Posts

John Denver - Rocky Mountain High and others

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  One of my (many and varied) guilty musical pleasures is the music of John Denver: the stage name of Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. He was a fascinating person with a great many interests, including the development of aircraft, which ultimately led to his early death. When I was younger I had a certain look of John Denver with my long blonde hair and round glasses.  You will have seen my picture in Year 7 if you came to any of my lectures in the last three years as part of my Everyday Geographies series of lectures. John was a superb live performer who my dad got to see play live, but I never had the chance. He has written some classic tunes which have hundreds of millions of Spotify streams, and many of them will be familiar to people.  Many of them link to his interests in environmental conservation. Calypso was inspired by the work of French adventurer Jacques Cousteau, who invented the 'aqualung' and travelled the world making films. His work was the inspiration for  Wes

Live and Let Live

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After a year of releases each Full Moon , the final track on Peter Gabriel' s new album was released a few days ago. He saved the best 'til last. More people need to live and let live. Some thoughts on the song from Peter Gabriel: ‘Music can be like a box of mood pills that we can use to treat ourselves and a lot of the work of the Reverberation project is focused on that sort of idea. When someone suggested that forgiveness might be a topic to write about, at first, I thought, ‘that's not interesting to me,’ but then I remembered two things. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was the chair of The Elders and a real mentor for me, led the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa and that really allowed people to expose, report and maybe feel again some of the horrors of the apartheid era. I remember he always said that listening made a huge difference, just making sure people felt heard and recognized. Then, sometimes, it created a space for forgiveness.  There's als

Werner Herzog's Cultural Life

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  Werner Herzog is a truly remarkable person. This BBC Sounds programme profiles his life, told in an extended interview, and was recorded to coincide with the release of his memoir, which is called 'Every Man for Himself and God against All: A Memoir', which I need to get a copy of. Werner Herzog recalls his impoverished childhood in a remote Bavarian valley at the end of the Second World War.  He says that, as a teenager, his discovery of a book about the Lascaux cave paintings was ‘like a bolt of lightning’ to his creative imagination, and led to him making a documentary film about prehistoric cave art many years later.  He describes how his films often start with a vivid or unusual image, and how he seeks to capture a sense of awe at the power of the natural world.  Werner Herzog discusses the extremely arduous and dangerous conditions in which he made some of his best known films, including Fitzcarraldo and four other films starring the temperamentally volatile lead act

Blue Sky thinking

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For the last few months I've been keeping an eye out for invites to Blue Sky - an alternative to Twitter / X, where I have a large number of followers (almost 8000) which I have built up over a period of 15 years. The changes since Elon Musk took over have degraded the experience, increased the pointless ads, and also connected the experience of using Twitter - now renamed as X for some pointless reason - with the views of Elon Musk - someone with the money to change the world for the better... but whose businesses are changing it for the worse. I even offered a free copy of my book: 'Why Study Geography' for a working Blue Sky code. Finally, thanks to the author Julian Hoffman , who is working away on his latest book, I received a code earlier today and set up my new account. My follower account is currently rather lower than 8000... but I'm finding a few familiar names there, and will connect with others in the weeks and months ahead I'm sure. I'm also takin

OFSTED Subject Report Livestream

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A GA event, with Mark Enser, Alan Kinder and Denise Freeman,  I am very much looking forward to this! A chance to talk to @The_GA members about the new @Ofstednews geography subject report. Book your place and come with questions. https://t.co/7S4s20GRCr — Mark Enser ­čîŹ (@EnserMark) October 20, 2023  

The Cuillins

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New from Robert MacFarlane The great @juliefowlis & I worked together on a new song/single, “Who Is This?”, inspired by mountains, Gaelic poetry & Skye. It’s just been released & we’d love our song to find listeners. You can stream here: https://t.co/wxaJTEjruS & download here: https://t.co/im6jJGmx9G pic.twitter.com/HNMf9myG0C — Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) September 30, 2023  

Simon Armitage in the Arctic

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  This piece in 'The Guardian' looks at a recent visit made by the Poet Laureate (and geography graduate) Simon Armitage to Svalbard. It talks about a new poem called 'The Summit', which is featured in the piece. He travels with Jemma Wadham, whose recent book 'Ice Rivers' is excellent... How it was poetry - not quite #geography - that took #SimonArmitage to 4 points of the compass "I’m a #geography graduate. Part of the attraction was exotic field trips, though I ended up monitoring bus-stop activity in Portsmouth - not the Atacama" https://t.co/pGf8HD2K1T — Steve Brace (@SteveBraceGeog) October 7, 2023 The poems from the series are available in a special signed Faber pamphlet  which I have a copy of.