Green concrete

Here’s an illustration of a car park in Bracknell. Like the one I did yesterday, the original artwork was a pen and ink drawing, and the colour was added digitally. It’s available as a print in three different sizes, from £6 to £30.

(If you want to colour the picture in yourself, then the same artwork is also available in colouring book form.)

The photos it’s based on can be seen here. I took them in 2005. At the time I was studying at the University of Reading, and working part-time in a camera shop/photo lab. Every so often they would send me to cover the Bracknell branch. Bracknell is a New Town near Reading built in the 1960s, with a reputation for being bleak At the time I took the pictures, 60s Brutalist buildings were still considered ugly by many, before the reassessment that Brutalism has had in the last few years. The concrete wasn’t green in real life anyway, that’s just from the chemical process used on the film.

The shop was in a windowless 60s shopping centre, and there was no staff room, so rather than eat my lunch in a cupboard I would go and wander amongst the concrete. I haven’t been to Bracknell since 2006 or so, so I have no idea if it’s the same or different nowadays- I know that the mirrored 3M building in my photos has been demolished for sure. In 2005 the centre of Bracknell felt completely dead, it would be interesting to see if that’s still the case now.


Tuesday the 13th

No posts for a week. I stayed with my dad for most of last week to go to a family wedding, took my laptop with me to do some work while I was there, but then stupidly forgot to bring the power cord with me. Here’s a relaxing video. I actually really don’t enjoy those “relaxing” videos of people whispering or crinkling things, they don’t relax me at all (and some of them are definitely aiming more at “attractive woman pays attention to you” than soothing sounds), but I like this one. Best enjoyed with headphones.

Here’s some other interesting things:

  • The surprisingly interesting story of chain restaurants like TGI Friday’s whose decor was covered with antiques and curios, where they got them all from on such a huge scale, and what they’re doing with them now fashions have changed.
  • Colour photographs of Paris from 100 years ago
  • 21 Fruits and Vegetables you didn’t knew grew like that

  • The worst ideas of post-war town planning
  • The weirdest Russian textbook around (whole course free)

Mont St Michel

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I went to Mont St Michel last week for the first time in years. It’s a medieval abbey on an island on the border between Normandy and Brittany, about an hour’s drive from my mum’s house in France. We went there a few times when I was a kid, and the last time I was there was in the late 90s on a school trip. It has dramatically changed since then.

There was something a bit seedy and cynical about the place in the 90s despite the spectacular town itself. Buses and cars drove over the causeway to the island, and parked in a decrepit carpark on the shore, which had a tendency to flood. As you made your way up through the snaking medieval street to the abbey at the top of the peak, there were endless shops selling cheap replica hunting knives, saucy postcards and boxes of firecrackers. It must have been a nightmare for teachers supervising school groups.

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