Archive for September, 2009

Belbroughton scarecrow festival

Flickr users cover the Belbroughton scarecrow festival, near Stourbridge.

Independence within the state funding of art

A short report by Christopher Madden examines the various levels of independence within the state funding of art — The Independence of Government Arts Funding (July 2009). Part of the free D’Art Topics in Arts Policy series.

Mayfair snaps

Birmingham’s Snap photography gallery opened a new branch a few days ago — in Mayfair, London.

Sketchbooks in Schools

Sketchbooks in Schools… They’re now looking for submissions from other areas of creative practice (e.g. jewellery makers, crafts makers, set designers, games designers, furniture and fashion designers etc), but also from other professions such as poets and writers, chefs, to gardeners, to builders, woodworkers, and business managers. Interested? Send an email to: , with the […]

Digital District do

Birmingham’s Digital District has an initial consultation session on Wed 14th October 2009…. “This seminar will provide an early opportunity for policy makers and stakeholders from Birmingham and the West Midlands to quiz other major European cities that are further along the journey in developing their own digital district. This dialogue will inform Birmingham’s policy […]

MagCloud open to people in the UK

Last year Hewlett Packard launched MagCloud, a print-on-demand service for magazines, as a closed invitation-only service. It appears to work like Lulu, allowing the upload of a PDF created from any layout software. It’s now an open public service, and they’ve added UK shipping. If you want to produce your magazines ‘at cost’, then it’s […]


Ambient with a difference. The greatest tape loops of Throbbing Gristle, in a palm-sized speaker assemblage that allows tweaking of volume control, pitch-shift and loop selection.

Flickr sets of the Staffordshire hoard

The Portable Antiquities Scheme has a fine Flickr set of photos showing the recently-discovered Staffordshire hoard of Anglo-Saxon artefacts. Daniel Buxton also has a nice Flickr set set of close-up images of the hoard, as does Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.


I’m a big fan of Cool Edit Pro 2.0 for audio recording and editing on an XP netbook (it was so good that Adobe bought it and re-branded it as Adobe Audition), but it’s always useful to know there’s free web-based audio-editing software out there. Such as Myna, which has apparently just launched. Download Squad […]


Henry Hemming, author of the recent In Search of the English Eccentric, is writing a new book on the wealth of voluntary independent clubs, informal groups, and societies that exist throughout the British Isles. The research for the book, which will be titled Club and published in Spring 2011, has been going on since early […]


A new community-generated version of Birmingham City Council’s new website — scraped, stripped, flipped, and garnished with a liberal sprinkling of plug-in services.

Birmingham in 3D in Google Earth

At last, in the latest version of the free Google Earth… Birmingham in wonderful 3D… Auto-generated from a cleaned-up LiDAR model of the city-centre? Who made it? Not the maker of the video, it seems — he’s just showing us what he found. My guess would be a LiDAR mapping team? Or the team in […]

Sweet skirts

Birmingham’s Still Ben has an exhibition of his skirt photos in a sweet shop.

Capital Mash

“Photography & Mash search daily for London photography exhibitions and events so you don’t have to.”

Bing bunged

What a shame. I was really getting to like Bing, Microsoft’s new search-engine. Primarily based on its seemingly excellent ability to suppress crufty sites (recruitment, generic sales, dubious galleries selling mass-produced prints, etc) and keep them off the first few results pages. No more, it seems. They’re obviously tweaked the algorithm, and Bing now seems […]

Pigeons as art critics

Pigeons do art criticism… “Watanabe showed children’s paintings to pigeons; a panel of adults had deemed each work either good or bad. He trained the pigeons to distinguish between them with a system of tasty rewards. When the pigeons pecked correctly, he gave them some seed. Later, he presented 10 paintings to the birds they […]

Jaggy city

£2.8 million on the new Birmingham City Council website and they can’t get the main logo right? It’s on every page. Any amateur Photoshop user could have done better. Just look at this (enlarged by a third so you can more clearly see the horrible jaggies)… Not exactly an advert for a city with a […]

A four-step guide to cleaning the WordPress attack

Cleaning the mass WordPress attack that happened over the weekend, on old installs of WordPress… 1. Manually upgrade to the latest WordPress 2.8.4. Once you’ve finished, go to your WordPress dashboard, and open up Settings / Permalinks. Set Permalinks back to default or whatever you used before (Google if you can’t remember how your […]

Apple O/S now defaults to Windows gamma

Nice. Apparently, with Apple’s latest Snow Kittee O/S, Mac users can now see the Web’s photos and colours in the same way the rest of us see them… “Apple has switched to a default gamma of 2.2, which is what Windows has used for years.”

Big Bumper Book of Comic Interviews

A Big Bumper Book of Comic Interviews! And it’s free. The 300-page PDF (6Mb) collects together the interviews of Alan David Doane with creators such as Dave Sim, Howard Chaykin, Harvey Pekar, Barry Windsor-Smith, and many others.