Blog Archive Index

Back to the McCarthy Era

Before Stereolab there was McCarthy. Strangely McCarthy sounded nothing like Stereolab, despite acting as a base for the talents of Tim Gane and, later Laetitia Sadier. McCarthy wore their ideals on their sleeves which seems suddenly a strangely appropriate thing to do considering the current political climate. Tracks with titles like ‘Should the Bible be Banned?’ and ‘We Are All Bourgeois Now’ have the destinctive sound of early 90s jangly indie pop but many of the topics seem no less relevent today.
           Cool thing is that Cherry Red Records [] have opened up their Digital Downloads website [The site’s URL should go here, but it’s too wierd and long so just click if you want to go there] so you can experience (or revisit) many of the often overlooked bands from this era like McCarthy [] and the ever excellent Denim [] . The newly launched Rough Trade Digital [] online store also offers a chance to rummage through their racks from the comfort of your own home. Suddenly it’s as if 2000 never happened.

Praise be to i-D

i-D magazine [] have been asking their MySpace friends [] to contribute to the magazine for a few issues now. For the ‘We Got Issues’ Issue, out today, your humble author sent a bunch of politically minded slogans in to them influenced by the likes of Jenny Holzer [] and Geoff McFetridge [] , which I’m dead chuffed to announce they have seen fit to sprinkle through the opening section of the magazine. You can see some of the slogans featured above. Unfortunately I missed out on a credit, but I guess ideas want to be free, and it is kind of cool to see a magazine brave enough to put the usually unfashionable game of politics to the fore… even if it is just for a month…

It’s Rad to Read

No sooner had I posted a fresh archive of covers from Thrasher on NMCA [] than the magazine have seen fit to release a bunch of original issues from 1981 as free to download PDFs (for a limited time) [] as part of their 25th anniversary. Praise be to Berlin’s Republish blog [] for highlighting this one. Thrasher ist Rad!

Viva la Vending Machine

The Rinzen Vending Machine has been retired in favour of something a lot more web friendly and choc full of delicious work by Australia’s premiere illustrators/designers. Don’t be sad, it had a pretty long run. Visit the spanky new site at [] where you can also check out the first edition of the Rinzen Carepack which goes under the title of ‘In the Milky Night’ and features illustrations, tales and photography from Rinzen and friends like Quan Yeomans, Lyn Balzer and Anthony Perkins. Viva la Vector!

Magazine Houses

It could be just me, but it looks like there has been a recent resurgence in magazines on the subject of Architecture. I don’t know if it’s some sort of ‘Mark Effect’ (see link below) or if architecture has suddenly become ‘hip’ or just sheer coincidence, but new magazines on architecture seem to be cropping up every few months. Over at MagCulture you can read about two newbies, Architect [] and PIN–UP [] . I have a few favourites already (if you’ve been following this blog you’ll already know how excited I was about Mark Magazine []) so I thought it was worth noting a few down if you were feeling like checking any out:

A10 [] 
I found this yesterday on the shelves of the Tate Modern bookstore and have become an instant fan. It’s designed and art directed by Arjun Groot [], who has already lent his witty and typically dutch style to magazines such as Blvd. and Credits and features a ‘noteboard’ style approach where articles seem to run on from page to page with features denoted by scale of images etc. It also includes a quirky selection of fonts that should fight one another but here they add energy to what could, otherwise, be a bit of a staid read.

Volume [] 
Archis was a somewhat bewildering mixture of features about and around the subject of architecture with bizarre and seemingly random page layouts including perforated sections on the bottom of pages so you could tear bits of them off. Volume is a new project by the same team and, although some of the quirk has been knocked out of the format, it’s is still no less intriguing with a theme per issue. The latest version is about China.

(inside) [] 
Niche publishing are probably Australia’s premiere creative magazine publishers. Having said that, it’s disappointing to note that they have never seen fit to try and push any of their titles to a wider, international audience, which seems to betray a certain lack of confidence that is common to Australian Design in general. This is not to say they don’t produce some excellent titles. Niche’s ‘Interior Architecture’ magazine, (inside) is particularly good (sort of like an Australian ‘Frame’ []), if not just for the lush covers they produce. Architectural Review Australia [] is also worth having a look at.

Premium Bond

Following on from the International Herald Tribune’s article on film poster designers. I can’t help having a bit of a go at Casino Royale... Not the film, mind. I saw the film last night and am happy to report that Daniel Craig makes poor old Pierce Brosnon and Roger Moore look like Sophia Loren’s male equivalents. Particularly cruel was coming home and switching on the telly to find ‘For Your Eyes Only’ playing. Yikes! My only critisisms are that most of the women still look like painted monsters stuck in 1989 and the Chris Cornell theme song made me bolt from the cinema at the end of the film. It’s dire.
           No, my real critisism is a lot pettier than that. It’s the ruddy font they have used for the title ‘Casino Royale’. I know a lot of people shrug off this sort of thing but getting the right font adds quality to your film and James Bond has to be about quality, right. James Bond is expensive. Century Gothic is not. In fact, if you have a look, it’s probably lurking about on your computer as we speak.
            Why is it free for anyone to use without, necessarily, having to pay for it? Why do they have a to give it away? Well, for the same reason you didn’t pay for Arial or Impact. It’s another shoddy redraw of a classic font made to avoid having to pay for licensing the real thing. Shame Daniel Kleinman (whose new titles are pretty fab but still not a patch on Saul Bass), when you had the choice of a well cut classic or one the latest crop of rigorously developed cut geometric style typefaces currently available (there’s a few suggestions above). Would Bond have approved?

Want to check out almost every Bond opening sequence eva? Here’s your linkage: [] 

Reading List: 
November 2006

Mmm… nice carpet. Just so you know I don’t just buy loads of Paris Vogue’s here’s me current reading list…

Dummy [] 

The Architect’s Journal []
Recently, I’ve been concerned about the rapid redevelopment going on around the City of London as they seem intent of demolishing every last vestige of mid to late 20th Century Architecture. This is where I found out Milton Court was in for the chop. Well worth picking up if you you are concerned about the current state of architecture in Britain, and you should be, especially with the deluge of rash decisions going on in the lead up to the London Olympics.

Little White Lies [] 
The Marie Antoinette issue. If you haven’t checked out this mag, it’s worth it just for the concept, and the editor’s don’t necessarily love every film they feature but try to pick the most ‘zeitgiesty’ film at the time the issue comes out. Includes lush pictures of Macarons, see []

‘Sup Magazine []

Dazed & Confused []
Okay, so I only really bought this for the Sofia Coppola special designed by Peter Miles (there an interesting article about the designer here [International Herald Tribune]). The rest of the magazine is as typically out-of-step and shoddily designed as ever and I kind of wished it hadn’t come in a envelope so I could have seen it first. Nevermind. It came with that rubbish CoolBrands book too which I flicked through and then ‘recycled’.

British Vogue [] 
I love Vogue. I don’t know why and I’m trying not to buy too many issues because it’s such a rubbish read (have a look at the page on ‘Rave’ in the The List supplement if you fancy a giggle… it’s even got a picture of a Prodigy CD stuck on there), but this is one of those specials I had to own… if only for a month or two.

The Observer Music Monthly []
Jarvis Cocker edited this one and I intend to read it from cover to cover so it’s probably going to sit in this pile for a while cause I’m rubbish at reading these days… see, it’s my attention span… I blame the internet :)

i-D []
I love i-D more. I almost always buy this even if it’s a bit rubbish. I can’t help it.

Trend! Nilhism

Okay, so it’s not super catchy and doesn’t seem to have any discernible dress codes (apart from wearing loads of black, but that’s a bit obvious really) but if you’re feeling a bit ‘Children of Men’ and can’t stop listening to Jarvis Cocker’s ‘Running the World’ then may I recommend a handful of other dark delights:

Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Weekend’ []
Prepare yourself for this one. Once you get past the scene with the car jam that seems to go on forever you’ve still got to contend with hippies killing pigs in the woods, car wreaks that turn into flocks of sheep and an old lady’s pet skinned sheep… eeww! 

‘La Grande Bouffe’ []
A bunch of Italian guys get together with a few prositutes to eat and shag themselves to death and that’s pretty much it. A bleaker concept for a film is hard to find and I found this hard enough to watch (I think I turned off half way through). Let me know how you fare with this one. 

‘V for Vendetta’ []
From Godard to the Wachowski Brothers. Yikes! Still this has to be Children of Men’s closest modern relative (if you can think of another let me know). It’s dystopian (well to start with anyway), set in Britain after the seeming collapse of the United States and the lead actress is bald… er, just kidding about the last one. Sorry.

Seeking Blurbarians

Welcome to the crazee world of self-publishing. I’m not talking blogging, or podcasts, fanzines or self-appreciating but ultimately vacuous quarterly fashion magazine ‘projects’. I’m talking real, proper hard cover books. Blurb [] [] allows anyone to design and edit hardcover books themselves on any subject, online. You download a bit of software called BookSmart and away you go. I think I’m going to have to try this to see how it works, you get to chose you’re own fonts which makes me happy…

Lost Classics:

Roman Coppola [] once made a film called CQ []. If this is ‘ye olde ancient news’ to you then maybe skip onto the next post or something (you can leave a comment telling me what you thought of it first if you like, go on, you know you want to… maybe). It was back in 2001, although he started work on it a year before hand. I really liked it (but then my all-time favourite film is Modesty Blaise). It’s a typically quirky mixture of the clever and aware film making of the new wave era re-interpreted and the frothy, escapist fun of 60s Sci-Fi Pyschadelia (think Barbarella, Danger: Diabolik and the aforementioned Modesty Blaise).

It also features the usual high quality Coppola siblings collaborations, this time with Graphic Artist Laurent Fetis [] who, not only supplied various marketing materials for the film, but also worked with Coppola Jr on the titles, on screen graphics and props used within the film/s themselves (the posters are a joy, here are a couple of them below). If you pick up the DVD you’ll also find documentary by Mom and Sis with loads of really cool featurettes and even a couple of 'new wave' style films about CQ.