Sunday, November 30, 2014

On the street where I live and a nearby eatery (Be warned)

A couple of years ago the house next door to us and the one beyond that both went up for sale, the result was new neighbours -one of the families that moved nearby in then relocated quite soon as a result of school catchment areas in Ealing (I think).

When they moved out the house unsurprisingly went up for rent and we saw little if anything  of the people who were tenants, a few moths ago there was a number of police offices attending for a few days - we thought little of it.
down local road towards the 'drug's den'

Quite a number of years ago via a couple of things  I became aware of some the issues around growing cannabis in the UK  it doesn't seem to be that difficult and I suppose that the main issue  with someone who grew it in a residential house would be around doing it for commercial purposes and the increasing chance of it being detected.

Well it seems that the house had been used as drugs and some how been discovered - wow on (almost) our doorstep.

And a Local restaurant

Last night we went for a meal at what had been our local Chinese restaurant, for the last 2 years it has been under new ownership and following the very disappointing service there  we won't be going back again.

I don't know if the problem is the new craze for 'Just Eat' and an over emphasis on serving the take away business but with just four people split across two tables one might expect good to fantastic focus on the in-house customers, well not a bit of it - prawn crackers didn't come and our server avoided contact while we waited for about an hour to get served.
Residents are objecting 

One of the delivery guys did try to help but this was not totally successful - the only similar occasion we had such terrible service was at The Eatalian which closed about the following day (the site is now a battle over being a Local Tesco or not) - I won't say don't go as I wish them no ill but be aware you might need to keep an eye open if you go there

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Carer'sRights Day Event for H&F CAB and more retail

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours on a CAB stall on behalf of the Hammersmith and Fulham CAB - it really reminded me that there are people who have different worries to those of Mylene Klass (I was a  little surprised to find  that reports say Mylene has a fortune of £11m I don't particularly dislike Mylene but I  think she may have become cocooned away from the lives of many people who had previously thought highly of her.
CAB  had a stall at The Hub in Dawes Road

The event was a Carers Rights Event  aimed at assisting people who are looking after vulnerable people be they those who have diseases of old age or other challenges.

Sad to say that the Tory led  coalition Government   which had indicated that they would be 'fair' about sharing the misery fallout from the economic recession appears to be consistently reneging on this - people who are at the bottom of the heap are having more and tests to perform before receiving a low level  of what are basic state benefits.

I do think we make a mistake when we deny people who have suffered misfortune and bad luck their dignity - hopefully our next (UK) Government will try and help people who need it.

More on retail

Christmas in Northfields

Passing through Northfields (Ealing) Late evening Christmas shopping (Thursday before the lamentable US inspired Black Friday carziness) lots of activity - similarly in Portobello Road Market today.

Many people milling around  but (to me) it seemed that the physical browsers far  out-numbered the shoppers emptying their purses and wallets, some people were buying snacks and enjoying the ambience on a surprisingly warm November - my fear though is that they'll go home and make their gift purchases on Ebay, John Lewis and Amazon- bypassing the people who need to make a living from the stalls.

Shoppers this morning or are they all 'Just Looking'?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

To be a Design tour guide

Yesterday evening I had a few hours at the Design Museum to learn a little  more about what is required of a Volunteer Tour Guide in the Collection Lab.

Very interested to hear from Gemma Curtin about the thinking behind the curation of the collection, how it was structured to be welcoming across generations and structured to highlight the three elements required of a 'design' item,


The collection does have a natural flow which Gemma demonstrated and the ideal way to enter takes one past a Kalashnikov rifle  placed next to a wooden support the plywood leg splint designed by Ray and Charles Eames in 1942.

It was clear to me from my (second) visit that there is a fantastic amount of  potential to draw people into a dialogue with design that can enrich their involvement with the everyday

Also clear to me was that work is required to be able to communicate the issues and history that the items are able to highlight.
The mean streets by the Design Museum

We were again put on the spot to make a small presentation and that and other feedback made clear that I need to  add  materials information when speaking about particular items also  that humour can be used to help the visitors.

The Volunteer co-ordinator had really pulled together a lot to do and her effort and commitment was clear and motivational (as were the refreshments).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CityLit Philosophy course confronts 'The meaning of life' question - a commentary

City Lit Philosophy Key Themes continues and after a struggle to reach the venue caused by disruptions to the Piccadilly line I was wondering what was  'The Meaning of Life' which coincidentally was the reading in the Nagel book 'What Does it All Mean?' that we'd be trying to get a grip on.
Leaves on the street, pebbles on the beach..

Here is a revisit of the notes I took from what I found to be a strangely worthwhile discussion ..

Well to help us look at the issue of the meaningless of life (as some polled in the class described it) Scott (the course tutor)  presented us with 3 possible scenarios as a starting point:

1) Placetious (a made up word according to Scott) - which I suppose we might ascribe meaning to.

2) Moves in a Game  - like chess, Scott described how his niece when playing said she  'didn't care who won' which might be thought to remove the purpose  from the game, like a depressed person in life.

3) Confession - as in the Catholic church , forgive me father... the responsibility is removed to a higher body

For me, I was not someone of the group who considers that life has no meaning (although I certainly don't know what it is) but if it hasn't or you don't believe that it does (at some level) we're troubled like Macbeth's speech on his wife's death realised by Shakespeare .

Scott then spoke about someone who might spend their the making a Matchstick Model of a great Cathedral and speaking about The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Tolstoy) who had thought he was having a good life but saw it disintegrate as he moved towards death.

Some of the class reverted (again) to the explanation of the Darwin inspired idea that evolution might answer the question.

There was discussion too of the 'quest' for  meaning in life as an 'affliction', would it be better to be in a position to be too busy to ask oneself the difficult question? - Perhaps we'd be happy if we as Nike would say - Just do it?

If one takes life (as we really should until we have some evidence of other) as being finite and Science increasingly indicates that the planet Earth will indeed fail at some time by the sun burning out if nothing else then we need to realise that our own limited existence is a small pinprick in something far bigger.

Some might think that religion answers this point or that alternatively it could be that it points to the search for religion as a fallacious pursuit.

The point that Nagel makes in the book, which I did not fully comprehend at reading is the point of the standard metre in Paris which is an end  in itself (to measurement) and which an explanation of is summed up by  Wittgenstein in Certainty as Allow justifications to come to an end here so in fact if you're life is about Horticulture (or you believe it to be)  and that is what gives it meaning that's (perhaps) enough.

What I got (I think) is that we get meaning from the lives we lead and the search we make, should we choose to make it is part of this.

Somewhat intriguingly Scott also floated the concept that he sometimes applied  - 

'Is it worthy of a human being?' which seems a little to me a little like 

'What would Jesus do?' but that's a whole other can of worms, anyway certainly plenty of food for thought for me from the course to date and next week it's 'Suffering and salvation' which sounds about right.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Photography course nearing the end..

Last night at OPEN Ealing again, asked to fill out a form to indicate age, ethnic breakdown apparently connected with Arts Council - think in future I will take the fifth, I don't think the questions are welcome (perhaps it's the phrasing that's used?) in 21st Century London.

The topic we covered mainly was discussion of what we should put on in our exhibition - might be a bit   'academic' (as meaning not really significant) if the exhibition is just 2 hours upstairs at the Singapore Road premises as few viewers -if we can get wider audience with a better venue this might change.

Anyway I'm still facing challenges on what my three (or five) pictures should be - have been told that we should keep same orientation for all of our selection and that they should demonstrate some continuity (and be in same chromatic range i.e. all B/W or all Colour).
The other issue is the dpi (dots per inch - US standard I suppose)  this is related to image resolution and it is suggested (300 dpi) appears to be above that returned by my camera (Canon SX 280HS which seems to give 180 dpi).

There's an explanation here, next week we'll be at the University of West London  Photography dept.- (formerly Ealing College St Mary's Road )  to look at and try the editing and printing of our photo's.

Web stuff runs at 72dpi so hopefully the images I provide for  RBKC market office  as a volunteer photographer will be acceptable for a social media/twitter purpose.

I did get out this afternoon (wet and miserable - the weather too) and tried to get some photo's to catch the iconic Ealing images - the cinematic history (Ealing Studios) was in my mind and as related before some idea of things with a degree of continuity.

I've opted for landscape and black and white to bring home the idea that the picture could be from 70 years ago.

I need to take the picture again with more care and better weather but it's a start.

Continuity and history in a frame -Ealing Studios

We also got some 'homework' about images handed to us (I got two rather intriguing pictures from Steve McCurry  who has done some great shots from Afghanistan and beyond) - need to think about how they address:

Line (that of the eyes of the protagonists for example).
along with how we feel about the picture/s we're analysing.

Monday, November 24, 2014

More Ealing Now and Then

When it was a pub

Last week I went and took some pictures of Ealing to compare with those in Ealing and Hanwell Past by Dr Peter Hounsell - here are a couple more - this one The Feathers from around 1910 and its present occupants Metro Bank opposite  a little changed shop now Carphone Warehouse - this despite a 'real IRA' bomb going off nearby in 2001

And Now it's a Bank.

The Town hall in 1901 was next to what is now The Metro bank, it is also a bank now  - it has always looked rather grand and that's why - The picture looks like it was taken from a higher vantage point than street level.

Slightly funny to think our present Town Hall might become a hotel in the not too distant future...
The earlier Ealing Town Hall
It's a Bank now too - Nat West

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Retail faces challenges

On Friday I had the chance to spend some time in Portobello Road Market West London, a market that has quite a history but a great present and hopefully future too.
Just a fraction of the market.

It was an education to find out how it operates and the challenges that it is facing against a constantly evolving sophisticated retail environment.
Susan Garth is remembered

As retail nichés are revealed (look at how Polish specialities are now available ) and filled by the corporate High street monoliths new entrepreneurs evolve and address the customers.

When one thinks of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea it's easy to characterise the people who inhabit it as the Made  in Chelsea set but the people I saw were diverse and not atypical.

The street market is actually made up of a number of different types of arrangements for their pitches, the council is responsible for some but fixed premises retailers  also supplement their selling space with stalls and there are private areas with pitches too.

Alongside pitches run by second and third generation stall holders are younger and trendier business people aiming at the fashion conscious and collectors - it's good to see a strong  web presence as well as a twitter social media personality  supporting the market.

The other end of retail

As well as thinking about the more frivolous side of retail, chatting with a manager who works in one one of the big six retailers it was educative to be made aware of how the current competitive pressure are driving reconsideration across the large and medium sized shops we use to fill our cupboards and fridges.

Aldi and Lidl are undoubtedly causing a rethink in pricing but the effect in some cases is to dilute the offering,   I personally am not that sure that  the main consideration for the bulk of shoppers is cost - retail is actually a leisure interest and this is confirmed by Bank Holiday behaviour of the population.

The other pressure I was reminded of was that of the on-line shopper in truth the benefits for the customer  are not of a zero sum nature - delays in deliveries and the use of  (near) 'equivalents' can cause dissatisfaction for  customers.

Food-wise the only purchases we've made via the web have been wine and this is probably only every couple of months (and reliant on no/low cost delivery) perhaps this'll change but the lack of human contact and the removal of the chance for impulse buying is not appealing .

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tate and Teletext

Let me recommend Thursday afternoon in November as a good time to visit Tate Britain - very interested to see the somewhat like  (and pleasant ) Mondrian works of Marlow Moss - fascinating story too, sounds something like the Quaint Irene  of E.F. Benson's Mapp books.

Okay across the bridge to the DTG

Also great to find another challenging photographer in the shape of the American Karen Knorr who dissects class issues as only a non- Brit can.

Tate Britain- Lovely at night (and day)

After a quick rush around  I went to an evening  'techie' event which was  a presentation on what is a potentially interesting topic for the technological 'digerati' The History of Teletext given by Peter Weitzel.

The talk under the auspices of the UK branch of SMPTE was held at DTG offices on the Albert Embankment bang next to MI6 offices - well we had what was very much a technical view of the evolution but perhaps it would have been nice to consider how it met people's needs and was in fact the first mass digital product to make it into our living rooms.

Here's a quirky historic clip aimed at a US audience.

What's the secret organisation next door
(actually it's DTG)
It was revealed that the BBC was obliged to see bits of the vertical blanking to companies like Coral who used it to help them run their betting  business- at that time chiefly horse racing.
Some interesting points like the fact that it was the major method for booking holidays in the 90's and the overpayment for the 'franchise' was what scuppered commercial TV's involvement and perhaps the development would have gone somewhat differently if ITV had remained involved in their part of the service?

Ebay deliveries 

Interesting that Ebay is now able to deliver free of charge to Argos shops - I've ordered some rather excellent iHip headphones (3 pairs) and have collected  at my local shop all they  needed to do was scan the code that was sent to me- another example of useful technology

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Philosophy (Day), Photography and Cooker longevity

I didn't realise that today is designated UNESCO Philosophy day (aren't all days?) until I saw a rather exciting email from 'The Idler' - it's exciting for me that there are people who believe and demonstrate such commitment - great stuff (and as always the ides of looking at The School of Athens is a good one).

Ealing Photographers -

well if you've got a picture of Ealing you'd like to see exhibited give this a try (from OPEN's web site)


OPEN’s Monday digital photography class plans to end its autumn run with an exhibition of participants’ work, at the Green Man Lane Café on the evening of Monday 8 December. To widen its appeal, OPEN is also offering local photographers who aren’t members of the group a chance to have their work displayed. If you have a suitable shot or two and would like to have it/them considered, please email it/them to, preferably by next Monday 24th November. Pictures should be on a local theme, and shot on the Large setting, as those selected will be blown up for display. Please mark the subject box PHOTO

Cooker Longevity

On what might have been the last internal course I attended when working at Discovery we were asked to 'share' various things about ourselves at this time I revealed that I liked planting trees and also that I was inordinately (and perhaps inappropriately) pleased to be able to report that I still had a cooker from more than 25 years ago - well a few months ago one of the hotplates failed.
Another e-bay purchase

Another e-bay purchase then and I should admit that I've been putting of making the replacement.

It was with some trepidation (and a fair amount of de-greasing cream) that yesterday I wrestled with changing the element - happy to report that it does seem to have done the job - hopefully continue for some time too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Death pays a visit to the City Lit Philosophy Course

More than likely to come knocking.
Ahead of yesterday's Philosophy 'key Themes' session I saw a fellow student asked him if he was ready for 'Death'? -in hindsight it might  seem an odd question but it was Death that we would be looking at.

Well it is something that we perhaps tend to avoid but it is the full stop on our life experience and to an extent frames how we behave - more than once as we spoke in the group the idea of an unending life cropped up and it indeed seemed as difficult to reconcile the concept of eternity alive (for me) as the finality (perhaps) of death.

Although science has moved centre stage in explanations of how things happen it has not got any closer to answering the perhaps more difficult 'why'.

Nagel in 'What Does it all mean'  does not purport to have a religious belief himself but acknowledges that many do and it undoubtedly can give purpose to life (and death) to those that do, he also queries why we should concern ourselves with non-existence.

One position for our general dread of death is perhaps the feeling of a loss as we regret in life losing other possessions - Scott brought to our attention the way that people continue their own lives after the death of people close to them this led to discussion of the point of a Darwinian survival or 'Selfish Gene' but this again can explain how life is continued but still not answer the why.

Someone within the group postulated that the purpose of life was broadly speaking pleasure but this did not seem ultimately to satisfactorily resolve the human condition.

So while we can all understand and recognise that death will happen to others as a generality it appears more difficult to reconcile for ourselves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More London Art

Walking down from Blackfriars Bridge towards the Tate Modern I stopped off at  Bankside Gallery - my first time inside there.
Some nice non-controversial subject matter amongst the work displayed (positively radical by North Korean standards though) - much of the work in the current exhibition is affordable and would grace many contemporary homes.
Compact and approachable

I was drawn to the work of Brian Cook when I flicked through the book Brian Cook's landscapes of Britain - you'll see the resonance with much of the nostalgic renditions of the countryside seen in current 'advertising  art' if you take a look, in fact Cook's illustrations were used to adorn many book covers.

Interestingly Cook  went on to become Conservative MP for Ealing South  between 1958 and 1974 before retiring with his artist wife to Rye in Sussex- he died in 1991.

After Bankside it was on to Tate Modern and after a pause to see the mime and music artists a pleasant trip around the rooms that were far less crowded  than for my previous recent visits and I am  happy to report that there are some changes of display too.

How is it adding up so far?

I still think it's a good trick

I liked the thought and intent behind the work by Russian artists/architects Brodsky and Utkin at Level 2 - Poetry and Dream and I also enjoyed the themes and realisation,s particularly the robot  on display by the  South Korean artist Nam Jane Paik  who died in 2006.

Great to find a slightly disturbing photographer in the shape of the eccentrically named Lisette Model too.

Further up we had some really nice pieces given enough space to move around them including this Japanese work -on first impression I thought there was something North American Native about it (I was wrong it is a Japanese artist Susumu Koshimizu ).

|From Surface to Surface (1971) by Susumu Koshimizu 

Monday, November 17, 2014

West Ealing - Stowell's Corner Now and Then

As part of an interest in how 'not all is change'  I've taken a few photo's inspired by those used in Dr Peter Hounsell's  book Ealing and Hanwell Past.

Like 'the places I've lived in' we can see that things often stay much the same (apart from the ever growing trees).

I'm going to try and get some information on when the original pictures were taken and hopefully look at some other examples too.

Here's a view very local to me - just close to West Ealing Railway Station down past the Drayton Court Hotel.

Until fairly recently the Shop on the corner (now Cafe Onik) was still an off licence and the parades of shops can be clearly seen in both pictures.

How Stowell's Corner looks now
and how it used to be (from the book)

And here's one of  Ealing Green 'Now and Then' looking towards South Ealing  (when it wasn't one way traffic in the High Street).

Ealing High Street like everywhere else - too many cars

Ealing High Street towards South Ealing
( also from Peter's book)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Design Museum

Deyan's  book covering items we'd all like
Nearly 30 years ago my Mum and Dad bought me Deyan Sudjic's first book Cult Objects, looking at it again it does show how certain iconic items retain their appeal as status desirable items (like anglepoise lamps).
Nice typeface

Well fast forward to yesterday and I was at the Design Museum where Deyan is now the director, the Museum housed in a former Banana warehouse is due to move into new premises in West London at the end of 2016 this will provide something like three times the current floor space.

 The Design Museum is currently a niché outfit born out of the V&A about 25 years ago as modern functional Design has moved into the mainstream the timing of the expansion and a free entry model seems well timed.

While there's a lot to see at the current premises it does have a bit of a challenge trying to cover such a wide remit in a small space, I must say the current location is a good one bringing in a selection  of visitors both tourists and fans of design.

Interesting too to find that a former star Isabel  Monteiro  (seen here on a mix with Thom Yorke) is now on the staff there as part of the 'Welcome team'.

It was nice to see another -of the many public sculptures by  Eduardo Paolozzi (Head of invention) just outside too.

Head of Invention

The current Design Museum  premises
Design Criteria

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Art in Ealing - Crossing the field and Bruce McLean at For Arts Sake

A work by Eric Monbel
Generally the walk across Ealing Green to Pitzhanger Gallery is a worthwhile one and in sync with the 100 years anniversary of the start of World War I is an exhibition that brings together the War and the apocryphal Christmas day football matches across the two  sides.

There's a very nice little film about a work commissioned in Ypres from 2003 by Mark Anstee and as well as some other works about war there's some lighter stuff about football from people like Marc Palmer.

Encounter Film from Mark Anstee on Vimeo.

For Arts Sake

For Arts Sake is a great little shop/gallery with a nice selection of affordable paintings and prints.

It's really good they way they feature contemporary artists for month or so coming to an end is the bright and mischievous works of Bruce McLean.
A great little place

McLean a one time student of Anthony Caro has worked across a range of artistic disciplines including performance and sculpture,  the prints in the gallery are (apparently) parodies of expressionist works - check him out if you can

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dumping and (my) Ealing through the years (Now and Then)

I was a bit saddened to see a couple of mattresses dumped in a road (Ascott Avenue) not too far from where I lived - I guess removal of stuff isn't always easy and it might seem a good solution just to put things the dustbin men won't take on the public highway where ultimately the council will arrange for collection.
What a waste (in Ealing)

I suppose what is needed is a better means of handling waste - I know when we got our replacement mattress and fridge about a year ago the companies who supplied the new items were able to take the old ones away - this isn't always easy if your getting things from friends and relatives - anyway my sympathies for those  who had to step around them until they were removed.

If you need it here's a link to Ealing Council web site for the removal of waste.

Old Peoples homes

Well here are 3 pictures (composites 'Now and Then') of places I've lived in in Ealing - and you can see that although all is change some things remain much the same over (around) 30 years,

It's a theme I'm interested in, not exciting photo's and more about continuity than anything else (and the change in photographic technology).

Hessel Road - first port of call in the Borough.

Then on to Princes Road and an outside W.C. for a while
Aspen Close and my own place with two (indoor) W.C.s

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Possibility of a Distance Learning Project

For some time I used to meet up on an 'ad-hoc' basis at Café  Chai  (it's a Caffe Nero now)  with a bunch of expat's in an Ealing coffee shop to look at business propositions for their 'home country'

A business meeting place or for  a chat over coffee
Today after a long break I met up with one of these people  to talk about how high quality education could be delivered into a hostile environment. As is often the case the issue my belief is that the challenge is not the technical but finding the backers who can see what benefits such a project can deliver.

Broadly speaking the issue for many developing societies is how a suitably skilled 'class' of cadres can be equipped to bring progress to a society with limited infrastructure and a civil society that is not well developed.

My project outline for such goals would be as follows:

1) Create a draft business plan, identifying goals and challenges, an idea of milestones and time-scale, a team (very important), high level financials.

The business plan should identify similar projects and reflect on their successes and failures, it should include a project summary, quotations and illustrations to ensure that it is engaging and pleasing to the eye.

2)  Create very strong 'deck' perhaps 4 or 5 slides that can be used to target people who by the nature of their business position  with very limited time/attention spans.

Use a website to ensure that the collateral is easily available, ensure that it is possible for feedback to be submitted.

3) Identify potential partners and investors become familiar with their own interests,  constituencies and goals (Questions are they in it for the long run? Do they want to be involved in day to day activities?)

4) Put together  a dummy presentation/demo and rehearse, using a critical eye.

5) Seek feedback, find what backers like and dislike - refine and resubmit as required.(with emphasis on financials and reality)

Distance learning in a hostile environment.

Distance Learning has become a multi-million dollar business  but it is important that any institution/business offering education can deliver independently audited, certificated courses to a high standard.

What does the market need in terms of qualified students? (e.g. is Engineering a prime requirement or would horticulture be more important).

What Educational materials would be needed and how would the services of tutors be managed they need to be of high quality and consistent.

What are the classes to be taught do they require, practical sessions?

What would the language of delivery be? (is this an issue).

What is the political environment that the educational establishment is functioning within?

Is the Massive open online course ( MOOC) a useful tool/model?

Who pays and who attends?

Questions on the methods of delivery are significant, is it possible to deliver lectures 'live', how would feedback from a class be managed?

My availability to support the project is limited and there's a lot of hard work needed to get to a stage where those with potential funding could be approached - will see if anything comes of it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The question 'What is Justice' raised on City Lit Course

Yesterday at City Lit and in our  Philosophy session we were on for  the search for justice.

We've most of us heard children complain 'it's not fair', can recall saying such things ourselves or still say it in some more sophisticated manner (why did X get promoted and not me?- it's not fdair I've been here longer and ...).
Is it fair that I can enjoy a walk in the park on a sunny day?

Well apparently it's another of those thorny issues that philosophers get their teeth (and noses) into- what do we think of fairness and is it something we should try and achieve in personal and public life?

Interestingly there's a tension between what is just and what is fair here's some food for thought on this.

Several times in the discussions on Justice in the classroom at City Lit I felt there was almost a slide into what we could call Politics, I suppose there is an inevitability in this, where the idea of the 'left' as perceived by some is that we're all entitled to the same treatment (say in Health) but if I choose to smoke is it fair that the NHS should spend more on me than someone who looks after him/herself.

I also felt that there was an undue emphasis on money and that fairness could only be seen under the lens of the Socio-economic system'  and thus money is the only measure of happiness and success.

There's also an idea that we are unable to make choices (a societal determinism I suppose))  and that can even negate us complaining of the outcomes.

When we say it is unfair that a nurse gets less pay than a pop singer I'm not sure that this is the case.

I tend to go with Maslov (Hierarchy of needs) in that once hygiene measures are met income is less significant to quality of life but may be seen as an analogue to the value that society puts on a particular function.

The truth (for me) is that life is not fair but in some respects this is okay  for example I'm not such a talented footballer as Wayne Rooney but I do not necessarily say that this is not fair as I do not aspire to play football for England or his way of life.

The traditional left has unfortunately struggled with the idea of allowing choice in certain areas but people generally make their choices in a manner that makes sense to them.

I would typically identify myself as being broadly on what is currently defined as the 'left' but I do not see it to be a progressive measure to tax people and then return some of this money to them in a way that the 'state' may direct - if I wish to spend money on private education I can not see this as something that the state needs to be involved in (either stopping parents or giving them or the schools an artificial and unfair tax advantage).

 The questions around the moral case for Taxation can be seen as a 'live issue'  and you can listen to an example with Michael Buerk  and assorted figures (ahead of Michael's Jungle outing) discuss this on  BBC radio's 'The Moral Maze'.

What you might find a useful thought experiment is to imagine a child of yours who you wish to see blossoming  being propelled into a 'fair society' this idea was termed the 'Veil of ignorance' by the twentieth century philosopher  John Rawls who imagined this conceptual thought experiment.

Well Justice is a complex issue that's for sure but next week is even more challenging when we look at 'Death.'

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fun Night-time photography with OPEN Ealing

A view like this can have a long exposure as there's little movement.
Yesterday evening and another session at the OPEN Digital Photography class - using the axiom
A tripod at £5.99
about learning by doing and taking advantage of our proximity to the bustling Uxbridge Road we went out  with our cameras to engage with the topic of 'low light/night time Photography'.

As well as needing a camera (of course) a tripod is almost essential - I'd bought mine a couple of weeks back at Seba Digital   (strangely also in Uxbridge Road) at  only £5.99 a bargain, perhaps a trifle light but this has advantages too.
A blurred bus was a popular subject for photo's

If you want to catch action at low light you will need to use settings of a high ISO number (1600 perhaps) but this has a cost in detail and noise as the sensor will be pushed hard.

Alternatively you might wish to use longer exposures and accept blur or shoot subjects where movement is less of an issue.
A trick with a torch

It was fun to get out and take pictures and indeed it's a great way to get more familiar with your camera - the one thing I forgot to go equipped with was a torch- if I'm out again I will try and remember.

I had previously tried to take a self portrait and was unhappy with the result - last night I did get another picture of 'me' which I'm still unhappy but slightly less so - I suppose I don't look like I think I do and am unable to catch myself engaged in something as I'd wish.

Me at night by me

When taking pictures  now I am more using my somewhat limited technique more and hopefully picking up tips - I am also trying to think ahead and do at least some pre planning.

With respect to the intended project/exhibition I have been planning this and as a start have revisited three places I've lived in Ealing to see how they now look after more than 25 years,
Nice pictures in this book

I have also bought a book called  'Ealing and Hanwell Past' by Peter Hounsell of the Ealing Branch of the Historical Association it has some pictures that I may use as a basis for revisiting certain views.

Monday, November 10, 2014

TV programmes, Snobbery, Class and well done Cheryl

I've had a bad case of the snuffles and It's a bit surprising to be reminded of how vulnerable and badly done by one can feel on having a cold.

One of many things that has improved over the last 15  or so years is the value of kitchen appliances - we got matching Prestige Kettle and Toaster at the weekend (because we could) less than £30 from Robert Dyas whilst their special offer continues (it ends Wednesday).  
A person of Prestige

Another thing (back to the cold) that's improved is the access to TV programmes at ungodly hours when one is 'suffering' two of the really cracking shows that I've caught up on are

Broadmoor (itv Player)  - perhaps it comes as a good news revelation that ITV is still showing important Documentaries in prime time slots, this certainly raises a load of questions about broken people, the cost to society and the unutterable misery of the human condition for some - the two important points I noted (among very many important significant points) were that it is  generally not  just one issue that brings these people into being a very difficult case and also one of the Doctors saying that it felt like you could say on seeing some of these troubled people at the age of 6 -'I'll be seeing you later' - the second and final  episode will air this week-  not always easy to watch but I think worth seeing.

Storyville doesn't let you down and this was a gem, a story that had it all, including a good man James Randi (crazy name, crazy guy) revealed as human and the debunking of horrible 'religious' charlatans.
I sort of recall the man from the fevered days of Uri Geller (before he was a 'friend' to Wacko Jacko) bending spoons  - if you watch one thing on catch-up (UK viewers) make it this one.

Well after watching these two programmes - I was reminded how insightful Grayson Perry had been on both radio (Reith Lectures)  and TV 'Who are you?' (Channel Four TV )  so I did a search on Grayson and found that his series of documentaries around class was still available - using the old Kenny Everett catchphrase ' In the best possible taste' it brought to light what was (perhaps) something of a hidden truth (for me)  I'm a snob (not easy to say  perhaps we all think of  others as either Chavs or Snobs but in truth as many of us distance ourselves from the aspirations of our relatives and contemporaries we reveal ourselves to be distancing ourselves from our roots.

Grayson did not deny his own move from  the Essex 'Working Class' to the middle class elite of the Art world but he was able to celebrate with others the joys of the working class - those from the programme were astonishingly knowing too - looking forward to seeing parts  two and there of this series if the cold persists (or doesn't). 


Thanks to Jules Evans for his tweet about the artist formerly known as Cheryl Cole who has used an Alan Watts quote about how we should use our lives  (What if Money was no object..) on her new album - as far as I'm concerned a really excellent message which she's bringing to a big audience who might not have thought about this - great stuff Cheryl.