One of my current preoccupation is the idea of public writing – that is, writing/lettering/typography found in public places and spaces. I take photos whenever I see somebody doing something interesting – whether they be commissioned or non-commissioned pieces. I have even tentatively put together a small Flickr-set of some of my photos.
One of my favourite examples stem from my erstwhile hometown of Copenhagen, Denmark. I was walking along a wall when I noticed the street name elaborately carved into the bricks. Above the carved brick you had the traditional blue-white street sign with the same name. Two centuries of labelling streets in one go. I was excited by the juxtapositions: permanence vs. easily replaced and serif vs sans-serif. I was also excited by how the contemporary street sign had been placed higher than the carved brick as if to exercise its dominance, its importance.
One of my Scottish friends, Fi, works as a curator and we recently spoke about the concept of public lettering and writing. Fi mentioned that the first thing was sprung to her mind was the Scottish Parliament’s Canongate Wall. It is absolutely fascinating: various stones with quotes on Scottish identity and history are inserted into an outer wall, so anybody walking along the street will be asked to reflect upon Scotland, art and identity. Even the pavement has slates engraved with sentences. And, as I agreed with Fi, that is really a great example of public space and writing being combined to great effect.
And then you have non-commissioned stuff like graffiti and posters and random notes put up in windows..
Ah, 2008. How wonderful to start off a new year with being unwell (hence the ‘no update’ bit). I spent most of New Year’s Eve in hospital and have spent all of 2008 (so far) being unwell. This ranks as possibly the least promising start to a year.
But I am at home in my pyjamas, alas. I drink (decaf!) coffee, sleep a lot and read when I am awake. I’m currently making my way through the latter stages of Sarah Waters’s The Night Watch which has proven substantial enough to keep me interested and lightweight enough to allow me to sleep when I need it.
Here’s to 2008 improving.
Merry Christmas everybody
TS Eliot was a Doctor Who fan fiction writer?!
While ‘Four Quartets’ has received due attention for its literary merits, until now no critic has touched on its merits as a piece of fan fiction.
Well, I laughed.
Let me draw your attention to the excellent Speechification blog. Basically the blog posts bits from BBC’s Radio 4 that might otherwise have slipped past you. All the programmes are available as MP3s (I gather this has been sanctioned by Auntie Beeb?).
Recently I have enjoyed Small Presses, Big Ideas where Phill Jupitus looks at small poetry presses and, as the blog says, “he clearly revels in the tactile and sensory splendour of these little volumes and gets the poets to enthuse splendidly about this eccentric and essential world”.
GeoGreeting is a really nice idea: images taken from Google Earth show buildings shaped as letters when viewed from above. You can then combine the letters/buildings to send online greetings. It’s that latter bit which doesn’t really work for me, but I do enjoy exploring the various letters. The “o” is particularly beautiful.
About six months ago my then webhost pulled the carpet out underneath my feet and deleted my old weblog. I never got a mail or a letter explaining why. As I had no actual internet access at the time I was torn between feeling bitter and being rather relieved.
But I have missed keeping a weblog (it has been nearly seven years to the date that I first began) and now I have shiny new broadband in the comfort of my own home, so here we go.