Archive

General

A hospital. Boundaries are present everywhere, but in a hospital they hold particular importance. To prevent the spread of bacterial infections, to give patients privacy and respect, to hold documents with personal information, to allow doctors, researchers and students to work in peace.

What stops me from accessing these areas of the hospital? How far can I infiltrate the hospital before a locked door or security forces me to go back? These were the questions that interested me on my first few visits to Guy’s Hospital.

Firstly. Any member of the public is able to get in one of the elevators on the ground floor, ride it to the top and marvel at the views from the 30th floor. Able; as in there are no locked doors, or key-codes, or security guards (not in the lift lobbies anyway)

But. If you are caught up here, as a member of the public, you will be asked to leave.

So these areas were complex. Physically, they were accessible. They were however, restricted areas. For example, the 30th floor was for students of King’s College London only, and there were signs stating this. Up here was their lecture theatre – it would not do for members of the public to bumble in mid-lecture. But there was no one guarding the door demanding ID badges, or retinal scanners, or voice recognition security. Anybody is free to wander in and take a ride to most of the floors. Whether or not they should, is the question.

    final map A0           

A rather simplistic map I drew, to start investigating certain areas of the hospital. I only included a small sample of floors, as including all 30 would have been too long a task. Here, the purpose was to graphically portray space and boundaries within the hospital. Who was using this space? Who could access this space? Who was this space actually intended for? What boundaries were in place to stop one from reaching this space?

And of course, I had to document as much as I could. Below are some photographs that captured my ideas of boundaries, areas that were reachable but not supposed to be seen, and a few shots of elements that just caught my imagination.

As I ascended I noticed more doorways that were blocked off and restricted to me. Some gave little explanation as to why they were off limits.

As I ascended I noticed more doorways that were blocked off and restricted to me. Some gave little explanation as to why they were off limits.

No patients allowed. Welding? An area for builders or site workers only?

No patients allowed. Welding? An area for builders or site workers only?

A Security Notice.

Would a visitor bother going all the way back down to reception to sign in, if they were already on floor 16?

Ho

Straight ahead for Floor 18! Unless you are unauthorised.

Locked in. Old supplies?

Locked in. Old supplies?

Raz's leaving do. Wish I could have made it.

Raz’s retirement do. Wish I could have made it.

Staff and Students only.

Staff and Students only. Door would only open by using a key-code lock.

Low ceiling, creepy looking old door. Didn't stay here long.

Low ceiling, creepy looking old door. Didn’t stay here long.

Uh oh

Phew. Good thing I’m not a patient.

I got the feeling that parts of the upper floor were only used by a handful of people.

I got the feeling that parts of the upper floor were only used and experienced by a handful of people.

An old shaft, presumably for fire

An old shaft, presumably for fire safety. Hasn’t been used in a while by the looks of it.

20 seconds in the lift and I found myself up here.

20 seconds in the lift and I found myself up here.

Gett

Doors to the lift maintenance for the elevators in Guy’s Tower. 

As high as I could go.

As high as I could go.

Fine by me, as it was starting to get a little too high for my liking.

Fine by me, as it was starting to get a little too high for my liking.

All of the above images were captured on a Saturday afternoon. As such, the dental department on floors 18-27 was closed and were empty, with the exception of one or two cleaners. It was exhilarating and suspenseful to experience the hospital in this semi-awake state. Kinda creepy too.

The process begins. Shit!

The process begins. Shit!

Yeah that’s right. The name of my novel is currently “TBC”. I can’t even think of a decent working title yet.

Some of my recent posts (The Shark, The Boy: Extract 1-3) have contained short passages of writing which I aim to build upon and write a short story/novel. I haven’t got very far. At a guess I’ve written about 5000 words. Recently though I had a bit of a breakthrough in regards to the world I was trying to create and describe. It was heading towards a very generic apocalyptic setting, when in reality the changes to the ‘world-as-we-know-it’ are subtle, but can still affect my characters in tremendous ways.

I’m having ideas all the time whether it be scenes or characters or dialogue. Something might come to me as I’m falling asleep, in the shower, driving to work, taking a piss. But generally, progress has been slow. I try to dedicate a few hours a week to purely write, but it can be difficult to stick to that.

I’m finding the use of my Pinterest pretty helpful. I surf through hundreds of photos, and if one stands out, I’ll save it to pin boards that are based on certain aspects of the story. For example, the boy himself, or the warehouse, or the suburbs, or abandoned buildings. I’m building up a library of images to help bring the story to life in front of me, and in turn I hope this can aid and inspire my writing.

What I’ve discovered is that every new book I read, I learn something more about my own writing. I know what I like reading, which methods are advantageous in certain situations. So while I have perhaps the first 10% of the book written (as I’ve said, in a very rough first draft form) I’m almost holding back, wanting to read as many books as I can in the coming months. This isn’t because I’m lacking ideas or looking for inspiration for certain characters; I want my writing to be the best it can be and learning from other great writers is one step to achieving that.

This month I finished Ready Player One, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep and Lord Of The Flies. Next on my list for the end of March and April are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and McCarthy’s The Road. I can’t wait.

I’m not under the impression (or delusional enough) that this first novel I write will be a huge hit. I’ve seen and heard comments and opinions stating that the first major piece of writing you do will be a piece of shit. I may look back in ten years and be completely embarrassed by this. But I want to give this my all. I think the basis of the story I want to tell has the makings of a good book. If I can write it in a way that does justice to myself and my ideas, I’ll be happy.

So while it’s daunting to think that at the end of the year I could have a finished story, I know it’s a long way off. I’m eager and enthusiastic to achieve this, a goal I wasn’t aware I wanted a few months ago has become a huge ambition that I’m determined to finish – regardless of the final outcome.

I’m very new to this. I haven’t written stories since I was in school, and at university the only extended writing I’ve done recently was a handful of essays and a dissertation. But while they have a more rigid structure, I can be afforded a lot more freedom here. And that’s both liberating and terrifying, to be able to go in literally any direction I want.

I’ve set up a tumblr.

I wanted another blog which displays more visual images, something I can perhaps take a bit less seriously than this one (yeah because this blog is so serious). With this blog, I like to take care and effort before putting posts up, and this can lead to days and weeks without posts. This tumblr will allow me to post content at a quicker rate. I’m planning to use it for work I’ve done previously, work i’m doing now but mostly anything that inspires me or I find that motivates me.

The nature of tumblr is much more visual with photographs, videos, gifs and art being shared, liked and reblogged. I feel that my wordy, more analytical posts on wordpress and the more artistic, design based posts I will be liking and reblogging on tumblr are best kept separate. There will be times where something I’ve posted on wordpress I will also share on tumblr (and vice versa), if I feel it’s relevant or I’m really happy with it. Or (more likely) if content is starting to dry up on this page, which has happened in the past.

So generally the tumblr will keep a steady stream of more graphical content, separate from this blog.

A conceptual model for a third year architecture project, set in and around Guy's Hospital in London Bridge.

A conceptual model for a third year architecture project, set in and around Guy’s Hospital in London Bridge.

I’ve also started using Pinterest again. The aim is to keep these sites (both tumblr and Pinterest) as active, if not more so, than this blog, pinning and reblogging anything I find remotely interesting or useful to me.

I didn’t really get the point of Pinterest, but I’ve given it another chance and it’s actually pretty useful. You can search for any images and if you like them, you can pin them to keep them saved and available for your friends and followers to view. You can then start building up pinboards where all pinned images share a common theme. For example I’ve got boards for various artwork, digital media, graphic design etc. Simon Stahlenberg is an artist whose work caught my eye a few months back and has wonderfully captured the present day with brushes of alien technology in Corel Painter.

I want to keep posts on this blog meaningful. The odd update every now and then is fine, but I want most of the content here to be detailed and worthwhile. tumblr and Pinterest on the other hand are much quicker ways to show off things you think are pretty cool or that inspire you. There may even be some original content I’ll share here and repost on tumblr. I’ve added links to the sites mentioned in this post in the blogroll menu on the right of this blog.

Wahey! January, the month in which depression, suicide and crushed dreams are at an all time high (unconfirmed data), is out of the way for another year. Now February is here to ensure we remain cold, wet and miserable for another four weeks. In case you hadn’t noticed, winter is not a season I’m fond of.

December isn’t too bad. You’ve got the run up to Christmas and New Year and the parties to keep you sane. But then January brings in the realisation that you are another year older and still a useless dickhead. On top of that, it’s really bloody cold and everyone keeps ranting on about new year, new me. As well as the sickening knowledge that this will be par for the course for the next three months. I’m all about the summer. I have more energy, I’m more sociable, I’m more active, I look better, I feel better. If we can all pull through February and March, it’ll soon be in spring and before you know it summer will be upon us. I’m already planning to use as many of my 25 days of holiday in order to take best advantage of the warm summer months as I can.

As my posts recently have been very text-heavy, here’s a lovely picture of my Croatian adventure last summer. More sunny times soon please.

Desperately trying not to forget times like these.

Desperately trying not to forget times like these.

Anyway, this is just a bit of an update really. My job is still going really well and I passed my probation just before Christmas. I’m heading to London next weekend to visit a few mates so that should be a laugh and raise my spirits. My ‘aims’ for the coming months, as I covered in a post just after new year, are going fairly well. I’m reading a lot more; January saw me finish Child of God by Cormac McCarthy, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Thing On The Doorstep and other weird stories by H.P Lovecraft, and there’s plenty of material I want to get read in the coming months. I’m also writing as often as I can and this blog remains pretty active. I’ve been trying to add a post every week or so; depending on how much I’ve got on at the time, it might be more or less frequent. Don’t ask about the gym though.

Another side project I’ve taken on is to teach myself to use Corel Painter. It’s a digital media/art based software in which drawings and paintings can be created. I’ve bought a graphics tablet to accompany it, and while I’ve got extensive experience using the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign) due to my degree in architecture, a program like Corel is very new to me. I’ll write about this in more detail in a separate post, but I’m very excited and have some ideas I’m looking forward to trying out.

So yeah, that’s me right now.

I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into 2015, with a Christmas belly and a slight drinking problem. and now the festive season is over we have January, a cold, wet, miserable excuse of a month. Happy new year everybody!

Dressing up as Frenchman for New Year. Still not totally sure why.

Dressing up as Frenchman for New Year. Still not totally sure why.

Resolutions never work, and the shame of your inevitable failure to become fitter/healthier/less addicted to X will make you feel like you shouldn’t have bothered. So I’ll casually sum up what I’d like to try to achieve over the next few months. No lists, no bold ambitions. Just manageable, bitesized chunks.

I want to be more active, but not so much that it feels like a chore. If I don’t feel like it, or I’m tired, I won’t force myself to go. I don’t have the willpower to become one of those guys for whom the gym is their religion. My work offer a reduced gym membership that I’ll take up, but I can’t see myself going more than once or twice a week. Hey, it’s better than nothing.

I’d like to eat a bit healthier. I’m not going to go crazy and radically alter my diet, but small steps like preparing and taking in lunch a few days a week, eating a bit more fruit, drink more water etc. Buying sandwiches every day seems a bit unnecessary and it’s so easy to spend a fiver every day, and if you start to add that up over the weeks and months it’s…well, yeah, bloody expensive.

I want to read more. This will be easy. I love reading. I got a tonne of books for Christmas and I’ve already read one of them. It would mean cutting back on a few distractions, like watching TV or using the laptop before bed, but that’s a habit I should get out of anyway. A few years back I would have set myself a stupidly unrealistic challenge like 52 books in 52 weeks. I won’t set myself a target…but yeah, I’ll be reading a lot more.

I want to write more. The Creative Writing course I enrolled in has reignited by passion to write, what I’d like to do now is dedicate more time to actually sitting down and typing a few hundred words. When I say write more, I guess I mean both using this blog as well as personal projects. A short story or two by the end of this year would be a nice target to aim for.

Don’t worry so much about money. This might seem a bit unusual; usually you see resolutions promising to spend more sensibly. Nah, fuck that. I’ve just come back from seeing friends in London, and it made me realise I should make an effort to see them more. Living in Guernsey means its expensive to get off this rock, but if I want to spend a weekend in London with mates or go up to Manchester to watch the football, why should I let that stop me? I’m already making plans for trips away later in the year, and it’s the amount of holiday I’ll have to take rather than money that is my primary concern.

And I absolutely promise I won’t try to stop drinking. Because that would never, ever happen.

Our NYE crate of booze.

Our NYE crate of booze.

It’s been a while.

Almost certainly a delirious midnight selfie in my Brighton cave earlier in the year.

Almost certainly a delirious midnight selfie in my Brighton cave earlier in the year.

I started a new job last month. Five weeks in and I haven’t been sacked yet so I’m doing something right. It’s not where I would have imagined myself 5 years ago when I first set off to Brighton with naive aspirations of architectural fame, but I’m enjoying it so far and I think there’s a lot to look forward to in terms of progression and opportunity. And the best thing? It has nothing to do with architecture. Without going into any details, it’s quite a varied position, predominately dealing in IT and business systems. With no formal IT qualifications to my name, I feel a little lucky to have snagged such a position. Excited to get stuck in.

Anyway, work recently sent me to the UK for two weeks which is why I’ve been a bit slack in updating this place. I’ve been constantly thinking about it, and I think I have a couple of ideas to add over the coming weeks which could be pretty cool. I’m by no means a perfectionist, but I like to do my research and editing before posting anything on here; I find it really difficult to smash out a couple of hundred words and just release it without much thought. So there are a few posts in development (there may even be another one posted tonight…) and several ideas brewing for the near future.

I’ve also started a free online creative writing course with the Open University. It’s only eight weeks, all takes place online and in comparison to an academic qualification, is pretty worthless in the grand scheme of things. But it is something I’ve always been interested in, and a bit less demanding than trying to do a full English Language and Literature A level, which is still on the to-do list. Next year maybe. The aim is to take it seriously, and use it to hone my literary skills as well as receiving feedback and critiquing work from other aspiring writers. I’ll be writing about it in more detail around the weekend, and depending on material and time it could be something I write about weekly or bi-weekly.

La Corbiere, Guernsey, 02/11/12. About 10 minutes walk from my house, and it doesn't always look this nice.

02/11/12. About 10 minutes walk from my house, and no it doesn’t always look this nice.

And because no one will be interested in reading a wall of text, you’ll notice I’ve added a few photographs. Words are no fun without pictures to go with them.

This is a bit of a departure to my previous posts. More of a rant than anything else.

Every year, at the start of the footballing season, I face an incredibly tough dilemma. One I know will impact my life greatly, debating internally on such seemingly unimportant decisions that eventually cause loss of sleep, temporary madness and a season ruined by regrets.

The question I ask myself every year in August, before the Premier League kicks off again, is whether I should take part in Fantasy Football or not. Fantasy Football, for those who are unaware, is a game popular amongst football fans (and for other sports i.e. basketball, american football etc), where you choose players to comprise a team with various restrictions. Each player has a price – obviously the best players are more expensive – and you can only have so many players from one team. Players gain your team points by scoring goals, getting assists, keeping clean sheets, and can lose points by scoring own goals or getting red cards etc. Pretty simple. The aim is to create a team under a set budget who will get you as many points as possible per week.

Sounds like a fun way to pass the time huh? An added interest to the weekend games? A good conversation starter with your mates?

My current team. What does it all mean? I’ll tell you what it means. F**k all.

My current team. What does it all mean? I’ll tell you what it means. F**k all.

Oh no. If only that were the case. It will end up taking every bit of joy and happiness you used to get from the weekend football. Granted, you’ll get a bit more of a buzz before teams around the country kick off. You might flick through channels or keep a close eye on the latest scores, watching  vigilantly to see if that bloke from Southampton still has a clean sheet, or if the Chelsea striker you spunked over £10 million on has added to his seasons tally of zero. You might even get a few moments of joy here and there, like selecting the right player as your captain (your captain receives double points) and watching as he goes on to get a hat trick, propelling you ahead of your mates for a week or two.

But it won’t last. The thrill of the game might get you every now and then, especially at the start of the season. The novelty begins to wear off when your genius decisions start backfiring left right and centre. You bring in Rooney because United are at home to West Ham and make him the captian. He’ll bag a few goals and an assist, surely? Nope, he gets sent off. You will find a large proportion of the defenders you select are suddenly prone to scoring own goals and giving away penalties, but the moment you take them out of your team, they’ll transfer into Beckenbauer and eat points for breakfast. You begin to realise that perhaps you aren’t the tactical mastermind that you thought you were, and suddenly not just fantasy football but the football itself loses its appeal. You’ve lost your appetite for it, and you try and ignore it like a sulking teenager. But you never give up on it. I’ve lost count of the times where I’ve given up on the game, only to return to it, chop and change my team and have a great weekend, surging up the table again and just like that, I’m addicted again.

The aspect of fantasy football I hate more than anything is the internal conflict it causes as a football fan. I’m a Manchester United fan, and so I want United to do well. I want United’s rivals (Liverpool, Arsenal, City, Chelsea) to do badly. But the best players are at these clubs. Balancing your team with a scattering of these rival players leads to a bit of a conflict – do you want to do well in Fantasy Football, or your actual team to do well in real-life football? Because you can’t have both (you can, unfortunately, have neither). This season, Diego Costa of Chelsea is ripping the league apart, with 8 goals in 6 games. Every goal he gets, I get points (double points most week, as he’s usually my captain), and so whenever he pops up with a goal, I clench my fist and cheer with gritted teeth, dying a little inside. This also happens when Sterling (Liverpool) gets an assist, or Kompany (City) keeps a clean sheet. It will never feel right cheering for the opposition.

And imagine, after 9 months of chopping and changing your team, desperately trying to keep up with or ahead of your friends or colleagues, you manage to scrape those vital points together at the end and win your mini league! Your friends pat you on the back, tell you ‘Fair enough mate, well played.’ and you can strut around like the football god you have become. But what does it all mean? No one will erect a marble statue commemorating your success. No one will even remember after a few days. At the most, you might get an insignificant cash prize or a tacky trophy bought online. What you are more likely to receive is an overwhelming sense that you could have actually achieved something worthwhile during all those painstaking hours wasted on a pointless game that means nothing.

I’ll be playing it next season no doubt. And the season after. And the one after that…

After an insane couple of weeks, I’m back in Guernsey. Croatia is a fantastic place, and while I only experienced the central, southern and coastal parts of the country, I’d love to return and see more of the northern and inland areas. Great food, stunning and varied vistas, fantastic climate and cheap beer – if you haven’t already been, Croatia should be your next holiday destination.

The first week consisted of a friend and I making our way up the coast from Dubrovnik to Split. On our way we passed through Cavtat, Dubrovnik, Markarska and Omis before meeting up with the rest of our crew in Split and starting the second part of our trip: The Yacht Week.

Circle Raft party. Oh yes.

Circle Raft party. I’m in there somewhere!

It’s just as good as it looks, believe me. It’s not a cheap trip, but you will be guaranteed an unforgettable week. Highlights included: Carpe Diem day parties in Hvar, jumping off abandoned submarine bases into the sea, inflatable mayhem at the Circleraft sea party and no doubt several more that will occur to me in flashbacks over the coming months. You have been warned however, it’s not exactly a relaxing week. Sunburn, hangovers, numerous stubbed toes and various bruises are inevitable. Nothing beats a hangover like a refreshing swim in the Adriatic: it’s what kept me going throughout the week. That and more beer.

Well this isn't gay. At all. Nope.

Well this isn’t gay. At all. Nope.

Due to some questionable travel decisions made weeks before the trip, I had the chance to get a bit of reading done on the way back. Choosing a connecting flight which is about £200 cheaper than a direct flight might seem like a good idea at the time of the booking, but the 15 hours I had to spend in Oslo airport, cold, miserable and suffering the hangover of a seven day party, were among the worst of my life. But at least I managed to finish Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Plague by Albert Camus and a few short stories by Franz Kafka, most notably The Metamorphosis. Win some, lose some.

The crew (with skipper).

The crew (with skipper).

I leave for a two week trip around Croatia tomorrow morning. The plan was to put up another Lovecraft post before I went away, but it’s been a busy week, my flight is in 6 hours and I’m exhausted. Not gonna happen. Instead I thought I’d share a picture of Dad and I, celebrating my graduation with a few pints in Brighton three weeks ago. Good times.

Taken in the Fiddler's Elbow, Brighton. Check it out.

Taken in the Fiddler’s Elbow, Brighton. Great pub, check it out.

It was an overwhelming day, and a long time coming. There were times where I thought I wouldn’t make it, but it was worth every minute.

I’ll be hoping to post something soon after I’m back at the start of September. Bring on Croatia!

I’m going to (try to) start blogging.

I’m a little unsure as to what I will actually be writing or posting about. The first few posts will probably centre around observations and analysis of books I’ve read recently. Having just finished university and with a lot more free time now, I’m trying to read as much as I can. It’s amazing how often I had an urge to read during my course, knowing I did not have the time or the energy to do so at that particular point in time. So in the last few weeks I’ve been catching up on as much reading as I can, from recent releases to classics.

In the future, I may branch out into other topics, including but not limited to: architecture, photography, film, music, gaming, general life and travel. I really don’t know what the overall tone will be, but I am committed to at least keeping this space active.

This blog is for my own benefit. I don’t plan to share this with anyone; a few people know that I’ve started writing a blog but that’s it. If after a few months I’m happy with how it is going then that may change, but I was never planning to create something to attract views or get attention. I want to write about subjects that interest me, and more importantly to use this blog as a chance to improve my writing.

So yeah…watch this space.