Blog archive September 2007

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30.09.07 / 01 / howies shop

walking down carnaby street today i saw the howies staff getting the shop ready. here's dave hieatt and ade:


wanted to say hi but couldn't think of anything intelligent to say. i feel like i know these people well, but i don't. such is the power of blogs and marketing. maybe if they'd not been busy setting up i would've said hi anyway.

25.09.07 / 02 / free transport for london

and i almost forgot, philippe kindelis was handing out his map of free bus routes in london, ie the ones with bendy buses [note for non-londoners: it's notoriously easy to ride on these without paying]. he says he's working on a fake oyster card that will give you free travel on all buses.

free bus routes front
free bus routes back

25.09.07 / 01 / design shows

'tent london' was the best design show this year - something of everything, from second-hand modernist furniture to conceptual student projects, and all bases between. it took three hours to get round, and i still missed some. my photos here. designersblock was less good this year, but still had a few interesting things.

highlights of both shows [not just stuff i photographed] in no particular order:

andrew oliver's cut-up furniture - he hasn't got his website up yet, but one to watch

kithkin presented some slightly freaky student work - 'pay and display' is a brilliant idea, 'newton's breakfast' is entertaining, 'androgynous doll' with its velcro genitalia is worrying and as for this...

the 'reveal' table by ku-designs is an instant classic - not bad for a first try

trekinetic's hi-tech wheelchairs make disability look cool

ernie bakker's spira coffee table gives spirographic form to your tablecloth doodles - and i like his other spirograph-derived products and the ker-plunk olive dispenser

lojo is another good emerging church seating solution

vaugh shannon have relatively mainstream but witty furniture - i especially like the cityscape table

mr jones watches are very witty [though you need good eyesight]. remember you will die...

my current menu colours are taken from a rug by susan absolon for kappa lambda rugs. unfortunately it isn't on their not-great website. me photographing the rug: "i need the colours for my website menus!" she looked nonplussed.

i looked nonplussed at the sublime magazine stand with a beach beat surfboard laid across two butts. would you dare put one of those outside your house? and what's with a glossy lifestyle magazine about consuming less?

20.09.07 / 01 / promotion

have just been promoted to associate director. among other things this means my name changes colour on the intranet phone list. and i finally get some decent words to put on my business cards. lesser ranks always look unconvincing [like when a plumber gets called a 'sanitary engineer']. i used to just have 'architect', as it's true and avoids the unconvincing hierarchies - but it got missed off my current cards somehow, so i look like a student or nobody.



daniel miller

what a nice feeling to be suddenly somebody ;-) by the way who were you actually before ?? - great news steve - well done - hope that it is going to mean you get to do lots more things you really enjoy ! peace, julie!

julie kenny

congrats! hope you get some more cash too :-)

jonny baker

excellent news. congratulations.

mark waddington

16.09.07 / 01 / designersblock illustrate

this week is london design week. to kick off i went to designersblock's new show 'illustrate', which is a show of young illustrators in a series of empty retail units in a [rather ugly] new development near emirates stadium. as ever with these things it was a mix of the wonderful, the useless and the obscene. my photos here.

my favourite thing by far was this little stool:


15.09.07 / 01 / the usual unusual

photos of the usual unusual, this year's event by graceland at greenbelt 2007. i like what graceland are up to, even though i don't know about the specifics. i like their graphics. i like their disregard for time and venue and liturgy and the other self-imposed constraints of a 'service'. this is more what i was hoping grace would do this year. something that just happens for a while. you saw it or you didn't. make a place using objects that carry ideas. i didn't stay long enough to find out what happened to the pieces at the end, but it would make sense to give at least some away, as kind of 'viral' objects - a liturgy that scatters.

11.09.07 / 01 / online again

phone line is repaired so back online at home again.

it was strange and surprising how isolated i felt without internet access in the evenings. cut off, alone, as people used to feel if the phone was dead [of course i have a mobile so that's not the issue]. i've had ten years of domestic internet access, about five as broadband, so i've got used to always-online, it feels natural. only when something goes wrong do i experience what life was like in, say, 1992. once this would have been called 'internet addiction', but now it's probably normal. in ten years' time we'll be scared if our phones don't feed us information all the time.

i guess i don't need to sit outside cafes now. can stay at home. no more local community!

10.09.07 / 01 / flat sale

just to add insult to injury, i have discovered that my landlord is attempting to sell my flat from under me. 'discovered' not 'was told' - because people came round to view while i happened to be at home [or i wouldn't have known], and yesterday i saw the flat advertised in an estate agent's window. the landlord is not communicating.

they are asking £350,000 for the flat [with the addition of the adjacent bedsit as a second bedroom] - it's worth about half. any buyer will have to gut the place back to a shell and fit new kitchen, new bathroom, new central heating. and the sound insulation/fire insulation to adjacent flats is not particularly good. i would hope to get a 3 or 4 bedroom house for that price, even here.

it seems as if the landlord was hoping to do this on the sly, because when the tenants find out they will of course go and leave him with an empty property - he wants to find buyers first which may take months [especially at crazy prices]. so i have no deadline for moving yet. still, i have to find a new place, and it's better done in my own time.


steve - what a terrible thing, on so many levels...hoping things are unfolding a little more easily this week. good to see you ever so quickly on the weekend

cheryl lawrie

09.09.07 / 01 / offline

my home phone line is broken so my online presence is a bit intermittent until it's fixed. fortunately free wifi has made enormous strides in the 18 months since i complained about it and i can now go online in the cafe across the road from my office and at the manana cafe next to st mary's ealing [as now]:


[the churchyard in the background was the setting for the grace labyrinth barbecue in july]

and just to make the point lynda just came past walking the dog and said hello, as she did yesterday while i was talking here to a couple of danish visitors and she was winning first prize for her homemade jam at the allotment produce sale in the church hall. makes me feel just like i'm part of a local community ;) maybe i should sit out in the street more often.

03.09.07 / 03 / les miserables

or, more properly, ikon's service the god delusion. enlightenment-era imagery, a woman knitting on stage, pete rollins the aristo in velvet and lace and his band of sans-culottes ;) that may just be my [deliberate mis-]reading, i'm not sure if it's theirs - the knitting theme had to do with ravelling/unravelling faith.

it was hard to photograph, very dark, the elements far apart in the huge auditorium, impossible for me to move about without being very conspicuous. i enjoyed the show, but it seemed like a show rather than a service - how can 1500 people in an auditorium interact? i missed the intimacy of their old gigs before they were famous. the material was still intimate, and ikon themselves said later how different it had been doing this one in their small bar in belfast. how they downscale their greenbelt congregations from 1500 to less than 200 again i don't know. invitation only? offending people won't work, that's what everyone thinks they're coming to see.


Hey there. Thanks for the insightful comments. This is indeed a problem and something we will be spending time thinking through. If you have any thoughts please let us know!

pete rollins

i can think of a few things:

1. do nothing next year while the fever dies down. the danger is that when you come back they will love you more than ever.

2. do something small-scale and decentralised - stuff around the site, an installation - something that is not an event with an audience.

3. embrace the situation and play with it. explore the idea of megachurch. declare yourselves 'belfast's smallest megachurch'.

4. make a point of alluding to musicals. hint at mamma mia, grease, chicago, the sound of music. when you get old enough you can do sunset boulevard.


actually, there are so many irresistable quotes from sunset boulevard [emerging church version]:

"i AM big, it's the emerging church that got small."

"We didn't need dialogue. We had candles!"

Audiences don't know somebody sits down and writes a service; they think the team make it up as they go along.

"This is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr. Collins, I'm ready for my close-up."


Pete, i never thought about ikon getting too big. i think Steve offers some great insights here, especially the ideas of doing nothing next year and an art installation, like Eikon. Sorry i missed it.


03.09.07 / 02 / grace at greenbelt

photos of the grace service at greenbelt

this was our first outdoor service, not to mention it had to be all-age. sarah said, our usual aesthetic is that of a dinner party, but for this it needs to be a picnic. hence the windmills [a fabulous purchase by ben off ebay] and other seaside-holiday trimmings. this was a version of our may service, radically revised for the outdoor setting and potential 600 people. many of the instructions and liturgical bits went onto the big screen overlooking the arena, but the screen wasn't really bright enough for the sunshine - i suppose it's better than having rain! for us it was hard to tell how it went - it seemed to go differently to how we'd imagined it - but when i went round collecting rubbish afterwards i got very positive feedback.


We were at the service, it was very cool, one of the highlight of our weekend! Thanks for the free windmill!

paul tilley

03.09.07 / 01 / new

colour changes here to go with the new new menu system, photos gone to flickr, all emerging church stuff in one menu [though the actual locations of old files has not changed]. the menus are in chronological order and give dates now - i was curious to see how my ideas develop through iterations, which was disguised by the previous layout. not to mention that some stuff is 'of its time' while still being interesting later. and loads of liturgical stuff put into the 'small rituals' section [formerly 'stuff' - why didn't i think of 'small rituals' earlier? it's so obvious]. if it's good enough for proost i ought to have it on my own site ;) and some of it didn't make the proost cut [yet] but i like it anyway.

also the article i wrote for the royal college of organists' 'church music quarterly', published in june - a classic case of the same old same old with a new thought - 'alternative worship is the first church movement to fully embrace recorded music as its normal means of expression'. ['alternative worship' because that's the term i was approached with, rather than 'emerging church'. the article is a miracle of compression, there wasn't space to argue!].


Nice article, good new thought. I think the singing issue goes deeper than merely a lack of material or it not fitting a particular service though. I think that in our culture, singing has become the preserve of performers. It's no longer something that "ordinary folks" do, and many people might actually feel uncomfortable being asked to sing in public.

john hoyland

you're right and i've said so elsewhere, but i had to compress so much for that article - when writing about alt worship to an audience that's not familiar with it there's so much explanation of the basic situation required before getting to the meat of the argument.

the magazine's readership is organists, choirmasters, church musicians - my 'new thought' declares them more or less redundant! so it'll be interesting if there's any reaction [it's quarterly so the next issue will be out around now].


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