Assuming you have arrived here from Part One you’ll know I am now in possession of 150yrds of prime steel miniature railway. Which means I need a train, because otherwise it’s basically just a fence lying on it’s side.
I had originally assumed I’d be buying the train, partly to save a bit of time and partly because ‘making a train’ seemed like a task I wasn’t yet ready for. But it turns out that these trains are crazily expensive. They’re expensive everywhere, but they’re really expensive in Australia, and shipping such a massive thing internationally was out of the question. So I was left with only two options, melt all the track down and create a large sculpture of Putin to scare off children. Or work out how to build a train. So I went for the latter. I cheated slightly and bought some…
I’ve often been of the opinion that aside from tasks like neurosurgery, quite a lot of hands on skills aren’t as complicated as they look and really you just need to have a go. And with that in mind, at some point during May I thought ‘I’m going to build a railroad for my son’. Now this is only a miniature ride-on railway, but before you mock me you should know I did actually find a W6 class Melbourne tram for sale and attempted to convince my father-in-law to let me lay tracks and run it around his property. Understandably this project never got off the ground, on account of it being complete and utter madness, but I did see him doing some rough calculations on how much ballast we’d need to support a 50 tonne tram before his wife hit him with a bat.
Two years later, I’ve finally got around to developing all the film I shot on the trip. I’m posting them here rather than individually for a few reasons. Mostly because by adding them to RB you’re sort of implying that someone might buy them, and I can’t imagine anyone would, I certainly wouldn’t, and I took them. But also because, like a lot of other people’s holiday snaps with which we’re bombarded more frequently than ever, in isolation they’re quite weak but collected together they almost tell a story of sorts. Almost. And finally because if I remember corre…
It’s an odd fact but the further into the future we get, as we become complacent about phones that know where our friends are, or WiFi on airplanes (or even airplanes for that matter) the more likely it is that you can sell something ‘old’ that’s totally obsolete, and possibly pointless to someone for a very high price.
“Here’s an industrial bakelite resistor, it’ll be very handy if you’re setting up a manufacturing line circa 1930. Except it doesn’t work but will look ace on your coffee table, $150” – “Here’s a bit of brick from the past, a milk crate, a fucking wooden drawer, a petrol pump, a rusty key that doesn’t open anything.” I mean basically my gran was sitting on a small fortune of door hand…
April the 21st was international Record Store Day. I won’t get into the slight paradox about how this was a splendid invention to excite people about tangible music purchases as well as helping support local wax emporiums that has simply become fertile ground for struggling record companies to constantly re-release very expensive albums and unnecessary singles in a desperate attempt to cling on for another years trading. No, I won’t mention that because I am fine with it. In fact I love the absurdity of it. Chill out peoples, we’re all just filling in time until we die. Metallica album reissue with one track per vinyl? Love it. Black Keys reissue LPs at 45rpm instead of 33/3? Bring it on. Jack White 12" singles with liquid inside? Oh yes, hang on what? Liquid?
I haven’t made any animations for over a year because they are a bit time heavy and currently I’m a bit time sensitive. This has mainly made me feel totally shit and slightly frustrated, so to cheer myself up I’ve made a completely unwatchable video of a recent road trip.
In March I drove from San Francisco to New York with the missus, it was unbelievably good fun and we’re already planning on doing it again with a slightly different route. We mounted a camera on the dashboard and took a photo every 30 seconds when we were on the road. If I’d made it last 6 minutes you can see what is actually going on and you don’t feel like you’re about to fit. But 6 minutes was boring even for me, and I was there. So I made it last 2 minutes:
Last Christmas I was suffering from a severe and life threatening case of ‘not having made anything real with my hands for ages’. So I thought I’d make a concrete ampersand. Because I like ampersands a lot and I’d never done anything with concrete except complain about its use in modern architecture.
That’s it really, not very complex. The ampersand is Interstate by the always marvellous Hoefler & Frere-Jones in case you’re interested. And now I have a 32 kilo paperweight in my garden.
I got older recently, and to help me feel better about this one of the most splendid people I know gave me some coasters. Not just any coasters though, these have been individually letterpressed with a wooden block Poynder ampersand that apparently dates from 1935.
They’re lovely, and I sleep a lot better knowing there are people out there who do this sort of thing.
The first lady to ever record a rock’n’roll song. The Queen of Rockbilly. Wanda motherfucking Jackson. Seventy three and still belting them out like an angry panther. Except on her Letterman performance when I thought she was about to keel over and die.
Managed to catch her live with the Third Man Band at the legendary El Rey Theatre in Hollywood. Jack ‘velvet brick’ White on guitar, prancing like a nutjob next to the delectable Olivia Jean (Black Belles) on six string bass. Plus a host of other fine musicians including Jack’s brother.
It was ace, she was unbelievably energetic and quite amusing. I can’t go into more detail because they only put one shot of tonic in their gins and so I don’t remember much else. Got a lovely poster and a slightly …
The seven and a half people who avidly follow my work may recall I made two animations earlier this year for Third Man records and The White Stripes respectively. Well, unsurprisingly, there was a final part, however Laura Marling selfishly got in the way. As the buzz from that subsides I can uncover the final installment in the Third Man Stop Motion Triptych. It’s been in the wings for a while but is only now going live.
It’s a bit of an odd one, as it’s advertising their process of recording live shows in Nashville TN direct to tape. There’s a pause in the show while they change reels and they can only play for 45 minutes or so. Afterwards, the attendees, of which there are never more than 300, head round to the store and hand over ~$18. A month or so later they…