The last week or so has been relatively quiet which has meant lots of drawing - I'm managing to do a good few hours every day which feels great. It's been a long time since I could dedicate so much time to just drawing and experimenting with different techniques. Annie very generously set me up a drawing desk in her room where I've been busying myself with various long-term projects - it's amazing how much more work you can get done when your drawing desk is computer-free. I've also managed to squeeze in lots more second-hand record and book hunting in various parts of the Bay Area - as soon as I get a moment I'll post up the best pickings.
Last Thursday we headed into SF in the morning - Annie had a focus group and I had record shop vouchers burning a hole in my pocket. Unfortunately I was about two hours too early for Streetlight Records so I wandered over to Duboce Park for a read in the sun. It's the park that was used in Milk for Sean Penn's dog-shit scene in case you were wondering a couple of blocks over from Upper Haight. I met Annie at Aardvark Books then headed back up to Streetlight for some record foraging before moving on to the Mission for lunch. I've been less than impressed with Mexican food the few times I've had it but Annie swears by burritos and suggested we head to her favourite burrito joint Taqueria Can Cun where I had a meat burrito. It was mediocre. It also gave me Cannibal Corpse style food poisoning (ie violent, projectile, both ends, with blood).
Fortunately it didn't kick in until the following day so after my mediocre tasting poisonous burrito we headed up to Molotov's on Lower Haight which has one of the best juke boxes in SF (Kyuss, Gza/Genius, Black Sabbath, Fugazi, Toots and the Maytals, Gravediggaz, Minor Threat, The Specials etc) and drunk a whole bunch of beers. We eat again at Bean Bag on Divisidaro, a hipster hang-out with cheap beer and self-important twats for Annie to get into fights with and then headed home on BART.
By midday Friday I was writhing around in bed with a fever - hot and cold flushes, aching back and the sweats. Then I started vomiting up absolutely everything I'd eaten in the previous twenty four hours and as soon as all the food ran out I started vomiting blood instead. In my incapacitated state and suffering from fever-induced hallucinations I thought it was the Rapture coming for my heavenly soul. It was only a day or so later I worked out it was just a dodgy burrito.
On Saturday feeling a tad wobbly but significantly better we headed down to Santa Cruz for a couple of days - Annie has an old family home there a couple of blocks from the beach. It's a beautiful old wooden house built by her relatives aunt Nell and aunt Bess in the early 1900s with a thousand curious family antiquities left there from various generations of marauding Bordens. I could happily sit and draw all of it's contents from the stove to the stairwell. I don't though. I tend to just sit on the deck and drink beer instead but in a more productive illustrator's hands this place would be a treasure trove of creative inspiration.
After twenty four hours on a simple diet of water and crackers I woke on the Saturday morning early enough to watch the final day of the Premiership bizarrely featuring commentary from Steve McManaman. It's an odd way to start the day in sunny Santa Cruz and baring in mind the previous forty eight hours where I swore to myself to live on a strict fruitarian diet for the rest of my life I start the day with a big bowl of honey-bbq crisps and a bottle of Sprite. By lunchtime I manage to wolf down a huge slice of Woodstock's pizza and finish up with a few cans of Mexican future beer (Tecate) for tea. The less said the better really.
Much heavy lounging ensues for the next couple of days with a generous side-order of book and record digging at the mammoth Logos bookstore - one of my favourite spots in California given the double whammy of cheap books and cheap records aplenty. Pick of the finds is the Woody Allen 'Play It Again Sam' soundtrack lp which fingers crossed features the heavy psychedelia of the one, two, three dance scene - with or without the dialogue - I'm not fussy.
We have a slap-up lunch on the harbour the next day - the very same harbour that felt the after-shock of the tsunami a couple of months ago. I can remember chatting to Annie about the US news coverage of fat rich Americans crying because their expensive boats were getting a bit jostled by the waves all-the-while thousands of people in Japan were dying. Charlie Brooker done nailed it a few hours later here.
We also manage to squeeze in some flip flop powered languid cycling on cruisers, a trip to the local car-boot sale where I very nearly managed to purchase a portly Mexican child and I also did a rather good illustration of an old Borden business from a black and white photo I found. I've been experimenting with ink washes a fair bit of late and with some much needed discipline on my part (usually I'm too impatient to wait for the page to dry between washes) I think I nailed it.
On Tuesday we headed back to the Bay area for a hardcore night in the Mission featuring a friend's new band Boundaries plus Devotion, Run With The Hunted and Until Your Heart Stops. I think Boundaries aside my pick of the bunch were Until Your Heart Stops who played [to-my-ears] an inventive start-stop hardcore set with some metal inspired nods towards Quicksand - typically Annie disliked them. Headliners Devotion play an odd mixture of stoner rock and hardcore - I don't think the two styles particularly lend themselves to each other - one minute it's shouty, intense and urgent; the next minute the guitarist is trying to wig out with his wah wah peddle. Bare in my mind my points of reference for hardcore are pretty much limited to Minor Threat, Quicksand, Black Flag and Husker Du but it was a lot of fun watching all the vaguely homo-erotic aggressively macho dancing. With that sentence alone I should probably exclude myself from any future SF hardcore events...
And that's about it. Apologies for the lack of art stuff and banging on about food and records etc.