25 October 2016

Wigan has the Plan

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit.  You are probably sick of the word let alone when it's repeated three times like some sort of magical incantation.  Of course we do have to consider the future and as far as most people are concerned, at the moment you may as well ask a fortune teller as much as a politician.

Why?  What happens next seems to be so up in the air then why not!  Yet there is a place in England which seems to have a plan (as well as a pier) and that is, perhaps surprisingly to some, Wigan. 

Zoltar the fortune teller’s lips are not moving which means that unlike politicians we cannot automatically tell whether he is lying.  He sounds fairly convinced, however, that Wigan has not just a but the plan and if you look a little further in to this then it is difficult to argue with him.

It’s all part of a rather clever marketing plan by Wigan Works, which was set up to attract investment and jobs to the borough, located in the Greater Manchester area of North West England.  There is a new detailed investment framework to support inward investment and encourage new businesses, a number of which have chosen Wigan as their new base in recent months.  Wigan certainly does have the plan.

It is something of a relief, to be honest, to see a borough with so much get up and go.  It seems that while the rest of the nation’s business leaders are looking on in slack-jawed bewilderment, Wigan is pushing itself forward: its jaw is most certainly not slack although there is a tongue poking firmly in to the borough’s metaphorical cheek in regards to the Zoltar method of disseminating their ambitions!

23 October 2016

Sea Lebrities: The Sea Lions of Pier 39

We often read about people taking over the natural habitat of other species but today the Ark in Space tells the story of a rare case when the animals came back and reclaimed their territory from us.  It happened in San Francisco - where admittedly stranger things may have happened over the years.

Local Californian Sea Lions have always been present in the city’s bay but had been pushed out to Seal Rocks, a small formation at the north end of the Ocean Beach.  Pier 39’s K Dock was developed and opened in 1978.  Little did we know that the sea lions also had their eyes on this particular piece of seaside real estate.

The Ark in Space has a great feature, packed with pictures, telling the history of these unusual squatters!

First Image Credit Flickr User WallyG

18 October 2016

HyperNormalisation: A new film by Adam Curtis available on BBC iPlayer

Is the world that we know it changed, quietly, forever – and are we complicit in that change simply because of our inactivity? This question and many others is raised by the new film by Adam Curtis, available on BBC iPlayer.  It is causing something of a stir on social networks and for good reason as it asks a number of long overdue questions.

First and foremost is this: do we live in a world where the truth is no longer valued – to the extent that the term post-truth has been coined?

There is another word in the mix too, one which I have not come across before – and that is HyperNormalisation (excuse the capitals, not quite sure what to do with them!).  The teaser above is just that – it is the process of how we got to where we are now – the point at which the truth, at least politically, is no longer a prerequisite in terms of what we demand from our politicians.

The simplified and frankly fake version of the world that many of us now see is where the term hypernormalisation comes in and this riveting film has a cast of characters from over forty years.  Has the chaos of those years culminated in a kind of paralysis where those who are supposed to lead us find that they do not know what to do?

Take a look at this film – you can then judge for yourself how this perceived retreat from the reality of the world has taken on an authenticity all of its own.

16 October 2016

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Tommy SpaSe And The Alchemists are a seven piece band from Los Angeles (well, this is the earth bound city they call home, at least) and they have a little Halloween treat for you. And it's a blast.

Producing what they refer to as WhimZicaL, HigHEneRgY, TheAtRicaL, KoZmiC, VauDeVilliaN Rock, I find it very hard to disagree with that description - in fact it is a way perfect to describe their sound. To find out more about the band, head for their website.

I have to admit that I had not heard of the band before I had seen this promo and to be honest, I love them!  I will be checking out the rest of their catalogue.  In the meantime, this video certainly demands more than one view - as Tommy and the band navigate the netherworld, spirits stir, the forest churns and if you blink you feel that you have missed something.

This awesome video is directed by the extremely talented Micah Chambers-Goldberg, otherwise known as MicahMonkey.  As well as directing music videos he is gaining a reputation for himself as an illustrator and painter.

The combination of Tommy SpaSe And The Alchemists' music with the directorial flair of MicahMonkey lead to quite a ghoulish music video for Halloween!

10 October 2016

Coulrophobia – Are You Afraid of Clowns?

Did you find Heath Ledger as The Joker scary? Then perhaps you suffer from coulrophobia, the abnormal fear of clowns. Join a self-confessed coulrophobic for a look at these guys and see if you are too- as if you don’t already know!

8 October 2016

The Human Towers of the Castellers

No one is quite sure but at some point in the 18th century someone in the Valls, near the Catalonian city of Tarragona dreamed of a tower of a castle (castell in Catalonian).  Yet he may not have been an architect or an engineer: his tower was made of people.

It was an idea that took off.  It developed throughout Catalonia – even spreading as far as Majorca – and has for the last few decades been enjoying something of a renaissance after many years of prohibition under General Franco.  Although it is popular throughout many parts of Spain, you have to go to its birthplace to find the most skilled castellers.

2 October 2016

Are These the Cutest Kittens on the Internet?

Over at the Ark in Space they are having a break from creepy crawlies, endangered species and ferocious beasties and instead have presented the world with an awesome gallery of uber cute kittens.  This sort of thing may have been done before but the big difference here is that all the fantastic pictures are licensed through Creative Commons, which means the photographers have given their permission for their work to be shared.  In other words, the pictures are not ripped off, like so many kitten and cat pictures on the net. It is proof too, that you can put together a marvelous gallery of images without breaking copyright. So, why not pop over and take a look at possibly the cutest kittens on the internet?

Image Credit Flickr User Josh Kesner

1 October 2016

The Good Mother

A Mexcian mother receives a strange request from her son, one which may be difficult to discharge. What lengths will she go to fulfil her son’s wish to have a Donald Trump piñata at his birthday party?  Will she allow ‘the devil’ in to her house and even if she does, how will she go about getting the piñata of choice?  This topical comedy- drama was written and directed by Sarah Clift.

Raiders of the Lost Dark: When Indy Meets Star Wars

As his own tribute to the 35th anniversary of the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark, director and screenwriter Fabrice Mathieu has put together this glorious mashup of the original film, interspersed with elements from the original Star Wars movies.  It is so well stitched together that I had to keep reminding myself which film was which. Oh, and this needs to be watched until the very last frame.