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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Right now David Gray's new album New Day at Midnightis the album I play most regularly, especially as I am working at my laptop. I just love the man, his voice, his music , his words and his wonderful band of friends. The test of how special his gift is , has to be that I can feel it but can't put it into words.

I can't understand why people set themselves up to be disappointed, making comparisons with David's previous work when all you really have to do is forget what he did before for a moment, open your heart and listen carefully now.

Carol was blown away by the intro track Dead in the Water, but Easy Way to Cry had me in tears. You don't need to know that the death of David's father inspired some of the album, or that David tried to warm the album up with some love songs , like the wonderful Caroline and Be mine because that track just hit me, called back things I had buried, thought I'd forgotten.

I sing three David songs in public with my guitar; Easy way to Cry must be the fourth. It's an anthem for those who had something or someone they wanted to hold onto but got stolen away. Universal.

Anyway. Go and buy this CD. It is fantastic.
johncoxon 10:44 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

These are photos of two wooden birds. I took them in the evening with flash rather than my preference of natural light. They are not perfect works of art but illustrate the way I made them. I haven't really tried wood sculpture with a mallet and chisels but the way I do small things like birds you still find lovely hidden natural patterns beneath the surface pattern as you cut into, sand and shape the raw material. I particularly enjoy making small birds because the components fit easily into my hands enabling me to feel how the item is shaping, what to work more on and telling me when I've done enough! The birds I made start with finding a scrap of thinnish pine with a small knot in the right place and interesting strong grain pattern that suggest feathers. Sometimes i just paint on the eyes. I draw a bird outline on the wood and cut out the shape with a hand held fretsaw. ( There is a brilliant machine called a Hegner which lets you do this effortlessly but they are dear- but would save a suspect shoulder!) I use a sharp knife to roughly round off the edges and then use glass paper (medium and then fine grades) all over until it feels/looks right. The wings are cut from a another thicker scrap with a strong lateral wood grain pattern . Having cut out the shape, I saw that in half giving two wings. I use a blow torch next on the wings(and sometimes the body) this scorches the wood so that when you rub with steelwool, the grain being harder stands out ( nd is a darker colour) while the softer pulp is lighter in colour and gets rubbed away giving a contour. Then I simply use wood glue to attach the wings and off they fly. I found that food colouring is a cheap and easy stain the wood if colours are needed. I use the same technique for making little wooden animals.
johncoxon 1:12 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, January 20, 2003
In a recent email, Joe, lovely eldest son, asked, cheekily, when did I become a techno gheek. Did he think his happy-now, post-divorce Dad had finally become a trend slave, the kind of person who upgrades their trainers or mobile phone for no practical advantage, just personal vanity? I despise the designer label culture and conspicuous consumption even more. He knows that. I despair that shopping has become the number one leisure pursuit nationally!

Honest, I remarked, the string of computers I had previously owned, or my conversion to broadband Internet, was purely a matter of faster or bigger, because time seems to be shrinking alarmingly as I get older. Last year, my second out of the matrimonial home, I bought a laptop, because of constant Network faults on the school system, and then a good digital camera and last week a Smartphone. Is that how I'd gotten the geek label? I outlined for him how, from way back, computers enabled me to do high quality materials at home for my pupils and speeded personal work and communication too.

Males particularly, always run the risk of the toys for boys accusation from other adults, especially from those who don't have a practical use for the kind of stuff I use and therefore can't understand the purchases. I talk a lot, photograph a lot, and write a lot and these things are the tools of my trade. The sternest critics are often the ones who borrow your phone in an emergency, want you to write them a letter, C.V., or do a poster for them on the PC! Suddenly you're no longer techno man or some risible boy scout. Sneers at my Leatherman or more often my small Swiss army knife, turn to applause and gratitude in a crisis, particularly as no one ever seems to take a corkscrew to parties and hosts never seem to have one!

All my sons have (and make) great use of their mobiles and I carry mine everywhere. They live at home with my ex-wife and it is a comfort to know that I can always speak to them any time. Actually, meetings are often difficult because they have very busy social calendars it seems. Ironically, whilst we have grown closer after the break up, post matrimonial communication with them has relied heavily on text messaging and mobile calls. Until very recently, I just couldn't bring myself to phone the house lest my ex-wife answer, another great feature of mobile use, privacy!

Mostly, lovely Joe was reacting to my having upgraded my mobile phone very recently, he thought unnecessarily. I had talked too much about it because I had spent a frustrating week with the brand's technical support call centre trying to get it to connect me to the Internet. The new phone just wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. Perhaps I should have known, because the new Orange SPV phone is powered by Microsoft.

This phone isn't quite what I had hoped , although I haven't been able to explore its full potential yet. I should be able to synchronise it with my laptop, send and receive e mails, picture and Word documents as attachments, transfer data from phone to laptop and vica versa, as well as surf the Net more realistically than WAP phones could manage. I have managed to download pictures and programs directly into my phone, but haven't had time to load the synchronise program into my laptop. We'll see.

The new phone isn't particularly user friendly, unlike the Nokia I upgraded from and I think I face one of those unwelcome learning curves, that hinder my path now and again, to use it effectively . It has the hall marks of something revolutionary but which will be the standard in the future but was mass produced before it was fully functional and without bugs. A prototype masquerading as a classic. Does that ring a Gates bell? Johnson once said that Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement. I wonder if, for the first time in a long time, I have bought something on the wing of a promise that it isn't quite going to meet the demands I have for it. If I can mobile phone a review or article in the future with illustrations that's all I wanted, not the coolest, newest phone on aching hip Joe!

johncoxon 4:41 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

john/Male/51-55. Lives in United Kingdom/Engalnd/Salford, speaks English and French. Eye color is brown. I am what my mother calls unique. I am also creative. My interests are photgraphy/local history.
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United Kingdom, Engalnd, Salford, English, French, john, Male, 51-55, photgraphy, local history.