Saturday, 20 February 2010

Booking a ski holiday? Avoid Alpine my review to find out why

If you're booking a ski holiday, please think twice before going with Alpine Elements.

Read my Alpine Elements review to find out why.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Look what some idiot's done to this library book...

Who does that to a library book? They've also spilt something bright yellow all over the next page. It makes me quite angry, I just can't see the point.

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Saturday, 30 January 2010

A Thousand Dogs - beautiful dogs, amazing photography...

I borrowed this book from my boyfriend, and if you like dogs or photography I can highly recommend it.

It's got some stunning pictures and it's done chronologicaly, tracking the development of photography, changes in society and the close relationship between dogs and humans over the years. It would definitely appeal to anyone who enjoyed the Horizon programme, 'The Secret Life of Dogs' on the BBC, (you can still watch it here - which was one of the best things I've seen on TV in ages.

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Monday, 25 January 2010

Stillness: Stories of Life in War-torn Yugoslavia by Courtney Angel Brkic

I started reading Stillness by Courtney Angel Brkic this morning on the train. It's a collection of stories about the war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia and I think it's really outstanding.

Brkic worked as a forensic archaeologist in Bosnia after the war, and in the prologue she speaks of photos she found, rendered a foggy white by water damage. The book seems to be trying to restore the detail to these 'photos of the dead' - the people killed, displaced or scarred by the war, even the animals left starving in the zoo. If you're interested in literature about the Balkan conflict, I can highly recommend Sarajevo Marlboro by Miljenko Jergovic, Sarajevo Blues by Semezdin Mehmedinovic and for a completely different take, Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazade and The Fixer. I'd be grateful for any other recommendations of books by Croatian, Bosnian or Serbian authors - it's not something I seem to stumble upon often.
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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Look what I got...

I had a bit of a splurge on Oxfam's online second hand shop (which is brilliant by the way) and I got Under Milk Wood, read by Richard Burton. On tape. Tape - what was I thinking? I don't think I've bought one since that East 17 single when I was 10. I can't even remember the last time I bought a CD for god's sake. Hope we've still got a tape player in the house somewhere...

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Monday, 7 December 2009

What I'm reading...

I'm reading Igort - 5 Is The Perfect Number. Yes, another graphic novel. I just can't seem to really get into anything without pictures at the moment!

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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Careless twhisper

First of all, sorry about the pun, I genuinely can't help it, it's a disease. It doesn't even have anything to do with what I'm going to write about. 

Apology out of the way, this is a reply of sorts to Laurence from Fabrica Gallery's blog post about the game of 'Twhispers' he started a few days ago and in which I took part. 

The idea was that an initial Tweet would be passed down a chain of people, who would each change two words - a bit like the very un-PC Chinese Whispers you might have played as a child.  It was an experiment of sorts to get people thinking about the themes behind the most recent exhibition at Fabrica - Chameleon by Tina Gonsalves which featured digital portraits which responded to your behaviour and emotions by either witchcraft or technical wizardry - I'm not sure which. 

I thought it was a nice exercise on the idea of passing something on, and action and reaction, that was very much in the spirit of the exhibition and also a good way of playing up the way Twitter works and the ways people use it to communicate and share information, while imprinting something of themselves on it at the same time.  As Laurence points out, it was also free to do, and a way getting people involved by making them feel part of something. It seemed to create a bit of buzz and interest, which is great and has got me thinking about how I might be able to use something similar for a project I'm working on. 

On another level, as a lover of words, I thought it was really interesting how the Twhispers changed: 

Whisper 1 - She smiled happily at the man who had sold her the amazing shoes and he smiled back, shyly. 
Returned - She shocked everyone, for the man had given her piercingly sharp scissors, and she bled on them. 

Whisper 2 - Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone. 
Returned - Celebrate after the river turns to custard, swim if you feel lucky 

Whisper 3 - The shouting outside in the street was making them tense 
Returned - Brown flying pterodactyls over the turkey was faked for Xmas 

The first one didn't really change too much, it got a bit darker with the mention of blood, but the structure and story behind it stayed fairly similar - an exchange takes place between a man and a woman, and basic words like she, the man, had, her, and remained the same throughout, when they could possibly have made the biggest change.  With the second one, I like that the rhythm and punctuation stayed the same, because it still sounds like a saying or motto, albeit a ridiculous one.  The third one is awesome (and the pterodactyl was my addition, not to blow my own trumpet or anything)  - it changed beyond recognition from something quite innocuous, to something utterly surreal yet seasonal and almost political too!
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