Archive for October, 2013


There’s been a big chunk of government spin this week, on the proposals for High Speed 2 rail. I was an enthusiast for HS2 when it was first announced. I’m still an enthusiast for the London to Birmingham route — as long as it has only one or at most two stops on it, has […]

Basket cases

Basket case Brummies… “A strange [online] retail breed, the ‘basket case’ comes to a site and fills their shopping basket but never completes their purchase. They only represent 2.46 per cent of users, but generate no revenue for the retailer. They tend to use Google’s Chrome browser, which has a younger user base that’s happy […]

Paul Horton

From the large Paul Horton retrospective exhibition, which has recently opened at the Waterhall in BM&AG in Birmingham city centre…

Visit to the new Library of Birmingham

Visited the Library of Birmingham today, and made a few future-tastic 1920px desktop wallpapers from my snaps of the architecture…

The real Peaky Blinders

The BBC’s fictional Peaky Blinders TV series is loosely based on the real Peaky Blinders — who were supposedly notorious in the late-Victorian Birmingham of the 1890s. Well-known historian Professor Carl Chinn, Chair of Birmingham Community History at Birmingham University, has a new video in which he reveals the truth behind the drama… Hat-tip: History […]


An interesting literary/history conference at Warwick in March 2014… Devouring: Food, Drink and the Written Word, 1800—1945.


Treezilla beta… “We’re making a monster map of Britain’s trees. Use Treezilla to record the trees near you…” The front page needs a little layout tweaking for Chrome, but it’s still in beta.

Wish You Were Here

A new Wish You Were Here report (PDF link) on music tourism, from UK Music and VisitBritain. In 2012 income generated directly or indirectly by 6.5m music tourists amounted to £2.2bn, which includes direct spending of £1.3bn. “The West Midlands was the fourth largest region in terms of the number of overseas music tourists, drawing […]

Stop the theft cycle

Open source, Kickstarter-funded, the Bike Index registry. Register your bike’s serial number, fight bike theft. Two good insurance-grade ‘d-lock’ locks can also help in that regard.

Going postal

The U.S. Postal Service is destroying an entire run of new postage stamps, because the children’s activities they depict upset the “health ‘n safety” zealots…

From Darkroom to Digital

“From Darkroom to Digital” opens 16th November 2013 at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery. On display will be one of the versions of Rejlander’s groundbreaking combination print “The Two Ways of Life”…

It’s all gone purple…

Birmingham’s “Cadbury chocolate purple” (Pantone 2685C) is now officially ok to freely use, following an appeal court ruling.

Buy shares in sharing

A new London School of Economics report, “Copyright & Creation: A Case for Promoting Inclusive Online Sharing” (Sept 2013). They find that Big Media companies lied about their losses to piracy, that their anti-copying laws don’t work (even in France), and that the panics actually pushed people toward digital copying. Who knew?