Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New artwork for High Above The Storm

Just finished some graphic work for London-based band High Above The Storm. Former Rothko, Geiger Counter and Foe bassist Crawford Blair got in touch a while back about doing some artwork for a band he is now in called The Slow Life which led to a thoroughly enjoyable project based around the mystery of Number Stations and an album sleeve for them (not to mention a lot of research photos of deer). That one is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sumlin/2566887811/

When Crawford's other band High Above The Storm needed an album sleeve they kindly asked me to have a go. They provided me with a photo by Hugo Poon and some examples of the type of minimal-but-yet-not-dull graphic design work that they thought would suit their music - things like Arvo Part, The God Machine, some Fabric compilations and more. It's been a while since I've done a purely layout and text based project (with no illustrations) but it was a lot of fun. Here's the end results as they head off for print this week:



If you click them, you can see them larger sized...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Upcoming: NLF3 / Das Boton

Nearly forgot these. 2 new posters for upcoming Damn You! shows in Nottingham. Bit of recycling going on too...



Inevitable pre-gig activity

Transcript of text message conversation between myself and friend prior to last Friday's Stage Blood gig in The London:

Rachel: "Do you know what time you're playing later?"

Me: "I think we are second so half nine I would guess? Its all a bit vague though we are absolutely ready to rock so do come along"

Rachel: "I'm trying to, promised to do 2 other things already so sorting out order to do them in"

Rachel: "Any update on time? Trying to work out if it's worth me doing my "before" thing."

Me (by now stuck deep in London traffic in the van): "Not there yet. Of course its worth it. We've driven from scotland!"

Rachel: "I meant the pre-gig thing. What's the door tax?"

Me: "No idea I am afraid. Not much of a clue about anything apart from our rockness"

Rachel: "Any news on times?"

Me: "We are on at 9.30"

Rachel: "Oh Crap. Is there a chance of running late? We always put folk on at least quarter of an hour after we say we will, so hoping other people are the same..."

Me: "A little bit late yes. It's 4 quid. Now stop texting me and get ready to go out. Get andy to drive!"

Rachel: "Andy's gone out somewhere else and i'd have to leave the house 10 ins ago to get there on time"

Me: "Get on with it then!"

Rachel: "Think I may have to crap out"

Rachel: "Balls. Tried anyway. Just missed bus. It's 12 mins to the next one and an hour once I'm on it so i should arrive just as you're finishing. Therefore I shall fuck off to the work thing I was planning to blow off. Very sorry. I'm sure you rule."

Me: "After all that... If you'd spent as much time getting ready as you did texting me..."

Rachel: "Well you know, i'm a twat, what can i say?"

To conclude: if you feel like repeating any aspect of this text message nightmare with me (or in fact anyone, anywhere, in any band in a van stressing to get to any gig on time) then here is the default answer:

"I don't know when we're on. It starts at 8.30 like most gigs and it's not more than £6."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ouch! (Stage Blood gigs this week)

For the last 2 years (since developing the problem when in Barcelona on holiday) I've had this weird thing with my right eye where, when I wake up, any movement in the eyeball results in a severe (and I mean severe) concentrated pain in the centre of my eyeball.
My doctor referred me to Eye Casualty who said it was an abrasion of the Cornea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corneal_abrasion) and gave me some ointment and drops.
It carried on. My doctor told me to take an eye test. They told me there was nothing wrong and I had perfect vision.
Every day for the last week I've been woken up by the problem and it's been getting worse. Another trip to Eye Casualty finally got to the bottom of the problem: the damage to the Cornea hasn't healed properly and going to sleep has the same effect as a sink plunger on the Cornea - it creates a vacuum-like state where any subsequent movement 'pops' the healed tissue away from the Cornea leaving a wound and causing pant-pissing agony.
A nice gent at Eye Casualty then proceeded to use a small pair of tweezers with sharpened knife-like tips to cut away the tissue on my eye to 'start again' and let my eye repair itself properly. His advice that 'for the next 2 days, this is going to be excruciatingly painful' is pretty much on the money so far.

Unfortunately, I have to take a train journey tomorrow to sunny Glasgow in time for Wednesday's Stage Blood gig at The Captain's Rest. I think the ordeals I'm going through to get to this gig should be enough to convince anyone within a 200 mile radius to attend. We have 3 gigs this week which almost constitutes a tour:

Weds March 25 Glasgow Captain's Rest

Fri March 27 London Brixton Windmill

Sat March 28 Nottingham Arts Org

I'm the one with the bright red eye, playing everything wrong because he can't read his cheat sheets.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


After spending the last month or 2 defending my re-ignited interest in the automobile (more of that at some other time), my bad luck continued today in car-form as though to taunt me.

On the way back from dropping off broken PC number 2 (see previous post), my car suddenly developed a nasty clunking noise. This grew into a juddering, mechanical grind within minutes and a brief hoist onto the ramp at the garage confirmed that not only were my brake discs about to go, my exhaust was on it's way out too.

I tend to think of amounts of money in terms of the things I could buy with them. This little trip to the computer repair store has just cost me a 1970s Marshall JMP Super Bass.

They say things come in threes though so let's hope that's it now.


For the last god-knows-how-many-years, I have been running a business and pretty much my whole life off a computer set-up that Barney Rubble would dismiss for being old fashioned. I have one PC in the downstairs dining room connected to the internet and then another upstairs that I run graphics programmes on that never goes online to safeguard against viruses and also because it runs Windows ME and is powered by a hamster on a treadmill inside it. But, my scanner and printer were high-end when I bought them (in about 1999) and they work with it fine and I've managed to do several years worth of design work on this set-up without too much struggle.
Recently, the downstairs PC started turning itself off. A quick trip to the menders identified the problem as a busted power supply and faulty fan and it came back fixed today. In the meantime, the upstairs PC got a wireless connection and went online for the first time in about 5 years. Literally as soon as I switched the repaired machine on, the upstairs machine died. And it looks permanent. It can't locate it's own hard drive and will not boot up as a result. Luckily most of my work was backed up so I lost maybe a fortnight's worth of one particular project.
So, I'm down to the one PC which is struggling under the weight, doesn't run Photoshop well at all and insists I re-install the scanner software every time I switch it on.

Can some kind soul please advise me of a funding body in the UK who can help me with a grant to get a new computer? Or, better still, can someone just give me one? Please...