Archive for the ‘Stoke-on-Trent’ Category

Postcards from Stoke

A new photoblog, Postcards from Stoke showing vintage picture postcards from Stoke and across north and mid Staffordshire (and the nearby Peak and the bits of Cheshire bordering Staffordshire).

Rural Staffordshire is not declining

It’s often rather casually assumed that rural places everywhere around the world are in deep decline, and I heard the same story again on a recent podcast. It’s an easy and slipshod elite metropolitical explanation for recent populist votes — “oh, those old rural yokels, in declining places, everyone leaves, only the dumb racists are […]

Dull Brum

A stunning level of boring uniformity and dullness was on show to the press yesterday, as Birmingham’s bosses officially backed the Coventry bid for City of Culture. Expect better odds on the gritty bid from Stoke-on-Trent as the winner of City of Culture, from today.

A Midlands Engine mis-fire

Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace appears to favour Coventry for City of Culture, while forgetting about the equally major bid by the West Midlands city of Stoke-on-Trent… “Sir John said the Midlands is readying itself for a “golden decade” which will include the arrival of HS2 in 2026. Birmingham has also put its name […]

Middle Earth, a major Tolkien biopic

I’m pleased to hear that a very major Birmingham / Staffordshire movie is going ahead. Directed by James Strong (Downton Abbey), Middle Earth will explore Tolkien’s early life, his romance with Edith Bratt, and the loss of nearly all his friends in the war. The screenwriter will be Angus Fletcher, and The Lord of the […]

Moanbook

The perils of keyword-based affinity algorithms: Facebook thinks that lots of my acquaintances like Stoke-on-Trent City Council, therefore I should start a Facebook group for them. I know better, looking at the top candidates for membership of such a group. Talking about the Council doesn’t mean they like it, quite the opposite in fact.

Kenneth Clark

Wonderful to see that there’s a major new biography of the great Kenneth Clark, Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation. Country Life has a review of the book. The review gives a nice anecdote about the impact of Clark’s magnificent Civilisation series, on art appreciation in Stoke-on-Trent… “Even when the programmes were first broadcast, in […]

Karen Bradley, new Culture Secretary

Very good news that a local West Midlands MP, Karen Bradley MP (Staffordshire Moorlands), has been appointed as the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. She’s based in the north of the West Midlands, just north-east of Stoke-on-Trent. Here’s my quick 60-minute ‘instant analysis’, for what it’s worth… Bradley grew up seeing […]

Nine days after Leave

Nine days on from the vote to Leave, I thought I’d try to sum up what has happened that actually matters: * The Vote. In the largest vote in British history, the people voted to leave the EU. The Leave results were in middle-class as well as working-class areas, deeply rural as well as urban […]

About those ‘Euro billions’…

My local newspaper The Sentinel is reporting today that Stoke-on-Trent… “may miss out on £157m of European cash” from the 2014-2020 funding round. That’s a paltry £22m per year. It’ll be easily replaced… “… the West Midlands paid in £3.55 [to the EU] for every pound it gets back [in European grants]” — said by […]

The Leave vote in the West Midlands: an infographic

Here’s my quick re-tabulation of the BBC local results, to show only the West Midlands. It demonstrates the ‘Leave’ vote surging across rural and metropolitan areas alike, in what was the biggest popular vote in British history. Of course, some are already trying to re-frame the narrative on the vote — feebly squeaking about voters […]

“O brave new world…”

“O brave new world, that has such people in it!” — Shakespeare, The Tempest.

The Bluedot Festival

The famous Jodrell Bank telescope, located 15 miles north of Stoke-on-Trent on the Cheshire plain, is to be home to a major new three-day festival on 22nd-24th July 2016. Electronic music maestro Jean-Michel Jarre will headline the event’s music stage, along with Air, Underworld and Caribou — with Brian Eno doing projection-mapping onto the iconic […]

Cat Hampurr

Stoke-on-Trent based cat subscription company Cat Hampurr. A different cat, boxed and delivered to your door each month. No… it’s not actually quite as cool as that. They actually send you a monthly box of tempting kittie-nibbles and feline fun stuff.

The new White Paper on Culture

The government’s new Culture White Paper has just been published. Here’s my quick summary of points which seem relevant to the West Midlands, and which were not raised in the recent budget speech… * “A new cultural citizens programme [to] be led by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund [which] will reach across […]

Budget round-up for creatives

A round-up some of the key points from today’s Budget speech in Parliament, likely to be of interest to creatives and small businesses… * There will be tax-breaks for museums and galleries which devise and tour major new touring exhibitions. No details, but presumably it will work in the same way as existing help for […]

Local robo-journalism

A classic example of how not to do robo-journalism… wrong categories, no evidence of human curation (other than the appaling header graphic), several jobs are actually out of the area and on others the deadlines have passed.

Inside the Spode factory

Inside the Spode factory, Stoke-on-Trent, 26th September 2015:

L.S. Lowry and Arthur Berry: observers of urban life

The major show L.S. Lowry and Arthur Berry: observers of urban life premieres at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, until 10th January 2015 (£5).

The insect hotel of Uttoxeter

A super new ‘insect hotel’ is due to open very soon at Uttoxeter in North Staffordshire. A very nice bit of garden/architectural/eco design.