Suzie McCracken

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a little au revoir to Alan Vega, via thoughts on Suicide’s final show in the Barbican last year, and how age and wellness affect performance.


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photographic talent in action


Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith at the Design Museum

Until: March 9 2014

Part retrospective, part hero-worship, the Design Museum’s ode to Paul Smith has punters queuing along the riverbank during deepest winter. Suzie McCracken finds out how the world-renowned fashion designer earned his multi-coloured stripes. 

The Design Museum, unlike its more sombre brother the V&A, is concerned with intrigue and entertainment rather than academia. Enter Paul Smith: the obvious king of both those attributes, and prince of eccentric Englishness to boot.

“Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith” explores the history and character of Smith’s work, using his personal belongings to recreate working environments and put his notable contributions to the world of design on display. It also comes with a side of Smith himself, with cardboard cut-outs of him striking a pose and a giant wall-painted “HELLO” putting a grin on the faces of guests ascending the stairs.

It begins with a three metre square (translation: no cat-swinging here) reconstruction of Smith’s first Nottingham shop, filtering visitors into the main exhibition via a tangible representation of his oft-cited humble beginnings.

The main thoroughfare is an enthralling rogues’ gallery of art from Smith’s collection, featuring celebrity snaps (Noel Fielding adorned in a floral blazer) and twee tokens of affection (doodles of Daleks) donated by outlandish admirers.

There’s a space devoted to a selection of Smith-designed clothing, staged like a sartorial aquarium for contemplating a jacket made from embroidered Afghan blankets. A plethora of his collaborations are displayed with everything from emblazoned Evian bottles to a striped Mini Cooper. The Paris hotel room where Smith sought to sell his first collection – six shirts and two suits – is excellently reimagined in the style of a “Paddington Bear” set, with the two dimensional chandelier hanging above the bed-cum-display area a testament to Donna Loveday’s creative curation.

The stand-out enclave is “Inside Paul’s Head”, a room filled with screens and mirrors that endlessly reflect images of bicycles melting and neon lights flickering. The central monitor displays a kaleidoscopic tunnel of Smith’s hollowed-out head while snippets of audio interviews with the designer are played. The effect is that of being inside a giant zoetrope, and it symbolises Smith’s scatty genius perfectly.

Of course, that room shows nothing of Smith’s designs. The exhibition focuses so much on the man’s magnetism that it can feel like a celebratory cult. The informative titbits on the walls are straight from the horse’s mouth – his copy just awkward enough to make you feel like Smith is following you around the room, whispering quiet insights into your ears. It’s visitor-bait, but who cares when Smith is so damn interesting?

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I graduated in July. Since then I have applied for hundreds of jobs, all demanding various levels of competence and experience. These are all of the rejection letters I have received. There are three.

From: Kate Duckham

Subject:             Re: Copywriter

Date:             9 November 2012 16:32:56 GMT

To:             Suzanna McCracken

Hi Suzie,

I just wanted to write and thank you for applying for the role of Copywriter here at Poke.

We have now taken somebody on for this role but I will keep your details on file incase any other Copywriter roles come up in the near future.

I hope you are doing well in your search though and wish you the best of luck.

Thanks again



Subject:             Job Ref: 913675 –  Journalism Trainee Scheme

Date:             16 October 2012 09:27:09 GMT+01:00

To:             Suzanna McCracken

Dear Suzanna

Thank you for your application for the position of Journalism Trainee Scheme which we have carefully considered. We regret to advise that your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

We hope you will continue to look for further career opportunities within the BBC or sign up for the Vacancy Alerts service at

Yours sincerely

The BBC Recruitment Team

From: Jobs <>

Subject:             RE: Music & Clubs Assistant

Date:             5 October 2012 17:38:41 GMT+01:00

To:             Suzanna McCracken

Dear Suzie

Thank you very much for your recent application for the position of Music & Clubs Assistant at Time Out; it was good to read your submission.

We have had so many applications of such high quality, including yours, that unfortunately on this occasion, we won’t be taking your application further.

However, we really do appreciate your interest in Time Out.  We hope that if any other suitable vacancies arise in the future, you will apply to us again; sadly, we are not able to keep your details on file or give any more detailed feedback at this stage.

Best regards and good luck for the future,


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I spend a lot of time with a young man that’s going to be involved in this shindig down at the glorious Look Mum No Hands. It’s a cafe that attracts bearded and non-bearded folk.

Next Wednesday and Thursday you’ll be able to pop along and get stuff printed via a Willy Wonka machine (also known as a 3D printer). The only condition is that the object you want to make somehow makes it easier to attach stuff to your bike. Thus the ‘Clip it On’ moniker. Genius, right?

This workshop is being run by the nice people from Artefact Cafe. A worthy click.

For more of me being sarcastic about 3D printing read this.