Blog archive August 2003
communique online christian arts/literary journal worth a look. check out their stations of the cross. [i found them cos they've asked to republish 'church for a changing culture' from alternativeworship.org]
it's yearly career crisis time again. in september my firm reviews its personnel wrt professional development, career direction etc. looking at my 'continuing professional development' log i see i haven't done the 35 hrs required. but as you know i haven't got time. or, more precisely, there is little or no overlap between the things i want/need to do in my spare time and the things that would count as 'continuing professional development' in an architectural career. you'll note there are no architecture magazines mentioned on this website. i do read them, but not much for pleasure. i find it significant, that when i was in the royal festival hall the other night, i went into its wonderful bookshop - couldn't resist - and the books i wanted were about peter saville [graphic designer] and bridget riley [artist]. it's images and words that concern me. the communicative environment. it's blatantly obvious that i shouldn't be working as an architect. except that i have a full professional qualification and 20 yrs experience in that field and can get a decently paying job there.
the twist is that my contract may well end in october. or it may get renewed again. not knowing this kind of affects how i deal with these issues of 'career development' for my review. the staff handbook is full of procedures that make sense if one knows that one is with the firm for several years. work out personal development plans with HR etc etc. but most of us are employed short term to get the firm through a peak in workload and will then be laid off afterwards. so those plans become pointless, especially if actioning them gets in the way of all the other things i have to do which may lead to another career. i just wish i could get a job which tied in with my natural instincts and talents.
my journey home through the great london tube power blackout:
leave work [canary wharf] 6pm
two stops later [bermondsey] the jubilee line shuts down, also we are told the northern and piccadilly.
i start walking to tower bridge [ten minutes], hoping to get the District line at tower hill.
get soaked in the rain crossing tower bridge. this is the first heavy rain for months.
arrive at tower hill 7pm to find whole network shut down.
shelter for half hour in underpass with fifty other wet people.
get bus to waterloo
8.30pm at royal festival hall - have coffee and dry out a bit.
cross river 9pm, have meal at restaurant off trafalgar square.
10.15 get bus from charing cross to paddington
10.50pm arrive at paddington, get 2307 train to ealing broadway
get home 11.30
holy shit man - sounds like you've got eric clapton playing for you! sure you didn't download these tracks off the internet and just add yo'self? :)
actually that sound balance is better running the walkman off the mains. i just had to listen to it again to make sure i wasn't writing complete nonsense. and i'm not. when's a whole album coming daniel?
talked about in an alt w service at gb [can't remember which]: icon vs idol
idol - stops vision - does not point beyond - focusses attention on itself - opaque
icon - transparent - one sees through to something beyond - directs attention beyond itself - window
i just like the juxtaposition - useful.
damn! that's a fine band miller has. it puts me in mind of bowie's backing band circa station to station. and that's as high praise as i can give. whatever i was expecting it wasn't that. daniel's voice needs to be higher in the mix though - it's a good voice, let's hear it more [or at least give some help to half-deaf people like me listening on cd walkmans ;) ]
post greenbelt blog. i'm exhausted - feels like jetlag. lack of proper sleep. sitting around outdoors in cold wind at midnight too much.
time with daniel miller again
neil elliot's seminar on the spirituality of snowboarding. he's doing a PhD on the subject [!] - we talked at the beginning of his research and i wanted to know where he'd got to. nothing i hadn't already figured but nice to hear it all the same. neil's talk made me happy.
ikon's 'judas' service. a very accomplished piece of alt worship indeed - musically, visually, ritually, emotionally. fingering us all as judases. the badge is one of the 'thirty pieces of silver' they gave out at the end of the service. wish their earlier service hadn't clashed with - ahem - dfg.
I guess the postscript to that comment is that boomerdom had a sharp cut-off in england. those of us who hit our teens in the early 70s were conscious that a generational boundary had been crossed, depending on whether you had been in your teens in the 60s or not. the change in the political/economic climate [as blogged in may archive 13.05.03] gave a very strong feeling of being on or off the bus - david bowie summed up in 'all the young dudes'  "your brother's back at home/with his beatles and his stones/but we never got it off/on that revolution stuff/what a drag/too many snags". and punk in 76/77 made that explicit - contempt for hippies! i've always been aware that the generational divide lies just above me - people five years older than me are a different generation - they're boomers - 60s people - and i'm not. nobody growing up in the 70s could take prosperity and employment as their right.
don't normally blog commercial advertising but i liked this: taxi issue 03 by getty images. though some of those people look a little *young* to be boomers. nice typography. we are definitely living in the 70s now.
busy with installation stuff for greenbelt atm. this week will be pretty busy.
meditation in cinemas - been there done that! except we've never used lightsticks at grace.
went up the barclays tower for the first time today. a terrific view from level 26, which is as high as we could go yet. everything in the building looked pretty much as i'd envisaged it from drawings. this is as it should be, but it still strikes me as weird, that one can imagine something, get somebody else to build it, and it's just as one had imagined.
level magazine was one of those things that comes along and shakes your world. if i could digitise it for you i would. it went under after 11 issues over two years 99-00. i was lucky enough to have picked up #1 in a moment of idle curiosity so i have them all, lovingly preserved. two things made level special. one was the pure helvetica and rectangular colour block design, which won a best designed UK magazine award on that very first issue. it affected me deeply - i only realised how deeply after i'd done alternativeworship.org and found that i'd unwittingly reproduced a level magazine contents page. the other special thing was that level was the first - the only? - magazine for skate culture *adults*, as opposed to teens/early 20s. they were doing it for themselves - people who'd skated in the 70s and were now in their 30s, but still out of skate culture, not served by the usual yuppy/lad run of men's magazines. it seemed like such an obvious gap in the market that it's hard to see why level failed. it appeared at rather irregular intervals, which suggests that it was a stretch for a small bmx mag publisher, a magazine too far. those that found it loved it, but there weren't enough of them, and there's been nothing to fill the gap since.
at this morning's design review we were looking at the interiors and branding of diageo the drinks giant [guinness, jonny walker, smirnoff, gordons etc]. and their corporate annual report was passed around, and the illustrations seemed somehow familiar. so i checked the credits... evan hecox! i was a little shaken - i know people have to make a living, but diageo is a long way from skateboards. i associate hecox with the andy jenkins/level magazine thing c.99. he had a neat flash website [when that was good] with little rows of skateboards and lovely navigation. it's where i got the horizontal scrolling format of the original smallfire.org, before the menu got too big and forced me to frames. i feel a little sold out on.
after a week of record-breaking heat london is swathed in the worst smog i've ever seen here. the headline on the evening standard yesterday read 'gasping' over a picture of canary wharf [where i work] obscured by a brown haze. today the haze covers ealing and westwards - i've never seen it this far out from the centre before. add to that the 100F/35C temperatures on the tube and it's no wonder my lungs are feeling wheezy.
croyde photos here. picturesque views of the village will follow.
they also surf who only sit and wait
for most people summer is an experience of bodily freedom. for me it is a prison. i suffer from skin allergies caused by, or at least triggered by, strong sunshine and water. in order to go outdoors i must cover up, which isn't pleasant in hot weather. if i am reckless and end up with a rash, the heat and sweat on the skin inflames it. in the past medicines have done little more than mitigate it until the temperature drops and my body can get a grip on the illness. this year i have new medication which seems more efficient and far less damaging to my skin - but of course i have no wish to try it out on a serious outbreak!
i went to croyde at the weekend with paul and matt, to see kenny. matt is getting married in september, and paul seemed to think this was a last time that we'd be able to hang out at kenny's house and surf [i'm not so sure]. so i went along for old time's sake and to take the photographs. but a surf spot like croyde in high summer is a hard place for me to be. i want to stay in when everybody else wants to be out. i'm encumbered by hats and sleeves, pale while everyone around me is half-naked and brown. i zip up my wetsuit before i leave the house. stupidly i left my boots behind because they smelled. now my feet have a rash which isn't helped by wearing shoes and socks to work. surfing is about how ill i want my skin to be.
my skin is far less of a problem than it ever used to be - knowledge and medication mean i only have outbreaks when i get careless. likewise my old hip injuries are healed to the point where i seldom think about them. so why be so inhibited, hanging back unwilling [but not really willing to say why]? because health so hard won is hard to put at risk even in small ways. it must be nice not to have to think about your body in any mechanical sense. to just take off your clothes, to just act.
but it runs the other way too. i met this surf teen at kenny's place - blond, tanned, boardshorts like a movie cliche surf kid. except he has tourette's. which for those who don't know means physical spasms and outbursts of uncontrollable foul language every few minutes. how does physical beauty make up for that?
this has been kind of a gloomy entry, which i needed to write to get it out. the trip made me think a lot about what comes naturally and what doesn't, and how to value what we do. surfing will never come naturally to me. kenny surfs like breathing, but he can't do what i do. his flatmate, who is a chef, said "i really appreciate art - but i can't do it!" and i laughed and said "i really appreciate surfing - but i can't do it!" but something in us values what other people do and we can't more than what we can do ourselves.
the photos of the weekend are a lot better than the experience of the weekend. i prefer to forget the latter in favour of the former - false memories please!
these off paul's digital camera. my own prints tomorrow when i scan them.