Graphic Art: Leeds

Leeds banner Main sheet copy

Graphic Art: Leeds was a banner design proposal put forward for North Street in Leeds city centre.

A graphic art piece which will excite and reflect the modern, dynamic, newly cosmopolitan city of Leeds.

The backing tones and the image of greenery reflect the cities status as the unofficial capital of Yorkshire. An image of the Yorkshire Dales, flourishing green fields and neatly crisscrossing hedgerows. Green pod-like representations are added, floating across the parameters of the banner surface. The pods vary in the tone of green to aid the visibility of textual format present. The lower section projects darker tones, the upper lighter shades. Thus, presenting the concept of a natural landscape where the horizon of the land reduces to the blues, or more often, grey’s of the sky.

‘Leeds’ as a heading uses a hand styled script, but is equally rather bold, Artlis font in principle location. A tonal use of yellow draws on the artistic nature of North Street.

The 5 headings feature elements of Leeds’ to be expanded upon, cosmopolitan status. They reflect the nature of the business’ present in the major artery of city centre streets. Non-alignment of the titles are to suggest a dynamic motion. The concept of them being flashed before your eyes in the ever-changing city.

‘Culture’ identifies with Leeds’ strong involvement with the arts. The home of Henry Moore and the birthplace of Damien Hirst, both leading names in British art. The Henry Moore Institue and the Leeds City Art Gallery both highly prestigious within the creative spectrum. A vibrant music scene, an unrivalled club-culture and the major Leeds Festival which partners with its Southern counterpart: Reading. Introducing some performance from the Playhouse, Leeds is a cultural haven.

Equally, a city steeped in ‘History’ presenting an industrial heritage. The former mills of the textiles traditions that expanded rapidly during the Industrial revolution.

‘Shopping’ ‘Food’ and ‘Drink’ represent the business’ present in North St. The clothing retailers, the restaurants and cafe’s, the bars and pubs which align the major city-centre thoroughfare.

Consultation with the business present would allow for modifications to be conducted. The use of yellow could be adapted if a tone of greater significance was proposed. The titles could be added to or reduced, the descriptive word re-applied.

A artists approach which can strengthen and more than meet the needs of the city in which it is intended to compliment.

Leeds banner lamp sheet copy


A Respectable Woman


A Respectable Woman is the latest poem penned by Alison Little around the theme of Truth for National Poetry Day 2019. It was performed by Alison at the Life Rooms in Walton and for Sefton Slams at Crosby Library.


A Respectable Woman

Respectable, woman I am
Married, my working man
Toddler hand, baby in pram
Nightly, I cook up scran

Cleaned daily, house gleams
Sparkle, blinds align
Domesticity, I beam
Other tasks benign

Respectable, woman I am

Indulging, drink I never
Curse those who do
Frolics, not me, ever
Bars, the fallen go

Narcotics blamed for all
Because of drugs!
The route of all downfall
‘She’s off it’ I shrug

Respectable, fat through childbirth

Gateaux, farm food supply
In fat pants, I squeeze
For dinner I deep fat fry
Weight gain ease

Obesity: giving birth
Fat blamed, motherhood
Woman’ purpose on Earth
Hefty means good

Children, reflect parenting
Ensure they behave
I scream, shout, demanding
Blamed, early grave

Mortgage renders responsible
Better than those amid
Marriage equals respectable
Only role, provide kid’

Respectable: I got Married

Every bride is beautiful
Fat pant’ looks, dismay
Nightly groom uses tool
Every dog has its day!

Alison Little

More about National Poetry Day

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Redesign: Hockney: Westminster Abbey

New des copy

A year ago this week David Hockney’ stained glass window design to mark the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second was revealed.

The window received many reviews, many positive, many negative.

The Queen was claimed by Hockney to Say:

‘An amazing brightness and clarity, it is a simple, utterly recognisable, direct scene.

From Hockney’ birthplace, the Yorkshire Post stated:

‘It looks like it was painted by a six-year-old.’


The Dean, the Very Revd John Hall declared:

‘There’s absolutely no harm in having something which is particularly vibrant and different.’


And, I myself, reviewed the window in my article ‘Hockney Smokney’ classified it as being a ‘National Blunder’ in addition to:


‘Some kind of organic jellyfish-like form surrounded by randomly positioned pods which bear no relation to the framework of the glass.’


So, one year on I have taken it upon myself to create a new design for the window.

and…. was much more difficult than I initially imagined….

I have kept with the theme of the Queen and her love for the countryside. More abstract in design I introduced yellows to the uppermost section to imply sunlight. The main bodies of the windows beginning with greens of the land, raising to blues of the sky over the higher sections. The circular elements have the potential to be formed through glass blowing, they introduce the idea of flowers or perhaps blossom. The organic nature of the layout suggests the motion and that of falling.

The result:

I have managed some subtleties.

Is it fit for the Abbey?

No, indeed it is not, perhaps an early concept which could be developed into something of greater standing.



Hockney Smokney!

Lister Steps Up!

Ver 0.28N

Last weekend for Heritage open day the former library, Lister Steps throw open the doors for the public to see how the £3.9 million restoration project was progressing.

Lister Steps, the Andrew Carnegie library, based on the corner of Lister Drive and Green Lane in Tuebrook, Liverpool, was opened in 1905. The building was funded by the wealthy philanthropist: Andrew Carnegie, it became Grade II listed in the mid-eighties due to being of architectural and historical interest.

After serving as a functioning library for over a hundred years it was forced to close in 2006 due to health and safety concerns. Under the period of closure, the library suffered from theft and vandalism in addition to general neglect. The major damage was as a result of the lead flashing being stolen from the roof, resulting in rain waters flooding the interior. Severe damage to the timber structure was to follow.

After a small grant in 2014 to run a feasibility study for restoration a large scale funding bid was progressed. In 2016 a £3.9 million grant was awarded from Heritage lottery funding, Liverpool City Council, Hemby Trust, Eleanor Rathbone Foundation and Power to Change.

The final development is intended as a community Hub offering; childcare, café, meeting space, hot desking, events and services for the community including volunteering opportunities. The exterior ground looks to offer a variety of landscaping. The customary formal garden and traditional lawn, but also wild woods, the green credentials of allotment planters and a faraway land designated for use with the youngsters of the nursery.

H.H Smith Construction was offered the renovation contract, utilising many trades including those with traditional craft skills. Currently, a large pod has been set up inside the building to allow for work to continue. The foliage of the grounds has been cleared fully to allow for new planting from next spring. Flood damage and dry root are being repaired, internal structures and staircase put into place. The original high windows which were ideal for the bookcases of the library are being lowered in the nursery area to bring light in at child height.

A great start, we will look forward to developments!

More about Lister Steps

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Gloria Steinem


The iconic feminist, the writer, the political activist and the author of her later biography, ‘My Life on the Road’.

As a girl, she traveled across the US between Ohio and Florida for most of her informative years. The trailor upbringing came to an end when her parents divorced, she went to live and care for her depression troubled mother, now attending school regularly from
the first time at the age of eleven.

After college she was awarded a fellowship and spent two years in India. During her travels she opted for a termination of pregnancy in London ten years before they were legal.

From this she became a journalism, a groundbreaking article being ‘A Bunny’s Tale’, where she went undercover as a playboy bunny to get the dirt on Hugh Hefner and the Playboy empire. Co-founding New York Magazine and Ms Magazine, which she later became an editor for several decades later. From the late sixties she rubbed shoulders with greats like Betty Friedan as they marched for the liberation of women.

Now, at the age of eighty-five, she is technically in retirement. However, social activism work is not something you retire from, she is still penning the writings which inspire women Globally.

Her latest biography, ‘My Life on the Road’ contains so many awe-inspiring quotes, we give only a few to lay a foundation for Steinemism and the future:

Dick and Jane limitations that school put on girls.’

From her travels in India:

High caste women were sexually restricted and women at the bottom were sexually exploited.’

‘Most of us, I love graduations. They are individual and communal, an end and a beginning, more permanent than weddings, more inclusive than religions, and possibly the most moving ceremonies on earth.’

‘Needing approval is a female cultural disease, and often a sign of doing the wrong thing.’

‘I was angry about the human talent that was lost just because it was born into a female body, and the mediocrity that was awarded because it was born into a male one.’

‘A journey -whether it’s to the corner grocery or through life-is supposed to have a beginning, middle and end, right? Well the road is not like that at all. It’s the very illogical and the juxtaposed differences of the road-combined with our search for meaning-that make travel so addictive.

‘My Life on the Road’ is available from Amazon

More about Gloria Steinem



Swing up, Swing down

Swing up

Swing up, Swing down is an extract from the penultimate chapter of the novel written by Alison Little. All events are fiction and not based on real people, events or places.

Jack guides Vera out from her car seat allowing Gemma to bounce along by herself. It was Saturday morning and he thought he’d take the children down to the play park for a few hours, leaving Ala to have a lye in. He has them most of the time when they are out of school, doing most of the pro-active parenting, after all, she worked full-time, he was self-employed and his hours were more flexible.

They were twins but they had not developed at the same rate, Vera had been deprived of space and oxygen in the womb, she had all the air he needed and room too move now, but had never caught up, it had been determined that she would never really develop into a fully functional adult. Her condition had never been fully diagnosed but he was treated in a way similar to those with low functioning autism. For the first few years with Vera had been really tough, in and out of the hospital, major surgery after critical procedures. They had been in the Hospice too, directed that it would be kinder to let Vera die, but they had refused and everything to keep her alive had been done. There had been some progress health-wise, but he would never really be able to speak or respond in ways others could. At one point they had thought that he might be able to learn sign language but his communication skills did not progress to that level. In some ways, they were glad they had given her such a grown-up sounding name, ‘Vera,’ even though things were not promising it gave the impression that he may live well into adulthood.

Gemma skips on ahead, cartwheels on the toe as she dances onto one of the older kids swings. Up and down, higher and higher, reaching for the child’s optimism of the fluff-filled clouds and the future which awaited. Jack takes Vera’ hand and guides her towards the swings which were better for her, high-backed and much safer. He lifts Vera, they after some persuasive talk and jiggling, he slots into the seat, ensuring to wipe the snot from his nose before beginning to gently push him from in front to ensure he doesn’t become agitated. As Roger seems content Jack moves around to gently push him from behind, Gemma disembarks from the swing and quickly manoeuvres herself onto the climbing frame-come hut-like structure directly ahead.

Things were more difficult than a normal domestic set up but Jack loved and treasured being a dad. Caring for a disabled child was never straightforward, additional care for Vera, then mustering enough energy to keep the never-ending quest for excitement from Gemma satisfied. He found himself on most of the school and club runs, he also seemed to do most of the cooking in addition to constant cleaning to try and ensure Ala was happy. She had always been very particular about cleanliness, the grill washed after every time she used it, the fridge seals cleaned daily and even when they had moved into their first tiny flat she had insisted they needed a dishwasher because of the higher temperature the plates were washed at being more hygienic. Jack’s last Birthday present had been a hard wearing navy apron and she had kept on insisting he wore it when he was preparing meals. This appeared to be the result of a new health and safety training directive from her work at Social Services where aprons were to be worn to keep the ‘Food safe from you’, had been projected from a power point presentation. He didn’t mind this too much he had always been more of a doer and Ala had always taken a more strategic role. He loved his family dearly and would do anything to protect them.

Two brothers came in, the elder seemed to be around nine or ten, around the same age as Gemma, and Vera of course. Both were wearing the same version of a Marks and Spencer printed T-Shirt, the older and the younger version combined with red and blue Jackets. Their first move, they jumped onto the swings in the place where Gemma began, one still swaying from her endeavours. Swing up, swing down, Vera lets out a kind of screech recital, the composition being somewhat familiar to those close to him. As Jack comforts her he overhears the younger brother as the elder,

‘Is she a Spack?’
‘Yes, but Shush’

Responds the elder Brother, as they continue to play Jack hides his fury. His head feels like it’s about to explode, how dare they say anything about his family rushes through his mind, spiraling at full speed, the anger intensifying as the helix’ core into the internal workings of the brain.

Gemma descends from the top of the climbing frame in one foul swoop and runs towards the roundabout. She jumps half on the frame then begins to accelerate the centrifugal motion. Round and round, faster and faster she spins into the abyss of the play scape, maxing out the potential speed.

Everyone now engaged, Vera is content again, as the two brothers laugh together the helix’ coring into Jack’s mind instruct his eyes begins to scan around the suburban park. Nothing he can use, nothing at all, wait, what looks to be a broken glass bottle glistening from behind the bin, debris from the teenage revelry of an evening of WKD consumption. Jack edges towards the bottle, looking around, all the children are occupied, he plucks the broken bottle from it’s resting place and slips it into the inside of his jacket. Swing up, swing down the Brother continue, jesting with each other, Jack awaits a distraction. A BMW passes letting off a flash musical horn, one of the local Champagne Charlie’, so commonly embedded in the density of suburban villages. As the boys look in awe of the speeding moving vehicle Jack slips the broken bottle onto the ground then with a few slides of his boot he manoeuvres it directly underneath the swing of the younger brother.

Jack returns to Vera, gleeful and anticipatory, waiting to see how the plan he has engineered pans out. Gemma screams with joy as she revolves on the human-sized spinner, the older boy jumps down and engages the younger:

‘Come on, let’s join in on the round-about.’

The younger one takes the final flight up to the clouds, now darkened and thunderous. In the distance you can hear the traffic from the Motorway, HGV’s transcending across the country, heavily loaded, at full speed cutting through the valley towards the Metropolis. Jack tries to hide his delight as the small boy descends, jumping off the swing and leaping forward onto his hands, pad going directly onto the broken glass structure. Blood lets multiply and rush from the lacerations:

‘Be careful, there’s a broken bottle’

Jack shouts at the boy, deliberately to late to deter the accident he had engineered. As the boy cries out the Older Brother and Gemma rush over, Jack begins to insist that he was just about to warn them, a convincing dialogue which he had being re-telling since his teenage years. The elder takes the bleeding hand and tries to stem the flow of blood with his jacket’.

Eco-Warriorhood?…. Eco-Realist?

carbon footprint

10 Easy ways to reduce your Carbon Footprint

So, now, we’re all supposed to bin our cars, freezers, become vegan, stop drinking softies from plastic bottles and never holiday abroad to save the planet!

But is this realistic?

10 Easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint with having to become the Patron Saint of Eco-Warriorhood.

  1. If you are cooking in a small pot use the smallest ring on the hob. Using a larger gas ring simply mean most of the fuel is wasted and the food doesn’t actually heat any faster. Easy and instant, no effort required.
  2. When you rip a label of a tin can, add that to the recycling in addition to the main item. It doesn’t look like much but it is silly to send to landfill when it can be re-consumed.
  3. If you are getting taking out and there is a choice a plastic bottled drink or a paper cup option, take the paper choice. Even if there isn’t a recycling point and you have to throw it in a standard bin it will decompose in under 4 weeks in landfill. Subway are great for this option, as are many other sandwich bars and food retailers.
  4. So it’s no more burgers because of the methane cows produce, space taking to farm and the food chain process. But you like the odd burger, and your 3 sons love burgers and you really don’t want to give them up? Do it the best way possible, if you have burgers twice a week, reduce to once. Buy, fresh, consume that day instead of freezing. Choose a source which is farmed near you to reduce carbon in transportation. If possible make a trip to a local butchers or independent trader as their will be other environmental benefits of using local business.

Burgers back on the menu!

  1. Introduce a meat free main meal to your weekly eating plans. Try new dishes and foods which you may have previously avoided. Lavish veggie curries, vast seed selections, the charm of rich cheeses and nuts of notability. Make the veggie day the one where you enjoy following new recipes and pull out all culinary the stop.
  2. Have a freezer free day, preferable directly after a big supermarket shop. Try to buy fresh vegetable and make roast potato from scratch. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a bag of sweetcorn or pea’s in your freezer, just be less relent on the ice box and reduce it’s usage.
  3. If you are planning a trip into town with the kids, or an adult meal in a county pub at the weekend, consider walking as part of the activity. Is there a good canal or river route, are there view across the region worth taking in?Consider cycling to work once a month, it may be too far to do daily, but it could be worked into a four-weekly routine? Could you walk or cycle shorter journeys and when you take off parking time does it take much longer?
  4. Plan holidays in the UK on a yearly basis, then only look at flights to exotic destinations on special anniversaries. Camping is a great holiday with environmental credentials, reduction of energy consumption and taking full advantage of the great outdoors.
  5. Give and buy clothes to and from charity shops. Okay, we are not talking underwear or swimwear, if your still unsure about the pre-worn try bags and outer coats first. This is a great, green incentive, no need to recycle the fabric every-thing is re-used directly.
  6. One final Woof, value the dog! What man’ best friend does is provides us with constant opportunities for long energy use free walks, the eager consumption of any table scraps in addition to hours of carbon free entertainment.

Implement Immediately!

Then expand with the area’s that work with your lifestyle. Enjoying the veggie cooking and exploring new plant life? Add a second night. Bike action got you going? Cycle to work once a week instead of monthly.

Small steps making a big difference!