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I like March 2004


I'm a bit particular, in that the personification of food (particularly fruit) gives me the heebeegeebees, but I like it when individual bits of food are combined to make a face, like Arcimboldo's fruit faces or these anthropomorphic Japanese Bento boxes (via Coudal). So imagine my delight when I saw the new Branston advert with a suitably loony voiceover from the great Harry Hill. Bring on the Branston tang!

Shop, Avenue des Gobelins
I like Eugene Atget (1857-1927), Parisian photographer, for his pictures of everyday things and places: streets, staircases, doorways, shop windows and parks. He didn't see himself as an artist but as an artisan, documenting things that artists could use for their work. The surrealists liked 'the often inconsequential details which he recorded'. Me too, although I like him mostly for his shop windows.

A few artists have gone back to photograph Atget's pictures as they would look today. There are some sad comparisons but a lot of places haven't changed much.

More Atget online:

Looking for Atget led me to Berenice Abbott (who knew him when she was Man Ray's assistant in Paris) and her photos of 1930s New York streets and shops (see Blossom Restaurant and Whelan's drugstore). I like them too.

Today's linky lovelies:

Being a tourist in your own country can be a frustrating experience. The Scottish tourist industry is mostly geared towards wheeching bus loads of Americans round castles, distilleries, golf courses and Edinburgh Woollen Mills. I like travelling in Scotland, but sometimes get the feeling I'm a bit out of place. A trip to Oban and Fort William this week was a series of rebuffs and knockbacks - no meals after 2 o'clock; no nothing after 4 o'clock; No vacancies; Strictly no parking; Absolutely no camping. Sheesh.

Another confusing thing is the way that some places are firmly on the tourist map, while gems like Culross or the East Neuk of Fife are overlooked. I shouldn't complain really, because it means you can live in Scotland all your life and still stumble across some amazing things. The Regent Hotel in Oban was quite a find. Discerning parents take note - you can combine Art Deco splendour with a trip to Balamory (Tobermory to the over 5s) if you book through Easy Breaks. We're going to try this later in the year.

More new photos:
Ben Ledi Cafe, Callander.
Cromag Lounge sign and Lounge Bar lettering, Fort William.

Much loveliness today:

Thanks again to Ben, I like's Hastings correspondent for many of these finds.

That's not how you spell TuesdaySerenity now! This year I'm preoccupied with work and life and all the bits in between. I'd like another job, or shorter hours, or failing that, some mechanism to help me balance everything and not go crazy. I'm trying various things - doing more, doing less, doing the lottery, aromatherapy massages, yoga, herbal tea, any other attempt to unblock my chi and/or balance my chakras. Most of the time curating I like helps. Instead of being another thing to get stressed about it's the one place where no one is telling me what to do and no one depends on me. It's also a good displacement activity when I know I should really be doing something a lot more boring, like cleaning or sorting out piles of stuff. Sometimes though, like today, I just run out of steam.

Some lacklustre links:

A giant caramel wafer I don't like Britain's Biggest Break. Boycott Nestle every day and doubly boycott this horrible marketing exercise masquerading as some kind of public service. I thought it was for charity or something, but no, just a ridiculous ploy to sell more Kit Kats. Never mind a measly 15 minute break, take a half day and enjoy some Tunnock's Caramel Wafers, plain chocolate ones if you can find them. "More than 4 million made each week".

I sometimes wonder if the down-home simplicity of Tunnocks is down to canny branding, or happy accident. Either way I am deeply in love with their understated design, and their delicious snack-treats. The Tunnock's website uses the trademark sunburst packaging and their cheeky mascot (is he really called Sandy?) to good effect (check out the game). It's the kind of thing I like even more when everything else seems to be all Emperor's New Clothes. So get the kettle on.

Another huge pile of goodness:

Two good finds today. I've found my spiritual home in The Museum of Online Museums. I could wander in there for days. Checkout the sumptuous American package museum, the beautiful Ephemera now or the Gallery of Expo '58 beermats (anyone join me for a Ginder ale?).

Also, I keep rescuing books that are getting chucked out of the library at work. Today: Food and Beverage Service by D. R. Lillicrap (1971). Consider the sweet trolley, a neglected design classic.

The drawer holds the service spoons and forks, pastry slice and other equipment needed for the service. The plate holder allows the waiter two free hands when serving onto the guests' plate. The edging around the upper and lower shelf is to prevent dishes from slipping off when the trolley is pushed.

I like the way that every commonplace object has a secret vocabulary, for those in the know. Even in the world of trolleys there are Bellmans birdcages, Rack dollys and Sackwheels. See the full range at Reward Trolleys.

A bit of a guddle:

Oh, has the world changed or have I changed? This takes me back #1. Top 100 cassette packages via The Skinny. I found a pile of the dotty Philips tapes a while ago, and they are a thing of beauty alright. The Philips logo alone takes me back 30 years.

This takes me back #2: Ghost trains (thank you John D.). There used to be a terrifying double decker one in the Kelvin Hall. Realising the bats are on bits of elastic is all part of growing up, I guess. The rides of Orton & Spooner are before my time, but I like 'em nevertheless.

This takes me back #3: Kinder using the Theme from Bod in their latest advert. Derek Griffiths wrote all the music. Farmer Barleymow's theme seems a bit louche for kid's TV, and Aunt Flo was definitely a bit of a swinger. More Bod sounds.

This eh, takes me back #4: 1920s: the decade that changed London - an exhibition at the Museum of London. There are lots of good things on the website including Harry Beck's tube map, The world in 2030: an illustration by Edward McKnight Kauffer, What happens if you marry an alien - from the Women's Guild of Empire, and a Lyons "Nippy" chocolate tin. Thanks Ben for finding this.

Dr. Seuss chocs

Gas intakesFebruary was a very prolific month. I'm not sure if I can keep it up in March. There's been nothing decent on telly for weeks so I spend more time farting about, both on the web and on the streets. All month I've been obsessed with wandering. I should have been a flâneur with the world at my feet. The best day I've had in ages was a dérive along the Thames a couple of weeks ago. Consequently, this month I like the everyday and the found.

Photos: A girl could lose herself in London: A walk along the Thames in pictures.

February 2004 >>>