Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery

November 22, 2018

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery, a trek out to south east London, a nightmare to find.

Before setting off, I ask of the Baldwin Gallery, a fee, need to book, how to find?

Sadly clueless on the use of social media. No reply, by the time I do eventually receive a reply, too late, but they did have the courtesy to apologise.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network – many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social network.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford, alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no.

When in the vicinity and unable to find, I ask a passing local. No he has never heard of.

I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

I expect to find no one there, I am surprised to find quite a few have turned up, maybe twenty or more.

The original concept of Dark Mountain, thought provoking essays and short stories, art and poetry, was excellent. I was happy to support. But the reality, incomprehensible writing badly written, very little worth reading, the art badly reproduced. And then to be insulted with a poor quality paperback when had subscribed to what Dark Mountain describe as ‘Each issue takes the form of a beautifully-produced hardback.’

The evening was reading from Terra.

Nothing more boring than reading what has been written, I can do that myself. Public reading of poetry a different matter, it is meant to be read out loud. Far more interesting is for the contributors to talk about the subject they have written about.

Reading of a short story, a postman posted to back of beyond, I must have missed something, as the end was back at the beginning.

Reading of two essays, a native Indian massacre, the struggle of Palestinians, deserved deeper exploration, which would have been been possible had the contributors discussed their contribution not read from it. Worse still, it was a waste of there being present.

One of the criticisms of Dark Mountain, apart from too much pretentious badly written incomprehensible drivel, is the typeface, too small, not easy to read.

What was Terra?

I thought next volume, but when I saw a tiny slim volume, I thought no, must be a supplementary book, especially when I learnt this was the second book launch.

The topic was travel, a sense of place, how we interact with the landscape, how the landscape interacts with us.

Terra is the next volume, the typeface microscopic, needing a magnifying glass to read.

Copies of Terra were on sale. I did not see any sold. Nor did I see early volumes of Dark Mountain on sale.

At £20 for a slim volume, too pricey, especially when paid for by subscription, unlike most publications which go from publication to remainder to pulp.

It was only later when I checked the Dark Mountain website I learnt why no other volumes on sale, all sold out. Only available as a pdf file. I would recommend upload to leanpub and have in an e-format that flows as is more suited to reading on a tablet or e-reader or smartphone than pdf, though pdf would still be a format to select from.

Interesting exhibits at the Baldwin Gallery, strong Mexican influence, or at least Cenrtral America.

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Changing a light bulb

November 15, 2018

What did you do today?

Changed a light bulb.

Somebody has to change out that lightbulb at the top of those tall TV towers!

This is tower climber Kevin Schmidt making the climb to the very top of the now inactive KDLT TV analog broadcast antenna near Salem, SD.

It was a beautiful fall day for a climb and the views are stunning!

Watch at 1080 HD in full screen to get a small taste of the experience.

Iceland’s palm oil Christmas commercial banned

November 9, 2018

Palm oil plantations are among the biggest driver of deforestation, threatening the orangutan with extinction. — Iceland Foods

Palm oil is bad for people and planet.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil plantations, it is an oxymoron.

Palm oil plantations are monocultures devoid of life apart from the plantation trees.

Palm oil plantations are destroying rain forests.

Palm oil is high in saturated fat, higher in saturated fat than pig fat. At room temperature palm oil is solid. It used to be known as axle grease as that was what it was used for. The only reason it is liquid at room temperature is because it has been chemically processed.

Palm oil is used to bulk out products from foods to cosmetics. It is used because it is cheap.

It is ok to advertise and sell products containing palm oil, even though bad for people and planet. Even to mislead people that it is healthy.

Whole Earth peanut butter is padded out with palm oil.

M&S are selling so-called healthy spreads where the main ingredient was palm oil, and yet called olive spread.

Oxfam shops a couple of years ago were selling peanut butter in a plastic jar padded out with sugar, palm oil, and salt.

OK to advertise palm oil products, but try to air an advert that highlights why palm oil is bad, and your advert will be banned for being political, as Iceland learnt when their Christmas advert was banned.

We have an obesity epidemic. We have a type-two diabetes epidemic. But it is ok for McDonald’s to promote their junk food, Coca-Cola their sugary drinks, but not to suggest we eliminate palm oil.

M&S have a stupid Christmas advert claiming they went around the country asking people what they wanted for Christmas.

Would it have not been better to have toured their shops, sorted out their piss-poor service, tills not manned, lights turned out ten minute before store closes, fresh produce wrapped in plastic?

But then M&S is a failing retailer, and with this level of contempt for customer service, it is easy to see why.

Georgia Eleftheria Tsiolakki

October 1, 2018

Congratulations to Georgia Eleftheria Tsiolakki, the youngest person to receive this award, the only Cypriot to receive this award.

I am proud to be the only CYPRIOT and youngest that I have been awarded as a women leader.

I would like to say a big thank you to the who is who magazine as well.

Thank you to the international institutions for their recognition. The recognition came with a lot of smart and hard work in international and European level. Most of the obstacles and unfairness situations, I had to deal with, was from my OWN country sadly.

For those people who underestimate my skills underestimate my age and what I am capable of ,this is the beginning because whatever I DO , I do because I love it. When you love something obstacles are expected only to make you better !!!

Independent Life

September 16, 2018

Every town has one if not more freebie magazines. These are nearly always rubbish, an appalling waste of trees. Viva Brighton is a rare exception. And far too often these freebie magazines are shoved through the letterbox as unsolicited junk mail to be thrown away unread.

On a recent trip to York, I picked up a copy of Independent Life from Brew & Brownie then leafed through whilst waiting for my lunch at Burr. Like Viva Brighton, another rare exception, worth picking up.

I was though baffled, why Leeds and York, nowhere near each other.

I learnt later at Kiosk it used to cover Leeds, only recently Leeds and York. Still odd though.

Maybe follow the example of Viva Brighton (which has a sister magazine Viva Lewes), Independent Leeds and Independent York.

Kiosk would be an excellent location from which to distribute.

Not on glossy paper. Another plus.

I thought the title Independent came from the fact it was an independent publication, maybe, but actually comes from the focus on indie businesses, which is yet another plus.

It is the indie businesses, quirky, of character, that make the old part of York, Hull Old Town or North Laine in Brighton worth a visit.

Why visit a town for the same crap corporate chains to be found in any town?

A huge mistake Guildford tourist information has made. A short video clip to promote Guildford, featuring er coffee chains, two grotty shopping centres. Reasons not to visit methinks.

Independent Life also publishes The Little Black Book Leeds, now vol 3, a guide to the independent businesses in Leeds. If one does not exist, I assume in the pipeline a similar guide for indie businesses in York.

Independent Life local indie businesses, local culture, art, poetry, well worth grabbing a copy.

Hull Freedom Festival

August 31, 2018

Freedom Festival, a three day festival in Hull.

Freedom Festival was started in 2007 to commemorate the anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Train to Hull, stunning views over the Humber Estuary and of the Humber Bridge.

On arrival at Hull Station, greeted by Philip Larkin.

Then head to Hull Old Town, cobbled streets (strictly speaking setts) but first a detour to Two Gingers in Paragon Arcade.

Excellent cappuccino in Two Gingers.

They have recently introduced their own house blend from The Blending Room, plus single origin coffee from The Blending Room.

Zeberdee’s Yard locked off, rehearsals for a concert tonight.

Lunch in Trinity Market.

I went round the stalls, twice. None looked appetising, appalling environmental standards, food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

Burger off Shoot the Bull. Rare breed beef, burger excellent, service not so good. No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no, do not blame the customer for not telling you.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer. Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Asked of Caffeinated where to locate Thieving Harry’s. They kindly marked on a map of Hull Old Town.

Passing by Hull Minster, a guide said I must enter and look at the moon. No time, maybe on my return. She was insistent. Amazing, a suspended moon occupying the nave, quite surreal. Yes, she was correct Museum of the Moon in Hull Minster an absolute must visit.

To get to the part of Hull Old Town where Thieving Harry’s is located, have to cross a busy main road with no convenient crossings, one crossing closed and long wait at the lights when crossing.

Pedestrians should have priority. The traffic is at a virtual standstill. The crossings should be more frequent for pedestrians, it will make not a jot of difference to the traffic flow.

Thieving Harry’s overlooks the old docks now a marina and the sea. Located in what was once the offices of a fruit merchant, the old Fruit Market was located in this part of Hull Old Town.

Picked up a couple of bags of coffee.

We have a problem with plastic, plastic-lined paper takeaway cups, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic straws.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way. Compostable cups, refillable cups, though best to relax with coffee in glass or ceramic, paper straws.

Thieving Harry’s showed me something I had not seen before, drinking straws made from shells.

A diversion to Trinity Market to collect two bags of coffee off Caffeinated.

As I cut across Trinity Square a giant puppet had been erected. This was one of the giant puppets to parade through the Hull Old Town later that evening as part of Hull Freedom Festival.

I pop in Two Gingers and pick up two bags of their house blend. I would have wished for a V60 pour over, but no time.

All three coffee shops use The Blending Room, a Hull coffee roastery. Today they had a pop up coffee stall. Where, no one knew, and they lacked the courtesy to respond to a query. What is the point of tweeting have a pop up stall for the Freedom Festival and do not say where? Yet another example of poor use of social media.

Made the station in time for my train, just, only to find no train, running late.

Stunning views across the Humber Estuary out of the train window and of wind turbines.

AsylumX – Day 3

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 3: The third day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Sadly a complete washout. A cold wet day, few people on the streets, street food gave up by lunchtime as no one about, the stalls on Castle Hill were forced by Council jobsworths to cease trading by mid-afternoon (previous day forced to cease trading at six when easily could have continued until seven).

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

AsylumX – Day 2

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 2: The second day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Today, stalls in Castle Hill, in grounds of Lincoln Castle, many many steam punks. A food court open outside the Castle walls, street food, coffee van real ale, craft beer.

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

Trinity Market

May 5, 2018

Trinity Square, with Hull Minster centre stage.  More strange fountains, this time squares in the square, water flows upwards, flows to the edge.

On one side, Trinity Market.

Trinity Market, a recently refurbished Edwardian market, 1902 the oldest covered market in Hull. Stripped back exposing the iron columns and girders, open and airy.

They have attempted to create something like Borough Market in London, artisan food and other independent traders.

Contrast with grim failing markets elsewhere, too often destroyed for redvelopement.

Contrast with Central Market off Sincil Street in Lincoln. Grim an understatement, Coop and the City Council have done their damnedest to destroy the market and the surrounding area. Empty stalls, trash, one of the few stalls worth visiting a spice stall, closed at the weekend.

Trinity Market shows what could be if local councils had vision.  Develop for local quality businesses, not as Lincoln, destroy an area, invite in chains.

It was in Trinity Market I found Caffeinated, as the name implies, a coffee stall.

One area of Trinity Market has bench seats. An area to sit and relax and enjoy the food on offer.

As I was leaving, a noticed a stage being set up, therefore I assume live music in the evening.

Official opening of International Bomber Command Centre

April 12, 2018

To coincide with 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force today saw the official opening of International Bomber Command Centre.

Veterans of Bomber Command were invited from all over the world. Some like the Poles and other Europeans, had escaped with their lives from occupied Europe to then put their lives on the line to serve in Bomber Command to help defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Europe from German occupation.

Invited they came, from as far afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Australian government met the expenses of their veterans who came. Three hundred veterans, the youngest 92 the oldest 100.

Military personnel too, from US, Canada and Australia milling around.

The surrounding roads were closed, causing a long diversion.

Parking in an adjacent field, even for the veterans. Those in wheelchairs somehow managing not to get stuck in the mud.

A guard of honour mounted by RAF personnel, all in dress uniform, bedecked with their medals.

Once in the marquee, reserved for veterans only, would you like sir tea or coffee, from an airman.

Wandering around, the site shrouded in mist, the trees on the site vanished in mist, not even possible to see the South Common, let alone Lincoln Cathedral the other side of the valley.

The site has special significance. It overlooks Lincoln, it overlooks Lincoln Cathedral. A spire that is the tallest war memorial in the country, the height the width of a Lancaster wing span. For the airmen who flew on a bombing raid, Lincoln Cathedral was the last sight of what they called home, on return if they made it back, the first sight they saw. Many did not make it back. Their names, over 57,000, their names are cut in the panels. They may not have made it back, but they live on in spirit, with their laser cut names. The average age of the aircrew, 23 years old.

Also on site the Chadwick Centre named after Sir Roy Chadwick who designed both the Lancaster and the Vulcan.

The Chadwich Centre houses an interactive museum, in conjunction with Lincoln University, a digital archive, which is hoped to go on-line in the summer.

Between the Chadwick Centre and the Memorial Spire, a path alongside are tablets with a dedications to those who lost their lives.

All too soon, everyone was herded out of the warmth of the marquee, where lunch was to be served later, out into the misty cold, for the opening ceremony.

And cold it was. Survival blankets had to be handed out to keep people warm.

An address by someone from the Lottery, who provided some of the funding (the majority was donated by the public), Lord Howe defence minister in the Lords and Nicky Barr chief executive of IBCC whose hard work, plus her army of volunteers, has made everything possible.

There was to have been a Lancaster flypast, but to the disappointment of everyone, not possible.

No official bigwig, Royal Family or RAF Top Brass. Instead, which was a nice touch, the veterans cut the ribbon. A long ribbon unravelled across where the veterans were sat, scissors handed out, and the ribbon cut.

The Last Post, then everyone, no one sure what to do, headed back to warmth. The opening ceremony had not finished, there was more music, drama, but the cold was too much.

In the open reception area of the Chadwick Centre, on sale books, tea, coffee, craft beer.

At the entrance, complimentary copies of Lincolnshire Life featuring IBCC.

Back in the marquee lunch served for the veterans their guests had to make do with the various food stalls parked outside. A choice of burger, burger or burger, one stall had noodles, and another cakes.

The lunch, three sausages one assumes Lincolnshire sausages, served on a bed of potatoes, carrots and peas. The serving staff volunteers from a local college catering school.

BBC Look North excellent live coverage in the evening by Peter Levy and the Look North team, a pity about the crass comments from the weatherman which were uncalled for, and unfortunate cut short by five minutes by a party political broadcast.

One of life’s ironies, as the opening took place, high level meetings in London, the US and across Europe on whether or not to bomb Syria for its use of chemical weapons on civililians.

In the evening a concert.

On Saturday, world premier of the digitally remastered Dambusters.

Evening Thursday 24 May 2018, RAF 100 Centenary Concert in Lincoln Cathedral will also mark 75th Anniversary of the Dambusters Raid.