Daxien Grahy

21 October ‘14: In preparation for our research lab meeting on Thursday I decided to check the viscosity of my SQF mauve, and I also set up a hardness timeline sample. This should have taken about an hour to set fully.

However, when I checked it after an hour it was still mobile; then after two-and-a-half hours it still hadn’t become hard, so I embarked on the standard quench procedure.

Mentioned this curious behaviour to Kelly; she glanced nervously round and told me that a similar thing had occurred when she first started. Some of the workers here are rather ambitious and competitive and they regard it as normal to perform sabotage to impede the progress of their rivals – sorry, I mean colleagues.

Meanwhile, Carl has reformulated a chlorinated rubber finish, replacing the talc (extender pigment) with Garamite (a powerful thixotropes) because he doesn’t understand the significance of these component materials.

And I found a Google Book online about ‘The Dispersion of Pigments’ by Daxien Grahy which explains in detail the premix and grind procedures and the importance of using the correct P:B ratio and the most suitable surfactant additives – essential for phthalo blue and green and quinacridone and fumed silica and carbon black and polymer microfibres.

Mentioned this book during our meeting but it was dismissed as irrelevant by the boss.

2 Feb ’03:   Fri night it snowed; stayed in. Sat night went to Stockport and hit charity shops – ‘Monstrum’, ‘Behind Scenes at Museum’, and a couple of grey shirts.

Chinese takeaway, went to Patricroft Conservative Club to see ‘Jalapenos’ – great band, did TV themes and old Rock ‘n Roll numbers.
Back to flat, red wine, woke up with appalling hangover, went to Bolton for MAG meeting.  In the news: Space Shuttle Columbia exploded during re-entry, seven dead.

Tony Benn has interviewed Saddam Hussein. British troops in Kuwait ready to invade Iraq.
Twenty people dead after explosion in Lagos. 

Reminiscence Therapy

It was a bright warm day in June
And I watched you fan yourself
With a second-hand paperback.
Did gentle Georgian breezes cool your brow,
I wondered, or perhaps some
Angry New York hustle?

Perhaps it was a book you hadn’t even read;
A biography of one obscure – nay, one unknown
By another long-forgotten nobody.
And words beat down upon us still
In waves of overwhelming heat
‘Zen and The Grapes of Brideshead Expectations’

Perhaps one day, compelled by lack of time
We will create a new synthetic literature
To remind us of the things we can’t recall
While alternating voices weave a counterpoint
We struggle on from day to warner day
Hoping that truth lies just beyond the dune. 

Daxien Grahy (08/03/04)

I dreamt last night of a smart hotel
Whose floors, instead of numbers, were
Given names – Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald,
Ruby and Pearl. And in one room I saw
Two young men with two much younger girls
Striving to attain unknown delights.

Seated in a corner of the room
She watches them perform; the merest
Flicker animates her mask of elegant
Disdain. Eventually the two still forms
Are laid before the woman in her smart
Grey suit. No tremor of concern disturbs her mind.

[Note: in late April 04, a few weeks after writing this, I discovered that Dame Britney of Spears was on tour with her ‘Onyx Hotel’ concept stage show]

Stop The Far

Journal Entry, Sat 7 Jan ’12:

I suppose since it’s 2012 I should really put together my turntable and listen to ‘XII’ by BJH, an LP which I bought five or six years ago at a car boot sale in Bolton.

And in yesterday’s Indie I was reading a review of ‘Delta’, a new CD by Hyperpotamus, some Spanish guy who does that multi-tracked vocal thing like Bobby McFerrin  but to simulate instruments. Apparently a similar work (Melissa?) has been done in the past by Bjork.
Which reminded me that when I moved into the house in Campbell Road in 1991, Leon had a Sony CD player with four discs, one of which was ‘Deus’ by The Sugarcubes.

On Spotify the other night I found a set of Mozart transcriptions – symphonies 35-41 played by a piano quartet.

The paperwork for ‘Making Sense of Strategy’ included a discussion of ‘Core Competencies’ which made me start thinking about Exova and the things that didn’t work, the QUV machines and salt-spray cabinets that failed to function correctly.

If we want to really understand how a company operates, look for the ‘Core Incompetencies’.

15 Jan ’12: 8.30 a.m. and it’s already light outside. Last night Vicky texted me to ask if I was going to the Brickies Rock Night in Leigh, so I rang and said no. But our Soapbox Derby is on 10 March, and I’ve already arrange to to book Fri 9 off work – the Alan G memorial lecture is on Thursday night at OCCA, Solihull.

Anyway – Thursday night just gone – went to ‘Alibi’ for a snack before cinema cos everywhere else was packed. Strange pub/club, odd pictures on walls.
I asked for a glass of house red and the (v dishy) barman gave me something that tasted like an expensive Shiraz to go with my ham and eggs. Then flounced off to the Cornerhouse to see ‘The Artist’ before which they showed a Virgin Media short called ‘Good Samaritan’ about a matronly (but highly indignant) black woman who takes pity on a nude bloke handcuffed to a stag-night lamppost.

12 Mar ’12: This morning went to the ENT clinic at Salford Royal Hosp. They sent a camera down my nose to explore the tubes and see whether a blockage there was responsible for my deafness.

Alas, no.

Then I went to work (having told them I would be away for the whole morning) and found we had a staff meeting about H and S, in particular, ways to avoid cuts when using knives so I stood at the flip-chart like a Dolly Dealer on Play Your Cards Right, writing down the various proposals to make it safer.

After this, Lynda went through a presentation about restructuring the Coatings Division. One of the slides had a staff listing with Danny at the top as Lab Manager, with various project leaders. I noticed that my position was dangling as a stem from Jon G (who’s just joined us from PIH Ltd) so I asked whether I was now reporting to him.

‘Eventually, yes.’ Said Lynda.

30 Dec ’03: Christmas time, chocolates and red wine (sand Cliff Richard) down at St Austell. Jean and Terry both coughing and sneezing, like a Lem-Sip advert but without the happy ending. Xmas dinner – guinea-fowl, red wine and Thorntons and Lindt.

Viv’s annual newsletter from Abu Dhabi was a catalogue of boasting, ending with “…wishing you all lots of happiness, health and of course, money!”
Whilst in Cornwall Jean and I bumped into John R who has gone completely grey.
Bob Monkhouse, Dinsdale Lansden and Alan Bates all died.
Iranian citadel of Bam destroyed by earthquake – twenty thousand killed. 

Eighteen-Line Poem

Bold-fashioned stripes divide me from myself;
Connect me to your relics
And echo my despair
I can’t disturb this mask
While the acid waits to take effect
And the sky’s clear silence drifts away.

Oblique the warnings; I don’t wanna hear
Your narrative of wealth
The epicure of filth
Is sauntering thru another
Of my dreams where fascinated snakes
Converge upon the addict of the stripes.

She’s had it – ‘’Bowie Knife’ – engraved
Upon her heart; I said don’t worry,
This isn’t life, it’s just a work of art
Or a very fractured one-man show
To be watched thru furtive Venetian blinds
By one who favours shallow stripes of light.

Drop the Bar

Journal Entry, Sun 12 Jan ’97:

Well, where does a girl begin?
Last Friday night was our works do at the Central Banqueting Suite (late Xmas party).
Loads of real 70s music – buffet – cabaret artiste who did ‘Simply The Best’, having dragged two of the blokes up with her, when one of the reps – pissed – joined in with a vengeance.
Left at 11.30.

Sat morning went to B’ham, gave Adrian his pressies and a tenner.
Went to Mandy, gave her pressies, went to Skoda garage, it was shut so we went to visit Betty.
Drove to Warwick, got there at seven (2 hours early), Michael cooked pasta with chicken in white wine and cream and partisan cheese. And while we were eating dinner Robbie turned up.

Went to Crazy Daisies – camp arguments in taxi.
Anyway, had a boogie at the club and a fair bit to drink, got taxi back, eventually there were 16 of us in the pub at three o’clock, girls pissed, making sandwiches and coffee, Michael spilling drink, me practicing kata.
Mid-life crisis; an exhibition of industrial art funded by an eccentric lottery-winner. A series of 205-litre drums painted using advanced coating technology.
Black-and-orange Greek vase design. M C Escher interlocking figures.
Sepia-tint Victorian hard-core porn montage.
‘Nude Descending a Staircase’ type kata painting.

The exact text of my idea, which I scrawled around the blank margins of the Independent on Sunday while in bed at the Antelope. I didn’t have a TV at home so I was fascinated by the haunted fishtank in the room – there were OU programmes about Manchester Town Hall and the physics of rainbows.

16 Jan ’97:

One of the most appealing aspects of this town was its architecture; nothing elegant or significant, but there were several derelict warehouses and chapels which intrigued me; their blackened fronts and broken signs, painted in a style not used for many years.

It was a strange winter; three days of biting cold and deep snow would give way to three days of mild weather, after which the cruel season would reappear. After several weeks of this pattern we had a few days of dense fog; the landscape was transformed, with cars gliding past in slow motion, illuminating the very air before them.

Even the square church (a defiantly plain structure) seemed to have swollen in size, and its lack of decoration made it look more threatening than unfinished.

30 Jan ’97: Greetings from Tiger-Lily Mavis!

Last night went to T’ai Chi and we did 15 minutes of standing Chi-Kung. Arranged to go to seminar in Kirkby on Saturday. Reading ‘Satanic Verses’ at home and ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ at work, both utterly fab.

Earlier this week found out that a former employee, many years ago, had done a runner with loads of money collected for a football club – it all ended up in court, and when questioned about the money he fell silent for five minutes before eventually piping up ‘shoes for my kids.’

And now another of the lads has done the same – neither was sacked although both deserved it.

7 Mar ’97: Drama drama drama!

Yesterday was walking home as per usual and noticed some young kids messing about on the wall of a school playground – opposite the RC Church.

Anyway, next thing I know I was lying on the floor in agony and saw a long metal bar rolling away from me. Kids’ voices yelling ‘You’ve hit a man!’
One of them said ‘Are you alright mate?’ and I snapped ‘No, I’ve broken my foot!’

Staggered along to my GP surgery who told me to get a taxi to casualty dept, hung around for hours, they eventually saw me, tweaked my toe, decided not to bother with an X-ray, offered me paracetamol and said come back if it gets worse.
Rang the police who did nothing so Jean rang them and a WPC came out to see me at 10.30.

Postcard from Gran Canaria


Postcard from Gran Canaria 

A speeding taxi carried us away
From town and up into the dusty hills
Like a pair of nervous bandits on the run. 

Our apartment lurked behind the dismal front
Of an abandoned bar. Inside, cool marble-resin floors
And dozens of cupboards and drawers and shelves
All empty.

The kitchen doors are finished
In a strange pearlescent white; they
Make the place look like a film set in a dream.
Strange prints along the stairwell showed
A factory behind a forest; a closer look
Revealed it was a generic European Church. 

Outside, the hills recede, crushed
By the noonday heat, a grey
Forbidding wilderness of stone.
A buzzard, falling horizontally
Sees only harsh grey outcrops.  A far-off
Diesel generator snores to break
The terrible silent beauty. 

Meanwhile the lights of Maspalomas gleam
Impossibly remote, an oasis
Of hysterical debauchery. Two slender men
In tight young polyester shorts
Drift past the Chinese buffet restaurant; they
Glance at the menu, then at the diners
Before deciding to continue on their way.

We have just eaten; along
With the bill the waitress (Sullen? Impassive?
I can’t decide) brings a bottle
And pours us out two shots of cheap liqueur;
She will not leave until she sees us drink
Which makes me think that
This brew, cold-pressed from the seeds
Of the amoxicillin tree is meant, perhaps,
To fend off gastric flu
Or any of the other side-effects of dining
At the crimson-tasselled house of Doctor Wu. 

To my surprise, the waiters at
The ice-cream bar
Were not on roller-skates; an otherworldly
Smoothness informed their every move
Not to mention the ice-cream itself
An expensive ambrosial delight.

Meanwhile, holed up in our windswept retreat
We watch TV in rapid Spanish dialect; Tarot card
Readings, cooking shows, a long, long service
From a huge cathedral, and fierce political debate.
Political debate: a procession of distinguished men
Dark suits, grey beards,
Debate an imaginary fracture. “The Basques” said Clive James
Back in ’78 “Are simply an explosive people.”
Some things will never change…  

From the rooftop terrace we see endless grey stone
No creatures move except the lonely hawk.
Deep down, we know that we would see
Crawling life emerge in abundance
From these barren rocks when darkness falls.

And at the roadside, dull green hearts
Pile up, adorned with ivory toothpick spines.
And the pylons – their tall, unstable elegance
How did they make their way up here
To beam the news – along with Tarot cards,
Dating chatlines, badly-dubbed ‘60s cowboy films
And Anita Dobson launching the Armada
Into family dwellings and holiday flats.  

At least out here
The air is hot and dry, the pylons
Need no paint to keep them safe. But still we paint them anyway, a
Barrier of luxury – rich, creamy varnish
Filled with powdered oyster shells and
Reinforced with shredded cactus spines. 

We walk to the deserted village square
And wonder if we’ll ever leave this place; the
Question rises, and I ask myself again
Will all the cacti find a home?