Life Cafe Blog

Posts Tagged ‘York’

JOHN SUNDERLAND LAUNCHES “ON MY WAY TO JORVIK”

KATHY LIFE AND JOHN SUNDERLAND EMERGE FROM THE MISTS OF TIME

Hi folks. Remember us? Kathy Life and her husband, John Sunderland?

You know, Kathy the owner of Life Cafe that used to be on E. 10th St. and Ave. B in NYC? And on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick? And John who from 2005 chalked his heart out on the walls of Life Cafe East Village and Bushwick? Who made over 200 humorous pastel riddle drawings of the Life Cafe menu items and made you guess what they were?

John chalking on the wall at Life Cafe 983

John chalking on the wall at Life Cafe 983

Well, we’re back with some exciting news. John has published his memoir, On My Way to Jorvik: How a boy with vision became the project designer of Britain’s ground-breaking museum, the Jorvik Viking Centre. 3D-Book PB We are most proud. And we’re currently in York, England, the home of the Jorvik Viking Museum launching his book during Jorvik’s 30th Anniversary celebrations. John’s been given a very big welcome. After all, Jorvik has been a fantastic catalyst for the regeneration of this unique historic city. We’ll tell you more about it in later posts.

But first, here’s what the book’s about:

‘Why can’t museums be more like films?’ thought eleven-year-old John Sunderland whilst truanting from double maths incognito in his school gabardine and cap in a Yorkshire city museum. That idea simmered for 23 years throughout his multi-media design career during which he created the legendary iconic cartoon character ‘Dusty Bin’ of 3*2*1, the Yorkshire Television quiz game show, and made films with Kenny Everett. Then, unexpectedly, his path led to the Vikings of York.

Early Dusty Bin sketch by John Sunderland

Early Dusty Bin sketch by John Sunderland

There, against all odds, he became Project Designer of the original Jorvik Viking Centre. His bold interpretation of York Archaeological Trust’s original concept based on their incredible finds from the Coppergate dig transported visitors 1,000 years back in time immersing them in a captured moment one afternoon in the busy streets of the great Viking city, Jorvik. This revolutionary approach to the interpretation of York’s Viking history in 1984 had an immediate and lasting impact on the way Britain’s cultural heritage would be presented from then on.

Journal sketch of old man in house interior

Journal sketch of old man in house interior

Wattle and daub house interior with family figures including old man from sketch

Wattle and daub house interior with family figures including old man from sketch

In his humorous heart-warming memoir, John takes us on the up and down journey of how, without any previous museum design experience, he and a uniquely talented hand-picked team came to design and build the first ever populist archaeological exhibition in Britain.

Early concept sketch of starting platform cellar

Early concept sketch of starting platform cellar

Colin Pyrah and family test drive a Time Car

Colin Pyrah and family test drive a Time Car

John’s story is loaded with Yorkshire wit that reveals how he used intuitive creative thinking to put visitors inside the story instead of on the outside looking in. Finally, a museum more like a film, and a lot more fun.

The book is available at Amazon, Kindle and www.createspace.com/4610455.

We’d love it if you’d take a look, pick one up and give it a review on Amazon. We just know you’re gonna love it.

On My Way to Jorvik available on Kindle

On My Way to Jorvik available on Kindle


Life Cafe on BBC Radio York

Listen to a fun interview on BBC Radio. While Kathy Life and John Sunderland were visiting beautiful North Yorkshire in England for a wedding and several of the English family’s birthdays, the iconic Dr. Rock invited Kathy Life and John Sunderland as guests on his popular Sunday night rock radio program, May 6, 2012 at the BBC Radio studios in York. You can still hear the interview streaming via this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/stations/york until Sunday, May 13th.

Between bits of  history about the East Village Life Cafe, Dr. Rock plays selections from a list of special rock hits that Kathy linked to her tale of Life Cafe. And hear a bit of “the great” John Sunderland’s legacy as the original designer of the Jorvik Viking Centre in (old) York in the UK.