Tag Archives: Krampus

Adventures in the Big Smoke: Day 4… and my visit to “The Satanic Flea Market”!

I was too tired to write this up last night, hence why it’s a day late.

So how did my Sunday go?

Inside Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club for the Satanic Flea Market. As you can see, the venue was packed out. Really busy.

Very well, actually. Mike picked me up after 1.00 p.m. and we drove to Bethnal Green in the East end of London, an area steeped in history (this was where the Kray twins grew up).

The traffic was a bit of a nightmare, but we got there. We had to queue up for a while, but once we got into Bethnal Men’s Working Club it was quite fun attending the Satanic Flea Market, despite hardly being able to move given how packed out the place was.

 

But I did buy a few bits and bobs. Like this “Satan Claus” print.

And this iron-on patch:

I also had a three tarot card reading and was presented with the three cards below which I was told represent upcoming success (the card marked “domination”), happiness (“the sun”) and – most intriguingly – romance with a younger woman (“the daughter of the cups in the north”)

This marks my last full day in London – I’m due to set back off home today. 

And… it’s been good… though Saturday’s memorial service was a sombre affair it has overall been a really nice trip. I’m glad I came. It’s also been fun keeping this “travel journal” whilst I’ve been in the Big Smoke – thanks for reading my adventures, guys; it’s been a blast.

Peace and love,

GARY

Adventures in the Big Smoke: Day 3

After getting a bit lost yesterday as a consequence of taking the wrong stop I was more organised today… which is just as well because it was the most important day of my trip to London.

Today I attended a memorial service for families bereaved by homicide at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and lit a candle in remembrance of my mum:

It was a good service.

Though I’m not religious I could still appreciate the value of all of these families coming together to grieve their lost ones. The church had hired professional singers who were absolutely fantastic and belted out some great songs.

I have to confess that I nearly lost it when they sang Somewhere over the rainbow… a song that was especially moving to hear at the service, given how much mum loved it… especially the version by Connie Talbot that came about as a result of Britain’s Got Talent.

But I held it together quite well and also attended SAMM’s annual general meeting afterwards.

SAMM National (SAMM is an acronym for Support After Murder & Manslaughter) have really helped me this past year, by the way… they’ve been a real lifeline. I don’t know how I would have coped without them.


I don’t have much else to report, really. I just came straight back to Mike’s place after the service.

I did take a few photos and shot a couple of videos of Trafalgar Square, but didn’t otherwise do anything special.

Tomorrow I go to a Krampus-themed “satanic flea market/anti-Christmas fayre” in Bethnal Green which should provide some tongue-in-cheek fun.

 

Okay, well that’s it from me for now. Thanks for reading.

 

Love and peace,

GARY

Zen, art & recovery: How I “sculpt” my blog

A Xena/Red Sonja homage that I’m doing as a present for my friend Edie:

…Still needs a lot of work doing to it; there are also certain aspects that need to be fixed – such as the fact that I seem to have given Edie Bell’s palsey! haha – but it’s getting there.

It’s nice to be back into a little bit of drawing.

My approach with drawing these days is to just say “fuck it and do it”. I used to be such a perfectionist; a complete detail-nazi, taking foreeeever on things – either that or saying “I’ll finish it once I have more inspiration” – but, having learned that procrastination is the enemy of success, I now consciously just throw myself into it and say perfection be damned.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that when it comes to drawing your own critical faculties can be your worst enemy sometimes… hence why I guess I’m more zen when it comes to my art nowadays.

Interestingly enough, my approach to writing my blog is similar. I scribble down a “thumbnail” of sorts (usually a bullet list which acts as a rough sketch) and then I sculpt paragraphs on WordPress, typing away like a madman. My approach is one of “more is better” to begin with (ha! I declare war on brevity!) and then, upon seeing the completed shape, I use my delete/backspace keys much like an eraser or a a palette knife or a chisel to give it a better crafted, prettier shape.

Sounds odd when explained like that, I know – but that’s my process.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I’m going to also have a crack at doing a Krampus-themed piece of art before Christmas (as much as anything because I think it could cool to have my own custom-designed Krampuskarten as a new Facebook cover).

It depends upon how much time I have after my upcoming trip to London.

But given that I’m going to cannibalise the composition of an old piece of artwork (see below), it probably won’t take too long.

An old design that I did for an evil tooth fairy. Since I’m not above referencing my own work, I’m going to rip off the composition for this for my own Krampuskarten design.


Barbara’s Elegant Aphorisms Website

From the Oxford Online dictionary:

aphorism

NOUN

 1. A pithy observation which contains a general truth.
‘the old aphorism ‘the child is father to the man’’
[mass noun]‘the debate begins and ends at the level of aphorism, with commentators saying that something must be done’
1.1 A concise statement of a scientific principle, typically by a classical author.
‘the opening sentence of the first aphorism of Hippocrates’
Origin
Early 16th century: from French aphorisme or late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos ‘definition’, from aphorizein ‘define’.

…So, for the benefit of any readers unfamiliar with what an aphorism is, there you go. I point it out because I recently became acquainted with a WordPress blog that has a really neat concept – a blog called myaphorisms.com.

It’s a great idea: what the author of this blog does is pen an aphorism a day… which sounds so simple, right? But that’s exactly the point… the genius of it, i think, lies in the simplicity of its design and execution. It’s actually a really smart idea for the format of a blog; I really dig it.

And what I like about Barbara’s blog is the way how she interacts with people in the comments section… in fact, that’s where the main action takes place, you could say.

Another thing that’s quite cool about it is the fact that the purpose-built brevity of the format she’s chosen would feed really well into Twitter and Facebook.

What can I say? I like it! It really appeals to my sense of design.

Something like this would work quite well done around a recovery theme, actually – an AA aphorism a day, for example.


…Which neatly leads onto my next subject:

The Welcome Return of Nicky Katz

Click on image to open link in a new tab

After an absence of some time and some hardship, is really nice to see my old friend Nicky Katz back on the horse with the social media scene, rebooting his Facebook and Twitter presence.

What can I say? He’s been missed. My hope is that he’ll also get back into the swing with his blog too… just because I was always a big fan of his website and I miss seeing his articles. Check out Nicky’s blog here: http://nickykatz.org/

Note to self: I really need to give Nicky a guest writer spot on The Free Pigeon Press because I’m fascinated with how he’s combining The Sinclair Method with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings – how he’s reconciling the two (a subject that I wrote a piece about HERE).

As much as anything I think that it’s important that Nicky does write because so many people can learn from his experiences – and yes – his own admitted mistakes too.

But the measure of a man is how he deals with adversity, not success – so I for one am grateful that he’s back.


…Okaaay, well I’m about done for this article, but before I go I’ll leave you with a couple of words of worldly wisdom from my favourite demented, scat-fixated octogenarian AA super-sponsor and wiener pioneer, the legend that is Morris Rosenbaum-Benda:

Hahahahaha. Love it.

I think this is better, though, just for sheer brevity (an art I’ve never mastered):

(!)

Hahaha!


…And on that note:

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

 

My 2018 New Year resolutions: “Plans, plans, plans… so many lovely plans”

It’s been quite an eventful year, what with the trial and my home move and my bipolar disorder playing up again (causing me to have to be hospitalised for six weeks during the summer).

What can I say? It’s been a struggle at times.

The trial, in particular, was an absolute nightmare to endure. Though I am satisfied with the resolution of that – the evil streak of piss got a sentence of 33 yearsit was absolutely harrowing to go through; no wonder I lost it months later.

I still find it hard to talk about. So do other members of my family.

But life goes on. Rather than dwelling on grief and letting anger consume me, Mum would want me to make something of my life and in order to honour her memory that’s what I intend to do – to be the good man that she always wanted me to be.

Cruelly taken, but never forgotten: my beautiful mam


“Plans, plans, plans… so many lovely plans”

One of the first things I’m going to do is get back into my training in a big way in the new year. That and the jiu-jitsu classes.

I’m also going to buy a mountain bike to help myself get fit.

As many people know, I’ve already undergone quite a big physical transformation since quitting drinking (thanks to The Sinclair Method).

But what I really want to do is challenge myself with the powerlifting even further and get stronger than I’ve ever got.

My transformation photo. The photo on the left is a picture of me in September 2014 (just over a year after I’d quit drinking thanks to The Sinclair Method) and the picture on the right is how I look now. I’ve lost something like 50lbs in body weight. Not bad going considering that – at the grand old age of 45 – it doesn’t get any easier to get back into shape.

My new goal with the training is to get up to a bench press of over 130kg, a deadlift of 200kg and a squat around 160kg by this time next year – something that I think is achievable because, although my attendance in the gym has been a bit hit and miss this year (for entirely understandable reasons), I’m already pressing well over 100kg and can currently easily squat over 120kg. My only achilles heel is my deadlift… my current one rep maximum is 150kg, but for my build I should really be able to lift much more.

Diet is the key, I think. That and challenging myself cardiovascularly in order to improve my rep range and get my body fat percentage down even further than it is now. Something that my trainer is already helping me out with with a new “fat-burner” training program that he’s given me.


As for other goals: I think that I want to make a much bigger splash with my social media work and my art in 2018.

It’s taken a while with the blog (and what’s not helped is that I had to go into a form of self-imposed exile and make my blog private whilst everything was going on with the trial in order to avoid unwanted press exposure), but now that I’m back the stats are slowly but surely getting up there and I’m starting to see results by cross-pollinating with things like YouTube, Facebook and Quora. The only thing which I don’t have is a Twitter account. But once the book gets released (Claudia thinks it’s going to be around spring next year) I’ll definitely push things further, I think.

Despite my love/hate relationship with Quora, I actually do quite well on there (becoming one of the most popular writers in the addiction section on there, believe it or not) and my pieces have recently hit the 7,500 views landmark.

The real trick, I think, is to just enjoy what you’re doing.

I always find that when I just let go,be less self-conscious and less concerned about things like stats it makes me a far better writer.

A good example of this is the fact that I seem to inject a lot more humour into my blog than I used to.

Talking of which…

…I’m definitely going to do a lot more cartoons in 2018.

People keep asking me why I haven’t done more art and the fact is, as I said before, this year has just been crazy. My head’s just been too fucked up to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

But yeah, now that I’m getting nicely settled into my new place and I’m finally getting some calmness back into my life I want to do some more stuff. Perhaps experimenting with Adobe Photoshop by doing some painted versions of some of my pencil drawings from the last year (scroll below)

 

…Actually, taking inspiration from the “anti-Christmas” theme of my last article (see HERE), I’m thinking that one idea might be to have a crack at designing a Krampus-themed Christmas card.

That would be quite a fun little art project to get in before Christmas, I think, and would quite appeal to my transgressive, Chuck Palahniuk-esque tendencies.


Anyhoo… that just about covers what I want to do in the New Year.

But what about you, dear reader? What resolutions do you have for 2018?