“Osama Bin Laden plied all the demonstrators with drugs and alcohol.”

Muammar al-Gaddafi

Bin Laden thinks to himself: compliments are lovely.


We live in a world of excess. Too much of everything and not enough of too little. So, to find a place that find places for all the things people don’t want anymore is a pretty amazing venture.

Scrapstore is run by Gary King. I’ve only met him once but he radiates belief. His warehouse in the Clay Hills of St Austell, Cornwall is rammed full of orphaned stuff. He also runs sister sites in Liskeard and Pool, near Redruth. The stories behind the stock are almost as fascinating as the stock itself. But I’ll leave those anecdotes up to Gary as he tells them better than words on a page every could.

Scrapstore makes you re-evaluate products and processes. Scrapstore makes you think about the idiocy of ownership.  Scrapstore makes you grateful that everything here isn’t underground in bin liners.

I’m off for my second pilgrimage tomorrow and I told Gary I’d write about his brilliant enterprise. Hopefully someone, somewhere will read this and think twice before they next bin or buy.


It’s rare that I plug anything in this blog, but today I owe a few people in lieu of this:


Over the past 6 months, it has absorbed a lot of my life, but so much more of Matt & Sasha’s lives, the twosome to whom this post goes out to tonight.

If you are anywhere near Cornwall, come. Track down one of 15 shipping containers hiding in the county and wander inside. Each crate contains an installation by a local artist or designer of a subject nominated by figureheads within the worlds of design, culture and academia. As far as I know, there is no money to be won, but there is an emotional pot of gold at the end of each rainbow. If you’re local, your heart may thump with pride. If you’re not, you might go oh-wow. Either way, you will leave the scene with a different mood.

As this week unravels, these rusty old crates will become less shy within the Cornish landscape as they receive a lick of love something like this: da-naaa.

So, if you like the look of the wrapping, seek the show inside. For the record, this particular show was nominated by Margaret Howell.
Thanks for venturing.


She wasn’t the smartest girl, but she was lucky. It was luck that drove her onto the game show, the first of its kind to offer up as a prize, intelligence or money. Now, she got by, paid the rent, brought up her kids, went out when kids allowed. But comfortable? No.

As with all soft, rich quiz shows, choice bailed her out. Every question was alien to her, from the toughest to the opener. She guessed her socks off and nailed the lot. In fifteen years of broadcast, no-one had ever taken the implant, dismissing it as a ratings stunt.

When she choose the cash by judgement rather than luck, they tried to renege. It went to high court. She won and they were forced to operate on/in her perfectly normal head. After several weeks of indifference, she wrote a screenplay that brought down Hollywood. Sadly, we’ll all have to wait until 2014 to see it.


Ad lib is easier with your eyes shut. Try it. Really. Now. Go on. Leave the room if necessary and practice, but open them before you walk back in as that architrave looks nasty.

Now, the method. Let all hell break loose within your vocal range and make a song up on the spot and sing it at the top of your voice, however painful your voice may be. Blackouts help concentration by augmenting your lazier senses. It also helps to be free of visual distraction such as gawping faces.

Sure, that first verse is on a par with gargling firelighters, but it will come. It will. And once you’re there, in the zone of rhyme and tone, the lyrics will dance your tongue the way of the Dervish.

Of course, you can’t legislate for the audience and their reaction. You might provoke a standup career on youtube, or you might just elicit the kind of response I got from my daughter tonight:

I really do hate your songs Dad


How do you sign off a letter? Not an email, a letter. Remember those flesh and blood expressions of humanity before ‘the internet came along and sucked the life out of everything fresh’ (Sandra Bernhard)?

Simone de Beauvoir wrote letters for decades to Jean Paul Sartre, ending each epistle with:

Your charming beaver

We live in a world that doesn’t know when and how to say hello and goodbye. This stands out like a pumping heart, even though the letter were written 60 years ago. Our doors are too often open and even when they’re shut, locked and boarded up with oak and nine inch galvanised screws, people still find their way into our lives, and possibly us into theirs.

If you have ever received a more eloquent sign off, please write to me longhand at:

Peter Kirby, Treveague, Gorran, St Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6NY, UK.




George, here’s an idea to reduce the deficit.

Sub-let the office to someone who can afford it (banker/footballer – multiple choice).

Then move your dept into a shed on the lawn opposite (after you’ve evicted Brian Haw and co).

This gesture of austerity will rub off on your colleagues and before you can say ‘recovery’ we’ll be back in the black and you’ll be surrounded by your sisters sheds with your brothers in arms – leading The Big Society from the front.

Brilliant George, brilliant.

Take a bonus.


Oh David.

You try so hard to make a politically incorrect point on the topic of multiculturism by stating white people cannot make certain comments and express their views without being labelled racist.

And you quantify this with a link to terrorism.

It seems to me it’s the latest in your spate of verbal blurs. You hope we don’t notice, that we don’t join up the dots, that we’ll just nod and say yeah, he’s right, he’s got a point.

But we are listening Mr Cameron. We are listening assiduously.

We’d love to applaud your ideas and observations if they had substance.


You confuse faith with race. An internal belief, however extreme, cannot be seen. It can only be felt, and if this feeling is acute enough, it will be acted upon to varying degrees of evidence, culminating one imagines, in becoming a suicide bomber.

If this is your point Mr Prime Minister, say it. Don’t pretend to be brave. Either think it through and tell the absolute truth with the full ramifications or shut up and channel your energies into genuine policy-making history like your colleague IDS.

Any more of these Ratner-esque gaffs and your views won’t be worth the breath they float out on. Please stop devaluing your status to that of a speaker’s corner and show us you are capable of the job.


Today, many many years ago when we were kids, the pinches and punches came hurtling in from every angle in the playground only to ease up at noon, unless of course, the school meathead showed little respect of the clock and continued to persecute you until his hyperventilation got the better of him.

Today, as adults, we are pinched and punched by direct debit and standing orders on the first of the month and the meathead has grown into a scholarly millionaire, no doubt. Either that or he’s nailing his hand to a fence post in rural Suffolk.

Dates are anomalies. But they do provide a framework for process and order. Today is beginning of the final week of a group show at LACE art gallery in Los Angeles of a project called The Open Daybook. I only know because the curator asked me to contribute a piece to the book and the exhibition. If you’re in the vicinity pop in, if not, you can pretend you went by going here:

The Open Daybook Exhibition


Heisenberg deducted: the more we know of one’s position, the less we know of our velocity.

I wonder what he’d make of this moment as I sit still on a train moving at 132mph.

It brings to mind the conundrum set by your maths teacher with his stale breath when he used to say ‘Colin has 3 oranges which he juggles whilst walking…’ only to be interrupted by the lad at the back who yelled out ‘and then he got hit by a truck, sir.’

I’ll leave you with a principle I’m making up as I’m going along.

The Inertia Principle: The longer you spend deliberating over doing a particular something, the more the task is likely to seem pointless in the first place.

Write your own principle here: