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Perfect Days in Tokyo

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  Watched this tonight on MUBI. It's a lovely meditative film following the life of a toilet cleaner who likes routines, and noticing... and trees... His routine keeps getting interrupted by various events. There's plenty of little vignettes of the city... and a sense of lots of lives intersecting briefly... and other relationships built by repetition. Very much a quotidian story and a personal psychogeography of Tokyo based around toilets, an underground noodle bar, and the laundrette... and a weekly exchange of film and photographs. This review nails it: “Next time is next time, now is now.” Throughout Perfect Days entire two hour runtime, we stay together with our protagonist Hirayama, a toilet cleaner in Tokyo, as he lives his life of quiet, lovely solitude, one moment at a time. There are no flashbacks, no exposition dumps, no cutaways to another time or place. We never leave Hirayama’s side, and Hirayama himself never strays from being truly present in every single moment

Survival of the Richest

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I was entering reports onto the school system recently while listening to Spotify. I came across a song by a band called Andromeda which came into my feed. The song is called 'Survival of the Richest'. I checked out the lyrics. It talks about Boxing Day and a slate being wiped clean... and I realised it was referencing the Boxing Day tsunami. Refugee camps were set up for the local people whose houses had been destroyed by the water. Tourists were able to return home. Check it out...

Bradford: City of Culture

 Bradford is to be the City of Culture for 2025. Plenty more to come as more plans emerge... This is Bradford 2025, this is the UK City of Culture, this is us 💥 Announcing our brand new look, new website, first events and our Ambassador, the one and only @ZaynMalik 🔥 Check us out: https://t.co/c25ujASWkU pic.twitter.com/EQjldKeScY — Bradford 2025 (@bradford2025) March 19, 2024

"Choose Geography"

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  That is the theme of the 2024 Young Geographer of the Year competition , which is always revealed about the time of the GA Conference, with postcards and other information on the RGS stand. There has never been a better or more important time to study geography. Geography helps you to make sense of the world around you. It's hands on, relevant, and fun. Whatever your passion for the world – fascination with landscapes or concerns about sustainability – geography will provide you with knowledge and transferable skills that will reward you personally and advance you professionally. The Society invites you to create your own #ChooseGeography poster to promote the value of choosing geography at school, in further study and in the workplace, linking geographical skills to real people and jobs that make a difference. We are looking for eye catching, creative and informative posters that promote geography as an excellent choice, highlighting its relevance and demonstrating how studying

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Dune Part Two

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This weekend, I managed to make it to London despite the best efforts of the train companies, and headed down through the city to the BFI IMAX to see Dune Part Two. This is the largest screen in the UK, and also the only place to see a 15: 70mm film projection in true aspect ratio. I've been waiting for this book for almost fifty years. Denis Villeneuve has done a wonderful job, although there are quite a few changes, which purists don't like of course. The venue was epic as always, and the image was even 'bigger' than when we saw 'Oppenheimer' - you frequently had to look down at the image as well as up. The screening was sold out. There was a nice introduction from a staff member, and the film was excellent. More on my Geography on Film blog.

Swiftonomics

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This video forms part of a resource which I have been putting together over the last few months following the amazing scale and financial clout of Taylor Swift's ERAS tour, which is on course to raise over $1.5 billion - more than any other music tour in history, and that's without all the associated money that is spent on accommodation, travel etc. connected with the concerts - people even travel without a ticket just to stand outside the stadium while the concerts are on. Another useful video on this web page which has the title: 'Why is the world obsessed with Taylor Swift"'  It mentions a Swiftposium meeting. There are also links with the demographic influence she has. The effect is already affecting Australia, as can be seen in this article here, which suggested a few other industries to benefit, including tattoo artists. She's also heading to Europe as well. At the AAG , which this year takes place in Honolulu (happy to accept some support for me to get

Geography and Gaming

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The geography of video games is an area which has received attention from geography researchers over the years. Last year some 3.2bn people played video games, about four in ten people worldwide. The number has risen by about 100m a year, with a big jump during covid lockdowns in 2020. In rich countries two-thirds of people play, nearly half of them women. And though gaming is disproportionately a young person’s hobby (nine out of ten British 16- to 24-year-olds play games) older folk are picking up the habit, including half those aged 55-64. Worldwide, there are more console owners aged 35-44 than aged 16-24, says Karol Severin.  As he puts it, gamers are no longer just “young guys covered in crisps”. Source: The Economist. Phil Jones has written about the sense of place that can be evoked by a game, and I attended an excellent session that he presented. There are also some additional elements to add accuracy, including the representations of weather according to this article. It fe

Met Office Stamp Issue

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  A new stamp issue with a geographical theme is always something that I can get behind. In recent years, I've bought stamps linked with the Windrush Generation, UK Wildlife, National Parks and Polar explorers. The latest is celebrating 170 years of the Met Office and weather forecasting. They feature a number of important people and events, including Luke Howard , who invented the classification for different cloud types. Second Class Luke Howard, pioneer meteorologist, classified clouds in 1803 Second Class Storm barometer of Robert FitzRoy, founder of the Met Office in 1854 First Class Terra Nova Expedition studied extreme weather in 1910-12 First Class Marine buoys collect data for the Shipping Forecast, first broadcast in 1924 £2.00 Weather observers were vital to the success of the D-Day invasion in 1944 £2.00 Radar and computers improved forecasting accuracy from the 1950s £2.20 Barbara Edwards became the first British female TV weather presenter in 1974 £2.20 Supercomputers

The End we Start From

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A cross posting from my GeoLibrary blog - over 500 books and other resources for geography teachers have been placed on the shelves of the library so far. A cli-fi novel, which has been turned into a film, which is now out in cinemas. The original book was published in 2017. I read it yesterday in one sitting. It features a mother who gives birth at the same time as a disastrous flood inundates London (and presumably other areas in the south of England) leading to a breakdown in society, and martial law style interventions with refugee camps in Scotland and riots and fights breaking out over food. She is separated from her partner and family and fights to protect 'Z' - her child. All characters are identified only by a letter, and the text is broken up into short snippets and sections of just three or four lines in one go at most. It mostly works, and certainly creates a pace to the read. As things slowly start to improve, she aims to return 'home' to see what is left.

Making Space for Sand

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  Making Space for Sand is a project I was made aware of recently. The ‘Building Community Resilience on a Dynamic Coastline by Making Space for Sand’ project (also known as Making Space for Sand or MS4S) is one of 25 national projects funded by DEFRA as part of the £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programme (FCRIP).  The programme will drive innovation in flood and coastal resilience and adaptation to a changing climate. The project website has an excellent section outlining the formation of Sand Dunes, particularly within the located context of Cornwall. Sand Dunes are an important part of the coastal defences in the locations where they are found. I am particularly familiar with the dunes on the North Norfolk Coast at places like Holkham.  I've previously carried out fieldwork on those dunes with both GCSE and 'A' level students, and also  Atkins has provided GIS support and created some visualisations of future landscapes.

Orchestrion and Pat Metheny

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I was there at the London concert featured at the end of this piece... and I still have the t-shirt...

The world of 'Poor Things'

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  A cross posting from my Geography on Film blog. The new film by Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos is called 'Poor Things' and it's a remarkable piece of work. Warning: may contain spoilers. It is based on a book by Alasdair Gray - the original book was generally thought to be unfilmable, and like a lot of his work is structured in an unconventional way and heavily illustrated. Check out 'Lanark' as another example of his style. The book is a mix of a cyber-punk world, where a Frankenstein-style experiment plays out and is unleased on the world in the shape of Bella Baxter, played by Emma Stone. There is a lot of sex I should warn you - don't watch it with your mum and dad. Bella visits Lisbon, Alexandria and Paris - as well as London. In fact the versions of these cities she visits are realised in great detail, as is the ship she travels on, and is a different version of these places, much like the variation on Oxford in 'His Dark Materials'. Here's t