For UPfest’s 10th incarnation (and our 9th visit) we thought we’d go for a couple of self portraits combined with an inspirational quote albeit with a little id-iom twist. The main quote says ‘Just be your self. Unless you can be id-iom. In which case be id-iom.’ We even managed to get a cryptic earworm included in morse code in the wallpaper design and shoehorned a Simpson’s reference in there for good measure (as UPfest had partenered The Simpsos for this year’s show).
It should all have been easy enough except we didn’t really count on the weather being quite so inclement. Wrestling huge stencils in the wind and rain is not really to be advised. We managed to get to some state of completion but not before the biggest rainstorm of the day had completely soaked us to the bone. All this after 4 weeks of the UK baking in eternal sunshine. Oh well, c’est la vie.
After coming up with this ambigram design (which reads the same upside down) I showed it to the other half of id-iom who was a little perplexed as to what it said. After bringing the debate to a wider audience on Facebook it would seem that I opened a tin of worms as it’s apparently not at all clear what it says and I had numerous different answers as to what it might be.
I realise I could tweak the image to make it less vague and ambiguous but I decided I quite liked the idea that it wasn’t entirely decipherable and was more like trying to decode graffiti tags so decided to run with it. To celebrate the various different answers I received I’ve come up seven different versions of the design and each one has been titled in dymo letters with one of the guesses. It’s pretty plain to me what it says but then I guess perception is in the eye of the beholder so I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
They’re on A2 paper and made using the magic of stencils and spraypaint. The ‘Ace of Aces’ bit is pretty cool if I do say so myself. Drop me a line if you’re interested (or confused).
So it’s that time of year when we pack the id-iomobile with just about everything we’ve got and head down to Bristol for UPfest. After discarding about a dozen designs we settled on ‘Bonum Iaculat Me Babber’ partly because we both thought it was an impactful design and we could include some 3D sculptural elements but also because it was Wednesday and we were running out of time.
On Saturday the weather was looking a little dicey so we were aiming to get finished by 4 when the rain was predicted. Luckily the rain didn’t come til 6 so despite the fact we actually finished about 5.30 all was well. The translated text says ‘Good shot me babber’ with the first bit being in Latin (as I thought it sounded mysterious and a bit classier) and ‘me babber’ being a Bristolian phrase meaning ‘my friend’ or similar. Adding the arrows, cigarette and monocle gave it that final id-iom touch and once we’d got a shot featuring the tree in the background looking like his hair we were free to quaff some ‘mission completed’ beers. Cheers to all the UPfest crew for having us and putting on such a sterling performance. as usual.
Sooooo, I’ve written a zombie book called Skin & Bones that also features some zombie pigs. I’ve yet to do anything with it other than give it to a few friends to read so thought I’d remedy that somewhat by making it the focus of this year’s UPfest wall at our alloted location – the Steam Crane pub. There’s a copy of the book wheatpasted up for part of the background and we even included a little hoopla action for that interactive element. Not a single point was scored with the 20 odd people we played with however. I didn’t think it was going to be that tough to score a measly 10 points…
Anyway, just in case you’re at all interested in the book here’s a little taster of the kind of thing to expect if it ever gets published:
This morning you woke up feeling a little unwell. You have no appetite, your head is aching, your throat is sore and you think you might have a slight fever. You don’t know it yet, but the zombie virus has already been working away inside you for a week or so and has been busy attacking your immune system. It’s reached the stage where it’s really about make it’s presence known.
Exactly when and where you were infected is unclear as it can take anything between 21 and 30 days from initial infection to the first proper symptoms. What is more certain is that you are now infectious yourself and have been for a while. Your family, friends and anyone else in close contact with you are all in mortal danger.
The next couple of days will determine if you are one of the lucky few who has some natural resistance and will, at least, survive the infection stage or not. In the highly probable event that you have no resistance then, at some time between 3 and 4 weeks after infection, you can expect the whites of your eyes to turn red, your vomit and diarrhoea will now be charged with infected blood and large blood blisters develop under your skin. You are now at the peak of infectiousness as the virus particles, eager to find their next victim, replicate swiftly inside your body.
What comes next is straight out of a movie. Your brain heats up and you become more aggressive as your mental faculties begin to deteriorate. At some point you’ll become unconscious and then the next time you open your eyes you will no longer be in control of yourself. You are now constantly hungry for human flesh and have the overriding urge to bite someone. Satisfying your cravings is now all your limited intellect can cope with. Congratulations, you are now a zombie.
Calling you a zombie would probably suffice in a pinch but isn’t quite correct however and the term ‘living dead’ would probably seem a better fit. But you won’t care. The virus has made permanent changes. From the second you were infected the grave is your only and eventual way out. At least by that point you’ll have no knowledge of what you’re doing. Just following some of the baser human instincts that have been modified and enhanced. Your end is nigh. Along with just about everybody else’s…
The Greenbeard Effect (id-iom @UPfest 2015)
Given our proclivity for leaving things to the last minute we were having a brainstorm in the pub on Tuesday for UPfest ideas when we somehow alighted on the idea of pirates as the infamous Blackbeard was allegedly from Bristol. It was a good start but we needed more. We then moved on to Bluebeard (not actually a pirate but an aristocratic murderer from a French fairy tale), then to Redbeard (a pirate plying his trade in the Mediterranean) and finally Greenbeard.
As it turns out there was no such pirate as Greenbeard but we did find out about ‘The Green-beard Effect‘. Which, to paraphrase something that sounds quite complicated when you read up on it, is that people like other people who share observable physical traits like blue eyes or, as in the name of the effect, a hypothetical green beard. With that as a vague plan we then came up with the idea of adding some actual greenery to give him a true green beard and an idea was born. A quick word with our trusty gardener friend John to secure some foliage later and the whole thing was a go!
Panorama shot of our side of the yard at UPfest 2015.
The original design which I’m only showing for completion’s sake as we didn’t have enough space to get the lettering in.
Cue some feverish design, the standard bickering over the final design and then some swift preparation and hey presto! We’re ready for another road trip. After a good night’s sleep (thanks to Jo & Al for putting us up!) we were down the Tobacco Factory fed, watered and ready to go by 10.30am. It was all going smoothly. Too smoothly. Something had to go wrong. And sure enough we had 10ft less space than we were expecting. Hmmm… What to do? We eventually decided on ditching the ‘Sexual Altruism’ lettering as it was too big. That was a shame but needs must and we went with just the two heads staring at each other to maximise the space to apply the green beard to. After the rain on Friday and the rain on Sunday it turned out that Saturday was a bastion of sunshine and we even have the cheap trucker tans to prove it.
As we were painting a few people asked if it was white Obama that we were painting. Not only would that be a strange concept to begin with he doesn’t have a beard and id-iom doesn’t really do political. Perhaps we should think again. Once we’d just about finished we whacked some LED’s in the eyes and some reflective paint as their laser like stare. I’d love to see if anyone manages to get a decent night shot…
As ever UPfest was a great day out and it’s always nice to put names to faces and chat to all and sundry. Thanks to the UPfest team for having us and Jake in particular for dealing with our whinging.
I think we found us a doppelganger!
We’ve just completed an epic roadtrip for Dogs Trust where we painted 12 walls in 12 cities in 12 days for their annual ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ campaign. Each day had a different dog and featured a real (and entirely ridiculous) reason that a dog had been handed in to one of their rehoming centres.
We started off in London and then had to pack up the van and hit the road for 12 fun filled days hitting a new city each day and then moving straight on. We usually started about 9 and then had to be finished by 2 as they’d bring along a dog from the nearby rehoming centre to get some photo’s in order to try and get some publicity for the campaign and spread the word about responsible dog ownership.
I think my favourite dogs are the collie from London, the playful puppy from Glasgow and our final wall in Brighton that features a pug who was handed in as he kept chasing frogs. Who could possibly hand a pug in for that? Remember kids ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’…
Manchester (with staffy pup Tinchy)