394 & 395



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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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69 Responses to 394 & 395

  1. Laura says:

    Or a woman with an airbrush!!!!

  2. You’re a good man :).

  3. subo says:

    that’s uncanny, yesterday I was musing on how the beauty of people is almost invisible in our culture, I wish and dream I could catch on camera that edge of reality. When you watch tv footage from a few decades ago I’m often left feeling closer to the people on camera, as though they haven’t had a make over and are not really worrying about their looks, and knowing how PhotoShop can trick and distort, I feel I’ve been taught to see with a different lens, as though life is supposed to look unreal!

  4. sarah says:

    You’re so right Su.

    That’s what I think the Spirit allows us to do, get close to the real each other.

    By the love you have for each other, they’ll know you’re my followers.

    Jon- -I prefer the original too from an aesthetic point of view. Yes we are programmed/designed to like beauty, but that’s more to do with good cheek bones, symmetry, generally good teeth and skin etc…

    This is going beyond, but we have to remember it’s about supporting a dream to help them sell their papers…

    let’s not buy into that fake “dream.”

    That’s why I love the Dove ads so much, I know we’ve said this before.

    Most people know that what they see on a mag cover is fake, we just have to protect our children in this area, and encourage those around us in their original beauty.

    Sas x

  5. Over the last few weeks I’ve really learned to notice the beauty in whithered old faces that twitch and drool from too much psychiatric medication.

    Seriously. Some of these people are proper beautiful. Men with scabs and sores all over them that only have to give you a wink and smile and you’re gone. Women with moustaches and no teeth that you just can’t help looking at because something really lovely’s shining out of them.

    It’s been a real learning curve. And a privalege ;-)

  6. sarah says:

    Good AAS.

    Sas :-) xxx

  7. Pingback: [depone] | Daniel Ehniss » Blog Archive » Perfektion

  8. steve says:

    Aha! The idol of youth.

    Did I hear on the news a while back that 20 year olds are now staring to use Botox?

    Sounds like another job for Scooby Doo.

  9. TimP says:

    This should be a part of marriage preparation courses and study in teenage youth groups – media manipulation of images. Everything you see in magazines, on telly, adverts – is exactly what someone else wants you to see. Nice one.

  10. Maggi says:

    See here for more details on the process of nicing up normal people.

  11. jonbirch says:

    alright alright laura… or a woman with an airbrush! :-) although it seems to be mostly men. :-(

  12. jonbirch says:

    hi amy… i’m part good part bad. :-)
    when i first did the above cartoon the people were completely naked… the mans penis had grown a couple of inches and the womans nipples had risen an inch or two also. i put it online for about 10 seconds then had a change of heart as i didn’t want anyone to miss the point… although i liked it.

    hi steve… botox, breast enlargement, nipple replacement, etc. etc. all at the age of 18. and all with mums encouragement… ‘this is what she wants… what she dreams of… only young once.’ etc. it’s disturbing and upsetting i think.

    hi subo… know what you mean about how telly has changed. human faces behind inches of waxy make up… and that’s just the men!

    sas… yup… big ‘up’ for the dove ads. i find the normal women one extremely sexy…

    timp… i think you’re right.

    allatsea… that’s very beautiful. very beautiful indeed.

    thanks erik.

    cheers maggi.

  13. steve says:

    Interesting. Back in Edwardian times everyone (including the youth) all aspired to look like Prince Edward and his wife (what ever she was called). Aspiration is good. We just need good role models.

  14. You cannot airbrush the INSIDES of a person!?. I prefer the original too.

  15. Robb says:

    When I was growing up, everything was about presenting the unreal. Marketing was about presenting a vision of perfection. Today I find that there are still some who cling to that view – ‘going to London to buy heat magazine…’

    Tag line P2 – Courtney Cox is too fat.

    Tag line P8 – Courtney Cox is anorexic.

    Same picture!

    Now people are much happier to say “I like love handles” or “I want a nerdy looking ginger man”.

    I tend to find that the number of people I know who pay attention to Heat or Hello or whatever are less and less. It tends to show the real inner quality of the reader.

  16. soniamain says:

    Sadly it is not just 18 yr olds wanting botox, but there are alarming number of children from age 8 + who talk about when they are older having a breast job, nose job etc, and children under age of 16 being encouraged by their parents to consider having a breast job/ nose job etc. What are we teaching our children, particularly our daughters?. How often do we tell people they are beautiful?, i was told that twice this week by a female friend at work-came as real surprise and made me feel so good.

    sad you changed the image would have liked to see the penis and nipples!!! :)

  17. AnneDroid says:

    I know, I know, I know, but truthfully I’d quite like someone to invent an airbrush I could paint myself (not my photos!) with every morning!! It’s because inside my head I’m 21 and a size 12, but when I look in the mirror…!! But since there isn’t such a thing on offer I’ll just have to aspire to the beauty Allatsea #6 refers to so movingly!

  18. Robb says:

    We don’t allow our children to be children anymore. The number of 11 year old girls I have taught who are flashing their peirced bellies and wearing shirts/trousers that show their underwear is phenomenal. We currently aim designer goods at babies – the latest trainers in bootie sizes. We then wonder why at 11 they all want to get drunk and sleep with each other – they have been made in the image of adults by their parents and then want to do the same things that they perceive adults do – drink and smoke and sleep around. How could anything else happen? It’s what the media tell us is ‘normal’.

    BTW, I have nothing against peircings per se, I have 13 of them…

  19. Jaybrams says:

    where’s all the hair on the “reality” man?

  20. eclexia says:

    Hit a nerve and put words to a grief I’ve been confronting head on for the past 24 hours. Using your analogy, I think I’ve been desperately trying to airbrush my personality of late to make me more tolerable, less needy, more safe, less rejectable, etc. ad nauseum. Ironic, though the mess I make trying to do that. Not a pretty sight. The photoshopped woman and Grace from yesterday–both of those visuals are speaking volumes to me at the moment.

  21. jonbirch says:

    annedroid. have you seen ‘little miss sunshine’?… there’s a scene in that where this little beauty pageant girl is being airbrushed to make her more ‘perfect’. very upsetting. great film.

    sonia… trust you! :-)

    nice points robb.

    jaybrams… if i’d had a line to work with small enough he’d have been hairy too. i’m turning into a mountain gorilla as i start my mid years… honestly, you could shave ‘welcome’ on to my back and use me as a door mat. :-)

    all the best eclexia. life is a struggle sometimes. learning to be happy with who i am is something i’m good at one day then not the next. thanks for the compliment, i’m glad the images have helped. that is what i hope for. mch love. :-)

  22. Robb says:

    I reject you notion of unhairyness!! People should be big and hairy, it is the natural order. How would you look playing guitar if you weren’t hairy? Behind me satan ;)

    I do like the way the man in the left picture looks like a stereotypical 70’s pornstar. His unhappy mouth looks like a droopy tache!!

  23. Carole says:

    Aah Robb, so that’s what a stereotypical 70s porn star looks like…

    This is a beautiful one, Jon…ALMOST as beautiful as AASWABAS’ words.

    Someone, young and very beautiful who is quite close to me, had a boob job. I felt a bit saddened by that, but her decision and it was an issue for her which she now feels she has overcome so good luck to her. She settled for what I expect my bloke would call ‘just a nice handful’ (huh, men..!) unlike most of the other women I know who’ve gone for surgery. They treat their bodies like computers, ie shove in as much mammary as you can while its cheap. But I didn’t realise, you have to get them re-done every 10 years or so, so you are committing yourself to a lifetime of surgery.

    I don’t know how much this costs – a few grand. But what always surprises me is the number of these women who say that the boyfriend has paid for it for a birthday present. Birthday present for whom, exactly? interesting to know if they would be quite so keen to stump up that amount of cash for a piece of jewellery, new clothes, holiday of a lifetime etc.

  24. sarah says:

    Eclexia 21, my thoughts are with you baby.

    Sas x

  25. sarah says:

    18, AnneDroid, one day you’ll get a body that exceeds all expectations…

    For now, let’s live with it, or try to!

    Sas x

  26. Carole says:

    I feel sorry for the young lads today. With the possible exception of the trials of teenage spots/acne, they never used to have to adhere to much of an ideal in terms of ‘beauty’. But now, how many of you blokes have succumbed to moisturiser and other ‘beauty’ products for men? I can’t tell you what my dad would’ve called you! Top of most young lads’ wish lists these days seems to be a set of hair straighteners. In my day you would have settled for a pair of footy boots and an Adidas top. More men are having implants, botox and collagen. When I was at the lads’ school I never could quite get used to the sensitive emo types who wore eyeliner and mascara for school. We haven’t even got onto body waxing: back, sack and crack? Sounds like a firm of solicitors. I don’t anticipate the mainstream adopting this practice, though, as we are led to believe that men can have a rather low pain threshold. I shudder at this trend toward male vanity. I couldn’t do with my man paying more attention to his appearance than I do to mine. It just ain’t right!

    Joking aside, the pressure all of this quest for perfection weighs heavily onto our sweet vulnerable young lads. Women have had this for years and we are, ideally, supported by our friends. But this is new territory for our boys. The number of teenage boys with eating disorders is on the increase. It is very sad and doesn’t say much for our value systems. :-(

  27. eclexia says:

    Thanks, Jon and Sarah. The tears are good.

  28. Rob says:

    I appreciate this one – I think this is the first two of 395 that has touched on appearances, if my memory serves me correctly.


  29. marcus says:

    Airbrush….I’m beyond that I need total re-creation!

    Just dyed my hair purple cos I fancied a change but it has nothing to do with wanting a better self/body image – or the start of a mid-life crisis – which is, I am sure, what most of the parishoners will think this coming Sunday when they see it for the first time!

  30. Robb says:


    I can’t tell you what my dad would’ve called you!

    Oop ‘ere where I comes from we still do call yer that!! :P

    back, sack and crack? Sounds like a firm of solicitors.

    Are you on paramount later on? Practicing for live at Jongleurs? I haven’t laughed so hard in a long while!!

    It is true, body image is becoming a problem for us boys. I was taunted for years for my weight. I now realise from the photos that I was as thin as a rake.

    Having been an 18st man and an 11st man, I can tell you that the way people treat you is completly different. Without changing the way I act at all I have gone from being mostly ignored to described as needing “to understand the power of his charisma”. I didn’t even realise I had any charisma – I was the fat guy.

  31. Robb says:

    BTW, watching porn in the 70’s was a short lived experience. I only had 1.5 years of it ;)

  32. soniamain says:

    Carole, i agree that boys are under a huge amount of pressure today, I guess I particularly think of it with regard to girls a I have 2 young daughters. What concerns me is where is the voice of the church speaking out against this and offering positive alternatives ? and how often do we tell people that they look great etc?, without worrying that they might think we are coming onto them!

  33. Carole says:

    Robb, I’m praying for you to be delivered of the spirit of lust ;-)

    Hi Sonia, I have two girls as well, aged 14 and 22. We seem to spend half our lives convincing the pair of them that they are beautiful, not overweight (funny how underweight is never the problem?), nice people, not thick, have lovely hair, will find a nice boyfriend one day etc. But for all that, I’m glad I have daughters. Apart from the ‘new’ self-image issues that boys have, I know so many mums whose sons have been victims of violent crime when they have just been minding their own business. Young men are also more likely to take their own life than any other group. That is a particularly tragic reality in our society.

    You know, I think the thing with church is that the adults tend to talk at the young people rather than listen to the things which are genuine issues in their lives. A pizza and a bible study doesn’t sort out the world’s ills. We can be quite dismissive of their problems. How can we begin to work towards resolving their self esteem issues until we treat their concerns with some level of seriousness? I think a lot of churches are getting their act together now in terms of having people properly trained in Youth Ministry. But how many still have well-meaning volunteers with all the usefulness of a chocolate fireguard? My eldest is a very deep person (worryingly so at times). She went to a successful local Youth Fellowship in her teens and was ‘mentored’ wonderfully by a fab woman who is a mum of teenagers herself and I think she is also a counsellor. It was great that my girl had another adult that she could trust and was not part of the family, who could be a bit more objective about things. This lady helped her through some difficult times and I am very grateful to her.

  34. Ros says:

    There’s no blemishes in the original.

    (Well, none that I can see!)

  35. jonbirch says:

    ‘…needing “to understand the power of his charisma”.’
    robb… that’s the kind of thing people say when they like you but wish you were more controllable. don’t go changin’! :-)

    you’re right ros. just freckles etc. i love freckles. :-)

  36. jonbirch says:

    only use deoderant me. i wet shave with bog standard soap (when i can be bothered). oh yes, a real man me! :-)

    btw. carole you have a really funny turn of phrase sometimes. makes me laugh. :-)

  37. Carole says:

    It’s the way I tell ‘em, oh hairy one! ;-)

  38. soniamain says:

    Carole good to hear your experiences of older girls, mine are only 8 & 10. I have often thought it is important for children and young people to have positive experiences of other adults outside of their family. I mentored a young girl when I was in my early 20’s, she has now turned into one of my closest friends, and I had the honour of escorting her down the aisle and being her best woman at her wedding a couple of years ago. Thankfully I have 2 close very friends who my children trust and are able to speak to when they can’t talk to me or their dad. I know this will be invaluable as they grow older, i think what helps with them is that they don’t have children and have told my girls they are there for them whenever they need them. In fact
    one of them is probably reading this right now!!

  39. Carole says:

    Sounds like your girls couldn’t have a better start in life, Sonia. Family life does get a bit claustrophobic, even in the most idyllic families (we’re more like the Simpsons) and a trusted relationship with others just gives them time out. Your own experience with your friend is a great example of how valuable and how fruitful such relationships can be.

  40. Robb says:

    Cheers Jon, I like that! :D

    Carole, Dr Ruth tells me that men and women have similar suicidal tendencies. Men are successful because they do it in a violent way. A man will chuck himself off a bridge or shoot himself. Women tend to take overdoses and get found.*

    This is the 1 paragraph version of many many many theses. The Doctor says it’s so, so I travel in her Tardis….

    {adendum over the shoulder, “I can’t remember the figures so I’d need to check em. Young men are more likely to die in car accidents and fights because they are more likely to take risk – she’s full of useful knowledge :D ]

  41. Carole says:

    Interesting, Robb and Dr Ruth. Though I must admit, the whole subject gives me the creeps. I have never, thank God, felt suicidal. It scares the hell out of me, the idea that someone I love (or even just know) might ever be so gripped by a black mood that they would contemplate taking their own life.

  42. émie says:

    love it.
    lovelovelove it!
    thankyou :)

  43. steve says:

    Hey Jon. Mine just turned 17. Can you believe it?

  44. thevikingfru says:

    Hey, where can I find the man/woman with the airbrush? Actually, I think I may need a magician.
    On a serious note, I just saw on TV where you can go to a tanning salon, where they airbrush the tan on you, and they will do contours on your body to make you look like you have better abs, or slimmer arms, a nicer butt, whatever. Sad really.

  45. subo says:

    “How often do we tell people they are beautiful?,”,

    so enjoyed reading all the comments everyone, this is so much part of our life, we just take it as normal. I think we all carry an image of how we should look, and don’t, in our heads. its as though mocking and deriding each other is normal, not vile, and yet I sometimes read texts in the old and new testament where mockery and put-downs are condemned with more force than adultery. However I’ve never heard a preach on the topic! (ok, I don’t listen that much).

  46. Carole says:

    The spray tan is very popular with orange ladies in these parts. (You’ve been Tango’d!) I’ve never done it so I dunno what it’s like. Presumably you stand there with naff all on – or the briefest of brief underwear and someone sprays you all over. I always imagine the sprayer being an unemployed paint sprayer and panel beater who decided to use his transferable skills elsewhere. Sounds like a perfect film script for our 70s porn star! :lol:

  47. Robb says:

    Carole, I personaly have never and I pray never will. We did have a house mate sectioned at uni. We felt horrific about the experience!! He is now doing much better. Taking the weapon out of his hand was scary!!

  48. Carole says:

    That’s awful. If the person succeeds, it is not only a tragic waste of life but also deeply traumatic for everyone close to them.

  49. jonbirch says:

    i meant it robb. :-) btw… dr.ruth is a cool person to have in your corner by the sounds of it!

    emie… you’re welcome. hugs received and recipricated. :-)

    steve… no i can’t believe it. i bet she’s a stunner and scares the living daylights out of you. :-)

    subo… you make a great point. :-)

    carole… i thought about it years ago, so dark was the place i found myself. but i couldn’t do it. a little flame still flickered… tiny but still there. i would think of the mess that would need clearing up by the people who loved me most and deserved it least. how awful to lose that flicker… that tiniest of tiny rays of hope. how awful. to feel you have nothing to live for, nothing at all. it is truly, truly heartbreaking.

  50. jonbirch says:

    hey vikingfru… you look great in the photo! however, should you ever try the airbrush parlour out, be sure to show us the before and after photos! :-)

  51. Eclaxia, you really made me think.

    I used to be really really needy and very alone. I was constantly worried about being abandoned because I was so needy. I was ashamed. I felt humiliated. Had loads of mental health type stuff going on.

    People used to tell me to look to God to meet my needs. But somehow prayers and the bible didn’t fill the gap! It wasn’t a God-shaped hole. It was a people-shaped hole. Just added to the guilt that it was people I really needed – to be loved, to be cared for, to be the most important person in the life of another human being – something I’d never experienced.

    Nowadays I’m still very needy but not alone. I found someone just as needy as me ;-) I think God brought her along. We’re not a couple but we’re companions. You can probably imagine how well that went down in churchy circles ;-). I’m happy. I like my life. We’re very kind to each other and try to be what God wants us to be for each other. We’ve both got less scared of being abandoned as time’s gone by.

    Anyway, my conclusion to it all is that needy is good. Not having needs met is bad. Being worried about the whole thing when there’s an inbalance is normal.

    All the best thoughts and prayers and wishes that things turn out how you want/need them to.

  52. Carole says:

    God bless, Eclexia. I truly hope and pray that you find what you need.x

    AASWABAS – It was amazing what you said about the elderly people you’ve been working with. It brought a tear to my eye. You are clearly a person with a huge capacity for love and I’m glad that you now have an outlet for that. When you talked about a people-shaped hole rather than a God-shaped hole – you reminded me, as people we are purveyors of God’s love, but it is a responsibility that we often forget. I have heard that ‘God is love’ but in recent times that has become an experienced reality for me. I sense that you know what I’m talking about.

    God Bless. x

  53. subo says:

    Hi Guy’s, I just feel so moved reading all your comments, your depth of feeling and humanness is awesome.

    thanks for sharing such real experiences Robb and All@Sea.

    however scary, I think suicide and suicidal feelings are very human. I think we struggle to accept ourselves, and thus this topic cropping up on a blog about ideas of beauty.

    there are links put forward between abandonment and suicidal feelings and abuse and neglect and suicide, oh, and bullying….

    so here’s to church being as welcoming and open as this blog, were we find ways to demonstrate our love for each other, and grow old, dribbley and wrinkly together.

  54. Carole says:

    Nice one Subo. We’re easy to love when we are young, fragrant and lovely. I watched a documentary about an elderly man who was looking after his wife at home. She had fairly advanced Alzhemer’s. He washed her, made her comfortable, talked to her, put her little radio on so she could have some music. My eyes are filling up even as I write this. It has become something of an iconic image of love for me.

    Do you ASBO is what ‘they’ had in mind when they first started talking about fresh expressions of church?

  55. Robb says:

    Cheers Jon I won’t. BTW, she is :D

  56. Thanks Carole. Those were kind words. I’m on a dementia ward at the moment but overall I’m training to be a nurse in any area of mental illness. I think there are many challenges ahead! I think I do know what you’re talking about. I know that God is love for myself nowadays ;-)

    I have a thing about people-shaped holes. They get forgotten so they don’t get filled. You hear a lot in churches about the God-shaped hole in all of us that can’t be filled by people. I agree. But I think there is a people-shaped hole too and it can’t be filled by God. He never intended it to be.

    Subo this is certainly part of my church, this blog, and I’m really grateful for it.

  57. sarah says:

    Absolutely AAS.

    Sas x

  58. jonbirch says:

    ‘…I think there is a people-shaped hole too and it can’t be filled by God. He never intended it to be.’
    wise understanding allatsea. :-)

    hi carole… as jonny baker wrote for a track we recorded… ‘dancing to a new expression of an ancient rhythm…’ i like that line. :-) btw… i bet he didn’t make it up himself! :-)

  59. dadube says:

    Sonia – xxxx

  60. thevikingfru says:

    Yes Jon I will;-)

  61. subo says:

    so right about that people shaped hole, and our need to be cared about by the people we care about – I’ve got individual friends shaped holes.

    to me that links up with Sonia’s comments about her girls, I think children need to be befriended in the same way as adults, it’s not that Dad and Mum can’t give enough, it’s just not much fun belonging to a community where no one smiles at you, or remembers your name – now I’m making myself feel guilty, I don’t remenber any names! As a kid certian freinds of my parents gave me a window into different worlds.

  62. jonbirch says:

    that’s beautiful and so right, su. :-)

  63. sarah says:

    Yep Su, that’s why I do it or one reason, anyway.

    Love ya,

    Sas x

  64. Pingback: CCN » Blog Archive » Getting out of touch with reality?

  65. Andrew Sims says:

    That was so powerful and more importantly so true! Thank you from a God bothering, Jesus freak, bible bashing, gay x

  66. Carole says:

    Just followed a link here from the Sophia Network…read through the comments for old times’ sake…we’ve done some deep stuff here, haven’t we?

  67. jonbirch says:

    yeh… it’s mad isn’t it, looking back 18 months on and seeing what people have written?.. it’s the first time i’ve ever done it, surprisingly… profound thoughts and honesty.

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