A Day In The Life…March 2010

23 02 2010

I’m in a panic. You probably are too, if you’re a bloke. We’ve just got over the stress of Valentine’s Day, and now Mother’s Day looms on the horizon. I think the greetings card industry is run by sadistic women who get their kicks watching men squirm as they try to interpret the impossibly cryptic signals their partners/mothers send out in the run up to these events.

Well, I have decided, the only thing to do is to go nuclear. Buy a gift, certainly, (it would be suicide not to), but let’s break a few rules shall we? I’m getting my mother a power drill this year.

She is 78, and quite infirm, and frankly doesn’t do much now, bless her, apart from watch the shopping channel and make lists of tasks to put unnecessary strain on my father’s dodgy knees. However, if he does keel over, I think a Black & Decker will be very handy if she needs to open her bottles of pills herself, and she can stir her cocoa with it before bed. A Cath Kidston floral pinny, which many of you will be considering for your loved one, although more conventional, will be of no use at all. She no longer cooks, (my mother, not Cath Kidston) and anyway, she hasn’t, to my knowledge, worn any of the 24 aprons purchased by me over the last 25 years. (I forgot in 1990, boy was that a mistake).

Where was I? Yes, power tools. Don’t follow my lead, whatever you do. I shall plough a lonely furrow for you, as the lead member of the awkward squad advance party. You can adopt a watered down approach, but still buy your Mother something vaguely masculine this year. It will show her you’re not set in your ways, and are still capable of original thinking, which will impress her. How about this, a very fine limited edition print by Ed Lee, of this Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, lovingly recreated locally in Desmond Smail’s workshop. The car is sold, but it will live on in an exhibition of Ed’s photographs, at ICETWICE, over the next month or so. Your mother may love it, and even if she doesn’t, she can earmark it for you in her will, so it’s very nearly a win-win situation.

Now I don’t know your mother well, but there is always the chance that she has never been one for internal combustion engines. These women do exist, I am told. In that doomsday scenario, a book on fishing will be just the thing. This one is excellent.

May I go off-piste at this point? I realise we weren’t talking about skiing, but I just like using the term off-piste. I may? Thank you.

Inspired by this, ‘The British Seaside Holiday’, I have made representations to the council. No, that’s wrong. I’m ABOUT to do so. What we need in Olney, is a beach. For the summer, I mean, not now. Like the Paris Plage, but a bit smaller, obviously. I’m thinking the Market Place, or possibly about half the High Street north of there. We could have whelk stalls, and deckchair attendants, and a Punch & Judy man, and pedaloes on the river, and all manner of seaside paraphernalia. It would attract tourists. Wilson’s could do a roaring trade in buckets and spades and fishing nets on bamboo poles, and Much Ado could sell organic candy floss, and toffee apples, if there are no European directives outlawing toffee apples on Health & Safety grounds. My mother could come and stay, and supervise operations from her wheelchair, which has been specially adapted for sand (she lives by the seaside), and I think she’d let the workmen borrow her power drill to put the finishing touches to the beach huts. Am I getting carried away now? Surely not. I think Olney-sur-Mer has a ring to it.


Porsche Icons

3 02 2010

Porsche Icons – Collector’s Edition NEW!
Limited Edition of 50 Copies
Edited by Frank Orel & Elmar Brümmer

This museum-quality volume showcases the influence and history of the Type 64, one of the most mysterious—yet influential—car designs ever. The special format allows readers to appreciate exactly how this archetypal sports car influenced Porsche’s later high-performance machines. Both homage and historical record, this book captures the magic of automobile design at its very finest.

160 pp., Hardcover with jacket, clamshell box (15 x 18 1/2 x 3 in.)
portfolio with a signed and numbered lithographic print (c. 17 3/4 x 14 1/4 in.) 79 color and 11 b/w photographs
Text in English, German and French
Pre-publication price until March 1, 2010: £ 1.300. After: £ 1.500
ISBN: 978-3-8327-9392-0
Format: 12 3/4 x 8 1/4 in.


A Day in The Life…February 2010

27 01 2010

Here’s a first, an apology. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted our failure to turn out for last month’s issue. For this we apologise, but there is a simple reason, one that does not involve the wrong sort of snow, or the dog eating the laptop. No, I had a premonition, a portentous one, in which I foresaw the January cold snap. Consequently, I abandoned the shop and spent the first 3 weeks of 2010 barricaded inside the airing cupboard, wrapped in two electric blankets, hugging several hot-water bottles. I whiled away the time finalising my eight ‘tracks’, for the time, quite soon I hear, when Kirsty hauls me aboard the BBC Radio 4 flagship and allows me to unleash my Desert Island Discs upon the world. I anticipate record listening figures for these little beauties:

Best Dressed Chicken In Town…Dr Alimantado
Marquee Moon…Television
Someone Great…LCD Soundsystem
A Horse With No Name…America
No Fun…The Sex Pistols
Kashmir…Led Zeppelin
EuroTrash Girl…Chicks On Speed
Down By The Water…PJ Harvey

Book….Three Men In A Boat…Jerome K Jerome
Luxury…A 7′ x 5′ Mirror

As it turned out, I did the right thing. Apparently, the only person who visited Olney during the first half of the month was Milton Keynes Council’s intrepid Planning Enforcement Officer, who, it is reported, was out and about, monitoring the icy pavements for ‘A’ boards that might trip up speed-skaters. I didn’t see him myself, but I have spies everywhere, and although they’d been on the barley wine at The Swan to keep warm, I believe them.

Anyway, enough of that, important matters now. I have an announcement. A Gerald Sparrow sign will have been attached to our building by the time you read this, and you will probably see it and ask yourself the question, what’s going on there then? I shall tell you. Gerald is a commercial property agent, a nice chap actually, who, like all commercial property agents, runs his business very successfully by mobile phone from a golf course. I’m kidding Gerald. Anyway, the object of this exercise is relocation, within Olney. We’re not closing. Stop cheering at the back. We’re RELOCATING, all of the bookstore, and the jewellery, and some of the gallery. I’ve had an offer to move the rest of the gallery to London, which makes sense, mainly because it’s outside the remit of the MKC Planning Enforcement Officer, but also I’m told there are hordes of bankers, flush with wheelbarrows of cash, roaming the pavements in the hope they will find piles of contemporary art to purchase for their fourth home in Zurich.

Why am I confiding in you? Well, generally speaking, two plus two erroneously makes five in small places like Olney, so, you now have it from the horse’s mouth’s official spokesperson, me, first, and it’s still four. This means that we shall still be shovelling good stuff under your noses, in the time-honoured ICETWICE way, until Tony Blair holds his hands up and admits the Iraq war was a rotten scheme, which will coincide with hell freezing over.

Now, pay attention, because this is the sales pitch bit, which you knew all along was what I was really leading up to. We’re having a major clear out in February. Regular visitors to ICETWICE will know that there’s an awful lot of original art upstairs, and frankly, because I haven’t made time over the past four years to keep tabs on it all, it would be sheer folly to attempt to pack it and return it to all the individual artists, even if I knew who they were or could track them down. I’m not good at keeping their phone numbers to hand, and they’ve gone awol anyway, presumably because they’re in a love nest with their life models.

The gist of what I’m saying is this, February is THE PERFECT MONTH for you lot to pop in and grab a SERIOUS art bargain. It’s also, fortuitously, a very good time of year for you to do your spring-cleaning, to make room for your purchase. That’s a domino effect isn’t it? We have a clear out, so you have one too, to make room for the stuff you buy from us. Simple really. I like life when it all works out for everyone.

Dodgem Logic. Alan Moore’s New Baby.

23 01 2010

After the appreciative reception afforded to its premier edition, lauded throughout the gutters of the world, the second issue of Alan Moore’s mystifying new underground publication DODGEM LOGIC is available in early February. Delivering 52 pages of full-colour solid content thanks to its flinty-eyed Puritan policy of no advertisements, all for a frankly laughable £2.50, this plucky bi-monthly periodical is stuffed to the gills with wisdom and wonderment.
Behind a choice of three, count ’em, three luscious variant exteriors we have this issue’s cover feature, a sexy yet somehow sinister Burlesque photo spread from internationally acclaimed maestro Mitch Jenkins with an accompanying article on Burlesque past, present and future by our exotica expert, Melinda Gebbie. Former Steampunk supervisor Margaret Killjoy offers a pertinent and practical guide on ways to usefully pass our time before and after the collapse of civilisation, while Fortean Times godfather Steve Moore delivers a surreal survey of Northamptonshire’s bizarre phenomena, from phantom panthers to confused old men in treetops.
In addition to these delicacies, DODGEM LOGIC’s regular contributors continue to work their magic, with the exception of Josie Long who had a flimsy excuse and will be back next issue. Dave Hamilton’s environmental Eco Chamber column looks at the more worrying side of social network groups, while teenage mum Tink takes over our women’s page this time around with an account of life on the disintegrating edge of England’s social services. Guerrilla gardener Claire Ashby dishes out another instructive communiqué from the urban undergrowth, spooky seamstress Tamsyn Paine knocks up an exploitative freak-show sock puppet, the magazine’s Spinning Doctors dispense more healthcare advice, winsome Wendi Jarrett cooks us a Valentine feast while M.C. Illuzion ruins our appetite for it with a discourse on Mechanically Recovered Meat. Meanwhile graffiti goddess Queen Calluz introduces us to three more Great Hipsters in History. Deities of delineation Savage Pencil and Kevin O’Neil continue to enthral, bewilder and unsettle with their subversive scrawls, while the unearthly Steve Aylett poaches the collective mind of the readership in tears of despair with his obscurely terrifying comic strip adventure, Johnny Viable. Then there’s the insurrectionary ranting and refined musical appreciation of eight-page local insert section, Notes from Noho, with the whole enterprise rounded out by Alan Moore’s illuminating dissertation on the history, difficulties and numerous delights of anarchy.
Extending the ingratiating policy of quaintly and nostalgically including a free gift with every issue, and replacing the astonishing free CD of our debut, DODGEM LOGIC’s unkempt figurehead and founder also contributes a questionable eight-page mini-comic, Astounding Weird Penises, being the only solo comic book that he has managed to create in his otherwise lazy thirty year career.
With only one issue beneath its belt, DODGEM LOGIC has already managed to supply each of the sheltered-housing tenants of the area in which it had its origins with a halfway decent Christmas hamper, and is currently sponsoring its own top-rate basketball team from the same neighbourhood. If future issues do as well, the magazine hopes to extend its various activities across the district and then, ultimately, to construct an orbiting missile platform and demand all the Earth’s uranium.

DODGEM LOGIC ~ chuckling and stroking a white cat for a better tomorrow.

ORDER through ICETWICE now. Collector’s Items of the future!

The Dieter Rams Game.

19 01 2010

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Copyright Dieter Rams, amended March 2003 and October 2009

These ten principles defined Dieter Rams’ approach to “good design”. Each of the hundreds of products he developed during forty years with Braun, was unerringly elegant and supremely versatile. Units were made in modular sizes to be stacked vertically or horizontally. Buttons, switches and dials were reduced to a minimum and arranged in an orderly manner. Rams even devised a system of colour coding for Braun’s products, which were made in white and grey. The only splash of colour was the switches and dials.

Rams’ objective was to design useful products which would be easy to operate. Yet he achieved much more by dint of the formal elegance and technical virtuosity of his work. Rams’ designs always looked effortless with an exquisite simplicity borne from rigorous tests and experiments with new materials and an obsessive attention to detail to ensure that each piece appeared flawlessly coherent. Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively.

Now, it occurred to me, in a daydreamy moment yesterday, that Dieter’s principles can be applied to all sorts of things.

I think it’s quite a good game. Try this for example. Replace the word ‘design’ with the word ‘government’, and then swap ‘a product’ for ‘legislation’. Like so:

Good government is innovative.
Good government makes legislation useful.
Good government is aesthetic.
Good government makes legislation understandable.
Good government is unobtrusive.
Good government is honest.
Good government is long-lasting.
Good government is thorough down to the last detail.
Good government is environmentally friendly.
Good government is as little government as possible.


Now ask yourself, according to Dieter, who clearly knows a thing or two, do we have good government and good legislation?

Thought you’d say that. I agree.

Can You Dig It?

24 12 2009

Press Release from Santa Claus.

23 12 2009

10 Downing Street Closes Early For Christmas.

22 12 2009

UPDATE 22ND DECEMBER. The petition site is currently closed to new petitions over the Christmas holidays. Why are you closed Gordon? Your taxpayers are still working!!!!!!!!

UPDATE 29TH DECEMBER. One week later. Many taxpayers are back at work, but not Gordon’s team. They’re still on holiday.

Which makes this sentence from an open letter from Gordon Brown to NHS staff, dated 21st December 2009, even more hypocritical:

“As you face another Christmas sacrificing time with loved ones to serve others, let me also pay tribute to the incredibly long hours you have put in this year”.

UPDATE 31st DECEMBER. Yawn. Gordon’s team STILL on hols.

Stocking Filler Awards. Deadlock. You Decide.

15 12 2009

It’s awards time of year…and the winner of the ICETWICE 2009 award for ‘Most Bizarre Stocking Filler’ goes to…

‘Happy Kitty Bunny Pony’ or ‘Fluffy Humpy Poopy Puppy”.

Yes, it’s deadlock. Our celebrity panel can’t decide, so it’s up to you, our glorious public, to vote, with your wallets.

March in to ICETWICE and buy the one YOU prefer, and then we can tell the world, in a very loud deep voice, that the victor is, in no particular order, well, which will it be?

Pop along and cast your cash into our till-shaped ballot box.

9 Days Left! Hurry along now.

ICETWICE…….Stocking Filler Central.
01234 714499

Gordon Brown wins Nobel Prize for Spending Other People’s Money!

11 12 2009

In a bold move designed to reward statesmen worldwide for taxing their citizens and distributing the money raised to other countries’ citizens, the Nobel Foundation has today announced a new Nobel Prize for ‘Spending Other People’s Money’.

The winner is …..Gordon Brown.

Smile Gordon. Global recogntion at last. Oh, I forgot, you can’t, sorry.