Friday, 4 December 2009


lord knows why, but i've been fossicking around in men's fashion these last couple of days. it's pure aesthetic indulgence - i don't even have to consider what it might look like on me so i'm free to just appreciate.

i've been enjoying the cut of selectism's jib. it bills itself as a 'daily men's fashion, footwear, lifestyle and design culture magazine'. i would call it 'pretty things for boys'. i am especially enamoured of the damir doma hightops...

put this on is brilliant, too.

a "web series about dressing like a grown up", they aim to help equip men with the knowledge they need to avoid dressing like a manchild for all eternity.

in a friendly, straight-talking, no-a-pink-shirt-won't-turn-you-gay manner, they dispense wisdom on how to choose cashmere, why you need a belt that's not made of webbing, how to go shopping without once setting foot in a sports store, and where to get a custom-made bow tie.

(okay, they also make an occasional worrying foray into mancapes, but whatever, each to their own...)

in a quasi-related sidenote, i really want this florian rope necklace from oki-ni:


anOther magazine's new 'loves' blog is also a honeypot of covetability...

and that is quite enough of that.

fix up, look sharp

i stumbled into an amazing photography exhibition at londonewcastle project space at lunchtime.

called 'gentlemen of bacongo' (and accompanied by a book of the same name), daniele tamagni documents in glorious technicolour the 'sapeurs' - men of the congo who, though they live in slums, revel in wearing handmade designer suits. new york times magazine explains:

The culture of La SAPE, La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, began when the country was ruled by the French and the local men began to adopt a little European flair. The sapeurs, as they are known, spiff themselves up with colorful tailored suits, fedoras and the occasional cigar — it’s more English aristo than Iceberg Slim pimp daddy.

it's the details i love best - the bright streak of a fuschia pocket square against a black breast pocket, the trilby, the impossibly expensive leather belt, the cummerbund, the glossy pipe, the single glove...

oh, and the best. sunglasses. ever.

the way these dandies strut and pose in their finery is incredible. it makes the dusty streets look like wonkavision.

if you're in the neighbourhood, go see - it's only on for a couple more days.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


this has to be one of the sweetest labours of love i've ever seen. when this talented illustrator realised he wanted to spend the rest of his life with his best girl, he painstakingly crafted this question-popping work of art.

good work, mister.

also, apologies for the nuptial flavour this week. i find it as weird as you do.

Monday, 30 November 2009

in six weeks' time

for elena and nic, and for kate and david, for being brave.

You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
and you are the known place to which the unknown is always
leading me back.

from wendell berry's 'the country of marriage'.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


the empire of wonder that is it's nice that just keeps growing with the launch of a brand new zine 'if drawings were photographs'.

from the website:
The brainchild of designer Rob Matthews and Illustrator Tom Edwards, put simply – “Tom gave drawings to Rob and Rob tried to make them into photographs.”

keep an eye on goings-on over at it's nice that towards the end of december, when sanky will be rummaging about in his bag of tricks for a special series of guest posts. yay!

while on the subject of pretty things, present and correct is brimful with goodies making my credit card itch.

this has my name all over it:

maybe i'd be better at remembering what day it is if i had this calendar...

and anyone who watched last night's installment of david attenborough's 'Life' series will have a whole new appreciation for this no-nonsense educational poster:

Monday, 23 November 2009

home (?)

checking flight prices this morning for my upcoming trip back to my hometown, perth, i checked my rss feeds and saw that facehunter has just been through.

that scorched blue sky and bleached, scrubby landscape makes my heart ache with longing.

the sight of amplifier bar, rosie o'grady's (where i once had my drink spiked), and 'beware snakes' signs do not.

it gets less and less like home every time i go back but somehow that strange outpost with its back to the desert will always be in my marrow.

Friday, 20 November 2009

a dog's life

riley (a friend-of-a-friend's dog) has got it made. here he is, getting measured for his tailored gieves & hawkes winter coat.

oh look, and here he is on the vogue blog. obviously.


happy friday, pals. go get yourself a beer from the fridge. you've had a tough week and we're proud of you.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

heaven can wait

deliriously weird and wonderful new video for charlotte gainsbourg & beck's new song:

Thursday, 12 November 2009

a series of small cheers

let's hear it for wooden soldiers!
i want this little parade of wooden soldiers an unreasonable amount.

let's hear it for mat bickley!
anyone who can carry off a corduroy blazer while swearing like a sailor on shore leave, do his own dentistry, discuss miranda july and then send you on your way with a massive bearhug is a-ok with me. he's like a gold-toothed, foul-mouthed bill ackroyd circa 1986. also, his blog is marvellously weird.

let's hear it for throaty colds!
i can momentarily sing brian jonestown massacre's anenome roughly in the same key as mara keagle.

let's hear it for obsessive consumption!
the art project by kate bingaman-burt, not the pasttime. although lord knows i've done enough of the latter of'd forgive me if you could see the cobalt blue skirt of wonder, though. ANYWAY. the obsessive consumption project documents the artist's personal daily purchases - and credit card statements - illustratively. must really turn the brief sting of a rash purchase into a slow ache. act in haste, repent at leisure, etc.

i'd consider giving it a go if it didn't make me apoplectic just to think about. i can't work out whether i'd be more self-conscious about my extravagances (another bottle of red! taxi!) or my scrimping (another tin of beans for lunch. 3 for £9 pants.).

binge. purge. repeat.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

in the queue

when the filmmaker richard rogers ('dick' to his friends) died in 2001 he left behind countless reels of film for the one project he couldn't find a way to finish - a documentary examining his own life. his wife asked his former student, alexander olch, to make the film her husband couldn't - he was just too close to the subject to see the story. turns out that making the autobiographical documentary required actors, scripts, and more than five years of olch's own film-making time.

it looks like it was worth it.

via the marvellous hollister hovey.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

the peckham experiment

following on after a fashion from the last post, i'm going to check out the peckham experiment, which rewards the audience for further economic tanking. do you want crisps or a job? hmm. what flavour are the crisps?

from the exhibition website:
Ellie Harrison’s Vending Machine [...] will distribute free bags of crisps throughout The Peckham Experiment – this largesse is, however, dependent on the machine receiving bad news about the UK economy via an internal BBC information-feed. This basically means that what’s bad for the rest of the country is good for exhibition-goers! (although the actual crisps are probably quite bad for you….)

it's part of a 'social health project' called The Peckham Experiment. and as i'm currently conducting my own peckham experiment i'm definitely going to have a poke around...

hoarding your goodness doesn't make you richer

Every morning I scramble to cram myself onto a crowded train full of already armoured commuters. Everyone’s staking their claim, chafing against the day, ready for a confrontation. It’s a bloody ego battle played out in hot looks and hair flicks. Who slams into you when the train judders, who’s going to be first off when the doors slide back – suddenly becomes this crucial measure of who’s best, or more important, or – something. I don’t know. Do any of us know?

I do it too, every morning. But I’ve been thinking about opportunities to be kind. This morning I decided to let everyone off ahead of me. I smiled. I gestured for them to move first. Even those people who met my gaze (Londoners are conscientious objectors to eye contact) looked at me suspiciously. But one lady looked surprised, and smiled widely at me, and said thank you, and she meant it. We gave each other the opportunity to be kind, and I felt a bit less of an army of me by the time I stepped onto the platform.

Maybe I’ll forget tomorrow, or be crabby, or late. But days are just ordinary moments strung together like beads on a string, and I want my fingers to hover longer over the sweet options. If you’ve got it, give it away.

image above from masaaki miyara via flickr.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

circles. philip glass. sesame street. 1979.

hyponotic, philip glass-scored awesomeness for kids. 'nuff said.

Friday, 11 September 2009

much marvellous

peter broderick last night was mesmeric, deft and genuine and kind of - what am i trying to say? - kind of like that sweet pre-sleep state where you're bobbing about on the surface of sleep, stringing images and thoughts and sensations together like beads, content. like that.

he was followed by the fourteen-legged musical party that is efterklang.

the last time i saw these guys was in a field. the rain was coming down sideways - literally horizontally - and it had been for hours. it was a summer festival. i wanted to go home. and then efterklang came on dressed as sort of danish matadors, all in white except for their swishy green capes. they played their hearts out and i stayed and forgot all about the rain.

they're coming back in october to play at the barbican with an orchestra. so much yay.

blowing my tiny mind

"A dying star on the verge of exploding creates a cosmic "butterfly" in a new picture from Hubble's WFC3. The central star, now obscured by a dense band of dust, was once five times the mass of the sun. Over the past two thousand years the star has expelled most of its outer gas envelope to create the ghostly "wings," which together span about two light-years."

...holy moly. do not miss the gobsmacking new images from the refurbished hubble telescope. we are so tiny. nature is god.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


having spent chunks of time recently in various airports and remote outposts of WH Smith i can say for sure that if the magazine industry wasn't dying it'd probably be a candidate for compassionate euthanasia. seriously, grazia, with your constant hysterical claims to have FINALLY REVEALED: THE DIET THAT KEEPS CHERYL COLE SO INCREDIBLY SLIM can i help you out? her entire daily calorific intake is derived from mascara. mystery solved.

conversely, yay for the good ones. here are a couple to have a gander at, none of which are likely readily available in your local petrol station but nonetheless worth locating (and some are just on the interweb, so no excuses there).

wooooo magazine is written by the irrepressible jason crombie. it's kind of vice-y in its irreverence, but where vice is basically knocked out by spoiled kids angry at the world because they weren't born dov charney, wooooo is charmingly and unprepossessingly off-kilter. and then completely juvenile. jackpot! read the blog if IMing strangers, penis cakes, 'foxy but worm food' features on deceased beauties, shark obsessions, interviews with david byrne and dancing to lou reed tickle your fancy. if they don't, i feel a little bit sad for you. i bet you don't even like jelly.

i've never happened across a real-life copy of monster children but i'm intrigued. previous issues have included sister corita's art, todd selby's favourite shoots, beautiful losers, geoff mcfetridge and kate moss's nipples. it's an aussie effort, so little wonder it's a bit surf and skate obsessed. i'm not so sure about the 'freebies' though - an asahi coaster?!

it's nice that is more of an occasional publication but it's marvellous, collecting all sorts of loveliness within its (ad-free) pages. issue 1 was brilliant and number 2 is due out shortly. you might want to pre-order it because it's going to be amazing. i feel it in my waters. also it's going to involve karlssonwilker, fred butler and rob ryan, so there's pretty much a moneyback guarantee on it being mint.

uppercase magazine is a sweet little thing out of a gallery of the same name based in calgary. the third issue is imminent, but if past issues are anything to go by, it'll have gratuitous double-page spreads of people's obscure collections (scissors, anyone?), funny illustrations and a bit of design nerdery.

all you need now is a sunny afternoon and a mini milk, and you're in business. what are you reading?

Monday, 7 September 2009

a small list

a few things to help you out in case you haven't found enough things to like about today:
each and every one of the supersweet editions paumes books (buy in € from yvestown).

lena corwin's travel poster that reawakened my weird elvis thing.

these stuffed dog portraits cracked me up. is it just me?

having a world full of music to listen to after a week-long roadtrip with only the same. three. cds. to listen to... oh god. liking 'the gardener' by the tallest man on earth, very much.

plimsolls and no socks. summer's on the turn but for now i'm drinking it in.

plimsolls via stevsoll's flickr

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

anything with a hot air balloon in it generally pleases me

sweet video for a sweet song. what's really lovely is that it's a fan video - it's not even the official one. how much proof do i need that if you want to make something, you ought to just get the fuck in there and make it...?

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

i know this much is true

if you feel it, say it. or, as frank o' hara said with heart-stopping simplicity -

it seems they were all cheated of some marvellous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

this is what i have been doing

in case you'd been wondering, i've been:

a bit of this:

interviewing this guy:

marvelling at this:

chuckling at this loveable eejit:

missing this guy.

coveting a set of brian eno's oblique strategies.

nursing a couple of new girl crushes.

where have you been? i haven't seen you on the bus for ages.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

in the in-between

Originally uploaded by rubydoomsday

like joan didion writes, when i find myself in choppy waters, i 'go to the literature'. writers are the ones i hope understand the world better than me, or at least there is comfort found in their tales of the journey back from the dark edges. this is the power of stories. keep turning the page. you'll see.

when i was at university i swallowed books of poetry whole. most of it passed through me or maybe into me, i'm not sure which. one poem in particular has driven me mad since i read it ten (ten!) years ago - i could only remember a few of the lines, and searching for it in books or online yielded nothing.

yesterday in frustration i googled the poet, alan riach, and found an email address for him. i explained that his poem was important and asked him to please tell me where i could find it. he emailed me back less than two hours later to tell me that it had only ever been published in a magazine but he'd do his best to find it.

this morning it was waiting in my inbox. wowsers.

i hope he won't mind me publishing it here. i think it should be in the world.


In darkness how they haunt us, these shadows of a past we know –
a past we always know we’re on the point of superseding –
always in the moment of the dawn’s anticipation, letting go
of an evening spent before this sun had risen.

May all the hauntings be of favoured memories of real things
Not things you’d wish forgotten or that never should have happened.

Let them linger in their traces as they go. Let them lead to this.

- Alan Riach

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

dark days and starry nights

I’ve always made a racket. It’s not because I’m extroverted – I’m never really sure whether I'll be silver-tongued or blushing and trembling – I’ve just always been noisy. I tend to talk too loud, and my laugh escapes in involuntarily noisy bursts. I’m embarrassingly clumsy, too, bumbling into and dropping things, and I grew up being told that I went at things ‘like a bull in a china shop’.

This last weekend, in fact, my dad took me and my sister to our old butcher’s shop, where he christened me “that noisy ommer” (Lancashire for ‘noisy hammer’).

I’ve also been told by people closest to me that they know something’s up when I go quiet.

So I apologise for being a bit mute here, lately. There are a lot of things roiling and churning in my heart and my head that have drowned out any other thoughts worth sending out into the world.

In the meantime (and it’s always the meantime), I’m heeding Robert Rauschenberg:
“John Cage said that fear in life is the fear of change. If I may add to that: nothing can avoid changing. It’s the only thing you can count on. Because life doesn’t have any other possibility, everyone can be measured by his adaptability to change.“

So. Enough of that.

There’s a meteor shower tonight. I’m going to be sitting on a rooftop with a great friend eating noodles and drinking wine, eyes peeled. I’m even going to download some of the National Trust’s wonderful stargazing guides. I might even try to learn my three constellations...

Here’s to starry nights.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


walking to meet a friend for lunch today, i noticed that the smeary windows of a defunct dim sum joint looked different.

at first i thought they'd been drawn on, but actually, they were creating pictures by rubbing off the cruddy whitewash that had been slapped up to mask the goings-on inside.

instead of layering things up, it was taking away that made this so lovely.

i stopped to chat to the guy as he worked. i thanked him for making this ugly corner a bit prettier, and he told me that tomorrow night they're opening a new bar-restaurant-art space there.

take away the depressing dim sum place and you've got a new space full of potential. rub away some paint to make a new picture. reduce and have more.

i like it.

step one: open a bottle of champagne

most people love apple for their slick, designery gadgets. me? i love them for their cooking skills. well, alan dye, their creative director, at any rate.

any man who whips up a plate of oozy mac n' cheese, washed down with copious bubbly is alright by me. that might just about be the best sounding meal i ever heard of.

attention, men of the world (okay then, man of the world): please woo me with carbohydrates and bubbly. thank you.

marilyn agrees with me:

champagne and potato chips? that's a GOOD PARTY.