About simonjohnparkin

A graphic designer from Brighton, UK who likes walking an' that

Interview with a mermaid

A couple of years ago I entered KCRW’s 24-hour Radio Race. Participants are given a loose theme and have to make a short piece for radio in the given 24 hours. I had great fun doing it – rushing down to Lyme Regis to meet up with some sea swimmers, going for a swim with them and asking them about swimming afterwards – but the results were, frankly, pretty terrible. I forgot to turn the recorder on for a good section of it and I had to learn how to edit pretty quickly. The sound was too quiet, the pace too slow and I didn’t tell much of a story, but I just loved doing it!

So I thought I’d try again, this time without such a tight deadline. I arranged to meet up with someone I followed on social media, the St Ives Mermaid, to talk about being a mermaid, growing up in Cornwall and the joys of swimming in the sea. We went for a swim to break the ice; she showed me her incredible underwater swimming skills which I failed to emulate and then she graciously answered my disjointed questions.

I’m quite proud of the finished piece, even though it could be shorter and it needs some other sounds in there. Have a listen and let me know what you think:

Swim Stories – Interview with a Mermaid

Viva!life

G F NewmanThree times a year I get to design Viva!life, the supporters magazine for Viva!. For the latest issue I got to do two illustrations, one in a style I haven’t attempted before, write an article on ghostfishing for it AND be a featured maker in it for the t-shirt designs that I’ve done for Viva!.

It’s always been my ambition to have lots of different creative jobs so to design, illustrate and write, all in the space of a few weeks, was a dream come true for me.

My 3.6km Caerhays sea swim

56871_OWM13_MAA_000071For the last few years I’ve made it my mission to double my outdoor swim distance. It started with a 750m swim down the Thames in Marlow, followed by a 1.5km down the Severn in Shrewsbury last year. This year I’ve set myself the challenge of a 3.6km sea swim in Caerhays, Cornwall.

Please sponsor me here. I’m doing it for the Animal Protection Agency, an incredibly hard-working and dedicated charity trying to end the disgraceful trade in exotic pets.

40th Challenge complete

For my final challenge I showed all my films that I’ve made over this year and did a talk about my 40 challenges to my old studio mates back in Hove.

It was a disastrous night with my dog eating a whole bar of chocolate and puking all evening, manifold technical problems meaning the Powerpoint presentation that took four hours to make didn’t work and Irene-what-used-to-be-in-Brookside, or, ‘The Mersey Tunnel’, drunkenly proclaiming that the films were too long.

Still, I got through it. I did get some nice compliments afterwards including one friend being inspired enough to enter herself on to a fun run next year.

But still, never again!

37th Challenge complete

Throughout November I took at least one black and white film photograph every day. It was great getting my old Nikon out and attempting to master it again. Halfway through the month I started to run out of ideas but then I remembered about my Diana camera and took a roll of film on that without having to worry about apertures and depth of field.

Most of the photos were rubbish, as expected, but there were some that came out better than I could have imagined! I would definitely like to keep this one up.

36th Challenge complete

For my night time mountain bike race I entered the Mud and Sweat Nightrider event at Haldon Forest in Devon.

I’d been a bit ill the week before and hadn’t eaten properly on the day of the race. Then my son was up in the night so I’d had about five hours sleep. By the time I’d driven to Devon and set my bike up I was already exhausted.

A long line of riders waited at the start in the middle of the forest at night. It was a spectacular sight but as soon as the horn blew and we set off, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. The race started with a hill and I was immediately out of breath and feeling nauseous. The route entered the singletracks of the forest and immediately got very technical – way out of my league. I would have struggled doing trails like that in the daylight, let alone at night after five hours sleep and with a stomach bug.

I went the wrong way. I got off my bike and pushed up and down the steep bits. I thought I had a flat when it was just thick mud. I got lapped. I had to keep stopping to let riders by. I wasn’t enjoying it. I struggled to the end of the first lap and gave up, dripping with sweat and feeling woozy.

I know I’m only saying this because I couldn’t do it, but, this sort of mountain biking just isn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it and I won’t be doing it again.