Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The doors of perception?

Why is it that an open gate is more inviting than a closed gate? Surely the difference must be within our own minds, maybe it's to do with our conceptions of what we find attractive or welcoming.

I noticed several of these paradoxes on the way home today:

a long garden wall, half painted white and the other half delapidated. It would be interesting to ask people which side they were most attracted to - maybe the answer is a clue to the type of person we are. What about the place where the two halves meet?

an imposing house with a friendly open gate on an adjoining wall. The house says keep out but the gate says come in.

a long wooden fence that changed in appearence every few feet. Part of it was broken, there was a tree growing out of it, there was some spray can grafitti, part of it was bowed and old looking. If I had taken photos of each section and displayed them seperately it would be hard to believe that they were of the same fence and each section would elicit it's own unique response from the viewer.

This led me to thinking about front doors. I am definitely attracted more to front doors of a certain colour. If I was pushed on it it I would say that my favourite colour for a front door is pillar box red. This is not because it's the colour of my door, mine is dark blue. I just find a red door more friendly and inviting - maybe because it's a warm colour, I don't know but I don't feel the same way about other warm colours like orange and yellow. It is not because my childhood front door was this colour (the first house we lived in had a light blue door and the second was orange (although it may have had a dark red stint).

I looked at a lot of doors on the way home. I found that:
1. Red doors were definitely the most inviting
2. Blue was probably my second choice of door colour
3. I would never paint a front door green, it just doesn't seem to look right.
4. Dark wood or dark brown feels formal and imposing and it doesn't make me feel like getting to know it's owner.
5. I quite liked the one yellow door that I saw but it is rare choice of front door colour.
6. White and black doors just leave me cold, I don't dislike them but I don't like them either.
7. Unpainted metal doors make a house loook slightly dilapidated even if they are relatively new.
8. I did not see any pink, orange or purple doors.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

In Stereo

I am just listening to the new Colplay album "X and Y" at my friend D's house and am thoroughly enjoying it, but what it has made me realise that maybe the reason that I do not listen to so much music these days is that my stereo is not good enough. D has the old fashioned type of stereo, seperate CD player, amplifier, tape deck and record deck - and most importantly good speakers. It could also be because I can't play music loud at my house but I think that it is plain and simple - it just does not sound even half so good on my stereo.

Well if this is the case all my supposition about age, busyness etc could be completely wrong. Maybe we are less likely to listen to a lot of music if it doesn't sound so good. I certainly wouldn't say that it sounds bad on the stereo that my mum bought for me, but it just does not have that richness of sound that D's system has. Hmm I will have to listen to Ray Lamontagne next and see how that sounds

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Pretty in Pink?

This is a blog about pink. Pink is ok in fact I quite like pink under the right circumstances, But today everything is pink and it is beginning to get on my nerves.

Let me explain, today I went shoppping with the sole aim of buying some clothes for a very important party that I am going to on Wednesday. I must have gone in twenty shops and could I find anything that I liked or that looked even passably good on? No I couldn't and in part that was because at least three quarters of the clothes in the shops at the moment are pink, and not just powder pink or pale pink (although that would be bad enough) but bright dayglo pink. Dayglo pink is not a bad colour, it can and does look good on some things (stationery, hair and cushions for example) but it is dubious to say the least when made into clothes. It either washes you out, makes your complexion look yellow or makes you look red in the face. There are very few people who can wear it and look good and most of them are under 12 years old.

I can only surmise that pink is the new black!

Ladybird Books

For some reason I woke up this morning thinking about Ladybird Books. My sister and I had an extensive collection between us. Some of them were traditional stories like The princess and The Pea and Beuty and the Beast and others were stories featuring (usually naughty) animals like Smoke and Fluff or Lost at the Fair. What set me off was the Story of Chicken Licken.

Books that I can remember
Chicken Licken
Smoke and Fluff
Lost at The Fair
Bunnikins Picnic party
The Magic Porridge Pot
The Little Red Hen
Beauty and The Beast
Goldilocks and The Three Bears
Piggly plays Traunt
The First Day of the Holidays
The Princess and the pea
Bunny's first Birthday
The Bunny Fluffs Moving Day
Gingers Adventures
Ned the Lonely Donkey
Mr Badger to the Rescue
Snow White and Rose Red
Alfred the Great
What to Look for in Summer

and I'm sure there were many more. My favourites were Lost at the Fair (about a mouse who goes to the fair, has a ride on an elephant and because he is greedy tries to pick a big acorn and is left hanging in a tree) Smoke and Fluff (about some naughty kittens and what they get up to whilst their mum is out at the shops - especially memorable for the bit where they knock off a policemans helmet with a mop) and The First Day of the Holidays (two naughty penguins who are supposed to be shelling peas steal a motorbike!). I'm sure there are a great many of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s who had our personalities moulded (or warped?!) by rteading Ladybird books.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Music on the Brain

I find it fascinating the way that the human brain seems to change as we get older. One symtom of this for me (and some of my friends) is our capacity for listening to music. Music ruled my life when I was younger, I lived to listen to music. I bought Melody Maker and NME faithfully, I spent all my spare cash on records and tapes, I scoured car boot sales for rarities and I spent night after night lying on the living room floor with my head positioned between the stereo speakers. And I had a proper stereo in those days - you know the kind that you buy in seperate bits - not the ugly space age monstrosities we have now that can't manage to play a record to the end without switching themselves off (that's it they have a record player at all!). And the music, I went through the obligatory phases of youth - punk, new wave, heavy rock, prog. rock, folk- just about everything you can think of really, and through all those phases that came and went I had my steady favourites: David Bowie, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, The clash, Roy Harper, John Martyn, PInk Floyd to name but a few.

So what happened, well for a start LIFE. I had a child, went to college, worked - in short got busy. Does that explain why my capacity for listening to music is less these days? Is my brain to busy with all the things I have to remember? Is it that TV is such a soporific that it stops you doing anything that might stimulate your brain? Could it be that when I am filling my creative space up with art and literature that there is just no space left for music? Or is it just plain old getting older? Or of course there could be some other completely different reason.

I do know though that as well as listening to less music, I also have a smaller capacity for new music than I used to and I am drawn more and more to nostalgic music, the music of my youth and I have found myself downloading anything from AC/DC and Black Sabbath to the Thompson Twins and Ultravox. I worry that this is a sign of things to come and I might turn into one of those difficult old folks who repeats the same stories over and over about how things were different when we were young.

Still on the bright side I have listened to some good music whilst writing this and have even bought two new CDs this week so things are definitely looking up!

On todays playlist:
Number nine Dream - John Lennon
51st State of America - New Model Army
Summertime - Fun Boy Three
Wish you Were Here - Pink Floyd
Lovely to See you Again My Friend - Moody Blues
You're Beautiful - James Blunt
Dub be Good to Me - Faithless
Dancing with Tears in My Eyes - Ultravox
The Wombles Theme

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Haven't blogged for a while as I have been so busy preparing for the END OF YEAR SHOW!!! The private view was last night and I think that it went well. Will just have to wait and see how I do in the assessment now.

Well down to more serious business. today I listened to The new album by Ian Broudie (formerly of the Lightning Seeds) "Tales Told". I had acquired this CD a week or more ago and had been saving the first listening as one might a save a special chocolate or bottle of wine, waiting for just the right moment to savor it's delicacy. Imagine my disappointment - I have only listened to it once but so far I don't like it!!! I have loved the Lightning Seeds for years even when noone else did. I went to see them at UEA Norwich just after they released their last album "Tilt" and they were absolutely brilliant and I have been waiting longinly for them to release another album.

Tale Told is mostly accoustic, which in itself is no bad thing, but where as Ians songs are usually upbeat and funny this new crop are slow and dirgeful. I am can only surmise that Ian is going through some kind of crisis or depression, well I still love him and I hope he feels better soon but another album like this one and I might have to reassess my allegience

You can listen to Tales told here and decide for yourself.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Blog Dylan

I was reading an article about Bob Dylan and the author was saying that the song "Oh Sister" was about a man and wife and was the father god. Well pardon me but I always took the words to that song literally and thought it was about incest. Anyway whatever it is about I believe it to be one of Dylan's finest the combination of his voice and that of Emmylou Harris is just sublime. My top 5 Dylan songs of all time are:

1. Oh Sister
2. You're gonna make me lonesome when you go
3. Knockin on Heavens Door
4. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)
5. Changing of the Guards

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

out for a stroll Posted by Hello

out for a stroll Posted by Hello

What a tool

Well here I am, I have just won three games of scrabble on the net, had a bottle of beer and am feeling fairly chilled out. Today has been hectic - mounting work for the end of year show and sadly despite all my talk of feminism yesterday I found myself to sadly incompetent with an electric drill and power saw (or scared?) and allowed the put upon and invaluable MALE technician to saw my wood and drill my holes. However after looking at this video of scantily clad women using power tools I feel proud to be incompetent.

Was sad to hear today that the part time access to art and design course that I have been doing is AXED after this year, apparently the government is focusing on 16 -19 year olds. Well that's all very well but it's a bit short sighted, not all 16 - 19 year olds succeed in education the first time round if they don't have supportive families and surely the government should be encouraging adults who are in low paid jobs or on benefits to get qualified and get better jobs so we might be better able to pay our kids university fees and support ourselves in our old age - they are after all often banging on about the aging population and the burden on the welfare state.

On a lighter note maybe we should make Bodger (and badger) the next prime minister. I think that Tony Blair is looking more and more like him the longer he is in office - having badger and mousie round for a mashed potato fight might make him lighten up a bit and stop acing like such an a***! All togther now :
Everybody knows, Badger loves...MASH POTATOES!He makes them into shapes and eats them every-day!
Bodger and Badger, Bodger and Badger.La, La, La, La-lah,La, La, La, La-lah
Bodger and Badger are never far away.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Rude Rude Rude

Why do we live in a such a rude society. Is it because we are just living our lives too fast? Are we bringing our children up to be ill-mannered and foul mouthed? Whatever the causes rudeness is on the increase and not just in the UK, I found this article about the increase of rudeness ib American society. There are some books on the subject that have been published recently but I am too rude to read them.


I have never been hugely into feminism. Not that I haven't lived the life of a "liberated" woman (worn trousers, voted, worked, pushed trucks, hitchhiked, etc..), it's just that I haven't felt the need to be a flag-waving, bra-burning, man hating, over the top kind of feminist.

Don't get me wrong I have always been a bit of a political animal, I marched with CND, held hands round Greenham common, rocked against racism, spoke at the Labour party women's conference (that was a long time ago!), dropped out, turned on (or was it off?) and tuned in! But in the 80's I didn't feel the need to be a feminist - we had a female prime minister for chrissakes.

Germaine greer is telling us that we need feminism now as much as ever and I found myself agreeing with her. Nowadays though, I don't think it's men that are the problem but the amount that is expected of women.

I first started to notice it when I became a parent, and then a single parent. Women are expected to work, take care of the kids, provide the meals, do the housework, shop and look sexy and if all that wasn't enough women with kids are discriminated against in the workplace. We are penalised for having time off when the kids are ill when in fact we are just being good parents - I used to work in a nursery and know how miserable it is for those children whose parents bring them in knowing they are unwell because they have too get to an important meeting. The other side of that coin is parents like me who work in a part time job so they can be there for their children - we are poorly paid and undervalued, we earn no national insurance credits and are not entitled to sick pay, redundancy pay or maternity allowance.

And it's worse for single parents we are expected to be both mother and father to our kids, do all the work of the household with no help and are put under extra pressure to return to full time work as soon as possible. The irony is that if we do, our children will become latchkey kids with noone at home to look out for them and a high chance of going off the rails. The reality is that it is very hard to be a good parent if you are a single parent working full time (unless of course you have a fantastically supportive family living round the corner). You have to put your kids in before and after school care, pick them up at 6 when you are all knackered, and at the weekend you spend all your time trying to catch up with the things you didn't have time for during the week - like cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping etc...

I think that society needs to take the pressure off women a bit....if that's not too radical

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Celebrity Voting

Have found myself wondering today why the U.K. has such culture of celebrity. There I was innocently waiting for Dr Who to start and what am I confronted with but the end of a programme called "Strictly Come Dancing" From what I can gather a bunch of wanna be dancers compete in ballroom style dances and are voted for by the public until one (or a couple?) of them are the champions and along the way some of them get lucky breaks - in the bit we saw a girl was given a part in a show as a professional dancer. Then last night there was of course dear old "Big Brother", this year they seem to be a bunch of absolute no-hopers although who knows maybe they will grow on us...

When I was young (and doesn't that make me sound old) a lot of us did aspire to be famous, but those aspirations were firmly attached to the idea of earning it in some way - becoming a pop star, famous artist, politician, racing driver, actress etc. These days though the younger generation just seems to aspire to be famous - famous just for fames sake. It's all about getting on tv, getting in the papers, getting off with someone famous, winning the lottery etc. It's like we have built a society where we all want something for nothing, noone wants to work for it anymore and tv does it's utmost to perpetuate this state of affairs with programmes such as Big Brother, Paris Hilton's Road Trip and The Simple Life (truly one of the most awful programmes of all time - I would be so embaressed if they were MY kids, they are so foul!) - kids just see these programmes where people get money thrown at them for behaving badly and of course they wanna do the same. There are Nicole and Paris tiptoing through the mud in their high hells going ewww this farm work is so gross, and all the kids in the real world think yes why should I have to to do that work if they don't.

Well in my opinion everyone should do some hard work in their lives. It grounds you for a start, it gives you an appreciation of where money comes from and what it means to REALLY earn it. I was recently appalled by an American mother on Wife Swap who was retching because she had to clean a toilet - well welcome to the real world - why shouldn't she clean the lav - she takes a crap doesn't she? or don't rich people go to the toilet like the rest of us? I have done some hard work in my time and I am proud of that - if I ever buy asparagus I appreciate it even more because I know how hard those women work who pick it.

And while I'm having a rant want about this fad for voting on everything. Every other Tv programme including the news(!?) asks you to phone in and vote about something, every magazine you pick up has a poll. It seems we are a country that's voting crazy - well if that's so how do you explain our poor turn out at election time. Maybe the government should introduce a new system of telephone voting or if you have digital tv just press the red button........Click on the word voting above for a fun voting site!