Tweecret Santa

Tweecret Santa is go. The names and addresses are flying in. Santa will be making his list tomorrow. Anyone else who wants to play, follow Tweecret Santa before it's too late.


In case you missed it, dawdlr has creaked into action. This is Russell's version of slow Twitter. "What are you doing, you know more generally?" updated twice a year. It's one of the things the internet was invented for - a lovely mix of online and offline. There's a nice write-up as part of the slow blogging movement (?) in the New York Times. If you want to join in, hurry - less than 6 months to go!

Bit of a busy week this, so here's a musical interlude - Glen Campbell and The Beach Boys singing Guess I'm Dumb, one of the loveliest songs ever. You can't go wrong with that combination, can you? Backed by dancing girls, punctuated by screams - now that's what I call music.

Present & Correct Christmas cards

The wonderful Present+Correct has some lovely thaumatrope Christmas cards. That is, those little things you spin with a picture on each side. When it spins fast enough, the two pictures merge together. Hours of endless fun! There are two designs, a partridge in a pear tree and Christmas in London.

Christmas in London

The thaumatrope was superceded by the even more unpronouceable phenakistoscope. Fans of this sort of thing may enjoy The Laura Hayes and John Howard Wileman Exhibit of Optical Toys.


Boundaries by Tom Taylor is a nifty thing that uses Flickr shapefiles to find a place and its neighbours. I'm saying that like I understand it (I don't), but it sure is pretty. I guess it's a crowd-sourced, more accurate version of this.

London map

It doesn't seem to recognise Noho anyway, like most Londoners, apart from the ones that made this map in the first place.


Andy Tuohy, of Poster Moderne fame has a new exhibition at McCarron's of Mercatoria, 68 Norman Rd, St.Leonards on Sea. It's on until new year.

The exhibition features pictures of Hastings, St.Leonards on Sea, Battle, Rye and Bexhill on Sea (De La Warr Pavilion). Andy often paints seaside towns and has some great pictures of seaside buildings in the south-east of England. Something lovely to brighten up the winter months.

Tobermory tatties

It's that time of year where we're gradually working our way through local parks and museums. So yesterday we visited Summerlee, Museum of Industrial Life in Coatbridge. It's just reopened after a big renovation and is a fantastic place to wander about. There's one big building full of industrial things and old-timey displays showing what life used to be like in this bit of North Lanarkshire. I learnt a lot about mining, pig iron and sweet-making. There's a lot of nice old packaging on display.

1960s house

Outside, you can ride an old Glasgow tram round to some old miners' cottages kitted out for different decades. It's really nicely done. The 1960s house was my favourite.


Then there's an old coal mine you can poke about it and some rusty engines that are always good for found type. I took lots of photos and really recommend it, especially as it's free (apart from the tram ride) and open all year round.

Learning and Teaching Scotland (where I work) is currently updating its web and digital media services framework. So we're looking for companies who provide services in the following areas:

  • Digital content development and publishing
  • Media production
  • Website development, design and build
  • Strategy and consultancy

There's a whole pile of stuff in there - content development, search, content management, design, social media and so on. If you work in any of these areas please check out the tender notice.

Learning and Teaching Scotland is the main organisation for the development and support of the Scottish curriculum, and advises on the use of ICT in education. It's an interesting place to work with some big plans for the next few years. If you think you can help do check out the ad.

I like in the Guardian guide

I like got a nice wee mention in the Guardian guide yesterday, on the subject of craft blogs. Thanks Johnny!

Paper Forest was in there too. It's a great blog about paper toys and if you haven't seen it before cop a load of this.

Urban Paper the Movie from Studio N8 on Vimeo.

Anthony Burrill owl

The owl quotient has been a little low this month so here's a lovely one from Anthony Burrill. He has a prodigious output of all kinds of smart stuff, nicely shown off on his blog. The owl isn't particularly typical, but I couldn't resist.

This way down

Most of his work is very, very simple but still really striking. One to watch.

Let's get through Wednesday by Reginald Bosanquet

I picked up Reginald Bosanquet's autobiography on Swanage Pier because it has such a great title. Sound advice really. For younger viewers, Reggie used to read the News at Ten in the days when there was only one news at 10. I haven't read it yet but it's clearly going to be a stormer. On page two, not even out of the foreword yet there's a great story from his co-anchor Andrew Gardner:

Two or three seconds before the start of News at Ten, Reggie would always turn to me and, pressing an imaginary pedal underneath his desk, he'd say just two words: 'Vroom! Vroom!' It became a comforting little ritual.

I think everyone should try this out tomorrow, to see if it speeds up the working week. Vroom! Vroom!

Tweecret Santa

I was getting excited about Christmas this evening and had a notion to do an online Secret Santa. I thought it might be relatively easy to organise using Twitter, so ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tweecret Santa (thanks to Ben for the logo).

If you want to join in, follow Tweecret Santa (I mean follow in a Twitter sense). I'll put up instructions once I've worked out what they are. Unless I'm missing something all that's required is a price limit (£10?), a cut-off date (30 November) and an even number of people (100, in case of excessive demand). After the cut-off date I will randomly assign givers to receivers and let the givers know who to send an anonymous gift too. Everyone sends a gift and receives one. It would be good to have something that collects the results, like a Flickr pool or a tumblr.

It would also be really nice to buy things from independent shops or crafters, but that's not obligatory. The point is to give something lovely and bring joy to the heart of another. So if you're thinking "Oooh, I can get 10 things from the Pound Shop" think again. Anyone up for some festive fun?


Lovely linotypes and screenprints from James Brown at General Pattern (via It's Nice That). He also works as Jim Laurence and keeps everyone updated on the General Pattern blog.

A Poundbury street

So with all that in mind, the most exciting thing to happen on holiday was unexpectedly finding ourselves in Poundbury, Prince Charles's (in)famous model village. I've read so much about it but had no idea where it actually was. And it turned out it's at one end of Dorchester which we were nosying through on the way to Bridport. Even though I've thought about it a lot I'm still not sure what I thought about it. Some of it is good, some of it is bad and overall it's strange in a way that's quite mesmerising. I didn't like it, but I loved being there. I've written it all up for Nothing To See Here anyway, photos on Flickr. There are also some great photos by Paul Russell that capture the strange emptiness about the place.

I was really excited to be there because I've had a thing about planned communities and new towns since visiting Canberra 11 years ago. I'd never been anywhere quite so odd. A capital city built on a huge scale but with next to no one in it. Like a model village blown up to actual size. The scale was all wrong. I liked Canberra though. I loved the way that the major roads and landmarks lined up perfectly. Tidy. Its lack of atmosphere gave it a sort of character I'd never seen anywhere else. Washington felt similar, everything too big and too spaced out with nothing to fill the gaps. A capital city with no buzz about it. I find these sorts of places absolutely fascinating, where there's something not quite right.

Naboo and VinceHoward and Bollo

The Mighty Boosh and Pete Fowler, that's a marriage made in heaven. And the progeny are these fab figures. Get Vince and Naboo and/or Howard and Bollo. I'm a Howard and Bollo gal myself. When Howard whipped out Stationery Island he was a man after my own heart, and Bollo's bad feelings always reassure my inner pessimist.

Milk carton presidents

Reposted from November 2004 - American presidents made from milk cartons. Good luck America!

This is a nice little preview for the book Hot shots: how to refresh your photos by Kevin Meredith. Kevin is more commonly known as Flickr superstar lomokev. He takes great photos like this one, often with compact cameras such as lomos. Find out more in 5 questions for Kevin Meredith on the Flickr blog and his website Analog intelligence.

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