{January 28, 2012}   Painting – FOR REAL

Drawing I’m good at. Digital painting, I’m pretty good at too. But real painting? Let me change the subject.


I have a few pressing issues on my plate at the moment:

1. Finding a flat and/or flatmate for next year. I adore Cardiff Bay, and I so want to get a flat that’s as close to it as possible. Also, I’d much rather that either I live alone, or with just one other person, but they’d have to be very close to me. Unfortunately, it looks like cheap-because-it’s-tiny 1-person flats don’t exist in the Bay area, and the one person who fits my bill probably won’t be available (romance is in this season). So, either I put up with an expensive 1-person flat (which would probably mean me getting a job…) or I find a suitable flatmate somehow. I don’t know how to go about that exactly. I expect that would be down to luck and letting everyone I talk to know that I’m in need. Either way, I’m sure something will work out. It must do.

I really don’t want to compromise…

2. Getting better. I’ve been a bit ill for a while now and if I’m ill for much longer I will go crazy. The weather outside has been beautiful and sunny and gorgeous, but because I need to get better I’ve been stuck indoors almost entirely for the past 4 days or so. If the weather’s still good tomorrow, I don’t care if I wake up and vomit because Satan possessed me during the night – I am getting out there and enjoying the fresh air.

3. Waiting for the 2009 Guy Ritchie ‘Sherlock Holmes’ film to arrive so that I can watch it and write the comparative review that I promised about 2 weeks ago (because frankly, I can’t remember too many details anymore).


Talking of Sherlock, today I picked up my set of acrylics & my drawing pad and had a go at a portrait – Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve never been very good at painting (probably due to the fact that I was never properly taught how to), but I think I’ve done really good considering. Also I only had the one, rather thick brush, & it was photographed under strange lighting on slightly warped paper. So yeah, perfectionist-me is still unhappy but most of me is toying with proud. Any comments on this would be very very welcome.


{January 24, 2012}   While My Guitar Happily Hums

It feels simultaneously like the days are flying by and slowly dragging on & on. The only way that I can convince myself that it was yesterday that I most recently went to the Bay is to look at the calendar good & hard & try to let the thoughts sort themselves out. Wow. I’ve done an awful lot these past few days, but at the same time, it feels like nothing. My latent perfectionism wants to convince me I’ve wasted my time, just because I’ve spent loads of time practicing guitar and yet only have 2 simple tunes memorised. It expects immediate excellence wherever there is effort. The rest of me knows I’ve done good.


While I’ve only memorised 2 out of the 20 or so that I’m interested in, my general proficiency has gone WAY up. I can actually pick up a piece and play it so it’s recognisable, and even adequate, without prior practice! It feels great. My friend’s given me an unwanted acoustic guitar, which is much lighter than my electric & I’m sure will sound a lot better than it (without the aid of amps) when I’ve re-stringed it. A bit more practice, some more tunes memorised and some good weather, and it won’t be long till I’m taking my music out with me. I’m feeling accomplished, and sounding pretty good.


Oh yeah, and a couple of interesting things happened on Sunday.

1) I discovered that the best day to visit Cardiff Bay (as a local anyway) is on Sundays, because that’s when everyone goes & the place feels most alive. Go any other day to clear your head, get some peace & focus on the beauty of the place, but go on Sunday for beauty with a bit of buzz. While passing by the front door of Torchwood, I overheard some confused non-fans, so stepped in to become the helpful informer & tell them about the TV show & why it’s decorated the way it is right now. Might strategically loiter around there next time & see if I can’t enlighten any more people.

2) That night I had a dream in which I sang an original song. I dreamt it was a song by Kate Bush which she sung & orchestrated in the style of Florence & the Machine. To make sure I remembered it I wrote down all of the song I could remember… while I was still dreaming. I tricked myself into forgetting the original song that I composed in my sleep by writing it down (& therefore stopping it praying on my mind) in an imaginary notebook! Agh, self-deception is wonderfully bizarre. I have the tune to the chorus at least & some lyrics that fit but I know aren’t the original ones. I should keep working at it though.


All good. Was going to watch something before bed but think I’m too worn out after a long day of errands (and aching back from guitar usage). Will read my bedtime book, ‘Gods Behaving Badly‘. Wish I had some proper bedtime tea – peppermint’s good for clearing the mind & Earl Grey’s good for focus… but will do in a pinch for bedtime. God I’m Tired. Must’ve worked hard today. Clap.


Goodnight o


I’ve struggled with perfectionism for a very, very long time. It’s stopped me from doing work, it’s stopped me being proud of my creations, and under the guise of regular old shyness it’s stopped me from having a fulfilled and honest social life. But now, the fight is over! I went to a café and thought it through, and within 20 minutes I came up with a revelation that has essentially cured me forever.


It’s like Sherlock Holmes having a long, drawn-out fist fight with Moriarty, then finding out that he actually has a gun on him.


Moriarty: This is how it’s meant to be, Holmes! You and I, forever fighting, never winning –

Holmes: – Oh hang on… yes, I’ve got a gun!

Mortiarty: …Wha?


Holmes: …Time for tea Watson?


Of course that’s never the final scene, even if he is really dead. My perfectionism is going to keep crawling back to me like some legless, zombified Moriarty, so I’m going to need to keep a metaphorical spade handy to scoop him up and flip him away every now and then.



Now the technique itself is a bit… big, so I’m going to need to do an introduction – if you’re truly interested, stick with me. If there’s enough interest I’ll explain this all in better detail in another blog. It’s a system that I’ve invented myself. This may seem a little bizarre  for readers who don’t have a background in self-help, new-age thinking or old memory techniques (loci & memory palaces – Matteo Ricci), but here goes:

Essentially what you do is you create an imaginary world. The world you imagine represents your mind, and the characters that live in that world represent parts of your personality. Once you’ve built this world, you can then change it, and as a result, change the way you are. Mostly, it’s fantastic as a tool for self-knowledge, e.g. you can discover aspects of yourself that you didn’t know you had. But you can also use it to change your behaviour and your responses to the world around you.

Back in school, I used to get panic attacks. They started to get so bad that I couldn’t go into school without having one, and I was afraid of going to classes. So with all that in mind I spent some time daydreaming in my imaginary world. I found a new character called Panik in the underground area, so I created a gate and let her out to the surface. Instead of that cramped, dark space she had before, she now had an enormous plane of land to run around in, so she finally calmed down and wore herself out. I found that whenever I was having a panic attack, if I went through this visual ritual, it would slowly stop, and I could get on with life. When she was panicked & running, Panik was a monster – a frenzied, humanoid mass of black fur and smoke, running like a cat on steroids, with round, glowing yellow eyes, but when she wore herself out, it all went away… She looked just like me. The amazing amount of symbolism involved, and the fact that the solution comes entirely from you, not some self-help book by someone who’s never met you, means that the effect of these daydreams are really powerful and long-lasting.


Now, how I solved the perfectionist problem:

I wasn’t actually trying to be honest. That’s how powerful and strange this thing is. I was thinking about the imaginary world, and the fact that mine is barren, with cracked orange earth. I thought it must be because it’s a battlefield – because of my long-term inner fighting… it could only be perfectionism. It made perfect sense – stop fighting with yourself and the world will become fertile & green (meaning my mind will become productive). So I had to think, what was I fighting? One character jumped to mind. This is a character in my world that I have frankly at times been afraid of. I noticed him one day and got the sense that he’d been there much longer than I knew. Many uneventful daydreams in that world have been hijacked by him, and though he has never done anything to hurt me and only seems to want to be near me and as much a part of my world as the other characters, I felt, very strongly that he can’t be near me. I denied his existence. But that day I realised what he really was. He wasn’t an aspect of my personality – he was the respect, love, admiration, affection and so on that I want & sometimes get from others. Someone older who (despite the age gap) sees me as an equal, resembling someone I admire, attractive and powerful, and choosing me to be with. And I was denying that he should even exist. And just like the real world, I didn’t know why, only that it felt wrong to have any attention of those kinds.



So I accepted him. He’s not some scary undesirable figure – he’s a fuel for self-esteem, and now that he belongs in my world, I can finally be happy with what I do. I can’t tell you how much happier I am now that I believe in myself and the kind words of others. Aw, what a cheesy, namby-pamby ending. How about I teach you a Finnish swear word? Say, “Vee-too”. That’s a lady-part (don’t know which, guessing VAGINA), but they use it the way we use ‘Fuck’.



P.S. No blog tomorrow because it’s my BIRTHDAY!

Should I say yes or say no now?

Should I say yes or say no now?

If I say no there’ll be trouble!

If I say yes there’ll be double.

So come on! And let me know…

(guitar: dur dee dur du-du-du-du-duh)


Well, if someone quite nice and nervous who has the courage to come up and introduce himself and say that I’m beautiful and ask about me and ask for my telephone number, should I say yes? It’s so easy now to think “If you’re not interested, just say no”, but in the moment, it’s more than rude – it’s treason. But you can’t just give out contact details on the basis of pity! Gaar! It was pretty weird that he noticed me when I overtook him while walking through the shopping arcade, followed me into the café, ordered a bottle of water, then came over and started talking & excused himself after he got my number. I’m not a fan of stalker-types. Nor manipulative-types. I doubt that he means to be… There’s 2 kinds of manipulative: scary psycho-types who actively manipulate you, and dependent-types who can’t believe they’re with you and will write you bad sonnets and cry for days when you run away… and make you give them your number when you aren’t interested.


One big problem is motive. From a quick google and common sense I know that guys hate being on the receiving end of this – getting a number but the girl never picking up… ‘Why? She was so “into me” when we were talking… why give me her number if she isn’t interested?’ Because we’re polite. Because it’s automatic. Because that’s what we all do. Because we enjoy the conversation but just aren’t “into him”. Or because for some stupid reason, when it comes to phone number requests, we stop being straight-forward and do the rejecting when we can’t see your disappointed reaction. Likewise, we don’t know what the guy’s motive is. They may say that they’re not interested in dating, but it’s good odds if you want to bet that actually means they’d like to meet up with you again as friends, hoping it’ll turn into something more. But I don’t know for sure. So if a guy tells me he’s not interested in a romantic relationship and then asks for my number… If I say no, he’ll press further, and I’ll have to implicitly call him a liar by saying I’m not interested in him that way. If I say yes, I’ll just be rejecting him later & it bothers me enough to write a 730 word blog on it.


I think now… maybe I should make it some absolute thing, like with alcohol. I don’t drink it. I only occasionally have a taste if I’m offered by a friend and in the mood to try, but even that is very rare. I probably get more alcohol through food than drink. Anyway, maybe I should attach the same rule to phone numbers? Have a policy of never giving them out unless they’ve become a friend (and without stalking) and I feel like I want to. People tend not to question so much when you have absolute statements like ‘I don’t drink’. They get may curious and ask why (or more recently “What’s wrong with you?!”), but they tend not to push any further. Maybe it’ll be the same with this. I should at least have some answer to the “why?” though.



What really bothered me about it all was that I went to the café to relax and mull over my ideas around perfectionism (which I cured in just 1 day last week, will explain next blog). I was thinking about the lovely revelation that part of beating perfectionism is simply accepting love, affection, respect and so on, when the guy approaches my table. Then, in the café that only ever plays interesting music that I haven’t heard before, about 3 contemporary love songs that I know come on. Then right back to the typical stuff.




I don’t like the way the world is conspiring around me at the moment. I’m happy now that I’m free from perfectionism, and I love my friends and my free time. I don’t even think I want a love-interest, let alone a stalker with my phone number.

At least I can finally really believe it when someone says I’m beautiful. Thanks stalker-boy (#rejected X-men).

{November 12, 2011}   Britain Today

It’s Saturday, 6:55pm. Which means it’s time that I wrote Friday’s blog.


Britain in a Day is a project in which the BBC ask the general public to go out and record their day. It’s going to be a documentary film, a piece of social history, etc. etc. In the adverts for it, famous faces try to convince others to take part. They say how important it is and how everybody is interesting at some time. The thing is, I just don’t believe it. For some crazy reason I just don’t believe that I am that interesting. Which is exactly why I need to do it.


I thought I’d go out and catch the sunset at Cardiff Bay. They said you should do something… personal to you, something creative. I wanted to show off how I feel about the beauty of life. I had a script and everything all about how I feel kind of alienated by seeing so much beauty, and not seeing anyone else seeing it! I keep seeing these incredible things and being in awe, practically every day, I just start to think, “Am I the only one who sees this?” I know that’s not true, but… I just really want more people to see it – to appreciate life, every day of it, because it is just … magnificent. Anyway I got distracted somehow and missed it.


I was walking back to the flat, trying to get ideas for what I’d write about tonight that would be worth filming. I was plugged in to the walkman, walking to the beat, looking around  the streets at the christmas lights and the trees and shops… and I was getting close to the end of the street, when I heard something, rumbling below the track. I uplugged myself and looked around.

It was the most bizarre sound, like a field full of crickets… with cats. And in surround-sound too.


Finally, I looked up into the tree above, and saw it was filled with hundreds, literally, of tiny birds, chirping and bouncing around and fluttering about, making this incredible noise! I don’t how long I stood there staring. The orange street lights backlit the leaves so that they glowed green, strong against the vivid, deep blue sky that you sometimes get when the sun hasn’t been long gone. And in this tree in the middle of it all, this mad puzzle! It was like some great magic trick… except you replace most of the surprise with buckets of pure beauty!


So I was standing there – the only person standing there, most everyone else could at least hear the noise but it didn’t go any further than that. But then someone came up to me and said “Can you hear that sound, or am I going mad?” I pointed out the birds in the trees and he joined me to stare. I told him about the project, and we got to talking. Lots of talking… about university, school, hobbies, travelling, mad teachers, food and fitness… “It all sounds terribly mundane now that I write it” says the perfectionist in me, despite knowing that she’s on my hit-list (perfectionism is a damn CURSE). But, it was amazing, we just stood there by the tree, talking for ages about all sorts, and even from inside my own head, I was sounding intelligent.


He asked for my number.



I was interesting.


Or just very attractive, but I find that harder to believe. Wrongly? I don’t know. A problem for another day.



Even if I’m not interesting enough on my own, unprompted, to be a part of that project… I know now. I’m interesting. Or at least I can be. That’s good enough.


The time is now 10:07. And I am obviously a very slow writer. Gotta go now, it’s time I treated myself to pasta in a bowl in bed with a movie, and tea. Go treat yourself too.



{November 5, 2011}   Derren Brown & Guilt Trips

Well, given my subconscious’s huge interest in Derren (see previous blog), I thought I’d indulge it with a post that I’ll be writing while watching his latest show.  I wonder whether this will ease or worsen my subconscious’ fixation. One idea I had was that the reason why my subconscious keeps bringing him up in my creative work, day & night dreams and so on is that he reminds me of me, except more successful, more experienced, and the fact that he’s a gay man (is that 1 or 2 things different? He’s gay & I’m straight, but then we both like guys, so – stop it Harri. What’s the point in thinking like that…). It’s an idea that I feel kind of uncomfortable exploring, so if this doesn’t work I’ll just have to look into that. This won’t make much sense if you haven’t watched it or not watched it recently. Also it goes without saying that the following will likely be spoiler-ridden. You’ve been warned.



Here we go.



The opening is a good summary of why I’ve always liked his work – mystery, psychology, dark qualities, symbolic (almost like it has it’s own mythology), and, well, him – his character and his interests. And of course joy and mischief (all in the eyes). Love the music too, reminds me of Sherlock Holmes (new movie soon, with Stephen Fry! No, this is Derren blog post. Focus). So stylish too. Dramatic. He’s very lovely, despite whatever dark things he’s talking about. Seriously, I LOVE this music! Around 1:30, bouncy, quirky… if I had a soundtrack to my daily life, this would be one of the main ones. Ha! “…gotta go hide myself” (runs away).


Great this, it’s like he’s written an Agatha Christrie and cast Jody in it. Although seeing Scarlet makes me think of Clue. I like the way that Derren’s running through this to the camera, like he’s chatting to me & explaining it all one-on-one. It’s an amazing web of control he’s got here. You could use this format to create storybook experiences for people. It’d cost a lot but you could really create amazing, personalizied experiences for people. Another kind of – TIM MINCHIN! – (*ahem) theatre experience.  Oh, so glad I wasn’t picked for this thing… I’d’ve been devestated if I felt I’d upset someone I really admired… Oh god, I feel so bad for him, like close to getting teary. Ooh, Derren panicking a bit – he’s human! 😀  Oh poor guy. Oh, he’s sitting down against the bed. I think I’d’ve done the same, or paced or lay down on the bed like a jumping jack.


Stupid ads.


Derren is very good at controlling everything. Phase 2: Doubt. Nice, very subtle. Nice to see how he notices it on some level. Now it’s clicked. Wow. It’s so weird to see this sort of thing happening, seeing him thinking & reacting. Derren’s on the move! Oh, there’s such mischievous joy in this! Now I wish I was a part of this, even if apparently accidently upsetting Tim would’ve made me cry into my pillow for 5 minutes. Ha! Some brilliant little mind tricks here. This is probably my favourite of his work. It’s very strange this whole controlling of someone’s life. He’s done this all before but never to this extent. with the jewels, the reactions are all getting a lot more serious. I’d like to think that I’d’ve pocketed it & tried to build the courage to say to the guy everything & explain. Poor guy confiding, oh he’s just like me in his thought processes. I love these things that allow you to really feel inside someone else’s mind, see how similar it all is.


Phase 3: Motive. That title scares me. Mr Black? Thinking Clue again. Mischievous smile again. I now know that what’s coming’ll be fun 🙂 “I’ve told the actors to get Jody drunk. It’s important.” (*Grin). I love this show. Cue guitar sing-a-long. Meanwhile… Derren’s playing Cluedo, big-scale. Getting dark now.


He’s a lot braver than me.

Is that the right word.

I wouldn’t wamt to say less caring about someone I admire, but..

I think I’m just too much of a wuss.

I don’t think I could take it to stage 4.


Very interested in everything Derren’s saying about communicating to sleeping people. I could use this for my own experiments. Perhaps with these kinds of recorded instructions  I could really program my own dreams.


This is getting very creepy in a very cool way now. And the music…



Now I’m thinking Donnie Darko.



Getting very serious. Police are here. Always makes me anxious. Wow. The guilt triggers. It’s really working. You can see it on his face… and the reality of it all. “Rev. Green”… Was I paying attention at all at the beginning? It’s Clue! I’ve started rubbing at myself again. I always do this with nerves & frustrations. I rub at my skin, or if I’m lying down I hold my head. Poor guy. But what music. I don’t know what to think. I’m too wrapped in this story. Panic now. He’s running. And I’m really going crazy with the skin rubbing thing. My poor shoulder’s gone red and red hot.



The village police station?



Derren’s ending it here. A teardrop.



Time to apologise



“What are you doing here?”



or not





I’d forgive him



Now I wish I was chosen.


It’s a bloody rollercoaster. Ha! Paper!


Bastards! Exactly!

And a big hug


Yes, this is my favourite.


I feel better about just being me, just being a nice person. I have this… such strong pressure I put on myself about self-worth and with my perfectionism… and being someone worthwhile & creating fantastic output or nothing at all because I’d rather make nothing than make something substandard.  I feel a lot a better about just being me. Because I’m a good person. And that’s enough.



I wonder how long this’ll last.

Problem is I’ve got work to do. Academic work that I’ve been putting off and creative work that I’ve been perfectionist about.

Well, it’s midnight now, so I’ll just make a promise that tomorrow I will focus on finishing my creative work (the deadline’s earlier), and only once the beast is entirely done with and submitted will I move on to the academic, and for BOTH of them, I will just DO it, and not worry about it being perfect or not. Ah jeez. Too much to think about. I don’t think following Derren’s work in such detail could ever help me, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve too many thoughts to begin with…. I guess I’ll be exploring the whole Derren being a successful me (?) thing sometime next week…


I’ve picked up on the guilt. And rightly too, I should have done all of this by now. This should be a relatively free weekend, but no, I’ve been lazing about all week. I came to Uni to create and to learn. So I better get to it.


Night o

It’s been 2 nights sleep since I left home and I’m almost out of new things to do. This half week before Freshers starts properly is pretty uneventful, so I’m just filling it up with trips to the shops for essentials, figuring out how to go to get to certain places and of course catching up on my hobbies. Today I thought a day-trip to Cardiff Bay would be a nice way to mix up my currently very flat-based life. I love the Bay.

I scoped out a route using google maps. It’s a long way. I think I walked for ~30 minutes to get there from the flat. I don’t think I could do that trip without my ipod, but then there’s always the bus.

Anyway, Cardiff Bay is one of the most serene, arty, relaxing and generally nice places in the UK. Very satisfying to walk to too, because once you get close you see the great golden dome of the Millennium Centre over the trees, and then finally you get there and the trees aren’t in the way anymore and you can see the centre in all it’s magnificent magnitude and the… giant fountain-thing next to it and the whole of the Roald Dahl plaza and beyond that the glimmering sea…

I really do love this area though, it has such a summer-holdiay vibe to it without being noisy or crowded. I did absolutely nothing besides walking and the one cone of ice-cream, but just being there was really rejuvenating. Loads of restaurants, plus a comedy club… great place to go if you have money or a sugar-daddy. Also, if you’re a fan of Torchwood, well this is where Torchwood actually is so if you want to have a go at the front door, then remember this: 1. The front door is past the plaza, down to the right. 2. The door is covered by fan-decorations. 3. The door is locked. 4. Vandalism is wrong.

So that’s the Bay for you.


I decided my whiteboard is best used for To-Do lists and random portraits, so I had a go drawing. I didn’t try to draw anyone in particular, but guess who I ended up drawing? Derren Brown. Seriously, get out of my head man. Must’ve been because I thought about doing another dream-control experiment but didn’t go through with it, so instead of him being in my dream he’s on my whiteboard. The picture’s really annoying me though, I just keep on looking round at it and getting miffed. I don’t know if that’s because he appears to be looking at me when I’m sitting at my desk, or just because I’m such a perfectionist that its imperfection calls to me and says I’m crap. I think I’ll rub it out. That’ll solve whatever it is, but before it goes, here it is:

I do like this picture though. I think this is just the way I am with all pictures I do, particularly of real people, particularly people I admire. His mouth’s too long here – argh crud. I’m so proud and yet so not.

Also, I kinda nervous about Uni now. I’m pretty darn sure that I’m just totally not a party person, at least the typical parties you get at this age  in University. All the typical fuddy-duddy reasons – music too loud, dancing not so fun, crowded = not fun, can’t hear others = how am I supposed to be making friends at these things if all I can do is pretend & nod along?, etc. It’s just not me and I’d be lying to myself & everyone if I just went along with it. But then again this is all about new experiences. Maybe some of them aren’t so bad? I’ll go to Freshers Ball at least, and definitely to other events, but no, clubs & me don’t mix, and I’m very happy doing other – I feel low. I just erased Derren Brown from the whiteboard and now I feel like I’ve betrayed him. Damn those starey eyes. Better draw someone fictional to blot him out. But no, I’m going to take a stand for my individuality – if people try to pressure me into going & I don’t want to, I won’t. Simple as. So weird that that should be such a hard thing for me, but now that I’m starting fresh I can get into the habit of being true to me.

I should go to the Bay again soon. Going to the Bay gets rid of all these thoughts.

et cetera