Archive for October, 2006

Jabr-Woky has Migrated

October 9, 2006

Shadow Navigator
This blog has migrated to Jabr-Woky at Typepad. It’s a new experiment in chronicling my random thoughts and observations using the TypePad blogging software. Hope you guys enjoy the mumbo-jumbo at the same old newly dressed up blog.


My Booker Predictions

October 7, 2006

Booker Shortlist 2006

The Man Booker Prize will be announced this coming tuesday Oct 10th. I haven’t yet read any of the shortlisted books. However, my winning bets would be in this order:

  1. In the Country of Men – Hisham Matar
  2. The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai
  3. The Night Watch – Sarah Waters
  4. The Secret River – Kate Grenville
  5. Mother’s Milk – Edward St Aubyn
  6. Carry Me Down – M. J. Hyland

The bookies favorite is Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch’. Will have to wait for another three more days to see if my prediction will ring true.

In Memorium: Alan Fletcher (1931-2006)

October 7, 2006

Fletcher #1 Alan Fletcher
I found out from the Design Observer blog that one of my heroes in the graphic design world has passed away last month on September 21. Alan Feltcher (one of the founding members of the influential graphic design firm Pentagram) is one fo the reasons why I decided to take whatever business learning I had and fuse it with whatever creative learning I could muster and lead the unpredictable life of a planner in the ad world. His work and especially his life has inspired me like no other personality from the creative design world.

He once remarked thus about work and life – “I’d sooner do the same on Monday or Wednesday as I do on a Saturday or Sunday. I don’t divide my life between labour and pleasure.” It is this ethos that, I think, that contributed to the amazing body of work he has done. When work itself becomes a pleasure, the results are bound to be extraordinary.

The British art director Graham Fink had once remarked that the creative mind should be like a sponge and absorb everything around it. And then squeeze the mind for the juices to flow in making the work happen. Alan Fletcher’s book ‘The Art of Looking Sideways’ is the perfect example of such a sponge of a mind. It is one of my favorite books of all time. ‘Beware Wet Paint’ is an excellent book on his thinking pertaining to the work he did at Pentagram. I keenly look forward to his upcoming book (which will be published posthumouslythis month) titled ‘Picturing and Poeting’.

His body of work embodies his fresh, modern, surprising and witty approach to find the most simplistic solution to a design problem. Which is quite evident in his quote – “I like to reduce everything to its absolute essence because that is a way to avoid getting trapped in a style.” – and some of the work below.

Reuters Logo V&A Logo

Fletcher Poster 1 Fletcher Poster 2

A retrospective of his work will open at The Design Museum in London on November 11, 2006.

To summarize his witful intellect and playful charm, Alan’s Pentagram partner and friend Michael Beirut gives us this little story from back in their days:

“I find myself thinking back to my first dinner with Alan, shortly after I joined Pentagram. I was seated at a table with some of my new partners, and the meal was winding down. Alan made a bet that none of us could duplicate a trick he was about to do. It involved two wine corks — Alan enjoyed activites that required the consumption of good wine — that had to be exchanged from one hand to another. “Ready?” he said. “Okay, watch.” He held the corks between his thumbs and forefingers, and then traded them in one quick gesture. It didn’t look like magic. It looked easy, something anyone could do.

“Got it?” Alan asked. “Now you try.” So we did try. And try. And try. And he leaned back in his chair, sipping his wine with a faint smile on his lips, watching all of us attempt, without success, to imitate the effortless simplicity of Alan Fletcher.”

For a man who lived by his quote, “Design is not a thing you do. It’s a way of life,” and who showed us the art of looking sideways, our gratitude will be lifelong.



November 19, 1982

October 5, 2006

TV Color Bars

Indian viewers saw life in color for the first time on broadcast television.

[Source: India Today magazine, Oct 2, 2006]

Vanishing Charm

October 5, 2006

Mrs Valentine @ 22

If only all house name boards were this charming, finding the house you want to go to would have been a much charming and simpler endeavor. Alas these are a dying breed in metros of the new urban India. The one above is from a street in the Richmond Town neighborhood of the southern Indian city of Bangalore. The new wave of mass construction is taking down the charming colonial style and other free-standing houses and changing the urban landscape to one filled with bland and uniform (ugly) high-rises without any character or style.


October 5, 2006

George Lucas is a one-of-a-kind three-in-one genius. I give him this title because he not only imagined and wrote and conceived a brilliant story called Star Wars, but also managed to put his own money at stake and produce the film version, brilliantly directed by himself. So while I was engaged in checking out the extra featurettes disc of ‘Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ DVD, here’s what the master storyteller-producer-director had to say about the art of the movies…




February 26, 1917

October 1, 2006

Original Dixieland Jazz Band1Original Dixieland Jazz Band2

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, five white guys from New Orleans cut the first jazz record, “Livery Stable Blues” in Victor’s New York Studios.

[Source: John Leland’s book ‘Hip: The History’]