Friday 22 February 2013

Malaprops and Portmanteaus

Duplictecture: more like this


Two in one: invented by Humpty Dumpty.

A 1913 New York Times article on up-and-coming portmanteaus includes the word “alcoholiday” – leisure time spent drinking. (@mental_floss Should mean holiday from alcohol.)



darkitecture (Dark matter, not buildings, but somebody should build it.)


China building Austrian villages, Stuttgart etc.




creative and industrious (@entschwindet)

jungalow (writer Ruth Margolis)

listicle: list+article


nostalgiapathetic tweenface

screamish: not for the screamish (@LadyKentmores)

parkade: a building designed and constructed for the #parking of vehicles; a multi-storey car park. (Canada) (radio DJ @cowanrob/Rob Cowan)



The mass eviction of a building’s tenants to enable it to be renovated. (@cowanrob/Rob Cowan)


(weatherman Alex Deakin)

sponsumer: not sure how this works

twitchfork mobs (writer Jon Ronson)

vacationary: someone who does missionary work on their vacations

wedmin: wedding admin (@LouisaWilliams4)

yuppiedromes (@entschwindet)


The best malapropisms are righter than the real thing.

aurora for aura: Before plants are injured they have a change in their aurora. (Web)

combishambles for omnishambles (BBC News October 22 2012 That’s a malapropped portmanteau.)

dimonties for diamante

robes (Bargain Hunt)

earthquaque (typo)

adjustable cami top with lace thrill

mundance for mundane

safety nest
sedentary rocks for sedimentary (BBC)

servile oranges (for making marmalade)
talentuous (French speaker)

taupe for toupee: a man wearing a very bad taupe has come up and engaged me in conversation (@LadyKentmores)

undwindled luxury for unbridled (Chris Packham)

Why are they all singing in forsetto? (@teamaking)

Thankyou, Twitter friends.
More here. And here.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Technophobia 2

Now we all have smartphones and tablets, technophobia is a thing of the past – isn’t it?

The guy next to me is trying to write an essay on an iPad. It's like watching a toddler eating a plate of baked beans, one bean at a time. (Sathnam Sanghera/@Sathnam)

In 1999, Douglas Adams  satirised a common attitude towards new technology and trends. Everything that's already in the world when you're born is just normal... Anything created between birth and the age of 30 is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it. But whatever is invented after you've turned 30 is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it - until it's been around for about 10 years, when it gradually turns out to be all right really. (BBC February 20, 2012)

Private Eye magazine is still cut and pasted. With scissors and glue. (It would be so easy to recreate the effect in InDesign.)

There are people who wash all their clothes at the same temperature because they don’t know how to change the settings on their washing machine.

And there are people who only click on icons and have never clicked on a hyperlink. If this is you, this highlighted word is a hyperlink and I dare you.

Computer mice were invented 31 years ago - and people are still gripping them tightly and refusing to increase the scrolling speed (and wondering why they're so slow).

The top Google searches are for “Facebook”, “ebay” etc, because people don’t know you can type “” into the browser bar, or bookmark them. (Dec 2012)

Maureen Huggins used typewriters for her entire 55 years as a court reporter, saying computers would "kill journalism". (BBC)
John Naughton in the Observer is whingeing about the bad effect of word processors on writing 30 years after they entered our lives. (January 2012)

The internet will produce nothing less than a new generation of surface-skimming morons. (Kevin Maher standfirst, Times January 16, 2012 It's about 30 years old too.)

Hansard (parliamentary) reporters are still (2011) taking notes in shorthand – when they reach the end of a page, they hold it up for a runner. Who presumably takes it to an office where it’s typed out. Why are they not typing into laptops, like the journalists?

I have NO IDEA what I’d use that split screen for. (Linda Grant) I have been using a split screen since the 80s.

And some people type directly into their blogs (they are now madly cutting and pasting and saving from Posterous, as it's about to be shut down).

Why don’t parents use net filters, or turn Google/Flickr safe search on? Why don’t porn addicts clear their cache (“and I checked my partner’s web browsing history…”)?

Fear of technology is projected onto Facebook and Twitter:

That “like” business is so inane!

You mean “Lamebook”? Like “Wrongopedia!” And "Twitface!"

I don’t use Twitter, I just read it to keep up to date. (And you just have a sherry at Christmas.)

Is Twitter, for instance, making people deluded, envious and unhappy as well as silly, mendacious and slanderous? (Nov 19 2012, Times, Libby Purves)

Facebook interactions are shallow because they're only noughts and ones (and phone calls are just electrical impulses?)

Facbook is “the J.D. Wetherspoon of social media” (J.G. Childs/@homespunvintage)

There is something decidedly faux about the camaraderie of Facebook, something illusory about the connectedness of Twitter. (Bill Keller of the NYT May 2011)

Facebook connects you to too many people/cuts you off from people.

71% of tweets go unread!

However patiently you explain to twitter non-users that you don't have to read about S. Fry's breakfast, they still refuse to believe it. (@lindasgrant/Linda Grant)

They think if you tweet something to one of your followers, it is instantly beamed into the minds of everyone in a 500-mile radius, forcing them to read your words, which are usually about what you had for breakfast. (

But some people tweet insults without realising that all tweets are in the public domain. (They may be catching up.)

A woman wouldn't let her daughter have a FB account. Daughter pleaded, "but then I showed her articles about trolls and cyberbullying". (It’s like not living in a house because the roof might leak.)

Why do 100 Mormons want to be my friend? Why are two glamorous Russian ladies following me on Twitter?

I can’t see the point of Twitter. I never tweet and I don’t follow anybody.

I’m terrified of Facebook – people keep asking to be my friend. I just delete the emails. (A.S. Byatt)

You can customise Facebook (follow that hyperlink). It’s like adjusting your office chair… Oh.

There’s even an email backlash:

Many of us fantasize about doing without e-mail. Yet we find it a tough habit to break. (

Young people don’t use email any more - they use Twitface.

Some offices have banned email. (Try arranging a meeting in instant messaging that remembers nothing. Wouldn’t you have to take down the details from the screen before they disappeared? Isn't this just another ludicrous management policy like hotdesking or unisex toilets?)

And danger lurks in the Kindle:

All your Kindle highlights are broadcast to the world! (Just to Facebook - but only if you set your Kindle up that way.)

When computers first came in, users got very excited about fonts. In some workplaces fonts were set and you weren’t allowed to change them. This has morphed into a hatred of Comic Sans.

There was a moment (about 1985) when some people thought that if they ignored computers they would just go away. And there was a moment (about 1995) when some people thought that if they made enough fuss they’d be “excused computers” for ever.

They were outraged that they had to save pictures as jpegs. “It’s absurd! It’s baby talk!”

They thought that mobile phones would just go away too, as long as they complained enough about people yelling “I’m on the train!”. (Now they have smartphones with Siri.)

They were ashamed at their ignorance of computers, but they were convinced that everyone expected them to know it all without being told, so they went into denial, looked blank and changed the subject if you tried to tell them anything. It never occurred to them to investigate the software (look at the menus, find out the keyboard shortcuts).

Offices were more hierarchical in the 80s, and higher-ups hated being told how to use technology by an underling. There was a moment when it looked as if managers would never use computers because there wasn’t an executive model in teak-effect, and besides men in suits were never going to touch a keyboard.

When they introduced computers to their offices (reluctantly), they didn’t put the machine on a desk but on a tiny table with hardly any room for the keyboard or for books and papers. And only one staff member was “trained” to use it and nobody else was allowed to have the knowledge. (Some people are stuck in this era and don’t try and find things out for themselves because they expect to be sent on a “training course” and have one-to-one attention.)

It was very hard to use a computer while sitting on an "executive chair" (now all office workers have the same type of adjustable chair, and chair hierarchy has disappeared).

Newbies all propped up their keyboards on the “legs” provided and typed with their wrists on the desk. If you told them they risked RSI and offered them a wrist rest they waved you away like a mosquito. (They seem to have stopped – or perhaps keyboards don’t have legs any more.)

If they learned to touch type they’d say “of course I’m still looking at the keys” or “I’m still typing B with my thumb – for now”.

Long before the internet and networks they affected great puzzlement at the idea of sending a document from one computer to another (“But why would you want to?”).

If they’d only ever used a terminal and mainframe computer at work they couldn’t understand the concept of saving stuff locally. (And now they’re going to have to be persuaded to save it “in the cloud”.)

They couldn’t be persuaded to save their work every time they made a substantial change. (And some people still don't.)

Who was that bloke who said memos were better than email – you’d have to spend 1,000 quid on a mainframe (before the internet) and everybody would have to learn to type!

Some people typed in red because they’d put the ribbon in the wrong way up.

People fussed about the introduction of biros - an Evelyn Waugh character called them “some patent stylographic instrument”.

Managers and higher-ups never knew how to put staples in staplers, or paper in photocopiers. (Or use a staple remover.) That’s what “Girl Fridays” were for.

More here.

Yet More Jobs You Didn't Know Existed

bespoke wedding jewellery designer
blagger (see NotW scandal July 13, 2011)
corporate house dick: you spy on the employees through their computer use
pet diet designer
theme park queuing technology designer
fake log designer
ebay drop shipper
home manager: member of faux family which lives in a (furnished) empty house that’s on sale – to give it a lived-in look. Apparently empty houses don’t sell. Showhomes of Nashville, Tenn. Times May 5 2011
MP portrait dealer "In his early twenties, Philip Mould started buying cheap portraits of lords and members of parliament that had found their way to America, and selling them back to the House of Commons Advisory Committee on Works of Art at a profit."
infomercial writer
Join a dating site, flirt with several people and persuade them to give you money for operations, flight to the UK etc.
Join the police, infiltrate a radical movement, and send in invented reports. Offer to mislead the police. Tell the police you’ve misled them etc etc etc
lead tours of artists studios in Shoreditch, Homerton etc
lead tours of modernist architecture in your town
make exotic food to order and photograph it
make fake Titanic memorabilia and sell on the internet
make very grand sundials that sell for circa five grand
make heated foot mats
manufacture dummy birds of prey to scare off pigeons
medical ghostwriter
National Trust room dresser (they get books for the shelves from a central NT book depository and dress rooms with what the person who once owned it “would have” read.)
organize safaris to kill endangered species
police lip reader
run a pet crematorium
run an olde worlde farm with free range hens and ducks and do B&B and let guests make hay, feed animals etc (they exist – they’re called haycations)
run care homes
run fly-fishing courses
sell ethnic food from a van
set up a pawn shop
source books to be used as décor (GA Henty and school stories seem to be in)
start a Ponzi scheme
tree house designer and builder
van customiser
visit European music festivals and steal valuables from tents
witch – cast spells for others (advertise online)

All genuine from CareerBuilder:
A: Actor for haunted house
B: Bingo announcer
C: Clown for rodeos
D: Drawbridge tender
E: Eye glass buffer
F: Fingerprint analyzer
G: Glass sculptor
H: Hot rod builder
I: Interpreter for government agency
J: Jelly donut filler
K: Karate instructor
L: Lifeguard at nude beach
M: Military role player (played Iraqi citizen for military sensitivity training)
N: Note taker for college students
O: Ocean scuba guide
P: Phone psychic
Q: Quiz writer for competitions
R: Rescue squad for pets
S: Stand-in bridesmaid (for weddings where the bride didn't know enough people)
T: Telemarketer for a cemetery
U: Urinalysis observer
V: Voice-over specialist for movies
W: Window washer for skyscrapers
X: Xmas tree decorator
Y: Youth boot camp instructor for juvenile offenders
Z: Zoo artificial inseminator

More here, here and here.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Reasons to Get Married

Moving in Together? Remember cohabiting hasn't given couples any legal rights since 1753. The Times on "no-nups".

Mark Atherton
February 15 2013

Millions of couples celebrated Valentine’s Day this week, splashing out on greetings cards, champagne and red roses. But as their attention switches from the romance of candlelit dinners to the possibility of moving in together, they should not ignore the more prosaic questions, such as what happens if they split up or one partner dies.

A recent Court of Appeal decision offered a grim reminder to all nonmarried couples that they have no automatic entitlement to any part of their partner’s property or possessions if they split up, even if they have lived together for many years.

In the Collins v Curran case the judges ruled that Pamela Curran had no right to a share in the home in which she and her partner had lived for 30 years, nor to a share in her partner’s business, where she had worked alongside him.

As Michael Gouriet and Henry Stuart, partners at Withers solicitors, point out, the weaknesses in the law relating to cohabiting couples make it all the more necessary to plan things before you move in together... Times Money has ten tips to offer to cohabiting couples.

1 Record in writing each partner’s financial contributions that are made towards any property purchase and your respective ownership shares (especially where this is not 50/50).

2 Make wills, so that each partner’s wishes upon death are clear. This is especially important with unmarried couples because the surviving partner has no automatic right to any property and will inherit nothing if his or her partner dies without making a will. Instead, the partner’s estate would go to members of his or her family.

3 Where a cohabiting couple own property together they need to decide whether to hold it as joint tenants or tenants in common. With joint tenancy the deceased person’s share passes automatically to the co-owner. The alternative of tenancy in common allows each partner to nominate whomever they want to inherit their share of the property. This option might lead to a forced sale of the property if the nominee insists on it.

4 Make a “living together” agreement covering property and money matters, stating who owns what and who pays what. This would cover who pays what share of the mortgage, insurance and utility bills.

5 Extend the living together agreement to cover other elements, such as who owns the car and who owns house contents, such as such as furniture and appliances. Ideally, say Messrs Gouriet and Stuart, any agreement should include an option to buy out the other’s interest if they split up.
They add: “In particular, avoid casual pillow talk such as ‘what’s mine is yours, darling’. Cases have been known to turn on tender exchanges of words in courtship which assume an unforeseen significance many years later.”

6 If one partner has no intention of sharing ownership of the property, it is a good idea to make this clear, in writing, from the start. Otherwise the other partner could gain the impression that, by contributing to the running of the property, he or she had effectively acquired a financial stake in it. This is particularly important where major improvements such as building a conservatory are involved.

7 An extension of this idea is the so-called no-nup, or cohabitation agreement, which basically means that one partner, usually the wealthier one, seeks to ensure that any wealth he or she brings into a relationship stays under his or her control. Seddons, the West End firm of solicitors, says there has been a sharp increase in no-nups in recent years, often driven by wealthy parents’ desire to ensure that money given to their child is not frittered away by free-spending partners.

8 If renting, and the tenancy is in joint names, remember that each partner becomes responsible for the rent. This means that, if one party fails to pay, the landlord can ask the other to do so. Partners can agree among themselves the proportion of rent they will pay, but that does not affect the landlord’s right to demand the full rent from either of them.

9 The partners should specify, from the outset, who is to receive any deposit returned at the end of the tenancy. They should also remember that if a deposit is paid by one person, it will act as security for all liabilities under the tenancy, including any incurred by the other partner.

10 Be aware that living together for an extended period does not grant you any financial rights should your relationship come to an end. Messrs Gouriet and Stuart say: “Despite frequent assumptions to the contrary, there is no such thing as a common-law spouse under English law – and there hasn’t been since Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act in 1753. If you want legal rights you must be married or in a civil partnership.”

The full article is here. (£)

(It costs £85 to get married.)

Styles and Genres 3

Moving on from Bypass Variegated...

air traffic control aesthetic (Forton Services)

boutique hotel style: There’s quite a strong boutique hotel style going through this house. Sarah Beeny on Property Ladder (mainly consists of “different” taps and washbasins, folded coverlets laid across the bed, an “accent” wall with large-pattern flock wallpaper, and vases full of sticks – though they may be a bit passé)

dictator bling
equivocal metropolitan cocktail bar: the anomalous period between the world wars, against a rootless urban background of red brick and fumed oak, slot-machines on fluorescent seaside piers, huge ornate hotel lounges, equivocal metropolitan cocktail bars and fake Tudor provincial pubs… Julian Maclaren Ross on Patrick Hamilton

Executive homes built in the style of Victorian farm buildings converted into executive homes. (@IanMartin)

Expressionist anti-rationalism (Hadid and Libeskind)

faux chateau look (antiques expert Gillian Anderson Price)

fibreglass classicism

Henry Irving historical drama Gothic (late 19th century)

industrial chic (popular early 80s)

Jacobethan (1850s-1950s)

Modern Heritage Lounge Look: To create this traditionally-inspired Heritage style, a leather sofa with an antique feel looks stunning accented with sumptuous textured cushions in deep blues and plums. Adorn walls with Darwinian inspired botanical prints in bold picture frames and opt for paint effects and patterns with the patina of age. Occasional pieces with period detail and a sense of craftsmanship complete the Heritage collection. (Argos)


Post Office Georgian
pretend warehouse (John Lanchester)

quasi-neo-modernity: Past Times gone? But it goes against every indicator of deepening heritage kitsch! They'd survived quasi-neo-modernity! (@mwhitfield80/Matthew Whitfield)

riverside regen (Owen Hatherley)

rock-star rococo (Gaudi tiled walls and lots of huge ferns)

rough luxe

Tudoresque (aka Brewer’s Tudor, Mock Tudor)


More styles and genres here. And here.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Verbing, Part 3

Verbing – it's not all bad. (But why does everybody say A&E while whingeing about "train station"?)

authoring, critiquing and funding
were all hated by writer Kingsley Amis

concepting: The people for whom “concepting” is a constant state of mind. (Guardian, Dec 2012)

contact: Contacting caused conniption fits in the 30s.

empty chairing: Clint Eastwood “empty chairs” Obama at RNC (New Statesman, Aug 31 12)

favouriting: what you do to Youtube videos, Flickr photos etc

friending: on Facebook

gifting: According to @Grammargirl, "gifting" took off after a 1995 Seinfeld episode featured "regifter".

guilting: People were guilted into using cloth nappies. (Man on BBC breakfast Sept 2012)


It would totally ice it. (Think it means "would put the icing on the cake".)

impacting: from 1601, says the Oxford English Dictionary

japanning: It’s from the 17th century, according to actor Samuel West. Dictionary says it means “apply black lacquer to create a glossy finish”.


motoring, voicing:
Writer HP Lovecraft didn’t like “motor to Boston” or “voice a protest”.




"those 10 days shopping/theatring/touristing in NYC are some of the carrots helping her stay positive" (

skirting: weather system “skirts up from the Atlantic” (Sept 2012 weather girl)


One of many verbed nouns in Shakespeare. (“Shall his condescension, therefore, unking him?”)

hate: the three-minute hate
ask: It was a big ask!
think tank (Why not thought tank?)

fool as an adjective: some fool idea
That was genius!

More verbing here and yet more verbing here.

Monday 11 February 2013

Redundancies: on account of because

On a very clear day, Edith...

Why fill out your writing and speech with redundant words like “altogether” and “anyway”? If they prop up a weak sentence structure, strip them out and recast the sentence. You may think they make your sentence look posher and more “high-register”. But they often tell the reader what to think, instead of letting him work it out for himself. If you want to sound amateurish, pad out your prose with “in turn”, “by contrast” and “Excuse the pun!”.

If you sprinkle extras over a well-known anecdote, its impact will be dulled, not enhanced.

“The unspeakable in full pursuit of the unspeakable.” Ivana Lowell misquotes Oscar Wilde on fox-hunting

The witty 70s graffiti read MY KARMA HAS RUN OVER MY DOGMA, not “Help! My karma has just run over my dogma!”.

Edith Evans had trouble with a line in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever (“On a clear day you can see Marlow.”) She kept putting in an extra “very”. Coward complained: “Edith – on a very clear day you can see Marlowe, and Beaumont and Fletcher.” (You may need to know that Marlow is a town on the Thames, and Marlowe, Beaumont and Fletcher were 16th century playwrights.)

13 different sizes (if two of them were the same as each other, you’d only have 12 sizes etc etc)
across the whole globe: across the globe
added bonus: bonus
alas (Save it for genuinely tragic circumstances.)
(while also, which are also shown alongside, a second man has now also been jailed)
also includes: includes
up to the present day: up to the present
anywhere (the biggest population of Koreans anywhere in Europe)
as well (it gave them also chilblains as well)
at all

in the 80s (We can work out that the 80s aren’t in the future.)
bear no relation whatsoever: bear no relation
both (Nearly always in the wrong place: “Is both a symbol of work and of the narrator’s personality” Rachel Cook Observer June 10 Is a symbol both of work…)
by contrast

ceased altogether: ceased
certainly right: right
combine together
continue on: continue
continued all along: continued
could eventually end up: could end up
cut straight to the chase: cut to the chase

despite persistent denials to the contrary: despite persistent denials
down to the sea below: down to the sea

equally as
excise out: excise

fell down dead: fell dead (Few fall up.)
finally unmasked: unmasked
first created: created
for example
for instance

for the first time ever: for the first time
former, latter
forward on the information
planning: planning (No point planning the past.)
from this moment on: from this moment
fully insulated, fully licensed
going forward (Politicians love this one. Think it means “in the future”. They used to say “in the long term”.)
hang down (see fall)

in total
in turn

join together: join
key (Especially not “key core capabilities”.)


link together: link
manage to do X: do X
may well: may
neither/nor (but hence, whence etc are useful)
not a single one: not one
not only… but also (Can be useful, but try “X as well as Y”.)

over time
(How else could it happen?)
parachuting down (see fall, hang)
prefer instead: prefer
(What John and Joe Smith (a businessman and a psychologist, respectively) show…)
return back
reverse back
revert back
right up to the present day: up to the present

(the sheer volume of…)
simply (they simply did X: they did X)
sink down (see hang, fall, parachute)
sole criterion
still continuing, still remain
synchronise together: synchronise

the oldest one of all: the oldest one
the way we were before: the way we were
their first collaboration together: first collaboration
there’s a real risk of: there’s a risk of (If you mean serious risk, say so. But do you mean “a risk of something seriously bad happening”?)
they have run out of other options: they have run out of options
though (the good news, though, is that…)
throughout the whole day: throughout the day
two separate groups

up until
now: until now
upward ascent, downward descent (see fall, hang, parachute)
very (the very thing, the very man… Very is unnecessary. It’s also pompous, academic and old-fashioned, and annoyingly fashionable at the moment. Try “same” or “actual”.)
very real (You can’t be partly real unless you’re Schrodinger’s cat.)
bear no relation whatsoever: bear no relation
which were, who was etc (The X, which was thrown out in 1813: The X, thrown out in 1813.)
would have been enough on their own: would have been enough
yet (it isn’t ready yet: it isn’t ready)

You mad fool! (Dialogue from silent movie The Sheikh, allegedly)

a good 22 years ago
a massive 60%
a total of three
as much as 99mm
for two full months
fully 78% of us
fully half
in all, eight carriages were set on fire
just 2.5
just ten minutes from the city centre
no fewer than 100

Tautology here with links to more.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Whatever Happened To...? 20

“Go placidly…” posters

Books by “Dr” somebody advocating folksy cures like cod-liver oil or apple cider vinegar

box rooms for keeping trunks

eggboxes for sound insulation

gown shops called Madame Somebody (their style lives on in catalogues, and there's a shop called "Madam's" in Mansfield)

May Queens, Easter Bonnets, horn dances and other folk customs revived by earnest middle-class types in the 20s and earlier (They died out again.)

cigar cutters

classic cashmere jumpers (Hogg of Hawick have had an unfortunate makeover)

cocoanut matting

communal changing rooms (They were the future, but so loathed that they quickly turned back into cubicles.)

complaining that you can’t use the word “gay” to mean “happy” any more

domestic science lessons


flannel sheets


letter racks

marquetry pictures


nylon sheets

red setters

rubber dresses
(brief vogue in 80s)

school trunks

slop basins (They came as part of a teaset – haven’t seen one used since the 50s.)

tele-working with a huge computer on a desk (Those futuristic articles of the 80s never predicted laptops and cafés. Or wifi.)

those New Zealand flatworms that were going to displace our earthworms

tights containing microbeads of coffee to slim your legs (etc)

tobacconists (in tiny kiosks)

umbrella/stick stands

utopian communities in Essex (They dissolved in acrimony or went bust about 1920. And then as hippies in the 60s/70s we went through exactly the same cycle: experiments in communal living, high-mindedness, exploitation, faddy food, folk music, handicrafts, free love, mysticism…)

WI cookery demonstrations

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday 8 February 2013

More 70s Decor

Wearing an A-line skirt, boots and a blouse with bishop sleeves (over coffee-coloured Janet Reger Lingerie), you stood in the middle of your room and admired the:

Wicker carpet beater hung on the wall
White gloss painted furniture
Mirrors painted with art nouveau lilies
Brown on brown colour scheme
Pierrot mask
Tile-topped table
Wall units
Corduroy sofa
Bean bag
Woven wall-hanging
Fern in a macramé hanging pot holder
Flowery vymura wallpaper

More here.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Art Shows in London 2013

Tennis court in Bologna
Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry
Estorick Collection to 7 April 2013
39a Canonbury Square, 
London N1
Open Wed-Sat, closed Sun-Tues
Etchings by Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964). Morandi lived quietly with his mother and sisters in Bologna, sleeping in his cluttered studio. Once a year the family would visit Grizzana, in the mountains, where Morandi would draw and paint from nature. In his landscapes, the buildings are plain and functional, forming quiet, lonely, enigmatic groups. But he mainly devoted his life to painting, drawing and making prints of collections of cups, bottles, tins and pots. They are grouped or huddled together, like actors on a stage, or the crowds in works of religious art. Depicted in subdued colours or in monochrome, they have a functional and industrial beauty. Oil cans, oil lamps, boxes, ink bottles, wine bottles, cruets, mugs, biscuit tins, hot water jugs – they survived fashion. Some of them are even classical forms recreated in tinplate. (A modern Morandi might paint plastic ketchup bottles.) In his etchings (he taught himself the technique by reading books on Rembrandt) he used  painstaking hatching and cross-hatching (networks of slanting parallel lines) to build up a strange, shadowy, windless world.

Man Ray
National Portrait Gallery, London
Ends 27 May

Man Ray (1890-1976) was an American who lived in Paris, contributing to the Surrealist movement and experimenting with photography. His father was a tailor, and  mannequins and flat irons turn up in his art. His photographs of beautiful women helped to create the 20s “look”.

Schwitters in Britain
Tate Britain, London
To 12 May
Kurt Schwitters was a German artist involved in the playful Dada movement. He made collages that he called “Merz”, using scraps of ephemera from everyday life including tickets and advertisements. Labelled “degenerate” by the Nazis, he fled to Norway and then England, where he settled in Ambleside. He continued to produce art, creating a collage mural in a barn and painting portraits and landscapes. Was he the first Pop artist?

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life
Tate Britain
26 June-20 Oct

Promises to “reappraise” Lowry as a painter of the industrial city. “Next summer will also see the full reopening of Tate Britain, with rehung collection displays presenting the full breath of British art in chronological order.”

London’s Post-War Art Scene
Borough Road Gallery, 103 Borough Road, London, SE1
Open afternoons, Wed-Sat
To 23 March

Portraits, cityscapes and figure paintings 1946-1951 by David Bomberg and the Borough Group: Cliff Holden, Edna Mann, Dorothy Mead (see pic), Dennis Creffield, Miles Richmond. Muddy colours (khaki, airforce blue), post-Vorticism, bombed buildings. Lovely stuff. It's a small show but worth making the trip to the South Bank University. Sadly there's no catalogue or postcards to buy. These painters, who recorded their damaged city, are due a revival. They did wonders with thick, dark charcoal and thick paint sometimes with added sand. Paintings are worked over so that the visible layer has the tyre tracks of earlier versions. Brush-strokes are traces of passion, strength and energy. Miles Richmond impresses particularly.

Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind
British Museum, London
7 February-26 May

Timed tickets must be booked in advance
Never mind the patronising subtitle (Ancient people become US! Lucky them!), the art – animals and human figures carved from and into reindeer antlers and mammoth ivory - is going to be amazing.

Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum
British Museum
28 March-29 September 2013

Paintings, jewellery, portraits, sculpture and artefacts from the Roman city buried by a volcanic eruption in AD79 – including a carbonized loaf of bread and little girl’s charm bracelet.