This is intended to be an irregular gathering of thing’s I’ve seen, heard… (you get the idea) over the time period since writing the last one. It’s an attempt to bring my interests together in the hope that I might one day find a common thread. Feel free to let me know if it could be better.
SEES / DESIGN
Pissjar, Swedish Punk band on note, made their own typeface from their own, yep, piss. Over six months they repeatedly tried to write letters with their excretions, only to discover that ‘R’ is just too difficult. And yes, you can download it.
The charmingly-named band created the typeface for the launch of their new album, spending six months urinating onto…www.creativereview.co.uk
Wonderfully sited next to the piss-font article on Creative Review is another about an exhibition looking at contemporary and experimental perfume making at Somerset House.
Perfume is an unusual exhibition featuring ten of the most radical scents of the last twenty years. We talk to its co…www.creativereview.co.uk
The Carbuncle Cup, for ugly and otherwise poor architecture was awarded this week. The quite astonishing Nova Victoria was awarded the prize for being a “crass assault on the senses”, with the panel giving some spectacular pointed architect-speak put downs.
Six schemes were nominated. For me, Circus West should probably have won if only for it’s quite uncompromising facade that manages to obliterate the view of the biggest brick structure in Europe without managing a single point of visual interest.
PETER JUDSON’S HOARDINGS
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A book about suicide, trying to find different ways to present infographics. The book is in German, but the ideas are interesting
DESIGN FESTIVALS A GO-GO
- London Design Festival is next week. All manner of things all over London (and it’s a terrible website, so good luck finding anything)
- Peckham Festival too, all sorts, but mostly in Peckham
- Open Houses this weekend too — you can go see inside buildings (mostly for free!)
SEES / ARTICLES AND NEWS AND POLITICS
For those wishing for return to simpler times, the BBC is remembered the 1997 General Election, with a full stream of the election night coverage on BBC Parliament. More interestingly than realising the sartorial style of politicians has changed little in 20 years (Ken Clarke still wearing the same tie) they’ve put their website back up.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND/JEREMY PAXMAN
The Financial Times sent Jeremy Paxman to investigate the future of the Church of England, including a visit to St Peter’s in Brighton where I used to go. Interesting this. Pretty balanced, probably fair. Plenty of complex politics in the CofE. Interesting choice of writer.
ONE GOAL WONDERS
Guardian article about footballers who only scored on goal (of note). Roy Essandoh’s cracker in an FA Cup quarter final is one of those memories that sometimes revisit me when I’m trying to sleep, and make me grin widely. What a hero.
There’s a whole raft of creative activity going on around the DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International, a London-based international arms fair) this week, most of it as protest/to counter the exhibition itself (see Stop the Arms Fair). Theres an exhibition, a catwalk show of weaponry and posters as well as direct action, which has seen diverse people groups blockade the site (including a multi-faith meeting, Quakers abseiling from bridges and a large paper doll) that have seen over 100 protesters arrested. As a slight counter, the Daily Mail got pictures from inside.
Not many people get to see inside the fair, but Twitter user @darren_cullen managed to get an image of the British stand which used a picture of David Bowie. Needless to say, the Bowie estate were not too happy….
HEARS / MUSIC
I went to see the seminal British noise/psych/punk band at a Baba Yaga’s Hut organised gig last week. They might have had a few years off, but you wouldn’t know it, it was all noise and groove and arms gesticulating wildly. A proper delight of a band to see. ‘Dandelion Sauce of the Ancients’ is on Apple Music and Spotify, Apple Music also has a live album ‘Cheese Brain Fondue’ with some older stuff that is excellent.
I think I’ve seen MuteMath every time they’ve played in the UK, from their first UK show at V Festival in 2006 to their current tour in Islington a few weeks ago. They are a great, tight, live band of incredibly talented and adept musicians who’s music has always sounded much better live (to me, at least). The past few years has seen the lineup change considerably, with Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (bass) leaving earlier in 2017 and drummer Darren King (who started the band with Paul Meany) just before the tour began. In fact, only Paul Meany (vocals) remains of the four musicians I first saw in 2006. To say this has altered the bands sound and appearance is an understatement, to watch Darren King is to watch a man pushing himself to his physical limits, more athlete than musician.
Their show was tight and professional as always, but a little something was missing. Todd Gummerman’s (guitars) playing on the songs he helped to write outshone that of those produced before he joined, and David Hutchinson’s drumming, whilst on point musically, lacked the feel of King (Their rendition of ‘Reset’ lacked the punch it normally has). That is forgivable though, this is a band now in a forced transition (and on the first show of a tour with a drummer standing in at short notice — in reality, the fact it sounded so good is testament to the professionalism and ability of the band).
There’s also a new record, Play Dead. Their sound has changed, there’s been a lot more synth and programming since Vitals (2015), it’s all gone a bit space-rock, with some very radio-friendly tracks like ‘Break the Fever’. I didn’t get past tracks 6 and 7 (‘Placed on Hold’ and ‘Everything’s New’) on my first listen, they are a bit lethargic, but push past ‘War’ (a great intro to snap you out of that stupor) and ‘Achilles Heel’ brings some unexpected bass. I really want to like it, but I don’t quite. But then I’ve said that about all their albums.
I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO
- Oh See’s new record ‘Orc’ — power
- Ólafur Arnalds remastered ‘Eulogy for Evolution’ — really beautiful
- Hammock ‘Mysterium’ — Deep ambient things
- Eluvium ‘False Readings On’
- Gold Class ‘Drum’
- Death from Above 1979 ‘Outrage! is Now’ — normal service resumed
- Son Lux ‘Remedy EP’ — I’m late to this but its ace, a bit darker and heavier than some of the previous work
- Liars ‘TFCF’
- Melvins ‘Houdini’
- Ghotpoet ‘Dark Days & Canapes’
TASTES / BEER AND FOOD AND OTHER THINGS
- Dark Star’s Not into Yoga — had some of this at The Elephant last week. My goodness. It’s all kinds of fruit cocktail and textures in your mouth, quite unlike anything I’ve had in a long time. Someone was despatched to the bar for more as soon as it was first tasted. This is a great brewery too (they do an ace tour)
- Dinara Kasko used to be an architect, now she makes cakes (her Instagram is good)
- Cinnamon Bun Week — As I bought my lingonberry bun from The Nordic Bakery this week they gave me a little business card about their upcoming Cinnamon Bun Week. I’m not really sure why you need a specific week for cinnamon buns, the flier seems to suggest they might be doing them in different flavours, but are they then still cinnamon buns? I’m happy to try.
- Kouing-Amann — because I was in Brittany just over a week ago and these are one of the best things about that bit of the world. It’s just layers of pastry, butter and sugar but a key example of how things can be much more than the sum of their parts. I promise to try and make them.