We all need a shot of inspiration, especially right now... and we’re here to give it to you, by sharing six things that catch our attention, fuel our imaginations or capture our hearts every month. So, let’s kick off the inaugural ‘Shake 6’ and celebrate some of the good stuff that had the power to shake things up in October. Plus, we’re always going to end our little round up with a ‘big smile’, so don’t miss that.
Vic Lee's Corona Diary
Look at this beaut. It’s by artist, muralist, storyteller, urban poet, cartographer and wizard of ink, Vic Lee – and it’s something special. A hand-crafted diary, charting all the breaking news stories and events as they unfolded when the coronavirus came crashing into all our lives... but it’s also about much more than that. It’s a book created out of necessity when Vic’s work dissolved overnight and it’s a story of natural kindness, because when the book became successful, Vic donated £5k to Fareshare. That meant 20,000 meals for people in need and that’s one of the reasons it turned our heads. We can’t wait for our own diary to arrive and to experience it from cover to cover.
Marcus Rashford and Coronagirl!
Talking of natural kindness and Fareshare, the community response to Marcus Rashford’s campaign for free meals for children during the half-term holiday has to be one of the most inspiring things to have happened this past month. Rashford told BBC Newsnight he was "overwhelmed" by the support offered and it was absolutely brilliant to see people from all across the UK pulling together and making a difference.
Here in Somerset, eight-year-old Betsy Gamble decided she wanted to dress up as something original for the last day of term, so she created her very own Superhero, ‘Coronagirl’. And what superpower does Coronagirl have? Fighting Covid and food poverty, with the power to give food vouchers to children who need them. If that’s not an inspiration to us all, we don’t know what is!
Paul Smith 50
We’d like to think we’ll do 50 in style and a brand who definitely has, of course, is Paul Smith. To mark five decades of innovative British design, key graphics from his print archive have been revived and reworked as a collection of clothes, shoes and accessories and come on... who wouldn’t want plates of wax spaghetti on a jacket? ;)
From signature stripes to the iconic zebra, we’ve always been drawn to the designs and we love the man himself. We love that his birthday plans included “really letting my hair down and getting drunk in a pub” and we love the story he told Tim Lewis in The Observer about Homer, his Afgan Hound, who he described as “the manager” of his first ‘shop’ - a damp, windowless room in Nottingham.
“Homer was in charge and I worked with him,” Paul told Tim. “The interesting thing was that we looked exactly the same: big nose and long hair. And everybody talked to him first, of course, which I used to get a bit upset by. They’d all walk in and say, ‘Hi Homer!’ Then, ‘Oh, hello Paul.’”
Classic... just like the brand.
It’s impossible to ignore the combined lockdown reflections of 63 artists in our home county, so we haven’t! The Somerset Rural Life Museum has played host to a wonderful exhibition of works created during lockdown and although every artist’s story is different, there’s a real sense of being in it together.
As well as drinking a lot of tea over the past few months, artist Joy Merron’s been making art with the teabags (oh yes!) and for us, one of the exhibition stand outs is Grazyna Wikierska’s incredible crochet. It’s hard to take your eyes off it.
Sustainability in store for ASDA
Answer us this. Where else can you get crochet costumes and loose fruit and veg in one blog? ;) Well, it's definitely here because next, if you keep up with what’s happening in the world of retail it won’t have escaped your notice that ASDA opened a pilot “sustainability store” in Leeds last month. As well as loose and unwrapped produce, it includes product refill stations (working with the likes of PG Tips, Vimto, Kellogg’s, Radox and Persil) and a pledge that customers won’t pay more for going greener.
ASDA has introduced a new plastics reduction strategy too, aiming to remove 3 billion pieces of plastic from own-brand products by 2025 and as Chief Executive, Roger Burnley, explained:
“This is an issue that matters greatly to our customers – our own insight tells us that more than 80% believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in stores”.
We’d love to see others follow in their footsteps.
A social gem
We’re always going to finish off Shake 6 with a little something from social to raise a smile and when we spied this on Twitter, it did just that. So, until next month when we’re back with another eclectic selection of inspiration... don’t confuse your robins with your mushrooms! ;)