I went on holiday and never came back again.

I did have lots of things faved, but I’ve thought about one of them every day since.

Sorry, not that.


*looks through list of links*

Hmm. Where’s it gone?

*googles for 45 minutes*

It might have been this?

Something similar to this, at least.

Not that I am aphantasic, but I know my mind has certain biases and things it can memorise easier than others.

Actually, maybe it was in a book. Something about old fashioned designers saying there’s one true ‘objective’ way to think about things, leading to one true ‘best’ design. Or maybe it was in one of the many bauhaus exhibitions this year? It’s obviously nonsense.

How can we better design for the different ways people minds really work? With so much difference in mental images and models?

(Good user research can scratch the surface, but I doubt the depth of research needed is ever done across a wide enough group of people to capture different ideas of the mind. And research analysis tends to be reductive.)

things I have faved, #16

More of a list of links than usual. I’m off on holiday. ☀️

The Center for Land Use Interpretation is always great (and in LA is next to maybe the best museum in the world, the Museum of Jurassic Technology) – and they publish a quarterly newsletter. Here’s Winter 2019 – helium, fertiliser production, bombing ranges and targets…

Observer Food Monthly’s top 50 food things right now – obviously PRed and zeitgeisty, but always an interesting list.

I’m currently a bit obsessed with Danny Bowien – he’s featured in the 6th series of Mind Of A Chef, that I was completely oblivious too because it’s on Facebook Watch. I’ve used a lot of TV platforms in my time, and FB Watch is easily the suckiest. I don’t think anyone who made it watches TV or uses Facebook. Maybe find other ways to get it… it’s worth it for the lamb noodle soup in episode 2.

Eater have stepped up to the plate with a great set of articles about eating in Taipei. Some bloggers are where I’ve been to find good recommendations before.

There’s a lazy/cheap music format on BBC4 of two celebrities picking music videos on a theme, which has mainly been a bit shrug, but this episode on vocal greats is magic.

Nice piece on the refreshed MK Gallery in Milton Keynes

Dick Bruna’s book covers

things I have faved, #15

I was lucky enough to get to see the Haroon Mirza (now closed) and Mark Fell shows recently. Both have “extreme” modern sound works, using the new materialities of mass controllable LED lights, for one. Focal Point is always worth a trip to Southend (and see their great ongoing Radical Essex work).

I’m so tempted to head over to Paris for this Vasarely exhibition. Good merch, too.

Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy is a great side salad to the Comedians of the World series. Comedy under extreme conditions – even creating the idea of stand-up in some of the countries.

A Jolibee opened in very west London just before Christmas. I regularly see people on the Jubilee line at Stratford with many massive bags of Jolibee. Does Chickenjoy withstand a reheat?

It emerged that Polpo was struggling against a massive tax bill, and from long-term management malaise. It seems a sad story of bringing in a management team to let the founders go off and do other things (eg Four Seasons) but then losing a lot of the magic that the mini-chain was known for. The first funny smell for me was opening a Spuntino in Heathrow Airport. The owners have a lot of goodwill in the industry, and it’s times like this you really need it. Hopefully they can turn the chain around.

I saw Wagamama advertising on TV. TV ads for restaurant chains (fast food excepted) are pretty rare here compared to, say, the US. It’s hard to know what to focus on, other than that “we still exist”. I get the feeling all the mid market chains are feeling very exposed at the moment, whilst trying to pull themselves out from voucher-driven deals. It’s going to get nasty.

Time Out did a list of best pastries in London – like their recent list of ‘best bakeries’, some great ones are mentioned, but it’s ended up a fairly mixed list, with some massive holes. Their list of international bakeries is more interesting.

Ugly food vs Instagram

The chef at Sheffield’s Rutland Arms, whilst single handedly trying to pull pub-goers away from brown food, has a good list of places to eat

I wish Mexican sandwiches would become London’s next food trend

the infamous Joe Beef restaurateurs sober up

I’m here for fruit watercolour Twitter

Iceberg heist

Barcelona pavilion in lasers

Japanese corporate ambient

Tour an Amazon fulfilment centre (now booking again, includes Tilbury)

Don’t trust apps with anything. or Facebook (another writeup if you can’t find the WSJ. article)

things I have faved, #14

Ikea Greenwich opened, and it’s nice, but still just an Ikea. More plants and outdoor stuff than Tottenham, some natural light in the showroom so it’s easier judging colours, and of course only half an hour away rather than an hour. How Ikea got cool. The catalogue is increasingly irrelevant, and the website often doesn’t reflect the entire range – but I’ve found these monthly updates and seasonal lookbooks far better for judging what’s in store and what’s new. Looks like a bright and bold summer, and I love it. Last time I thought Ikea had missed the Kondo-small-shallow-box trend – there’s a few moves towards it – Rabbla, Sammanhang, Kuggis, and a Knallgul box set that isn’t online.

The Vault festival is midway, tucking 6 very Fringey venues under Waterloo station and a few shops and spaces on Lower Marsh. There’s lots of new theatre and comedy (work-in-progresses) going on, it’s cheap, and well worth taking a punt on seeing something. No point in recommending shows I’ve seen, as their runs have already finished: Lyn Gardner is reviewing a lot of the theatre shows.

Can’t wait for DAU to maybe- kinda-appear in London later in the year (an experiential writeup).

BA are trying to celebrate their 100th anniversary, with the usual splashy celeb-y advert. Like many, I think the quality and service on BA has dropped dramatically, plus price nickle-and-diming, to the point where I will try to fly with any other airline. BA was bold for 2 years before waving the Union Jack again.

I 🧡 this Tate Kids video on 5 LGBTQ+ artists

The oral history of Silicon Roundabout (declaration: I had a desk in RIG)

from 1972, London dining is “not as bad as people say”

George Orwell “in defence of English cooking”

Too Many Prets

a quick guide to fresh and dried Mexican chiles

Turin’s amazing museum of fruit models

a nice piece on the Far East Cafe, in SF’s Chinatown, which opened in 1920

how a lot of Western people will not pay more for better quality ingredients in Chinese restaurants

a very American mango pie, that I want to try

great writeup on the history of New York’s pizza slices

lots of people watch TV with captioning on (accessibility features aren’t only for people with long-term access needs)

do not always do what you love: the lonely life of a yacht influencer

a great flyover video of where Copenhagen’s metro runs

Felipe Pantone’s CD installation

lovely to see nearly-Spring starting to happen in Shinjuku Gyoen

springtime tempura

systemic failure in Japan’s state welfare means pensioners are committing petty crimes to go to jail, rent free

things I have faved, #13

(I left it too long and now there are Too Many Faves)

One reason for waiting was I wanted to talk about Marie Kondo but the world does not need another take, so I waited until I found the one I agree with: this piece about Shinto (Kondo was a miko at a Shinto shrine for 5 years). If you watch the Netflix series, it becomes apparent that most of the weird-to-Westerners aspects have very practical applications in decluttering: “greeting the house” lets homeowners visualise the house they want; “sparking joy” translates into something you want to take with you into the future; saying “thank you” to objects you’re discarding removes the owner’s embarrassment (especially for things like clothes that have never been worn).

The series itself is interesting – only the first episode could really be considered confrontational (and like similar commercial shows). Some episodes feel over long, and some of the houses don’t really have much of a clutter problem. There are a couple of good tips per episode, but unfortunately spread thinly. Netflix should be able to experiment with the format more – eg jump cut all the practical tips into 1 special episode, or being able to see extras on each episode if you want to see some parts of the method they completely cut out to make it roughly 30 minutes.

It’s hard to find pictures of Kondo’s real house – there are a few on Instagram (eg, eg) that feel a bit more real than this article. It feels a shame that a big consultancy franchise has grown around her – she seems to actually have a lot of fun. Surprised no-one like Ikea has jumped on the lot of small boxes thing though. Also: a nice piece on her English interpreter.

Is this a take on Marie Kondo takes? Oh no.

More telly: I’m gradually working through Comedians of the World, and first of all, it’s definitely not the entire world, which is a shame (there are a few Chinese and Japanese comedy specials on Netflix), and also I’d love to get a sense of how the chosen comedians are perceived in their own countries and languages. I’m finding certain languages a lot slower in jokes-per-minute… So far can really recommend all the UK choices (but especially Mae Martin), DeAnne Smith from Canada, and Rawsan Hallak for a very different world view.

HSBC’s new sound identity by Jean-Michel Jarre – read the article and try to imagine it before watching the video. It also ominously threatens to be heard as background music in airports. Almost as weird an idea as Darude representing Finland in Eurovision this year.

Money ruins everything: why some art exhibitions will never be staged again, as artists’ works appreciate in value

50 years of Thamesmead

how British gardens are having to change due to climate

why terrazzo is suddenly everywhere

this t-shirt folding machine has nothing on Kondo

the secret to skincare is to be wealthy

why are rich people so weird?

how millennials burnt-out and now the next generation of kids are already anxious

a history of synthetic materials

an ergonomics breakdown of the problems with a modern Lufthansa airplane

X-raying a Kinder Surprise

the start of a hopefully open 3d model of London

I love Robert Siestema’s writing about food around New York – like this random snapshot that feels a lot more cosmopolitan than London, and this paean to liverwurst sandwiches

the $3 million tuna

Helen Rosner’s presentation on how to take good photos of food

a collection of good writing about British food

A good list of places to eat in Whitstable

how to make the Mori Martini

how bad was Watney’s Red Barrel? pretty bad

Too Many Faves? Too Many Faves.

things I have faved, #12

Some things for the soon passing perineum.

Let’s get the Christmas telly out the way – when did the Christmas special just become a clip show? Weak sauce. Some good stuff was on though: the documentary on Paul Heaton. Compare and contrast with a doc on the worst Christmas song, that must now be consigned to the bin. MacGowan and band deriding the Pet Shop Boys (who beat them to the Christmas No 1) as “two queers and a drum machine” show what lovely people they are.

Christmas Aggretsuko is brilliant. We wish you a metal Christmas.

Celebrity Game Night feels a bit like House of Games, but with a live band and a free bar, and the contestants actually liking each other. Lisa Tarbuck is one of the funniest people on TV, so I’ll always give her shows a go. It’s very reminiscent of Win, Lose or Draw, especially with Danny Baker as one of the team captains. Don’t know why there’s a resurgence of TV party games, with the rather odd I’ll Get This too. All the shows depend very much on the ‘celebrities’ being good value off screen. Some episodes work, some really don’t.

I’ve been watching Final Table on Netflix – a grandly over produced cook off with well respected contestants and judges. As a format it doesn’t quite work – each episode is the cuisine of a different country, with two rounds: the first is a recreation of a much loved dish, judged by local celebrities, and the second is making a dish celebrating a local ingredient, picked and judged by a 2 or 3 star chef from the country. The chef teams, who mainly have never worked together before, often have no experience of the dish themselves (although I suspect some preplanning is done), the local celebrities just want something that reminds them of the version their family makes, but then the chef in the second round wants a more creative spin on things. The contestants don’t know how to pitch things correctly, and often the chef from the chosen country goes home, as they’re seemingly expected to be doing more than everyone else. There may be a good show in here trying to get out, but could do without the US razzmatazz that a big production Netflix series seems to need.

On glitter / what even is glitter

Alvar Aalto hid a reindeer head in the street plan of Rovaniemi

South Korea’s crazy socks

Another take on automated supermarkets (seems hidden humans over robots tbh) – more video

How a city’s dining scene can quickly tarnish (and Rosner digs further)

Quite a takedown of a London restaurant trying to open in New York

New remastering techniques applied to turn of the century film remains a marvel – here’s Paris

Rainbow Arcade exhibition in Berlin


Happy Twixtmas.




things I have faved, #11

Game testing QA stories. I finally broke and bought a Switch and I’m working my way through Super Mario Odyssey. I “finished” it, but that only means you’re a third of the way through, even if you’ve uncovered most of the locations. I’m finding the later parts more interesting, if anything, because it’s often testing the limits of the semi-open world and the players and objects within it. Several tasks feel like the results of an ultra fastidious QA player managing to, say, get a motorbike ridden up to the top of a building and then launched to the other side of the map. (aside: I have no qualms using Assist Mode, something I only found right at the end of the main story. It gives you a few more lives and some surfaces are less dangerous. I find 3d controls hard enough to use, and a lot of the hardest parts in Mario are precarious balances and multi-button timed jump sequences, which Assist only helps a little with)

I enjoyed the first episode of The Art of Drumming (the later ones get a bit Inside Baseball, and are, well, too white, too impressed with themselves and too rock-drum-solo-y). Bernard Purdie and Jabo Starks are amazing.

More telly: Made in Great Britain is a bit of a clunky forced TV format (“Let’s make hats! Let’s make cheese!”) but there’s a lot to like, especially from very specialist makers getting enthused by new crafts. Some very good professionals help, like Paul A Young on the chocolate episode, and Andy Swinscoe for cheese.

Self-driving cars have their equivalent of the “last mile” problem (the last metre problem?). You see this using sat navs – the end of a trip is never where the end is – eg a car park, a drop off point – so they either keep directing you to do u-turns or just say it’s done and fall silent.

Matt’s pilau recipe

How restaurants got so loud

On walking and eating + Sietsema’s worst 10 and best 15 dishes in NYC this year

a Hannah Gadsby twofer – 1, 2

the balloon and spaghetti destroyer

if you’re looking to donate something useful over the Festive period – generally food banks need a lot more than just food

Next year is booking already – the Vault festival and Work In Progresses at the Pleasance.

things I have faved, #10

A week off last week, as I was in Madeira. What a pretty place! The notorious airport runway was everything I hoped for and feared (sea fog in my case, rather than high winds).

On artisanal food at scale: La Boulangerie in SF, Ladurée’s macarons.

Jerry Saltz on how to be an artist, and his tour of NY paintings.

Obituary of Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob Squarepants.

Another book about the edgelands of Essex. I’m half way through, and it goes at quite a pelt, but that’s because Essex has 350 miles of coast to cover. Well researched and referenced, and thankfully not too Brexit-y so far. It talks about several other initiatives, such as Radical Essex, that are doing a great job of telling an often looked-over history of a far away place so close to capital. There’s new Government money for the Great Thames Park, which seems to just be a passing bon mot in an Arup masterplan. Let’s hope it doesn’t bulldozer the wildness and the weirdness. Meades’ Joy Of Essex is on iPlayer again for a limited time.

A regular reminder of how great libraries are. Many now offer magazines through apps on your phone – no need for a New Yorker, Economist or Atlantic subscription. Sure, the apps are a bit clunky (and of course every council uses a different app) but it’s such a benefit to have for free.

Japanese industrial night scenery tourism, kojo yakei.

The Gavlë goat is back!

Terry Farrell’s pomo doll house

Reading Jonathan Gold

Tweets of the week:

London Dolphinarium

Service design elephants-in-the-room

things I have faved, #9

I’ve recently got into some podcasts, nearly 20 years late. I think I was put off originally by too many errr *cough* American people just talking endlessly about nothing. The ones I seem to enjoy the most are long but edited interviews – Adam Buxton, Comedian’s Comedian, Richard Herring and I’m now trying out some others. Dave Chang’s is, well very American (I’m not used to the humiliation of presenters reading out adverts, US talk radio style) but I enjoyed the 2 parter with Christina Tosi, founder of Milk Bar. Amongst many things it talked about the dynasty of pastry chefs who worked at the groundbreaking Wd~50, and how it’s weird many have been a bit sidelined. Wylie Dufresne himself is now selling donuts, Sam Mason is selling ice cream (and previously mayonnaise), Alex Stupak is still in the restaurant game, but mainly known for tacos. Running a high profile restaurant never sounds like a fun time, let alone in a seemingly tastebud conservative city like New York, but you’ve likely eaten dishes influenced by wd~50.

I saw Es Devlin give a talk at the Southbank Centre. Really interesting, backed up by cracking work, some of which I’d not heard of before – Parsifal, Mirror maze, Room 2022… 3d curved maps are a recent trope, 2. A long term regret is missing this Wire gig, for presumably an unimportant meeting somewhere in a windowless room in Europe.

Interesting work by the Zurich urban planning department – publishing 3d models of 50,000 buildings, an exhibition putting demolished churches into modern photographs

The current state of close-up magic

Open House London’s review of 2018; Kickstarter’s benefit statement of 2017

Face recognition paper dispenser in a Chinese public toilet

The Florence of Essex

Feel seen, bread bros?

things I have faved, #8

Artists-in-residence-in-offices: Jenny Odell in the San Francisco planning department, Pilvi Takala in the marketing department in Deloitte.

An article on standing bars in Osaka and a moving liquor cart in Tokyo.

I think it’s safe to say fame has changed Heston Blumenthal.

Noma Guide to Fermentation is out.

A writeup of the digitisation and restoration of Victorian Mutoscope and Biograph films that I saw at the BFI IMAX as part of London Film Festival. Much like the war films restored for They Shall Not Grow Old (available on iplayer for a limited time), if not recoloured, one of the amazing things is restoring the films to natural timing. The Biograph films should be available next year in the BFI archive (as part of their Victoriana season), but don’t know if Peter Jackson will be releasing his restored films seperately (some are here).

The similarly named Bioscope was the trade magazine of the cinema industry during the silent film era. Some were digitized in the Internet Archive, but more are now available in the British Newspaper Archive. Some great adverts. Worth a flick through some issues.

Ravilious’ firework pictures

I still randomly hum the theme tune from The Cravings, the Korean 30something food drama sponsored by a sauce manufacturer.

Loads of good shows on at the Soho Theatre this week/soon – Felicity Ward, Jessie Cave, Natalie Palamides, Tony Law.

This is a good article by Fuchsia Dunlop on Chinese hotpot, if you can wiggle past the FT paywall.