Saturday, 30 July 2011


We love Dirt.
We love the filthy reality of everyday life.
We love the Wellcome Collection's exhibition on this grimy little topic as it looks at our relationship with muck, how we ignore it, how it affects us and how it has been represented by artists and social commentators.

There's over 200 extremely well chosen objects on show from 5 key periods in the last 450 years (from Joseph Lister's pioneering Carbolic Spray instrument to an original John Snow map charting the Cholera outbreak from the Broad Street pump in the 19th Century), the layout of the objects and the path you take through the gallery also enhances the exhibition experience, an act of foul minded curational brilliance.

As munchers of good information design (thank you Mr Tufte), it was great to see the work of John Snow alongside the Report on the Mortality of Cholera in England by William Farr as well as brilliant pictorial insights into the first and second International Hygiene Exhibition held in Dresden, Germany in 1911 and 1930.

The older work fascinated us, some of the engravings of Geertruid Roghman depicting domestic servitude are beautiful in their virtuosity but challenge the viewer by having the subject face away from us.

We couldn't help but love this scathing illustration, Monster Soup commonly called Thames Water, from William Heath as The Thames became more polluted in 1815 in an effort to relieve the bulging cesspools of London.

The idea that 'cleanliness is next to godliness' strikes through most of the work, but the Wellcome Collection must be in purgatory because although they had so much dirt on display, it was a very well ordered and crisp environment and it would have been nice to feel a bit grubby, maybe get a little dirt under our fingernails, as we went round.

However, we heartily recommend that you leave those dirty pots to fester for one more afternoon and do not break out your feather duster because you should head to London so see this wonderful exhibition before it finishes at the end of August 2011.

You should really go and see it, you filthy buggers!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Garigari-kun and Puzzling Mallorca

Whilst on our travels to Mallorca, we ventured out to the capital, Palma, to see what we could see, see, see. Twas a small and walkable city, full of buzzy Spanish lanes, with interesting and independent shops, adorned with beautiful architecture and we had some cracking tapas for luncheon.

However, one stop on our exploration proved more fruitful than any other and it was to the Mallorca Puzzle Shop to which we ended up in and purchased a Garigari-kun puzzle lolly, which Tracey is holding in her hand.

The man of the shop was a multi-lingual puzzle mentalist, he had strange contraptions on and under the counter for all to see and play with. There was a spinning disc complete with enlarging mushroom, some classic Destiny Wasgij and ring holograms, but the thing which caught all of our eyes was little Garigari.

Garigari-kun history lesson.
Introduced in 1981, Garigari-kun was one of the first bar-type ice treats. The target demographic was “active” school-age boys who needed at least one hand free to play whatever game they were playing while munching. The ice that makes up the bar is filled with very small and separate ice particles that make a characteristic crunchy “garigari” sound when bitten.

The big-mouthed character adorning the package is part of the appeal and is representative of gaki-daisho, or the big kid in your gang who, despite his size, is the most warmhearted member. He’s also assumed to be the poorest.

The product’s very low price is thus tied directly to the image that Akagi wanted to promote. In 2008 they sold 255 million Garigari-kun bars in Japan. History lesson over.

We fell in love the Japanese typography and style of the packaging, but most of all the 3D puzzle lolly which was inside the wrapper. You have 16 pieces to assemble on the stick, comprising of an inner and outer layer with fiendishly difficult jigsaw edge tessellation.

We love the shop, we love the man in the shop (who wouldn't let us purchase our desired item until I completed a metal ring remover - which took at least 15 minutes), we love Garigari-kun.