Welcome to The Cuckoo Jar, a blog by Nanna Koekoek - illustrator, music- and flea market junkie.
Head over to my website to take a look at my portfolio. And don't hesitate to get in touch!

25 June 2012

Punk Poet

Last night I went to see 'punk poet' John Cooper Clarke at The Gate in Cardiff (great venue by the way, a former church). He is like the Busta Rhymes of poetry, he spits really fast! He is also known for his huge hair and for having toured with The Fall, The Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division. He plays himself in Anton Corbijn's Control, opening for Joy Div as he did in 1977. Here he is in the video for Transmission (1979):

I really enjoyed it, especially the first half was extremely funny and he performed a few of his 'greatest hits' at the end. I also really enjoyed 'support act' Mike Garry, who's poems are almost exclusively odes to his city Manchester and its residents.

21 June 2012

Pub Carpet Crawl #3 - The Cantonville Ghost and other stories

Let me start by telling those of you who don't know yet, I am moving to London at the end of this summer! I'm obviously VERY excited about this, but it does mean that last Saturday's third edition of the Pub Carpet Crawl was probably the last one in Cardiff. *SNIF!!* I must emphasize the word probably, because on my Pub Carpet Crawls we've only been to two areas, which means I'm still very far removed from having collected all the pub carpets in Caerdydd. I've also noticed London pubs don't tend to have carpet that often, so there might just be a reunion!

For Pub Carpet Crawl #3 we returned to Canton, to finish what we started in March: the rest of the Canton Mile. We met at the Victoria Park Pub, an establishment that has - in my opinion - a great classic pub carpet. 

There is a skittle alley at The Vicky, painted in a high gloss Kermit green. We had a go at skittles, which you would think is a lot like bowling but it's actually far more difficult. 

Next up was The Clive. A bit of a nondescript pub, but they did have two different carpets. The one in the front of the pub (seen in the second picture below) was particularly hideous and even more so in combination with the various patterns on the chairs.

In The Duke of Clarence we could finally catch up on what was happening in the group A finals of the Eurocup, as they showed both matches (they love football at The Duke - it's a well known haunt for fans of the Cardiff City 'Bluebirds' football club). We were very upset not to find carpet, but we were very impressed by the reupholstering of the back of the benches that line the entire pub (which is actually a nice feature of The Duke). 

 ∧ Reupholstered in a beautiful shiny silk. The red velvet seats up next?

Now over the past few years I've gained a bit of experience when it comes to pubs and carpets and I just knew there had to be carpet somewhere in the Duke. My best guess was the loos, so I went for a wee. No carpet there, but on my way to the toilets I discovered there was a function room at the back of the pub where a massive party was going on! It was dark in there with lots of flickering disco lights and people shaking their hips to Jerry Lee Lewis. Eager to join in on the fun I quickly went in and there it was: the carpet. The carpet was on an elevated area where people were sitting and as they all turned their heads when I stormed in with my camera I soon came to realize I had just crashed a private party (the massive array of snacks and presents on the table behind me also gave me a hint). Too embarrassed to take a picture of the carpet I left...  

A good few pubs on the Canton Mile have closed in the last few years and we were sad to discover  The Insole has suffered the same fate.

∧ The Insole looking desolate.

O well, enter the Canton Liberal Club. Wow this place was happening and with its five different carpets it was truly a pub carpet heaven! It is a huge building, with a large lounge in the front with a pool table and other antique table ball games (called 'bagatelle', according to their website only found in one other place in the UK).

In the back people were playing bingo and there was another room where again there was a massive party going on with lots of disco lights and people shaking their hips, this time to more contemporary dance music. The beer was cheap as chips and they even sold ham rolls. This place is a keeper!

The big five of the Canton Liberal Working Men's Club:

We were only at our 4th stop and we were already running out of time. The size of the group (+/- 30) made it almost impossible to keep the drinking tempo in sync. Realizing with a shock that it was 22.30 already I think I ran to the Butcher's Arms! This is one of those pubs I never dared to enter, because from the outside you can't see anything through the windows except that they have fluorescent tubes for lightning. So yes this is a very traditional pub, but the atmosphere inside was very pleasant.

Then all of a sudden a pint dropped. Promptly one of the staff members came out with a mop. They told us not to worry as it happens more often that drinks are spilled without anyone touching them. Apparently this started happening after the previous landlord fell down the stairs in the pub and broke his neck. Brrrrr eerie!

∧ The haunted pint.

Maybe they got tired of all the spontaneous smashing pints soaking the carpet and therefor opted for a wooden floor in the bar? There was still carpet in the  backroom and  the toilets though (because it's far less worse when fluids are being spilled here..?!) ∨

Oh and what a joy, turned out The Corporation around the corner stayed open till midnight! This was the last pub we visited on Pub Carpet Crawl #1, but then I had been so distracted that I'd completely forgotten to take a picture of the carpet... So it was totally legit to go there again and have one more beer.

∧ Would you believe a pint had just been dropped here?! (Not by a ghost this time..) 
The Corporation has an extremely absorbing carpet!

An old man was DJ'ing and gramps had an impressive laser show going on! He even spoke through a mic in between songs, which I always find so endearing. He played us Dolly Parton and the B52s, which was nice.

Then the clock struck twelve and we were kicked out of The Corporation. The last Pub Carpet Crawl in Cardiff had ended. Though it not necessarily meant the end of the night... 

I'm a bit melancholic now, but the crawls have been so  much fun. I'll definitely continue doing them in London. Without wanting to sound too pretentious, there is more to them than just drinking beer and taking pictures of carpets as some weird hobby. They lead you into unknown territory, let you have a glimpse at worlds you are normally not a part of, you learn about the neighborhood and its history, you meet new people and erm.. you get to spend the whole next day in bed.

12 June 2012

Dead Man Working

It's not in my usual line of work, but still worth a mention: the cover photography I did for the book Dead Man Working by Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming. I had to make fake blood and then create puddles and splatter it around, which was heaps of fun! It has been published by Zero Books, a 'radical' publisher, whose catalogue will be much of interest to those of you who are into philosophy, political theory and cultural studies.

"What does the worker tell us today? "I feel drained, empty... dead." This book follows the dead man working from the daily tedium of the office, to the humiliating mandatory team building exercise, to awkward encounters with the funky boss who pretends to hate capitalism and tells you to be authentic. When the corporation has colonized life itself, even our dreams, the question of escape becomes ever more pressing, ever more desperate..."

Despite the fact I don't have to go on humiliating team building exercises, I am my own funky boss and I love my new-found daily tedium of the office, this does sound like an interesting read!

Order it from Amazon here.

11 June 2012

An animated invitation

(click to enlarge)  
For a private client I recently made an invitation for their wedding party on a rooftop terrace in Madrid. As the invitation was going to be send out electronically I suggested turning it into an animated GIF. I have an absolute soft spot for animated GIFs, so I was very excited about finally having an excuse for making one myself!

8 June 2012

50s novelty

Probably fueled by the idea of making a circle skirt from my recently bought fruit pattered curtains, I've been looking at lots of 1950s full skirts and dresses on eBay and Etsy. I'm absolutely fascinated by the NOVELTY prints from that era.

 Now that's what I call a poodle skirt!

Both for sale here on Etsy.

 ∧  Bananas, pineapples, brown leaves and monkeys = want. 
If you do have a 25" waist you can buy it here on Etsy.

Sold for $200 here.

 ∧ Shakespeare themed fabric!
Snap up a bargain due to slightly yellow stained armpits here on Etsy!


∧ Possibly my favourite: various brands of tobacco ands smoking paraphernalia. 
Unfortunately already sold here.