Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Zaha Hadid - Charlie Rose Interview

A conversation with guest host Paul Goldberger and architect Zaha Hadid.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Zaha Hadid - Dune Formations - archiworld.tv

Zaha Hadid - the uncompromising poster girl for genius.

The perfect client would have her to build the space - and have me to decorate..

Sunday, 26 August 2007

When insults had style

This was sent to me from a friend in New York

When Insults had style:

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend... If you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill...

followed by Churchill's response:
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second, if there is one." - Winston Churchill

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others."- Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Coming attraction

By the end of September this project, which is also ear marked for the first publication of my work, will be finally finished.
There is, however, still a great deal to do.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

The House of Talia

I love the fact that places have a specific look - this is the quintessential look of London. Not the London of Brooke De Ocampo - this is the clubbing, creative London than has grown up.
La Talia is a stylist, makeup artist, friend, sounding board, and at times cohort. Her flat also has that London look - Robin Day sofa, Vivienne Westwood cushion, pieces by Oriel Harwood, and a myriad of objet trouve. My hand is evident, as I took her to all of my favourite sources, but the choices were entirely hers. Not perfect - yet, but it will be - after all that is my bag of tricks on the coffee table.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Summer can be such a drag...

The House of Diabolique is the survey for dance music with an amazing archive of ball culture classics.
It is wonderful that this music, which is inextricably linked to its culture, has been preserved. It is also important to have another source to reference other than Paris is Burning, and its sequel How Do I Look, and dare I say it, Madonna's Vogue.
Many of the people who are a part of this world have nothing other than the flamboyant selves that they create against, in some cases, harrowing odds. This artistic expression (some say subculture) helped to form part of my aesthetic. It has given it an attitude and is still an inspiration - as courage often is.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Happy Birthday Mae West

On August 17th Mae West would have been 114 years old.

Her play, Sextette (1961), was made into a film in 1978 with her in the starring role of Marlo Manners; she was then 85.

A ridiculously camp cult classic.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A nation of shopkeepers, oh my...

Our little concern at Portobello Road, Natural History, has been named by a certain shoe designer as her favourite shop in London.
Evidently these images, which I sent to The Telegraph's Stella Magazine, will appear in the piece they have done on said designer.
Oh who, oh who, could the designer be ?
I'll give you three guesses.
No, I kid you not, it is none other than the Philistine.
Just goes to prove you can't keep a good bitch down.*
Now, I feel dirty and soiled.
I who will not sell to or buy from anyone I do not like - have I become just another glory whore ?

*a quote from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Serge Mouille

After much gentle persuasion, I have had two clients elect to use lights designed by Serge Mouille (1922-1988).
Known primarily for his work as a designer of lighting fixtures, he started his career as a master silversmith and was awarded a diploma from the School of Applied Arts in Paris. He studied with silversmith and sculptor Gabriel LaCroix.
In 1945 Mouille himself became a teacher at the School of Applied Arts and opened his own metalworking studio. At that point his design commissions were mostly for hand rails, chandeliers and wall sconces.
In 1953 Jacques Adnet hired him to design lighting fixtures, an art to which he devoted the rest of his life. Throughout the 1950s Mouille designed large, angular, insect-like wall mounted and standing lamps with several arms and smaller, more curved wall-sconces. Some of his best known designs from the period are his "Oeil" lamp (1953), "Flammes" (1954) and "Saturn" (1958). 1953 saw the birth of the standing lamp with 3 arms ending with the aluminum "nipple" shaped shades, which maximized the bulbs reflective qualities. This concept was often copied in mass-market designs of the late 1950s. Mouille made each of his lamps by hand, and never used machine technology to maximize production numbers. He worked to achieve a kinetic, sculptural aesthetic that evoked a sense of movement in space. Later in life he designed some institutional lighting and he was responsible for designing the lighting at the University in Antony, for schools in Strasbourg and Marseilles and for the Bizerte Cathedral.
From 1962 to 1964, Mouille created and produced a final line of lamps, called "colonnes" (columns). An attempt to sell them through Knoll International did not meet with success because of the opposition of Florence Knoll. An enthusiastic researcher of materials, he refused to move into industrial production and, from 1964, interrupted his work to dedicate himself to teaching at the School of Applied Arts in Paris.

Monday, 13 August 2007


Fifty miles south of London there is an alternative universe with an atmosphere very reminiscent of San Francisco's Haight Asbury. Brighton is a Regency seaside town that caters for day trippers as well as its large student population. The highlight is undoubtedly the Royal Pavilion. A confection of Gothic chinoiserie, built onto a pre-existing building by Henry Holland, designed by John Nash for HRH George, Prince of Wales. Now dimly and hauntingly lit to preserve much of its original and elaborate furnishings.
Unfortunately, but understandably, interior photographs are not allowed.

Friday, 10 August 2007

San Francisco, such a long time ago

I have always subscribed to the theory that every life has its own unique soundtrack.
A recent trip to Brighton brought back fond, bittersweet memories of San Francisco. These songs are the soundtrack to a part of my life as it was then. It tells a story. A story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. At the time, it felt as if it was the entire story - when in fact it was but a chapter.
Sentimental Walk - Diva Soundtrack
Catalani, Alfredo: Aria From La Wally - Diva Soundtrack
The Frog & the Princess - Grace Jones, Slave to the Rhythm
I've Seen That Face Before [Libertango] - Grace Jones, Nightclubbing
Holding Back the Years - Simply Red, Picture Book
Heaven - Simply Red, Picture Book
Picture Book - Simply Red, Picture Book
La Vie En Rose - Grace Jones, Island Life
Love And Affection - Joan Armatrading, Love and Affection
Walking In The Rain - Grace Jones, Nightclubbing
Cherry Pie - Sade, Diamond Life
Good Morning Heartache (Single Version) - Billie Holiday
Lover Man - Linda Ronstadt, What's New
Blue Gardenia - Dinah Washington
Woncha Come On Home - Joan Armatrading, Love and Affection
Somebody Who Loves You - Joan Armatrading, Love and Affection
All The Way From America - Joan Armatrading, Love and Affection
Been So Long - Anita Baker, Rapture
What's New - Linda Ronstadt, What's New
Love Theme From 'Blade Runner' - Vangelis
I'll Find My Way Home - Vangelis, Odyssey

Sunday, 5 August 2007


A cabinet of wonder.

Wonder - an interesting and sadly almost antiquated trait. It is a combination of surprise and appreciation, and of innocence and awe. It is something most of us leave behind in childhood. It is the quality that I am almost envious of in others. It is something, I think, I subconsciously strive for in my work. It is undoubtedly the reason why I collect antique taxidermy and natural history. It is the reason I loathe mass production. It is the soul of a room, only when it is a true reflection of one's own life.

image: Biblioteque Centrale du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris