Saturday, December 14, 2013

Johnny Helps his Boss Define the Modernistic Movement

To  many architects, in especial the conservative and cultured, Modernistic Architecture is a painful and mordant ebullition.

"This is perfectly dreadful," is their exasperated comment on seeing illustrations of certain current work in architectural journals. "Cannot something be done about it? Have all these fine fellows gone crazy?"

This remark  represents the conservative attitude of many enlightened gentlefolk toward the Modernistic Movement. They are apt to class all building which is not traditional, conservative and closely following precedent, as "Modern," whereas there are many types of the so-called "Modern" architecture, some fresh and inspiring like a breath of mountain air from the Canadian
Rockies, heavy with the scent of fir balsam, while others are redolent, alas! of the fumes of bootleg gin, stale tobacco, and devious haunts.

When, one bright morning, a letter came from the Editor of The Octagon suggesting an article on the Modernistic Movement, we became all hot and bothered. For a moment the ozone seemed gone from the crisp autumn air. A cloud stole athwart the face of the sun and a chill wind from the gray north whispered low and menacingly with muted breath and around the corner of the penthouse on the roof just above our head.

"Johnny!" we cried appealingly (Johnny's our associate and friend of long standing; we’ve weathered many a storm together, man and boy, through thick and thin, nigh on forty years, and we value his counsel highly), "what do we know about the Modernistic Movement and the so-called Modern Architecture?"

"Not a damn thing!" said Johnny.

"Then how can we write about it?" we replied triumphantly, thinking that would let us out.
"Write about it?" said Johnny scornfully. "Write about it! You don't have to know your subject in order to write about it. In fact I think it's often a handicap. Look at Kipling; he wrote a book about fishermen on the Grand Banks without ever having been there. Everybody thought it was great — and it was great — except to the few fishermen who read it. They knew. How many people ever read "Moby Dick" during Melville's lifetime? A few hundred maybe, compared to the hundred thousands who read "Captains Courageous."

Johnny paused to roll a cigarette. Outside the faint hum of the city, punctuated now and again with the staccato explosions of the Brobdingnagian warehouse van as it  slowly backed its way through the traffic into Bromfield Court with its daily cargo, drifted in between the parting bead and the pulley style (While not essential to a discussion on "The Modernistic Movement  this incident of the warehouse van illustrates our traffic problems and shows how even the commonplace events of the day leave their imprint on the character of our art). Like many artists who think deeply about the problems of art and life,Johnny likes to pause and collect his ideas while twisting bits of tobacco into little brown papers.

"Where were we ?" said Johnny vaguely.

"You don't have to know your subject in order to write about it. Sometimes it's a handicap — " we replied insinuatingly, hoping to gather some ideas.

"Precisely," said Johnny emphatically. He lighted his cigarette and strolled out into the draughting room where he soon became dreamy eyed over a sketch in pastel he was making on tracing cloth. Johnny lets his tracing cloth soak, in a pan of water over night, and in the morning while it is still damp, he stretches it over a sheet of  celotex that has previously been shellacked on both sides. This allows the tracing cloth to be fastened on with strips of electrician's tape, prevents the celotex from buckling, and at the same time gives a neat passe-partout effect. The dampened surface of
the tracing cloth takes on just enough of the hairy texture of the celotex to give a fine  "tooth" for the pastel, and produces a finished drawing that is the despair of those daughtsmen who are unacquainted with the process. We omitted to mention that the outline of the subject to be rendered may be traced on the tracing cloth before it is put to soak, care being taken not to disturb the lines which will, in spite of all you can do, smudge slightly in the overnight bath pan. This does no harm however, in fact it lends "atmosphere" to the sketch. While the sheet is still wet it may be pulled either to make the subject taller and thinner or broader and stouter, as if seen in a convex mirror; it may even be pulled diagonally. Johnny has produced some fine Matisse and Picasso effects in this way, and finds it very helpful in designing buildings on irregularly shaped lots.

We looked over Johnny's shoulder while he worked. Johnny never uses a porte crayon, he breaks the pastel sticks up into pieces about an inch long and lays on "washes" by using the crayon flat. When he achieves a sharp edge he puts in the lines and detail with deft touches.

Presently he began to talk again.

"The word 'modern/ the Fowler boys tell us, is derived from the low Latin 'modernus' or 'modo' (just now) . The erudite profundity of those two young men is amazing; what H. W. doesn't know about etiology, bibliolatry and the philosophy of causation, F. G. does, so between the two, there IS little if anything, about the King's English that escapes them."

"How about jazz," we remarked, "you won't find that word in the Oxford dictionary."

"Exactly, for jazz may not be defined and classified into its derivatives as are harmony and melody and rhythm and gamut and fugue and syncopation and stave and diatesseron and tonic and diatonic and supertonic and homophony and euphony and all the other phoneys and tonics, for jazz is all these, and more. It is like the shadow of a hovering kiss on the damask cheek of a crooning babe, or the first blush of a damsel's dream, or the pearl-tinted dewdrop as it quivers on the paper-white petal of the asphodel, or the moaning of the samiel in the mimosa canebreaks, or the wild sweep of the harmattan as it roars down the Old Calabar and beetling crags of Ashanti."

Johnny paused to light another cigarette.

"The Modernistic movement in Architecture is like a diapason of jazz bursting from the chrysalis of the older symmetries which the Greeks call taxis. It has infinite possibilities, amorphous, epicene, protean, aberrant, wanton, egregious, not to say bizarre, exotic and Cyclopean."

"You must have been reading Roget," we interjected.

"I have," replied Johnny, "and it's relieved my mind a whole lot since I saw a certain number of The Architectural Forum. Some of the categories, especially those on Abstract Relations and Precursory Conditions, are soothing to the soul."

"How about leaving off the cornice? Does that constitute Modern Architec-

"Yes and no," said Johnny, blowing a fat smoke ring which bore a striking resemblance to the abacus on the Treasure House of Atreus, son of Pelops and Hippodamia.

"I must learn to blow modernistic smoke rings, or be completely out-moded. They
say that's how Urban gets some of his swell ideas," Johnny muttered. "The omission  of cornices now," he went on, "is not exactly a new idea. The Egyptians didn't seem to find them essential. Look at the Pyramids, nothing to show where the building ends and the sky begins. Even the restorations of Perrot and Chipiez show little in the way of cornices. The Chaldees and the Druids and in fact all early peoples de- depended on wall decoration rather than mouldings for architectural effect. Look at George Howe's lovely Tyler house in Elkins Park, Philadelphia. There's nothing new in the omission of the cornice. The Dorians left off the bases on their columns. The omission of the capital which is the cornice of a pillar, is less frequent, and it is in this feature that the "moderns" who show nothing from the necking up, have gone a step beyond their predecessors, or maybe it's a step backward, who can tell? After all, we are but little children who, tiring of the toys the old folks have handed down to us — toys that have been resurrected from up garret encrusted with the dust of bygone years — have cast them aside, and in the first flush of our pulsating youth, attempted to build new ones in accord with our dawning complexes. The first attempts naturally enough are crude, but being our very own, we are inordinately proud of their originality (sic). This is to be expected and follows the law of evolution. We should be tolerant of the tender cotyledons and protect them from the stirquilinous
larvae that threaten the existence of the New Movement, but at the same time we should not neglect the fine burgeoning and flowering that still shed romance and beauty on the enchanted gardens of the past.

"I shall never forget the first view of Giotto's glorious Campanile. The photographs, with which one has been familiar since kindergarten days, show a cold, hard, black-and-white striped square tower whose outline seems anything but graceful, whereas in reality, the soft haze of a frosty Florentine morning, with the mists of the Arno mingling with the heavenly blue of the sky, the infinite gradation of pink and green, violet and rose marbles, opalescent whites and warm pearl grays, combined with the exquisite tracery and im.bricated mosaics, the whole relieved by a pushcart or two piled high with brilliant tangerines and a few picturesque urchins at the base, form a picture, the memory of which even the most marvelous creations of the 'Moderns' can not dispel."

The draughting room was singularly quiet. At first we thought everybody was listening intently to Johnny's words, letting them soak in, as it were, until we glanced around and saw the place was deserted. They'd all gone to lunch.

"Well," said Johnny, musingly, "I saw a design for a bungalow in The Architectural Record. It was in Albuquerque or Santa Clara, or maybe it was on the roof of a sixty-story office building. For all the world it looked exactly like my old bureau with the drawers pulled out, some more than others. It bore more resemblance to a problem in Descriptive Geometry, or a pile of empty crates in the yard behind Ed Weatherbee's corner grocery, than to a love nest. That was a most striking example of the Modernistic Movement.

"Modern Architecture may be evaluated  by the application of the same standards by which the Old was judged. Intuition or a cultivated taste are essential for the full appreciation of the harmonies of Karnac, the Acropolis and Rheims. It may be that the New simply astonishes by its seeming crudeness without evoking aesthetic emotion, whereas thoughtful analysis and the application of the laws of taxis and symmetry will dissolve preconceived intolerances and inherent prejudices. Both the Critic and the Artist must discard the notion that only so-called existing values are absolute. 'The dead hand of the past lies heavy on us all.' The possibilities of Art are infinite and by the exercise of a scholarly degree of pragmatism we may be sowing the seeds of a richer and more complex culture of the future. It seems a far cry from Corregio to Covarrubias; let's go to lunch!"

(From the A. I. A. Octagon) 
JANUARY, 1931, 89

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Additional Cables


The Baltimore Sun professes to have discovered that Mrs Charlton who was recently murdered in Italy, was the woman who killed Mrs Woodhilll with a champagne bottle during an orgy in a Maryland bungalow. A Mr Eastman, who owned the house where this latter tragedy occurred, afterwards committed suicide. A photograph of a group taken at the Bungalow clearly shows the face of a woman resembling Mrs Charlton, the woman being then known as Mrs Scott-Castle.

North Otago Times, 26 August 1910, Page 4
Found on Papers Past

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Architecture for girls

Why is the profession of an architect so neglected by the parents of girls when wishing to select a calling? For domestic architecture, who is qualified as a woman to judge of the requirements of a home? The other day I was the guest in a cottage on the bungalow style, costing about £1000. The architect had designed fine drawing and dining rooms, but the rest of the house was sacrificed to those rooms. The bathroom and pantry were in Egyptian darkness. My hostess was bewailing the fact that she herself had not inspected the plans, but just left it to Theophilus and the architect. I know of at least one instance where a woman intervened. The reverend mother of a large convent would not accept the plans before she had made necessary alterations. The architect had made domestic conveniences a minor configuration, but she (wise woman) knew that the whole comfort of the home part of it depended on them being perfect. Now it is a perfect home in every detail. True, the entrance hall is not quite so magnificent and imposing as the original plan, but linen rooms and pantries and airy kitchens fully compensate for that.

 Money, and lots of it, is wasted by parents on girls in music who have no talent, and will never makes proficient musicians. Many quite young girls are clever at designing and drawing, and then, too, their education at an early age can be directed to the end in view - and such a fascinating occupation. There are two women architects in England, one at least earning a comfortable income. She designed a large building in Piccadilly, London. The field is such a wide one, and women architects, at least, for many kinds of buildings, we the most suited. Hospitals, nursing homes, private homes, are all crying out for improvement. Huge expensive entrance halls and small kitchens, dark pantries, and narrow passages in back premises are incongruous and unour [sic] leading institutions.

"J.E.S.," in the Sydney Mail.

 "Architecture for Girls." Evening Post, Volume LXXIV, Issue 144, 14 December 1907, Page 15

Friday, October 11, 2013

Grow in a dynamic environment, go beyond average

The Importance of Personal Branding for NICAI Students

Date: Tuesday, October 15th
Time: 11am - 12pm
Venue: ALR1/421W-201

How can I stand out from the crowd and 'sell' myself to employers?
Personal branding is not something that is easy or comes naturally to all. This one hour workshop will give you a few tips and tricks to help you with your personal branding and help you to make a positive impression.

To attend this workshop please register and book on CareerHub

For more information about Career Development and Employment Services visit

How to Hit the Ground Running on Your First Day of Work
Are you ready to join high performing teams?
Due to popular demand we are holding another Graduate and Internship workshop to ensure you will be successful in a competitive workplace.
Don’t miss out on THIS workshop which will help your performance GO BEYOND AVERAGE!

• grow in a dynamic environment
• seize the challenges
• maintain a high degree of professionalism.
Grow your existing skill set and put yourself in pole position to create a career with no limit!

Date: Tuesday, October 15th
Time: 12pm - 2pm
Venue: TBC 

Register now at Auckland CareerHub

The workshop will include:
• Managing your and organisation’s expectations
• How to understand and work with different personalities and people in the workplace
• Effective internal and external networking
• Work place etiquette & communication
• Dress for success

Yours sincerely,                                                                  
Career Development and Employment Services
The University of Auckland

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Golf Girl

While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist. Because we all know who she’s thinking when we’re talking gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers? Why aren’t we critiquing wealth by taking hits at golf or polo or Central Park East? Why not take
to task the bankers and old-money folks who actually have a hand in perpetuating and increasing wealth inequality? I’m gonna take a guess: racism. I don’t have to explain why wealth operates differently among folks who’ve grown up struggling because this shit has been explained already: If you grew up with holes in your zapatos you’d celebrate the minute you was having dough.
This is it. This is the state of progressive opinion; a music lover beats on the white girl who has the temerity to criticise rap culture. Of course the accuser might seem to be pretty white herself, seemingly no less white than the accused (although doubtless her Latin origins are a get-out clause to excuse her from whiteness and all it entails; I do recall dimly somebody once arguing dimly that Irish people were in fact black, so Flores is probably already ahead on points). But that is by-the-by. The point is, that Flores has accelerated powers of guessing: the white girl from the other side of the world (Devonport) must be a racist.

You see, to suggest that the conspicuous and grotesque consumption portrayed in rap promos is in any sense vulgar, alienating or morally wrong is in fact racist. In fact, it is deeply racist. Flores does not need to explain this; her argument has been explained already, to her eminent satisfaction. A link to the promo of 99 Problems is all she needs (yes, really). She probably does not need to remind anyone who disagrees with her that they stand to be condemned as racists themselves for the act of disagreement; such is the power of progressive thought. To recap: all their arguments are won and anyone who disagrees with them is not just wrong but evil. Fortunately, the world has people like Flores to name the just and the damned:
And while I’m less mad at Lorde (who’s from New Zealand) than I am at the New York Times – and more generally white liberal critics that have been so captivated by Royals‘ call-out of consumption that they didn’t bother to take the time to think critically about the racial implications of the lyrics – this isn’t to say that there should be no accountability for her. I’m thinking of fierce youth activists who get it, are doing the work, and from whom Lorde could learn quite a bit.

See, it is us white liberals again. Because, you see, unlike us, Flores has done critical thinking.  And, of course, the whole thing really is about her.

On a lighter note, here is a critique of the golf-industrial complex by Caravan.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The radio-ridden villas of the Sussex coast

They are all over England, these models of civilised buildings, and of later years we have been turning to them again in our convalescence from the post-war Corbusier plague that has passed over us, leaving the face of England scarred and pitted, but still recognizable. For ten or fifteen years we all had the pest-mark scrawled across our doors and the watchman cried nightly: ‘Bring out your dead!’ From Tromso to Angora the horrible little architects crept about – curly-haired, horn-spectacled, volubly explaining their ‘machines for living.’ Villas like sewage farms, mansions like half-submerged Channel steamers, offices like vast bee-hives and cucumber frames sprang up round their feet, furnished with electric fires that blistered the ankles, windows that blinded the eyes, patent ‘sound-proof’ partitions which resounded with the rattle of a hundred typewriters and the buzzing of a hundred telephones. In England we have an artistic constitution which can still put up a good fight; our own manifold diseases render us impervious to many microbes which work havoc upon the sounder but slighter races. We suffered less from the concrete-and-glass functional architecture than any country in Europe. In a few months our climate began to expose the imposture. The white flat walls that had looked as cheerful as a surgical sterilizing plant became mottled with damp; our east winds howled through the steel frames of the windows. The triumphs of the New Architecture began to assume the melancholy air of a deserted exhibition, almost before the tubular furniture within had become bent and tarnished. It has now become par excellence the style of the arterial highroads, the cinema studios, the face-cream factories, the tube stations of the farthest suburbs, the radio-ridden villas of the Sussex coast. We have had a fright – a period of high fever and delirium, a long depression, and now we are well on the way to recovery. We are again thinking of stone and brick and timber that will mellow and richen with age, and we have instinctively turned to the school in which our fathers excelled.

Evelyn Waugh, A Call to the Orders, 1938

Waugh, Evelyn, and Donat Gallagher. 
The essays, articles and reviews of Evelyn Waugh.  
London: Methuen, 1983, 216

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another beige world

Look. What's Happened to Auckland!

In ten years the number of overseas visitors has doubled.

Fortunately, the tourist facilities have expanded in quantity and quality to satisfy the sophisticated expectancies of the new arrivals.

We date the initial breakthrough from the opening of the 427-room Sheraton in 1983. Its stunning beige marble and brass lobby with an elegant indoor fountain would win applause anywhere.

And, my dear, there was an indoor/outdoor swimming pool with a Jacuzzi bath, saunas, and exercise room on the second floor!

John W and Bobbye Lee Hughes McDermott.
How to get lost and found in upgraded New Zealand.  
Honolulu, Hawaii: ORAFA Publishing, 1986, 1.

Captain Sensible with Dolly Mixture.
Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, September 23, 2013

She's so modern

It hardly seems possible that it should be necessary for me to define the meaning of a
word so common to the tongues of this generation as “modern.” Yet the word is often misinterpreted, and I desire to have it distinctly understood that, when I make use of the word modern in the following pages, I use it in its true meaning. The correct definition of modern is: characteristic of today. It in no sense implies that which is radical and cannot possibly be considered as synonymous to futuristic and other words of a similar suggestion. To avoid any misunderstanding, therefore, I prefer to call myself, along with those whose work is illustrated in this book, a progressive rather than a modernist, in order that we may not be confused with that school of radicals whose efforts to create and to be original have their incentive solely in “doing something different.”
A great many people, including not a few members of the architectural profession, are of the opinion that “modern architecture” is a sort of outburst of a certain group of radically-minded architects to gain the center of the stage by “doing something different.” Actually, modern architecture is not a mere fancy or passing fad. We have now become accustomed to modern music, to modern painting, to the modern drama and even to modern women. Modern architecture is a logical development. Rather than being a mistake, caused by not heeding the proverbial words, “look before you leap,” modern architecture has been actually forced upon us, whether we like it or not. The last of the arts to yield to the demands of the times, architecture, fighting against it to the end, has finally been obliged to succumb.

Randolph Williams Sexton
The Logic of Modern Architecture
Architectural Book Publishing Company
New York

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Crossing the Red Sea with Alex Müller

Sometimes, you post things on Internet, things you think are wonderful, things you want to share, things like this piece of film:

Then people come to your website and are astonished by your film, by what it says about nature. Your film makes many happy.

And then along comes Alex Müller.

You see the thing about Alex, don't you? Alex knows better than everyone else. Alex posts after everyone else, so that Alex can have the last word.  Alex has a Facebook page. His pictures speak a thousand words. There are many Alex Müllers on Internet. They help make it a more miserable place.

Speaking of raw footage, here are The Adverts on 25th May1977 at Sussex University. Star Wars was realeased on the same day, if that sort of thing matters to you. This has been posted here to show you kids that everything you know about Punk is wrong. Note if you will, the absence of punks. Although the Adverts were playing support to the Clash on the now legendary White Riot tour, things are a bit quiet. This was a Wednesday night in Brighton and the usual crowd turned up.  Gaye Advert is probably the only woman in the room. You can see the "ferocious" performance by The Clash here.

This blogeur saw The Adverts in 1977 at Maidstone College of Art. The usual crowd turned up. It was one of the best nights of my life.

You get bonus points (and points mean prizes) if you can identify the source of the picture. It is a film.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grey Lynn state of mind

Today is the day for the Fundy Post Quiz of the Day. The rules are simple: examine carefully this photograph from yesterday's Glucina and answer the following questions:

1) is that Sally Ridge or estranged wife Carita?

2) Can they be easily distinguished or do all these people look alike?

3) If one were one of these people, would it really matter with whom one went home, given that they are all alike?

4) Would the children know the difference?

5) Who is that large man who made the unfortunate decision to dress up as an Arab?

6) Could it be Duncan Garner, who always appears in the weekly Glucina?

7) Am I the only member of the twittering class who reads this column?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address. The Editor's decision is final. The winners may be announced at a later date, but don't hold your horses.

In the meantime, here is David Bowie again, singing that song again and telling a story about Steve Marriot.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Can't help thinking about me

NYM V56I Ayn Rand Enthusiast — Upscale male, handsome, successful, culturally literate, a high achiever who finds time for serious fun. Seeks classy, career-directed female equal. 20s-30s, 5'5" or under, with brains and beauty. If you share my passion for great books and ideas, stimulating conversation and rational, secular values, let’s talk. Recent photo a plus.
New York Magazine - 12 Feb 1990 - Page 117 

One asks: did it ever happen? Did he meet his 5'5" brainy beauty? Did he enjoy stimulating conversation and rational, secular values? Or is he still reading The Fountainhead alone?

David Bowie and the Lower Third:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sex and the single room

News from University Hall, Auckland University's latest money-making wheeze (sorry, I meant to say "integrated student accommodation environment" or something like that, but I just couldn't) comes this  extraordinary  notice: "We have received several complaints of excessive noise of a sexual nature after 10pm. Although engaging in sexual activity is not discouraged, it would be prudent to note the accompanying noise may be heard by your neighbours. If you are unable to restrain these noises, we may have to ban sexual activity between 10pm and 6am."

Oh my; what is going on there? As this photo  – of an actual University Hall standard single room with actual students actually posing awkwardly – shows, the University provides scarcely enough space for a threesome. But perhaps everybody is so happy there that they just can't help hooking up and indulging in raucous rumpy-pumpy all night long ("Please note that you will have to supply your own towels"). But what will happen if the 10-6 sex curfew is implemented? Will students be bunking lectures in favour of afternoon delight? Will they be thrusting faster, faster, in order to finish before the 10pm deadline? Will they be abstaining all night long but setting their alarms for six?

And can we blame the architects? When Warren and Mahoney designed this building they were very proud of the bedroom units, which were pre-fabricated and then slotted together onsite. Perhaps the soundproofing qualities of good old-fashioned bricks and mortar have something to be said for them.

Feel free to share your embarrassing university sex memories in the comments below.

Roogalator; note the before and after contraceptive pill package on the front and back covers: there was a time when people, men mostly, seemed to think that contraceptive pills were that fast-acting. If you don't believe me, watch Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Uses of literality

An essayist writes:
I have just recently watched the film 1995 film Braveheart directed by and starring Mel Gibson. The main thing that I noticed about the film was not the art or architecture, but the lack there of. In ancient Roman times, there was some kind of Roman architecture almost everywhere. Everywhere you looked, you could see some sort of statue or temple. However, in the film Braveheart there are hardly any. 
Since the people were spending all of their time fighting, they had very little time to work on art. Braveheart does not focus on art and architecture, but you can tell very easily how much the arts had diminished after the fall of the Roman Empire. No great works of architecture and literally no sculpture. During the time of William Wallace, the arts were not nearly as important as survival. The film shows the camps of English soldiers crammed into little groups of tents that are poorly organized. The little architecture in the film Braveheart is very meager and dull, nothing like Roman architecture. In Roman times, the Roman soldiers would build entire cities where they camped. In England and Scotland during the time of William Wallace, the people were constantly fighting a war for something, either to gain more land, or to keep what is theirs. This just goes to show how the arts went down hill after the fall of Rome. During Roman times, the Romans were not constantly worried about being overtaken by their enemies, so they had plenty of time to work on their architectural wonders.
You can buy the rest of this essay on Internet.

Belle and Sebastian

Sunday, August 25, 2013

In every dream home a heartache

Architect 3D brings the world of 3D design within everyone's reach! The software allows you to easily draw up plans of your home and design its structure, from the foundations to the roof. From frames to masonry, electricity, heating, plumbing, and more. Design and view every detail of your project. You don't need to be an architect or building professional: Architect 3D provides you with all the tools and guidance you need to design your own project.

No it doesn't. Architect 3D gives you all the tools you need to make a complete prat of yourself. Building professionals and architects will point and laugh at your project, which they will see when you are obliged to ask them to save your project from itself. You see, they know what they are doing. You do not. Look at this kitchen. Look at those columns. Look at that "dining area." Try to look away; you cannot. It is too horrible to bear but also too hideous to ignore.
Now look at this plan. See how you would have to walk through every room to get from the front door to your bed. This is the design sensibility of a Victorian slum. Notice the facilities, clustered together in a state of mutual antagonism. Imagine your family and your guests struggling to negotiate the kitchen, lavatory and hall, while vast areas remain empty and ignored. And why is the garage door so small?
Now look at this house. Yes, it is a house, not a car showroom. Notice how the brises soleil are supported by struts because they not cantilevered: they are bolted on to the structure rather than integral with it. And it is no excuse to say that these designs are by French people. Non monsieur, this is a universal problem of design: people who cannot design have access to design tools and can make their horrible ideas real.

Roxy Music:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

He's Frank, She's Pans/Demi

Most Privileged to least privileged….
  1. White Straight Cis Male
  2. Asian Straight Cis Male
  3. Hispanic Straight Cis Male
  4. Mixed/Native Straight Cis Male
  5. African American Straight Cis Male
  6. White Gay Cis Male
  7. Asian Gay Cis Male 
  8. Hispanic Gay Cis Male
  9. Mixed/Native Gay Cis Male
  10. African American Gay Cis Male
  11. White Straight Cis Female
  12. Asian Straight Cis Female
  13. Hispanic Straight Cis Female
  14. Mixed/Native Straight Cis Female
  15. African American Straight Cis Female
  16. White Gay Cis Female 
  17. Asian Gay Cis Female
  18. Hispanic Gay Cis Female
  19. Mixed/Native Gay Cis Female
  20. African American Gay Cis Female
  21. White Tran Individual
  22. Asian Trans Individual 
  23. Hispanic Trans Individual
  24. Mixed/Native Trans Individual 
  25. African American Trans Individual 
  26. White Pans/Demi Female (this is me)
  27. Asian Pans/Demi Female
  28. Hispanic Pans/Demi Female
  29. Mixed/Natvie Pans/Demi female
  30. African American Pans/Demi Female

The privilege hierarchy was compiled by Amanda, whom can call  Elizabeth. Amanda/Elizabeth enjoys a healthy and open vegan lifestyle. She has a boyfriend named Frank, with whom she lives. As you can see, at number 26, Amanda/Elizabeth is near the bottom, which is where you would want to be if you were compiling a privilege hierarchy. Shouldn't that be kyriarchy? Or perhaps not; it is all too confusing.

Life must be rough for white Pans/Demi Females, but worse for Asian Pans/Demi Females and turtles all the way down. The roughest thing about life for Pans/Demi Females is that nobody knows what they are or what they want. There seem to be no Pans/Demi males, which is probably a function of the kyriarchy.

Some of us might have difficulty with the notion of a white female who will be a junior in college in the fall being near the bottom of any hierarchy. Some of us also will be bewildered by the notion of a sexuality league table. The gender/sexuality/identity thing these days seems to be all about lists and rankings. And let us not forget the acronyms, and the stroke/oblique.  It is all a lot like the army.

Breaking news: Amanda/Elizabeth broke up with Frank, had this other guy and now she is pregnant; so at least we know that being a Pans/Demi Female does not preclude Rumpy/Pumpy.

I think this whole thing is scripted. It is probably one of those viral marketing campaigns; or perhaps a ruse to rile Republicans. I hope so. If it is true, it is all rather unfortunate.

Look Blue Go Purple; Lovely song, rubbish video:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Me with nothing to say and you in your blue blazer

The blue blazer is an icon of men's style, particularly collegiate men's style. The versatility of the garment allows the young man donning it to feel at home in just about any social setting. Pair a blue blazer with chinos and an open-collar button-down for a preppy look at happy hour. Mate the same blue blazer with a pair of dress slacks and a tie as you talk to recruiters at job fairs for potential internship opportunities.
Remember Yahoo? No longer surprised why you don't remember Yahoo? Wondering if you should write it with the exclamation mark, so it would be Yahoo!?

Does not the blue blazer say that you, young man, have given up the possibility of having a fulfilling life even before you have left college? Does it not say that you have decided, because of ambition and fear, that you have surrendered any independence of mind you had as a child in favour of conformity to the prejudices of the recruiters at job fairs? Do you want that internship opportunity, the chance to work for them for little or nothing, so much? Do you think you will not regret sacrificing your college years, your one chance of freedom, to a life of corporate respectibility? Do you want to have that preppy look at happy hour? Do you realise that you are never going to have sex with an art student?

And what are dress slacks? Do I really want to know?


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Letters to the Editor

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Brewer's droop

Moa put itself above the rest. It behaved like a 1980s-style corporate full of brand puffery and put out marketing that was flippant, sexist and arrogant. Then it did silly things like appointing itself some kind of arbiter for what defined craft beer. 
To me, Moa was the man in the suit sitting in his glassed office looking out at a pub across the road where everyone was getting on well and drinking nice beer.
Quite. Michael Donaldson's excellent analysis of the collapse of Moa should be required reading of any young man considering a career in management going forward, and should prompt that young man to ask himself "am I in any respect like these people?" Because Moa's failure is at heart a management problem: Moa is managed by tossers.

Of course we all knew that all along; we had known the essential tossitude of the Moa management as soon as we saw the prospectus, in which the directors posed with young women, to show the world that Moa is managed by manly men. Instead, it showed the world that Moa is managed by the sort of men you would not want to see near a girls's school, the sort of men you would describe as "dodgy," the sort of men who appear in the local paper on charges of indecent exposure. If you can bear to be reminded of the prospectus, some photographs are shown on Beer Diary, accompanying a rather good article from the time.  And you might also recall Hayden Green's careful analysis. In short, they cannot say they had not been warned.

At best, the prospectus photographs said "we are men who pay young women to be with us." At worst, the photographs say "we are sex offenders who have yet to be caught;" this latter might be considered a profit warning. But somewhere in between, near the middle of this scale of seediness is the  message, "we are sad gits." Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; at other times, it is a poor substitute for a penis. The problem for the Moa management is that they just don't get it, in both senses of the phrase. The world has moved on. Mad Men is a satire, not a management guide. Men like the Moa men are generally regarded as the sort of men with whom you would not want to share a crowded train carriage –  all sweaty suits and gropey hands, cheap aftershave and beer breath.

The sad thing about the Moa men is that the advertising industry is full of sad men just like them, so no attempt at a disguise was made. In the view of the advertising world, as the reliably flaccid StopPress reminds us, women who object to objectification must be lesbians. And let us not forget Eric Crampton's prediction:
I expect that Moa will wind up doing well. Their beer is pretty decent and they're pretty shameless. That's not a bad niche. A small brand can afford to have half the world hate it so long as it gets a few people who love it.
Well, no. It seems the age of the tosser has passed. In other news, Mediaworks – another failing company, is standing behind its presenter Dom Harvey. This is a sensible position: you would not want to stand in front of him, because he might just whip out his tadger. Harvey, a man with a history of troubling attitudes to women, made a terrible mistake, sending the Snapchat of his willy intended for his producer, Sophie Hallwright, to athlete Sophie Pascoe. This is why we listen to National Radio in the mornings.

PROTIP: say it with flowers.

Picture from Sub-Machine Gun