First is, please support the Strumpet. I'm in it. A long, lightly fictionalised, autobiographical comic - the longest thing I've drawn for some time. Here's a taster. If you'd like to see more, go fund it!
OuVaPo, the Ouvroir des Vacances Potentielles (The Workshop of Potential Holidays) is inspired by The OuLiPo, the French Ouvroir de la Litterature Potentielle (workshop for potential literature). We are the subgroup dealing with travel literature and, as such, are a hugely successful worldwide organisation. We are responsible for every single holiday brochure that pops through your letterbox. Yes, every one.
The great thing about our holidays is that that you haven't taken them yet. And this is why our holidays are better than anyone else's. Ours are the holidays of the turquoise swimming pool, the white beaches, the shady villas you see in the brochures. Our destinations are never ruined by mosquitos, nearby building sites, local diseases or military coups. On our holidays your rental car will always start. Your waiter will always be polite. You will never, never miss your connection.
Come holiday with us as we take a journey on foot through the city. With a palindromic departure time of 11.11pm, and an estimated landing time of 00.00, the tour is followed by a midnight breakfast with Seb Emina, editor-at-large of The London Review of Breakfasts.
Please ensure you arrive in time for the check-in procedure. Travel cannot be guaranteed if you miss check-in time. Baggage allowances will be charged. Forbidden luggage items will be confiscated.
Our current voyage, leaving from the Royal Festival Hall on Friday, is nearly sold out. You might still be able to get a ticket here.
I spent last Wednesday night talking about Georges Perec in an (allegedly) ex-crack den in Peckham with sawn off logs for seating, outdoor composting lavatories and excellent whisky-based cocktails.
This is my co-speaker, Karl Whitney, enjoying the 'bar' while we watched The White Review's editors, no mean roadies, drill a projector shelf into a ceiling beam.
Did we offer to help? No - we were too busy worrying about our talks discussing the finer points of Oulipo.
The Peckham Hotel was actually a lot nicer than this photo seems to show: in fact Karl is sitting in front of a roaring fire burning what looked like the missing floorboards from the rooms upstairs.
This was the first time I'd seen Karl since I met him in the Place Saint Sulpice to record some street noise outside Cafe de la Mairie, working around Perec's essay, Tentative d'epuisement d'un Lieu Parisien.
(Karl's not on the above pic but Perec is - the drawing was a private commission I did at the same time as the recording).
I used the sounds as the basis for an audio-visual piece, working with David Bramwell (sound), Lauren Elkin (photos) Isabelle Carreira (montage), Sofia Saldanha (voice) and writer, Deborah Levy, who generously contributed a piece of writing to the project in response to Perec's work.
Karl paid tribute to Perec's translator, Gilbert Adair, who died this week, and gave and excellent explanation of Perec's use of the grid system in his lifelong Lieux project.
I turned up at the excellent Tent City University at Occupy LSX this Wednesday to host drawing workshop. Just so I don't have to explain my take on the drawing + Occupy thing again, look here.
Lots of my workshop ended up being about this crazy 'installation' I discovered in Paternoster sqare.
(read the notes on the drawing below to see what it actually is)
The workshop was well attended by people from the camp and visitors, including a guy who wandered in half-way through, demanded 'social justice', and seemed a little annoyed that I couldn't provide it for him then and there.
We focused on the low-key, everyday realities of the camp, drawing parts of our neighbors, what we had for breakfast (both warm-up exercises really, but I particularly like the second one because it starts to combine observational 'life-drawing' with what I'd call 'applied life-drawing': involving memory, circumstances, emotions - plus this exercise gets diagrammatic which I like too).
We went on to draw any one thing that had particularly drawn us to the St Pauls camp.
People took away sketchbooks and, I hope, will keep on drawing.
I'll be back on 19th for a follow-up workshop. If you didn't come to the first one (or if you did) you're equally welcome.
And if you have a drawing of Occupy London and would like to add it to the Flickr account where I've posted more of the Occupy sketchbooks, please send it to me at badaude at aol dot com.
It's odd how uncomfortable I felt when I first visited,..
...and how quickly I became involved (but that's another story - which I am writing and drawing up).
After re-visiting a couple of times I'm still fascinated by 'occupying' - by the re-use of city space, by the registering of protest just by being there.
No one can put themselves behind every demand posted around the camp but, even if we don't want to camp out, don't have the freedom to visit - even if we don't actually agree with the protest - we have to admit that its presence has already occupied part of our minds.
And even if it doesn't give all the answers - if the diversity of the camp's demands seems too 'unformulated' - what it does do is raise the question.
On 7th December I'll be leading a drawing journal workshop at the Tent City University at Occupy St Pauls. You can find more information on the university's listings page.
Occupy your minds/Occupy your hands
This isn’t a workshop for experienced artists (though if you are one, of course you’re welcome). Anyone can draw well enough to keep a drawing diary. You can be a resident or a passer-by. You don’t even need materials: I’m going to give you notebooks and pens/pencils.
You’re here at Occupy LSX to do something serious. Drawing might seem trivial – but it can be important.
It can do three things.
1) You can help to make a record of everyday life in Occupy LSX. You’re here in an extraordinary situation – something that deserves to be recorded. You can keep your drawing diaries for yourselves and/or lend them to me to photograph for an online Flickr archive.
2) As soon as you start to draw, you start to notice more: when you draw the details of everyday life, you begin to think about how they might be changed.
3) In the middle of the busy city, with little personal space, drawing can be a quiet private headspace. What’s more it’s a really really good way to occupy your hands and your mind on a cold winter’s morning.
This workshop is only the starting point: I’ll be back on 19th December and further dates to meet with you , draw, and talk about what you’ve been doing.
If you're in London and don't mind taking a late lunch hour, I very much hope you'll come.
And, if you can't attend but you're interested in helping, I will need materials for my workshop. Go here if you'd like to buy a pack of sketchbooks, erasers pencils or pens which will be delivered to me in time for the workshops (or even the vaguely amusing/appropriate £ note erasers I found here - which are also on my list) and hopefully see the results appear on Flickr.