Friday, November 17, 2017

Landscapes of Detectorists

Detectorists is one of the best things that has been on the telly over the last few years.
Now there is an opportunity to prepare a paper connected with it for the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in 2018.

The focus is on Landscapes, and there is no shortage of recent reading I've done that would connect with that, such as David Matless's book 'Landscape and Englishness' and recent work by Rebecca Solnit and Lauret Savoy.

I'm almost tempted to put something together as a contribution, but haven't much experience in academic conferences, other than the GTE.

The conference strand is described as follows by Innes Keighren:

Where “Detectorists” is distinct from most situation comedies is that much of the action takes place outdoors, in the fields and meadows where the programme’s protagonists pursue their hobby. Both aesthetically and thematically, landscape dominates “Detectorists”. Filmed on location in Framlingham, Suffolk—standing in for Essex, and the fictional town of Danebury—the visual palate of the programme enfolds a non-human supporting cast of insects, birds, plants, and trees, and variously echoes the landscape paintings of Thomas Gainsborough and George Shaw, and the cinematic vision of Peter Hall’s “Akenfield” (1974). 
Landscape is, also, the focus of the protagonists’ preoccupations; it is variously walked, surveyed, sensed, gazed upon, read, and dug. 
Landscape is where the programme’s characters seek solitude, find companionship, and navigate the sometimes dramatic intrusions from ‘the rude world’. 
Landscape reveals the past while concealing the prospect of future discovery.

ECM - new on Spotify

There are a few notable omissions from Spotify - some like Pink Floyd have been resolved, but Peter Gabriel and King Crimson are among the bands who I would like to see added.

Earlier this week, I heard that one of the major gaps in the catalogue had been filled with the release of the recordings on the ECM label. I've been collecting albums on this label since the early 1980s...
This means we now have access to the catalogue of artists such as Pat Metheny, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Ale Moller and Lena Willemark, John Surman and a host of other musicians.

I now have plenty more musical inspiration to draw on....

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Icebreaker - a great book...

Currently devouring the latest book by Horatio Clare.
His last book 'Down to the Sea in Ships' was on the lives of sailors crewing container ships, and was excellent.
This book grabs you from the start, with tales of Finland, and the ice in the Bay of Bothnia. It's very nicely written, with beautiful descriptions of the icy seascapes and landscapes, mixed with the signs of climate change that are becoming increasingly apparent.

There's one obvious omission from the book: a decent map showing all the locations described so that you can get a sense for how they relate to each other, and the relative positions and distances involved.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Robot Unicorns - the perfect Christmas gift

New in at my fellow Mission:Explorer Helen's Do it Kits store is a new kit to allow you to make a robot unicorn - perfect for using a micro:bit which were distributed to UK students a year or so ago - I have one too - and these are used to control and move the finished unicorn.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Follow Leo Houlding's latest adventure...

“It’s 21st-century exploration, at the edge of impossible.”
An excellent article in The Financial Times on the latest expedition of Leo Houlding.
He is planning to conquer a peak called the Spectre.
A few years ago, I heard Leo speak at the GA Conference on a previous expedition to Antarctica, and the logistics of getting there and completing the climb.
My notes and some links from that 2015 lecture are here. 

He will be using Union Glacier as a base: a location which I have used many times before with students as a place to teach about.

The expedition website is here.
Good luck to Leo when he heads off next month...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Planetary boundaries

Interesting... the full paper isn't open access, but some ideas explored here...

Geddy Lee Interview

Rush are a band I've been listening to for over 35 years...
This is a powerful section from an interview which is being aired this week in the US...


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Island Story

Writer J D Taylor spent four months on a bike a few years ago, travelling around Britain and seeing it in a way that many other travel writers have failed to do. The value of cycling is that you see the world at a slower pace, and are actually in the environments you are travelling through.
The author has created a very useful blog to follow the journey, and includes a whole range of additional resources and ideas that underpin the journey including some additional writing.

You can follow the journey with images and text from each stage of the journey.
The book is fantastic to, and I've just been reading it.
A part of this journey was a search for the UK's identity as the Brexit vote approached.


This is excellent for older students exploring such ideas as Changing Places, and also the GCSE unit on UK in the 21st Century.

There is a New Statesmen article here by the author, which identifies some of the themes in the book, which is certainly political in its nature.
I was also interested to read on the blog about his next book, helped by a grant he has been awarded, which will also explore the idea of place:

Titled Where Are We Going?, the next book takes the form of eleven narratives about a specific place and the people I meet, through which I document the effects of forces shaping British politics, from health and social care to deindustrialisation, the ‘gig economy’, farming and rural poverty, to immigration, class, identity and housing. I’ve begun preparing the book this year...

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Monopoly Money...

Alexandra Sims has written in Time Out about the growing property values in London, and how they have risen.

In the 1930s, the makers of Monopoly placed 22 iconic London streets on their game board for wannabe property tycoons. Eighty years on, however, the price you’d pay in Monopoly money to own a slice of the capital hardly reflects the twenty-first-century reality.
Giving the game a 2017 reality check, London Fox Lettings has used data from Zoopla and the Government’s London Rents Map to show what you’d be paying IRL to rent and own property on the classic game’s streets. To give things an added flavour of authenticity they’ve even replaced the £200 you get for passing 'go', with the £27,531 average London salary, which is growing at a snail’s pace compared to rapidly rising house prices.

Here's the infographic....


What Would The Monopoly Board Look Like Today? – An infographic by the team at Splitrent

Allemansrätten

This is a beautiful film by Al Humphreys who has produced a range of videos and books related to the theme of exploration.

It explores the idea of access to land, which in some Scandinavian countries is a 'right' open to all men (and women). They have free access to land and can camp or walk across it.

“Don’t disturb – Don’t destroy" is the mantra here.

In the UK, there was recently an expansion of the right of access to include CROW land (Countryside Right of Way)

Allemansrätten from Alastair Humphreys on Vimeo.

Allemansrätten is the right, in much of Scandinavia, for every man and woman to roam the countryside.
But with rights must come responsibilities too.
Should there be an expansion of this type of rights in the UK?

I met Al quite a few years ago now, when he was keynoting the SAGT conference that I was also speaking at, up in Glasgow.

I took advantage of this some years ago, when camping in Norway for several weeks and travelling up the coast with a friend.
In Finland, which I've also visited they have a similar right.

The worry would be that people might be happy to accept their right, but not their responsibilities?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Richard Long exhibition

Heading to see this at the weekend - it's just 10 minutes from home... I've loved Richard's work for decades now, and seen all his recent exhibitions...

RICHARD LONG: EARTH SKY from NUA Film and Moving Image on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Time for Geography

Time for a new school year. Time for Geography.
There are plenty of high quality resources available here at the very nicely designed Time for Geography site.

Sign up and log in to help access a whole range of videos, many of which were shot over the summer holiday period, so they are right up to date, and written and presented by subject experts.

There are videos on Coasts, Rivers and Glaciation as well as Geog Topics, and some additional resources for those who register too. There are posters for display which can be ordered, plus additional resources and links, and a blog which is underway with some useful posts. Model answers are also provided for some relevant questions. This is a site which has been developed with the support of various organisations, and will continue to grow.

I shall be directing my Year 10s to this site as we start the new school year and GCSE teaching.