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Chris H

This is awesome. It's like all the little 15 minute programmes on Radio 4 that you miss. One short series I did hear was about the creation of the motorways - and a truly wonderful interview with the lady that designed all the roadsigns. It would be great to connect the feelings of these things with their creation, invention and inspiration.

Leland Maschmeyer

You should look into the artwork of Jean-Baptiste Chardin who painted images of peasant women doing daily tasks and Thomas Jones who painted the rooftops Naples. Both hold up the ignored scenes of ordinary life making their latent beauty visible so that each will always count toward our understanding of happiness.

I've always loved works of art as they act as guides to a truer, more judicious, more intelligent understanding of our world. They can help us understand and appreciate the value of everyday hidden life and challenge society’s normal understanding of who or what matters.

The book _Status_Anxiety_ would also be a great one to read.

Just some thoughts for ya.

picklin paul

Russell - I've been inspired and have been thinking more and more about ordinary things we ignore. Where should I put these thoughts (and are they useful)?

For example wool jumpers are great at keeping you warm when you're off on a walk. However if you wandered into an hiking shop they'd sell you some hightech, breathable, microfibre clothing system thing. It would be twice as expensive, half as effective and come in lime green.

Wool is natural and effective - it keeps sheep warm and dry. You also don't need six layers of high tech microfibre and goretex to to enjoy a walk outdoors. Just look at Mallory - he got most of the way up Everest with a wooljacket. We seem to be frightened to venture outdoors without our high tech rambling gear when something more ordinary would do just as well.


thanks Paul, excellent stuff.

there was an exhibition or something at Derby University about all Mallory's stuff some time back. I think I've got a cutting somewhere. I'll dig it out.

And I'll try and start a place for suggestions / ideas. That's a good suggestion / idea.

picklin paul

Me again - I feel I'm turning into a bit of a stalker/ obsessive about ordinariness...

I mentioned your project to my girlfriend who works in fashion and she was most persuasive about the merits of zips - particularly metal zips. Most designers hide zips on dresses under the arm but she likes to put them in the centre of the back - and make them metal. There's something very sensual about the ease and feeling of zipping and upzipping something. Particularly the way a metal zips glides rather than sticks like a plastic one.

Also there's the tension between being covered up and ease of being undressed (There must be a good Cary Grant clip involving zipping up a women's dress).

Basically, I think I'm coming out as a bit of a perve and saying zips are sexy. (and they have a great onamatapaeic name). Feel free to block me from further contributions...

picklin paul

I'm thinking about setting up a blog-squat here... In the meantime here's another thought.

Every cyclist will tell you that you can fix anything with gaffe tape and cable ties. It's very reassuring knowing that you can deal with any misshap with these basic tools. Any repair won't look pretty but it'll do the job and last those few miles until you can get some proper repairs done.

I also have a friend who believes that to have any credibility as a mountaineer you have to have a patch of gaffe tape on your jacket- probably covering a hole caused by a wayward crampon.



excellent thoughts. thanks.

do you want to write this book?

Picklin' Paul

Russell, I couldn't possibly write it. You're a far better writer than me (besides I'm looking forward to reading the finished book.)

I'm quite enjoying thinking about and noticing everyday things - hence the blog-stalking. Could I be your research assistant?

BTW - I picked up an excellent book yesterday about contemporary russian folk artifacts. It features all sorts of everyday items that Russians have made and improvised out of household junk. One guy made a water boiler out of a length of flex connected to 2 razor blades. In the absence of working kettles this contraption was used to make tea. It terrifies me just looking at it.


I live in the US, in the little Colorado mountain resort town of Estes Park. I like to read books by good British mystery writers (Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, P.D. James, etc.). Actually, Grimes and George are American! They mention mysteries like "fry-up," "all day breakfast," "beans and toast," "Little Chef," etc.: obviously ordinary things to a Brit; but not to me, an ordinary American.I happened on your site by "Googling" "all day breakfast UK" and up came eggsbaconchipsandbeans! Marvelous!
I'm going to go over to my favorite non-fast food restaurant (Penelope's) and have a mindful look around. At Penelope's, you have to wait (gasp) for about 10 minutes for your hamburger with all the fixings (juicy stringy onions, tomatoes, lettuce) and french fries (chips). The hamburger is juicy and full of fat; the french fries are brown and rough-cut, not slick and yellow. With the locals' discount, you can get a meal for two for about $11. I usually just drink water. You have your choice of different waters, bottled or tap, but you have to tell them if you want ordinary tap water. Penelope's is in an old building: the floors are brown and splintery; they sag a bit. Penelope's walls are covered with old baking implements like potato ricers and rolling pins, and old advertising signs for Coke and baking powder.
Thank you for making me smile!

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