The Perfect Home

The Perfect Home was a great three-part BBC series made in 2006 by Alain de Botton on architecture, and I love that you can watch it anytime you like for free now on YouTube. The series was based on his book The Architecture of Happiness, this review gives a good overview of de Botton’s philosophy:

De Botton’s message, then, is fairly simple but valuable precisely because it is simple, readable and cogent. He wants to encourage his readers, and society more generally, to pay more attention to the psychological consequences of design in architecture: that architecture should not be treated as an arcane and specialist discipline to be left to professionals, but as something that affects all our lives, our happiness and well-being. He wants us to look more carefully at our architectural surroundings, pay attention to them and develop a language with which to judge them.

Artist Katie Benge brings the Forest of Dean vividly to life

staghead

My super talented cousin, Katie Benge, is an artist and designer. Katie explains, “Born on Anglesey, Wales I have lived quite a nomadic life. First with my RAF family and then with my New Zealand husband and for the past four years in the Forest of Dean… My latest work is influenced by my Forest of Dean location, drawing the nature that surrounds me, capturing it on recycled wood or slate. All the pieces are hand drawn with Indian Ink and a quill.”

You can see more of Katie’s work here. You can also buy Katie’s prints and other things from here.

pheasant dragonfly crows on slate boxinghares art_swallows art_running-hare art_hare-head art_Foxhead-940x700 art_cabbage-moth

The decline and fall of the New York mafia

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Clockwise from top left, surveillance photographs of Vincent Asaro at J&S Cakes/MVP Trucking in 1987, at a social club at 433 Meeker in 1989, outside Glendale Sports Club in 2013 and at James Burke’s wake in 1996 at Romanelli Funeral Home. Credit U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

From the New York Times, a story of the mafia’s decline:

After he had helped pull off one of the biggest cash robberies in American history — the Lufthansa heist of 1978 — and stashed millions of dollars, along with burlap sacks of gold chains, crates of watches, and diamonds and emeralds, in his cousin’s basement, Vincent Asaro thought first about the code: Protect the family.

“He says, ‘We got to be real careful now,’” his cousin testified. “‘Don’t spend anything. Don’t buy anything major.’”

He kept quiet, but another part of Mr. Asaro, a Mafia yeoman working his way up through New York’s Bonanno crime family, could not resist. He bought a Bill Blass-model Lincoln and a Formula speedboat — symbols of a man who wanted to belong.

Mr. Asaro did not realize his world was vanishing.

Read the rest here.

An area on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, known as “down the hole,” was once a notorious dumping ground for mob bodies. According to Gaspare Valenti, one of the 1978 Lufthansa robbers, the loot was initially stored in his house at 684 Drew Street. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
An area on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, known as “down the hole,” was once a notorious dumping ground for mob bodies. According to Gaspare Valenti, one of the 1978 Lufthansa robbers, the loot was initially stored in his house at 684 Drew Street. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Urbex photographs of the nightmare that was Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum

Lancaster Moor Hospital

Growing up in Lancaster, the old Moor Hospital used to terrify me. Originally known as the Lancaster County Lunatic Asylum, it was a large complex of imposing Victorian buildings, purpose built from the early 1800s onwards to house people not deemed fit to live with the rest of us. I dread to think how many people were taken there against their will for the flimsiest of reasons, and what kind of “treatment” they endured.

Today the site is being renovated. Already you can buy a luxury home at The Residence, as it is now is known, for upwards of £300k.

The photos above and below were taken by a team of urban explorers going by the names of Ben, Beardy, Travis and Chard in 2013, before the renovations began. I love their work. You should check out more here.

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See more photos of the Lancaster Moor Hospital, and other locations, here.

Janet Delaney’s photographs of New York in the 80s

American, Staten Island Ferry, 1985
American, Staten Island Ferry, 1985

Some photographers know how to make you feel alive, even when the moments they capture are long gone by the time you see them. I love the work of Janet Delaney, and I encourage you to seek out more of her photographs, and to buy prints from her website.

6am on the Staten Island Ferry, 1985
6am on the Staten Island Ferry, 1985
Coffee and a Sandwich, 1985
Coffee and a Sandwich, 1985
Event at City Hall, 1985
Event at City Hall, 1985
Manhattan Bridge, 1987
Manhattan Bridge, 1987
Painter, SoHo, 1984
Painter, SoHo, 1984
Woman with Tree, 1987
Woman with Tree, 1987
$2.00 Contribution, SoHo Party, 1985

Charlie Chaplin on a cigarette card

Charlie Chaplin by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Charlie Chaplin
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926

I just saw this image flash up on the Face of Britain by Simon Schama. I love the style of illustration. After deciphering the signature, I discovered these 1920s cigarette cards were by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie. You can see more of his work here.

Douglas Fairbanks by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Douglas Fairbanks
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Sir John Martin-Harvey by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Sir John Martin-Harvey
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Aga Khan III (Mohammed Shah) by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Aga Khan III (Mohammed Shah)
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Augustus John by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Augustus John
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
George Grossmith Jr by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
George Grossmith Jr
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Rudyard Kipling by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Rudyard Kipling
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Ramsay MacDonald by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Ramsay MacDonald
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Sir Alan John Cobham by Alexander ('Alick') Penrose Forbes Ritchie colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926
Sir Alan John Cobham
by Alexander (‘Alick’) Penrose Forbes Ritchie
colour relief halftone cigarette card, 1926

See more at the National Portrait Gallery website.

Sometimes there are no words

A refugee screams for help after she and her daughter fell into the water after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on October 2 , 2015. The International Organization for Migration says a record number of people have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe this year. Muhammed Muheisen / AP

Every week the Atlantic publishes their photos of the week. I encourage you to check it out.

A surfer catches a wave on his board as a super moon rises in the sky off Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia, on September 28, 2015. # David Gray / Reuters
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, South India, on September 28, 2015. PSLV-C30 mission included the launching of India’s space observatory satellite Astrosat.
A devotee carries a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, to be immersed into the polluted waters of the river Yamuna on the last day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, in New Delhi, India, on September 27, 2015. # Adnan Abidi / Reuters