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Artworks and Other Interesting Items

Mowl

Member
Ta-Da!

This is the finished object: a white staff for Gandalf. I guess I was lucky to find the exact shape and size of driftwood from the beach, but after treating and working on this one I have a few brainwaves about further pieces I can use for framing paintings, for example. Or even just as surrounds independent of the frame itself.

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Here's a closer look: the tip of the curve has what looks a little like an upturned hand after going at it with the jigsaw.

I like that feature and I reckon it'll make for a very attractive and convincing wizard's staff.

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A closer look again:

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Mowl

Member
The lounge wall. The framed poster is a copy of the bill of Martial Law issued by Richard Sherry and JO Wylie on the 28th of May 1916. The copies were issued by the Irish Times who reproduced exact copies of the newspaper from over the period of The Rising. There were five complete exact copies of the newspapers - word for word and ad for ad. The Martial Law governance was a full page, as it was in the original.

My Mam sent them over and I loved them from the moment I opened them. I stressed the hanging copy on my lounge corner wall using a cold instant coffee mix for the brown and tan shades and cold soaked teabag water to cover the entire sheet. It aged it quite a bit and I did the same with a copy of The Declaration, but that one was sold and I have to get a few more copies to do the same and sell them on to either regulars or our Irish pub owners.

The rest of the apartment is a jungle of plants of all types and ages. I was considering using two of the smaller guitars on the wall as plant bases: line the bottom of the cavity and fill it with soil and allow some hanging plants to grow outward and downward from the sound holes. Again, the idea is to sell them to a restaurant or lounge. But I'd need several more guitars to make it work. Easy and cheap to find and no worries working them with moist earth of they're sealed properly: I envisage an array of eight to twelve guitar-plants on a main wall. Could look pretty good.

Maybe even let the customers sponsor and name them: like Robert Plant. Or Energy plant. Even House plant. Or Planta Claus?

The options are infinite, and the more outrageous the better.
 

Mowl

Member
Never bothered me, but then again I sleep with the windows opened most of the time. My plants are family to me: they all have names, and yes - I do talk to them when tending them for watering, fresh soil, trimming and pruning. Some have been with me since day one (I only bought plants and a futon bed for my first address when moving in to Helsinki) and I'm very precious about them.

I've never considered the idea that too many plants are a problem - quite the opposite: I like having dozens of them around. They clean the air, bring life to the darkness of winter, and every day one or other of them needs my care and attention. My guests are always blown away and tell me it's like living in a plant shop. I can't part with any of them but I do cut slips to put in water and replant to pass along to friends who want to mimic my decor style. I like natural wood and fresh greens, and most of my furniture's also been tended to to make the various items unique.

I dislike IKEA and never shop there, too much fake crap that falls apart and can't take any wear and tear, so I don't buy it.

I prefer to recycle my items of furniture, and take in orphaned plants from others who can't seem to help them grow, they do very well in here with the floods of light across my south-facing windows.

Anyhoo - here's the finished Gandalf staff. I delivered it this morning and they transferred the fee to the bank. Then she asked me when I was coming back to collect it. That was a surprise but I bare-faced her and said the day after the final show. Grand, except there's only one performance and it's tomorrow evening, so she'll drop it back to me during the week.

Cool, it's a nice piece and it worked out rather well. The stage set features lots of dry ice and fog machines, the design is by the students at the art college around the corner and the play itself written by another student. It's a loose copy of the Tom Bombadil book by Tolkien. A sort of 'The Adventures Of Gandalf' after the fact. They loved the staff and were really positive about how it'll look under the lights. I was going to put a metal tip to the bottom of it so you can hear it clack when he walks, but they asked me not to as the staff has to be quiet on impact.
 

Mowl

Member
The two little metal eyes were a last-minute added detail. There are two knots of wood under them and they sit nicely into the centres of them. The rope handle is some baling twine I had hanging around, that too looks good I reckon, and the producer thought so too. She gave the staff a name but now I can't remember what it is. Fuck it, I'll see tomorrow night.

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Thoughts? Opinions? I'm a little bit proud of myself actually. It worked out rather well and I made a great connection with the production staff who love the walking stick. It weight around one kilo and balances quite well. When I get it back I'll mount it on the wall and have it as a conversation piece. I may even get offers to buy it which I'll also consider, because there's no end of driftwood down on the estuary after the big melt of winter snow carried them all the way down from middle Finland to the bay two minutes walk away.

I'll go and collect a few more and see about how to make some form of installation type artwork with them.

The basic materials are free, and a lick of paint and coat of sealant cheap.

This could become something more than just a stage prop.

I'll put my thinking cap on (a spliff and a Bellini later today) and see what clicks.
 
I still have a receipt somewhere from Harry's Bar in Venice, Mowl, where Bellinis were 16 euros each. Had to be done though.

No point being in Venice without a Bellini at Harry's. Only way we got in at all was because we had a local Venetian with us.
 
They had a member of the house of Lords, hereditary, who used to sit at the counter at Harry's, and was on free drinks to do the hail-fellow-well-met bit for visitors in from London and the US.

I can remember the name but he was a decent old stick and I'd say the hereditary peerage was probably the only asset left and earning a living and pretty good at it so I won't name him. The yanks love meeting a Lord and getting photos with him of course.

Felt a bit sorry for him but he was making a decent living or at least maintaining a steady flow of cocktails to take the edge off.

There are worse jobs in the world than propping up the bar at Harry's I suppose.
 
Here Mowl I took the plunge to set up my own business at the end of January as I wasn't happy where I was and think that after the lockdown I had pledged to do my own thing more.

I wasn't sure how it would go but the little agency/consultancy has taken off like a rocket. I built a technical project in February, modelled it to see if it would work, and apparently wrote an algorithm without realising that's what I was doing.

That's going live in next two weeks, before end of May is the aim and that's a cash earner straight from a new website with info that is in demand around the sector I used to work in.

I was a bit nervous as I was turning down a job where I worked to leave so a bit nervewracking but I realise I'm billing out more than I was paid in my full time role for May and that's before the gizmo is even launched. So relief all 'round.

It is miles better. No office crap to deal with, I have a small but perfectly formed client list which came in immediately I launched the agency static website. Plenty more work coming in as well.

Two prestige organisations as well. I can turn around work for them in a jiffy and no interruptions or idiocies like you'd get in an office. My productivity and output has gone through the roof and I'm working about a third as hard as I did when I was on the office tit.

I'm all set up with the company registered and just awaiting the last paperwork now so I can invoice out around £3k, with probably another £3k worth of work just on the consultancy side. Only two people I have to deal with and we just agree the work and deadline, I deliver, and they are both well happy with the standard they are getting.

Bit of a revelation! I wanted to do it before lockdown but had to put everything on hold for the zombie apocalypse and make weapons instead but turns out it was only a virus so have packed away the weapons such as the NailGun-RailGun for the moment. They laugh now but when the zombies do show up they are in for a surprise down Con's street.

" I am Vice-Admiral Con," I'll be able to tell the first group. "And you are not the apocalypse. Con is the apocalypse."

Pull the trigger on Broadside Billy and so begins Evaporation Day .... I might leave that last bit out of the Business Plan. It would only tip them off...
 
The two little metal eyes were a last-minute added detail. There are two knots of wood under them and they sit nicely into the centres of them. The rope handle is some baling twine I had hanging around, that too looks good I reckon, and the producer thought so too. She gave the staff a name but now I can't remember what it is. Fuck it, I'll see tomorrow night.

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060520221988.jpg



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060520221987.jpg



Thoughts? Opinions? I'm a little bit proud of myself actually. It worked out rather well and I made a great connection with the production staff who love the walking stick. It weight around one kilo and balances quite well. When I get it back I'll mount it on the wall and have it as a conversation piece. I may even get offers to buy it which I'll also consider, because there's no end of driftwood down on the estuary after the big melt of winter snow carried them all the way down from middle Finland to the bay two minutes walk away.

I'll go and collect a few more and see about how to make some form of installation type artwork with them.

The basic materials are free, and a lick of paint and coat of sealant cheap.

This could become something more than just a stage prop.

I'll put my thinking cap on (a spliff and a Bellini later today) and see what clicks.

I think I've seen something like it from treasure finds from Scandinavia in the British Museum.
 

Mowl

Member
That fucking tie is awful as well.

It's far too loose though: his face is red from holding up his gut in that shot.

When he breathes out, the poles shift by half a degree.

Those two little eyes I have seen on Norse items recovered from digs and in museums. The dragon or the snake.

Seems very in keeping with the style or what I have seen of it in pictures. It is very Norse looking. Just trying to think where exactly I've seen something similar.

Do you know - that's what the producer said to me. I replied that I was glad she noticed it (I was bullshitting: I had no idea that was a sort of insignia) but in reality, the two knots just kept begging me for a detail, so I rummaged around in my 'nails, screws, nuts, bolts, misc' shoebox and spotted the furniture pins. Then even they started begging me to use them.

I've feeling my hand was being guided by angels on my shoulder.

Either that or devils.

I still have a receipt somewhere from Harry's Bar in Venice, Mowl, where Bellinis were 16 euros each. Had to be done though.

No point being in Venice without a Bellini at Harry's. Only way we got in at all was because we had a local Venetian with us.

We opened a Harry's Bar in the Powerscourt Center in Dublin city many years back. My then lady friend managed the place and worked the cocktail bar. We needed some entertainment, so a piano was fetched and set on the corner of the tiles for dancing. Then we needed someone to play it.

There was a guy on Grafton Street busking with just his vocals. Said his name was Liam and said he played piano, so we asked him over to play and in return have some drinks on the house as a fee for the audition. He could play alright. He pushed the stool away and played the mini grand standing up.

We booked him on the spot and asked his second name for the billboard.

O'Maonlai, says Liam.

This is more or less what he looked like back then:





Of course, this is him now:






See what the music business does to culchies?

I have a drummer friend, Dave Clarke, who used to play with Blue In Heaven and then the latter version after getting dropped for running up massive debts, The Blue Angels. Great drummer, signed to Pearl in Japan for his drums globally (I got Gretsch in 2007 - they gave me a massive rig) and he was telling me that The Hothouse Flowers have a therapist on their crew list.

Apparently they hate each other so much they have to have regular therapy sessions both individually and in group form. This is to stop them battering each other to death when out on the road. Another drummer friend is Jerry Fehily, the original drummer with the Flowers. Poor guy, they drove him over the edge and he had a breakdown and had to quit the band altogether.

There's a shadow over that band - I've always felt it: like a conduit for nasty shit to rain down all around them. I got the call myself when I still lived in Ireland but even if I wanted to do it, I couldn't. These days? Fuck no.

A Swedish lady friend of mine dated him years ago, and she told me that he never had a shilling on him and she had to pay for everything. She said that when they took taxis, he'd start singing 'Don't Go' in the hope that the driver would clock him and give them a free ride.

Sadly most Dublin taxi drivers are from Ethiopia, The Congo, or Nigeria.


Here Mowl I took the plunge to set up my own business at the end of January as I wasn't happy where I was and think that after the lockdown I had pledged to do my own thing more.

Excellent: one good thing that came from Covid was time to think. Many folks I know were wiped out by it, their bank accounts raped by two and a half years of no work and bigger bills.

A perfect time to stop and reconsider the meaning of your existence.

I wasn't sure how it would go but the little agency/consultancy has taken off like a rocket. I built a technical project in February, modelled it to see if it would work, and apparently wrote an algorithm without realising that's what I was doing.

That's going live in next two weeks, before end of May is the aim and that's a cash earner straight from a new website with info that is in demand around the sector I used to work in.

I was a bit nervous as I was turning down a job where I worked to leave so a bit nervewracking but I realise I'm billing out more than I was paid in my full time role for May and that's before the gizmo is even launched. So relief all 'round.

It is miles better. No office crap to deal with, I have a small but perfectly formed client list which came in immediately I launched the agency static website. Plenty more work coming in as well.

Two prestige organisations as well. I can turn around work for them in a jiffy and no interruptions or idiocies like you'd get in an office. My productivity and output has gone through the roof and I'm working about a third as hard as I did when I was on the office tit.

I'm all set up with the company registered and just awaiting the last paperwork now so I can invoice out around £3k, with probably another £3k worth of work just on the consultancy side. Only two people I have to deal with and we just agree the work and deadline, I deliver, and they are both well happy with the standard they are getting.

Bit of a revelation! I wanted to do it before lockdown but had to put everything on hold for the zombie apocalypse and make weapons instead but turns out it was only a virus so have packed away the weapons such as the NailGun-RailGun for the moment. They laugh now but when the zombies do show up they are in for a surprise down Con's street.

" I am Vice-Admiral Con," I'll be able to tell the first group. "And you are not the apocalypse. Con is the apocalypse."

Pull the trigger on Broadside Billy and so begins Evaporation Day .... I might leave that last bit out of the Business Plan. It would only tip them off...

This sounds awesome.

Mostly because it's flying over my head like a flock of geese on strong meta-amphetamines.

My coding skills were learned on MySpace.

Serial.

I think I've seen something like it from treasure finds from Scandinavia in the British Museum.

Perhaps one day in the future, some archeologist will find my staff and they'll stick in the national museum of Finland marked 'The Staff Of Mowl - Celtic God of all he surveyed'.

Of course, I'm no surveyor - but those lads are seriously well paid.

Here's the lads doing a lousy cover of their own song at the Brooklyn Bowl.

No wonder they hate each other.

 
Saw them at the Mean Fiddler a couple of times, always liked them. I was pleased to see they got that massive airplay around the Top Gear reboot on Amazon or whatever. I loved their Songs from the Rain album.

They just seem to have developed this sound over the years that is instantly recognisable.
 

Mowl

Member
Don't know if you heard already, but I have to inform you that the saxophonist, Leo Barnes, died only last week at the age of 57. Cancer, I believe. He had a hard life. He was put into the industrial homes both in Dublin and out to Letterfrack too. Younger than Gerard Mannix Flynn, he left at fifteen (ran away) and they came looking for him but he went to London and eventually took up the sax and came home years later and landed the Flowers gig soon after.

He was also, like my man John 'Irish' Earle, a very social player who arrived at gigs and flashed his horn to let you know he was up for a jam. He joined Loose Booty many times, and never for money. He could boogie and shuffle with any style of music, even if he was a rather intense bloke to have around.

He sounds like a pride of hungry lions looking to to get laid on this one. Kind of a filler track on the first album, but actually one of my favourites. Jerry Fehily from Cork's on the kit. He has a lovely groove but he shouldn't try to play with click tracks - you can hear him overlap the clock halfway through this one, but they kept it anyway because the rest of the drum take is pretty hot:

 

Mowl

Member
John 'Irish' Earle was a Dublin born London raised sax player of considerable talent. Nicknamed either 'Irish' or else 'The Earle Of Saxophony' he was your traditional vagabond Irish rover type musician who played with and could drop more names than any player I ever met. When he came home from living in Copenhagen around the early to mid nineties, I hooked up with him at an after-party for a sexy cabaret show that featured a lady I wanted to nail.

I'm sitting rolling a number and over he comes. We start chatting and he starts dropping all these names to me and of course I was doubtful. Graham Parker, the horns on 'Walking On Sunshine', Phil Lynott, The Clash, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, The Blockheads band, Dave Edmunds, and many more. He was a lovely old bloke though and I took a shine to him immediately. I had a five-piece for the Gaiety Theater Friday and Saturday after midnight gigs there with Laura Williams doing the booking. She had me in with PAMF on Fridays on the Circle Bar upstairs and The Funky Souls on Saturdays in the main bar downstairs. Irish was always there and we always had him up. He'd burn the house down every time, and would be offended if you offered him money. So we'd make sure he had a tab at the bar we picked up after getting paid.

It went on like that for a few years and then I heard he was out in Peamount Hospital (where they sent my Dad) with tuberculosis. I asked had anyone been out to see him and nobody did, so I went out myself with some art materials and the papers, a little bag of weed and some tobacco for him to enjoy. He was fucked up - they had him on lithium. I went back to the hotel in Rathmines where he was staying and asked where his horns were. Nobody new. I was mad as fucking hell and got on to Peter Moore and told him that this was fucking horrible: how fucking dare they abandon the man like that after using him for years and only ever giving him drink as pay.

Then I heard he'd died after getting out from treatment and was lying in his bedsit for several days before the smell alerted someone. I took the last known photograph of him one evening when I was doing some artwork at Deveney's off licence in Rathmines: he was in for his red bull and vodka. He said he couldn't play without them. So I paid for the lot and he posed for a shot.

This one:






You can see he was close to the edge, but he was still smiling - music kept him alive those last few months. But back in the day, there was this one. He was Graham Parker And The Rumour opening for Lizzy and Phil had him up for this one:




Still breaks my heart to see him and hear him, he was simply the sweetest bloke you could meet. Everybody speaks well of the dead - but not me: John was a gentleman, a sage, a true soldier, and he never so much as ever flashed an ego. As down to earth as your simplest happy person.

You can read more about his life here:


Oh, and I found this from our funk/soul band The Funky Souls, never knew it was online. This was the demo we recorded with Al Cowan (drummer - Paranoid Visions, etc) at his studio on Capel Street. Lovely bloke to work with, he had all five or six of us out on the same studio floor because he reckoned we had no right to be doing things in traditional mode with loads of overdubs and loads of takes. His attitude was that if we were getting paid to do it live onstage, then we can do it live in the studio, so shut the fuck up and play type attitude. The only overdubs I recall are the percussion parts.

 
Three favourite pieces of sax music. Whoever played with Polly Styrene and X-Ray Spex on 'Identity', arguably the best punk song ever, the sax solo on Hazel O'Connor's 'Will You' which just proves that saxophone and percussion should never part, and the sax on 'Dancing in the Moonlight' so fair play to Mr John Earle...
 

Mowl

Member
Amos Rex Gallery, Helsinki Finland.

The overground:





And the gallery beneath:





This site used to be the terminal for our national regional bus services.

Now it's been taken back and given to the people of Finland.

The new terminal for buses is deep beneath the nearby Kamppi shopping centre.

Where terminals need to be, not occupying precious terra firma.

I love that Finland digs so deep, like the Dutch with their dykes and polders.

Like they reclaim from the sea, we dynamite into the bedrock and keep the overground clear.
Now think of how things are done in Ireland? And how you're supposed to be a 'rich' and 'wealthy' nation people desire to live in.

Really?

Notice how even though the overground of Amos Rex is relatively new, it was agreed that the numerous skateboarders have full and equal access to pedestrians? Bikes too?

Now ask yourself: what would Ireland do eight acres of space right smack dab in the middle of the city? Would they build you something that even allowed for stunt-boarding kids?

?
 
I like that space a lot. I love the curve. It would make a great museum or gallery or visitor centre somewhere in Ireland because of the way the room is reminiscent of whitewash cottages in the west.

I meant to ask Mowl Mowl whether he managed to get the kids art classes and activities going again for the rugrats.

Must have been boring for the Mowl during lockdown.
 

Mowl

Member
I like that space a lot. I love the curve. It would make a great museum or gallery or visitor centre somewhere in Ireland because of the way the room is reminiscent of whitewash cottages in the west.

That's exactly what it is, a multi-functional space designed for both art shows (on canvas etc) or else larger scale installations. I'll be heading back to visit it later in the week to discuss a plan with a Moroccan friend who paints rather well.

I sat in with his band some years back on short order, we clicked and I stuck around for a while.

Two 'live clues' of what he was doing and we improvised around:

Soul Family Jam Band: 'I Bet She Wants You Back' (Live at Kuudes Linja)



Hossni Boudali Live Crew: 'Episode After Episode' (Live at Klaus K)



I meant to ask Mowl Mowl whether he managed to get the kids art classes and activities going again for the rugrats.

No, Covid fucked my whole shit up and I lost several months of advance bookings when the mask issue started. So I applied for a place studying Child Psychology which I'm now five week into with another ten to go.

Hopefully after this I can fatten the CV and apply for a state grant to restart the program in a new studio bomb shelter I clocked last year in which the security room that used to monitor the door cameras has freed up. Nobody else would be interested in it because (a) noise spills out into the corridors that lead way down below terra firma - but I don't mind about that - we'll be making all sorts of rackets ourselves. The other is that it's small and snug, you could fir a four piece band in with full rig and PA, but it'd be, shall we say intimate? It'll work out so long as you don't mind getting poked in the eye with drumsticks on your left and the head-stock of a Fender bass in the other.

But with the kids?

Perfect - ideal: right at the from door, so I don't have to lead the Mam's and Dad's of the kids too far down into where the serious action and big noise is made. Ask yourself: if it was your ten year old and you lead him/her down fifty meters underground to a studio used by some of Finland's heaviest bands, would YOU be comfortable leaving them there with Mowl?

Terra Firma's much better, image-wise.

Must have been boring for the Mowl during lockdown.


Mowl's never bored. He has this in one corner:








And my horns, guitars, fiddle, percussions, amps, effects, loop stations, and other crap scattered everywhere else in the lounge to stave off any sense of boredom. Boys and our toys. We choose them carefully and keep them to hand. I can show you later the beer can hanging from a string above the room for target practice with my Colt 9mm.

What I won't be showing you is the old fashioned private landline I use to call my ladies.

There are limits, you know.
 

roc_abilly

Member
Indeed, Leica lenses and camera units are diamonds.

I know a man who was killed for his, on the streets of Rome.

A sad, sad day in Mowl's life.
I used to use a copy of a Leica M4. A Yashica rangefinder. A great copy. And great photos. You can still pick them up pretty cheap.

One day though I'd like a real M4. Something truly ethereal about the photos it takes.

 

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