Thursday, December 31, 2015

Every day's like Sunday (or Saturday), Letwin and Red 306

Having noted that holidays in UK are often more about shopping than anything else - we bought more than planned today and we weren't alone in this.
Maplin Tools - Well I say they're for my exhibition

As well as continuing to buy things that I justify to myself as being for my 'exhibition' I bought a well discounted coat in M&S - to get the full benefit probably need the weather to get a bit colder and possibly less wet - but certainly looks like it'll last a few years.

As we made our way back to the usual car parking location - I thought (and said) how few cars there were there now..

 A few seconds and realised that this was because it was a weekday and parking restrictions apply meaning no parking between  03:00  and 04:00  PM - seems the wardens hadn't yet visited but could have easily wiped out the saving on my coat.
A draft poster

Just because the period between Christmas and New Year feels like a permanent weekend doesn't mean it is - I had a lucky break and a wake up-call  will try to keep this in mind and  check the parking restrictions (1st of my 2016 New Years' resolutions).

Tories shoot themselves in the foot ( 3 times)

Not a great way to end 2015 for the Government

1) The coverage and response to the floods in the North of England (and Scotland) have not been well handled by politicians and high ranking (and highly paid) officials, many questions to be answered about wisdom on funding around flood protection too - it feels like the vibe going out from London is that it's an outlying part of the country and an irritation to those holidaying in the Caribbean -(and it shouldn't).

2) Rewarding a highly paid Australian political strategist  with an honour is not only in poor taste but devalues those people who also got a reward for actual public service.

3) Oliver Letwin MP is revealed as a poor judge of politics and people - I'm not sure if his position as a senior figure in the party of Government is secure?

Red 306

As well as theatrical openings Red carpet tends to suggest an  extra importance - here's one in the Palace of Westminster

Red Carpets - are they just for anyone?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Openculture introduces me to 'Bucky' & Red 307

I don't follow too many on twitter but the one I'd recommend over all others is - it provides an absolute feast of articles, links and wisdom.
Untold treasures await here

Twitter tweet was promoting  a really great article today decrying the accepted wisdom of the nobility of labour - and glorying in more positive alternatives to  a 9 to 5 wage slave exisitence.

I also realise a little more on the genesis of Tom Hodgkinson's  Idler Academy and its relation to Russell's philosophy.

In fact the idea that all activity is of value in itself is patently untrue and the conspiracy that stops us realising our potential for me something of a tragedy.

I'd heard of Buckminster Fuller before (let's face it it's a great name)  but I'd  not known what he'd done to become a household one - if you want to know more - here's a video of him - there's more and longer items on youtube but this is probably a good starter.

Red 307

Traditionally they're yellow here's a red one

We skipped the light fandango we turned cartwheels on the floor... (yes & thanks for letting me know)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

An Idea to share and Red 308

A few months back I floated the idea for a kids book - it had a little interest but have not managed to progress it.
For 'Quirky' kids (and adults too)

If someone wants to come on board as an (equal)  partner to put together a children's book I'd be happy to look at how we could get it published (either a third party or self publishing).

The idea's around fun word's with quirky illustrations aimed as a shared early 'reading'  experience with an adult .

My first phrase for illustration was

First one- kids running along a beach and the second a crab as a shelf...

As the children walked along they saw a group of crabs at the head of them was a crab called Mark, he was all by himself eating sweets and not sharing them with the other creatures.

As an example one of the children took the crab hollowed him out and with a pair of brackets he was mounted on the wall -

'Look' said one of the children

'Simon the Selfish Shellfish has been made to look Shelf-ish'

and some others we could work on

1) There was an argument about the waste and Suzy  Refused to Reuse the Refuse.
2) To get a good use of the space Danny Planned the Plan of the planets.
3) Cor, us said the people in the school  chorus  but what a chore it was to sing their song (this is a bit English in use of 'Cor').
4) The priests prayed prior to entering the priory

With rise of 'colouring books' we could offer an option where buyers can colour themselves. - if it's interesting get in touch ..

Red 308

Are drivers of 'Red' cars drive less risk adverse?

This was from spring  this year just near Haven Green, Ealing and I'm not sure how it happened..

That's no way to do a 3 point turn

Monday, December 28, 2015

More preparation work on the exhibition and Red 309

Holder with brochures

Now less than 3 weeks until my photographic exhibition in the  Grapevine Bar at the Questors Theatre and today I've been busy with setting up supporting Webpages and creating brochures -using a good quality paper for the brochures makes a very big difference but of course has a cost.
A number of framed prints

I still need to get some posters (at least two A4 and perhaps a few A5s)  created and my fingers are crossed on delivery of business cards.

National Portrait Gallery

Very nice to see just a few of the portraits accompanying Simon Schama's Face of Britain - I'd not heard of Chris Levine but his Lightness of Being  for Elizabeth II is rather enchanting giving her something of a twinkle.

Red 309

Looking through some old photo's I came across this predominantly Red Bermondsey Church notice from February this year.

Not the usual colour of a church notice

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Climate Change and Red 310

It's just a few weeks since the global accord following the World Climate Change Conference in Paris and understandably the issue hit the headlines while the conference was running.
Westminster corridors of Power

There are few of us in the UK who now  don't think that there's something odd happening with the weather.

The conditions  in the north of England are  giving such cause for  serious concern  I must say I'm reconsidering my somewhat flippant attitude to our neglect of the planet .

I'm hoping that what seemed to me previously like uncalled for talk of calamity and Doomsday scenarios is that we can manage.

Having spoken with my brother who was at Paris talks I was certainly surprised at how seriously the UK government is  taking  the rise in world temperature rise.

Lets  hope that the climate change experts like Professor  Kevin Anderson of Manchester and Dr. Hugh Hunt of Cambridge seen here talking in a Paris  discussion recorded by Mike Coe have their views taken with the gravity they warrant too.

Red 310

There's still some mileage in the reds of Christmas here's a South London poster
Red is used here on a poster  with  limited colour  palette

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cultural Christmas Gifts and Red 311

A nice looking book
The 1970's  saw some of the best and most successful Christmas Pop singles and one that occurs to me is I Wish it could be Christmas everyday (Wizard) - for many of us now effectively every day is - we can have most of the things we want for 'free' or close to it - think of looking for music on the internet - the favourites we love on TV are there 'on demand' and the shops have the foods we like regardless of season and place.

I suppose one of the common themes running through my Christmas presents for most of the last 50 or so years have been what me might think of as Cultural Gifts (although I suppose practically all gifts certainly of mine  could fit that category).

Delighted to report that two of the gifts I requested for Christmas 2015 very much fit in with this description.

Having heard about The Alchemist by Paul Coelho from several sources (here's one reader who particularly valued it)  I decided that it was worthy of investigation it's been named by many high profile figures as important to the personally and listening to that author on an Archive edition of Desert Island Discs it's clearly something that's important to the author.

Coelho specifically mentions that the tracks are by artists he values (and this includes the McCartney penned The Long and Winding Road as well as the more Lennon-y Because).

 [Tangentially - This throws some light on 'Because' and the new to me fact that Yoko was a classically trained pianist who had studied composing. ]

Coincidentally Coelho's The Alchemist is the chosen 'book' of three Desert Island Discs guests.

And the other gift

The other item (and again it harks back to the Book and Record voucher gifts of years past) is the Art of McCartney which features a selection of (perhaps) unlikely covers of Paul McCartney songs (and the edition I've been given has an accompanying video too.

I'll let you know if Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson bring something new to the songs they cover.

Red 311

Here amusements in London

An idea of glamour in London's West End at 'The Crystal Rooms'.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas and Red 312

So lots of build up and Christmas has arrived (don't worry it's over in a flash) it's very much a time to pause and reflect and to enjoy (if we're lucky enough) time with family, friends and loved ones (even if some of this is just virtual).
The bins'll be filling up too

Happy Christmas and best for 2016 to everyone.

Red 312

Hollies and those seasonal berries

The Holly and the Berries

Thursday, December 24, 2015

First outing for my Volunteer tour of Cycle Revolution exhibition and Red 313

Yesterday I got the chance to run my latest 'Volunteer' tour at the Design Museum and I was surprised at both the number of people who joined and their engagement with the topic.

If you're interested there'll be more volunteer led Cycle Revolution Tours (The Wednesday ones are by me).
A very Conran Christmas

On the way in I passed  Conran's  HQ  looking Christmas-sy. Sir Terence Conran is a prime mover's behind 'Modern British Design' as well as which he's a  benefactor  who has helped preserve parts of the Thames Docklands'  and is leading figure behind establishing the Design Museum.

Anyway back to the 'Tour' - The things that came out of the tour for me were:

1) Children/young people are really engaged with cycling - it's the school holidays and there were plenty there.

2) People recall their early cycling experiences - one visitor told me how his father delivered to him a birthday present of a bicycle as a kit of parts which the deal was that they'd assemble  when he performed satisfactorily his mathematics 'Times Tables'.

3) I shouldn't forget that although males enjoy the 'artefacts'  of high-tech bikes girls too really like cycling.
Who would have thought you could make a wooden bike?

4) Cyclists are often evangelical and want to get more involved - as we get more people involved it's a beneficial circle- better facilities and cycling becomes safer.

It's hard not to use a historic perspective when talking about cycling but other angles are possible, many people spoke about the 'Santander Bikes' (formerly Barclay's Bikes) and how London was more successful at encouraging bikes and their use than say Birmingham (but less than Paris).

Points I need to follow up include the weight of the fantastic Lotus 108 - made famous by Chris Boardman.

The lightweight (and low profile - just 25 mm) Lotus bike

[Note: it's  8.35kg (18.41lb) without pedals]

Red 313

This Red bicycle is a Gramercy by Martone and comes in at a cool £1,300

And here's a bike in the Design Museum shop

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Facing buildings and Red 314

Back at Westminster yesterday for an exchange of gifts with my brother.
As I went into the environs I noticed that a previously clad building is now finished and looks almost the same from when I saw it in July.

How it looked in the middle of July this year
And about 6 months later

December 22nd -Well we can't be too surprised can we?
As I walked back via Leicester Square spotted another  example of this practice  - I think it's quite a nice way of masking the works, providing some continuity.

Also saw the Norwegian gifted Christmas tree in Trafalgar square looking pretty good and telling a lovely story too

A bit of a trend

A nice tradition

Red 314

Nena famously had 99 Red Balloons here a few less in Leicester Square

Not 99 but some are  Red at least

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Printing (2), Lion Hayes and Red 315

ColorMax 12 Broadway London W13 0SR
Having had some framing issues - I thought needed a further A2 print and as Pollyprint is (I think) closed for the Christmas holidays I decided to try an alternative service, Colormax it's nearer to home too.

Happily they were able to help and service was the same cost - I would say that I preferred the color renditions that I got  from Pollyprint but certainly  useful to have an alternative so close by.

Lion Hayes

Earlier in the year I completed a (beginners) Picture Framing course at RACC - it has helped me know something about the subject - it's also useful in that I know now my limitations and  what not to attempt.
Lion South Hayes Closed

I also got to know Lion in Hayes which offered a great selection of bits and pieces needed in mounting framing and hanging.

Having now got all my prints framed I needed some D rings, wire and hooks so was at the stage where I thought a trip to Hayes would be the way to get these parts - sad to report that Lion have closed their Hayes outlet (Lion South) so have ordered (what I hope) I need.

Flats I noticed before still going up (Crossrail convenience here)

Flats still under construction

I'm not a fan of Hayes but had a look around as I'd made the journey - interested to see the Motor Museum has some different cars including Mustangs.

Mustangs looking  ready for a US cop show.

Red 315

There are few things as satisfying as 'free' T shirts this is in the red region and I've had it for a few years - fair to say it's a loose fit.

You can see why it's a T shirt

Monday, December 21, 2015

We visit the new Pho in ealing and Red 316

On Saturday having visited the recently open 'Pho' in New Broadway we thought it only fair to give another new nearby Vietnamese restaurant in Ealing called Pho Saigon - it seems that Vietnamese is (literally) flavour du jour.

Very impressed with the use of mirrors which really do give a great feeling of space and certainly this restaurant was quite different from a slick chain and much more of a family feel.
'Pho Saigon' - The 50% offer finished on Saturday

Having said that I'm reminded what a risky business the restaurant enterprise is- Ealing has many places to eat (and I anticipate more as the expensive Dicken's Yard largely residential development becomes inhabited) - if you're not happy with the one you visit you probably won't go back - Pho Saigon might be more authentic than the competition and it  looked like  people of a Vietnamese heritage were serving and dining but to make money it needs to be  attractive to a diverse group of Londoners.

The premises were previously a restaurant/grill and not vacant for very long, the prior tenants didn't trade for very long and there are many other places to eat within a short walk.

With a 50% discount (as anticipated - this seems to  be a requirement for new eateries)  on their food the bill was very acceptable but I'm not sure when we'll go back with the normal full prices.

Red 316

When you drive up Argyle Road late at night there's always activity  and  life around Candy Cars.
Candy cars -I  can confirm that they're 24/7

Sunday, December 20, 2015

EU debate and Red 317

I imagine that people who like risk are drawn to politics, it feels like David Cameron is a risk taker with respect to Britain's membership of the EU.
Do we want to be by ourselves?

Having just got away with keeping Scotland in Great Britain (for now) there's a high stakes game on where a Conservative party  more deeply split than Corbyn's Labour tries to hold together and (like the Devolution vote) goes for a once in a generation vote.
[Would that be so]

What is so sad about the party of Government's manoeuvring is that (again) naked political ambition by some is being put ahead of national interest - clearly there's some deep dysfunction from some self serving MPs who wish to get the keys to No. 10 when Cameron takes his leave.

Few honest individuals who look at the 're-negotiation' believe it to be any more than posturing - why does Britain have to be the awkward teenager at the EU party how great would it be if we acted as a positive influence fully engaged?
I only hope that the legacy Cameron leaves is not that of setting UK PLC adrift in a stormy 'free' sea.

Red 317

Well this tasteful little Christmas Santa in Gordon Road is pretty red

Looks like this one missed the chimney

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tate Britain's Artist & Empire plus Red 318

Go in you'll find out more
From past experience this time of year is a good time to visit galleries, exhibitions and museums as nearly everyone is out at the shops.

Last time I was at  Tate Britain 'Artist and Empire' was just about to open so Yesterday I went to  see  what delights it held..

I thought the exhibition was very interesting and was a rich blend of aesthetics and history.

What was good for me too was that I was re-introduced to figures I've encountered previously under different guises - first in this mould was in Part 1, Mapping and Marking where there was one MacDonald Gill's excellent maps  the 'Cable and Wireless' commissioned  'Great Circle Map'.

Another highlight (Part 3) for me were two pictures by Henry Nelson O'Neil  they were Eastward Ho! and Home Again strong in both technique and emotion.

In Room 4 the emphasis was on Power Dressing and I found a great photograph by Julia Margaret-Cameron called  'Dejatch Alamayou King Theodore's Son' also liked the picture of  Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh Baaharaja Ju Deo of Orchha (1925) After R Hotz.

Room 5 had a nice picture by Johann Zaffany called Colonel Blair with his family and an Indian Ayah (sometimes called an 'Indian Girl').

In Room 6 I was taken with Woman and Billabong by Sidney Nolan - this was under the umbrella of a rejection of Western illusionism.

and finally bringing the exhibition to an end was the 'Legacies of Empire' section here we could see that cultural traffic was far from one way - and this was tangible in Hew Locke's revisiting of Bristol Statues and EnTWINed by the Singh Twins - the whole exhibition provided plenty of food for thought  - had quick look also at other stuff (of course).

Red 318

A work at Tate Britain referencing Red

Other stuff included Richard Long's work called Red Slate Circle (1988)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hobbycraft for Art supplies and Red 319

Local branch in Greenford

Well as well as getting printing done I've been getting a selection of supplies from Hobbycraft (including some 'Black Friday' deals with 20% reductions) - they provide a very good service and delivery is free when you spend £30 or more.
[It's been very fast too]

Did have one little snag but they were really helpful in resolving and picked up a replacement today - I will use them again.

Red 319

Spotted this sign the other day - I seem to recall that the first pictographic symbol  here is sometimes used as part of description for 'China' - it means middle .

A lucky colour in Chinese culture

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Local Printing (in Ealing) and Framing along with Red 320

Last week I visited a local printer to talk about printing some of my photographs in large format for my upcoming exhibition - unfortunately due to car MOT problems I was not able to collect the prints until yesterday.
A helpful local printer

Pollyprint in Northfield Avenue Ealing were really helpful (and not too expensive) - prints were previewed on Macintosh computer and it was possible to see the area that was to be trimmed from the original.

When I went to pick up the prints I also added a further larger picture (Chiswick House) at 70 x 50cm - it's a revelation to see how different a picture becomes when it's printed and framed - details are certainly revealed.

You can see an autumnal photograph printed and framed below (with protected corners).
A framed print changes the photo'

What I've found is that I'd probably print slightly larger next time and I will try to adjust my habit of composing in the camera viewfinder to allow more options when I come to get the print mounted.

I will also look further into the different grades of paper I can use in the future.

Generally though I'm happy with where I am on the preparations ahead of my January exhibition (but the day will soon come around).

Red 320

When I started to record (hopefully) a year or 'Red' I didn't think it'd be a struggle in any way but I'm beginning to revisit this thought.

What I'm also finding is that there are themes that lend themselves to red - Hearts are certainly one area- I think there's something about classification (it is a  method we use to try and find meaning but sometimes feels like an imposition ) and emotions of course (anger is 'red').

Anyway here's a chair that uses a heart motif.

A chair with a red feature for the back

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Year, New Courses along with Volunteering and Red 321

So 2016 is around the corner and I suppose that for many it'll be a time for resolutions to focus on aspects of our lives that we think need it -for me I think realistically I'll just revisit what I've tried to do over the last few years (that's quite enough of a challenge).


City Lit  2016 will be a New year with New courses

For  about the last 3 years I've been enjoying City Lit courses, they offer  a great mixture of practical and intellectual stimulation.

Yesterday I was in town and picked up a prospectus for 2016 (January to March) - it's full of temptation!

The courses I've found of value have been particularly around the area of Philosophy, and I'm really hoping to take the 10 weeks  Philosophy and Psychoanalysis course at Keane Street


I've volunteered in a few different ways over the last 20 years and I reckon it's good for me (and hopefully others).

There was a BBC radio programme (Volunteer Nation)  yesterday evening about volunteering (and in a sort of guilt by association way the Third Sector) , generally the editorial line was  pro', although the presenter was the Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane (he's someone who volunteers himself)  he provided a balance and mentioned  plenty of  the indications of benefits that are beyond the monetary ones.

A (very) contrary position  though was expressed  by NZ philosopher/politician Jamie Whyte - I think his was undoubtedly a distinctive perspective but it was surprisingly closest to  in tone to contributions  from a trade unionist who was (understandably)  concerned  that volunteers marginalised some paid workers.

I was puzzled by this as there seemed a rather artificial divide being made between community and engagement in helping others- seems a real shame that people who want to and are able to do 'something' that it can be met so grudgingly.

That's not to say there aren't dangers in mandating the unemployed to 'help' unwillingly or that employers should be brow beaten into 'joining up' but the idea of making any sort of 'volunteering' a state sanctioned activity feels like a load of old B** cks.

Red 321

back to some nice fresh Reds.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New Hotel, A few preparations and Red 322

New Hotel next to what I like to call The Nib
Last week I mentioned that there's something of a craze for new hotels in London, I suppose at this time it looks like they'll perform as a steady earner not spectacular a bit like a utility.

The hotel that's shooting up next to the building I like to call The Nib is going to be a big one (scaffolding surrounded in the picture).

I do though wonder if the hospitality sector   (and virtually all other business in London) will perform better if we change our attitude to visitors  as some (mainly) right of centre politicians are petitioning for.

Not only will there be a shortage of staff but perhaps guests too.

Preparation for Display

It's been useful to be in a position where I've seen some good examples of display as I start to put the preparations together for my own (small) display in The Grapevine Bar.

Leaflet stand.
Work (if I can call it that) for my 2016 Photo' exhibition is continuing - I've printed and framed about 6 A3 prints (and 2 smaller ones already from my RACC Framing Course).

I've ordered  3 A2 Prints and hopefully will collect those in the next day or two - the real challenge in terms of hanging is  going to be around the 'D' rings and wire it's important (to me) that all the photo's look even

As well as the hanging I'm going to be producing  publicity and a simple brochure - I've got a stand for the brochures at least.

My intention is to have a QR code on each picture to encourage anyone interested to read about my pictures and what informs them - I'm now looking for a 'comments book' too.

Red 322

An older way of storing data, photographs here 

Many of my pre-digital photo's live in Red albums

Monday, December 14, 2015

More on bikes and Red 323

A book by an enthusiast
As part of my research for Cycle Revolution tours I'm reading and really enjoying 'It's All about the Bike' written by cycling enthusiast Robert Penn what I got from this book was an idea of how much excitement  there was at large around cycling at the end of the 19th century  and the passion for cycling that the writer has.

What I'm finding is that London needs to address three things to ensure greater uptake:

1) Greater security - bicycles are a target for thieves be they opportunistic or professional, some councils are working to provide facilities for securing bicycles  where they are less at risk. (This seems to be a bit of an ongoing problem for Blur front-man Damon Albarn)
Protect the skull

2) Safety : I've had two or three  serious accidents cycling two of them requiring visits hospital A and E.
Oddly the worst of them was when I was hit head on by a police car, a broken arm resulted and it could have been a lot worse but still unsettling many years after the event - at the time of my accidents helmets were a rarity and fortunately my injuries were not around the head- I suppose we should be looking at ways of improving helmets and making sure that their use is encouraged.

[I'm not sure what the figures are for cyclists hit be police vehicles but I'm not unique]

Part of the Cycle Revolution exhibition covers an idea where cycle-ways are separated from heavier traffic and this could improve the experience of city cycling.

3) Punctures - when I commuted by cycle to the centre of London one of the worst things to suffer was a puncture - I'd hope that technology has improved the resilience of tyres and that replacing inner tubes is now easier.

The Future
A photo' from my archive  and a China visit about 35 years ago

The future for Cycling then is a mixture of things, it's more use of bicycles for carrying some freight, it's about improvements to health and air and for developing countries it's about retention of some use of bicycles (where applicable) and a resistance to a culture that necessarily over values the industrial combustion engine.

Red 323

I remember some time ago a fellow broadcast 'engineer' showing me with a flourish his small disk saying that this was in effect his symbol of being a modern engineer- well this is far more compact and universal (and red). 

Amazing in red