Sunday, October 19, 2008

The end of Wild Book Week and the start of painting frenzy! With chocolate cake!

Well. I've kind of finished my wild book. I will be finishing it on the train on the way home tomorrow, which is where I started it a week ago. Feels a bit like the last minute makings of a school project late in! Its got pictures, glitter, buttons, ribbons and doodles. I expected that. What it unexpectedly has, is a smell of its own, too. Of glue and newsprint and paint. Quite an art-shop smell, if you will. I will contnue to add small things to it, but, like the nanowrimo draft novel, the bones of it are there. Its been interesting all week drawing and sticking and painting even when I don't feel like it, even when tired. I have even done two canvases for my art exhibition!

Last nights party, despite its various "moments" has left me surprisingly cheerful due to the fact that I went to bed at 10ish, not 4ish. I went to bed to look after Mr E, who was feeling somewhat invaded by dozens of people in the house and all of them needing the toilet at the same time and talking about it loudly. Who can blame him, I felt a little disturbed by the massive invasion myself. But parties end, and the exodus has now occured and we are all back to normal. Luckily, there is some Lime Meringue Pie left. Mr E's baking skills when it comes to pie are second to none. YUM.

I also made my now notorious chocolate cake recipe, of which there is none left I can proudly say. It is so indulgent that it was once christened "filth cake" by Mr Sir D a long while ago. For all those who ask, here is the recipe:

“Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake with gold dust*.”

(From “Unwrapped” the Green and Blacks choc cookbook. With edits!)

Use a 20cm or 23cm, that is, 8 or 9 inch cake tin with removable base.

300g dark cooking chocolate. That’s two massive 150g bars of Green n Blacks cooking chocolate or 3 bars of Green n Blacks usual chocolate, Lindt 70 percent also works, as will any quality dark chocolate. Any sweeter than these ones though, and you will need to adjust sugar quantity.
275g caster sugar
165g butter. (I use Stork)
5 large eggs

preheat the oven to 180C 350F Gas mk 4. Grease tin very well.

Melt chocolate, sugar and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water then remove from heat.

Whisk the eggs together and stir into the chocolate mixture. The mixture will thicken and go all glossy in a couple of minutes and it will be pouring consistency.

Pour into the cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the sides of the tin after it’s a bit cooler (entertaining) and leave the cake on its base to cool, then wait impatiently to eat it while picking the cooked bits off the edge.

It won’t rise much by the way….. but who cares ;)

*Yeah, you can dust it with gold dust. I just tend to eat it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wild Book Week

I tag you all to take up my challenge: Wild Book Week. Its like Nanowrimo, where you write a book in a month, but more solid and more visual. Its like Nanowrimo crossed with SARK crossed with Graham Rawle sprinkled with Dave McKean and edited by Steven Moffat, if you like that type of description.

Here it is: buy a blank paged book (or lined pages, hey whats the diff) and fill it up over a week. Any size, any shape. Fill it with anything. Fill it with your life, in colour, in doodles, in fuzzy pictures, in writing, in coffee cup stains. In my case; glitter, buttons ribbons and nail varnish. Set yourself a deadline. Tear stuff out and paste it in. Ramble. Write honest rubbish. Fill it with goth poetry and lolly sticks. Sew, stick, staple and tape. Make it crunchy, make it hard to shut. My deadline is next Monday because I started mine today. My book is A4 and it came from Paperchase. Each page is a different colour. Its yummy. Yours can be large or small, fat or thin, from WHsmith or from Horrid's. Just get one. To coin an over-used phrase, just do it.

Why? This came about because I'm plain useless at keeping a sketchbook: only real artists do that: I tend to collect magazine cuttings and newspaper cartoons and odd photos taken with my mobile phone. I read SARK and oneredpaperclip and all kinds of "inspirational" fluff then lie in bed watching crap telly all weekend. I like crap telly, don't get me wrong. But it is turning my brain to mush, like the corners of toast that started off as frozen bread. Unexpectedly soggy. I'd be honoured to see the results if you join me. Each book will be a peculiar snapshot of life and all the books together will make an odd library of life.

I promise to add a picture soon: I've done two pages already ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The £99 shop

Yesterday I went to a gig with the Red Stripe Band. The gig was jolly. There was an art exhibition upstairs in the Troubadour cafe in Earls Court, where bottled beer is £3.75 and a plate of houmous and pitta is £7. The art exhibition was in its opening night and it was a pay bar- thats how expensive Earl's Court is. I'm ashamed to say that I looked at the artwork that ten artists had spent a lifetime learning about and creating, and for the first time I genuinely thought "I can do this better". I actually doubt that I could make better art, of course, but a prettier exhibition, certainly. More colours. More glitter! Less grey. I have always wanted to hold an exhibition but lacked time, and paintings, and inspiration, and...well, paint. Enough excuses. I'm going to take the oneredpaperclip route and just DO IT.
The exhibition will be made up of jewel-like one off paintings, bright, swirly, patterned decorative pieces covered in diamante. Jewellery for walls, if you will. All the pieces will be £99, thus the title. And a little recession joke! They will take me an appreciable amount of time to make, cost me in paint and sparklies and I don't want them to be over priced. Nor do I want them to be mistaken for art.
Off to paint now :)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Banking hell Part 1

At least there is chocolate. Thats what I say in weeks like these. Right now I'm sat in a darker and darker room looking at rain and trying to understand linux on my eeepc with a view to installing Gnome PPP to activate my new 3 modem so I can surf it up on the train and use the cute eee everywhere. Bargain. (The learning curve is a bit on the steep side though. I'm not as much of a tech as I look!) It was hard to come by though-

so there I was, last Wednesday, surprisingly awake for 6.30am. Little did I know what was in store. Initially all I planned was to call the bank and then to pop into my local post office to collect the exciting new dingle dangle that will enable me and my eee-pc surf anywhere for very small money each month. Special offer is through quidco on moneysavingexpert, if you are interested. So I called the bank. Hold on they said, call demand is high. So hold I did. Hi, I said, I was calling to sort out a loan repyment date, which needs changing. I've been tryng to sort this out for the best part of this year and every time I call you say "oh yes we'll do that can't think why we didn't before" and then nothing happens, resulting in charges of £70+ being aplied to the account every single month.

This is not my account, so I have to keep handing the phone to the account owner for ID. This is Nat Pest by the way, readers, NEVER EVER bank with them. They will sooner tear out your soul than make any basic change to your account.

Oh dear, she says, and I got put on hold for some minutes until she comes back to me to state that their "systems are down". I thought privately that in many ways, their systems are ALWAYS down, what with never being able to sort even the simplest thing out and I asked that she put my concerns in "the notes". Notes are a mystical thing which theoretically mean other call centre operators can read what I've been on about when their systems are "up". In practice, this does not work. Not even a little bit.

She said Well, I'll put that you called and you are not happy. I said ok and please put what its about and that I have a complaint going through and its with the ombudsman and I've asked for all 6 years of statements to claim back charges and nothing has happened. She said Well I'll put that you called and you are not happy. I said,, very slowly, NO.... PUT EVERYTHING DOWN..... I AM THE CUSTOMER! Disgruntled, she said she would though I'm not really sure she grasped basic communication protocols such as typing so I arranged another call and hung up, resigned,once more, to having to sort it out another day.

Bowed but not defeated, I toddled to the Post Office for the exciting parcel. I hand over "sorry you were out" card covered in hieroglyphs and my passport. A letter covered in labels appears. ARE YOU EASTMOND shouts the man from behind glass. Well, no I say- and where is my parcel? Dongle surely, was never so thin as this letter. YOU ARE NOT EASTMOND. DO YOU HAVE ID OF EASTMOND. more shouting. No, I say, look, obviously the post man filled out one card for two items. YOU NEED EASTMOND ID is the simple but effective response. I said I'm going to ask you a very simple question. I happen to know that this parcel I'm awaiting is mine and addressed to me because 3mobile sent me the tracking number. Is the tracking number in my hand, on this card, the same as the one on the letter WHAT. WHAT NUMBER This number here. The one on the sorry we couldn't be arsed to knock on the door card. Careful checking of the number. NO. NO THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. YOU WILL NEED TO COME BACK WITH ID OF EASTMOND. Yes, I say. But where is my parcel. RING NUMBER ON CARD. Oh, I will. So I called the number on the card. Hold on, it said. We have high call demand at the moment.