Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Whatever happened to me...

Although I'd never been to Newcastle when I was in my teens, I knew about it, and the areas that had been cleared for new development, and the working class life which was giving way to those who were 'improving their lives', the growth in home ownership, urban redevelopment and other issues.
This was via the lives of Bob and Terry, and Bob's fiancee Thelma, and Bob's sister Audrey.

I 'knew' about Newcastle via 'Whatever happened to the Likely Lads'...

These are some of the most memorable characters and episodes of TV comedy that have been broadcast. Remember Bob and Terry trying to avoid Brian Glover telling them the result of the England match, the Fancy Dress party and Bob in the dock for fighting.

Sad news from a few days ago with the death of Rodney Bewes.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lost ice and lost meaning

A New York Times article which has a relevance for the work I am doing on Polar regions at the moment, but also a tremendous resonance about the connection between people and ice.
I will be adding this to some articles from the 'Earth' magazine, which explore the changing lives of Inuit hunters, and the changing landscapes they now need to navigate.

“Inuit are people of the sea ice. If there is no more sea ice, how can we be people of the sea ice?”

Friday, November 17, 2017

Landscapes of Detectorists

Detectorists is one of the best things that has been on the telly over the last few years.
Now there is an opportunity to prepare a paper connected with it for the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in 2018.

The focus is on Landscapes, and there is no shortage of recent reading I've done that would connect with that, such as David Matless's book 'Landscape and Englishness' and recent work by Rebecca Solnit and Lauret Savoy.

I'm almost tempted to put something together as a contribution, but haven't much experience in academic conferences, other than the GTE.

The conference strand is described as follows by Innes Keighren:

Where “Detectorists” is distinct from most situation comedies is that much of the action takes place outdoors, in the fields and meadows where the programme’s protagonists pursue their hobby. Both aesthetically and thematically, landscape dominates “Detectorists”. Filmed on location in Framlingham, Suffolk—standing in for Essex, and the fictional town of Danebury—the visual palate of the programme enfolds a non-human supporting cast of insects, birds, plants, and trees, and variously echoes the landscape paintings of Thomas Gainsborough and George Shaw, and the cinematic vision of Peter Hall’s “Akenfield” (1974). 
Landscape is, also, the focus of the protagonists’ preoccupations; it is variously walked, surveyed, sensed, gazed upon, read, and dug. 
Landscape is where the programme’s characters seek solitude, find companionship, and navigate the sometimes dramatic intrusions from ‘the rude world’. 
Landscape reveals the past while concealing the prospect of future discovery.

ECM - new on Spotify

There are a few notable omissions from Spotify - some like Pink Floyd have been resolved, but Peter Gabriel and King Crimson are among the bands who I would like to see added.

Earlier this week, I heard that one of the major gaps in the catalogue had been filled with the release of the recordings on the ECM label. I've been collecting albums on this label since the early 1980s...
This means we now have access to the catalogue of artists such as Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Ale Moller and Lena Willemark, John Surman and a host of other musicians.

I now have plenty more musical inspiration to draw on....

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Icebreaker - a great book...

Currently devouring the latest book by Horatio Clare.
His last book 'Down to the Sea in Ships' was on the lives of sailors crewing container ships, and was excellent.
This book grabs you from the start, with tales of Finland, and the ice in the Bay of Bothnia. It's very nicely written, with beautiful descriptions of the icy seascapes and landscapes, mixed with the signs of climate change that are becoming increasingly apparent.

There's one obvious omission from the book: a decent map showing all the locations described so that you can get a sense for how they relate to each other, and the relative positions and distances involved.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Robot Unicorns - the perfect Christmas gift

New in at my fellow Mission:Explorer Helen's Do it Kits store is a new kit to allow you to make a robot unicorn - perfect for using a micro:bit which were distributed to UK students a year or so ago - I have one too - and these are used to control and move the finished unicorn.