Tuesday, 29 January 2008


After a hiatus of a few years I reinvigorated my visual investigation into McDonalds' litter in 2007. McJunk is a work in progress with no set outcomes in mind as yet although it has been exhibited on gallery floors in varying forms.

I initially started this work in 2002 after I found it nearly impossible to go anywhere and not see a piece of McDonalds packaging; be it strewn on a pavement, in the gutters of my neighbourhood, in a hedgerow, in the middle of the countryside or on a beach.

To see ongoing additions to McJunk, go to Dubdog@flickr

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Check the bun on that

Saw this poster at a local sports centre today and was impressed that the model had time to fix her hair before her skin was stripped off her body. Very professional.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Guess the band #01

Guess the band from the description is a new feature here at Dublog, prompted by the disappointment in a recent purchase (that'll teach me to believe a review in The Guardian, the bastion of safe musical taste):

Snow Patrol play The Lightning Seeds (with a smattering of Big Country).

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Peace, what is it good for?

Many graphic designers were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Helvetica in 2007. The celebrations included an exhibition at the Design Museum here in the UK and a film made by Gary Hustwit that has toured the world. However, 2008 celebrates the anniversary of an even more iconic symbol, or symbolic icon even, as this year is the 50th Birthday of the peace symbol. At Happy Birthday Peace you can read the full story and upload your own version of the symbol alongside those of Noam Chomsky and Adam Ant no less - Dubdog's attempt, entitled Child's Play, heads up this post. Why not pay happybirthdaypeace.com a visit and help put a little peace in the world. As a taster, here's a brief history of the symbol from the site.

"The history of the disarmament symbol has been subject to much speculation over the years. It was actually designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional artist and graduate of the Royal College of Arts. He presented his early designs to the Peace News office in North London and, significantly, to the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War, one of the groups that helped to set up CND. The symbol was first seen in public during the 1958 Aldermaston march and from that moment onwards became identified with CND and its objective of nuclear disarmament.

Ironically the symbol itself is a mix of the military semaphore signals N — representing nuclear — and D — representing disarmament (semaphore alphabet). However, Holtom, a conscientious objector during the Second World War, subverted this use of semaphores by placing the D over the N, the “upside down logo” signifying his anti-military principles. In a more personal account of his design, Holtom later wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, saying,

‘I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.’" www.happybirthdaypeace.com

Saturday, 5 January 2008

It couldn't happen here?

""They started cutting the church door with a panga [machete]," Githuthwa said. "They were from around here, and even knew some of our names. We kneeled down and surrendered. It was quiet, as we were all praying. We knew this was the end."

Mattresses soaked with paraffin were pushed through the windows and used to block the door. Matches were thrown in.

As the fire engulfed the wooden building, the women grabbed their children and jumped through the burning windows. Githuthwa pushed her two elder children out of the window, and then climbed out holding her three-and-a-half year-old daughter, Miriam, in her arms.

The Kalenjin youths were still waiting, "cutting people like firewood" as they emerged. "They snatched Miriam from me and threw her back into the fire..." "

(Xan Rice in Eldoret. GuardianUnlimited Thu 3rd Jan 2008)

"My car windscreen is smashed, for no apparent reason. The next morning, the same person comes back to do the side window. When I'm away, boys bang on the windows of the house, throw things at it and taunt my lodgers with racist and sexual insults. The young Slovakian woman calls the police; two officers turn up. One of them points at the culprits, who are still standing on the street within earshot, and asks her, "Was it them?"

She is horrified at the danger he has put her in and shakes her head. "No!" The youths laugh, the officers go.

...the house shakes with the force of bricks being hurled at the boards I've nailed over the front windows. The next night four youths knock on my door, 16- and 17-year-olds. When I answer, an older and much broader man appears from behind them and he is wearing a balaclava. He takes it off and makes a speech about how I "don't come from round here". How he's a working-class man and I've got no right to insult his comrades. I'd shouted at them the night before over the brick-hurling.

The younger lads try to drag me out of the house; I realise they are drunk. The man with the balaclava stops them. I realise he is sober. Momentarily, I feel safer. Then he punches me twice in the face - he is wearing special punching gloves with hardened knuckles stitched in.

He kicks me and bellows: "This is it, right? You've got two weeks to get them fucking Polish out the house or I'm gonna burn it down! Get it?" As I stand there bleeding, he points at me and says, "You're not bleeding"... "

(Ed Jones in Salford. GuardianUnlimited Fri 4th Jan 2008)

Jivin' at the car wash

A rare trip to the car wash today - see Dubdog@flickr for more.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Change is good

So 2008 is now upon us and it's my 40th year! It seems fitting that I spent December 31st 2007 clearing out my loft in readiness for various work about to be undertaken at Dubdog mansions.
They say life begins at 40, well it better as I've now cleared out my past. In some ways it was (literally) becoming a weight on my mind - the mess being ever present in the loft above us. Everytime I went up there to store away or retrieve something it was becoming a daunting business. All that's left now are carefully boxed photographs, miscellaneous computer equipment, my PGCE papers and carefully stored design work and posters.

In amongst the bad bedroom poetry of a fifteen year old, sub O' level standard sketchbooks, a political library that included leaflets pocketed from a hundred demos and pamphlets from a hundred and one organisations playing at being revolutionaries, I came across some interesting things.
First up were some old school reports. These make interesting reading and show that teachers in the 1980s still had time to write decent, constructive comments regarding the 'whole' person and display a genuine concern for their students. Not sure the same can be said today. I can reveal the highest grade I ever got was an A- for Art (I'm still proud of that) and the reports as a whole show that I wasn't really in the right mindset to want to study, I was far more interested in music and smoking and pubs and politics - my real interest in studying came some 14 years later.

Then comes my Live Aid ticket, saved from the back of a scrapbook that now sits in the recycling bin.

Before safely storing old photos I managed to scan and email embarrassing pictures to old school friends who got in touch last year through Friends Reunited. I haven't been in touch with them for over 20 years so I'll save them the pain of posting them here but I was dismayed when Ms Dubdog asked if a picture of a friend sporting a Whitesnake patch on his denim jacket was me! I mean, Whitesnake, come on. I thought she knew me better than that!

Some several trips to the local recycling centre, a trip to the Red Cross charity shop and several things posted on Freecycle and we still have overflowing recycling bins at home...

Studio recycling bin

Recycling wheelie bin

And we still have boxes of stuff waiting to be dropped off at charity shops...

And boxes of stuff for Freecyclers to come and pick up...

But all sensitive and revealing documents are now shredded and deposited on the compost heap...

...and after all this sorting I finally have somewhere to store all my cameras in one place in the Dubdog studio...

So, I'm ready for my 40th year. I've uncluttered the loft of the debris of my past and it feels nicely cathartic, like I've also uncluttered my head a little. Next up is a redesign of the studio after the work on the house is completed in the next couple of months.
Change is good. Happy 2008.