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


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.

A short film for Irene

I made this short film for my friend Irene who died earlier this year. On what would have been her birthday, I drove down to the beach at Pett Level, set my camera up and played about with some stones. This film is what I came up with. I’m not that pleased with the results but it was still a nice way of taking a few hours off to remember my friend.

My book

50 of my Failed Ideas cover_Layout 1Oh dear! It’s been almost two years since I’ve written anything in this blog. But I’ve got a good excuse: I’ve been working on my book!

A year and a half ago I had an idea to write a book about all the great ideas I’d had, all the projects I had started and not finished. I would take a chapter for each failed idea and expand on it, explaining where the idea came from, how far I had got with it and why it had inevitably failed. It seemed like the perfect method of achieving my long-standing book-writing ambition; a way of breaking the task down into manageable chunks. The results may not be Hemmingway-like but at least I could say that I’d written a book, an actual book with pages and a cover, and that was, after all, what my ambition was.

A year and a half later, after much procrastination, several re-writes and laborious proofreads, I finally sent my book off to the printers.

And now you can buy it! Visit the book page here.

City Food News photograph

I’ve had a photograph published in the Summer issue of Brighton & Hove Food Partnership‘s City Food News.

Okay, there’s a lot of nepotism here as I design the magazine. But as I read the article on local food issues I thought a photo of local produce would be perfect so I found a spare photo from my photographic trip to Sedlecombe Organic Vineyard near Hastings.

I’m going to be known as the vineyard photographer soon. Simon ‘Grapes’ Parkin maybe.