Monthly Archives: March 2015

Health and Efficiency

Our hobbies can appear incredibly bizarre to those outside the circle. “From the serenity of casting your rod by a river bank to the joy of hooking a silvery salmon or trout, fishing is a hobby that rewards and rejuvenates,†claims the Silversurfers website. Angling stands as the UK’s most popular pastime and is a market worth over £3billion a year. Now no one appreciates escaping from the family more than I do but I have no idea why someone would run away to a rain-soaked waterway to eat cold beans from a tin.

This is in no way a criticism of those of you who like to tie feathers onto a bit of metal – no doubt you find the reasons I enjoy watching 22 men feigning injury near a football equally impenetrable. We used to have a pair of lodgers for who triathlons were their entire life. Forsaking beer and pizza…going without anything resembling fun in fact…they would vanish every weekend to do whatever it is that a triathlon involves. I’m still unsure of that bit as I used to feign death whenever they’d begin talking about it. Which was a lot, they had to fill in the time when they’d otherwise be having fun somehow.

But I guess I’m becoming them thanks to vaping. Thanks a bunch, vaping.

The other week found me in a local cycle store. My requirements were quite simple; I needed something to carry my bulk, aid me shedding some of it and (most importantly) it had to be black. Unlike Bradley Wiggins, I never found smoking compatible with being able to achieve any level of fitness. I found fags complimented beer and pizza far better than peddling up the Alpe D’Huez. If I’d try to cycle and smoke I’d have been a smouldering, coughing heap on the floor.

I wheeled the thing out of the shop like a kid on Christmas Day. I was going to do the eleven miles home on it but, of course, I had no idea it was eleven miles. In a car it only took a few minutes therefore it had to be damn close. “I would suggest you are very careful if you haven’t ridden for a while,†advised the shopkeeper. Damn, if Mr Benn could get away with ignoring shopkeepers then I’m pretty sure I can too.

All began brilliantly. The sun was out and it was downhill to the reservoir with a flat track all the way around. The air was so crisp. You know how I know? Of course you do – because I vape. The middle and the end sailed by as enjoyably as the first bit. Even if Glantz and his chums refuse to accept anecdotal evidence – we know for a fact that vaping is orders of magnitude better than smoking because we experience it on a daily basis.

We walk further, breath deeper, move freer and can enjoy the benefits of exerci…hang on a minute…are you feigning death? Right, I’m off to peruse an issue of H&E.

Making Design Plans For Nigel

The architectural design critic has to be one of the top jobs in the list of Most Utterly Pointless Professions. Some people get paid to look at a building and slag it off in print for not being buildingly enough for them. John Loudon, a Victorian arbiter of design taste, declared that: “To hang an open iron gate to a wooden doorframe is a gross violation.â€

People vehemently objecting to particular designs predate Prince Charles and his carbuncle outburst by some measure. Only this week a Guardian journalist was laying in to the government’s Starter Homes Design document as if its authors had stolen his mum’s pension and were responsible for the Erlkönigin.


“There is no doubt whatever about the influence of architecture and structure upon human character and action.We make our buildings and afterwards they make us. They regulate the course of our lives.â€
Winston Churchill, addressing the English Architectural Association, 1924

For a long time 3rd Gen equipment was distinctive by its regional influence and easily identifiable as such. While European manufacturers aimed for a simplicity of form, clean lines and plain steel, Americans broke out the engraving kits to add their own take on flair. Meanwhile, over in the Philippines, mod makers appeared to load up on hallucinogenics and engage in a game of Dare to see who could produce the gaudiest thing possible. The word gaudy predates Antoni Gaudí but it is as though he had a hand in the making of Pinoy mech.

It seems appropriate that the circle features so prominently in mod design, especially given that medieval scholars believed there was something intrinsically divine found in them; our quest for the perfect vape to be found within the set of points on a plane, all equidistant from the centre.

There are many reasons why I value Satburn’s Sat22 atomiser above all the other gear that has drifted through my hands – but none more so than its appearance. There is a glorious Bauhaus quality to it. I find simply looking at it mesmerising, it rewards beyond the vape; an appreciation of the design styles that extend to admiring the concentric circles of the Squape-R spreading out like pond ripples.

Brutalist box mods dominate sales currently, buyers opting for pure functionality in their purchase. As minimalist as they are, as one of the few in the country who adored Northampton’s sadly no more bus station, I adore them. Meanwhile the high end boxes are embracing the C-curve which, when I see it in conjunction with a StiG logo, sings modernism to me.

Of course, some people would say: “shut up talking guff and just vape.â€