Tuesday 1 July 2008
links for 2008-07-01
100 years since the Tunguska impact. If something occured today over Westminster, everything inside the M25 would be wiped out. Which would certainly deal with the eyesore that is Croydon.
Large Hadron Collider won’t cause a black hole that swallows up the Earth. Which is a relief.
Friday 4 July 2008
links for 2008-07-04
Zero Punctuation on webcomics. If ever you read webcomics, particularly gaming webcomics, then watch this.
I’ve long felt that few journalists could speak with as much authority as Wheeler – certainly he puts John Simspon in the shade.
Sunday 6 July 2008
De La Warr Pavilion
Yesterday, expecting a not particularly warm or sunny day, we headed down to the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, partly because we walked past it when it was still under restoration and vowed to come back, partly because we were headed that direction anyway, partly because we wanted to catch the Grayson Perry exhibition before it closed (it’s on its way to the Harris Museum in that there oop-north and we highly recommend it – as you might expect, it does feature both ceramics and cross-dressing, but only incidentally to the main focus of the event, which is art from the 50s, 60s and 70s, including some excellent social history) and partly because DG said we should go.
What we got was a warm and sunny day, a fabulous building, an excellent exhibition and a really good slice of flourless chocolate and hazlenut cake.
One thing that strikes you as you wander around the De La Warr Pavilion is just how, well, joined-up (for want of a far better phrase) the whole thing is. It strikes you that someone has thought about the whole thing, right from conception to restoration and on to the day-to-day running of the place. The building itself is stunning:
As you walk further around it, you immediately become sucked in by the fact that the whole thing sits perfectly in the landscape and is so damned photogenic.
Of course, it is art deco grandeur on an impressive scale. Anyone familiar with buildings along the coast of Sussex will recognise the art deco trademark curves, flat roof and clean white (or, in this case, cream) exterior. This has to be the best-preserved art deco building I’ve seen. It reminded me of a few that are now lost (Bognor bus station, anyone?).
But the overwhelming impression is that everything is just right. The red flag with newly-painted white ballustrade and royal blue lamp post…
…the specially-commissioned red chairs in the café…
… and even the wonderfully aligned deckchairs with their matching royal blue canvases.
A visit to the café reaffirms the impression of perfection. The staff are perfectionists when it comes to serving coffee, even to the extent that they took one man’s coffee back and replaced it because the chocolate powder on top was not arranged just-so. And the cakes. Mmmm.
And then there is the roof deck.
The roof terrace is just perfect. A broad expanse that, mercifully, has been kept clear of tables, chairs, ice creams and other clutter. There’s nothing to do up here except drink it all in, particularly if you’re lucky enough to get a bit of sun for some artful shadows…
… and a few clouds to give the sky towards Eastbourne some dramatic texture.
And, as you descend, there is that famous stairwell – which I think will become the most photographed stairwell in Sussex.
The other thing that struck us was the variety of people using the Pavilion. There was a good number of arty-farty types visiting the exhibition, but they were matched in number by locals (particularly of the elderly variety using the café) and a good smattering of families joining a tour of the Pavilion on to a trip to the beach. The fact that entrance to the building and the exhibition space is all free has to be a factor in this.
The Pavilion itself is, no doubt, going to attract a good art-following crowd to the town. This has to be a good thing – Bexhill has been teetering on moving from being a rather genteel seaside town towards becoming more than a little bit shabby. It still has its less-salubrious areas (Sidley has to be in danger of falling into this category), but we got the distinct impression that the town is on its way up. And, in combination with the wonderfully-revived Pallant House in Chichester and all the usual wonderful things in Brighton and Hove, the Sussex coast is becoming more of an arts destination by the day.
View from the DLWP
As you look out over the English Channel from the De La Warr Pavilion, you’ll probably see some ships, yachts, dinghies, windsurfers and the odd fishing craft making their way up and down and across the water.
Then, on the horizon, you might spot something that looks a little odd.
Watch it for a while and you’ll notice that, unlike the other craft that you can see, it isn’t moving. Take a closer look.
What the heck is that?
Well, the clue is just to your right at the Sovereign Light Café. You’re looking at the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, which, remarkably, guides ships around some particularly unpleasant shoals with nothing more than a 35 watt halogen lamp, presumably not much different from those security lamps that you can get from B&Q. So, if you’re planning to build your own lighthouse at home, all you need is a suitable concave mirror to focus the beam and a security lamp, and Robert is your Mum’s brother.
As for the lighthouse, it’s been rented out (click for nice piccies). Apparently, Trinity House considered switching it off as modern craft have satnav and GPS or whatever and don’t really need the lighthouse to find their way around the shoals. Except that they realised that, if they switched it off, there would be this huge concrete thing in the middle of the Channel that might be a bit of a hazard to shipping. So, there it stays, flashing away every 20 seconds, night and day, 365 days a year.
Monday 7 July 2008
links for 2008-07-07
Splendidly-extended gallery with amazing collection and great visiting exhibitions. And a good café too.
Yes! Do it! Do it now!
Sunday 13 July 2008
On being a terrible parent
We’ve just got back from a few days on the Isle of Wight, of which more later.
After one particularly windy day of exploring and wandering, we arrived back at our lodging and noticed that Pedro was missing. Pedro is/was Tom’s toy donkey and was a gift from a friend. We thought hard about where we had last seen Pedro and decided that it must have been at a National Trust garden that we visited. It being the early evening, we decided it was too late to call, so I called first thing the next day (Friday). Unfortunately the garden is closed on Fridays and Saturdays (hello? why??), but I’ve been promised that someone will get back to me tomorrow.
Tom hadn’t noticed the absence of Pedro, but last night the penny finally dropped. We had tears and wailing and “where’s Pedroooooooo???”. I felt utterly awful – I do my best to keep track of Tom’s belongings, but clearly this got missed. We appeased Tom with a story that Pedro had gone to visit his donkey friends, although he saw through that and Hels explained that we’d lost him and were doing the best we could to track him down.
Today we bought a new donkey. £2.99 in Morrisons. He’s not the same, but Tom seems happy. For now.
Thank goodness it wasn’t Miffy. Now that would have been a real disaster and simply doesn’t bear thinking about.
UPDATE: I had to call the National Trust in the end. No sign of Pedro I, but it seems that Tom is already very attached to Pedro II.
Wednesday 16 July 2008
links for 2008-07-16
Shout it loud – these bank accounts are not free. My father has had a bee in his bonnet for years about the disparity between the interest he earns on his credit balance compared to the earnings the bank makes on his money.
Thursday 17 July 2008
links for 2008-07-17
Red Post Office rubber bands look like fat juicy worms. So pick them up!
Friday 18 July 2008
links for 2008-07-18
When I’m rich (and hopefully not famous), I might upgrade my office to one of these buildings. I particularly like the shelters with the oak branches forming the supports – I can visualize an office with a veranda built this way.
Article on public toilets in the Netherlands. Non-Dutch people tend to expect a correlation between paying a fee and cleanliness, but no such correlation exists in my experience.
Saturday 19 July 2008
links for 2008-07-19
1.9 K. Pretty cold. And remember – the world will not end when they switch this thing on.
Sunday 20 July 2008
links for 2008-07-20
We need more blues in our music collection and this seems a good place to start.
Fantastic, particularly the music.
Monday 21 July 2008
links for 2008-07-21
Apparently, these chaps have £27m to spend. Need to investigate.
Tuesday 22 July 2008
links for 2008-07-22
Polythene covered tunnel structures for the trade. Might need one of these.
Wednesday 23 July 2008
links for 2008-07-23
This year, for the first time in, oh, eons, we’re actually going to get our tubby butts down to Arundel for the Trail. Yay!
Monday 28 July 2008
links for 2008-07-28
How to write a CV that works when applying for work in another country.
A new search engine. I just entered the following search terms: “graybo”; “grayblog”; “plants for europe”; “nemesia amelie” – all turned up “no search results found”. Nil points to Cuil.
See, it’s not all doom and gloom.
Quick! Rush out NOW and buy property!
Handy calculator for foreign exchange rates between most major currencies for any day going back to 1990.
Wednesday 30 July 2008
links for 2008-07-30
The market in NL is flat, but not in decline yet. Rather like the south-east of England, ultimately simple rules of supply and demand will stop house prices falling far.