Tuesday, 23 September 2008


My first job in London. Internet/sales/image/layout-slave at Cordings Ltd; a small shop right off the Picadilly tube on the corner of Picadilly and Air Street that sells 'Traditional British Clothing Since 1839'. (which includes shooting gear, suits, shirts, socks, hats, canes, overcoats, waistcoats, breeks, Bryn Parry illustrated books about sex in the country, cufflinks in the shape of cartridges, etc.) My boss Noll, who was kind enough to offer me the job attempts to run a tight ship but I reckon it's his PA and his 7 headed (international) miracle working staff that keep this madhouse running. Coincidentally, everyone who works here speaks at least 2 languages. Customers vary from members of the British Royal Family, to rediculously minted housewives, to bitter&angry highrollers, to actors, to hunters, to rappers (they're quite fond of the socks), to silly cunts that 'would like to speak to Eric Clapton' (as he co-owns the place). I sent a parcell to Claptons house once but haven't yet had the pleasure to actually meet him. (I was told he occasionally drops by for cups of tea.) Two other random facts: 1. That fabulous tall skinny Chinese gayboy from 'How To Look Good Naked' took a peep inside the other day. 2. I've lived in New Zealand for 1,5 years but had to fly all the way to London to finally see a flippin possum. Ok, it was dead but still. I was exploring the stockroom the other day and there it was, standing in the middle of the path, starin at me with that post-mortem look in it's eye. I'm not really into killing animals for the sake of killing them, I really do disapprove of it and somehow find it an unPC company to work for, nevertheless I had a very interesting time here. My Cording days are coming to an end though. I might end up doing part-time imagery/layout work for them but uni's starting next week so I'll see how I'll go. I'll really miss this place, I've had some great and not so great customers, learned some new tricks and met some bizarre people.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The London Design Festival 13-23 Sept 2008.

I've had several reasons to come to London and festivals like the LDF was one of them :) 11 days packed with 128 in- and outdoor exhibitions, installations and 48 talks spread over London covering Architecture, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Digital Design, Environmental Design, Cultural Design, Fashion Design, Crafts, Music, Photography, MA shows, Workshops, Future&Design and many more.  It just so happens to that I have a daytime job and my dear parents coming over this weekend; I have very little time to visit the exhibitions I want to see, but I am determined to see some. Most of them are free, some of them are not. To all of you who've missed out this year or are planning on doing the LDF in 2009; plan ahead, get the guide well in advance, get yourselves on mailing lists and pre-register on websites. It'll save you £10 entrance fees, you can get free books and gain access to exclusive master-classes and invitees-only exhibits. For me, it's a good excuse to see more of London and explore the wide range of design, it's a way of getting prepared for uni. 

I'm blessed with good friends, most of them are bright and creative individuals.  But for several years I've felt dissatisfied. There was an attitude present that enabled 'creatives' to claim (out loud) that they do the thing they do because they know what they want and know who they are. For some reason I find it so presumptious. I've known some creatives who're are good at what they do but have been doing the same shit for years on end. They call it their signature, I call lack of growth. You know, it's all good... until they start criticizing someone else's work and subliminally try to force upon others the delusion that they have more knowledge and bigger balls. Once I found myself getting on that train of thought I knew it was time to move on for real. Do you know how you're backstabbing your ability to create by doing the same thing time after time? Getting bigged up for doing a nifty trick 100 times in a row? Whatever. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy they're happy, (you know, at the end of the day somebody's gotta be happy about something or we'd all be eating each others heads off) and I consider myself far from super creative and talented, but these questions keep burning in the back of my head... Are we dreading the thought of looking at what's happening outside our creative comfort-zones? Are we afraid of being surrounded by smarter opponents? Are we secretly scared of the fact that we MIGHT be exposed once we venture into the dark unknown? Perhaps I'm taking it too personal, maybe I bitch too much (I know I do), maybe I go over this stuff in my head way too much and maybe I should just shut the fuck up and let people do whatever they do for whatever reason they're doing it... but I believe that true originality, creativity and art (which ofcourse is in the eye of the beholder) do not just derive from talent but also from experimenting, striving to do better and a reasonable amount of pain and agony. Spiritual and creative growth never stops and contemporary knowledge of self is never sufficient... ANYWAY, to cut a long story short, I'm going to see these exhibitions to drench myself in other people's visions, to find out where I stand, what it is I lack, what I could do better, what I could be good at and perhaps I'll find out more about what I don't want. And maybe I won't find anything... but it's definitely worth a shot. 

The fact that the UK is going through a recession won't go unnoticed, the challenges it brings are food for thought. From what I've heard, read and been told about design over the past year is that there have been debates about profound changes in economic conditions. This years LDF has it's focus on these debates. Grant Gibson, this years LDF editor on the recession: 

"Earlier this year I was invited to the opening to a set of new rooms at a young persons' cancer unit at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital in Birmingham. The project had started many months before with a series of workshop days including the ward's patients. Following this the young, London-based practice Two Create designed three new spaces: a kitchen-cum-dining area, a library, and another room where the patients can relax. While obviously done on a budget, the new interventions felt youthful and contemporary and, importantly, never patronized their occupants. The opening, held in one of the hospital's waiting rooms, was hardly glamourous - consisting of orange juice and butties rather than champagne and canapes - but as the ward's head nurse spoke to thank everyone involved in the scheme and visibly choked as she talked about her patients, the emotion was palpable. And at that moment I remembered that design really can profoundly affect people's lives. The sector has enormous power. Sometimes you feel it just needs to be reminded how to use it properly. And perhaps that's the greatest favor a recession could perform."

For more information visit: http://www.londondesignfestival.com

A gorgeous installation set up at one of my favorite places of London; Southbank. Here's a( selective) list of events of which each I would've visited if it wasn't for obligations. They're definitely worth checking out, schedules and timetables on website.

The Arts Gallery - University of the Arts London
Spin - the art or record
An exhibition examining the art of record cover.

Central St. Martins College of Art and Design
Up all night
Annual showcase of post-graduate design work from CSM.

Create Berlin
Create Berlin goes London
Show presents the 20 best interdisciplinary projects on the thought about the city's allure after the fall of the Wall.

Gallery Fumi
Work by emerging designers who adopt innovative and refreshing ways of working with  variety of materials.

Touch & Reflect
T&R uses fabric, shape and shine to underline the importance of different materials in furniture design.

Centre for British African Carribean Studies
True Story - One Story
A journey focused on a group (BACs) engaged in redesigning their lives and identities. Ancient wisdom becomes innovative, as traditions are adapted to meet the challanges of the world today.

Heard Gallery
Young Guns - a gradate showcase competition.
An 8 week competition or new graduates to showcase their work

Standard Life
An art and design exhibition, Top art and design gradates from Schotland's artschools.

Chaplins Furniture
Scubism by Nigel Coates
'scubism avoids coordination for it's own sake I combines miscievous imagination and traditional skills...'

Chelsea College of Art and Design
Steve Thomas: Big Biba and other stories
Steve Thomas' brand-identities for some of the biggest international names.

Flower Council of Holland (I'm an orchidophile)
Double Dutch -  A feast of flowers
Schemes from Dutch designers and curators that show how flowers can give design a new dimension.

Helen Hamlyn Center, Royal College of Art
Living Proof
This exhibition points to a more human-centered design future: an expo of research-led design project.

PM Galery&House
Bottom Drawers
The expo aims to look at why we colect the things we do and why objects become important to our lives, often with a value that goes beoynd their monetary worth. It aims to be about the feelings we attach to objects

University of Brighton, 
360° - Charting New territory in Sustainable Design Education
The title says it all.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Mayor's Thames Festival 2008...

... Just another excuse to bust out the breakdancers and free oriental food platters. Apart from the London Design Festival kicking off that day, I wasn't really aware of what was happening and as I got off the tube there were suddenly hundreds of people blocking my path; eating, buying, doing and looking at all kinds of stuff. Boris even gave permission to use the 10m2 of 'beach' *cough* by the Festival Pier to create a festive atmosphere. The weather was brilliant, the food was excellent (mostly because some of it was free) and even though it was packed, no-one acted like they were caught up in a gridlockd-congestion-shitstorm at 6.00 PM on a Thursday evening. London... naturally.

Monday, 15 September 2008

See, I told you I wasn't gonna live in a box.

My house; a breakfast room, a kitchen, a freaky little cubbyroom hidden underneath the breakfast room that the owner of the house had built for her 13-year old son whom she lovingly calls 'her little sausage', my small bedroom and my small empty studio. (I'm still very patiently waiting for my flippin boxes to be released from the sodding Rotterdamn Harbour.) There are 3 other rooms in this house and they're yet to be occupied by tenants. My agency had this funny idea that the rooms should be let for £130 per week, plus bills. Hmmmyeah uhuh. Like that's ever going to happen with the Credit Crunch slowly but surely taking it's toll. The kind of people the agency is aiming for cannot be arsed living in this part of town anyway. If it wasn't for the deal I made with the owner of the house I wouldn't be living here, not for that kind of money anyway. I live in Peckham Rye, a pretty ghettoass neighborhood (and a place everybody seems to dislike) in South East London. I really do love living in this part of London, but that's another story. This house is the exception to the rule tho; it's hidden behind two gates, by a Georgian semi-green courtyard with palmtrees and a picknick table where no-one's supposed to throw parties as several gnomes were bashed last year. Oh, the audacity.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Dear everyone...

Right. I got requests to keep you up to date and so I've set up this blog to tell you about my ventures, fuckups and experiences. And perhaps in the future I'll spill a thing or two about my whereabouts and academic achievements, after all I did move to London to get a degree. I'll see where this ranting page leads to and how long it'll last. It's much easier than sending emails and making phone calls or sending texts with a creditless phone. Either way I'll try not to neglect you like I did when I lived in New Zealand. So, I suppose that now that the blog stands, it's official; I really live in London. (Or maybe it's a sign that I finally have noteworthy things to tell you, who knows.)Thank you all so much for the enthusiastic emails that I got from you. A girl needs to know who her true friends are! Just kidding, even though I have completely fallen in love with London (again), none of you are forgotten. Moving to London was my next big mini-step. Luckily, so far everything has been going well, however your kind words are much appreciated and really have contributed to settling in here. Take care, I'll be ranting soon.