Archive for January, 2005

latest discoveries:

Monday, January 31st, 2005
  • New (sub)Urbanism: The Copyrighting of Public Space

    ‘…Warren Wimmer’s attempts to photograph Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, Cloud Gate. When Wimmer set up his tripod and camera to shoot the sculpture, security guards stopped him, demanding that they show him a permit. (via Land + Living)…’

  • 9 contemporary poets reading themselves through modernism

    ‘…Three nights of readings at the Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk on Penn’s campus…’ part of PENNsound (via PCL)

  • The Information Machine

    ‘…a short film directed by Charles and Ray Eames, commissioned by IBM in 1958 for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair….’ (via

  • cityofsound: The City (1939)

    ‘…Urban planning legend Lewis Mumford, Aaron Copland and photographer Ralph Steiner joined forces in 1939 to construct an idealistic film about the potential for ‘new cities’ to arise from the mire that America’s cities were then perceived to be descending into.

  • DIY Culture – Urban Explorations and Climbing

    ‘…Explore the horizontal and the verticle , throw some de-conditioning moves and clamber under, over and across the cityscape…’ Disappointed I missed this one, I’ll try it next time (via Sparkes)

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The Illegitimate Extension

Monday, January 31st, 2005

More generous offerings of excerpts from good books I own; I’ve been moving things on to the new set of shelves I’ve just finished building and unearthing a few delights. Tonight it’s the turn of How to Write, Think and Speak Correctly edited by C.E.M Joad and published quite-a-long-time-ago (there’s no date in it) by Odhams Press.

Sweeping generalizations deserve no mercy and people who rely on them merit all the rebuffs they receive. Provided that an opportunity of questioning them is presented, they are, however, more dangerous than helpful to the controversialist, as they are so open to attack. If only for that reason we should avoid them. The fact that they are dangerous, however, has given rise to a trick of argument known as illegitimate extension.

Suppose you were to maintain against me that: “Some Englishmen are unreasonable.” That is a moderate position which I should find it difficult to assail. I might, therefore, resort to a trick. I might say: “That’s all very well, but if you say some Englishmen cannot be reasonable you ought logically to say all Englishmen are unreasonable.”

In this way I am seeking, illegitimately, to extend your argument until it covers a position which is demonstrably unsound. I am seeking, that is, to manoeuvre you into defending the proposition: “All Englishmen are unreasonable,” a proposition which I can disprove with the greatest of ease.

Taken from the section entitled The Art of Thinking: Some Unfair Tricks of Argument.


latest discoveries:

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

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latest discoveries:

Friday, January 28th, 2005

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latest discoveries:

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

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The Urban Idyll

Monday, January 24th, 2005

Notes from The Paul Jennings Reader – Collected Pieces 1943-89

There are moments in even the busiest urban life when our relationship with the city is suddenly changed. A meeting ends early, we have time off to see a doctor or solicitor – whatever it is, for a couple of hours we stroll, we are relaxed, we possess the city, instead of being held ourselves in the grip of its routine. In summer, light winds move through the warm streets, reminding us of our trade with the hot lands, the bales of calico, the boxes of spice. In winter, the afternoon sky goes a heavy pink, the lights come on, we are wrapped in a northern dream of gaiety under the chandeliers. The city has the irrationality of a flower, the power of a volcano.

But such a mood cannot be deliberately invoked. It must come by accident, although we do at least know that we must be on foot, for only thus can we emulate the casual, sideways motions of butterflies, or of bees, drinking the city’s nectar. Wheeled things go in a straight line, to infinity; you cannot cover a city, or have any part of it, on wheels…

Think of it, a wonderful quiet area from Park Lane to Charing Cross-road, from the Mall to Oxford-street, full of beautiful people, relaxed, shining, talking animatedly or gravely to one another. We had a hint of what it would be like on the nights preceding the Coronation, when the Mall was simply a great promenade, a susurrus of strollers, a murmuration of mortals. Is not this what cities are for?

from ‘Oddly Enough’, Observer, February 1954


Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

latest discoveries:

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

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fresh start

Friday, January 21st, 2005

Comments are back on.

I’ve deleted all the previous comments – it’s the best way to tidy up at the moment, I’ll remount the non-spam ones as soon as I’ve filtered out the rubbish. If you’ve uttered something enlightening here in the past, sorry but you’ll have to say it again.

incredible furniture

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

My son and I went to see The Incredibles last weekend. It’s very, very good. Contrary to what you might be expecting, I’m not going to add anything to the numerous comments already published elsewhere about the styling and set design. Whatever needed saying has been said and, let’s face it, I’ve been banging on enough about furniture design over the last few weeks anyway. If you want to get into the discussion about the 50’s design references I suggest you start at the Design Observer article: The Designables.

I’m going to offer something a little different. In the car on the way home I suddenly remembered a book that I bought from Hay-on-Wye a few years ago; salvaged from the bottom of a damp box left outside one the town’s many bookshops, it’s called How to Build Modern Furniture by Mario Dal Fabbro.

First published (in Great Britain) in 1959, it contains numerous plans, diagrams and instructions to help you make your very own 50s furniture. So if you want to be the envy of all your friends and turn your house into a scene out The Incredibles, you need only visit the set of drawings I’ve uploaded to my account and put the tool set you got for Christmas to good use.

But please, have some respect and don’t use any MDF.