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I like November 2003

Some new likes and a booklist for you. I've been thinking about Christmas all day but couldn't find any festive links. Started my Christmas shopping instead, which is where the recommendations come in. Remember, a book is for life, not just for Christmas.

A trip to the Highlands, and a foray into Moray took up most of this week, and was very good fun. I saw lots of touristy things like distilleries (Tormore was the nicest), oil rigs, Culloden, lots of places out of Macbeth, Balmoral Castle, Fort George and the world's tallest hedge as well as loads of little towns with good cafes and charity shops. Just sitting in the car and going between places was good too. Places like the Cock Bridge to Tomintoul Road aren't exciting, but if you're Scottish, it's famous from the travel news as it shuts for most of the winter. Plus, everything in Scotland is such a nice colour with all the greens and browns and purples of the heather. It's a shame that Americans seem to know more about this bit of Scotland than most Scots do. The whole trip made me very relaxed and happy. I like Scotland a lot.

Since coming back I have become completely hooked on Beat the Intro: Name That Tune with a difference - the difference being good songs. You'll be fine if you know your Neil Young from your Nick Drake.

Other stuff I've liked this week:
An old Broadcast interview - I'm going to see them live on Friday. Hooray. Hooray. Hooray.
Jacques Peretti on shooting Vincent Gallo which made very good TV on Friday night.
A really daft version of the Jim'll Fix It theme tune.
Some old Fuzzy Felt that I bought in Elgin with the most fantastic box.

Who can beat us? Neglected design elements #3. The comedy shop sign.

My favourite ever comedy shop sign was in Argyle Street in Glasgow and may well have been designed by the same guy as Bobs Hot and Cold Snacks here. It was on a bakers, whose slogan was (and still is) "A good roll does satisfy" and it had a cartoon of a horse on its back with its legs in the air. It used to make me laugh every time I saw it because it was so crap and so great at the same time.

Neglected design elements #1 and #2.

Why not bring a ghoul-friend to the Monster shindig?

Songs I think of every morning, without fail:

Black mourning band by The Honeybus (listen to clip) to which I invariably sing the lyrics of Red morning light by The Kings of Leon
Texas morning by Mike Nesmith & the First National Band (listen) which I thought was by The Association until I listened to every song off Waterbeds in Trinidad and realised it wasn't.
Bowling Green The Everly Brothers (because I pass a bowling green on the way to work).
Plus one other unspecified song about a winter's day, which is going to drive me mad until I can figure out what it is.

I saw my first Christmas tree tonight. Ye godz, that's early.

I've had a bit of a modern architecture week this week. Visited the new Glasgow Radisson SAS hotel (only for a coffee unfortunately). It would be gorgeous anywhere, but really stands out in a such dingy corner of Argyle St. Passed the high flats at Anderston on the way and thought how great they looked with huge balconies and spectacular views over the city centre. Realised though that it was easy for me to think that when I don't have to live in them. Then strangely enough there was a programme on about them, a brilliant Artworks Scotland documentary about the tower blocks of Glasgow; real Joy of Concrete territory. It was very well-balanced with architects, residents and town planners giving different sides of the story plus some interesting footage of an Anderston resident saying how much he loved his high-rise life. I can't believe they're really going to demolish them next year. What a waste.

Then the other side of the coin was Dreamspaces, which seemed totally unbalanced. The feature about Brutalism and the Hayward Gallery was good, but the paeon to Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre seemed to forget that people have to use these buildings, great architecture or not. While I can appreciate the kick-in-the-teeth impact of Owen Luder's "megastructure" I would bet money that it stinks of piss and curry and is a thoroughly miserable place to be. And while I'm on the subject of Dreamspaces, beautiful buildings are not just a backdrop for Justine Frischmann's arse. At least The Hoover Building was nice.

I'm very boring at the moment. Apologies. I did like these though:

"Deliverance banjo boy reappears for new film" - all hail Tim Burton!
Nottingham cafe wins Britain's Best Greasy Spoon (and apparently related story "Perfectly formed egg found inside egg")
"Worst" album covers - many of which I think are very beautiful.
A minimalist Patrick Moore courtesy of b3ta.

07.11.03Alice in Wonderland _ Buy me!
Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur and whiskers! J. Otto Seibold has illustrated Alice in Wonderland (see the preview) and it's pop-up. Could anything be more perfect? Click cover to see ordering info.

While we're on the subject, I've just found out that Jonathan Miller's Alice is actually available on DVD or VHS from the BFI. I have been looking for this for years. Just look at the cast list: Peter Sellers, Alan Bennett, Peter Cook. This is like the antithesis of Mary Blair's Disney version, which is light to Miller's dark. Not in a bad way though, they're both fantastic.

And is the Alice in Wonderland ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach still there? I need to go down that rabbit hole now!

New likes.

October 2003 >>>