I thought I’d join in the excitement building around Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi, Prometheus.

Billed as a kind of prequel to his first groundbreaking sci-fi movie Alien, Prometheus opens in the UK next week and already the noise online and off is almost deafening around the film. It’s fair to say that it’s Scott’s first big release since Gladiator and the advance buzz is off the scale.

They seem to have taken viral marketing to a whole new level with spoof movies on You Tube, entire ad breaks on TV encouraging viewers to live tweet their excitement and it seems to be working incredibly well. Well, it’s working on me. It seems like they’re almost at spoiler level though at which point I will probably stop looking at stuff so I can be really wowed when I see the film.

Here’s a few images that nod back to the original Alien – space jockey and derelict spacecraft – along with a few new ones to get the juices flowing. It’s a staggeringly good-looking film and Scott always knows how to make handsome films – here’s hoping that the incredible hype is justified.

Just one question for me remains – should I see it in 3D or 2D? Last few films I’ve seen in 3D left me hugely disappointed – in fact Avengers was actually better in 2D. But I understand Scott has used latest technology and filmed fully in 3D so that might sway me…wonder if it’s on at the IMAX…?

I’ll be blogging my review after the opening weekend…watch this space.


Although the weather wasn’t up to much, we decided to fire up the wood burning bad boy bbq to cook off a butterflied leg of lamb.It had been relaxing in a delicious lemon, rosemary, thyme and chilli marinade for most of the afternoon so by the time the flames were ready it was well bathed in flavour. Butterflied lamb takes around 15 mins each side for a full leg and is a fantastic way to cook it – the charred edges bring a smoky resonance to the delicate pink meat inside.

Summer salad staples of roast fennel and zucchini were duly rustled up and added to the smorgasbord of delights and JD knocked up a rather delicious marmalade-glazed ham for good measure, which was an absolute delight: tender and sweet.


After the guests had deported we decided the fire was too good to waste. Although it was a tad chilly, we were able to sit around the fire until late, feeding the fire at regular intervals from our stock of well seasoned Sycamore and Ash.

These are the kind of evenings that make all the midweek hard graft worth it.


Editorial Design

Newspapers are everyday things and it’s not often that we get the chance to take a step back and consider how well designed they can be.

This Danish example is a delight. Everything is carefully considered – photography policy, typography, colours, graphic elements, white space. I was really taken with the attention to detail and how visually striking it was. There’s something about continental design that looks similar to UK design but is not quite the same.

The finished result is perfect design – the sublime combination of aesthetic beauty and hard nosed functionality.



Planet of the Apes Pinup

This rather engaging portrait is from the original Planet of the Apes film (the one with Charlton Heston).

It is of course, Zira played by Kim Hunter.

Kim Hunter is probably better known for her best supporting actress Oscar in Streetcar Named Desire and David Niven’r love interest in A Matter of LIfe and Death. She then went on to play what in my eyes is her career defining role – as Zira the chimpanzee doctor. I’m not being facetious either. Acting under layers of makeup and prosthetics takes some doing and Roddy McDowall wrote the book on it of course.

Of course, the apes are all CGI these days (usually Andy Serkis) and brilliant though they are, I love a bit of old school acting under award winning makeup. John Chambers won an Oscar for his ground breaking makeup for the original Planet of the Apes which to this day almost fifty years later still looks amazing.

The Selected Works of TS Spivet

This  month’s book club book was remarkable in lots of ways:


This book was packed full of drawings. It’s not the first book we’ve read with pictorial excitement but we haven’t read many that use illustrations to tell the story along with the prose (apart from Maus that is). This book tells the story of an obsessive 12 year old boy who has to physically draw and map everything that happens to him in his life – from the accidental shooting of his brother in a barn to waste paper on a Chicago street. Everything is drawn and recorded in exquisite detail and these illustrations were the constant companion to the text throughout the book.


It was an odd, large, square-ish format, this book. Larger than A5 and smaller than A4. It would flop open and fall awkwardly when trying to read it in bed. On the plus side, it would fall open flat without having to break the spine. The large format allowed the illustrations to really breathe and the typographic layout was pleasingly open and engaging. But most of all it was just odd.

Old book or New Book?

This book was an old book set in the modern era. It was a timeless tale set amidst the high plains initially with cowboys and ranches and then hobos on railroad cars and then Smithsonian derring do. The author played around with the idea of  time I think to the point where it wasn’t important  which for me is interesting as I’m always trying to pinpoint time because it helps me to process the information.


The author was relentless in his articulation of the obsession of the main character TS Spivet to the point it almost detracts from the narrative. I found it was only when I relaxed and enjoyed the illustrative diversions that they no longer distracted but delivered additional texture and depth. As a bit of an obsessive myself, this book spoke to me on many levels and Spivet shares many traits with myself not just as a 12 year old but now.

Six out of Ten

That’s what I scored this book, which I upped at the end of the night because I felt I’d underscored it somewhat. There was a mixed bag of scores and even one of the guys hadn’t read it – which is unusual in itself and often tells us more than the review would from that member. I enjoyed the book, it was light and fresh after last month’s intensely brutal South American dictator novel and I’m thinking back on it fondly.

On to next Month.

 This post also appears on Into The Orchard

Fashion Designer Postage Stamps


Postage stamps have a special place in every designer’s heart. Especially this one.

Collecting stamps as a child, the liturgy of philately was very close to my heart. Less so now, but I have to say but the thrill of a new edition or special release (I’m sure that’s not the correct terminology) never fails to get me excited. The stamps that celebrated world cups or Olympic Games always created a collectors buzz.

These days there seems to be all kinds of stamps from superheroes to comics and pop culture to fashion. Perhaps this is more to do with the Post Office’s valiant efforts to keep the postal service relevant amidst the relentless march of technology.

So when I saw these beautifully designed stamps by Johnson Banks I smiled – they fit in wonderfully in the lexicon of intelligent postage stamps. The theme is fashion and I’ve picked out a couple of my favourite designers Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood.


Black Ops DIY

Now this is ONLY the kind of DIY I’ll consider. The cool kind.

Walker on 34th Street

Here’s my homage to Star wars day. I know it’s a day late but it’s been one of those weeks.

It’s always a thrill to see a fictitious Star Wars icon in  the real setting of New York city and this Walker is no exception.