Saturday, January 31, 2015

Frasier, Is there such a thing as 'accident'? - Design Museum Tours

Of the US comedy shows that the UK's Channel 4 has shown Frasier (reruns most weekday mornings at present) is one of the ones I most enjoy.

The conceit its works with is that two middle-aged, qualified Psychiatrist  (Freudian) brothers have as a remaining parent a bluff ex policeman.

Much of the humour revolves around the brother's snobbishness and their lack of  street smart.

What the programme needs to do is to make us feel clever and be in on the joke - but the problem for me is that if there's no such thing as an accident (which I seem to recall from an episode) why do we do all that we do?

Perhaps the myth of  Sisyphus is the best explanation we have?

Design Museum

In the next couple of years the Design Museum is set to move up a division in the London tourist map with bigger new premises and an area open to the public at large for free.

The Volunteer led tours of the design Museum 'Collection Lab' are now becoming a regular event for me and some of the other people who undertook the mission to provide a short introduction.
As seen it Time Out

Last Saturday I undertook a couple of tours, unfortunately due to other  scheduled events in the museum the first tour was rescheduled more than once but there were still some persistent punters who were not deterred, the second tour was a different matter and there were more people than (to my mind) was practical.

I did learn from one of the people taking the tour that the 'One Laptop Per Child' initiative has actually been observed (in Africa) and most of the people did say they found some value in the tour.

My intention on the next tour I take will be to change the items I visit and include something that demonstrates an environmental sensibility - perhaps Miyake's dress?
A designer gets green

Friday, January 30, 2015

Flu hits me hard & Find out about some of the Big Changes proposed in Ealing

Flu hits me for six

I would say that generally I enjoy fairly good healthy but since last weekend I've had a major case of Flu- I don't mean a cold I've had days of not really surfacing and been off my food, perspiring and generally feeling sorry for myself.

My advice is to take care of yourself (some advice here)- if you do get infected make sure that you stay warm and keep taking in fluids

We need to get across what's happening

Changes in The Borough

I'm not too sure about the other London Boroughs but the face and character of Ealing is changing at quite a pace as far as I'm concerned pauses and delays allow for a more through consideration of the effects of change and local residents should acquaint themselves with the issues .

Today (from 4:00 PM)  and Saturday across the road from the Ealing Broadway Station there's a small exhibition showing a proposal for development between the Carphone Warehouse and Morrison's - of course there'll be more flats - I don't know if this can be described as a balanced plan?

The recent mail from Save Ealing's Centre Group details some of the changes that are anticipated, many looking to exploit potential profit allied to the Crossrail project's completion.

One of the areas that it seems the Council wishes to see developed is The Stables in Haven Green.

But the idea is causing quite a lot of opposition to become mobilised - the building a fine historic one is actually protected by Covenant and the increase in traffic already seen as a result of the new Morrison's and TK MAXX will only get worse if it goes ahead (more about this later).

As well as  those who wish to see the character of Haven Green preserved a number of people are worried about the impact on local School children regarding the nature of the development  proposed.

The increase in traffic around Springbridge is already becoming worrying for parents 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Philosophy in Ealing (The course part 2), Homework -Some of 'The Pre Socratics'

Strangely 2 or 3 people missing from the Philosophy class but two new people too, they are able to bring a fresh perspective, one being French and the other Polish with interesting recollections of the Soviet/Communist  era in Poland.

In the second part of the Ealing Philosophy for everyone held at Perceval House we continued looking at the topic of Sartre and Imagination, for me the Philosophy Now article by Maria Perna  had made me think but I was not totally in agreement with the separation of  Imagination into two areas Imagination (like recall) and Creativity,
Back at Perceval House

As always I find that although illumination can come from  probing the subject in a group it also brings to light the room for interpretation  and reveals layers to a topic.

This week's homework is about the pre-Socratics and another Philosophy Now article (this one by Will Bouwman) has been signposted to us - Philosophy's Roots and Branches.

As I've discovered on my initial reading of The Story of Philosophy - there are real disputes about authorship and the part played by individuals it's now thought that often with the lack of any recorded writings what we have is interpretive and that one leading figure can take the credit for all work within the group (this seems to be the case with Pythagoras),

Anyway the guys we're looking at are

Thales - 624- 526 BC, cited as the first Philosopher - he was hugely influential as a teacher and thinker being an early rationalist explaining various phenomena without resorting to 'Gods'

Parmenides 515-460 BC most influential of all the pre Socratics and a  great reasoner - he suggested that our experience of the world is an illusion - no separate things - motionless and without change.
Our senses give us faulty information - we should instead use reason not our senses, he was an extreme rationalist and said there was only 'being'.

Zeno 490 -430 BC (of Elea) was a pupil of and followed Parmenides, he was famed for his paradoxes (- like the paradox of the arrow for example) he also used the idea of using infinitesimally small intervals of time to question the idea of change and motion - this method is commonly known as  reductio ad absurdum.

A few other important figures are:

Pythagoras (582 -496 BC)  was a big believer in the importance of  numbers (he started a fairly violent mathematics cult which served to build his reputation)
Pythagoras unfortunately didn't write anything down the written version of his work came into being after his death.


Heraclitus 535 -475 BC  (nickname The Weeping Philosopher) was someone who said that everything is change (which Parmenides took the opposite view on),  and he seems to be associated with the idea of not being able to stand in the same river twice, he also reckoned everything is made of fire.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What's this? & Food that's been taken from me

An old Photo' not sure if I took it or Debbie did - any idea what it might be? (it could have been taken in Australia)

What the ...

Food that's been (or is being) taken from me

As Proust identified with his example of 'Petite Madeleines'  food is inextricably linked to memory and its evocations and so it was that when I returned to the UK a number of years ago that I noticed (to my mind)  Maynard's Wine gums had changed - when I wrote to them about this (yes I know) they completely (to my mind) missed the point and thought the answer was to give me a voucher -well what happened?

And  other food that's troubled me is Kellogg's Country Store which disappeared from retailers, I then had some in a Moscow hotel  and it briefly returned but has now gone again - where can I get it retail (I know Amazon sell it but it ends up at nearly £10)?

My worry is now that the almost completely synthetic  Vesta Beef Risotto has gone (or is going) for good too - I think it was considered exotic when I was a youngster and has been widely sold in £1 and sub £1 stores but now seems to have gone? (they weren't one trick ponies either as Stanley Baxter shows below).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jean-Paul Sartre (Imagination), Melanie Klein (Psychoanalysis) and Lewis Carroll ( a bit of both)

This week's homework for Thursday's  Philosophy for everyone  class concerns a reading on  Jean-Paul Sartre and Imagination and a research on Melanie Klein.

 Jean-Paul Sartre and Imagination

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905- 1980) is known as one of the leading figures in what's broadly termed existentialism.

Sartre was noted as being interested in the tension between authenticity and how one might become a cliché of oneself .

The article we were given to read from Philosophy Now was about Sartre and was titled Imagination and Creativity in Jean-Paul Sartre.

In Philosophy language is a live issue and although there's a danger in reducing discussions to linguistics I'm drawn to first find a definition, this time The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy was my source, which defines Imagination as:

"Most directly, the faculty of reviving or especially creating *images in the mind's eye. But more generally, the ability to create and rehearse possible situations, to combine knowledge in unusual ways, or to invent *thought experiments. *Coleridge was die first aesthetic theorist to distinguish die possibility of disciplined, creative use of the imagination, as opposed to the idle play of fancy. Imagination is involved in any flexible rehearsal of different approaches to a problem and is wrongly thought of as opposed to reason. It also bears an interesting relation to the process of deciding whether a projected scenario is genuinely possible. We seem able to imagine ourselves having been Napoleon, and unable to imagine space being spherical, yet further reflection may lead us to think that me first supposition is impossible and the second entirely possible.Most directly, the faculty of reviving or especially creating *images in the mind's eye. But more generally, the ability to create and rehearse possible situations, to combine knowledge in unusual ways, or to invent *thought experiments. *Coleridge was die first aesthetic theorist to distinguish die possibility of disciplined, creative use of the imagination, as opposed to the idle play of fancy. Imagination is involved in any flexible rehearsal of different approaches to a problem and is wrongly thought of as opposed to reason. It also bears an interesting relation to the process of deciding whether a projected scenario is genuinely possible. We seem able to imagine ourselves having been Napoleon, and unable to imagine space being spherical, yet further reflection may lead us to think that me first supposition is impossible and the second entirely possible."

Sartre  in The Psychology of Imagination (1940) looked at  Imagination as having two forms and there being a difference between creativity and imagination this might be seen as the difference between imagined objects say a chair and a created (unorthodox) object for relaxing in.

The book's aim is said to be to help us understand the human consciousness which is an interesting and challenging project.

There's an example given of a portrait of Peter that is both real, that is it's made up of materials with a frame, but it's also an imagined subject (Peter) to me though it might also demonstrate a 'creativity' that Sartre has posited.

The mention of being involved in repetitive work (say a stonemason working on a Cathedral construction but his work being a repetitive task) this creating something too is interesting.

Melanie Klein

The second suggested task for us was to research a leading figure in child Psychoanalysis, Melanie Klein.

It's possible to view Melanie Klein (1882-1960) as having had a  difficult life, she had an unhappy marriage, lost two siblings in her early life and a son later to a possible suicide.

Although she did not receive a formal education in her chosen field she rose to be a leading inspiration to many with her work on child development.

The supporters of  'school' her split from Anna Freud (Sigmund's daughter) - there were Anna supporters, Melanie supporters and a third mid way path between the two.

Klein was a Freudian (or believed herself to be one at least), and brought to the field Object relations  Theory ( broadly Infancy dictates how we behave as adults).

Klein was a proponent of the  'Death pulsation'  (we're drawn to an inorganic state/death)  of Freud extending it to  children.

Klein is popularised as a figure who characterised a child's relation with their mother as being ambivalent - seeing a mother as being the provider of sustenance from the breast and also the removal of same -there's a rather charming 'School of Life'  video here that reinforces this.

Lewis Carroll and Charles Dodgson (1832- 1898)

Strangely while I breakfasted this morning while perusing TV programmes in Event (MoS) magazine  I read a Craig Brown  review of a   biography of Lewis Carroll (Lewis Carroll:The man and his circle) - it seems that Lewis Carroll offers a real link between the interests of  Klein and Sartre.

Brown mentions a quote on Carroll attributed to the great literary critic William Empson.

 'To make the dream-story from which Wonderland was elaborated seem Freudian one has only to tell it'

Carroll it was who by day was an Anglican Reverend and tutor at Oxford University using his birth name Charles Dodgson  but he was also the imaginative writer (as Lewis Carroll) of the Alice in Wonderland books and an early photographer.

Where does his imagination and creativity come from?- A Freudian would point at his childhood and cite many examples in his children's literature - Sartre might make a different analysis.

[The leeks roasted in a vegetable 'stock' last night were to my mind delicious.]

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Leeks and Why do several 'Do- It- Yourself' jobs crop up at once?

Plot 202 really is the gift that keeps giving - I got a replacement cold frame (half price at the garden centre), when I dropped it off at lunchtime there on site I noticed some health looking leeks so I picked a couple of them  - not too much down there at this time of year  but always nice to bring something back.
A couple of leeks boyo.

The intention is to eat them while they're fresh, the idea is roasting the leeks- I will report back

Lights go out.

Earlier today I was asking myself 'Why do all those 'Do- It- Yourself  jobs crop up at once'? 

Well I suppose in truth the answer to this is that they don't but the inclination to address them all at the same time makes it feel like they do.
The lamp control

One of the bulbs in our floor lamp went around 3 weeks ago, I got a new bulb but sadly it didn't fix the problem and on further investigation I find that the light is far more complicated than I realised - it's got one 220 volt bulb and a 12v bulb both driven by some dual voltage transformer - this means I've had to order a replacement twin rotary dimmer transformer- hopefully I'll be up to the job of swapping it out when it arrives.
Wickes  as ever  - there's the name on it

The other lighting challenge was in the kitchen, where two small fluorescents (1 foot and 2 foot)  have been looking increasingly tired and have now officially expired - new tubes and starters mean it looks like Blackpool illuminations - I had to visit Wickes (same as ever) and Homebase to get what I needed - Homebase has now moved upmarket with more franchised space and actual basics minimised managed to find what was needed eventually
Now behave 

Thankfully the other problem - a reoccurring one with the upright vacuum cleaner  (a Morphy Richards that's generally okay) is an over enthusiastic thermal trip it fools me nearly every time, give it 20 minutes or so and it's back in action - I don't know what I'll do when it doesn't recover (perhaps this'll help me).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Learning about CAB debt handling at St Paul's Hammersmith

St Paul's in Hammersmith, the venue for some CAB debt training
On Monday I spent most of the day being trained in issues around debt at a session run for Hammersmith and Fulham CAB volunteers

Well I now know that debt is far  more complex than I had realised and of course it's a big problem for many of those who approach the CAB for help (around 30% of the enquiries are connected to  debt issues), I suppose as with so many problems that we humans have to face a large part of the solution is recognising that we can't just ignore it that it will go away or some mysterious benefactor will dig us out of our hole.

 I can let you know too that  a large  lottery win is unlikely to come along and  solve it for us (well it hasn't for me).

The point is (although many of those who are privileged don't recognise it) that a large part of our circumstances, good or bad is dictated by our  'luck' that is where we are located in the social hierarchy and the genes we've inherited - those who are more lucky than others may wish to think about how they might share the good fortune and help even out the fortune  that has been dealt to those who are 'comfortable'.

One of the things we can do is offer some time and provide some help - volunteers at the CAB are able to help those in straightened financial circumstances plan how they might use their limited resources and assist them in negotiating with their creditors for a fair and equable way forward.

Typically the analysis with the client will look at maximising income, and judge how a financial plan can be used to move forward, it might be necessary to agree payment plans, seek payment holidays or even ask for debts to be written off.

Where debt is an issue priority debts need to be recognised - there are items we need to survive, like a roof over our head, food and fuel, other items may be important and need to be looked at typically those where the law might seek to deny the debtor their freedom (i.e. incarcerate them for not paying taxes).

The CAB believes firmly in helping people but doing this by not only providing templates for letters but also by  equipping them with the knowledge  to help them progress and hopefully avoid the severe anguish that can arise from debt in the future

  If you know someone in debt or you yourself are in a predicament  seek help (here's a link to get you started), there are people who can help and at least share your burden

If your prayers aren't answered do ask others for help and advice

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Whitechapel Gallery visit

I took a trip to the Whitechapel gallery on Friday afternoon which was enjoyable - There was some really fascinating records from the Henry Moore Institute about sculptural projects both successful and those that have not yet come to fruition including the Croatian born sculptor Oscar Nemon who was famously able to bring Winston Churchill to heel.

I often find a few things when I make such visits  that make me go off and find out more on an artist, a material or just a theme - from this trip the two or three topics were:
Whitechapel Gallery

  1. A film by  Karen Mirza and Brad Butler  -called The Unreliable Narrator  which is about  a 2008 Terrorism event in India, It is hard to believe that it was nearly seven years ago that the city of Mumbai India was terrorised by a number of young terrorists, even during the siege there were ideas percolating for 'Bollywood' dramatisations of what was going on - the film from Karen and Brad mixes audio reality with news coverage  and fictionalised versions to highlight the effect of such modern day assaults.  
  2. A project by Bart Lodewijks where he and some local youngsters went out and made chalk (and other) interventions in the Whitechapel area nice too that there was a leaflet to take away that provides information about it.
  3. David Batchelor's Monochrome Archive it seems that since 1997 David, who considers the city the basis for abstract art has been  capturing monochrome images in various  cities, he's brought these together to show as a sort of continuous onslaught on a number of screens and it did feel a bit frenetic.

The multi-screens of Batchelor's images

Less successful to my mind was a room there  where illumination was varied - making it difficult to see the exhibits - but it's important that such experiments are at least possible.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Philosophy for everyone -on my Ealing doorstep

Not ancient Athens not even ancient Ealing but home to the course

I've now started a new Philosophy course, it's local and quite different from the City Lit ones I've done previously (they were so 2014).

As a result of it being an Ealing Adult Learning initiative the location for the experience is Perceval House which is the centre for all things Ealing Council, not surprisingly (for me) I managed to get lost between the main entrance and our meeting room but this wasn't a problem as it gave me a chance to remind myself what god-damn awful places open plan offices can be.

Course leader is a guy called Dan Williams who has a special interest in Film & Philosophy, Dan did a great job in helping us set collective  goals (four) for the group as well as an additional personal one, these were broadly

1) To increase our knowledge of history of philosophy.
2) To be able to discuss philosophical ideas in group discussions.
3) To be able apply the ideas from the course to topics and discussions. 
4) With the help of knowledge gained to be able to evaluate philosophical ideas.

and for me the personal goal is

5) To be better able to accommodate the idea of free will in a world where Science increasingly is able to explain much of our current understanding.

In our first session we got to know one another and also took a look at Jean-Paul Sartre not in what is the usual 'angle' but his part of a perspective on 'Imagination'  - this was informed by brief viewings of excerpts from Ingmar Bergman films.

The first scene looked like an opener to a film with titles and other examples of film iconography but I had a real challenge disengaging with what felt like rather heavy handed symbolism the second excerpt exhibited I suppose the advertising and humorous uses has given my view a rather post-modernist take on such scenes.
The scene I had problems with was where death engaged in a game of chess with  a possible victim (of death)by the sea was from The Seventh Seal a much analysed film.

The course will involve some reading (this week a piece from the Philosophy Now publication) and a little research (the nominated figure being the famous child Psychologist Melanie Klein).

More impressions from what promises to be a diverting course as it progresses.

Last part of the jigsaw

Thanks for the memory - another card

Got my new camera's 32 GB Transcend memory card - all the way from Switzerland - not sure why this should be the source.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The joys of the extras for my excellent Canon G16 camera

An illustrated book
Really feeling that I'm getting ready to use my new Canon camera, a case that fits the camera and means I can use on my belt along with a nice instruction book arrived yesterday.

 Both items coincidentally cost £9.74 which included the shipping costs, incidentally they were also both  ordered earlier in the week so very good delivery.

I also bought two spare (non-Canon) batteries, my previous camera got through a charged battery quite quickly so I wanted to make sure that I have spares when I'm out with the camera (the case has a compartment to hold a spare battery too).

The only thing I'm now waiting for is a 32 Gb memory card.
A well proportioned case

New batteries

Earlier in the  week I took a picture of a small figure in  local park that the Canon Powershot SX280 HS had struggled with.

I'm impressed that the G16 is able to focus nicely as shown in the picture below of an image capturing a Big Ben model from a Christmas cracker.

A struggle for the 280HS

A captured image showing depth of field the G16 achieves 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

West London isn't all posh people -

On Tuesday I presented on opening bank accounts on behalf of the CAB in West London.

I suppose that the CAB has since its inception in 1939 faced challenges - let's face it 4 days after the start of World War 2 would be a challenging time, but with changes to welfare arrangements and a new pension environment the bureaus are being stretched to meet targets on very limited resources.
The colours and architecture could be  Florida
(but it's Westfields)

The CAB like so many organisations struggles to be relevant and to satisfy all the stakeholders from various sectors - it's being used (to my mind) increasingly as an arm of local and central government and needs to fiercely defend it's integrity any moves to become a 'low-cost' delivery tool for Chancellor Osborne are particularly abhorrent the pensions 'reforms' being an example.

[It does though seem that George does not have a soft spot for what the CAB does on some issues  - this story about Eric Pickles is really alarming]

There are people who through unfortunate circumstances are battling be it internal or external  they require clam advice from human beings who are able to give time and compassion.

Well the new year is undoubtedly a time for starting new challenges and good luck to those deciding to take part in activities that give back to society but more importantly let's try to help those who have decided to battle the challenges and demons they confront.
Let's hope that there are Blue Skies for those who are at the bottom of the pile

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shedding and Billy Joes Ribs

In June of last year a neighbour started to dismantle his shed, subsequently I helped him bring some new timber to his garden and after a lot of work he's made something quite impressive - it's not your average shed it's got skylights and posh sealed window units - I'm impressed.

The start of the project -the old shed removal
6 months later the project delivers something to be proud of

In West Ealing on the Uxbridge Road there used to be a Tex Mex style eatery called Billy Joes that was big on ribs, they gave you aprons and wet wipes so you could clean up.
It's I reckon over 10 years since it was last serving customers and finally the building in all its ranch style glory has  been demolished - expect there'll be flats to replace it.

Once a project starts there can be quite rapid progress but also there are often delays we'll see what happens

Nearly gone - what was once Billy Joes

It looks like there'll be work starting here

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My nice new camera and a very good service from the supplier

Yesterday all the way from Hong Kong I received a new G16 Canon Camera  - it really does seem to be a very good compact camera and I'm excited to start using it in anger the specification means that I should be able to contribute to the Alamy service where photographs can be traded .
The G16 Powershot as captured by the 280HS

The company supplying has been great, as good companies do they  under promised and over performed, particularly on delivery. They had the unit to me in  less than a week from ordering and it came with a couple of small extras thrown in, a card reader and a screen protector -so well done to  eglobal central (UK).

I'm excited about the camera but can see that a modern digital camera like this can be intimidating -it is complex and there's a fantastic amount it can do - best way to learn is to start taking pictures but for new users a club or a course would be worth thinking about (if you're in or near Ealing try this one) as others users can help and a slight urge to show that you;re as good as the next person can spur you on..

While I'm generally pretty happy with the Canon range and can understand that different cameras might require different batteries, it would be nice if the chargers supported more than one type of cell, I've now got three chargers  which are to my mind only slight variants on one another.
One of three of my chargers

I suppose that there is some advantage to me in that I'm now quite familiar with the Canon 'philosophy' and how the menus and dial layouts are structured, I've had Canon Still and Video cameras for over 25 years - if I was a Nikon person I would imagine that there would be a difference from canon but that I would then find the similarities through the different models.

I'm sure being used to that particular brand does help 

The downside as others have pointed out is no manual and CD but this is not the end of the world if you're familiar with Canon cameras.

Next things are to get a decent case and a spare battery and with the absence of a printed manual it might be worth thinking about the G16 book too (this by David Taylor might be the one).

An early shot shows the depth of field the camera is capable of.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ebay collection via Argos and persistent pubs

Before Christmas I heard on the radio both of how some 'home' delivery firms were struggling to cope with getting orders out and also the poor monetary reward that they're offered, it's fair to say that with many companies offering 'free' delivery somewhere in there there's a squeeze taking place - if goods are of a manageable size (and ordered from Ebay), ant you've an Argos nearby perhaps the 'free' collection there is a good option.

Quite a number of the drivers provide their own vehicles, are self employed and effectively working piece rate- leading to these sort of issues it seems (from my package anyway) that Royal Mail are involved so it should be a unionised service behind it with proper rates of pay.
Another option for Ebay shoppers

I've used this service a couple of times now and as long as you go when it's non-peak hours at your local store it seems pretty pain free, it also means that you're not put in a position of chasing if you weren't at home when an attempted delivery was made.

Long term pubs

Looking through some old Photo's I saw a picture I'd take what must be getting on for 50 years ago with my first camera,a Kodak Brownie Vecta, apparently it only had a plastic lens, fixed shutter speed and a small fixed aperture - the picture's of a pub in Rye (a fictionalised Rye is where the E.F. Benson Mapp and Lucia novels are set) - it's The Mermaid Inn pub and is still very much in business.
Rye in years gone by

Another long term pub this time in Ealing is the Sir Michael Balcon  - I think it used to be a Crispin's Wine bar when I first came to Ealing but it's now part of the Wetherspoons chain and has had it's name changed (quite some time ago).to reflect the heritage and connection between Michael Balcon and Ealing film-making.

The Sir Michael Balcon pub in Ealing

Sunday, January 11, 2015

As we get older..

Strangely as you get more years under your belt there's more potential to be 'interesting'.

Without wishing to be too calculating in our relationships this history is something we don't always realise but the fact of having had more experiences and noted more connections can potentially help locate points of common interest and areas to be discussed with others.

That said we should remain open to new things and keep  an open mind for what's going on - strange that the collaboration between Paul McCartney and Kanye West should have elicited so much negativity - it doesn't (I think) really detract from eithers own independent work  but for some it seems beyond the pale.

When you're young in whatever field it always feels like you're in year zero as time passes one recognises the narratives that have brought us to our current position.
Be reminded of youthful behaviour

The idea that because I don't spend much time following soccer means that I consider it unworthy of my attention  (for example) is not the case when I was a youngster soccer was the most important thing in my life and I recognise that it is now even more culturally significant but it is not something that excites me now.

Artificial barriers around the spheres we inhabit do little to foster understanding and learning - because I don't agree with the philosophy of a Jehovah's Witness should not prohibit us from a dialogue and does not offer me an excuse to consider it unworthy of discussion- to find out the reasons why it has loyal followers enables an exchange of our ideas.

The opportunity to engage with those younger than ourselves can sometimes help us  to look forward as well as back in locating problems and solutions that we need to face.

The creation of intellectual and physical ghettoes is something that offers little of benefit to those within or without it.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Another picture of the week

Well sad to see that Michael Russell has moved on from the Ealing Gazette but it has not stopped the paper printing a picture I submitted (number 11 I think)-  I was amazed at how quickly the building went up (right) - but it was pointed out to me (by a residential tenant I think) that rents had gone up -perhaps as fast.
A new year and a new picture

Seems that more new buildings are going up on Uxbridge Road between Ealing Broadway and West Ealing it's becoming a slightly glossier looking area.

Further down (towards Ealing) there'll be a building completed with great views from the top - residential I think but would imagine pricey.

It's odd to think when I was a kid growing up in Chelmsford  the tallest building I knew was the nearby 'Melbourne Flats' (now called Melbourne Court) at about 8 stories high.
Now that's what I call a 'Skyscaper'

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Older artists, A year for readers and Recycling

Seeing Art and Older artists recognised

On ITV London News last night I learnt of the public art on show in London - Winter Light Festival @Canary Wharf  -it looks really good it's a shame that I'll have to brave the London Weather to enjoy it.

Well apart from seeing the illuminated works around Canary Wharf I've decided to go and look at Selfridges and their windows.

I read in my paper about how Selfridges the UK departmental store is promoting Bright Old Things in its annual showcase window displays- the initiative usually features up and coming figures but this time the theme has been re-imagined as 'It’s Never Too Late to Try Something New' and has such figures as the maverick Molly Parkin and the former Punk musician Bruno Wizard involved.

On the topic of more mature artists I met, a couple of years ago a local artist who having had a working life as a draughtsman has subsequently used his retirement time to create (mainly) three dimensional works of art- he's part of the local 40:20 Art group and an inspiration in what can be done without too much in the way of facilities. (I'm going to ask him why it's called 40:20 sometime).

Some more to confront 


I've been cynical (in the common usage of the word) and sarcastic with the best of them but I do find it problematic (lip biting required) when any notion of trying to improve oneself is only met with disparaging remarks - I suppose it goes to the heart of arguments around determinism and not being in control of our destiny

Well I don't know if Mark Zuckerberg's interest in books is  anything that we should collectively react against (although plenty of course have), much as many decry Tesco (they're flawed, which organisation isn't?) McDonald's and pretty much all politicians in their life - I don't seek to tell Mark what to read but am enjoying my own personal literary quest to date and wish him well in his personal selections.


When I buy I need to dispose

There's a real problem I have with accumulating stuff, when I buy something new I should remove the one (or ones) that are made redundant, yesterday I took a pair of shoes to be recycled, they've got a small hole in them, I'm not sure what they'll be recycled to.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Early light shots, Election & The Modern Economy

It wasn't quite the early hours but when I went downstairs to the kitchen I was taken by the light and rushed off to get my camera and tripod - low light means it's needed for sub 1/15s exposures - they're not that great but I get the feeling that I might get something one of these mornings..
A frosty view across the back garden

Vapour trails across the sky 

Economy and more

Certainly before the terrible events in Paris today the UK news agenda was all about the May election - with the National Health service being at the centre of campaigning  - with so much discussion there's a danger of early voter fatigue, while waiting to get my haircut I took a look at the Daily Mail the level of anti-Labour propaganda  is almost comedic - hopefully not all the readers will be duped by over simplistic analysis it implies

The falling price of petrol while putting more money in our pockets is actually denying George and the Government revenue - it means too that marginal exploration projects will be put on hold and that 'Green' costings look less attractive - we'll see how it pans out in the next few months.


I know I sometimes highlight concerns about how we increasingly use the internet for our shopping and commerce needs, well it's certainly not all negative from me.
Battery -Easily fitted and working

Today I received my rechargeable battery for my Pure radio - ordered on Sunday and here today, it was even charged so I know it works!

With such a smooth operation and following a quick trip to 'site' I've decided to order some replacement laces for my Allotment boots these will be delivered via my local Argos.

The allotment is a bit claggy so only taking some compost down and re stocking the bird feeder - very quiet down there.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

In West London Kensington, Chelsea and Sloane Square

Hotel fun
Yesterday while I was in Sloane Square area I popped into the Peter Jones department store (it's part of John Lewis group) , partly to go to the toilet and partly to look at their gadget section.

Well in the gadget section they had for only £15.00 a make your own Wi-Fi hotspot it's the TP Link TL-WR710N and when I think back to my early experiments with Ethernet (co-axial ring) it does seem something amazing.

 I don't know if you've been somewhere that only has wired Ethernet and you haver a tablet and weren't able to connect well along with a few other jobs this little box should crack it.

I also while I was on the gadget floor did take a look at the Canon Powershot G16, it really feels a very nice camera, a compact but with many SLR style features (like being able to pass files in RAW format), you can use the optical viewfinder, loads of manual settings  and it has a hot shoe as well as built-in flash, this is likely my next camera.

Speaking of which we're now in the 150th year of the Portobello market (those wanting to get involved in Arts Project please note) and I get a picture  check in their..

'Street Trader Newslwetter'

Volunteer photographers working on 2015 projects
As part of 2015’s 150-year celebrations, volunteers will be visiting the
market to capture images of our products, stalls and traders. Each
photographer should introduce themselves and show an ID card (example,
The example  mentioned

You can let them know whether you are happy to participate, whether
you wish to appear in the photos yourself,
whether you are happy to have your first
name used (so we can say ‘tell _____ we
sent you’), and whether you would like copies
of the photos for your own use. Contact Mark
Atkinson with any questions or comments.

And more from The Post-Pop art exhibition at The Saatchi

Good to be reminded that Brit Art did have some humour here are a couple of nice items a 3D work from Julian Opie (Modern Tower 2001) and 'Switch' (1994) from Rachel Whiteread.

Opie's Modern Tower with doors in the background
Well - what it says 'on the tin'

Monday, January 05, 2015

Saatchi -Post Pop: East meets West

It's a sign
Last week I'd been aiming to visit the Saatchi but London Transport sabotaged that for me with their interminable 'Engineering Works' well a second try today  and I was luckier.

It's saying something I'm sure
Saatchi is a great Gallery and despite the  Duke of York location there's no US scandal attached at present so do pay a visit if you like somewhere that lets you get up close to the works - and this is a real plus point with so much three dimensional stuff on show.

The Saatchi has the unique calling card of smelling of Sump Oil as a result of Richard Wilson's installation but it stands out too for it's uncluttered and well curated shows.
Chinese works confronted consumerism

There were so many works that attracted me - it was really a bit like being that child in the sweet shop - Works By Jeff Koons (notably Basketballs) - here are some of the things I liked anyway....

Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank

Michael Craig-Martin's Pricks (2000) was there for all to see
Available for all to see
And good to see Gary Hume had a selection of his doors showing  (And a sculpture too).
Gary's the YBA famed for his doors - 

Religion was a theme ..
And this bunch of praying figures  was moving (literally) thanks to some sort of animatronix.