Decorating now for three days. Had some time owing at work and decided that I needed to get the (long overdue) wallpapering and painting of the landing and stairway sorted. Amazing how many coats of paint are needed to cover such a small space (especially when you start painting figures on the wall to evaluate performance ideas whilst working). Radiator issues…boiler issues…leaks and central heating problems…it was meant to be a smaller job than this and the whole time I’m thinking about the next stage of the ‘slapstick’ work. SWITCH Approached by one of the editors of ‘Philosophy of Photography’ off the back of the presentation I delivered last month on my practice at CSM the e-mail was positive and its good that the ideas came across in the presentation well enough for them to approach: I am getting in touch because I am an associate editor of the academic journal Philosophy of Photography - my role being to curate two sections we have per journal issue called Photoworks. Each section involves ten pages for images (colour or B & W) plus a text (anything from 300 to 1000 or more words), and I was wondering if you’d be interested to contribute for our next issue which will be out hopefully in the autumn? This would involve, as mentioned 10 images (or more if you want more than one per page) and a text, which could be straightforward on the work, by yourself or by somebody else, or experimental text that goes with the image pages. I was obviously very interested in your sketchbook format and also in how you presented the visuals in your presentation, so it could be any of that or in fact something new and made specifically for the journal format – entirely up to you! Thinking of replying and confirming something that is in the style of the presentation I gave…handwritten…pasted images…racing thoughts? SWITCH Caroline Aherne joins the list of fallen soldiers this year…watched first episode of ‘The Royle Family’ before going to sleep. SWITCH Working in the studio today and became distracted by David Schneider documentary on ‘The Day The Clown Cried’ – so interesting – shows stills of the set and scenes for the first time ever! The only print of the film in existence was held by Jerry Lewis himself who has always maintained that it would never be shown…apparently he has now released it to a film archive with the stipulation that it cannot be shown until 2025…the question is should it be though? Can you make a fictional comedy about the holocaust? Is it even a comedy? We just don’t know…Jerry has never said! SWITCH After watching the documentary I found myself in the main character Helmut Doork’s make-up in front of the mirror – testing out ideas – looking at Lewis it’s something in the eyes I think. SWITCH Started to think about the article for the journal – need to get something down as I have in my head a pretty clear idea of how I want to structure and present it. My plan is to simply apply my sketchbook aesthetic to a discussion on the role of photography in my practice, how it helps build a character and also how it is integral to the process of refinement, trial and error. SWITCH So hot today it’s unreal. All the studio windows and doors are open but it is still like an oven. SWITCH Message from artist Andy Jackson (been ages since we caught up) he’s been asked to show one of the images from the collaborative exhibition we did at the Light House Gallery at a forthcoming exhibition in Moseley – we get a joint credit so all good to go! Listening to Billie Holiday’s ‘Lady Sings The Blues’ as I work and whilst the golden fragile tones of Lady Day float through the room I thought back to when Andy and I used to meet in a café in the underpass (no longer there) on Corporation Street in Birmingham after we had graduated together in ‘97. We used to share pots of tea (you got an extra pot of water with your tea so you could ‘top-up’ and make the original pot last for ages between two) we could be pretty miserable at the time I guess but we’d always look forward and share our dreams and aspirations for what lay ahead – we hadn’t got a pot to piss in then and ended up doing two years together packing boxes at a factory just to pay the bills (which hadn’t been part of the dreams and plans). I tell you what though – if I could go back and tell the younger us what we ended up doing I reckon the younger me would have taken it then – can’t speak for Andy but we’ve both got lots going on and that’s no bad thing! Must work with Andy again if the chance arrives. SWITCH Off to London tomorrow for the PhD Graduation Ceremony at The Royal Festival Hall. Looking forward to wearing my new suit – if the weather is like this though I’m going to bake – early start and need to decide on pocket square or no pocket square? SWITCH Made it to London just in time to collect gowns. It was a long old ceremony but I felt part of something and as my name was called out I saw peripherally that Roger and Janet stood up for me which meant a lot (even if I couldn’t acknowledge by turning to look at them for fear of tripping up) the heat was unbearable but it as Laure Provoust and Jonathan Harvey collected their respective Fellowships I felt part of something, I really did. Sharing the day with Suzanne and Sonny was really special too…they lived it as well. As I deposited my robes after the event, although it might sound clichéd, I felt like it was all behind me now, like I was shedding the whole PhD right there and then, as scary as that might be it felt refreshing because I can absolutely look forward now…it’s all over now, baby blue! SWITCH We headed off in the afternoon heat to Carnaby Street where Sonny purchased himself a Style Council badge and a Lambretta bag. I bought myself a short sleeved crew neck polo shirt - just to change into - my shirt and tie had been increasing my temperature beyond acceptable and I had to give in! SWITCH New day and lots to do – e-mailed David Schneider (played the part of Tony Hayers in ‘I’m Alan Partridge’) about his documentary on ‘The Day The Clown Cried’ and he responded almost straight away – hoping to meet up with him at some point to discuss his work and ideas…fingers crossed SWITCH Posted an image of myself made up in the studio à la Doork and the Legendary John Brown left a comment in reference to Chaplin – ‘Limelight’…could be a thought SWITCH Got the funding for an extra day in the studio on the residency!!! Can’t wait now – really want to get going! SWITCH Sonny’s painting of me when I was young made it’s way to AceFace Barbers wall and has been received really positively…commended by Horace Panter of The Specials no less. SWITCH Been going back over my notes from the documentary on ‘The Day The Clown Cried’ and I made reference to an interview clip with Jerry Lewis where he is asked about comedy and the character of the failed clown Doork…”My definition of a comedian is a man in trouble.” SWITCH Great meeting at the BMI to discuss the residency with Dr Connie today. Started thinking about the way I could link the library with studio practice and as we discovered bags of old newspapers (mainly 1970’s) I started to form a hazy plan of what I could experiment with…”Chaplin’s in here somewhere” I kept saying (with Flatpack Festival in mind). As I boarded my return train from New Street to Blake Street after the meeting a tweet from Dr Connie appeared with an image of an old brown book cover upon which was a familiar figure with baggy trousers, oversized shoes and a walking cane. I messaged back ”I knew he was in there somewhere” SWITCH Heading to Brighton at the weekend as the summer kicks in proper…found a new record shop and also excited about visiting the guys in Jump The Gun. Shall I go suited and booted? SWITCH Listening to Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’ at the minute…still love ‘Where Are We Now?’ definitely in my Top 5 Bowie songs…1.The London Boys 2.Quicksand 3. Where Are We Now? 4.Afraid 5.Kooks (this Top 5 does change regularly but the dramatic tone of ‘Quicksand’ and the beautiful build up in ‘London Boys’ keeps them in there…always SWITCH Great couple of days in Brighton, caught up with old friends and spent time in The Laines. Bought a beautiful shirt from JTG and Sonny added to his George Harrison collection SWITCH Drove home late and as always the M25 was congested. While Suzanne and Sonny slept my mind meandered to the sound of the 60s Soul CD I had on in the car. As each white line (muted orange and grey in the night motorway light) arrived and disappeared through the windscreen I pondered that rather than Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ I should be listening to Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’. The rumble of the road beneath the wheels provided a mesmeric rhythm for my thoughts that inevitably clicked like a relay to and from the weekend behind me and the work ahead. Charlie Chaplin ‘The Great Dictator’ poster that I’d seen in the Vintage Comic Shop in the North Laines click click costume ideas for the slapstick work click click Sandie Shaw album Those whom the Gods love grow young Oscar Wilde click click Ageing performers…Jerry Lewis ‘The Day The Clown Cried’ Buster Keaton ‘Film’ click click You were there, so was I – sometimes we laugh, sometimes I cry click click Wilson Pickett’s ‘Land of a 1000 Dances’ ‘One, Two, Three…’ I should be listening to Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’