A fish isn’t a sort of creature you feel you want to take home and stroke is it. Let’s be candid, most look bloody awful. Aesthetics eh. There was an eccentric character in The Tailor of Panama who found the bougainvillea in his neighbor’s garden so lovely he wanted to bite it, and Sir Francis Galton (the English Victorian statistician, progressive, polymath, sociologist, psychologist, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist and –exhale-psychometrician) tried to quantify the geographic distribution of female beauty thus: ‘I prick holes, unseen, in a piece of paper, torn rudely into a cross with a long leg. I use its upper end for good, the cross arms for medium, the lower end for bad.’ Apparently all this was done secretly under his overcoat. Ha. Anyway, an attempt to render a midway point between beauty and beastly is nigh on impossible.

I’m intrigued about the aesthetic and sacred beauty in mathematics. Maths has a reputation for making people (like me) anxious. It is universally acknowledged however, that it’s particularly satisfying when a single shape can tile the plane – that is, fit together with no gaps or overlaps – especially when that shape is a fish. The mathematical artist David Bailey has a great drawing of fish positioned in such a way that if you reflect the pattern vertically, so right becomes left and vice versa, and then move it one row up or down, the new position fits perfectly over the original. I’m a Pisces and I take my fellow fishies very seriously. In an age of over-fishing and crashing marine stocks, it’s difficult to keep track of what is ethically kosher. I’m going to say “not much”, but that’s a spoiler isn’t it. I think we should all be taking classes in marine biology, oceanography, and ichthyology while simultaneously enrolling in scuba diving school this summer. Then we’d get the ‘atmosphere’ just right.

In The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (odd, hilarious film, and some of you will love it) ‘The Pittsburgh Pythons’ are the worst team in the NBA. Most of the players attribute their losing streak to the stellar Moses Guthrie who’s monopolizing the spotlight. After a walkout, the towel boy Tyronne decides to consult with an astrologist named Mona who comes up with a winning concept: a team composed entirely of players born under the astrological sign of Pisces, the star sign of Moses Guthrie. John Ruskin said that ‘no human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.’ And goodness, I agree. Just hang out with a real life one and I reckon you’ll be illuminated – and also, if you’re lucky, they’ll provoke feelings of awe. It’s a foolproof form of rigorous post hoc reasoning. Rough and leacherous you say? Easy one, I was born under the ‘dog star’. But I would say that, I’m a Pisces.


source: Gabri Guerrero




So it’s official. I’ve been in New York nearly two years. End of June that is. And I’ve never had a Age of more clumsiness. Or more bruises – just ask my acupuncturist. I’ve heard it said that clumsy people are slightly at odds with their environment. Which is funny because I feel totally assimilated into my current one. Perhaps I’m missing a beat? But then the clumsy never believe themselves to be clumsy. To them, it seems as if there is a grand conspiracy. I think there may be. I recently dated someone who was appalled at the continuous misplacement of a large plastic, turquoise, seashell-encased phone. I know, I know. But I reason this: going out with a clumsy person is a great way of reducing your dependence on material things. And, I must confess, the items do tend to find their way back. It’s almost an exact science.

Most people feel quite warmly towards the clumsy. Shoutout to my mother. She knows the best that my clumsiness is actually a great way of meeting new people and apologizing profusely to them on my behalf. She also knows that I don’t dance on elevated surfaces. Ever. How do strippers do it? So far in the U.S. of A, I’ve torn my meniscus, broken a tooth, cricked my neck after lying on hidden rose quartz in a pillow (my rose quartz, my pillow), fallen up a flight of stairs and cut my lip, then slipped off a curb while my friend Gabi had her arm interlaced through mine. Side-note: I was holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a pair of perspex lips in the other. All you need to know is that the wine, the lips (thanks Lulu Guinness) and Gabi’s arm remained perfectly intact. Not one scratch on them – see two paragraphs above for more detail. Now might be a good time to tell you that my nickname is Bambi.

The thing is, Nature is spectacularly clumsy. There’s volcanic eruptions, comets crashing into planets and seismic earthquakes. Is evolution one clumsy mistake after another? A swan is grace in motion, but not when it lands on ice. Am I comparing myself to a swan? Maybe. But I’ll tell you this: if my physical manifestation of the internal awkwardness everyone feels in the china shop of life makes you laugh (not scowl), then I’m doing something right. And I don’t mind one bit if you think I’m goofy. Or call me Bambi.


source: ohmy.disney.com



Once upon a time if your name was Ford your company was called Ford. Mr Lemon Hart imported rum, Mr Birdseye invented custard, Mr Boot was a chemist and Mr Cessna sold planes. I love being part of naming something, but for many folks, including entrepreneurs, it’s the source of endless consternation. Borrowed names sometimes yield surprises. Betty Crocker was the boss’s secretary. Ayn Rand was born Alisa Rosenbaum. Giacomo Balla, the Italian futurist painter was so fascinated by speed, that he called one of his daughters propeller (Elica).

Naming is powerful. It’s got to be be catchy, memorable and meaningful. Poetess Marianne Moore had been commissioned to think up a poetic name for a new Ford and came up with Ford Faberge, Utopian Turtletop and Mongoose Civique. In the end they chose Edsel. Party poopers.

In the same way that Hollywood realized that glamour could be enhanced by a change of name, artists invented alter egos. Marcel Duchamp’s was Rose Selavy (c’est la vie). T.E Lawrence tried to submerge his personality in the persona of Aircraftman Shaw No. 3388171. Which brings me swiftly on to humor. Find your entendre. It helps when a name has a clever wink or nod to another meaning, an inside joke that your core community can believe in (and evangelize). Wired had this – it worked as an imperative “Get Wired!” – and it worked as a badge for insiders – “I’m Wired, are you?!”

Self-esteem seems to play a part too. James Joyce married Nora Barnacle declaring, ‘she will not leave me in a hurry with a name like that.’ Then there was Keats, who dying at the ago of 25 in Rome, asked that his gravestone should merely carry the epitaph: ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water.’

My favorite though is Winston Churchill’s put down to a Member of Parliament called Bosom, by remarking he was neither one nor the other. And if we’re going for gold, have a look into reverse eponymics, the study of people who look like their names. You’ll never glance around the same way again. Ever. And you’ll probably have a great laugh too.



source: designinspiration.net





“For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.”

The end of the Lord’s Prayer. It was recited often at my Secondary school. A parallel world full of little climaxes and telling details, just waiting for you to make the most of them. I defy you to think of the word power without you thinking of its meaning in reverse. And I defy you to think of any current situation (political, fiscal and so forth) that doesn’t use the two opposing thoughts in a very tight tandem.

Places, people, situations. They all hold power. Or they don’t.

On June 14, 1986, Donna Tartt graduated from Bennington College. It was a fabled time for writers at the school; the graduating class of 106 that year included not only Tartt but also Bret Easton Ellis, and they would have been joined by Jonathan Lethem if he hadn’t withdrawn as a sophomore.

In her speech, Tartt returns to her initial interview when she was applying to Bennington, and an interviewer who was still, years after stepping on the campus for the last time, enchanted. Tartt was struck by the interviewer’s account of still returning to campus in dreams, “as if she were eighteen years old again and the other years had never happened.”

At the time of her commencement speech, Tartt had already begun what would become The Secret History, a story that would strongly cement her identity with Bennington for years to come. At the Commencement Dinner, she told her peers:

“We have claimed this place as our own for a while; what we perhaps do not realize is that this place has claimed us, too, and claimed us very hard.”

That idea of being charmed—mystified, even—by a place that holds such power is totally wondrous isn’t it? With potency and impotency, extremes meet, and the House of Paradoxes (I’d like to visit) is established. The same ambiguities apply to this visually I think. Now you see it, now you don’t. Possibilities are shown to be impossible, and impossibilities probable. Although some find conundrums extremely irritating, this could be because they pose an unwelcome challenge to their perceptual apparatus. They forcibly remind us things are not necessarily what they seem.

A thing which is present can be invisible, hidden by what it shows.

René Magritte



source: society6


My friend Lara sent this email a few weeks ago:

This morning, I had this overwhelming clarity that I want to start documenting what I am grateful for every day. But I think putting it out into the universe, and sharing with others seemed much more appealing than writing it for myself, so I am proposing we start a group daily gratitude forum and maybe add our quotes or other articles to our list…

Every day (or at least Monday through Friday) each of us just write anywhere between 1 and 5 things we are grateful for…the benefits are really significant and it’s the easiest thing in the world. What do you guys think?

And so everyday(ish) without fail we’ve been emailing each other what we are grateful for – it happened seamlessly and unanimously between four of us. Some email at the start of their day, some at the end, and it’s become my highlight, a co-creation so to speak. There are literally millions of ways we are blessed daily, and by saying what we are grateful for (which isn’t always easy), don’t you think we send our energy into the unseen world where we are all connected? And maybe those invisible threads strengthen our spiritual connections not just with ourselves but with others.

I thought I’d leave you with this Mark Twain masterpiece for whatever journey you are on today.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.








In Tom Wolfe’s (first collected book of essays) The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby he wrote about mobster Bugsy Siegel’s Las Vegas hotel and casino The Flamingo, an iridescent name that burst upon the scene with ‘all new electrochemical pastels of the Florida littoral. Tangerine, broiling magenta, livid pink, incarnadine, fuchsia demure, Congo ruby, methyl green, viridian, aquamarine, phenosafranine, incandescent orange, scarlet-fever purple, cyanic blue, tessellated bronze, hospital-fruit-basket orange.’ I don’t know about you, but my heart beats like crazy African drums for this prose.

‘Color is a power which directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eye the hammer, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which places, touching one key or another to cause vibration in the soul. It is therefore evident that color harmony must rest only on a corresponding vibration in the human soul.’ So said W.Kandinsky in Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Wittenborn Schultz (New York 1947).

All colours agree in the dark don’t they? And what of associations beyond their hues? You can see red, feel blue, or be considered green. Monet reckoned that fresh air was violet and Kandinsky that black and white were silent. Charles Dickens, eulogizing Winsor & Newton’s paints, wrote of ‘Chrome and Carnations, and Crimsons, loud and fierce as a war-cry, and Pinks, tender and loving as a young girl.’ Have a read of Argentine essayist Jorge Luis Borges The Aleph and Other Stories, and you’ll soon find this beauty: ‘I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the color of a rose in Bengal.’ Boom.

Color is magical, color is divine and I think I’ll you leave you with Charles Baudelaire.

‘Pure draughtsmen are philosophers and dialecticians. Colorists are epic poets.’


source: Print Mag | Ignaz Schiffermüller was a Viennese butterfly expert whose 1775 color wheel was designed to help him accurately identify the colors he encountered in nature studies




Henry Hitchings (the Evening Standard’s theatre critic) declared that “English” rather than “British” manners acknowledge “something visceral”. Isn’t that the paradox of English life? A (small-c) conservative, broadly democratic society founded on chaos, privilege and snobbery. Who can’t love a long history of disruptive, sometimes thrilling social expression, with themes that will always be problematic; the political class emerged from the mother of all invasions by a foreign power, the national church was created by a royal divorce case. With that in mind, and suffering from a mild case of anglophilia, I was thinking of my P’s and also my Q’s, along with all that other quirky British conduct that makes me giggle. ‘Manners makyth man’ and all that. Yes. Really all that.

Being apologetic when it’s not necessary (we all need to find a cure from this affliction), “I’m sorry, can you pass me the peas?”, “I’m sorry, would you mind if I go around you?”. A Victorian legacy, the contraction of “I am sorry” to “sorry” – an adjective cut off from the person who is feeling the sorrow.

The elusive “How do you do?…The only correct way to respond to that is to nod your head and say, “How do you do?” My friend Doug says he likes the expression so much because it brings in mystery and fluttering magic. Elusive indeed.

Queuing obsessively with absolutely no jostling!

The Brits always say “May I…” rather than please “Can I…”

Men really do walk on the curbside à la Emily Post’s etiquette that “if waste were thrown out a window it would hit him and not her.” A sense of honor as something moderate rather than expansive (thank you CJ).

The masters of not saying what you really mean in parallel with an ongoing inner monologue (a sign of disdain) – it’s rude to be too direct.

The conversation fillers vary greatly: “If you unravelled your intestines, they would reach from London to New York,” “Cheer up love – it might never happen”. A definitive sign of a decline in formality and restraint.



‘A good eye’

Art critic Brian Sewell says of it:

‘The “eye” is indefinable, but those who have it know so, and know it to be the instrument through which informed intuition works; it is connected with a knotting of the stomach and a clenching of the bowels; it may break a sweat on a man’s brow. or make him breathless as angina.’

Or as Robert Graves said:

‘Poets will know what I mean by slantwise: it is a way of looking through a difficult word or phrase to discover the meaning lurking behind the others.’

And Alice said (in Wonderland):

‘I see nobody on the road,’ said Alice

‘I only wish I had such eyes,’ the king remarked in a fretful tone.

‘To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too!

Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people by this light.’

But as Georgia O’Keefe pointed out, ‘nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small – we havent time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.’