Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some thoughts on "the Book of Eli"

I just finished watching The Book of Eli with Olly... and have to say I absolutely loved it. On so many levels!

Visually it is stunning... the visuals have a bleached-out, over-exposed, high contrast, almost sepia look and feel about them. I guess that's what it would look like "after the flash".

The soundtrack by Atticus Ross is phenomenal... very modern and dissonant... without being cliched. I will need to track it down and give it a good listen.

The acting is first class... with Denzel Washington portraying "Eli" as a post-apocalyptic Zatoichi-like character who is journeying westwards with a book... on a mission to find a safe haven for it.

I won't spoil the story for you... other than to say the book is a Bible.

The themes that run through the film... based on the Bible... are best summed up in two unrelated quotes...
Carnegie: To his men "Put a crew together, we're going after 'em."
Redridge: For a f**kin' book?
Carnegie: IT'S NOT A F**KIN' BOOK! IT'S A WEAPON. A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule more than one small, f**kin' town, we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell 'em if the words are from the book. It's happened before and it'll happen again. All we need is that book.
Eli: In all these years I've been carrying it and reading it every day, I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it.
There are those who want to use the Bible for control... use it, as Carnegie (Gary Oldham) intended, for control. They use the words contained therein to justify their hate... their opposition... their anger and their greed. They use the Bible as a weapon.

They have no intention in living by what it says... they conveniently skip passages that aren't to their liking. They look outward... using the Bible to point and to poke... to condemn... without using it to look inward.

There are also folks who only look inward... who are too busy reading and studying and protecting the Bible that they fail to put it into action. Eli falls into the second camp. By his own omission... he's been too busy caring for the book that he's forgotten to apply it to his life.

This changes when he feels responsible for the welfare of Solara (Mila Kunis).

If all we do is carry it... care for it... read it... but don't put it into practice... then the Bible is just a book.

But if we put it into practice... it becomes a very powerful artefact indeed. Something that can be misused... abused for the whims and wants of man (think elements of the Christian "religion" today).

It is also something that, if correctly applied, can be life changing. Imagine if we all did unto others what we would want them to do to us... just think how life would be? Or, more importantly, if we took Jesus at His word... and sought to live for Him... where, for us to live lives to the fullest, then we would have to die to self and love extravagantly?

Just imagine... what if?

The Book of Eli is a violent film... with scenes I certainly wouldn't want my children to see until they were much older. But, that aside, it is a film I would recommend... because of the themes touched upon above... and for the visuals, acting and score.


Photosafari to Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art

250211_ Gentlemans Club (abstract #3)

Yesterday... I went to Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art for a wee Photosafari with four of my photogeek colleagues.

250211_ shapes on the wall

GoMA has some interesting spaces and artefacts that make a donder around very stimulating... which, when added to some fab conversation, makes for an inspiring lunch hour away from the desk.

250211_ observe

250211_ purple #2

My full set of pics are available on Flickr... here.


Loving... the Audible app

I've been a fan of Audible's audiobooks for a while now... and think the addition of a specific iPhone / iPod Touch app to be an excellent idea.
Instead of adding the book to your iTunes, you download it directly. This gives you, imho, greater control.
Well worth checking out.

Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Currently listening to... "Winded" by Dextro

I've been listening to Winded by Dextro for about a week or so... and I absolutely love it. It has reminded my why I fell in love with glitchy IDM in the first place.

Dextro's dense soundscapes are wonderful... filled with innovative synths... distorted-to-an-inch-of-their-lives guitars... and vague found sounds. They fill the room (or your headphones) with a joyous sense of alive-ness that is just perfect for Spring days like today.

What I love most is his sense and use of rhythm... the percussive beats of "Winded" are more jazzy... with an emphasis on the hit-hat... that places feeling and flavour over funk.

All in... this is a tremendous album. One that reignites my passion for its genre.

Its available as a "pay what you want" download on Bandcamp ... but if you donate more than £2.50 you can get the CD too. I would recommend the CD.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

March 2011's Calendar

March 2011's Calendar :: 1280x800

March is nearly upon us... and I thought I'd use this pic from the Falls at New Lanark. It symbolises movement... churn... change... progress... well, it does to me.

Usual flavours are included below... except for PSP. I don't think anyone downloads the PSP wallpaper. If you do... sorry... let me know and I'll hook you up.

If you do download this wallpaper... please take a screenshot, upload it to Twitpic and "@" me (@headphonaught on Twitter)... for no other reason than it would be nice to see it in situ.



Seven questions... with David Walters aka The Echelon Effect

I have been a huge and very vocal fan of David Walters' music project The Echelon Effect since I came across it on bandcamp. His ambient post-rock soundscapes are truly first-class... and his recent album Mosaic hasn't left my iPhone since it was released in August of 2010.

David is currently looking to raise funds for a year long project entitled "Seasons"... it is intended to  document 2011... comprising 4 Eps and a film. To fund it he has released a single entitled Your First Light My Eventide... which is another wondrous slice of instrumental rock loveliness. Please, please consider buying it and help make "Seasons" come to to life.

I recently caught up with David and asked him my seven questions...


1) Who are you and what do you do?
David Walters, i write and produce music for The Echelon Effect

2) What are you working on at the moment?
I've got so much to do! haha im working on a single for Bad Panda records, a net label that gives away a free single every monday, its taking its time to come together!

3) Who inspires you?
- Name an artist who has inspired you.
J K Sampson from the band The Weakerthans, he is a true poet

- Name place that has inspired you.
San Francisco airport, i love people watching, people saying goodbye or being reunited it really is a beautiful place.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
My Mac Book Pro, i love more than i could explain, it allows me to express myself, i take it everywhere.

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Well i said in my biography it was because i was trying to fall in love with music again, that was a couple of years ago, now im just simply addicted to making new sounds.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

6) What role does community play in what you do?
A massive role, it is the main influence to what i do. I live in west London, i try to see nice things amongst the chaos!

7) What is next for what you do?
My project "Season" 4 eps depicting a year over a year, with a film, so much to do!!


Thanks David. Please pick up Your First Light My Eventide... and support independent music!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 :: 10 Lessons for Young Designers

  1. Be authentic. The most powerful asset you have is your individuality, what makes you unique. It’s time to stop listening to others on what you should do. 
  2. Work harder than anyone else and you will always benefit from the effort. 
  3. Get off the computer and connect with real people and culture. Life is visceral. 
  4. Constantly improve your craft. Make things with your hands. Innovation in thinking is not enough. 
  5. Travel as much as you can. It is a humbling and inspiring experience to learn just how much you don’t know. 
  6. Being original is still king, especially in this tech-driven, group-grope world. 
  7. Try not to work for stupid people or you’ll soon become one of them. 
  8. Instinct and intuition are all-powerful. Learn to trust them. 
  9. The Golden Rule actually works. Do good. 
  10. If all else fails, No. 2 is the greatest competitive advantage of any career.
10 Lessons for Young Designers (via swiss-miss with thanks)

I love lists with 10 points... and I really connected with this list.

I don't think its a list *just* for the young and for designers... but could be applied to everyone.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Seven questions... with Dextro

Dextro aka Ewan MacKenzie is a Scottish electronica producer who I've been a fan of for a while. I had an old copy of Consequence Music that I would always come back to or get excited about when tracks from it came up on shuffle.

I was totally stoked when the entire Dextro canon arrived on bandcamp and for pay what you want too... which I thought was remarkably generous. What's more... if you spend more than £2.50 on any individual album or EP... Ewan will send you the physical copy. I recently picked up Consequence Music and winded on CD. They sound great at 320kps but... sound even better on a decent hi-fi. The attention to detail and quality of sound is just breath-taking. I would seriously recommend his music.

Anyway... I picked up with Ewan via email and asked him my seven questions:


1) Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Ewan, I do a project called dextro.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
Currently (among other things!) I'm working on a film piece that will be used along side my live musical show. This will be used in Tokyo in April.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist or artists who has / have inspired you.
Stars of the lid

- Name a place that has inspired you.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
Fresh Air

4) What drives you to do what you do?
A sense of inner peace (when I have it).

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I try not to think too much about that. However, the music always reminds me of values that are close to me, such as family values, being good to people, empathy.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Not much really, because I write on my own mainly, although I value community highly.

7) What is next for what you do?
To make more music, and enjoy every day.


Thank you Ewan! Please check out his music... it is well recommended.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Five from bandcamp #7 (for Music Monday)

Apologies for not doing a "five from Bandcamp" post for a while... been stoked by the amount of quality music I've found but have been real busy. Anyway... excuses aside... I've got five peaches for you for "Music Monday".

First up is a wonderful release on the itsu jitsu netlabel from Glasgow, Scotland; entitled CXR Siphon / Non​-​Field by 2 Degree Ramp.

I have featured the opening track... Pouring the fluid into the system... on my recent mixcast. Simply because I love it. The album consists of wonderfully lo-fi experimental yet sonically dense guitar-orientated instrumental electronic rock music... that reminds me of Tommy Guerrero's work on Mo' Wax.

The only thing that disappoints me about this release is its duration... four tracks just aren't enough.


Pay what you want.

Next up we have some minimal piano soundscapes from Iceland - attended only by birds from bgudna consists of sparse and stripped back piano soundscapes that were written and performed by Björgvin Guðnason. The lack of additional instrumentation and the apparent dissonance at times will not be to everyone's taste but I like them... the soundscapes create wonderful pictures in my head of caverns, stalactites and dripping water. They have a feel of accompaniment... as if they are the soundtrack to a film.

Pay what you want.

Elevator Music by Lullatone is pure, unadulterated joy! and definitely not muzak. The tracks are short, catchy, and very quirky slices of synthpop. More like high-end jingles and incidental music for your favourite cult Japanese show or kids TV spot (think "Yo Gabba Gabba") than Depeche Mode. Nonetheless... it makes for a fab distraction from the greyness of the day and creates cartoon rainbows in your mind (well... it does for me).

Here's a wee video to give you a flavour of their sound:

Pay what you want.

The penultimate album in this five is from Phil Wilkerson... the man behind the Complex Silence project. Color of Heaven by Jane's Scenic Drive is a wonderfully diverse collection of experimental ambient electronic soundscapes... that not only reminds me of Cousin Silas but complements his work very nicely (see my latest mixcast for more).

I love ambient music that politely demands your attention... that happily sits both in the foreground and the background depending on your mood and need at that particular time... this is that kind of music. Wonderfully engaging and evokative walls-of-sound. Lovely.

Pay what you want.

Last up we have Together by Hosannas. Theirs is an enticing form of indie avantpop... that sounds like an urban car journey rather late at night in the not-so-nice part of town. You really need to hear this album up loud... it is rather unique and feels deliciously fresh and new... whilst referencing neatly the past.

What's more... for $10 you can get the CD and a digital download... or you can spend $10 and get the digital download. Next payday I'm dropping $10 for the CD.


A couple of rolls of 35mm film

190211_ Minolta P's #016

I got a couple of rolls of 35mm film developed at the weekend. One was from my Minolta P's panoramic camera... and the other was from my Olympus Trip 35.

190211_ Minolta P's #023

I used Fujicolor ISO200 36exp... and I am really delighted with the outcome. Top two are from the Minolta P's... and the bottom two are from the Olympus Trip 35.

190211_Olympus Trip 35 #004

Click here for the Minolta P's set and here for the Olympus Trip 35 set... and enjoy.


190211_Olympus Trip 35 #024

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I need to concentrate... part 2

I now have an iPhone cover that hides my screen. It is now placed in my bag... with me only check it at breaks.
In addition, I've resurrected my iPod Shuffle... and placed on it all nine of Bruckner's symphonies. I press play & off I go. No screens to distract. No choices to make.
We'll see how it goes.

Posted via email from headphonaught's posterous

Seven questions... with David Wynd aka @phoce

I've had the pleasure of getting to know David Wynd aka @phoce over the last wee while via Twitter. He is an encouragement to me... someone who has desire to move things forward... using all the talents and gifts given to him. I would love to meet with him... drink coffee and talk with him... worship with him.

I caught up with him via email and asked him my seven questions...


1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is David and I am a minister in the Methodist Church.

2) What are you working on at the moment?
A number of things; Starting a new Christian community where I live and work, working with a charity combining football and mentoring, looking at ways of making preaching/church more creative, blogging for Artists for Christ and the network connected with them, messing with stencil art and free art.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

- Name a place that has inspired you.
I love Scotland and particularly Edinburgh

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.
A bit abstract but i am going for grace

4) What drives you to do what you do?
Wanting to see positive transformations in people and places

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?
I want the creative things I do to point towards the possibility of transformation but most of all I want it to ask questions of people and challenge them.

6) What role does community play in what you do?
Vital. Community is so important and finding the right one is not easy. I have moved from one I felt very at home in to one that is very different with and I have had to find other community's to help keep me going in different ways.

7) What is next for what you do?
Lots of exciting things. My wife and I have our first child on the way in May, we should be in the first stages of developing the new community by then as well and there are always lots of other bits of inspiration I want to grab hold of and see where they may take me so I will have to wait and see.


Thank you David... please follow David on Twitter (@phoce)


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Seven questions... with Zora Mae

Zora Mae is an awesome illustrator who I have had the privilege to get to know via Twitter... through her participation in the community of independent musicians, creatives and fans that we are both part of... this includes her involvement with Ambient League through which she has contributed her sound recordings into the mix.

I caught up with her via email... and asked her my seven questions:


1) Who are you and what do you do?

I am an illustrator known as, Zora Mae. I draw robots, critters and other things. My work can be found at my little place on the web.

2) What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I finished illustrations for BugBear, a music venue in London, for their website (Follow them at @BugbearMusic)! I got the gig from @Lextrical who works with @TheBoxIsGone web productions. You should check to see my little BugBears. We are in the process of planning Bugbear t-shirts. Also some of my work can be found at Lextrical's Magic Beans ( I am always working on random bots that I've been posting via twitter (@zoramae8). Eventually they will find a home on my site. Right now I am in the process of setting up shop through Etsy so people can buy a bot and whatever else I can come up with.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

I have a collection of people that inspire my work. Writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, Shel Silverstein, Richard Scary to artist like Miro, Taro Gomi, Istvan Banyai...(I could go on forever.) Music is huge influence in my life that I can't even begin to list. I am enjoying a new part of my art where I am able to combine my love of music with art. For the past 6 months or so, I've been able to chat with a great group of musicians throughout the world and been able to feed off their creative energy and collaborate on projects.

- Name place that has inspired you.

The city. Even though I complain about Chicago, it is intertwined in my work. There are some amazing industrial pockets in Chicago that find their shadows in my work.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.

Metal, cute rolly pollie things and Robots.

4) What drives you to do what you do?

The true drive of my work is to give humor and enjoyment to people. And to give me an excuse on why I don't have a real job :D

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

My work tends to be light hearted but there's some human elements I bring into my work that has some political vibe that one can't help doing. For the most part, my robots deal with what I am going through at the moment. Right now Its their job to go out in the world and make me money.

6) What role does community play in what you do?

A huge part of my community involvement currently is through the internet! Twitter has been a huge help in promoting my work and meeting some great people. If it wasn't for a little monkey @de1bert I wouldn't have half of the work I've created in the past 6 months :D

7) What is next for what you do?

I have an on going project I am working on with Lextrical called "Cir-Cuit" Its a graphic novel, with music. The song that started it all can be heard on my site: I will have some concept art posted soon :) Also with music, I am a member of the @AmbientLeague. I do field recordings, attempt some music writing, and in the future more illustration contribution. Ambient League is a Twitter collective of artists around the globe. Its been a treat to chat and see what we can come up with. So far we have one single out called "The Enemy." More awesomeness in the future :). I am also working on some side projects that will hopefully take in more effect in February/March! TO BE CONTINUED.


Thanks Zora Mae!!! Please follow her on Twitter :: @zoramae8 and check out her illustrations.

Music for my morning commute :: Hans Zimmer's "inception" ost

I have a confession... I haven't seen Inception yet. I have, however, picked up the OST and I love it.
I'm a big fan of the Batman osts that Hans Zimmer collaborated on and the Inception ost is in a similar vein... albeit maybe not as dark.
Zimmer has a real grasp of contrast - soft & loud, slow & fast, build up & slow down, light & dark etc and this ost is a perfect example of his approach. I also love how he combines orchestral with electronic. It makes for a more immersive experience.
It also makes beautiful headphone music for a morning commute.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I really like this idea :: The sabbath manifesto

I like the idea of switching off... although I am terrible at it and really struggle to do it. I like their spirit and commend their motivation.

Imagine, for one moment, what life would be like if we actually could do it? Think about it. Could you do it?


(via with thanks)

- Posted from my iPad using BlogPress -

Live :: Rendezvous, Joe Tinkler, Royal Foundlings & Awaken

130211_ Rendezvous #8

Last night I had the opportunity to meet up with Innes, Caroline and Gregor from eat-a-CD. They were supporting a gig in Bothwell where two of their bands were playing - Royal Foundlings and Awaken.

130211_ Rendezvous #10

First up were a young power-punk band from Skye called Rendezvous (above). The trio really warmed things up and showed spirit. They brought some of their fanbase... and a sense of excitement to the night.

130211_ Joe Tinkler #2

Next up was a young singer-songwriter called Joe Tinkler whose acoustic guitar based songs were so good... they made me put my camera down and pay attention! His sound was enhanced by the drummer of Royal Foundlings on bongos.

130211_ Joe Tinkler #4

After Joe played his set... I was introduced to the entertainment that is Royal Foundlings. We were in their home town and that was apparent by the support they had.

130211_ Royal Foundlings #6

Their intense energy was so infectious... the lead singer was on fire... it was like watching Jack Black in "School of Rock" live... and their keyboard player was off-the-hook crazy.

There was one moment where the leadsinger's guitar wasn't happening and the keyboard player fixed it onstage... whilst the drummer and bassist kept the music going. It was an awesome moment in a very entertaining set.

130211_ Royal Foundlings #9

Nearing the end of their set... they brought on two additional drummers for a banging and deeply euphoric track. Exciting just doesn't cut it. It was pure, unadulterated fun.

After a short thought from the Royal Foundlings' pastor... we were introduced to Awaken.

130211_ Awaken #7

Led by Mark Cameron, their sound is a wonderful complete a full wall-of-sound... post-rock in places with layered guitars and a cello (everything sounds better with a cello). I didn't know how they would better Royal Foundlings but they did... not that it was a competition or anything... they did it in their own way.

130211_ Awaken #30

I was blown away... blown away by the talent on offer... blown away by the spirit of worship on display and the genuine sense of loving Christian community.

I'm not a fan of worship music but the bands I heard last night could really change my thinking. They didn't deal in cliches... but in real and authentic experience... and that's something I can get behind.

A great night all in.

The rest of my photos are on Flickr.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

A wallpaper for St Valentine's Day

Rose Wallpaper (iPad)

OK... so I'm probably going to get a slagging for being "cheap" but Olly and I don't get the whole St Valentine's Day thing. A wife/lover/partner is for life, not just for St Valentine's Day. Its a 365 thing.

That said... I still wanted to let Olly know how much she means to me... so I made this wallpaper. Comes in three flavours... one for her iMac, one for our iPad and one for her iPhone.

After some consideration, I thought I'd share them will you all. Please download them and share them with that special *someone*. Tell them how much they mean to you... not just on St Valentine's Day but everyday.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

alight here vol 0007

Maybe we should have a “Tuneful Thursday” as I always seem to miss “Music Monday”?

Anyway… here is the latest instalment in the “alight here” mixcast series.

As always, I have curated a selection of personal favourites… tracks that have captured my attention of late… tracks that are worthy of your attention.

Please support the artists included within this mixcast by downloading their music and giving where appropriate. We need to support grass-roots independent musicians in this manner… or we’ll be left with guff from the X-Factor.



Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Seven questions... with Todd Elliott aka @Toddbert

I like Todd Elliott aka Toaster's music. I like the fact we met on Twitter and can interact directly. I see this as being the future for the music industry... the music "cottage" industry.

I caught up with Todd via email and asked him my seven questions:


1) Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Todd. I do a lot of things, but I'm mostly answering these questions because of my musical leanings as 'toaster' (

2) What are you working on at the moment?

I'm learning how to use the Octatrack, in the hopes of taking some of my tracks outside the studio and to cafes to play in front of indifferent patrons. I'm also slowly working on new patches and sounds which I'll eventually develop into the follow up to "The Banging Process". I also have plans to release a drone/ambient thing, probably under a different name.

I get bored by using the same approach over and over, and so I am always 'working' on learning some new piece of software or devising controllers or something-- this approach is inspirational, but I also need to be able to replicate things if I want to do a performance, so I am assembling things into a more 'live' context.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

John Cage. He really redefined what music 'meant' for me, in a great number of ways- he was the first artist I heard of who seemed to hear music the same way I did. I don't make music that's 'Cageian' in any real way, but his approaches and philosophies loom large in a lot of things I do.

- Name place that has inspired you.

Places only inspire me when I have experienced something cool in them. I lived in Edinburgh for a time, and used to MC a singer songwriter night there, for example-- while Edinburgh was an amazing place, it was only amazing to me because there was this circle of people who all gathered around to be creative, who invited me into their homes when I was homesick, and so on.

These days, the chair I sit in in my home studio is as inspiring a place as any, insofar as I do all my musical work there, and most of the 'creative people' I know I know through the internet, so…

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.

Without trying to sound too much like a commercial, Ableton Live has proven to be a great, helpful blank canvas on which to paint my bleeps and bloops. I've used it since version 1, and have strayed only a few times.

4) What drives you to do what you do?

I'm fascinated by sound. I'd love for there to be a deep, complex answer to this, but that's all there is to it.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

None, really. Or none that I would communicate out-- I figure once I have released something, it's up to the listener to decide what it means to them, and I'd hate to muck it up for them by telling them that I had a different intent when I was recording it. My songs find their meaning in the ears of the listener.

Don't get me wrong; there is lots of 'message' music that I think is great, but it's not what I do.

6) What role does community play in what you do?

A slowly increasing one. Originally, I more or less decided to release things so friends and a few others could hear it, and eventually I decided I'd like more people to give it a try; the internet has been a wonderful place to connect with other people who do or like similar things, and it's been nice to slowly discover a group of 'personal musicians' interested in listening as well as creating.

7) What is next for what you do?

As I mentioned above, I'd like to try playing a show or two. I'll probably dive a little deeper into Plogue Bidule as I work on the 'drone/ambient' thing. But mostly, I plan to keep playing, and see what develops. Not knowing what's next is sometimes a wonderful thing.


Thanks Todd! Please check out his music:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I need to concentrate… cont (1)

I think this idea on cnet reviews could have potential. I'm going to give it a go tomorrow. Only downsides I see are:

I need to repeat what I've typed into Things
It looks like I'm fidgeting... even though I'm *technically* not.

We'll see if it works.

Stay curious & keep productive

Seven questions... with Lloyd Kinsley aka @lard

Lloyd is an artist who I have never met but consider him a friend and a constant inspiration. He probably doesn't even realise that he has inspired me with some of the things he has said... like chastising me for apologising for not blogging/tweeting because I was spending time with my family. He's a family man and a very good dad at that... his balance is fab as is his artwork. He used to do tees and I regret not getting one.

Anyway... I caught up with Lloyd and asked him my seven questions.


1) Who are you and what do you do?

Lloyd Kinsley - Designer working currently at February London

2) What are you working on at the moment?

My day job keeps a good balance of web, print and other design projects, working for a mixture of high profile clients and also in the non-profit sector.

On a more personal project level I have a to-do list of creative tasks that I seem only to add to and not tick off, but I am working on some illustrations and some merchandise work currently. Ideally I'd have new paintings, sculptures and art projects filing up the hallways of my home but time is not always available.

3) Who inspires you?

I tend to source a lot of my inspiration from a vast amount of RSS feeds from design and art sites. This has a sadistic mix of making you look at how much more people are doing than you are at the same time as stirring you to achieve something of significance yourself.

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

Not an easy one to pick one person specifically. I enjoy the expressive nature of Banksy but not always the work itself, the idea of putting a political/religious statement into your art should inspire us all. Illustrators like Olly Moss and the likes of Matt Stevens inspire me from the point of view that you can see in their work that they have genuine joy in the product. I've always been a comic nerd so Alex Ross never fails to impress. With all things in my life I am ridiculously eclectic so I love both the extravagantly complex art and the subtle simple pieces with equal measure.

- Name place that has inspired you.

No one location has ever been a reason for inspiration and although it will sound sickly sweet and cheesy, I am most inspired when I'm with wife and kids. My children make me believe in the unbelievable and to see the things I used to as a child when I fell in love with art, design and creativity as an ideal. My wife is an amazing painter and she inspires me with her passion for the journey of art. Her happiest moments are in the painting and not the painting itself. Because of my profession I tend to aim to hard for the finished product she inspires me to enjoy and revel the journey taken to get the spark that started it and also to be ok with pasting everything over and starting again.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.

My iPhone. Needs no explanation.

4) What drives you to do what you do?

I love doing what I do. I think if you're an artist or a designer and you fall out of love of doing it, it's probably time to jog on. I'm driven by the moment of 'getting it'. If you're starting a personal project or you're getting a brief from a client and you will just 'get it', have an idea and run with it and enjoy it.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

Fun and thought. Artwork that has clear thought put into it become a visual version of a play on words. If people see something and smile because it has a clever meaning or intention in it. That's a winner for me.

6) What role does community play in what you do?

Loads. I get a lot of feedback and inspiration from being involved in so many circles of artists and designers at home and overseas. I love that I can share the frustrations of software and personal limitations and also be stirred to try something new that's been recommended. Things like Dribbble and other avenues of visual sharing allow creatives to see the working process of others projects and learn.

7) What is next for what you do?

I want to do more of two things in particular. Firstly illustration, I want to do more computer illustration (vector etc.) but also throw myself into ink and the like and get messy with some portraits and concepts. I also want to jump into more merchandise and art based projects, something that mixes art and craft, maybe something etsy'ish. Maybe a kids book too. Oooh, and maybe a few iPhone apps ... and some stencil work and wood sculpture. In short ... lots.


Thanks Lloyd... I look forward to your next.

Follow Lloyd on Twitter :: @lard  and check out his work ::


I need to concentrate…

Here’s a question for you… how do you gain/keep your concentration?

I have a very short attention span. I’m like Doug in ((squirrel)) the film “UP” ((squirrel)). If you haven’t seen the film… and you know you should have… Doug is a dog that talks… and is often distracted by movements and noises. When he is distracted he shouts “Squirrel”. That’s me.

Except the things that distract me aren’t squirrels… although if a squirrel were to appear in front of me whilst I was typing away… I do think it would distract me. No, the things that distract me are Texts... Tweets… Facebook comments… interesting design blog posts… games on "words with friends" and trying to find the perfect song that matches my present mood.

In essence, I am distracted by the “figital” nature of my iPhone4 and my iPods.

I also find instant messaging a distraction… and the ping of an email throws me off course too. Oh and don’t get me started with people… I’m a people person and consider it rude not to respond when I am asked a question.

Whilst the toys maybe new… and the questions are always varied… this isn’t a new occurrence for me – I’ve always had a poor attention span. I wish I could self-diagnose ADHD or something… but I can’t.

So here’s the thing… what do you do to aid your concentration?

I’ve found four things so far that help:
  1. Removing all “push” alerts on my iPhone4 or iPad. I keep the badges but not the pings. This helps. It means my electronic comfort-blankets are NOT ping, ping, pinging me all day long… demanding my attention. I go to them when I want to see if there’s anything new… which is far more figital, if I am honest.

  2. This is where the second aid comes into play… I forward calls from my iPhone4 to my original iPhone. This means I can put my iPhone4 out of reach, physically and mentally, and just have my phone for calls and texts (that reminds me… I need to make sure Olly know this number for texts). My original iPhone has a pay-as-you-go SIM that has a zero balance. This means it doesn’t have a data subscription and, as such, can’t access all the tweets, comments and alluring design posts that act as Sirens enticing me to my productivity doom.

  3. My last point is music… I am a firm believer in music… its my golf! I find listening to certain types of music helps me to concentrate: orchestral movie soundtracks (especially John Williams & Howard Shore)… long-form ambient electronica… deep ambient techno mixes from mixotic… music that doesn’t demand my attention with lyrics or breaks in theme.

  4. Setting short-term goals with rewards helps me too: “do this by 10am” or “do that before I have a cup of tea”… these wee challenges keep me active. I might even reward myself with a wee peak at or my iPhone4 if I meet my challenge. Sometimes.

Hopefully, these tips will continue to work for me. But I am eager to hear if you have anything else that may work? Leave a comment or “@” me.


What we do hasn't changed... how we do it has

Yell have just remade a classic ad... and I really like it!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Everything is a Remix... parts 1 & 2

Food for thought! For more go to

I'll post the 3rd and 4th parts when they become available.

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Thanks to JD for the heads-up.

Yesterday's events

Above is a copy of the poster I was commissioned to created by Katherine Sonntag, prior to her return to New Zealand. This was the third poster I had drafted for her for distribution throughout the West of Scotland division of the Salvation Army.

All three posters have attribution to me and all were done "pro bono" as a means to help a sister out and gain Photoshop experience (please remember I'm a business analyst by training, not a graphic designer).

I took the main picture (its Alex Ramsay's Cornet) and received the picture of the Irish Youth Band from Katherine.

The poster had journeyed through various drafts and approvals from certain members of staff within the Divisional Headquarters (DHQ) prior to its finalisation. Above is what I considered to be a final copy.

060211_ my poster in situ

It would appear not everyone believes in credit where credit is due?!

That is until Olly sent me through the above picture. You should be able to see the fact that my attribution has been defaced with black marker pen.

Upon hearing this, I immediately contacted the person responsible for approving the poster in DHQ to understand if this was something they were familiar with... so I could eliminate whether it was an action sanction by them or it was vandalism within the Corps.

I received the following response:
"Yes I took the decision because as far as I am aware Chris asked you to do it. We never send material out with the persons credit on it we usually do our own."
The response then goes on to ask whether or not I wish the poster to be removed.

The Chris in question is my dear friend Chris Shanks who leads the West of Scotland Youth Band. Whilst Chris had been involved in the design, it was Katherine who had commissioned the work. Not once was I informed by anyone that attributing design credit was an issue. This includes the number of redrafts the poster went through.

I then responded as follows:

"Yes, I am offended by your actions.

Before I continue, please let me explain the context, as I see it:

First off, the poster was created for Katherine Sonntag and Chris Shanks, which by inference, means it was created for DHQ.

Secondly, you have been party to at least one, if not more, reviews of the poster and have had, at these points, the opportunity to state DHQ's policy of not attributing credit for work undertaken. You did not use any of these opportunities to approach me &  request the removal of my name.

Now, my offence comes not because of the fact you have erased my attribution to the work I have undertaken for you (for free, may I add?) but the manner in which you removed my name.

Your approach can be best described as cowardly & Machiavellian. You were given opportunity to request my name to be removed and didn't take it, resorting instead to defacing my work by blanking out my name with black marker pen.

Did I not, at the very least, deserve notification of this action so I wasn't faced with the shock of seeing it firsthand on the notice board at Bellshill? Instead, I faced the shock of seeing my work defaced in this manner, without explanation.

If I hadn't asked, I would have never known. This is a ridiculous situation to be in, especially from a Christian organisation.

The crazy thing is I would have probably acquiesced to your request... if you had asked me and explained your reasoning.

As for the poster, I would prefer you kept it in situ as I think destroying it would be a waste of resources and, as such, poor stewardship on the part of DHQ.

However, please be aware that I will not do any further pro bono work for you, nor will I volunteer for any divisional activities (I will honour my speaking engagement in March).

In addition, my membership of the Salvation Army in Bellshill is in question because I am struggling to serve an organisation that lacks transparency and even basic levels of accountability to the people it is meant to serve."

The reason I have published this is because I want to be completely transparent with all my family and friends... who have shown a level of support and encouragement that has far exceeded my wildest dreams. I want everyone to know the truth and I do not want any void that could be used to propagate gossip or half-truths.

Personally, I don't think it is too much to ask to be credited for work done. I never sought any other compensation. I didn't want to... my work was "for the public good" (pro bono publico) to help out a mate and to help out the organisation to which I identified with.

That said... my point is not that my name has been removed... I'm not that bigheaded to be offended by that. As I said in my response, if they had asked me to remove my credit, I would have probably acquiesced.

My point is the way it was done... with such unscrupulous cunning and lack of consideration for my feelings. This is what has offended me. Did they really think I am myopic enough not to notice their vandalism?

So far... the only response I have received is:
"I acknowledge receipt of your e mail and your comments."

I have made my point and, for me, the situation is settled. I would love an apology and to continue to contribute to the work of the Salvation Army in the West of Scotland... but this seems impossible now. If my poster is taken down and another one replaces it then be assured this wasn't by my request. I wouldn't waste resources like that.

For those of you who have followed my faith journey of late... will know I have not be happy nor settled in the Salvation Army for a while now. I am wondering if this is the final straw?

My sincere thanks to everyone who has supported me in the last day or so. I do not take your love and respect for granted... at all. Please be assured that I will not do anything rash and will seek God's guidance for my life.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

Seven questions... with Emma Boyd aka @emmsy

Three people have seriously influenced my photography... Marc de Ridder, Laura Bridge and Emma Boyd. I have had the privilege of spending time with all three.

Emma is a storyteller whose heart shines through in each and every picture she takes... and I am proud to call her a friend!

I caught up with her (unfortunately via email rather than over a coffee in Glasgow) and asked her my seven questions...


1) Who are you and what do you do?

I am a messed up person in the process of redemption. But you can call me Emma. I'm a visual storyteller with a passion for social justice. Mostly I play this out by taking photographs, writing on a blog, and designing bits and bobs.

2) What are you working on at the moment?

I'm inspired by (moving) film a lot, and currently I'm working on learning Final Cut and how to edit video well. In terms of photography, I'm trying to get a handle on off-camera lighting.

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

Makoto Fujimura [ ] I'm inspired by how he mixes the ancient techniques with the abstract, and by the space it leaves for me to find myself in it.

- Name place that has inspired you.

Chicago. Hands down. The whole city is full of incredible architecture, great museums, people that challenge me, and music that provides the soundtrack for my life.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.

Story Conference. The few days I spent at their first conference blew me away with the creativity of a God who made us in his image.

4) What drives you to do what you do?

The belief that art can change things - first and foremost me.

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

Risk, love, hope.

6) What role does community play in what you do?

Community is my grounding. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum; it grows out of a specific context - one that is shaped by the people around me. Community also plays the vital role of encouraging me to pick up the pieces and keep creating when I hit creative lulls!

7) What is next for what you do?

Pushing myself to see a bigger picture in my work. I'm drawn to the details that we normally miss in our daily rush. But I want to be adapt at seeing the bigger picture too - the vast landscapes, the wide crowds, etc.

In closing, here are two videos I've created recently...

Cheers, mate!


Thanks for sharing Emma!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Seven questions... with Drew Miller aka The Northern Hemisphere

Drew Miller aka The Northern Hemisphere is a interesting chap who I got speaking with on Twitter after downloading his album Everest a wee while back. I find his music compelling and his output inspiring.

I also appreciate his willingness to collaborate. I had the pleasure of working with Adam Howie on the artwork for Drew's recent album Quiet Songs for a Loud Generation. Drew was very receptive to the ideas communicated in the artwork and very grateful too... which, for someone like me, is greatly appreciated!

I caught up with him recently via email and asked him my seven questions...


1) Who are you and what do you do?

Hello! My name is Drew Miller and I'm a full time student as well as a musician in my spare time. I work under the alias The Northern Hemisphere. I've had at least 8 or 9 project name changes in the past but this seemed to fit with what I'm aiming to produce.

A little secret: I write, record and produce everything on my own using just Garageband on my wonderful baby. (my macbook pro, in case you're wondering.)! :-D

I play several instruments including the guitar, piano, mandolin and the alto saxophone.

2) What are you working on at the moment?

I am always multi-tasking whether it be 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. I barely get enough sleep due to insomnia to figure those things out. Just look at my eyelids in my Facebook pictures haha.
As far as music is concerned, I'm already starting work on my 2012 albums. Not sure what the concept is yet. However, I can tell you, to picture something similar to Sigur Ros' record entitled " ( ) ".

3) Who inspires you?

- Name an artist who has inspired you.

I'd have to say either Jack White (of the White Stripes) or Andrew Bird. Both of them are in completely different genres of music. I've always admired them because they aim to create such sonic landscapes of sound, all the while staying within the boundaries of rock, punk, folk and or electronica. You name it, they got it all, and as such they produce something new each time.

Oh oh oh... and Imogen Heap. She's simply awesome! If it weren’t for her album Speak for Yourself I wouldn’t be creating electronica. It's practically mind-blowing.

Albums to check out:
* Elephant by The White Stripes
* Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
* Speak for Yourself by Imogen Heap

- Name place that has inspired you.

I've always been inspired by iceland of all things, as well as the universe (planets, comets etc). Both of which have such inspiring boundless opportunities within themselves that it's practically unfathomable. Iceland is also the only play where you can see Ice & Fire mingle together on the same piece of earth at the same time.

It's been a dream of mine to experience such extremes working together in synchronicity.

- Name some "thing" that has inspired you.

hmm, all things really. Without everything else in the world there wouldn't really be inspiration to draw from.

4) What drives you to do what you do?

What drives me? That's a wonderful question. I'm not quite sure to be perfectly honest. I just go with my gut feeling usually. If i feel that the songs I write don't help me as well as others to be put at ease, I'm not doing my job.

If that's an awkward answer another answer would have to be the thought of no boundaries within music. I know there are rules and such, but as an artist; rules should be broken. I know you should pay attention to them but I don't think i'd thrive without breaking the boundaries of music theory or music composition in general. I in the end just hit record and I go from there. If it fits with what i'm aiming for I'll put it up for download and or critique.

Hopefully that wasn't too long of a response, if you'd like the abridged version, have your people talk to mine and we'll sort things out. hehe :o)

5) What values do you wish your creativity to express?

I want to express a sense of relaxation, meditation, calm, and or shoe-gaze like presence to the music i've written. If you don't feel at ease while listening to my music, I'm not doing my job.

Whenever I hit record, after that I spend at least 4 or 5 days, even sometimes 2 weeks. Trying to get everything to sound the way it should in my own eyes. This is why I'd hate to be on a record label. Too much too worry about, in my humble opinion. Plus, If I want a song to sound like a reggae track, that's what i'll spend months trying to pursue and perfect. That's just an example of how my brain works during the recording and writing process.

6) What role does community play in what you do?

Hmm, I'd have to say friendship and life-long connections are what i'm striving for with this current music project. I never thought i'd get so much praise since I started this project last july. I just hope to keep improving and making an impact on society. Even if it means receiving nothing in return.

Little things are what keep me going throughout life.

7) What is next for what you do?

Only time will tell to be quiet honest. As far as life in general, I'll be finishing up my general studies degree this may, my first college associates degree! Woop, woop! After I hope to transfer to another local college, to start on my Music Engineering bachelors degree. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts behind what I enjoy doing best.


Drew of the Northern Hemisphere


Thanks Drew... here's his links. Take the time to check out him music... I recommend it.


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