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Showing posts from 2023

Brand Antarctica

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This book looks excellent! Out now from Hanne Nielsen.  Happy #AntarcticaDay ! The anniversary of the signing of the #AntarcticTreaty was the perfect date to launch my new book #Brand #Antarctica - published in the @UnivNebPress #Polar series https://t.co/PU1SLAXx9h pic.twitter.com/5CEa0wb6Ke — Dr Hanne Nielsen (@WideWhiteStage) December 1, 2023 Cover image is here: Description of the book from Hanne: Antarctica is, and has always been, very much “for sale.” Whales, seals, and ice have all been marketed as valuable commodities, but so have the stories of explorers. The modern media industry developed in parallel with land-based Antarctic exploration, and early expedition leaders needed publicity to generate support for their endeavors. Their lectures, narratives, photographs, and films were essentially advertisements for their adventures. At the same time, popular media began to use the newly encountered continent to draw attention to commercial products. These advertisements bot

Storyville: Songs of Earth

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  Storyville: Songs of Earth was a highlight of Christmas Day and a great example of what might be called Slow TV. Here's a description of the film. The dizzyingly beautiful mountainous landscapes of Norway provide the backdrop for this immersive story of a family whose lives are linked intrinsically to their environment.  Set in the valley of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier, in the north of Norway, it is a portrait of the director Margreth Olin’s parents, in particular her father and his life-long and intimate relationship to the land he lives in. Filmed across the seasons, she takes the viewer on an existential journey, from family folklore to the best place to plant a Christmas tree. Produced by Wim Wenders and Liv Ullmann. I travelled to Norway some years ago, and managed to make my way close to where this film was made, and some similar glaciers, but not the particular one featured here. The soundtrack by Rebekka Karijord is on Spotify.

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination

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Fantasy: Realms of Imagination  I need to see this in the New Year at the British Library. There's also a free exhibition of work from Mervyn Peake, which will be great to see. 'She wants to be flowers, but you make her owls. You must not complain, then, if she goes hunting.' The plate that triggered the plot of The Owl Service, at the Fantasy exhibition at the British Library. I stared at it for a long, long time... pic.twitter.com/wSPKsAqZP9 — Lissa Evans (@LissaKEvans) December 22, 2023

End of the Pier Show

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  This is not another post about David Rogers' current Pier2Peer fundraising through December 2023, See his Fund raising page here for that. Last night I went over to Cromer Pier for a special screening of Jens Meurer's film 'Seaside Special'. This is a documentary which was shot on crisp 16mm Kodak film, which gives it a special 'glow'. 'Seaside Special' follows Norfolk’s Cromer Pier Show over the course of a year, from the perspective of the performers, and the seaside town’s locals. It is 'narrated' by Olly Day - a local legend. The film has had excellent reviews. Here's the synopsis of the film on a German film site: SEASIDE SPECIAL is a love letter to Brexit Britain: a consciously warm-hearted look at Britain's only remaining “End-of-the-Pier” variety show – far away from London – as the town of Cromer and the cast prepare for the 2019 summer season. The film portrays a town from a different time, full of quintessentially British

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 ūüĆć (@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. 

Humanities 2020 Podcast

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The humanities prepare students to be good citizens and help them understand a complicated, interlocking world. The humanities teach us critical thinking, how to analyse arguments and how to imagine life from the point of view of someone unlike yourself. Martha Nussbaum It was a pleasure on Wednesday afternoon this week to sit and chat with Anthony Barlow  to record a podcast for the Humanities 2020 website and project. The project has a manifesto. Primary schools have a duty to equip children for the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that the primary school curriculum in England is failing to do this or to fulfil the legal requirement for a balanced and broadly-based curriculum. Literacy and numeracy dominate the curriculum while other vital aspects of learning are often ignored. This is wrong. We want young children to be literate and numerate, but much more than that. We affirm that every child is entitled to rich, stimulating and engaging learning experiences. We want chil

Voyager

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I've blogged previously about the space probe Voyager, which left the solar system a while ago. It has featured in one of the early Star Trek movies and elsewhere. It carries a Golden Record which provides details on the location of the Earth and sounds and images representing life on earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University, et. al. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. The band Big Big Train have a track called Voyager, which is all about the space probe. Some selected lyrics: Heading further out To reach uncharted shorelines Setting sail for the distant stars The won

S√°pmi and tourist authenticity

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  An interesting read in Conde Nast traveller  exploring the idea of authenticity in tourist experiences...  I'm reminded of this as we get closer to Christmas and families start flying to 'Lapland' to see where Father Christmas lives. One for units on tourism and cultural geography.

World Rivers Day

For World Rivers Day - a Jethro Tull rarity from over 30 years ago... on the theme of river pollution...

25th May 1973

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Sometime in the mid 1970s, my long-haired Uncle Steve played an album while I was at my nana's house in Rotherham. It was unlike anything I'd heard before and I was immediately fascinated by it. It turned out to be an album that was quite new, and was selling thousands of copies.  The album came out on the 25th of May 1973, and had its 50th Anniversary earlier this year. I went to a special orchestral performance at the Royal Albert Hall, with  It had been recorded by one person, who had spent weeks multi-tracking himself playing a whole range of instruments - particularly guitars - a young man called Michael Gordon Oldfield. It was the first issue on a new record label called Virgin records. Friends also liked it very much. I bought a copy when I was in my record-buying phases and also had a copy on cassette tape. I consequently bought every release from Mike Oldfield in at least one format. He was still my most-listened-to artist according to my end of 2022 Spotify statistics

Living in the Sunshine

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A new piece of music from Bruce Hornsby is always a pleasure.  I'm loving this one from the 25th anniversary reissue of the album 'Spirit Trail'...

Taylor/Swiftonomics

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Are you one of the Swifties?  I've flirted with a short unit on geographies of music before, and have previously written for Collins on the subject in a series of KS3 updates which schools could subscribe to, and which I enjoyed writing back in around 2011. I have copies of them and still refer to them even now. This definitely connects with my GA Presidential theme of Everyday Geographies as music is an everyday experience for many - whether experienced through radio playing in a public place or supermarket, or a particularly focussed listening experience with headphones - perhaps on public transport. The ticket below is from a Peter Gabriel show in 1993 which was one of the best live experiences I have ever had. For this year's tour, many people complained about the high ticket prices, but the shows were still pretty much sold out, and the US leg of the tour starts next month. I remember people moaning even then that £20 was quite a lot. Simon Oakes has also written abou

Simon Jones Shines a Light on the design process...

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Simon Jones - creater of the Slow Geography Club and Newsletter - has spent the summer putting together a design guide for Geography Teachers: a resource and a CPD provocation to improve the quality of the visuals that we use with learners and share with each other, and produce better slide decks to communicate our thoughts, along with ideas and practical tasks to consider in departmental meetings. It's been very nicely put together with a great deal of thought, and comes recommended. There are ideas for making best use of CANVA , which offers free educator accounts for all teachers, and free image libraries - some of which you will probably not have come across before. The publication, which is called 'Shine a Light' is now available in two formats.  Download a copy, get an invoice / receipt and charge it to your new year's departmental budget! The basic version is available for a suggested minimum donation of £3.99 Product description: ‘Shine A Light!’ is full of prac

Dan Raven Ellison Podcast on Always Possible

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Bank holiday weekend is almost upon us! What are your plans? Going on any walks? Visiting an urban centre? Listen to our inspirational podcast with guerilla geographer and creative explorer @DanRavenEllison . And check out #SlowWays https://t.co/DeaLVCvyh0 . You're welcome! pic.twitter.com/32r2DBQcsl — always possible (@always_possible) August 25, 2023 Check out the Always Possible Podcast for an interview with Daniel Raven Ellison. “Geography exists at all scales at the same time, so whether it’s the guerrilla gardener pulling up a paving slab and making that a bit wilder, or whether it’s thinking about where you want to go on holiday, that’s all geography.” “Science and history have done a very good job of creating places where people are very aware that they’re recreationally engaging in science or history. Geography, people are playing with that all the time but because of so many boring, dry textbooks, people think that it’s something that it’s not.”

StoryMap of the Night Sky

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Thanks to Peggy March for the tipoff to a new StoryMap by Canadian Geographic Education.

Passed the point?

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  Since June, there has been an acceleration in the number of stories related to the climate emergency and some frightening weather extremes and hazard events. The scale of events is increasing, return periods are narrowing and unprecedented data points are being recorded in places from the extreme North to the extreme South and everywhere in between. I started a new blog today which has been brewing up over the summer break as I saved stories from my news feeds as draft posts to work up into completed posts. It will be a place for a mixture of pessimism and optimism. Of news items, mapping, culture and a diverse worldview. There will be some cross-posting from this and other blogs. Have we passed the point of no return?

375 000 views

Another small milestone passed in terms of visitors. Thanks to everyone who has visited and read posts here for their interest...

MOCC Zine

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  MOCC is the Museum of Contemporary Commodities. It is curated by Ian Cook et al and colleagues. Thanks to Ian for giving me a printed copy of the MOCC Zine which sums up some of the activities they have been involved in.   It can be downloaded as CC licnesed PDF file. (PDF download) There are lots of interesting contents in the zine: - I liked the details of Ellie Harrison's Vending Machine project. This also led me to her book: 'The Glasgow Effect' : a project which involved not leaving the city for a year and reflecting on a sustainable lifestyle.

Oli Mould on Pub Crawls

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I like this blog post by Oli Mould on the psychogeography of the pub crawl. Many towns have their own particular version of a pub crawl which has evolved over time. Some of these are mapped, and used by tourists and visitors such as stag do's. I lived in Hull while training as a teacher, and this had the ' Beverley Road Run' , featuring pubs along the Beverley Road from the city centre up towards the University area. There were also lots of pubs along West Street in Sheffield. Here's a Deserter podcast: Deserter Pubcast · Psychogeography: Is it just looking for pubs? And the rest (S1, Ep4)

Can you hear the music?

Oppenheimer's soundtrack by Ludwig Göransson is rather good, and also rather long at over 90 minutes. There are several scenes where Oppenheimer's imaginings of quantum physics are visualised and these work particularly well alongside the music. What are your favourite film soundtracks?

Rising Tide - opening soon at the Museum of Scotland

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Rising Tide opens on the 12th of August.  It looks like it will be worth a visit if you are able to get to Edinburgh. The exhibition will run for a year. Rising Tide considers our relationship to the natural environment through contemporary responses to climate change and plastic waste by Indigenous Australian and Pacific Islander artists. Master fisherman Anthony C Guerrero's contemporary woven baskets made from plastic construction strapping found on his local beach in Guam will be on display. The exhibition hosts the latest version of artist George Nuku’s installation, Bottled Ocean 2123, which imagines the state of the oceans 100 years into the future in an immersive, undersea landscape crafted from single use plastic bottles. Rising Tide also features historical material from National Museums Scotland's collections, such as spear points from the Kimberley region of Western Australia made by Aboriginal men from discarded glass bottles. The vulnerabilities of Oceanic countri

Video Game Cartography

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An oldish article from Canadian Geography Education on the geographical nature of video games: particularly the cartography. It dates from 2019. It starts with a well-known quote from J. R. R. Tolkien. I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit.” —J.R.R. Tolkien Map from Diablo IV - I spent a LOT of time playing the original Diablo I and II games back in the day. Source:  https://mapgenie.io/diablo-4/maps/sanctuary

Concentrates of Place

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I like this story from the National Geographic about a project aimed at capturing the concentrates of a place  by a teacher: Marianne Braca. The project was influenced by the work of Tanya Shadrick. Marianne said: Tanya describes her Concentrates of Place as a ‘deliberate way of honouring places and people.’ The project resonated with me, and as a geographer I am so interested in place. I also love the idea of collecting little pieces of a place and putting them in a tin for safekeeping, and I figured if I loved this idea my students would as well.” Shadrick drew on memories from painful events in her life to develop the idea of capturing a place within a tin. The idea of canning 'ideas' or intangible products reminds me of items such as this, which I purchased from Margate's Crab Museum recently as a novelty item. Mostly because I couldn't afford to buy one of Piero Manzoni's cans which contain something a little less fresh. It's also a reminder of one of the

From Islington to the World

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  The new Arsenal away kit for 2023-24 has a geographical design, based on the shape of the London borough of Islington. Not all fans like the kit, but it's certainly striking in its design.

Fish and Chips - priced out of business?

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  A 'long read' in today's Guardian newspaper explores the financial pressures facing fish and chip shops: a cornerstone of British culture ( despite its Jewish / Portuguese / Spanish origins ) because of increasing prices for potatoes, fish, oil, energy and virtually everything concerned with their production. I shall continue to support my local chippies. You can't beat a decent lot of fish and chips. Image: Fish and Chips - Alan Parkinson - shared under CC license

Indiana Jones and the famous Map

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I went to see the final (?) Indiana Jones movie recently: the Dial of Destiny. I was hoping to see the reappearance of 'the map' to show the journeys taken between scenes by propellor plane (although in the latest film, he uses a 1960s Pan Am commercial flight)  Someone has created this blend of the map sequences from films 1-4: It's an enjoyable film, with the opening set piece sequence on a train being particularly impressive. Here's a trailer: The Antikythera: or dial which is referred to is a real object, and the National Geographic has a report on its discovery in a Greek shipwreck.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1960) dir. Val Guest

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This is a film I remember seeing many years ago, probably not too long after it was originally released - early to mid 1970s. It has additional resonance with the current state of the world's atmosphere. If you log into TPTV Encore (free of charge) you can watch the film here at the moment.

Margate - a regeneration case study?

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On Margate Sands. I can connect Nothing with nothing. The broken fingernails of dirty hands. My people humble people who expect Nothing. T.S. Eliot - 'The Wasteland" Recently back from a couple of days in Margate , which I hadn't visited before as far as I know. The town has had a lot of money spent on it, and it has been gentrified to some extent.  After I had been, I came back and picked up an old Geographical magazine from 2019 only to find that there was a lengthy article on the town and the money that had been spent on it. One of the biggest developments was the construction of the Turner Contemporary Art gallery, which was a little controversial as some local people suggested that there should be money spent on other priorities. This was the reason we went: to go to see the excellent Beatriz Milhazes exhibition. Dreamland has been reopened with some new developments. Sadly it was closed as there were several concerts. We could hear Natalie Imbruglia and Will Young p

EARTH

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My opening word for WORDLE has always been EARTH : the object of study for geographers... When I remember, I complete the daily puzzle on my New York Times app.  A few days ago, I finally got the word in one...

Fearless... in the UK

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Crown Lands are an amazing band, and this album has been my most listened to of the year. I finally managed to get a physical copy of their new album, which also came out in a digital 'deluxe' version. Check it out if you get the chance.

Coming soon...

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 Plenty of cultural relevance.

PSB on the BBC

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I posted previously about the prom performance by Public Service Broadcasting with an orchestra. This is now being released as an album in September.

Refugee Misconception Study

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  Most people overestimate how many refugees flee to the richest countries! We discovered this misconception and many more in our new Refugee Misconception Study. See all of the findings here: https://t.co/a6CM5VgQvK pic.twitter.com/rJNT9MQPma — Gapminder (@Gapminder) June 21, 2023 Gapminder has released a report which is available to download, and explores the misconceptions that people have about migration and refugees. As it says on the site: Refugees are often in the news. The best ways to help them, where they should be housed and how much money to spend assisting them are fought over by politicians, the public and in the media. In our Refugee Misconception Study 2023, we discovered that – regardless of people’s opinions – they were almost equally wrong about the facts. We asked nine fact questions in seven different countries. The average number of questions each person answered correctly across those countries was 2.1. That is worse than random! I like the fact that as well as