I’m so glad I didn’t die…

‘I’m so glad I didn’t die on the various occasions I have earnestly wished I might, for I would have missed a lot of lovely weather.’ Elizabeth von Arnim, in a letter. [#quoteFriday] Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in Sydney, Australia on 31 August 1866, the prolific and, in her day, hugely successful author ‘Elizabeth’ von […]

Documentation, Disrupted

Just came across this great presentation by Google tech writer Riona MacNamara at WriteTheDocs recent Portland conference (May 19, 2015). The subject area is technical documentation, and is very interesting on that score. But it’s about so much more – most importantly, what you can achieve by being audacious (but not reckless), focused (but open and generous), […]

Handshake addendum

Whilst on the subject (of handshakes), remarks by Professor Peter Piot on Desert Island Discs this morning made fascinating – and poignant – listening. He is Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an expert on HIV and Ebola. On a recent trip to Sierra Leone he noticed that the local people […]

How to Give a Good Handshake

Getting out and about in the New Year has got me thinking about handshakes. We all know how important first impressions are – so how can you make the best first impression with your handshake? It’s seems the subject is fraught with insecurity – according to a survey for Chevrolet (quoted by The Daily Mail) some 70% […]

Twelve Shims at Dorchester Hospital

Twelve Shims, by David Nash. (1999) Really enjoyed this work at Dorchester hospital this afternoon. Luckily this time only an out-patient but seeing this you can almost forget why you were there. It makes a difference and transforms the space. Like a row of full sails gusting along the corridor, it’s a joy to behold […]

Jack Kerouac’s essentials for prose

I just picked up Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones and was struck by the four essentials that she quotes from Jack Kerouac’s ‘Essentials for Prose,’: 1. Accept loss forever 2. Be submissive to everything, open, listening 3. No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language, and knowledge 4. Be in love with […]

Terror, success and French wine

I like the quick boost a good quote can give you, and just stumbled on three great ones this morning: Maya Angelou: Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. Georgia O’Keefe: I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me […]

Are you ready?

One for rock trivia fans: “Everybody seems to be ready. Are you ready?” Mick Jagger, Madison Square Gardens, November 1969 (only two weeks before Altamont, or so I read on Amazon).  ‘Get Yer Ya Yas Out’. “Are you ready? Is everybody ready?” Leonard Cohen, Isle of Wight, August 31 1970.  ‘Leonard Cohen Live at The Isle […]

Carpe Diem – Proust on fishing

There’s no irony (is there?) that a novel the length of ‘In Search of Lost Time’ is in fact about seizing the moment – or rather, trying to understand / appreciate / experience the full depth of every moment. In this it is closer to the more accurate rendition of the phrase ‘carpe diem’ as […]

Being You

I was listening to Tom Waits version of ‘Somewhere‘ (on ‘Blue Valentine’) and remembering Leonard Bernstein, in the documentary of the 1984 recording of West Side Story (the first time he conducted his own music, incidentally), tearing his hair out because Jose Carreras (playing Tony) just couldn’t help but keep slipping back into perfect pronunciation, […]

Remembering the Holocaust

When one works, one suffers and there is no time to think: our homes are less than a memory. But here [in Ka Be, the infirmary] the time is ours: from bunk to bunk, despite the prohibition, we exchange visits and we talk and we talk. The wooden hut, crammed with suffering humanity, is full […]

David Bowie and George Orwell meet in blank space

Blank space is the central theme in the design for two iconic works released this month. The album cover for the thrilling and unexpected release of new music by David Bowie, with strong allusions to his Berlin period, is presented in a blanked out cover of Heroes: In his post on the design, Jonathan Barnbrook […]

Proust on Procrastination

In this wonderful passage Proust nails procrastination and all the evasive and equivocal excuses we give ourselves for putting off until tomorrow what we should be doing today. Incisive, but also very funny. We may deceive others, or even ourselves, temporarily, but deep down we know: Had I been less firmly resolved upon settling down […]