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Interview: The Bee talks with dalecooper57…

​A few weeks ago I was honoured to be invited to take part in an interview with Bee Halton, as part of her The Bee talks with… feature.

Well, I’m only now getting around to answering Bee’s questions and today you can discover what information she managed to wheedle out of me.
The questions all seem quite straightforward but, given my tendency to ramble, it’s anyone’s guess how long this will take, so I’d better get on with it…

1) How would you describe yourself in one paragraph? 

This is the sort of question that makes me wonder how honest we are about ourselves, because I immediately think of the way I am described by the people who know me; loud, verbose, opinionated, arrogant, immodest, sarcastic, the (not always complimentary) list goes on… At least that was generally the case, before I began writing Diary of an Internet Nobody, but recently I’m getting dangerously used to seeing words like “creative”, “talented” and even “artistic” being applied to me. Now, although I’m more than willing to accept the praise and plaudits of my peers in the blogging community, not even I (with all those aforementioned, uncomplimentary, but probably accurate characteristics) am comfortable using those terms to describe myself, not out loud anyway. So I think I’m going to have to go with somewhere in between, something along the lines of; inventive, persistent, determined, intelligent, (or at least clever, which isn’t the same thing, but it’s a convincing impression) friendly, generous and…oh alright, immodest, sarcastic and verbose, too.

2) A fun fact about you? 

Hmm, I’m not sure what constitutes a fun fact, but I was once nearly eaten by a drunken vegetarian at a party.

3) What made you write (draw, blog, paint, make music…) in the first place?

Oh, that’s an easy one. A friend of a friend who I met on Facebook (the irritatingly talented Mr Darmon Richter, writer of the highly successful Bohemian blog) encouraged me to start blogging, after I’d helped promote his work on social media, just over four years ago. I had no idea or plan for what I was going to write, (and still don’t) except that I would have no constant theme and that I would stubbornly insist on creating all original content on the blog, using only my smartphone (both of which mission statements remain true to this day) and it seems to be working ok so far.

The fiction came about, I suppose, because I had always been an avid reader and love a well-told story. Although having said that, it had never occurred to me to even attempt writing fiction until, out of curiosity, I decided to take part in Linda G Hill’s regular feature, Stream of consciousness Saturday Sunday, setting myself the challenge of writing a short story for each of her weekly prompts on the spur of the moment. 

As for all the other threads on the blog; the photography, video, animation and music, they too are a direct result of my introduction to the wonderful world of Google’s Android™ system. It’s amazing what you can do with a phone, few apps, a bit of imagination and the computing power of something you would have needed to carry around on a forklift twenty years ago. The fact that I’ve enjoyed taking pictures and have been an obsessive music fan since I was a teenager probably didn’t hurt either, but I have no actual musical knowledge or training and rely on the marvels of modern technology to make up the shortfall between my ingenuity and any genuine ability to carry a tune.


4) Which author/painter/musician… has influenced you and why? 

I’d probably say that, style-wise, I’m most influenced by the sadly late, but extremely great British writers, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, both of whom had such a palpable love of language and how it can be made to inject humour into almost any situation. I also like the way Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino use non-linear storytelling to create suspense and mystery, so I try to incorporate that into my writing, too.

Musically, I’ve always had a very eclectic taste; ranging from rock, prog and metal, through punk, pop, dance and indie, veering wildly into jazz, folk and electronica, the latter of which is what was the biggest influence on me, when I first began mucking about with sequencers and loop making apps on my phone. Bands like Yello, Kraftwerk and New Order are old favourites, while more experimental artists like Crystal Castles and Aphex Twin have also informed some of my more abrasive attempts at audio creativity.

As for actual art, (drawing, painting, sculpture, etc) I have no aptitude for that whatsoever, choosing once again to resort to 21st century gadgets in order to bring my artistic visions to life.

5) What is your favourite book/painting/song? 

I’m fairly sure that anyone who has ever heard more than one song, read more than one book, or seen more than one painting will tell you that’s an almost impossible question to answer, so I’ll just pick one of each from the air, in no particular order of preference:
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Metamorphosis by MC Escher.

Spirit of Radio by Rush


6) Your writing/painting/ music making ritual (if you have one)? 

I sit down, I start writing, I see what happens. That’s about it, really.

7) Your secret “sin” when you write/draw/make music? 

It’s a secret, you’re right.

8) Do you suffer from artist’s block and if so, what do you do against it? 

This is very rarely a problem for me, because I only write when I want to (which is almost all the time now) and I’m never short of something to say, however nonsensical it might be. Whether that’s a good enough reason to keep on writing it down is another matter, but I continue to enjoy doing so nevertheless, because it gets more enjoyable each time.


9) Your advice for apprentice creatives? 

Another easy one; DO IT! 

Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can. Start a blog, (as I keep telling my friend Biff, who has so many stories, he already has enough material for about a hundred blog posts. Come on Biff, I know you’re reading this…) take some photos, paint a picture, form a band, even if you think you’ll be no good at it. 

Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know how much fun you’re missing out on, or find out what hidden talents you might have.

**********
So, there you have it, as much random information about me as you could possibly wish for.

Thank you, Bee, for inviting me, it was a most thought-provoking experience. Here are a couple more of my musical selections to play us out…


 

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K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge…

Good afternoon and welcome to a bank holiday edition of K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge, today determined by K’lee’s choice of theme; Circles.

I decided to go the simple route this week and use something we’ve been waiting for in the garden for some time; the first of our sunflowers to bloom.

Here are some circles within circles.

And here is where you can find K’lee’s photo for the day.

Right then, let’s see what you have to offer…

*****

To get involved with the challenge, post a photo to your blog on Monday, add a pingback to this post (or to K’lee’s) and don’t forget to tag your post #CosPhoChal.

Alternatively, add a link to your blog in the comments of either mine or K’lee’s post and we’ll come and check out your entry.
Any and all effects, editing, Photoshop, Instagram, morphing, collages or whatever other post production techniques you fancy are permitted, (in fact, they’re actively encouraged!) so get creative and turn your photos into artworks for the Cosmic Photo Challenge.

#CosPhoChal

 
10 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Arts, Photography

 

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Stream of consciousness Sunday…

Hello there, I hope that this, the final bank holiday weekend before Christmas, finds you all in good health and high spirits. Once again we sieve through the cerebral silt at the bottom of the barrel and see what we can dredge up for an all-new SoCS story, today inspired by Linda G Hill and this prompt;

” “your/you’re/yore.” Use one, use them all. ” 

No problem…

A Hot Spell.

Gary was getting fed up with all the mickey taking. It had started about a week after he began working on the site, as soon as the other steel erectors and scaffolders discovered his trouble with words. Now, nearly three months later, it was really starting to piss him off.

It wasn’t as if he was stupid, far from it, he spent most of his free time with his head buried in a book of some sort. It was just that sometimes when it came to writing things down, his eyes played tricks on his brain; he’d be about to write a perfectly ordinary, common or garden word, when all of a sudden, there was another, subtly different set of letters clamouring for his attention, from some dark, treacherous corner in the back of his head. This subconscious little voice was so insistent and persuasive that Gary (unless he was paying particularly close attention) rarely noticed the malicious autocorrect until later, usually when it was too late.

Not that it posed much of a problem in normal social situations, where verbal communication made occasional spelling glitches irrelevant, but whenever he had to use texts, e-mail or social media, Gary tended to make everything as short and simple as possible, reducing the risk of a grammatical faux-pas making it past his rigorous screening process, before he finally hit Send.

So it had come as a bit of a blow when he was asked to provide his mobile phone number to all his co-workers, apparently to enable the crew to keep in touch whilst spread around the huge construction site. He had been told that as the new boy, he would be at the beck and call of anyone who needed tools, equipment and most importantly, tea, so he should be contactable by text at all times. The foreman told him that if he filled in a form, he could claim back phone bills from the company, but that didn’t make Gary feel any better when he started getting shit from the rest of the crew about his spelling.

The most annoying thing about his condition, (apart from having the piss taken by the type of bloke whose idea of an intelligent conversation began with “Bloody immigrants, coming over here, living on benefits and stealing our jobs…”) was the apparent inability of his brain to spot the kind of stupid errors that were always picked up by the grammar Nazis on his Facebook feed; “their”, “there” and “they’re” were prime examples, along with “your”, “you’re” and even “yore” if he was really careless.

So when his phone beeped and he glanced down at the scratched and scuffed screen, he wasn’t surprised when he saw the message; * “your” followed by one of those bloody emoji things with its tongue sticking out.

Sighing, Gary scrolled up the message thread to see what he’d missed. And sure enough there it was, in the message above; Bringing you’re clamps over now, are you up top?

“Oh for fuck’s sake, give me a break,” he fumed, “I’ve got better things to do than take shit from you, you smug twat.”

He slowly and carefully typed his reply; Go fuck YOURself. then climbed into one of the small motorised buggies they used to get around the site and set off to deliver a load of clamps to Derek, the literary genius on the fifth floor of the steel frame.

An hour later Gary was sitting in the small prefabricated hut which his employers generously provided for a break room, reading the latest copy of New Scientist magazine which he’d bought on his way to work, when Derek walked in with a tray loaded with filthy mugs and plates from the crew who had been eating lunch in the sunshine and threw his hard hat on the table.

“Looking at all the pretty pictures, Gary?” asked construction’s answer to Noam Chomsky, “You ain’t fooling nobody, you know, pretending you understand all that nerdy bollocks,” he snorted scornfully, “in fact I’m impressed you’re holding it the right way up, hahaha.”

Gary looked up at the smugly grinning face, the irony of Derek’s double negative not lost on him, and calmly replied “Oh, well, I’m glad you think I have everyone fooled.”

“Fuck you talking about?” demanded Derek, his brows furrowed in a dangerous scowl, “I just told you, didn’t I? Nobody falls for your bullshit. And that’s Y.O.U.R, in case you were wondering.” He sniggered and walked over to the cheap kitchen units, where he noisily filled the kettle and dumped the tray into the grimy sink, “Wash that lot up and bring us out the teas when the kettle boils.” And, with that, Derek crammed the hard hat back onto his Mr Potato head and stomped out of the hut, leaving Gary in peace.

He washed the mugs and filled a battered teapot with the harsh, orange brew drunk by builders the world over, then carried it out to his buggy. He placed the large metal pot in a crate that was screwed to the rear bed of the vehicle, wedging it securely into a pile of scaffold clamps, then stacked the mugs in a bucket, to prevent them from rolling all over the place, and set off across the uneven, muddy ground to the opposite side of the towering, half-finished office block.

When Gary arrived at the foot of the tower, the site foreman, the leader of the construction crew and the main electrical contractor were gathered round the building plans, which were spread out on the bonnet of a Land Rover and it seemed as though there had been some sort of disagreement. The contractor was pointing up at a damaged electrical transformer on a temporary pole, which had been knocked loose when a section of scaffold had collapsed. The black metal box had a hole in one side, from where it crackled and sparked occasionally and a thick length of cable hung from the bottom, ending some twenty feet above the ground in a scorched metal terminal block.

Gary maneuvered the buggy round the base of a crane and continued his journey, driving carefully over to the construction crew, who were waiting round the corner, sitting out of sight of the bosses in the shade of a concrete mixer, smoking and discussing whether they would be going back to work today or if they would be able to knock off early and head off to the pub.

“Teas up.” Gary said, pulling up next to the nearest of the men and lifting the pot from the back of the buggy. He took the mugs out of the bucket and handed them out, only then realising that he had one left over. He looked around and somebody said, “Oh yeah, Derek wants his brought round the front, he’s craning in those big steels.”

Bloody typical, thought Gary, remembering the crane he’d just passed, Derek the grammar Nazi had him running about like a bloody waiter, as usual.

Irritated, he took out his phone and punched keys angrily, only catching a glimpse of the message as he hit the dreaded Send button; Where are you, yore tea is ready?

Swearing to himself, Gary gunned the little buggy’s motor and bumped over the mud, back round to the front of the tower block, arriving in time to see the foreman and the rest of the bickering contractors disappear out of sight inside the building. He approached the crane, looking up to see Derek, casually seated on a gently swaying steel beam that hung from the crane’s cable, at the same time as his phone beeped.

He took the phone out of his pocket and felt his jaw muscles clench as he read the inevitable text message; *”your”, then looked back up at Derek, who was waving his phone at Gary and laughing.

He couldn’t say exactly, when he thought about it later, why it was that this had been the final straw, but something inside Gary snapped as he saw the odious Derek smirking patronisingly down at him from his steel perch.

His gaze travelled from the steel beam, barely moving in the sweltering, muggy air, a few metres over to the left, where he saw the dangling electrical cable, still hanging from the fizzing, sparking transformer. Then he noticed the guide rope that hung from the beam, used to make small adjustments to it as it was craned into position and, as if in a dream he walked over and took hold of it.

Gary took out his phone and typed a very short message, thinking it nicely poetic that the word was one he’d seen in a New Scientist article about aeronautics at lunchtime, then he gave the rope a sharp tug and pressed Send. 

Derek looked down from his lofty viewpoint in puzzlement, as that bloody illiterate gopher strolled over, grabbed the guide rope and gave it a yank. 

“Ha!” Derek, scoffed, “As if that’s gonna put the shits up an old pro like me.” He raised his voice to shout down at Gary, “You’ll have to do better than that, you fucking retard!” 

Which was when he realised the beam was swinging lazily around, the far end heading for the sizzling end of the high voltage cable and he suddenly had a very nasty feeling indeed.

Just as the beam completed its inexorable arc, he yelled in panic, “You better grab that fucking rope, or you’re gonna be in deep shit.”

Then his phone beeped and he looked at the screen; * “yaw”

There was a loud bang, a bright flash, then silence.

**********

#SoCS

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Image

Playing with abstracts…

Meaningless beauty; the mysterious art of abstraction.

Photo Sans Frontiers

Here are a few experiments in abstract art, using random shots of industrial components from work.

Just because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Update:Mucking about with candles and sparklers on Audrey’s birthday,(with full safety precautions, obviously) I made some more abstract images that I rather like:

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Cosmic Photo prompt…

The week comes back around again and it’s Friday once more, like a great big cosmic circle.
Wow! That’s a coincidence, this week’s prompt (set today by K’lee) is simply this; Circles.
And just in case that isn’t enough inspiration for you, here is the rest of K’lee’s prompt;

What’s that? You’d like a few ideas to get you started? Okay… circles could be that set of hula hoops you keep in the garage, it could be your wedding ring, it could be some fascinating bit of architecture you pass every day and marvel at, it could be the afro hairstyle of that beautiful woman you work with. Point is it can be anything you want so long as it represents CIRCLES.


*****

To get involved with the challenge, post a photo to your blog on Monday, add a pingback to this post (or to K’lee’s) and don’t forget to tag your post #CosPhoChal.

Alternatively, add a link to your blog in the comments of either mine or K’lee’s post and we’ll come and check out your entry.
Any and all effects, editing, Photoshop, Instagram, morphing, collages or whatever other post production techniques you fancy are permitted, (in fact, they’re actively encouraged!) so get creative and turn your photos into artworks for the Cosmic Photo Challenge.

#CosPhoChal

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Arts, Photography

 

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The theory of Oscilution (or Survival of the Phattest)…

Last week I spent a day mucking around with my loop and sequencing app, Oscilab; one of the few ways a non-melodic numpty such as myself can achieve anything even approaching a sound that could be loosely described as “music”.

This time, I was attempting to create something a little more soothing than many of my sonic experiments, something more than ambient, but without the clattering, frenetic rhythms which are often the result of me inexpertly twiddling knobs and pressing interesting buttons.

What eventually came out of this particular simultaneous playing and recording session, (after a couple of hours of studious programming and spurious guesswork) was a tune that I christened Sphear and you can experience it, in all its multi-layered loveliness, by clicking the artwork below:

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just as inordinately proud of this entry in my peculiar oeuvre as any other, but there was something that nagged at me when I heard it back for the first time; namely, the slightly discordant tone of the ring modulator in the background.

This twin synth harmonizing thingy (I know, I know, I’m baffling you with technical terms) seemed to detract from the main theme of the piece, (although it has since grown on me) so I recorded a second version, which I called Inner Sphear and you can hear that by clicking picture number two:

I think you’ll agree that this reimagined aural soundscape is an altogether smoother affair, (it is Rhonda’s favourite version, so that’s one reason to be pleased with it) but to me, it felt as though there was now missing something.

Well I doubt it’ll be much of a surprise to you, but I couldn’t just leave it at that, so I decided to go for one final attempt, this one at the opposite end of the spectrum; a full-on psychedelic wig out, complete with frenzied wah wah guitar solos, (no, honestly) which I naturally chose to entitle Outer Sphear and you can immerse yourself in that one by clicking the final image of glossy artwork, below:

And please feel FREE to download any or all of the above tunes from Bandcamp, gratis, complimentary and totally FREE of charge, should any of them tickle your audio fancy.

Thank you for listening.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Arts, Music

 

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One liner Wednesday: Alternative dictionary…

Wednesday again, so time for your weekly dose of differentiated definition;

“Fabricate” – Moth damage.

#1linerWeds

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