We had a family meet-up over the weekend, something that involved several children and the need to find somewhere to gather in relative comfort somewhere near Birmingham. And so we ended up at the RAF Museum in Cosford. An amazing place. I couldn't recommend it highly enough. And what's more, it's absolutely free.
If you get the chance, do go. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
But you know me. I'm not the one to look out for the obvious. No, what intrigues me about these military sites is just how many orders there are stencilled over every available surface. I guess that if you're commanding platoons or flight squadrons or crews, the last thing you need are individuals using personal initiative. So you need to give them orders. Or instructions. Which also includes stating the obvious.
But it's the seriously weird use of the English language that always amuses me.
"Static vent do not plug or deform holes area within circle must be smooth & clean". What?
I've done a few myself. And it's an experience that I wouldn't have missed for the world. If you haven't been, then take my advice: you really ought to go.
Now I do know one or two people who go every single year (and when I say every single year, I mean way back to the 1970s - before a lot of you were even born, maybe). But that's not for me. I sort of think it marks you out in no uncertain terms as being an ageing hippy. And none of us want to be labelled as one of those, do we now?
So, no more Glastonbury's for me. I've done my share, and I'm happy with that.
But actually, on reflection, what really ended it for me was the rain. If you go just the one time, you may strike lucky and get a sunny year. But go twice or more and you'll experience the rain. And sooner or later that gets to you.
All of which is a long preamble to this letter to The Guardian, published yesterday (and reprinted from earlier in the year):
April 19 ... There is another far more pragmatic
reason that I and quite a few of my white middle-class friends aren't
going to Glastonbury this year. It's not the lineup ... I'll give you a
clue. It pissed down in 2004. It pissed down in 2005. Only once, but
the torrent was biblical. And it just pissed down the whole pissing
time in pissing 2007. I'm 40 this year and the gamble is just too much.
GlaxoSmithKline themselves couldn't produce a stimulant stimulating
enough to artificially make me forget the pissing horror of three
pissing days cold and wet in a pissing field. From Justin Missingham, London
(Picture half-inched from Alistair, but I'm sure he won't mind)
*Neverthless, it is going to be a bit of a ramble, so stay with me if you can.
A good friend emailed me yesterday and said that she's decided to start a blog and what was my advice on the best platform to use. Should she install it on her web site or should she follow another's advice and go for Blogger? And I then spent a long time explaining exactly why blogging is such a great idea, but that you can only do it when you're ready to do it. And it's all about content and 'tone of voice'. Nothing at all to do with the platform.
So why am I on TypePad? Simply because Ben, Richard and Russell are. They were my role models when I started out. So I did what they did. But with other role models, it could equally have been WordPress (although, paradoxically for a designer - or so you might think, the last thing I wanted to do was to design my blog).
Anyway, back to blogging and why I think it's a good thing (as if I hadn't told you before). Because it's all about bumping into people in the most unexpected way. And making contact with people who are interested in the same things. As Ben once said to me, once we would have joined some club in Pall Mall in order to meet like-minded people. These days we do it on the web.
But I'm always surprised that not many design students seem to blog. Maybe they do, but I don't come across them. Or perhaps they're just too busy on MySpace, getting wasted and using up excess hormones.
And then rooting around in my visitor statistics (yes, it's a rather sad part of the blogging personality, wanting to know who's visiting you - if anyone at all, that is) I came across Sian, who's in her second year of study at the University of Wales. Now I'm normally very reluctant to point you in the direction of someone who's not been blogging for long. Because so often people can dry up as soon as they realise that getting visitors and responses isn't necessarily a given. But Sian gives me the impression that she's in this for the long haul. So good on you Sian. Keep it up. And I hope this little post doesn't create too much pressure for you.
But what's this got to do with St Bride, I hear you ask? Well, the funny thing is that when I was reading Sian's post last week about her trip to London, I found that we were both in the St Bride Library on the same day, though for different purposes. And I came away thoroughly dispirited, which led to this, whereas Sian came away inspired.
A lesson to us, I suppose, that we should always - in the words of Eric Idle - look on the bright side of life. Or, as it says on my business card, what sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
Cheesy maybe, but nonetheless true.
If you are a member of the Chartered Society of Designers, I'd like you to email me: david(at)studiohyde.com.
OK, it's the time of year when we have to start scratching our heads about what to buy for whom. I promise I'm not being paid for this, but if you're stuck and you want it to be graphic, here are a couple of suggestions:
Lot's of people admired my 2008 calendar that was given to me by my old friends Bob and Horace (aka Harrington & Squires). Well, if you're around the Tufnell Park area over the next couple of weeks, they're opening up especially for you with lots of little goodies just waiting to be snapped up. The dates to watch are the 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th and 20th, noon to 6pm. Or you can order from the web site - full details are here. And if you tell them david the designer sent you, they may even give you a Christmas kiss.
On the other hand - or maybe as well - you can get yourself a set of eight I Like Postcards for a trifling £3. And with a free I Like badge for every order placed before Christmas. And whilst I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, the typography on the reverse is up there with the best in modernist restraint. You'll be lucky to find examples of my work for less than that, I can tell you.
Well, it was. Then it wasn't. But now it is again (I think).
As has been mentioned before, and also elsewhere, TypePad has been gradually 'improving' its platform, and last week the way comments were handled on this little bog of mine was similarly 'improved'.
Now, you know me: I like to embrace change. But what wasn't made clear was that the 'improvement' meant that following the change only registered commenters [that's the word that seems to be used these days, but I still think it ought to be commentators - what do you think Mike?] would be able to comment.
Anyway, I've just changed the settings - so now (I think) you can comment freely. To your heart's content. On this or any other post.
Well, here we are: something rather unusual - a post without a picture, and a rather long one at that. But bear with me: I haven't lost my marbles (or at least I don't think I have).
If you've been reading this blog for a while (and thank you if you have) you might recall my post back in the summer about the Chartered Society of Designers. I'd thought really long and hard before I made that post: not because I had an agenda or ulterior motive; but simply because I was continuing to pay an annual subscription to an organisation that appeared, to me, to be giving very little in return. I had, in a way, already decided that maybe if I walked quietly away it could just get on and do what it wanted to do without any fuss. Trouble is, I can't just quietly give up simply by withholding my subscription. No, I have to formally resign. And that's a different matter, and one that does require some reflection and careful thought. And that's what I've been doing these past few months.
First of all, though, let me set the record straight. As of 3 July this year, I had not paid my annual subscription for 2008. But I did pay it shortly thereafter. I did so because I wanted to give the Society the benefit of the doubt. Maybe my concerns about lack of engagement simply reflected the fact that I'm not an active member these days. Maybe if I got myself more engaged (as I once was) I'd get more out of it again.
But before I did anything else, I wanted to take a closer look at what the Society was doing. And, as a consequence, what was actually happening with the money that I handed over. And so I decided to take a look at the accounts. Maybe that was a mistake, because the conclusion I reached was that income was in the decline and overheads were on the rise, and very soon the latter would overtake the former. Now that's a reality that all sorts of organisations have to deal with, and I'm quite sure that the Society is astute enough to be able to tackle that issue head on. But my concern was that my subscription over the past few years was simply allowing the Society to exist: nothing more, nor less, than that.
Anyway, fast forward to yesterday evening, when I attended the 33rd Annual General Meeting. I thought this might be the opportunity to re-engage, and to raise my concern in an open debate with those members who govern and take an active interest. And, do you know what? I might just as well have stood up and announced "the King is in the altogether". This isn't what the Society wants to hear, apparently, and I was called to be 'out of order' several times.
As a result, it's been made clear to me that, unfortunately, the Society doesn't want to have its washing aired in private, let alone in public. And I won't do that: it would do the Society no good at all.
But now I must resign. And resign, not because I'm getting nothing in return for my subscription. But resign because the governing Council has made crystal clear that it doesn't want dissent. And it doesn't want to hear uncomfortable truths. As such, I represent an impediment to the aims and aspirations for its hoped-for flourishing future. In short, it doesn't need members like me.