The last event of the break, my dad’s 88th birthday.
New years day, a brass band in the livingroom.
Angus visited from France.
Catching up with old school pals in Dunfermline. The same as we were, a little more tired but a little better at communication.
Innes hid behind the sofa for the Queen’s speech.
Fun box was fun.
The only person on a plane to London City the week before Christmas.
Actually these are the things I did in between riding the bike and painting portraits, in preparation for cycling from London to Cannes in March. I’ll show you the portraits next time.
Thursday: an enjoyable evening looking at the sketches entered in the Denis Mason-Jones sketching competition, in Leeds.
Tuesday: speaking at the Residential Investment Conference 2015. It was held underground, and the lecture theatre style benches glowed red. I tried not to be too distracted.
Monday night: watching ideas for getting one million more homes into the outer London boroughs, Pecha Kucha style at the NLA.
Saturday: more relaxed time spent in Edinburgh.
Last month I gave a talk at the London Sketch Club about the benefits of keeping a sketch book. They were nice enough to invite me back to their life drawing class. I used to do a bit of life drawing, as a result of studying architecture for a while in Strasbourg. At Strathclyde they had taught me to draw by looking at tomato crates and piles of stools. In France they taught drawing by looking at a model. The first few look like Godzilla but it’s the fastest way to improve your skills.
I had a great time: thanks to Mark Prizeman for inviting me.
At the dinner afterwards, I enjoyed meeting Violet Ryder, who’s father I remember from an eighties pop group.
‘We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze
When I, you and everyone we knew
Could believe, do, and share in what was true’Wang Chung, Dance Hall Days, of course!Sitting looking at Wallis Gilbert and Partners’ exuberant Glaxo Building. They designed the more famous Hoover Building, but this one certainly has panache. A streamlined base course, as if from the pen of Raymond Loewy . I hope we can do something great with it.
Keith napping after lunch. He’s about to retire: all the leaving do’s have left him sleepy.
An interesting chat with the guys from DC Thomson, although not the guys who do the drawings. I do want to meet them.
A quick look at a tall, elegant office in London…
…and the clock tower of St Pancras, recently framed by the stepped new public space at Kings Cross.
The kids on the sofa. Watching someone else having a tablet shot seems to be almost as good as having a tablet shot.
The main thing that happens in pubs is you spend time talking to drunk people. Some of them are entertaining. This is Marc, on a fun night at The Pig & Butcher with Kev.
Harry Arora, first class Mortgage fixer at Barclays.
I’ll not be retiring anytime soon.
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.
At New London Architecture’s Thomas Heatherwick lecture: an inspiring experience. He clearly inhabits the same world of difficult sites, demanding briefs and tight budgets as the rest of us, but he manages to conjure something completely extraordinary from the same ingredients. The lecture slides are straightforward: it’s the ideas that shine through, and how they solve relevant problems.
Contemplating his amazing work and optimistic office the next morning, I wanted to draw something simple and utilitarian, to get back in touch with my own ‘reality’: a truck making deliveries at St Pancras. After breakfast I headed for Hackney, expecting I’d seen enough inspiring characters for one trip, and it was time to do some real work (the protestant work ethic is never far away). Instead, I ran into Gavin Turk and talked about how you might make space for creative free thinkers in the overheated, investment focused, London property market.
Well he talked, I sketched and noted the presence of paintbrush in the hand of a YBA. I was pleased he signed my sketchbook. It says:
did not draw this”.
At an event in the Shard hearing about the power of a research, design and manufacturing based economy in the Midlands. Prosperity, creativity, enviable quality.
Jaguar CEO Dr Ralph Speth gave the keynote address. Manufacturing economies are prosperous economies when the quality of product is as high as this, and we heard about the combination of education, investment and supply chain required to operate at this level. You need a good supply of great places for people to live too, and we’d love to help with that.
I’m increasingly fascinated by design and manufacture, so I’ll ask if I can sketch the factory.
Want a (free) hug? This is outside Camden tube during a pointlessly brief trip to London.
Free Hugs is an international movement, but I haven’t spotted it in Edinburgh yet. It’s for fairly expressive people I think: a big hug with someone you’ve never met on a busy corner in London. Am I too Scottish?
Earlier in the week we went out for tea with Jonathon and Pavlina who are sadly leaving.
Now that might just be reason for a hug.