Let’s talk while we eat…
Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?
My middle name means ‘Peace’ but I am named after various family members and have ended up with the initials – JIF. I wasn’t half cross when they renamed the cleaning product CIF. Hey, maybe with the wonderful opportunities afforded to our newly-fractured country (thanks Cameron) we’ll get JIF back on the shelves. Every cloud…
Music or silence while working?
Music for dancing, silence for working.
If you had a special place for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronics, people or animals), what would they be?
If I could drive it would be my VW campervan, which I haven’t got. Then I could take my special possessions to the beach. Three special things? It all depends on my moods. I’ve got a couple of rather lovely tarot decks featuring classical works of art, which I’d probably run into a burning house to rescue as I paid so much for them. Ditto my bloody gorgeous six volume boxed edition of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (which, ironically, I can never find the time to continue reading). And, thirdly, the pile of chaos on and around my desk, which includes all the crap I need to draw, paint, create and craft all the various things I feel the urge to produce at any given moment.
The Never List: What are things you know you never will do?
Get married, have children, move to the USA, vote Conservative, climb Everest, swim the Channel, wear anything orange. I feel especially strongly about the orange thing.
See, I haven’t even got a proper orange pen.
Don’t Look (The Introduction)
I’m having a long weekend so I still haven’t drawn anything new but I have a few more of these vintage pieces from the museum/art gallery for you to shake your head and tut at. May I remind you that I was not looking at what I was drawing – I think I was watching another museum assistant in a game of charades at the time. I mean, the Canaletto, yes, I was keeping a beady eye on the Canaletto. Art thieves – you never know when they’ll strike.
At least I’m not stuck in another office.
During a recent archaeological dig through some of my ‘boxes of stuff’ I discovered a cache of tiny sketchpads from my days as a museum assistant. Over a decade ago I worked at a museum and art gallery containing a well-respected collection of art, genuine dinosaur bones and the most diverse team of staff you could ever wish to meet. It was my dream job and for about three years I loved it. However, at times, it could be trying and, as you can probably imagine, brain-achingly boring due to long periods of just standing there, guarding the collection and not doing anything else.
We all did it; not doing anything else. Most of us went through phases of not doing crosswords and smuggling books onto the gallery, not sleeping or chatting, not allowing ourselves the distraction afforded by plugging our ears into sneaky little radios and following the football. To stop my brain from unhinging the top of my head and scampering off with a tiny suitcase I always carried these tiny sketchpads and a pencil that I could slip inconspicuously into the breast pocket of my blazer. I wrote endless versions of a troublesome novel that to this day keeps poking me with a stick and asking to be completed. I sketched the works of art and the molluscs in cases and I designed pithy tee-shirt slogans that were going to make me a millionaire one day. And I invented the pastime of DRAWING WITHOUT LOOKING, which amused me greatly.
I obviously couldn’t close my eyes because I had to make sure no-one was nicking the Monets. Anyway, I thought you might like to see some of these recently discovered masterpieces as I haven’t drawn any cartoons today. So here you go.
Many of the assistants were frustrated artists of some sort. Often we drew the artwork or the artists themselves, which was frequently the same thing. They were always all drawing each other, when they weren’t doing other things to each other…
We were encouraged to guard the safety and security of the galleries and to ensure the visitors had an enjoyable time there, whilst also respecting the collection. Our supervisors were generous with their nuggety pearls of wisdom.
Have a lovely weekend. Museum assistants don’t get weekends.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
What do you call a thing when you don’t know what it is? I’m going to say 13. Ah, the heady days of tree-climbing and building dens and hiding in dens and defending dens from that other gang of kids. “GET LOST YOU KIDS! This is OUR den! Go back to your own cul-de-sac!”
So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?
I scorn the umbrella! “HA HA!” say I, as I stride purposefully into the torrential downpour, safely encased in my waterproof outdoor gear and big-brimmed hat. “Do your worse, weather!” I taunt the sky with a raised fist and a curled lip. “Is that all you’ve got!? I laugh at thee – HAHAHA! Hear my great guffawing gales of glee! Have at ye with my Berghaus trousers!”
And so forth.
My umbrella has cats on it and it’s somewhere in a bag. Somewhere.
Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?
Well, do you know, it all depends on my current mood, dear. A lot of the time I’m all like ‘I don’t need people – people can go to hell and stay there! I’ll keep my own counsel, damn them all anyway, scum of the earth, never done nothing for me, the sons of a demon dog that mated with a pig!’ Then other days I’m all ‘Ooh, everyone’s off to the pub for a shout over the music and some general beer spillage! Let’s get my dancing shoes on and cast off those inhibitions! Whisky a go-go!’
I’m very mood-swingy.
Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend to have in common.
My partner and I have two dogs and a cat in common.
Time to share my world again…
Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
I rarely use an elevator, or lift, as we call them here in the UK. I have a deep down fear that I will get trapped in there and have to start eating parts of myself to survive, even if I’ve had a massive bowl of porridge for breakfast. I prefer to climb the stairs, unless it’s a silly amount of flights. If I do have to go to the top of a tall building I spend the entire journey wishing the lift good health and mentally planning how I will jump in the air at the precise moment it hits the ground at a million miles an hour after plummeting violently towards the centre of the earth. I don’t really bother with the buttons once I’ve instructed the lift not to kill me and just drop me at the salient floor, thanks.
Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)
‘Plan’ is a four-letter word. A regular bone of contention with my ostensibly more organised partner, I PLAN NOTHING. Because when I do, it all goes pear-shaped, tits up and a-glay (you know, like the best laid ones of mice and men…) Especially if I TELL anyone my plans. I can hear the words coming out of my mouth sometimes and I’ll be thinking ‘That won’t happen then.’
‘Got anything nice planned for the weekend?’ my friend will ask.
‘Oh, we might go to the beach and perhaps see a film at the cinema…’ And in my head I see that flying out the window and waving goodbye. Cue the weekend and I’m sitting in a nuclear bunker trying to bite a tin of beans open whilst my partner glowers at me over a stub of candle and two dogs and a cat draw straws for which one is getting first dibs on my liver.
So, even if I did plan anything I wouldn’t be telling YOU.
Describe yourself in at least four uplifting words.
Alive, Awake, Maniacal and Helium.
If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert?
A salt water beach, please. Beach-combing is my natural state. I can pick up a whole ton of crap on a beach and pretend it’s art until the cows come home. In fact I once made a set of windchimes from the ribcage of some sort of farm animal I found on a beach. Stop screaming.