Archive for September, 2010

The Derby Philosophers

A substantial new monograph on Midlands history, just published from Manchester University Press. The Derby Philosophers: Science and Culture in British Urban Society, 1700-1850 also draws in other notable Midlands Enlightenment men from Shrewsbury, North Staffordshire, Birmingham, etc. The book is described as the… “history of the English provincial scientific culture […] focuses upon the […]

Return to PrairyErth

A new feature-length documentary film has recently premiered in the USA, Return to Prairyerth. It’s based on the place featured in William Least-Heat Moon’s Prairyerth: a deep map (1991), one of my favourite books… “The movie examines the Flint Hills through four seasons and the changes Heat-Moon has seen […] since first writing his book”.

Music for Games

Music for Games, 17 musical tinkerings under a Creative Commons Attribution, ShareAlike licence. Download here (70mb .zip file containing: 17 x .mp3 files, artwork and Creative Commons notice).

Digital academic publishing

My quick report from the Birmingham City University meeting on digital academic publishing (Mon 6th Sept 2010), which I attended with my JURN hat on. It’s not a blow-by-blow account, and it just picks out some points that personally struck me as interesting.

Anthologize alpha

Anthologize turns your familiar WordPress blog into a platform for the production of an ebook. Funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities. Output formats include… “PDF, ePub, and TEI, an open XML format for storage and exchange.”

Traffic free day in Birmingham

H.P. Lovecraft meets Robinson Crusoe

Crusoe : the Macabre Later Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, as transcribed from an ancient secret manuscript by Mr. H.P. Lovecraft. A new work which carefully re-mixes and alters the first third of Daniel Defoe’s second Crusoe novel using the words of H.P. Lovecraft, adding my own words and new plot to create a new 70-page […]

Game Informer retro covers

Beautifully retro faux-antique covers for the latest issue of Game Informer magazine.

Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors

Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors, London… “Surprising numbers of our visitors wish to spend their time in trying to work out what is real and what is not. A distinction that we do not see, nor understand. Up until the Nineteenth Century to call something original was to insult it, for if no one […]

The future of the eReader

Nicole Nolan on eBook reading devices, today… “With the advent of the touch-screen e-reader, books will take on a whole new meaning. Hidden Easter eggs will pop up when you tap certain words or phrases, moving illustrations will become part of the text […], and we may even see a choose-your-own-ending book that’s not really […]

Art History of Videogames

Videos from “the art history of games” symposium, held at Atlanta in February 2010.

Hard news on hard cuts

The Art Newspaper has some hard news on the forthcoming arts cuts… “The Treasury has warned of cuts of around 25% to 30% for nearly all departments, with the spending review due to be announced on 20th October, covering the financial years 2011-12 to 2014-15. DCMS [Dept. for Culture, Media and Sport] expenditure on the […]

What is a city’s culture?

The Birmingham Book Festival now has its programme online (PDF link). A notable headline event is…

One town, one day, 126 photos

Taking advantage of the fine weather, today I photographed the buildings and exteriors of my town of Stoke-upon-Trent (not to be confused with the wider city of Stoke-on-Trent). Stoke old town is the ancient and original root of the city, dating back to the time of the Mercians — when the church was founded on […]

Secret Gardens

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre is asking people in the West Midlands for their photographs of a favourite “Secret Garden”, ideally in the… “weirdest and wackiest places … the more unusual the better”. You could potentially win four free tickets for you and your friends or family, to see the Rep’s new Christmas stage production of […]

Mis-managed funds

During a recent investigation into the irregular giving of a cash arts grant to one of their own trustees, it’s alleged that the Arts Council… “… has failed to keep a proper register of interests of its trustees.” “The council appears to have failed in its duty to maintain a proper and publicly-accessible register.”

Amazon’s Dumb Recommendations

Why is Amazon’s “Recommendations For You” (top bar on the front page) so dumb? Even after ‘training’ it with hundreds of feedbacks. Has no-one devised a ‘taste-engine’ that’s at least intelligent enough to tell the difference between different periods of Bowie’s career? Just because I own Diamond Dogs doesn’t mean I want Bowie albums from […]


Greplin is a personal-data search-engine. Nice idea, as long as there’s no marketing data-aggregation cream-off lurking behind the scenes. Plug in your Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, your Google stashes, etc., and then Greplin crawls them all — and presents you with a Google-like search box for finding stuff inside them. I like the design of the […]


The London twiteratti’s obligatory dig at the city of Stoke-on-Trent, in the form of a map in the latest Monocle magazine… The upmarket equivalent of the daily drip-drip of snide little Twitter comments, that appear in Twitter/RSS feeds for keyword ‘Stoke’, from twits going through the city on the train. [ Hat-tip: Chris Unitt ]