Wednesday, 17 November 2010

BBC London radio show 17th November

Sorry this is late everyone! I am going to whizz through it all this week, so you have the information, and attempt to be much better organized next time, so it's less speedy.


 First, it was Philip Wilkinson, who wrote The High Street, an exploration of everything the title suggests. He was a very nice man, knowledgeable and friendly. Which is how, we decided, shopkeeping should be. Shops need to have a niche, or at least know what they're doing, and they should be nice to customers. Simple, yet hard, especially for the man who was on his mobile phone the whole time I was in his shop recently. 


And then on to old favourites, E17 Designers. They're back! Well, they never went away, but they have been busy crafting away behind the scenes while I haven't been talking about them. The result will be the excellent E17 Designers Market, happening on 26th and 27th November. 


Then the amusing corner Christmas tree from M&S came along and I devoted quite a bit of time to it, because I just can't work out whether I think it's brilliant or terrible to have such a trick of optical illusion at Christmas time. 

 it's £39.50

But it's not just any trick, it's a Marks and Spencer trick. I'm out of the debate, really, because I will only have real trees (I grew up in a forest, artificial will never entice me), but hypothetically, would I go for the pretendy half a one, to make the corners easier? I probably would. All the spare decorations could then be fashioned into some kind of hip maxi-decoration that would show how creative I really am. As it is, I just hope that last year's debacle isn't repeated: as I discussed with Robert, the tree I brought home almost immediately became a dark pastiche of its cheery purpose, branches drooping, decorations hanging by a thread off a bare branch pointing floor-ward. Tim Burton's type of set dressing.


Keeping with the Christmas theme, charity cards were next on my list. It seems that not all high street 'charity' cards are necessarily what you might think. In fact, it's possible that only 1% goes to charity - and, as the Charities Advisory Trust says, you wouldn't be allowed to call something a meat pie if there was only 1% of meat in it. Read their SCROOGE AWARDS report to find out which high street stores to avoid this year. You can be guaranteed, though, that if you buy Christmas cards from Card Aid, all profits will go to charity. Buy online, or go to one of 30 temporary shops across London. I got mine from an ad-hoc stall in the BFI foyer (check here for other locations). They sell cards given to them by lots of different charities. Here's one pack I bought: extremely unsatisfactory image, thanks to me, because I can't work out how to turn it around. I will endeavour to, but in the meantime, you can see how lovely it is. £4.50 for 10, and all profits to deafness research uk


Then there was Outline Editions, the place to find excellent graphic artists and illustrators. It is, as usual, online, but there's a temporary gallery at 94 Berwick Street until 31st January, where you can go to see the Into The Forest show in person.

I risk sounding pretentious saying this but I probably am: it's a nice space.


Finally, I told everyone to go to Bust Craftacular, where you'll find the handmade revolution is still going strong. 

On Sunday 28th November, from 12-6pm, at York Hall (5-15 Old Ford Road, E2), 70 stalls will be laden with things to buy, made by the people serving you. Which is a nice circular way to finish, given that we started talking about the Victorians who were really into all that hard work ethic.


And that was the show! It was fun.

Keep in touch - I never get a comment, but I like to say that as a sign off, so it's staying.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Joined Twitter

...for work reasons. And am not so sure about it. But I'm on @claredwyerh
We'll see.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

What I would have said on the radio today...

Right, so, no tubes to get me to the BBC today, but I had plenty of things to discuss, so here they are:

First of all, I would have mentioned that the RCA are having their annual Secret Sale on 12th and 14th - 19th November. This is how it works: you go there and have a look at over a thousand pieces of original art, all postcard size. (Almost as small as the picture below that I'm using to illustrate - sorry, it's teeny but you get the idea)

Choose one you like, and buy it, for £45...then turn it over, and see what signature is on the back. Last year, Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Sir Paul Smith and Manolo Blahnik were among the artists who donated work. Even if you don't get a famous name, don't be disappointed; the current postgraduate students who have had a hand in the others may well be a 'name' some day too. And it can't all be about fame and fortune, this art business, anyway. If you like it, buy it. (You have to have a registration number to buy, though, so make sure to sign up here before the end of 16th November).


Next, it would have been a jaunt to super-chic furniture people SCP. They're having a warehouse sale this Saturday, which promises 90% off their stock. It's only open from 10am until 2pm, which gives you an idea of how popular it's going to be. Get there (80 Druid Street, SE1) early, and have a look at these examples of nice things you could buy:

I'm thinking about these on a purely aspirational basis, but some of you might be able to covert that aspiration into reality, which I vicariously support. Let me know if you do.

You could also take a scoot into their real shop to view the in store upholstery sale (20% off), and the lighting sale (10% off, in store and online) until 21st November. It's a good place to wander around imagining, too:


Then I'd have whisked you away to Old Finsbury Town Hall (a favourite with old George Formby in his day), for the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair. On Sunday 14th November, from 11am-4pm, they assure me there will be a treasure trove of vintage clothes, shoes and accessories from the 1800s - 1980s on offer. Have a look at their website for all the information. Excuse the brevity - this really is a speed shopping trip today!


It's November, so I'm afraid it's just not too early to mention Christmas any more. I haven't subscribed to the pre-December organization in years gone by, but this one is different, and you're on this journey with me now. I've found B&Q to be a surprising proponent of good Christmas decorations in the past, and this year they're unexpectedly delivering cute Christmas things (mini crackers, cards, 'letter to Santa' pack) WITH a charity angle. So 50p will go to NSPCC for every product bought in the dedicated range. I like this. I also like to be able to show PICTURES and find things I know about ONLINE but these products haven't appeared yet, even though they're definitely available. So I'll get in touch and find out what's happening, and update. Have a look in store though.


I would have quickly mentioned the Reiss Sample Sale. Quickly not because it's unimportant, just because there's not much information apart from PRICES START AT £10 which is quite a thing, given the hike of prices in Reiss shops. Go to Fashion Confidential to sign up and get an invite. When: 3rd - 6th November. Where: Music Rooms, South Molton Lane, as usual.


Then it would have been on to the Midcentury Modern show, happening in Dulwich on Sunday 14th November.

 With a big selection of international designers, the show has got a name for itself not least because its very nature cuts out the retail mark-up. Have a look on their site for all the details, but in short: £6 for tickets in advance, £7 on the day (children under 14 free); 10am-4pm; prices from £10-£5000.


And that would have been that. You got all the information distilled without the waffle this week - what a treat. As always, get in touch if you want me to search out something for you. Until next time.