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    Bookshelf: We Are Pi

Bookshelf

A Bookshelf special from the members of WE ARE Pi, an agency full of "ideas worth doing"

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

This weeks Bookshelf comes from the collective mind of WE ARE Pi; a creative agency responsible for more than enough (and yet they keep coming) integrated creative solutions – notably for the likes of TEDx which, just yesterday, they won a Cannes Lion for – and who can be satisfyingly surmised by a maxim: “Ideas worth doing.”

Their bookshelf is bare because they’ve just moved studios, but is full of potential nonetheless (is this a metaphor?!) Also they’ve a few more selections than is the norm with this feature. You’ll get why we let them as soon as you’ve finished reading their picks from running to walking, psychoanalysing the Mr Men series to a drunk ribald anti-hero – these choices reflect a creative studio whose only continuity we can point at is the mere fact that their literary references are all so wildly different and yet together they make such coherent, good work. Tenuous, perhaps, but true.

Haruki Murakami: What I Talk about when I Talk about Running

Last year I began to take running seriously. I trained for nearly six months for my first marathon in Berlin. It was an extraordinary experience, a genuine challenge on both my body and mind. I could even go as far to say that it was life changing. Having finished the marathon, I felt like I needed to take a break to avoid falling out of love with the act of running. I was put onto the memoir of Haruki Murakami. As I read through his passages, I felt like our thoughts were meeting in an ethereal space. His words eloquently mirrored thoughts I discovered within this newfound satisfaction. The story is one part sport and one part travelogue and wrapped around it is the romantic sense of reminiscence that any fan of long distance running would appreciate. Review by Jamie Kim, co-founder of WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/what-i-talk-about-when-i-talk-about-running

Mark Harnden: In the Dark Backyard

Did you ever think that the stress of student life and the endless benders would drive you mad? Here’s a funny and candid biographical account of a young man who crossed that line and descended into manic psychosis. It started going wrong for Mark in the drug-addled world of student parties, and left him with a painful ten years in and out of medical care. He gives a frank and amusing account of his train-stealing adventures and attempted vagrancy, as he escaped from university and reality. His experience bouncing around inside the British mental health system, as well as some startling insights inside the mind of a “madman”, leaves the reader with a sense of hope that one can always appreciate the journey through life, however crazy it gets. Review by Barney Hobson, creative partner at WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/in-the-dark-backyard

Roger Hargreaves: Mr Noisy

I grew up with Roger Hargreaves psychoanalytical series of children’s books, my earliest experience with personality segmentation. As a child the colourful illustrated characters on the covers fascinated me as much as the stories within. On a recent trip to London I picked up a copy of Mr Noisy, drawn by nostalgia and the similarities between him and I. Although still wonderfully unruly, two things struck me about his seemingly colourful life: Firstly, the community neutralises Mr Noisy’s big personality within 35 short pages, rendering him a lesser, Mr Whisperer. Secondly, on the back cover I was reminded that Mr Men vary from worrisome and grumpy to impossible, muddled, even rude. I am saddened that Mr Noisy was silenced. Alas, here forth my faith in rich and diverse societies will have to rest in the hands of the remaining anti-social Mrs Men and Women. Review by Alex Bennett Grant, co-founder of WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/mr-noisy

Hunter S. Thompson: The Rum Diary

This is the story of my alter ego. Paul Kemp, a journalist who settles into the steam of Puerto Rico looking for real trouble without giving it a name. He is twisted, hardly ever sober, and wildly talented at finding a good dose of adventure without a scratch to show for it. If he’s not hanging out in his local den, he’s running sideways from his lunatic colleagues or sweating lust. He writes on the side of life with a glass of rum in one hand and the beach in the other. And in his imagination, both hands would be all over one delectable girl – the centre of his stewing inner tension. It’s a believable and laughable life that sadly seems reserved for only a man to experience. Thanks to Hunter, I got a taste. Review by Jamie Kim, co-founder of WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/the-rum-diary

Ian Macdonald: Revolution in the Head

If you want to know why the Beatles really split up turn to page 357. Review by Rick Chant, creative partner at WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/revolution-in-the-head

John Hegarty: Hegarty on Advertising

Whatever folk say, we are all secretly fascinated by another perspective on the ad industry history that bloated guts, broke pencils and built global brands. Creative advertising legend, founder of BBH, and wine purveyor, John Hegarty, writes playfully and honestly of his ebb and flow to success. Having enjoyed the ride from cover to cover, I decided that this was the last book I will read about the short history of creative advertising. I read Hegarty while in Paris and finished it under the sunset of the Seine. Happy am I to have lived vicariously through the legends of old, I am now excited to live the digital transformation of today. Most of all I look forward to dipping a toe in the unknown paths of tomorrow, advertising or otherwise. Review by Alex Bennett Grant, co-founder of WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/hegarty-on-advertising

Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Time of Gifts

As a young man, the author walked across Europe in 1934, bouncing from cowshed to castle on his way to Constantinople. The account is written by Fermor as an old man, looking back with a fond eye that absorbed every detail of his youthful journey; full of friendships, generosity and observations of a world that was about to be obliterated by war.
 
This book inspired me to follow his tracks from London to Istanbul, through an Eastern Europe that had recently shed Communism. I hitchhiked the whole way, so I got there a bit quicker than Patrick, but armed with his insights, I travelled with one foot in the past, and could see the next chapter of history unfolding around me. Review by Barney Hobson, creative partner at WE ARE Pi.
www.amazon.co.uk/time-of-gifts

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Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

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    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.

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    I always had a hunch that Bruno Bayley was the kind of guy with a great bookshelf – you can just tell that he’s a hoarder of the weird, the kind of person who would rather stumble upon someone’s diary in a forest than, say, a suitcase full of cash. London-based Bruno is the European managing editor of Vice, which allows him to take his curiosity for the dark corners of the world and pump them out to those who want to know but perhaps can’t be bothered to look. His articles are some of the best on Vice at the moment, so go and check them out after you’ve read his deeply interesting, peculiar top five books. Excuse us while we go and subscribe to the Fortean Times

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    London-based photographer Catherine Losing is exactly our cup of tea; working with the crème de la crème of collaborators from set designers to food stylists, she takes photographs which are colourful, dynamic, bold and immediately recognisable. Unsurprisingly then, her bookshelf is among the very best-stocked of them all, complete with Martin Creed, Barbara Hepworth and Toilet Paper magazine, and most importantly they’re all seriously well-thumbed and chockablock with Post-its.

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    When you ask a couple of creatives who work in a former kindergarten in east Berlin (as we learned in an interview many moons ago) to show you their book collection, you hope to see some pretty cool and quirky publications. Doris and Daniel of Golden Cosmos have not let us down.

  6. New_list_animade

    Design and animation are maybe a bit overlooked when it comes to selecting people whose bookshelves we’d like to share with you. With that in mind this week’s collection comes from the very lovely folks at interactive design and animation studio Animade. They recently incorporated Hover Studio into their midst too, making them collectively one of our favourite groups of creative brains in a five mile radius. Their bookshelf has a serious digital and animation lean, so budding animators and interactive designers, gather round to find out the tomes that’ll yield the secrets of your trade.

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    When we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.

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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!

  10. Bookshelflist

    Louise Benson from POST Magazine has curated a selection of books from her bookshelf for us! Since we first wrote about POST in 2011, the digital magazine dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge creativity has spectacularly grown, and has become a very intriguing and forward-thinking online platform. The site explores the blurring boundaries between art, fashion, science and technology, and in the past they have published iPad editions of their magazines. For an afternoon, Associate Editor Louise pulled herself out of the digital realm and spent some time with her physical bookshelf. On to Louise for her list of all time favourites.

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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.