Monthly Archives: August 2022

Issey Miyake was more than a designer of turtlenecks for Steve Jobs

An outfit of Miyake

I’ve been a fan of the late great Issey Miyake since the 1980s. No one at the time was doing anything as wonderful with fabric as was. Perhaps Armani, but Armani’s cuts seemed conservative in comparison.

It’s an odd thing, but this week when he died, many of the news articles kept mentioning how Miyake designed the classic turtlenecks that Steve Jobs wore all the time. And it’s true, he did make those black tops of Jobs. However, those were among the least interesting thing he designed. To get a sense of just how beautiful his clothing designs could really be, see this: Issey Miyake’s best celebrity fashion moments at the Daily Mail. As well, Vogue has some highlights.

It’s quite a legacy. And right up until the end, he was making beautiful clothes.

Besides the clothes, he has always been associated with great fragrances. Next time you can, pay your local fragrance shop a visit and see if you can get some. You may not be able to wear his garments, but you can wear his scents.

(Image: link to image in Daily Mail piece)

On art and artists being bad. From Gormley, to Hirst and more


So Antony Gormley is in the news for his  “phallic” statue which students are worried about. This is not the first time he’s made statues associated with sex, as this piece shows: Sex on the beach? This could be made into a story about artist freedom and prudishness, but I think the easier case could be made for communities being forced to deal with ridiculous sculptures of oversexed middle aged artists. It’s like the artist is an exhibitionist and what he flashes his stuff, tries to make it about you being a prude. Anyway, stuff like this makes me grumpy. Stick the goddamn stuff in a garden or something. Sculptures like Gormley and Serra who subject the public to their difficult work are jerks.

That’s Sex. Moving on to Death, Damien Hirst recently got into trouble for a work that consisted of killing flies. He really should avoid dead things and stick to what he is good at: money. Here he is burning his art to show art as currency. When it comes to money, that’s where his true talent lies. Stick to that, Damien.

Speaking of money and greed, you can read about how a company is trying to trademark a colour. Just what we need. We can thank Anish Kapoor for fostering that bad idea. Thanks, Anish.

How about some art and racism? Here’s a story of how art critics perpetuated racism with their reviews. And here’s a piece on a white artist stealing the work of a black photographer. Not surprising; still awful.

Then there is sexism, such as this: The female body under the female gaze poses a monster problem

Finally there is ridiculousness: artist asks $10,000 for McDonald’s burger ingredient flung to the ceiling.

Art can do many good things for us. But not everything about art is good, as these pieces show.

Homelessness and how it is being dealt with in some places

I believe in the future we will no longer have homelessness problems. We are not there yet. Some cities, like Houston are making progress, as this piece explains: How Houston Moved 25 000 People From the Streets Into Homes of Their Own. Other cities, like San Diego, are taking initiative. Much has to do with the city. NYC, for example. This is a piece discussing their failure:  City targeted same homeless New Yorkers over and over in encampment sweeps. But at least some people are looking into new ideas, as this shows: What Would It Take to Move Street Homeless New Yorkers into Housing?

Meanwhile in Canada, there are small scale initiatives being tried, as this piece,   Shower project, and this piece, Man forced to stop building tiny homes for Toronto’s homeless now has a new project, illustrate. The solution is proper housing. Stop gap measures are just that: stop gaps.

If you want to deal with homelessness, you need to know roughly how many  people are homeless. This explains how many there in Toronto.

Finally, here are some pieces that are related to the issue:  Is Our Homelessness Crisis Really a Drug Problem?, and “Maid” author Stephanie Land on what it feels like to be shamed for being poor, and teen transitions to sobriety and higher education.

I think about homelessness all the time. Hence these links and these pieces.

 

It’s Monday. Let’s look at how work is changing in the summer of 2022


Work has changed alot since the pandemic. People are somewhat returning to the office, though I have seen reports of it being less than 50%. As a result, you have pieces like this, talking about places trying to get people to come to the office three days a week. Should one of those days be Friday? Fuggitaboutit. As WaPo explains, nobody wants to be in the office on Fridays. Finally this piece argues you should come in for your own benefit. Ummm, maybe.

So we will still work from home for the next while. That’s fine by me. If staying on mute is a problem, you might need this Mute Me Button.

Maybe you should quit your job. The BBC makes the case for job hopping. That’s not always an option for people. How about this: Could the quiet quitting trend be the answer to burnout? What you need to know. Hopefully you have good bosses and will recognize that you need support. More likely they are too busy and you are own your own.

Good luck with things. You will need it.

And how should we live our days?


One day at a time, surely. Intentionally, also. Reflective, of course.

For a good guide on that, see: How to Make the Most of Your 24 Hours at zen habits.

P.S. I haven’t posted anything from zen habits in some time, but I recommend that after you read that, you explore other posts on his blog. Worthwhile, I recall.

P.S.S. Happy Birthday, Ma, wherever you are.

 

 

 

The Marvel Juggernaut

It’s hard to believe that Marvel Studios were once far from a sure thing. (I wrote recently about that, here.) Now that they are a part of Disney, they are a Juggernaut, with rollout plans going on well into the future, as you can see, here: Marvel outlines Phase 6 with Fantastic Four and two new Avengers movies – The Verge.

In some ways the journey is not unlike Apple’s. Apple is such a dominating player now, but back in the 90s it was hanging on by a thread.

It’s possible that both companies could falter, but I suspect we will be getting our fill of Apple Devices and Marvel Entertainment for the rest of this decade. I’ll be curious to visit this post in 5 or 6 years and see if this prediction held.

Friday Night Music with the Psychedelic Furs and….Maroon 5?

I find it fascinating when ideas reoccur in music videos. Take these two. First up is “Heaven” by the Psychedelic Furs.

Next up, “Girl Like You” by Maroon 5, some years – decades – later.

Both use a similar style, where the camera seems to revolve around the singer, allowing for lots of motion even while the singer remains in one place. It’s effective in giving the video life. It’s also interesting to see it revisited after all this time in the latter video.

Of course, there are other things that give the video action. In “Heaven”, there is literally a downpour of water! While in “Girl Like You’, there is the effect of many women appearing behind Levine as he sings.

Anyway, both effective videos. I am loathe to post music videos these days: so many times the music companies will yank the videos and leave my blog posts looking poorly. Perhaps these ones, because they have been there for some time, won’t be removed.

P.S. It’s an impressive pantheon of women appearing in the Maroon 5 video, ranging from performers to athletes to activists. You can get the details on who they are, here.

A very fine travel guide to Charleston, SC…


Can be found here: Out of Office: Charleston at Uncrate.

I’ve been to Charleston a few times recently and all those places are very nice indeed. You should go.

 

Ian Brown catches COVID again and why that’s good

It’s good not because I want him to be ill! Not at all. Rather, it’s good because what came out of that is this fine essay: I caught COVID, again – this time, nobody cares (The Globe and Mail). It nicely catches where we are in this ongoing pandemic. Not just by writing about the disease and what we are doing or not doing about it, but also what else is competing for our attention. I highly recommend it.

I hope by the time you read this Ian is well and none the worse for having suffered through another bout of COVID.

 

Some advice on visiting Toronto, from the New York Times and me

So the Times has done a recent piece on Toronto: What to See Eat and Do in Toronto. It’s nice to see. It has lots of good ideas on where to dine, where to stay, and what to do.

While it’s easy to go to the places everyone recommends, if you want to bypass that and go to some very old school restaurants, here are five classic places that have been around forever and are still great, including Swatow and Country Style. For bistro fans, here is a list of fine French restaurants that should appeal to fans of that cuisine, as I am. There’s lots of great places to dine in Toronto.

While the airport is a mess these days , there are other ways to get here. For instance, you can get catch a train from NYC to Toronto. Or you can drive. Or fly into Billy Bishop and skip Pearson.

If you get here, you can even go to some museums like the ROM for free.

All in all Toronto is having a good year for recognition: Toronto is on of the world’s most liveable cities for 2022, according to CNN Travel. Come visit if you can.

You should be writing better emails. Here’s how

You – yes you – can write better emails. To do so, first read this:  How to Write Persuasive Emails: 4 Simple Tips to Turn Blah Into Crisp Writing

Second, write down those goals.

Third, practice with the next emails you send.

Maybe you – yes you – already write emails like this. In that case, try this as an exercise: look at the emails in your inbox and see how many of them meet these criteria. I’ll bet most don’t.

A word to younger people: you might think, I don’t write emails…I use Slack or Teams or some other form of instant communication. If that’s true, then you definitely need to read that and practice it. You cannot avoid email (yet) and when it comes to key communication, you need to write good email. So get going on that.

Good luck! Was this clear? I hope so.