Saturday, 30 April 2011

kathy burke

From the questionnaire with Kathy Burke in the Saturday Guardian magazine of 16 April:
What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?
'Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like Kathy Burke.'

Friday, 29 April 2011


I took the plunge into Facebook in September. I don’t know how long entries there survive before they disappear into the ether; one of the questions about Facebook of course is the extent to which you’re putting your material into the hands of a company where there’s no guarantee of what will happen to it and you lose control and possession of it to a large extent. So I’ll note some things here. (Of course you could say similar things about Blogger and Blogspot, perhaps, but the archive is much more easy to manage and view.)

I think the main group of ‘friends’ is still colleagues. Before you join you get the impression everyone’s on already, but once you’re there you find that that’s certainly not true. There are friends though from every stage of life, workplace, church and education. It is, as I hoped it would be, a good way to keep a low level of contact with people where you might have the best intentions on both sides of keeping in touch but with the best will in the world fail to do so. It’s also renewed contact with old friends who are more active on Facebook.

It could be easy, I think, to forget the spread of your Facebook friends and find yourself writing with one group in mind, forgetting it might not be apropriate for another. Easy to see how people could get caught out in one way or another.

One of the things that prompted me to go on was Anna saying that she would see photos of Ruairidh on Mairi’s page, so now I can see them too. Some people put quite a lot of photos up, but I haven’t got comfortable with that yet, though I have linked to photos on other people’s pages in which I appear.

more e&c news

Demolition of London housing estate to begin: The Heygate estate in Walworth, which was the backdrop for the Michael Caine film Harry Brown, is being redeveloped
- Guardian, 15 April

Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre will be retained and refurbished: Confirmation of the news - first revealed on this website in February - that the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre will be refurbished rather than demolished is expected in the next few days.
- London SE1, 7 April

New homes to be built at extended Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre: The owners of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre have confirmed they are working on plans to redevelop and extend the building to include more shops and new homes.
- London SE1, 8 April


On a Daily Show Global Edition from a couple of weeks ago that I watched a couple of nights ago (More4 have stopped showing every edition, sadly; apparently I was among a handful of people who watched it), Jon Stewart said something along these lines: 'Regular viewers of The Daily Show will know that I'm something of a clothes-horse - in that I have as much interest in clothes as a horse.'

the triceratops panic

The Triceratops Panic: Why Does Science Keep Changing Its Mind?
- Robert Krulwich, NPR, 14 April

hanging on the telephone

Heard this for the first time on Danny Baker's BBC Radio London programme the other day, the original of Blondie's Hanging on the Telephone, by The Nerves.

silent uk

Another of those interesting urban underground exploration websites, Silent UK. the latest episode being a venture into the disused Post Office Railway in London.

new princess diana

As Charlie Brooker said on the Ten O'Clock Show last week, the media are talking about Kate Middleton as the new Princess Diana, which is ironic, since it's thanks to the media that we need a new Princess Diana.

Monday, 18 April 2011

'I no how to make people or animals alive'

'This may seem strange' - letters in full
Back in 1973, a young boy wrote to Blue Peter to ask for some assistance - he believed he knew "how to make people or animals alive" and wanted help to gather the necessary equipment. Thirty-five years later Anthony Hollander became part of a team who performed a groundbreaking operation which saved a woman's life. Below is the full text of the letters, in Anthony's case they are reproduced complete with all spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.
- BBC, 27 January 2009 (via Letters of Note)

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

little london fields festival links

Main stage acts:
Young Athletes League - Myspace.
Hind Ear - Myspace, Soundcloud.
Black Cherry - official, Myspace, Youtube clip of Little London Fields performance.
Amenta & Throwing Snow - Youtube clip of Little London Fields performance.
Anna Calvi - official, Myspace, Wikipedia, Independent article (from last Friday, 1 April!), and February Guardian article. (I remember there was some hype about her at the time, and the links suggest it's ongoing. Small attractive woman playing big rock guitar, seemed to be about the size of it, and still doesn't grab me.)
Yesking Soundsystem - official.
Don't Wait Animate - Myspace.

All of which bears out my memory of Black Cherry as being the only one that particularly grabbed me, a pop/rock band with a rich soulful female voice.

Little Stage acts.
John McIvor - official, Myspace, Youtube clip (single released on 1 April, as it happens).
IDRchitecture - official, Myspace.
Films - Myspace.
Boymandeville (was able to match up the photos for sure - turned out I got photos of everyone I heard - when I heard the guitar which reminded me of 'African jive' style and I remembered it was the guy with the colourful shorts playing it) - Myspace, Youtube.
Gerry Lewer (solo man did turn out to be chap who was listed as being on first but wasn't) - Youtube.
Laura J Martin - Myspace, Twitter.
The Dallas Guild - official, Myspace.
Delooze - Bandcamp, Myspace, Soundcloud. (Coincidentally, released a single on 4 April.)

Again, Laura J Martin I remembered as musically interesting and inventive, creating loops live and playing over them on instruments and singing, though her voice (a bit mannered early Kate Bush) and the songs themselves didn't grab me, and no one else stood out. Listening again online confirms the memory.

General Youtube clips of Festival here and here.
Flickr sets here, here, here and here.

Monday, 4 April 2011

the breve

A page on the Gazette website of extracts from The Breve's columns from days gone by.

free press letter in scots

This week's Free Press carried an unintentionally hilarious letter, in response to Brian Wilson writing against the presence of 'Scots' as an option in the Scottish Census. The letter, in defence of Scots as a language, was purportedly written in 'Scots', but was plainly just English spelt in a particular kind of Scottish accent, with a few regional words thrown in (of the kind that you'd find in any county in Britain). How much more entertaining the letters page would be if all the letters were spelt in the accent of the writer.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

little london fields festival

The free Little London Fields music festival is happening again this year, in London Fields of course, in June. It was on Saturday 7th August last year and I went, Bethan being out walking for the day and the younger generation away with the older generation. It was quite an enjoyable day out - I didn't stay for the evening - and I saw a lot of performances, but no one really grabbed me. There was a heavy downpour in the middle of the afternoon also, which literally put a dampener on proceedings, with people disappearing into shelter (and into the dance tent, which had been empty up until then) and leaving the ground too wet to sit on for the rest of the day.

I'm noting this just now because i've just come across in my pile the little postcards I got on the day with the running order (main stage, small stage, dance tent); they had craft, food and information stalls too, and a karaoke area. I saw bits of pretty much everyone on the two music stages before I left. A shame I didn't do this sooner (or label up the photos I took). If I was seeing it now I'd have taken notes. Some of the first few acts on the main stage were DJs, which I hadn't appreciated.

According to the postcard, on the main stage, not including the sound systems, were PRDCTV, Young Athletes League, Hind Ear, Black Cherry, Amenta and Throwing Snow, Anna Calvi, Yesking Soundsystem, Don't Wait Animate and Mirrors. I think this running order proved accurate, and I think I saw parts of them all except Mirrors, which I didnt stay for. Black Cherry is the one I remember liking in particular.

On the little stage there were definitely a couple of changes to the running order, but on the card it has Gerry Lewer, John McIvor, Idrchitectore, Films, Laura J Martin, Boymandeville, Dallas Guild, Delooze, Robot Disaster and Bonny Come. I stayed until Delooze for sure (I've got a promo postcard their folk were handing out). Laura J Martin was the one I remember being most interesting, with flute, mandolin and making her own tape loops as she played.

I'll need to go through the photos, google the names, link names to photos and listen to music online to make sure what I heard... Who knows when I'll do that.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

london park hotel site

Elephant & Castle 360 tower project to be revived: Plans for a 44-storey tower on the site of the London Park Hotel at Elephant & Castle are to be revived later this year, the London SE1 website has learned.
- London SE1, 3 March

the death of a housing ideal

The death of a housing ideal: Is the demolition of the Heygate estate in south London the welcome end of a misguided experiment? Or is it the push for regeneration that is flawed?
- Guardian, 4 March. Another article on the Heygate estate demolition.

losing you

I like Randy Newman more than I used to, not least his soundtrack work, like When She Loved Me. Losing You is also a lovely song, and this clip has not only a performance but an introduction on one of the central ideas, that as you get older you simply have less time to get over things, and where he got it from.

Friday, 1 April 2011

k west

The K West sign which appears prominently on the cover of Ziggy Stardust is now in someone's loft. Here's an article on the 5years website (devoted to the album), and here's the Word thread which led me to it. The cover photo was taken in Heddon Street, off Regent Street, which I've never made pilgrimage to.