Monday, March 23, 2015

Looking a Gift Horse in the mouth

Across Leicester Square to what was once  The Swiss Centre

On Sunday we had a meet-up and meal in the heart of London, meeting in Leicester Square, as with so much of the capital it feels like you turn your back for 5 minutes and the area has changed (again)- there still remain street entertainers around the area that was once dominated by cinemas but retail redevelopment has removed some of their natural pitches.

As we arrived in good time we took the opportunity to go and look at the recent new incumbent statue on the 'Fourth Plinth' of Trafalgar Square - replacing the Blue Cock (which provided me with much hilarity when decried by  Philip Booth on the BBC Front Row Arts debate).

National Gallery in Trafalgar Square
The new Statue is by the Political Artist Hans Haacke and is of a Skeletal Horse entitled 'Gift Horse' it is said to draw inspiration from George Stubbs engravings - to make sure it's up to date there's a FTSE ticker  readout on the sculpture .

I wonder how aware Boris was of Hans's politics when he unveiled the statue, must say I was a little surprised that our London Mayor was busy on the campaign trail for the Tories in North East of England this week,

It is (for me) something  an insult that he wishes to give the impression  the Mayoral role is a part time post that's principally about giving him a platform for his greater political ambitions - but then I suppose he too is a 'Political artist'.

A 'Gift Horse - probably not though

The bright weather had brought out large numbers of visitors and the usual (and unusual) were amongst the 'Street' entertainers).

Chinatown was still festooned with lanterns and we had what was for me  a surprisingly  enjoyable meal at Cote Brasserie in Soho

Chinatown colour

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gimme Shelter - Ealing's Philosophy class- The penultimate session review and preparation for last week

From an Open Culture  Twitter posting I followed a link and  I listened to a short item about 'Gimme Shelter' the late 60's Rolling Stones song, [I find Open Culture a great resource]
Gimme nuts 

 When I was growing up there was a fairly clear demarcation between fans of  The Stones and The Beatles, I generally favoured the latter but As (T)Years Go By it's become fairly apparent that you can enjoy both beat combo's contribution to the popular musical lexicon.

 The Stones had a particularly creative patch towards the end of the 60's which included 'Sympathy for the Devil' and Gimme Shelter - seeing this background revealed I found strangely emotional ( resuce).

Merry Clayton's lungs and vocal chords had one hell of an outing on this song - would that modern tracks could capture the spirit the way this seems to .



This Thursday was the last but one of the Philosophy class I've been taking in Ealing at the Council offices and it was (for me) another good one.

Included in the session were  3 film excerpts a revisit of the Charlie Chaplin City Lights - this time some slapstick with Chaplin and his (male) companion the worst for drink at a dinner-dance  we also looked at Groundhog Day, a fine way to illustrate eternal recurrence [at the foot of this post see the rather odd insight on the film and Nietzsche].

The final film excerpt we saw was from a continental film called I think 'Tickets' looked like a great film and the part we saw certainly miss-footed me, as a dispute over a phone which a middle aged women disputed with a fellow passenger caused a drama resolved by a detached authority figure -if you know the film please send me a link as I'd like to see it.)


The Last session undoubtedly will include some form filling and review of the course as well as looking at Daniel Dennett on Evolution and Scientific perspective we will consider Thomas Nagel ( one of whose books was instrumental in the structure of a previous City Lit philosophy class I took) on 'How it feels to be a bat' sounds intriguing doesn't it?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Alliums @ The Allotment

Onion sets being sown
I've actually made a bit of a recovery on the growing, weeding sowing and digging front on Plot 202, thanks in part to some nice weather.

Friday, eclipse day was an  odd one with a cold start  to the day in London very overcast (no chance of seeing the moon's interruption to our view of the sun)  but by about one o'clock this all changed beautiful blue sky and a warm afternoon
Friday PM - going clear

And although today was somewhat colder there was no rain and managed to plant the remaining (white onion) set, along with Shallots, Garlic and Red onions  if they all come up going to be okay for most of the Allium family for some time from late summer onwards.

The plan now is to get potatoes sown before our short holiday but some digging to do before this is completed.

When I'm feeling a bit knackered am able to enjoy watching the wildlife or chatting with other plot holders.

Some like to watch while other younger birds enjoy water-sports

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sky Sports subscription price to rise and What is Art?

Sports TV for Sky has been a one way bet for the last 20 years or so - subscribers have found it a great proposition and Sky've had the market largely to themselves, competition that has appeared (Think ITV Digital and Setanta) has been roundly scuppered until now.
Now! TV example of Sky TV's innovative offering  

The move to a more open market and the battle with BT Sports has changed the environment - with competition for rights the price for the attractive UK club games has soared and it seems Sky has had little luck finding cash down the back of the settee.

Already insiders have indicated that the prestigious  Atlantic channel might have to limit its acquisitions  and now  Sky TV has had to raise its prices (unexpectedly and hurriedly it seems)  in the UK and might be finding out what the economic elasticity of its sports package is in terms of price and those willing to pay it.

Sky has consistently innovated and driven change in the multi- channel world but as it becomes entrenched as an establishment behemoth  (nice word) can it prove fleet of foot and able to adapt - the market it seems may have some doubts.

What is Art?

As well as being curious why I should recall one of my early art lesson with school teacher  Tom Davies at Tabor County High School who proclaimed in a liberationist oration to an open mouthed class of teenagers that pretty much everything was 'Art' (including football - which was popular) I now find myself perplexed with the current orthodoxy that parrots this without any critical appreciation.

When I started at Secondary school our Art teacher Miss 'Gertty' Gunner  was something of a 'Dinosaur' (it seemed to me at the time) - I know that when I used a cartoon style image I was told that 'this sort of thing was not encouraged at this school'.

The School I was at had been subject to aspirations in how it taught, but it was becoming absorbed into the 'Comprehensive' system and a more open approach was being taken (albeit slowly).
A framed  print  of a photograph by James Randklev

Well at Philosophy class yesterday (you see I'm still aspirational) a conversation was had around Chaplin, Low- Art and (for me) the devaluing of ascribing Art to so much - I did see some people flinch when Norman Wisdom was added to the pantheon of 'Artists' but the post modern labelling of all entertainment and activity  as Art (I reckon) needs some thought and care- perhaps I'm being a snob (which is of course something few of us can totally convincingly deny).

I'm going to stick with something in the middle which ascribes Art to be works by Artists - allows a sort of Marcel Duchamp  definition to reign supreme.
A painting by my dad

Next month I'm planning to take a class in picture framing  (at Richmond Adult Community College) and will engage with the idea that framing/mounting makes something a work of Art- there was a rather good BBC Radio 4 documentary around framing recently too-  Thoughts?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Good things in the Budget

Well I'm not George Osborne's number one fan (in fact I rather doubt that I'm in the top 100 if such a large group should exist) but perhaps as an infinity of Monkeys bashing away at keyboards there are a a couple of things to partially celebrate aside from the electioneering elements included.

Local Newspaper Tax breaks

I'm saddened by the impact the internet has had on Local Newspaper viability (chiefly as a result of a mass migration of small ads) - without a vibrant local media more isolation and a lack of community are heightened - the local decision making process seems increasingly isolated and not subject to oversight -here in Ealing there have been steps made to stop Planning notices being published in the Ealing gazette for example.
Local papers are struggling

It seems that the Chancellor had heeded words from the News Media Association and a consultation on how tax support can be given to this threatened voice of local democracy.

This hopefully will not de-incentivise  the search for a 21st century solution to engaging local audiences but will help this beleaguered sector.


I seriously believe that decent housing is one of the most important elements in creating people who have a stake in their community and a positive outlook for themselves and their families.

While recognising the importance of open space in Cities, urban areas  and the countryside and Green Belt preservation those of us who have been fortunate enough to become home-owners should think of those who have not been so lucky and who are in poor housing conditions - it therefore makes sense that land that is agreed to be suitable for building on should be effectively managed.

Loads moire affordable homes are needed 

Hopefully the announcement yesterday of the intent to provide £1m to the  London Land Commission and for Housing Zones outside the capital will help people  into decent housing.

Normal straining versus government service will resume shortly :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A growing Ealing economy and Allotment time- where do I get these batteries?

Cynics might wonder if some economic activity is planned to coincide with elections, certainly around me what is happening could be used in support of the 'Green Shoots of economic recovery' argument - empty shops are becoming inhabited and building projects are progressing, these though seems to be mainly residential and/or hotels.

There's another Ealing hotel in the making
and just a few doors up more demolition
The stretch of Uxbridge Road between Ealing and West Ealing continues to ‘morph’ into a downturn 21st Century  city landscape. above you can see  the demolition is well under-way on the left it's for another new Hotel (next to Dominion Housing HQ) I'm not too sure what the other site near the Police station  has been given planning approval for.

A former Mobile phone outlet becomes upmarket trinkets
Less court appearances perhaps?

In the Ealing Broadway centre one of the long term outlets the strangely accented Baron Jon is closing (are you tempted to buy one of their remaining mannequin a snip for just £25) - I don't know if this means that less young men now need a suit for their court appearances  but further into the centre there's good news for fashionable girls (predominantly)  with Pandora bracelets as the recent opening of a fresh store means they won't have to make the journey into Shepherd's Bush Westfields.

When did new living space start  to be launched?
It's not all corporate  in West Ealing

The good news is that the activity is not confined to upmarket Ealing - West Ealing's benefiting too - with the Chat and Meet coming back to life in Drayton Green  Road now branded as 'Ealing Blueprint' and very much a business initiative and deeper into West Ealing more homes are being 'Launched' as Drayton Place  (no not only an iphone but somewhere to live is now launched) . 

Allotment time again

Well another fine day and have actually planted Garlic (2 varieties) and Shallots - felt very guilty when I explained my poor efforts were due to 'Flu - others struggling with far more serious conditions and praising NHS hospitals particularly London's Charing Cross .

Allotment open space got me thinking that pressure must be on for sell -off's to help councils  manage their Westminster mandated local government funding crisis, I was assured by nearby committee member that I can rest easy in terms of our particular site it is not Council owned and was bequeathed to be held for purpose of allotments .   

Next worry was where to get a replacement strimmer battery (see below) - any ideas am going to check  with Robert Dyas (where unit was purchased) but fear it is a discontinued line and perhaps the same for the battery?

where the connections are
The upper side

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review, Film and Research for Philosophy class - Hegel and Nietzsche to come

Citizen Kane is not an Ealing Film but I'm sure that's a great train set too.

Our course leader at the local (Ealing) Philosophy course  Dan Williams kicked off last weeks' session with a viewing of the start of  Citizen Kane one of the films regularly voted by Film critics into position amongst the Top 10 Films of all time.

Review on The feminists

Of course our previous session had left us to look at the role of two significant 20th Century Women Philosophers.

Having looked at some background to Simone de Beauvoir and Hannah Arendt  on-line and taking part in discussions about their perspective it did become apparent that the feminist perspective is definitely worthy of consideration and that the Objectification of Women  has forced society into a patriarchal hegemony until fairly recently (and that this still holds a high degree of control).

It is fair so say (I think) that a revision of the dominance by men is now under-way in part due to the change in activity in societies to a more cerebral and less physical one  but the rebalancing is likely to take quite some time and is only just on the starting blocks in some parts of the world.

In Eastern Europe pay it seems used to be more equal
During our discussions it was also interesting to hear of one of our number with direct experience of life in Poland talking about how under the Communist rule pay had been equal but the liberalisation since the end of the Warsaw Pact had reversed this. [This paper seems to confirm the report by our fellow student]


The use of film by our  course leader has been intermittent due in part to technical issues for me it has not always hit the mark in part perhaps because I have (only for a very short time) been a film student - I am derailed by a curiosity around the film direction rather than a Philosophical perspective, the chance that Citizen Kane gave  Director Orson Welles was the opportunity to play with "the greatest electric train set a boy ever had" (RKO's Film Studios) and what was clear for me watching the excerpt was the care and experimentation that was going on by the director/leads actor in what we saw.
The film is made using a series of flashbacks and attention was drawn by Dan to the importance of the mother of Kane and his development away from a slightly idealist position to a more corrupt one.

Dan asked us to look at the film about Public/Private and there was undoubtedly value in doing just this.

And research

The next Session is about  Hegel and Nietzsche and we're required to consider Eternal recurrence as well as Nietzsche on Art with the 'Birth of Tragedy' as well as  Hegel and the Dialectic State.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shapps to go? and Why the use of Time Lapse on News items?

Clarkson and Shapps

Speaking of News items  - what is about those favoured by our current Prime-minister that is causing them to become increasingly toxic?
This at least was not an incident of Smoke without fire 

Clarkson is liked by many - not sure that all of these would be happy to be treated by work colleagues the way that he does but now it's Grant who is being backed by David Cameron.

[And if you might be questioning the Tory leader's judgement, let's not forget that  Andy Coulson  the Prime Minister's former Director of Communication is now, after 5 months at 'Her Majesty's Pleasure' required to submit to the ignominy of  a Home Detention Curfew.]

I did feel slightly sorry for Grant Shapps when he was required to fill the role of an apologist for Cameron's avoidance of a direct TV debate with Ed Miliband but the patent untruths around his work when he first became an MP is something to behold - don't know who will replace him at what is becoming a difficult time for the Tory high command.

Here he is (Video below)  talking about what he did before he became an MP  - well actually he had had a second job when he was an MP... and was working with 'Stinking Rich 3'  and here are some odd facts about Grant from The New Statesman

The spin on the story is now that he 'screwed up' is this a euphemism for lying ?

Would a so-called benefit scrounger be able to use this defence?

Speeded up items on News

What is this mania for adding time lapse to news pieces often where there's a supposed 'open' question?

I know that Benny Hill used to use speeded up hilarious items and that in Natural Science documentaries  it can be used to worthwhile effect  (hatching chicks and the like) but what is that so many news items now pad with this - what's it mean in terms of the visual grammar?

My fear is that it's just an affectation brought to us by the technology that's standard on iphones and perhaps other devices -is there anyone from the TV community can illuminate?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hampstead for visitors -Blue Plaque heaven

I'm a proponent for memorials and statues, I'd like to see Ealing celebrate its' heritage a little more, it's made an impression in the Arts, Cinema and Music but could be missing a trick in drawing in tourists (UK and abroad) to build employment and venues that build on this
Even the Butcher is a photo' op' for visitors 

Hampstead is a good example of a an area that has made something of a community feeling by celebrating and  adding to its heritage - here are some of the things we saw when we visited for just a few hours last week.

I suppose the artists and writers who have lived in the area through the years have made the 'village' attractive for other creatives but it must be one of the most expensive parts of London now.

Dale's Plaque - Mount Vernon

Sir Henry Dale's plaque was one of the first signs of significant residents we saw.

Dale  was a Physiologist who  was jointly awarded a Nobel prize in 1936 - his Plaque is at Mount Vernon House.

After Dale we spotted a plaque (brown this time) to the painter Derek Hill who was a prolific landscape and portrait painter who spent over 50 years in Hampstead .
Hill's Plaque is Brown

Derek Hill had strong links with Ireland and many of his subjects were Irish but a notable subject was the present Prince of Wales.

We also saw a Plaque to  Sir William Nicholson who was another painter  and printmaker who illustrated books and was involved in theatrical set design.

A more controversial resident was William Johnson Cory - who wrote the words for the Eton Boating Song , there's quite a story to him and he might it seems have behaved less than wholly appropriately with some of his young charges when he was a teacher .

Cory lived here - Perhaps a little over the top?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The real Goldfinger - 2 Willow Road and a temper-tantrum brutalist architect

It's odd the things that can catch one's  eye  and how they later become connected by the gaining of greater knowledge.
Goldfinger's Trellick Tower Kensington- now it's trendy

Before Christmas I was taking photographs of Portobello Market and couldn't resist snapping the tower block that stood out proudly in the mid-distance against the bright blue December sky.

On this  Friday after visiting Fenton House we decided to take in the other National Trust property in Hampstead the home of Ernó Goldfinger designed by him and built before World War II and so it was that I found that the Trelick Tower was an example of Goldfinger's work - the man who is inexorably linked to other Bond villains as a result of his daring experiment of a Hampstead home getting up Ian Fleming's nose.

Goldfinger was a 'brutalist architect' (sounds rather unpleasant doesn't it ?) born a Hungarian and  educated in France he came to England before the second World War marrying Ursula Blackwell of the Crosse and Blackwell food business who donated the home to The National Trust on her death (in 1991). 

The house in Hampstead caused quite a stir, it seems hard to believe now but the idea and look of the place were both revolutionary and Hampstead was not convinced that it was quite ready for it.
2 Willow Road is not your  typical National Trust house

The tour of the rather 'bijou' accommodation started out in what would have been the garage with a  Film that proclaimed he 'didn't 'suffer fools gladly' not too many of us that do but this seems to be short hand for 'sometimes arrogant with a temper'.

Really useful to get this background on the building, in fact the house was built semi- speculatively with numbers 1 and 3 (either side of Goldinger's family home) being used to sell for financing the project. At various times some splendid parties by all accounts and a Henry Moore sculpture found a home in the garden for a while.

Goldfinger thought of suing Ian Fleming who used his name for one of his memorable villains but case was settled out of court thus removing the danger at the least that he became known as  GoldPr**k.

1-3 Willow Road - seems hard to believe that it caused such controversy 

And here's a rather nice (Design Museum) film about the house...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hampstead's National Trust - Fenton House and a distant view of 'The Shard'

Today we took a safari to what is traditionally thought of as the home of London's Left Wing intelligentsia - that's right Hampstead, the plan was to use our under utilised National Trust membership.
Beautifully kept gardens at the rear of the house

First stop was  Fenton House left to the 'National Trust'  by Lady Binning  in 1952, as well as housing her porcelain collection  there's a collection of ancient keyboards bequeathed by Benton Fletcher including one which survived the great Fire of London.

Fenton House was a merchant's residence for much of the last 250 years or so and as such the scale is more conformable than many of the Great Houses, as well as an imposing garden there's an air of calm and tradition throughout the house.

Amongst the porcelain there are many works from China there's also a collection of Tapestry as Lady Binning was an enthusiast for this too.

The well laid out rooms are a delight

There's also dotted around the house many valuable paintings many from  an amazing collection of paintings from actor, gardener and Hampstead resident Peter Barkworth.

The paintings in the house when we visited included two by  Walter Sickert -(who incidentally we took an interest in at Tate Britain last week) and a Constable  and print from Albrecht Durer.

Outside the Ornamental and Kitchen gardens were well maintained and provided a pleasant stroll with the topiary on display showing the touch of an expert.

The guides from the National Trust at each of the three levels of the house were welcoming and had information they were very happy to share

The Glass House was in important feature of homes like this one

We were fortunate to be able to see some amazing views across London from a balcony at what would have been the servants quarters, easy to spot landmarks like The Shard, BT Tower, The Gherkin  and the Walky Talky.

A view from Hampstead's Fenton House with both 'The Gherkin' and 'The Shard' clearly visible 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Two women Philosophers (not their description) and getting valued for volunteering.

This week it was suggested for our Philosophy session that we look prior to the class at two women Philosophers of the 20th century:-

People on our minds -Andrew  Carter 
Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir

So here's what I found, first on Hannah Arendt and Action, Politics and Revolution

Hannah lived from  1906-to 75 she  was a Philosopher of Jewish birth. who  worked with Martin Heidegger at The University of Marburg and some have linked the two 'romantically'.

Hannah's 1st marriage was  to GüntherStern (Anders) -who was a Philosopher, Journalist and anti- nuclear activist.

After the end of this marriage her 2nd marriage was to Heinrich Blucher – Philosopher & Poet – who encouraged her to become involved with Marxism

Hannah though rejected the description of her as a Philosopher and instead described herself as a 'Political Theorist' but she drew extensively on the work of Ancient Greek philosophers  in her own writings.

Arendt wrote  about Totalitarianism (The Origins of Totalitarianism 1951) which was broadly about Nazism as well as Stalin-ism and also another  significant  work was the two volume  'The Human Condition' (1958).

In the Human condition she looks at three major elements:

Labour – this is required for mankind to survive
Work - this is how we create and this work gives us meaning
Action – Man is Action based . Action is about creating the 'New' it's what's needed for remembrance of us.
Arendt talked about 'Have I become myself?'

Considered the US revolution a better one than the French (because of the importance it place on Freedom rather than the French which valued Compassion higher)

Her views on The Life of the Mind (unfinished) references Socrates and prioritise one's own values to be able to 'be friends with oneself'.

Now  Simone De Beauvoir  who lived from 1908- 86

Simone was something of a controversial figure partly as a result of her long-term relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre

Her independence is in part a result of the loss of status of her bourgeois family after the first world war.

Interested in being as nun but became an atheist as a teenager.

A contemporary of Hannah Arendt she is known as a French writer, intellectual existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist also like Arendt she says that she's not a Philosopher
War brought into focus morality and she was  influenced by Hegel (Hegel was History Geist/Spiritual and alienation)

Her book The Second Sex (1949) a critique of patriarchy is viewed as a pioneering work in feminist literature and has been likened in its influence for feminism to Marx's 'Das Kapital' on Socialists. De Beauvoir sees much of the discrimination of women to be as a result of societal norms and not latent.

De Beauvoir came late (the second Sex was published when she was more than 40) to her feminist point of view in part she say that as being involved in academia she had been treated equally.

She looked at Objectification 1and said that “like the world itself .. -Representation of the world is the work of men”

Here's Simone talking very concisely about her journey to arrival at a  feminist perspective

Community rewards community effort

Great that there's a trial of rewards for community efforts  - In Ealing with more than 100 hours a year of recognised community service you can be recognised in a  system called Value You which gives up to 10% discount in some shops with a loyalty card  and a bottle of wine too.

Let's reflect

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Back on the Allotment and is the BBC Trust chair 'not up to the job?'

Well as I've whinged on I was hit by the 'Flu and this is (I like to think) the reason I've neglected Plot 202 but the bill for the years rent  came in last week and the weather's picked up recently  so today I made the effort and went down.

Well the good news was that the plot was nothing like as bad as I feared - seems that during the winter things don't grow (I had forgotten how true this is) - and that's even true of the weeds.

Buds are appearing on trees and in the hedges though so I need to get my finger out to start sowing a selection of vegetables soon.

On a bright day it's a pleasure to be out on site.

I need to turn over the soil ahead of getting onions etcetera and some woody type waste that needs a bonfire to see it off.
We'll see how full it is next time

As well as digging out some weeds, topped up the bird feeder (not sure if this is good allotment behaviour?).  I trimmed  the paths with the  first grass cutting of the year and watered the roots of my fruit trees.

I was also reminded why I enjoy spending time in the fresh air and I even came back with some leeks and turnips, anticipate a few aches in the morning though.
Leeks that'll make a nice change

 The Chair of the BBC Trust is Grilled

There's something  of a coterie  from which  governments of all hues select personnel to oversee the rest of us, Margaret Hodge a Labour MP was giving one of their number Rona Fairhead a rather intense  grilling earlier in the week.

 Rona  the wife of  Tom a former Conservative councillor and director of Campbell Lutyens  (a Private Equity financing outfit) was already working for HSBC and Pepsi-Cola before she was anointed by the Tories to look after the overseeing of the BBC as Chair of 'The Trust'. 

It's the  HSBC duties (for which she earns around £1/2 Million a year - seems a lot doesn't it?)  that's   bringing an intense spotlight upon her - Margaret  has her doubts about her capabilities as you can see here.

Most of the UK Press seem to be equally unimpressed with the revelations from Fairhead and her position looks shaky (but not as shaky as Jeremy's).

Seems disappointing that so many  'Public servants' are revealed as not only self-serving but  being  devoid of integrity they don't seem overly competent - some might say that if they weren't so well connected they wouldn't necessarily  flourish?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Accident or Design (Museum) and Check out Luna Lee

Yesterday while I was in town  I took the opportunity to look at a few of the public  statues, like the commemorative 'Blue Plaques' on various buildings that are scattered around  they're a marvellous way of getting in touch with history.
Greathead and possibly a great Engineer too

First one I was drawn to outside the 'Bank' station was to J H Greathead (what a fantastic name) - seems Greathead (James Henry to his friends) was a Chief Engineer - who led the work around boring in London (something I'm prone to do too).

Not too far away by Royal Exchange Buildings there's another monument to a monumental figure who bestowed improved communications by the use of Pigeons - not sure if they still deposit on his head but the Belgian born Reuter bestowed upon us a company that's significant in all things News and Financial  (Now Thomson Reuters)

Reuter's statue  without pigeons 

The final Statue is again an indicator of the importance of migration and our international  age the American born George Peabody - the name of Peabody is almost synonymous with Philanthropy around housing in London

George Peabody  has undoubtedly earned himself a sit down

Design Museum

London press coverage of Design Museum move
Good to see that the Design Museum is not forgotten about in the London Standard - [erhaps there'll be a public statue to the leading figure behind it, Sir Terence Conran one day.

The move to Kensington and change to free entry is being supported by the Arts Council with a £3m  award signalling the importance of the Modern Design paradigm

Luna Lee from Korea Rocks

 On a different topic check out the great Hendrix interpretation below, Luna Lee does other great songs in a different stylee too..

Monday, March 09, 2015

Keeping up with old work friends

Reuters - he was the founder.
Last week I met a friend I've known for well over 30 years - he's no longer resident in the UK and when he does visit Ealing his time here is usually short and full of things that he should do so it was something of a treat to get some time with him. I know Richard from working with him both at ITN and Reuters TV in Hong Kong.

It was great to catch up with him at The North Star a pub I've been going to for more than 30 years
North Star Ealing
People who we choose to remain in contact with for such a long time are important they give us an opportunity to relive parts of our lives and also provide a reference as we age - if X looks older then we probably do to, if Y is getting set in their ways perhaps the same applies to us.

Today it was another Monday  with old friends John (ITN and Euronews) and Shaun also from Euronews - it was fun to meet and have something to eat John is now based at Sky News, Gherkin studio and Shaun continues to push the envelope of languages, Violin playing and keeping in touch with his family and friends.

Having spent time with people in other countries provides quite a bond and challenging circumstances often brings out the  good in people.

London's Gherkin, Sky have their 'City'  Studio here

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Looking at the East - Philosophy & Film ( B & W celebration)

This week's philosophy session was about the Non-Western tradition and for me this area is a challenge but that is not to say it is one I think that should duck.
St. Paul's London, we all need to kick out at times

During classes last year at City Lit last year  I began to recognise that although different terms and perspectives were in action the goals and aims were broadly in line but a problem for me remains around where a philosophy becomes a religion and what we should consider legitimate areas for intervention.

The Ealing session on Philosophy took a totally different but legitimate  'tack' on the issue - we started off by looking at an excerpt from the film 'The Tokyo Story' (1953) directed by the acclaimed director Yasujirō Ozu who also had a hand in the screenplay- it was challenging to differentiate between what were the cultural differences of the film and what were solely down to the particular idiosyncrasies of this story, stylistically it was certainly different from the films that we as a group of Western people were used to.
The film by it's nature reflected change in family which undoubtedly was accelerated by the repercussions of Japan's defeat in World War Two - {you can see the film here}.

The Film was involving but we were there to talk about 'Philosophy' and after a while it was paused and we reflected on Confucianism which became dominant in China at around the time of Socrates was active in Ancient Greece.
Do we get to reflect enough?

As I looked at thoughts from the East I had not really considered Confucianism  (my error) - as a group we've perhaps overly focused on the narratives around the characters and in this case our course leader seemed to wish to steer us away from the character towards the ideas - it is true that any history is open to argument, dispute and rewriting over a period of more than two and a half centuries.

It is also worth reflection on the need for a Philosophy to be relevant  for it to resonate with the population - Confucianism is rooted in relationships  and it proclaims the importance of hierarchy and behaviour .

By contrast the so called Kyoto school in Japan offered what  many consider  something of a synthesis of East and Western thought favouring introspection - again my struggle is with what appears often to be a lack of engagement and what I feel to be a 'submission' to our (human) condition.

What do we expect ?