November 25th, 2016

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November 25th, 2016

Did you know that this creature lives under my kid’s bed? Apparently so. Or something like it. Maybe a little less vintage, but no less terrifying. Or maybe it’s this creature:

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And it’s definitely able to get in her second floor window. Some nights it’s Frankenstein, some nights it’s just a random creepy claw, scratching across the floorboards. Other nights it’s a scary rat with big teeth that can be seen on the uneven plaster of the ceiling (not even eradicated by a paint scraper and a screwdriver. We tried). What a drag. Even when there isn’t a small person squawking from the other room at witching hour, I am prone to awaken after a couple of hours and lie there blinking at the ceiling. I see neither rats, nor creepy claws, just endless questions about life stretched across the plasterwork – the meaning of, the purpose of, the things to do with, who that person was in the grocery store asking me about it (they seemed familiar), all that middle of the night angsty existential claptrap.

Of course, it goes without saying that my mental state is affected by the sleeplessness, only exaggerated by the dark days as winter creeps in. My friends have started looking at me with slight alarm in their eyes when I talk about the actual amount of lack of sleep and at least three of them have threatened to frog-march me to the local, somewhat-legal, green-remedy supplier to sign me up for special tinctures or oils. I finally, numbly, considered it this week, but instead I read an article about screen-time and sleep. No need to click – you know what it’s going to say. Surprise surprise – the more time you spend on your screen, the less your brain wants to settle down and go to sleep. Blue screens, interactive stimulation, blah blah blah. I’m too tired to read it in its entirety, and I am not sure what is actually news about this news… but regardless it seems on point for me. Being an all-or-nothing kind of girl, I am super tempted to give up technology altogether. Yes, that’s right, all technology, right from the beginning of time. Who needs wheels? Tools for cooking? Bah. I’m that desperate for a good night’s sleep. So while I don’t need the wheel, or my grilled cheese maker, I might have kept Twitter and Facebook. But no! Even they don’t escape. They increase emotional stimulation (duh) – even more than grilled cheese! Hmm… I am not sure where I am going with this editorial, as my brain is too addled to form a cohesive piece, but I will conclude with this; Sleep = good … Technology = bad … Sleep good. Sleep. Good. (Can I keep Instagram? Oh, and the Small Batch List? This stuff is worth a few sleepless nights):

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Looking:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – maybe it’s the times – maybe it’s my sleep-deprived state – but this film was so delightful to me that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It seems like it made me 12 again, and I have even gone online to discover that I am officially a member of Gryffindor – of course! So I have searched around for arty bits and pieces of interesting stuff connected to the movie and came across the graphic design studio MinaLima – a design duo who are responsible for all the graphic design in the Harry Potter films and now the Fantastic Beasts movies. Maps, jewellery, carpet design, books, posters – anything the Wizarding World needs, they design. What a dream job! Their instagram is fun, but these articles are good stuff too:
The Fantastic Beasts interviews: meet graphic design duo MinaLima – from Pottermore.
The graphic art of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – from Creative Review.

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1920s Wizarding World packaging designed by MinaLima for Fantastic Beasts.

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The first prop that Mina designed – Harry’s letter of acceptance to Hogwarts – for the first Harry Potter film. This was created when Mira Mina thought she might work on the Potter movies for four months which then extended to ten years and now beyond.

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Listening:
There was a little sun this week so this song seemed completely fitting. The beautiful Natural Blue, by Julie Byrne, is from her second album Not Even Happiness, out in January 2017.

Here’s a song from one of my favourites, Sylvan Esso. Another sunny one, Kick Jump Twist.

It’s not even quite December but Pitchfork have released their “The 50 Best Holiday Songs of All Time” playlist to start getting you in the mood.

Play the Small Batch List Playlist on iTunes – I’ve compiled every song I’ve mentioned over the last few months.

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Dreaming and Coveting:

This week, in my imaginary travel journal, I am off to Helsinki to visit SALAKAUPPA – “Sala” meaning secret, “kauppa” meaning store. This is the tiny little flagship store for the design company, COMPANY.
“All of the products in SALAKAUPPA are designed by Aamu Song & Johan Olin … and are the result of excursions to very exciting, yet old-fashioned factories around Finland and sometimes to our neighbors around the world. [The] design is purely based on each factory’s story and function. That’s our secret.”

I love this little shop. Here you can see how they renovated it right through to today’s cheerful store.

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Friday Five Favourites – Guest starring: Paul Lloyd
Independent designer, writer and speaker
Most often found at: Paul Robert Lloyd

Dear Internet – thank you for bringing good and interesting people into my life. Paul Lloyd is one of them. I just wish Brighton, England was a whole lot closer. Here are some of his recent favourite things:

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1) Cold Feet
A comedy-drama broadcast between 1997 and 2003, this September saw the return of Cold Feet to British screens. Comparisons with Friends were often made during its original run, yet it somehow passed me by. This time round I was unexpectedly hooked, so after the latest series finished, I decided to watch the first fiveMike Bullen’s story begins just as mobile phones are becoming mainstream, and finishes while the Internet is still a novelty. There’s a dissonance watching these early episodes; a contemporary screenplay takes place among nascent technologies that now appear dated, yet by the end I was longing for their return. Simpler times.

2) The Beauty of Transport
I recently stumbled upon The Beauty of Transport, a blog by Daniel Wright about transport design and its influence on art and culture. This blog does a great job highlighting the often ignored and under appreciated projects, be they a signal boxa multi-story car park, or the ‘flying banana’.

3) The Photography of Hilla and Bernd Becher
When I visited Basel’s newly expanded art museum earlier this year, I came across a collection of photos by Hilla and Bernd Becher (before stumbling across them again a few weeks later at Tate Modern). While their subject matter — Europe’s post-war industrial landscape — could be considered banal, the consistent framing of structures like water towers, coal bunkers, gas tanks forces you to study the design details that give each their own identity.

4) The Adam Buxton Podcast
I’ve long been a fan of Adam & Joe, a comedy duo whose late-night Channel 4 show was essential viewing in the late nineties. With Joe now writing and directing films, Adam is producing his own podcast, interviewing an eclectic mix of guests from the world of comedy and the arts. Buxton’s open and often knowingly naive demeanour makes for interesting discussions, while his earworm inducing jingles have me in stitches every time. Bonus favourite: his ode to Sushi.

5) Force Majeure
The Swedish-language film Force Majeure depicts the tension between a husband and wife after a controlled avalanche threatens their family during a skiing holiday. The strength of the film’s pivotal scene — spotted during a televised awards ceremony — was enough for me seek it out, and I wasn’t disappointed, even though it makes for uncomfortable and excruciating viewing.

 – – – Previous Friday Five Favourites Archives – – –

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Delighting

Five delights for a Friday:
1) Hunter S Thompson writes a letter of advice… “To be, or not to be”: Addressing goals, purpose and what might make a meaningful life.

2) An article about the Gilmore Girls and why we seem to love it so much: Yes. That’s all I’ll say on the topic (apart from squeee!).

3) Look how pretty this quince tarte tatin is.  Perfumy quinces are my favourites. I think I still have some quinces hanging sadly on my tree. I should go and see if there are any that haven’t been infiltrated by sleepy Fall wasps. It’s a nice idea, anyway.

4) What can you do with 11,200,000 feet of aluminium and 50,000 gallons of latex? From the vault at British Pathé: making rubber toys in 1957.

5) “Ok kid, you got the job”: Henry Thomas’ audition tape for the role of Elliott in E.T. As if this kid was not going to get this role. Wow. (thanks Jason!)

BONUS) If you liked Maggie Rogers’ track Alaska posted in the Small Batch last week, you will love this: Pharrell Williams gave a special masterclass to music students, including Rogers, this last July where she played him her rough mix. Watch what happens. It’s definitely delightful. (sadly not available on mobile devices). (thanks Cassandra)

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Back next week for December shenanigans.

Over and out,

Claire Robertson,
The Small Batch List
Person with a keyboard
xo

p.s. 100 points for guessing the quote in the subject line! Last week was Van Morrison – from Astral Weeks… obviously. One of my favourite songs.

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