Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Obsessed by chairs? David Byrne is.

Pine Needles

I rarely like photos of myself cycling, but Phil's done a good job with this one. It's good to be back on a bike again, I missed it far more than the drink or food while I was ill, a lesson I'm going to keep with me over the holidays.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

System IX

Julian Opie

I'm quite jealous of Julian Opie's pre-OSX styled website . Looks great, works a treat, and is as intuitive to use as a real old Mac. Of course, as always, content is all, and he delivers in spades.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Robots Save Lives

From my www.spittingcat.com site last year, "Unlike most of Britain I have a very utilitarian attitude to cars. They get me where I need to go, and I feel no need to live out any Formula1 or RAC Rally fantasies. This might go someway to explaining why I feel no antipathy towards speed cameras on our narrow dimly lit residential streets. I'd much rather have those cheery camera signs, or robots as our 3 year old calls them, persuading me to slow down than car suspension and back breaking speed bumps. Despite, or perhaps because, no-one seems to share my attitude I've created a range of bags and t-shirts celebrating the speed camera sign. Available from the shop."

Now my sidelined views on speed cameras led me to the idea that those nice people at howies might be interested in my design, as they tend to favour the outsiders. So I, perhaps vainly, sent them my design. Not only didn't they take it up, no surprise there, but have done there own 'thought provoking' speed camera design. This one however seems to be disappointedly chasing the mainstream view that cameras have more to do with revenue than safety. Shame.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Not newsworthy?

Bomb plot

If the suspects were Muslim, I'm sure this would have made the national media. But as it is the truth doesn't fit the current 'story' of Muslims being more of a threat to our security than others.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Second part of an A-Z of great artists and bands you may not have heard of;

Dakota Oak Trio :: Derbyshire Krautrock and Folk
[see Badly Drawn Boy and Neu]

ESG :: real raw club music, by real raw women
[see A Certain Ratio and 400 Blows UK]

Fridge :: Drifting but not easy listening
[see Adem and Fourtet]

check out ABC

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It's just noise

Very late last night, or it might have been very early this morning, I was listening to a big chunk of ambient music as I nodded off. Surprisingly something of my own came up; Looper. I think I wrote it back in 2003, when I wanted something I could listen to while getting my daughter to go to sleep. It was a one of a number of pieces of 'music' I wrote that were trying to create something akin to listening to a loud old fridge while under the influence of Opiates. Don't try playing it a party, but you might find that it's something nice to drift off to at night.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

original modern

Peter Saville's influence on Manchester's civil image has started popping up all around the city, ready for the Labour Party conference. I haven't got any photos I'm afraid, but the look is also starting to be integrated into the web presence of some public bodies and a quick search should find you examples of it in use. Interestingly the treatment is being used in a very non prescriptive way, with all the disparate arms of public provision in Manchester allowed, or even encouraged, to use the elements provided in different ways. So the stripes motif, reminiscent of the work of Paul Rand and more latterly Paul Smith, appears in combination with many different logos and typefaces. Whether this free and easy approach was taken for practical, political or design reasons would be interesting to know.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Invisible Titles

Here's a simple technique for web developers wanting alternate text for background images. Why would you want this? Well background images often disappear, for example when stylesheets fail to load, or are over ridden by a user with poor eyesight. To make sure the page still makes sense in these situations, put the following CSS in the sheet that contains the linked background image urls;

    .invisibletitle {display: none;}
@media print {
    .invisibletitle {display:block;}
@media aural {
    .invisibletitle {display:block;}

Then class="invisibletitle" can be applied to tags around alternate text in the html, making the text invisible whenever background images are visible, yet visible/readable when background images are missing or ignored. I said it was simple!

Example: www.destiny-dubai.co.uk/holdingpage.htm
Do a print preview, or turn off stylesheets, to see the invisible titles appear.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Want to be modern?
Don't chase the now, by the time it's caught it'll be the tacky recent past.
Examine the true successes of the past and learn. Think about what lasts.

Do you know what really matters about you?
Lots of people have your skills, but none of them have your ideas.
Don't just do what people say, be sure to have your say; it counts.

Can you clone the essence of others?
What has made others successful is theirs.
Try and copy them and little of what worked for them will become yours.
Find a new way.

One step too far removed?
Design is problem solving, not just giving the abstract form.
Without knowing the problems of your clients or customers you can't give them an answer.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mexico '68 - London '12


I've always envied the "completeness" of the ID work Lance Wyman did for the Mexico 68 olympics. That often copied font expanded out to form everything, from Bridget Riley style posters to the wayfinding system, and informed the whole look and atmosphere of the games in a way no other Olympics ID has come close to.

Now what can London offer?

I imagine Johnston's Underground font could be used to cement the London connection, but as the broadly simular Gill Sans has been used for recent games I hope the effort is made to develop something new and distinctive.

Wolff Olins have been awarded the work, lets wait and see what they come up with.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Singlespeed UK champs thingy was last weekend. After a nice big cup of tea on the start line I went on to be placed absolutely nowhere and had a great ride. Simon shouted at me every lap to try and get a response, in the end I shouted back. I think he got what he wanted in this photo.

Monday, May 22, 2006


First part of an A-Z of great artists and bands you may not have heard of;

Asobi Seksu :: Japanese blur of distortion and sweetness
[see My Bloody Valentine and the Other Two]

Blue Orchids :: lost Manchester classics
[see Inspiral Carpets and The Fall]

Camille :: French vocalist to twist your insides
[see Nouvelle Vague and Bjork]

Thursday, May 11, 2006



There's very few things more surreal than a troup of Japanese musicans playing Thermins inside Russian Dolls in a converted public toilet.

Monday, May 08, 2006



There is no such, thing in life as normal.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Accidental Album

I just have to point you to this.

The band Mason Proper have an idea worthy of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies. The result is really fresh, and stands as a reminder to always record your first take.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Only Bike

bike lane
photo by Cyclenaut.
Spring is here, so while most men's minds focus even more on the opposite sex mine becomes bike obsessed*. It already feels like I'm entering a headlong rush towards the autumn, trying to squeeze every cycling opportunity into a stupidly packed spring and summer schedule.

*okay, I do think about girls more as well, but to admit that wouldn't fit into the singletrack mind nature of this post

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


HUP chewing gum art
image posted by rahid1.
Happy Birthday Ben Denison! You are one blessed man. Remember a birthday is for far more than one day.


See the ickle art biggerer by clicking here.

Or even more biggerer by clicking here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Watchers

Please send me more evidence of this covert surveillance.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Wolf Spider
Originally uploaded by Niall Flinn.
It's confusing. Niall's twin skills of photography and CGI mean that you can never be sure whether his work is real or not. This one is a photo, if he's to be believed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I've been moaning for ages that I can't find decent crisps that are unsalted, but now....

BurtsCrisps shouldn't need salt anymore, now that they come in sealed bags they don't need preserving in the same way. Manufacturers stick with it for two reasons;
  • most crisps taste of nothing but their seasoning
  • people are addicted to salt
Well now Burts are standing behind the potato (and fat) taste of their crisps (chips) by offering salt free versions. They're great, and soon you'll be amazed people can still sell the fake tasteless heart destroying rubbish that comes in most snack bags.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cover me

It seems to be a good time for brave cover versions at the moment, with these two being my pick of the crop...

Tunng do their folky bleepy sampling thing to a version of Bloc Party's Pioneers [listen], on their new "The Pioneers EP."[buy]

Also available from bleep.com, by far the best legal download site for indie labels, is this cover of a Kylie classic [listen], given the acoustic treatment on Jose Gonzalez's "Stay in the shade EP" [buy]

Both cover versions sound like something that would fit perfectly on Gravenhurst's excellent recent album "Fires In Distant Buildings."

Friday, March 24, 2006


Originally uploaded by Cyclenaut.
Chris did this using the lights of on-coming cars whilst she was driving. Mercans know no fear on the roads, I'm sure many of them have regular naps at the wheel whilst trusting in cruise control, but I digress. Check out Niall's experiments for something else along this line.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Originally uploaded by dunkr.
The things that hold DVDs and CDs in digipacs and the like. I really hope Duncan can turn this into a music video someday, it's an idea born of simple genius.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Chewing gum art

Chewing gum art - Dscn3820
Originally uploaded by rahid1.
Cheers for sending me this Niall. For those of us who often trudge around with our heads down it's a life affirming joy to know that someone is doing this; turning the waste of mankind into art. That someone would bother to do this renews your faith in people.