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28/01/2024
The Story Behind The Picture:Smile It was Christmas, several years ago. I was at someone else’s house, doodling in a chi...
26/01/2024

The Story Behind The Picture:

Smile

It was Christmas, several years ago. I was at someone else’s house, doodling in a child’s sketchbook I’d bought for 50p. I was feeling sad. More than sad. That kind of sad you feel physically, like there’s a crushing weight on your chest, and it takes everything you have just to bear it.
Why was I feeling like this?
I didn’t know.
Because of everything.
Because of nothing.
Because I’ve always been this way, from a very early age. It’s not as though anything specific had happened, it had just suddenly overwhelmed me, like a wave. Because that’s what it does. All you can do is let it wash over you and hope you don’t drown.

Sadness doesn’t adequately describe this feeling, but it’s a word you just get used to using because people can understand the concept of sadness. But this is so much more. I once read someone describe it as that feeling you get when someone you love has died, but it’s futile, meaningless, and you can’t fight it, because it has no reason. From out of nowhere this kind of sadness can leap out, put a black sack over your head and kick you down a hole. It isn’t depression, it’s different. I’m old friends with depression, I know him well, and depression is not sadness, contrary to popular belief. Though they are cousins.
But this other feeling, it’s just…awful.
And that’s how I was feeling.
But it was Christmas, and I was at someone else’s house so I needed to find a smile. Despite not knowing how, or where to start looking.
Some people are good at that. Pushing things down, keeping things hidden. I’m not. So in order to try and not show how I was feeling and have it affect anyone else, I sat drawing in my recently acquired child’s sketchbook.
The paper in this sketchbook was weird, rough and cheap. It made the ink from my pen spread a little. I quite liked it. But I didn’t know what I was going to draw. I just put my pen on the paper and waited to see where it went. And this was the result.

Smiling is such a weird thing. Most people take it for granted, but for some a smile is something to be grateful for, and sometimes a weapon to use when trying to keep the monsters at bay.

Anyway, I was pleased with this picture, so after I got home I did another version of it. That version was made into a print, and is now featured in the new book ‘Adrift’.

(Adrift is published by Volossal Books, and available to order on Amazon).

Billy couldn’t stop worrying about his balloon blowing away, so he let go…just to get it over with.Acrylic, ink and tea ...
25/01/2024

Billy couldn’t stop worrying about his balloon blowing away, so he let go…just to get it over with.

Acrylic, ink and tea on paper

An illustration for a book which doesn’t exist.“Geoffrey decided he would take charge of the situation…”
24/01/2024

An illustration for a book which doesn’t exist.

“Geoffrey decided he would take charge of the situation…”

He’s not wrong…(Ink and watercolour on paper)
22/01/2024

He’s not wrong…

(Ink and watercolour on paper)

Forgive me for mentioning this again…but in case you didn’t know, there’s a brand new book of my artwork! If you want to...
22/01/2024

Forgive me for mentioning this again…but in case you didn’t know, there’s a brand new book of my artwork!
If you want to check it out it’s now available to order on Amazon.

And if anybody wants to share this ad, I’d be eternally grateful!

I’m not sure how things work on Instagram because I’ve not yet plucked up the courage to step foot onto that platform, but if it’s possible to share it onto there too that would be fantastic!

Thank you! 🙂

Thanks for all the positivity with the likes and comments today folks! It’s been very much appreciated.Although it feels...
21/01/2024

Thanks for all the positivity with the likes and comments today folks! It’s been very much appreciated.

Although it feels like such a small thing, if we don’t bother to spend the measly amount of time it takes to click on ‘like’ or leave a comment on each other’s posts, then this dystopian time thief we call social media would be even more soul destroying than it can be sometimes.
But by using it to encourage and show each other support…then we win, and for many of your friends your likes and comments can really make a difference, especially when they’re trying to do something creative.
Support and encouragement, that’s what it’s all about!

So thanks from me, because the ship may well be sinking, but there’s no reason why we can’t all try to at least keep each other afloat while it does!

(Oh, and of course, if anyone wants to share my previous post about the book that would be incredibly helpful in spreading the word to others who wouldn’t otherwise see it…thank you!) 🙂

OK, here’s some BIG news (for me)!Some time ago Volossal Publishing (Los Angeles) asked if they could do a book of my ar...
21/01/2024

OK, here’s some BIG news (for me)!

Some time ago Volossal Publishing (Los Angeles) asked if they could do a book of my artwork.
Of course I did what I always do in such situations, I panicked and said no. But they waited, and watched, and understood, and now, over two years later…it has finally happened!

Available in both hardback and softback, and with over 100 pages, it contains a selection of pictures that depict how it feels to feel adrift in this world. Hence the title.
Some have appeared on facebook before, some haven’t, but now they’re all collected together in this luxurious, high quality book.

It’s officially released on February 1st, but is available now for pre-order on Amazon.

www.volossal.com

Sketchbook doodle No. 45786
20/01/2024

Sketchbook doodle No. 45786

Is gotten even a word? It looks wrong now I’ve written it, like a ventriloquist dummy trying to say rotten. Or something...
13/01/2024

Is gotten even a word? It looks wrong now I’ve written it, like a ventriloquist dummy trying to say rotten.
Or something.

Portrait of any politician.The thing about politicians is; they’re insane. All of them. Narcissistic, delusional, and ab...
11/01/2024

Portrait of any politician.

The thing about politicians is; they’re insane. All of them. Narcissistic, delusional, and absolutely...insane.
You have to be to think you are able to juggle the lives of so many people in your hands, and make decisions for an entire nation (and beyond).
Have you ever been involved in a group message trying to arrange something with several people? Nightmare! Try doing that with the whole country, only people’s lives are at stake. Only a completely insane, power hungry megalomaniac, absolutely devoid of empathy and real emotion could even attempt to do that.
And that’s why the politician has devolved from those stiff upper lip, pompous windbags we used to get, into crazy eyed, self serving, deranged lunatics.
Groomed from a very early age to go into either politics or business, there’s no difference anymore, they are invariably shipped off to schools where the main objective is to instil into them a ruthless, dog eat dog, overly competitive sense of entitlement, where anybody can be kicked off the ladder if it means you can climb up a rung. And never to waste a second considering the herd that holds up that ladder, the common people, shuffling around below, doing what they are told in gags and blinkers.
Maybe some are worse than others, but none are to be trusted. None. By the very nature of being a politician. By the time the words have travelled from their brains to their mouths they are already a lie, or at best, a half truth. Everything they say and do has a self serving agenda. Everything.

At least, that’s what I used to think. Now I think they’re a race of in**ed mutants, sent to infiltrate the human race and destroy it from the inside. That’s why they never seem like regular people, and always appear uncomfortable in their human skin suits, and are steadily becoming increasingly deranged because of the inbreeding. They cannot mate with humans, you see, their rugose, amorphous natural forms writhe within their skins like snakes in a sack, and are poisonous to the touch. That’s why they’ve stopped even pretending to care, or bothering to concoct lies that stand some chance of holding up to scrutiny. They just say what they want, and do what they want, and the sooner our society cracks and crumbles, the sooner they can swarm free from the underground caves in which they dwell and drop even the shallow pretence they are struggling to maintain.

And the day is coming, my friends, the day is coming when a sickly green light will emanate from the Houses of Parliament, late one night and we will know the pretence is over. They are ready. Humans have become so divided no defence can be mounted, and they shall issue forth from those hallowed halls, triumphant, and the earth shall be theirs. Humans nothing more than their wormlike servants. With Netflix.

Anyway, that’s the title of this painting, which is a little long, perhaps, but nevermind, flaunting convention is, after all, one of the very few acts of freedom left available to us. And I know most people didn’t read beyond the first two lines anyway.

(Acrylic, ink and coffee on paper).

5 minute doodle No.67953
10/01/2024

5 minute doodle No.67953

I woke up, let’s just say, at a low ebb. I felt empty, twisted, like an old man’s sc***um. If life is a journey along a ...
07/01/2024

I woke up, let’s just say, at a low ebb. I felt empty, twisted, like an old man’s sc***um. If life is a journey along a river to the sea, then I have indeed run aground in the sludge-filled estuary, and this morning my tide was most definitely out, leaving a trail of debris and rot along the shore of my mind. Or something, I don’t know. That seemed like a good metaphor when I started writing it (the sea was meant to be death, by the way).

It was impossible to tell what time it was from the dismal, grey light that sneaked in underneath my curtains (they’re a few inches too short, you see, so the light gets in), and today it looked as though that light was being filtered through an old sock. Is it morning? My Powerpuff Girls alarm clock was no help, that hasn’t worked for about twelve years, not since someone I once shared a house with asked if he could borrow it to get up for an important appointment, and then threw it at the wall when it woke him up. I still have it on my bedside cabinet, though. I don’t know why.
I figured it would be either 5.30, or 9.15, because those are the two times I most often wake up.
I was wrong, it was 7.35.
Oh god, not this again. Another day.

Before I had fallen asleep last night I had told myself today would be a day for sorting stuff out;
My tenancy agreement renewal.
A train ticket I need to book.
Taking my broken glasses to the opticians.
Eat those biscuits that are going stale.
Throw out that milk that’s been in the fridge since Christmas.
Just get through the day.
My To-Do Lists usually start off with important stuff but very quickly descend into more realistic goals.
But the glasses thing was pi***ng me off. Not because I couldn’t read anything, although that was a factor, but mainly because I’m just so tired of everything being s**t. I only got those glasses a few weeks ago, and already the right lens has fallen out. And it was that injustice which helped me, against my better judgement and most certainly contrary to what every voice in my head was whispering at me to do, to roll out of bed. I say roll, because I no longer jump out of bed, nor even get out of bed, I sort of…roll, or flop, maybe.

I trudged into the kitchen, flicked on the kettle and stared at the condensation which covered the windows. Those socks I filled with cat litter don’t seem to be working. Yet another lie told to me by the internet. Just like the one about using a hot iron to get candle wax off a carpet. F**k the internet. My windows still run with condensation, and I have an iron-shaped burn mark on my carpet.
I made a cup of instant coffee and climbed back underneath my blankets, where it was warm.

Despite last night’s lofty intentions, that list of things I needed to do was already seeming way out of reach. As I sat and sipped coffee from my Frankenstein mug, my blurry eyes fell upon the book on my bedside cabinet and I thought about the day I found it, in the street.
Initially I had walked past it. There was a pile of books dumped on the pavement outside a house. I looked at them, but nothing caught my eye, so I walked away. They had all been face up, except one. After a few steps I stopped. What if the one that was face down was good, though? So I went back and poked at it with my foot, but I couldn’t be bothered to bend down so again I walked away. But as I turned the corner I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I just wanted to see what it was, so I went back and this time I did pick it up. It was called The Bird of Night, by Susan Hill, and had a weird, 1970s cover, which was interesting. I read the back, it’s about a mad poet, also interesting. Oh, the author is also from Scarborough, OK, I’m convinced, so I took it and continued on my walk. Half an hour later I read the first page as I sat on a park bench eating an apple. I loved it immediately. It’s a fantastic book, all about a poet that suffers from manic depression and is slowly spiralling into madness, and his friend who tries to help him.
Oh great, NOW I’m getting the urge to read it. The book I’ve been trying to read for about ten months, but for some reason I can’t manage more than a couple of pages a week. I carry it around, I move it from room to room, every day I put it on the table in front of me and every night I put it on my bedside table, but the thought of actually reigning in my concentration long enough to read it seems out of reach. But now, when my glasses are broken, suddenly I desperately want to pick it up. Seems to me my brain is just taking the p**s. It knows I can’t, so it’s pretending that if I could, it would definitely be up for reading today.
I would if I could, but I can’t so I won’t.

And then, from out of nowhere, a window swung open.
Not literally, all my windows are gaffa taped shut in a feeble attempt to keep out the draughts, but metaphorically, I mean. A window of opportunity. That’s the only way I can get anything done these days. If I plan on it I have time to talk myself out of anything, but if I just do it before my brain realises I'm doing it, sometimes I get something done. Not often, but sometimes.
And so, the next thing I know, I’m halfway down the street, on the way to the opticians.
‘What the f**k are you doing?’ I scream, inside my head, suddenly discovering I was no longer in bed thinking about my book. ‘You can’t do this!’
But I’m nearer the opticians than I am home, now, so I trudge on, furious with myself for going behind my back like that.

Five minutes later I enter the spectacles emporium, the tinkling bell irritates me as a jittery man slams down the lid of his laptop and hastily jumps to his feet whilst simultaneously trying to attach a thin piece of cotton to his face. It snaps back and catches him in the eye, and I instantly feel a little better.
‘Can I help you?’ he mumbles.
I explain to him my recently acquired glasses have fallen to pieces.
He takes them from me and inspects them for an awkwardly long time, before concluding that yes, the right lens has indeed fallen out.
‘Can they be fixed?’ I enquire.
He exhaled deeply into his cotton facial accessory, his unease palpable.
‘I don’t know, I’m not an optician,’ he eventually replied.
‘Oh,’ I hear myself say, before looking around, just to check I’m not in a cheese shop, or something, but no, the rows of glasses on every wall tell me this is indeed the opticians. And not just any old opticians, either, this was the very same opticians in which I had recently got these glasses.
’So…is there an optician here?’ I asked.
’No.’
‘No?’
’No.’

It was at that point I just snapped. I grabbed hold of the non-optician and threw him back against the wall. It had been annoying me how he had one side of his shirt collar sticking out of his v-neck jumper and the other tucked in anyway. I hate that. Glasses tumbled down on him from the walls. He screamed, the kind of scream one might expect from a man who would secretly like to dress as a woman (not often, maybe once every few months) and sit at the bar of a high class hotel being bought cocktails by sleazy business men, but is instead trapped in a loveless marriage where the most he can ever hope for is a quick w**k in the toilet while his wife is asleep. You know, that kind of scream.
‘What do you mean, you’re not an optician? Why are you the only one here then?’ I shouted, rage exploding in me. I was just about to start kicking when the look in his eyes stopped me. He didn’t care. He wanted me to kick him. I looked deep into his wide, sad eyes, and I couldn’t do it. My anger evaporated instantly, and I sat down beside him and held his hand as we both wept.
I don’t know how long we sat there, could have been minutes, could have been hours, but our tears had subsided when the door opened and a man with a big, bushy beard and sculptured hair entered.
He looked at the mess, at the two of us sitting against the wall, hand in hand.
‘Oh, errr, are you…errr….open?’ he asked, nervously.
‘Yes,’ replied the shop assistant, as he gently let go of my hand and began to get to his feet.
‘But despite what you might think, he’s not an optician,” I said, and we all burst out laughing.

At least, that’s what happened in my mind, as I looked at the man who worked in the opticians but was not, in fact, an optician. What actually happened was he shrugged and said’ You can try again on Monday? If you want. Or maybe even tomorrow. I don’t know.’

I wanted to ask what was going on? Why was he here? Why is there no optician in the opticians, just a man who serves no purpose whatsoever? But I didn’t. I thanked him (for nothing) and left. By this point I was sick to death of the word ‘optician’ anyway.

And so, as another day drags itself to the edge of a cliff and flings itself over, I wonder what was the point of all this? Is there any meaning to life? Or is it, as I suspect, just a series of meaningless dominoes all falling against each other? I don’t know, and I don’t trust anyone who says they do. All I know is I’ve had to wear a pair of plastic, Pound Shop specs to write a story about how I couldn’t get my glasses fixed, so…you know. F**k it.

Judging by the almost empty Quality Street tin, I’m guessing it’s almost time for that arbitrary change of calendar they...
31/12/2023

Judging by the almost empty Quality Street tin, I’m guessing it’s almost time for that arbitrary change of calendar they call the ‘New Year,’ and people act as though somehow we’re supposed to be able to be better, try harder, achieve more, etc, just because they now call it 2024, or whatever it is.
But I never understood how that works, so if you’re one of those people who need to do your best every day just to keep clinging on, for whom life means taking everything one day at a time and every day is an unknown…those of you with a mental illness, a physical illness, an invisible illness, or if you just struggle to cope with the relentless onslaught that is modern life…I salute you.
And try not to worry that others don’t understand your struggle, that’s a waste of energy, save it for yourself. So, yeah, happy new year…and good luck out there!

After nodding off for a few minutes during Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Billy woke suddenly, in a panic.‘What day is this?’ ...
30/12/2023

After nodding off for a few minutes during Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Billy woke suddenly, in a panic.
‘What day is this?’ he screamed, before reality immediately tapped him on the shoulder and smiled, and he remembered; it didn’t matter anymore, he’d just wait until after New Years Day and start again from there….

Every Saturday, when I was young, my Dad would come back from working on the fishing boats down at the harbour heavily l...
26/12/2023

Every Saturday, when I was young, my Dad would come back from working on the fishing boats down at the harbour heavily laden with a big bag of fruit. Apples, oranges, bananas, that sort of thing.
If ever I dared to mutter the immortal words “I’m hungry, there’s nowt to eat,” he would tell me to eat fruit. Usually accompanied by an anecdote about how lucky we were to even have fruit. His favourite being the one about coming back home after the war, sitting on a train with a big bunch of bananas, surrounded by kids who had never even seen such exotic delights.
But we always had fruit, so I took it for granted.
“I don’t want fruit, fruit is boring,” I would complain, until I was informed the alternative options were either bread, or to wait until dinner time.
So fruit it was.
But fruit isn’t boring. Fruit is great. Of course, these days it goes rotten five minutes after you get it home, and doesn’t really taste of anything anymore, but still, if you’re lucky enough to get some that does, it’s pretty damn good.
But, alas, like Bruce Willis, old habits die hard, which is why I have apples, oranges, grapes and pears in a bowl right behind me, and a plastic tub of Quality Street in front of me...and there’s no way I’m turning round.
Sorry, Dad.

Happy Christmas xFrom me, and the ghostly little Victorian orphan boy who haunts my peripheral vision.
25/12/2023

Happy Christmas x

From me, and the ghostly little Victorian orphan boy who haunts my peripheral vision.

Coo-eee…hope you’re enjoying real life having to take a back seat for a few days. Merry Christmas Eve to you, and a mass...
24/12/2023

Coo-eee…hope you’re enjoying real life having to take a back seat for a few days. Merry Christmas Eve to you, and a massive THANK YOU to everyone who likes/shares/enjoys my dumb little pictures, it really does make things more worthwhile xx

Christmas is coming.I like it when everything stops for a few days. I never used to, but I do now. Now I try to tune out...
22/12/2023

Christmas is coming.

I like it when everything stops for a few days.
I never used to, but I do now. Now I try to tune out the world and just go with it. It’s easier that way.
And whatever you do over the next couple of weeks, I hope it brings you peace of mind, and a little respite against the world.

”Have another mince pie. F**k it!” - I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible. Somewhere near the back, I think.

Merry Christmas 🙂 x

I’m very pleased my book of very short stories - Writing Wrongs - is now available at Word On The Water - The London Boo...
25/11/2023

I’m very pleased my book of very short stories - Writing Wrongs - is now available at Word On The Water - The London Bookbarge, a floating book shop on the canal behind Kings Cross station, and one of London’s most wonderful hidden gems 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/wordonthewater

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