Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to me...

This Gramophone is a present from my Honeysuckle Rose:

I'm off to the deep south of Cornwall Christmas, then again off to the low north/south of Scotland for new year. There will be traditional music and dancing, and despite grand intentions it'll probably turn out like this:

(If you aren't convinced that's genuine, look up Stian Carstensen).

Merry Everything!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I sang a bit of backing and played accordion for Yo's Christmas ditty.
Consequently the accordion police are coming for me...

Monday, November 30, 2009


look look!

A Guardian Online Gallery about my books! With a commentary by me me me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Abney and Teal Abroad

Here's the article about my show in Broadcast magazine that I mentioned earlier.

[Edit: Hmm, that article didn't require subscription when I first linked to it, but now it does, so my addendum won't mean much to anyone...]

Intricacies that I might add, since we're leaked anyway, are that it has been me, rather than the whole team, painting all the "individual blades of grass" etc. The team will be painstakingly collaging sets together from these hand painted elements, under the guidance of Steve Roberts and myself. Steve's own show Dip Dap is so far as I know also being produced by Chris Wood.

Last night I visited Tim Van Eyken on his boat, after a chance meeting at a concert a few weeks ago (with Tim, not his boat. I heard tones I recognized singing along from the bench beside me at Cecil Sharp House and jumped rudely at the chance to meet him).
Apart from being an incredible melodeon player, Tim until very recently sang the songs for Warhorse. It was Tim's singing (which you can hear there on that Warhorse video clip), and equally the puppets, that made the show for me.
We talked and played melodeons by the warm stove until late, and discussed possibilities for my show's soundtrack, amongst other things. Just a lovely, easy and exciting evening from which I learned enough musical tips to be going on with for months.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do diddle di do,

Poor Jim Jay,
Got stuck fast
In Yesterday*

Today I did a short telephone interview for Broadcast Magazine about my show, and most likely baffled the poor reporter with intricate details of the weird and varied animation techniques we've been developing. I don't know when and if any of it'll go up online but I'll try to link to it later, if I can. Mind, I once went on and on about intricacies for an interview about my books and the article subsequently never appeared, presumably because anything of any interest was buried under the weight of what kind of paper or pens I was using at the time...

In other news I've been sick and working only at my home studio for some time now, and I also managed to injure my back at the weekend when I elected to use my heaviest accordion for some recording (I'm not built to be a fully fledged accordionist, and certainly not after several days of hardly moving). I'm hoping to get back up to the tv studio towards the end of the week, and back on top of things thereafter.

*Walter de la Mare

Monday, November 2, 2009

Autumn leavings

I haven't drawn anything not non-disclosure-agreed in some time, but if there were time I would have drawn the stray Jack Russell I saw today, stalking twelve haughty crows through autumn leaves so deep that at times only its nose was visible.

It's absolute chuffing bedlam in the studio, by the way. They're pile-driving the foundations for another horrible apartment block not six feet from my wall. Houseplants are dancing, tea is doing Jurassic-park impressions, I am wearing noise-cancelling headphones...

Autumn printed on the pavement:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rust on Every Rivet

I haven't done enough work this afternoon...

There is a wintry sunlight today, which I've accompanied with the lovely record that came in the morning: Hyperboreans.

The upper fretwork of the crane which currently towers over my house is thronged with getting on for a thousand Starlings. As with the noise of the building work (on London's ugliest and most irritating apartment block) the bubbling chatter is reflected back into my street by the houses across the way.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Red Ted Escapes

I'm a bit confused with the dates, but I think this book-what-I-done was released in hardback yesterday...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Strung up...

...but not finished.

23 strings.mp3
Recorded with two 70-pence piezo pickups shoved under the bridge (which is funny looking. I made it a few weeks ago and might have to make a bit of a different one now to get the weight and distances right).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


(I made a very makeshift wooden box, when the drum that I ordered failed to arrive...)

First sounds.mp3
(I tested it with just 5 strings. Eventually there will be 24).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I just signed off on what ought to be the last of Dexter Bexley & the Big Blue Beastie on the Road, and so am officially (though I have been for ages) full time on the TV show (except for everything else I have to do...)

Something that I've been experimenting with, and that I'm probably just about allowed to talk about on here, is the music for the show. I'm not certain that I will be doing the final recordings, but I'm playing with it for now. For the last year I've been learning to play the melodeon partially for this purpose (though I suspect I won't be good enough in time) and I have even commissioned a carpenter to make one strange but simple instrument for me.

Now, since a polyrythmic and african feel has been creeping into the music, I'm thinking of building myself something that resembles a Kora or Gambian harp, perhaps with influences from the Gravikord. Here are some very early and rough ideas, though I've just got hold of some wood that changes things already:

Pete, I drew this bagpipe from a photograph in a friend's record sleeve. Written above is the name of the man playing it (I couldn't find anything out about him). Do you know anything about these pipes? The broken line from one of the drone/chanters (they seem to do both) is a strap that goes around the player's neck, and there seems to be a third small drone/chanter at the front...

Friday, August 14, 2009


Walker's new mini edition of my Hans Christian Andersen collection is out this month.

Interestingly, the small amount of Japanese editions my books have had has often been chalked up to the Japanese recession...
This new Japanese edition of my first illustrated book, according to my new housemate mr Yo Zushi, contains an amusing phonetic spelling of my name.

Monday, August 10, 2009