events, music

Latitude 2016

Eight years after we first went we decided that this year we would head back to the Latitude festival and what a wonderful time we had.

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The only downside to the whole weekend was the heat, I don’t like to complain about the heat although I’m not a huge fan, but when shade and cold drinks etc are in limited supply then the heat really becomes an issue. Thankfully it was only the day of Saturday that was verging on the truly unbearable and the rest of the weekend was just uncomfortable.

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We made our way up Thursday afternoon arriving by 3pm and got straight into the car park and had a shortish queue to get into the campsite. Despite there being plenty of tents already pitched there was space in any campsite we looked at and we spent a bit of time picking the right spot near enough to the entrance, village and toilets but not too near to be disturbed by any of them.

We pitched our tents, grabbed a beer, made some sausage sandwiches, went for walk around then had an early night ready for the weekend of greatness. I don’t think I saw anything over the whole weekend that I didn’t like but a few highlights were:

Christine and the Queens: I imagine that everyone you speak to who was watching this (and some who weren’t) will say this was their highlight of the weekend. The performance was excellent but the real joy was seeing and feeling the appreciation from the crowd and Christine’s reaction to that. (The last time I saw something similar was Funeral for a Friend at Reading when they were first start to break and they were first on and played to an overflowing tent who knew every word to every song)

Chrvches followed by The National: I’ve put these together because this was the thing I was most excited about over the weekend. I was a little bit unsure as to whether The National’s brooding style would translate to festival headlining but they wen’t way beyond my expectation and few bands would have the guts to end a festival headline set with an acoustic sing a long as they did. Chvrches did well to fill a very large stage with only 3 people, 2 of which rarely move.

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Crumpets: Not a band but actual crumpets. We found this on the first day and made it our breakfast stop over the weekend. Was the perfect start to each day.

The literature tent: This quickly became one of our favourite places over the weekend and we saw some great talks and shows. From a show about graphs with Festival of the Spoken Nerd, a discussion on feminism with Standard Issue, a deeply nerdy discussion with my favourite comic book team Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillan to a discussion about security and whistleblowers with The Guardian.

The staff and volunteers: The atmosphere at Latitude is lovely and this is in large part to the staff and volunteers who were always lovely and helpful.

Other highlights: Great to finally see Frightened Rabbit, Lonely The Brave were excellent as always, Slaves provided some welcome anger to cut through all the loveliness (you need some balance), Minor Victories built on the greatness of Mogwai and made something similar but new, Pumarosa who we saw by accident as we headed into the forest to find some shade, David O’Doherty and Mark Steel were hilarious in the comedy tent

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design

What’s in my pencil case?

To go with a similar post by my girlfriend I decided to do a post on what is in my pencil case. I am a 95% digital designer in my day job but a lot of my work starts with a sketch and I like to get ideas down on paper whenever they occur.

So what’s in my pencil case and the pencil case itself are important for me. That’s why I thought I’d show off the tools of my trade:

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Clockwise, from top left. Field Notes notebooks, mechanical pencils, various pens, outlining pens of various width, rubbers, pencil case.

It wasn’t until I took this photo that I realised that I have no colours in my pencil case. It is very rare that I colour my sketches however. My usual workflow is pencil sketch, pen outline, scan to digital, trace and colour in Illustrator.

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Pens from left to right. Pentel Sign Pen, an excellent brush nib pen for doing varying line width. Pilot Drawing Pen, the workhorse of pens reliable for everything from sketches to note taking. Staedtler Pigment Liner, another workhorse for general usage. Derwent Graphik Line Markers from 0.05 to 0.8, these are the nicest most consistent fine liners I’ve found, the nibs feel strong and they produce a perfect line.

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Pencils from left to right. Staedtler Mars Micro, a good general purpose mechanical pencil. Rotring 500, a beautiful pencil with a really comfortable grip and a nice even weight. Koh-I-Noor Clutch Pencil, great for rough sketches and shading.

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My favourite thing however is the pencil case itself. It’s a Lihit Lab Book-Type Pen Case that has loads of pockets and sleeves that will take everything I need including my Field Notes. It is great to just be able to throw one thing into a bag and know that you have everything you need to be able to work.

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I’ve linked as many of the products as I can to cultpens.com. Not because I get anything if buy from them but because they are the best stationery retailer I’ve found. Great service, quick delivery and regular freebies thrown in with orders as a bonus.

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design, projects

My project for 2016

I’ve decided this year to have a project that last the year. Rather than commit to a photo a day or something similar I’m hoping to do something a little more achievable.

After doing a little illustration over Christmas of Rey from The Force Awakens I’ve decided that I will do an illustration for every film I see in 2016. I’ve signed up to a Cineworld Unilimited card again recently after a couple of years of not having one so as I aim to get my monies worth from that I’ll also be trying to improve my illustration skills.

Here are my slightly arbitrary and subject to change rules:

  1. One piece of illustration must be produced for every new film seen in 2016. This is must be done for every film seen at a cinema, any film seen outside a cinema is optional.
  2. Only one illustration needs to be done per film, multiple viewings don’t need multiple illustrations but they can of course be produced if wanted.
  3. Illustrations can take any form, digital, pencil, watercolour etc
  4. Illustrations must be revised and finished to a decent standard. No sketches as finished pieces.
  5. Illustrations do not have to be completed before the next film is seen but must be completed by the end of the year.

If anyone wants to join me in this quest feel free (adapt the rules if you like).

If I make work that is good enough I will hopefully make a zine or postcard book of the illustrations at the end of the year.

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opinion, recommendations

Things I liked in 2015

I didn’t want to do a list of movies or books or music and try to come up with a top 10 or anything like that. So instead just a list of things I liked. In no particular order and in no way an exhaustive list, just the things that have stuck in my head.

Jamie XX – In Colour

Probably my favourite album although it’s not my usual go to style of music. Something about it stuck in my brain and I listened to it solidly for weeks.

 

Hip hop shows

So 2015 was a year of few live shows but also the year I discovered the real joy of live hip hop. My two favourite shows were Astronautalis and Doomtree both captured the raw enjoy I loved of punk shows in my teens but felt new and exciting.

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The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

2015 was a hit and miss year for comics for me. There were ongoing series that I already read that stayed great (Saga, Wicked and the Divine, The Walking Dead, Shutter) but I didn’t discover any series that I really loved but The Sculptor filled a gap in graphic novel form. The story of a struggling artist who finds a way to create the art he’s always wanted to but at a cost is a really original and beautifully told story. As a designer that lives with an artist there was a lot of personal experience in it as well.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

This summed up the absolute joy of cinema for me. Stunning visuals, great direction, perfect editing and a great story filled with well-rounded male and female characters.

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Ex Machina

Tense, thought-provoking and beautiful.
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Invisibilia

I’ve written a blog post previous to this about how much I love podcasts and Invisiblia was one of my favourites this year. It’s a look into the workings of the human mind and it’s fascinating and sometimes disturbing.

 

Crimson Peak

Del Toro. Ghosts. Brutality. Beauty. What’s not to love?
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Quarterbacks – Quarterback

Short, fast songs about girls written by young men with guitars. Music as it should be. Quarterbacks don’t mess around, every songs get’s to it’s point asap and then gets itself stuck in your head too.

 

Walking Dead

The best show on TV. A zombie show that isn’t really about zombies, it’s about what happens when society breaks down whatever the cause. The zombies are fun though.
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Mr Robot

A TV show that shows technology in a realistic fashion, possibly for the first time. It also has an incredible story, excellent twists and a great soundtrack. Roll on series two.

 

Foals – What Went Down

The best British band for years getting better and noisier.

 

Verge ESP

Another podcast, this time one that examines the point where science and entertainment meet. It describes itself as a podcast about the science of art and the art of science.

 

Worriers – Imaginary Life

Political punk that is grown up, sophisticated and contemporary. Covering all subjects from gender fluidity to police violence.

 

The Daily Show

got a new host in Trevor Noah who is getting better and better but the late night satire crown has passed to…

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

 

Deafheaven – New Bermuda

My favourite shouty screamy album this year. It is equal parts beautiful and brutal switching from shoegaze to hardcore metal. It’s an album that has to be listened to in it’s entirety.

 

and this song with Justin Bieber in it

 

oh and a little film about wars in space.

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opinion, recommendations

I love podcasts

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I’ve had the same conversation with a few people recently, it seems like more and more people are discovering how amazing podcasts are and they are looking for more to listen to. I’ve been listening to them for a few years now and have quite a long list that I listen to regularly. So here are my recommendations from that list (in no particular order):

5 Live Sports Specials
Special reports and programmes from BBC 5 Live. I don’t listen to every episode but there have been some fascinating documentaries.
Highlights: The Brain Game

Song Exploder
Interviews with artists exploring how they created one of their songs. Analysing the separate parts of the song and the inspiration behind it.
Highlights: The Postal Service, Converge, The National

Distraction Pieces with Scroobius Pip
Rapper Scroobius Pip interviews a wide range of people from DJs to cinema owners. Really interesting conversations and usually with people who don’t have something specific to promote.
Highlights: Greenpeace, Gail Porter, Frank Turner, Zane Lowe

The Memory Palace
Short stories about fascinating people, beautifully presented.

Radiolab
Indepth look at unusual stories about people, places and events.
Highlights: Distance of the Moon, Nazi Summer Camp, Sight Unseen

There’s No Such Thing as a Fish
The podcast from the QI elves, sharing their favourite fact of the week.

Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project
Adam Savage from Mythbusters talking to two co-hosts about making, films, books and life.

99% Invisible
The greatest of them all. If you have any passing interest in design this is a absolute must. Even if you don’t have an explicit interest in design you will probably still love it. If you take one from this list make it this one.
Highlights: The Sound of Sports, Clean Trains, Reversal of Fortune,

The Nerdist
Chris Hardwick interviews various film, tv, comedy and music stars. A great range of guests.
Highlights: Will Wheaton, Churches, Adam Buxton

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Reviews
The king of movie review shows.
Highlights: Transformers 3, Sex and the City 2,

The Football Ramble
Four blokes talking about football with a twist, no stupid banter and they actually know what they are talking about.

The Infinite Monkey Cage
Science podcast with Brian Cox and Robin Ince.
Highlights: A Balanced Programme on BalanceThe Origins of LifeWhat Is Death?

Serial
I don’t want to say much about this other than it deserves your attention.

Invisibilia
A podcast that looks at the brain and the way people think.
Highlights: FearlessHow To Become Batman

 

So that’s my list if you have any recommendations then leave a comment. I’m always on the look out for more.

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trailwalker

Taking on Trailwalker 2014

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As I mentioned in my previous post, this year is a busy one for me with loads of projects and events coming up. The biggest of these challenges is going to be Trailwalker. Trailwalker is 62 mile walk across the South Downs, that’s a frankly ridiculous distance but it is also to be completed in less than 30 hours. Which means no sleep!

I had experience of the event in 2012 when some work friends completed it and I attended as part of their support crew (making food, filling water bottles, handing over clean socks etc etc). This year I have decided to take on the challenge myself and on July 26th I’ll be starting out on the long long long walk.

Training is already well under way and myself and my team mates have a good few miles under our belts already but plenty more is going to be needed if we are going to make it.

Of course I am not just doing this for the fun of it, the event was started by and is run by the Ghurkas and it raises money for the Ghurka Welfare Trust and Oxfam. (Can you see where this is going?)

Our aim is to raise £3000 in total and anything towards that total will be very gratefully received.

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good for nothing

Good For Nothing Ipswich

So 2014 is looking like it’s going to be a busy year for me. As well as continued work with I Make Fun Stuff and a long charity walk, more of that later, I have started the Ipswich chapter of Good For Nothing.

I first discovered Good For Nothing after seeing news and some blogs posts (by Sally Jenkinson and Oli Watts) about a recent gig held in Colchester. The idea is a simple but effective one, bringing people with skills together for a short period of time to work together and solve problems for local causes. It’s an idea that instantly got me excited and the more I thought about it the more I realised that Ipswich has the perfect mix of people to take this on and make it a success. So that’s what I’ve done, work has started and the interest has been really encouraging.

The whole idea is that all of it is done for nothing so it relies on people’s goodwill and generosity to get it all done. So we need a good mixture of thinkers/strategists, communications folk, social innovators, designers web and graphic, developers and coders/hackers, film makers, illustrators, photographers, bloggers, project managers, do-ers, cake makers, DJ’s, musicians and artists as well as venues to do things, food and drink to keep people going and most importantly causes to do the work for!

There is lots to do and lots of ways to get involved so if the idea gets you excited too then please get in contact:

Find us on twitter @gfnipswich or email ipswich@goodfornothing.com

How we like to get stuff done from Good for Nothing on Vimeo.

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