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.It’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.
At the launch event for Cycle to MIPIM 2016.
1450 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.
Watching France beat Romania in the Olympic Stadium.
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.
Flying 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.
Next step, a housing tour.
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.
The 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.
This is Jean Prouve’s Cite chair in the hotel lobby. Jean Prouve: designer, engineer, craftsman, teacher and French Resistance fighter.
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.
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. It’s the sunniest city in Scotland, they tell me.
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.
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.
Didn’t quite work it out.
A surprisingly sunny September so I have to sit outside for my coffee, draw what ever is in front of me…
The next day it’s still so sunny: out in London looking at tall residential towers. Research for some we are looking at.
Naimh and Ali leaving to go to college. “Another opportunity for dodgy drawings of the staff” says Tom. Festival over, I’ve seen my stand up comics for the year. Jason Byrne was funnier than Reginald D Hunter, but not as interesting. I did learn not to try drawing in the dark though.
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.It’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.In 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.
When 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.
Start! F & I are off to school.
I like intimate festival venues, late at night.
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.
Ruari’s left school, Fraser’s about to start.
Sometimes, more than others, you feel that time is moving on.