Archive for February, 2009

Open Streetmap completed for Brum

Podnosh brings the welcome news that Birmingham is now completely mapped on the Open Streetmap… “Today Birmingham takes another huge step to becoming a digital city. The metropolitan area of Birmingham and its environs within the motorway ring have been completely digitally remapped by its own citizens in a format which is freely editable and […]

Cultural History of British Pantomime

Fancy spending three years at Birmingham University writing about the cultural history of British pantomime? There’s an AHRC-funded (£381,000) three-year project starting up, titled “A Cultural History of British Pantomime, 1837-1901” — and they need a scholarly researcher. Breaks like this come along very rarely in the arts and humanities… “There are some 12,000 research-active […]

New journal

My full-text Journal of the Imaginary and Fantastic. Think of it as a cross between a remix album, and ‘fantasy football’ for academics.

Virtual Worlds, Real Money

The European Union has released a position paper on virtual worlds and MMO videogames, titled Virtual Worlds, Real Money: Security and Privacy in Massively-Multiplayer Online Games and Social and Corporate Virtual Worlds (PDF link). It doesn’t address taxing them, yet. But I have an uneasy feeling that the recommendations are ultimately aimed at “fattening the […]

When forums meet

The Producers’ Forum is hooking up with Animation Forum West Midlands, for an appropriately-titled “Convergence Networking Evening” at The Light House in Wolverhampton. 19th February 09, from 7pm. Although there are “only 30 places available”, for some unknown reason — yet the Light House can easily host far more.

Handsworth Songs

The excellent 60-minute film Handsworth Songs (John Akomfrah & Black Audio Film Collective; 1986) is now available on YouTube, although taken from an old VHS tape of a Channel 4 broadcast in the late 1980s. Group photo at the post-premiere toasting of the film in 1986. Photo: By Derek Bishton, now in the collection of […]


Beautiful valvepunk crafts by Mike Rivamonte, who makes robots from recycled materials…

Snow games

A blogger at The Guardian rounds up a selection of the greatest “snow” videogames. But he missed one of the very best — UT2004‘s Onslaught: Arctic Stronghold. And the major Morrowind expansion-pack Bloodmoon, set on the snowy island of Solstheim, is also a prime candidate.

4IP got serious

Well, they kept this one quiet. Apparently yesterday there was a “4iP funding and networking event at the Serious Games Institute, Coventry”. Oh well. Better marketing, next time.

Insects in pictures

Insects in children’s picture books, an online gallery… “Illustrations in children’s books encourage little readers to identify with furry creatures, as Beatrix Potter, Fabulist shows. But insects, with their compound eyes, antennae, wings, and three pairs of legs, are frequently represented in ways that provoke fear, disgust, and annoyance, with the notable exception of books […]

Thursday afternoon

Brian Eno’s “Thursday Afternoon” (1984), now available online for free.

Emma Hardiker

Deliciously buyable prints by Birmingham’s Emma Hardicker — possibly a perfect ‘room freshener’ to add to someone’s forthcoming spring-cleaning. Or you could get kinky and nip down to London and pick up Colin Corbett’s photos of decorated jockstraps for your wall. The Bridget Jones generation equivalent of a stuffed animal head on the wall?

Times ‘a changing

Congratulations to Joanna Geary — regular readers will know her as the dynamic young mind at The Birmingham Post —who’s off to join The Times in London. She’s the new web development editor at the Times… “… The Times is a phenomenally exciting opportunity for me and, in very many ways, my dream job. I’ll […]

Google Earth v5

The free Google Earth v5.0 is out now, allowing you to fly back in time (sadly without any TARDIS sound-effects), dive under the earth’s ocean and explore the seabed, or even rove around the surface of Mars. There’s also a useful recordable “tour mode” (not video) that lets you make and share tours in Google […]


Search 951 academic and scholarly ejournals in the arts & humanities, with Jurn (beta)… The majority are full-text journals, freely available and in English. The closed “paid-for” journals (on Muse, Sage, Blackwell, Intellect, etc) are not indexed. Nor are the “buffet style” article-banks such as and similar. As far as I can tell, this […]

In the Realm of the Censors

The Light House in Wolverhampton is holding a free afternoon event titled “In the Realm of the Censors”, on 2nd March 2009 from 2pm… “An insight into the workings of the British Board of Film Classification, the regulatory body responsible for classifying films, videos and some video games in the United Kingdom. Hosted by Ian […]

Wainwright in Stoke

Martin Wainwright of The Guardian goes into rhapsodies about Stoke-on-Trent, after a visit here… “Go there. Work there. Build your factory there.” All true, but then I guess he didn’t stay long enough to get acquainted with our appalling local Council.

International Journal of Role-Playing

Just published: the first issue of the open ejournal International Journal of Role-Playing, including an article on the Elder Scrolls game Oblivion.

Isolated Atoms

Isolated Atoms, a Black Country electrorock band. They recently broadcast a live session on Radio WM (listen again), and the first E.P. is on sale now for a peasly £3 via PayPal. If I were asked to describe the live sound I’d say: the illicit love-child of a liason between Kate Bush and early Cure, […]

Hunt the stamp

Birmingham’s Hunt Emerson has created two collectable ‘first day covers’ for the Royal Mail postage-stamp sets that celebrate: “Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution” (issue date: 17th March 09), and “Charles Darwin’s 200th Anniversary” (issue date: 12th February 09)…