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Shepard Fairey’s Posters of Hope (Again…)

January 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Shepard Fairey, the graffiti artist responsible for the immediately recognisable Obey and Obama Hope posters, has done it again and crafted some fine additions to his impressive cannon of work…


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Funded by a crowd sourcing campaign and printed and issued in their many thousands in time for the inauguration of the Bigoted One, they are, like most of Fairey’s work, simple and highly effective. Powerful images of diversity and equality with a hint of insurrection thrown in (the star spangled hijab is a powerful twist…)

God only knows the world needs needs something positive to hold on to after yesterday’s speech full of fear, intolerance and narrow mindedness…. American Carnage is a trully awful phrase that I hope comes back to haunt him when “the American people” realise he’s got no interest other than himself

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For the record, my prediction is that he’ll be gone within two years… either through impeachment, or via a move to oust him from within his own Republican Party, or through assassination by some disgruntled red neck who thinks the wall is not going up quick enough and there are still too many immigrants. Or even more likely, because I don’t believe he ever really wanted the job in the first place, he’ll get bored and engineer some event or some situation that will enable him to step away without losing any of his precious face, whilst blaming everyone except himself….

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Project A119 : A Study of Lunar Research Flights…

January 15, 2017 Leave a comment

va-cold-war-modern-6In light of the imminent inauguration of the real life American Idiot, and his rather troubling views on Nuclear weaponry, I thought I’d dig out this post I drafted a couple of years ago but never got around to posting.

I’d been re-reading the book that accompanied an excellent exhibition that the V&A organised a number of years ago. Entitled “Cold War Modern” it looked at the influences on style and design brought about through the increasing political tensions and exceptional bursts of creativity that defined the post war period between 1945 and 1970. A creativity that, despite being born from challenging and difficult times, undoubtedly benefited society in the long run through an improved understanding of materials, science and technologies.

With one notable exception, and this is a tough one to believe, but for a period of time, America were genuinely looking into the practicalities of exploding a nuclear bomb on the Moon… A terrifyingly over the top and stupefyingly ridiculous act that was justified by the argument that if Americans using American technology could make such a thing happen, then it would leave the Communist Block countries in no doubt as to how powerful a nation they were dealing with…

450px-study_of_lunar_research_flights_-_vol_i_-_coverCodenamed “Project A119 or “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”, this top secret plan was first conceived in 1958, but did not become common knowledge until around 2000.

In October 1957, The Soviet Union had shocked the West with the huge success of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. America desperately needed to regain the upper hand and set about developing plans (little knowing that they would once again be beaten into second place, when in April 1961 Yuri Gagarin would be the first human to leave the earths atmosphere).

I digress. Back in 1958, various ideas were considered and a certain Carl Sagan became attached to Project A119, a name familiar to my generation as the brilliant and charismatic Astronomer and Astrophysicist who later brought the ground breaking TV show Cosmos into our living rooms in the 1980’s. The team concluded that a nuclear bomb, rather than a more visually impressive hydrogen bomb would be best, however this was due only to considerations relating to payload at take off, as hydrogen bombs are apparently significantly heavier.

The maths were fiendishly difficult, however the principles were straightforward enough: put the bomb onto a rocket, launch the rocket from a secret base in the US, fly it to the moon, crash the rocket into the moon and detonate the bomb. At the same time (once the rocket was irretrievably on its way of course) let the world know and make sure it was watching when impact occurred. One up manship at it’s most insane..

Amongst other factors, Sagan and his team had to consider trajectories, possible debris and gas dispersion in the low gravity of the moon, the likely effect of radiation on any future manned missions and the affect of the explosion on the moons orbit, not to mention any potential affects such actions might have on our own planet.

Thankfully, driven primarily by fears of negative publicity should something go wrong during take off and the bomb explode on US soil, and a general reluctance to begin the overt militarization of space, this harebrained scheme was abandoned in 1959, with NASA concluding that sending men to the moon and bringing them safely home would be a far more effective political and popular “weapon”.

So there you are, a true and sobering story. Let’s hope the incoming 45th President of the USA doesn’t read this post and decide that Project A119 might be resurrected as a way of demonstrating to the world how suitable a candidate he really is for his new role in the world….

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No Ministry for Michael…

July 15, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m shocked, surprised and unashamedly delighted that the man who believed his own legacy was of more importance than a well rounded and balanced education for this countries children, has been soundly and wholly humiliated with todays demotion from Education to erm… well nothing really. Chief Whip, what does that mean outside of Westminster… ?

This sad little man now has only three things to do: Firstly get the Tories back into power in their own right (no chance), secondly stop Boris from becoming the next leader (also (sadly) little chance..) and thirdly to endlessly stalk the corridors of the House of Commons threatening people to go and vote as Dave expects them too…

How the mighty have fallen…..

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Lazy Post no. 10 : Are there too many Men in Hollywood?

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Being a regular commuter on the underground, I’m subjected to such a constant bombardment of adverts and posters for new records, products and films, that it’s easy to let any subliminal messages they might contain, slip through your subconscious…

Some time ago now, I started noticing something almost sinister about the large majority of film posters that appear and change with such alarming regularity.

Take these posters for 10 films that are all on release in London at the moment. They were chosen pretty much at random, but if you were to choose 10 of your own, I’d be confident that the results would be very similar. There are representatives from all genres including Sci-fi, Action, Rom Com, History and whatever category Dallas Buyers Club falls under..

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A quick count up of the number of photos and written or highlighted names of the main stars on each of the posters, is simultaneously enlightening and worrying, providing us with an insight into how male orientated and dominated Hollywood land really is… (I’m assuming that the two astronauts in Gravity are Clooney and Bullock although I suspect it’s neither and they’ve been CGI’d, but that wouldn’t change the scores anyway. And I’ve ignored all the people behind DiCaprio as they are unnamed)

The upshot is that across the 10 posters, there are a grand total of 25 photos of actors and 42 different actors names. Of these, 18 photos and 30 names are of men, yet only 7 photos and 12 names of women…

Which means that there are almost 3 times as many photos of male stars as there are of female stars, and in terms of written names the men have more than twice as many as the women…

Not being a Hollywood insider, I don’t know if this is to do with the story lines of films that get made, or the experience of the producers that male stars will always make money than female, or whether it’s down to the choice of the directors or the casting agents to always have more men….

Whatever, I can’t help but think it’s significant that there are so few parts for women in all these major film releases…

As this is a lazy post, I’m deliberately holding back from going into these ideas any further at this point, rather I’m just “planting seeds” as the great Bill Hicks often said… But as I think about them further over the coming weeks, I may well revisit this post and expound my theories a little further…

Feel free to chip in…

A New Union Jack…

December 6, 2013 Comments off

It hadn’t occurred to me before I read this article on the BBC website, but if the Scots decide to go it alone and vote for independence next year, there is a very strong argument that the Union Jack, our national flag for the last 200 years or so, should be redesigned to reflect this new situation…

In a follow up article here the BBC asked readers to submit their own suggestions, some of which are pretty good, others are just silly. But it’s got me thinking about how I might approach the problem…

_71534769_350618I certainly like the idea of introducing green into the flag, and this suggestion from Dave Parker could be a good starting point for my money. It keeps the basic, universally recognisable appearance, which is probably the right approach, but uses the different colour to emphasise our Welsh connections…

Obviously the die hards and traditionalists will decry the loss of the red, white and blue that has for so long defined our Nation, but if the Scots take their blue flag of St Andrew away, can we still legitimately include it within the New Union Jack?

Interesting. I think I might have a little go myself and see if I can come up with something of my own…

PS. I’m also really enjoying my word for the day… Vexillologist or flag expert. I’ve not come across that one before…

Lazy Post No. 4 : Decaying Detroit…

September 14, 2013 4 comments

I caught the end of a programme about the current state of the US city of Detroit, Michigan on TV earlier this week. I knew the city was in trouble, but to say I was shocked to actually see the levels of urban decay and degradation that exist in an round round the place, would be something of an understatement…

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The economic crash of the last 6 years and the slow death since the 1980’s of the American motor trade on which Detroit was built, have all contributed to a frightening drop in population from close to 2 million at its peak in the 1960’s to less than 700,000 now, that’s two-thirds of the people… gone.

Along with this depopulation has come the and decline of the housing and other built fabric that once so proudly declared Motor City as one of the wealthiest in America; schools, railway stations, factories, shops and houses are all being abandoned due to lack of money, lack of people and lack of any prospects of things improving in the future…

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The politics are undoubtedly fiendishly complex and I don’t know enough about them to comment. Detroit filed for bankruptcy earlier this year with debts estimated to be in the region of $18 to $20 Billion, and how a city comes back from that I can’t imagine…

Needless to say it’s the people in the neighbourhoods, and local communities that have borne the brunt of the suffering, as whole blocks have been vacated and gradually left to rot, or be destroyed by the dissaffected and the bored… I’ve read that there are upwards of 15,000 empty homes in Detroit that attract vandalism and arson, with the often more than 50 fires a night being left to burn themselves out as the Fire Department hasn’t got the means to address them all..

These are just a few of the images I’ve found on the net. It must be a very difficult & challenging place to live right now…

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Obama, The Movie…

April 29, 2013 2 comments

This made us smile on last night’s TV…

A short trailer in which Steven Spielberg explains that for his next film project, after the success of Lincoln, he has decided to stick not only with Biopics of American Presidents, but also with that great chameleon actor, Daniel Day Lewis….

What a top bloke Barack Obama seems to be, sending himself up with great aplomb. It’s a crying shame that we don’t have anyone of his caliber in UK politics. Instead we have to settle for a load of silly Oxbridge posh boys.

Hey Ho…

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