Showing posts from 2007

British Bulldogs ???

When I was at Primary School in the late 1960s/early 1970s (check out those kipper ties, flares and sideburns on the old school photos - and that was just the female staff...) we had a playground with a high brick wall, which was fine for playing " Spot " - whatever happened to Spot ? Can you get it for the DS ?? And also there was British Bulldogs... Unfortunately, they're now all banned ... British Bulldogs is also a phrase often used to refer to people who are patriotic... The British Bulldog is a symbol of England... The British are " the bulldog breed " More recently, issues of national identity have come to the fore with discussions on the newly multicultural / pluralist nature of the UK. BBC BREAKFAST had a feature on national identity in 2004, and some interesting contents are still available. Check the excellent BBC BORN ABROAD minisite: 7.5% of people living in the UK were born abroad. Translate that to the population of your school.... This rises to

Multicultural UK

Image via Flickr (various users) This is a bit of a hot potato to get to grips with. It's important to offer a balanced view of all the issues related to the contemporary nature of the UK. There was also the recent story in the paper related to the change to a 'pluralist' balance of population in cities in the UK. It was suggested that Leicester would be the first city to get to this point. One slogan used in Leicester railway station to describe the place is a 'Diverse-city' of people. The phrase " sleepwalking to segregation " has emerged... Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail can usually be relied upon to say something that gets people talking... or ranting... Click the link for an interesting take on the Citizenship Guide. There was also a survey carried out on the attitudes of people in the UK in November 2007, which was also reported in the Daily Mail The findings are in the image above... Could make an interesting Have I got news for you style act

Culture: High or Low ?

What are the cultural experiences of the students ? This is an introduction to this idea, with a sort of quiz to get them thinking (hopefully) about the issue of culture and its relationship to groups within the population. Culture is manifested in music, literature, painting and sculpture, theatre and film and other things. Although some people identify culture in terms of consumption and consumer goods (as in high culture, low culture, folk culture, or popular culture), anthropologists understand "culture" to refer not only to consumption goods, but to the general processes which produce such goods and give them meaning, and to the social relationships and practices in which such objects and processes become embedded. For them, culture thus includes technology, art, science, as well as moral systems. (WIKIPEDIA) If you want to JAMENDO is a source for free music (thanks to Noel Jenkins for the tip-off) Some interesting stuff in one of my Christmas presents too: The Pub Lan

Pick the Geography out of that...

Was just reminded of this video...

English Folk Music

How much does it reflect English rural culture ? Here's a Christmas dose of Kate Rusby for you, with Andy Cutting on accordion

London the Capital of the World

Excellent Independent feature, which includes a chance to download spreadsheets of the data that was used in the analysis. Click the front cover image for more details... There are already over 50 COMMENTS on the blog related to this story.. Would make a good example for Cultural Geography and also Global Branding...

Which cultural group are you in ?

Thanks to Tony for the tip off of this Daily Telegraph article , which suggests that we can be put into 4 groups: perfect for the Cultural Geography ideas that we will be exploring after Christmas. Which group are you in ? I'm a picky ominivore...

N - S Divide

This post on the STRANGEMAPS blog has an intriguing suggestion for where the North - South split in the UK might be. Where would you have put the dividing line ?

The Simpsons and Geography

Today, with my Pilot GCSE group, we explored the cultural references that were included in the episode of the Simpsons where they visited the UK We spotted about 40 or more cultural references to people, films, food, daily life, language (spelling color with a 'u') We also discussed why it was called the Regina Monologues, but we won't go into that here, it's a family blog.... Don't forget WIKIPEDIA for more information too on this episode... Also looked at the BBC NEWSROUND story from the time that the episode was first shown, where it was suggested that David Beckham was not famous enough. Would that change now that he plays for LA Galaxy ? And if you want to make your own SIMPSONS AVATAR or CHARACTER, you can visit the SIMPSONS MOVIE site. Here is an image of me as a Simpsons character: Why not make you ? The SIMPSONS CRAZY site features a large selection of Screenshots (as they do for each Simpsons episode), which is a great resource for teachers who want

How about making a film ?

OUR WORLD FILM FESTIVAL The night before next year's GA Conference is the OUR WORLD FILM FESTIVAL . This is being organised in association with the GIVE GEOGRAPHY ITS PLACE campaign. A showcase of geographical filmmaking, Our World Film Festival is a visual adventure into our changing planet to promote our understanding of the geographies that we live. Our World will be a wonderful mix of films made by both first-timers and professionals alike. If you haven't made a film before we have some support for you at the end of this page. Booking: Tickets will go on sale from Sunday 24 February at the Odeon Box Office. You can book in person, by phone or on the web. Further details will be provided soon. Folens geography@work film-making competition 11:00 - 12:00 £2.00 Student films: Do you really know where you live? Teacher films:

The Story of Stuff

We inhabit a material culture. We are surrounded by 'stuff'... This stuff adds up to a huge cost. Every year, there is the latest 'must have' gadget Thanks to Helen Nurton from SLN Forum for telling me about the STORY OF STUFF , which is the latest product of Free Range Studios (you may know them from such interactive web based resources as 'The Meatrix' and 'Store Wars'...) The resource is immediately engaging (it was to me anyway, but then I'm easily pleased...) and follows the cycle from EXTRACTION to DISPOSAL before suggesting an alternative way. Download the ANNOTATED script for loads of weblinks. An excellent piece of work.

High Rise

"Up in the highrise, watching the girls eyes. Waiting to hear you, I am alive. Up in the highrise, tonight where the fun lies. Waiting I fear too...the elements rise." This Picture from the album "City of Sin" Image of Park Hill Flats above Sheffield Midland Train Station in the 1960s, taken by Flickr user sparkgap's dad. Let's play word association... "Tower blocks..." Try to avoid the following images: lifts smelling of urine, fear of crime, Ronan Point, concrete, demolition, windows, nowhere to play... Why has this image developed ? 'Is' this the image you had ? The development company URBAN SPLASH has some intriguing web resources. Several of their developments would be a useful counterpoint to the more negative images that people might have... I used to live in Huddersfield, and just up from the road in Newsome where I lived was an old textile mill with a huge chimney which was sat empty, but would perhaps now have been redevelo

Fancy a pint ?

According to the BBC News article, fewer of us than ever are going to the pub for a pint. There are various reasons suggested, but one of them What other changes are happening to what were previously embedded cultural occasions in the week ?

Pushes the right buttons...

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Disney movies are one of the most familiar cultural references ever. People around the world recognise the characters and the music. Just back from Disneyland Paris , where I took hundreds of images of the place. Going to work this up into a Cultural Geographical unit at some point... In the meantime, "here are a few of my favourite things..." (I mean, images...)


Just back from a family trip to see latest Disney Pixar animation in local cinema. Superb film ! Get to see it - loved the first view of Paris across the rooftops....

The reality or the brand...

Got a postcard this week sent to me from someone who was in Bournemouth . Here it is: So what impressions of Bournemouth do you get from the card ? What sort of place is it ? What sort of attractions does it have ? Is it a lively go-ahead sort of place ? Would you want to go there ? Now think about fast food... Here is the brand... The Big Mac - pictures taken from THIS GREAT BLOG. and then here is the 'reality' : a Big Mac purchased from a McDonalds store and photographed. Check the website for even more examples... Of course, this is real food... (Pic by Flickr user BOJ photos...) Has to be haddock - never mind the pollocks...

Rush in Sheffield

Thanks to Flickr User Sixxsix for some prompt images of the Rush concert in Sheffield. What's great about sites such as these are the immediacy of the coverage, and the fact that I can now see what other people saw in other parts of the Arena. Still reflecting on what a superb concert this was... General view - I was down and to the left, right next to Alex... Alex and Neil. I think Peart's drumming that night was the best ever - powerful and faultless... Geddy with his lyric prompts and Taurus pedals...

Sigur Ros and Iceland

Check out the TRAILER TO NEW SIGUR ROS film. Got this, and the new album on pre-order from Amazon. One of a frightening number of pending orders..

Shopping and Rocking...

Image by Flickr user Gigglejuice Up to Sheffield at the weekend and popped into Meadowhall , which was hit by the great storms of June 25th 2007. The lower layers are still being renovated after the flood. The "Land of Shoppertunity". Popped into the Oasis for some rather nice Harry Ramsdens. Cheap 'Fragile Earth' book in Smiths, and a book "The Great Flood" by Martin Smith. Then it was to Hallam FM Arena to see Canadian band " Rush " on their Snakes and Arrows tour. The area around the Arena was also affected by the flooding. Superb concert. I had a great seat, good sound and great set list and effects - highpoints were 'Subdivisions', 'Natural Science', 'Dreamline', 'Hope', 'YYZ' and 'The Main Monkey Business'...

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Generator

Just used this to make a resource for teaching about statistical testing.... see if you can make the connection with ice cream.... BEN AND JERRY 's website has a lot of fun items on it... The ice cream is banana flavour, with butter rum swirls and gummi bears... and is NOT available in shops...


What musical culture do you engage with ? Last night, I went to The Junction in Cambridge to see a band that no-one I speak to has ever heard of, but who have provided me with years of entertainment. On the way, saw my first garage with diesel at 101.9p per litre... The band are called " The Decemberists ", and are from Oregon in the USA. There were quite a few people with digital cameras in the audience, and I figured that some of those might be Flickr users. Checked today, and discovered the photos of Flickr user Carbon Monoxide . Here are a couple of shots of what was a superb concert (apart from the usual people in the crowd who decide to have a shouted conversation rather than listen to the band...) - Colin Meloy, who was fantastic - great vocals and audience banter... Jenny Conlee - great organ playing and other instrumentation and was "well into it " Nate Query - bassist... Not pictured: Chris Funk and John Moen... The band are also MOBLOGGING their tou

1000 UK mottos

On the day that we got a special British edition Monopoly board ... This was the Here and Now UK board, and was the result of voting across the country... Liverpool fills the Old Kent Road slot... Dundee makes it... Here's the board for your interest - why not buy a copy ! Look at the price inflation in the properties... Here are 1000 suggestions for a motto for Britain...

Go Lilly !

Thanks to David Rayner

Las Vegas - the "Up and Atom" City

There are a few decent programmes on the telly. 'The IT Crowd' and 'QI' are on at the same time on Friday. This week's QI introduced me to an interesting fact about the history of Las Vegas. I use Las Vegas with my Year 13 geographers (hi gang !) as an example of a post-industrial city. It has an interesting history, which is explored in some exam materials from 2005 that I use. THIS WEBSITE is rather great... It has a useful tour of the city of Las Vegas, and has a cool FLASH map. Here is a postcard from Flickr user kocojim which shows that people sent postcards from the city as "Atomic tourists" This is an interesting variation on tourism . There is an ATOMIC TOURISM website for people interested in seeing the sites... Las Vegas has an atomic testing MUSEUM . Of course a few decades later were the "downwinders" - see this Wikipedia article for starters.. One of the more famous (alleged) casualties of testing in Utah was John Wayne. He was


Geography and Blogging A new resources has just appeared on the Geographical Association website. It's a new online journal called GeogEd. The first item is an article by Phil Wood called Advances in E-Learning: The Case of Blogging in School Geography. This looks at blogging in geography, and name-checks the article I wrote for Teaching Geography in 2004, and then mentions some current Geog Blogs, though sadly not the 'original' GeoBlogs... Fame (ish) at last...

Cultural Blog to explore...

Via BLDGBLOG which is a great place to browse, came across the Polar Inertia blog, which describes itself as a "journal of nomadic and popular culture" , with a US leaning due to its location, but with a varied mix of geographical content ranging from Singapore to Japan to Italy and beyond... Check out this great image of a 99 cent store, which fits in nicely with work we do on consumption. What are our UK based equivalents of these ? Where in the town or city would you find them ? Why would they be located there ? Can their pattern be mapped ? How ephemeral are they ?

The past is another country....

Dug out an old Boots “Page a Day” diary from 1975: black hardback cover… On July 29 th , I saw the Queen from out of my Nanan’s window in Herringthorpe, Rotherham . Did a lot of cycling at the time, and also played or watched a lot of bowls. Also went to the local swimming baths on Sheffield Road in Rotherham , which had a statue in the entrance. You had to rub his nose for luck. What I didn’t know then, was that it was of Thomas Burgess who was the 2 nd man to swim the English Channel – no-one remembers those who came second do they ? Sheffield Road baths was a classic old swimming baths. Also went to Herringthorpe Leisure Centre, which was a classic 1970s building with a wave machine and everything. It was also a concert venue for the Classic Rock Society. Read that the Sheffield Road baths was closed in 2004 as it was unsafe…“Major structural defects, including extensive cracks, have been found during inspections at the Sheffield Road baths, which opened in 1

Caravan Gallery

Came across the CARAVAN GALLERY postcards in the shop at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool. They has produced a series of excellent postcards which feature a range of images of locations around the country and abroad. There's a good link to geography in that they offer an 'alternative' view of familiar places. I will reproduce one card below for representational purposes only, but would encourage you to visit the GALLERIES page - there are loads of images: SELECT ONE FROM THE DROP DOWN BOX... They ask their visitors to answer some questions, and the SURVEYS are interesting. Led me to this site: I'M NOT A TOURIST I LIVE HERE .... Click on the CARAVAN GALLERY link from the ARTISTS page and you can see some great images which are great for the PILOT GCSE Geography unit on MY PLACE as well as CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY on 'Britishness'. How about taking your own pictures and we can create our own POSTCARDS or ANIMOTOs

"Another Place"

Just back from a short break in Liverpool, and to see Anthony Gormley's "Another Place" , which is very much recommended... Also, for those of you using BLOGGER, you may not have noticed that there's now a VIDEO UPLOAD button - upload a video up to 100Mb in size... May try it later...

Homer Simpson

Ancient culture (or is it ?) meets modern...

The Secret Life of the Motorway

"You could define us solely as a motorway race rather than an island race." Will Self This has been an excellent series in the last week: 3 x 1 hour episodes which were each fascinating in their own right. The third episode lost its way a little (if you'll excuse the pun) Lots of Cultural Geography too of course... Motorways led to a change in the way that we took our holidays, especially after the Beeching Axe. Has also led to the rise in suburbanisation and the rise of commuting. Rural labouring poor fled the countryside and the middle classes moved in. I liked this movie a lot: "Buying an ice cream on the M25" And here is Harry Enfield... (warning, contains the word "bloody...")


When I was trying to decide the TV programme that summed up my teenage years (see earlier post), one of the programmes I thought about was the classic "Porridge". Just watching an episode on UKTV Gold (waiting for the Simpsons to start - more on those later in the year !), and Godber, Fletch's cellmate is just about to be released, and he apparently has "his one 'O' Level in Geography" Fletch says "Geography ? I bet he'll get lost as soon as he gets outside the prison gates he will..."


Regular readers of my other blogs will know that I have mentioned Will Self and his Psychogeography column before. This is featured in the Satuday "Independent". A collection of the columns is due to be published in October, and can be preordered from AMAZON . Great Ralph Steadman cartoons too...

The World in One City

This is an interesting project to try to find people who are living in London, but were originally from other countries. The idea is to try and find 'the world' i.e. someone from every country 'in one city' i.e. London. They're making quite good progress as you can see from THE BLOG , and there was also an article on the project in THE OBSERVER .

Cultural Objects

This is an idea from Tony Cassidy . I blogged about it earlier, but here is my response... Since the students doing the Pilot GCSE are teenagers (yes, that means you...) they will have particular cultural interests at the moment which they won't necessarily feel the same way about in 10 or 20 years time (though they may feel nostalgic about them, and I still listen to some of the same music - I ditched the combat jacket though...) Choose some 'objects' under the following headings (some or all of them...) I decided to have a go, and came up with my own from the mid 70s-early 80s... and finally, here are my wife's memories of teenage years... We will be doing this as an activity later in the year... Start thinking now...

Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day is on October 15th. The theme of the day is THE ENVIRONMENT. Watch the video below for more details. This blog has signed up for BLOG ACTION DAY . Make sure your blog is too.

Teenage Kicks... Cultural Objects...

Tony Cassidy has given me an idea for an exercise which we will use later this year, but which I will also encourage members of staff (and any other visitors to the site) to complete as well before we get started. Here's a slide which gives Tony's ' cultural icons ' of his teenage years, which were 1987-1997... I'd like you to answer these questions. a) When were you a teenager ? (give the years) b) Choose one 'cultural object' from the following list of headings which defined your teenage years the most: (you don't need to give reasons, but be prepared to be able to if challenged...) Clothes Music Film Gadget Book TV Programme Food and Drink For each one name the country of origin of the 'object' c) How different are yours from Tony's (or similar to them) d) Do they tell us anything about the countries shaping culture in that period ? Why might this be? I'll post mine later tonight if I get the chance (tomorrow if not) for comparison.