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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Eavesdropping - the best story I ever heard

There is a lovely little article in the Daily Telegraph today (which is currently free on the iPad!!) called "To overhear is to understand". It reveals the fact that Prince Charles loves a good eavesdrop (with those ears how can he help it). In fact he loves to eavesdrop on visitors at his royal residences, even getting down on the floor to listen. Brilliant. The article is about the social benefits of eavesdropping - how it teaches us that not everyone thinks like us and how it informs the work of writers. So now I think is the perfect time to tell you the best story that I ever overheard.

It was while I was standing on a packed bus in Swansea, Wales. Next to me were two middle aged women. I will paraphrase because I overheard this about 4 years ago.

Well, said one, my daughter was on the tube in London and these three guys got on. The middle one was being held tightly between the other two as if he was drunk. My daughter said she hadn't paid much attention to them but she soon noticed that a lot of people were leaving the carriage. Looking down the tube she could see that the other carriages were still full but hers was emptying. Then this guy who was sitting quite close moved over to her and told her to get off at the next stop. Bemused she did. As soon as the tube had left them on the platform she asked him what the hell was going on. The man in the middle of those two guys who looked drunk, he replied, was actually dead.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Monday, 13 September 2010

The darkest dream I ever had

A few times in my life very strange things have happened. Things that made me wonder if unconsciously my brain had told me the future in dreams.

I have only ever dreamt that two people I loved have died. First was my Grandad. My Grandad was apparently healthy. He was my big cuddly Grandad who was fit and active. One day I dreamt that I threw a ball at him and he keeled over and died when it hit his chest. The doctors (in my dream) said he had had a heart attack. A year later my Grandad died. He had undiagnosed cancer and by the times he died it was through his whole body. He died very very suddenly. In the morning Mum called to say that he had flu, in the afternoon he was dead.

Some other strange things happened when Grandad died. The heavy doors of the theatre blew open and all the doctors noticed how strange it was. My Grandad hated hospitals. My family think he was getting out of there. Then that night my Mum lay awake in bed with me asleep beside her. She felt a hand heavy on her leg. She said that instantly she felt calmer. She knew it was her dad telling her that it was Ok.

A year later for an art project during my Foundation art project I asked my Mum to pose as a dead person for a collage I was putting together. She is the only person I have ever pictured as dead for a piece of art. A few months later, now studying advertising in Cornwall, I dreamt that she died. In the dream I grabbed her dead body and screamed and screamed for the entire dream. It was truly the most terrible dream I had ever had. A few months later she had a brain hemorrhage and died within a week.

They are the only people who have ever died in my dreams. And then they both actually died shortly afterwards. Both were apparently healthy.

And another strange thing is that my cat Maisie has only ever regularly sat with her paw resting on two people. My mum and my Grandad.

A few weeks after my Mum died I had one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had. It was so vivid it was filmatic. The lighting was bluish - a bit like the lighting of Sweeney Todd. I was married and I was mortally frightened of my husband. He was a butcher and murdered people for meat. I had had an argument with a woman in town and I told my husband knowing that he would kill her. I watched as he butchered her flesh and pulled out her heart. I felt so so so guilty. It was my fault she was dead. My husband gave me the heart and told me to get rid of it. I went out onto the street and walked up a cobbled street. Suddenly I saw a huge black cloud whirling towards me. I hid from it because I knew it was evil. When it was gone I walked down to the cliff above the beach. There was a (strangely) huge paper drying rack onto which the town's rubbish was being thrown. I threw the heart onto the rubbish rack below and it became lost among the muck. Then I woke up.

I don't really know what the dream meant. But I had a rather extraordinary driving instructor at the time who had told me he could interpret dreams. he told me that the dream was about my guilt. I was subconsciously guilty, he said, of murdering the relationship between my Mum and myself. I thought it was rubbish until I thought carefully about my feelings of guilt regarding my Mum. In the months before she died we had rowed badly. I'd also been a little ungrateful about my birthday present. Maybe that's actually what the dream meant in part. But I also think that the person who was having their heart cut out was me. It was my own heart that I threw onto the rubbish. Perhaps.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Abandoned, forgotten, haunting

I found the work of Andrew Moore through Creative Review and was immediately entranced by his images of decaying Detroit. Here are some beautiful ones for you to see. To see more visit his website: http://www.andrewlmoore.com/view_project.php




Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Beatles story by Rock Band

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSLLxRmR3nY



Beautiful animation by Passion Pictures.

Psychedelic trippy music video

Gong - How To Stay Alive video by Wakyo Productions, directed by Haruka Sakota.



Love this. It reminds me of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band video. Also loving the song. Gonna look up Gong on Spotify immediately!

Learning - the doodler's way

When I was studying for my school exams I would doodle. Not aimless doodling but doodle learning. The brown paper covers of my textbooks would become covered in tiny drawings showing how Corrie lakes formed, or the order of the planets, or the formation of igneous rocks. This learning method was one that I devised myself and was very effective. I usually got above 80% in my exams. It was effective because in order to visualise something you really have to understand it first, you also have to linger on each point for the amount of time it takes you to complete your doodle, then it also helps it stick in the mind as a visual - something you can actually see in your head during the exam. And finally it stops your mind from getting bored while you are reading information and wandering onto last night's episode of Eastenders.

At the time I thought it was just something I did, but having moved into advertising and become immersed in the world of graphics I have found there is a whole industry that does a similar thing, and it has a name: Info-graphics. Here is a brilliant TED talk by David McCandlesson info-graphics where he shows how much clearer seeing information visually is.

http://www.ted.com/talks/david_mccandless_the_beauty_of_data_visualization.html



And here are some of his data Visualisations:

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/



Thursday, 2 September 2010

Tipex it out and write your own bear story




http://www.youtube.com/user/tippexperience

The poor hunter doesn't want to kill the nice bear so he tipexes the command out and you get to write over it - Hunter "fucks" a bear anyone? Come on don't tell me that wasn't what came to mind first!

Arcade fire film down your street!!!

Check out this amazing new interactive video for Arcade Fire's new song built using html5 - I think it's probably the cleverest online video I've seen ever. Put in your most loved address at the beginning and wait for the surprises to begin.

http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/