The perfect pop song

There is an exhibition called ‘Exit through the record shop’ which I am hoping to make some record shaped art for. I wanted it to be related to music and time and was thinking about how I could represent the average length of an album. My friend Ali (who is also going to be in the show) suggested that I use the length of the perfect pop song. Apparently it is 2 minutes 42 seconds. I decided to give this a go using electrical tape whilst listening to Heart FM on a high volume for necessary inspiration:

At the moment I am not overly excited about any of them but feel like the creative cogs are turning.

A clock without hands

At Nottingham train station they have a clock with no hands. I thought this was a particularly peculiar place to have such an object as most of the people there would be waiting for a time to arrive. The clock would never provide the time and so people could just keep on waiting. (If by a freak occurrence no-one there owned watches or mobile phones!)

A clock without arms is surely just a circle or is it a symbol for the lack of time we feel we have, or don’t have. I liked it. It made me feel calm. Time wasn’t flying by. I was departing and had no-one to meet, so time was washing over me. I think more clocks should just be circles. It would make for a less pressured environment.

In a past office job of mine there used to be two clocks at either end of a corridor, both stopped still. One stated home time and the other stated lunch time. It was cruel, as my mind would always register them even though I knew they were broken and wrong. This corridor showed the time you wanted it to be but it was only right twice a day. On reflection I should have made them handless.

Very almost perfect job description








1) Someone who feels physical discomfort upon seeing an incomplete spreadsheet.

2) Creative thinking is a must.

3) It’ll also help if you have a laptop.

Okay, so there’s a few bits missing to make it the ‘perfect’ job description but these sentences made me smile and I want to work for the person who wrote them.

Taking Time

Taking Time – Craft and the Slow Revolution

I went to see this show in Birmingham at the Waterhall with my Nan, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. I was especially impressed by the work of Sue Lawty. There were tiny stones collected and positioned together to make this large scale image. Every stone represents it’s only period of time. It is explained perfectly by Sue Lawty herself on the ‘Making a Slow Revolution‘ blog.

Calculus 2009 – 2 x 3 m – natural stone on gesso (photo credit: John Coombes)

Calculas - Sue Lawty

My Dad Steve collects stones mainly from Scotland. They are such amazing objects and do make you think about how long they have been around and what experiences have moulded their shape and pattern. By taking them out of their natural environment you are almost freezing them in time, because they won’t be weathered and ground into sand.

Real inspiration

I have just had such a wonderful evening with my two friends, Tom and Lyz drinking tea brewed in a teapot and eating carrot cake. Blooming marvellous!


For a long time now, Toms Dad has been a source of inspiration to me because of the stories I have been told about his meticulous categorisation and data collecting of every day life happenings. He has been collecting every train ticket he has ever used dated back to the 80’s, he has a spreadsheet where he logs every car he has ever driven and he has a beer bottle collection. The latest one is my favourite by far and made we far too excited! Toms Dad has kept a list (again on a spreadsheet – brilliant!) of all the money he has found in the last 3 years. As someone who takes great delight in picking up a penny and believing in its luck value, I think you can understand how this has made my day.

Lyz also has a relative who enjoys the act of list making. Her Uncle has a suit where he keeps in its pocket a list of all the occasions that he has worn it. I think that is such a lovely idea and keepsake. Imagine going to a charity shop and buying an item of clothing, only to find a little glimpse into its history in the pocket.

The only time I have successfully collected data is when I wrote down absolutely everything I spent for a couple of months at University. I had to stop as I started to bring every conversation back to how much things cost and it wasn’t a popular subject. Also, try going for a drink with your friends and getting out a notebook after every transaction; you’ll soon realise, I was far from the ideal date.

Having nothing particular to do – a very strange feeling indeed

A piece of writing whilst at University. Thursday 7th September 2006- 2.35pm

No matter how hard you try to stretch out the everyday mundane routine based tasks you set yourself, you still seem to be left with this vacant time. Filling it is a challenge and one that the easily bored should steer clear of. I seem to be super efficient when I don’t need to be and a procrastinator of the highest order when time is limited.

I wish time was in a token type system where you could save the time you struggle to waste on days where you just don’t have anything to do, it’d be grand.

‘Yes, I can go out tonight even though the essay is incomplete and under researched and in for tomorrow because the other month I was good with my time saving and clocked up a good 12 hours of time, so I’ll see you at 8’ If only!

I wonder where you’d register these time tokens…would there be a clock in machine type system in every house hold or would it add to the laborious tasks like the bank trips in which you dread if the calculations you did on the back of the receipt of that ultra unnecessary jumper you bought add up. Simply ‘Do I have enough time saved?’ ‘Can I afford the time to do that?’ but literally.

Imagine the bank (time bank) queues leading up to the summer holidays. It would be a nightmare. This time manipulated world I’m dreaming up (because I simply have nothing better to do) is a world whereby students are rich…in time.

Wasting time should never been seen as easy and should always be taken with caution. Either, you will regret this when you’re running out of time in the future and the blame stage will set in OR worse still, you will discover that you’re a bit dull and can’t entertain yourself without a screen in front of your yawning bored existence.

I always feel outrageously guilty for feeling bored. I think ‘What right do I have to feel bored when there’s so much to be done’ but it’s hard. Really hard to motivate your brain when the ‘To do’  list is empty.

Try making up a ‘To do’ list of things you’d like to do. Everything’s either too expensive, would be better with company or you’re too exhausted with no energy that you loose all sense of an imagination. This is where jobs are good. I like jobs as a concept. You go somewhere where the ‘To do’ lists are written for you or at least you have a role to play and you waste time there.

The bonus is you get paid for it. Time is money. A yawn whilst at work is so much more satisfying than a yawn when you’ve dragged yourself out of bed as something to do and you’re watching TV whilst Trisha or Jeremy Kyle introduce you to people who are worse off or more dull than yourself.

Actively wasting time is tough. There should be guidebooks for this kind of human degeneration. Act on it without advice and you become sad or worse still, you feel nothing. Excuse me whilst I switch off.


After highlighting words in a book, I decided to shred paper and highlight the strands instead. I feel it works better as it appears a waste of time to highlight information that is unreadable and also you can standardise/regulate your pace, so still measuring periods of time. It’s more difficult to do this when colouring in a blank piece of paper as you can speed up, slow down, make different types of movement, that are more or less effective.

Shredded paperShredded paper highlighted

Experimentation at the studio

My most recent experimentation:


10 seconds of poured glue

I am trying to make sculptures out of glue by pouring it for periods of time. I set up a few experiments and none of them have even slightly dried.

Did some research and the way to get water based glues to dry is to aid evaporation of the water in them. The three things to remember are that you need a) Hot temperature. B) Make a large surface area and C) Reduce density of surrounding water vapour in the air (good ventilation/wind/fan).

I am going to try making some flatter attempts to increase surface area. Hopefully they will dry but not sure if  they’ll be as sculptural.


1 minute highlighted

I coloured in the corner or each piece of paper starting with 10 seconds to 60 seconds with a highlighter. I would like to colour in some larger paper for the period of time of events, like with the string pieces.


1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minutes of tape

I wrapped tape around the end of bic Biro’s for 1 minute, 2 minutes and 3 minutes. I used masking tape as a base layer but the tape still wouldn’t come off. It also put a real strain on my hand and became quite painful. I shall try wrapping it around other things too. I was thinking it would be quite good to try doing this with something that spins – like a cassette player with a pen in it.

Spray paint

Spray paint 20 seconds

I sprayed the paint onto paper for different periods of time. Where it had been sprayed in a concentrated area it became shiny. I think this is a very simple idea but would like to try it in different ways.


Experimented in the studio tonight and this is what happened. The string was wrapped around my hand for the amount of time it took me to go to the shop, and then unravelled.

String on wall - 'Going to the shop'

String on wall detail

String on wall detail

In the shower thoughts

String wrapped around hand for the length of the advert break

String wrapped around my hand for the length of an advert break

I was thinking about my ball of string idea where I want to wrap string around my hand for periods of time. I like the idea of timing everyday activities like having a shower and measuring the time with string.

With most things you do, you have an understanding of how long they take or you project how long you think things will take. Two people in discussion will not necessarily agree on how long something will take e.g. waiting for a bus. One person might have had the unfortunate situation of waiting and waiting to then have three buses turn up at once and thus project that waiting for a bus is a lengthy process.

If I had a lot of balls of string in a room that represents different activities, they would become relative to each other, a bit like two people discussing the passing of time. Each ball of string will be representing their own abstract period of time.

At this point I thought I better get out of the shower and go to work to earn money to pay for string.