Monday, January 29, 2007

2007-01-28 Illustration Friday -- RED -- Rhinoceros-Egret-Dog

Thanks to Illustration Friday, I'm going to be forced to buy biking leathers and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Cos I was strolling down the main aisle of Cresta shopping centre, easel hanging off my shoulder, napsack on my back, my tablet computer ensconced in the napsack's warm, moist, fertile interior. When all of a sudden I thought, 'Hey! It's the Exclusive Books sale! Let me see if there's anything I can put onto my overloaded credit card!'

No sooner had I thought it, than I was upon the rows and rows of sale tables.

And one book called my name.

FREEDOM: Credos From the Road by Sonny Barger.

I bought it. And went to Mugg & Bean to paint my Illustration Friday pic, on the topic 'Red'. As is my wont, I couldn't leave well enough alone and simply interpret the topic in a linear way. Instead, I had to go lateral. Again.

But when I got to Mugg & Bean, my favourite window seat at the table next to the plugpoint was occupied by a woman with loutish kids making smart-alecky remarks that made the woman laugh.

It's sick. Sick.

Sick that someone could sit at my table! Thereby making it impossible for me pull my computer out and start working on my Illo Friday pic.

I was forced into starting Sonner Barger's book.

Sonny barger is the archetypal Hell's Angel. I'm not exactly sure, but I think he started the movement. And he's got some incredible things to say about life and ethics and honesty and laws and treating people well. He's got a philosophy that I could have written. Cos it's completely in line with almost everything I think and do.

All that's missing is my leathers. My bike. And my wandering along the open road.

To be fair to myself, I WAS a biker a long time ago, but I had a pretty narrow escape from a serious injury in a major accident. And my brother, one month after my accident, lost his arm and about a year of his life to hospital recuperation due to his own serious accident.

And one of the bibles of my early adult life remains Robert Pirzig's ZEN & THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE.

Anyway. The woman with the kids wasn't budging. So I decided to move to the other plug point next to the cash register, deep inside the shop. Not a great spot to babewatch. But hey.

And that's where I implemented my take on 'Red'.

Keith, one of the managers there, helped me with lists of animals. There were three categories. Animals whose names started with the letter 'R', those that started with 'E', and those starting with 'D'.

o Red Panda. Rooibok. Raccoon. Rabbit. Rat. Raven. Red Herring.

o Eagle. Eggeater (a type of snake). Eland. Electus Parrot. Elephant.

o Duck. Donkey.

In the end, I chose the Rhinoceros, the Egret, and the common or garden Dog.

So here's my contribution to the world of R.E.D.

By the way... it's my duty to inform you that my button shop is up and running, and causing a stir. Please don't visit it if you are easily offended. It's a little bit like T-Shirt Hell, in that I'm attempting to be as tasteless as possible in some cases. Though there are one or two safe ones.

This painting was made using CorelDraw 10 for the initial design, and ArtRage 2.2 for the painting, on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc (whose battery is wrecked, hence my need to sit near a plugpoint), in Mugg & Bean Cresta, with the first third of FREEDOM: Credos From the Road by Sonny Barger devoured.

Friday, January 26, 2007

0006 Matinee Soup 'Brushing' (with a chat about my first feature film acting role)

I had a great day today.

I had my first ever wardrobe call as an actor in a feature film. My scene will be shot on Monday 5 February.

A coupla weeks ago, I went to an audition for a part that my agent was hesitant to send me to, and the casting director was hesitant in seeing me for.

Shane (my super-agent) was kinda, 'Roy, this is a bit of a HECTIC role. And I don't know if it's your cup of tea. Are you okay with semi nudity?'

Christa, South Africa's top casting director, was kinda, 'Hmmm. Roy. Are you SURE you're okay playing this part? If you GET the part, will you realllly be comfortable doing it?'

The audition itself was fun. And the girl who was reading opposite me was utterly scrumptious. And Damon, my best buddy and horror script writing partner was behind the camera (he's one of Christa and Digby's regulars).

Afterwards, Damon said, 'Dude, if you DON'T get this part, I'll... well, I'll... whatever. You nailed the audition, dude. Spot on.'

So I got a call from Shane a few days ago, saying, 'You got it, Roy. You're the Sugardaddy in Darryl Roodt's latest feature film! Congrats!'

I said something similar to, 'Yeeeehaaaa! Fuckin' ay!!!! Asssskicker!' Something like that. I forget exactly.

And Shane said, 'Underpants.'

I said, 'Huh?'

He said, 'I've negotiated that you won't have less than your underpants on.'

'I don't mind nudity,' I said.

He said, 'I've discussed it with Christa, and she agrees. Underpants. Nudity can definitely come back to haunt you later.'

So this is the scene I'm in. Yup... it's ONE scene. I'm a bit player. I'm the mean muthafucka client of a prostitute. She's late. I'm waiting. She arrives. And I get her to start giving me a blowjob. But she's reluctant. So I get a little, uh, nasty. And some older woman comes into the room. It's her mother. So I attempt to 'persuade' the mother to join in on the fun. Which is when the gun comes out, and the knee makes contact with the only scrotum in the place.

And, as of today, I know EXACTLY what that scrotum is going to be wearing. An extremely garish pair of scants. Striped. Loud. Pimpish. And the rest of me is going to have nothing on except a gold chain.

All of which has NOTHING to do with my sixth installment of MATINEE SOUP. But hey.

I painted this one on... wait for it... my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using ArtRage 2.2 with the Uncut psychedelic hard rock cd playing in the background. No prostitutes, toothbrushes, or underpants were handled in the making of this pic. Actually... I may have handled the underpants a little. Just a little.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lu -- Tattoo Concept sketch -- with notes

Lu is a manager at Look 'n Listen in Cresta. He and I started chatting when my special order of the band SUN KIL MOON arrived.

He said, 'Yeah! When I saw that someone else in the world was into Sun Kil Moon, I thought, "Hey! There's hope for music in this country!" And then when I overheard you asking about Micah P Hinson, I thought, "I've gotta talk to this guy." Yeah!'

So we started chatting. He's a muso, into roots music and alt.rock. When I showed him the list of artists I was steadily trying to track down, he knew almost every one of them. (And, uh, almost every single one of them was unavailable in this country. But hey.)

And then he asked what I do, and I told him I'm an artist. And showed him my 'Right Arm' tattoo. And he told me about his idea for a tattoo. So I said I'd give it a shot, with embellishments.

So this is the result. Lu's original brief was for a tower with two instruments of power, like a hammer and an axe, or something like that, with energy radiating from the tower.

It's for his upper arm, so all of the elements going off the edge of the page are meant to go all the way round the arm. For me, that sorta roots the tower to his arm, and seats it well. It's anchored, potent. And the arms holding the instruments of power are kinda like musicians' arms. And the instruments are musical instruments.

This is really just a raw and rough concept design. It's nowhere NEAR what the tatt itself would look like. But hey. Things have gotta start somewhere.

I've just sent it to him. So I'm awaiting his response. Chances are it won't be totally to his taste. Cos I've added loads of my own mythology into it.

I sketched this in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Paul recommends: 'The Good The Bad & The Queen' -- Damon Albarn's supergroup

I thought I'd reproduce this missive from my buddy Paul in London (that's a pic I made of him when I stayed at his flat for a coupla weeks some time ago).

Paul was my best friend up to Grade 2 in primary school, before he moved to a different school. I trust his musical judgement. And have in fact 'discovered' joys and wonders thanks to his recommendations. I put 'discovered' in inverted commas cos HE did the discovering on my behalf.

I'm gonna go and buy this album at the next opportunity.

Dear fellow music lovers,

Please forgive the group mail, but I feel it is my moral duty to tell you that I have heard the first great album of the year, nay the greatest album since the heady OK Computer (not counting, of course, Rufus Wainwright's Want One/Two which you probably know is my all time favourite album). As someone slightly prone to the odd bout of hyperbole, you may be tempted to take this recommendation with a spade full of salt, but I really can assure you that The Good The Bad & The Queen is a masterpiece of modern melancholy.

You will know that TGTB&TQ is Damon Albarn's 'supergroup', including Paul Simonon (the Clash), Simon Tong (The Verve) and Tony Allen (Afrobeat). Albarn can come across as self important and smug, but on the strength of his work with Gorillaz and now TGTB&TQ, he more than deserves your respect.

There's an effortlesss melding of Victoriana (circus sounds, gas works, dank skylines) and the apocolyptic present here, held together by a superlative Dangermouse production employing warm swathes of electronica and live organic session playing. The reference points are Gorillaz' El Manana, and Blur's This Is A Low (the highpoint of the Parklife album). Imagine, also, Massive Attack channelling The Specials, David Lynch directing Radiohead. The alchemy that results is all the more impressive for its lightness of touch, a playfulness almost, that belies the undercurrents of malaise.

But a great record is not composed of soundscapes alone. There are songs here of rich melody and canny imagery under which flows a current of dislocated yearning. Pretentious this may sound, but this album seems to have mainlined the Modern Condition, the fractured experience of big city living. Like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, it feels complete in and of itself, a statement plucked from the ether. A contemporary album, yet a timeless one.

I cannot praise this record more. Buy it. Put it on late at night as the sleet falls from the winter sky. Feel your heart expand. Give thanks for the little moments of sheer joy that take us by surprise.

And if you don't like it, well then you can just *&&%^%$!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2007-01-23 Illustration Friday -- Super Hero (anagram) O Her Purse

I reallly really reallllly didn't want to do a Super Hero for this week's Illustration Friday topic: 'Super Hero'.

My solution came pretty quickly. I decided to do a manual anagram of the letters, and the one that satisfied me intellectually was this one: 'O! Her purse!'

The next challenge was working out how to illustrate that.

So I did what any self-respecting new-media-liberal does. I turned to the Creative Commons. Using the beta version of the Flickr Foto Finder, I looked for images that I may use commercially and that I may alter. ('Commercially', cos I'm now offering art prints of my paintings for sale -- email me if you're keen, and 'alter', cos I mostly take liberties with the works I use as inspiration.)

And that's how I came up with a pretty funny photo of a woman with a little dog in her purse. It's by a gal with a pretty funny profile. Her name is 'Malingering' (aka Irreverent). The photo is titled: 'at least it's not a pink pup purse' .

For me, the presence of the dog is what made this pic such a 'YESSSSSS!' for me. It kinda links in to the super hero theme, cos it's about this little innocuous animal who THINKS he's a super hero. And his leggie babe owner probably regards him in the same light.

I opted to use a completely different style to my normal mode.

In this one, I did very loose line drawings as the top layer, then immediately set them to a low opacity, so that I could start blocking in colour without paying too much attention to the line. I decided before starting that this one would have no line art in the final.

I then started working from background through to foreground, making everything pretty messy and shoddy and inaccurate. I used only the roller tool and eraser for this entire picture.

Each colour got a new layer. And each colour was sliced back with the eraser set to the thinnest possible width. Kind of like a needle scraping away at a piece of scraperboard.

I ended up with about twenty or thirty layers, which I only merged down when I was happy with my look.

The little messy bits of erasings are left in on purpose. I wanted this pic to show my process, to have evidence of being worked. And more than that, to give it the sense that it actually WAS handmade. I kinda WANT people to know that this isn't some sort of computerised conversion of a photo into an artwork thing. It's actually my eye, my judgement, my brushstrokes.

I changed the composition to suit my needs. And I've used the background to lead us directly to the woman's face. I wanted this because her face is in a dominant position at the confluence of a horizontal fifth, and a vertical third.

But the real hero of the piece is the crazy super hero dog in the purse. Which is why he's a straight drop down the woman's arm, down in the middle of the pic. This is NOT a great place for him to be in traditional composition. Which is why I strengthened the lines leading to the woman's face.

Im not sure if I'm making sense here. What I'm TRYING to say is that the compositional WEAKNESS of the dog's placement BECOMES the punchline, thanks to the strength of the woman's face in conjunction with the title of the piece. (That's also why the skirt and purse are so much darker than anything else on the page. To make sure that dog can't be missed.)

As usual, I painted this in a coffee shop (this time, my usual local haunt, the Mugg & Bean in Cresta), on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using ArtRage 2.2. A gorgeous lass I've dated a few times asked me whether or not I get paid to mention the hardware and software I drive. The answer is no. I do not receive ANY remuneration, or favours, or anything else from Toshiba or Ambient Design. I'm a paying customer. And I just love the products. And I'm keen to let people into my process. So I disclose stuff. Thanks for asking, Sandi!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

'Roy Blumenthal -- The Movie' -- The Soundtrack of My Life

Hmmmm. Here's one of those viral tag things that actually caught my attention and seems worth doing.

I read Victoire's soundtrack, and thought I'd give it a shot.

Here's what you do...
  • Take your mp3 player, and put it on shuffle.

  • For each 'act' in the movie of your life, write down the song playing on your mp3 player.

  • Add a short 'interpretation' of what that song means to you in the context of the act (this is my addition to the game).

So. Here's my soundtrack...

01. Opening Credits: 'Only You' by Portishead

'We suffer every day... what is it for...' Hehehehehe. Part of the opening lyrics. So. This song portends a life of misery and suffering, with 'only you' able to help me out of my misery. I wonder who this 'you' is?

02. Waking Up: 'Colours' by Ayub Ogada

This is gentle world music. A very emotive track. Killer dude's voice. It could actually be a lullaby. Suggests that things start smoothly in this life of mine. That I wake up easily and quietly. But knowing me, knowing my history, I'd say it's a false idyll. Cos in actual fact, my mother is already an alcoholic as I'm born, and my father is a wifebeater. So while all's seemingly well in my world, there's this underbelly lurking.

03. First Day at School: 'X&Y' by Coldplay

'I dive in at the deep end... you become my best friend'. Yeah. It WAS the deep end. I was petrified of school. My first day, I clung to my mom. And at the door of the classroom, I wedged myself into the doorframe, and it took two teachers to pry me loose. I was crying like crazy. I think it set the scene for Miss Light to hate me. One good thing about my mom is that she taught me how to read by the time I was three years old. Which in the South African schooling system, in a Germiston government school, was NOT such a great thing. Cos I was considered 'too big for my boots'. And when it took me three minutes to complete a writing exercise that took the rest of the class 30 minutes, I was forced by Miss Light to stand in the corner INSIDE A DUSTBIN. Coldplay is singing the phrase, 'Drifting into space', as I type. Yup.

04. Falling in Love: 'Bring It On' by Gomez

Two words... Hayley Moffat. I fell in love with her in Standard One. And have been in love with some version or other of her ever since. I often wonder what became of her. Gomez sings, 'I've been walking far too long... drag my feet like everyone.' This song is passion-filled, but it's an underground passion, contained mainly in the lead singer's voice. Cos it's also filled with weariness.

05. Fight Song: 'Greetings To the New Brunette' by Billy Bragg.

'Shirley... it's quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room. You're my reason to get out of bed before noon.' This is one of my favourite songs of all time. I can sing this song in the shower on infinite repeat. I love love love it. 'Shirley... sexual politics has left me all of a muddle... We are joined in the ideological cuddle.'

So what's it got to do with fighting? Hmmm. Gotta think about the connections here. I guess it's about yearning. Yearning for a better life with a girl I love.

Back in primary school, I turned into a bit of a bully-basher. My dad was a ruffian, and he taught me and my brother how to fight pretty effectively. His advice was, 'If the guy's bigger than you, climb onto a wall with a brick in your hand. When he walks past the wall, jump on him and smash his head in with the brick.' I've never done that, but the principle is sound. I've used the principle.

So my own reality is that I was a kind of superhero in my own world, which was something I did to makeup for a pretty bad childhood.

06. Breaking Up: 'Treasure' by Perplexa

This band makes very edgy industrial-tinged sweet music. It's definitely edgy. The lyrics are kinda mumbled on this track. It sounds like someone making excuses for something. Sigh. Breakups. I've had a few of those. Some long-ish relationships. But quite a lot of ones that didn't make it.

07. Prom/Matric Farewell: 'Zahrafat Al Sa'id (Rejoicing in Upper Egypt)' by Musicians of the Nile

Ah. It was fun. The girl that I took to the dance was a blind date that a friend of mine organised. I don't even recall her name. I bought the most unbelievably horrid Pierre Cardin jacket for the occasion. It was hideous. Ultra thing vertical stripes. White alternating with salmon pink. What the hell was I thinking??? I look like an idiot. The girl is wearing a holy-moly-wow!!! red dress. I didn't even get to kiss her, cos I was too shy. In fact, I only got laid for the first time when I was repeating second year engineering at Wits. Now THAT was memorable. This music is percussion-based, Arabic. Some of my favourite ambient stuff. I actually use this track quite a lot when I do ka huna massage.

08. Life’s Okay: 'Stranger in the House' by Elvis Costello

This is one of Elvis's country-esque songs. Crappy slide guitar all the way through. But, as usual, killer lyrics. 'I get the feeling that I don't belong here. That there's no welcome in the window anyway. And I look down for a number on my keychain, cos it feels more like a hotel every day.' So yeah... to anyone looking at me... life's okay. But in reality? I've fought depression and anxiety my whole life. Still fighting.

But by this point in my life, leaving school, studying engineering, things are pretty hectic. I'm eighteen or nineteen. I get home from varsity one day to find the Sheriff of the Court driving away. There's a writ nailed onto the front door. I'm named as the person whose goods are being attached. I'm in debt for R300 000. A debt I signed for when I was thirteen. My dad handed me some piece of paper to sign way back then, and I did.

I go inside, and look for him. He's bankrupt yet again, so he's not working. I find him hiding from the sheriff in a cupboard in his bedroom.

He's a man I've seen break someone's jaw with one punch, and continue smashing the guy on the ground. I saw that when I was around 11 years old.

I confront him. We're nose to nose. He loses his temper and takes a swing at me. Without even moving my head aside, I swat his hand away, and tell him to TRY and take another swing. He's around 58 years old at this point, and still does twenty pushups at will. He glares at me, and then walks away. A week later, I move out of home into a commune in Yeoville. I drop out of university shortly after.

09. Mental Breakdown: 'Throughout the Dark Months of April and May' by The Cocteau Twins.

Hmmm. What a melancholy song! Phshew. Apt.

1989. I'm twenty years old. I've been called up for National Service in the South African Defence Force. I face the following options:

o Leave the country.
o Stay in the country and draft-dodge.
o Continue with tertiary education.
o Declare my refusal to serve in the SADF, and get a mandatory 6 year jail sentence.
o Serve in the army, but as a conscientious objecter.
o Serve in the army as a normal conscript.

I'm a student leftie at this point, albeit a cynical one. I'm a member of the End Conscription Campaign. I consult with some character at a clandestine meeting. And he gives me the lowdown on all of my options. And under his guidance, I opt for 'serving in the army', as a 'conscientious objector'. He gives me an army rule book, and tells me to learn it off by heart. And he gives me a typed sheet with the steps I have to take in order to be an objector within the army. It clearly states 'conscientious objector' in the section that says, 'Declare to the officer commanding of your unit that you are a conscientious objector, and that you refuse to bear arms in an apartheid army'.

I get to Kimberly. I get issued with my rifle. This will be one of only two times I ever touch the rifle again. The second time is when I hand it back after basic training.

I go to the officer commanding. He is the Commandant in charge of 1 Maintenance Unit. He has a walrus moustache. He has big game heads mounted on his walls. He has hunting rifles under the heads. I salute him. He salutes me back. He offers me a seat.

'Yes, Private Blumenthal,' he says.

I say, 'Commandant, I am a conscientious objector, and I will not bear arms in an apartheid army.'

His eyes narrow, and I realise that I've just been buttfucked by the End Conscription Campaign. I realise, in the narrowing of his eyes, that there's something terribly wrong.

He says to me, inexplicably, 'Private Blumenthal... Do you mean "conscientious" objector, or "religious" objector?'

And I swallow my panic, and say, 'I mean religious objector, Commandant.'

He says, 'I'm relieved, Private Blumenthal.' And he points out of his door. And there are two red-bereted troops standing at attention at a door. 'See those two soldiers? They're military police. If you'd MEANT "conscientious" objector, I would have had to call them in and send you to prison for six years.'

And so, Roy Blumenthal, scurrilous half-Jew, chorister in an Anglican high school, atheist (or agnostic, at best), becomes a 'religious objector'. And has to invent a religion.And be a pacifist. Which I'm not.

And is suddenly the most profoundly alone person in existence. Insanity. Insanity squared. With at least two psychotic episodes under duress. One near-death experience. All of it tightly tightly tightly controlled by the strongest force of will in the world (my own). What I've come through lets me know that NOONE will fuck with me and live. I'm one of the most hardcore motherfuckers I know. And I know this very well indeed.

10. Driving: 'Got the Time' by Joe Jackson

Ah! Out of the army. 'Sit down, got another letter to write...' Yup. I'm a writer. I've been studying at Unisa while I was in the army. And I'm now free. And I'm driving a Fiat Uno, which I'll own for around 10 years before progressing to a little red convertible sports car.

Time is ticking. But I'm allowing myself the time and space to learn as much as I can. I'm an avowed autodidact. And I'm soaking up knowledge. I become an advertising copywriter. And I get headhunted to Hunt Lascaris FMC. A HUGE ego boost. The best agency in the world at that point wanted ME. Yeah! And I flew.

Time. Ticking. I become a hot performance poet. I start writing stuff other than poetry. I write a novel. I write a screenplay. I become a filmmaker.

And now, years later, I'm a fulltime artist, living my art in prosperity and abundance, even though I could do with getting my credit card debt down, and my overdraft shrunk. But I've got time. And I'm using it nicely.

11. Flashback: 'Window on the World' by Bright Blue

Takes me straight back to the army. Oh man. And before the army. I interviewed David Bruce for WITS STUDENT newspaper just before he went to jail for six years as the first objector to the SADF. Interviewing him is what decided me NOT to follow that route. I realised that this gentle dude was going to get completely mindfucked by the jail system when he went in. And I met him years later, after his release. And he's NOT the same dude he was going in. He's damaged.

Bright Blue. Wow. I believe they're one of the bands that changed South Africa and got rid of apartheid. And this song is one of my all time favourite songs. 'For the young men marching everywhere, trying their best to escape. I'm watching it all from my window on the world.'

I saw Bright Blue live at Jamesons in Joburg city centre just a week before I started my army 'sentence'. I cried all the way through the gig. And I took them to the army with me. And stayed sane cos of them. Thanks guys. You saved my life. You and Jennifer Ferguson (cos of 'Dickie Baby'). Thank you. And thanks for changing the country. (I'm crying now as I type. Hard hard hard days.)

12. Getting Back Together: 'You're Pretty Good Looking' by The White Stripes

'Oh yeah you're pretty good looking for a girl... But your back is so broken...' I had a long relationship with a beautiful artist, decades older than me. She taught me pretty much everything I needed to know about THINKING. And sex. And liberation. It was a difficult relationship. She'd been married for years. The marriage was largely dissolved by the time I came onto the scene. I had been seeing her for a year when her son died in a car prang. It fucked her over completely. Our relationship lasted a full three years, with a little six month gap in the third year, when we broke up. OF COURSE it was unsustainable. But I was young, and king of the world, and thought it didn't matter that I was 21 and she was 49. It mattered. She knew. She was wise. I have her art on my wall. She was my first true love.

13. Wedding: 'Volcano' by Damien Rice

'Don't throw yourself like that, in front of me. I kissed your eyes and mouth. Is that all you need?'

Wedding? Ain't gonna happen. I don't believe in the institution. It's a crock of shit. And I'm totally opposed to it. I'm polyamorous. And at best, I subscribe to the pagan seven-year. That's where partners commit to a 'marriage' for seven years, at the end of which they either continue for another seven years, or they part.

14. Birth of a Child: 'We Suck Young Blood' by Radiohead

Probably not gonna happen. I'm not keen to bring kids into a world at war. I believe we're in the last world war on this planet. It's happening as we speak. And the key player in it is the American right wing and the rise of Islam.

I'm an adult child of an abusive family. And I don't want to perpetuate any cycle of abuse. I don't WANT to bring a kid into the world to be abused. I don't THINK I'll be an abusive father. But I can't guarantee it. I simply don't KNOW enough.

I do know that I'm aware and alert and awake. I do know that I'm incredibly gifted in communicating with children. I do know that I'm NOT my mom or dad. But I also know that the co-dependent hooks were driven deep into my core. And they tear at my flesh every day and night of my life.

15. Death Scene: 'Weeping' by Qkumba Zoo

Wild stuff. My second-most favourite song of all time is the Bright Blue original. And it's so apt for the death scene. 'I knew a man who lived in fear. It was huge, it was angry, it was drawing near. Behind his house, a secret place, was the shadow of the demon he could never face.'

I don't think I need to say anything at all about this song. Except to say thanks again to Bright Blue for smuggling Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika into this song, and giving hope to the ordinary people of this country when the censors didn't spot it, and it made the radio charts, and spread and spread and spread. Only now this country faces the spectre of Jacob Laduma Zuma being our next president. And people like Tony Yengeni walking free. We're in trouble. A country that I sacrificed stuff to make better. It feels so awful.

Actually, I will say something. When I die, I want to know that I did NOT build walls to hide behind. I want to know that I spent my life breaking walls down, and shining light for other people too. That's why I'm an artist. I want people to be able to avoid the horrors.

And thanks to Kevin and Jeanne (as they were once known, when they were in a folk band called Ocean Road, a band I shared a stage with at the Black Sun theatre in Rockey Street in Yeoville so many years ago) for such a beautiful rendition of this amazing song.

16. Funeral Song: 'The Devil's in the Details' by Lowen & Navarro

Ag. Wrong song. I wish it could have been Shriekback's 'The Cradle Song'. The chorus is so beautiful for endings... 'May the fire be your friend, and the sea rock you gently. May the moon light your way, till the wind sets you free.' But yeah, I suppose 'The Devil's in the Details' is apt. It's about the sting lurking.

But here's the thing. For me... no funeral. I've been to only one funeral in my life, and that was my older-lover's son's funeral. It's the last funeral I will ever go to. And that includes my own. Cos there won't BE a funeral for me. I'm not interested in that institution. I think it's a hurtful institution. I think there are better rituals to work through someone's death. I think there are better ways to acknowledge someone's life.

I am donating my body to science. And I want my friends to know that I'm not dishonouring them by asking not to have a funeral. They can have a party somewhere without me. And they can laugh and cry and have fun and seduce strangers and just be cool about it all.

17. End Credits: 'To Love Someone' by Slobberbone

Jeez. I've just googled this song to try and find out who did the original. Can't crack it. Someone like Percy Sledge or something like that. This version is pretty cool. It's from an UNCUT magazine sampler, and it's the only Slobberbone song I've ever heard. I think it's a pretty neat closing to my film. 'What good will it do if I can't have you? You just don't know what it's like to love somebody the way I love you.' May it all have a happy ending. May my life in art give me some light moments. May my journey out of my abusive childhood bring me love and light and joy.
So. There were have it. A musical journey through Roy Blumenthal. A bit more stirring and painful than I would have imagined such an exercise would have been. But a good eye-opener. It's a pretty cool thing to do. Give it a try.

Friday, January 19, 2007

0005 Matinee Soup 'Throw'

0005 Matinee Soup 'Throw', originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

Matinee Soup (Set)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An open letter to my friends (and others) exhorting them to buy my buttons! Now!


You are truly, deeply, authentically, one of my best friends ever!

[INSERT NAME HERE] -- I would NEVER think of spamming you!

Having said that, [INSERT NAME HERE], you KNOW how much I love you! (With condoms, of course!) And for THAT reason, I'm just INFORMING you that IF YOU TAKE ACTION NOW, you'll be able to BUY MY BADGES at the ridiculously low price of $3 per badge!!!

Some of them are offensive! And some are kinda okay. Depending on who you are, some will be more offensive than others.

And they're going to be getting MORE outrageous. Cos I'm designing more all the time.

I CAN promise you that I'm aiming at getting onto the hitlists of:
  • The Central Intelligence Agency
  • The National Rifle Association
  • The American Veterans for the Eradication of Leftie Button Designers
In fact, if my buttons are bland, boring, or non-offensive to a democratic majority of people visiting the button shop... well, [INSERT NAME HERE], I will volunteer to suck George W. Bush's testicles, and then sell the resulting stained dress on eBay, and donate the proceeds to the Organisation for the Torture, Humiliation and Other Mild Discomfort of Iraqi Prisoners on American Soil.

So, to that end, I'm going to be blogging my rough designs and asking people like you, [INSERT NAME HERE], to comment on them.

I WANT to know if they're even slightly offensive.

I'd like them to be MORE than that.

But slightly offensive is better than nothing. So leave comments. TELL me which ones 'move' you.

So please add my blog to your RSS feeder so that my new button ideas reach you even in your sleep. Cos that's where they're reaching ME.

The examples here are two of my new ideas for offensive button that'll make it to the shop. They're not designed yet. They're just rough scamps.

That's enough for now, [INSERT NAME HERE].

And remember, I love you!


In Alabama.

Behind the trailer.

Blue skies

PS: The button shop is at

PPS: Buy my buttons now, you stinking miser!

PPS: Thanks to Shawn Kopel for declaring something like that 'Jesus' line to those two Jehova's witnesses back in 1990. You rock, boy! And thanks to ArtRage for being such an awesome piece of painting software. I'm using it for pretty much all my work.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Outrageous, lewd, rude, liberated badges designed by Roy Blumenthal -- on sale now!

Ah! I'm an excited fellow! That's because my shopfront on the website is now alive and kicking.

When I saw the site, I knew that I was basically a goner. Ideas immediately started flooding into my brain. And thanks to the fact that I have a tablet pc and ArtRage, I'm able to paint up my thoughts. And in fact, every single one of these badges is painted up by hand. I'm a lettering fiend, so all of the typography is painted too.

Just in case you're American and confused, the DESIGNS are hand-painted. The BADGES themselves, the things you purchase, are printed. So just put your lawyer's speeddial number AWAY and go and sodomise an Iraqi prisoner. Thank you. Right. Back to my sales schpiel.

And as a buddy of mine said when I showed him the designs, 'Roy, you have a VERY busy mind. And it's VERY dark in there.' I don't know WHAT he could have meant. Do you know?

If it's not clear to you by now, or if this is the first post of mine you've ever seen, you'll know that I'm a pretty perverted leftwinger. I'm also a commited feminist. One who plays BDSM-BDSM every now and again with willing participants. One who is exploring polyamory as a lifestyle of choice.

Which means it should come as no surprise to you that many of my badges will be overtly political, outrageous, even sick. (And possibly even totally inexplicable.)

You'll also notice the feminist badges. 'My other breast is also a Porsche' is basically meant to be worn on the breast by women who are sick of men not being able to meet their eyes cos they're glued to the cleavage.

My 'Condoms Make Me Horny' badge is a political response to the South African HIV/AIDS pandemic. We're in DEEP trouble.

Jacob 'Laduma' Zuma, who is campaigning to become our next president, and is LIKELY to get elected into that position, declared in court during his controversial rape trial that after he had sex with the woman he knew had HIV/AIDS, he took a shower, because that would prevent transmission of the disease.

See what I mean? We're fucked, aren't we?

It's not JUST a political response. Condoms actually DO make me horny. Hehehehe.

Five people so far, out of around 20 that I've shown the designs to, have chuckled at the 'I see your point duo'. The other 15 have looked bewildered, and moved onto the next designs.

The one that seems to be getting the biggest laugh is the 'Breast Porsche' one.

And for some reason, 'Button Pushers of the World Unite' one is getting belly laughs.

I'd love to know which of these (if any!) appeal to you. And which of them are outrageous to you. I do assure you that if none of these are offensive to you, that WILL change.

One of the pairs I've come up with, which I'm busy designing now, has ALREADY caused outrage in a few of the people I've shared the concept with.

They say, 'Roy, do you WANT the Americans to hate you? Do you WANT the CIA to kill you?'

For instance, there's a follow up to 'Hide Erect Nipples'. It's this: 'And Osama'.

See? It's not just Charles Bronson who had a death wish!

Some technical information for you.
  • The badges are all printed and manufactured by
  • They're one-inch in diameter.
  • And they're US$2.99.
  • I get a whopping 25% of the purchase price.
  • Which translates to the overwhelming sum of 75c.
  • So make me wealthy!
  • Purchase a badge!
  • Maybe even purchase two of them!

I'm going to issue two warnings to you.

WARNING 1: When you go to the site, be prepared to stay there for at least two or three hours. There are hundreds of badges on there from artists around the world. There is some stuff that WILL blow your skirt back. And that's just MY designs!

WARNING 2: If you're an artist, all you need is a PayPal account and some designs to open a shop on And I tell you this now so that you can't say, 'Roy, why didn't you WARN me?' -- IF, I say IF you start designing badges, you will be caught in the vice-like grip of insanity. The ideas DO NOT STOP! Have a notebook with you EVERYWHERE. Last night I woke up twice to scribble thoughts down. And they made me laugh. So I didn't get much sleep. Dammit.

Oh... one last thing... the folks at have made it really easy to buy badges in bulk. You'll notice funny icons on the checkout cart. They say things like, 'Free shipping' if you order a specified number of badges. And 'Double your order' when you hit another point.

So if you've got gift shopping to do, and you need to buy stuff for people who have everything (no, Mr Zuma... not YOU; we KNOW you don't have EVERYTHING, least of all HIV/AIDS, a brain, a social conscience, or a reigned-in, 'no-means-no' prick) -- this is pretty much the site to do that shopping.

Oh, a post-last thing... if you click any of these buttons, you'll go straight to the cart on my shopfront page. And you can spend spend spend! Thanks for reading. Now go and buy buttons. MY buttons!

2007-01-14 Chris and Vicky

2007-01-14 Chris and Vicky, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

Chris came across my photostream some time ago, and asked me if I do commissions. At that point, I did them, but for free. So I said, 'Sure! Email me some source pics, and I'll see what I can do.'

So he emailed me some pics, and they weren't really what I required. And he said he'd mail me some more. And I said I'd look at his photostream, and somehow it turned into a stalemate.

Then I actually WENT to his photostream, and found several dazzling pics of Vicky. But not too many dazzling ones of him. And then I came across one showing them having a picnic.

It's a terrrrrrrible picture to work from, cos their faces and bodies are half-in, half-out of light. The trees are casting dappled shadows over them. So it's reallllly tough to get any sort of detail out of it.

So I used it as a basic placement reference, and used some of the other pics of them to estimate the details. I THINK I've captured Chris quite nicely. And I've got Vicky's basic facial structure. But I'm not entirely certain she'll be flattered by my depiction of her. (Vicky... I apologise in advance!!!)

Hold thumbs with me! Heheheheehe! Cos I'm sending this to them tonight.


Over the Christmas holidays, and in particular, while I was sick with stomach flu, I pondered this whole issue of payment for my artworks.

As you possibly know, I'm a firm supporter of the Creative Commons movement. And almost all of my recent pics are online on my Flickr gallery at very high resolution. Big enough for them to be printed out on A2 paper with NO loss of sharpness.

So here's what I've come up with.

If anyone asks me to do them a portrait, I'll happily do so. I'll treat it as if it were a paying job. Which means I'll crack it within a week of 'being commissioned'. (I apologise for taking so long with this one, Chris and Vicky.)

What the person will get for free is the high resolution image. They can then make prints of it, put it on t-shirts, mugs, bedroom ceilings, whatever. That's their business.

And here's how I can possibly make a little income from doing the stuff I love...

I will happily make A2 prints on acid-free art paper, using archival quality inks, and sign the print. This will be part of a limited edition. I'm not certain how many prints I'll limit each edition to, but I'm thinking 50 prints on art paper, and that's the end of the edition.

The person who'll do my printing is Dennis da Silva at Silvertone Fine Art Photography Printing. HIs international artist clients include an acquaintance of mine, the extraordinary photographer, Roger Ballen.

I'm thinking of pricing my prints at around R1 500 per print plus shipping, in an edition limited to 50 art prints. That's approximately US$215, GB£110, EURO170.

How does that sound? Please leave comments, and let's start a conversation on this. I'd love to know if this sounds realistic to you. Or if it's complete lunacy. The market must speak to me!! Heheheheeh.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my beloved Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, over many days, in different coffee shops all over Johannesburg.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

2007-01-13 Illustration Friday -- Eighties

When this Friday's topic for Illustration Friday arrived in my inbox, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do.

The topic is '80s'. (Note to Illustration Friday... there's no apostrophe in '80's'. The apostrophe indicates the possessive. Not the plural or collective. It's simply '80s'. See?)

My interpretation of this was to hunt for someone in their eighties, and paint that person.

So I did what any self-respecting supporter of the Creative Commons movement does...

I went to the web, and found pics that are released under the CC 'Attribution' license. I did this by using the beta version of the 'Flickr Photo Finder'.

I typed in my keyword, which was 'elderly' (click on this link to see the results). And found the pic of my dreams.

It's titled 'Christian Nursing Home', by sheilaz413. (That's top left in my composite pic.)

That's an old woman, an Altzheimer's sufferer. She's tied to her bed with a sheet so that the nurses can administer her medications. Wow.

Part of the beauty of the original photo is that Sheila has soft-focussed the woman's face. And if you squint, you can see her youthful beauty. This old woman was one unbelievable hottie in her day. And it's still there in her face.

I've made two versions of the pic...

There's a painted colour one (click on each of the pics to see the full-sized original), which for me is very atmospheric, and really captures something fierce in her face. And the crazy knot around her wrist! Sheesh.

I purposefully worked in purples and blues for the room and bedclothes, with a washed out brownish palette for her skin. I wanted to indicate the emotional coldness of the space. And the life-force still in the old woman.

And there's a line-art version, which is deeply unsettling for me. It looks like one of those 'Tails From the Crypt' illustrations. I'm kinda expecting the old woman to rip herself free from the bed and tear people apart.

I remember my dad's mom when she was in an old-age home. I was around 11 or 12 when she went in. And if I visited her four or five times, I'm probably bloating that number. The place stank of piss and rubber. Old people were playing rummy and farting. And my bobba was babbling in Yiddish, cos she couldn't speak English anymore. And my dad babbled back, but she didn't know who he was.

My lineart version brings that back to me quite vividly.

My usual style is to start my pics with strong lineart, proceeding to the colour beneath that. In this case, when I did the linework, it looked strong enough as a standalone. And when I started colouring, I realised that the colour work was quite haunting without the lines. So I simply used the lines as a kind of brush guide, and then switched that layer off entirely. Only at the very end of my colour work did I decide to actually take the linework further.


Under the terms of Sheila's Creative Commons 'Attribution' license, I (and anyone else) may:
  • Use the photo commercially and non-commercially.
  • Copy it freely.
  • Distribute it freely.
  • Modify it freely.
  • All as long as I give clear attribution to the originator of the pic, and insist that anyone else downloading the pic also makes that attribution.

In other words, if you like my versions of the pic, and you want to do something with them, you're going to need to attribute it to both me and Sheila. Something along the lines of:
'My pic is based on Roy Blumenthal's modification of Sheilaz413's original photo.'
Something like that.

All of my paintings are released under a Creative Commons 'Non-Commercial -- Attribution -- Share-Alike' license. Which means you can basically do whatever you like with my pics, as long as you don't make money off them, and as long as I'm attributed.

I made these paintings using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet PC, while listening to Elvis Costello and Joseph Arthur.

0004 Matinee Soup 'Baby'

0004 Matinee Soup 'Baby', originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

It's now around 1am. I've JUST finished the finishing touches on this pic that I estimated would only take me ten minutes. Hehehehehehe.

A bit of ye olde perfectionsim kicking in? I dunno.

Regardless, here is the latest Matinee Soup, hot off the press.

(On another note... soon you'll be able to get an even deeper glimpse into the sordid busy-ness that happens in the subterranean chambers of my brain. I've been writing, designing, and painting a bunch of lapel badge designs. Some of them are outrageous. Some of them will possibly get me onto a CIA hitlist. Or worse... The American Rifle Association hitlist. Think of my badges as the 'T-Shirt Hell' of badges. That'll give you an idea of some of the stuff I'm cooking up. (Do NOT visit T-Shirt Hell if you are easy to offend. DO NOT. I've WARNED you. Repeatedly. Okay? DON'T DO IT! IT WILL OFFEND YOU!) And remember... It's not guns that kill people. It's NRA members. Yeah... that'll be a badge.)

This painting was made in Artrage 2.2, on my Toshiba Tecra M4 at La Concorde restaurant in Norwood, interrupted by a date with Gabrielle, joined later by her cousin Vanessa. All in all, a lovely evening.

2007-01-12 Roy by Gabrielle and Roy

I'm sitting upstairs at La Concorde in Norwood. While I'm writing this piece, Gabrielle is reading WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH AMERICA? The Resistable Rise of the American Right by Thomas Frank.

I was about 10 minutes away from finishing today's episode of Matinee Soup when Gabrielle arrived for our date. And she was really keen to try her hand at making art on a tablet pc.

So I shifted out of the artist's seat, and became her model for an hour or so.

She worked a few layers above my cartoon strip.

The portrait is by both of us, only cos I dabbled a bit in creating some background colouring and highlights. The rest is all Gabrielle's. Apart from Matinee Soup, of course.

We made this painting using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 in La Concorde, where the service is... uh... discreet? (In other words, we have to go downstairs to find a waiter. But hey. Who's perfect?) The babe factor is a full five out of five stars on the Roy-O-Metre, thanks to Gabrielle's presence.

Monday, January 08, 2007

2007-01-07 Illustration Friday -- Buzz

Finished this painting late last night. Took me a good 10 or so hours of dedicated work in MUGG & BEAN, Cresta to make it. Got kicked out around 9:30, and worked into the small hours of the morning.

The Illustration Friday topic this week is 'buzz'. My contrarian brain immediately rejected 'bees', 'snoring', 'flies', and anything kinda tame and mild.

I started hunting through my little brain vault for thoughts. And found one. I thought.... 'Hmmm! How about painting a chainsaw warrior!!!?'

So... uh.... lacking a warrior to pose for me, I did the posing. In my lounge. Wearing a purple sarong. And holding a tube of roled up paper as my chainsaw-surrogate. Cos... uh... I don't own a chainsaw. In fact, I've never even SEEN a real one. I searched the web for a pic of one, and found a lovely model in some online catalogue.

And... uh.... lacking gigantic muscles and ultra long, flowing, warrior-locks, I kinda beefed myself up to some extent.

The only thing that I CAN say about this pic with any degree of certainty is that I'm truly capable of pulling EXTREMELY ugly faces. I can make small children burst out crying in terror. Although sometimes they burst out laughing.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my trusty Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc in Mugg & Bean, Cresta.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Matinee Soup 'Wait'

Matinee Soup 'Wait', originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

As promised... the third of my Matinee Soup cartoon strip.

Now I've gotta scurry and paint a few more, so that I don't put myself under any performance pressure. Hehehehe.

Do leave comments!

You can see all of the Matinee Soup cartoons on my Flickr Gallery at: Matinee Soup (Set).

My other cartoons are also on Flickr: Cartoons (Set).

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. No sticks were harmed in the making of this cartoon.

Roy Blumenthal's 'Virtual Surf Report' rides the waves again with Jon Gericke on SAfm

Friday, 5 January 2007
If you've got the time, I've got the inclination!* World time clocks to keep you from second-guessing.

A bunch of tools to help you with your multinational time-management.

Firstly, there's the freeware/shareware application, Qlock. It sits on your desktop, and is hugely configurable. So you can see what time it is anywhere in the world. You can set alarms for any of those cities. And you can hide or show the clocks with a click of your mouse.

Next in the list is a site for people who don't have a need for a clock on their desktops 24/7. If you have an occasional need to check times, this is the place to go... This site also offers you a free widget to add to your blog... you can pop an analog or digital clock to your site.

And if you want to customise a countdown, and see the time displayed as days, hours, or seconds, head for As of this very second, I'll turn 50 years old in exactly... 382 363 170 seconds! Send me a birthday present. You've got time!

*Said the Leaning Tower of Piza to the Big Ben.


Thursday, 4 January 2007
The fine art of dusty car windows -- meet Scott Wade, dust artist extraordinaire

When I first came across the work of Scott Wade, I thought it was a prank. But a quick Google of his name yielded dozens of sites showing his work. He seems to be real!

He's an American artist who works in a particularly transitory medium... the dust on car windows.

He waits for dust to accumulate, and then hacks at it with paintbrushes and such to remove bits of dust to make masterpieces.


Wednesday, 3 January 2007
Toddler-friendly videos online that'll 'blow your baby's mind'

Jeremiah McNichols has a brilliant blog called 'Z Recommends'. Z is his two-and-a-half year old daughter. And the blog is about the stuff that she likes and loves in the world.

In this case, Jeremiah found animations by unusual or forgotten artists, and showed them to Z. And ranked them. Each artist gets a detailed description on the blog, and you can watch the videos yourself to make sure they're good for your kid.

Thanks to the editors of Drawn!, a blog 'devoted to illustration, art, cartooning and drawing'.


Tuesday, 2 January 2007
Track your progress and boost your success on 'Joe's Goals'

The second day of 2007, and you've probably got some New Year's resolutions that you're still committed to. Here's a free online tool to help you do the things you want to do. Joe's Goals is a website that let's you define your positive and negative goals, and then track your progress. When you do something towards a goal, you click on the goal. And the online software keeps count.

There's also a Joe's Logbook option, which is really a goal-tracking tool for a particular project.

For me, one of the best things about the site is that you can set it up to email you a reminder if you haven't updated your goals for a while. It really helps you to be mindful.


Monday, 1 January 2007
Resolved to get out of the rat race? Get some inspiration from 'Escape From Cubicle Nation'

Happy New Year! May it be filled with learning, loving, and laughing!

And if one of your resolutions is to remove yourself from a job you hate, and to get into the wonderful world of entrepreneurship, then Pamela Slim's 'Escape From Cubicle Nation' is the blog for you.

Crammed with resources, ideas, inspiration, and interviews with successful escapees, you'll certainly find it useful.

What's more, the comments threads form an amazing network of people all set on the same course. International networking for the new entrepreneur. An instant mentor network, if you like.


Friday, 29 December 2006
A free graphic novel online -- SHOOTING WAR -- my favourite read of 2006

Written by Anthony Lappé, drawn by Dan Goldman, SHOOTING WAR is a tangy, vicious, sexy, gritty, frighteningly-realistic depiction of a near future.

In this gripping graphic novel, the main character is a guy who, using the video camera on his phone, accidentally vid-blogs a bombing. He's then catapulted to fame by a tv network who gets hold of his footage. They make him an offer he can't refuse... to go to the Middle East and vid-blog the ongoing war there.

Beware... if you START reading this, you WILL spend several wonderful hours absorbed in the story!

Links: *Update: The original MP3 recording of the show was corrupted so badly that I was unable to open it. I did a search on the internet, and found a piece of freeware that completely solved the problem. It parsed through the corrupt file, removing the bad portions. What was left was about three-quarters of the material, so I just edited out the gaps, and worked it into a coherent podcast. The freeware is called JFileRecovery. Download it at:

Thursday, 28 December 2006
Two views of a superpower... the left-wing 'Huffington Post', and the (obviously) right-wing 'Right Wing News'

In the interests of transparency, I have to state up-front that I'm a leftie. So I'm biased in favour of leftie things. That said, I'm also very much a 'devil's advocate'. I'm MUCH more interested in a balanced, well-argued opinion than I am in a one-sided opinion. So... to today's Virtual Surf Report.

We're looking at two news sources covering politics in America.

I'm a fan of The Huffington Post, a left-wing journal that takes an in-depth look at many of the issues facing Americans today. I find their opinion pieces to be very cleanly written, well-researched, witty, and clever. When I finish reading one of their articles, I come away from it with the feeling that I'm not being fed some kind of propaganda angle.

I'm NOT a fan of Right Wing News, which is an online journal dedicated to 'Conservative News and Views'. I'm n ot a fan because I really just wish they would ARGUE their points sanely and rationally. I don't really get any sense of balance from their articles. I'm left with a feeling that I've been smacked over the head with a hunting rifle. They sneer at the left, instead of answering their concerns. However, it's deeply important to get acquainted with 'the other side'. Their fears are real. Their concerns are real. Just because they don't argue them well doesn't mean they should be dismissed.

Two fascinating reads. Enjoy being caught in the middle! And make up your own mind.

(And for some help in being able to make up your own mind, you might want to read an article from one of my favourite books on thought hygiene. The book is called STRAIGHT AND CROOKED THINKING by Robert H Thouless. It appears to be out of print, but the article on the web is the core of it. It's titled 'Thirty-eight Dishonest Tricks Which Are Commonly Used in Argument, With the Methods of Overcoming Them'. A must-read.)


Wednesday, 27 December 2006
The quirky humour (and marketing savvy) of GapingVoid

Hugh MacLeod's GapingVoid blog is one of those must-reads. His quirky business card cartoons are a treat, and you can insert a widget onto your website to feed them to your own viewers.

Read Hugh's blog if you want to:
  • Be more creative.
  • Become a better marketer.
  • Have wine and suits shoved down your throat via the eyeballs.
  • Laugh.
  • Groan.
  • Nod your head in agreement.
  • Change your mind.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006
Print a better present for yourself with Flickr and Creative Commons

Someone gave you a present you don't really WANT? Replace it with something that works for you!

Enter Flickr, the photo sharing site, in collaboration with Creative Commons. You can browse through around 26 million photos that are licensed under one of the Creative Commons variations that allows any user to download the photo, take it to their favourite photo printing outlet (where you would take your digital pics to be printed), and make an art print to adorn your walls (or even a t-shirt, if you're adventurous).


Monday, 25 December 2006
Change This

This is a site dedicated to challenging the way ideas are created and spread. In their words: 'We're on a mission to spread important ideas and change minds.'

On the site, you'll find free, downloadable manifestos on a whole host of topics. Here's their definition of a manifesto: 'It's an argument, a reasoned, rational call to action, supported by logic and facts.' My definition of their manifestos is this: 'Interesting, fascinating, entertaining, thought-provoking knowledge-snapshots.'

One of my favourite manifestos of the moment is The Power of the Marginal by Paul Graham. You'll find all sorts of useful topics too.


Every Christmas, Jon Gericke runs a midday special for two weeks, focussing on holiday fun. And I'm one of his regulars.

Every weekday for the two weeks from today, Monday 25 December through to Friday 5 January, the show runs from 12 noon till 1pm. The show is on SAfm, which can be found in South Africa on 104 to 107 fm, or on the web via streaming audio at Safm / Streaming Audio (hosted by Ant Farm).

I'll generally be on during the closing minutes of the show, cos Jon figures that we've had a long enough radio relationship (around 5 years or so, if my brain is estimating correctly) for him to cut me off fairly abruptly if he runs out of time. And he's right. I have no hassle with it. And anyway, I structure my chat with him in such a way that the important stuff is in the beginning, with embellishments coming in at the end. So I'm ready to shut my mouth at any time.

In this post, I'll give links every day to the sites I talk about.

I'll also be podcasting as many of my slots as I can... I recorded today's, but due to an 'operator error', only the first few seconds actually recorded. (Yes... I was the 'operator'. No idea what happened. It recorded five minutes of program BEFORE my bit. Then when I came on, it got jinxed. Blah.)