Cultrface is a blog about culture and how it can enrich our lives.

Out now: 'Clarks in Jamaica' (revised second edition)

Jamaica loves Clarks shoes and Clarks in Jamaica by Al Fingers celebrates that with its second revised edition:

Clarks in Jamaica is a colourful, in-depth study into Clarks’ celebrated status in Jamaica, where for decades they have ruled as the “champion shoes”. Starting with the origins of the Clarks brand in 1825, the book goes on to detail the arrival of the brand in the West indies over one hundred years ago, the adoption of the Desert Boot as the rude boy and Rasta shoe of choice in the 1960s, and the filtering of this popularity into reggae and dancehall song lyrics.

Featuring current and historic photographs, interviews and never-before-seen archive material, this classic style reference explores how footwear made by a Quaker firm in the quiet English village of Street, Somerset became the “baddest” shoes in Jamaica and an essential part of the island’s culture.

Clarks in Jamaica is out now, available at Gardners (UK) and SCB (US) for £39.99 and $59.99, respectively.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Official Trailer)

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE - Official Trailer (HD)

This trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage dropped in May and while I’ve already watched it, I’m just getting around to posting it here because I got busy I guess. That said, watching it a second time has improved my opinion. I didn’t enjoy the first Venom movie all that much but I love Venom and Carnage so I’ll take any excuse to watch them in a film together.

Tom Hardy reprises his role as Eddie Brock/Venom alongside Woody Harrelson (Cletus Kasady/Carnage), Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, Stephen Graham as Detective Mulligan, Naomie Harris as Shriek, and Peggy Lu returns as Mrs. Chen.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is scheduled for release in the UK on 15th September, and then in the US on 24th September.

10 recurring economic falsehoods from 1774–2004

I found this on an old Kottke.org article. As the title suggests, it’s a list of economic fallacies that kept cropping up between 1774 and 2004 and, unfortunately, they’re still happening today. The fallacies include:

Myth #1: The Broken Window

One of the most persistent is that of the broken window—one breaks and this is celebrated as a boon to the economy: the window manufacturer gets an order; the hardware store sells a window; a carpenter is hired to install it; money circulates; jobs are created; the GDP goes up. In truth, of course, the economy is no better off at all.

True, there is a sudden burst of activity, and some persons have surely gained, but only at the expense of the proprietor whose window was broken, or his insurance company; and if the latter, the other policyholders who will pay higher premiums to pay for paid-out claims, especially if many have been broken.

Myth #2: The Beneficence of War

A second fallacy is the idea of war as an engine of prosperity. Students are taught that World War II ended the Depression; many Americans seem to believe that tax revenues spent on defense contractors (creating jobs) are no loss to the productive economy; and our political leaders continue to believe that expanded government spending is an effective way of bringing an end to a recession and reviving the economy.

The truth is that war, and the preparation for it, is economically wasteful and destructive. Apart from the spoils gained by winning (if it is won) war and defense spending squander labor, resources, and wealth, leaving the country poorer in the end than if these things had been devoted to peaceful endeavors.

Myth #1 is poignant because I remember during the Black Lives Matter protests last year, people were condemning the destruction of windows. I wonder if there’s another link with Myth #2.

Anyway, those are excerpts from the first two. Go read the rest.

Economy related: The impressive economics of Homer Simpson and Nina Banks on Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander and her ideas on economic justice

A study into the fonts used by the top 1,000 websites

Data scientist Michael Li studied the top 1,000 websites and the fonts they used to spot any trends in layouts, design choices, and colours and “to better quantitatively understand the world of web design”. I recommend you check to the whole study but I’ll pull out a few things I found:

  • The most popular number of fonts used in the font-family stack was 2 (so, something like { font-family: Arial, sans-serif; })
  • 14px and 16px are the most common font sizes for paragraph text
  • For headings, “designers choose to use a larger size more often than a heavier weight (94% vs. 82%), but they often use both (76%)”

Nothing too surprising if you know about web design. Sans-serif fonts are most common and paragraph text is most often used at the standard size of 16px (or 1em/rem) and most sites don’t go for a large font stack. For this site, I use a system font stack with a lot of fallbacks for all devices, should my custom font not work for you.

Font related: Helsingin Sanomat’s ‘Climate Crisis’ font that shrinks with the Arctic sea ice, 10 alternatives to Helvetica, and the history of Times New Roman.

Photos of the Bookshelf Theater in the Kadokawa Culture Museum by Ryosuke Kosuge

Japanese photographer Ryosuke Kosuge captured the majesty of The Kadokawa Culture Museum’s Bookshelf Theater – a library with 8m tall bookshelves, containing over 50,000 titles. It’s like a film set or a modern, dizzying interpretation of the Library of Alexandria.

Related: The Instagram account capturing Japanese facades, the captivating neon photography of Liam Wong and the night photography of Junya Watanabe

Looper ranks every Venom from worst to best

Venom is my favourite super villain (as you may or may not know). But everyday is a new opportunity to realise that there are a lot of different versions of the symbiote in the Marvel universe. In April, Michileen Martin compiled a list of the 12 best and worst Venoms.

In 1984, “Amazing Spider-Man” #252 hit the stands bearing a cover with a stark change: Instead of his trademark red and blue, Spider-Man’s costume is black and white. Inside the comic, fans learned the new costume responds to Peter Parker’s thoughts: It can disappear, transform itself into different clothing, and even store items like his wallet. Furthermore, Peter no longer needs to make web fluid, because the suit creates it all on its own. Neither Peter nor his fans knew at the time that one of Marvel’s most popular anti-heroes had just been born.

I’m happy to report—at least for my own ego—that I knew 7 of the 12 chosen, even if I don’t agree with the #1 choice.

Who’s your favourite Venom? Let me know in the comments!

Boston's brutalism

Cast in Concrete: Boston's Brutalism

In Boston, Brutalism is tied closely to City Hall, but the infamous building is far from the only “concrete monstrosity” in the city. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, top architects from around the world took advantage of a rebuilding Boston to design and build what they saw as futuristic, expressive works of art. Brutalism hasn’t gained many fans since then, but public opinion may slowly be changing.

Boston’s City Hall reminds me a lot of the old Central Library in Birmingham (UK, since demolished in 2016) thanks to its inverted ziggurat structure.

Adverts for defunct brands and discontinued products

90's UK TV Adverts - Defunct Brands/Discontinued items.
90's UK TV Adverts - Defunct Brands/Discontinued Items (Part 2)

As a way to feed my nostalgia habit (and an act of self-care because the world is always on fire in some way), I watch old adverts from the 90s. It reminds me of my childhood and I can revisit adverts or products I’ve not heard of for decades. They also act as mini time capsules for brands and products that are no longer with us.

The above videos show some of those defunct brands and products from the UK, ranging from one2one (originally Mercury One2One, then becoming one2one, then rebranding as T-Mobile UK, then merging with Orange as Everything Everywhere, and finally becoming EE. Phew!) to Dollond & Aitchison (the opticians), the Goldfish credit card (later bought by Barclaycard), and Tandy.

Setups: a collection of creator workspaces and tools

If you’re still working from home, doing a hybrid thing, or looking to work from home in the future, you might need some inspiration for your workspace. Setups is a “repository of workspaces, items & tools from the creator community” and could be the answer.

Product designer Siddharth Arun put it all together and takes submissions for the site.

There’s also an Items section that displays the various pieces of tech people use.

Follow @setups_ on Twitter or @setupsco on Instagram for updates.

The watercolour art of Rachel Walker

Rachel Walker is an artist from New Zealand who specialises in watercolour, spray paint, pen and ink artwork.

Rachel’s creative work has seen her involved in a range of projects, from commissioned pieces to painting for film and stage sets. Her career to date has included a number of solo gallery exhibitions, creating cover art for magazines, school journals and albums, and a stint living and painting in rural France. Rachels original and printed works can be viewed in galleries around New Zealand, as well as the walls of many wonderful homes.

I love the vibrancy and energy of her work.

Follow Rachel on Instagram.

The internet's thoughts on Space Jam 2

I’ve not watched Space Jam 2 yet (tomorrow night) but the signs are not good. So I’ve collected a list of reviews that I’ve not read but the varying titles intrigued me.

And an extra special mention to Dom Griffin who did a video review you should watch (I’ll view it after I’ve seen the movie).

I’ll add more to the list as and when.

Peter Sellers as Laurence Olivier as Richard III reciting lyrics from The Beatles's 'A Hard Day's Night'

Peter Sellers was a classic character actor but this took it a step further. In 1965, on an episode of a Beatles-tribute variety show called The Music of Lennon and McCartney, Sellers did a rendition of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in the style of Laurence Olivier’s Richard III.

Watch Olivier’s original performance for a comparison of this meta-acting delight.

Classic Frasier

HILARIOUS bit from "Frasier" - '95

If the writing and acting are still as good as this, the return of Frasier is sure to be a hit (for me at least).

Here, Frasier is trying to get some sleep but external forces (Eddie and Niles’s starter’s pistol) are getting in his way. My favourite line has to be this:

Niles: And there’s no need to get snippy; accidents happen, you know.

Frasier: Oh I’m sorry, was I snippy? I didn’t realize it was too much to ask that there not be GUNPLAY IN MY LIVING ROOM!

No one does acerbic wit and sarcasm quite like Frasier Crane.

Is it OK to cheat when solving crosswords?

For The Guardian, author Alan Connor examined the idea of using tools to help you finish crossword puzzles and whether it’s okay to do so. Those tools usually include:

  • Word-finders
  • Asking friends, family, or colleagues
  • Dictionaries
  • Blogs and forums

His general answer to all of them was “yes” and for varying reasons:

Can I ask a friend?

Of course you can. One stereotype of the solver is the commuter with furrowed brow, poignantly captured by David Nobbs. But many others solve with workmates, with distant relations, in the pub (when possible), in bed. The Guardian’s crossword app even has a “play together” feature, which rather puts an end to the debate.

If you are solving on paper, find a friend who does the same and get into the habit of daily texting. Small pleasures. Can you ask a friend? You must ask a friend.

Dictionaries?

Put it this way: I use them. There are some puzzles (quipticEverymanTimes 2) where you can expect to be familiar with everything the setter asks of you – and there are those where you might encounter something new.

I haven’t done a crossword puzzle in a while. I definitely get the togetherness feature when you ask friends or colleagues as I used to print daily Guardian crosswords out at my old job. I didn’t use any tools to help me find words as I wanted to test my general knowledge but I used tools to confirm definitions of words sometimes. It’s not Scrabble!

Related: Bored Of Crossword Puzzles? Try Nonograms.

Brasilândia: a platform for Black and LGBTQIA+ communities in São Paulo

METAL PRETO / Brasilândia

Ayla Angelos wrote about Brasilândia, a new multidisciplinary platform that showcases the work and communities of Black and LGBTQIA+ people.

Founded by Kelton Campos Fausto and Iama Martinho, Brasilândia was launched to provide content for the people in their neighbourhood. Kelton, a multidisciplinary artist, produces works in the video, painting and performance sphere. “They’re currently interested in the plastic construction of spiritual and cosmological scenes that propose living spaces and possibilities of health,” says Iama, “based on other ways of apprehending reality and the body.” Iama, on the other hand, is a stylist, creative, thinker and fashion producer whom within the Brasilandia space contributes to the production, styling and creation of content in all formats. She graduated in technical garment design and has since been centring her work on the production of fashion in conjunction with the “re-signification” of textile waste, as well as combining her experience as a trans woman living in a country where “transgender people are treated as garbage”.

I really like the tagline: “uma plataforma não uma objetificação” (a platform, not an objectification)

(via It’s Nice That)