Inconspicuous Consumption

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20150326

2015032620150909 (R4)

Jack Monroe delves into cupboards and kitchen cabinets to find out how we consume and care about our crockery.

This is no trivial matter. Tableware is the result of a negotiation involving your household rituals, attitudes to food and aesthetics. The relationship between cup and lip can get obsessional. It's a delicate subject and one which, as Jack discovers, goes deeper than you might imagine.

She talks to people at home in kitchens, in restaurants and in warehouses. She speaks to one man who lives in his car about his experiments with tableware when he doesn't actually have a table, and learns how the choices we make about our crockery and the way we treat it can offer vital clues to the health of a marriage.

Jack also hears how one woman turned her addiction to vintage crockery into a business venture, and meets the ceramicist Alison Britton who prefers to drink tea from a white cup.

Children are conditioned to tableware sensibility from the word go - the reward for eating it all up is the picture at the bottom of the bowl. Some stuff is too good to eat from - but in Greece they ritually smash their plates on the most important occasions. Why?

And then there's the office mug collection and the tense negotiations of personality and status - as Jack, who remembers days in the emergency services, knows only too well.

Producer: Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

2015032620150909 (R4)

Jack Monroe delves into cupboards and kitchen cabinets to find out how we consume and care about our crockery.

This is no trivial matter. Tableware is the result of a negotiation involving your household rituals, attitudes to food and aesthetics. The relationship between cup and lip can get obsessional. It's a delicate subject and one which, as Jack discovers, goes deeper than you might imagine.

She talks to people at home in kitchens, in restaurants and in warehouses. She speaks to one man who lives in his car about his experiments with tableware when he doesn't actually have a table, and learns how the choices we make about our crockery and the way we treat it can offer vital clues to the health of a marriage.

Jack also hears how one woman turned her addiction to vintage crockery into a business venture, and meets the ceramicist Alison Britton who prefers to drink tea from a white cup.

Children are conditioned to tableware sensibility from the word go - the reward for eating it all up is the picture at the bottom of the bowl. Some stuff is too good to eat from - but in Greece they ritually smash their plates on the most important occasions. Why?

And then there's the office mug collection and the tense negotiations of personality and status - as Jack, who remembers days in the emergency services, knows only too well.

Producer: Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

20150326

2015032620150909 (R4)

Jack Monroe delves into cupboards and kitchen cabinets to find out how we consume and care about our crockery.

This is no trivial matter. Tableware is the result of a negotiation involving your household rituals, attitudes to food and aesthetics. The relationship between cup and lip can get obsessional. It's a delicate subject and one which, as Jack discovers, goes deeper than you might imagine.

She talks to people at home in kitchens, in restaurants and in warehouses. She speaks to one man who lives in his car about his experiments with tableware when he doesn't actually have a table, and learns how the choices we make about our crockery and the way we treat it can offer vital clues to the health of a marriage.

Jack also hears how one woman turned her addiction to vintage crockery into a business venture, and meets the ceramicist Alison Britton who prefers to drink tea from a white cup.

Children are conditioned to tableware sensibility from the word go - the reward for eating it all up is the picture at the bottom of the bowl. Some stuff is too good to eat from - but in Greece they ritually smash their plates on the most important occasions. Why?

And then there's the office mug collection and the tense negotiations of personality and status - as Jack, who remembers days in the emergency services, knows only too well.

Producer: Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

20150326

Jack Monroe delves into cupboards and kitchen cabinets to find out how we consume and care about our crockery.

This is no trivial matter. Tableware is the result of a negotiation involving your household rituals, attitudes to food and aesthetics. The relationship between cup and lip can get obsessional. It's a delicate subject and one which, as Jack discovers, goes deeper than you might imagine.

She talks to people at home in kitchens, in restaurants and in warehouses. She speaks to one man who lives in his car about his experiments with tableware when he doesn't actually have a table, and learns how the choices we make about our crockery and the way we treat it can offer vital clues to the health of a marriage.

Jack also hears how one woman turned her addiction to vintage crockery into a business venture, and meets the ceramicist Alison Britton who prefers to drink tea from a white cup.

Children are conditioned to tableware sensibility from the word go - the reward for eating it all up is the picture at the bottom of the bowl. Some stuff is too good to eat from - but in Greece they ritually smash their plates on the most important occasions. Why?

And then there's the office mug collection and the tense negotiations of personality and status - as Jack, who remembers days in the emergency services, knows only too well.

Producer: Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Exist Through the Gift Shop20150319

Exist Through the Gift Shop2015031920150902 (R4)

This series aims to look at the cultural consumption that other media ignore. We treasure our great museums and galleries, but they increasingly depend on income and we increasingly depend on purchases to somehow validate our visit.

So what's in a postcard, a piece of replica jewellery or a tin of Rosetta Stone Mints? When we give a gift from a museum shop, what are we telling the recipient?

Nick Baker visits museums and galleries in London and Liverpool, hanging around gift shops and quizzing customers on how their purchases relate to what they've seen in the exhibitions to which they relate. If they relate. Some gallery gift shops feature stuff that's not really connected to the exhibits within. Others offer expensive replicas, like the British Museum's Elgin Marble gifts.

Andy Warhol famously predicted that one day, "All department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores." At a Warhol exhibition in Tate Liverpool, this seems to be becoming true. Shoppers there reflect on their purchases, how they relate to the consumer-focused artist who inspired them, and what they'll do with them when they get them home.

Sharon Macdonald, a cultural anthropologist and keen museum shopper explains how museums simultaneously are and aren't like department stores, and we visit the V&A jewellery department to ask people whether, when they look at the exhibits, they imagine themselves wearing them.

Produced and Presented by Nick Baker

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Exist Through the Gift Shop2015031920150902 (R4)

This series aims to look at the cultural consumption that other media ignore. We treasure our great museums and galleries, but they increasingly depend on income and we increasingly depend on purchases to somehow validate our visit.

So what's in a postcard, a piece of replica jewellery or a tin of Rosetta Stone Mints? When we give a gift from a museum shop, what are we telling the recipient?

Nick Baker visits museums and galleries in London and Liverpool, hanging around gift shops and quizzing customers on how their purchases relate to what they've seen in the exhibitions to which they relate. If they relate. Some gallery gift shops feature stuff that's not really connected to the exhibits within. Others offer expensive replicas, like the British Museum's Elgin Marble gifts.

Andy Warhol famously predicted that one day, "All department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores." At a Warhol exhibition in Tate Liverpool, this seems to be becoming true. Shoppers there reflect on their purchases, how they relate to the consumer-focused artist who inspired them, and what they'll do with them when they get them home.

Sharon Macdonald, a cultural anthropologist and keen museum shopper explains how museums simultaneously are and aren't like department stores, and we visit the V&A jewellery department to ask people whether, when they look at the exhibits, they imagine themselves wearing them.

Produced and Presented by Nick Baker

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Exist Through the Gift Shop20150319

Exist Through The Gift Shop2015031920150902 (R4)

This series aims to look at the cultural consumption that other media ignore. We treasure our great museums and galleries, but they increasingly depend on income and we increasingly depend on purchases to somehow validate our visit.

So what's in a postcard, a piece of replica jewellery or a tin of Rosetta Stone Mints? When we give a gift from a museum shop, what are we telling the recipient?

Nick Baker visits museums and galleries in London and Liverpool, hanging around gift shops and quizzing customers on how their purchases relate to what they've seen in the exhibitions to which they relate. If they relate. Some gallery gift shops feature stuff that's not really connected to the exhibits within. Others offer expensive replicas, like the British Museum's Elgin Marble gifts.

Andy Warhol famously predicted that one day, "All department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores." At a Warhol exhibition in Tate Liverpool, this seems to be becoming true. Shoppers there reflect on their purchases, how they relate to the consumer-focused artist who inspired them, and what they'll do with them when they get them home.

Sharon Macdonald, a cultural anthropologist and keen museum shopper explains how museums simultaneously are and aren't like department stores, and we visit the V&A jewellery department to ask people whether, when they look at the exhibits, they imagine themselves wearing them.

Produced and Presented by Nick Baker

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

Framing Device20150312

Framing Device2015031220150826 (R4)

A series exploring the cultural consumption that other media ignore.

Sarah Cuddon looks at - and through - a diversity of frames to understand what they're for, how they work and why we develop such strong feelings about them. In galleries, framers shops and people's homes, she meets those involved in negotiations over frames.

In a local London framing shop, Sarah hears about a request to frame a (human) ponytail, and meets the man who had his pacemaker framed. She tries to understand the allure of the ornate gold frame and considers the modern day opposite - framelessness.

She hears how Europe's galleries have obsessed over the 'white box frame' and she meets an artist for whom frames are merely an old-fashioned decoration.

What emerges is as much about how people see their possessions as it is about framing. Choosing the right frame for a deceased love one for example, is a revealing business. Which is why Robert's story is so telling. For him, the very business of framing provides a metaphorical framing device for his life story.

Produced and Presented by Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

01Framing Device20150312

A series exploring the cultural consumption that other media ignore.

Sarah Cuddon looks at - and through - a diversity of frames to understand what they're for, how they work and why we develop such strong feelings about them. In galleries, framers shops and people's homes, she meets those involved in negotiations over frames.

In a local London framing shop, Sarah hears about a request to frame a (human) ponytail, and meets the man who had his pacemaker framed. She tries to understand the allure of the ornate gold frame and considers the modern day opposite - framelessness.

She hears how Europe's galleries have obsessed over the 'white box frame' and she meets an artist for whom frames are merely an old-fashioned decoration.

What emerges is as much about how people see their possessions as it is about framing. Choosing the right frame for a deceased love one for example, is a revealing business. Which is why Robert's story is so telling. For him, the very business of framing provides a metaphorical framing device for his life story.

Produced and Presented by Sarah Cuddon

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.

02Exist Through The Gift Shop20150319

This series aims to look at the cultural consumption that other media ignore. We treasure our great museums and galleries, but they increasingly depend on income and we increasingly depend on purchases to somehow validate our visit.

So what's in a postcard, a piece of replica jewellery or a tin of Rosetta Stone Mints? When we give a gift from a museum shop, what are we telling the recipient?

Nick Baker visits museums and galleries in London and Liverpool, hanging around gift shops and quizzing customers on how their purchases relate to what they've seen in the exhibitions to which they relate. If they relate. Some gallery gift shops feature stuff that's not really connected to the exhibits within. Others offer expensive replicas, like the British Museum's Elgin Marble gifts.

Andy Warhol famously predicted that one day, "All department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores." At a Warhol exhibition in Tate Liverpool, this seems to be becoming true. Shoppers there reflect on their purchases, how they relate to the consumer-focused artist who inspired them, and what they'll do with them when they get them home.

Sharon Macdonald, a cultural anthropologist and keen museum shopper explains how museums simultaneously are and aren't like department stores, and we visit the V&A jewellery department to ask people whether, when they look at the exhibits, they imagine themselves wearing them.

Produced and Presented by Nick Baker

A Testbed production for BBC Radio 4.