Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Less Romanticism

Mick Hartley cycles round Hackney Wick.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Fun for all the family

steam turbine
Looking for something to do on a sunday? Why not take the family to see some steam turbines? They’re sure to thank you for it.

EagleSpeak has a post today all about steam turbines, and in London you can see some good ones. Not just the historic Parsons steam turbine in the Science Museum pictured below, but also the much more elaborate system down inside HMS Belfast. A grand day out!

I sketched the above diagram of a steam turbine for my current picture book project, but have decided instead to use a specific ship for this spread, one with a different type of engine.

parsons steam turbine

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Sunny spells and scattered showers

hampstead heath
Hampstead Heath today.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Keeping it small

Ravely Street this evening.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Don’t worry . . .

 . . . there is a happy ending.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Five blogs not enough for one man

I’ve just noticed Oscar Grillo started a new blog last month - I make that his sixth - and the address is of course theoneandonlygrillo.blogspot.com.

Oh wait, make that seven, here comes another one.

But if you haven’t seen it already, then begin by looking at what I think was the first, a blog of Oscar’s personal work.

Monday, 23 March 2009

A conversation with David Kilcullen

In yesterday’s Washington Post. Short and well worth reading.

Related discussion at AM here.

The language of defeat

“Exit strategy.” Now when Obama used those words in talking about Afghanistan on CBS yesterday, I don’t believe he meant what the jackals and vultures must hope he meant. I don’t think he meant what the schoolgirls of Afghanistan and Pakistan might fear he meant. I don’t believe he was even intending to speak to those people. His words were aimed to reassure his electorate.

But words travel (AP, AFP, BBC) and when the enemy hear “exit strategy” they will think of America’s flight from Vietnam, from Lebanon, from Somalia. They will smell blood and gain strength, just as doubts about American steadfastness will grow in the hearts of the good people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

And amongst those currently in the employ of the enemy, whatever number might potentially be enticed away by better prospects, they certainly won’t be encouraged to change direction by talk of an American exit strategy.

Obama closed his remarks on Afghanistan by saying “it is not acceptable for us to simply sit back and let safe havens of terrorists plan and plot”. If safe havens for terrorists are not acceptable, and if America is eventually to leave, then the only acceptable exit strategy is a victory strategy for democratic government in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Musharraf experience shows that the notion of an acceptable dictator is not a viable alternative for security.

Enough of exit strategies. The only worthwhile aim in war is victory. To set about the business of killing for anything less is grotesque. Let’s hear about a victory strategy, a strategy of security through victory for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan to govern themselves free of violence and intimidation.

Update: A stronger message from Obama, via Daimnation.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Saturday pictures

Carleton Road, yesterday morning.

With Peggy on Primrose Hill, yesterday at noon.

Yesterday evening with Bo at the Young Music Makers Spring Concert, St Anne’s Church, Highgate West Hill. 

Painted during rehearsal. Here several classes from the YMM school were joining together for Zambezi Sarabande, a number they will play again at the Bulawayo Music School fundraising concert, on Wednesday 6th of May at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

For photos of yesterday’s weather in London, see Mick Hartley.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Sea of Trolls

the sea of trolls
This arrived in the post today, advance copies of Rejsen til Mimers Brønd, a Danish translation of Nancy Farmer’s children’s novel The Sea of Trolls, published by Arvids.

I painted the art for this cover last year. Below is the image without text. The American, British, Spanish and French editions of this book all feature big viking ships, but in Denmark there’s no shortage of books with viking ship covers, so I brought the characters to the fore instead.

the sea of trolls

Old dog, new tricks . . .

 . . . the struggle continues. Ossulston Street earlier today.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


WASHINGTON: A high-level bipartisan commission recommended Monday that the Obama administration reach out to Russia in a number of ways, by letting “bygones be bygones” and giving them “whatever they want” and asking if there’s “anything else” we can do.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Rat-a-tat-tat regulars

Terry Glavin may write on a computer, but I bet he hits it hard enough to make it sound like typewriter keys hammering on paper.

Mr Door Tree hoards old paper.

Unemployed Dad draws on paper. Are those his kids’ marker pens he’s using?

All this to say, nothing to see from me today.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Grove Terrace

Grove Terrace
Earlier today.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Kensington Gardens

kensington gardens
This afternoon, going on evening.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Monkey diver here to help

monkey diver
I had a dream last night which seemed to start the moment I fell asleep and carried on ’til morning, in several episodes.

To begin with I found the family were living in a flat in the Barbican. What was worse, London was sinking beneath the waves as great storms raged. The river was blocked with sunken ships. City Airport I assumed to be underwater. Looking for information on other airports, I talked to someone on the phone, but as she was in a faraway call centre she had no idea.

Water was pouring down steps into the garden. The living room was below water level, but the windows seemed to be holding. A couple of would-be burglars called at the door of the flat. The rest of the Barbican estate seemed deserted, except for a cleaner in a neighboring flat carrying on regardless. Just before waking I remembered the elevated walkways -

There were no monkeys in the dream.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Odge McGuffin

Before lunch today.

I started trying to paint Peggy while she was painting her model fairies, but they wouldn’t stay standing for her and she stomped off. I persuaded her to come back and do some drawing on an egg box so that I could finish.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Bo reading

Earlier this evening. The book is Dogstar by Philip Dalkin, from Kentish Town Library.

But the shadows keep moving!

This morning on Hampstead Heath.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Sea serpent

kellie strom

This is just getting started. Earlier sea monsters here and here.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Publicity picture

kellie strom
A related post here.

Crisis of Credit Visualised

Animated credit crunch here.

The exception: Lebanon.

Thanks to Ted.

Monday, 2 March 2009


Copyright © Susanna Jacobs.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Signals and noise 3

An end to signals and noise on withdrawal from Iraq? In government, Obama announces a withdrawal policy that splits the difference between his campaign promise and the Status Of Forces Agreement negotiated between the previous administration and the sovereign government of Iraq. 

Note the details, including that most major moves of troops out of the country won’t occur until after Iraq’s national elections in December, and that even after the new 19 month target for withdrawal of combat troops passes, 50,000 rare specimens of non-combat troops will remain in Iraq into 2011.

A couple of reactions in blogland: Andrew Sullivan gets his knickers in a complete twist, while Abu Muqawama hails “the triumph of the center”:
Because as Tom Ricks and others have noted, the Bush Administration faced up to reality in Iraq following the 2006 midterms, appointing a new team in Baghdad, authorizing the surge, and replacing some of the old crew at the NSC with a new team led by LTG Douglas Lute. So by 2008, a kind of middle-of-the-road consensus had developed in Iraq between centrists on either side of the U.S. political divide. Democrats like Colin suddenly had a lot in common ideologically with both commanders on the ground and policy-makers in the White House.

Yesterday’s speech by that Kenyan feller with the funny name who apparently now runs things around here was evidence of the triumph of the center on Iraq. Harry Reid is not going to be happy. Nancy Pelosi is not going to be happy. And some on the right will continue to be frustrated, not understanding that it is now Iraqis - not Americans - who hold the keys to that country's future.

But as the Financial Times - my favorite newspaper - argued today, it is indeed Iraqis who control the future of that country. Perhaps one of the reasons we counter-insurgents have shifted focus away from Iraq and toward Afghanistan is because we understand that even the best counter-insurgency strategy can only set the conditions for political reconciliation in third-party interventions such as Iraq and Afghanistan. What the Iraqis do from here on out matters more than anything said or done in Washington. And that, in the end, is how it damn well should be.