things I have faved, #8

Artists-in-residence-in-offices: Jenny Odell in the San Francisco planning department, Pilvi Takala in the marketing department in Deloitte.

An article on standing bars in Osaka and a moving liquor cart in Tokyo.

I think it’s safe to say fame has changed Heston Blumenthal.

Noma Guide to Fermentation is out.

A writeup of the digitisation and restoration of Victorian Mutoscope and Biograph films that I saw at the BFI IMAX as part of London Film Festival. Much like the war films restored for They Shall Not Grow Old (available on iplayer for a limited time), if not recoloured, one of the amazing things is restoring the films to natural timing. The Biograph films should be available next year in the BFI archive (as part of their Victoriana season), but don’t know if Peter Jackson will be releasing his restored films seperately (some are here).

The similarly named Bioscope was the trade magazine of the cinema industry during the silent film era. Some were digitized in the Internet Archive, but more are now available in the British Newspaper Archive. Some great adverts. Worth a flick through some issues.

Ravilious’ firework pictures

I still randomly hum the theme tune from The Cravings, the Korean 30something food drama sponsored by a sauce manufacturer.

Loads of good shows on at the Soho Theatre this week/soon – Felicity Ward, Jessie Cave, Natalie Palamides, Tony Law.

This is a good article by Fuchsia Dunlop on Chinese hotpot, if you can wiggle past the FT paywall.

things I have faved, #7

What the pupils of the Government School of Design were taught in the 1840s. The School was based in Somerset House, a second school in Spitalfields, and regional schools in Nottingham, Coventry, Sheffield, Birmingham and Newcastle. “No persons studying to be artists, as distinguished from ornamentists, will be admitted to the School of Design.”

Investigative reporting by, of all people, Property Week, about WeWork. Massively financially overexposed, but backed by Softbank and Saudi sovereign wealth – potentially taking $10 or $20 billion more investment. Meanwhile the free beer is coming to an end. And soon – WeLive, WeGym, WeLearn, WeGrow, WeBuild.

I will go on about Aggretsuko until everyone has watched Aggretsuko – a 20something red panda office worker who releases her tension through death metal karaoke. And it’s designed by Sanrio, so there’s merch. What other series are like this and Kantaro The Sweet Tooth Salaryman?

Too Many Cooks deserves a rewatch. And then read the extraordinary lengths it took to make.

Sad to miss this exhibition of old cities created with Ubisoft in Paris

Westminster Council is consulting on their Oxford Street plans

Different views of regional France

Unicode just won’t include the transgender flag, by first making the Unicode Consortium agree on how to extend emoji to all potential flags. Pirate flags are ok though.

Some good comedy things on this week – Bridget Christie’s last week at the Leicester Square Theatre, and Jordan Brookes at Soho Theatre.

Best cheese that I’ve faved recently is Cote Hill Lindum, now stocked by Waitrose.

things I have faved, #6

The recent trip to Sheffield included the Liquid Crystal Display exhibition at the renewed Site. My favourites by a long way were by Suzanne Treister, particularly the Survivor (F) diagrams. She’s also got work in James’ show Agency at Nome, alongside some ominous iPhone orbs by Ingrid Burrington.

Westminster Council announced their proposals for Oxford Street, after blocking the Mayor, Sadiq Khan,’s bid to pedestrianise (the actual proposal is hidden in a hard to find 150Mb PDF that is hard to download). It seems to boil down to – less cars, a lot less buses, wider pavements, a few water fountains and 2 windswept squares made a little nicer. So more of the same, with the emphasis still on the Western end and Oxford Circus, and still with a road running down it.

M&S are pushing traceability a lot recently, including this map of all their factories and suppliers. A bold move for a company reliant on own label goods: traditionally suppliers don’t want their association to be known (as their branded goods normally sell for more).

Jerry Saltz on the sale of an “AI” artwork. There’s a growing body of art that’s made with code directly lifted from other technologists or artists (often with comments on github asking how to get it running or feature requests). Weak sauce.

The New York Times Magazine had a candy issue, including articles on salmiakki, Japanese KitKats and more. The web design is… interesting and pretty breaky.

Walking round Paris on foot. London has 2 walking rings, the inner Capital Ring and the outer London Loop. Both pretty fine but will occasionally throw you into industrial estates, housing schemes and along major roads.

A history of the caffè corretto, including the fact that Starbucks are being sued in Italy for trying to charge €1.80 for an espresso.

I can’t say that the Economist redesign is as bold as the designer’s think it is (I haven’t seen a paper copy though).

Peppa pig porcelain

Big game fishing in the UK, and the Tunny Club

Why Does Japan Make It So Hard for Working Women to Succeed?

Phew. Hopefully less hate-faving next week.

things I have faved, #5

BBC Wales has a good series of standup comedy, featuring a lot of less well known comedians, often doing their first TV. Sad that all the sets are so short. The BBC flagship standup show, Live At The Apollo, was going in a good direction last series, with fresher line ups, but seems to have reverted back to big names.

It’s good to hear that Cat Cairn, one of the few Turrell skyspaces in the UK, is back working again, lighting up at dusk.

Mikkeller opened their first bar in London at the weekend. It’s a nice space, but tiny, and the prices are, well, Scandinavian. M&S are stocking their core beer range at £2.50 a can – the IPA is good.

The MERL (Museum of English Rural Life) has some sculptural interventions and a Ladybird exhibition that seem like a good excuse to go and visit the absolute units and the trouser-wearing chickens.

I went to Sheffield on Saturday – more on that later, probably – diamond geezer did too recently, and went to an almost entirely different set of places.

I don’t think I agree with Rushkoff’s takedown of UBI – it smells of not giving money to those most in need in case it trickles up.

The Noma Guide to Fermentation is out and it seems pretty practical and comprehensive.

How female architects have been written out of history

things I have faved, #4

Exhibitions in London: Videogames at the V&A is pretty mega, given how hard it is to exhibit digital work. Strange Days at the Store X is better and bigger than I expected (short interview with Camille Henrot about Grosse Fatigue). Always amazed how they find new nooks and crannies in the building to exhibit more work. There’s a good little selection of Topolski’s drawings of the Bank of England printing plant at the often overlooked Bank of England Museum.

It’s London Film Festival, and whilst not much grabbed me in the programme this year, I have caught up with some American films that haven’t been released yet in the UK – Sorry To Bother You (great direction, and it’s funny, and an unexpected cameo from Kate Berlant; released 7 December) and Wont You Be My Neighbor (don’t need to have grown up with Mr Rogers to get it, way more interesting than you would expect; released 9 November).

It’s 30 years since Jean-Michel Jarre’s Destination Docklands concert. Surprisingly the area it was held is still not redeveloped (the Making Of video is pretty hilarious – JMJ vs Newham planning councillors). The Newham fireworks will be held there this year.

“UX”, interaction design, service design are not in the middle of all things

Big veg competition on Gardener’s World

Online archive of Sainsbury’s packaging

How the National Gallery evacuated their paintings in WWII

Unfortunate maps

things I have faved, #3

Tracy Thorn going on a walk with Thames Discovery, who I volunteer with. It’s pretty much the end of the year for foreshore walks, but you will be able to book future walks on their website.

The Guardian’s photo essay on London’s pedways, including the full Elevating London video. I do like the pedways, but looking back it feels too much like designing the city around the car, rather than designing the city without cars.

Tom talking about the history of Twitter and its bots. There really is no digital public space left.

A lot of the comedy shows I’ve seen recently have been technically ambitious – sound cues, video, mini games (sometimes holding a clicker just like presenting a talk). QLab seems a popular way to create shows, which led me into Syphon, a way for lots of audio and video apps to talk to each other. It feels like a whole shadow universe to Keynote and PowerPoint and what most presenters use to present. It’s a pity there was never this kind of ecosystem around or allowed for presenting; it might have made for more interesting work. I guess with QLab you could make your presentation in Unity if you wanted…

I got 3 episodes into Killing Eve and gave up. Good writing and acting, but increasingly far fetched. I rolled my eyes at the club scene and that’s that.

I’ve avoided all the Frieze malarky but I do want to see Strange Days at The Store on the Strand. It features Camille Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue, which is one of my favourite things. There’s also John Akomfrah, Ed Atkins, Ragnar Kjartansson and many more.

If you book one thing this week, it should probably be John-Luke Robert’s show from Edinburgh that will be touring.

things I have faved, #2

I went to the Ceremony of the Keys a few weeks ago. It’s short but pretty interesting, although you have to book over a year in advance at the moment. Better in the summer, I guess, when it’s lighter and less cold – it has happened every night, in some form, since the 13th or 14th century but has standardised on 10pm since 1826.

It’s “Netflix attempts to stop you from doing anything apart from watching TV” season. The new series of Bojack Horseman feels better than the last (the stand up episode “Free Churro” in particular is great) but the last few episodes always feel rushed to try and resolve the series. Looking forward to Maniac and the slow drip of the new series of The Good Place.

The Mighty Redcar is a stylised documentary that’s unusual because it features a Northern town and the working class almost unjudgementally.

It’s also “all the art money is in London for Frieze” season, so the big hitter shows of all the galleries are starting to open. Elmgreen and Dragset at the Whitechapel feels like a wasted opportunity. Space Shifters at the Hayward is mainly very slight – much of the work falls down the moment there’s a slight scratch or inevitable fingerprint, and the outdoor sculpture courts are woefully underused – but it’s great to see 20:50 back in London. The Health & Safety is overdone, but with reason, it’s the most unsettling feeling in there. Just don’t grab the sides.

I don’t think I’m going to be able to get to Paris this autumn (unless there’s an [e word]), but the Tomas Saraceno takeover of the Palais de Tokyo and the Tadao Ando exhibition at the Pompidou sound great.

Love this post by Lyft on colour, accessibility and naming.

That’s enough of last week. To the future!

things I have faved, #1

As people are doing week notes, telling you what I’ve enjoyed this week seems like a nice method of low energy blogging. I was going to do it last week but kinda forgot. Which means I have a bumper list of things I’ve faved.

The Guardian have a nice photo story of the Impossible Project taking over Polaroid’s last film factory and getting it working again (and renaming to Polaroid Original).

John Luke Roberts was one of the favourite shows I saw in Edinburgh, and he’s here talking on a podcast about comedy. Some of the references fly over the interviewer’s head a bit, which is a shame. I particularly liked the idea of making something funny then putting a joke on top.

Yue Yuen and Li & Fung are not household names, but probably should be – and will be if they follow the trajectory of their tech counterparts Foxconn and Huawei. A good long read about how clothes happen and why most company’s social responsibility work doesn’t.

Another company you should have heard of – JD.com – is profiled in the New Yorker.

There’s going to be a lot of comedy in these after Edinburgh. Daniel Sloss has two hour long shows on Netflix. They’re good, and funny, only occasionally straying into a 20something straight white guy telling you things. He was keeping a count on Twitter of how many couples he’d split up with the second show, Jigsaw.

More on comedy, sorry. An interview with James Acaster about his 4 Netflix shows. Basically he had to make them for the price of 1.

It’s Nice That feature Dia, a graphics in motion design studio.

BBC’s new documentary about dance music is excellent. I worry the next two episodes will not be as good (Pete Tong and Paul Oakenfold have already popped up (rightly in this case, but still)). Man, the music. Goosebumps for the entire hour.

Sky Arts showed a documentary about New Order’s latest gigs that I saw MIF last year. So much work! Looking forward to 2019.

Open House London was great again. Thanks to all the companies that opened up their buildings (and people opening their houses) and to all the volunteers. Given how badly some people treat the opportunity, and how much grief the organisers get, I’m surprised it continues. But it’s a very good thing. If you don’t like an aspect of it, volunteer.

If you book one thing this week, it should probably be the extended run of Rose Matafeo’s Edinburgh show at the Soho Theatre.

Things from Edinburgh to see not in Edinburgh

I went to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time – it was great, and I saw 42 shows, but I hadn’t really understood how much transfers (or previews) in London. Which is good for Londoners, and also lets me mop up some shows I couldn’t fit in – my favourites list on the fringe website had over 100 shows I didn’t see.

So here’s my list of things to see in the next few months –

Soho Theatre

Soho Theatre took 17 shows up to Edinburgh, so naturally they’re programmed in for the next couple of months back in Soho. For comedy, Rose Matafeo won the Comedy Award this year, so is naturally sold out (but rumours of extra shows), Lou Sanders, Sam Campbell, Jordan Brookes, Lucy Pearman and Jessie Cave are all excellent. Things I still want to see: Nate, Felicity Ward, Alfie Brown, The Pin, Tony Law, Ray Bradshaw, Ahir Shah, Lauren Pattison.

Theatre-wise: Underground Railroad Game was the big talking point.

Pleasance

Pleasance is one of the 4 main festival promoters in the Fringe. They also run a theatre in London where some productions are transferring.

Lights Over Tesco Car Park is a fun hour created by a young theatre group.

Freeman is an amazing physical theatre piece exploring racism, slavery, prisons and mental health.

I didn’t see it, but The Archive of Educated Hearts was shown in the tiniest shed round the back of the Pleasance, and got rave reviews. And everyone crying.

Objectively Funny festival

This festival, from September 20-30, is the closest to being at the Fringe (even having some Pay What You Want options). Loads of great shows – Rosie Jones, Heidi Regan, Elf Lyons, Micky Overman, Ed Night etc. etc. John-Luke Roberts was the show that nearly had me crying with laughter in Edinburgh, if you like silly (now rebranded “absurdist”) comedy.

There’s also Hamilton (Lewis) at King’s Head Theatre, Garry Starr Performs Everything at Rosemary Branch and the London Podcast Festival at King’s Place – I know nothing about podcasts but there is Night Vale.

Many of the acts and theatre productions are also touring, so you don’t have to be in London.

The one show I can’t find any transfer for was the best thing I saw – Electrolyte by Wildcard Theatre. I assume it’ll tour (and was developed with Oval House in London so I expect it’ll appear) – worth watching out for.

Some microreviews of what I did see are here.

If you don’t want to move from the sofa, Netflix has the Live From The BBC series, with many comedians doing last year’s Edinburgh show. Comedy Central has some recordings from Soho Theatre, as well as lots of shows from The Comedy Store (check catch up). Soho Theatre On Demand has some of last year’s shows, for a fee.

If I do go to the Fringe again, I’ll probably concentrate more on the international acts, fringe first timers and things that won’t appear immediately in London – for example the Taiwanese dance shows Bon 4 bon and Varhung at Dance Base were a highlight this year. But I do now, weirdly, feel more plugged in to what’s happening in London comedy and theatre, and have more venues to keep an eye on.