stuffed mice

before
all

Today I finally deleted my blog’s Facebook page and so stopped being a Facebook user in any form. I checked my friends’ profiles before I chose that last option down the list of my page settings. That only strengthened my decision to leave this vanity fair for good.

It strikes me as a very peculiar thing that so many businesses say “you’ve got to play the game” when discussing their dislike of social media. As if there was this big troll hiding somewhere far, far away but always ready to remind you of his game’s rules. Sounds ridiculous? Maybe because it is.

The marketing director at the company I work with at the moment complains of suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. He tells me he realised he’d worked with social media all his adult life. Now he finds he gets bored with content quicker and quicker, can’t focus and always uses at least two electronic devices at a time. This is so ironic that it’s Facebook, the place which thrives on people’s need of attention, caused this guy’s attention deficit problems.

I don’t want to be famous, even among kids I used to go to school with.
My business won’t be on Facebook because I don’t believe there is any game I need to play. And anyway, I suck at following rules.

see comments

I really love when people blog about how they don’t know where their time’d gone, do you? Well, I know how mine went missing. Contrary to my previous plan to slow down, things gathered some speed and I’m working more and more. Here’s to plans!

The house update: there is no update. The garden is more and more out of control. The sofa still on its way, no new additions despite sales but, as an extra, a shower that has been in need of fixing for the last two weeks.

Feeling in control? Nope. Cooking regularly? Nope. Eating regularly? Kind of. Exercising regularly? Kind of. Getting enough rest? Nope.

But I heard Mozart’s Requiem sang by a beautiful crowd last week. I want to write about it, I need to write about it. It was super special.

And it’s 10 days to Eminem’s gig at Wembley.

So as long as there’s music in my life, I’ll be just fine.

see comments

Karol called me on Tuesday and asked if I wanted to go to a Prince concert the following day. It’s been Karol’s dream but the latest Hit And Run tour, with last minute gigs to which you couldn’t get any tickets, has been good for kids and the jobfree, not for old farts like us. Not this time! To those of you who haven’t been to his majesty’s concert – here’s what to expect.

1. YOU WILL BE MADE TO WAIT. AND YOU WON’T MIND.

You will expect to wait ten, maybe fifteen minutes before you’re allowed to enter the venue. But the way it works is this: the longer the line, the bigger the hype. And the longer you wait, the more you appreciate what you waited for. We got our tickets online a day before the gig. The show was to start at 5:30pm and I was in Chalk Farm just before five. There were people on folded chairs right at the front of an already long queue. I wondered: why queue up if we have tickets and so went for a coffee instead. Half an hour later, the queue was four times longer and we finally joined it with Karol. The Roundhouse’s capacity is only 1700 people, there was no need to wait more than a quarter of an hour. We waited 90 minutes. At the time I believed it a disrespectful attitude of spoilt royalty and a waste of time.  But as soon as the concert started my beliefs changed. I had a lesson in forgiveness. And so will you.

2. YOU WON’T USE YOUR PHONE.

It’s a well-known fact that Prince hates piracy, Youtube, his fansites and the Internet in general. And so it comes as no surprise that he doesn’t want you to record his gigs. We were welcomed by Hannah Ford who, in simple words, explained what it is to actually experience a live performance and kindly asked us not to use our phones. People were nice and listened. Of course there were some twats who simply had to snap a photo during the show but I counted  2 (two!) phones and even they disappeared in a split of a second. I wish all artists had similar approach to their performances… Seeing a forest of hands with mobile phones instead of people dancing and enjoying the show will never cease to disappoint me.

3. YOU WILL BE EFFORTLESSLY ENTERTAINED.

You will be teased and led to believe that this song or that song will be played from the very beginning to the very end. They will be mixed, they will be cut, torn and disposed off. You will hear that piano intro and expect more chords only to find out there won’t be any and you will smile at the way Prince plays with you and his music. You’re not stupid, you know he’s been doing this for a long, long time. “How can you remember 1982??? This was the sound then!” he will shout before the classic She’s Always In My Hair and if, like me, you couldn’t remember  1982 as you were busy developing skills like eating solids then, you won’t help but laugh. And interact. Dance. And clap your hands. And raise the roof. But what’s most important – you will sing. Sing along or repeat, at times pretty bizarre, sounds because Prince will encourage you to. His enthusiasm will be contagious.

4. YOU WILL ADMIT THE GUY’S A GENIUS.

Not too keen on guitar solos? You’re gonna love them. Not a fan of ballads? You will regret you don’t know all of them, not just Nothing Compares 2 U, by heart. Never been into dance? You won’t take your eyes off his moves. Thought Purple Rain had been played too often? You will sing that famous howling part over and over again.You will stare at Prince and experience that wonderful feeling of joy that always appears when you watch a professional at work. And you’ll love it.

5. AND YOU WILL WANT MOOOOOORE! 

After two encores and over 2,5h of music, I couldn’t believe it was over. Karol was partly deaf for a day, I became a victim of tinnitus for the evening. And we felt great. Now we’re playing Prince for days on end and promise ourselves to go to another of his gigs soon. It was a very typical reaction. So beware: this could all happen to you;)

see comments

stuffedmice new work newyork prints

There’s nothing better than making things for friends! When I wasn’t sure what to get my dear friend Marcin, whom I’ve known over half of my life, for his birthday I decided to design him a poster. Marcin loves Madonna and is planning his second trip to New York soon. I asked him for photos he took during his honey moon there and used them, together with Madonna’s words from her I Love New York song, in the two prints above. Marcin’s one – the one on the right – is on its way. I ordered one for myself, too.

I added these prints to my Society6 shop. If you use this promo link, you will get free shipping on orders placed before Thursday 8th June.

see comments

stack magazines

stack magazines

I’m not a fan of magazines. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself for years. “That’s a strong statement” – said a design teacher to one of my ex-fellow students when he expressed his dislike for magazines during a break (the brief on that day was to put together a magazine article). And I thought: is it? What’s to like?

For me, magazines have always lacked content. They were visual, true, but that’s never been enough. Pretty pictures, amazing layout – honestly, is that worth the hype? Never understood why some magazines had so many worshipers. Even when I subscribed to a few myself – no, not Kinfolk, Cereal and such, just plain teenage magazines, years back – I wasn’t attached to them for real. I’m not sure if any of my subscriptions lasted longer than one year.

But things are changing: I discovered STACK! Its idea is simple and beautiful – you don’t subscribe to one magazine, you don’t need to choose any titles. Instead, you pay and trust somebody to pick something interesting for you and post it to you every month. And it turns out that’s something right up my alley.

The first publication I got to read thanks to STACK was Printed Pages. Not used to reading magazines, I quickly forgot about it. But when I wanted to travel light to Copenhagen, it felt great to put it in my hand baggage and gobble up its content during flights. Awesome! The second one, not exactly a surprise as I got to read it a while back in my local cafe, was Offscreen. Knowing it was one thing but getting it in mail unexpectedly was a totally different experience. I dare say that Offscreen could, just could, be that one magazine that I’d be willing to subscribe to. Needless to say, now I trust STACK completely and will be happy to get another surprise in June.

Is it possible that I will become a fan of magazines? Who knows? For now, I love the idea and can recommend it to anybody who’s into arts / creative stuff and reading. And if you want to surprise somebody you like or can’t think of a gift for that person who doesn’t need much – get them at least three months’ lot of magazines chosen by STACK I’m sure they’ll like them.

Oh, and if you’re a bit afraid of reading something you’re not interested in… here’s a little excerpt about serendipity from Steve Johnson’s wonderful book Where Good Ideas Come From: “Reading remains an unsurpassed vehicle for the transmission of interesting new ideas and perspectives. But those of us who aren’t scholars or involved in the publishing business are only able to block out time to read around the edges of our work schedule: listening to an audio book during the morning commute, or taking in a chapter after the kids are down. The problem with assimilating new ideas at the fringes of your daily routine is that the potential combinations are limited by the reach of your memory. If it takes you two weeks to finish a book, by the time you get to the next book, you’ve forgotten much of what was so interesting or provocative about the original one. You can immerse yourself in a single author’s perspective, but then it’s harder to create serendipitous collisions between the ideas of multiple authors. One way around this limitation is to carve out dedicated periods where you read a large and varied collection of books and essays in a condensed amount of time. Bill Gates (and his successor at Microsoft, Ray Ozzie) are famous for taking annual reading vacations. During the year they deliberately cultivate a stack of reading material – much of it unrelated to their day-to-day focus at Microsoft – and then they take off for a week or two and do a deep dive into the words they’ve stockpiled. By compressing their intake into a matter of days, they give new ideas additional opportunities to network among themselves, for the simple reason that it’s easier to remember something you read six months ago.”
If taking a reading holiday is out of question, maybe another, simplified way is to read random magazines? They’re shorter but still packed with many different ideas and perspectives. Well, I might be naive but that’s a good thing. I’m giving magazines their second chance. Thanks STACK!

see comments