Saturday 8 October 2016


No Sunday permits?

Signs carry meanings beyond their messages, and messages beyond their meanings.

Is the chair not fit for use, perhaps broken, or is it just not being used at present?

Is a 'SA  LE' more than a' SALE' - a further reduction of the word itself?

Is this dentist good at extractions?

Does 'NO PARKING' not mean 'NO PARKING'?

Does this sign confirm that there is never such a thing as a 'FREE LUNCH'?

20 October 2016

Did no one monitor the sign?

Signs of a sign

15 November 2016

Don't just sit there and smoke: get a job!

21 November 2016

Raise your right hand for the emergency button on the left!

26 December 2016

Hopefully I have not missed the train!

Tuesday 4 October 2016


On reading Kenneth White's poetry Open World The Collected Poems 1960 – 2000 Polygon Books, Edinburgh, 2003: the words seem ordinary, banal, as though telling a story, reporting on everyday experience. One ponders: why is this man and his poetry so eulogised? It seems that the language is merely structured to look like a poem. There is disappointment. One expected more than simple descriptions, retelling, expounding; but one reads on. Slowly with time one realises that something has happened. The words loiter as do the emotions, the sounds, the feelings of place and nature. There is power here, a very special sensing. One knows the rain in all its subtlety just in a few words. How does language do this? How can it? The rich simplicity beguiles. The masterful use of language is astonishing; intelligent; remembering Basho; knowing feeling. Words linger longer and longing, divers diverse phrases, senses, reverences: there is something strange here, wondrous.
Ordinary statements reverberate, resonate, pause, surprise. They hold much more than their quantity suggests: they echo with substance.

Myth can still hit you
momentarily in a Boeing

The words won't leave me: no, not words, the feelings; no, the ideas; no, the being, the being there, the experience in all its rich, resonant wholeness and depth. This is powerful poetry. This is life in all of its togetherness, amazement; tiny things touched, recognised, loved, revealed. Ordinary things made extraordinary in a simple, almost nondescript manner, specially, especially. Pure poetry in every way; cliches too, but not, never: lived feeling recorded; beauty brushed in the now.
These poems are meditations on being exposing the raw beauty of the ordinary mystery of reality - those instantaneous fragments of feeling, of perception are referenced, framed and clarified: touched; touching.

I read his words and shiver:

p. 224
Between a question and a question
between a silence and a silence
the river's murmuring

The more one reads the more one is astonished by the guile, that basic, simplistic use of words that astonishes so completely.

all truth ultimately
within the body
the body-mind
word flesh image bone

the inarticulate heart's tree tone.

To the Bone
Hearing the bird cry

back up there
in the fields behind Fair lie

an autumn afternoon
the chill air
the gold suturning red

reality right to the bone.

But what has this to do with architecture - just that the poetic is never forced, that ordinary simplicity can hold a depth of meaning. One does not have to perform, to out-perform just too much in order to achieve – quality; significance.
It is White who describes the creative process most clearly:

for the question is always
out of all the chances and changes
to select
the features of real significance
so as to make
of the welter
a world that will last
and how to order
the signs and symbols
so they will continue
to form new patterns
developing into
new harmonic wholes
so to keep life alive
in complexity
and complicity
with all of being-
there is only poetry.

Wave I - from ‘Walking The Coast’

It is the coast that attracts the poet:

All those kyles, lochs and sounds…

* * *

And the gulls at Largs pier:
sitting in that cafe
at the big window full of wind and light
reading and watching

* * *

Walking the coast
all those kyles, loch and sounds
sensing the openness
feeling out the lines
order and anarchy
chaos and cosmology
a mental geography

* * *

Let the images
go bright and fast
and the concepts be extravagant
(wild host to erratic guest)
that’s the only way
to say the coast
all the irregular reality
of the rocky sea-washed West

Extracts from ‘Scotia Deserta’

But there is more in ordinary, simple, everyday things, like his coat:

Old shamanskin, listen
while we’re moving farther on

this poem is for you
I’ll pin it on your lining

may we remain long together
through all kinds of weather

and enjoy the travelling.

from Poem To My Coat

Think of architecture as a coat - shelter: a poem.