the-casual-optimist

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K – a mix for kieren walker: son, brother, rotter, optimist with depressive tendencies, dead best friend forever – [LISTEN]

amy once asked me, how many miles would I have to go before I could be okay with myself? I thought I’d have to go round the whole world.

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Kamala, a second-generation Pakistani-American, isn’t Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, but she is the first to get a solo title — and certainly the first to get the title of Ms. Marvel.

“There’s a burden of representation that comes into play when there aren’t enough representatives of a certain group in popular culture. So the few ones that do exist come under increased scrutiny and pressure, because they’re expected to represent everybody. Obviously, you can’t do that with one character and you shouldn’t, because it would stifle the narrative and prevent them from becoming a fully-realized person. So I think in situations like that, you just have to tread lightly and trust your gut. Kamala is not a token anything in any way. She’s very much her own quirky, unique, wonderful person. She’s not a poster girl for her religion and she doesn’t fall into any neat little box.”

preview of Ms. Marvel #1 + interview with writer G. Willow Wilson

The Casual Optimist has done another great Q&A, this time with Alistair Hall, founder of design studio We Made This. I found this question really interesting and similar to my own thoughts (also my second post about inspiration this week after this one) ; 

“Where else do you look for inspiration?

Well, I think the most important part of the design process is research, and you never really know where that might lead you. If I was being unecessarily fanciful, I’d say it’s a bit like being a private detective – the brief is the case, and the solution to the case is out there somewhere. You just have to know where to look, who to interrogate. But you don’t have to wear a trenchcoat.

I might start with some online research but I try to move to something physical as quickly as possible. Living in London we’re blessed with a vast wealth of fantastic libraries, museums and galleries, and I often find myself heading to them to find specific visual references. The City of London Libraries’ online catalogue is often one of my first points of call – of the libraries it covers, the St Bride Library is particularly lovely, though at the time of writing, it’s open by appointment only.

I have a Ffffound page too, which is useful as an online scrapbook for keeping track of any visual bits online that catch my eye. Though we were discussing in the studio the other day whether one of the dangers of the web is that we’re all looking at the same stuff at the same time. A particular style can become omnipresent very quickly – it’s called the world wide web for a good reason – and it’s possible that regional design styles are rather fading away as a result, and everything is becoming a tad homogeneous. The web is great, but you know, approach with caution.”

Read the rest of the Q&A here; http://www.casualoptimist.com/2012/03/22/q-a-with-alistair-hall-we-made-this/ 

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The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Book Posters by Gunter Rambow

If you follow me at all on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m working on a post about meta-covers, or book covers with books on them. It’s proving to be a much more difficult task than I first imagined, and it’s taking a very long time to pull it all together. It is, finally, almost done, and I hope it will be on the blog in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, however, I came across these remarkable book posters by German designer Gunter Rambow for S. Fischer Verlag from the 1970s while compiling images for the post, and I thought I would share them now while you wait.

Thanks to But does it float

Werewolves of Montpellier by Jason

Named to NPR, Las Vegas Weekly, Graphic Novel Reporter, The Casual Optimist, Comic Book Resources, Attentiondeficitdisorderly, Hypergeek, and Robot 6’s Best of 2010 lists. Sven, a semi-aimless Scandinavian artist who has ended up in Montpellier, France on a futile romantic pursuit, enjoys nocturnal raids into other people’s homes, disguised as a werewolf. The way he figures it, the disguise will give him an extra few moments’ advantage vis-à-vis any startled home owner if things get ugly… but he hasn’t taken into account the existence of a society of real Montpellier-based werewolves who do not take kindly to this new pretender. So while Sven spends his days playing chess and poker with his friends, sketching his way through his picturesque chosen hometown, and coping with romantic dilemmas – both his and those of his best friend, the Breakfast-at-Tiffany’s-obsessed Audrey, who has girl troubles of her own – little does he realize that a genuine threat to his life, and for that matter his humanity, is closing in on him. Werewolves of Montpellier is a lycanthropic thriller, a romantic comedy, and an existential drama – beware the full moon! 

casualoptimist.com
Olivia Laing on the Future of Loneliness | The Casual Optimist

“As with the city itself, the promise of the internet is contact. It seems to offer an antidote to loneliness, trumping even the most utopian urban environment by enabling strangers to develop relationships along shared lines of interest, no matter how shy or isolated they might be in their own physical lives.

"But proximity, as city dwellers know, does not necessarily mean intimacy. Access to other people is not by itself enough to dispel the gloom of internal isolation. Loneliness can be most acute in a crowd.”