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    Tim Noakes: Bookshelf


Bookshelf: Tim Noakes, Editor-in-Chief at Dazed & Confused shows us his Bookshelf

Posted by Liv Siddall,

What would you expect the editor-in-chief of Dazed and Confused, one of the world’s coolest magazines to have on his bookshelf? Some big, clunky fashion titles? Some sort of bicycle book? A map of Hackney? Well you’re wrong. The very lovely Tim Noakes has kindly shared with us his selection of seriously fascinating books, a photo of his very cute son in their very nice living room, and some stories about Wu-Tang that will blow your balls off. Take it away, Tim!

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    Wonderland: Curiosities of Nature and Art by Wood Smith

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    Wonderland: Curiosities of Nature and Art by Wood Smith

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    Wonderland: Curiosities of Nature and Art by Wood Smith

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    Wonderland: Curiosities of Nature and Art by Wood Smith

Wonderland: Curiosities of Nature and Art by Wood Smith

This gold-trimmed beauty belongs to my Grandfather, “Oupa” Thomas Paulley. As the certificate on the inside cover shows, it was presented to him “For Regularity and Punctuality of attendance at the Ecclesbourne Rd Boys’ School” in Croydon. Suffice to say, I would have never received an award for that. It says November 1901, but as Oupa just turned 96, I reckon the true date is around 1925.

He lent it to me a few years ago and I was instantly spellbound by its tales of travel and adventure from a bygone era. At the start you are presented with two illustrations; one of a boy high above a Japanese mountain range pulling himself and his possessions across the ravine via a rope slide; the other shows a family sitting on top of a huge Californian tree stump, having erected their own permanent staircase to climb up and down it. It sets a fantastical tone, with Smith going on to describe everything from how to cross a river in Turkestan and fish for sponges in the Mediterranean, to navigating a bazaar in Baghdad and weaving cashmere shawls in India. I can only imagine how exotic and exciting it must have felt to my Granddad when he read it as a boy in the window of peace between the two World Wars.

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    Why Cats Paint: The Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Bosch and Burton Silver

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    Why Cats Paint: The Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Bosch and Burton Silver

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    Why Cats Paint: The Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Bosch and Burton Silver

Why Cats Paint: The Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Bosch and Burton Silver

The original LOL Cats. Our friend Katherine Rowlandson gave this formidable art theory book to my future wife in 2001, the year we all graduated from London Guildhall University. It’s made us laugh ever since. Having grown up around many cats – yet never once seeing any of them paint – I loved how Bosch and Silver had the wit and imagination to create an entire book that parodied the dryness of contemporary art criticism with photographs that made you doubt your sanity. The pioneering brushwork of Bootsie the Trans-Expressionist and Charlie the Peripheral Realest deserve your immediate attention.

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    The Wu-Tang Manual by The RZA

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    The Wu-Tang Manual by The RZA

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    The Wu-Tang Manual by The RZA

The Wu-Tang Manual by The RZA

Can I get a suuuuu? Probably not, if you haven’t read this book. My wife, Caroline, bought me RZA’s guide to Shaolin for my birthday in 2005. Part of her message inside was “You just need to find a shelf to fit it on now…” which is quite fitting for this feature. But more than that, this rap nerd bible reminds me of going to Denver to interview the group in 2007. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my career and its breakdown of Wu Lexicon came in handy every step of the way. I ended up on stage at Red Rocks in front of 10,000 people, went clubbing at a skanky dive bar with the entire Clan for GZA’s 40th birthday and shared a cheese pizza with Ghostface and Raekwon on the tour bus while RZA and ODB’s son rapped along to Brooklyn Zoo in the background. After the interviews – which ranged in length from 30 seconds (Masta Killa) to 2 hours (GZA) – I asked each living member to sign their profile page in the manual. Everyone obliged apart from Masta Killa and Inspectah Deck. Ha. Maybe I should have given them some cheese pizza.

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    Ritual by David Pinner

Ritual by David Pinner

I was going to choose J.G Ballard’s High Rise, one of my favourite novels ever (dystopian dog anyone?), but I plumped for David Pinner’s criminally overlooked debut instead. First published in 1967 and then in 2011 by Finders Keepers Records, Ritual is, as the cover handily informs potential readers, “The original seed from which grew the towering movie enigma The Wicker Man.” I’m not a big fan of that film, but this book is a beast. Set in Cornwall, it follows the downward spiral of police officer David Hanlin as he sets out to investigate the murder of a local child in a town driven mad by occult excess. Pinner’s demented characters are exquisitely realised, but it’s his hilarious phrasing – in particular Hanlin’s inner monologue as reason slips away and insanity takes root – that earned Ritual a permanent place on my shelf.

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    Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

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    Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

Our two-year-old son, Arthur, loves to be read Peace at Last every night, so by proxy I’ve probably read it more than any other book in my collection. Actually, it’s a toss up between this, Each Peach Pear Plum and Where the Wild Things Are, but I’ve chosen Jill Murphy’s classic because the story revolves around a family of three bears, and in particular a Dad who has a terrible night’s sleep. Like most parents I can definitely empathise with his red-eyed plight. Strangely, even after reading it hundreds of times, I still enjoy the rhythmic, hypnotic simplicity of its plot and the charming illustrations. Perhaps I just need some more sleep…


Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    I get the same feeling receiving the zip file from weekly Bookshelf contributors as I did when I used to babysit as a teenager and casually rifle through people’s drawers (by the way, don’t do that). Witnessing the telling spines residing on people’s shelves will always be intriguing, and Holly’s top five is no exception. The editor in chief of i-D has an absolute terasure trove of some of the glossiest, coffee table-worthy tomes money can buy. What’s brilliant about her selection is just how telling it is of her true passion for the world she has been submerged in since beginning as an intern there many moons ago, and of why i-D is so consistently brilliant with her at the helm.

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    The amount of times we’ve checked out new work from Joe Cruz at It’s Nice That and just sat around with our heads in our hands, gobsmacked at how simple and effortlessly beautiful his work is. Not just that, but his style is probably one of the most easily recognised of the editorial illustrators we chat about here. We love him so much that we even asked him to illustrate a piece in our own magazine, Printed Pages. Here’s Joe on the artists, books and African fashion that have influenced his work over the years. Take it away, Joe!

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    Reel off a list of highly-publicised albums recently and chances are that their artwork was designed by creative director and artist, Leif Podhajsky. From Bonobo to Mount Kimbie and Kelis to Tame Impala, Leif’s psychedelic-inspired designs turn these albums from listenable into incredibly desirable in a matter of seconds. Drawing inspiration from the mystic, the kaleidoscopic, the mysterious and the wild, Leif’s site and blog are a treasure trove of beautiful, technicolour work to marvel at. You can almost smell the sandalwood. Here he is on his top five most inspirational tomes, check out that National Geographic collection!

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    Can you believe Mr Bingo has never done a Bookshelf for us? We’ve been posting about his work, reading his vulgar Tweets and laughing at his books for years and never thought to ask him. Well, maybe we did ask him and he said no – that sounds more like it. In between Tweeting at Alexa Chung, writing alarmingly insulting hate mail and illustrating for big companies, Bingo is a seemingly avid collector of weird-as-shit books. Are titles such as Dancing with Cats and Self Defence for Women up your street? Then read on dear friend…

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    Sometimes at It’s Nice That we like to dip our timid toes into the world of fashion, and what better way to do so than to approach a big dog at one of the best online fashion resources known to mankind? Leon St-Amour is the Creative Director of Mr Porter, the luxury menswear site that – much like us – likes to make people happy each and every day. Where we do it with featuring people’s work, Mr Porter do it with a very special knack for delivering their goods in the most luxurious and hand-clappingly exciting way possible, usually involving a very beautiful white shopping bag being hand-delivered to sartorially-minded folk all over the globe.

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    Wahey! We love booze and books in equal measures here at It’s Nice That, so it’s our pleasure to introduce Simon Lyle and his five favourite books to you today. Simon is the editor of Hot Rum Cow, the printed publication containing the hottest news on all things booze – from cocktails to beers and from bartenders to barflies, this magazine’s got it all. Here he is on which publications have inspired him along the way to becoming editor of Hot Rum Cow

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    Our weekly Bookshelf feature must be fairly nerve-wracking stuff for book artists like Owen Gildersleeve, whose recurring presence on the walls of It’s Nice That is about as unquestioned as the changing of the seasons. How do you represent your own book collection when half of your practice is about creating images for new ones? Fortunately Owen’s passed our test with flying colours, a 10 out of 10 for his five publications that have not only informed and educated him, but make excellent eye candy for us book-lovers too. And if you keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot a very exciting new one all of his own, due to hit bookshelves very soon…

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    We’ve long been enormous fans of Ally Capellino, for the timeless bags and vessels she creates that seem to adhere to and stand up to everyday problems of a “doing” person who rides bicycles, carries a lot of books, or just needs a sturdy bag as a tool rather than something to show off. Saying that, everyone I know who’s got an Ally Capellino bag definitely shows it off, and it’s normally so beautiful that no one really minds anyway.

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    This week’s beautiful bookshelf selection comes from Jasmine Raznahan, editor-in-chief and creative director of Noon magazine, a stunning new publication which we wrote about a little while back and whose spellbinding pages have held our concentration through many lunch breaks. Jasmine’s brilliant bookshelf contains all sorts of beautifully bound publications, including a lovely looking book about an old lady and her cat, and a very striking study of geometric shapes. Jasmine is also the Director of ARPA, and her impeccable graphic designer’s eye certainly shines through in her choices. Here she on some of her absolute favourite books…

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    People who champion the smaller, artier, cuter, brighter, funnier publications there are flopping around all over the world are our kinds of people. Katja Chernova is one of those, so who better to ask to recommend us some publications for our weekly Bookshelf feature? Katja is the founder of Ti Pi Tin, a small but powerful art book shop in London’s weird cousin, Dalston. Ti Pi Tin stocks small publications, zines, and basically anything printed and bound and sometimes unnecessary that you inexplicably just really, really want to own. Here she is on her personal top five reads…

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    If you’ve been dying to know which publications inspire a fashion photographer as prolific as Matthew Donaldson then your prayers have been answered. He’s very kindly told us about five books from his rather beautiful shelves that have informed his work over the years. And what work! Matthew’s photographed for the likes of luxurious big dogs Vogue, Wallpaper*, W and GQ and has also shot slick and witty advertising campaigns for many clients including Sony, Harvey Nichols, Skoda, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, Harrods, Missoni, Kvadrat and Marks and Spencer. Ever wonder what a man like Matthew carries around in his blazer pocket? Read on to find out…

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    I knew the Bookshelf of Present & Correct would be beautiful, but I was in no way prepared for this. Each of Neal’s books makes me so jealous that I’m working out a way to break into his house and raid his shelves for more beauties. From rare Ken Garland books to old publications dedicated to stitching typography, Neal’s got it all, and it’s beautifully photographed too. Wait a minute, who exactly is Neal? He told us in his own words.