Carrying on from the Hamish and Andy poster I created last week, I wanted to design some more alternative posters for my favourite podcasts. This week I’m sharing two, for a couple of my favourite design themed podcasts. They’re both very different, but they both provide me with a lot of creative inspiration.

The Raise Your Hand Say Yes podcast sees Tiffany Han discuss all things creative living and working with some of the most interesting artists, makers and doers around. All of Tiffany’s interviews really get to the heart of what a living a creative life means for her subject. She doesn’t shy away from showing the tough side of pursuit a creative job, instead, the podcast is designed to be something of a companion for those tough moments that offers advice and encouragement to her listeners. This poster focuses on that spirit of finding beauty and growth when you say yes.

The best pieces of design are the ones you don’t notice. 99 Percent Invisible “is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about”. The podcast covers the design everything from cities and architecture to objects, to sounds, but the episodes are all held together by an overarching sense of curiosity and wonder. I wanted my poster design to highlight the way that the podcast really changes the way you look at the world and shines a light on the incredible stories of the designs behind so much of what surrounds us. So I took a bit of inspiration from their logo and decided to show a visible 1% of the city.

A common way for designers to hone (and often show off) their skills is to redesign their favourite movie posters. People like Peter Majarich have created some incredible alternative designs, that really capture something about the film that’s at the heart of their work. Inspired by those posters, I decided I wanted to do something similar.

However, instead of redesigning movie posters, I wanted to create posters for some of my favourite podcasts. I love podcasts, but because they’re solely audio (and often don’t have the huge budgets of films) they don’t always have snazzy design work to accompany their downloads. So, I thought creating podcast posters would be the perfect project for me.

I thought I would start with the first podcast I ever listened to, the Hamish and Andy show. I’ve been a loyal person of the people’s show for almost a decade. I’ve followed them on gap years, on long ships, on quests for the perfect crisp and to bring Fred Bassett alive via the airwaves. This year will be their final year on the radio. I wanted these poster designs to try and capture the fun and friendship their show has provided over the last decade and the way that the people of the people’s show are half of what makes it great. So this is my celebration of their radio victory lap before moving on to TV.

I picked up a copy of The Shepherd’s Life as an impulse purchase. I liked the cover. I’ve spent my summer, and often winter, holidays in the Lake District since I was very small and the image of a green fellside conjured up some of that nostalgia as I walked past a table in Waterstones.

I’m so glad that cover spoke to me. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District, by James Rebanks, is a truly glorious book. A memoir of both Rebanks life and fells he has spent that life farming is a captivating read about a captivating landscape, that’s at once personal and pastoral.

The Shepherd’s Life isn’t told chronologically. Instead, Rebanks shares his memories in fragments that are loosely sorted into seasons. These fragments jump between his childhood, adolescence and present-day adulthood and cover everything from his memories of his grandfather to the ins and outs of shearing a sheep.

As someone who has walked many of the fells mentioned in its pages, it was so interesting to read about them from the perspective of someone who has worked them for a lifetime. Rebanks’ is a story I had only ever briefly considered when asking my mum as a child how the dry-stone walls were built, when counting all of the different markings on the sheep we spotted, when marvelling at the intelligence of the dogs I saw working the hills. Getting to read such an in-depth account of a way of life I had only ever glimpsed at by proxy was such a treat.

That said, I don’t think The Shepherd’s Life is only for those who already love the Lakes. You don’t need to have visited the Lakes to imagine them, or to imagine Rebanks rural life because he puts it all on the page. One of the major reasons people say they read is to get an insight into someone else’s way of life, their way of thinking, and that’s exactly what The Shepherd’s Life offers. I think what struck me the most about The Shepherd’s Life is the way that it made me reflect on my own life, and how my own environment had shaped me. Not to over-egg this review but I genuinely think this book changed my life a little bit, or at least how I think about it.

SOME QUESTIONS TO PONDER AS YOU READ

  • What do you think about how the book flows? How do you feel about its fragmentary structure?
  • Rebanks’ account of his understanding of his home and his work is inextricably tied to his understanding of his family. Reflecting on those unbreakable links, how has your own environment and family shaped you?
  • The book almost starts off in opposition to the reader, how do you find the constant distinctions of ‘them and us’ affect your reading experience?
  • If you’ve ever been to the Lake District, or anywhere similar, as a tourist, how does reading the account of someone who works the land change your opinion on the place you visited?
  • The Shepherd’s Life tells a story that isn’t often heard, as Rebanks often reminds us, what lives and stories have gone unnoticed in your own environment? Is there any way you can find out more about them?

IF YOU WANT SOME FURTHER READING TRY…

  • There’s a lovely review in the FT by Melissa Harrison
  • Author of On The Crofter’s Trail, David Craig has also penned a great review if you want a better sense of the book, this one for The Guardian
  • I really enjoyed reading The Durham Book Group’s thoughts on the memoir
  • But I think the best piece of further reading I’ve found is the interview Stephen Moss of The Guardian did with James Rebanks, it really gives you an extra insight into the author and his way of life from an alternative perspective.

IF YOU WANT MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS HAVE A LOOK AT…

 

Why not use the Shepherd’s Life bookmark I designed to keep your place as you read? It even features the topology of a section of the Lakes Rebanks discusses. You can print and download it for free here.

As ever, let me know if you’ve read The Shepherd’s Life, or if you have any recommendations for what I should be reading next.

On the phone the other day I found myself answering the question “how are you?” with, now customary, “I’m alright but I’m just so busy, I have so much to do all the time”. I am always busy. I don’t stop. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I didn’t have something to be working on. In fact, I started this blog in part because I worried I might not have enough to do.

Being busy, and complaining about being busy, seems to be a central element of the modern condition. In a day and age where we all have to be actively getting better all of the time, to be hustling to get ahead, being busy is a badge of honour.

We’re all meant to not only be working hard, and partying (reading brunching) hard, we’re also meant to devote time to meditation, to fitness, to social causes, to being well read, to making health foods, to watching every new Netflix show, to looking good, to being the perfect young professional who simultaneously stays on top of all of those things whilst appearing not to care too hard about any of them. We all realise that aim is completely paradoxical in nature and impossible to achieve, but it doesn’t stop us working, from trying to get a little bit closer.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s human nature to want to be better, to improve.

I’m also not saying there’s anything wrong with the fact that we’ve become a generation of side hustlers. It seems like everyone has a side gig right now. In London, part of that need for a side gig is financial. But in part, we’ve become side hustlers because we were told we could do anything when we were growing up and we believed it, and even though we might now know it isn’t wholly true and that some of us really do need to do those office jobs we swore weren’t for us, we still want to believe a little bit. So we keep that dream alive by creating a side hustle that gives us hope that we might one day get there, that however unlikely we might just make our pipe dreams a reality. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s a whole lot right with that. If you want something, I really do believe you should work for it.

But the other side to working for our side dreams, for working on our quest to reach the lofty standards society has set, is that we’re working to keep ourselves busy. I realised when I was on that phone call that being “just so busy” had become my identity. I realised that I hadn’t stopped, I hadn’t allowed myself to stop because I’m scared of what happens when I do. Who am I if I’m not working on the glimmer of a hope that I might get to be a designer? Who am I if I’m not constantly doing something? I’m still scared to stop. I’m not sure I want to know what the answer is.

Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I don’t think I’m the only one out there who’s keeping busy because they’re afraid to stop.

Normally in these posts, I try to share something to help fight the negative feeling I’ve described, to help me, well us, feel a little better. Doing that here would, first of all, feel a little ironic; setting a worksheet to help stop work just doesn’t seem right. But I also don’t know what to do about it other than stop, and right now I’m not sure that I can. I mean I physically can, no one dies if I stop blogging, if I take a week off meal prepping, off trying so hard. But I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it. So, this time all I’ve put together is this image, which you can print or use as a desktop as a reminder, just as I am, that you can and should take a break, that you don’t have to be so busy.

I don’t think I’m alone in having been struck down by the inescapable feeling of meh, the feeling that nothing is exciting anymore, nothing is inspiring, the feeling that nothing is really anything, the feeling that I have called the funk. The funk is a tricky one because it doesn’t always have a cause, and it certainly doesn’t have one set remedy. The funk can last for an hour, or a day, or a year.

But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to beat it. As ever, the solutions I’ve come up with are things that have worked for me, and might not work for everyone. If you’re really struggling with this demon, or any of the others I’ve written about in this series please seek some proper help.

Because the funk is so tricky, I’ve made two things to try and fight it. The first is a check list of things to do when I’m feeling that cloud descending on me, because quite often I get restless and don’t so anything and end up feeling worse because I’m stewing. I’ve left some spaces at the bottom so you can print it and add your own funk fighting activities at the bottom, because what makes everyone happy is different. If you’re stumped for ideas I’ve written a list of 48 self-care activities you might like to browse.

The second weapon in my arsenal is an emergency anti-funk kit. I sometimes send bits of these out in cards for friends in case they’re ever feeling down, but I’d never made one for myself and I thought it was about time. In my box there’s everything from chocolate, to movie suggestions, to a candle I like, to a card a friend wrote me that makes me happy.