ADVENT 7: Don Doodles, And My Granddad

http://youtu.be/XZABPu0WOKo HAI ALL! Advent is running a bit late as video rendering has been making big mess of my schedule. Specifically Nothing Lasts Forever video rendering. And editing. And making be in synch. And rendering again. Anyway, you'll be glad to know that after making 23 seperate upload attempts yestreday, the perfect result was finally acheived, and it's uploading now, all 2 gig of it, so it will be with us...

Then! Amen!

Meanwhile, I spent some time last night drawing people's Don Doodles, and took the opportunity to film the process. Up there you can see me speed-drawing three Don Doodles, which can be bought for a limited time in my Xmas shop for a mere £5 ($7.8225). I drew the pictures to their purchasers' exact specifications with Sharpies  and Dr pens on a fine thick sketch pad I got from WH Smiths. Drawing is always fun, but drawing on the spot to a deadline (15 minutes) with no preparation and no pencils is fun AND exciting, so thanks for the opportunity.

Speaking of art, me and Eddie Argos' Axl Rose comic is part of an art exhibition that opened in Belgium last night. This is very exciting for me as I have never been exhibited before, and it makes me feel like a proper artist, like the ones in that bit in ferris Bueller where they play the Dream academy's version of Please Please Please let Me Get What I Want and Cameron falls into his existential wormhole. I like the thought of Belgians falling into existential wormholes gazing at the glory of my Axl Rose comic.

The exhibition is called  Guns 'N Fucking Roses, and its curator, Jan Van Woensel, descibes it thusly:

Guns ’N Fucking Roses is the first exhibition that brings homage to one of the greatest hard rock bands of all times: Guns ‘N Roses. Guns 'N Fucking Roses is not just another exhibition that illustrates the obvious relationship between art and music. Instead, this project keeps the middle between an art exhibition and a gloomy teenager’s bedroom. Within this setting, Guns 'N Fucking Roses exposes both the worldwide success and the tragic breakdown of the band and displays a selection of Guns ‘N Roses inspired contemporary artworks amidst an audiovisual chaos of videos and music.

Curated by Jan Van Woensel, an international curator widely known for his itinerant group exhibition Bad Moon Rising (San Francisco, CA; New York City, NY; Saint Louis, MO; Brussels, Belgium; Oslo, Norway; London, UK) and numerous projects in collaboration with artist, musician, writer, poet and publisher Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Guns 'N Fucking Roses is a project in preparation of the curator’s upcoming, ambitious Axl Rose exhibition (TBA).

You can read more about it here.

In other good news, I got played by Jo Wiley on Radio 2! As far as I know this is the first time I have been played on Radio 2 (which  I believe is the UK's most listened to music station), and this is especially exciting as it was the station my granddad used to listen to, and I have been dreaming about him again lately. He visits me, and gives me advice. Back when I was little I used to go and stay with my Granddad in his bungalow in Redditch, and he would make me ham sandwiches with a Mr Kipling cake on the side, and we would watch westerns and Neighbours then I would sit on the carpet and draw while he watched Horse Racing results on teletext and we both listened to Radio 2, which at the time played a lot of classical music and show tunes.

Now it plays ME, and my Granddad is riding horses across the cosmos with John Wayne and Bouncer. One of the last times I remember seing my Granddad I was 16 and he was very angry with me, and accosted me on the steps outside Our Price where me and my degenerate speed-addled teenage friends were hanging out, and shook my by the shoulders and told me what a disgrace I was and how much better my mother had raised me. I cried when he'd left, because he was right, and I resolved to leave Redditch and to mend my ways.

I stopped selling speed and moved to Birmingham, where I working in a record shop and a bar and started a fanzine. My Granddad died a few months later and I was late to his funeral. At the wake his Brummy Budgie, that sounded just like him, escaped from its cage and tore frenziedly around my Uncle and Auntie's front room, feathers flying everywhere. I tried to catch it, in my typically clumsy manner, and my uncle and cousin flew into a rage and hurled accusations of degeneracy in my mournful direction. The wake then descended into a near brawl when my Dad shocked me by storming to my defence. The last time I could remember him sticking up for me quite so violently and proudly was when I got teased and beaten up for apparently having AIDS at school after I picked up  from the playground floor what I thought was a balloon and was in fact a condom. My Dad rolled up his shirt sleeves and stormed off down to the school in search of the ringleader of my tormentors, a prematurely hairy gorilla of a child who was 11 and looked thirty, and his father, who looked about the same and had just gotten out of prison for armed robbery of a local Spar, or at least that was the rumour.

I can't remember what happend with my Dad and the gorillas, but I do remember now that I think of it that it was the same Gorilla that broke my arm when I was 7 by hanging me from the goalposts on the playing fields, pulling me back, and letting me go. I went flying into the ground like a little speccy rocket and landed with an almighty crack, and spent the next month in a plastercast that I still have, adorned with good-wishes and Garfield sketches, in my Box Of Life. My Granddad was looking after us that week, as my parents were away somewhere, and he was fraught with worry and nausea that such a thing had happened while I was in his care.

My Granddad was called Enoch Smallman, and he fought in a war and worked in a mine. He was a good man and a massive influence on me, and more often than not when I think of him my eyes fill with tears, as they do now, because he died before I could make him proud of me.

So thank you Jo Wiley for playing my song on Radio 2, and thank you BigJimCambo, who requested the song. And thank you Granddad, for raising my Mum on your own and for shaking the shit out of me outside Our Price that day and saving my life.