Holiday

I'm going to be away for most of the next two weeks. I tried to schedule some things to go up when I'm not here but it doesn't seem to work. There will be only silence. I've been feeling very flat lately so maybe it's just as well. Sorry again to anyone who has sent me something recently and not got a reply. It's not like I get that much mail - no excuses really. Just haven't felt like writing.

Back in a wee while.

Marconi interior

Oriana interior

Why don't all holidays look like this? Two photos from the gorgeous Mid Century Ship Interiors flickr set which is pulled together from vintage postcards and brochures. See also Mid Century Travel, also from Bonito Club. There's a world of classy design within.

  • On the travesty that is the new £20 notes. "Only a country that produced Barratt Homes could have produced these banknotes".
  • "We are intrepid cake tourists, travelling the globe in search of amazing cake. Aghast at the lack of cake information in tour guides we will tell you the reader where to go for the best cake, wherever you are in the world."
  • An excellent series of insider tips for designers.
  • More food tourism. Comfy coffee houses in the North of England. Top class.

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Lindsay Anderson update part 2. This is a photo of a photo of Arthur Lowe from Is That All there Is? - an exhibition of artefacts from the Lindsay Anderson Archive on at The Changing Room in Stirling. We visited this at the weekend and it was great. Quite small and sparse but everything in it either looked fantastic or was interesting in one way or another. There are lots of Anderson's letters on show from other actors, directors, and writers plus diaries, storyboards and even his old passport. It's on until the end of March with a talk from Karl Magee, the collection's archivist on Saturday 31 March at 3pm (thanks Cathie for the tip-off).

Lindsay Anderson and Patsy Healey in the White Bus.

Lindsay Anderson update part 1. Do you ever find one thing that brings together a whole heap of things you like in an unexpected way? Lindsay Anderson's film The White Bus (shown at the GFT a couple of weeks ago) did it for me. The film is about a young woman (played by Patricia Healey) who leaves her humdrum office job in London for a visit home. She joins a civic tour on an open-topped bus alongside the Mayor (Arthur Lowe) and various visiting dignitaries. That's about as far as the plot goes. Generally I like these sort of vaguely surreal, slightly meandering sorts of films. I feel inadequate for not engaging with complicated dramas or documentaries on burning issues but I could watch these sort of films all day. As an added bonus, The White Bus also contained the following, which will be recognisable as things I like:

  • an unexpectedly Tati-esque soundtrack, but with banjos because it was in the North. The open landscapes and characters in national dress also reminded me of Playtime.
  • a beautifully shot factory scene very similar to Maurice Broomfield's photos, noted the other week.
  • a trip to a museum which was full of things in glass cases
  • a visit to a library where there was a stereotypical librarian who looked very disapproving
  • the idea of being a tourist in your own town, something that Nothing To See Here is all about
  • the glorification of bus travel - I get the bus to work every day and enjoy a quiet think. The top deck is always the best;
  • shots of grimy Manchester redolent of The Smiths. Also, it was based on a story by Smiths cover star Shelagh Delaney and was intended to be part of a trilogy (never realised) Red, White and Zero with films by Tony Richardson and Peter Brook.
  • cinema connections - the film was originally shows as a supporting feature to Daisies, fab Czech film which is also one of my favourites.

It was shown with a documentary About The White Bus shot in the Free Cinema style which was a different take on film-making showing how laborious and mundane it actually is. It's remarkable that directors can visualise how 7 seconds of film captured one day in one place will join with another from another day and another place and another and another to make a coherent whole, particularly when one scene of The White Bus took so long to shoot on a cold morning that the leading lady fainted. Seeing her getting her feet rubbed in a desperate attempt to get some warmth back in cocks a snook at acting's glitzy reputation. It looked like a lot of hard work for not much in return. The documentary was a bit too much detail for some in the audience but I liked it. It doesn't seem to be out on DVD or anything but there's a few Lindsay Anderson things going on at the moment. Part 2 coming up next.

A relatively fruitless Max Wall search on YouTube led me to a bounty of Stanley Unwin. I'm guessing most readers will know who Stanley Unwin is, one way or another, but in case you don't he was a lovely old man who spoke his own particular brand of goobledygook called Unwinese. Growing up I remember being very excited when great British eccentrics like him and Max Wall came on the telly. In celebration here are a few clips:

From Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, the collaboration he did with the Small Faces (how cool is that for an old geezer?). The story begins once a polly tie toe with:

Secondly, an appearance as Father Stanley Unwin, the first live action figure in Gerry Anderson's The Secret Service. The headquarters of B.I.S.H.O.P were in Centrepoint. Deep joy. Also note the 70s-in-a-nutshell Swingle Singers-style theme tune [actually the Mike Sammes singers - more info].

Two more:

  • a really wonderful advert for Amstrad's (old) new wordyprocessy. Easy on the eyebold, oh yes.
  • an extended clip from Carry On Regardless where he and Kenneth Williams get something going.

More info on Stanley Unwin.com site. Oh, and here's Max Wall and his silly walk.

Gulls, Auks, Terns and Skuas

Ever since I railed about Kelvingrove Museum and Art Galleries being redeveloped and left lacking I've been on the hunt for something to replace the things-in-glass-cases mecca of my childhood. It's inevitable that with two kids (boys particularly) we spend a lot of time in museums - they're warm, they're free and on a good day they're interesting. So I've become something of a connoisseur over the past few months and am developing an obsession with stuffed animals, those fusty old charts showing the ages of man and museum labels. So much so that I've collected them all in an I Heart Museums Flickr set.

Before reporting back on this week's find I'll start with an old dispatch from the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh which deserves full marks for top class museumy-ness. It's a beautiful building for a start - stern and airy at the same time. And it's full of really interesting stuff which is mostly left on its own the way it should be (there are nods to interactivity at the Museum of Scotland end). The highlight for me was the Hall of British Birds - a spectacular time capsule of 1970s design - all hessian, earth colours and round corners. I sent some photos to Ace Jet 170 for Found Type Friday and he describes the Clarendon signage as "like a beautiful curvaceous woman". It looks like this is being gradually modernised too so enjoy it while you can. As there's currently a Pixar: 20 years of animation exhibition on there's an extra reason to go sooner rather than later.

seashells.jpg

It's a slow news week here at I like. Work is busy, so I'm steering clear of the computer out of hours. This means more time to enjoy the seaside. This is a photo taken on Sunday morning at a beach on the south-west coast of Scotland. I've never seen so many seashells in one place. Added to this, a trip to the local museum (of which more later) proved invaluable for seashell identification. Even the common ones have interesting names - periwinkle, warty venus, rayed and smooth artemis, not forgetting our dear friend the wentletrap. More on UK Seashells and seashells.org.

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