Category Archives: Art

Antepenultimatum III

We pick up the story after our hero and key to the secrets of graphic design, logos, and intellectual property (Tristram Hunt, for it is he) has twice submitted his name unsuccessfully for selection as a Labour parliamentary candidate…

The Return of Man at C&A
“I got yer click-bait right here, Sexy”

After being parachuted out of New Labour’s Milbank Palace into a safe seat in Stoke, the biographer of Engels and picket line-crosser spent five years slashing Labour’s majority before letting it be known that he would be giving up the seat at a time when the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn were at their most embattled.

[Can’t get enough of that PHWOAR!!! factor? Get your Apoplexy Tiny Letter here.] Continue reading Antepenultimatum III

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Propaganda

After trailing a post on graphic design and democratisation last week, I received an interesting email on the subject of graphic design, logos, and sloganeering.

Return of the tiny fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret wearing shitgibbon
How do you do this again, USA?

…perhaps the way to think about the democratization of graphic design isn’t to think about whether the act of creating a design is accessible to more people; but rather to think whether it is easier to spread.

[It’s easy to get more whimsy and fancy at the Apoplexy Tiny Letter] Continue reading Propaganda

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Is That All There Is?

A while ago, I interviewed Ian Rankin for The Fountain, in anticipation of the recent Rebus Fest.

Been enjoying him on Veep
Man, I can’t keep up with all the incarnations of Hugh Laurie any more

Well, Hugh. Let’s see, shall we…?

[For more whimsy and less namedropping, check out the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.] Continue reading Is That All There Is?

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Tangents

Man, what a week.

In chronological order

  • the Grenfell Tower fire started on the morning of 14 June killing 6 12 17 30 54 79;
  • early on 19 June, a clean-shaven white man attacked people near the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park; and
  • later that day, Brexit talks between Britain and the EU began.
How many *s in "charmer"?
I always thought David Davis sounded quite charming on the Danny Baker show

[Check out the apoplexy newsletter for more knockabout fun.] Continue reading Tangents

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The Sound of [Young] Scotland

Mrs Stroke Bloke and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this past weekend.

The Third Firth of Forth Bridge
Where it all went down – over by the Irn Bru coloured one

And what a pleasant day our anniversary was. We started off at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, which was featuring a Bridget Riley exhibition. I found that some of the impact  of seeing her work for the first time in New York many years ago had faded. YMMV, obvs.

For more uninformed opinion, check out the Apoplexy Tiny Letter. Or BBC politics correspondent Norman Smith trying to talk about Scottish politics on the PM show.

Continue reading The Sound of [Young] Scotland

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Three Chairs!!!

I’ve been kind of obsessed with chairs for around a decade-and-a-half.

I can’t remember if it started when I got a copy of 100 Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum Collection, or if I got the book because the seeds of my obsession had already started to sprout.

In fact, I’m surprised this hasn’t cropped up on the blog before.

Natürlichsollteessein
Hold on, shouldn’t that be one word?

[For things that don’t show up on the blog, check out the apoplexy newsletter.] Continue reading Three Chairs!!!

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Thanksgiving

On Tuesday, I was invited to an event run by The Open University’s Reading Communities team in association with The Scottish Book Trust’s Book Week Scotland and the Being Human festival of the Humanities. It was called Edinburgh: A City of Readers. As well as my story Valhalla, I was asked to read an extract from an 1830 letter written by the actress, writer, and abolitionist campaigner Fanny Kemble in which she talks of breakfasting with Walter Scott and a small party of other Scottish luminaries of the time.

Apparently, she found it

strange that so varied and noble an intellect should be expressed in the features of a shrewd, kindly, but not otherwise striking countenance.

Walt gets all Teenage Fanclub
Ain’t that enough?!

[For more Walter Scott/Teenage Fanclub mash-ups, head over to the Apoplexy newsletter] Continue reading Thanksgiving

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London

A day after the result of the #EUref came in, Mrs Stroke Bloke and I hopped on a train to London. Like the narrator of this wee ditty:

“Smoke lingers ’round your fingers / Train, heave on to Euston…”

(Smiths sceptics might find the above performance surprisingly muscular)

It was, y’see, an opportunity to check out an exclave of the soon-to-be nation of #Scotlond. By this time, Scotland’s First Minister had already reached out to the Mayor of London to discuss how their remain-voting areas could ameliorate the impact of Brexit. Continue reading London

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Portrait

After My Name is Joe, Pts. 1 & 2, I realised that the conclusions to which I was coming about memory – and more importantly, group memory – were so grindingly prosaic that only prose fiction could do them justice.

But that, as they say, is another story about a young woman’s travels on the continent for another time.

A young woman contemplates her forthcoming travels

Fortunately, last week we headed off to Ireland where I could think about both that and other stuff.

While Mrs Stroke Bloke was sitting an accountancy conversion exam in Belfast, I headed off to the Ulster Museum to see an exhibition of winners and short-listed entries for the 2015 BP Portrait Awards. Continue reading Portrait

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May Day

It’s the Early May Bank Holiday in Scotland today. Ian Wiki confirms that May Day is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival.

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora.

Flora: the Roman goddess of partially hydrogenated sunflower oil-based spread

In explaining the origins of May Day, Ian comes up with all sort of specifics, but kind of slides over the idea that – as Longsufferingreaderoftheblogpaul wrote in a comment to a particularly off-the-wall post – time is social. Harvests. Day and night. Diurnal clocks. Biorhythms and cycles. All that mushy wetware bio stuff I never learned but is real.

Cornwall in England definitely gets into that side of things:

[On May Day,] Padstow holds its annual Hobby Horse day of festivities, believed to be one of the oldest fertility rites in the UK.

Continue reading May Day

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