A Welsh hymn to their capital city's many bus routes, this is today's Thoughts At The Bus Stop...
Email: busstopgirl (at) googlemail (dot) com
Image via The Woolly Bus on Facebook
A Brighton bus stop has been given a woolly makeover to launch an appeal by a Hove yarn shop to raise money for The Martlets Hospice by covering an open-top double decker bus in knitting.
The lovely folk at Cocoon Knits in George Street are asking knitters to collect sponsors and knit a minimum of three 15cm x 15cm squares. To celebrate the end of the project the bus will be driven along Brighton seafront on the 20th August with contributors and guests aboard! The minimum sponsorship amount is £25 per entry but they're aiming to raise over £40,000 for the Martlets Hospice. More details at www.cocoonknits.co.uk. After the event all blankets will be broken down and sent to Africa with the help of Knit a Square charity to help keep AIDS orphans warm.
Spotted in Snooper's Paradise in the North Laine - a bus phone! Saved myself the £30 by making do with a photo :)
I spent a few days in Kent last week seeing my old schoolfriend Sharry. The trip was mainly to do with my forthcoming bridesmaidly duties, but Sharry was lovely enough to give me my fix of charity shops, in Maidstone. The very last one we went in - and nearly didn't because at first - it seemed to be a furniture-only shop - turned up this gem of a book, Seeing London, written and illustrated by Dale Maxey, printed in 1966.
I always look at the kids' books in charity shops to see if there are any by my favourite illustrators (Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge books) or that just catch my eye. This was only 50p, AND has a sort-of bus on the front cover, so I just grabbed it without much flicking through it! But when we got home and I starting looking at it properly I got more and more excited...
It's a children's guide to London, with wonderful illustrations, hand-drawn maps and lovely writing, describing six different excursions you could take from Trafalgar Square on a big red doubledecker bus, to museums, galleries and landmarks where you don't need to be with an adult to get in (you can tell it's 40 years old!). Maxey says that London's buses remind him (her?) of elephants, "lumbering along through the mist that often seems to shroud the city", and this theme runs through the illustrations.
The covers and endpapers are in full colour but most of the illustrations are in just black and white, sometimes with red accents. There are two full colour maps of London (click on them for larger versions)...
... and several monochrome ones, labelled with the various places visited in each excursion:
The pictures are bursting with life and good humour. Just look at this one, enticing you to take a dip in the Serpentine Lido. I love the girl holding her nose as she goes under the water - especially the way her hair and the skirt on her swimming costume are flying up!
I couldn't find a biog of Dale Maxey online, but he/she seems to have concentrated on children's books, including illustrations for an edition of Edward Lear's The Owl & The Pussycat.
You can find Dale Maxey images on Google. I'll carry on scanning in this book and put my images in a Dale Maxey set on Flickr, and set up a Dale Maxey group, see if anyone bites. Ateeeeeeeeeeen'shun!!!
The exhibition wasn't very exciting either, just a dozen or so prints, most of which I'd seen before. Maybe I'd been looking forward to it too much, but it was a bit of an anti-climax. I guess it was mainly a promo for the new 'Retrospective' book.
The most impressive thing was the re-fit of the bus. The outside was unmistakably Peter Blake, painted in his Pop Art style and signed - I even love his handwriting! Inside it had 'Target' and Union Flag seats, and fab red LEDs along each step of the staircase (and the Beach Boys, his favourite band, over the PA).
All in all it was a bit disappointing, but it was free so it doesn't really matter!
In which Family Guy's Brian serves revenge cold after a beating from Stewie, by pushing him in front of a London bus.
Signal failure at Tower Hill (c) Slinkachu
I'm a difficult person to buy for and don't often get birthday presents which weren't 'on the list', but the lovely Sarah hit the jackspot with Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu.
Slinkachu sets up street scenes with those 1:144 scale figures usually found in model railways, playing with the differences in scale between their world and ours. The book has two views of the same scene - the close-up of the miniature goings-on, next to a wide view showing passers-by and traffic speeding past completely oblivious to the tiny drama happening in a crack in the pavement!
Follow Slinkachu's adventures on the Little People blog.
* SONG OF THE DAY: Dave Grohl - Tiny Dancer *
On Monday night I just could not get to sleep, and at 5.45 on Tuesday morning I was up and staring out of my living room window when an Adshel van pulled up at the bus stop over the road to change the advertising poster. Yes, I take photos of strangers at night without their knowledge or consent...
I walked past today, and it's a new campaign for Bombardier beer. They're trying to make themselves the drink of St, George's Day (like Guinness is for St. Patrick's), and the poster features icons of Englishness.
So we have Henry VIII wearing rugby kit, holding a conker, one foot on a wheel of Stilton; and the late, sorely missed Eric Morecambe dressed as a Morris man, with a Punk-style leather jacket, making Churchill's 'V for victory' sign with one foot on a policeman's helmet. They are standing on a big Cornish pasty and above the pint of beer is a red letterbox with a miner's helmet on top of it and a robin sat on top of that. On either side are garden gnomes with fishing rods - one has a Rich Tea biscuit on the end of it, the other a Custard Cream.
I've Googled in vain to find out who's done this artwork - have emailed Bombardier so watch this space! It's the work of artist David Lawrence. who has a cracking website. He's produced three posters, here are the other two:
|This one has Queen Victoria dressed as Robin Hood and Les Dawson dressed as Queen Elizabeth I, standing on the Isle of Wight (inculding the Needles lighthouse). She holds a rolled-up umbrella and has one foot on a teapot, and he holds a cup of tea and rests a foot on a pork pie. Next to him is an English bulldog with a string of bangers in its mouth.|
Here's Winston Churchill dressed as one of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and holding a '99' ice-cream cone, with one foot on a rugby ball. He's standing in Stonehenge with Kenneth Williams dressed as Sherlock Holmes, holding a cricket bat, with one foot on a jar of strawberry jam and, I think, wearing sandals with socks (and I thought that was just Christians...). Above them are red squirrels eating acorns from oak branches. Behind the beer bottle a pantomime horse can be seen.
Another of my two favourite things combine - Peter Blake and buses! A specially designed double-decker London bus will bring an exhibition of work and sale of a new print by Sir Peter Blake to Brighton's Fringe Festival in May.
The man himself will be there on Saturday 9 May – it's in the Bus Stop diary!
Had a good haul at the Hove charity shops yesterday. First a hot pink V-necked top (George at Asda) from Barnado's, then a vintage sparkly silver and black top from Scope, followed by a pink H&M jumper with black stars on it AND a bottle of bubble bath shaped like a bus from Age Concern!!
The sparkly top is an old friend actually - I've had two identical ones previously! Years ago, when we were at uni, my mate bought one from a charity shop, wore it for a few years, got bored of it and gave it to me.
I wore it a lot, but due to its age the lurex part of the knitting was quite brittle and prone to snapping and unravelling. So eventually, reluctantly, I ditched it when it got beyond repair. A few years later I was thrilled to spot its sister in a charity shop - again, that lasted a few years then had to be retired. And now I've found number three!
Back in August, I was coming back from the corner shop and noticed two winged armchairs on the pavement outside one of the houses in my road. It's common round my way to leave unwanted items outside, for anyone who wants to take them. I've given away and acquired lots of things this way!
In the wee small hours I was woken by torrential rain. I got up to make a brew, and when I looked outside I noticed that someone had moved the armchairs under the bus shelter to keep them dry. Then, as I watched, a bloke ran into the bus shelter, picked up one of the armchairs, flipped it upside-down, placed it on his head and rushed off through the downpour!
I didn't get to my camera in time to catch him, but I got this picture of the chair he left behind. I went back to bed, and when I got up, it had gone too. I love this town.
In probably my favourite yarnbombing incident so far, guerilla knitting heroes Knitta Please have covered an old Japanese bus in knitting and parked in Mexico City. I feel some Brighton 'n' Hove-based mischief coming on... ;)
The Yarnbombing Blog
The Telegraph, 21 Jan 2009: Knitters turn to graffiti artists with 'yarnbombing'
Flickr: Yarnbombing groups
Here's my favourite of the latest special issue stamps from Royal Mail - the Routemaster bus, from their British Design Classics issue.
Images (c) Royal Mail
* SONG OF THE DAY: The Carpenters - Please Mr Postman *
Bus seat, Brighton & Hove bus (c) Kristen Bailey 2009
I love the various moquette fabrics used to upholster bus, coach and train seats. One day I'd like to have an armchair upholstered in one.
Take look at the amazing patterns available from Holdsworth Fabrics and Blackpool Trim Shops. There are also samples in the London Transport Museum archive and a Transport Upholstery Patterns group on Flickr.
You can actually buy furniture upholstered in specific London Transport moquettes through the London Transport Museum shop - though sadly a £600 armchair is beyond my means! More affordable are the moquette-print homewares available from Tranport for London's shop.
* SONG OF THE DAY: My Drug Hell - Girl At The Bus Stop *
I met him on a Monday
And my heart stood still
For Valentine's Day, here's a bus ticket sculpture by Mark, Glasgow - with its vital statistics, care of Adele Prince's How To Make A Bus Sculpture site:
Time: 08.53 am
Stage: Buchanan Street, Glasgow
Technique: Fold in half and curve ends in to meet, forming a heart shape.
How to Make a Bus Sculpture is an exploration by London based artist, Adele Prince:
"When we are sitting on the bus, we often fiddle with our ticket, rolling it and folding it between our fingers, scrunching it up and then discarding it. Adele considers these paper creations to be quite beautiful, and has been documenting her own ‘Bus Sculptures’ photographically."Check out Adele's sculptures and others made by guest artists. Might have a go at this meself when my pass expires...
"The kids laughed at me this week when I mentioned the word Moygashel. They'd never heard of it and accused me of making it up. I told them it was one of the words bandied about in my childhood home all the time. My father was in tailoring so there was a frequent backdrop of phrases like: "Well, of course 'e's going potshop! He ordered it in cavalry twill and when it came in, workshop had done it in gabardine. No, we've none left... unless we do it in barathea and hope he won't notice the difference."...and the second with the appealing possibility of retaining a spontaneous and curious nature in old age (aided and abetted by the bus system):
My mother was also a rampant materialist. Rare was the day when she didn't have a swatch-based decision to make before sundown, concerning a choice between the moire with the gimped edging or the doupion with the slight watermark that wouldn't show, or the grosgrain with the slub trim..."
"My iconic friend Elsbeth had her 95th birthday party last week... We heard that each morning Elsbeth waits by the bus stop near her home. If the no 9 comes first she goes to the Royal Academy and if the 19 comes first, the National Gallery. You don't have to be a seer or a sucker to see that it's her endless curiosity that keeps her alive."
Guardian: Maureen Lipman, May 15, 2006
Now, anyone who knows me knows I love buses... have spent years riding around on buses, fell for a band who wrote songs about buses, wrote a fanzine about them called Bus Stop (named after two favourite songs), have a Cardiff Buses bus stop sign propped up at home (rescued from a Cardiff pavement by a wellwisher)... so it made me smile to hear that a south Wales bus driver has spruced himself up for Christmas by having a mini fir tree woven into his hair.
And this Saturday (December 10th) is Bus Night on BBC Four:
"On Friday 9 December, the most famous bus in the world - the Routemaster - will take its final journey through the streets of London. BBC Four and Arena celebrate the transport icon.Preview clips include Jimmy Saville fixing it for a woman to drive a Routemaster on the skid pan and a boy gets to be a bus conductor, Blue Peter's Lesley Judd donning a London Transport uniform as she becomes a bus conductor for a day, and - my favourite - a clip from The Good Life, where Tom chases Lenin the chicken onto a Routemaster...'One and a cockerel for the next stop.'
(c) Gordon Dinnage, T/A Dinnages Transport/Picture Publishing
After my physio appointment this morning, I was waiting for the 5A to get me from Hangleton back into town. And when it came, it was a 1953 red and cream Southdown double decker, complete with conductor writing out tickets! Apparently HAP985 gets a day out every year on its birthday. So I and the pensioners of Hove rode into town in vintage style, waving at bemused pedestrians and feeling very fancy.
OK, cancel the double decker I was intending to use to get wedding guests from the church to the reception - I want the Knight Bus! (But in hot pink...)
Coming past Kemp Town record shop Charlie's Orbit this morning on the bus, I noticed a sign on their door - 'Closing at 2pm on Wednesday 29th. Going to see Bjork.' Which reminds me, so am I!! In a month's time, at the ENO. Tickets were ridiculously expensive but I make excuses to myself - 'You don't have a coke habit, you don't gamble...you could do worse things with your dough...' I'm going to see Bjork!!!