THE BLOGGY BIT... This is where I ramble on about nothing in particular, in the hope that something may strike a chord with you, whether it be graphic design, football or real ale.
Monday 31st January 2011 18:24
I first became aware of Elbow's new single, 'Neat Little Rows' being made available to listen to on the internet today. The single is off their forthcoming and much-awaited new album, 'Build A Rocket Boys!' As soon as I knew about it, I followed the link and, I wasn't disappointed with what I heard. Much of Elbow's music is based on riffs that eventually eat away at you… I'm not saying that's a bad thing, more a very clever thing. Having listened to 'Neat Little Rows' a couple of times, I'd started to hum and whistle it (not at the same time, even though I am able to perform such an act).
Anyway, rather than have to visit the link every time I wanted to listen to it, I decided I'd use one of the best programs available to Mac users, 'WireTap Studio', created by Ambrosia Software Inc, based in America (Don't they make custard and other kinds of shit? - Ed). Just a simple case of recording it and converting it to an mp3 (for my own personal use and not for any form of resale, publication or transmission, I hasten to add, before the Performing Rights Society start kicking my arse).
The original WireTap was updated to WireTap Pro on January 31st 2005 with the latest version, WireTap Studio being released on October 11th 2007. Having been through several revisions over the years, the latest version took around 16 months of development and testing (as well as a few hundred cups of coffee) before being released.
So, what does it do? Well, WireTap Studio is a professional audio recording, editing, and management solution that allows you to capture and manipulate your audio with ease, which also allows you to non-destructively edit and preview audio in a variety of formats. Not only that, it has a LivePreview button, allowing you to hear how your audio will sound with selected settings.
To find out more, and to download a free trial version, please click on the logo above (I much prefer the logo they had for WireTap Pro… it was just awesome!)
Sunday 30th January 2011 13:30
Did very little today except make a total mess of my second batch of fudge. I will win this war, even if it means spending millions on bags of sugar and condensed milk. I followed the recipe and methods fastidiously so I haven't a clue how or why it went wrong. Never mind… another attempt next weekend is on the cards. I love fudge and therefore need to come out of this victorious.
Since it was a weekend of FA Cup football, I took full of advantage of watching the game televised on ITV1 this afternoon, this time it was another League One tie against a Premier League club, Notts County against Manchester City played at Meadow Lane, home of the League One club. Despite being just outside of the relegation zone, Notts County played with far more determination and passion, whilst it appeared as if yet another Manchester-based club seemed to be elsewhere.
Unlike their Manchester counterparts, they fielded a strong squad… unlike Ferguson, Mancini doesn't like to take the piss out clubs outside the Premier League. Today's match was based on a similar script, although the two teams finished 0-0 at half time. County pressed and pushed City in a very meticulous manner, giving them little or no room to penetrate… and then, in the 59th minute a corner is whipped in with Neal Bishop rising at the near post, flicking the ball in with a deft header from around 10 yards out, which floated over Joe Hart and into the roof of the net. It all looked in the bag for County until the 80th minute when Micah Richards beat Jon Harley for pace down the right flank and managed to thump a dangerous cross to the edge of the six-yard box, when the outstretched leg of Edin Dzeko thundered a volley that was just kept under the crossbar… and the game finished 1-1 with a replay due at Eastlands in a couple of weeks' time.
So, that's the football covered, now on to some real ales… seems ages since I last spoke of any new ones, and especially the last time I visited Southwick Brewhouse. Well, that's all taken care of because on Friday afternoon just gone, I went to Southwick Brewhouse and I bought myself eight new real ales, so fret no more. I shall talk about three of the ales, especially as there were two breweries that I'd never had any ales from before and they're all from the county of Yorkshire.
First up is a beer called 'Semer Water' from Wensleydale Brewery, based in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. I'd only ever tried one other of their ales before, and that was 'Lidstones Rowley Mild', a very enjoyable 3.2% ABV chocolately dark mild. 'Semer Water' is an average-strength 4.1% ABV light and golden summer ale with a clean, crisp and hoppy flavour as well as hints of citrus and caramel. As a matter of interest, apparently Semer Lake covers a legendary sunken village where a hungry beggar was refused alms in all, except one cottage and damned the village thus: "Semer Water rise, Semer Water sink, and cover all save this lile house, that gave me meat and drink."
To find out more about Wensleydale Brewery, please click on the logo above that I ended up redrawing.
On to the next ale, a 4.5% ABV blonde ale called 'Yorkshire Blonde' by Ossett Brewery, based in Ossett, West Yorkshire. This award-winning independent brewery was founded in 1997 by Bob Lawson, a brewer with over 40 years experience. I very much enjoyed the fruitiness of this lager-style blonde ale; very nice indeed. Added to their permanent beer list just last year, the ale is full-bodied, smooth, well-rounded and slightly sweet-tasting, due to the generous late addition of Mount Hood hops. A must.
Please click on the Ossett Brewery logo above to find out more about the brewery.
Last, but not least, we have our third and final ale, a 3.5% mild called 'Emley Moor Mild' by Mallinsons Brewing Company. I'm delighted to say that this brewery is spearheaded by a woman… probably not a unique occurrence but nonetheless unusual. Based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Mallinsons are a micro brewery that have been enjoying trade since 2008, starting with their first ale, 'At Long Last…' Anyway, I'm here to talk about 'Emley Moor Mild', a very dark, almost black ale with a ruby-coloured hint. Despite its fairly meagre percentage, you actually feel as if you're drinking something far more full-bodied. It's superbly smooth with a chocolatey taste and slight nuttiness, finishing with a little malt balance and bitterness. Excellent.
As usual, a click on the logo above will take you to their website.
Saturday 29th January 2011 12:10
Since it was such a lovely morning, we chose to take a late morning stroll (well, brisk walk) around Emsworth Mill Pond and combining the visit to the town with a few things I needed for my next culinary challenge… trying to make some vanilla fudge.
What could be simpler to make? A small list of ingredients, the most obscure probably being vanilla essence. So, a bag of granulated sugar, some condensed milk and some unsalted butter. We already had milk and golden syrup in, so it was a quick nip across the road to 'Pantry Weigh' to buy the vanilla essence and we were done.
The vanilla essence we bought is produced by 'Dr. Oetker' which is a family-owned business that has been creating foods since 1893. The business was named after Dr. August Oetker, a pharmacist who created 'Backin', Germany's first quality baking powder, packed in sachets. Ever since then, the company is regarded as being one of leading food industry companies across the world and is now in its fourth generation of family ownership.
To find out more about the company, please click on their logo above.
Whilst walking from shop to shop, Tanya noticed a sign outside The Crown Hotel which said that soup and a roll was just £3.50… bargain, so I popped in there before our walk to check out what the soup of the day was… bacon, leek, broccoli and Stilton cheese… mmmmm.
So that's where we headed once we'd finished our walk. The soup was fantastic, thick and extremely tasty… we enjoyed it with a round of Wells 'Bombadier' ale. Nice.
Later on in the afternoon, I sat down to watch the FA Cup fourth round clash on ITV1 between League One high flyers, Southampton and Premier League giants, Manchester United played at St. Mary's home of The Saints. As per usual, Sir Alex fielded a weakened squad, as if to say, "You're that shit, we can beat you with our shit players." In my opinion, I don't think such drastic squad changes should be allowed. In the past, this tactic has backfired; namely Leeds United putting them out last year and I also recall a 3-0 win that York City embarrassed them with. Sure enough, right on the stroke of half time, Richard Chaplow fired an unstoppable strike past United's debutante goalkeeper, Anders Lindegaard. Not only that, United looked as if they hadn't even turned up for the match and Ferguson was left with some thinking to do.
With the second half well and truly under way, with the 60th minute looming, Ferguson made a further two changes, Ryan Giggs and Luis Carlos Nani replacing Darron Gibson and Luis de Abreu Anderson, the whole game changed, and United started to look threatening for the first time… some seven minutes later, Michael Owen equalised in the 65th minute (yes, remember him?) From there, it was only a matter of routine for the visiting side, with Javier Hernandez scoring the winning goal in the 75th minute.
As much as Southampton are hated in this neck of the woods, I'd have sooner had them winning that United… as a Bolton fan, there's the same sort of rivalry as Pompey and 'The Scummers' have.
For more about the FA Cup, please click on the club crests above.
We finished the evening by watching an absolutely superb film, made as far back as 2008… another one that has surprisingly evaded our radars. Directed by Pierre Morel and written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, 'Taken' stars Liam Neeson, a former CIA agent who relies on all his old skills to save his estranged daughter who has been kidnapped in Paris by a group of Algerians. Mills actually hears his daughter being dragged away over a 'phone call she took just before… Mills is aware that one of the kidnappers picked up the 'phone and uttered, "I don't know who you are, but if you don't let my daughter go, I will find you and I will kill you." I won't go into the storyline any more, apart from mention the superb chases, fighting and general violence… hire it out and see just how good it is.
More about the film can be found by clicking on the movie poster above.
Friday 28th January 2011 22:21
One of the articles on BBC's 'South Today' news programme highlighted a potential problem that has serious implications… and guess who's starting it… yes, that's right, our brain dead government. So what is the problem? Well, Defra, the government ran Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs wants to redefine the way our ancient woods and forests are owned and managed and have proposed that the state takes a back seat in the running of these, whereas the private sector and civil society have far more of a say.
At the moment, the Forestry Commission owns hundreds of ancient woods and forests, so… privatisation eh? It's had a 100% record in the past and on more than one occasion the government fucked up something that was perfectly fine before. You only need to look back on the farce that was British Telecom and, more recently, British Rail… why don't the government just leave things alone, especially when they've been ran without any hiccups for years and years? They're all brainless tossers.
The trouble with this particular 'move' is that ancient woods and forests are special, they're similar to rainforests and provide a habitat of extraordinary progression which stretches back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Many of them, if not all, are incredibly fragile and highly sensitive to change, therefore making them irreplaceable.
There are ancient woods that have been planted over time, along with conifers, and are known as Planted Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS). The potential of conservation within these is incredibly high, yet there is a limited period in which these can be returned to their former glory.
The Woodland Trust categorically state that ownership is not the fundamental issue here, it's the future of the forests and woods themselves, particularly the ancient ones, as well as protecting the wildlife in and around them. They're majorly concerned about the threat created by the possible sales of these, and that threat is twofold… some of them may slip through the net of protection, whilst others may well go unrestored. The government says that they will all be protected and I say the government are a set of greedy lying bastards and should all be shot. Stop fucking around with our heritage you wankers.
To sign the petition, please click on the logo above, or click here to download a Save England's ancient forests logo which I redrew... I say, why start a campaign if you can't provide people with a decent copy of your logo?
Thursday 27th January 2011 10:55
Today, whilst searching for an exact Pantone reference for navy blue, I stumbled upon what I would consider as one of the best internet finds I'd ever had the pleasure of discovering…
For years and years, I've always wanted to be able find a website that is able to give you every colour conversion for a specific shade, and today I found a particular site that does all that for you. You just key in a HEX (hexadecimal format) colour value (these are also known as web colours and the codes begin with a hash (#), and from there, you can convert it to either an RGB, a CMYK, a Pantone reference or many other colour conversions.
As a graphic designer, this is an incredibly useful tool, especially when the majority of us have to put with shitty Microsoft Word documents where someone has saved their logo in, and it's usually a jpeg which is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. Every now and again, an actual vector-based PDF is sent… only the 'designer' of the document has saved the colours as either CMYK or RGB… very helpful indeed, especially when your printer needs to know specific Pantone references.
To find out more about what the site offers, please click on the logo above.
Wednesday 26th January 2011 21:32
Every month I receive a newsletter from TypeTogether. It's always interesting, informing me of new font releases, letting me know where they're available from, as well as letting me know of some of the latest awards for both fonts and design. More often than not, they will include a section in their newsletter that relates to a specific font that has just been released.
This month's newsletter announces the release of a new font called 'Pollen' a beautifully flowing serif font, designed by talented Brazilian, Eduardo Berliner. TypeTogether's website is committed to excellence within the world of type design, focussing on editorial use more than anything else. However, it also caters for bespoke type design, particularly for corporate use. Within the site, they host a huge library of retail fonts and also invite you to contact them and discuss specific design projects.
You can find out much more by clicking on their rather sexy-looking logo above.
Tuesday 25th January 2011 20:31
Now then, about a week and a half ago I mentioned how busy I was, with one of the jobs being a new logo for Straightpoint, which Tanya's boss had asked me to update. I'd already designed the Solent Scale Services logo for him almost two years ago now (cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by). Anyway, apart from a couple of pointers, well, the colour to be more precise, I've had an almost blank canvas to work from.
Having tried several colours, fonts and designs, it soon became apparent that Dave very much liked a 'Pompey' blue and a bright yellow together (especially as the new casing for his RadioLink and WireLink models are the same). I'd also submitted several designs using different sans serif fonts, with him opting for the very stylish and trendy Klavika™, a font available in several different weights from the Process Type Foundry. Klavika is a flexible family of sans serifs for editorial and identity design which has features such as small caps, true italics, extended language support and multiple numeral styles, making it an ideal workhorse typeface. So there we have it… I've included some of my favourite designs I've submitted so far… so which one's your favourite?
Please click on the image above to view the current Straightpoint UK website.
Monday 24th January 2011 20:00
Bolton didn't play over the weekend, for their match was billed for tonight, at the Reebok, against Premier League champions, Chelsea. Despite what happened tonight, I wasn't looking forward to the match one iota, especially as Chelsea had shown recent signs of improving, whereas Bolton were as good as bottom of the Premier League's most recent form. Anyway, I needn't carry on… the result was 0-4 making it The Trotters' fourth defeat out of the last six matches played.
On a brighter note, earlier in the day I discovered a very interesting and informative website all about graphic design inspiration, tutorials and web design resources. The site is ran by a group of like-minded design junkies who want to evolve the art through thoughtful exchanges of technique and inspiration. In other words, they want everyone involved with the site to be less selfish with their design and how it has been achieved by sharing it on there. Far more exciting than a rubbish football match, I'm sure you'll agree.
To find out more, and become inspired at the same time, please click on the logo above.
Sunday 23rd January 2011 14:30
After a late start to the day, we decided to descend upon the city of Portsmouth once again, in the hope that we could get on board the HMS Ark Royal. The Royal Navy, along with the Historic Dockyard, had made visits to the recently decommissioned ship free for the weekend. Gates opened at 10:00hrs and the last visitors were allowed on by 15:00hrs… having queued for the car park for some considerable time this afternoon, we finally managed to enter the Dockyard area with just twenty five minutes to spare.
Remarkable… there wasn't a queue! All became apparent when I spotted an insignificant A4 sheet that had been stapled to a sandwich board stating that due to the high demand of people wanting to visit the ship, they'd had to stop any more visitors joining the queue. Ah well, the whole dockyard was open to visitors and we were still able to walk right down to the ship, which was good enough for us. We spent a good half an hour taking photographs of the ship and then had a good stroll around, visiting a free museum in the process.
Although we were there for just a short while, it didn't half give us an opportunity to take in an awful lot of information about the dockyard, and the history of many of the famous ships that have been associated with Portsmouth. The main thing for us though was the fact that we'd seen the ship, in all its glory and in close proximity, and it was worth any amount of queuing, even though we didn't have to queue like some of the others we'd seen the day before… now that's commitment.
To find out much more about Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard, please click on the small blue panel, just before the Flash animation above, which, as a matter of interest, spells out 'DISCOVER' in the International maritime signal flags.
Saturday 22nd January 2011 10:45
After all the palaver we had with Virgin Media some weeks ago, the fun and games started again yesterday afternoon. Having been so wound up with my journey into where I freelance in the morning, I didn't think there was any need to raise my blood pressure any further yesterday by mentioning that as well. Luckily though, after keeping very calm, yet very sagacious, I basically said that if they didn't send an engineer out by today, we'd cancel our whole package. From being told that it would be Monday before anyone could do anything about it, we were suddenly told that someone would be round in the morning, between 8-12… remarkable how these decisions can be changed with a little assertiveness.
So, after hanging around for what appeared to be most of the morning, our day was suddenly ours again, and we decided to see if we could brave the crowds in Portsmouth by going to visit HMS Ark Royal, the Royal Navy's last aircraft carrier that has recently been decommissioned. Judging by the amount of traffic and hoards of people who were walking towards to Historic Dockyard, it seemed that today may not be the day. As expected, by the time we descended on the area, the crowds were far worse than we anticipated which left us no choice but to turn back. A pointless journey but then again, it may have been different. Rather than go straight home, we stopped off at Emsworth to buy a few things and enjoyed a walk around the Mill Pond, albeit bitterly cold.
Once home, I made a start on another soup that I fancied trying to cook, this one being Spicy Roasted Parsnip Soup. Now then, I can tolerate parsnips, but let's face it, they're not the most pleasant of vegetables, they taste too floral for me, and I don't do floral. However, along with the other herbs and gubbins that went into it, I was hoping it might disguise the taste enough for it to be pleasant. As well as the usual onion and garlic, the essentially tasty ingredients included mustard seeds, coriander seeds, ground turmeric and cumin seeds… now that's what I call ingredients. Sadly though, despite it being tolerable, the parsnip flavour started to take over… shame really… a curried parsnip soup might be the way to go for next time, although if that doesn't work, it's over for me and parsnips.
You can't beat Schwartz herbs and spices, after all, they've been experts since 1889, with the brand being originally established by William Schwartz, the son of a German immigrant, in Halifax, Canada. By the 1930s, after William Schwartz' son took over in 1924, the company was selling to over fifty countries, and finally, in 1959, they entered the British market where it was distributed by Jenks Brothers Foods. 1967 saw a joint venture between the Canadian company WH Schwartz & Sons and Jenks Brothers Foods, creating the company, Schwartz Spices UK Ltd. Most recent history saw the Schwartz brand bought by McCormick and Company in 1984 and has remained with them since.
For more information, please click on the logo above.
Friday 21st January 2011 07:58
A famous poem called 'To a Mouse' was written in November 1785. I often relate to it, and there's a line within it that is incredibly famous… "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley.", in other words, "The best laid schemes of Mice and Men, oft go awry."
Obviously that poem belongs to the world-famous Scottish national poet, Robert Burns, who lived between 1759-1796.
So, why do I talk of the man? Well, I've no idea whether this sort of thing just happens to me, but I can guarantee that if I choose to be somewhere and I set off with ample time to spare, something will come along and ruin it all, and that's what happened this morning…
Sure enough, I had realised it was a frosty morning and had woken up in good time to get myself ready for my working day, making sure I defrosted my car whilst getting ready, so that I could leave the house and set off immediately. I was also prepared enough to allow enough time to stop by and get some fuel on the way. A slight downside was the fact that the girl who I pick up in the morning, was running late. "Not to worry," I thought, "I'll go to the petrol station and then pick her up," after all, I had time.
It was a event-free journey to the petrol station and, what was even better was the fact that the woman who was using the pump I wanted had just finished filling up, not only that, she was actually aware that I was waiting and didn't faff around, she payed quickly and left. Fantastic.
I filled up, went to pay, and the person in front had finished paying… even better… not often that there isn't a queue at this garage. So off I went… didn't even have to wait to get out of the garage forecourt. How smooth and easy was all of that…?
Suddenly, I found myself driving at 20mph… I was stuck behind a learner driver, one who had obviously got their accelerator and fucking brake pedal mixed up. They kept braking for fucking cigarette butts, leaves on the road and anything else that appeared to be shitting them up. After being behind this cretin for what appeared to be days, I finally managed to overtake them on a small bit of dual carriageway… at last, I was actually doing the allocated 40mph.
That was until I found myself stuck behind a roadsweeper. Yes, a fucking roadsweeper… top speed 5mph? What the fucking fuck was that stupid twat doing out in rush hour traffic? We get it all around here; tractors are the biggest culprits. Farmers… the only trade that can alter time by moaning about how little daylight time they have, so what do we do, we agree and alter our clocks every fucking year to keep them happy. And what do they do in return? They go about their merry bastard ways by using the A3 during rush hour traffic, causing all sorts of fucking mayhem around the Butser Hill area.
And that's why I mentioned Robert fucking Burns and have provided a link to his birthplace museum.
Please click on the logo above to find out more.
Thursday 20th January 2011 14:01
Another trip to Petersfield Cemetery this afternoon, in the hunt for Sir Alec Guinness' grave. Even though I'd seen several shots of it on the internet, it proved difficult to find, especially as there was a point where I'd suddenly started looking for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by mistake. After a good quarter of an hour, I was about to give up but decided that one last meticulous look was needed. Sure enough, I found it, although it was much smaller and far more weathered than I'd preconceived.
So, since it's the closest I've been to a star, it only seems apt that I talk a little about Sir Alec today. As you can see from his headstone, he was born on the 2nd April 1914, his birthplace being Marylebone in London. At the age of 20, he made his stage debut whilst studying at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art yet his film career didn't start until after World War II, with his portrayal of Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations, filmed in 1946.
From there, he appeared in a string of Ealing Comedies, including 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' where he played eight different characters, one of which was a woman. In 1957, he earned a best actor Oscar and a Golden Globe for the part he played in one of his most famous films, 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' and years later, in 1980, he earned himself an Honorary Academy Award for 'advancing the art of screen through a host of memorable and distinguished performances'.
Sir Alec had such an illustrious career, it's quite mindboggling… other Academy nominations have included 'The Lavender Hill Mob' (1951, actor), 'The Horse's Mouth' (1958, screenplay), 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope' (1977, supporting) and 'Little Dorrit' (1988, supporting). As well as all of these nominations, in 1955 he was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Honours List for his accomplishments in theatre and film and was knighted in 1959. Then, in 1994, at the age of 80, he was given the title of Companion of Honour.
Backstepping slightly, probably his most well-known role was playing the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars in 1977; it's certainly the one role that I remember him so much for, especially as it was the first ever film that my parents took me and my sister to see.
Sadly, on the 5th August 2000, Sir Alec died from liver cancer at Midhurst in West Sussex having been receiving treatment for glaucoma and had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. His widow, Merula Salaman died just two months later, also of cancer, also aged 86 and is buried alongside her husband of 62 years.
Since 'Star Wars' is definitely one of his most famous films, and the fact that Star Wars has such a cult following, I thought I'd provide a link to the Star Wars website.
Wednesday 19th January 2011 15:52
Having taken my 365 shot today, I decided to do a bit of internet research on the place where I took it. Just as you climb up Ramshill, as if you are leaving Petersfield, there's a turning on your left that eventually leads up to Petersfield Cemetery, and this is where I took my shot. At the time of taking it, I had no idea what the cemetery was called, nor did I know it had two Victorian Grade II listed chapels within its grounds… but there was an even bigger secret it was holding. Well, put it this way, it was a secret to me and everyone else I told.
It turned out that none other than Sir Alec Guinness CH CBE is buried within the grounds, so since finding this out, I know that tomorrow's 365 shot will be of his grave… once I find it that is.
Although it appeared 100% legitimate, I did need to check several sources, just in case the information I'd read was incorrect… whilst trying to find rock solid confirmation, I stumbled upon a rather melancholy website, yet it was strangely interesting at the same time.
The site, 'Find A Grave', was originally developed by Jim Tipton in 1995 because he was unable to find any existing site that catered his hobby of visiting the graves of famous people. He's visited the graves of Al Capone (his very first) and has since been to the graves of Karl Marx, Richard Feynman, Al Jolson and Lucille Ball, to name just a few. Since developing the site, it's had over half a million contributors, and from all over the world, clarifying new graves, their locations and often providing photographs of evidence. Within the last month or so, there have already been the deaths of Peter Postlethwaite, Susannah York and Nat Lofthouse… and soon enough, they'll be added to this informative website.
Please click on the Find A Grave logo above to find out more.
Tuesday 18th January 2011 19:30
I reluctantly went along to Havant Camera Club tonight (losing interest at a rapid rate) but am so glad I did. Tonight was the judging of projected images in an SPF League Competition (Southern Photographic Federation). That particular part wasn't of any real interest to me, apart from the fact that Tanya had one of her images in it, it was more the fact that it was being judged by Ken Scott, the man whose talk inspired Tanya to see how many people were interested in starting the 365 - An Image A Day project.
Last year, when Ken did his talk, I'd chosen to stay at home to watch the Premier League clash between Chelsea and Bolton, so I didn't have the pleasure of seeing his work, nor meeting the man. Tonight though, all that changed, especially as Tanya was very eager to tell him that we'd started our 365s because of him.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable chat and he's such a down-to-earth guy, interested in knowing what we'd taken photos of and how we'd got through difficult patches (yes, every one of us who started this project have all had times where we've struggled). Since Ken is now in his fourth year of taking an image a day, he could empathise with the fact that you go through lows and hating some of the images you take, yet there's little you can do about it sometimes.
Anyway, without further ado, please click on his logo to see some of his work… with a little hunting around, you can find a link to his 365 Flickr site too.
Monday 17th January 2011 18:46
Ricky Gervais hosted the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards last night, and it wasn't long before the media (mainly American, it has to be said) were utterly appalled with how he managed to pull virtually every Hollywood star apart with some incredibly controversial quips.
To be honest, what he said was hilariously funny, and what was even better was that he dared to say what thousands would have shied away from. In my opinion, if you choose to be famous and choose to share your everyday life in the media, you should expect the flack that inevitably comes with it. What's that saying? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Let's face it, if you're in the public eye and you become an alcoholic, it's going to be talked about… if you have plastic surgery that makes you look as if you've been fucked over in a wind tunnel, people are going to take the piss out of you. It's simple. I can't work out which bit was the funniest, although the comments about 84 year-old Hugh Hefner getting engaged to his 24 year-old girlfriend, Crystal Harris did make me laugh out loud.
I could go on about how brilliant Gervais was, yet it would be easier to provide a link to the YouTube video… so please click on the Golden Globe Awards poster above.
Sunday 16th January 2011 12:09
It actually looked as if it was going to be a pleasant day today, and since Tanya knew I wanted to visit the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, on the outskirts of Petersfield, that's where we ended up going; this also meant that we could stop by Morrisons en route and buy the usual clobber for the week.
The reason I wanted to go to QE Park is because I'd seen a milestone on the Hampshire County Council website that I liked and thought it be a good subject for one of my 365 shots. No sooner had we arrived, it started to rain… great. Nevertheless, I found the milestone, took a shot before we then made our way to Petersfield itself because Tanya fancied a quick look around Fat Face.
Only on arriving home did I learn of the sad loss of Nat Lofthouse OBE who died in his sleep last night. Born on 27 August 1925, he was a one-club man and a Bolton Wanderers legend. The 85 year-old had several nicknames, 'Lofty', 'Mr Bolton Wanderer' and his most famous, 'The Lion of Vienna' after he scored a winning goal on May 25th 1952 against Austria, following a run from the halfway line.
Capped 33 times for England between 1950 and 1958, he scored 30 goals, giving himself one of the great ratios of goals-per-game of any player that represented England at the highest level. His presence at Bolton Wanderers was even more impressive, scoring 255 goals between 1946-1960; sadly though, despite everything he put into football and his legendary status the world over, he was never knighted.
To find out more about the true gentleman of football, please click on Bolton's coat of arms above.
Saturday 15th January 2011 10:20
As if by magic, I'd suddenly become very busy with work at home, which was a very good thing indeed, especially at this time of year.
Today, I was creating artworks for three of my customers, all different in their own right… one was some promotion gifts and merchandise, another was a logo design and the final one was another pump clip design for Irving Brewery.
Other than that, I did very little and Tanya had occupied herself by going to Chichester with Abbi, so it meant I could play loads of my favourite songs on iTunes without once getting grumbled at. I can't think of a better way of working… a combination of no distractions and great music.
Some of my playlist… 'Paint It Black' - Rolling Stones, 'Are You Going To Be My Girl?' - Jet, 'Mr. Brightside' - The Killers, 'New Born' - Muse, 'Ride A White Swan' - Marc Bolan & T. Rex, 'Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret' - Queens Of The Stone Age… just to name a few.
Anyway, enough of my drivel, I'll leave you with the 'Illustrious' pump clip design I submitted to Malcolm.
Friday 14th January 2011 19:30
Over a week ago, I set my own Big Fat Quiz of the Year and said I'd let you know the answers. Well, I will, in my own time, thank you very much.
It was a great feeling tonight, knowing that we had a weekend ahead of us… Christmas seems a distant memory now so any time to ourselves is very welcomed. Having said that though, from getting in this afternoon from where I freelance, I worked non-stop, right up until it was time to collect a takeaway curry from… you guessed it, Spice Village in Emsworth. Whilst out, I also took a trip to Tesco where they're selling any three Shepherd Neame ales for just £4.00… bottles of 'Master Brew', 'Spitfire' and 'Bishop's Finger' found their way into the basket.
From then on, Friday night became TV night… 19:30-20:00 - Question of Sport… 20:30-21:00 - QI, followed by 21:00-22:00 - Hustle (with the incredibly gorgeous Kelly Adams). Now then, my friends, family, and anyone else who knows me would categorically state that I really don't go for blondes… Kelly Adams though is an exception… unbelievably stunning.
Rather than bore you with links to the programmes I've just named, roll your mouse over the image to see a sexy photo of Kelly (I've yet to arrange a nude photoshoot with her).
Oh, before I go… here are the answers to the quiz… 1. Rockford Files 2. Blakes Seven 3. Superstars 4. Pink Panther 5. EastEnders 6. Scooby Doo 7. Airwolf 8. The Dukes of Hazzard 9. Hill St. Blues 10. Doctor Who.
Thursday 13th January 2011 17:48
I must have mentioned that Malcolm (of Irving Brewers & Co.) was once an employee of Gales Brewery, once a thriving brewery in the south of England. Sadly though, the brewery was closed down in 2006 and, since then, the historic building has been totally neglected.
Malcolm mentioned some time ago that if he saw images of the building, they would "pull at his heartstrings". Old buildings such as these hold immense fascination for me, particularly if they have been left exactly as they were. With this in mind, I jotted down the name and number of the security company who have been put in charge of the building, found them on the internet and then sent an email asking for permission to go into the building and take some shots.
After about a week, I received an email from Fullers (who own the building and took over Gales) which read as follows… "unfortunately it is not in a safe enough condition to allow anyone in". Ah well, I did try, and using the correct and legal way of doing so.
Malcolm sent me a message tonight which read, "someone jumped the gate, Ian". Bollocks, they fucking did as well. Bastards. Clever bastards though. I was absolutely gutted and wished that I was a clever bastard too.
Please click on the Flickr logo above to view the superb shots that were taken.
Wednesday 12th January 2011 15:50
Whilst on the way home today, I decided I'd stop by and take a shot that I spotted early on in my 365 project, particularly as it amused me quite a bit. There's an area called 'Head Down' which is owned by the Forestry Commission and is part of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
So, since it's the International Year of Forests this year, it was a rather apt shot to take. The logo to accompany the event has been designed to convey the theme of 'Forests for People', celebrating the central role of people in the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of our world's forests.
To find out much more about the event, please click on the logo below.
Having had my 'Wee Malc's' pump clip design approved last week, I'd asked if I could call in and see Malcolm for both payment and also to buy a four-pint carton whilst there (Old ale-drinkers proverb… if design pump clip, must buy four-pint carton - Ed).
When I arrived, Malcolm was in the midst of brewing 'Frigate' and kindly showed me certain aspects of the process. I really need to get my head around where it starts, the important middle bits and the ending… slightly scientific and yet I should be more concerned about how it all gets there, rather than the good bit at the end.
The more ale I drink, the more I want to learn about the makings of it, in the hope that one day, I could actually brew my own ale, it be good, and people enjoy it, even to extremes.
Tuesday 11th January 2011 22:04
Unless you follow the football from the Northern Ireland Carling Premiership, you may never have heard the name Matthew Burrows… that was until he scored an incredible 15-yard volleyed back-heel lob in a Carling Premiership match for his club, Glentoran, against Portadown on the 5th October last year.
It was a 92nd minute strike that earned his team a win on the night and, after it being uploaded to YouTube, he was then selected on a shortlist of players to potentially win the prestigious FIFA Puska's title. He was up against the likes of Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben but unfortunately he lost out to Hamit Altintop's 22-yard volley for Turkey against Kazakhstan.
Nevertheless, Burrows has proved that his strike wasn't a fluke and has since repeated the technique on the training ground.
To watch the wonder-goal for yourself, please click on the Glentoran FC crest above.
Monday 10th January 2010 19:58
Love them or hate them, social networking sites seem to have swept the nation, let alone the world. Even the likes of the rather conservative BBC have Facebook and Twitter links and major-league companies throughout the world have accounts on the various social networking sites that are out there.
As to whether there are hundreds is another matter, yet the amount of such sites are well into their double figures… Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Delicious, MySpace, Digg, to name just a few.
Well, just when you thought there were enough of them, up pop another two, although one is solely linked to Facebook, so I'll talk about that first.
NetworkedBlogs.com is an extension of the Facebook application so that it makes their user-generated blog directory accessible outside of Facebook, providing more exposure to the blogs that users add. Even though the web is relatively new and only provides a subset of the information offered within Facebook, they plan to add more features and information.
To add your own blog, please click on the logo above.
The next is Pearltrees, a community sharing and editing web content site, created in 2009. Based in Paris, the free online service was originally launched in 2009 by Patrice Lamothe, so that everyone could organise and share what they like about the internet (on a similar par with StumbleUpon). The name Pearltrees refers to how the site is represented; each page of web content is an individual pearl and, once organised, the pearls are linked together to form trees. The whole site is also linked with Facebook and Twitter and rather me ramble on any more about it, it would be easier for you to take a look instead.
Feel free to click on the Pearltrees logo above to register and find out much more.
Sunday 9th January 2011 10:57
Since it was such a glorious day, albeit very cold, we decided we'd begin the day with a walk around the Mill Pond, which actually ended up being an even longer walk because we were unable to park in any one of our usual spots. It seemed everyone had the same idea; must've been something to do with that fact that it had been utterly miserable all week, plus the fact that it was the first weekend since the Christmas break.
Once home, I made a start on making some soup from scratch. We'd been hoping to do this yesterday, yet it never came about, so today was the day and soup of the day was going to be Carrot and Coriander soup, using the recipe from the BBC Good Food website.
It's amazingly simple to make, although I guess it's all too easy to buy cartons, tins or packets of the stuff. All it requires is an onion, a potato, 250g carrots, some ground coriander, some fresh coriander and just over a litre of vegetable stock.
It's straightforward both preparation and cooking-wise too, as well as being incredibly tasty… please click on the BBC Good Food logo above to print a copy off for yourself, or to look at the other excellent recipes they have on offer.
Later that evening, Tanya and I sat down to watch the second part of 'Arctic with Bruce Parry', a five-part documentary series set in the spectacular wilderness of the Arctic. Whilst there, he explores the dramatic changes its people are experiencing, particularly the climate and how it affects their techniques of traditional hunting. In tonight's episode, Bruce met the traditional Inuit hunters, based in northern Greenland.
To watch the latest episode, please click on the programme graphic above.
Saturday 8th January 2011 13:11
For Christmas, my parents had bought me a light grey fleece-lined casual top, yet despite several attempts at wearing it, I just couldn't cope with it, because it the shell of it was made with 100% lambswool, and even though it was lined, the arms weren't. Some people can go about their merry ways whilst wearing wool, yet it just turns me into a manic irritable git (So you wear them all the time? - Ed).
In the end, there was no alternative but to ask my parents to send the receipt down and I choose something different (keeping well away from wool). I did look into having the arms lined, yet the garment itself was hand wash only, making it not the easiest garment to own. I received the receipt during the week and Tanya suggested we make our way to Debenhams in Southsea town centre so that I could hopefully exchange it.
No sooner had I explained that the garment wasn't quite right, the shop assistant told me I could exchange it and transferred the balance onto a card that I could use at any time. Anyway, whilst I was there, I decided to have a look around, focussing on 'Rocha.JohnRocha' designer clothes whilst there, since that was the brand my parents had chosen.
It wasn't long before I'd made my choice and was delighted I'd found something I liked as much as what they'd bought me, you see, that was the thing, I loved the design of it, it was just the material more than anything.
Debenhams, now possibly one of Britain's largest retail stores was founded as far back as 1778 by Messrss Flint and Clark, who began trading at 44 Wigmore Street in London. It was originally a drapers' store called 'Flint & Clark' however, in 1813, William Debenham was made a partner and consequently the store name was changed to 'Clark and Debenham'. It wasn't until 1905 that the store became known as Debenhams Limited, by which time, a second store had been opened in Cheltenham and there have been many more stores opened since then, around 160 in total.
Please click on the Debenhams logo above to find out more about the store.
Friday 7th January 2011 10:17
I was delighted to hear that Malcolm at Irving & Co. Brewers Ltd. had approved the revamp I'd done of his seasonal 'Wee Malc's' 80 Shilling Ale. Although it may not look like it, I've probably spent the most time creating this pump clip than any of the others and you may ask why. Well, I'll tell you… creating a vector of a tartan pattern proved to be far more complicated than I'd imagined… try it, you'll soon realise.
One great thing about creating vector artwork for all of Irving's pump clips is that they can be used for any size of advertising, whether it be a vinyl banner or a billboard poster. Malcolm has said that bottling his beer is on the agenda, so the fact that the designs are already in place means the job should be a relatively simple exercise.
Anyway, back to 'Wee Malc's'… a beer named after himself and another I've not yet had the pleasure of tasting due to it being a seasonal ale, available from mid January through to mid February.
The tasting notes on the Irving website say it's a Scottish style malty beer, brewed in the style of some of the Scottish Ales of yesteryear. Medium chestnut in colour, with a deep caramel and vanilla flavour and aroma, this ale is not too bitter, making it the perfect accompaniment to hearty rich stews and casseroles, or indeed Haggis Neeps and Tatties!
As I said at the beginning of December, when I first started the design, the tartan on the pump clip is 'Irving of Bonshaw Tower.'
Please click on the 'Wee Malc's' pump clip above to find out more about the superb range of ales from Irving & Co. Brewers Ltd.
Thursday 6th January 2011 21:35
As part of Havant Arts Trail, 'Wordsouth', a new literacy centre that can be found within the heart of Havant, have invited Havant Camera Club to hold an exhibition in their modest-sized exhibition gallery.
The theme of the exhibition is entitled 'TEXT2IMAGE' and challenges the club members to create up to three images from excerpts of poems or books. The successful entrants will have their images on display, along with the words that helped their creative juices flow, during 25th May to 5th June at the Wordsouth Gallery, based at The Pallant in Havant.
To find out more about Wordsouth, please click on their rather nice logo above.
Wednesday 5th January 2011 15:22
Tomorrow sees the launch of the Mac App Store, making the ease of finding application programs you require on your Mac, far simpler. As they say, "No more boxes, no more disks, no more time-consuming installation."
There are more than a thousand available already and all you need to do is click once to download and install any application and the rest is straightforward. As of tomorrow, Mac App Store is available as a software update for any Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
Apps available include, Compartments, Flight Control HD, LittleSnaper, Pixelmator, rubiTrack, SketchBook Pro and many many more.
To view the full list, please click on the Mac App Store icon above.
Tuesday 4th January 2011 13:56
Back to work it was, and to be honest, it didn't take long to get into the swing of things. After sharing tales of the Christmas Do and the antics we'd all been up to during the break, it was back to business, and before long, it felt like we'd never been away.
Whilst talking to one of my colleagues, he told me of a site he'd discovered during the Christmas break, one which he felt, may appeal to me, and it did.
Launched in 2009, this particular site is here 'to translate people power into financial clout'. Groupon UK features one daily deal on the best things to do, see, eat and buy in a variety of cities across the United Kingdom. All you have to do is simply register, which includes giving your full name, an email address and your post code, giving you the option of where this information is shared.
So that's it really, please click on the logo above to find out more.
Monday 3rd January 2011 21:30
We'd chosen to stay in for the day, since it was our last official day of our Christmas break; always a horrible feeling, no matter how much you enjoy your job.
I did manage to get out and go to Morrisons for my usual lot of bananas and bread rolls, as well as give my car a much-needed tank of petrol. Had I realised that everyone else had had the same idea and it was only until I was watching the news later on that it all became clear… the VAT on petrol (and everything else for that matter) was going to rise by 2.5% to 20% tomorrow. How wonderful.
I queued for absolutely ages and glad I did now, otherwise I'd have been paying for it in more ways than one.
To find out more about why we're being robbed even more from two sides of the coalition that specifically said they wouldn't fuck about with the VAT, click on the HM Revenue and Customs logo above.
On a more positive note, we sat down and watched 'The Big Fat Quiz of the Year', hosted by none other than Jimmy Carr on Channel 4. Seemed a bit stupid to put it on tonight of all nights, when you suddenly have your responsible head on about trying to get to bed that little bit earlier, since you're planning on getting up earlier than you have been during the Christmas break.
Anyway, it was as funny as it has been in previous years, and had a slightly different mix of teams. Jonathan Ross paired with Ruth Jones and called their team, 'Wagner' whilst Michael McIntyre and Alan Carr chose 'Posh and Specs' for their team name and finally, Noel Fielding (brilliantly silly man) and Richard Ayoade (never heard of him but he's as randomly funny as I've seen in a long time) called their team, 'The Electric Moccasins' (cool name, especially if a band were to take it up).
Anyway, rather than provide a link to watch the show online, I thought I'd prepare my very own, 'Big Fat Quiz of the Year'. Actually, all it is is a compilation of ten excerpts of TV theme music; all you have to do is guess what television programme each excerpt is from. Please click on logo above to listen to them.
You're welcome to email me (or use my contact form) with your answers and I'll provide the answers in a few days' time… enjoy.
Sunday 2nd January 2011 13:50
For the first time in quite some days, it tried to sunshine today, although there were only brief spells when it did. Since we'd earmarked tomorrow (the last day of the Christmas break) as being a 'do nothing' day, Tanya suggested that we go to West Wittering for a walk… only to change her mind an hour or so later by suggesting Southsea instead.
We finally left the house at around 11:30 and I'd opted to drive… big mistake… I'd forgotten that Tanya had changed her mind about where to go and by the time I could do anything, we were on our way towards West Wittering, on the A27(E) with no other option but to drive all the way to Chichester and then go around the roundabout and drive all the way back (a twenty-mile mistake). If memory serves me correctly, Tanya went somewhat frantic. Anyway, it wasn't long before we were back on track.
After parking up along Clarence Esplanade, we then walked up, past The Blue Reef Aquarium and along to Southsea Castle where we then joined the path on to the beach, continuing to walk up to South Parade Pier.
At one time, Southsea was a prime holiday destination and South Parade Pier became an iconic landmark from when it was first opened in July 1879. Over the years, the Pier has been victim to several serious fires and has had several uses, most of which have been geared towards tourism. The original structure was an iron pier, 600ft in length which featured a pavilion on the head, as well as a landing stage for steamers that were calling in on journeys between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.
I thought I'd include a photograph I took of it today, which also became today's 365.
In 1904, there was a serious fire resulting in a complete rebuild although the South Parade Pier Company couldn't finance it and in 1906 Portsmouth Corporation acquired it for £12,327. The rebuild included a large pavilion which included the 1200-seated Gaiety Theatre as well as a dance hall, café and band stand.
After the war, the Pier continued with entertainment for holiday makers, attracting some big names during some of their musical extravaganzas such as Peter Sellers featuring in 'Showtime' (1953), Eddie Grey and Arthur English in 'Ring Out The Bells' (1954) and Reg Dixon in 'Jump For Joy' (1957).
In more recent history, the Gaiety Lounge Show Bar has been host to live performers and bands including David Bowie in June 1971, Genesis in December 1971 and Manfred Mann's Earth Band in November 1972.
Once again, the Pier suffered yet another serious fire, this one broke out during the filming of the Pinball Wizard scene in Ken Russell's hit film, 'Tommy', starring Roger Daltry, Elton John and Tina Turner. The damage was to the value of £500,000 which meant yet another rebuild.
Please click on the logo above to find out more.
Later on in the evening, Tanya suggested that we revisit the Spice Village in Emsworth and order a takeaway, so that's exactly what we did. We were both apprehensive as to whether it would live up to the praise we'd given it on Christmas Eve. It did not disappoint.
Saturday 1st January 2011 22:17
For the moment, it's a case of wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous New Year… I'm cream-crackered having just spent most of the day updating various parts of my site.
So, it's 2011, crazy how quickly the years pass by. I've now completed eight months of my 365 now, which is just as crazy. Wonder how I'll feel once I've completed the mission? I'm actually quite tempted to continue with it, but we'll see.
Tanya and I enjoyed our traditional New Year's Day walk, and although we'd broken the mould and gone to West Wittering last year, we chose more familiar soil and enjoyed a walk around the Mill Pond. As you're aware, it's been bitterly cold over the past month, so much so, December had been confirmed as being the coldest on record for 100 years and this had led to Havant Borough Council putting up signs, warning the public of thin ice on the Mill Pond (it had warmed up a little over the past couple of days). Anyway, as you can see, someone had been more than helpful by warning the public of other perils…
Other than that, we did very little today, although I did start to watch the Premiership game between Liverpool v Bolton and was ecstatic when Kevin Davies put the whites ahead in the 43rd minute, after heading home a superb free kick, taken by Matt Taylor. All was good until soon after the break when Fernando Torres volleyed a superb 49th-minute strike from a through ball side-footed by Steven Gerrard. The game stayed at 1-1 until injury time when Joe Cole scored a pathetic goal from a position that was clearly offside leaving Bolton to suffer from their second defeat in succession.