This summer has been a busy one. Since I last wrote here, the British — or half of them anyway — decided to leave the EU; rhetoric concerning refugees became increasingly toxic; a spate of terror attacks has left communities all over the world reeling; and Trump has made hundreds of gaffes, none of which seem to have dented his popularity with the tens of thousands disenchanted with mainstream politics in America.
Closer to home, I have moved house twice, signed off the final final final version of The Secret Lives of Colour, which will be published on October 20th (and can now be pre-ordered from Amazon), and started researching in earnest books two and three (I know! More on that in the books section when I can). So, I have dispensed with the monthly version of this for the moment and done an extra-long summer version of the many fascinating and unexpected things that I’ve come across, and three things by me at the bottom.
Hello from a not-so-sunny London
I’m back after a glorious week in Scotland where it was 22 degrees every day (see photo above). I don’t normally do plugs for places I’ve visited here but I’m going to make an exception for Corrie House B&B, run by Barrie and Joan. They were charming, their breakfasts were the stuff of dreams and they looked after us so well that all I want to do is hop on a plane and go straight back.
Fresh for May: the best things I’ve read and seen online this month:
Ever wanted to know what other people do when they think no one is watching? Gay Talese’s gripping account of a motel-owner, who, after decades of spying on his guests, decided: “People are basically dishonest and unclean; they cheat and lie and are motivated by self-interest.”
The Western women who join ISIS
Here it is! The beautiful cover to “The Secret Lives of Colour”, which will be published by John Murray in October. For the princely sum of £20 you will learn about the brown that changed the way battles were fought, the white that was thought to protect against the plague and why the pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones insisted on giving a tube of paint a decent burial.
For spring: an experiment in the form of a monthly design round-up with an odd smattering of opinions and news thrown in. If you like it—or if you think it’s terrible and want to offer suggestions—let me know on Twitter on in the comments below. Enjoy!