A totem of impending creative failure

September 10, 2016

As part of the anxiety counseling I received earlier this year I was given the gentle target of completing a creative project. The logic being sound in that two of the aspects of existence I struggle with are my lack of control over my life and my frustration at not being able to complete the creative targets I set myself. I agreed with my counselor that I would break a couple of creative projects into easy to achieve steps and try to complete just a single step on a single project each week.

At first it worked great. I managed to get the first couple of tasks on a couple of projects done and felt really positive about finally making some progress on projects I’d abandoned as hopeless. But then my self destructive procrastinator kicked in. The first tasks on the projects I’d chosen had been effectively admin: choose a location, order some materials, list out the intents, etc. As soon as the admin (easy) tasks were done, the bits I couldn’t “fail” at I just started creating new projects to work on instead. By the end of the counseling I’d accrued quite a list of projects and made no real progress on any of them. For the record I don’t put this down to the counseling it’s something I’ve always done, I caught myself doing it this afternoon, buying fishing wire and ball bearings on Amazon for a completely spurious project instead of trying to make some real progress on anything I had already started.

This doesn’t help with the anxiety, it makes it worse. A repeated mantra of the evil liar that is my depression is that of “you’ll never achieve anything, you’ll never finish anything” and sometimes even my objective self believes this. The house, my hard drive, my head are all full of bits and pieces of creative projects, ten percent, maybe twenty percent finished but no further. I fear what will happen if I finish one, but I think more than that I fear that I will never finish one.

Today I acquired a totem of impending creative failure. A while back I came up with an idea for a series of photos which required a small selection of props, I did the initial admin by working out what the props were, considered a couple of locations then procrastinated violently. The props are easy to come by and available in most hardware stores for a couple of pounds, but rather than just walk to the hardware shop and buy them I decided to ask on Facebook if anyone I knew had them to hand and could I buy them off them. I had a logic which I won’t go into here. Of course lots of people offered to help and a couple of friends had what I needed so I agreed to pick them up off them next time I saw them, considered the next step of the project done and dropped it. I never found the time to visit the friends and so never progressed. Today in a moment of hope I walked into a hardware store and bought most of the bits I need. Two of them being plastic light fittings (they cost about 70p each). I am considering them a totem, a warning. If they are still sitting untouched, unmodified and unphotographed on my workbench by the end of the year it’s a signal that I’m not sorting myself out and I really need to do something about it.

I will face my new nemesis and destroy it, or at least modify it and take some photos, regardless of the outcome.


(I will probably still buy fishing wire and ball bearings because hey, who the hell doesn’t need those in their life).

Photographs of Burnham Beeches – Spring/Summer 2016

September 4, 2016

I’ve been kicking through the long grass, ferns and ant battalions of Burnham Beeches recently. Working in Bourne End has it’s positives but the same spaces every day begin to lose their interest and the hard walk up Hedsor Hill which on a good day is bracing becomes a chore when anxiety is tactlessly scratching at my nerves. Work became hectic and I needed an escape so I’ve started driving out to the beeches. It’s not such a trek, and I probably get more use of my time as traveling on foot I lose the first 15 minutes of any journey just getting off the industrial estate and into the countryside.

I had forgotten what a varied and beautiful environment it was and there’s so much of it I’ve never explored. In an hour’s walk I can find meadows, deep woods, beautiful swathes of foxgloves and inquisitive deer, although only the latter on days I forget my camera. My ankles have seen more insect bites over the last couple of months than in a long time but I’ve renewed my love of this tranquil seclusion which I live so near to but rarely visit. If I can keep my focus now that autumn is here I’ll try and spend a couple of hours with the camera and field recorder putting something a bit more involved together.

Here’s a selection of recent shots of the wildlife of Burnham Beeches. Full set is here.

Beautiful but cold

Sunlight glinting through old leaves

Slowly creeping green

Creeped out yet?

Long way down

The long walk home

Something lurks

Cadbury's Flake Tree

The purple sentinel

Sound the bells

Rest now for the journey ahead

Ink your map upon my skin

A sunlit clearing

A place to hide

New t-shirt design – Knobs!

June 27, 2016

I have a new T-shirt design up at MoreTVicar. Retro knobs on your chest.


Europe Referendum – Social Media Banners

June 18, 2016


I am very tired but that is irrelevant. I knocked up a couple of images to use on Facebook in my support of the #remain campaign and they appear to have become moderately popular. If you want to use them for your social media profile feel free. A link back would be appreciated but by no means expected just supporting the campaign is enough.

Here they are, click to view full version:

Square Image (good for Facebook/Twitter/Google Plus profile pic)


Banner pic (correct size for Facebook cover photo)


Happy to know up new ones at whatever size, just leave a comment below or on the Facebook page.

Did I mention the Facebook page? Here it is: https://www.facebook.com/AnxiousSilence/

AWESOMEFOOD Suggestions – The Avocado

May 30, 2016

I love avocados. I do not like the woo and bullshit increasingly associated with them by charlatans who will remain nameless.


Jubilee Meadows – Wootton Oxfordshire

May 27, 2016

Christ I’m behind on blogging, unemployment would make this easier but then who would pay for the electricity?

Back in February I accidentally found a nature reserve in Oxfordshire – Jubilee Meadows near Wootton. I was up visiting a client who has an amazing office round the corner which overlooks a beautiful river (we were watching kingfishers out of their office window). As I tend to do I had turned up far too early and was too awkward to call them and ask if I could come and see them before we had planned so I just wandered round the area for a bit looking for public footpath signs (always a promise of adventure). I’d driven through Wootton and seen an amazing early morning view of mist over a flooded meadow so went back after the meeting (which was lovely) for a lunchtime wander.

Only saw one other person in the couple of hours I spent there, although it was February and quite cold but plenty of rabbits enjoying the peace and casting me begrudging glances for my intrusion into their quiet wilderness.

Here’s a video slideshow with some audio I recorded on the day.

The full set of photos is here. Here are my favourites:

Looking into the valley (again)

Bridge across the stream...

Teasels in the winter sun

Cthulhu Rising

The way up

Winter branches getting ready for spring

SCIENCE: Graphing my energy levels against client emergencies

May 3, 2016

I really suck at managing my blood sugar levels at certain times of day, my clients really suck at having emergencies at certain times of day. I have made this scientific graph to illustrate this problem.


Springtime is here… get out in the countryside

April 30, 2016

Helping British tourism where I can.


Just keep calm and don’t look behind you.

Your Carriage Awaits – Prints on Society6

April 23, 2016

I remembered I have a Society6 store – https://society6.com/anxioussilence so I’ve remembered to upload a design for print. I’ll add some more next weekend.

I’ve been primarily focusing on photography recently for a few reasons. Firstly, health. I really need to get a lot of exercise at the moment. I’m managing diabetes primarily through diet and exercise (with a little bit of drugs) and finding time and motivation to get any exercise after all the other responsibilities of being a theoretical adult can be a challenge. Photography is a good motivator to get out and walk someplace. Secondly, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years flitting from one interest to another, never giving enough time to anything to get any good at it, sticking to one medium for a while has been a great experience (and will be ongoing). Finally, it’s the only creative outlet I don’t need a run up to. For illustration, music and video I need a bit of warm up time which I just don’t have right now, for photography I can just pick up the camera and go.

Oddly, I never intended to get into photography as a medium in it’s own right. I picked it up again as an adult (having loved it as a child) primarily to collect source materials for illustration and digital collage, this has over time become secondary.

Anyway, I’ve added ‘Your Carriage Awaits‘ as the first item. I need to resurrect my Etsy store shortly as well. You can get a print or the image on a mug, a travel mug or a clock (because I am an awful merchandise whore).


Bring on the laser (cutter)

April 21, 2016

Every year I promise myself I’m going to stop buying people Christmas presents and start making them then I remember about two weeks before Christmas and realise I have not the time, the requisite skills, the time to learn the requisite skills or the inspiration to actually do this. This year I sort of managed to edge towards this ideal, although massively misjudged by needing to order some stuff in which took far longer than expected.

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting some stuff laser cut for a while, I’ve got a big bunch of sketches and ideas for a variety of homewares and entertaining tat and I’d been talking to Paul about some ideas we may at some point work on together so thought I would give making some Christmas decorations for friends a go.

I had two made up (see pics below) for my friends Tim and Caitlin who are keen on (hopefully) Christmas tat and animals. I was hoping the process would be simple enough that I could start selling decorations on my Etsy store but unfortunately the production cost has slightly killed that for now. The material costs were incredibly low but the cutting cost was really high (for the size of decoration), excluding shipping it worked out at just under £20 for both decorations, which is great for a one off gift for a friend but not viable for retailing.

As it happens the cost is driven up by the number of curves in the designs. Straight lines are quick and easy to cut, curves expend far more energy. All of my current designs are quite curvy and I don’t have the energy to come up with new designs right now. We did investigate buying our own laser cutter but that’s currently way outside our financial reach for a couple of ideas which may never generate any cash, also it looks like the power consumption may be the real killer.

You can see in the photos where I skated underneath the minimum width for parts of the design and ended up with some very fine cuts, they look quite cool but are fairly fragile.

The two here were cut by RazorLab out of 3mm MDF. I was going to paint them but the burn marks made by the cutter give them quite a nice handmade look anyway.

I would still like to have a crack at making some bits to sell but will need to find out if I can get the production cost down a bit first.

Laser Cut Personalised Cat/Dog Xmas Decorations

Laser Cut Personalised Cat/Dog Xmas Decorations

Laser Cut Personalised Cat/Dog Xmas Decorations

Laser Cut Personalised Cat/Dog Xmas Decorations

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I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. It contains my art, photography, illustration and thoughts on mental health (I deal with anxiety on a pretty much constant basis).

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