Monday, 30 May 2011


Peggy drew this portrait of one of her dolls yesterday.

Friday, 27 May 2011


A detail from one of the projects I’m juggling. This is the only one of them not involving narwhals.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Gogol blogging

December 5th
I spent the whole morning reading the papers. Strange things are happening in Spain. I read the throne has been left vacant and that the nobility are having a great deal of trouble choosing an heir, with the result that there’s a lot of civil commotion. This strikes me as very strange. They’re saying some ‘donna’ must succeed to the throne: that’s impossible. A king must inherit the throne. And they say there’s no king anyway. But there must be a king. There can’t be a government without one. There’s a king all right, but he’s hiding in some obscure place. He must be somewhere, but is forced to stay in hiding for family reasons, or perhaps because he’s in danger from some foreign country, such as France. Or there may be another explanation.
December 8th
I was about to go to the office but various reasons and considerations held me back. I couldn’t get that Spanish business out of my head. How could a woman inherit the throne? They wouldn’t allow it. Firstly, England wouldn’t stand for it. And what’s more, it would affect the whole of European policy: the Austrian Emporor, our Tsar, . . . I must confess, these events shook me up so much I couldn’t put my mind to anything all day. Mavra pointed out that I was very absent-minded during supper. And, in fact, in a fit of distraction I threw two plates on the floor, and they broke immediately. After dinner I walked along a street that led downhill. Discovered nothing very edifying. Afterwards I lay on my bed for a long time and pondered the Spanish question.

From Blog of a Diary of a Madman by Nikoláy Vasilévich Gógol, Penguin Classics edition, translation copyright © Ronald Wilks 1972.

We went to the theatre this week. Matthew Jure made a great madman at the Pleasance.
I love going to the theatre. As long as I’ve a kopeck in my pocket you can’t stop me. But these civil servants of ours are such ignorant pigs, you’d never catch those peasants going, even if you gave them a ticket for nothing.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The story of how “Matchbox” models are made

This is a late response to Bob’s 2010 booklist post, but rather than list off a few of the few books I read last year, I’d like to talk about three of them that tell a sort of shared story: a children’s picture book, a fat novel, and a journalist’s book on China.

Miroslav Sasek has enjoyed a posthumous boom in recent years, with his colourful travel books for children in every bookshop window, but a book unlikely to be reprinted is Mike and the Modelmakers, a picture book published in 1970 by Lesney Products & Co. Ltd, the then London based manufacturer of Matchbox model cars.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Wednesday, 11 May 2011


A detail of something in the works. The rest of the picture is more interesting, but I can’t show that yet.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ten whales

Click to enlarge, and then you can colour it in.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Submariner frog

Yesterday’s man is dead and gone . . .

 . . . and all there is to remember him by is waste and pain.

The years we have in life are few, but he chose to spend his own precious years on the ruining of other lives. Many many finer died, and many many finer people prevail in life as survivors of his crimes. The only pity of his death is a pity that he was ever born.

On the BBC World Service, Witness interviews survivors of the Al Qaeda 1998 Embassy Bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

More links at ModernityBlog, here and here.