Archive for May, 2008

The Mary Whitehouse experience

Mary Whitehouse’s son, who was a BIAD art student and is now a silversmith, speaks about life with his famous mother, the Wolverhampton art teacher turned evangelical anti-smut campaigner … “In my work, as a creative person, I loved going against traditional forms, pushing boundaries and moving forward. How could I support my mother working […]

A helikon of a noise

Andrew Barker, a historian at the University of Birmingham, has reconstructed the first working eight-stringed helikon… He apparently recreated it from a description in Ptolemy’s 2nd-century Harmonics, a work which fed directly into our own early medieval ideas about music. He made the instrument mainly in order to refine his understanding of some aspects of […]

Custard in containers

The off-Custard Factory shipping container project opens to the public on Thursday (29th May 08). Clearing the buddleia bushes from the overgrown site. On a similar ‘secret garden’ theme, what seems to be the largest and most serious “build it and they will come” sculptural art show is now ready for visitors in Second Life, […]

At the Light House

Sandwell College’s HND Photography students have an end-of-course show at The Light House in Wolverhampton (11th to 27th June 08), and have set up a WordPress blog for the occasion.


Rich Press‘s photo-essay on the young robot-building nerds of New York…

Alton Towers bans PDAs

The privately-owned Alton Towers theme park, located in the north of the West Midlands, is banning PDAs and (presumably) other similar gadgets. I can see most dads happily using the policy as an excuse to disengage from work for a few hours, and simply leaving the device in the car. Not sure about the mums, […]

Cable cars

This seems like an incredibly-obvious idea for how to do intuitive satnav in cars — make the top of the windscreen into a screen, with just the simplest form of peripheral interface… “We actually made a map of the country on a scale of a mile to a mile!” “Have you used it much?” I […]


The new MT9 file-format sounds very fab. Don’t like the cliched/whiny vocals on an MP3 track? Turn them off with the flick of a button. “A new file format that offers separate volume controls for each musical instrument, such as guitar, drum, base and voice, is being considered as a new Internet standard. The new […]

Sparkling shorts

Well, I never knew that the BIAD School of Jewellery runs a wide range of short public courses through the year — see the 2008 brochure (PDF link, 1.2Mb) for details.

60% rise in train fares into the West Midlands

Interesting. A rail ticketing expert, and writer for Rail magazine, has been digging into the new train fare structures. What he’s found is that the cost of early-morning travel into and out of the West Midlands region is set to rise by around 60%… “Until now Saver tickets could be used on all long-distance journeys. […]


Ignite is a group… “…of fourteen West Midlands based photographers who aim to showcase their work to new audiences, network and share experience and collaborate to develop new work opportunities. If you would like to join the group, their meetings take place on the last Thursday of every month from 4pm to 6pm, prior to […]

The Rhubarb is ready to be picked

Rhubarb is ready to be picked… “The Rhubarb Team is delighted to announce that bookings for the 2008 edition are now being taken. Get in there quick, as it’s already proving to be selling fast…” There are also two seminars/workshops, one of them affordable: The Value of the Image (£30 — 1pm, 31st July 08) […]

Ask Betty

Bettyblog offers a concise guide to the money-flow within the gig scene in Birmingham… “…it’s time to lift the lid on the mechanics of how it all works. It can go from almost pyramid sales techniques to pure music lovers in the space of a gig and the last two gigs have encapsulated both extremes […]

Running aground

London gets the fab Telectroscope, while Birmingham makes do with, er… a few deckchairs and a bit of a ship… About as exciting as changing a manhole cover.


  Series on a dark background…


  Series on a dark background…

Brumcast 99: “Offend Everyone”

The tireless Gary Hunter and Little Chris of Brumcast reach tape/pod-thing No.99: “Offend Everyone”. Stand by for the glorious No.100, with the probability of it being the faves from the last two years. Absolutely worth bunging them £5 via their handy PayPay button.

Philip Hunter

Superb visions of the Wimmera sea-shore, by Australian painter Philip Hunter… There’s a lot more on the website. They’re on show in a gallery now and, unsurprisingly, have all sold at high prices. There’s a podcast interview here.

National Coastal Path steps forward

I’ve blogged before about the excellent idea of a national right-to-roam coastal path… “2,500 miles long and ten yards wide, snaking and wriggling its way around the coast of England, along cliff and shore, through shingle and sand, across dunes and around inlets.” Now, it seems, there’s been some progress… “Natural England, the Government’s countryside […]

No-so yummy mummies

Apparently the prudish spirit of Mrs Whitehouse is