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Friday, April 15, 2005
This is a bit of an experiment. We've been away for so long, that accumulated links, ideas and other debris threaten to overwhelm. So here's an epic compilation of things that have passed by our radar in the past four weeks. It'll have to do for now - we'll return on a daily basis at the start of May.

The internet DJ, Chris Alden writes in the Guardian about the mp3 blog. Includes links to all your favourites, including moistworks, which was new to us. See also floppyswop, 'A place for sharing any files small enough to fit on a conventional floppy disc (1.44meg High density)'. The song section has a nice, found audio cassette ambience to it, full of crackly experiments. Also related, charity shop stalwarts, a guide to vinyl gently crumbling in Britain's thrift shops. By now, sadly, most charity shops have landfilled their vinyl collections to make room for more fairtrade chocolate and porcelain.

A Roshanda by Any Other Name, a piece in Slate on names, race and destiny: 'How do babies with super-black names fare?'. The research data used was taken from 16 million births registered in California from 1961 onwards. 'The typical baby girl born in a black neighborhood in 1970 was given a name that was twice as common among blacks than whites. By 1980, she received a name that was 20 times more common among blacks.... Even more remarkably, nearly 30 percent of the black girls are given a name that is unique among every baby, white and black, born that year in California.'

Some obituaries. Farewell to the resolutely anti-fashion architect Ralph Erskine, 1914-2005. Erskine is best know for Newcastle's Byker Wall estate. The firm he founded, Erskine Tovatt, have their own tribute. The London Ark, completed in 1992 and looming over the A40 was the closest his environmental-led aesthetic came to intersecting with the zeitgeist (bigger picture, more pictures). Kenzo Tange has also died, one of the most important Japanese architects of his generation.

Also, John DeLorean died at 80. Visit the DeLorean Owners Association for more information on his best-known legacy, the gull-winged stainless steel sports car that lumbered along and had far more success in the movies than on the road. Some more on DeLorean. Staying with autos: the (fully-functional) Voxmobile, a design by the legendary Chuck Barris (via music thing). The Mercedes G4. Mercedes Benz Ponton models. Trends in dashboard design, noted by Autoblog.

Plenty of things at John McVey's website, such as this enormous archive of telegraphic codes and message practice, 1870-1945. 'Dictionaries of phrases and codewords or cipher components were commonly used in the age of telegraphy to compress messages and thereby economize on wire costs, and to achieve some secrecy for communications'. Thus you get 'ouchy,' from Ziegelmeyer's Premier Cotton Code, published in Galveston in 1926, meaning 'desirable in every respect'. There are thousands more.

The now defunct Nest magazine went where no interiors mag dared to tread. Watch their site for extensive archives, coming soon. Other architecture. The 1963 Sculptured House, architect Charles Deaton's contribution to Woody Allen's Sleeper. A house/car interface. Dimensions is a student-produced journal of architecture from the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The latest issue is available as a 13mb pdf.

Urban archaeology: Alexis Robie and Callalillie venture into Officers Row, part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 300 acres of dereliction that closed in 1966 and is rapidly being turned into a 'creative quarter'. Via Curbed / we've never really got into Machinima, but it sounds fascinating / unhappy people in the Magic Kingdom, via Boing Boing. Related, Hunters, a depressing gallery of proud human beings at consumptive.

Paste Magazine / the airline bag lounge, via metafilter / an animation of New York rental prices, flocking together in the prime slices of real estate as the prices rise / AW Zine / Otherpower promises the 'cutting edge of low technology' / Zoo, a project by photographer Wolfgang Thaler / photographs from the 80s and 90s London punk and thrash scene / Christian Schwager's Falsche Chalets ('Sham Chalets') tells a fascinating story / more deception.

The architecture of Robert Mallet-Stevens / the Smallest, Coolest Apartment Contest / architectural album covers. Much prog rock. Vaguely related, a huge collection of music videos, many of which probably have architectural locations. That was quite a weak link, no? A couple more interesting domestic links at metafilter. The story of John Lautner's Chemosphere and the sad stories of garbage houses. outrage, German vernacular excess

Leisure Centre, a promising new magazine, with the first issue distributed free. Contributors include Melanie Rose, Anna Cady, Tim Machin, and former things contributor (in issue 15), Rosemary Shirley / an auction of bicycle ephemera / term browser / Duran Duran Remixed / Damn-Them DotCom produce customised curses.

Portal Classic refurbishes Alfa Romeos on the cheap in the former Eastern Europe / top cloth folding trick / NixiChron GPS Satellite Controlled Nixie Tube Clock / Super Nes End Screens, for those who couldn't quite play right to the very end of their cartridge games (via joystiq) / the airplane home / this year's Fiona Project / spot the April Fool releases in this online store catalogue at Aquarius Records (via raccoon). It's actually pretty tricky. "One drummer is left doing fills and rolls incessantly while the last Batteronimus Maximus (supposedly his legal birth-name!) plays a 12-piece kit assembled entirely of bass drums, leaving the notion of double bass a thing of the past."

Kasimir Malevich's suprematist compositions / the elephants march into New York / the Chocolate Wrappers Museum brings you a world of discarded bits of paper, carefully flattened out and scanned / Genesis Expo, the UK's only museum of creationism. In Portsmouth, of all places, which seems to be devolving architecturally (too many links to list, but try: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, , etc. etc. etc. At least the Tricorn lives on virtually. How long before Gateshead gets a museum showing how 'Chinese calligraphy refers back to Genesis'?).

People recall punchy, inspirational music. Related, product placement in songs, with McDonald's leading the way (naturally). However, the example the BBC articles gives, the inane (and that's without even hearing it) 'Freek-a-Leek' by one Petey Pablo seems to have a sponsored and a non-sponsored version. Neither are what you might call towers of lyrical sophistication, and it's hard to imagine Seagram executives sitting around and OK'ing those lyrics / examples of real 999 calls to the Avon and Somerset police.

Faux VW buses, along the same lines as the Mitsuoka Motor Company'sViewt, a faux Jaguar MkII (the Viewt is 'Happy to hear that it is full of atmosphere and prescence rather than talent', apparently). More Jaguar brochures / the unusual and weird at Cinema Nocturama / today's film lady is Jennifer O'Neill, married nine times, born-again Christian, star of David Cronenburg's scanners, etc. etc.

A well-preserved Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome, via apartment living, who also link the beautifully-designed Design Innovation 50, which celebrates 50 years of Braun. Perhaps they could explain why all the Braun stuff we've got recently is plasticky and hideous (although undeniably efficient) / hyperkit have tweaked their elegant site.

A few weeks ago you could have bought a modernist dollshouse at Target (via mocoloco). The 'Villa Sibi' is designed by Christoph Bitzer and Wolfgang Sirch. One would have thought that Modernism wasn't the preferred vernacular of dolls. However, architects frequently get involved. Check these Charles Rennie Mackintosh accessories, for furnishing the mind-blowingly expensive Mackintosh House (produced in conjunction with The National Trust for Scotland). It appears loosely based on Mackintosh's Hill House, just outside Glasgow. Much better pictures. In comparison, this faux Lutyens-style house isn't much to write home about - little more than exagerated Stockbroker's Tudor.

The Law West of Ealing Broadway comprises of 'Musings and Snippets from an English Magistrate'. Insights aplenty. Test your knowledge of current UK drug laws (answers), or what happens when you drive without insurance. There are plenty of other legal dilemmas posted for you to flex your knowledge of the courts. The Bystander also links to Chase Me Ladies, which is amusing, if a little risque.

It was bliss not to be so time-critical. Things like the real identity of Belle de Jour, revelations that no doubt whistled around the blogosphere for a few days, can be digested at leisure. Read the Belle de Hypothesis weblog for more. The named author, one Lisa Hilton, denies everything. Isn't it a delight that anonymity is still possible. There's a bunch more stuff at weave_to_deceive's Flickr site, and this Guardian diary piece. See, we're so out of date! And we just don't care! All via haddock, pretty much.

Statistically Improbable Phrases, helpfully analysed by (via Onfocus). Essentially, a 'SIP' is a phrase unique to a particular book, thanks to the book giant's incredible text-crunching abilities (and the fact that books are submitted in electronic format by the publishers). SIPs are increasingly important in certain areas of life. Naming bands, for example. More on band names, the weird and wonderful. and, for the very short of inspiration.

Vintage Mercedes ads, via tmn. More veteran Mercedes / the wonderful Aurora, the concept car designed by a Catholic priest / boneyards are aviation graveyards / the cult of 'kawaii', or 'cute' in Japanese / pulpy book covers / Gone Movies has a fine collection of stills / Polish poster gallery / Golden Fiddle offers gossip / the Agony Subcomandauntie sorts out left-wing dilemmas / Chez Pim, a food blog.

Arara, the 'Art and Architecture of the Americas' at Essex University's History of Art department. Related, Manplan 2, from the Architectural Review issues of the 70s / Abandoned Tube Stations (thanks, Tom) / OxPhoto, over five years of Oxford gigs / the filth isn't filth (well, not all of it) / all about the Spotmatic / photos at SensorChip / James Worrall sells antiques / picturing chloe provides illustrations, especially for South London bands. Nosing around finds you deep in a host of fascinating sites, including Save the Routemaster.

The photography of Joseph Szabo / someone spent a long time making this / deathchase-x versus the classic Spectrum original. See also Deathchase 3D. Or Deathchase 2002. This, however, looks like much more fun / Common People, the comic / net disaster: watch as asteroids impact your least favourite website / want to build a treadle wheel just like Bernard Leach's? Here are the plans.

The Landmark Trust is the latest organisation to cash in on the Da Vinci Code, thanks to their ownership of Collegehill House in Roslin, located slap bang next to the scene of the book's denouement? / old but still good, because it's so bad, it's good. Or something: Nathan Barley generator / pixel artists Eboy's collection of buildings.

The birth of the notebook, via boing boing. Related, phantom laptop screens / Giles Godwin is a fine photographer / amazing snowy photographs by Joel Tettamanti (via Conscientious / the photography of Aaron Cameron Muntz / rotate your life through ninety degrees.

The Optimist Club / 13 things that don't make sense / artist John Hubbard / A new order for office buildings, back in 1996 / Red Ferret Journal / a fascinating photoblog by a serving police officer, via Design Observer

Fun things to do. "Spell an author's name in letters made of book-covers" with AmaZtype. Make strange computer sentences with Rherotical Systems, who have a great demo of their creepy artifical voice software (via music thing). Beaterator, a flash-based sequencer.

Great site about the Teignmouth Electron and the strange case of Donald Crowhurst (see this book). Crowhurst's life and demise were also documented by the artist Tacita Dean / Sears Catalogue from years gone by / More flickr fun: 50 people see, latte art / all of Unicode / The Online Video Game Atlas.

We are so far behind that many of these links will seem stale and familiar to those of you who trawl the link sites on a daily basis. Rick Poynor, former Blueprint editor, no less, on Why Architects Give Me the Willies. Also pointed to by Design Observer, the current Avant-Garde Graphics 1918-1934 exhibition at the Estorick Collection, and The Diagram, a web magazine of information graphics.

Music things. Project C-90, an archive of blank tapes. things favoured the mighty TDK D-90. And Band to, joining the dots between the incestuous world of music / the Radio Times, 'telling the story of British broadcasting'. It was a pretty good-looking publication in the 1970s.

The New York that Might Have Been (via Kottke), versus Pugly Toronto, the Toronto That Sadly Is / Military Operations as Urban Planning, an article at MetaMute on the adhoc military adaptation of urban space / the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, in Kobe, Japan, has a handy guide to tools and their uses / the World Federation of Great Towers / Shopdropping, 'experiments in the aisles', or the art of creating subversive objects and placing in a retail environment full of unsuspecting consumers. More here.

The London Underground in Films and Television, via the cartoonist / the photo archives of the Brooklands Society / Ten x Ten magazine / modelling Russian aircraft. Related, a Korean Wing in Ground Effect aeroplane concept. Or go futurist with this guide to the ships from Elite.

Archinect has an interview on the nature of architectural publishing with Roger Conover, Executive Editor of the MIT Press. Related, see the Princeton Architectural Press response to the same 'Building Books' series, and read Kester Rattenbury's low-down on architecture books in icon magazine. We're enjoyed the MIT-published The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream, by Meredith Clausen.

A Richard Scarry-esque Worth1000 contest / design studios make wine labels / archivio Luigi Pellegrin / That Amazing Sinking Feeling, or how libraries around the world aren't really collapsing under the weight of their books / Good Brush / paintings by Rebecca Campbell, via Ashley B, who also linked Serpica Naro: the great fashion hoax.

Mach Diamonds is a wonderful page about personal jet concepts, old and new (check the cute SIPA S-200) / a Russian flying saucer / breast enhancement technology slideshow, via tmn.

Could this collection of links be any more disorganised? Broken sites, etc., are to be expected, we're afraid. See you next month.