The Archigram Archival Project

"The Archigram Archival Project makes the work of the seminal architectural group Archigram available free online for public viewing and academic study." These words made my day when I first read them, and regularly still do - whenever I browse through the fantastic drawings and plans archived at

I first discovered Archigram in 2008 at an exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum. I was in awe of the group's work, and astounded that I'd never heard of it before given that it was exactly my kind of thing. Most of it was unbuilt, but the plans created by the group from 1961-1974 have had a resounding influence on contemporary architecture.

Recovered Photos: Taiwan, Week 1

All the photos from back then are blurry, as if to prove it must have been a dream. My camera broke for a bit, maybe a reaction to the sudden heat or the humidity as it worked fine again later. I just found the photos and it all came back to me, the dreamlike first week when so much happened and I didn't mind that I'd moved 6,000 miles away from home and wouldn't return for over a year. I had so many lucid dreams as a result of not knowing where I was.

This is what I remember.

There were fishtanks in bars and drinking games with Chinese numbers and the city lights of Taipei reduced to pinpoint blobs in a blur that could be anywhere, anytime after the invention of neon lights. There were new friends I planned to go to Japan with and never saw again but it was okay, there were koi carp bigger than my head and there were fading lights in the park at night with the tower blocks standing over us. There was KTV and an aboriginal guy who didn't understand why I didn't want to go back to his house on my first night in a strange country, as though sleeping in my own new bed wouldn't be strange enough, and there were clouds lit up by the chemical sun as it set on the beach and there was me in the bathroom with my new bad skin, built for colder climes. There was a place I named Factoryland and there were temples and lanterns and streets I found and lost and found again and there was a mountain full of statues and taxidermy and everything in between. There was a ghost ship built from a jade dragon and there was blurry sushi which arrived on tiny trains and there was a typhoon which happened under cover of the blurry grey evening and I had to stay safe inside my temporary home before I moved to my new apartment which later became home to the point where it didn't feel blurry, not even with hindsight.

Good things part 2

I've been busy lately but I've been collecting pictures of things that catch my eye, magpie-style. I'm having a little break from non-fiction writing (with the exception of my own projects) so will hopefully be blogging more often in the near future.

Brian Dettmer's carved book
From Tom Phillips' 'A Humament'

Lush, being all colourful and 90s

My ideal specs from Fabris Lane.

Bettie, as always

Sticker Geek Fest

I have always been something of a hoarder. As a tiny child I had my own desk in the spare room, a magical sanctuary away from the room I shared with my brother. In its drawers I accumulated collections of erasers, stickers, writing paper and shiny 20 pence pieces from the tooth fairy. When my cousin came to stay, I insisted we play a game of 'post office', which involved pretending to sell the contents of my desk to one another.

As adulthood loomed, the contents of that desk were mostly neglected, the sticker collection being the part which survived the best. However, it was seriously harmed by the lack of decent stickers available in York and the fact that, when I did find some, I often stuck them on things quicker than I could replace them.

Times have changed. Not only do I now have the option of buying pointless things on the internet, but even high street shops like Paperchase are shaping up to sell some pretty nifty stickers. But this obsession really gained momentum during my time living in Taiwan. Yes, I have mentioned the stationery shops of Taiwan before, and no doubt I will again. Forget Stationery Box. Forget Rymans and WH Smith. How much of their stationery is adorned with impossibly cute creatures, inanimate objects with faces and nonsensical English with a nevertheless overwhelmingly positive message?

I love these guys

Luckily I still have friends in the Far East kind enough to send me stickers. I have also bought a few on the internet and in the few decent stationery shops around these parts and have recently been forced to relocate my sticker collection to a larger tin.

Incredibly girly new tin/carry case

The best of my stickers bought in the UK

As if this wasn't all nerdy enough, I also bought a sticker album in Taiwan in which I keep the ones I like the most and which I'll never be able to replace. The book has illustrations on most of the pages so it's nice to look through even though I haven't actually put many stickers in it yet.

Sticker album

Stickers from a Japanese photobooth I visited with my friends

Happy teeth and toothbrushes!

Good things

I know I could just add links to all my favourite websites on my sidebar (and I probably will do this at some point) but for now I just want to tell you about three sites I have been visiting a lot this week and really enjoying.

The first one is by Inhae, which is just the cutest thing ever and totally fulfils my need to gaze admiringly at inanimate objects with faces (there is nothing more cheering on a bad day). Not only do the teeth have faces but they have wonderful adventures which are photographed beautifully.

I've also been getting into, a project by my good friends Lewis and Chris who live in Taiwan. They have decided to meet 101 people in Taipei - from a specific list they have compiled which forces them to find, for example, a fashion designer, a blind masseuse and a single man leaving a love hotel. Lewis is a writer and his style is perfectly suited to the imaginative, gonzo journalism needed to bring this idea to life. Chris is a great photographer and takes pictures of all the interviewees.

The Spicy Boy

The Artist

Finally (for now, as frankly I could go on for a while about all the wonderful stuff to be found on the internet) I have just discovered the photography of Josh Goleman There's not much to say other than that I love the images, particularly the ones which look like they're from the best wedding ever. Here is one example:

You can find the rest at I found this through which is a lovely blog written by the lady on the left in this pic. She collects and documents things in a very aesthetically pleasing manner and makes me want to live in America a bit.

Okay, so that was kind of four, not three. I'll stop now.

Book Shop Girl

Did a new drawing/painting today. It's pretty much what the title says. I used Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens (for a change...) plus watercolours and a tiny bit of acrylic. I made loads of mistakes as I was drawing in pen - I tried to incorporate them as best I could. It's small in real life - only postcard size.

Recipe: Tagliatelle with garlic roasted tomatoes and rocket

Recently I invented a delicious meal (well, in my own opinion and that of about 10 other people who I've made it for).

This version serves 2 (in my world anyway; maybe some people are less greedy)


250g tagliatelle

250g baby plum tomoatoes

3 cloves garlic

300g creamed tomatoes

1 courgette

1 red chilli

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 tbsp red wine

fresh basil (roughly chopped)

fresh rosemary (chopped)

freshly ground black pepper


handful of rocket

parmigiano reggiano

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Cut the plum tomatoes in half and place on a baking tray, cut sides facing up. Chop one of the garlic cloves and place randomly on top of some of the tomatoes. Chop the rosemary and scatter over the tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes.

Cook the tagliatelle while doing the next stage.

Roughly chop the chilli and remaining garlic and fry in the olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Cut the courgette into thin strips about 4 inches long. Add to the pan, add salt and fry with the garlic and chilli for another 5-10 minutes until the courgette is soft. Add the wine and stir. Simmer for 2 minutes before adding the creamed tomatoes. Add the roasted tomatoes, garlic and rosemary. Stir and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add the cream, basil and pepper and stir. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce in a pan. Stir and serve with the cheese and rocket on top.

A lady and a promise

I now have a working scanner and hereby pledge to blog more regularly.

Above is a picture done quite a long time ago but I have only just been able to scan it. I used my old favourite combo of watercolours and Pilot Hi-Tec-C pens. Not that happy with it overall but I quite like her hair.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently went on holiday to Italy. Here is some photographic evidence.

Delicious pizza

Um... jumping

Inside Napoleon's house on the Island of Elba

Massa Marittima


My shadow, complete with cartoon-like hair

Ancient Rome