I was intrigued by an article in Sunday's Indy about carlings, traditionally eaten on the 5th Sunday of Lent Up North. I remember them as black peas, eaten at Bury Fair with a teaspoon out of a cracked cup with a dash of vinegar. They're also on sale in Bury shops around Bonfire night. They are also known as carlin peas, maple peas and pigeon peas (cos they're mainly fed to pigeons these days!). There's a black pea stall in the station forecourt at Rawtenstall. The author enjoying a portion of black peas in Rawtenstall.
Teach yourself messy Japanese calligraphy with OSUG. Hours of fun!


A cleanshaven Country Joe McDonald was in fine voice last night at The Greys - he's also a very fine guitarist. He started with 'Give us an F' but left the rest for later. Looking a bit like Sir Cliff Richard, he told some great stories about Janis Joplin (he wrote a song for her), John Fahey (who apparently did a crap first set cos he wasn't drunk enough, a great second set, and a crap third set cos he was too drunk - and kept popping out for a piss mid-song only to resume at exactly the same spot when he returned!), smoking banana skins (it doesn't work kids, unless you're dropping acid too!), Florence Nightingale and the origins of the famous Fish Cheer. Unfortunately Nick had to leave without hearing his most famous song to catch the last train of the 'enhanced' Easter Monday service. I didn't like to set my flash off during the set, so the other coupla pix are very blurry - this one is at the end of I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag.


The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain have released their cover of urban pop rap classic 'Miss Dy-na-mi-tee'. Apparently Kate Bush wouldn't let them cover 'Wuthering Heights', which is a shame. They were great at the Lewes Live Lit Festival last year. Must purchase a uke!


Just been to see 9 Songs at the Dukes on a sunny Thursday afternoon. By heck, is this what young people get up to after a gig? I rather liked it (he says in Tom Paulin voice) - not at all boring as all the sophisto crits have been bangin on about. Nice cameos by Elbow (Bury band) and Michael Nyman.


thevessel: My home page - The Vessel, aka Mikey Georgeson, artist/illustrator and singer/organist with David Devant and his Spirit Wife (and Carfax) now has a blog! and has kindly added mine to his list. Must reciprocate. Just bought a LaCie Porsche-powered 160 Ryan Giggs hard drive to back up my iTunes etc - ordered one yesterday from Galaxy Peripherals who claim in Mac mags to have the lowest prices, but they were out of stock and kindly refunded my dosh. Went to the rather good Dealtime and found another one at Savastore (crap name, but excellent service!) at a tenner cheaper and ordered late yesterday affy, it arrived this morning. Isn't the internet wonderful!
Robert Crumb: discussed his medley of comic characters, his acid-fuelled days, existentialism and crosshatching with the Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell at the National Film Theatre. He was also joined on stage by his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Peter Poplaski. Here's the full transcript.

Shop puns

Brighton has been named Shop Name Horror Capital by author Guy Swillingham, 33, who has always been fascinated by shop names. On almost every shopping street customers are confronted by spoonerisms, wordplay and assorted bad puns. My favourite is Plate Expectations, sadly now closed, in Gardner Street - and of course Thistle Do Nicely in Edinburgh.
War on wheelie bins is brewing: AOH supremo Graham Hale has strung a banner from his house saying: 'Cityunclean. Pavements for people. Keep bins off our pavements. Brighton Not Bintown.' Mr Hale called on others to join the protest by emailing: nowheeliebins@hotmail.co.uk. I'm with you Graz - I only put a bag of mainly plastic packaging out every 2 or 3 weeks - the rest goes to Magpie or the compost bin!


The Birmingham Pen Trade Heritage Association: another Peter Chrisp recommendation! Wow! you can even buy nibs from this site. Must visit it, and also take in the City of Birmingham at ThinkTank too. I ask you! what's wrong with the word 'museum' for goodness sake!
Crumb Museum - Spools: this link comes courtesy of Peter Chrisp -- Brighton face, sandwich maker and raconteur -- who has just discovered my blog! These must predate his decorated pistachio nut shells featured in the handbook.
Neil and Yvonne Innes Road Trip 2005: a diary of the current UK tour. Missed him at Worthing but have a ticket for The Greys gig in May.
Is Adam's old bike a treasure of our city?: the Sage of Sussex's faithful companion - a pushbike he bought thirty years ago - has been left to rot in a dank garden shed.


R Crumb was in great form (in a Woody Allen sort of way) last night at the National Film Theatre in conversation with Steve Bell, especially when Aline, after much heckling, joined them on stage. Steve was interested in technical details like what nib Rapidograph he used and how he drew lefthanded. Any difficult questions were put down to his acid years. Spotted in the audience were Mike Leigh and Jim Broadbent (and Paul Gambacinni and Corinne Pearlman). I was disappointed he didn't do a signing in the end but I got Zorro and Aline to sign my book. He'd mentioned Hogarth's paintings at 'The Soane house'. Strangely enough I was at Sir John Soane's Museum earlier. Wal had phoned me on the train to say the Bonham's Crumb exhibition had shut a day early and I was at a loose end. Wonderful place, bathed in light on a spring day. Grumpy curator only opened the 'painting doors' when I assured her I'd exhaustively studied the top paintings, but she was relieved by a more knowledgeable chap who showed me the Piranasis and Turner lurking under the surface! Also popped into the Hunterian museum opposite to see grisly things in bottles! Drink with Wal then down to The Hole in the Wall to meet Geo. The train back was delayed by a 'trespasser' (body) on the line at Clapham Junction.
Council admits book skip mistake: hmmmm!


Ex-teacher with a pencil point: John Richards has spent more than a decade reinventing the pencil to help children develop their handwriting and relieve writer's cramp.


eggbaconchipsandbeans: not a great fan of greasy spoons (being vegaquarian I can't abide the smell of rancid lard) - but I do love a classic cafe. A modern classic is my regular Brighton haunt, the Off Beat on Sydney Street: Fairtrade coffee, the till from Quodraphenia but alas no toasted teacakes!
Mental Drippings: 10 worst album covers of all time, according to Pork Tornado. Hmm, hard to beat!
Library under fire over short opening times: Jackie Wills, named last year as one of ten best new British female poets by an influential writers' magazine, said: 'I was shocked to find out it was shut in the evenings and Sundays. It should be a centre for writing activities - poetry readings and book events which typically take place in the evenings from 7pm until about 9.30pm.


Hastings Pier and Anal Beard

It was a very busy weekend, full of exciting experiences and encounters. Saturday I went to a PV at the Phoenix of the stone carvings of Marcia Bennett-Male, a friend of Nick's. It's great to see skill in art - they are reminiscent of Ian Hamilton Finlay with a West Indies slant. My neighbour Marion Charles also had work on show.

Hastings copyright Alan Fred Pipes 2005
Hastings off-season, note funicular in distance 
Then to Hastings on the train, always an adventure. I'd never been there in daylight before and experienced both funicular railways before hiking to the pier for the Mad March Fayre and a stadium rock appearance by my nephew's band Anal Beard.

Hastings Pier copyright Alan Fred Pipes 2005
Hastings Pier 
Erica and Melita dragged me off to another PV up some steps, with free wine and nibbles this time, 'fraid i can't remember the name of the artist, but Poly Styrene from X-ray Spex was there! I asked her if I could take a photo but she said no and referred me to her website. So back through the massed chavs to the station and after a cold half-hour wait at Lewes, home.

Anal Beard copyright Alan Fred Pipes 2005
Anal Beard in concert 
On Sunday I cycled down to the sea to buy a kipper (no smokies) then to Hove Museum for Where is Minnie the Minx Today? Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell (who was also spotted at Saturday's PV at Phoenix) , editor of Comics International Dez Skinn, and comics creators Woodrow Phoenix and Gavin Burrows, debated the lost art of subversion in children's comics. The last event in a 3-year long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Leo Baxendale's Bash Street Kids first appearance in The Beano. Organised by Cartoon County, the mayor and her car CD1 were there too. Got a few blurred pix cos I didn't dare switch my flash on. Spotted a new weird cycle lane near Tescos on the way back, complete with sculptures. Keep an eye on my Weird cycle lanes website for pix.
Venetian Grinds: "Not only did the artists use glass to fill gaps in their palettes, but the materials' optical effects—intentionally or not—also brought their paintings to life in unprecedented ways." New research on the palettes of Venetian painters.


Embassy Court: the official website.
Seafront landmark is online: Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage, describes Embassy Court as 'the second most important building in Brighton after the Royal Pavilion'.


A whole website dedicated to The R Crumb Handbook -- with free CD!
100 Years of Illustration : blimey! will I ever get any work done...
Drawn! : Drawn! is a collaborative weblog for illustrators, artists, cartoonists, and anyone who likes to draw.
Is beer less fattening than wine?: "According to the BBPA, a glass of beer with a typical 4.6% alcoholic volume, has fewer calories not only than a similar measure of wine, but also milk or fruit juice." Well, we knew that all along, eh?


Crumb exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London from 1 April.
G2 in Crumbland: Simon Hattenstone interviews Robert Crumb.
Robert Crumb... and his world at the NFT: The Guardian Steve Bell interview with Robert Crumb on 18 March! How good a birthday treat would that have been! Ah well... Missed him the last time he was over -- with his jazz band at the ICA.


Biro Art-Doodles -- a virtuoso of the ball point!
Jonathan Glancey's appraisal of Brighton's new Jubilee Library. And (I say pedantically) it's North Laine NOT North Laines! Laine is a Saxon word meaning field, apparently!
B&H City Libraries, The Word Project: went to the first day of Brighton's new library yesterday, mainly to get my Raymond Briggs books signed by the man himself, and spot the gorgeous Louise Rennison (Lynne Truss was signing too). It's a wonderful space with lots of new CDs and DVDs to borrow (tho not so many books?), and magic desks instead of staff where you can check out your own microchip-embedded items (is this the end of the rubber stamp?), but my first impressions were: no cycle facilities (maybe they come later?) and there's only one narrow set of glass stairs to the high upper level (two flights). Not recommended for those with vertigo or agoraphobia... Jubilee library copyright Alan Fred Pipes 2005


Bumper Balls: the perfect accessory for your Chelsea Tractor! What is Illustration?: hmmm, an old chestnut this one... the article seems more like a 'realism versus conceptual art' debate. It really annoys me that the critics still slag off Victorian and Edwardian paintings...


BBC - h2g2 - 'Intro and Outro', a song by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: "Hi there. Nice to be with you. Happy you could stick around. Like to introduce..."
Cycled along a bit of the Cuckoo Trail last Sunday, through blizzards and sun. My debut run will be up and down it on 27 March.