Casting My Hand

Casting My Hand

Today, I thought I’d have a go at casting my hand in plaster of paris. Obviously, this wasn’t a sudden whim because you need more than household ingredients to do this. I’d already bought several bags of Baby Rice alginate plus some mixing jugs that could serve as hand moulds.

So, I mixed the first load of alginate, following the vids I’d found online and… IT SET! Goddamn thing just set pretty much immediately. I don’t know if it was how I was mixing or the water temp. So, I plopped that out of the mould – it was disconcertingly like a huge lump of flesh.

Okay, batch 2, I’ll be more careful this time… Aaaanddd… aRGHhh, it’s all gone lumpy. LUMPY ALGINATE HELL!

By this time, I was a little dispirited and the kitchen sink looked like I’d been murdering aliens in it.

But I gave it one more go. This time, I probably didn’t put enough alginate powder in the mix, I was so scared of it going lumpy again. After a bit, I thought I may as well give it a go and I bunged my hand in and waited. Around ten minutes later (waaaay longer than it’s meant to take), the mould seemed solid so I gingerly wheedled my hand out.

The plaster of paris was a piece of piss compared to the alginate. Mixed, poured, gave it two hours and then, ta-dah! The gallery at the top shows me excavating my cast hand out of the mould.

I’ll let it dry out for a week or so and then decide how I’m going to decorate it. I don’t think I’ll go realistic… maybe a lovely gold? Or silver?


Isn’t it crazy how many of us are lonely?

Not just occasionally, a bit in-need-of-company, at-a-loose-end kind of lonely but deep, existential loneliness.

I had an old friend round a while ago. I actually had to ask him if some of my memories of my first girlfriend were true. They’re so long ago and I’ve remembered them so many times, they don’t feel real to me any more, it feels more like remembering a film I’ve watched rather than my own life. But, no, he confirmed I hadn’t gone full-on Ben Gunn, she did exist and all that crazy shit did, in fact, happen. Also, she was as beautiful as I remember. Go me!

Loneliness is insidious. I’ve been single for nine years now, the longest in my adult life. The only way I cope is to treat the loneliness like a monster in the corner of my room; I don’t look at it, I pretend it’s not there and in return it doesn’t claw me to death.

Mostly, this deal works. I can get on with pretending to be an adult (which… shh… is what every adult does, kids) and I’m not screaming inside for more than an hour or two a day. That gives me enough time to do my tax stuff, run my label, write songs, buy synths I don’t need from eBay. Last week, I even managed to exercise without drifting off into blue funks of reverie. I know!

Other days… well, I look in the corner.

And before I know it, I’m swamped with memories of being loved and cared for, of spooning someone in bed, of the house not being half-empty as it has been for years now. There is nothing as beautiful as the improvised little tunes your wife sings absentmindedly as she potters around the house. Nothing in the entire universe.

Today is a bad day. Today, I could really do with hugs and comforting and feeling at least not ugly for a while. But, this being real life, that’s not going to happen. Like all of us who are profoundly lonely, I’ll just have to grit my teeth and get through another day as best I can.

If you’re reading this and identify with the feeling, please know that, ironically, you aren’t alone in your loneliness. You aren’t weird or bizarre or defective. Millions of humans feel like you do.

I Miss My Dad

Today is the first anniversary of my Dad dying. I can’t believe it’s been a year.

I haven’t slept properly the past few days. I keep waking up every hour or so, like I’m anxious about missing a train or flight or something.

I’ve had such a lonely year without him. I miss arguing about politics with him (he was very left of Labour but not as much as me), I miss geeking out with him, showing him new gadgets I’ve bought. I mean, I’ve always loved my Dad but I didn’t know I’d miss him like this, every day in so many ways. I keep thinking, ‘Oh wait till I send this article to…. “ or “He’s gonna love this new lens…” and then realising I’m forgetting he’s gone.

I have so many happy memories of him carrying me when I was little, of him explaining things to me so, so patiently. He bought me my first book, Asimov’s Mysteries, when I was seven or so. He’s why I’m an SF geek. I had a wonderful father.

I wish I was as good a person as he was. I wish I was as strong and handsome, as fearless and resourceful.

If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have a great Dad, please go and give them a hug or ring them and tell them you love them. Because, one day, like me, you’ll wish you’d done that so much more when you had the chance.

The Smallness Of Racism

Out in the universe, there are…

Galaxies colliding. As ours will with Andromeda in around five thousand million years. Think of that, actual fucking galaxies colliding. (Pic is of the Antennae galaxies, a pair of interacting galaxies located 45 – 65 million light years from Earth. Credit: Hubble / ESA)

There are pulsars, as discovered by Jocelyn Bell. Stars that are basically cosmic lighthouses, sweeping huge bursts of energy out into the universe through their magnetic fields. Some of them are as accurate as atomic clocks.

There are beautiful nebulae, some of them millions of light years across. Some, like the Crab Nebula, are formed by the exploding guts of a supernova. Anything more complex than hydrogen, helium and lithium is made inside starswhen they bash atoms together and only released when they explode. Think of the journey those elements in your body have made…


I have to deal with the racism of white people who dislike me because I have genetic sunblock that makes my skin a different colour to theirs. Really.

I pity these people. I am sorry for them in that their perspectives are so tiny, so utterly local and banal and ephemeral. I am sad they will never see the beauty I see in every other human being and in the huge universe out there.

If they did see that beauty, if they did realise how unlikely and fleeting and miraculous all life on Earth is, they could not hold on to their ridiculous hate.

Monet, Manet, Minget

I just fell asleep, old man style, and had this crazy 30-second dream.

I was laying next to this beautiful naked woman (well, naked except for a garter on her right thigh) and we were edging towards the beast with two backs when she suddenly looked up and through the window of the cottage we were in.

“Oh my god! Manet is here!” she wailed.

“Monet?” I said.

“No, fucking Manet! Look! He always travels in those carriages with the slidey doors,” she replied.

Sure enough, I looked through the small window and, yes, there was a train outside and a carriage painted a bright, lush green whose door was sliding open.

“Fuck!” she said as she slid off the bed hurriedly and threw on a silk dressing gown.

And the moral of the story: even in my DREAMS my brain hates me and won’t let me have sex.

What chance do I have IRL?

Wolfgang Flür

Forgot to say…

When I did a promo tour for EMI Germany, I asked them if it was possible for them to introduce me to any of Kraftwerk, my fave ever band (they were on EMI too).

Well, I ended up having a lovely dinner with the EMI Germany peeps and Mr. Wolfgang Flür (seen drumming on the right here).

He was totally lovely, didn’t mind my outrageous fanboying at all. We talked about synths and electronic music, Stockhausen and Bauhaus.

One of the best nights of my life. <3

Canon M5 First Test Shots


Sooo… I went to town for a wander and came home with an M5…

Yeah, I know. Like I need YET ANOTHER CAMERA.

But, in my defence, it’s very tiny and basically an 80D crammed into a minuscule chassis.

I am going to test the shit out it this week at the anti-Trump protest and at HDIF on Saturday night when I’m DJing.

24 And 27 Club

This popped up on Facebook and for a moment I wondered if Curtis was in the 27 Club. But, no, he isn’t.
Ian Curtis would be 60 now, he died at 24 so not a 27 Club member.
Of the actual 27 Club members ~ Kurt Cobain would be 50. Jimi Hendrix, 75. Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, 74. Amy Winehouse only 34.

The Forgotten Cohort

If you fall into either of those camps, you’ll doubtless have strong opinions. If you don’t, then come and join me on the sidelines as the two sides limber up for the mother of all battles. I’ve got popcorn, it’ll be fun. And who are we, if we’re not boomers or millennials? Why, we’re Generation X of course. And when the slapping and fighting is all done and dusted, we’re going to save the world.

(Source: The Independent)

Okay, so it’s a silly article and as a Gen Xer I think loads of it is wrong. For example, Xers were the first slacker generation. A lot of us fucked off our 20s in a way that Millennials just can’t now. So much for industrious.

What I would agree on is the music stuff: punk, reggae, goth, hip hop, indie, rave, house, jungle, metal and all the various sub-genres, that was us. I’m waiting for a new genre, for a 21st century genre powered by Millennials. Played on knitting needles or something.

I wonder how we’ll do when we’re finally in charge and the Boomers are all dead?