Posted: June 18th, 2011 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
One thing I’ve really been enjoying since I moved to Manchester is the opportunity to go rummaging at vintage fairs and car boot sales. I’ve developed a love for midcentury vintage things and given how expensive bits and pieces from this era are in retro shops and on eBay, I’m trying to build up a bit of a collection on the cheap.
I’ve been to two car boot sales in the last couple of months including one this morning. I think I’m pretty good at scanning the stalls for the things I like but I’m also conscious that the best bits might be at the bottom of boxes of junk.
My first trip a couple of months ago to a sale in Burnage brought me these gorgeous little forks for just 50p. One of the 12 is missing but to be honest, I would have just been happy with the box – that’s what I bought it for.
There’s actually even a group on Flickr devoted to little forks but there’s not a picture of mine
However Rokit is selling the same set I have for £12.00 (they have all twelve!) and I found them on another website for £22.50.
Today I picked up an ace wooden Israeli Jaffa orange box complete with lovely colourful label for £4. I’ve seen trendy online garden shops selling reproduction wooden boxes for about £25. I wish I could have bought another couple the stallholder had but I was on my bike so carrying one was hard enough!
I also bought this lovely 1958 photography almanac. It’s full of fantasticaly 50s pictures, illustration and its a midcentury font-fan’s dream. All for a mere £1. Lovely.
Hoping to head back to the Burnage one again in the morning, if the weather holds out. Fingers crossed for more exciting bargains.
Posted: March 31st, 2011 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
I haven’t had time to post anything about my first trip to South By Southwest Interactive at the start of the month. It was, without the doubt, the most interesting and inspirational conference I’ve been to. It was pretty frustrating not being able to go to everything I wanted to – there were easily three or four things on at any one time that I would have loved to have seen. However, while pulling together my first show and tell on the event for work, I’ve found lots of the presentations on Slideshare. Rather than one massive list I’ve created rough and ready groups – they may be wrong but hopefully it’ll help you find something of interest.
Another link I quite like is the buzzword tracker which looked for terms in the keynote speeches. Social, brand and mobile were the clear winners – something which you’ll probably have worked out for yourself looking at the session titles below…
User experience and design
Your Mom has an iPad – designing for baby boomers
How progress bars change the ways we live
Lean UX – getting out of the deliverables business
Long after the thrill – sustaining passionate users
Does the internet make you happy?
Metrics driven design
Deep diving – best practices for interviewing users
Finding Music with Pictures – Using visualisation for discovery
Ethical frameworks for behavioural design
Conserve code – storyboard experiences with customers first
Critical thinking for UX designers
27 fun ways to kill your online community
The role of social mediums as a narrative platform
Chatter matters – using Twitter to predict sales
Five social tools in use at Harvard
Beyond wordclouds – analysing trends with social media APIs
Method Tweeting for non profits and other players
How brands are monitoring your online conversations
How many rungs? Social change and and the engagement ladder
Social espionage and CRM – selling to Customer 2.0
How brands respond to Facebook attacks
Social media data visualisation – mapping the world’s conversations
Social media and organised crime in Mexico
The crisis of trust in the social age
Augmented reality for marketeers – future of consumer interactions
Using Twitter to improve college student engagement
Kicking community ass: building better engagement
Games and gamification
Seth Priebatsch keynote – The game layer on too of the world
Games of the future
Mobile social games - the next frontier
Companion Gaming – single brand engagement across multiple platforms
Government & Health
Public transport data, APIs and city governments
Unleashing the power of open health data to improve health
Startup.gov – reworking government through technical innovation
Open government through participation: Designing successful online consultations
How the web is changing Dutch politics
Technology & Data
Big data and APIs for developers
Big data for everyone
Site search analytics for a better user experience
How Near Field Communications (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will change mobile
Thin Is In – the future of digital wallets
Work life/ ways of working/ influence
Sexual survival for geeks
Seven reasons your employees hate you
Influencer Throwdown – defining influence once and for all
How to ensure a diverse tech event
My prototype beat up your business plan
Avoiding the 11th hour sh*tstorm
iPad design headaches
The Future of Touch
Mobilising performance for search
Apps vs web
App savy, think first code later
Saying it short – writing workshop
Interactive narratives creating the future of storytelling
Creation, curation and the ethics of content strategy
6 easy ways to produce compelling video (that you hadn’t thought of before)
The Accidental Writer – great web copy for everyone
The fake language of the web
Daily deals – where ads become content
Sleeping in internet cafes – the next 300 million Chinese internet users
Posted: February 3rd, 2011 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
In the Northern Quarter
January was a whirlwind of visitors and trips to London. Both gave me a chance to see friends I imagine I’ll not see as often now I’m up north. Both also gave me more quality time with them rather than a rushed drink after work or a quick chat at a larger event.
It’s also enabled me to explore more of Chorlton and Manchester – especially its eateries. I’m going to do a series of posts on the places I’ve discovered so far and why I love them.
My last visitors were former colleagues from London and Barcelona who came up for a weekend of photography. Suzie and Jason are such damn talented people they could make an empty white room look awesome in a photo. I have much less skill but had a go anyway, inspired by joining the Undiscovered photography group at Madlab a couple of weeks ago.
I asked people on Twitter where they recommended we went for photo taking and the verdict was unanimous – Northern Quarter and the Bridgewater Canal.
The Royal Exchange
So we had a mooch round the Northern Quarter – complete with first drink of the day at Common – before heading to one of my favourite places in Manchester – the Royal Exchange. Luckily it was a bright and sunny (but cold) day so the glass domes were beautiful and bright. I could have taken pictures in there all day.
We headed to our local work hangout the Lass O Gowrie for lunch. We marvelled at the ZX Spectrum and Commodore decor and scoffed sausages before heading somewhere that Suzie and I had been recommended – the Temple of Convenience. For a former public toilet it has apparently rather unsavory conveniences itself. A guy sitting next to us declared the loo something like the toilet in Trainspotting. Jason seemed pretty disturbed by his visit too. We took his word for it and gave a trip to the single unisex loo a miss. The boys weren’t too enamoured with the bar in general but Suzie and I both liked it. Must just remember not to visit on a full bladder…
It was late afternoon before we headed to the Bridgewater Canal, joining it next to one of my other favourite things in Manchester – the Perevil of the Peak pub. it’s just the most amazing colour. It looks so lonely standing next to an empty plot of
The beautiful Perevil of the Peak
land but I love it. Look at the tiles – so beautiful. I must venture inside one of these days – especially since I work so close to it.
The late afternoon light made for lovely, golden colours and really rich photographs. Walking along the towpath you get a fantastic sense of Manchester’s industrial history and its continuing development. Just contrast the Beetham Tower with some of the classic locks and lockkeeper’s houses.
We’ve all uploaded our efforts onto our Flickr feeds. It’s amazing how differently three people can see a single scene. I think we did not bad. I’m slowly learning how to get to grips with using the manual settings on my camera after years of auto action so need to get out and experiment again soon, before I forget everything they showed me!
Here is my Flicker set of our day out
Here is Suzie’s set
And here are Jason’s pics
Posted: January 8th, 2011 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
My first couple of months in Manchester were a bit of a whirlwind of boxes, paperwork, snow, plumbers, heating engineers and Christmas dos. It’s only now that I see a ‘normal’ stretch of time ahead and feel a little more like I live here.
The glut of two-episodes-a-night soaps on TV over Christmas left me craving a bit of culture so today I took the advantage of a special two-in-one tour to check out two of Manchester’s best arts venues.
We started at the Cornerhouse where one of the curators of the Unspooling exhibition, Andrew Bracey, gave us a tour of the exhibition alongside some insights into the process of putting it together. It’s amazing the difference it makes to an exhibition when you get the story of how the artist made the piece, where they got their inspiration from and – in this instance – how the curator came across it.
For me the highlights were the works done by a Finnish artist Juhana Moisander who was invited to take up residency in the Cornerhouse for a couple of weeks and spoke to staff and regular visitors about the story of the venue and its people.
It turns out that the smaller second cinema building next to the larger Cornerhouse HQ started life as a newsreel cinema before becoming a porn cinema and then the Cornerhouse. Apparently one of the managers of the newsreel cinema, back in the late 1950s, committed suicide by hanging himself directly behind the cinema screen. As part of the exhibition, the artist then created a film of him recreating the hanging.
In another piece, he refers to the story of a former employee of the Cornerhouse. This maintenance guy was a biker – complete with full leathers and tattoos – and after leaving his job (don’t know whether he was pushed or left of his own accord) it was discovered that he’d actually been living in the venue. In his ‘den’ they found a stash of porn magazines, a bottle of baby oil and a witches hat. An exhibition devoted to this space and the assumed activities that took place within is also part of the show.
Fantastic to hear a bit of the building’s folklore and see how an artist has made reference to it.
Then we headed back out into the rain and across to the Manchester Art Gallery where Fiona Corridan gave us a tour of the Recorder exhibition by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. This was a really interactive exhibition where visitors voices, fingerprints, pulses, belongings and shadows were key parts of the installations. It was proving popular too with lots of visitors – including plenty of kids.
The art gallery is a fabulous building – a real mix of old and new and lots of things to explore. I took this picture in the hall on the top floor just outside the Recorders exhibition. By now the rain had stopped and there was beautiful blue sky. You can just make out the Beetham Tower and another gothic-looking building which looks like something from a Bavarian city but which I think it might be the John Rylands Library.
I’ll definitely be back to check out both venues again in the future, including both their cafes and shops. It’d be especially rude not to, in the case of the Cornerhouse, given that I currently work across the road from it.
I had a little wander round the city centre after my tour and got a chance to take a picture of the fantastic retro sign at Forsythe’s music shop on Deansgate.
Hoping to take a lot more pictures of things like this a build up a little set in Flickr. I don’t think my phone is the best way to get decent quality images though so must remember to take a camera next time. But if any more have to come from my phone, I’ve finally found a reliable Android app to upload images to Flickr called Flickr Free. Lovely.
Posted: October 21st, 2010 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
I am currently in the house moving twilight zone – booking things around a date (next Friday) on which I have nothing in writing to confirm that anything will happen. My solicitor reckons it’s all fine and we’ll complete next Friday but it’s still pretty stressful (I’m self-medicating with Montezuma dark chocolate, Masterchef and The Only Way Is Essex).
I’ve also been cancelling bills, trying to live on the random selection of food that’s left in the freezer and declining meetings for anything after next Wednesday.
The loft is emptied and its contents strewn across the flat. Actually that was one of the fun bits – rediscovering things I forgot I owned. Although why I felt the need to keep every pair of snowboard boots I’ve owned in the last 13 years, I’ll never know.
The highlights were rediscovering a bunch of badges I’ve owned since I was a child – including one from the 1984 Liverpool Garden Festival and the best museum badge ever ‘I made an exhibition of myself at Beamish’. Rummaging through a bag of jumble also retrieved last night I also found my t-shirt from my first ever music festival – Reading 93. I thought that one had gone forever, so happy to find it again. I’ll wash it ready for 6Music’s next ‘Wear your old band t-shirt to work’ day.
In another important piece of moving activity, I picked up my new bike, purchased through Cyclescheme at the gorgeous Bobbin Bicycles to be my commuting wheels when I move. I love the staff in this store – they’re so knowledgable and nice – I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather spend my bicylcing bucks.
I cycled my new wheels home from Angel to Brixton last Sunday under blue skies – taking a long way round to enjoy the sunshine and my lovely bike even more. I can’t wait to ride it every day and say goodbye to the horror that is the Victoria Line. It’ll pay for itself faster than three monthly travelcards for zones 1 and 2 as well and will enable me to feel virtuous enough to keep consuming Montezuma chocolate long after the house moving pain is over…
Posted: August 11th, 2010 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
I never thought I’d see the day where I’d find myself ironing bedding. But given the valuer was coming to value my flat today I thought I’d better make the effort.
My housing association is going to sell my flat and apparently if I want photos to go on my listing, I have to take them myself. Therefore it made sense to take them when the place was spotlessly clean – complete with crease-free bedding!
The valuer came nice and early and measured up. He also asked me if I’d made any improvements to the place so I got a chance to mention the soundproofing I’d had fitted on the wall between the bedrooms and the timers I’ve put on the boiler and heated towel rails to save electricity.
He wasn’t able to give me a valuation today but says he’ll send it to the housing association by the end of the week. Knowing how much the flats sold recently in this block have gone for, I’ve got a figure in my head that I’d like to achieve but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Posted: August 8th, 2010 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Just back from my first househunting trip. I’ve been looking at places on Rightmove for a while now and though it would be worthwhile heading up to Manchester to see what you actually get for your money.
I called the two local estate agents who seemed to have the most properties and asked to see six or seven with each.
By Thursday, one of them had managed to sell four of the six places I was due to see in a week. This was a bit worrying – I thought the housing market was slowing down? But speaking to the agent up there on Friday he reckoned it was a little unusual to sell four so quickly in August when the market is traditionally a bit slow.
Luckily there was much more to see on Saturday – and lots of interest. As well as a few places I really, really liked, some houses created more questions than the viewings answewed. One house left us wondering where the owners kept their plates and cups in the kitchen as we couldn’t find them. Another had an unattractive pool of cat sick in the kitchen and another sported a giant doll which turned out to be a vacuum cleaner cover. Eek.
But by the end of my trip I had a much better idea of what there is, what I like and what it’s likely to cost.
I’ve also found out why most of the houses I went to see had burglar alarms, thanks to a billboard outside a local newsagents.
My place gets valued on Wednesday and will go on the market shortly afterwards so I shall mostly be hoovering and polishing until then…
Posted: June 12th, 2010 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Like many people who move to London in their 20s, I learned to drive as a teenager and then never got in the driving seat again once I moved to zone 2. I could just about drive from A to B but growing up in a town with no traffic lights and a speed limit of 40, I’m not really very well equipped for city driving.
I had a few refresher lessons in 2000 but ten years later, the thought of buying pr renting a car when I move to Manchester later this year filled me with terror.
I was perusing the AA website, thinking about booking some more refreshers and came across the AA Charitable Trust for Road Safety and the Environment and its fantastic deal. Basically they offer two-hour free lessons for drivers who have passed their test but want some more coaching. You can take this as two one hour sessions, one two hour sessions and can take it either in your own car or the AA instructor’s car.
I took a two hour lesson this afternoon with a local AA instructor. We drove all over south London, negotiating different kinds of roads, junctions and obstacles. At first I couldn’t remember which one was the clutch and which one was the brake but by the end of it I’d taken on some serious junctions in Crystal Palace and dealt with stopping buses, cyclists and country lanes. Can’t say it was all plain sailing (my apologies to everyone who got stuck behind me as I repeatedly stalled at lights for two hours) but I really feel I’m on the way to becoming a ‘real’ driver.
I don’t feel ready to get behind the wheel of my own vehicle just yet so I’ll be getting another couple of lessons. In that respect, it’s a smart business move to get people to sign up for more AA lessons but it does ensure you’re happy with your instructor before you part with any cash.
You apply for the lessons online on the AA website and if you qualify, they’ll give you a call.
Just got to make decision now about whether to buy a Fiat 500 or a Nissan Figaro…
Posted: May 24th, 2010 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
I spent last weekend at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by Pavement. Brilliant fun and the most civilised way to do a festival (self-catering chalets at Butlins and a pool complete with wave machine and slides!).
Unlike most festivals it also had mobile phone reception so it was pretty easy to get hold of people – and just as easy to access Twitter.
It’s the first event where I’ve really used Twitter on a regular basis. Although I wasn’t really using it to post updates, I searched for any mention of ATP to see what others were saying.
It was a pretty interesting experiment with some results and impacts I hadn’t expected.
The first issue I noticed was that there were two very different sets of people using the #ATP tag. On the one hand you had festivalgoers on their way to Minehead, loaded up with cider, Dorritos and high musical expectations.
Elsewhere a more sporting crew were watching the latest developments in the ATP tennis tournament – also tweeting their observations using the same hashtag.
There was some confusion between the two groups – had Nadal suddenly formed an indie rock band? Why were there massive chalet parties featuring strobe lights and smoke machines taking place at a serious tennis tournament?
It did mean for more filtering to find the Tweets relevant to the ATP I was interested in and fewer relevant tweets per page (I was using Echofon and Twidroid apps on iPhone and Nexus One). There was also the additional effort to screen out Tweets in foreign languages. ATP attracts music fans from all over the world and there were plenty in Dutch, Flemish and French Tweets that I couldn’t understand (apart from the occasional band name I recognised).
I did really enjoy finding out what people were up to and experiencing at ATP. Who was stuck in traffic? How bad was the queue for the Pizza Hut buffet? Who was excited about seeing Pavement? Who was kept awake by the massive party in the chalet next door? On the way home we even had a picture of the Citroen Berlingo everyone claimed was causing massive tailbacks to the motorway.
The stream of thoughts and sightings was also a great way to find out what was happening on site. We had multiple reports of members of Pavement around the site and a succession of sightings of the comedian Stewart Lee.
The strangest scenario unfolded on Saturday night when the audience were asked to sit down, on a dirty nightclub floor to watch the Israeli band Monotonix perform. The audience refused and the plug was pulled on the band’s set. I watched this unfold on Sunday morning through a series of less-than-sober Tweets. It was a bit like piecing together a jigsaw without a picture and knowing that some of the pieces are the wrong size and rather fuzzy. There were rumours of nakedness and riots. The reality was a whole lot tamer I think. However when a band mentioned it on stage later on the Sunday at least we knew (kind of) what they were talking about. We were in the know, we had the latest gossip and we could follow the in jokes as a result.
But the flipside was that we learned about things we’d missed and really wished we’d witnessed. There was Marble Valley with their hulahooping band member, the mass game of volleyball in the pool and Pavement main man Stephen Malkmus turning up to play alongside Endless Boogie. We’d foolishly decided that any band with the word boogie in its name was worth missing – without contemplating the thought that it was probably ironic.
Now if I hadn’t looked on Twitter I wouldn’t have known that Malkmus had turned up and played what sounded to be a great set. I would have been happy in the knowledge that our detour back to our chalet for a cheeky mojito was the best place to be on the site at that time. While the rum was fun, a little bit of me still wished I’d been there for the gig – and if it hadn’t have been for Twitter I wouldn’t have had that ‘What if?’ pang.
I blame it on the boogie.
Posted: April 18th, 2010 | Author: Lucie | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
I’m currently in Manchester on a two-week ‘Hot Shoes’ placement which gives people in scope to move to BBC North a chance to try out working in a department up north and meet some of the people. Have had a really fun, busy week. I’ll talk more about what I’ve been up to next week.
However we were at a Sheffield derby today with the Late Kick off audience kit which gives people a chance to have a go at reading the news, sport or weather. Reminded me so much of News and Sport on Tour, which was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done at the BBC.
When I got back to Manchester I hit the Northern Quarter for a bit of a wander round the vintage shops. They don’t open late, unlike the main Market Street shops, so I hadn’t had a chance to visit them out. Some were shut today but when I was in Pop on Oldham Street, I spotted the imminent opening of a cupcake shop – the Sweet Tooth Cupcakery. They’re looking for staff and already have some nifty retro lampshades up.
Looking forward to coming back and checking out their wares in the future.