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I like April 2005

I am going to Washington D.C. next weekend. Yee ha! It's for work but I've got a day and a half to look around. If you've been there and you know what I like by now, what should I do? I'll be on my own and don't feel much like trailing round museums. Where's a good place to hang out? Is there anything I shouldn't miss that won't be in a guide book?

Going places:

Forte Cafe, DundeeHave you ever seen Dundee? It's a funny sort of place. The fourth largest city in Scotland, but you could quite easily live your whole life without knowing it's there. Everyone has such a terrible downer on the place, when really it's quite nice. There's a good art gallery, nice old buildings, Fisher & Donaldson, the only city population of red squirrels in the UK, and the silvery Tay. And then there's Forte's Cafe, with its lovely wooden booths and formica tables. These menus (don't know what to call them) are fast becoming a design classic. This one shows some interesting regional variation in ice cream dishes. What's a slider? What's a squasher? Translations please. Also a quality sweet counter, where you can get a quarter of soor plooms or whatever takes your fancy. Further along the same street, the now defunct Land o' Cakes. Shame it didn't have Forte's staying power.

Lost worlds:

Refreshing and delicious (1972) by Eduardo Paolozzi
Eduardo Paolozzi, the Scottish pop artist has died. A thorough obituary in The Times explains just how much he contributed to modern art. I didn't know the half of it but liked what I saw - usually eclectic and striking and funny. I hope the legion of oversize body parts he has left around, from the big head in London, to the big hand in Germany will rise up one day, Iron Giant-style and form a benevolent super-being. There's a recreation of his studio in the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh and among the casts and paints there are lots of toys and games and things that make him seem like a really nice man. More human than some artists, anyway. There's a massive archive of his work at Tate online, which demonstrates the breadth of it, from collages and sculptures to printing, pop and op art. He liked robots, comics and ephemera (leaving his Krazy Kat Arkive to the V&A), and designed the mosaics in Tottenham Court Road tube station as well as the graphics for the Paul McCartney & Wings album Red Rose Speedway. What a full and interesting life.


Esso manI've been invited to join some great Flickr groups lately. This is from Roadmap Art of the Road, a collection of the art and illustration you find on old roadmaps. This is a great idea (now we need one for travel brochures, or is there one already?). I love how specific these groups are. Not the map itself, but the pictures that accompany it. The group is overseen by Mike of I'll take your photo and Phototaken who has a great eye - this gas station is a beauty, very Ed Ruscha. Snapatorium has posted some real crackers. It's only a few days old and look at all the good stuff already. I can only dig up one map so far, from the 1958 World's Fair with a vibrant Esso scene on one side and the Atomium on the other, but now there's a good excuse to look for more. Pile in everybody and let's get motoring.

Yowzah, Yowzah, Yowzah!

Little India by Sanjay Patel
This has got to be one of the cutest books. Ever. Little India - a guide to Hindu gods by Pixar animator Sanjay Patel (via Drawn). There's a lot of J. Otto Seibold in there, in a good way.

I spread my brains out on the table and poke them about with a fork (.wav)

Richard Scarry Christmas houses
Fresh from the car boot sale, a vintage Richard Scarry book - The Animals' Merry Christmas (1950). Most of it is too festive for April, but it is lovely. More to come in December.

Take a break:

Lovely to look at:

Weekend picks:

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