Join our conversations

  • Posted by ruben
  • 21 April 2011

We've had some great debates happening on our Facebook and Twitter pages this week.

The conversations span topics from the buttons on a new cardigan that's coming out this autumn to what the AV vote means to UK politics or what you should eat to keep yourself going on a long ride or run.

There are a lot of interesting people out there, and we love hearing from you. Ask us a question or just say hello.

Join us on Facebook here or Twitter here.

Speak soon

By the way, Facebook and Twitter are also great places to find out about new products and the offers we run.

Water Changes Everything

  • Posted by ruben
  • 20 April 2011

Found this nicely made, thought provoking little video by Charity: Water about the state of the world's water crisis, via. @jonheslop

AV Yes...AV No?

  • Posted by hollie
  • 19 April 2011

Some political hot potatoes being thrown about here in howies HQ today.

The Alternative Vote Referendum is coming up in a few weeks’ time - and here in the office we've got some certain yes or no votes, whereas others are as yet still undecided....(and then there are those of us that haven't really got a good grasp of what it all means!)

There's a pretty good discussion going on over on our facebook page, so log in and have your say! help those of us who are undecided...(or in some cases have no idea what it's all about!)

Book List

Here's a book list for all the bums out there. For the vagabonds and hobos. For the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles - exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centrelight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"

These are the travel books I read and re-read. I fold down corners and scribble notes. They remind me that, above everything else, the things that make me happiest in life are big skies, sunsets, sleeping on beaches, the potential of the open road, and the random exciting strangers you meet along that road.

Travels With Charley - John Steinbeck

Steinbeck travels round America with his dog, Charley.

“When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to the practical bum is not difficult."

Also in this book is a paragraph I often think I'd like to have on my gravestone:

“For I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment.”

Walden, or Life in the Woods - Henry David Thoreau
Over-read, over-worshipped and quite boring in parts. But the essence of it resonates loudly: a simple life, in tune with nature and with few possessions, is often a happy and rewarding one.

"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life..." and "The prospect of what is euphemistically termed “settling down”, like mud to the bottom of a pond, might perhaps be faced when it became inevitable, but not yet awhile."

I also like his assertion that "What old people say you cannot do - try - and find that you can."

Roughing It - Mark Twain

Huckleberry Finn should feature in any list like this, but it's so obvious that instead I've picked this lesser-known gem from Twain. You can read the book online here.

"It is a record of several years of variegated vagabondizing, and its object is rather to help the resting reader while away an idle hour than afflict him with metaphysics, or goad him with science."

On the Road - Jack Kerouac

I first read this book in San Francisco where I was bewitched by a hippy girl with long dreadlocks and shining eyes. I also had to pause a few weeks to watch a crunch football match on TV. It ended badly (the football match): Leeds were relegated. But hey, “I felt like a million dollars; I was adventuring in the crazy American night”. And I had discovered an author who, although mad and quite annoying at times, really managed to capture the zinging love for life of all good wandering souls, the mad ones I plagiarised in the opening paragraph.

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies." And what more do we yearn for but "a fast car, a coast to reach, and a woman at the end of the road"?

Dharma Bums - Jack Kerouac

Kerouac gets two mentions in this piece as I conceived the idea for it whilst reading Dharma Bums in a drab business-hotel on an overnight stay to give a lecture. The grim irony was not lost on me. Kerouac's fictional hero heads into the wild for a simple life and to find himself. I'm not struck on the religiose Buddhist side to the book but I love the young man heading up Matterhorn mountain, discovering the thrill of sleeping on mountains, drinking from ice cold creeks and turning his back on "middle class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness".

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning - Laurie Lee

I don't know how often I have eulogised this book. I do know that it's my favourite piece of travel writing. Young man + violin, busking and walking his way across Spain. Cheap wine, dark-eyed girls, and sleeping under the stars. The life of a happy vagabond.

“It was for this I had come: to look out on a world for which I had no words; to start at the beginning, speechless and without plan, in a place that still held no memories for me.”

A Time of Gifts - Patrick Leigh Fermor

Travelling on foot, sleeping in hayricks and castles "like a tramp, a pilgrim, or a wandering scholar", Paddy Fermor's walk across Europe inspired me to try to combine the life of a wandering hobo with also using my brain and retaining my curiosity. He was expelled from school and I have long-loved a phrase from his school report that makes for a wonderful epitaph to work towards: "he is a dangerous mixture of sophistication and recklessness".

The Happiest Man in the World - Poppa Neutrino

So bonkers was Poppa's life that I felt sure I was reading a work of fiction until I checked him out on Google. Anyone who sails the Atlantic Ocean on a raft made of junk and also manages an obituary in the New York Times (link) is clearly a fascinating person.

From that piece: "A lifelong wanderer, he developed a philosophy that emphasized freedom, joy, creativity and antimaterialism, a creed expressed in the rafts he built from discarded materials."

The Gentle Art of Tramping - Stephen Graham

The post I wrote about this book on my own blog (link) recently clearly struck a chord - it was my most viewed post of the year. Dating back to 1927 it is a fabulous How-To guide to becoming a wanderer, a vagrant, a hobo.A brilliant addition to any vagabond’s library.

A couple of snippets for you:

• The less you carry the more you will see, the less you spend the more you will experience.
• In tramping you are not earning a living, but earning a happiness.

Hopping Freight Trains in America - Duffy Littlejohn

I’ve always dreamed of hopping onto a freight train in America, rumbling thousands of miles from coast to coast, reading Kerouac and Huck Finn, hiding from cartoonish guards and learning the ropes from vagabonds.
This is a how-to book for dreamers. I don't suppose now I actually will hop a train: the post-9/11 world makes it even harder than ever. So I suppose I'll have to live with this stinging rebuke, “Sure, you can pay Amtrak to haul you across the country with a bunch of blue-haired old ladies. Or you can grow some balls and hop a train.”

The Way of the World - Nicolas Bouvier

The tale of two young Swiss men who take to the road, driving east to Afghanistan in the 1950s. They fund their search for new experiences by writing articles and painting. A beautifully written book. "Traveling outgrows it's motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you - or unmaking you." "We denied ourselves every luxury except one, that of being slow."

The book's epigraph is an apt conclusion for this entire list of books, "I shall be gone and live, or stay and die."

War, huh?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 1 April 2011

This is Peace Plane, one of our older t-shirt designs. But as relevant now as it's ever been.
Click here for Men's or Click here for Women's

The idea is simple, and we think it's pretty well summed up by Mr. Edwin Starr here -

Have a peaceful weekend.

Women's Peace Plane Peace Plane Men's

Oil and Water

  • Posted by ruben
  • 29 October 2010

Just found this, pretty clever -

Anthony Burrill & Purple Monkey Design in New Orleans went and scooped up a bunch of the oil BP spilt into the Gulf of Mexico and used it to print these posters... find out more here

This Thursday Wee Do Bristol

  • Posted by howies
  • 15 July 2010

On July 29th we have our second Wee Do of the year. As usual there will be free drink and good conversation on offer.

Come along and listen to a woman who has been changing lives for the better since she began the Deki project whilst still at University in Bristol. Find out what motivated her to not just chatter about the state of the world, but do something to make a difference.

Pop into the shop to get your ticket or reserve your place via email at bristolshop@howies.co.uk or call on 0117 929 8928.

Our Wee Dos are always a relaxed,  inspiring way to spend an hour or  two on Thursday evening, whatever the weather, so see you there.

party battles

So 20 minutes left to vote...

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Make your own history

  • Posted by howies
  • 5 March 2010

Amy from Big Top Design just emailed in asking us to persuade her husband to wash his jeans!

James has had them six months and has worn them every day apart from when he was at wedding according to Amy.

We think they look amazing plus think of all that saved water too.

Here's a tip to stop the 'smell:' Freeze them over night, kills all the dirty bacteria.

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