Louise read me a Ted Hughes poem last night – Stubbing Wharfe. He’s talking about his time with Sylvia Plath and it all sounds a bit bleak and grim – he goes on about the endless grey weather.

Massed with tangled wintry wet, and the moorland almost closing above us. The shut in sodden dreariness of the whole valley.

It’s actually a really nice pub these days – we went in not long ago with Ticker and the food was very good.

We do have long spells of grey dreary weather around here, but most of the time it’s punctuated with a bit of brightness now and then. This week we’ve had a string of cold bright blue frosty days.

The crows did indeed peck through the fleece to eat the new rye sowing – I caught them red-handed. I had to net it. I couldn’t get the fleece up because it was frozen to the ground.

Crows peck the fleece
Rye patch netted

When punk started round here, there was a lot of associated artiness – people were off to art school and I got interested in pop art and the impressionists through Boff and Inger. We (Notsensibles) were a bit sneery towards arty types, because we though that we were as cool as fuck playing in a band and pretty much everything else was shit.

The impressionists noted that a lot of artefacts exported from Japan were wrapped in paper with colourful stylised images which were actually woodblock prints – these went on to influence their paintings.

People were doing their own little fanzines using typewriters, letraset and photocopiers. Spider went one step further – he had an Adana 8X5 letterpress printing machine and he printed tickets for gigs and little flyers. He passed it onto the Chumbas and they gave it to me when they left Carrcrofts. Letterpress and woodblock printing really is a wonderful versatile art form – you can print record labels and sleeves, tickets, packaging for market gardening and more. It’s computer and internet free and one you have a few fonts of type, the overheads are minimal – it’s a really important part of the DIY revolution.

Ohara Koson woodblock print
Fox woodblock

Also as a consequence of Notsensibles, I met a bloke called Chris Holden who was a friend of our manager. He was an oriental antiques dealer and I got more into Japaneses prints through him – in particular the artist Oharo Koson who produced exquisite images of birds and animals. In those days, you could pick up his prints in antique shops for thirty quid or so but now they’re ten times that.

I got into my own version of woodblock cutting which is a hybrid of the Japanese and English wood-engraving methods. I use a 10A scalpel blade to cut the images. I got a big bag of old wooden letter blocks at a car boot for a fiver years ago and I just use the backs of those.

When I came to write the book, it was only natural that I cut a woodblock for each chapter – a bit time-consuming mind. I did re-use some from previous record sleeves. I couldn’t resist borrowing a Koson image for one of my blocks.

Jester woodblock
Ferguson tractor woodblock

Jon and I are continuing with our little film-making project. On Friday we filmed a ‘Letterpress and woodblock printing’ episode and instead of just me jibbering away in the chair, we actually did it as a ‘how to’ and printed the woodblock that the logo originates from.

Our Sick of Being Normal – Pendle Punk 40 years on project trundles on. Casey came over yesterday and we had an enjoyable afternoon photographing Lindsey and Rodge Davies. Caseys’s a keen swimmer and runner and we talked about the enormous value for mental health of vigorous activity in nature.

There’s a new bar in town just opened and it has a really nice atmosphere – they’re into anything and everything arty and I’m looking forward to playing there. Sam’s band Bulbeater played there on Fri and I filmed them.

Printing with an Adana 8x5
Casey outside Electron

Dawn, the singer in Fenny’s band came and recorded the vocals for the version of Betty Wright’s Clean up Woman that we recorded the backing track for. We’ve still got to do the horn session. It represents the pinnacle of my recording technique to date. Sam and I had the idea to write a commercial song specifically for Dawn’s fantastic voice and she’s well up for it – we’ll just start with a jam session and see how it goes.

Lindsey and Casey

At the other ranch, we feel exasperation and desperation as patients wait on trolleys in corridors for up to 16 hours.  We’re one of the better resourced emergency departments. People wonder how things can get to this in a so-called progressive country. Homelessnes. Food banks. One small consolation is that anyone who works in the NHS or has benefited from its magnificent care could never imaginably vote Tory.

Two Notsensibles, Dawn and Sam