Tuesday, 26 November 2013


G R A V I T Y
From deep water to deeper space; if ever there was a film than needs to be watched at the cinema, this is it.
Breathless, beautiful, vision of vast, endless space...
Ode to loneliness and the human condition...
Homage to instinct, resilience and survival, wrapped up in ace music and gob-smacking visuals...
Or deeply traumatic horror film with no monster?

One thing's for sure, I won't be booking a mega-bucks seat on Virgin's Space Shuttle in a hurry.



BLACKFISH
What happens when a youngster is brutally snatched from its mother and family, kept in a space the equivalent of a bathtub, along with two girls who bully him, and then has to perform tricks every day for a screaming crowd? Not only does he loose his mojo, he starts to kill people.
Hugely uncomfortable viewing about the nature of an industry that has whale, as well as human, blood on its hands. Also a stunning insight into a beautiful and majestic animal.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Two more tracks worth a listen…

Open Eye Signal: a compelling peach of a film for Mercury short-lister Jon Hopkins. I posted a beautiful animation a while back for a song he made with the inimitable King Creosote - this is a very long way from that sound/collaboration, but just as haunting.
It's also unsettling and ambiguous (including the litterbug moment, when I gasped, immediately showing my age.)


 

Life Round Here: super-smooth, enigmatic crooning from James Blake, cruising through an alternative suburbia with an edgy-looking Chance the Rapper. Someone a quarter of my age might call the track sweet. No, not sure that's quite right. Safe? 
Whatever…


Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Going all trippy with the next four duets - just in that sort of mood. So cold and wet out; let's move to warmer climes for the following golden oldies, some more golden than others and some considerably older…all have their unique qualities.

1. Some Velvet Morning - Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood sing two strange songs that blend into one soft focus film. With horses. And flowers. And some great '60s facial hair. And fulsome head hair…etc etc


2. Summer Wine - far and away the best version of this haunting song, sung by luscious-voiced/lipped Lana Del Ray and Mr James "Handlebar" Barrie O'Neil.


3. Who Built the Road - Isobel Cambell and Mark Lanegan - not sure what's happening in this video, no idea at all…but great track.


4. This one is really peculiar but aurally addictive. Impossibly louche Nick Cave and too-cute Kylie duet about death as he bludgeons her with a stone.


This post was inspired by the wonderfully eclectic mix cd a very dear friend made me for my birthday

Sunday, 17 November 2013


"The strangest creatures are to me
the ones I love the best.
The creepy, crawly and the odd
are cooler than the rest!"

Read all about these Curious Creatures in the brilliant online magazine for girls called JUMP! which covers everything from archiology to Zen!

And watch out - another curious creature will shortly be added to the gang...


Lucanus cervus


Alytes obstetricans



Friday, 15 November 2013


"You'll find theatres and cinemas, markets and stalls, oh you'd better listen when next London calls!"











Page 12 of London Calls! 
Alex may have to change/hide the names of shows and the big cinema chain…but here's the original for posterity!

Sunday, 10 November 2013


This is a film I initially resisted going to see because things have got so bad with my emotional threshold that I now sob at tv adverts. And you just know that anything even loosely based on an Oscar Wilde story, set in a bleak, industrial but hauntingly beautiful northern landscape that revolves around the friendship between two teenage boys and their tenuous relationship with the local 'Giant' scrap metal merchant - oh and throw in some horses - isn't going to end well. I don't even think that I need to say 'Spoiler Alert' before confirming that inevitably, it doesn't. Yet thanks to the sparkling and joyfully natural performances of the central  boys, the unsentimental yet tender direction of Clio Barnard and the exquisite cinematography of Mike Eley, the film never falls into hyperbolic cliche and the final mood is that of redemption rather than despair; reflection rather than melodrama. Silence, or rather the removal of any extraneous sensations at moments of unbearable intensity, heightens the drama without sensationalising it, forcing the viewer into the landscape, to reflect upon the smallness of life and the potency of it.

Perhaps, more than anything else, the film is remarkably full of love; carefully drawn in the loyal and affectionate relationship between the boys, in the strong bond they have with their caring, if despairing mothers, and then in that extraordinary, epiphanic moment, that act of instinctive sacrifice when the 'Giant' steps up wearily, as if it were something he should have done a long time ago. It is a moment when the director more than nods towards Wilde for the common threads that tie the film together; those of love and the acceptance of humanity, in all its shapes and forms, alongside the basic human need for forgiveness and absolution. It is, quite simply, a very beautiful film. And yes, I cried a lot at the end.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

BACKGROUND information...

My first picture book - called A Possum's Tail - is a collaboration with brilliant illustrator Alex Barrow and came out 6th February 2014. A second book called London Calls! is a whistlestop tour of London, led by a Pearly grandma and her granddaughter. London Calls! came out on 4th September 2014 and is my second book with Alex Barrow. A Possum's Tail was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.
Both books are by Tate Publishing.

As well as writing children's books and for children's television, I do both private and commercial art commissions, a selection of which you can see here.
The children's shoes are part of an ongoing series of "first shoes", including several cards commissioned by the Almanac Gallery.

Hand-drawn, bespoke invitations, announcements, portraits and menus, such as the examples here are also available upon request..

Any enquiries please email: gabbydawnay@gmail.com

OKIDO MAGAZINE AND TV

I've been a regular contributor to children's art and science magazine OKIDO since 2007. HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY (WOW) beautiful Okido!

An Okido animated kids tv show, based on characters from the magazine is currently in production with Doodle/Squintopera http://www.doodle-productions.com. The original adaptation of the show (co-created/adapted by myself, producer Ceri Barnes and Doodle Productions) was acquired by CBeebies. 52 x 11 minute episodes will be coming to a screen near you soon in 2015.......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................
N E W S F L A S H! MESSY GOES TO OKIDO Series TWO is now in production, following a super-successful 52 episode first series!

CBeebies

CBeebies
OKIDO

Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet

Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet
Okido Cartoon Forum 2011

Happy Birthday OKIDO!

Happy Birthday OKIDO!
Okido was 5 years old this issue...the wonderful art and science magazine for kids I've been lucky enough to have worked on for the past - 8 - years now