Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Happy birthday!

Six hundred kilometres north of Munich, my daughter and BFF is celebrating her birthday.

Her fond Auld Da used this as an excuse to 'shoop a greeting, with an outpouring of sentimentality framed for hanging, if she doesn't find it too embarrassing!

Happily Mickey was able to make it to Berlin for a weekend extended to include this day. And there is no doubt that both daughter and mother are hugely enthusiastic about all that the German capital has to offer. I read with interest and some envy their reports of galleries, events, pop-up shops and hipster bars and cafés, although given my inability to walk more than half a kilometre without pauses to catch my breath, I'd not be able to experience all that Berlin is today.

More birthday jollity awaited Jessi in the office... flowers, a cake and candles to blow out. And wishes to be made!

She thought there would be just the three of them at dinner in the evening but in the end as well as Mickey and Tino there were seven other friends at the big round table to ensure that a good time was had by all.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bravo, Mr Zimmerman!

In the last hour it has been announced that Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel prize in literature 2016 "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Forty years ago when I was introduced to him at the Savoy Hotel while DA Pennebaker was filming Don't Look Back I had no idea that I was meeting a future Nobel laureate. But even back then I was mightily impressed, and convinced that indeed the times were a'changing!

Munich tour

Munich seen from the perspective of an electric scooter rider. Yes, the manufacturer is the firm for which Jessi is handling the Brand Communication portfolio.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Plain talking

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Friday, October 07, 2016

Can't judge a book...

It was an observation made by Jessi which got me thinking about the cover designs for my Kindle editions. I know that if I could afford to, I'd hire an agency able to deliver graphics as eye-catching as those created for the books by Chris Brookmyre. But then that's only a reflection of my personal aesthetic preferences. I well remember the cover of Quite Ugly One Morning screaming at me from the display in my favourite Cologne bookshop in the late nineties!

The problem I think I've identified is that the typical key art for ebooks still relies on the legacy of paperback cover design. But a visual that works well on a 13 x 20 centimetre trade paperback is not necessarily suited to a Kindle thumbnail. There is the challenge of combining at least three different (and even competing) messages in a mini-format piece of artwork... author name, book title and a mood setting visual. 

If we must accept the size constraint and live with Amazon's need to confront us with many choices as possible then we need to forget about the precedents from 'booky book' publishing. One answer could be animated GIFs as an alternative to a single static cover design. I think even Amazon would benefit from a 'suggestions' page with each of the editions on offer grabbing the customer's attention with a dynamic call-to-action.

Muse on this idea as Bo Diddley reminds that 'you can't judge a book by looking at the cover'...

Thursday, October 06, 2016


The film-within-a-film is an example of mise en abyme. The film being made within the film refers, through its mise en scène, to the real film being made. The narrative of the film within the film may directly reflect the one in the real film. In film the meaning also includes the idea of a dream within a dream. For example, a character awakens from a dream and later discovers that she or he is still dreaming. Activities similar to dreaming, such as unconsciousness and virtual reality, also are described as mise en abyme.

In retrospect I think it would have been a good title for my Tumblr site. It is certainly inspired branding by the Berlin craft distillers located just a short stroll from Jessica's flat. And she knew, of course, that I'd appreciate the graphics of the label almost as much as the contents of the bottle she mailed from her Kiez to this old man in Munich!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Lost in translation

Google Translate? Schau ma moi!