17.08.14 12:04

Saturday 17th August 2013

Yesterday, I’d received an invite from Dave to go to Fratton Park, to watch Pompey v Morecambe. I love football, so when there’s the chance to go and watch a professional match (Pompey? Professional? – Ed) I always leap at it. The original plan was to go with Dave and Peter; sadly though, Dave had worrying family concerns, since his brother-in-law was still in a bad way after a fall in Thailand and had been in hospital there for quite some time, hence Dave needing to fly out.


This meant there was a spare ticket floating around, Dave suggesting I got in touch with Damien (He your brother-in-law? – Ed), so I did, and he agreed. We caught the train down to Fratton and then walked to our first pub, Fuller’s-owned, ‘Golden Eagle’ where we ended up having a pint of Ossett Brewery’s ‘Silver King’… excellent it was too.
For more information, please click on the pump clip above.


From there, we then headed to a new pub for me, The Nell Gwynne, where we met up with Peter, had a pint (seem to recall it was Doom Bore, since there wasn’t anything else worth having, which says a lot!) and then headed off to Fratton Park.
Surprisingly, it was Pompey’s first win of the season, which was dramatically helped by a sending off of one of Morecambe’s players, Andrew Wright, after a second bookable offence, in the 35th minute. Pompey were already 2-0 up at this time though, with goals from Jed Wallace and David Connolly, the first a chipped finish over the keeper in the 20th minute (Isn’t that like some sort of wallpaper? – Ed), the second, tapping home a rebound after a rapid counter attack.
The final goal of the emphatic 3-0 victory came from a superb curled shot by Patrick Agyemang that clipped the inside of the post, and found its way in in the 39th minute, and that’s how the match ended.


From there, Damien just went AWOL; he’d seen an old mate of his at the Nell Gwynne and chose to spend the rest of the afternoon with him and some other mates. On the other hand, I’d been given a free ticket by someone and had met them, therefore it was courteous of me to go for a drink with them afterwards, so headed off to The John Jacques, a Wetherspoon’s pub at Fratton.
Here, I had a couple of pints of ‘Trident’ an amber coloured strong beer by Arundel Brewery, with a citrus, fruity aroma, along with a clean, refreshing, hoppy, fruity flavour and a pleasant dry bitter finish. From there, I was actually sensible and made me way home.
To find out more about the brewery, please click on the pump clip above.


16.08.13 08:56

Friday 16th August 2013

It just so happens that Andrew at Fix8 always comes up with some much-needed work when my cause is the greatest for having it. In this instance, it was a job which involved coming up with some badge designs, based around a logo for an event called Human Race.


Human Race is the largest and most diverse mass participation events company in the UK, with a portfolio of over 55 events each year including Triathlon, Cycling, Running, Open Water Swimming, Duathlon, Off-Road, WomenOnly, Corporate and Youth events.
Included in their portfolio are the UK’s most prestigious sportive cycling event, the Wiggle Dragon Ride, the famous Windsor Triathlon, the gruelling BallBuster events and the unique WomenOnly series including the cycling series, Cycletta.
To find out more, please click on the logo above.


15.08.13 10:05

Thursday 15th August 2013

In May of last year, I talked about a font designer, Kimberly Geswein, and I’m about to again… this time it’s about one of her fonts in particular, Gloria Hallelujah, which is available for free download from FontSpace and DaFont.


This clean, natural, simple handwritten font was first designed in 2010 and has had various updates done since then, such as more accented characters, making a far more complete character set.
Please click on the image above to download your free version.


14.08.13 09:42

Wednesday 14th August 2013

Today I heard some shocking news, in fact, I don’t think news like this has ever had such a profound affect on me. As regular readers of this blog will know, there have been occasions where both Tanya and I have spent the day with our dear friends, Karen and Neil. Even though these days were few and far between, they’re the sort of couple who you instantly hit it off with, no matter how long the period of time was since you last saw them.
Anyway, Tanya had tried contacting the two of them on the 30th June, asking about arranging another meet up, with no success, so then backed her message up with, “Guess that’s a no then”, on the 16th July.
So, on the 5th August I said, “Maybe I’ll ask instead… been over a year since we all met up, how about arranging somewhere?” and without going into too much detail, Neil replied and asked that I phone him, “Now”. It was then, that night, having phoned him, I found out that Karen had terminal cancer; it was one of those moments where you couldn’t, and didn’t, want to believe what you were hearing. Despite it being a subject you can’t joke about, I wanted to hear, “Ha! Fooled you!”


When I spoke with Neil, he said it couldn’t be determined as to how long Karen had to live, yet when I received a phone call from him this morning, I feared the worse, and I was right, Karen had died. I’ve never been hit so hard with floods of emotions, I wanted to burst into tears there and then, only I had to remain strong for Neil, it was very important. From finishing on the phone to him, I just couldn’t comprehend the news, it was Karen, a dear friend, a friend who was just a few years older than me. Having been told she had cancer, she died a week later, such a tragic, tragic loss, so I couldn’t even begin to think about how Neil and their daughter, Rosalie, were coping. Such a witty and lovely woman who did no wrong, why oh why does this dreadful disease take the best people? Even typing my feelings, some months later, I’m still rereading what I’ve said, still completely affected by what happened, and wanting to convey how much of a wonderful woman she was. I sincerely hope it comes across, and I hope you approve, Karen, we love and miss you.

I must go on to thank Neil and Rosalie for giving my the consent to publish this, since their feelings are paramount.

Unforgiven (I must point out that this film title had been chosen before I spoke to Neil)

13.08.13 22:01

Tuesday 13th August 2013

If you’re like me, you’ll have done fuck all with regard to sorting out a pension and probably end up in some pissy care home, being abused by the staff as if you were in a dodgy prison. The fact that I’m probably not going to see past 65 anyway is a blessing in disguise really, and if I can perfect spontaneous combustion, it’ll save anyone who cares about me, a fortune (I’ve a spare ten pence if that helps? – Ed)


Anyway, I joined up with Nest today, which stands for National Employment Savings Trust (More like Nothing Even Saved Tosser – Ed). Any employer can use NEST and some of the largest and smallest organisations in the UK have already chosen them to meet their new duties. It’s also flexible enough to be used on its own or alongside other schemes.
I suppose one advantageous factor is the fact that it does have an annual contribution limit for each member’s retirement pot, that being £4,500 for 2013/14. I know that doesn’t sound much at all, yet if I were to contribute the whole amount until I retire, I’d be receiving a sum of £99,000 which would last me at least a week, the way the fucking price of everything is rising.
If you’re in a position where the only thing you’ll own when you’re older is the smell of piss, please do something about it now by clicking on the logo above.


12.08.13 09:01

Monday 12th August 2013

Ended up doing some work where I freelance for a rather exciting sounding company who specialise in app management and development. Based in Basingstoke, Bison Grid integration services make it possible for applications, databases, and EDI systems to seamlessly share information.

bison grid

As the shift to mobile app and web access has been accelerating with the introduction of multi-touch smartphones and tablets, Bison Grid aim to make eCommerce solutions reliable and accessible on these devices, adding value to services, automating processes and reducing costs.
Please click on the logo to find out more.


11.08.13 15:00

Sunday 11th August 2013

Definitely a day of rest today, so I spent some time writing my blog (Yeah right – Ed) and then eventually settled down to watch the 2013 FA Community Shield final, televised from Wembley Stadium. Just in case there are some readers who don’t know the first thing about football, it happens every year, this being the 91st final, and it’s always between the winners of the previous season’s Premier League and the FA Cup Final, these being Manchester United and Wigan Athletic, respectively. Following Wigan’s relegation to the Football League Championship just days after their FA Cup triumph, it was the first time a team from outside the top flight had featured in the Community Shield since West Ham United in 1980.

It was as good as given that Manchester United would win, though Wigan did put up a very valiant fight indeed, however goals by Robin Van Persie in the 6th and 59th minute sealed a 2-0 victory for United, making it a record 16th time outright, as well as sealing David Moyes’ (I’m sure his surname means pubic hair in Thai – Ed) first silverware for the club since him taking over after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement at the end of 2012-13 season.

FA community shield

Before directing you to the usual link, here’s a bit of interesting Community Shield trivia (which was once called the Charity Shield)…
The FA Charity Shield, as it was formerly known, was first played for in 1908. It evolved from the “Sheriff of London Shield” fixture that had been played annually between a leading professional club and a leading amateur club. ?In 1904, for example, famous amateurs Corinthians (as in ‘the Corinthian spirit’) took on FA Cup holders Bury…and beat them 10-3!
The highest-scoring Shield match took place in 1911 when Manchester United beat Swindon Town 8-4. In the following year, some of the Shield proceeds were donated to the Lord Mayor of London’s ‘Titanic’ disaster fund.
In 1967 Tottenham goalkeeper Pat Jennings scored a goal from his own penalty area against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Alex Stepney was the embarrassed ‘keeper at the other end and the match finished 3-3.
The Shield was taken to Wembley in 1974 and 67,000 saw Liverpool beat Leeds 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. On a hot afternoon when tempers became frayed, Billy Bremner and Kevin Keegan were sent off.
Time for the link… click on the logo above to find out more.


10.08.13 09:34

Saturday 10th August 2013

Our long-awaited trip to The London was here, so we all met up at Havant Station and boarded the 09:34 train to Waterloo… was very much looking forward to today (Hadn’t noticed – Ed). The journey usually takes approximately an hour and a half, but with good company and an informative laminate, the journey flew by.

the dove sticky wicket

We kicked off today’s proceedings with our first pub, the furthest out of the city, Hammersmith W6 to be precise, called The Dove, with a pint of Fuller’s ‘Sticky Wicket’, 4.7% ABV.
A public house has stood on this site since the seventeenth century. Throughout these years our sturdy bar has propped up some of the finest figures of English history. The poet James Thomson composed the familiar strains of ‘Rule Britannia’ here. Charles II romanced and dined his mistress Nell Gwynne here.  And in the famous novel ‘The Water Gypsies’, author A P Herbert features it under a cheeky pseudonym; ‘The Pigeons’.
It’s not just the clientele, but the building itself that has some amazing claims to fame. The small space to the right of the bar, reached through an extra entrance only the eagle-eyed will spot, went into the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest bar room in the world. Step inside it and you’ll see the brass plaque that marks the height the waters reached in the great flood of 1928.
More information about the pub or the beer can be found by clicking on either image above.

the nags head adnams bitter

From there, it was then a journey on the Piccadilly Line to our next pub, The Nag’s Head at Belgravia SW1, where we had a pint of Adnam’s ‘Bitter’, 3.7% ABV. What an amazing pub, absolutely jam-packed with all sorts of interesting paraphernalia… below are a few shots I took inside (You’ve been in prison? No wonder your blog’s fucked – Ed)


This charming little hostelry hasn’t changed much in three hundred years. The front bar has a beer shop interior with bare floor boards and wooden panelling. There’s a plethora of genuine curiosities and bric-a-brac, including some working penny arcade machines and a what-the-butler-saw type viewing box ‘in 3D still pictures’. The centre piece is a stove from the 1820’s. Another individual aspect is that bar staff are at a much lower level than the customers and bar stools are at chair height, which is somehow disconcerting. Mounted on the counter is a wonderful pewter beer engine with pretty pink ceramic Chelsea Pottery handpulls.
To find out more, please click on either image above.

ship tavern ship tavern 1549

The third pub on our crawl was The Ship Tavern in Holborn WC2 where we had a pint of ‘The Ship Tavern 1549’; not sure whether this was a standard beer rebranded or not but it was quite a pleasant 4.1% ABV house ale, all the same.
The Ship Tavern was established in 1549 and has been at the heart of Holborn’s social scene for nearly 500 years. The original Tavern was then only half the size as it is today and constructed mostly from timber. Its main purpose was to quench the thirst of exhausted labourers who were tending to the nearby fields, now partly Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It has featured in many haunted publications on London including ‘Haunted Walks of London’.
Please click on either image above to find out more.

cross keys bethnal green bitter

We were now halfway through our crawl with a visit to The Cross Keys in Covent Garden WC2, where we had a pint of Brodie’s Bethnal Green Bitter, a very hoppy 4.0% ABV bitter.
If you think the façade of this foliage-covered Covent Garden fringe pub is ornate, wait until you go inside. The modestly-scaled, interior houses a cornucopia of ornaments, mirrors, pictures, horse brasses, road signs, brass pots, and even the odd stuffed fish. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a small collection of Beatles memorabilia, and a napkin signed by Elvis Presley.
More information about the pub or the beer can be found by clicking on either image above.

dog and duck great grey owl

Next up, The Dog and Duck in Soho W1 (Almost poetic, not – Ed), our fifth pub where we enjoyed a pint of Butcombe ‘Great Grey Owl’ (well, not all of us, some of us, such as Rich, made a big mistake being sucked in by a cherry beer, I ask you!) a very quaffable 3.6% ABV American Pale Ale.
A gorgeous, small and very popular Soho pub, it was built in 1897 to designs by the architect Francis Chambers for Cannon Brewery. The exterior has glazed brick upper floors incorporating a stone carving of the animals mentioned in its name (note also the delightful mosaic of the animals at the Frith Street entrance). The ground floor has polished granite and larvikite facings, which probably date from a 1930s makeover.
To find out more about the pub or the beer, please click on the relevant image above.

the laminate the tube the gang
The laminate · The Tube · The Gang © 2013 Richard M Collins

the old coffee house old street pale

The sixth establishment we visited was The Old Coffee House in Soho W1, and in fact, the majority of us actually decided to buy a Coke as well as a beer while we were in here, we’d all had beers that had started to affect our taste buds somewhat, so it was a great way to ‘freshen up’, so to speak. The beer choice this time was Brodie’s Old Street Pale, 5.0% ABV.
The Old Coffee House is a traditional looking pub, with loads of knickknacks hanging from the ceiling and pictures on the wall to impress the tourists, (with one artefact that was very impressive indeed; a ticket for a boxing match, Muhammad Ali v Henry Cooper from Saturday, May 21st, 1966) – plenty of brewery mirrors in evidence, along with recruitment posters from the second World War and stuffed birds. It doesn’t have that forced olde worlde look some places do, however, probably because it’s looked like this forever.
For more information about the pub or beer, please click the relevant image above.

the barley mow camden pale ale

Before we knew it, we were on to our penultimate pub, The Barley Mow in Mayfair W1, where the majority of us enjoyed a Camden Town Brewery ‘Pale Ale’, a 4.0% ABV pale ale (You mean it’s called a pale ale and it is a pale ale? Wow! – Ed).
The Barley Mow is located in elegant Mayfair, very closely situated to the American Embassy. Records show that an Inn was built on this site in the early 18th century. The current building was adopted as the Japanese Ambassador’s house and was linked to the embassy via an underground tunnel. Following the First World War, it returned to use as a public house. In his best seller ‘Sunbirds’, Wilbur Smith mentions having a nice pint in the Barley Mow.
Please click on either image above to find out more about the pub or the beer.

the king's arms sunset blonde

So… we’d descended upon our last pub… what a great day, and big thanks to Rich for planning such a superb, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable day, once more… the last of the eight being The King’s Arms in Waterloo SE1, a thoroughly enchanting pub. Here we all had different ales, I chose one I’d had before, Cross Bay Brewery ‘Sunset Blonde’, a 4.2% ABV blonde ale.
The King’s Arms is located on an impossibly handsome street of nineteenth-century workers’ cottages, in the backstreets of Waterloo. It’s a lovely little back street boozer in a terrace of immaculate Georgian two-up-two down, just to the rear or Waterloo East Station. With a staggering nine real ale pumps on offer, you’d be hard-pushed to find an ale you wouldn’t like.
To find out more about the pub or the beer, please click on the relevant image above.

And so the day came to a close… a quick stop off for a major helping of scran en route to Waterloo Station and it was then a case of enduring a 90-minute journey home… I say enduring because it was totally spoiled by some idiotic football fans in our carriage who thought it their right to be rowdy and smoke spliffs. Absolute wankers.


09.08.13 09:21

Friday 9th August 2013

I’ve talked about all kinds of music I like on my blog… I recall talking about Jellyfish, Muse, Rolling Stones, Stray Cats, Ultravox, Whitey (Don’t recall you mentioning Whitey – Ed) and I’m sure there have been a few others along the way. Anyway, I decided to blast a few tunes out whilst working this morning by one of the best bands of the 80s, Duran Duran.
It’s weird, since they’re like many 80s bands, much of their credibility has been gained since the 80s, mostly down to them being a New Romantic band and therefore being ousted by many of the Punks and Mods of that era. Nevertheless, they’ve stood the test of time, immensely so.

duran duran

When you consider the amount of massive hits they’ve had, it’s no wonder they’re still a force to be reckoned with… Planet Earth, Rio, Hungry Like The Wolf, Save A Prayer, Union Of The Snake, New Moon On Monday and that list is from their first three albums alone.
Duran Duran were formed in Birmingham in 1978, and became one of the most successful bands of the 1980s. The group was formed by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor, with the later addition of Roger Taylor, and after numerous personnel changes, Andy Taylor and Simon Le Bon. Since the 1980s, they have placed 14 singles in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the Billboard Hot 100, and according to the Sunday Mercury, they have sold more than 100 million records.
To visit their official website, please click on their logo above.


08.08.13 16:01

Thursday 8th August 2013

I wanted to design a bespoke t-shirt for our forthcoming pub crawl in London and, as usual, I’d forgotten to place an order for a t-shirt where I freelance, so it was a case of relying on what was in stock. Luckily, they had a red t-shirt, which has always proved to be a very British colour, so it was a case of reinventing the colours of my logo to suit the t-shirt… navy blue and a pale grey worked perfectly.


The t-shirt was manufactured by a brand I’d never heard of today, the usual stock held where I freelance is Gildan… great range of t-shirt colours, in fact they’re easily the best, yet their neck lines become distorted after regular use. The brand I’m referring to are called Okarma.
Launched in 2007, Okarma has been providing the promotional and corporate wear market with an ethical choice. Climate change, creating sustainable clothing, reducing waste and recycling are hot topics, not just within the garment industry, but in the world at large. As the public have become more aware of these issues, the demand for clothing that highlights their environmental responsibility has grown. Okarma provides the promotional market with an ethical choice of garment: a responsible alternative that will leave a minimal environmental footprint, and makes a positive difference to the people at every stage in production.
Please click on their logo above to find out more.


07.08.13 15:53

Wednesday 7th August 2013

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been very ill recently (My heart fucking bleeds – Ed) and I’ve had various tests for all kinds of shit, including some actually on my shit, to find out why I keep having horrendous stomach pains. Things are getting worse and worse and I’ve really no idea why (Ale?) and they’ve got to the pint (Don’t you mean point? – Ed) where I’ve now been prescribed some antacid drugs.


Rather than bore you with what they are, okay, they were Omeprazole gastro-resistant capsules, the logo actually caught my eye more, it’s really rather cool (Fucking hell, are you ever going to stop being a geeky twat? – Ed) The capsules are manufactured by Mylan, one of the world’s leading generics and specialty pharmaceutical companies, providing products to customers in approximately 140 countries and territories.
The company maintains one of the industry’s broadest and highest quality product portfolios, which is regularly bolstered by an innovative and robust product pipeline.
To get drugged up on more information about them, please click on their very cool logo above.


06.08.13 17:20

Tuesday 6th August 2013

With our City Pub Crawl in London imminent, and the British weather still being positively amazing, it was of the general consensus that I needed to buy some decent shorts for the event. Tanya persuaded me to go to Chichester on a last-minute whim, in the hope I’d be able to find some. Having exhausted literally all the possibilities in the various fashion shops, there was one last option, House of Fraser…

criminal clothing

Just as I was about to give up all hope in there as well, we spotted some on a mannequin that I rather liked the look of… the only trouble was, they weren’t the right size as such, unless of course, the sizing was on the generous side… thankfully it was.
Criminal Clothing was established in Bournemouth on the South Coast of England. This lifestyle brand has grown in stature and following since its birth in 1999. Criminal takes an upbeat view of life and enjoys challenging the norm and is renowned for its tongue-in-cheek attitude and party loving culture. The brand’s designers draw inspiration from collegiate style and footie-terrace culture.
Please click on the logo above to find out more.


05.08.13 13:48

Monday 5th August 2013

Just when I thought I’d found every website devoted to fonts and typography, I found an excellent one today, written by someone who may even be geekier than me about them. It’s written by British-born writer, publisher and graphic designer living in Vietnam, John Boardley.


I love Typography (ILT) was born on August 7, 2007. It exists because he has a passion for typography, type design, and lettering, and for the words born of those disciplines. And, as a child, he wondered why the teacher asked us to draw the letter a as an o with a tail, when, in my books, the a’s had an extra bit at the top. My sentiments entirely.
To find out more, including doing a very entertaining font quiz, please click on Photina MT Ultra Bold Italic (Geek – Ed)


04.08.13 14:31

Sunday 4th August 2013

Having come up with the preliminary ideas for Fix8 earlier in the week, the project was taken one stage further, including me drawing some final ideas, taking a little more research along the way.

HR visual

A very short blog this, since there’s little else to show, other than one of the finished shirts, which look superb, even though I say so myself.


(Where the fuck’s the fucking bastard 36twatting5 gone? – Ed)

03.08.13 13:49

Saturday 3rd August 2013

I’d been working an awful lot recently and needed a bit of a break, so when Tanya suggested I went to Old Portsmouth with her and Sonny, stopping at The Still and West for a beer, I decided I’d take her up on the offer. We arrived in Old Portsmouth and had a stroll down to the pub, where we then had a pint of one of our favourite Fuller’s beers, ‘Wild River’. From there, we then sat on the small beach which lies the other side of the arches, cleverly called Old Portsmouth Beach. We sat there for quite some time, playing with the shingle and seaweed on the beach (Sounds riveting – Ed) before making our way to The Ship Inn at Langstone.

sticky wicket

Sonny was fast asleep by now and, apart from it being incredibly windy, it was a lovely, sunny day, so we sat outside with a pint of Fuller’s ‘Sticky Wicket’. This excellent 4.7% ABV ale was brewed with The Ashes in mind, a collaboration brew with Fuller’s and Brad Rogers, co-founder and Head Brewer of Stone & Wood Brewing Co, based in Byron Bay. They produced a very quaffable ale indeed.
For more information, please click on the pump clip above.