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Bad week? Reach for Mr Bingo

I've had better weeks, filled with less bad news. But nothing quite cheers me up like a browse through the Mr Bingo back catalogue and, quite apart from my own excuses, I currently have an official one too...

... since the illustrator known as Mr Bingo is giving a talk next week in Bristol that promises to be an entertaining event if you're in that neck of the woods. Sadly I'm not, so here's a gratuitous selection of some of his finest works.

As well as writing about lovely affordable interiors here, this blog also features design related stories to inspire – and sometimes amuse – those with aesthetic interests.

I first discovered Mr Bingo when I was a commissioning editor at the Independent Magazine a couple of years ago and a copy of his book – a collection of these illustrations – got sent into the office. It was passed around the room, its whereabouts trackable by sporadic snorts of laughter punctuating the tippity tap of keyboards.

Then last year I sent a copy of the book to a friend who'd just had a bad break-up to cheer her up. And, in line with my own experience, it helped.

In case you're unfamiliar with Mr Bingo, he's an east London-based illustrator whose special brand of Hate Mail started life one night in his studio when he drunk-tweeted: “I will send a postcard with an offensive message on to the first person who replies to this tweet".

Mr Bingo was inundated with requests. He charged £40 a pop for each brilliantly illustrated typographical abuse missive, which were inked onto old postcards. A selection of them was made into the book.

What I don't have (since I gave away the book) are the John Hinde-esque images on the front of the postcards, which really add a special flourish to the messages on the back. Worth buying just for that.

Hate Mail (Michael Joseph) is published by Penguin and costs £9.99.


And if you haven't clicked away yet, disgusted by it all, you'll probably also like the equally visual and daft Viz Book of Crap Jokes (one of my most treasured possessions), and also the blog, written by David Thorne. Graphic designers will appreciate it – especially this post. (Though personally I am fond of the one about the missing cat poster.) Thorne has also published two books featuring the best of the emails, the first of which was a New York Times bestseller.

The Mr Bingo talk takes place as part of the West of England Design Forum in Bristol at Arnolfini on 16 July, 7-9pm. £12.00 / £10.00 concs. 

Have good weekends. I hope to be feeling perkier next week.

Post by Kate

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