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Unfinished Work —————–––— 09/12
Queens Park Book Fest

Pavement Poetry has become a way of seeing. Catching sight of unfamiliar coalhole covers such as these can't be helped. Four were seen on Tachbrook Street in Pimlico, save for the one from the Wigston Foundry (top right), which is on Colville Road W11 and the one on the bottom left which was found on Thurloe Place SW7. They are teasing apparitions, a reminder that no project or book is ever a complete or finished work.

The Future Is Here ————–––— 07/11

“The Future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet”. William Gibson

So we decided to find out what the future is by attending the D&AD event headlined with this rather irritating quotation. It infers a kind of exclusivity about the future: it’s a place only a few are initiated to, only a few of us can see. The rest of us need to wait until it is packaged and sold to us. And that is in fact what the future turns out to be: a present we are blind to, in which everything is commodity and advertising, and we’ve failed to notice.
The enthusiasm from the speakers for this state of cultural existence was frightening and disappointing, but then perhaps not surprising, given their design and advertising raison d’être.

A small aside: we have to admit we’d never heard of William Gibson. So we did a quick Wiki-check, where the quote was significantly different: “The Future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” So - some of us are in it and some of us aren’t: a multiplicity of times and tenses. Who’s to say that the future isn’t a return to the past?

There was something sinister about the panel of speakers and hosts, all patting each other on the back whilst being self-congratulatory about their achievements. These included making hand held technology more “hand held”; redesigning life without the remote control so that one could just wave at one’s television in a commanding manner, humanising one’s relationship with a dumb screen even more (what’s wrong with a remote control??); developing an enhance marketing tool that targets consumers by honing in to their personal tastes: so that, for instance, music played in the shop’s changing cubicle is dependent on the type of clothes one is trying on. We are getting better at stereotyping the public and turning individuals into numbers. About mechanising and quantifying behaviour, depriving human beings their innate humanness.
But why isn’t all this talent put into things that really count? What about teaching and nursing? What about art for art’s sake? Even regeneration is a commodity.

There was one more element that got our goat. The man hosting the event first introduced the only female representative of this industry, a TV correspondent on technology. After comparing her to Lara Croft, he declared “nice boobs by the way” to her over the microphone. We are astonished and felt very much let down by her polite smile and the absence of an explicative rebuke. In the future, we are told, woman is still a man’s object.

Queens Park Book Fest ——–––— 06/11
  Queens Park Book Fest

We took part in the hugely enjoyable Queens Park Book Fest as a satellite event to the various talks and readings that had been organised (including one by Sebastian Faulks). Our aim was to engage the public in creating their own poetic urban haiku and coal hole design in which to frame it - we succeeded in getting some children to have a go and love their contribution! Most people were just happy to hear us talk about the project, browse through the book, whilst occasionally helping to retrieve and secure the tent we were in! The author Raffaela Barker popped in to tell us about her father’s friendship with John Heath-Stubbs and to share that sense of nostalgia over the dissolution of Notting Hill and Soho as places of bohemian creativity.

Book Signing ————————–— 06/11
  a book signing

Nearly six months to the day of when Pavement Poetry was launched, we had a summer book signing event at Clerkenwell Tales bookshop in Exmouth Market, chosen for its location with respect to the number and variety of existing coal hole covers in the area and for the presence of a local residents’ association, the Amwell Society, that included Pavement Poetry in their newsletter. Many photographs of coal hole covers in the area, including those in Myddelton Square, are featured in the book.

Arts Week, Oxford ————–—–— 05/11

We were invited to take part in an arts career panel discussion at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, arranged as part of their yearly Arts Week. It was a chance to donate a copy to the library whilst promoting the book and imparting experience about public art and publishing. About 15 university students turned up in the dining hall (perhaps a career in the arts, as well as a degree in the arts, is no longer a desirable option?) and we shared the stage with a curator from Modern Art Oxford, a knitwear designer/fashion buyer and a musician.

Modern Art Oxford were happy to take a few copies of Pavement Poetry for their shop, particularly as the look of the book had been partly inspired by one of their own publications, Transmission Interrupted.

Londonist Review ——––––––––— 05/11

This month saw the first review of our book Pavement Poetry, written by The Londonist - see on our press page at pavementpoetry.com
We are still hanging on to Time Out’s interest in reviewing our book, expressed back in February...

Gone to the Library —————–— 04/11

The absence of a March entry is in itself an entry, the gap a testament to a. how busy we were and b. how we went away for 2 weeks.
So now that I've said how busy we were.....well, Pavement Poetry has found itself a place in the following library collections, where we hope unsuspecting readers will be attracted to its blind cover and unusual size, and then be held captive by its contents: The Poetry Library, The Crafts Council Library, The National Art Library at the V&A, Glasgow School of Art Library and Central Saint Martin's Art Library. Plus one more which we can't name, because the book was bought through a library distributor who couldn't tell us who the order was from (nothing to do with data protection, just inefficiency...or what I like to think of as "mystery")

Daunt Books  ————————–— 02/11
  Pavement Poetry in Daunts window display

The good news is that Daunt Books on Holland Park Avenue have also included Pavement Poetry into their window display (see photo); the Royal Borough of K&C have pledge to buy a copy for each of their libraries; and Time Out are going to review it in their book section!

Blogs ————————————— 02/11

Pavement Poetry is now listed on two great blogs (that are themselves listed in the book's appendix, as I came across them when I was doing research for book): 



Museum of London ——————— 02/11

I had a meeting with the very congenial book buyer from the Museum of London a few weeks ago: unfortunately he doesn't feel that Pavement Poetry has a place in their bookshop. The reason lies in the book's price (no book over £30 is sold there), its genre as a sort of "artist's book" (none are stocked there) and the fact that it is not directly about London's social or economic history. I feel sad that Pavement Poetry cannot be found in the Museum of London's bookshop, partly as I have very fond memories of spending pennies on pencils and bookmarks there during regular school trips (the shop was of course the highlight of the museum visit) and partly because I feel that Pavement Poetry is a kind of Ode to London, its streets, its inhabitants, its past, which I feel is also the point of the Museum of London. Maybe the capital needs an alternative museum alongside this longstanding traditional one?

HAPPY NEW YEAR —————— 01/11
We upload an independent website for Pavement Poetry with a link to all the articles written about the project : Click here & have a look !
  Pavement Poetry in a shop's window display
Book Stores —————————— 12/10
Over the days that follow, three lovely local independent bookstores agree to stock Pavement Poetry: Daunts on Holland Park Avenue, Lutyens & Rubinstein on Kensington Park Road and The Travel Bookshop on Blenheim Crescent who generously also decide to create a window display for the book: The book, like the art work it covers, is designed to hide itself (a black on black cover..) which in retrospect does not lend itself to being easily spotted in shops....
Pavement Poetry Launched ——— 12/10
The roads of the South-East have been gridlocked by the unnervingly odd snowy conditions and I have visions of the 500 copies of Pavement Poetry being stuck in Ashford and missing their own launch. But somehow the truck manages to out-do what equivalent trucks fail to achieve, turning up at the warehouse in the early hours of 3rd December. I nearly break my neck sliding over concrete carpeted in sheer ice (the private yard does not necessitate the health and safety measures of the public highway) carrying the precious boxes of books I’ve been nervously waiting for. The launch - at the elegant England & Co. gallery on Westbourne Grove on the 7th - is a success: Michael Holroyd and Margaret Drabble are the star guests, friends and family rub shoulders with the requisite gate crasher (there’s always one).