I think (think) that's me at the top. It's definitely my brother and my Gran. It could be a cousin but it makes sense that it's me. My brother again below, parking the van, just after my Dad jumped out, "Park the van son" (Dad couldn't drive).
I have a feeling that's my Gran and Grandad in the Herald coming off the ferry. Have no idea where they were going to or coming from. Partly because I wasn't born when these photos were taken and partly because even if I had been, I'd have been too young to remember.
I doubt you really want to hear any of this…But for the record, below you'll see my Mum, Dad and brother with Dad's Uncle Cyril and Aunty Vi – clearly before I was born again. Cyril and Vi were lovely; I have really warm, if somewhat distant, memories of visiting them in Sherborne St John, near Basingstoke (once I got being born out of the way). There was nothing in Sherborne St John except a Post Office. I think (once I'd got a bit of growing done) I was allowed to buy a Topic from there. The main thing I remember though is Great Aunty Vi; she had this amazing Hampshire accent.
I am very proud of the fact that I introduced her to the beef burger.
One of the really nice things I did when I was back at my Mum's, a couple of weeks ago, was to go through her slides. I was looking for photos of Dad – which I found – but I found some other great stuff too. No slide scanner to hand so I, rather crudely, used my digital compact and this Jumbo 22. The results are coming up next.
Last Friday saw me leaving Thought Collective, almost exactly three years after joining. It's been a good three years but the call of the wild has been growing strong within my soul. Friday 17th January 2014 saw me embarking on an eleven month odyssey to independent practice via a temporary position with Interpretive Design experts Tandem Design.
That day also saw me taking a long overdue excursion to see Titanic Belfast – Tandem were heavily involved in the visitor attraction so this was an R&D field trip. I could and probably should gush about it, it's a suitably immersive (pardon the pun) and moving experience, helped somewhat by me seeing it on my own (without the distraction of children).
These photos give nothing away. Although it's a stunning exterior it's the inside, the experience, that's the real star. If you can go, go.
This years Pentagram holiday book records the strange case of the wild dog that sued the manufacturing giant. The plaintiff, one W E Coyote, disgruntled by the poor performance of products purchased from the defendant, the Acme Company, sought damages for loss of income and personal injury suffered following the use of the afore mentioned items.
With supporting diagrammage and wit, it's a very funny little book. The text, by Ian Frazier, was originally published in The New Yorker in 1990 and re-purposed here with products designed by Daniel Weir and illustrated by Simon Denzel.
We've been spending a bit of time in the past lately. Proper, personal, family past I mean. Not surprising. It started with me looking for a photo of my Dad but I soon got side-tracked. This is (mostly) my Mum's old Post Office book (with a brief appearance from Dad's). No forgotten fortune inside.
Three weeks before he passed away, three weeks before Tuesday 31 December 2013, we all knew where Dad was heading. We didn't speak of it but we all knew. We kept it to ourselves. Not out of fear; not because voicing it made it any more real. But I do think I was protecting my Mum. She was almost certainly shielding me from that particular truth.
One week before, I asked Mum directly: just how serious WAS this? I felt it was time. From her reply, it was clear that she wasn't expecting him home. Infected, his chest was just one ailment tugging at his already tired body.
Recognising the inevitable, the imminent, was a good thing.
When I last saw my Dad, on Sunday 15 December, he was as frail as I'd ever seen him. He was suffering, he felt rotten, he was groaning and miserable. I fed him a little breakfast and then I just sat with him, holding his hand.
This was an unprecedented act of intimacy between Dad and I. And then, sensing he wanted me to, I prayed with him.
That was the closest we have ever been, the last time we were together. I don't say that to leave a cloud of sadness in the air (although that is perhaps, unavoidable). Far from it. I see that moment as a blessing; the memory of it brings only comfort. And a smile.
I've mentioned my Dad a few times before. Here, here and here.
Maybe I'm wrong but I suspect that, when it comes to The Designer's Republic, you may be either a lover or a hater. Perhaps you either embrace their self-indulgent creativity or repel against the pomposity of it all. What's the big idea? You could ask.
Al gave me this album the other week. Not a particlular fan of the artist, he lifted the sleeve just because of its cover. And snapped it up after realising its creators.
I'll be frank: I don't fall into the first TDR camp; I'm not a lover. But…now time has passed and their impact has proliferated; and as I've grown as a designer and come to understand the importance of the agitators on the business of graphic design as a whole; I can see this kind of work in a different light.
If you were to scrutinise this album sleeve you'd discover all sorts of self-indulgencies that have very little to do with the musician's work inside: Pantone references, units of measure, holes that interact with what lies beneath. You might say, distrations. Flagrant disrespect for the true purpose of the album sleeve which surely should reflect the musician's artistry, not the graphic designer's.
And yet I can't help feel the celebration of the sleeve as an artefact, especially now we're so many years on (this album was released in 1999) and the format has become a thing of the past*, makes for an exciting experience. I think, had I picked this sleeve up forteen years ago, it might have annoyed me; seeing it now it just makes me smile. It's of a time. It's more like art now, which is perhaps how it was always intended to be.
* I say this because although vinyl is, obviously, still made and sleeve art still laboured, the format's place in the world has changed.
My dad made this rabbet plane. It's for cutting rebates in wood. Rabbet/Rebate? I can't find any explanation but you have to wonder about that name? A dialectic thing? Or just because it's got that sticky-up bit and reminds you of a rabbit. Well, actually, it doesn't really does it? If it wasn't for the name, you wouldn't think, "looks like a rabbit that does" would you? I've had a dig around but no one on the internet seems to want to talk about it.
I suppose it doesn't matter really. What matters is that this beautiful piece of routed hardwood, with it's decades old construction marks and wear was used to carve grooves and recesses into machined wood. Say for, oh I don't know, perhaps for a glazing bar where it makes provision for the insertion of the pane of glass or to accommodate the edge of a cabinet's back panel or for a casement window jamb or for shiplap planking.
Oh, the word "rabbet" is from the Old French "rabbat" meaning "a recess into a wall".