Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category


With the end of year shows in Britain’s architecture schools all now done and dusted, I was a little late coming across an article in the architects’ weekly newspaper BD (10 August 2007) entitled A Sense of Adventure (registration required). The feature examined a number of projects from the cream of this year’s graduating diploma students in architecture. One project that caught my eye in particular was a house of sorts by Dundee School of Architecture graduate Paul Maich.

This project for “cognitive dwelling” is framed by an elaborate quasi-autobiographical narrative. Paul Maich establishes five characters — the insomniac, the inventor, the miner, the amnesiac and the recluse — each of which corresponds to an aspect of his own character.

The cognitive dwelling itself is a freestanding brick volume laced by a labyrinthine sequence of passageways which seeks to embody these different character traits.

“This is essentially my own existential Soane Museum,” says Maich. “It is an architectural personification of character. The design exercise questions whether existence and experience can be transposed into architectural form; a personified architecture.”

Within the narrative, Maich is murdered in his own building by one of the five characters and a police investigation ensues, deftly illustrated by a storyboard-like arrangement of scenes.

“This is a project that illustrates the ambiguities between architecture and art,” said Jeremy Dixon.

“It would sit very happily in an art gallery both as a piece of sculpture and a thoroughly sinister narrative. The graphics pull out the dark elements of the story very dramatically and sit alongside the enigmatic brick object in a way that stays in the memory.”

The article teases us with a few frames from the sequential narrative of the final project presentation. The use of extremely tightly rendered architectural images with superimposed comic-book-style narration doesn’t feel quite right. Perhaps it’s because the faux-hand-written typeface of the narrative boxes doesn’t do the rest of the frame justice, I’m still not quite sure, and would prefer to reserve judgement until I’d seen the whole thing. But the whole project oozes richness and sophistication – I would have really liked to have to seen the whole narrative to understand more about this building and the project.





In addition to this week’s news that I will be travelling to the Netherlands in August to meet and talk with the comic artist and illustrator Joost Swarte, I can also now confirm that I will be in New York City in September to interview the artist Ben Katchor. This trip has also been supported by the Stephenson Travelling Studentship awarded to this project by the University of Sheffield. Katchor’s sophisticated evocation of nostalgia, memory in urban narratives are of particular personal interest to me, and I’m looking forward to discussing the techniques employed by Katchor in his popular serialised comics Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer and The Jew of New York.

I’m also going to be celebrating a birthday in New York City, before perhaps taking off for a mini road trip and vacation in the mid-west, so excerpts and highlights of the interview will probably appear online in late September or early October.

If any interested readers are going to be in New York City between 11 and 16 September or Chicago between 17 and 27 September, drop me a line, and I’d be delighted to say hello.

Was lucky enough to nab a ticket to one of the advance previews of this film, which opens across France and Belgium on 27 June. A release in English is previewed for later this year. During the Q&A after the film, Marjane Satrapi was asked whether she would like to see the film released on the big screen in Iran. She said yes, but appreciated that with many Hollywood films, pirate DVDs are in circulation in the Middle East within 24hrs of the film opening in the USA, with unofficial dubbed copies appearing soon after. When pressed on whether she was advocating the pirating of her film so that it could be seen in Iran, she said (my translation) “only if the dubbing is done well”.

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Regular readers might already be aware of my fondness for the meandering monologues of Garrison Keillor on his weekly radio show A Praire Home Companion. The lingering sense of nostalgia for simpler times and closer communities draws an audience of hundreds of thousands every weekend.

While beavering away at some deathly dull drawings for unrelated work this weekend, I’ve been listening to a similar-yet-entirely-different show from the CBC Radio network in Canada. The Vinyl Café is broadcast on the airwaves of CBC Radio One and a number of networked stations in the USA. As yet there’s no podcast, so if you want to catch it online you’ll need to watch the CBC schedules and work out your time difference. The show blends live performances by Canadian musicians with tales of “Dave and Morley” as told by host Stuart McLean. Once again, the radio waves seem to be the perfect media for nostalgic tales and tightly rooted music.

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This is the second installment of my thoughts on Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District. You can find the first part here… I’ve uploaded it very much as a finished piece of work in progress; that is to say I could go on re-reading, editing and changing it for weeks, but I want to record this point in my thinking now before it gets overwritten with subsequent thinking.

My intention on this sunny Sunday afternoon was to walk from my apartment, in the centre of Strasbourg, to a grand old bistro on the other side of town where students, families and married couples all find a place on shiny stainless steel pavement furniture; where extra toxic French cigarettes send trails of smoke into the air; and where the imminent descent of Monday morning is not remembered. It’s the perfect place to read and work, especially when you’ve got two comic books to flip through. But with the weather being so nice, I kept on walking, and kept on going until I reached Germany (don’t worry, it’s not far). The late afternoon sunlight is now falling through the dense leaves of the old trees in Kehl’s town square. The gold painted numbers and arms of the church clock are sparkling, and across the sandy square from water is spraying out into a liquid sphere from the dozen of pipes that make up a recently installed public fountain. I have also managed to order a coffee and piece of apfelküchen. In developing my French to level which is just acceptable for studying in France, I have seemingly erased almost every word or phrase I once knew in German.

Comics Journal Messageboard user billym put me onto Ben Katchor, and also recalled a lecture that Katchor gave at McGill University’s Architecture Department in Montréal in 2002.

The name of the talk is “The Great Museum Cafeterias of the Western World.” The profession of the speaker is A) an architect B) a food critic C) a comic book artist.

The answer is C, but Ben Katchor is no ordinary graphic novelest. The creator of “The Jew of New York” and “Julius Kniple, Real Estate Photographer” is lauded internationally for his wry examinations of daily life.

With a regular strip in the design-focused Metropolis Magazine and a book titled Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay, Katchor’s preoccupations are somewhat different than purveyors of spandex-clad “zock! pow!” narratives.

“There’s a growing interest in the architecture field for his work,” said Greg Hildebrande, an architecture master’s student who, along with fellow student Jan Schotte, invited Katchor to speak at McGill as the William Hobart Molson lecturer.

“Architecture texts tend to be very dry – what’s refreshing about his stories is that he deals with things that architects think about all of the time.”

Hildebrande isn’t entirely sure what approach Katchor will bring to the topic of museum cafeterias – Katchor seems to be rather spontaneous in his lecture style.

“It’s an examination of art theory and the effects of cafeteria design and the consumption of food on the appreciation of art,” said Hildebrande. “I’m really looking forward to what he has to say. He seems unpredictable.”

As to why a comic book artist was chosen for an architecture lecture? Hildebrande admits that he’s a fan, but also felt that Katchor could bring a new perspective.

“That’s something we want to do more of – get more cross-pollination between disciplines,” he said.

McGill Reporter: On Campus retreived 4.6.2007

In my earlier musings I’ve already touched on Katchor’s subtle toying with nostalgia, and the powerful and effective way in which this can reach a reader. His interest in museum cafeterias, however, takes this one step further. In much the same way that Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer ends with The Evening Combinator, the second compilation of single or multiple page Julius Knipl stories (The Beauty Supply District) concludes with an extended story of the same name. In it we meet some inhabitants of Katchor’s fictional city who enjoy descending the stairs to the basement cafeteria of the Tenfoyle Museum of Art. For one character in particular, it’s a very special place that nurtures his vital skills of aesthetic appreciation.


It was this particular subterranean environment, with its clacking of dishes, laughter of guards, small of steam-table food and slightly dank, coffee-soaked floors, that instead of distracting him, permitted him to enter into unique relationship with the object of his choice.

Ben Katchor, The Beauty Supply District
New York City: Pantheon Books 2003, page 94

Later in the same story, two unrelated characters jump in a cab, telling the driver “To the Tenfoyle Museum – and step on it! They close at nine”, where they seek out pound cake, cherry pie and tapioca pudding.

“It was,” he proclaimed,”the perfect point from which to mediate the longstanding hostility between subject and object – a point situated directly between the appetive urge to consume a work of art and the disinterested gaze of the cafeteria patron choosing his lunch.”

Ben Katchor, The Beauty Supply District
New York City: Pantheon Books 2003, page 94

I can only imagine a museum cafeteria such as this one existing in the nostalgic tales of Julius Knipl. It is, in fact, a complete opposite of the art gallery eateries one normally finds, where financial pressures (imagined or not) have turned art gallery canteens into trendy cafés, and dusty museum bookshops into boutiques. Even remembering the sublime Art Institute of Chicago, or the vast Tate Modern in London, I can’t help but think that the art gallery of today is now largely patronised by a public that gazes with disinterest at the art, and which consumes in the museum’s gift shop with an ‘appetitive urge’.

The Beauty Supply District charts the rise and fall of that neighbourhood in Katchor’s imagined city. Time passes, luck runs out, and businesses close for good. The urban landscape changes subtly, each erosion contributing to an imperceptible yet unmissable evolution. Yet more reasons to hunt down those out-of-print copies of Katchor’s earlier book Cheap Novelties: The Pleasure of Urban Decay.


Returning to The Evening Combinator in Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer, we meet the architect Selladore. Whereas in The Beauty Supply District we witness the gradual evolution of the urban fabric, here we get to see a brief glimpse of a ‘visionary’ architect. After almost three decades of buidling almost nothing, he’s starting work on his greatest project: a massive mixed use development that will tower over the city, where residents will travel to and from their apartments by means of elevated railways that pass directly through each and every residence. The troubled architect finds his building plans scuppered when The Evening Combinator (a nightly journal of the city’s dreams) publishes perverted tales from Mr. Selladore’s strangest dreams.


The depiction of the architect as a mad and disconnected visionary with unworkable designs on his city is nothing new in popular culture (see the Fountainhead for one), but his situation in Katchor’s parallel universe makes him somehow more believeable and more receptive to our pity. I want to come back to Selladore the architect in due course, but I’d appreciate some alternative interpretations of his character – is he a figure of mockery or sympathy? He – or rather his imagination of the what the city could be – seems somehow at odds with the loving feel of the tired and jumbled city that Julius Knipl usually explores.

Part three will follow in the next couple of weeks, but feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.


A couple of weeks ago Comics Journal message board user billym directed me towards the work of Ben Katchor. Katchor is the New York based artist behind the long running syndicated comic strip Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer.

Knipl lives in a city not unlike New York City. It looks and feels like New York City, but it’s certainly not the New York City that we might recognise. It is, as Michael Chabon explains in the introduction to the 1996 collected volume of Julius Knipl strips, a “crumbling, lunar cityscape” and…

…a world of rumpled suits, fireproof office blocks with the date of their erection engraved on the pediment, transom windows, and hare-brained if ingenious small businesses; a sleepless, hacking-cough, dyspeptic, masculine world the colour of the standing lining of a hat.

Michael Chabon, Julis Knipl: Real Estate Photographer
New York City: Little, Brown and Company 1996, introduction

So the setting is a dreamlike interpretation of a familiar urban environment. In one (unusually) extended story, Knipl discovers a copy of a nightly newspaper called the The Evening Combinator, which publishes the dreams of the city’s sleeping citizens; one such story in the newspaper, for example, is entitled “Incest Party Resumes at Synagogue Laundromat”. Even in this dream like world, Katchor introduces another layer of dreams to remove us one step further from any actual city we might be thinking of.

As the title informs us, Knipl is a professional real estate photographer: a photographer of buildings that are about to be rented or sold. One imagines that this places him a lower down the pecking order than a wedding photographer.

The seeds of my dissertation project were sown a couple of years ago when I submitted my undergraduate dissertation on the subject of architecture and photography. At the time, I was particularly interested in the way that newly completed buildings were photographed for architectural journals and exhibitions. It was this lifeless representation of the building after completion and before occupation (as a pure, static piece of art) that inspired me to consider looking at the difference between comic book narratives and the presentation of architecture. Knipl, however, reminds me of a type of architectural photography that I had not considered: the images of buildings that are used to advertise them as commodities. Although we never see Knipl doing his job in the course of the comic strips, we can imagine him attaching a wide angled lens to his camera and contorting himself into the corner of a room to capture an image that depicts a space in its most spacious and illuminated form.

I would be interested to discover why Katchor chose Knipl’s profession, especially since we never see Knipl in action. I would suggest that it is because Knipl’s role in the strips is that of the detached observer – similar to that of his job. He is both a protagonist and an observer, and a recognisable figure (with his two camera bags, one in front of his slightly portly frame and one behind) who admits us into these strange personal encounters, justifies our presence and who involves us. Not only is he a casual observer, he represents us, the reader, bringing us right into the surreal urban landscape that he explores. With Knipl as our guide and alter-ego in this nameless city, we are even closer to the people and and places that Katchor depicts.

There is, as with almost all comic strips, an occupation of time and space in all of Katchor’s strips. But what is much more sophisticated is the inferred nostalgia of Knipl’s city, which Chabon discusses at length in the book’s introduction.

Katchor carefully devises a seemingly endless series of regrets in the heart of Juliuis Knipl for the things not only gone or rapidly disappearing, such as paper straws and television aerials, but also wholly imaginary: the Vitaloper, the Directory of the Alimentary Canal…

Michael Chabon, Julis Knipl: Real Estate Photographer
New York City: Little, Brown and Company 1996, introduction


The passage of time in Kathor’s comic strips is not expressed solely through the momentary changes from panel to panel, but by the subtle and underlying expression of emotion and regret with regard to the passing of time. What is fascinating about Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer is the almost tangible comprehension of time before the narrative in the comic strip began. The occasional appearance of dates and years on calendars in the comic strip remind us that this strip is contempoorary, but it often feels more like a nostalgic vision of New York City in the fifties or sixties than an imagined modern day world.

Did Knipl’s city ever really exist in reality? Or is it just imagined nostalgia? I’m not American, but along with Garrison Keillor’s weekly tales from northern Minnesota, Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer is one of the closest renditions that I have encountered to my romanticised vision of middle America. The streets are lined with independently managed retailers and diners, above which one room businesses occupy tall red brick tenaments. Starbucks, McDonalds and Maceys have yet to invade and destroy the characterful enterprises of this American city. For me, a highlight of any visit to the USA is a $3 breakfast special sitting at the zinc-topped bar of a diner, drinking endlessly refilled cups of weak-as-water black coffee. But what inspired this nostalgic streak in me?

…Katchor is more – far more – than a simple archaeologist of out-moded technologies and abandoned pastimes. In fact he often plays a kind of involuted Borgesian game with the entire notion of nostalgia itself, proving that one can feel nostalgia not only for times before one’s own but, surprisingly, for things that never existed.

Michael Chabon, Julis Knipl: Real Estate Photographer
New York City: Little, Brown and Company 1996, introduction



Thank you Amanda in Chicago, who forwarded me this video, originally produced for This American Life on Chicago Public Radio.

It’s the first time I’ve seen Chris Ware’s cartoons animated, in a collaboration with animator John Kuramoto. The episode details can be found here.

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Two more books joined the bookshelf this week, both by the New York based artist and author Ben Katchor. Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer and Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District. I’ll blog more when I’ve had a chance to read them.

The sun continues to shine convincingly on Strasbourg, and my days remain conveniently free of scheduled classes. During my last visit to Sheffield, Renata Tyszczuk recommended that I read Diana Periton’s essay The ‘Coupe Anatomique’: sections through the nineteenth century Parisian apartment block (in The Journal of Architecture, Autumn 2004 pp. 289 – 304). Finally with some time to focus on it, I topped and tailed today with two particularly bohemian reading sessions: with a coffee this morning, sitting outside my favourite Strasbourg café, watching the theatre of the city’s busy streets; and then again this afternoon, in the warm early evening sunshine pouring into the bar beneath my apartment. With the sun perfectly framed between the tall buildings on the other side of the street, I made some really interesting notes that are beginning to gel some of my earlier ideas. Periton introduces the essay:

In French popular literature of the later nineteenth century, such as illustrated newspapers, or the ubiquitous guides to and didactic histories of Paris, the section through the Parisian apartment block becomes a familiar image. These sections reveal the anatomy of Paris at a glance. They use our understanding of the domestic interior, particularly the way it regulates activities and flows, to present a summary of the city through the ordering of its constituent elements.

A hybrid of the technical drawing, that shows construction and infrastructure, and of an assemly of pictorial tableaux, they are seductively banal. Seductive, because they give us an overview of the normally hidden world of the interior, made miniature and caught between the pages of a book or magazine. Banal, because in doing so, its mysteries are laid bare. The systems that structure the city, from its social divisions to its networks of electricity conduits, are explicitly set out.

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, p. 289

The journal is illustrated with copies of the sectional drawings that Periton explores, however you’ll have to find a copy of the journal yourself to see them, since I’m not able to reproduce them here (the article cites the shelfmarks of the original publications in the British Library in London). At the very first glance, however, these prints are to my eyes instantly interpretable as comic strips; sectional cuts and perspectives that present each room as an individual panel with – as Periton explains – varying degrees of animated occupancy. There must be something in the Parisian water that encourages the French to look in on their urban environment so closely: I was instantly reminded of the wonderful novel by Georges Perec, Life, A Users Manual, in which the dozens of separate yet intermingled stories and histories of the occupants of a Parisian apartment block are told.

Periton charts a short history of three published Parisian ‘coupes’, or illustrated sections. The first to be examined is of a single five story Parisian town house by the French writer, photographer, illustrator and caricaturist Bertall, first published in 1845. The second is from 1769, and is a slightly earlier but wider section through an (idealised) Parisian street by the architect Pierre Patte. Periton introduces the third as a ‘hybrid’ of the first two: it’s by the writer and history Baron Alfred-Auguste Ernouf and comes from his 1885 publication l’Art des Jardins.

Today’s ‘lightbulb’ moment of sudden realisation came this afternoon, as the sun slipped out of sight and the rapidly shifting shadows on the white tiled floor of the café moved over my green-topped table. Bertall is approaching his section of the Parisian town house as a characturist, presenting a series of stacked vignettes. Patte, however, is an architect, showing the houses, street and even the drains below the surface of the paved street as a complete urban system. His rooms are noticeably vacant of human occupation. In these two sections, we already have what would appear to be the first seeds of the seismic gap between the way that architects and cartoonists present buildings. Bertall embraces the variety of human activity in the building. Periton describes the building’s activities and quotes from the caption that appeared with the picture in its first publication, a weekly newspaper.

On the ground floor, we read, the caretaker, a little over-excited, is dancing a mazurka with his wife, while mademoiselle their daughter plays something more like a sonata or a nocturne on the piano, with the kind of talent that will allow her to marry an elderly genetleman who has fallen on hard times. ‘On the first floor, we are yawning over the velvets and silks. This is the old morale of marble halls. On the [next] …, we are less rich, and more awake’; but we are warned, teh viture and happiness of this floor, the ‘entente cordiale’, show but one not entirely dependable aspect of the race that occipies it, the ‘bon bourgeoisie’. In the mansard, a man has just beaten his wife, and ‘a philosopher, a poet, perhaps, shelters his genius under a [home-made] … dome in the ceiling…’

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, pp. 289-291

These images are a French parallel to the earlier sequential prints of William Hogarth that I saw earlier this month in London. Like Hogarth in the previous century, Bertall is styling himself as a moralist, and using the readily accessible and affordable mass media to present a series of vignettes, acted out by recognisable characters. These actors are partly recognisable in the wider and fractured French society by the levels of the building that they occupy; from the grand first floor rooms to the low and angled ceilings of the cheaper and unornamented garrets. Periton explains how Bertall was using the ‘coupe’ to explore contemporary changes in French society.

In another of Walter Benjamin’s examples of ‘panoramic literature’, Les français peints par eux-mêmes, Jules Janin writes that ‘the Charter [of 1830, which brough in Louis-Philippe as a constitutional ‘bourgeois king’, and removed the aristocracy from government] has, as it were by enchantment, created among us an entirely new set of characters, of strange and incredible manners’. French society, he declares, has become ‘an infinity of small republics’, each with its own customs, faults, ambitions, etc., and ‘the more [it] … has divided, the more difficult has its analysis become’. It is the job of the ‘moralist’, whether illustrator or write, to attempt that analysis, to observe and describe, but also to deduce some kind of scheme of specification through which it might be ordered. For Bertall, that scheme is the framework of the Parisian apartment block.

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, pp. 291-2

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Bertall used a Parisian apartment block to provide a framework to his anthropological and sociological observations. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Chris Ware has begun to the use a Chicago apartment building as a framework for a series of interdependent and interconnected stories. There is, it seems, an acknowledged value in architecture as a structural and social framework to sequential art.

The second ‘coupe’ (that of Pierre Patte) is, however, very different. It is, in effect, an architectural treatise, but one that considers the compilation of the entire city rather than just one building at a time.

Patte uses his drawing to decompose the street, a section of the city, into a series of elements that can then be arranged to generate a new and ideal territory. If we allow our eye to move around the drawing by following the labelling system .. it is in order to understand how each element of that territory functions with the next. Patte’s ideal city is a system of instruments, designed to regulate the fire, water, filth and people that come into contact with it.

Patte frequently assures his readers that the aim of conceiving the city in this way is to ensure ‘the happiness of the inhabitants’, to bring about a ‘genuine sense of well-being’. But as he shows it, the city is unpeopled.

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, p. 293

Patte is, like many other architects before and after him, well meaning in his desire tocleanse, simplify and re-organise the city into a more ordered image. But in doing his, drawings reveal the city without character or human marks.

Patte asks:

which of us would not imagine that it must be an evil genie, an enemy of the human race, who has foced men to live together [in such a way]…?

His drawing sucks this devil in the underworld, to leave the way for his haunting vacuum of well being.

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, p. 295

Periton draws the inevitable connection from Pierre Patte’s section to the subsequent renovation and re-organisation of Paris by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann. Taking almost three decades, Haussmann’s plan for Paris sought to modernise, sanitise and redesign the entire structure of the medieval city centre. What is amusing to discover is that the massive building works undertaken to achieve this actually made real the previously imagined building sections of Patte and Bertall.

For witnesses such as Gautier, the incessant attempt to move from chaos to order meant glimpses of a ‘curious spectacle, these open houses, their floorboards suspended over the abyss, their colourful .. flowered wallpaper still marking the shape of the rooms’, houses whose ‘high walls, striped with the swarthy streaks of chimney flues, reveal, like an architectural section, the mystery of intimate distributions’.

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, pp. 295-6

The third and final ‘coupe’ that Periton examines is that of Ernouf. The drawing shows the boulevard Saint Germain, in a part of Paris after Hausmann’s reconstruction. As such it is the only section that is in a specific place, but which remains essentially generic. It combines the characteristics of the first two ‘coupes’ to produce a new kind of image. Attempting to present both the narrative detail of Bertall’s house section and the technical sophistication of Patte’s street section, the image is a dazzling perspective view that cuts across a broad Haussmannian boulevard, into the soil, drains and cellars below, and up into a seven storey building.

The city that for Bertall was implicitly there, generating the fluid social hierarchies accommodated in its interiors, has become after Huassmann’s upheavals a metropolis consciously constructed through a complex interplay of networks, distributing ‘the people’, now anonymous, their provisions and their waste. In these image, it seems that the relationship of interior to street must be visibly articulated, to demonstrate that they are strongly differentiated, separately codified components of a continuous system of regulation. The city here is synthesised not by a notion of society, centred on the bourgeoisie, but by its elaborate infrastructure, which links and operates on all those who come within its remit.

Diana Periton, The ‘Coupe Anatomique’
Journal of Architecture, vol. 9, pp. 296-298


A not insignificant aspect of my interest in comics relates to storytelling. What makes a good story? Is it the story itself, or is it the way that you tell it? A mainstay of public radio in the USA and the UK, Garrison Keillor is surely one of America’s greatest living storytellers. His weekly radio show features a monologue entitled The News from Lake Wobegon, the fictional ‘home-town’ of Keillor. This segment of the show is now available every week as a podcast, and it’s wonderful stuff. You can find out more here, or if using iTunes to manage your podcasts just follow this link.

Photo: Brian Velenchenko

PS… I’ve just realised that in the gushing comment I made about the show on iTunes, I managed to get my spelling of ‘hear’ mixed up with ‘here’. Crap. A career as a serious academic is seeming even further out of reach…


    "no words no action" was an experiment in academic blogging. The blog recorded the progress of reading, research and investigations that lead to a Masters in Architecture dissertation at the University of Sheffield in autumn 2007. You can find out more about the author's interest in blogging here.

    To find out more about the thesis, download the original dissertation proposal (pdf format) from February 2007 or the semi-formal first chapter (pdf format) from April 2007.

    Further research projects are in the works, and their dependence on human interaction and networking suggests more blogging will be inevitable when the time comes.


    At the time that this blog was created, James Benedict Brown was a fifth year Masters of Architecture student at the University of Sheffield. James' personal blog is here.

    James graduated in 2008 and now lives and works in Glasgow.


    This project was supervised by Renata Tyszczuk at the University of Sheffield


    If you want to correct me on something, offer an opinion on a particular artist or building, or if you'd like to recommend someone or something to find out about, please feel free to leave a comment. Just click on 'Comments' under the headline of the relevant post...


    Click here to browse James' bookshelf, and to purchase books being used in this project.


    I've managed to miss almost half a dozen compelling conferences around the world so far this year, simply because I have no (more) money to travel and no time to escape my studies in Strasbourg and Sheffield. However, if I had a magic plane ticket and plenty of time, here's my selection of essential conferences to attend. Hopefully I'll be there for more of them next year... click here for the diary (updated every time I miss another one).

  • NOTE

    All images are used for illustrative purposes only, and the copyright remains with the artist and/or creator. Please contact me if I have misappropriated an image or incorrectly credited it. Thanks... JBB


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    The content of this blog is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

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