Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

Paul Smith exhibition – Design Museum, London

20140122_125739[1]The Paul Smith exhibition is packed full of the man, his ideas, influences and artefacts. It runs only until 9 March 2014.

He is an inveterate collector of prints, a selection of which greet the visitor on arrival (see left). I tried to establish a theme for the prints; it is an eclectic mix. Bicycles are very much part of his life as is Patti Smith (unrelated). Colour (even a photo of post-it notes make it), music (particularly the Beatles and David Bowie), dogs (his wolf hound was a feature of his first shop), travel and romance (his wife, Pauline, is consistently credited).  His camera goes everywhere with him. His favourite places are street markets.

Visitors are invited into a mock up of his office (right). Cluttered it might be, but he keeps a rosewood table free for work.20140122_130509[1]

There is also a studio space filled with materials – fabrics – and patterns for suits and dresses (below left). Much more ordered than the office and with a selection of Mac computers, clearly his favoured brand.

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I am not personally convinced by his clothes – one gallery is dedicated to his clothes. He is more than a tailor. The trademark stripes have been applied to a number of familiar objects such as the mini (below right) and a teapot (Thomas Goode fine bone china, below left). He also designed the case beautiful for a limited edition Leica digital camera. Finally, to cement his British credentials, he put the stripes on to the label for HP sauce for Harrods.

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Naturally, this exhibition is a huge marketing exercise for Paul Smith. There is a small gallery devoted to his shops. Each one is different. This potentially has the effect of turning them into tourist destinations in their own right. Unfortunately, one could clock up a huge carbon footprint visiting them. Destinations would include Tokyo, New York and Nottingham, to name but three.

20140122_132258[1]Elsewhere, there is a wonderfully produced and presented HD film of one of his Paris menswear catwalk shows. He says that he does not like shows but they are a necessary part of the business. The media and industry buyers use them. Watching the film, one gets the impression that he makes the best out of it.

The artefacts are beautiful and worthy of exhibiting. However, visitors also get insights into creativity and the business of creativity. I will iron my partner’s Paul Smith blouse now with a little more care.

The photographs are all mine. Apologies for the poor quality. I was not able to use my camera because I had not charged it! I had to use my phone. The results are not so good.

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It breaks my heart

Dolphin_slaughterThis blog has been a shade quiet since Christmas. I really did not want to reawaken with this post, but the image on the left has been haunting me since I saw it yesterday. My earlier years were dominated by my campaigning against animal abuse. Large aquatic mammals, especially. I even bought a Praktica SLR camera rather than support the Japanese optics industry back in the 1980s when the Japanese persistently blocked a moratorium against whale hunting; particularly humpbacks that were endangered at the time.

I knew that the Japanese had an annual barbaric killing of pilot whales, but this slaughter of dolphins had escaped me. It is the dolphin on the left that haunts me. It will soon be speared by the ‘fisherman’. It will drown. At the risk of anthropomorphism, I ask myself what is going through its head. On the one hand, it knows what its fate will be. But as a higher mammal with quite developed communication, not only is it trying to communicate with its rapidly diminishing peers, it is saying to humanity, ‘why are you doing this to us?’

The process is not random, it seems. The dolphins are rounded up and herded into coves. They are left for four days and then released. In the video, men in wetsuits are seen in the water securing the animals by their tails before they are speared. And so orchestrated is this slaughter, the ‘fishermen’ have built a very large screen to keep away the cameras.

This is not to feed people who are hungry. It is not even fishing. This is a crime against nature. And it breaks my heart.

Picture: The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/21/japanese-fishermen-begin-annual-slaughter-of-hundreds-of-dolphins