Push door closed

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I lived in Golden Lane Estate for the best part of a year. In the photo above it was the flat with the little orange blob in the window on the second floor. That was my old desk.

It. Was. Brilliant. A small, wonderfully designed flat that Russell remarked would be complete with a copy of Len Deighton’s Action Cookbook (I already owned it). Proper modern bachelor pad.

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Taught me a lot about what I want out of a home, that place. Last year marked my tenth in London… that flat was, I think, my twelfth in that time. Loads of them were so temporary, and so impossible to feel at ease in. This broke the curse.

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The whole estate is lived-in and loved. It suffers from quiet weekends, when half the occupants leave (presumably to go the their country homes) but the huge number of actual, round-the-calendar tenants put a lot of time and effort into making it home.

It’s beautiful. Although, I guess, it also made me think about the politics of these spaces a lot more. So many of the flats are studios like mine, where any more than one-and-a-half residents would be a stretch. That’s a choice to build for some people to the exclusion of others, and in such a politically conservative pocket of the city that’s a weird thing to confront.

But it’s still littered with social and co-operative features that generate community, even where that’s a hard thing to do. It feels like a good space, and that’s a huge thing in London.

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I’ve taken all those feelings (and loads of that furniture) down to a new place in South London. It’s already home. A big part of that is down to the stuff I learned in this place (although, our fabulous cat also helps).

Thanks GLE! Bye!

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Talkwriting

Just typed this in an email and I’m popping it here so I don’t forget it…

Talkwriting is a different discipline than speechwriting (possibly). You’re using a handful of words and pictures to create a space into which someone can be themselves at an audience. I’m learning that that’s a much more precise skill than I thought it was, because I used to create that space for me instead of someone else.

Not totally sure that’s right, but it’s near it. And, obviously, by ‘Talk’ I mean ‘Keynote’. Still, the thing I’d really like to do this year is spend a bit of time with actual speechwriters.

Opposite Felixstowe

We stayed in Harwich last weekend, a short jaunt for an RSPB boat cruise. Saturday night, wandering back to The Pier Hotel from the Electric Palace, we could hear the distant crump of containers loading in the night.

It’s weird – the sound isn’t harsh. Muffled and muted by the thousand-meter harbour the clunks and thumps seem almost comforting. The noise feels slow, like each container is wrapped in wool and coupled gently, rather than dropped clattering onto the deck below.

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In bed that night we learned the names of these massive ships using an app, and this morning I woke up remembering that massively distributed infrastructure – shipping containers and satellites – were the great villains of cinema at the end of 2013 (see Gravity and All Is Lost – the same film, separated only by gender politics and setting).

Little Comics

I’ve made a couple of comics publications for Little Printer.

Brilliant Wren

Bird Bath Birds is 12-part series of illustrations by Holly Swain, showing off the secret lives of garden visitors. One a week, every Tuesday.

Chloe Noonan Little Printer

Chloe Noonan by Marc Ellerby is a short story featuring the titular grumpy Monster Hunter on a day off at ATP. Every weekday for 16 days.

I’m dead chuffed about these two. Bird Bath Birds is a really gorgeous collection – the Wren in particular is a joy – and I love Holly’s drawings. Chloe‘s an older story – something Marc made for Paper Science – but the panel format seemed to work and I’m genuinely curious to see how people react to the narrative (a gag strip) spread out over a couple of weeks. Marc’s stuff looks great on a thermal printer too, just as it looks lovely on e-ink.

If you have a Little Printer, you should subscribe to them! You can find them now in the New Publications tab on remote, or you can get Chloe Noonan and Bird Bath Birds on their own pages.

About a year ago I said I’d learn enough about the internet in 2013 to make a Little Printer publication. It still feels like the most ‘me’ way of combining two of the internets I’m part of; the comics one and the one from Old Street. Getting around to that has taken far longer than anticipated.

Part of that was material – I’d asked a bunch more illustrators to get involved, but it’s (absolutely understandably) hard to motivate people to make original work for free for a publication format they’ve only seen videos of. A Little Printer is a tiny luxury good, and many of the people I know outside of one particular corner of the internet think it’s mad that such an object exists.

But by far the bigger blocker was anxiety. I can have a fair reckon at copy for pretty much anything, but I worry about who to register a domain with, how hosting works, what code should look like and where to turn for help. So I found excuses not to start.

In the last seven days I brute-forced through that and basically sat with Russell to set up hosting and nagged Phil over email to get the code running. I made basic, embarrassing mistakes doing both. But it was all okay, and it works. Now to do it again.

Filter

We made a silly thing a few weeks back.

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Filter is Anne and I’s attempt at a fashion shoot. It exists for four reasons:

1) I got back into using Newspaper Club
2) There’s a running joke about how much our Instagram feeds look like a slow-burn Toast catalogue
3) I like doing things with the extra hour afforded by the clocks going back
4) There must have been a fourth reason, or we wouldn’t have bothered doing it

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It’s absurd. The page size is about four times too large and it’s so vain it defies belief. But it scratched an itch and, actually, it came out looking pretty good.

I’m on the fence about making this an ‘official’ We Are Words + Pictures project, but I do like the idea of an annual thing tied in to the spare hour of every year.

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