24 February 2011

Spots V Stripes

Hello, my names's Jane, and I'm in Stripes. Or is it... I'm a Stripe?. Oh I dunno.
Whatever it is, it's a Cadbury's thing in conjunction with the Olympic Games.
Last week I went to a games evening thing organised by phd where we tried to break some Guinness world records. These consisted of daft things like making a bed, stacking coins with one hand, clicking windows closed on a PC, chucking teabags in cups etc.
I didn't win any prizes on the night... I was too busy trying to break the red wine drinking record.
Thanks guys, it was a fun night... see a short vid of the evening here.
More info about getting involved here.
Three coal hole covers, a spotty dog in Mayfair, spotlights (Baron menswear RIP) and chocolate in Piccadilly, chewing gum outside the Astoria (RIP boo hoo) and the base of the Gherkin.

16 February 2011

Skin deep

Has anybody else noticed the excessive amount of make-up being worn by young girls these days?
Does the foundation they buy come with a free palette knife to put it on and a scraper to remove it? And why do a lot of them wear tinted (tinted?!) products that make their faces look like they've been to the Far East, but not the rest of their visible flesh? And there's a lot of bare skin around lately too, mostly on the wrong legs! And in this weather... brr!
Have you seen the gloss paint look? Slimy-look faces. Not nice.
Actually, it's just occurred to me that it's called foundation because it's supposed to be used as a base for other products... not to be the over-bearing the star of the show!
It's a look that requires a lot of time, effort and money... I bet the cosmetics industry is loving it.
Do men like it? Do they want to get close to all that gunk? Do they even notice?
Though I did overhear some schoolboys on a bus last week discussing their sisters' make-up habits and how they found it unattractive. They used words like 'stupid', 'muck', 'orange' and 'fake'.
I suspect if you ran your fingers down one of these rendered cheeks it would achieve the effect of a textured abstract painting, ploughed field or corrugations.
Here are some pics to illustrate the sort of thing I mean.
See more textures here.

14 February 2011

The Valentine Moonie Wedding

Oh gawd, today is that consumer-fest that is Valentine's day.
It used to be a day for letting someone know that you fancied them. But now it's just a way for restaurants and florists to get money from couples who think it's a really romantic to give the same flowers and eat the same food as all the other bored couples in the room.
So, if you were thinking of popping out for food this evening, don't bother unless you have already booked a set meal with all the other Moonies.
Alternatively, I see one supermarket is offering a three course meal for two with wine and chocs for £15. Ooh the romance of it all.
A friend pointed out to me that this Tom Jones CD that's being flogged at the moment as a good Valentine's present has 'Delilah' and 'Green Grass of Home' on it. Go Google the lyrics.
Clockwise from top left: Belgravia, Hoxton, Saville Row, Harlesden, St Mary Le Bow, Phoenix Gardens, Holloway, The Golden Heart

12 February 2011

A strange pub pair

A while back I put together a collection of strange pub pairings.
Well, last weekend I went to the wonderful Fox and Anchor and supped a few lovely ales with friends. On the table were these coasters. All very clever, but I'm still none the wiser. Click on the coaster to read the text.

8 February 2011

Old London telephone exchanges

I have quite a few photos of old fire alarm bells. I was initially interested in the logos and typography, and the texture of the rusty old boxes. But just recently I noticed that a lot of them have pre-1966 telephone letter exchange codes on them.
Letter codes worked such that the first 3 letters of an area were used for that exchange, as in BIS 1234 = Bishopsgate 1234. You have probably heard a someone with clipped vowels in a 1940s film saying, "Mayfair 2743".
So I posted my most recent fire alarm pic to GWL and the interest was enough to set up a group to 'collect' them. I also realised I had others, embedded on old shops signs etc.
There were 263 London codes, so I doubt we'll find existing examples of them all.
If you have seen any yourself, do let me know or add them to the group.
Below are some of the one I have found myself:
Top row: Nags Head, Tower Bridge Road, Chatsworth Road, Roman Road
Middle row: Earlham Street, Wandsworth Road, Whitfield Street, Marylebone Lane
Bottom row: Curtain Road, Weston Park, Thornhill Road, Holloway Road

3 February 2011

Modern British Sculpture, Royal Academy

I was going to put off writing about this for a while but having just read Ossian Ward's review in this week's Time Out I just had to say how much I agree with him, in particular the lack of cohesion, the chosen pieces, the absent modern artists and the 'compare and contrast' of the old fancy metal floor grilles and simplistic modern art – in some rooms I'd say the humidty boxes in the corners were often the most interesting things in there!
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of fabulous modern works of art in there but, for me, they are few and far between.
I love love love Jacob Epstein's work – and his Adam is there. The work shows great strength and movement (if you know what I mean). Though I'd like to have been able to have seen Adam's face. Perhaps a well-placed mirror could have been used?
Hirst's 'Let's Eat Outdoors Today' takes up almost a whole room. It's basically a biological study and, to my mind, not art. (Yeah yeah, begs the question, what is art?). I strode straight past it. No flies on me! Apparently it's one of four works he'd save from a burning building. He'd probably have to get his team of minions to shift it for him. And then hopefully he could sit inside it and turn himself into art. I'd go to see that.
Another room is packed full of treasures from the British Museum. Ancient pieces are contrasted with those from the past century, yet all of them display great artistry and craftsmanship and highlight how over-blown, cheap and transient a lot of the modern stuff is. Size isn't everything.
Which reminds me... the Fourth Plinth... need I say more?

2 February 2011

Uncovered gems

Last week I noticed a wonderful shop old sign that's been revealed during renovations on an old corner shop in Caledonian Road. I managed to get some great shots of it on the only sunny day we've had in ages. I wonder how long it will be there? Or, if they cover it up again, will they do so sympathetically?
I ask this because I have been lucky to have glimpsed quite a few old signs in the past year including the lovely old Segar shop sign in Finsbury Park that I've written about before.
And last Autumn some beautiful old hand lettering was revealed at 223 Holloway Road. It stayed on view for a few months but has recently been covered with roofing felt. I hope they've used nails and not glue.
Over two years ago a curve of gorgeous signs on an electical lighting shop were uncovered on Grays Inn Road near the junction of Theobald's Road. My friend alerted me to them when he said he saw someone up a ladder who was about to paint over them. For months they remained intact, except for one panel which the bloke had already obliterated. My hopes were high. But I'm sad to report that they have since all been painted over. Criminal.
All of these are far better than the back-lit bits of perspex we have along our high streets these days. Check out these modern old-style signs made by a talented friend of mine in the States.
Top row: White Hart Lane; Hackney Road x2; 280 Holloway Road (McDonalds)
Middle row: West Green Road; Caledonian Road; 223 Holloway Road, Brewer Street
Bottom row: Grays Inn Road; Markhouse Road; Seven Sisters Road; Balls Pond Road