Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'll give you my last Rolo....

...except this is one example of several foodstuffs that are apparently being downsized, or rather been subject to "weight harmonisation"...
And for £50 you can buy the person you love a silver engraved LAST ROLO.
Check out the site anyway to see the classic "last Rolo" ad...

100 up....

100 posts on this blog (including this one...)
Here's to the next 100...

Flickr Places

FLICKR is in my top 10 most useful websites: perhaps I should do my Top 10 Websites in a future post...
A relatively new feature which people may not be aware of is the PLACES feature... This maps images that have been added to a map using the sites ORGANISE page.

Below are some examples that I have just done: I added some images of Scarborough (and also of Hunstanton) - see if you can find them...
Another search, this time for Rotherham, shows the way the PLACES pages look, and there is also a link to relevant groups. This will all lead to some excellent images for use in the classroom, which are often licensed for non-commercial use, with the correct attribution to the photographer.Have an explore and see what you come up with...

Monday, July 28, 2008

SAGT 08 Media

Today is a day for whacking through a few projects...

I was up at 5.20 today, and decided to head over to Hunstanton to do some photos that I'd been meaning to do for a while. More on this later.

One project I wanted to make some progress on today was my presentation for Scottish Association of Geography Teachers. This will be repeated at a few other venues further south, particularly Brighton in 2009.

One of my recent FLICKR discoveries (addicted to the RELOAD button) was this image from the website of a campaign aimed at 'saving' the local village of Pentney from proposed quarry plans. A great use of Photoshop... Image from Flickr user Sam Knox

Friday, July 25, 2008

Psychogeography at the BBC

On the hottest day of the year so far, I caught a train down (bargain thanks to my Network card) to King's Cross, and wandered along Euston Road to the BBC Broadcasting House. Had my usual West Cornwall Cornish pasty (wholemeal vegetable), and a swift half in a classic London corner pub. Over to queue and go through security, and met up with some geography chums. Once inside, it was deliciously cool with the air conditioning kicking in.

Image of BBC Broadcasting House by Flickr User Hugovk and made available under Creative Commons

Into the BBC Radio Theatre: art deco decoration. Laurie Taylor chaired the discussion. A recording of the BBC 4 show: THINKING ALLOWED

3 people on the panel:

Professor Richard Sennett : sociologist from the LSE

Professor Doreen Massey: Open University Geographer

Will Self: author of 'Psychogeography' (blogged about that before) and 'Book of Dave'

Some notes from the session - lasted about 80 minutes, which has to be edited down to around 30 minutes...
  • A lot of the discussion was (unsurprisingly) quite London-centric
  • Will Self talked about sitting in the lobbies of London hotels in a sports jacket as a teen and enjoying the contrast between the individual and the anonymous: no-one knows who I am - and how that could become loneliness...
  • Mention of the flaneur: the wanderer who walks the streets of a city to discover it: the links to psychogeography.
  • Discussion on the segmentation of cities: perhaps by class, perhaps by race (link to the postcode war in parts of Sheffield I read about last week)
  • The colonisation of cities by tourists, particularly the central parts of cities, which can impact on residents (this is an issue for many other cities too of course, and would be an interesting area for geographical study: the views of the residents on tourists, for GCSE or 'A' level students (or why not for KS3 ? - and don't be too concerned with getting a huge 'product' out of the end result - perhaps a Google Map of 'impressions')
  • Seasonality of cities at certain latitudes: changes through the year
  • Doreen Massey talking about the 'responsibility' that London has to the rest of the world.
  • Will Self talking about the increasingly globalised nature of Arsenal FC experience: not just the team, but the spectators and the change between Highbury and the Emirates Stadium
  • Use of the phrase 'Ur-memory': deep memory of how things used to be - like the fact that this was also the first continent, billions of years ago...
  • Discussion of the phrase 'toyist', which appears in 'The Book of Dave'. How many cities are full of unremittingly dull buildings, punctuated by occasional iconic buildings.
  • The homogenisation of the city
  • The idea that although we think of London as a 2000 year old city, occupied since Roman times etc. most of what we see is mid-Victorian...
  • Discussion of N-S divide (N and S London divide) (there's even a Norfolk-Suffolk divide you could say...)
  • Psycogeography: Iain Sinclair, and the 'laddishness' of it all... Why women are perhaps less likely to be psychogeographers...
  • The 'peasantry' of people who don't explore their local area
  • Cities as diagrams...
  • Will Self referring to his wife's version of Psychogeography: "him getting out of the house"
  • Doreen Massey on the narrow time frame of city life, compared to the tectonic scale when surrounded by the rocks of the Scottish Highlands..
  • Discussion on danger and insecurity (brief links to knife crime statistics)
  • The overdoing of danger from strangers, when the more likely scenario is that the child will be "run over by an SUV"...
  • The connection between London and the state (links to work done by Danny Dorling and others in the Census Atlas of Great Britain, on the idea of 'the city' and 'the Archipelago' - which also has a clear link to the island archipelago in the map at the front of 'The Book of Dave') and how London is beginning to be separated from the rest of the country - the common feeling was that the first time London is flooded (which WILL happen...), it will suddenly become part of the SE of England again... (a nice ending discussion on this theme...)
Interesting connections to the idea of Learning outside the Classroom, and the issues with taking students into urban areas.

The programme will apparently be broadcast on the 27th of August - I hope I've given enough of a trail for you to perhaps join the million other people who hear the show in whatever format suits you. Some interesting ideas to develop further - would there be interest in a CPD unit for geography teachers on Psychogeography and alternative explorations of cities ?

Out into the heat, and back to King's Cross for a sweaty train ride home and proofread my manuscript and made a 'to do' list, followed by a barbeque and cricket game at a friend's house...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wall-E (Geograf-E)

Went to see Wall-E today...
Great film !

A lot of geography in there, and also comment on a dystopian future where humanity has abandoned the planet, and now lives in space on a vessel called the Axiom.

Plenty on the power of multinationals: particularly the BUY 'N' LARGE corporation which provides the environment for humanity's refuge, while Wall-E's clean up the planet. The film also ends with a brilliant Peter Gabriel track.

If you go to the BUY N LARGE site, you are taken to the WALL-E site, but before the film opened, there was a detailed site.

Will try to develop some more ideas soon.
This post is TAGGED SAGT08Media.
Any posts tagged in this way refer to my October 2008 presentation at the SAGT Conference.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Italian Culture Article

In the 'Independent' each Sunday, there is a digest of news from the New York Times.
This week's edition had an article by Michael Kimmelman which led me to a range of articles that he has written.
An interesting one on the impact of the recent Euro 2008 football tournament on the cultural life of Vienna.
A more recent one on the impact of immigration in Italy has some pertinent stories on the impact of immigration on culture in its wider sense.
Well worth reading...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Iconic Britain

If it's Saturday then there must be another website being launched to identify the 100 iconic images that best represent Britain. This time it's called ICONIC BRITAIN.
You can vote in a number of categories including:
Art and Culture
Views and Vistas
Great British Holidays

Sunday, July 6, 2008



Just had an e-mail from Martin Fussen to tell me about PLACESPOTTING: a site that allows you to create your own map based quizzes...

Go to the website and click CREATE.
Move and zoom the map until it shows an interesting place. Provide some hints for the person / friend who will try to solve the puzzle (a number of hints can be provided) and a message that they will see if the riddle is solved. After saving the quiz you can send it by mail to a friend or embed it in your homepage as a picture. The task is to find the place shown in your picture on a second google map.
The website has 6638 different quizzes stored. 108274 quizzes were solved and
927275 opened.

Looks worth checking out and creating a few quizzes.

London Icon: the Routemaster

Image from HERE.

London was famous for the Routemaster Bus.
It's the classic bus with the platform at the back with a spiral staircase to the upper deck, and the pole to hang onto as you jumped on and off, patrolled by a conductor who would spiral out a ticket with his (or her) machine. I remember on many occasions getting the night bus from Trafalgar Square back to Brixton and other boroughs...

Image by Flickr user metropilot, and made available under Creative Commons License

And then the Routemaster was removed from the routes - why ??
Apparently there were some issues with the design of the old bus... Do some RESEARCH on this.

Image by Flickr user Annie Mole, and made available under Creative Commons License

Now Boris Johnson, the new Mayor of London is keen to bring back the bus. He wants to phase out the 'bendy bus', and is keen to

This GUARDIAN article outlines the details.

The mayor said the Routemaster had been "fabulous" and its successor should seat at least 72 people and be "green" in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and red in colour.
More details in this BBC item too.

So head over to the COMPETITION WEBSITE, which is nicely designed: A NEW BUS FOR LONDON.
All the details and entry forms are available...