Google zeitgeist:
You don’t need to go to Burning Man to sus the spirit of the American age (although BM 2002 tickets have just gone on sale), or wait for someone to stage the English version (Soggy Bloke 2002?). A few clicks to Google zietgeist shows you just where online US-oriented culture is happening. Rather depressing, actually; especially that anyone anywhere is still interested in Eminem.

Battling it out:
As the Tolkien inspired medieval-Midlands trend gathers pace, the Battle of Shrewsbury Festival and Commemoration is at an advanced stage of planning for a major 2003 return-match – Hotspur and the Lords of the Northern Marches vs. Henry Bolingbroke, King of England. The organisers are promising artists will have a big role to play, and say they will… “call upon artists to respond to the theme of conflict, relating to the battle itself, to border issues and modern-day concerns, leading to a major exhibition in Shrewsbury Art Gallery”. Also planned is… “a major photographic competition recording aspects of the medieval structures and landscapes of the county.” Also a poetry and song competition. More details should be available soon.

And talking of epic conflict – the Royal Shakespeare Theatre had a fiesty battle before the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, where Midlands M.P. Debra Shipley laid into them, complaining that “Lots and lots of money is coming to you and you don’t reach out to my constituency.” Shortly afterwards I heard news of a huge RSC performance of The Merchant of Venice set to roll in to Haden Hill Leisure Centre (April 16th-20th 2002) – which just happens to be in Ms. Shipley’s back yard. Ms. Shipley might also have asked why the RSC is backing the Newcastle-Gateshead bid to be European capital of culture in 2008, rather than Birmingham.

DigiPhot Awards:
Congratulations to University of Wolverhampton School of Art & Design photography student Susan Rose, who has won first prize in the Hewlett Packard Digital Photography Awards 2002. No less than three fellow students from the same department were runners-up. It looks like Wolverhampton’s final-year show in June could be even better than normal.

Creative Stoke updates:
I’ve updated my Creative Stoke page again.