Sorry. There's a chance this might get a tad solemn and obituarish. My Mac, my wonderful iMac, is no more. She is an ex-Mac.
A large wooden shed. An innocuous hulk of a thing, a windowless box. Nothing special. This is the photograph I've been looking for.
Modern maps didn't just appear out of nowhere, nor were they simply torn straight from the pages of the London A-Z. Behind all the futuristic shimmer and zoom that we're now accustomed to lies a visual language that’s been churning in galleries and artists' studios for decades.
Rules to help you keep some creativity and humanity in your writing.
Making films is all about — as soon as you’re finished — continually regretting what you’ve done …
Going through my latest collection of reading material stashed away in Pocket, I notice I have rather a lot of stuff related to The Grand Budapest Hotel. So I thought I'd share.
I've been led astray by curiosity and an inability to understand the perfectly logical inner-workings of Melvil Dewey's mind, and now I don't know where I am or how to get out. I'm looking for one of my own book covers and I've been eaten by a library.
You know the stargate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey (or rather, that bit in The Simpsons when Homer sits in the massage chair)? That's how I feel. Before today, the world was in colour. Now it's in COLOUR.
Ah, the Amiga. Commodore's flagship brand may have found itself a little bit buried by history, but if you are/were of a certain age, you'll remember it with a warm, cushiony fondness. For a period from the mid-80s to mid-90s, it quietly redefined what a computer should be, and found its way into living rooms and bedrooms and studios and people's hearts. Sound familiar?
No. I can see what's about to be asked and no, I don't want to answer it. I'm sorry ma'am, I don't know you, and you can't make me answer it. No no no.
It all happened without me noticing, a silent invasion. Natural selection slowly plucked previously essential boxes and gizmos from our lives and replaced them with Ive shininess.
I like clean and minimal. Christmas doesn't do clean and minimal. It's messy and garish, all decoration and foil. Christmas is maximal.
As Paul Rand told his students: "It is important to use your hands, this is what distinguishes you from a cow or a computer operator."
Did you know that Häagen-Dazs isn't actually a thing? We just think it's a thing because it looks convincingly like a thing. But it isn't.
I feel like the Princess and the pea. No matter how comfortable and reassuringly supportive all my Apple gubbins may be, once the tiniest of disagreeable details becomes apparent, it plays on my mind. Why is it there? Why is it like that? Why isn't it right? Everything else is right, why isn't this right?
"Here's where the problem lies: designers are notoriously tricky and mercurial characters. They're difficult to control and stubborn about their ideas …"
I never thought this would happen. After years of loyalty to ink on paper, I've been converted to the new and the fangled. I've fallen in love with reading comics on my iPad.
In theory, it shouldn't be different from any other job. Just sit down and think about what's needed and write a brief, then address the brief in an utterly sensible and methodical fashion. Simple, right? But no. Methodical becomes perfectionism becomes obsession and indecision and doubt. Frustration.
Somewhere between where I once was and where I am now, I spent a long, long stretch working exclusively with academics. Should you ever have to deal with one, here are a few of their favourite things.
Scared. I'm being watched, and I'm scared. There it sits, gently humming away in the middle of the room, blinking its little red eye innocuously. A small but constant noise that sounds like a distant gateway to hell whispers from its guts. It remains still, but angry gears and indelible ooze threaten to churn into motion at any moment. Cheap, unreliable, sadistic. My printer. My evil, evil printer.
The joys of working alone are all very well … until you realise you have nobody to talk to apart from an inanimate, sinister bird.
Dieter Rams isn't the only big name German-born designer whose work is at the core of Apple. There is another, and Apple are getting particularly good at applying his Bond villain aesthetic.
Fantastic film by Steven Soderbergh gets fantastic poster by the fantastic Neil Kellerhouse. It'd look fantastic on my wall.
iTunes has reminded me that there's something special about a structured, deliberate collection of songs by a single artist. A good old fashioned beginning-middle-end snapshot of an artist at a particular time, requiring a bit of a time commitment. iTunes has returned me to a lifetime of slow listening.
Jesus H. Corbett, I'm tired. I have sick in my hair, I ache, I don't know what day it is and I'm so very, very tired. Ten years ago, this would have simply meant it was Sunday, but these days it's all down to another very small, very big reason. Three months ago, Brody Benneworth-Gray popped into the world and brought with him a life of adorable chaos. And bits of sick.
Illustrator and jolly nice chap Peter Crawley does some amazing things with a needle and some thread, but this stitched-soundwave interpretation of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart is particularly splendid.
Waiting for an important email to arrive? Twiddling your thumbs? Full of pent-up poster energy? Then why not remix a random Seekers album sleeve and make a nice little thing for no reason whatsoever!
What better place to turn for inspiration than that pile of old books and ephemeral loveliness cluttering up your desk? Trust me, having a good tidy is a vital part of the creative process.
A rare sighting of my desk I a state of complete and utter tidiness. Only he most essential inessential things are allowed to clutter it.
Finding new work as a freelancer is a haphazard affair. No matter how intently I stare at it, that phone never lights up when I want it to. It's a lot more complicated and messy than that. Maybe one day I'll figure out the best method for reeling in work, but so far it seems that there as as many methods as there are clients.
This week I've managed to read and watch The Great Gatsby. Suffice to say, one is significantly greater than the other.
Cosy crime? Good grief. Fiction should be in one category and one category only: fiction. And it should be shelved alphabetically by author. That's all we want. Is that so hard?
In my memoirs, I'll recount how I made a stand and stormed out of my in-house job, leaving nothing but the lyrics to Monkey Wrench as a resignation letter. In reality I was set free by redundancy. The jump wasn't entirely voluntary, but I decided to embrace the shove and take it as an opportunity to go freelance.
In theory, Apple's shiny pocket butler (yes, that's correct) is the ultimate travelling companion, equipped with all manner of adventurer's tools and guides. However, network providers see things differently. Using your iPhone as an iPhone anywhere but your home country is an extortionate, baffling ordeal.
Drab. Depressing. Repulsive. Eyesore. Embarrassment. Soulless. Put it out of its misery. Tear it down. Tear it all down. York's Stonebow House puts up with a lot of abuse.
A lament for one of York's wonderful, unloved modern ruins.
The annual list of things I saw at the cinema. Quite a lot of superheroes this year: Avengers, Spidey, Batman, Charles Eames, etc.
in the space of a few days, Steven Soderbergh watched Raiders of the Lost Ark three times … each time in black and white. And now so must I.
Want to know what being a parent is like? This poem by esteemed wordjockey Mike Reed for Dog Ear Magazine pretty much sums it up.
Watch Columbo. This is a sound piece of advice that is the solution to most of life's problems, but right now, watch Columbo and pay attention to the desks.
At the recent New Adventures in Web Design conference in Nottingham, all attendees were given a goodie bag full of an assortment of nice bits and bobs. One item stood out from the rest: a postcard. A pre-stamped, ready-to-send postcard, to write on and send to whoever you wished …
If you're just starting out in the exciting world of filling your life with clutter, or should ever find yourself lacking in stationeriments, here’s a handy field guide to get you on the right track.
It's been brought to my attention that there are still some members of the human race who haven't picked up the latest issue of the fantastic Gym Class Magazine. This really is a sorry state of affairs. These poor individuals are missing a beautiful magazine all about the beauty of magazines …
These so-called quick response codes are more like ugly, mysterious trapdoors; more often than not slapped onto designs to convince client that their advert/article/yoghurt is somehow cutting edge. They are designed to be read by machines, not eyes, but are sold to us as superior alternative to simple human-readable URLs. The emperor's new barcode, if you will …
Those of you not skulking in the safety of your RSS readers may have noticed that I've had a bit of a redesign around here. It's the first step to an embiggening and namechangering of this site, but the basic foundations for what's to come is now in place. I couldn't have managed this without two very important, helpful things …
Everybody stop what you're doing and listen to Summerteeth by Wilco. You need this.
The Independent cares about the things I care about, and so does i … oh dear me no.
Yes I know I look distracted and pensive, thank you very much. I have a lot on my mind okay? Here's just some of it.
I just had a play with new predictive text thingy, Google Scribe. It got surprisingly Biblical …
Something about the Tibetan Fox and Avatar. But mostly, I'm just incredibly proud of that post title.
After what can only be described as one heck of a weekend in London, Dr B and I collapsed in front of the telly and watched Inside Man on Sunday night. Here’s a quick brain-dump of filmic thinkings.
On the surface it looks like a standard comic book action movie, but it’s actually an off-kilter patchwork of oddball moments, like the sped-up Benny Hill car chase, the better-than-Kill-Bill-if-you-think-about-it sword fights, or the genius casting of Kris Kristofferson as Kris Kristofferson With A Shotgun.
At some point between the last viewing of Big and this one, I became a Grown Up. The fantasy elements of the film are now contrasted by the uneasy reality behind it all …
So here it is, the one thing every blogger is obliged to churn out at this time of year: an annual review of stuff.
Who’s going to be the next Doctor Who? There are a lot of names being thrown around – some of them for spurious reasons like “he’s worked with Stephen Moffat before” or “he’s Jon Pertwee’s son”.
With Christmas and Oscar season just round the corner, there are lots of new movie trailers hitting the web. Let's unfairly judge them!
Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why won't somebody just give me a really nice, really big houseboat to call my own? People are so selfish.
I don’t think my name is that difficult, but I may as well change it Daniel Gray-With-An-A given that that’s how I have to introduce myself to people. On top of that, things get complicated by my (what I consider fairly neutral) Thames Estuary accent and my own shortening of my first name.
I attended the Editorial Design Organisation talk at the London College of Fashion last night, and jolly good it was too. I love a good talk about magazines, me.
One of the joys of blogging is that you get all kinds of stats about who's visiting, what they're reading, and how they got here …
Watching Johnny Cash in Columbo is significantly better than being poked in the eye.
Over the years, Watchmen has gained a reputation as “the Citizen Kane of comics”. So where’s the film version then?
Throughout the film, the characters are almost speechless, or at least incapable of vocalising anything that they truly feel. Rather than dialogue, the action is accompanied by a constant hum of the industrial landscape that they find themselves lost in …
Along with several billion other people, saw REM in Hyde Park on the weekend, and I'm sure it comes as no great surprise for me to say they were utterly fantastic …
After years and years and years of waiting for another decent Batman film, I finally got to see Batman Begins last night …
The prequel trilogy has come under a lot of criticism, but I think only now that it's complete can we fairly appraise it. Here, for your pleasure, are a couple of lists …
A not-so-svelte cross-dressing pianist with a voice that sounds like a fusion of eighties pop stars Boy George and Alison Moyet – who knew that what the world needed right now was Antony and the Johnsons?
Here's a little something for the weekend. Amy Hempel is an amazing minimalist writer who has earned herself a bit of a cult following …
All stylised curves and accentuated physical forms, the characters that populate The Incredibles owe more to Tex Avery and comic book artists such as Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko rather than the recent attempts at photo-realism. But The Incredibles is so much more than some beautifully rendered models.
Jim Jarmusch has never achieved the mainstream success of peers such as Tarantino or Soderbergh, but he has continued to make a succession of critically acclaimed low-key films that have earned him a cult following …
In years to come, film historians may well refer to 2004 as the Year of the Jude. With roles in Cold Mountain, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, I Heart Huckabees, Closer, The Aviator and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, he is one of the most prolific actors around. Amidst all of this is Alfie …
And lots more. Coming soon …