Monday, 14 December 2009

Berkshire village celebrating victory in battle against BT for red phone box


Berkshire village celebrating victory in battle against BT for red phone box

In this age of mobiles, instant messaging and the like, it is all too easy to think of the humble telephone box as a relic of a bygone age. I'm glad to say that this story proves that the trusty public call box still has its place in British society, and long may it continue to be so. It is also most gratifying to see that community spirit is still alive and well in modern Britain, in that an important aspect of local life has been reclaimed in the face of a large, impersonal corporation. Splendid stuff all round!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Gallery searches for stolen brick

Gallery searches for stolen brick

Yes. A brick. And not from the gallery's actual structure either. No, someone seems to think that if a certain "artist" writes his signature on an ordinary house brick it suddenly becomes art and worth £3,000. Which is why I'm overcome with delight that some perceptive, quick-witted fellow has taken the opportunity to show it up for the pointless charade that the whole thing typifies. Here's a question - why, if the replacement brick also has writing upon it, is it too not worth £3,000? Is not a "worthless equivalent" an oxymoron? If something is an equivalent, it is the same as the thing it replaces, so logically this new brick should be worth £3,000 as well. In fact, if I got a brick and signed it, then passed it off as "art", I could make three thousand pounds too, couldn't I? Of course not. The whole idea of a signed brick being high art is a farce of the highest order and frankly I fail to understand the mentality of anyone who says otherwise. What we have here, in essence, is little more than a three grand signature. If I were an auctioneer or a valuer and someone approached me with this and asked me for £3,000, I'd call for the men in white coats. Still, you've got to laugh.

Theatre back to its former glory

Theatre back to its former glory

This day just keeps getting better. First, the return of the monocle; now, another theatre built in the 1930s has been restored to its former Art Deco glory. Are people beginning to once again appreciate attractive design in their public buildings again? I do hope so! A trip to the theatre is so much more enjoyable if the surroundings are congenial, and what better to enjoy films and shows than in a delightful Art Deco theatre? With luck it will encourage more people to frequent such places, with obvious benefits to the Arts and also, it is hoped, to design. That picture just below this article has just moved another step closer to becoming reality!

Monocles to be sold on high street

Monocles to be sold on high street
Several years ago there was much disquiet following the news that Dolland & Aitchison, one of the leading High Street opticians, was to cease selling monocles in all but its "flagship" London store. At the time I feared that this signified the beginning of the end for this noble eyepiece.
Imagine my surprise and delight, then, to read about their triumphant return to the nation's ophthalmic emporia. With any luck this will turn out to be not another passing fad but rather a willing return to the kind of fashion illustrated above. I'm almost sorry that my eyesight is equally poor in both my eyes otherwise I would have been down to my local Vision Express like a shot. Spiffing news of the further adoption of a dapper, gentlemanly accoutrement. Away with those ghastly contact lenses and "designer" glasses - this is the way forward!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Historic airship hangar for sale


Historic airship hangar for sale

I watched the episode of the B.B.C's Top Gear the other week in which James May converted a caravan into an airship, and it was shown launching from a hanger just like the one in this story (in fact, it may have been the one in this story) and the size of the hanger in comparison was astounding. How big airships like the R.100 and R.101 must have been to take up all that room is almost beyond comprehension. What must it have been like to see these majestic "liners of the air" in their heyday of the 1920s and '30s! Now all that is left to remind us of these aerial leviathans are these huge hangers that used to house them. I'm glad to see they're listed buildings, and hope that whoever ends up buying them is mindful of their heritage. If Mercedes-Benz can make such a good job of the Brooklands racing circuit in Surrey, then there is surely some hope that this hangers will fall into some capable, appreciative hands too. In the meantime, I look forward to the day when we are all once again floating serenely through the skies in giant, luxurious airships. Despite what some people might say, I believe the airship still has a future!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Southend fashion students and pensioners have sew much to talk about

Southend fashion students and pensioners have sew much to talk about

Another example here of the joy and shared knowledge that can result from bringing together different generations. The older person still has much to offer us in the way of knowledge, experience and ability, as this and other recent stories prove. By sharing this with young people, its very existence can be assured for future generations, instead of being lost to the past forever.

What is even more remarkable is that the lady in this piece is registered blind but still has the drive and capability to produce such lovely dresses. It is always great to see such sharing of wisdom and talent, and to see it so much appreciated by the younger set. Everyone benefits, and nothing but good and beauty can result.

Sight loss photographer honours his garden shed

Sight loss photographer honours his garden shed

Proof that a disability need not stop one doing the things they enjoy. Here we have a chap overcoming the physical blow that has befallen him, continuing to enjoy a life-long passion for photography and producing some jolly pleasant pictures for public display and appreciation into the bargain. A truly inspiring story about the human ability to surmount the most difficult afflictions and carry on living a normal life doing all the things one loves and, in this particular case, sharing the results with others.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Bentley Mulsanne picture gallery



As a long-time fan of Bentley motor cars, I was greatly looking forward to seeing the new Arnage replacement when it was due to be unveiled at Pebble Beach, California back in August. So, when I first clapped eyes on it, I was... ambivalent. I desperately wanted to like it but, like many people I'm sure, I found the front end at first rather... challenging, shall we say.

However, I'm pleased to say that in my particular case has been very much a "grower" inasmuch as the more I see it the more I like it. In particular I can appreciate more what they have tried to do with the styling; those round headlights mounted in the wings, either side of the large honeycomb grille, the hint of a bustle-back in the boot lid - they have created a visual link to the classic Bentleys of the '20s and early '30s. It just took me a little while to see it and I now feel that Bentley have successfully married a forward-looking, advanced design with a nod to their illustrious past. More pictures, in a higher resolution, can be found here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sparebots: little figures made from LEDs, resistors, capacitors, wire and other electronic spare parts

Sparebots: little figures made from LEDs, resistors, capacitors, wire and other electronic spare parts

Now this immediately took me back to my schooldays, fiddling around with LEDs, resistors and so forth during Physics and Design & Technology lessons. It also, rather naturally, made me laugh and marvel at the way this chap and his wife have turned such electronic items into life-like displays, albeit with a humorous twist. Only a Britisher, looking at a pile of electrical components, would have come up with such an idea! It is also, I think, an interesting insight into the human mind, in that we seek to see something of ourselves in the unlikeliest of objects. All in all, most amusing!

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