Thursday, 28 November 2013


In work early - hopefully meeting a client later, they were in Germany yesterday and I've not heard anything since - I really need to get this work finished and invoiced.

Reading in the papers about plain cigarette packaging - frankly, as a lifelong non-smoker and someone very opposed to the habit - I think plain cigarette packaging looks cool, this could be a mistake - or at least a shot in the arm for the people who make 'sleeves' for cigarettes - in the same vein as covers for iPhone cases - I'm surprised the cigarette people don't get into that themselves - funky little slipcases for your plain packets. The only way to tackle it is to make cigarette packaging really really ugly - pictures of Jimmy Saville on every one - or make it the law that the maximum number of cigarettes to be sold in any packet at any time is two.

The most popular thing on the Internet yesterday was a short video of a dead whale exploding and showering a man with blood and guts. What have we become?

Watched the 3rd part of the documentary about the Cold War last night - enjoyed it very much, and deleted about 70% of my Facebook history. Now I feel much cleaner and lighter - all my bad jokes gone, and also all the unwarranted sniping and criticism I get from people who don't like me. My photo albums on there are now just pictures of the dogs and my house, which somehow looks much nicer than in real life.

I really hope that comet Ison does not burn up in the sun's corona tonight - I've only seen one comet and I'd like the chance to see another. No rumblings from the religious yet that it might be a Christmas star and sign of the second coming, well cross that bridge when we get to it.

I've been blocked by Vogue Magazine on Twitter, I'm very proud of that - Sarah Mower wrote an article that was promoted on twitter that basically said 'Shopping for a finishing school? Try Central St Martins or the Royal College of Art - fabulous for fashion" - and my question that 'didn't that just reinforce the trend that higher education was the preserve of the rich, spoilt and privileged - it's not a finishing school - it's a vocation'  - didn't go down well. I was also blocked by Pentagram design earlier this year for pointing out that their Star Designer, Paula Scherr, had spelled 'Vladimir' wrong on a book cover for Lolita that they were promoting heavily on facebook and their blog. They blamed an intern - and then I was subject to a huge amount of abuse (much of it personal) from complete strangers - for daring to question the brilliance of the designer - who I actually find a bit dull and uninspired. A major British Designer - John Barnbrook, bemoaned earlier today on twitter that he gets personal abuse because of his work - it's because he's a 'name' designer - and has traded on his 'name' reputation for 25 years. There are legions of brilliant creatives out there who have to struggle and compromise because they don't have the authority that being a 'name' gives you. Barnbrook will never have to fight for work like the rest of us, and will always be able to charge much more, simply because he's a 'name'. I have to be honest, although he's very gifted and has done much to improve the profile of the UK design industry - I don't like his work that much, he's just done a cover for Clockwork Orange that is 'nearly' there for me - but let down by the typography, which just does not work for me, and also the fawning, sycophantic musings of the design press, because he's a 'name'. I'd have loved it with just the orange circle. I was at college with John, he was OK - but the staff loved him - he'd done very well at St Martins and whilst not being 'attitude' - he was very confident in his place in the world, he was also part of a very strong cohort and that always helps - recently I read an article where he claimed to be very unhappy and unpopular at college and found it very difficult, and had a couple of very hard years afterwards - I remember it differently, he seemed to get a lot of work in the design press very quickly - and founded a studio in his own name is a very good location with the help of another 'Name' agency. Funny how we all have a different perspective on the past.

I just remembered that he 'called out' a totally innocent design graduate on twitter last year who had criticised his work in a private conversation - it turned out that because his company is his own name, they use software to trawl the internet looking for references - I can understand why you would do that, but I never understood why he felt the need to humiliate that girl - perhaps the Gods are just as fragile as the rest of us. Nobody is immune from criticism. I should know.

I just used the word sycophantic. When I was a student I used the same word in a conversation with a group of smug, middle class classmates - unfortunately I added to much emphasis on the 'P' - they all smirked at me for my ignorance. I was embarrassed and humiliated - 25 years later, I now realise that I knew what that word meant and how to use it because I'd read it and was always trying to improve myself, coming from a place where using two syllabals was deemed as extravagant and lurid. I'm not embarrassed about that any more.

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