Welcome to the Dragons' Friendly Society
Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin created some of the best-loved and most influential animations from a cowshed at the bottom of Firmin's garden. Proof that a) imagination will always find a way regardless of how much you have in terms of money or resources, b) a lack of the latter can often lead to an increase in the former and c) it's my firm belief that everyone should own a shed
It's ironic that the more our lives are distilled to three screens (TV, tablet, phone), the more we seek depth and texture (3D film and TV, haptics etc). This is a birdhouse that I designed in Illustrator using vectors, then had cut out of 3mm plywood by lasers. There's going to be a bird inside which I had printed in resin on a 3D printer. Lasers and 3D printers! Never before have I felt that I was living in the future quite as much as I do now.
Wile E. Coyote is one of animation's great tragi-comic creations. I greatly admire his perseverance and raw inventiveness (see entry "T is for Tinkering"...maybe he'd have been better off getting an Acme Arduino?) No matter how many times he failed he never, ever gave up - a valuable lesson. Cartoons are quite undervalued as an art form but I believe that they say more about human motivations and desires, frustrations and triumphs than your average soap opera.
A Matter of Life and Death (1946) - IMDb
Jack Cardiff. And Pressburger and Powell, who made my all-time favourite film "A Matter of Life and Death" - a movie that is as much a love letter to the texture and DNA of film-making as it is a beautiful and rather surreal story of love cheating death. Every technicolor frame looks like a painting. And it has the best line in a film spoken by an angel: "Ah! One is so starved for Technicolor up there" (because in this film, heaven is shot in black and white)
One of my obsessions is language - I love trying to learn new ones, rolling the unfamiliar sounds around in my mouth, learning new letterforms. The thing is that I have an appalling memory (see entry "G is for Googling"), so nothing ever sticks long enough to classify me as fluent. Favourite French word: Fauteuil. Favourite German word: Rundfunk. Favourite Swedish word: Snöplog. Ö is actually Swedish for "island"
Story // Tonari no Totoro
My Neighbour Totoro, an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki about two young girls who befriend a magical woodland spirit. What's apparent is just how much care has gone into every frame - a true labour of love. It's sweet but never twee, it is about the innocence of childhood and the shadow of death...and there's a bus in it which is a cat, "Catbus"
Film = magic (also see entry "M is for Magic"). The fact that a material can hold a frozen fraction of a second hidden within its atoms until it's developed is magic. Digital photography is incredible but it doesn't quite have that pang of wonder that film does. Nerd corner: My favourite black and white is Kodak Tri-X (which I shot this on), favourite slide - Fujifilm Astia, negative - Kodak Portra.
Polaroid SX-70 Ad
The Polaroid SX70, invented by Edwin Land is a remarkable and elegant piece of engineering. Watching a print develop in your hand makes you realise how close magic and science are to each other. The «Kkkrrrckwhirrrrrflop» sound it makes when the print comes out is the nearest thing to an onomatopoeic expression of joy I can imagine. And you don't get that with Instagram...
Art of Noise - Close (To The Edit) - Version 2
Music videos are often the perfect place to find pure art. Their purpose is to capture an audience's attention for three and a half minutes. They don't have to make sense, they just have to be memorable. Close (To The Edit) by The Art of Noise (video by Andy Morahan) is such a piece of art. Both song and video are collages - the perfect marriage of concept and execution - and for the 13 year-old me they were a sudden realisation that the edit could actually be the art..."Hey! Hey! Hey!"
Hounds Of Love
Hounds of Love - possibly the greatest album set to tape in my opinion. It's as eclectic in its production as its influences: machine-engineered disco collides with balalaika, folk meets prog meets Indian strings, Nosferatu meets NASA - all written, sung and self-produced in a barn in her garden (see entry:"Y is for Yaffle"). Not only that, but she was 28 when she made it - astonishing
Plan a journey
A lot of people in London hate the underground, but I think it's a thing of beauty. To travel in a parallel London, using a map that bears only scant association with real geography - in fact making a journey on the tube to me feels like you're getting under the skin of Beck's iconic map. It's like you're travelling through London as it imagines itself in dreams, each line representing a different aspect: the sombre, saturnine Bakerloo; the bipolar Northern; the rackish, gadabout…
Prestel - Wikipedia
I always dreamt that there'd be a day when you could type whatever you wanted on a keyboard and have a transmat beam it instantly into your home. I never thought I'd live in an age where half of that fantasy would come true (obviously the web isn't just about home shopping).
Favourite letterform: the Ampersand. When I was a kid there was a factory opposite our house - I forget the name but it was Something & Sons - and I was obsessed with the funny squiggly thing between the two words in the name. I used to spend hours drawing it over and over again...instead of drawing tanks and bombs like normal 6 year-old boys.
Scary 1970s British Public Information Films
Public Information Films - my generation grew up watching these mini studies in psychological terror: dolls caught in the teeth of an escalator, careless children zapped in electrical substations or stalked by the Grim Reaper in a flooded gravel pit. I'm sure the cosy horror did something to our collective psyche.
Mat Denney – IDC 20/21 – Process & Experiments
My favourite colour and one of the elements of the four-colour process. The most futuristic of all the blues. I liked it so much that I used it for my domain name www.cyanblue.co.uk. By rights, C should stand for "cupcake" - there's a law that says every Pinterest board has to feature *at least* one picture of a cupcake.