Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Good Times, Bad Times and Boss Time

These tigers on Sauchiehall Street always look so darn jolly whenever I walk by.

Where is this year going? August already? How? When? WHAT?! Ah well, it's my birthday soon... argh, 31! I'll definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY never make it as a professional footballer now... GAH!

As ever, it's been a crazy old time here at Kapow! HQ, what with us being crazy busy and, in recent days, me, well, going a bit crazy!! In spite of this, I really feel as though I'm getting to a point where I understand a little bit more about myself and why these things happen. I'm accepting a little more that this sort of thing will always happen to me and I need to learn not to beat myself up about it, while, where possible, noticing the warning signs - i.e. I'm too tired/taking on too much work/putting too much pressure on myself/Everton just lost 4-0, etc!! It's funny in a way that I've gone from feeling like a lethargic, pointless deadbeat, to someone who's done so much GOOD artwork in the past couple of months. I'm beginning to feel really convinced that I can - at least to some extent - make a few quid out of all of this and not just be tied to boring "rent paying" jobs forever. Well, not necessarily full-time anyway!

I'm actually off work for a few days because I somehow (probably through a combination of a violent fit of allergy-inspired sneezing and heavy lifting - not at the same time I hasten to add! - over the weekend!) have hurt some muscles or tendons or something in my chest and it really hurts to move/lie-down/sing/run/lean/turn around, etc. All things I love to do! I also had quite a violent and thoroughly unpleasant "episode" on Friday night which I won't bore you with the details of. Suffice to say my brain kind of imploded and I behaved like some psychotic five year old in front of Connie, her best friend and probably a few other people as well. I don't really recall who was around at the time as I was to busy losing it to notice!

I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful, kind, understanding and tolerant wife in Mrs Kapow! She's unbelievably patient with me considering it's not exactly rare for me to transform into a gigantic monsterous Boglin-type creature and wreak havoc all around me, for no apparent reason. I'm working on it though and definitely making progress, but still a lot more to do and loads more to learn. Isn't there always?!

Speaking of loads of work to do, the exciting bit is that I have been doing loads lately! I've done several paintings of all manner of things, from Dr Who-inspired birthday presents, to thistles, portraits of my ancestors and (of course) the odd 1960s footballer in action! I've also been taking LOADS of photographs with my trusty old Pentax. What a magnificent machine that camera is. I love it. I'm hoping to exhibit a few photos and a few paintings around Glasgow soon and have been ridiculously fortunate enough to have been given an opportunity to start this process shortly at The Life Craft, a newly opened craft venture/cake and coffee stop at 691 Great Western Road, just round the corner from Oran Mor. Our dear friend Vonnie, someone Connie has got know through crafting circles, has kindly got in touch and asked for some paintings to fill a section of the shop wall and I can't wait to get cracking on them. Check out the shop, it's early days but it already looks brilliant and will no doubt offer all kinds of wonderful opportunities to buy stuff, sew stuff and have a much needed cuppa for crafty types. I think there's a class on this evening actually...

Anyway, I'm off work for a few days, recuperating from my pectoral and psychological traumas and hoping to get a little theraputic creating of my own done (not too much, don't want to burn myself out now!). To help me along I've been rocking my socks off (silly boy, hurting my sore chest of course in the process, owwweee!) to my idol, the one and only Bruce Springsteen. There really is nobody who comes close to rocking the house down everytime you see him play, he's my biggest hero ever and I am not ashamed in the slightest to admit it. Have a look at the Youtube playlist (hope that link works!) I've been compiling if you aren't already familiar. You won't be disappointed (and if you are I'll hunt you down and box your ears!).

Thursday, 27 May 2010

'Cos he's football crazy, he's football mad...

...but he's not just footy bonkers, he's the world's greatest dad!

Hello again crafty chums! Thanks so much for the wonderful response to my previous ramblings and for those of you who have chosen to follow my blog! Rest assured I'll be following yours too. Living as we do in this uppity old world it's always a brilliant release to read about what other creative folk are up too isn't it?! Us Kapows are off tomorrow and it's a lovely long bank holiday weekend, so time to focus our energies, refresh the Folksy shop and get our l'il ol' selves sorted.

With that in mind my dear wife and fellow owl fancier, the esteemed Mrs Konnie Kapow! has kindly uploaded to the "e-shelves" one of my very own designs today. It's a Father's Day card and yes, you guessed it, it's theme is none other than the 'F'-word itself... FOOTBALL!! (it was only a matter of time really, although for a while I didn't believe she'd let me do it!!)

I actually did the drawing of Geoff Hurst wellying in England's fourth and final goal in their triumphant 1966 World Cup win about, say, 15 years ago at school, but - ever the diligent hoarder - had kept it filed away for a rainy day. When Konnie and I got our heads together for a Father's Day card brainstorming session a few weeks back I remembered it, dug it out and - Geoff's yer uncle - it became a Konnie Kapow! card in a matter of moments! I hope you (and your dad if you buy it for him!) like it, I think the green envelope is the icing on the cake, but then I'm a total football nerd, so of course I would.

With the 2010 World Cup drawing near it's a time for such uber-footy-weirdos as myself to get really excited and, even at 30 years of age, find myself idly thumbing through World Cup sticker albums at the supermarket, imagining myself scoring winning goals when volleying my trainers off down the hallway when I get home from work, or hunting down the absolute best and most comprehensive free wallchart from one of the newspapers or footy monthlies. NERD!!!!

With all of the above in mind here are a few Folksy finds which also wink cheekily in the direction of that thing beloved of dads everywhere... The Beautiful Game:

Funky picture frame by Unique Cycle incorporating a Roy of the Rovers cartoon strip collage

Funky notepad by Return Void: Geekware made from retro football game floppy discs!

...and finally that old classic, the knitted footy scarf (I wanna blue one!) from The Knitted Duck

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Madness of Mr Kapow!

Howdy pardners! Have you checked out the new Konnie Kapow! Father's Day cards yet? There's more to come shortly (one of them's WELL good too!) so fill yer Kapowboy boots and sort your Pops out with something special, eh!

In other news, I've been meaning for a while to write something about how rubbish I think I am sometimes. You know, cheery stuff, keep people interested!! For as long as I can remember really I've been talking myself out of doing things I like to do, convincing myself I've not got the talent or determination to do anything worthwhile artistically, while on the other hand boring people's brains out at parties and stuff telling them about my latest idea for a painting, or exhibition, or attempt to become King of the Art World in one fell swoop (is that a phrase?).

I've come to realise that it really takes the intervention of some such cartoon strip superhero as Konnie Kapow! to even begin to point a bumbling clown like me in the right direction. Unbelievably I actually feel like my latest efforts at photographing random objects, painting odd little pictures and doodling 'til dawn may just be the beginnings of something special and it's all thanks to the strength, persistence and all round wonderfulness of my cheeky-faced snuffle-pops of a Super Wife.

I'm bonkers me. Today for instance I was en route to work and all set to get the train as us snoozy Kapows were running a little late ("hey, those guys are meant to be superheroes, why don't they just fly to work?!" - ed.). I decided that I had just about enough time to walk in, as I'd done yesterday. It's approx. 4 miles and takes me about 45 mins.

So, off I trotted, armed with my trusty old clunk-clickerty Pentax and determined not to miss such delightful a photo opportunity as I had the previous day when a duck popped up among the bluebells on the banks of Bingham's Pond by Gartnavel Hospital. I ended up being late for work, which was clever, but feeling a bit bad about that couldn't dent my overall state of being somewhat chipper for an otherwise ordinary Tuesday!

I took another batch of pictures on my way home and found myself "scootin' aboot" along the way very much in the style of one of Billy Childish's semi-autobiographical incarnations of himself from his series of hilariously demented novels, chattering away to myself about how it's only a matter of time before this weary old world discovers my boundless artistic zeal and finesse and lavishes me with praise, adulation and gifts of only the finest quality headgear.

On my wanderings today I got my duck shots, but I got more. A lot more! I'm afraid I'll be being all coy and annoying now, as I don't want to spoil the surprise before I get said photographs developed... Suffice to say I got loads of amazing shots of **** of *** *** AND a few ***** ******** ...AND! some excellent additions to my project in progress about the sad state of ******** *******. How annoying am I?!

Anyway, I really hope they all come out as well as they looked through the viewfinder! The late afternoon sun did a great job with the lighting, it was dead balmy and gorgeous and it actually seemed as though the kind folks of Maryhill Road (as I remarked out loud to myself at one point, in a line of verse of which even the very grandest figures in the history of English literature would be proud: "Maryhill Road is a f***ing GOLDMINE!") and surrounding area had spent all day setting the shots up for me. It was amazing. Here's hoping an exhibition arises from the rolls of film currently tucked away in my schoolbag. I so want to tell you about one of the shots, as I think it might be my favourite ever and I literally whooped for joy when I spotted it. I honestly nearly got run over in the midst of the mayhem I was that chuffed!!

In between adventures with my camera today I was at work. Boring! Yes, boring indeed, but I didn't seem to mind that much. At lunchtime I went for my debut session of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, something I've been interested in for a while and, in light of my recent feeling that I'm some kind of horrific, socially inept, confused and neanderthal type buffoon, Konnie and I looked into and found a place in Glasgow that might be able to help. Superbly it's right near my work so I was able to saunter out from the caverns of doom at S********** P*****, where I spend forty hours every week rotting my brain and trying not to chew through my desk in a rabid fit of bored-mania, pop round the corner and have an introductory appointment within the space of an hour. Smart!

The guy I saw was great and we had a good opening natter. I told him stuff about me, my story, the way I always seem to end up down the same dead ends in certain aspects of my life, in spite of seemingly having so much going for me, etc. I frustrate the living daylights out of myself most minutes of every day and don't know how to deal with even simple things a lot of the time, which then leads to me feeling like I've been really mean to people I adore and generally behaved like a gigantic, glowering aardvark from hell (sorry to any aardvarks reading this, I don't know where that came from!). After the aardvark stage, I then feel terrible for ages, really guilty and furious with myself, embarrassed and totally gutted that I'm such a fool. I then find the people I've been mean to (or maybe haven't really, but I think I have) and apologise to them and stuff and everyone's so nice they seem to not really mind, but I don't really believe that they don't mind so I feel worse and... bleeeuurgh... you get the picture, right? Aardvarks?!?

So, I feel like I need to have a sort out and a belated spring clean of my brain, a look at why I am such an up and down character and how I can make sure I don't waste my talents doing stuff I really, really hate doing and actually allow myself to TRY and do some positive, brilliant things. I'm always terrified of failing, messing up, making a tit of myself and so on, but in a way I need to realise that I am a big crazy loon and it's actually a strength of mine and that I can't really fail if only I'd just give it all I've got and have a proper bash.

Hells bells Kapow! old boy, you might actually ENJOY it!!

In the style of one of the most wonderful television programmes ever made, Sesame Street, created by the late and very, very great Jim Henson, today's extended ramblings were brought to you by the letter 'K', which of course stands for Konnie Kapow!, my wife, my best friend, my Johnny and June-tastic darlin' companion, my partner in popcorn-based crime and the love of my big silly life. Where would I be without her?

Probably in a home for lost, irritable and confused aardvarks, somewhere near the Himalayas.


If you've got this far, then you really are a trooper and a half and thanks awfully! However, even if you haven't read all of my blabberings (it was mostly me going on about wandering about and stuff), please do click on the image below as I'd like very much to draw your attention to the brilliant photos of Emma in Wonderland, I particularly like the one below, entitled A Gentle Freak-Out, both the image itself and the cracking idea behind it!

Friday, 7 May 2010

My name is Bill Decker, and I'm a murderer.

It would appear that blog fever has descended upon Kapow HQ. Here's my second one in successive days, WOO!

At the aforementioned magnificent wedding we were at last weekend, I enjoyed partaking in some top notch singing and performing in the style of my idols Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. It seems that - unbeknownst (great word!) to me until the opening bars to Faith by George Michael piped up and everyone assumed R&M style position - the bride and her siblings (who weirdly it turns out I look a bit like in a ridiculously tall, dark-haired, but bigger/uglier-faced (me not them) way!) like, turtley love Vic and Bob too!! We had much fun performing impromptu accapella versions of Cottage Cheese as the party continued to swing exquisitely. Happy, happy times.

The impact on my life of these two comedy japesters from the north east cannot be quantified by any form of mathematical equation, law of physics or any other such conundrum, voodoo or wild necromancy. No, no, no, absolutely no way! I forget sometimes that so much of what I do/say/think can be directly traced back to the years circa 1993-1996 where I watched them pretty much religiously with my little brother, playing videos to death, learning sketches, accents and song lyrics off by heart, drifting into Pat and Dave's Hartlepool drawl at the drop of a hat. Magic.

It's kind of a shame that they haven't been as prolific in the past ten years and I'd dearly love for them to do something non-Shooting Stars based, much as I love that show too. The world needs surreal, silly comedy more than ever, it's such a miserable place and for the likes of Horne and Corden to be having money spent on their efforts at 'comedy' when there's people like R&M around is criminal. There's so much lazy commissioning and risk management when it comes to good telly. Stupid people in charge of everything, even comedy! Gah!

Going to see a couple of episodes filmed live at BBC Television Centre, Wood Lane, London W12 7RJ, a while back were two truly great nights and I've had brilliant random encounters with Vic, Bob, Les and even the "Got any booze for t'baby" guy (he used to get my bus home when I lived in New Cross, yards from where Vic and Bob met at the Goldsmith's Tavern!) down the years. Seriously folks, you really SHOULD meet your heroes! Inadvertantly making Bob Mortimer laugh at one of the Shooting Stars filmings remains one of the proudest moments of my life.

Anyway, how do I link this to the world of selling greeting cards, crafts and all that shebang?

For starters, continuing apace along this rambling comedy trail, why not try this awesome print from those canny folks at Eyeshoot Photography. It's a brilliant nod to the Monty Python team and John Cleese's hilarious sketch. I've got a picture from it by my desk at work (I'm the wacky one in my office, totally Colin Hunt-tastic!). It's my birthday on September 8th folks, so if anyone's looking for an idea for a present... I LIKE THIS PRINT A LOT!:

Secondly, a nice effort in tribute to those Kiwi heroes Flight of the Conchords, knitted with style and panache by Ding Dong Designs:

Did I mention we're off to see Bret and Jemaine in action LIVE in Glasgow in like just over a week's time?! No? Well we TOTALLY ARE!!!

In the meantime - KAPOW!!!!!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey

Afternoon campers. I seem to have gone through the entire Seven Dwarves in terms of emotions this past week. I just made myself a Lemsip Extra Strength, so that even ticks the 'Doc' box!

The Kapows were very fortunate to be invited along to the wedding of the year at the weekend. Our friends Ruth and Thomas tied the knot (literally, they did this Celtic knot-tying bit before they exchanged rings, cool, huh?!) in massive style in the truly idyllic setting of Blairquhan Castle and it's beautiful grounds. I had the best time ever, it was unbelievable!

Since we got home to Glasgow on Monday I've realised that I would be far better suited to life on an expansive, meticulously landscaped and maintained country estate than the city tenement in which Mrs Kapow and I currently reside. Not sure how to go about sorting this out however...

I have also come down with a dastardly cold type bug which has literally floored (well, ok, sofa-ed) me all week. I thought I should use some of my time, between moaning and feeling sorry for myself, to write a blog. I've not done one in ages and I've also been looking for a chance to address the criticism I've had from Mrs Kapow for my failure to incorporate some subtle Kapow marketing into my ramblings.

I also thought I'd have a look around on Folksy for some 'get well'-based items and have found a few nice bits and bobs. Check 'em out!

'Oh Matron!' handbag by Violet Skies
(LOVING the photo Violet! "STOP! Matron Time!")

'Lego Doctor' keyring by The Bothered Owl

'Nurse Mouse' figure by Lamorn Designs

'Headache Head Magic Care Balm' (15g) by Maia Natural Beauty

'Get Well Soon' card by Accidental Vix

Teapot 'Get Well Soon' card by Design Rocks!

Right, I'm off to try and work out a 'get well soon' card which incorporates some sort of Fu Manchu/Man Flu pun. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Behold, thou Art Fair my love...

Mr. and Mrs. Kapow very much enjoyed donning their poshest frocks for a thoroughly entertaining sashay around the Glasgow Art Fair Private View at the grand marquee in George Square last night.

A highlight for yours Kapowly was the work of Pop Icon artist Simon Dixon, slick, shiny, perfectly rendered cool stuff. I'd like to do some similar bits and bobs myself someday. Apparently the dashing and talented young reggabily musician Paolo Nutini had just bought a couple of pieces of his work just before we worked our way round to that part of the gallery space.

We passed by young Nutini later and he's one of those famous people who seem to have their own personal lighting which makes them sort of glow a bit and totally stand out from the crowd. He's also far titchier than I'd have expected, bless him. Finally, I can confirm (because I overheard him speaking to his chums at the bar) he has a crazy voice, which means I'm allowed to like his music more now, because I always thought he might be putting his singing voice on a bit. Nice work Paolo!

The event was brilliantly staged, the marquee a veritable tardis, humungous on the inside, brilliantly lit and bursting with all sorts of beautiful people... artists, art lovers, their aunties and uncles, a range of brilliantly moustachioed older gentlemen, my sister-in-law's boyfriend's friend who I forgot the name of and thought Mrs. Kapow knew anyway, because these Oban types all seem to know each other somehow, but she didn't and so this resulted in one of those awkward silences and weirdness when he introduced us to his mum and sister, who seemed a bit grumpy, oh I dunno, I've only met him about ten times and they were all on a football pitch really... argh!!, young ladies dolled up in the style of the '50s, a Picasso lookalike in a beret and even Carol Smillie on the hunt for that special something to go above the window in the extension she's just had put in using the money she made from her shoot for last autumn's Edinburgh Woollen Mills catalogue. Nice work if you can get it!

There were a whole host of other great artists from across Europe on show and I'd recommend that if you can get down there for a gander, then DO IT! I even spotted some work by one of my idols, the inimitable Mr. Billy Childish and Mrs. Kapow got me a copy of the little catalogue that came with it. WOO!

Finally, a million, billion thanks again go to Jodie for kindly adding our names to the guest list for last night's event. The Kapow's love you dude!!

Tara for now folks!


If you get a moment, please check these links for details of more Glasgow Art Fair 2010 alumni and art houses... go on, you know you want to!:

Monday, 22 March 2010

There will be miracles if you believe...

For my darling wife Konnie Kapow, struck down again this week by some filthy rotten bug or another...


Glasgow Evening Times, 5th November 1925

What Neglect May Lead To...

A great physician once said that half the serious illnesses of the world are caused by self-neglect. If you neglect your health when run-down, you are likely to fall easy victim to disease. This is because your blood is impoverished, and your power of resistance low. Probably your appetite is poor, your digestion faulty, and your nerves weak. You can quickly gain robust health and renewed vigour by taking Dr. Williams' pink pills, for these pills enrich the blood, and so tone up the whole system.

Mrs. H. Smith, of 101 Malt Mill Lane, Blackheath, Birmingham, states:- "About two years ago I became run-down, and the doctor told me my blood was weak, and that I had got into a very low stat of health indeed; he said I had gastritis and anaemia. I suffered severe pains in my stomach, and very little food agreed with me. All the colour went out of my face, and I lost weight. Doctors' medicines seemed to do me no good.

One day a lady advised me to try Dr. Williams' pink pills. By the time I had finished the second box of pills I began to eat better, and did not have to suffer after food as I used to do. I felt brighter, and had more energy. I persevered with Dr. Williams' pink pills and four boxes completed my cure.

Ask your chemist for Dr. Williams' pink pills, 3s 0d box - accept nothing else!


So, there you go then!