Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Dreaming of Tom Waits

WaitsI met Tom Waits in my dreams last night. It was the first night I’d slept soundly, undisturbed by the coughing that’s characterised the latter days of my heavy cold. Waits was at his charismatic best, performing a duet with David Bowie in a clever video which I can’t entirely remember but was one part hobo chic and another part travelling balloon carnival. After the song, Waits took to the stage and I was sitting near the front, feeling blessed that I had an opportunity to see my very favourite musician up close. Then he started to hand out free albums and magic beans and the whole thing got crazy.

I can’t remember much of the show except it seemed to involve driving old 1930s cars through a corn field as a dwarf accompanied him on the sousaphone. After the performance, I had chance to meet Waits and I reached out to shake his hand. I thought his hand was small. Perhaps I’d shaken hands with the dwarf instead. I’ll never know. We got to talking about the topless brunette sitting in the Model T Ford and that’s when the telephone rang and I woke up.

Sleep, I think, is important to me. Or at least, dreaming seems to be key to the way my brain functions in the day. I’ve been struggling to come up with good cartoon ideas for the past week, which I think confirms my suspicions that my imagination is tied to getting a solid eight hours. Today I’m supposed to start work on one of the websites I’ll be building instead of enjoying Christmas this year but I also intend to make some room in my afternoon for some serious cartooning.

The lack of time and ideas to cartoon is particularly galling because on Saturday I took the bold step and upgraded my Samsung Note.

I’d found a buyer for my relatively new Samsung 10.1, meaning that I took next to no financial hit when it came to buying the newer 2014 edition I’ve been talking about for so long. I did the deed at the John Lewis store in Liverpool with a little of the money I’d made from my animation project.

The whole experience has been a bit unsettling, given that the first Note had quickly become as useful as my right arm. I’m still not completely at home with the new Note, though that’s partly down to my ordering a case from Amazon that is now going back. I originally ordered one of these, a beautiful case but with major flaws. The magnet in the lid is meant to wake the Note when you open it and shut it down when you close it. This it does but it also shuts down the Note when you fold the lid all the way back, as you do when holding it to draw. The same magnet (I suspect it’s just too powerful) also infers with the magnetic field that S Pen uses to locate its location on the screen, meaning that if you happen to draw in the same spot where the magnet’s located at the back, you have a dead spot on the screen.

I’ve now bought the same type of case as I had on my original Note and hope that things improve. The reason I wanted the newer Note was to draw on the 4k canvasses supported by Art Flow and the experience so far hasn’t made me regret my decision. I think my few scribbled test cartoons are already looking crisper and the whole drawing experience is much improved, with smoother operation and no lag between my hand and the screen. The only problem is a bug in Art Flow which means I can’t export the canvasses to Photoshop. I emailed the developer and apparently he’s working on a fix.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the results, if there are any results and my brain starts functioning again. I suppose the fear I always live with is that one day I’ll wake up and I’m no longer able to think of a funny joke or a funny cartoon. I fear that one day I might wake up to discover that I’ve grown up and become fascinated by tax and the brain rotting seriousness you find among the comment section of The Guardian. I worry that I’ll become one of those serious people when all I want is to be like Tom Waits, casting glitter over the heads of the midget tumblers and brunettes in classic cars.

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