Small pieces, colourfully joined

Obviously I loved the Lego movie. It’s not Toy Story good, nor is it Toy Story 3 good, but it’s definitely Toy Story 2 good.

But, also, I’ve read Lego’s brand guidelines. Mixing sets is (or certainly was) a no-no, especially the branded sets. Batman and Lego City, for example, should NEVER CROSS – according to Lego.

That the plot basically revolves around that – pitting naive play against corporate interest and recasting it as a father/son conflict – I found pretty interesting, especially in a family film.

lego movie photo, nabbed off a google image search.


Consensus Views of Imaginary Places

I was staring at London’s skyline I was staring at Miniland London’s skyline in the Legoland park the other day and something started to bug me. Who decides which buildings get in?

Literally some cities from across Europe are presented in glorious plastic blocks in Legoland, with a mish-mash of places you’ll know and places you won’t. Loch Ness makes it, as does a place once known as Britain’s smallest pub, and there’s a terrific Angel of The North in there too.

But London’s the place most familiar to me, and seeing St. Paul’s, Nelson’s Column, and 1 Canary Wharf butted up within a few feet of one another is pretty entertaining. It totally skews the city geography, warping the river and flipping the buildings into unrecognisable configurations – all of which is only right and proper – and the buildings themselves are magnificently constructed. But who has the final say on what gets in?

City Hall made it, and I don’t know many people who know what it is or what it looks like; two cinemas on Leicester Square make it, but neither are the Odeon; when did The Gherkin get the go-ahead?

There’s a wonderful bit in a dream-like sequence in Phonogram where a character moves from Bristol to Camden in a flash because he hasn’t really got a sense of the places in-between, and these mini-cities sort of feel like that… consensus views of imaginary places. But they aren’t wholly imaginary because people have to plan and build huge structures out of tiny bricks.

So who fills in the gaps, and what’s the approval process? Is this space waiting for a Shard, or is it too soon for that to be part of the imagined London? Is it just making space for an errant Burj Khalifa? I’m going to ask some people and see where it goes, so if anyone knows anyone that could help do give me a shout.


Remember when I said this? I meant it. For a year I’ve been folding references about Doctor Who into talks, essays and chat. I got a sonic screwdriver built, bought a bow tie, and had the finest compliment I could ask for paid to me (thanks Matt!).

These little minifigs were the final part of it. All eleven Doctors, made with Lego. They’re not perfect (One and Ten need better hair, Four’s missing his scarf, Seven is just rubbish) but they do the job, and that job is to be tiny little totems of an incredible year.

A quarterly newspaper, my first large scale talks, the Thought Bubble residency, baking my first banoffi pie… 2011 was great.

But 2012 will be better. I should know – Time Lord, remember. More Lego after the jump…

Wanted: Purpose

That’s Skeets, the iPod touch I bought quite a while back. He’s been asleep in a drawer for about two years now, basically gathering dust.

I built him a stand yesterday in the hope that I could get him running DEXTR before installing him on my desk at work and removing Twitter from my laptop entirely.

But DEXTR doesn’t play nicely with his old operating system, and he refuses to upgrade his software, the little tyke. Robot Flaneur is a bust – Flash required – and his stand refuses to bear the weight of my newer iPhone.

So he needs a purpose. Web apps, old apps, full-screen clocks… what should Skeets do? If you have an answer drop one in a comment…

Image on the screen is Downloadable Eyes