I have such a thing for handmade shop signs. Outsider typography. Amateur signage. However unprofessional it seems however, I always find myself taking more note of it than if it were more officious or standard. I like here too that they’ve made the effort to use 4 different colours. It’s also only just reminded me of the work of Paul Davis.

1963 ‘parking lot tree’ tyre tracks in a show covered car park. Via Kottke who later updated his post with another lovely example from Feltron:

Fits well with my love of this type of documentary. With the top image though I was keen to try and find the original source and so again referred to Tineye for reverse image search help. That led me to this Flashback page from 2014

Using Google reverse image search it’s possible to dig a little deeper. First the image seemed to surface around 2009. But the furthest back I can find it is on this 2004 ‘scanned and grabbed’ page (scroll down to the ‘parking lot’ link). 

Fittingly enough, that oook.info site is run by anthropologist Hugh Blackmer, and his blog looks great. What a successful hyperlink rabbit warren that turned out to be.

While preparing a talk the other day for Kingston Uni students I realised how the above examples of ‘There, I Fixed It’ actually display some really creative design thinking. Not to mention thrifty recycling. Yes, some are incredibly dangerous or likely inefficiency, but from an immediate need and iterative point of view, they’re great examples of superb fluid thinking. A little like my own efforts over the years with rubber bands!

Blown away this morning by the set up at Kingston University. Room after room / floor after floor of everything you could possibly need for any discipline of design. This room was full of wood and metal work machinery and set out and functioning incredibly well. Full of active and engaged students as well. Impressive stuff. So nice to be inspired by by an institution when you’re so long out of them. 

It usually feels like a gimmick when I use the Pano feature on the iPhone but today at Ravana Falls in Ella I think I found the sweet spot. Something different in each area, combining to make an interesting composition. No big bit of boring between two things of interest or just a long landscape pan that’s mostly the same all the way. This captures the space and experience perfectly. So funny to think how hard these were in days of shooting film or even before decent stitching software.

More car and transport thoughts. Starting to worry about thinking so much about this and not just relaxing etc. But observations keep intriguing me. To cut some short, here they are in short.

The road ‘system’ here is simple it seems. If a bit scary. Basically: Avoid a crash or have one. No mitigation like in the UK or elsewhere, a la “it was my right of way, he should have looked, she’s a bad driver not me” and so on. Here, it seems like it’s your responsibility not to crash into a slow moving TukTuk or a fast moving bus or an overtaker in the middle of the road or a cow or a dog etc.

Keep your wits about you because other people come out of nowhere, and from either side of the road. It reminds me of my cycling in London mantra: Ride like no one can see you (except the police). If you expect everyone else to pay attention and see you and follow all the rules, you’re very likely to encounter and hit someone that doesn’t meet your expectations. Realise that anyone could do anything at any time and you’ll drive more carefully, and so might they. It’s mutually assured destruction for the road.

There’s also a language of horns here, which seem to be more chatty than horns in the UK or elsewhere. More ‘meep’ than ‘BEEP!’ Like Roadrunner. They use them a lot, but as genuine attempts to tell someone about their presence. Like, “Hey, hey, hello, yo, yo, yo, coming past, right behind you.” It never seems passive aggressive like ‘I’M HERE! HELLO! JUST GIVING YOU A ‘WARNING’ AFTER YOU PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF ME, OK!’

And that friendly, or at least, not passive aggressive quality extends even further: I haven’t seen any road rage. None. I catch myself jumping and thinking “Idiot!” or “What were they thinking!” but our drivers never flinch.

Maybe it’s the Buddhist influence? It’s cultural for sure, as every driver we’ve had and all those we’ve seen have been the same. I’m starting to feel like a testosterone filled oaf for the automatic thoughts I have about other ‘crazy’ drivers. They’re just driving man! You do the same and look out for yourself. Going to try and bring that home for sure.

Yellow crossings. Like Zebra crossings but yellow, and, with no seeming relevance to anything. As in, people cross where they can and drivers never slow unless they they really have to (meaning, that they’re endangered if they don’t). The hierarchy of Lorry, Bus, Van, Car, TukTuk, Motorbike, Bicycle and Pedestrian seems to be another soft sort of rule, but again, not one you’d want to rely on or expect to be followed. It just mostly works. Also cows might come after busses in that list, or at the very top. Can’t quite tell if they’re as sacred here as elsewhere in the continent.

Finally, Lanka Ashok Leyland and TATA. Two massive brands on the road here. Both seem to make 70s/80s Tonka toy-like vehicles in their design aesthetic. Maybe because that’s how old they are?

OK. Think I’ve exorcised all my road worthy thoughts for now. Need to get back to holiday. Elephants tomorrow!