Monday, 28 December 2009

Hardly an oil painting....

....Well, in fact, it is. The only of my art A-Level paintings to survive the scrap heap. (Not, I'll have you know, due to naffness, but my disdain for hoarding and the lack of storage at mum & dad's). This work is now over 10 years old, and sees a street scene view from a window, upon the sill of which is a mirror bearing my reflection. (Yes, that's meant to be me!) Almost enough to make me pick up those paint brushes again.

Nappy dash....

....Xav uses his Tonka truck for some urgent nappy disposal!

Christmas continued....

....Andy's parents, Jean & Nige arrived on Boxing Day, whilst we also briefly hosted Ruth's friends Jude & David. The usual fare continued - eating, drinking and game playing. And of course the traditional walk along the beach. Nippy.

Lunch with the usuals, plus Jean & Nige, Jude & David.

Whitley Bay beach at dusk

Shadows in front of a distant Spanish City

The old games are the classics:


Buzz wire, with added balloon explosion!

Dinner time

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas Day '09....

....It took on the usual format. Mum, Dad, Ruth, Andy and I went down to church in the morning. The Brannen family came back to ours for drinks and nibbles before we parted for our respective Christmas dinners.

Andy, Ruth, Dad, Mum, Roy



Andy prepared and cooked just about everything this year. Dad on hand throughout. I'll admit, I did nothing. We had an incredible dinner.

Oysters followed by scallops wrapped in parma ham, then pigs in blankets. And we hadn't even reached starter yet! Pea, mint and watercress soup began the meal. Rib of beef was our meat this year, accompanied with carrots, parsnips & potatoes, (all the Jamie way) with brussels & chestnuts and sweet potato mash. Oh and a sneaky Yorkshire pud. We topped this off with a cheese board, then mum's traditional chocolate roulade.

After dinner, we got stuck in to three separate Skype calls.

With Andy's folks, Jean & Nige and family in York.

With the Palmers in Lytham St. Anne's.

With the Smiths in Statford Upon Avon.

I then tried to roll back the years on the piano, but couldn't even lie convincingly!


Back down at the Brannen's house for games and giggles.

Skidding all the way:

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Sibling stars....

...Ruth and I are clearly in the wrong professions.
Here she is on the front of her work's website:

And here am I starring(!) in a work teaser film to get us excited about our xmas party:

AMV xmas party teaser from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

French Ram....

....I bought and framed this print by French, and now it has pride of place alongside Richie's.

My type of present....

....Typographic Communications Today, by Edward Gottschall. Thank you KC.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Hostess with the mostess....

....I went to the Natural History Museum to watch Ivvet host a show in the Attenborough Studio, within the incredible Darwin Centre.

Inner walkway of the Darwin Centre

Ivvet hosts Nature Live Online events, (streamed live over the internet), with more skill and enthusiasm than Terry Nutkins and Michaela Strachan combined. A true natural. (Excuse the pun).

Ivvet in all her Christmas glory

Clementine for breakfast....

....Doug, Ross, Nick, Joss and I joined Anne, Richie and Clem for an xmas breakfast.

And here's a rather cute video involving Clem, a fork, an apple slice and some huge excitement!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Ed's leaving home, bye bye....

....Well, not quite home, but work. My nearest and dearest is moving on to better things, and well, I'm quite sad. We organised a fitting leaving party though. Beginning with a long lunch, then on to leaving speeches, present giving and an all out knees up. A great great night. So long Edward.

Ed's leaving man-hug with Chris from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

Speech! from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

Ed's leaving video from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

A lot of photos, a lot of people, a lot of fun

How not to dance: Part 1 from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

It's a wonderful life....

....Last night Kelly and I joined Ed and friends at the Lexi cinema, Queens Park, to watch Frank Capra's classic Christmas movie.

Before I talk about the film, (one that, despite it's status, neither Kelly or I had seen before), I wanted to mention the cinema itself. I had never heard of the Lexi, but in little over a year, it seems to have acquired quite a following.

It is a Social Enterprise, with 100% of the profits going to the Sustainability Institute. That in itself is a great thing, but the setting and atmosphere of the tiny cinema is a wonder too. Last night it was decked out with christmas trees, holly and more, whilst we could enjoy the perks of a bar throughout the performance. Not many films receive a round of applause nowadays, but I think it was testament as much to the quality of the surroundings as it was to the quality of the film.

So to the film. I loved it. Full stop. For a movie made in the 40s, it boasted, I think, a contemporary plot that was mastered by the superb direction of Capra. It is quite an emotional rollercoaster of a film, that sees James Stewart's character, George Bailey, looked after by a guardian angel, and ultimately being shown what life would be like if he were never born. As a result, a bright and cheery opening soon begins to turn more dark, which made me wonder where all the Christmas spirit had gone! Eventually, the film sees Bailey triumphant over his nemesis Potter and a very Hollywood, lump-in-the-throat finale ensues. Brilliant.

James Stewart, (above), delivers a fantastic performance throughout, but only with the help of an incredible supporting cast, (very much including the young George Bailey).

The film ends with Clarence's quote, that I think holds very true,
'Remember George: No man is a failure who has friends.'

EDIT: Click on the comments section below and read Carolyn's post. Then follow the link to her music - and in particular her ditty about George Bailey. She good!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Where the wild things are....

....I blogged about this film a couple of months ago, as soon as I knew it was going to hit the big screen. Tonight I got the opportunity to go and see it.

Based on the classic children's book by Maurice Sendak, it has been brought to life by the wonderful Spike Jonze.

Several reviews I had read up to now, were not favourable - stating the film was too long and drawn out, with little content. I disagree. Jonze's wonderful direction and the beautiful cinematography capture the spirit of the book perfectly. We are drawn in to and whisked along with young Max on his wonderful adventure, so that the 100 minutes pass by in a flash. It is Max's performance in particular that is startling. Played by Max Records with such natural and infectious ability, he alone makes us feel what it's like to be a kid again.

The Wild Things are refreshingly un-CGI, reminding me of The Never Ending Story, from when I was young. This added yet more charm and child-like fantasy to the proceedings. Karen O's soundtrack tops off a wonderful film that kids, but mostly adults should dash out and see straight away!

Steamy windows....

....K.C + ROY WOZ 'ERE. Indeed.

How to Project Manage a curry at Christmas....

....Our department at work had a Christmas curry together last night. Secret Santa included. Good times.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Geordie Joe....

....He's only gone and done it!

A public holiday in the North East tomorrow?!


....New toy.

A tree for three....

....For the first time in over five years at no.69, we have a (modest) christmas tree. Lovely.

69 Xmas dinner....

....Food at LMNT for Doug, Liam and I, plus guests Nick, Ross & Kelly. Followed by a close encounter with Pete Doherty and dancing in the Birdcage. A really, really good night. Merry christmas you lot.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

AMV Xmas....

....We had our work Christmas party last night at Frankie's in Knightsbridge.

It was a great night - enhanced by the honestly brilliant AMV band, The Vickers Knickers(!), which is as you might expect solely made up from staff.

The Vickers Knickers from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

But this is what happens when a Managing Director is let loose on the stage:

Ian & The Vickers Knickers from Roy Barker on Vimeo.


....Lorenzo has been in his new place on Portobello Road for a couple of months now. Long enough to get it in shape for a house party then. Clever old him decided to buy in a box of hotel slippers, that everyone swapped their shoes for at the door, and so keeping the cream carpets cream!

The slippers were customised throughout the night - I went for Keith Haring logos, whilst Ed let's just say, was a little more crude. A very merry night.

Past & present....

....Some of us still at work, joined a couple of those that no longer are. Dinner and drinks and a good old catch up.

Lorenzo, Alice, Roy, Chloe

Modest pizzas

Scarlett & Mel.

iPhone pianist....

....So, this is pretty good. Take one piano app, 6 iPhones, ability and a song from my favourite film. You have a smiley, impressed Roy.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Back to school....

....Doug, Liam and I have just watched The Class. A French language film directed by Laurent Cantet and based on the best selling novel, Between the lines, written by Francois Begaudeau. It is an incredible film - powerful, intense, charming and most of all, real. It features non-actors - real teachers and students, and incredibly, Begaudeau himself as the lead.

The performances of the cast throughout are phenomenal, helping the film win the prestigious Palme D'Or. Natural, believable and gripping, The Class offers us a microcosm of current society. It also makes me glad that I am not in education like that today - as a teacher or pupil. I'd have been eaten alive! All in all, it is an absolute must see for anyone interested in the reality of modern society.

Mark Warren Jacques....

....I have just stumbled upon this young artist, and absolutely love his work.

"this is all i know, now is all i know, here is all i know, i am all i know."
Acrylic, Ink, and Enamal on paper.

"When the feeling of love overcomes the love of feelings"
Acrylic and Ink on paper, sewn

"A Man Asleep in an Ocean of Beautiful Dreams"
Acrylic, and ink on paper sewn.

There are elements of tribal and African influence, represented in colour and shape. But the juxtaposition of what seems to be atmospheric, inter galactic imagery provides a wonderful abstract contrast. I can't get enough.

Mark Warren Jacques : Ollie The Mind Gap from Joe Lumbroso on Vimeo.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Everybody say Yea....

....I've been awaiting new Yeasayer material for some time. As far as I can work out, Amblin' Alp, is the first single from their forthcoming Odd Blood album.

Although more mainstream musically, it still retains 'Sayer quirks and the video itself is incredible - a desert tripping, drug hazed, mystical magical mess.


....Just stumbled across this short from 1982 by Tim Burton. It's dark, creepy and humorous. It's very Burton. And it's wonderful for it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Hannah Martin Vs The Modern Gentry....

....Hannah & her beautiful jewellery go from strength to strength. Fresh from overseas, she reminds us all that London needs her. The Modern Gentry, (their logo designed by our own Richie), is a one-off collaboration committed to the creation of beautiful items that make a modern man.

(Designed by Richard Ardagh)

Hannah displayed her pieces alongside E.Tautz & Lodger, for a week long event at Alma, Vigo Street.

Han, Richie, Nick

Installation by Yorgo Lykouria to house Hannah's jewellery


Well done Hannah - fantastic, as always.

French revolution....

....Illustrator Richard Sayer, known to all as French, has a new exhibition open from today at Chapter One Gallery.

His intricate, beautifully dark, death metal inspired drawings have been a favourite of mine for some time. Up until now I have only had the pleasure of viewing through his blog, but to see the detail up close brings another dimension altogether. Very good indeed.

Social securities....

....Lorenzo, Ed and I took a night out with food, followed by Notting Hill Arts Club.

Roy, Lorenzo, Ed

....And Victoria celebrated her birthday with usual style and plenty of dancing at the Bathhouse.

Nick, Victoria, Roy

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Long live the Queen....

....Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of Freddie's death. I remember eating breakfast with mum, dad and Ruth before going to school and it featured in the news on our black & white TV. I didn't quite understand the relevance or importance of the band at that point, but from then on, with a cassette for christmas, Queen became a huge part of my life and my very first lesson in music. They have since formed the basis of every musical interest I have ever had. I decided to remind myself of Freddie's genius and so scoured YouTube. Take a moment to watch these and you'll realise why I don't think anyone has, or perhaps ever will come close to Freddie's vocal or performance.

These only really scrape the surface of an immense back catalogue but are a timely reminder of a great man & band.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Dinner with Christa, Walter, Johannes....

....Dad, in town on business, joined me at dinner with family friends Christa & Walter and their Grandson Johannes, visiting from Germany.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Queen of Jewels & Prince of prints....

....We've always known Richie & Hannah are masters of their trades. It seems that others, notably the press, are starting to work it out too!

Hannah. (Full article on Dazed Digital, here)

Richie, ES Magazine, 13.11.09. (Click image to read!)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Nick & Aimee's birthday....

....They're getting worryingly close to the big three zero. Here they are celebrating their 29th - the ninth year in a row that they have partied together. Sweet.

Nana Barker....

....I popped over to Southwell, Nottinghamshire for the day, to join my mum & dad and surprise my Nana.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Quoc op update....

....So, Quoc went in for his knee operation a few weeks back, but a recent infection means he's back in hospital for a few days.

An arrow in case they can't find the wound!

Load those pain killers.

Get well soon, (again), Quoc.