poised naked people! At the bottom of the frame, it said Paul Nash.
Then there was this other one that particularly annoyed me too – it was better, definitely more realistic, but it just didn’t look ‘right’. It was far too detailed – every tiny pebble and blade of grass was painted in – it looked like something in a dream, a very very clear dream, with no people in it! Why didn’t the painter just do it nicely, and properly? What’s this bloke’s name? Tristram Hillier – is that a real name? None of the kids at my school are called Tristram.

A few years on, the pale shepherdess was still in occupation, and that lamb hadn’t grown up. For some reason, I found that the Nash and the Hillier things weren’t as bad as I thought they were – they now seemed like old friends.
I had somehow realised that art didn’t have to be realistic. These ‘bad ones’ drew your eye – it was difficult to walk past them – you kept glancing back over your shoulder to see if they’d altered in the intervening few seconds. Nash still had the grubby colours and the unrealistic slab-like clouds with those sharp edges – and Tristram H was still sharp and clear and dreamlike, that blue unblemished air was still and silent as ever, so quiet, you could hear a pebble drop…
And, glancing across at the marble lass, I was still trying to picture the square block she sprang from – gosh, that must have weighed several tons!…

P Nash.
T Hillier.

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