9 December 2018

Bronze Mischief - The Sculptures of David Goode

Take a walk in an English country garden at this time of year and you never know quite what you are going to come across. One moment you are busy doing nothing and the next moment you are caught up in a world of playful if naughty creatures from a hitherto unseen world. And for sure these are naughty – they are goblins and elves. There is none of the wafty grace of the Cottingley fairies here. These guys are up to mischief.

In fact, this is the work of David Goode (pictured left), a British sculptor based in the English county of Oxfordshire.  After having spent many years studying the human form – he was the youngest ever waxwork modeller for Madame Tussauds – he turned his attention to another world entirely.

Having spent so much time with wax, when he turned his hand to bronze work he determined that he would also make his work as believable as possible in this medium.

8 December 2018

Veni, Vidi, Velcro


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How Might We Relate Migration to Class?

By Eszter Pordany
I’m Eszter Pordany. I originally was born in Hungary, and moved to London to study, when I was about 14. Since then, unfortunately I have been faced with several inevitable disadvantages a so called “migrant” has to go through in the UK! As a sociology student I aim to contribute to issues in such a multicultural society, that perhaps aren’t given as much attention to as they would require. My main interests include: Prejudice/ discrimination- especially racism, migration as well as addiction to illegal substances. 

Migration in contemporary society is an extremely well-discussed and concerning issue to some. In order to begin to explore how migration might be related to different social classes, it is essential to outline to what definitions of the above-mentioned terms I shall refer to throughout this piece. Stephen Castles, Professor of Sociology at the University of Sydney alludes to ‘migration’ within his work, as being a “transitory, moving from place to place”, with the general aim of permanent stay (Castles, 2007). With regards to the term of ‘social class’ I have used Karl Marx’s definition as through this work I will be associating a few arguments with Marxist concepts. Marx argued, that “a class is defined in relation to the broad structure of the property system” and hence “a group of people belong to the same class when they occupy the same position within the property system governing labour, physical assets, and perhaps intangible assets” (Marx and Engels, 2010).

The structure of the essay was highly inspired by a book I have come across during my research – “A Seventh Man” written by John Berger (Berger, 2010). Berger divides his work into three sections, all portraying a different aspect of migrants’ life. Within this piece, I will use a similar frame by exploring lower class migration from consequential aspects, while maintaining the focal argument of the essay: migration of lower class is seen as not being desirable, in fact is of concern.

The aim of this work, is to introduce how the government responds to the “crisis” lower class migration causes, and explores the pre-cautions are being made, whether they are horrible situations created for them, or governmental policies. On the other hand, middle / upper class migration is not paid near as much attention to as lower class, and does not imply a deviant behaviour. Hence, by concentrating on lower class migration and its subsequent effect on the migrants, as well as the lack of research dedicated to middle class movements within a European context, I shall come to the conclusion that the Net Migration Policy was doomed to failure, and methodological practices studying migration are highly questionable.

7 December 2018

Earth Song


If you have ever been to Yorkshire Dales and Lake District national parks in northern England then you will have been, no doubt, struck by their incredible natural beauty.  They have never looked so magnificent in this short time-lapse film about the ever changing light and beauty in nature made by Alex William Helin. The stirring music is Epic Journey by David Tobin, Jeff Meegan and Malcolm Edmonstone.
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A Conversation About Growing Up Black


In this short documentary, young black men explain the particular challenges they face growing up in America.  It makes for sobering viewing when you appreciate just how much the society in which they should feel in their element has effectively excluded them as full citizens.  Yet it is also a noteworthy tribute to the human spirit that these boys and young men refuse to conform to the stereotypes with which they have been assigned.
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Swan Cake


Written, directed and produced by students Nikitha Mannam (India) and Amos Sussigan (Switzerland), Swan Cake is the result of an experiment of collaboration with an international crew. The movie has been entirely produced via Skype and Dropbox, involving artists and students from Canada, United States, England, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Iran, and several parts of India. It’s just lovely!
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The Mystery of the Margate Shell Grotto

In 1835 a labourer was digging a field just outside the English seaside town of Margate.  His work was interrupted when he thrust his spade in to the soil and it simply vanished in to the ground.  The master of the nearby Dane House School, James Newlove, was made aware of this strange disappearance.  He volunteered his young son, Joshua, for the task of being lowered, candle in hand, in to the void via a length of rope

Regardless of our modern sensibilities about the health and safety of children, when Joshua was pulled back to the surface his wide-eyed tale astonished everyone. He told of a magical temple adorned in shells, hundreds, thousands… millions of them.  All told, 4.6 million.

2 December 2018

Write Four Things, List Four Things – Making GCSE English Language Paper 1 Question 1 in to a Competition

Ah, the much neglected Paper 1 Question 1 of GCSE English Language (AQA).  Neglected?  Perhaps overlooked is a better word.  We can make the assumption that it will look after itself: that it is only worth four marks anyway.  However, having had some students, albeit a handful, fall one mark (out of 160) short of a grade 4 in June 2018 I’m not going to take anything for granted in the future. The angst that goes with one mark short is indescribable and makes me want to find the nearest rabbit hole and to plunge head-first in to it. So Question 1 will not be overlooked again..

I wanted to create a fairly straightforward (i.e. easy) way to make this question the centre of attention but – keeping in mind the time I have to deliver the curriculum in an FE college – I felt the need to add some other skills in to the mix too – primarily writing for an audience.

1 December 2018

TES Resources for GCSE English Language 9-1

If you are looking for some great resources to aid in your teaching of GCSE English Language (the AQA board) then look no further.  Over the last few years I have created a stack of resources to help – particularly with the all-important question five on Paper One (and likewise for Paper Two).  They are also often known as P1Q5 and P2Q5 – just to make life easier.  So, please head over to my ‘shop’ on the TES website and if you are lucky enough to be reading this post on its day of publication, you will even get 20% off!

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25 November 2018

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Cambodia, You Will After You Watch This


Christophe Hamon spent a month in 2014 helping to make a documentary.  Like so many others before him he fell in love with this beautiful and enigmatic country, its sights, sounds and people.  He decided to edit together his spare footage and what we get is a wonderful glimpse in to the day to day lives of the people of the country – and the name he has given it is Children of Cambodia.
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Rhyolite: A Ghost Town from the Air


Rhyolite is an abandoned mining town in Nevada and if you search for it online you will find no end of images.  Yet this is the first time I have seen this fascinating place from above.  Director and fIlmmaker Philp Bloom took his Phantom 3, the new DJI drone, for an hour’s spin over the town (and through it too).  The results are remarkable – the shots of the town are unlike any of those seen before.
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Isaac Newton's Entire Life in 90 Seconds


If you need to know a lot about the life of Isaac Newton but have very little time, how does 90 seconds grab you?  Of course, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica takes up a large part of this animation by Kevin Orzel as it takes almost 90 seconds to say it.

However, it is a brief but accurate insight in to one of the great geniuses of the Scientific Revolution who I always think of as a kind of Seventeenth Century Sheldon Cooper who, unfortunately for him, never quite found his own Leonard Hofstadter.
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These are Magpies? You’re Kidding, Right?

No, we’re not.  There are a number of magpie species which confound the notion that the whole lot of them are black and white.  They come in a number of different colors. Yet, despite this gorgeous plumage they still seem to be rather thuggish members of the bird world, robbing nests and eating chicks and so on.  Our sibling site , the Ark in Space, has the lowdown on these quite different (appearance wise at least) species of magpies.
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The Richat Structure – Earth’s Bull's-Eye

Imagine if you were an alien species intent on conquering the earth by force.  Now, you might just appear over the various capital cities of the world and wait for your countdown to get to zero or you might, being a little timid of the explosive force that you are about to unleash, wish to do it from a safe distance.  What you would need to look for, then, is a handy bull's-eye – on the bull's-eye that is the Earth itself.

Look no further, alien invader.  The Richat Structure in Mauritania provides the perfect target towards which you can aim your death ray, annihilation laser or whatever you call your extraterrestrial weapon of mass destruction.  It’s almost as if another species, in a previous visit, had chalked in a target already and then become bored and wandered back to Betelgeuse.

18 November 2018

Torre Guinigi: The Tower with Oak Trees on the Top

The city of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy, is famous for its medieval architecture and intact city walls.  Yet among all of its exquisite buildings one stands out.  The Torre Guinigi or Guinigi Tower in English towers over the city.

At the top of the 44.5 meter high tower is something of a surprise – a garden containing, of all things, oak trees.

High above the city this small wood has provided a haven of peace for centuries.

The tower was built in the fourteenth century when there were over 250 in the city. Although that number has, over the centuries, dramatically decreased, this one has survived.  It was built by the Guinigi, then the most powerful and influential family in the city. The tower represented the prestige of the family and was the largest in the city even when the economic boom of the late fourteenth century meant that towers were springing up all over Lucca.
Amung Feedjit
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