Sunday, 26 October 2014

Closed for business

I started keeping a blog in 2006. It seemed to be a good way of sharing things that interested me with the wider world. And, for the past eight years I've kept adding to it. But the blog has been overtaken by more immediate forms of social media now, and the various Vines, PInterests, Flickrs, Snapchats, Twitters, Facebooks etc. are what people visit these days. I don't get many visitors any more. It's a lot of work to keep this blog open when no one is reading it.

I've therefore decided to close up shop, maybe permanently, but certainly for the immediate future. It's been a fun thing to keep and, of course, the archive will remain.

You can find my original blog pages from 2006 to mid-2011 here.

And this blog carries it on up to the present day.

Thanks for visiting over the years.

Maybe I'll see you on some other social media platform soon.


Sunday, 12 October 2014

My Recent Appearance on QI

Now THIS was fun to do :)

That was my brief cameo in the Location, Location, Location episode of the recent Series L.

I do worry that my IMDB entry will now include 'Jason Manford's Toilet'.

Mind you, the BBC subtitles people did a good job:

Good old Steve Colwen!

Video copyright (c) 2014 BBC, QI Ltd and Talkback TV.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Z List Dead List

Comedian Iszi Lawrence's live Z List Dead List gigs are inspired.

The format is very simple; three or four people rock up to the stage and take it in turns to sing the praises of a real person from history that history has kind of forgotten. Then the audience votes for their favourite and the date of the gig becomes XXX Day in honour of the winner. I took part in one of the early shows and was delighted when my choice, the wildly eccentric Cornish vicar Robert Hawker, won on the night.

Well, now Iszi has started a podcast too. And I appeared on the first one. You can listen here. And you can hear all of them here or subscribe on iTunes.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Useless Objects of Katerina Kamprani

Katerina Kamprani is an Athens-based architect whose design project, The Uncomfortable, intentionally evokes feelings of extreme discomfort and frustration. Described on Kamprani's Facebook page as 'a collection of deliberately inconvenient everyday objects with no meaningful purpose.'

It's suggested that 'Part of the discomfort comes from trying to imagine using these projects. It sheds some light on the connections between motor skill and the brain. Looking at these objects feels like an error message has been delivered to the nervous system: it creates the most delicious malaise and disquiet.'

Hmm. Not so sure about that. But I love the playful inventiveness of it.

Found here at APlus.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Wildlife Landscape Sculptures of Wang Ruilin

This is beautiful work - Wang Ruilin's 'Dreams' series of sculptures show powerful animals carrying little worlds on their backs, a staple of many mythologies.

The sculpts, some life-sized (not the whales obviously) are all made of copper.

See more at his website here.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Delicious Children's Book Illustrations of Júlia Sardà

I love this lady's work. It makes me smiley.

Her individual take on classic stories is glorious. I am in awe of their fun and energy.

See more of her lovely week on her website here.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Some Stories you Might have Missed - September Edition

The Stranger's Guide to London - Everything the Georgian countryman needed to know in order not to be ripped off by duffers, waylaid by Jilts, tricked by Coin-Droppers or smuggled abroad by Crimps.

Down the Rabbit Hole - An analyst looks at the sale of a million sex toys and their reviews and asks, 'Just what do we get up to in the bedroom?' Some fascinating and surprising insights from what may turn out to be one of the most honest sex surveys done in decades.

Behind the Scenes of Vintage Pin-Up Girl Art -  What it says on the tin. Safe for work!

The best 'Man Walks Into A Bar' joke you'll ever read here.

The 62 Areas of Britain that are more expensive than London.

The Girl who was frightened to Death by a Coffin - Some delicious Victorian strangeness, and some more here with The Strange Tale of the Ladies who Limped.

You really can be bored to Death - Study shows that boredom is bad for you; those who live tedious lives are twice as likely to die young.

Internet Trolls really are Horrible People - Study reveals that trolls are narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic ... as well as being arseholes.

A Messy Desk encourages a Creative Mind - Study shows that the state of my desk is just right. I knew it all along.

The Global Think Tank Directory

Friday, 26 September 2014

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful

Need I add anything? A wonderful collision of art and science created by Seattle-based science artist Eleanor Lutz. Do visit her brilliant blog, Tabletop Whale, here.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Wooden People of Bruno Walpoth

As I've said before on this blog, I'm not a huge fan of hyper-realistic art. I can't see the point of it. It seems to me that hyper-realism gets people focusing on the technique rather than the artwork and that, for me, means that what we're applauding is physical skill rather than human expression. However, I love art that is almost realistic; art where you can see the brush strokes and the chisel marks. That adds a textural element to the work and also shows me something of the artist and what was in their head. For that reason, I can't help but be wowed by the life-sized wooden sculptures of Bruno Walpoth.

I love the use of semi-transparent paints and glazes that let the wood grain and the imperfections shine through. Each sculpture seems very warm and alive.

More of his work on his website here.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Gigantic Plywood Art of Henrique Oliveira

Take some old plywood strips and stain them with wood stain. Then start sticking them together. Eventually you might end up with artwork as awesome as this.

Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira uses salvaged wood collected from the streets of São Paulo to create massive scale, site-specific installations with dense layers that twist, curve, bend, and split. Oliveira uses tapumes - which in Portuguese can mean fencing, boarding, or enclosure - as a title for many of his large-scale installations. Henrique's breakthrough occurred when he was a student at the University of São Paulo, where for two years the view from his studio window was a wooden construction fence. Over time Oliveira began to see the deterioration of the wood and its separation into multiple layers and colours. One week before the final student show opened, the construction was finished and the worn out plywood fence was discarded.

Discovered here.