Sunday, 20 September 2009

Ed's bow tie birthday bonanza....

....Master Crutchley sauntered back to London from Paris to celebrate another year of growing old disgracefully.

TBC: London 2 Brighton....

....Many weeks ago, at Ed's birthday dinner, a few of us suggested a TBC ride to Brighton. A date was confirmed and that date was today. Eleven of us set off from Tower Bridge at 9.45am and via a pub lunch, pulled up at Brighton Pier at 4.30pm - 63 miles later.

(double click the slideshow and it should take you to bigger individual images)

TBC London 2 Brighton from Roy Barker on Vimeo.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

London Design Guide....

....Friend and all round design guru-critic-type-editor extraordinaire, Max Fraser, has finally finished his guide for 2010. With a little help from his friends, Max has compiled the best of London's design, from furniture to hotels, restaurants to museums. Much more is written here and you should definitely buy it from here. And you lot better appreciate the wonderful book design too, because that was done by the equally brilliant Richie. Congratulations to all on a fantastic achievement.

With a little help from my friends....

....After meeting up with Ben for lunch and Ivvet for coffee, Nick and I headed to Joss & Clee's for dinner.

Home made pizzas, (being digested).

Guinness cake a la Clee for dessert.

I then hot-footed it to Bethnal Green Working Mens Club to join Doug, Liam and others to shake our thang to Go-Go dancers and the like.

A bright and early start this Sunday morning at Hackney City Farm for breakfast with Richie, Anne, Clem, Nick & Liam.



Then, as part of the Brick Lane festival, Liam & I got a free game of bowling at All Star Lanes. I won. Naturally.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Type & Rank....

....Two more exhibitions on my day off. Two total opposites. Rankin Live on Brick Lane houses a retrospective of his photography, but also an ongoing project to photograph members of the public and display their images almost instantaneously on the gallery walls.

I found that the show totally divided my opinion. On the one hand I think his fashion photography is poor. High gloss, super retouched, naff themes, artistically flawed. His self portraiture misses all intended irony and is a self loving, poorly conceived set of photos. However he pulled me back in with his project for Oxfam in the Congo, intended to highlight the forgotten conflict in the country.

By setting each subject against an infinite white background, the context of the Congo is lost, but in the immensely sharp details and the faces that show personality and suffering in one, Rankin has shot a wonderful series of images for a worthy campaign.

I also enjoyed his portraiture of famous celebrities and politicians - recognising many of the photos and never realising they had been shot by him. Like this classic of Vivienne Weswood, that encapsulates all her eccentricity and creativity.

Lastly, the 'live' part of the shoot produced a mass of portraits of the public, crammed together on the walls. It was fascinating to scan the images, (interestingly 90% white men & woman), and see vast differences in form and beauty between them all. We're a generally ugly bunch in reality!

The second show I visited was with Richie. Typographica at Kemistry Gallery, is small, but sweet.

The exhibition is named after the groundbreaking design journal, first published in 1949. It set the benchmark for type setting, photo documentary and experimental publishing that magazines and typographers still aspire to today. It was a little too historical for me, but for the uber type geek in Richie, it was well worth it.

Museum of brands,packaging and advertising....

....A day off work afforded me to step back in time, in to my own industry. The MBPA is a wonderful little museum in a quiet and beautiful Mews in West London. It houses products from a bygone era that are the collection of consumer historian Robert Opie. It is a fantastically reminiscent journey, but also an entirely overwhelming one as there is just so much to take in. Well worth your time.

The products and ads on show rekindle not just memories of childhood, but also scenes from your life when that particular product was involved. Among the many, these ones stood out.

Childhood and still current best friend, Paul, was nicknamed Bran Buds after the cereal I used to eat most mornings. Since no longer produced, the nickname has similarly demised!

Heinz are as much a part of everyday life now as they always have been. Particularly as it is one of my Accounts at work, so is interesting to see some historical packaging, that, interestingly and perhaps importantly has hardly changed.

The 1966 World Cup Souvenir Programme in the bottom right of this image stood out. Only last week, for no particular reason, I rooted through an old chest of 'memories' at my mum & dad's house. Amongst the school reports and dodgy photos, was this exact programme. With a Uruguay v Brazil match report written up in the back. It was in pristine condition, but no one knew where it had come from. It excited me massively. More so now, as it's presence in a museum seems to give it more exclusivity.

Friday, 11 September 2009

scan man....

....Ah the joys of bored work colleagues. Three little presents by way of Mark, Ben & Ed and the internal drop box!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Not again....

....Another temporary tooth loss. I rocked the Steptoe look today before the mising tooth is re-fixed at the dentist in the morning.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Cut, paste and pop...

....two exhibitions in as many days that threw up similar themes. Firstly Joss and I visited, amongst others, Fred Gallery on Vyner Street. Their expansive 'Collage' show presented works from established and new artists alike.

A view from inside Fred

I've always enjoyed the possibilities that collage can offer - a simplistic idea, that millions of kids do at nursery, yet still maintains a complexity and beauty belying its cut & paste technique. Masters such as Robert Motherwell, Gilbert & George and Andy Warhol are represented here in a an exhaustive show that still only manages to touch on the fringes of a huge genre.

Warhol's 'Lenin'

Still well worth seeing, despite the absence of Eduardo Paolozzi, who fortunately has his own show at Raven Row: The Jet Age Compendium.

The exhibition focusses mainly on Paolozzi's work for art & literature magazine Ambit, but I found most satisfaction in his scrap books, where collections of random ephemera give us a greater insight in to the artist's mind.

Overall, it is good, but less Pop Art, more Political Art.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


....I've trawled their online store on many an occasion, but finally I got to go to the RE: warehouse itself. It didn't fact, it did - I left empty handed owing to a complete of £ or any available space in my wee ol' house! Check it out, but leave some for me.

Ian & Susie Palmer's wedding 31.8.09....

....A wonderful day and evening spent in Cumbernauld near Glasgow. Congratulations.

Back in the Bay....

....On my way to a wedding in Scotland, I stayed over in Whitley Bay and was reminded just why I love it so.

A snoop in my local church

The way ads used to be

Whitley Bay beach

The simple, yet lovely design of the Panama Swimming Club

Another wonderful piece of design on the 'Bay front, the Rendezvous Cafe.

Colourful seaweed

Washed up jetsam

Whitley Bay Lighthouse

End of day curry at the Ahar