May, 2004

Tarmaceden

This is a designers story about non-design. The origins of the tarmac road are as clumsy as a smash at the crossroads of geology, chemistry, economics, and city planning. In fact, its origins are literally in an everyday low grade road accident. A British county surveyor, Edgar Hooley travelling the bumpy roads of Derbyshire came […]



MTV Cribs

Missys Crib in amazing Planometric Vision! Like Jackass’ “Human Omelette” – where Dave England munches, swallows and regurgitates the raw ingredients into a sizzlin’ pan – MTV is simultaneously the laziest and most creative channel on your digibox. Guilty after bingeing on R’n’B videos, MTV bolemicaly sticks its fingers down its throat and throws up […]



Resident Evil – Gothic Architecture Reanimated

Automated crossbow traps, giant balls of rock rolling down tunnels, statues with lasers for eyes: There are certain kinds of things that are only ever seen on the covers of sci-fi books, in the plastic models on shelves of fantasy stores, in the complex bureaucracy of Dungeons and Dragons, and on Hollywood sound stages. Despite […]



In the Twilight of the Magicians

Itsa Kinda Magic. Or more likely, these days it’s not. Magic is back, but this time it’s different. Magic is no longer a lounge show. Satin top hats, frilly shirts, velvet jackets, red drapes, sequinned outfits, feathers, and big boobs have vanished in a puff of sickly hairspray. Entertainment, or at least being seen to […]



The Flaming Lips – Live.

It ends with White Christmas, sung through a megaphone. It sounds a hundred years away, from the loneliest place on earth. It looks like a Muppet Velvet Underground singing the hits of Bing Crosby splattered with blood and punching the air while clutching a flapping mechanical bird. And that cheesy seasonal standard has never sounded […]



Goodbye Piccadilly

Piccadilly Circus has had an upgrade. A giant, curved, superbright and supersmooth TV screen has just been turned on. Wider than widescreen, it curves around the Regency architecture and disappears up Shaftesbury Avenue. Its bright and it moves and its really big. It looks as thin as paper and just as light. It suddenly makes […]



Design for Babies

Squeezed into the world a big purple lump of screaming, wet biology. Scooped up, weighed, hosed with oxygen. Then, a weird calm, blinking and breathing, fresh to the world. Tiny crumpled hands unfolding on the 510,072,200 sq. km of our planets surface. The wide world rolls out from under the transparent NHS cot to the […]



Silk Cut. The Last Cut is the Deepest.

Earlier this year the UK government decided to ban tobacco advertisements. The impending ad ban precipitated a puff of self congratulatory farewells from the fat old ad men who had grown rich peddling ill health. My own brand, Silk Cut, had some torturous gag about a piece of purple silk looking like a fat lady […]



Kripsy Kreme

Driving west on my scooter through London’s evening traffic. Over my shoulder looms the outline of Harrods, picked out in bright dots like a department store shaped constellation against the dark Knightsbridge sky. Something solid turned to air. In front of me, its outline slips like liquid over the curved piano-polished skin of a Taxi. […]



Everything Counts – The Sound of Geography Collapsing.

A little after midday on 12 December 1901, three bursts of electromagnetic radiation travelled above the Atlantic ocean at 186,000 miles per second …beep beep beep, from Poldhu, in the South-western corner of England to Marconi’s cabin on top of a hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Three beeps that spelt ‘s’ in Morse code. […]