The London Sketch Club – 30 September 2015

The London Sketch Club was founded in 1898 by a few prosperous illustrators of the day. It’s been on the go since and I enjoyed some dining and sketching in their fantastic first floor studio on Dilke Street in Chelsea.London Sketch Club - 30 September 2015It’s a club open only to those who make their living from drawing. And you have to be invited. Surrounded by silhouettes of past members, their beautiful works, and the items that make a studio a studio, I gave a talk on what I enjoy about sketching.

The rich history of the place makes for a great atmosphere and hopefully I can go back to do some life drawing one Tuesday night. Many thanks to the London Society for the invitation to talk, and the sketch club for hosting.

Cycle to MIPIM 2016 Launch – 29 September 2015

At the launch event for Cycle to MIPIM 2016.

Cycle to MIPIM - 20151450 km from London to Cannes in five days. All for good cause: children’s charity Coram. It’s in March, so bring on some Scottish winter training on the bike.

Allez les Bleu – 23 September 2015

Watching France beat Romania in the Olympic Stadium.

allez les bleu - 23 September 2015

One of the World Cup’s more predictable results. I loved the atmosphere generated by 50,000 people, even if more than half of them were neutrals. I backed the underdog, the most common reaction the world over.

virgin stewardess - 24 September 2015Flying home, thinking about what to say at the London Society’s Annual Sketchclub Dinner next Wednesday, 30th September.

Tickets available here. It includes a three course dinner.

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HTA in Berlin – 20 September 2015

gla-sxf1 - 18 September 2015From Glasgow to Europe’s biggest stationery shop (?) in Berlin stopping only to pick up beer, bratwurst and bikes. A brilliant start to two and a half days in this energetic, creative city.

tour - berlin wall - 19 September 2015

Next step, a housing tour.

david and frank - 19 September 2015

Normally I focus quite hard on these, but they’ve traced the line of the old wall in corten steel and placed plaques that describe the fate of former Berliners. It’s hard to look up when these stories are beneath your feet. The houses and flats are interesting, but it’s the waves of tumultuous recent history that grabs my attention.

Hta in the Einstein - 19 September 2015The history gets in everywhere over here. We ate together in Café Einstein, an 1880’s renaissance style villa that survived over 300 bombing raids in the second war. I was disappointed to find that it had no real link to Einstein, rather it’s claim to fame centres around links to Nazi Joseph Goebbels. He died near here in 1945.

Galini on Prouve 20 September 2015

This is Jean Prouve’s Cite chair in the hotel lobby. Jean Prouve: designer, engineer, craftsman, teacher and French Resistance fighter.

krone - 20 September 2015

In café Krone, near the flea market. There’s lot’s of history and much of it is traumatic, but for the time being this seems to have resulted in a very pleasant place to be.

Going Places – 16 September 2015

A beautiful day in Dundee, listening to suited men discussing where the city is going, whilst watching people walking along the route to the new V&A. Kengo Kuma’s spectacular building, and the exhibits the V&A will bring, will transform this part of town. Other waterfront developments to follow.banana site - 15 September 2015 It’s the sunniest city in Scotland, they tell me.

tara the train driver - 16 September 2015

Chatting to Tara the train driver about what it’s like to drive the East Coast Main line trains up and down to London. From my middle aged perspective she seems barely old enough to drive the trolley, but was happy enough with 140mph trains. The old diesel 125s are like classic cars, the electric 225 more like a modern. You can’t go at 140mph because the signals are too close together.

Fettes Rise 13 September 2015It’s time for us to move on from Fettes Rise, designed by Morris & Steedman in the late 1960’s. By far the best place I’ve ever lived.

Going places in the generational sense. With my mum at her eightieth birthday in Glenfarg, a place she knows well from her childhood. I’m trying to work out the generational steps that got the family got from living in the station master’s house here, in 1890, to coming back for a visit in 2015.

Glefarg - 12 September 2015Didn’t quite work it out.

Indian Summer – 10 September 2015

A surprisingly sunny September so I have to sit outside for my coffee, draw what ever is in front of me…

van 9 September 2015…even if it’s a van. They are building a new Hendersons round the corner from the office. Loads of workies, loads of vans.

The next day it’s still so sunny: out in London looking at tall residential towers. Research for some we are looking at.

lexicon 10 September 2015Back in Edinburgh musing on a Meuse that would generally be a mews.

Dublin Street Meuse 10 September 2015Mixed use: offices, houses, garages and green flats.

1st September 2015

Naimh and Ali leaving to go to college. “Another opportunity for dodgy drawings of the staff” says Tom. naimh- 150821Festival over, I’ve seen my stand up comics for the year. Jason Byrne was funnier than Reginald D Hunter, but not as interesting. jason byrne - 150820I did learn not to try drawing in the dark though.

tube - 150825Bloke on the train.


Start! – 15 August 2015

Lotus founder and all round genius Colin Chapman designed the Lotus Seven in 1957. By the early seventies it no longer fitted the more luxurious aspirations of Lotus, so Caterham bought the rights and carried on building it. Almost 60 years after it was first designed you can still buy more or less the same car.caterham 150815It’s simplicity itself. I love that it makes up for not having much power by not having much of anything at all. It’s tiny: you can walk around it in a parking space. ‘Just add lightness’ was the Chapman design philosophy and we enjoyed the thrilling results on a sunny day in Fife.Broadwick and berwick 150815In Soho in London. A little extra space on the corner of Berwick Street and Broadwick Street makes for a busy spot. People using their phones to text, talk and find their way to their next meeting. This corner gives them room to pause without being in the way and lets me watch urban life in narrow streets with lowish buildings. Lots of activity in not a lot of space.

hta london- 150819When the London office moved to Kentish Town there weren’t many cafes selling fancy and expensive coffee. There are now. Places change and something gets lost. Off to the board meeting to discuss the ethics of working in Uganda, and London.

fii 150816

Start! F & I are off to school.

Bonsoir Monsieur Nightfall – 13 August 2015

I like intimate festival venues, late at night.

150813 - HeleneThis little band came together to support singer Helene’s songs about her time on the streets of London and Paris. Emotional in the broadest sense, beautifully delivered.

Review by others here. Tickets here.

600 Years – 9 August 2015

Sitting In Advocate’s Close admiring Morgan McDonnell’s sensitive modern buildings on medieval steps. A design from a couple of years ago sitting comfortably on a route from 600 years ago.

Advacate's Close - 150806 Time passes. ruari - 150809

Ruari’s left school, Fraser’s about to start.

fraser 150809

Sometimes, more than others, you feel that time is moving on.