Friday, 1 February 2008


A Writing Club

Sometimes it’s necessary to make decisions quickly, in the spur of the moment, so that the next stage, the doing, the activity can commence. As writing can be a solitary thing, needs only some kind of tool to create words pencil, pen, brush or fingers and a keyboard, the decision to base ourselves online seemed suddenly clear after abandoned attempts to meet on Thursday afternoons.
What to call our club? A club of false starts that needed immediate action; anti-precious of membership in the club spirit of our Graphics course; anti-precious of material, open, embracing of writing as a creative activity not confined to ‘writers’ but open to anyone who wants to take part, spew their words publicly, collaborate in some exquisite corpse of text together; to generate words to play with visually; and finally to enjoy, poke fun at and play with words in the world.
Our name? From a casual discussion blah blah blah came to mind, but obviously it’s obvious, been used and is already rife – bands, restaurants, galleries blah blah blah.
But one blah, a spurt of speech, a meaningless word but a primitive sound; with the exclamation mark it requires a decision and effort to ensure you project it accurately; almost a need to physically chuck out your chin, and feels disrespectful, un-English as it’s carried out. (And our competition – a DVD rental shop).
It also had a wry reference to the past as both a nod of the cap and a prod in the ribs – to Blast, the Vorticist magazine led by Wyndham Lewis in 1914 to 1915. A British movement, Blast was ‘Aggressive, belligerent, sarcastic’, its ‘typography confrontational’, anti-tradition, combinations of capitals and lower case, using bold letters and words and ‘bold Latinate serif typeface that aggressively grabbed the readers eye’ – all potential for Blah! to use, steal, borrow.
or Blast embraced the explosive, likened themselves to a whirlpool at which the ‘heart is a silent place where the energy is concentrated’ and rejected Futurist ‘Marinetti’s romanticised view of the machine, considering that the machine produced impersonal results that dehumanised the world’ (Heller, Stephen. Merz to Émigré and Beyond. Avant-Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century. 2003. P45/46).
Well Blah! attempts to use the machine to engage in human activity and communication in a more purposeful way than Facebook! (Imagine with typographic drama)
But Blah! isn’t 20th Century but 21st Century, it also desires the quiet, the considered, the playfulness of Apollinaire’s calligrammes perhaps or some concrete poetry fun. Hah!
(Currently I am interested in the abuse of the semi-colon; and liberally and hopefully ungrammatical use of it here)

Saturday, 26 May 2007


Well I just wanna say that I'm REET excitied for the publication it should be a conker. In other news the allotment was looking very parched on wednesday... So thank whatever diety it is you believe in that it rained last night, now something might grow!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Ok I've quoted hitch hikers guide to the galaxy book, but oh well I'm completely incapable of thinking about anything. I am frazzled and I have already annoyed people in my frazzled state so I do apolagize to you. I haven't gotten stressed with doing this publication, just a bit worn down on the learning curve. People with more experience than me could of easily done this book in a couple of days with all the images and stuff but it took me longer.

It was good seeing what everyone has done and discussing things and collaberating and battling with computers and I hope everyone likes how we put together your work and displayed it and what we wrote about you all in the back.

So I've finished it now and i think some are getting ordered tommorow i don't know. So please buy one.

Oh and sorry slowphie I forgot about putting that quote in of yours so I'll put it here.
As sophie was walking down stairs she told me "we've worked our willies off". It made me laugh so was going to include it in the book.
We all have worked our willies off and everyone should be proud of working together and thats easy stuff for the craft circle ladies and men, they've been doing that all year round. well done guys.

Sunday, 20 May 2007


Hi all, Here's hoping you're up tonight pondering your last chance for contributions to the publication. So its time for some written REFLECTIONS. I think its great to have the ongoing dialogue about the alloiments now so active on the blog and to read of planning for a future harvest...but we need some immediate REFLECTIONS on your experiences on any and all of the May projects - seeing your cress germinate - tasting lettuce from terra H block; grappling with science for the first time since school, or knitting furry catterpillers - there have been lots of new experiences and this is the chance to put it into print, don't be shy put pen to paper - or better still fingers to keyboard and REFLECT on the experiences, projects, theme of community and perhaps most importantly for the publication: the cross-overs, how do these different projects really relate to one another - what can it say about our contemporary understanding of community? So, stroke your chins and let the words flow! The deadline approaches..

Friday, 18 May 2007

Hyde Park Allotment Update

So today Rich and myself went to the allotment on Hyde Park, where we had the picnic. If you haven't heard already the idea now is that Rich and I will look after this plot, while Julie and Phil will oversee things on Second Life, so there will be some crossover between the real and virtual!

We bought a rake, a spade and some smaller tools. We also sourced a wheel barrow that was kindly donated to us by a second year. Any donations or suggestions are welcome, especially more tools, if you can help contact me, Rich, Liz or Dan. We took one of the tomato plants with us from ninth floor, with plans to plant the other too next week. We discovered a potential pitfall here though; being humble folk we obviously have to use those things called legs (remember them?) and while walking today the strong wind pruned our precious plant for us. I doubt much could have been done, it would have happened once planted if not while in transit, but the healthy 'trunk' and small fruit are still intact, so I think it will be ok. It now resides on plot 18, situated as best we could to give it light and shelter from the wind.

After working the soil a bit (a lot, actually) and a few hours graft we also sowed some sunflowers. I really hope these grow tall, partly because I have grown them sucessfully before, and also, they're pretty easy to grow so if I fail i'll be abit gutted. We also partitioned these off with canes and string, it looks nice and neat now.

Rich also prepared another smaller bed. We had a problem with this because some clever person before us had buried alot of glass. Or somthing. Anyway there was alot of glass under the soil, we're talking like a whole windows worth not just a bottle or somthing. But we removed it as best we could and that bed should be ready to take some plants, perhaps potatoes we think.

We plan to also plant some carrots, and perhaps runner beans as we we're told by a local that they will grow easily. We met a couple of the other plots owners, they seemed very nice and helpful. Didn't get their names though, which doesnt show much about my manners, but nonetheless.

So we have actually been working hard, as in physically. It's good though. and I'm shattered, that could be more to do with it being past three in the A.M. though.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

virtual allotment 2

sorry to be adding so much today, but blogs seem to get you on a roll and then its unstoppable

Im sure Julie and Phil will have lots more on this but a final update on rest of 2nd life discussion last monday

restrictions discussed on plot?
no rain
what are weather conditions?
cubist scarborough referred to cubey tera for more info

visited 'Luna Bliss and the gardens of Bliss where cubist scarborough bought the plot a plant

plot is 1,024 sq metres ?

can build upwards and comfortably fly around at 200metres

is the sea salt water?
are the canals surrounding the plots salt water

are there any other allotments?

the plot could invite collaborations, invitations to take part, use site, installations temporarily
is it a space for meeting / community?
what is the community activity aspect? does it mirror real life ?
eg. allotment groups etc, is this relevant?

thats it,


allotment update

Mark & Rich
take some sweet peas to the allotment too

Update since todays meeting with Dan

£7.50 left in budget - spend wisely diggers

basic equipment needed for site - 1 spade, 1 fork, 1 bucket &/or hosepipe

lets be resourceful and recycle, see what we can source for free

for Monday we agreed that
1. a practical plan of specific short term activity and future possibilities
Rich and Mark will elaborate i'm sure over next few days as they do it

this needs to be available for publication monday

the allotment team is - Mark Turner, Rich lander, Julie Williams, Phil Lazenby
'real' - Mark Turner, Rich Lander
'virtual' - Julie williams, Phil Lazenby

big event



all students welcome
announced officially in H917 monday 10am
bring gloves and bin bags if you read this beforehand

quick update on discussions
Julie and Phil have been building floating gardens- look out
hanging gardens of Babylon
-will you find out more on hg of babylon - nice related research
phil has been riding giraffes and trying to steal elephants!!

Kisa has been asked about the ground beneath the allotment - who owns it

(apologies for earlier blog & wrong spellings of names, Kisa not risa, and Cubist Scarborough not cubistscarborough)

discussions on engaging new students with project in September, how about a promo video heroes working the land
came out of discussions on making the allotment a land / nation / country; growing food to exchange for goods; readings of Marx?; creating a manifesto; having an allotment blog/website/ what to grow as a political act or symbolic nature /

31st May - evaluation of the project with Dan, 10.30 onwards... all team members

that's it for now

we havent discussed the H block 'real' garden - i have really been enjoying the lettuce with my lunch
any thoughts?
could this be with staff?
what should we grow in winter as not really a need to prepare soil etc
unless we design the garden

Liz Noble is an expert in miniature gardens - any thoughts? Liz?

another thought, at village shows does anyone win awards for prize miniature veg??
could this be a new nich? I had success last year with miniature pumpkin and squash