29 March, 2010

misplaced manhole covers

Hot on the heels of Japanese manhole covers comes... misplacedmanholecovers.co.uk is exactly that... a gallery of erm misplaced manhole covers.

There is something lovely about the pictures, but I'm really intrigued by the backstory. Surely they can see that they're putting it back 'wrong'. Right? Surely?

Or is it the kind of low-grade sabotage that people indulge in when they're in a McJob? Take that! THE MAN...

Or maybe they like the new abstract art they are creating?

All I know is that there are people who just looking at these pictures will start to feel their teeth itch, they just CAN'T STAND IT.

Maybe that's why.

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26 March, 2010


I have a jerry can. Natch.

What else would you use for trackday fuel? It's a god-dam design classic.

As soon as I saw this luggage I thought 'hey now... that is cool'.

I then briefly considered the amount of ball-ache that travelling with one of these bad boys in Britain would likely entail in this day and age. Would the awesomeness be worth the constant dealings with officious pricks wanting to get up in your grill?



24 March, 2010

Double you dee forty

Milton Keynes has been added to the growing number of places you can take a virtual tour of via Google's Street Map facility.

Which saves me a job. I'd been meaning to take a picture of this place for ages as it must surely be added to the pantheon of sacred places for anybody who has ever twiddled a spanner or more likely sworn creatively at a stuck fastener.

I regularly pass by, it's on the way to my local sorting office so I've been past twice this week already to pick up the latest copy of Sideburn and then my new torque wrench. But my initial encounter was the first of a regular visit way back when I was driving a 7.5 tonne truck, picking up waste office paper for recycling.

Naturally the roller door on the loading bay glided upwards with beautifully lubricated precision and the place smelled awesome - it fair swells a man's heart to draw in a lungful of the heady brew.

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18 March, 2010

Murdered out

The trackday bodywork is getting there, rocking the Max Rockatansky look at the moment a little battle-scarred but hard as fuck.

Fitting the crash protection now... they fit onto metal frames using the engine mounting bolts. Whilst I wait for the socket to arrive to tighten them properly it's worth reminding myself not to go for a short blast.

I've just booked the first trackday of the year on the new extended MotoGP track at Silverstone, can't wait.

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16 March, 2010

Won't somebody think of the children?


I don't want to turn into angry militant cyclist person I really don't.

But they keep. Pushing. Me.

I commute to work on my pushbike, but I don't use the road. Luckily Milton Keynes has a fine, if somwhat meandering network of Redways which I use. They're kinda combination foot/cyclepaths. Very newtown. Pretty cool actually and it means you don't have to mix it with cars that can legally be going 60mph (and maybe more in reality).
Every so often the Redway crosses a road, and they have cute little 'Give Way' markings painted just so you know that the road users have priority.

It seems to be a weekly occurrence now that as I pull up to give way a driver will slow to a halt and then flash to let me cross.

Don't get me wrong I appreciate the sentiment of the gesture, they have good intentions... they're just well intentioned idiots. The bit that really grinds my gears is that it always happens at the junction next to Gulliver's Land (kid's theme park) and the one next to the school... because these dimwits are mostly stopping to beckon kids out into the street.

They are doing it because they wuv the ickle kiddies... and want to help them out. Precisely how helpful it is to encourage kids out into traffic disregarding the Highway Code obviously hasn't troubled them.

They don't appreciate sitting in the middle of the road flashing their lights at me, beckoning me into the road with a hand gesture whilst I eyeball them shaking my head... after a couple of seconds of this I'll tend to point out the road markings, at this point the driver likely as not roll her eyes and drives off muttering under her breath.

At this point that I have to resist the temptation to follow her into the school car park and explain to her in front of her offspring in robust terms why if she's concerned about kids safety the best approach would be to consistently follow the Highway Code and encourage her family to do the same - if she wants to go the extra mile there's always adoption and sterilisation available.

So far I'm still resisting but its a struggle not becoming angry cyclist sometimes.

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15 March, 2010

back in black

Setting aside for a moment that I'm being blatantly marketed at, and for a product as gauche as an 'exclusive credit card' I mean ugh what is this the eighties? ...

... and it seems like they've made a commercial by tapping directly into my cerebellum. "What are all the things chris likes?" went the brief. "Hmm okay lets film 'em". Spooky.

Either that or they wondered what would Le Container look like in ad form.

...although actually I want my Barcelona chair in brown leather rather than cream so there must have been some glitch in the thought-harvesting system. Ha!

11 March, 2010

Go well

Gorgeous posters for Shell created by Australian designer Frank Eidlitz around 1964. Found via Grain Edit. They've reminded me that a lot more graphic design seemed to play with the transparent nature of printing inks back in the day - perhaps its something that the modern design applications don't tend to 'suggest' so I'm gonna make a deliberate effort to introduce it into some of my work soon.

07 March, 2010


Spotted at the Design Museum Design of the Year Awards exhibition last week the Urbike the latest attempt to create a really elegant solution for an urban bike-sharing scheme.

Many schemes already exist of course, and it seems one of the primary responses to the problem of theft is to make them look as goofy as possible - here's some share bikes in Stockholm.

There are also other problems to overcome... the bike may not get nicked but it's covered with standard parts that fit all other bicycles and can be whipped off in seconds, you'll also need to maintain the bikes somehow, a constant procession of hirers are unlikely to clean lube and adjust the chain are they.

The Spanish Urbike scheme has some very thoughtful elements, wireless solar-powered docking/payment stations for the bikes - no troublesome utilities needed means no digging up the street. They've addressed some of the perennial problems at the bicycle end of the design brief by using a bike made up from non-standard parts and gauges of materials. The idea is that there's no point nicking the saddle or the bars, or anything else 'cos it won't fit on another bike.

How's this for low maintenance... shaft drive!