Tuesday, 17 May 2011

San Francisco part 1

I arrived in San Francisco exactly a week ago today. Highlight of the [pre] flight was a chance encounter with Dylan Moran at Heathrow airport. At least I thought it was Dylan Moran but given the scale of his hangover and the difficulty he had squeezing a Beroca tablet into the top of a bottle of water I think it may have actually been Bernard Black. It's good to meet someone famous that entirely lives up to your expectations. Ten hours later I arrived nervously in SFO ready for a grilling from customs. I thought I was suitably prepared but waiting in line with another Brit (who I have just discovered was in fact X Games gold winning snow-boarder Jenny Jones) I quickly discovered I wasn't nearly prepared enough as she went through all of the stuff I should have got together in advance but didn't... As it turned out the customs guy was more content to point out I shared my name with a leading brand of American snack - I did my best I've-been-awake-for-twenty-hours smile and breezed through to collect my eighties suitcase and meet Annie.

The subsequent week has featured some jet-lag, much Pabst beer, lots of foraging for second hand books and vinyl and a steady diet of fast food. I think I could do a whole blog on the pizza I've eaten this week - each slice has been quite fantastic - why on earth does the UK struggle to do a decent slice of pizza? It can't be that difficult surely.

In addition to this we managed to make it to a talk with Paul Madonna at Moe's book shop in Berkeley which was interesting enough for me to stay awake beyond the hour of nine on my first night in California - this is more impressive than perhaps it reads. He has a new book out 'Everything is it's own reward' which is the sequel to 'All Over Coffee'. I bought the first book for Annie a couple of years ago as it features page after page of beautiful illustrations of San Francisco. The sequel goes further afield and also features more behind-the-scenes insight. The most important thing I garnered from the night was that Paul uses rapidograph pens for his line work. I have some and I can't use them at all - I'm pretty much stuck on dipping pens for life which is deeply frustrating. I also found out Paul is a thoroughly nice and super talented chap who squeezes more creativity into a day than I do into a fortnight. Which made me dislike him for about a second but he really is quite difficult to dislike even from my grumpy misanthropic stand point.

On Friday we headed into the city for the day. In the past when I've been over here I've insisted on going in to the city virtually every other day but this time around I simply can't afford to. I'm on a rather modest budget of around $10 a day which just about keeps me in pizza and second-hand books. Anyway we headed in and did North Beach, Haight and finished up in the Mission. By 'did' I mean I got to go to lots of record shops, thrift shops and second hand book shops and eat lots of pizza.

We snuck into a dive bar for some happy hour drinking before going along to Needles and Pens for Nigel Peake's exhibition. It was a bit bizarre seeing this particular exhibition in SF - I first discovered his intricate illustrations at Analogue Books in Edinburgh a few years ago when I bought one of his stunning shed screen-prints; to get to see his show in SF the very same week Analogue Books have approached me about stocking 'The Film One' is a bit of a coincidence. But not freakish enough for me to muster the balls to talk to him [obviously]. Actually he was surrounded by fawning middle-aged women while we were there and I had the taste for cheap beer so we fled to another dive bar with the intention of dropping back in later in the evening. This didn't happen [obviously].

On Saturday we spent the evening in Oakland at one of Annie's friends - for his birthday he set up a projector in his garden to watch Anchorman. We left before that started but I did get to see some of the ace 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot' projected onto the wall, drink beer from a keg and meet some of Annie's pals from the SF hardcore scene - more of that later I hope.

I'm doing a fair bit of drawing at the moment (which feels great after being bogged down with zine chores for a month or so) but most of it is for a long term project I need to finish - if I get a chance I'll post up some of the rougher sketchbook stuff. I seem to be going through a superhero phase - it happens to the best of us. Annie does not approve.


farnell doodles said...

Loving the little story mate,but who is Annie??????

Mat Pringle said...

My gf - sorry - I assume people that read this know ALL!