Old and Past It

Yes, that would be me. I am sitting at my keyboard [as I usually do when writing a blog post] feeling angsty, grumpy, and rattled. Charmaine has been regaling me with all the unlikely friendships she’s been making on Instagram since she opened an account and started displaying all her lettering efforts on a white textured background board with a variety of props. She has mastered the flat-lay; knows what to do with a sprig of lavender; and can make unusual, yet visually appealing arrangements with nothing more than a set of keys and a bulldog clip. She has even been encouraged by her new playmates to build a website on Squarespace. This is all well and good, but her calligraphy is still crap.

I apologise. It is wrong of me to be critical of my dear, darling niece, … BUT… it is now me locked in the attic. I am being fed gruel. I am sat shivering in a cold corner with only Harold as a companion, and trust me, the constant clatter of castanets can get a little bit tiring. How did it come to this? Charmaine has smugly explained that I failed to move with the times. This is probably true, but in my defence I have been rather busy… Charmaine has suggested that I rebrand myself. Apparently, if I am to successfully market my calligraphy business I need the digital equivalent of brilliant white walls, Lloyd Loom furniture, and voile curtains rippling gently in a ylang-ylang scented breeze. D’ya know what? I can’t be bothered. I am an individual, and I can’t be bothered to faff about with bits of dip-dyed pastel shaded ribbon just to fit with the in-crowd. Oh the irony! I was one of the first calligraphers in the UK to wax lyrical about modern calligraphy online, and now I have been rejected by the young, the fresh, the cruel, and those who are led by the nose by an identikit design.

Enough. Enough of this maudlin swan song. Enough because the majority of my dear readers here won’t have the foggiest idea what I’m going on about. Apologies. Again. This has all been on my mind, and now that I have gotten it out of my system perhaps I will feel better.

my-first-modern-calligraphy-wedding-place-card-24-sept-2011-uk

24th September 2011

51 thoughts on “Old and Past It

  1. batarde

    Feeling better now? 🙂

    Charmaine always did have a way with words, but I wasn’t aware that she knew one end of a pen from the other. Perhaps she should be encouraged to go in for interior design? Nope, maybe not. You’re going to have to invent Post Modern Calligraphy, Scarlet, that’s all there is for it.

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Good afternoon, Mr Batarde. Yes, I think I am feeling better now, thank you! Charmaine does indeed know her way around a voile curtain, so maybe I will nudge her in the direction of interior design. Careful, if we start messing around with postmodern calligraphy we’ll end up back at Comic Sans.
      Sx

      Reply
  2. Inexplicable DeVice

    Oh, dear. Trapped in the attic by your own niece, eh? I wondered where you’d got to. I bet she didn’t get you that packet of Jelly Babies, either…

    Brilliant white walls and ylang ylang sounds like it may encourage sheeple which, while good for the wallet, won’t be as good for the soul. I don’t know what to suggest (unlike clever Mr Batarde) to remedy this, however. Except that – and this probably won’t help you – I’ve just drawn a witch and a narwhal in a Starfleet uniform for the hell of it, and I feel a bit happier now. Perhaps it is the equivalent of getting it all out of my system?

    Reply
    1. Inexplicable DeVice

      P. S. Is “24th September 2011” under your place setting/name tag/invitation a clue for something? Is it bottle/mogwash/calligraphy related?? Should I continue panicking about my uselessness at ‘Clue’ and how I’ll never guess who did what where, and to whom?!?!

      Reply
      1. Scarlet Post author

        Apologies, Mr Devine…. the date simply refers to when the little card was written! One of my early attempts at modern calligraphy!! No need to panic!!
        SX

      2. Inexplicable DeVice

        Oh, thank the gods! I shall stop breathing into this paper bag now.

        (I’m not sure where this comment reply will appear – I don’t know if I’ve chosen the right “reply” thingy? It’s in response to you “No need to panic!!” 🙂

    2. Inexplicable DeVice

      P. P. S. I have just tried to comment THREE TIMES at Loopy Letters (mainly to say I’m sorry for not visiting more often, and to remark on the whiteness of your blanket despite having a Sid), but keep getting told my security token is invalid. I don’t remember getting a security token. Was I supposed to get one on the way in? I didn’t even get my hand stamped!

      Reply
      1. Scarlet Post author

        Oh! I’m going to Google ‘security token’ as I am as baffled as you… how peculiar.
        I do however have a stamp for your hand…
        Sx

      2. Scarlet Post author

        Still baffled by the invalid token issue… I will have a look behind the scenes at the Loopy Letters and fire the head of security.
        Sx

      3. Scarlet Post author

        Mr Devine – Even I am not sure where the comments will end up – one mistake in ‘Settings’ and they could end up having a party at the end of a pier that hasn’t fallen fail of an arson attack.
        However, I am now giving you a withering look…. I can assure you that I am perfectly capable of writing another post within the next 3 weeks!! But as you have now set a challenge, the next post may be flung up on the wall within 2 weeks!!! There, that told you.
        Sx

    3. Scarlet Post author

      Mr Devine – I think getting everything out of the system is a good thing although I draw the line at colonic irrigation. These sheeple seem to be everywhere, populating all of the most popular social media sites and they usually have something to sell, but are too lazy to dream up a unique selling point. Pah. And they call themselves artists. Genuine artists are individuals with a unique view of the world…. I will stop here as I feel another post brewing 🙂
      Sx

      Reply
      1. Inexplicable DeVice

        Steady, Ms Scarlet. Another post – even the hint of one – after such a short space of time will be too much. I am still giddy with the excitement that this one brought!

    1. Scarlet Post author

      Jon – I agree!! Even worse is that Charmaine wants to dye it herself! Imagine the mess!! Imagine who would be expected to clear it all up? It is all beyond the pale.
      Sx

      Reply
  3. dinahmow

    Take it from me – while the idea of gently wafting voile and ylang-ylang may seem divine in glossy pictures, the reality is that anything stronger than a mere zephyr will shred the voile and blow ragged strips all over the house.And the ylang-ylang tree, while gorgeously fragrant, is a ruddy great brute that hurls branches from its lofty height.

    I cannot pretend to understand the abbreviated attractions of those other cyberspaces.

    Now, about this out-of-date date.I did wonder if this was all your idea of April Foolery.Is it?

    I’m going to see how a narwhal fits into a spacesuit…

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Dinah – I suppose we can make ribbons from the shredded voile??? And perhaps shelves from the hurled branches?
      I have learnt from Mr Swings that it is gusting around your part of the world today? Stay safe Dinah.
      Sx

      Reply
  4. LẌ

    Does this mean that Charmaine will be handling the Loop Letters Project now? I’m asking for “a friend.”

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mr Lax – That girl is going nowhere near the Loopy Letter project, I can assure you! She is far to busy with her new Instagram friends playing: Who shall we copy next?
      Sx

      Reply
  5. Mitzi

    Let it all out dear, it’s good to purge and remember every cloud has a shitty lining. You can write that on a card if you please. Is ylang-ylang the new Anais Anais?

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Thank you, Mitzi! I’m sure I could make ‘shitty’ look very pretty, especially if I draped it with ribbon.
      Anais Anais – I was given a bottle and did end up using it as room freshener!
      Sx

      Reply
  6. lisleman

    Are there any nice creatures sharing the attic with you? A friendly bat might be less critical of your success.
    I’m always thinking of words and classic rock lyrics. Your words, “angsty, grumpy, and rattled” had me playing the Rolling Stones, “Shattered”.
    Look at me, I’m in tatters! I’m a shattered
    Also, I’m wondering is “faff about” a bit of slang I should remember to use? It sounds more interesting than flailing.

    Reply
      1. lisleman

        Ok just go head and give Snow White more to deal with.
        I found the band Dwarves on Wikipedia. They started in Chicago. I’m very glad I never knew or heard them. Here’s a line from their Wikipedia page: The band became notorious for self-mutilation, on-stage sex, and taking hard drugs, and their live shows would often only last around fifteen minutes….

  7. eroswings

    I’m going to second Dinahmow: Ylang Ylang smells alluring and exotic. And the tree grows up big! It is also surprisingly hurricane resistant. Our Moso’oi (the name of the ylang ylang used by my adventurous, traveling aunt who gave the sapling to my parents to planet) survived several hurricanes pretty much intact.

    You’re not getting older. You’re becoming a fine, rich, exquisite wine…or a really fancy, expensive, sharp vinegar!

    Reply
  8. Scarlet Post author

    Mr Swings!!!! I am not quite vinegar!!! To be honest when I first smelt Ylang-ylang it reminded me of the dentist. It still does a bit, but I do understand why it is considered exotic.
    Sx

    Reply
  9. Autolycus

    As one with only the vaguest ideas of things to do with a sprig of lavender, handwriting worse than a doctor and an unfortunate history with castanets, I’m sure anything you’re past wasn’t worth being on or behind in the first place. If you see what I mean. Great things have come from attics (once the dust’s blown off).

    Reply
  10. Scarlet Post author

    Lovely to see you, Mr Auty!
    You sound like you have the makings of being a fine modern calligrapher… I know this because of your unfortunate history with castanets. Sadly, my attic is full of cobwebs and my basement has dried up.
    Anyhow, thank you for your kind words 🙂
    Sx

    Reply
  11. 63mago

    Ylang ? What is this ? Let’s use wale vomit, zibet and almond milk as usual, softens the hardest customer, they’ll all get stoned beyond recognition & it’s a Happening.
    Tell Charmaine to move into tattoo ‘n stuff, maybe a bit late, but what the ‘eck !

    Fashions come fashions go, very interesting from a cultural historian’s point of view.
    What remains is quality, nothing else. You hate it, you loose it, but one always goes for it. Anything else is entertainment. Surely not art. *there i said it*

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mr Mags – Talking of fashion, modern calligraphy is the equivalent of skinny jeans… both are hanging on in there until the bitter end… both look good on some, and less than flattering on others! How I long for the good old days when fashions came and went.
      Sx

      Reply
  12. Exile on Pain Street

    I don’t even know what Squarespace is. I don’t! The auld are always shoved aside for/by the young. Don’t ask me how I know so much about the issue. I just do. You still have your talent, pet. That can’t be shoved aside. You can take it to your grave with you. I’m taking mine!

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Monsieur Pain – Squarespace is a very smart website/blogging platform. Much nicer than WordPress.
      I am fed up with getting older… what is bizarre is watching the same old issues/trends go round in circles… and the same old arguments/politics…. I feel like I’m being bored to death by repetition.
      Obviously I am feeling a be grim today!
      Sx

      Reply
      1. Scarlet Post author

        I’ve got the dunce cap on my head!! Ack, I am not that bad. I was going to say that I’m the student smoking behind the bike sheds… but I gave up smoking, so that would no longer be true!
        Sx

  13. savannah49

    I’m glad you feel better, sweetpea, for having gotten all of this off your chest/out of your head, etc. I’m sort of in the same boat, aka attic right now, but I figured out that I just need to stay away from the news in large doses and have a second piece of cake when I feel like it. It truly is a pain to look at fashion, interior design these days because it all seems so temporary, as if nothing is classical anymore or rather, there is no appreciation for it. Everything old is not new again, it seems. It’s just cast aside for the new new thing. Sweet Mary Sunshine, now I’m feeling grim, too! Off to the kitchen in search of cake! xoxoxo

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Ha Ha!! Apologies, Savvy for dragging you into the gloom! I am feeling a little better today… the sun came out, and a few of my radiators are working. There is also the possibility of hot water.
      Sx

      Reply
  14. lululabonne

    Oh my Goodness, I missed all those gorgeous snowy photos, I’m afraid I have been hiding in my own attic, too busy rocking back and forth in my extra-long-armed nightie. No-one is better than you at calligraphy – I loathe lavender and all those other arsey shenanigans xxxxooooxxxx

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Thank you, Lulu!!! I now have a very peculiar image of you running around in an oversized nightdress…. don’t let anyone tie those sleeves behind your back!
      Sx

      Reply
  15. nick

    Clearly all Charmaine’s weekly sessions at Busybodies Anonymous have been wasted as she is still poking her nose in your affairs and telling you what to do. You will need to re-apply the gag you so rashly removed after three weeks as she claimed she was starving to death. This time make sure the gag is well impregnated with Novichok to solve the problem once and for all.

    Reply
    1. Scarlet Post author

      Nick – Have you seen the price of Novichok recently???? It has skyrocketed. Appalling. I will have to improvise with a bottle of Milton and a few drops of tea tree oil – that should sort her. And at least she won’t go mouldy.
      Sx

      Reply
      1. 63mago

        Apparently the stuff is not only overpriced, but overvalued. “Worst nerve agent blablabla”, and those Russians jump out of their beds four weeks later. One can trust in nothing these days.

  16. salligraphy

    Hey! I feel you…and it used to really get under my skin (and sometimes still does) when I would witness a ‘calligrapher’ offering online classes, doing demo videos for companies, amassing followers with all the love the internet has to offer…and their work is, well, sub-par. The general public is thrilled with the pristine studio, the sped-up videos (looks like magic!) and all the trappings, aren’t they? And the general public doesn’t necessarily recognize the beautiful work of a skilled calligrapher. I TOTALLY get it…BUT…I’ve learned that it is a waste of energy and time (especially time if you are an ‘artist of a certain age’). We all want to feel relavent and we want quality work to be appreciated. But we have to continually check in with what we want from our art. I used to get very green with envie if I saw a post of really crappy calligraphy getting so much LOVE! I wanted to set everyone straight. But I can’t. All we can do is put out our work and keep creating the way we are meant to create. Yeah, it stinks that they are probably making loads money (maybe – who knows?) and lots of people are loving their work – but really – in the end – so what? Stop checking in with the ‘pretenders’ and follow and interact with calligraphers of quality – witness (and like and share) their brilliance. Share your brilliance. You will feel much better. Peace, Sally

    Reply
      1. Scarlet Post author

        Hello Sally! Thank you for the link! This was more a case of me asking to join a ‘secret’ UK calligraphy group of modern calligraphers, and apparently I wasn’t good enough. Stupid of me to try really… I kinda knew what the result was going to be… and at least now I know where I stand and what they think of me. Americans have been kinder to me!!
        I have felt better since I decided to stop looking at Instagram. My house is cleaner. I have had conversations… I’ve written a couple of blog posts. I feel more myself now, and I’m not going back to Instagram. It’s a peculiar place. I’ve been blogging for ten years now and formed strong links with other bloggers, if I quit blogging people would notice. On Instagram, people come and go and nobody bats an eyelid – people are disposable. I’m going to stick with blogging.
        Sx

      2. salligraphy

        Good for you. And you’ve created a world where people get it! Much happier place to be. And as far as IG goes…couldn’t agree more. I’m still there but I’ve unfollowed lots and am really discerning in whose work (and success) I want to see. All the best!

    1. Scarlet Post author

      Also – I’ve always had a big issue with marketing… the sleight of hand just to sell stuff… and I’m sure some of the new kids on the block are more interested in marketing than calligraphy, that they’re just jumping on a fast moving gravy train to make money. Because I am passionate about calligraphy I find this painful to watch.
      Sx

      Reply
      1. salligraphy

        I know. I feel the same often. Ultimately, though, I’ve had to let it go and focus on my own work and work of others who ‘get it’. ❤️

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