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Friday, May 28, 2004
RNAD (Royal Naval Arnaments Depot) Dean Hill sits behind my parents' house in Wiltshire. They've lived there for about 17 years, and in that time the base has become surplus to requirements and it's now up for sale. Subterranea Britannica's got to visit the site - something I've wanted to do for over half my life (actually, my father has been round several times in the past few years as the Navy attempts to build bridges with the local community). Nick Catford's photographs of the site are brilliant - they make me insanely jealous both for what he got to see and for their quiet technical and compositional excellence.

Elsewhere. pencil carving / Sleek Magazine, your standard rotting factories/underwear models kind of fashion mag / The latest issue of WORK magazine has a firearm theme. See the reproduction of the United States Navy Machine Gun manual from 1942 ('Six Mitsubishis - all set to dive - Blip went a Browning - then were five', etc. - it gets somewhat more off colour after that) / a page about Dr Strangelove - Ken Adam, the film's famed set designer, is currently on Desert Island Discs (more Adam, this time his work on the Bond films).

A few links culled from Newstoday, a design portal and more (their library is worth a browse). The photography of Matt Rubin, Paperbrigade, a photography portal, Piperboy's Travel Scrapbook / Samizdata, keeping an eye on half-truths and greater deceptions.

The photography of Conor Masterson / Thomas Schlijper's photolog (with panoramas of Tel Aviv) / a vast remote control model of a B-52 / hunting the Sasquatch with a custom RV.

According to our stats, this site ceased to exist last Wednesday, and then re-appeared on Thursday. Apologies if you found this to be the case.

Thursday, May 27, 2004
The ongoing story of a web-based marketing campaign. American readers may have noticed a magazine supplement entitled Men of Metal, apparently given out free with a bunch of glossy titles. This 'extract', an intriguing sub-chapter in the Mini Cooper robot saga, isn't being distributed here in the UK. Even so, it was quickly decoded and the scam-like nature of the contents revealed (giant robots secretly developed from Mini Coopers by a reclusive scientist, etc., etc.).

Given that this meme has been bouncing around for several months, Men of Metal seems to be over-egging the pudding. That it was treated with any seriousness at all is a blow for the globalising power of the internet – surely the buzz that the original movies generated would have killed the idea of this ‘book’ stone dead? Clearly not, if the slightly lax attention to detail of Mini's American marketing machine is anything to go by. How else could you get away with calling Oxford a ‘remote area of England’? The agency responsible is Crispin Porter + Bogusky (apt name, that), who describe themselves as a 'factory that makes advertising and branded creative content'.

The question is just how far can an agency go to create a buzz? How subversive can a viral campaign be? Getting a campaign talked about on weblogs and bulletin boards is all very well, but hardly a result that would justify a whoppy agency fee. The real benefit surely comes when the 'scam' is revealed by a major media outlet and commentators can revel in its cleverness. Awards inevitably follow. But the idea of sowing the seeds of an outlandish concept, then just sitting back to watch it grow has far more mileage. How many of today's memes originate on an ad agency's whiteboards? For Mini, some enterprising person/ad agency employee even posted to (if anything they were too sceptical). If that was all the agency had done, the robot rumours would have seeped slowly, inexorably into popular myth. In the future, will we learn to question everything, fearful that any interesting rumour is simply a way of preparing our brain for a new, exciting product?

Some additional speculation and analysis posits that the campaign may be aligned with the forthcoming Transformers movie, based on the Hasbro toys. Transformers are currently undergoing a bit of a revival, with a recently released video game, for example, so perhaps Mini's product will feature heavily in the movie. Thanks to 2walls webzine for bringing all this up again.

Elsewhere. The art of the Japanese postcard, via joshua's (formerly muxway) / mp3s at 3hive / Work-safe art / the Cartoonist's Dinky toy catalogues have been expanded again / a supposedly fun thing that Simon Schama appears to have actually quite enjoyed (thanks to tmn) - a cruise on the QM2.

Blinding Nerve Pain is a weblog devoted to sciatica pain relief – a weblog as therapy. It provides some choice picks, including Telephone Collectors International, Along Your Way: Facts about stations and scenes on the Santa Fe, 1946, a gallery of Radiolarians, and implosionworld, movies and galleries of controlled demolitions.

Lesbian paperbacks at Strange Sisters (via Coudal). You can also check out the rare books collection at Mount Saint Vincent University, which ‘includes the largest holding of lesbian pulp fiction of any university in North America.’ Indeed. A short history of ‘lesbian pulps’ here. While we’re looking at pulpy things, some sci-fi covers and a collection of bad girls.

A bit more about Cryptids at Cryptodominion / Dance Hall Manuals at the Library of Congress's American Memory collection (via The Rambler). Great images: The PREFACE to all Lovers of Musick and Dancing / beautifully observed photography at grand magasin and la forme d'une ville.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Bill Owens' suburban photos (via ilike). Hell, even we rolled out a lawn last week, just as the sun perked up and did its best to shrink the new turf into little brown squares. But where do the suburbs begin? You know when you’re there, but the borders are often blurred. Worth a browse: Behind the Picket Fence: The Fifties Family Exposed Through Primary Sources. There's also Levittown: Levittown: Documents of an Ideal American Suburb. Suburbia – it’s all about protection.

Charles Holden's Senate House as Batman set, a suitable marriage. I hadn't heard the rumour about Hitler wanting this Bloomsbury Ziggurat for his London HQ, but the building certainly inspired George Orwell in his description of the four ministries in 1984. The original City of Sound's original comprehensive post on the building.

The first Batman movie, Tim Burton's 1989 film, was art directed by Anton Furst. Furst created a Gotham City that mixed of deco, expressionist and moderne styles. Also shot in the UK, at Pinewood Shepperton, part of the film re-used the set from Aliens. Furst killed himself in 1991 (there's a creepy cinematic myth attached to the film, from imdb: "Some claim to have seen a scene in the original theatrical release where Batman and Vicki Vale run through the streets of Gotham City and Batman notices a homeless little girl who asks him, "is it Hallowe'en?" This scene is now missing from all other releases."). Vintage Batmobile images.

The work of architect Paul Andreu, currently under scrutiny following the collapse of Terminal 2E at Charles de Gaulle Airport. Andreu is currently working on the vast Beijing National Theatre. Vaguely related, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, a Communist Opera (via I Like).

A collection of online publications in this me-fi thread, most leaning towards the hipster scrawled illustration school of presentation, but fun to flick through nonetheless / how css boxes work. We're doing this all wrong / Ron Mansfield runs a site called Childhood Radios.

Which side of the road do they drive on? (via plasticbag) / Robot Person, CollyLogic, two stylish weblogs / Curbed, a new weblog about NY real estate (via Lightningfield). It's more interesting than it sounds / A new, updated site for Archinect / Lines on Paper, 'Choice Books for the Collector', with many images.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Gallery of the Unnamed, family photos and much, much more (via Me-fi) / DPreview looks at Leica’s gorgeous Digilux2. We got to try one at the weekend, and it feels good - more solid even than the trusty Digilux 1 / 'A voyage to the Gunkanjima-island is prohibited currently,' yet you can visit it on-line.

Citroen brochures, via inflightcorrection. Also via ifc, Fender colour blocks at Novaks, who build 'vintage replicas' of classic guitars (currently lusted-after by things, the strangely-named Fender Jaguar Bottom Master).

Prints by Ivan Pope / a nice splash page at South London's Deckspace / solve a mystery: just what is the "Dick & Pat Fly-Swatter and Fan"? / Drunken Boat, an online journal of the arts / The Art of James Bond, via Portage about a hundred years ago / everything you could possibly want to know about Transformers, robots in disguise.

Corporate justifications, part 1. Kings of call centres: Sitel describe their product as 'outsourced customer interaction services'. Part 2, an environmental statement from Caterpillar, makers of rainforest crushers / all about the lunar lander.

Miss Abigail's time warp advice. Compare and contrast with Ann Widdecombe's words of wisdom / TNI make books and 'other book-like things' / UFOs at first sight / the Casio VL-Tone - an early classic keyboard.

Back, but a little snowed under, which explains the random quality of the above. We've found time to re-do the search page, though, using Google's technology. Hopefully it'll be way better than it has been in the past.

Thursday, May 20, 2004
We're off for a long weekend, and are purging the link folder in anticipation of five days without posts.

EyesCoffee, a Hong Kong webzine specialising in photography. Check out the Mumbai camera bargains at the city's Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) / Raleigh Chopper fansite / archive of Sears Modern Homes / 2001: A Space Odyssey, sound and information.

The Lawrence School, Lovedale is India’s most exclusive boarding school: it appears very similar to its English equivalents / the Center for Book Arts / Cooked in Marseille, French designers / a beautiful photodiary at Elasticspace / Coagula, an image synthesiser.

Audacity complements a recent book, Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, and is a polemical collection of pieces and links railing against 'sustainababble', and is pro-development / De Stijl edited by by Theo van Doesburg from 1917 to 1932 / Futurism and the Futurists.

People*UK, a (pdf) user guide to the various consumer types populating the UK. Which one are you? Are you in a Theme Park Family, or are you a Telebanking Townie? Hideous stuff, 46 categories spread amongst eight 'lifestages'. Kind of related, a Photoanthropological Look at Bachelorhood.

The Rocklopedia Fakebandica / Union Station, Los Angeles / ghostsites / Kak, a Russian design magazine (we think, but it's in Russian, so it might not be) / the photography of Richard Caldicott / nevercamehome, an mp3 weblog / Brick, a literary journal / the journals of Dan Eldon.

Black Projects, into the aerial unknown / Built in America, a survey of the nation's historic buildings. See also this bungalow collection / inflation calculator / the photo-journalism of Esther Bubley.

Armchair travel - fly around the world in Microsoft flight simulator / Waite Air Photos aerial views of Canada / wargame miniatures / terraform, fortifications for your lead soldiers / Gene Gill Miniatures, replicas of historical landmarks / (real) Bunkers in Finland / American bunkers in Europe / French U-boat bases / WWII bunkers in Hawaii / tanks for sale.

Back on Monday, maybe Tuesday. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
New England Ruins. Just what is the fascination with all things crumbling and overgrown? Christopher Woodward's In Ruins attempts to provide an answer, positing not unsurprisingly that ruins are conscious expressions of our desire to feel at one with our history, visual reminders of a past that is usually buried too deep. Most people, myself included, get a perverse satisfaction from ruins, and the more ruinous the better. As Woodward notes, the 'well-kept' ruin, with its neatly shored up walls, explanatory plaques, trimmed undergrowth and warning signs, seems somehow inauthentic, robbing us of the pleasure of 'stumbling across' something unknown. Even though the 'restoration' might bring us physically closer to the site's pre-ruined state, the incursion of others somehow robs us of the thrill of discovery, however delusional that thrill might be.

Whether it's rusting machinery and industrial wastelands, or ivy-draped columns, ruins are undeniably romantic. It's hard to imagine now, but the vast Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire was only discovered in 1648 by John Aubrey, while out hunting one day. Many of the 98 stones, which enclose a 28-acre area (and the entire village), were buried in the centuries after the site fell into disuse by pagan-fearing villagers. Presumably, forest also blanketed the site (today, national coverage is only 8.5%, source: Forestry Commission. More on medieval forest history). Nonetheless, most considered Avebury's stones a nuisance, and they were broken up to clear land for farming and then used to build houses. The Alexander Keiller Museum was founded by its namesake, one of the first to seriously restore the site.

Related: Liam Quin's Scanned Images, Engravings and Pictures From Old Books, a collection of high-quality images culled from Liam's own collection of antiquarian books. Blast Furnace 7 Demolition, at, a weblog. Reminiscent of the work of photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, yet in reverse. The Monastery of St Francis and Gorton, Manchester.

A short history of telephone box vice cards (via boing boing). In London's West End, the 'carders' are often followed by grim-faced old ladies who methodically tear down their hard work, yet don't actually throw the gaudy artwork away. As a result, phone boxes are frequently carpeted, rather than wallpapered, with lurid pornography.

Cubesolver, very clever Lego (via engadget). Watch a video of the machine in action, or visit Speed Cubing for tips on how to strip down and re-build your Rubik's Cube for ultimate performance.

Collapse, still a brilliant way to stretch deadlines to breaking point (and far less frightening than the other methods on offer) / Siouxsie and the Banshees, rarities / traffic in realtime / Re-visit the films of Jacques Tati at Tativille. More information.

Keeping web designers on their toes, official sites for the bid to host the 2012 Olympics: London, New York, Madrid, Moscow and Paris.

We’re truly honoured to be considered tmn’s 'Favorite Link Pools of Things Otherwise Ungrouped, English edition'.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
The great Atlantic Restaurant at the 1938 Glasgow Empire Exhibition, via I Like. Closer to home, as the new Wembley Stadium is slowly lifted out of the debris of the old, we give you this page on the British Empire Exhibition of 1924-5, back in the days the sun always shone, etc. etc. Most of the exhibition has long since crumbled away, but the Palace of Industry survives, looking rather decrepit, next to Owen William's majestic Empire Pool, nowadays better known as Wembley Arena (although the pool is still there, beneath the floor). Some ticket stubs from Empire days: Hawkwind, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa.

Wembley was also where the daleks began their ill-fated invasion of earth (mostly flat, no staircases). After the war, the nascent BBC television services used the Palaces of Industry and Arts as a base for the earliest outside broadcasts, for example during the 1948 Olympics at the nearby Stadium and pool:

In those days, viewers only totalled about 24,000 Londoners. For that memorable match, I had less to do that usual as "No. 2" on "R.A.C.K.S.", because, at about 8.30pm, the sun went down behind the stadium seats and things were pretty dim. Only our veteran Emitron could resolve the ball above the "noise", and distinguish the players striped shirts, one side and dark grey the other.

Related. the story of the first outside broadcast, at the 1929 Derby. Staying with water and times past, aqua nostalgia at Lost Lidos. More seaside imagery at The Coastview project, a coastal management page that has some fascinating aerial photography.

Our paltry linguistic skills fail us, but there's a deluge of visual delights at Samlaren, including beautiful toy Porsche 356s, quirky record players (the appropriately-named Radiola 007, for example), a huge gallery of cover art from Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking (did you know you can even visit Astrid Lindgren's World, three hours and 300km south-west of Stockholm? Thanks to Mr Aitch and Peter for correcting my geography. Peter points out that Stockholmers have Junibacken, 'an Astrid Lindgren-themed (and endorsed) "activity and cultural centre"' instead), wrecked cars (a perennial things favourite), early mobile phones, hat pins, very retro mopeds, advertising, a police spec Porsche 911, valves (my uncle, who died in 1990, would have loved the internet so much), and much, much more. A veritable treasure trove.

A classier kind of Lido on display at this Australian Vintage Poster site. The seaside always fares well in this era. Related, the History of Advertising Trust Archive, via Russell Davies. See Paddington Station in 1874 - if you think we're blitzed by signs, symbols, exhortations and slogans today, this image shows how we've got it easy. (Things move fast, backwards and forwards: 'My son will look at me in complete bemusement when I talk about dialling up.')

Elsewhere. Music recommendation, the modest (and almost un-Google-able) ee / some scanned stamps / Russian stamps / even bigger stamps / from this story on our crowded skies: 'At any daytime moment, there are 3,500 aircraft in the skies over Europe, carrying some 400,000 people.' That's the entire population of Shropshire, suspended above the earth / the gamebike - we've been after something like this for a while...

Monday, May 17, 2004
The Man Who Invented The Internet is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the recent history of all things web-like. Looking back into the already murky waters of the mid to late-90s, this backwards weblog (presented as 'notes for a book') re-visits the glory days of London's dotcom boom. While probably not quite as thrilling as the 'gold rush' days on the US west coast, there was nonetheless a palpable air of excitement amongst members of the first digital generation. Friends spoke of unlimited technical possibilities, of limitless stock options, of endless world travel, and for a month or two these things really did come to pass. But what stays with me, more than anything else, was the utter lack of tangible things, of objects, products, even actual websites, that did anything you could understand. It's as if the whole era was premised on a colossal hoax, that of untold riches pouring in from internet users.

This came much later, though, towards the end of the decade when the panic set in and people started scrabbling around for fresh investors and clients. TMWITI goes back further, to the days when the UK's very first internet cafe, Cyberia, started up on Whitfield Street (it's still there, albeit now called Be the Reds and specialising in South Korean food). Ironically, things was working on Whitfield Street at the time, a few hundred yards away from the epicentre of the British web scene, yet blissfully ignorant...

Elsewhere. Continuing the symbiotic relationship between the web and the tube, Which London Underground Map are you?, via Rodcorp. See also Mapper's Delight / excellent time lapse photography at playing with time / images and desktops at Deskbazaar / tiny apps, which might work better than big, bloated apps - you never know / Bow man, fun with flash, a friend and sharp, pointy objects / video game sprite sheets, inspired by Jason Zada / flying pig.

Russian Space Art, via The Cartoonist. See also The Real Moon Landing Hoax at the Encyclopedia Astronautica (it’s a shame that the linked journal, Quest - the History of Spaceflight Quarterly – doesn't have a bigger online presence). More on the race to the moon, a race the Russians claimed, falsely, they were never even running. The Lunokhod rover, the Soviet's greatest lunar triumph looked as if it was designed by Roland Emmett. More spacey links at the Gravity Lens weblog.

Venice 2036 / Lamborghini police car / A love affair with maps / there are often interesting words at the usually naked suicide girls / cabinet of busted wonders, a weblog / fonts in the style of HP Lovecraft.

Friday, May 14, 2004
The usual Friday frenzy of randomness.

Lifesize, a new book created by Hyperkit and Victionary Publishers, a 'collection of ideas, fascinations and frustrations.' I've not seen an actual copy yet, but Hyperkit's work is consistently wonderful. Places like Magma overflow with visual delights, but regardless of quality, the quantity is overwhelming.

The Sequential Art Website, or how to produce writing and illustration that unfolds as a narrative. Plenty of beautiful pictures, including work by Chris Ware. Some more Ware. See also Quimby (which we don’t think is officially linked to Ware’s Quimby Mouse, reviewed here). All sorts to browse here, including Eyesore, a 4AD database, and lost albums and the Acme Novelty Warehouse, a Chris Ware Bibliography.

More comics. Forlorn Funnies and Sequential Comics, at illustrator Margo Mitchell’s website. Links include these beautiful screenprints at the bird machine, the illustrations of Tomer Hanuka and the photography of David Ondrik. See, for example, wasteland.

Man Conquers Space, 'the conquest of the moon and mars', an alternative history of space exploration using this mighty, yet fictional, Saturn rocket (quicktime). Space robots. More space. The Woman’s Day Outer-Space Station, a project published in the pages of the aforementioned magazine for (keen and competent) parents to build for their children. First published in 1978 (riding on the back of Star Wars mania – this page is at Gus Lopez’s Star Wars Collectors Archive), the article notes that the original shoot featured approximately '$2500 worth of Jawa figures' – valued at today’s collector-centric prices, of course. The site even includes instructions.

John Logie Baird, television innovator, with lots of pictures of Baird and his wonky machines, including a diagram of the early TV studios at Crystal Palace. More on the Palace ('Ere Now! What's comin off?')

Pig City flash movie / wrought iron VW / the condiment packet museum (thanks, Tom) / AphotographicMAGAZINE (via featured) / the history and uncertain future of the huge Antonov An-70 transport plane.

Thursday, May 13, 2004
Architecture things.

Loudpaper, the architecture zine, is still going strong. Basilisk, 'an online journal of architecture, philosophy, literature, music and perception'. A slick site for architect Moshe Safdie, courtesy of the ever dazzling KDlab (much flash). Staying conceptual - the Vertical Farm. See also Pig City by MVRDV Architects.

Two recent works by David Adjaye, photographed by the Dirty House (designed for artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster) and the nearly-finished Idea Store in Tower Hamlets. More 'Britart': photographer Johnnie Shand Kydd's series of portraits of the burgeoning YBA scene.

The City Tie, a must for promenading urbanists (via Veritas et Venustas) / an indie pop database, via the null device / Eddie Elliot's Videostreamer - see the 'streamer boxes' in particular. Thanks to Tom / wheelchair promotional movie - fits neatly into a Saab 95.

Other things. The secret history of Coke and the Nazis - good to have a proper reason to dislike Fanta / after yesterday's Luftwaffe 46 link, try this: secrets of the Third Reich (via, naturally, me-fi). They're here! A Mexican UFO film.

More objects and stories. JM Colberg’s As Is , subtitled 'An American Archeology of sorts'. 'A visit to the thrift store is like a trip in time.' / the Hallucigenia, a multi-wheeled car concept / then you discover, a gallery / who needs a Hummer?

1930s architecture in London. Gillian Darley on Ernö Goldfinger: The Life of an Architect, a new book by Nigel Warburton. The Mystery of the Lawn Road novels, on Agatha Christie's sojourn at the Isokon Building in Hampstead.

Is it just us, or is Karl Lagerfeld's iPod carrying case just really, really stupid? Wouldn't they all rattle around? (more). The man apparently has 60,000 compact discs.

Random speculation of the day (several months after everyone else), but is Belle de Jour Julie Myerson? There's something about the tone of Laura Blundy...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
A random selection today.

Alternative futures in the world of Roboterkampf (not to mention home-made Ghostbuster costumes), a site focusing on the visually rich yet almost totally inpenetrable Japanese role-playing game Maschinen Krieger. It also includes speculation on unbuilt war machines in the Luftwaffe 1946 section / a new parent looks to the future.

Concept phones at the Vodafone design file / the work of Italian architect Giuseppe Terragni (both via dezain) / Children's Art From The Spanish Civil War at the Archives of Ontario (via Life In The Present). The archives also contain this charming 1957 Santa Claus Parade colouring book (see also 1951 and 1960) and a selection of Toronto’s twentieth century buildings.

Hugh Pearman, erstwhile things contributor (we’d be delighted to have him back) writes about the forthcoming Fantasy Architecture exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. More architecture: an article on the Weissenofsiedlung, the modernist housing development once used by the Nazis to illustrate degenerate, 'foreign' architecture, complete with clumsily montaged arabs to emphasise its 'alien' qualities. The scheme is now into its eighth decade and becomes more feted with each passing year. More information at this excellent site. Via ArchNewsNow

Bangladesh's The New Nation falls for a little creative photoshopping (thanks to Apothecary's Drawer). Vaguely related, and something we missed first time round – the Creationist-friendly Dinosaur Adventure Land in Florida (via collision detection and the NYT, which has the most infuriatingly trigger-happy archivist). This could, of course, be a hoax for us to fall for... but at least the theme park has a similar thing about giants.

Television adverts from Communist Hungary (via muxway) / The Drawn Sword, engravings and woodcuts from the MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection (via The Little Professor, who supplies things Victorian and academic) / we've never really understood why serial killer art is so fascinating.

Bullet train departure timetable - one every six minutes (thanks to transport blog / share your bad scrabble hands (via via memepool) / the greatest photoblog image of all time? It certainly ticks all the boxes... / the American Bicycle Museum (via the daily jive).

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Heavy Little Objects, a daily catalog of talismans. A weblog that could not be more things-like if it tried (via boing boing). It helps, of course, that Mack clearly has cupboards full of delights, as befits a true hoarder, each with its own story. Some highlights: the Lomo Supersampler camera, the memories evoked by Saab front wheel bearings, a digital counter (the people it clicked long since forgotten) and a wisdom tooth ('I keep it around as a lesson for the kids').

Sharpeworld drops the towel and steps into the shimmering blue waters of Wet Magazine. America's favourite website has lovingly scanned two whole issues of this oh-so-perfect period item from the late 1970s. It makes most contemporary design mags look hackneyed and clichéd, for sure, taking the energy of punk and cut-up and turning it into a counter cultural glossy. The work of Malcolm Garrett, Neville Brody, April Greiman and more, came from a similar place, leading all the way up to David Carson's Raygun magazine (which got design writers steamed up). Laurel Blossom’s piece 'Making Waves' from way back in things 9 is the perfect accompaniment.

Marshall Sokoloff's Salt, a gallery. These pictures are so good - if I lived next to a rusty shipyard I’d be down there every day. Also via tmn, Russell Lee’s colour images of the Great Depression, rather tastelessly entitled 'Poverty’s Palette' by the NYT. See also the Russell Lee Collection hosted by the Texas State University-San Marcos library website.

Industrial tourism. Ford's iconic Rouge plant is reborn as a museum. Once home to 100,000 men, you can now take a tour, entitled Great American Production, around Albert Kahn's great cathedrals of industry (previously mentioned). More Ford imagery.

Short cuts. one man and his blog / Lisa’s Nostalgia Café / Design for Homes features new developments in London and elsewhere. Mostly dreadful (we disagree wholeheartedly with the assessment of this building).

Modern ruins, a photographic essay (via space and culture) / Made in Sheffield, a documentary on the birth of electronic pop / Casino Avenue, a weblog / the earth from above, in Vincent La Foret's ‘Perspectives’ exhibition (via kottke) / the Land Shark concept (although we think it looks more like a silverfish than a shark).

The theories of Paul Shepheard, as set out in Brian Thomas Carroll’s thesis, The Architecture of Electricity (via tesugen). Shepheard’s Artificial Love is one of the more enjoyable architecture books I have read recently.

Monday, May 10, 2004
On archives and more.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photo library. See collections including historic fish and natural and unnatural worlds and ancient tornadoes. 'Figure 19: The St Louis Tornado of May 27, 1896, shot a shovel six inches into the body of a tree'. Other things could also be impaled. More imagery: 'lighting strikes the Empire State Building', dust storm, June 1936.

A huge collection of historic computing images / a gallery of photographs from the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a 'hangar' (actually a new building by HOK) stuffed full of old shiny aeroplanes. More planes. The Shorts S23 C Class Empire Flying Boats, the pride of Imperial Airways (bi-lingual history). See also the mighty Handley Page HP42. Also: 'Use the Air Mail for Egypt, Iraq & India. Post on Fridays' at Travel Brochure Graphics, which has wonderful advertising galleries. See, for example, the cover of the German Transportation Exhibition of 1925.

Why did Learning from Las Vegas appear as a scratchily-designed little paperback? This Design Observer piece by William Drenttel reveals the story of the lost design behind Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown's iconic book. The ensuing debate takes in the current prediliction for over-designed monographs, the nature of architects as design clients (not good) and VSBA's admirable commitment to the 'ugly and the ordinary'.

The 2004 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, a meeting of automobiles old and new, with the emphasis on shiny and expensive. Staying shiny, but as far from the purist - elitist, even - attitude of the Concours motor show, a gallery of Japanese custom cars and trucks (via gizmodo). The extraordinary, proboscis-like exhaust pipes that reach into the sky are a trend I wasn't aware of. (Oh dear, we have to disagree with this worst cars of all time list. The Citroen SM! What were they thinking?). Also via G, the Keraclonic Sphere. More weird TVs at TV history (who make good use of the Tuvalu domain name).

Soviet expo architecture, from pre-Revolutionary Tsarist, through to Constructivist fantasies, and then back into Stalinist kitsch. (via the Cartoonist). Expos really are the thing. After all, as TC notes, ‘who reads copy these days?’ See also Tales of Future Past and the Hayward Gallery's forthcoming Fantasy Architecture exhibition / British Pop Art, via Coudal.

The linocuts of Paul Catherall – reminiscent of London Transport's golden age of art and design in the 1930s. Even ruins can be made to look heroic. For further inspiration, Oliver Green's Moving Metropolis is highly recommended.

Learn Syldavian / Rare ads / serious brutalism, one of many fantasy images at the Illusions of Reality gallery / Pierre builds trucks from Lego / book plate gallery / attractive re-working of a classic video game / Scotty Dog Toast Crumb, just a short step from the Toastman, Maurice Bennett, apparently New Zealand's most renowned artist. See also the Toaster Museum, that internet staple, which is attempting to take the leap from virtual to real.

Oooh. Blogger has re-designed. This might prompt us to change our posting habits - i.e. start giving proper titles to posts.

Friday, May 07, 2004
The 'end of the loft as a meaningful cultural symbol?' A fascinating piece in Metropolis about The Ironwork Lofts, a rather dismal collection of executive homes in Colorado masquerading as pseudo factories, canneries and warehouses. The architects responsible are Terra Verde, who are seemingly able to turn their hand to anything, from the style that should be known as Prairie Golf, through to Neo Adobe and Steroidal Ranch. The developers, Cornerstone Homes ('we build livable art'), have identified a niche - people who want the space and style of city living without the actual city.

Perhaps the developer should be praised for their willingness to do something new and break out of the box marked 'McMansion'. There's no reason why living in a pseudo-industrial estate is any different from living in a fantasy development like Seaside, with its picket fences and strict residential codes. It's all very well for commentators to tut over the irony (the piece concludes that 'as commercial builders embrace a loft aesthetic, the fact that lofts were a way of reviving disused urban neighborhoods falls by the wayside'), but the truth is that this Colorado suburb isn't alone.

In Minnesota, the Sunset Ridge Senior Homes, designed by the firm Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle (who aren't, by any stretch of the imagination, bad architects), fulfils a similar role - transplanting spaces and styles once only experienced through a layer of urban grit into wipe clean suburbs. The vogue for 'loft-style' developments (and other hybrids, like the 'loft house') doesn't seem to have peaked in the UK, nor has the hackneyed desire for 'space and light'. As a result, one expects this kind of development will surface, in some form or another, over here soon. But, as with so many things in life, the emphasis is on cloaking the everyday in something else, adding more and more layers of meaning and complexity.

Some other things. The photographs of Elina Brotherus (via Conscientious) / Apartment Therapy (thanks to Gina) / the history of the US Postal Service (thanks to Susan) / some food weblogs: The Hungry Tiger, Foodster, Food Porn Watch / the slightly creepy split-screen VW Ball, reminiscent of Gabriel Orozco's truncated Citroen DS (read more abot Orozco at

Dare you enter the Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness? (via bifurcated rivets) / London art deco (think I linked this before) and Decopix, general deco views / Lots of Co., a weblog / the infinite cat project (thanks tmn).

It's nice to be considered part of a 'wonderful little flurry of thoughtful, fascinating activity' (thanks, Submit Response).

Thursday, May 06, 2004
A whole collection of almost wholly unrelated stuff today. Too much going on to be coherent. Mass consumption goes mad, part 363. You know you want to: make your hot dogs look like octopii, or build a 'backyard hydraulic aeroplane' (via gizmodo). From the same people, the Zoomer, a lawsuit waiting to happen. Time to revisit the seminal Niles Monorail.

Ask me-fi throws up some interesting information on global address systems, or why houses are numbered the way they are. Some more about zip codes / the lovely (and still somewhat theoretical) BA609 Tiltrotor (quicktime) /, a weblog / The Show So Far, a wonderful weblog which promises a winning combination of 'dispatches from the fringes of late capitalism' and 'notes on propogating rare trees'.

Another weblog, Sans Sheriff / vintage posters depicting the Chateau of Chermonceaux / a history of Fender's off-set waist guitars, the Jaguar and Jazzmaster / reallyrather, a weblog / case studies of classic modern buildings / Pong, flash interface design from Chile / online artistic cinematics at

Apologies if the sub-Martin Parr photograph at top right remains in a holding pattern for a couple of days. A new photo gallery will commence shortly.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Back from a few days away, freshly invigorated. Meanwhile, our phantom issue lurches from one printing press to the other - a proof is in the offing, or so we're told.

A few links. They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships (via me-fi), a surprisingly affecting collection of found nauticana. Reminds us of Ivory Springer, a fine Bristol band with a nautical swagger / take the Sky Mall Pop Quiz. EasyJet would so benefit from having this catalogue on board. It frequently manages to uninnovate Unnovations.

Dig your own hole, courtesy of me-fi / a belt-driven watch from Tag Heuer (via gizmodo). A good example of how the modern watch industry, which traditionally deals in very small things now relies on the heavy use of computer graphics to show people what it does / Greg Tulonen's collection of nurse books.

A historical archive of Grundig electronics (print quality pictures) / a neat idea: three years of snooze snapshots / Arcbuster, TV lunacy / Comes with a smile, a fanzine / 300 images from 1800 sites - you'll be amazed at the variety found in a single tiny icon / the Air Force Museum, Monino, Russia. Many fascinating exhibits, including this fragment of U2 and the Tu-4 'Bull', the Soviet copy of the B-29 Superfortress (a bit like the Leica copies made by Fed and Zorki).