Last year I designed and illustrated six posters for two cafes in the centre of Leicester. They have a remarkable pedigree stretching back over 70 years, and everyone around here knows about going into Brucci's. As a spotty teenager I used to meet my dad in one at lunchtime for a cheese and pickle sandwich, and later waited in trepidation to see if a potential girlfriend would turn up. I was reminded of them again this week as I found myself in a Costa, and set to ruminating on why they think it's a good idea to have you queue to place your order and then to queue again to get your beverages. I mean, it's not Genoa is it? There I'm quite happy to pay upfront to an old lady in a glass booth, but then my cappuccino will be with me in two shakes of the chocolate sprinkler. It isn't every Costa, but if ever you're stalwart enough to brave Leicester's city centre do give a Brucciani's a go. The girl who takes your order will also very smartly prepare your request, and you'll find one in Fox Lane and one in Churchgate, both just off the Clock Tower. And if you're sitting down near to the poster above you can try and work out the puzzle picture to the right of the coffee pot.
Of course all this will seem like a shameless plug for a client, but I have to say this was one of the most pleasurable and satisfying jobs I've had to do. If you want to see the other five I might oblige, and if you want something similar for your emporiums (or anything else) then I will certainly oblige. We can talk about it over an affogato.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)
"Open this book with reverence. It is a hymn to England". Clive Aslet
"Enchanting...delightful". The Bookseller "Cheekily named" We Love This Book
The Cigarette Papers
"Unexpectedly pleasing and engrossing...beautifully illustrated". The Bookseller
"Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness". Christina Hardyment / The Independent
More from Unmitigated England
"Give this book to someone you know- if not everyone you know." Simon Heffer, Country Life. "When it comes to spotting the small but telling details of Englishness, Peter Ashley has no equal." Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph