About notebooks

Thursday, March 24, 2011

About 18 months ago, I realised that I was recycling a lot of envelopes.  I was about to start working at Waste Watch, a charity that encourage people to think about their waste. Most of those envelopes I was recycling were blank bits of paper.

It was good, of course, that they were being recycled, but they actually could be used again.

So I decided to keep them, and convinced colleagues to keep their envelopes. When I gathered them all together, I bound them into notepads. So I got busy with a letter opener, slicing every envelope apart.

At that time, Borders bookshop was going out of business. They had ridiculously low liquidation sales, with maps of all types selling for very little money.  Thinking "I'll find a use for them!", I bought some (well, lots actually).

Those two ideas came together: the maps could be nifty covers for my envelope notebooks.

And since then, I've gone through a series of different versions (proper designers might use the terms 'iterations' or 'prototypes').

The first type was very basic, still showing the ragged, cut edges from the letter opener.

So I brought the notebooks to a printing company, who nicely trimmed the edges. Lovely.

Later, having given some to friends and colleagues, I realised that a different type of binding would be better. So I brought some new notebooks to a binder, and had them ring bound. And they're lovely.

And so now, my staple-bound map notebooks are on sale on folksy, and I have a decision to make.

I'd like to keep this idea alive, but I don't really want to spend hours and hours making these notebooks. A lot of the stationery that sells online are luxury, high-end, artisan notebooks, but, to me, these notebooks are just notebooks. They're to be used and not treasured.

So I'm looking for ideas, inspiration, a partner, a way forward. Your suggestions are welcome.

The End of the World

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nuala's world

Louise's world

Eleanor's world

David O's world

Daniel's world

The five drawings above are the final five maps I've collected for my My World project, where I ask people to draw the world.

Nuala, Louise, Eleanor, David O and Daniel drew their worlds last year. With their drawings, I had reached a total of 80. That seemed like a good number to bring collecting to a close. I had collected drawings of The World in 80 ways.

Also, in my poster design below, 80 allows for a blank space, recognising that this kind of endeavour could run and run on to infinity. (Click on it to see it bigger)

The World in 80 ways

Thank you to all those who drew pictures, responding to my perplexing request with creativity, practicality and flair.

All 80 images - the world in 80 ways - are on flickr here.

Eurovision heats in London

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I hit on a notion this year to try to watch Eurovision selections from around Europe in bars in London, in much the same way that I watch football.

But whereas football is popular with pub-goers, Eurovision, it seems, is not. There was nothing on show at Norwegian, Danish and Finnish venues. Similarly, an Armenian cultural centre was all closed up, and the Greeks and Portuguese preferred football.

A Bulgarian bar was playing Balkan music on its TV, but videos not Eurovision.

My one happy constant was the Swedish Church in Marylebone which week after week showed Melodifestivalen heats. Even the priest there got in on the excitement! If only every other nation could be the same...

What's in Gibraltar?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Gibraltar sights

Continuing my posts on curious places (previously: Albania, San Marino), I recently flew to Gibraltar.

Gibraltar occupies a dramatic peninsula jutting into the sea, the majority of which is taken up by a whopping big rock.

The sights of Gibraltar are the mountain, the cheeky monkeys up on the mountain, the caves within the mountain, and the view of the Strait of Gibraltar from the mountain.

The rest is a town which looks a bit Spanish, but feels a bit English. New Look, Marks & Spencer and other British shops line the streets, along with duty free alcohol and perfume shops.

Unlike in Spain, the streets clear come sundown. "We live indoors like the English, not outdoors like the Spanish," one man said to me.

The local gay bar was empty, with the owner wistfully lamenting the departure of the sailors at the naval base.

Gibraltar airport brings a giddy thrill, as you can walk across the runway. The main road into the city crosses the runway which has had to be fitted into an awkward space. Sadly this thrill won't last for much longer as a road's being built under the runway.

And that is Gibraltar.

Robyn at Roundhouse

Friday, March 04, 2011

Robyn @ Roundhouse, March 3

Last night, I saw Robyn at Roundhouse.

I've seen Robyn live quite a few times now, from one of her earliest UK gigs to the heights of Heaven.

She always delivers.

I can totally see why she called her last album Body Talk; she really does channel her lyrics through her dancing. Such as:

  • Simulating putting a calculator in her pocket during Fembot
  • Thumping a heartbeat on her chest during With Every Heartbeat
  • Simulating kissing and embracing herself during Dancing on my Own
  • Throwing herself around the stage in unabashed, uncoordinated dance fever during nearly everything.

In short, and, as always: amazing.

Robyn @ Roundhouse, March 3