In Manchester I recently visited the What Are You Like exhibition. The premise of the collection was based on a Victorian parlour game. Fold a piece of paper into two longways and then into four, to create a grid of eight boxes. You should use each box to illustrate your favourites of these seven things:
your number one motto dream occupation,
ideal meal or dish
and finally, one special aversion: something you really don't like. There was an immediacy to the scratchy pencil marks and cutesy illustrations on notepaper by Sara Fanelli, which made it my favourite:
Paul Smith naturally made a fashionable book, collaged to the hilt with some excellent images of brogues, a bike and used my favourite medium: typewriting. Fellow designer Margaret Howell took on the concept with a camera and stuck photos down, numbered with a useful key. Singer Jack Peñate showed off his artistic side with some pen and ink work, including some ace Nikes. Peter Blake's piece was in his famous montage style and gave a nod to original game by including his chosen motto living well is the best revenge.
A simple and fun task, these parlour games give us insight into how we live today. They also connect us to people who lived in the past and how they lived. Our likes, dislikes and fears perhaps haven't changed so much. How well do we know our friends and loved ones? What rules do we follow? What are our tastes? What are you like?