Friday, December 24, 2004

Have fun in New York

This is a link I took up from Cheesebikini and is a site well worth exploring.
Great theme looking at the various incarnations and scams on Kentucky Fried Chicken but the whole site is really worth a tour. Some of the photos remind me of Eggleston's work , such as this photo here. Browse the photos by clicking on the arrow buttons at the top right of the page.

Christmas tomorrow ... maybe away for a few days. But will try to update.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

New Literacies?

Thanks to Michele for the reminder that it is not just digital literacies which count as 'new literacies'.
I was wondering whether my new gadget counted? It is part bag/part notebook and very 'go ahead'. It can be used in many ways: fashion item; for making notes; as bag. It has a pen to match.


Is this a METABLOG? if so, is it a new literacy?

Guy and I met yesterday to discuss our new research project which is to be autoethnographic in its approach. It will be about blogging and about us and about what it is to blog and why. It will be so self-referential we may disappear. Which maybe a good thing.
We took photos of each other at the meeting



.... I was employing new literacies of course, while Guy left the meeting having written the agreed title for the site on his hand.

It's gonna be an uphill journey.

Some things never change.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

In the Pink

Sarah Pink has a web site on Visual Ethnography. Why did no one tell me?

One of her links is to a wonderful exhibition of photos looking at people involved in the fishing industry. The exhibition is called 'In the Net' so it is kind of relevant.

Thanks to Guy, for showing me this. Think I might do this soon. Watch the blog for results ...

Kevin Leander looks deeply happy on his website and I have ordered his book, written with Margaret Sheehy.

And this article is highly relevant to the work of those looking at adolescent practices on the net. Hooray

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I want to decorate my blog

in a Christmassy theme like this. (Have patience while it loads ... make a cup of warming Christmas punch...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Digital Obesity

Should I worry about this?

Gosh. I am so darned worried that I may end up looking like a great big fat robot.

And just a tip before I go .... NEVER type 'fat woman' into Google image.

What if .....

You write your blog when working at home?
Do you get the sack?

Although this flight attendant's blog got her the sack another MUCH saucier blog has turned into a book you may like to buy in January.
When Guy and I produce a publication based on our experiences of blogging, although it will be good, it will not be rampant.

Talking of which, go here and get a free game to play....

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chill out for Christmas

Some people are reacting very badly about other people's enthusiasm for Christmas and even sending
I would be upset if I received this kind of response after decorating my house. Especially if it looked as good as this.

Self conscious displays like this are very interesting I think; a lot of us spend time making our homes look like a backdrop or stage set of some sort. Presumably trying to influence how we want people to read us through our environment. LIfestyle seems to be behind only some of the choices we make; other choices are about showing, expressing things we want people to see. (Diane Arbus was great at showing us both the stage set of people's homes and beyond ...You need to check out the pix of people in their homes...)

I wonder what these Christmas houses are saying and I wonder why so many people do it. Some people go for a 'tasteful' look, while others are into the full Blackpool illuminations thing.

And finally ....
if you wnt it to be a white chistmas, why not start doing your snow dance now?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I believe I have apophenia

I keep seeing links between everything I read and see.
Maybe the link is my brain.
Or, maybe, just maybe .....

there is a link between everything and everything and apophenia is a superfluous term.

Think about it.

I saw Tracey Emin on tv last night and I love her.
Often referred to as

Mad Tracey from Margate

A few years ago she got very pisst before going on tv and then stalked out of the studio again saying she would prefer to talk to her Mum.

I love a lot of her work; she asks us to Look Again at everyday things. This is something I think ethnographic research is about. Whilst I am not well up on debates about Art,I am interested in looking at spaces and how we inhabit them. I think Tracey, like me, is interested in space and artefacts. She also uses aspects of her life in her work.

I am interested in understanding what cyberspace is and also at how technology is impacting on sense meatspace and our use of meatspace. I am interested in how the use of digital photography asks us to look again. I am interested in understanding how this Look Again mentality might affect our relationship with the world. Through visual blogs, through digital images everywhere we are increasingly looking close up at everyday items and somehow seeing something new in them; something exotic; or maybe we consider at length artefacts which we are given to examine in new locations. Thus, with Tracey, Tracey's bedroom in an art gallery is something we can examine out of sync, and think about, whether we want to or not. and on our blogs ... well, look at this food blog.
Visual literacy is developing with the new things that are possible.

Emin's work resonates with all of this stuff - in pryicular the idea of the ethnographic 'making the familiar seem strange'; and have come up with this on her.

And the fact that I have now found an put up an
art space
by and theory .org. definitely proves that if I have have apophenia, so have lots of people.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Globalisation does not scare me

I don't think we will all become a grey blur with all the cheap travel, the Internet links and mass scale imported products..
Look at this:

The Germans will never stop loving Wurst, and even though we in the UK might sell some bits of German food in the supermarket, the embedding of 'other' cultural behaviours is not as simple as importing a product. And the Germans certainly won't be giving up their Wurst.
This kind of thing, (below) I HAVE seen transported to England (Birmingham does a 'WeihnachtsMarkt' in its city centre every year ....

but even after it is brought here , it nevertheless remains a German thing. It is not now n English thing just because it has come here.

We seem determined to keep local identities very alive and very kicking, even where we want to adopt new artefacts and practices into our cultures. We put chips on our curry; we eat huge plates of pasta (unlike the Italians) we adapt as well as absorb.
And the same with language ... Ok I know some languages have disappeared and English is everywhere, but regional accents and dialects remain and I think people want to show allegiances to the smaller groups they belong to, as well as wanting to be part of a global group.

You can be both.

Look at 'English as an Asian language'.

In language, we usually keep the grammar intact while we add new words. Vocabulary tends to be 'dropped in' but does not change the structure.

I disagree that:
'Globalisation is a war on all other cultures'

The tendency seems to be to make new ideas, new items our own.

We develop in ways which suit the existing culture.

Just take a look at kids and popular culture ... whatever the manufacturers want the kids to do, they will discriminatively adapt to their own ends.Agreed they are seduced by new things, by colour, by e additives. But. It is not wholesale unthinking, mindless. Globalistion does not make people stupid. Kids manipulate computer programmes to play in the ways THEY want ... and so on and so on.
I think we like to make the global local.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ich bin zuruck!! (I am back!)

The guilt of not writing in my blog and seeing the excitement in everyone else's is making me feel ill.

It is as if there is a gap in my thinking. I feel like if I do not blog my brain will go to jelly. I feel like I have to be 'OUT THERE' otherwise I will miss something. Is this Everyday Literacy practices gone out of control? (intertextual link).

When I was in Cologne at the weekend, (you know how it is...)

I saw a fab picture of Mary chasitising Jesus
Max Ernst

I love this kind of down to earthness. Here is the holy family having what we call 'a bit of a domestic'. All a bit harsh compared even to Caravaggio and his depiction of dirty feet. (See early December entries.)

Well anyway, while we were there, (my 'partner' and I) ordered coffee in a way we know to be problematic wherever we go. We like to drink 'Americanos'. We believe this to be an excellent coffee, (when you can get it) made initially as an Espresso, then with a large amount of hot water added. And it should be black. Yet in Italy we get a double Espresso with such an order; in Sardinia you get a blank look and any number of combination of water, coffee and possibly milk. (Quite frankly Iwould not dare order it in Paris, where I have been scolded more than once by waitresses etc.) In the States we get what we expect. But the word is Itlaian for 'American'. And the American's are using an Italian word to describe a coffee we (stupidly) thought to be Italian. But it is an Italian word to describe an American type of coffee, which has been copied recently by the English. Confused?
Well we are.
In Cologne, we described what we wanted in German when we ordered our American coffee which we refer to by the Itlaian word for American.

Gosh how global...... Or is it local?

Anyway, we got this:


Please note how the extra water was interpreted as 'on the side'.

And finally, for all you Manga fans, we found a bookshop where teenaged girls were clustered on easy chairs reading the Manga paperbacks. I bought one called 'Perfect Girl' (like me). The cover is in English, the format is Japanese, and the text is German. It is all so interlinguistic.

So glocal baby.

And finally ... here I am, in the international Hotel chain, reading my German novel .... (or am I?)

What a globe trotter, I'm telling you mate ...


Cheap travel blows my mind.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Visuals; ways of seeing; globalism

Apparently the word 'theory' comes from a Greek word, 'teorin' meaning to see.
So maybe 'Visual Culture can be regarded as a way of thinking, an intellectual discipline ...' say Schirato and Webb.

I am interested in contemporary visual culture in terms of production, spectatorship, interaction. What role does it play in gloalisation? What are the effects of technology and the consequent democratisation of production?
More importantly .....
Why does someone want to change their house into a Christmas artifact? How do different people read it? ( See blog entry yesterday)
(I had to carefully frame out the big yellow van parked in front of the house yesterday in oreder to take my photo.)
What different reading would you have had with the van in the frame?
Why did I frame it out?
What is the effect of putting that photo on my blog less than five minutes after I took the photo?
(I felt a thrill. The house became a digital image in my camera. It became a viusal joke to share in a new affinity space, away from my 'neighbourhood'.)

'We are experiencing an overwhelming globalization of economic and cultural exchanges. The speed of information movement, in what has become for many our global village, means that every human action or event involves others in the consequence of these actions and events. According to Hannerz (1996), 'Globalization is a matter of increasing long-distance interconnectedness'
(Art Education and Visual Culture in the Age of Globalization, Kevin Tavin, Jerome Hausman, in Art Education:Sep 2004. Vol. 57, Iss. 5, p. 47-52)(sorry you need an ATHENS password to see this link.)

Do we become more intimately connected because of the new affordances available to us?
Do we start to understand other perspectives through this facility, this possibility of sharing our views with others?

Globalisation might not just be about homogenisation as some fear.

It might be about seeing other people's realities - even if we do not want to live them. Hmmm.
I will leave that one with you.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Why be half hearted??

christmas house

Some folks LURVE Christmas.
This is a house in my neighbourhood.
In my neighbourhood, we really care.

Monday, December 06, 2004

OMG!!!!!!! My blog is on my blog!!!!!!

.....Talk about SELF REFERENTIAL ......

blog on my blog

And how uncanny!!

Do you think it is obsessive to blog your blog???

How my Sony laptop got even better
I spent Saturday wandering round my local shops (and beyond) looking for a lead which would connect my divine new Sony Vaio to a data projector lead. I felt very foolish and despondent on not managing to find one. Had I bought this Vaio to no avail? (My purpose was to make conferences a lightweight affair). Was I a half wit of the tallest order?? Would all my friends laugh at me?
No. The answer is no.

when I got home, guess what???
I realised that the cute little connector thingy (shown below with its mouse friend, to give you a sense of scale) was to connect parallel ports into. Thank God.

mouse and connector

What a waste of a Saturday afternoon. But somehow, I felt content.

Just me and my Vaio.

BUT. The joy of design is OK really.
We see it as shallow if we own the thing we adore. Especially if it s new.
Compare this:
roman staircase

This was in Rome ..... adored and admired by the well informed, it seems.
Design is more respectable when it is old. It becomes 'the real thing', 'authentic' this or that. (ha! Even seventies stuff is glorified with the word 'retro').

But back to the columns and the spiral staircase... Why do we love symmetry so much? We love this idea of balance I think, even in language, such as shown through rhyme. It seems neat, slick, tidy, satisfying.

And finally .... an appearance from Gulliver. This is my daughter's adopted bear who goes on holiday with anyone who goes anywhere. (Of course, this is Rome).He is soon to have his own website and will then be sent out to young people with ME for them to take his photo in their home or on their holiday .... The bear will travel where young people with ME cannot . I'll give you the url when we have one ....


Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Triangle

A three point entry:

Thank Goodness that
Colin and Michelle are OK. Thought they had disappeared for a minute. But they turned up here in San Antonio, much to the enjoyment of all those who matter.
Went to the gym today........

........ to terminate my membership. There was a list of boxes to tick, for you to explain why you might be leaving, e.g. moving away; pregnant; cost too high; etc. But they did not list my reason so I had to tick 'Other' and write'Am Lazy'.
Now I am no longer a member of the luxury Health and Fitness Suite, I will have a bit more time and money to go to the cake shop. I hve the sins of sloth and gluttony.
Le Patisserie a Toulouse

3. I know a lot of people love their i-pods. Just thought you might want this accessory.
You don't want to leave things lying about in a mess (like the one below), do you?

Happy Holidays (with feet)
This was a luxury holiday to Spain btw ...

(And of course I am sure you picked up the intertextual reference re dirty feet)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Visual culture and the new canon

I have been thinking about images and their relocation to centre stage.
I went to Rome (Tra la la) and saw what the fuss is all about with Caravaggio.

The narrative around his work is that when he was first painting (at the end of the 1500s -start of 1600s), his pictures were seen as a threat to the old school of religious painting. Previously ecclesiastical artists had represented the great stars of the Bible in highly idealistic etheral paintings. Beauty was high on the agenda. Purity, majesty and a certain cleanliness around being holy. Even crucifixions were sanitised.
Entry stage left was Caravaggio with his paint brush - depicting images of Christ and the Madonna with filthy feet. CARA01 (This painting is almost life size)In some paintings he even depicted himself as onlooker. All very postmodern - an awareness of his own perspective within the piece.


Not only was he able to introduce techniques, where cloth seemed real, and use chiarascuro to render a sense of three dimensions using light and shade. IT ALL SEEMED SO REAL. These techniques brought in new ways of understanding the biblical stories - (their reality).
Churches were a central place for the getting of information; sharing of new ideas, passing on narrative etc. People looked at the art and 'read it'. (Obviously most could not read text.)
Are we becoming a culture which is turning again to visual images and placing them in a more central location? Again, there has been a step change in new techniques, allowing us to share our realities with others. And this is of course upsetting some people. We are able, to easily bring excellent representations of our world in close up detail of the basics of our lives. We have seen photo's of japanese packed lunches, of shoes, of people on the phone and even our dirty feet. It is a Look Again mentality. We make the everyday seem exotic. And we love our ability to do so.

This is to be my new fixation for a while ...

Blogging the mundane ... almost over and out.

Just one more thing ... have a cup of coffee on me....

1. Open this

2. Put a coin in the machine
3. Select what you want to drink
4. click on the cup, watch it fill up
5. Click on "apri"

Don't forget to click on "APRI" at the end!! This is the best part!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It must be true......

That the English are reserved.
This is a Canadian trucker's blog and he has a picture of a Canadian cinema audience.
It looks like a rock concert my dears.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Got this on Monday

I have been very acquisitive lately but will stop now.
This little number has an emphasis on little and works a treat.
I got it for carrying about with me but have been so thrilled have used it at home all the time too.
Battery life is only two hours but I think you can get a spare (battery, not computer). Weighs less than 2 pounds and is 11mm thick.
I think one day all laptops will be like this, slim as Jim.
Have resolved not to clutter it with stuff but to carefully file things on memory cards etc.
Test somebody's love and ask for one.
(Who said I was shallow?)

Friday, November 19, 2004

Product Placement

This is Avril lavigne's blog. Don't forget to turn the volume down before you go there....
Have a look at the first two entries ......
She talks about loving her fans, then addresses them directly. Bit of audience confuion there.
This is blogs as covert advertising.
Reminds me of when I used to get Jackie magazine in the 70s when there were ads for Anne French cleansing milk disguised as cartoon stories.
Is there a special name for this kind of marketing? Where ads hide behind another genre?
I think we will see a lot of blogs like this.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Barbie Jam

I learned aout jamming from Colin and Michele here.I found some great Barbie sites, with Barbie as suicide bomber, and very spookily, a site which performs surgery on Barbie in order, I guess, to understand her more.
Great fun can also be had trying to make supermodels eat more on the AdiosBarbie site.Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Blabbing on the blog

A poor bored diplomat from Croatia is in trouble over his blog.See here.

How is your Croation? The blog is here.

You will be able to work out where the naughty bits are.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

TV B Gone!!

You could have SUCH great fun with this FAB invention. As good fun as the electric shock handshake from when you were a kid. But the thing is part of a serious campaign and so that dulls the fun a little. This sort of thing is a bit scarey. And this.
The BBC commented like this on it.

I thought also that you might like to see this little visual joke - from Canada ..

Saturday, November 13, 2004

G3 mobile, Internet, tv , pop star combo

Quick!! Go to this site to preview 'Empire Square" a cartoon about to hit the UK Channel 4 screen imminently.... (but actually, the humour is not for the faint hearted and is, to say the least, on the dark side. It is to be shown late at night).
First developed on line by Blur's drummer Dave Rowntree, this cartoon has apparently a cult following on the Internet. The very pixelated characters were designed to star in shorts to be viewed on G3 mobile phones but have now been 'discovered' by Channel 4 as a rival to South Park. The English accents mean I can understand it all though and it certainly is novel to have something like this from the UK I think. (Not that I identify with the characters or anything.)
The site is very off the wall (literally - you'll see) - with interactive stuff a bit like the Sims - you can add your own building to Empire Square.
Spending time in the discussion forum is somewhat banal to say the least.

I am fascinated mainly by the conception of the cartoon as digital text, originally destined for phones. The whole thing is very intertextual, interactive and an extremely interesting development in terms of modality.

And also, by the way, .... I bought my first Bratz doll today. She has her own DVD camera, mobile phone and robotic dog. Very cool. I love her.

Popular culture goes elite

The elevation of the status of mobile phone photographs, is being pushed through with a new verb, 'fonetography' and an exhibition on the net of pix taken by professionals with their Nokio fones. Go here.
However I do still find my sony cybershot fantastic and have had it with me every day since I bought it over a year ago - half the size of a packet of cigarettes I guess. Takes great pictures and everyone covets it when I produce it to snap up some little thing that takes my fancy. I love to take it shopping with me and take photos in stores of things I think my daughter might like. (Never buy without consultation).

Friday, November 12, 2004

kidz on line

I have had a browse on the exciting Bratz site, done the quiz and seen the celebrity photo gallery. For help in deconstruction one need not go much further than this presentation on Barbie e zines from this great site. And this is a great place to surf around and find good theory links. But that's not all, this site is a treasure trail and has a great shot of the shoe blog Guy mentioned.

Are we now going to see a lot of fake blogs which are just vehicles for hidden advertising, strategic product positioning etc???

Today I also liked reading about Avant-Pop

By the way in doing the quiz, I should be dressed like this:
Versace: Oww, the essence of haute! You are
flashy, daring, and dramatic! You believe in
beauty above practicality and view fashion as

What fashion designer fits you
brought to you by Quizilla

I am VERY pleased, as really I look like this:


which means I am a closet exhibitionist.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


I recently bought this book which writes hilariously about what it is like looking up and then meeting, your pals (and enemies) on Friends Reunited. When that site was first around I spent a lot of time looking up old schoolfriends and then people who I used to teach. This ex pupil (who often had days off to go golfing) has his own site now it turns out here.
It is strange how I felt totally fine about the idea of never again meeting people I went to school with, then felt very excited 25years later at the idea of peeking at their new lives without being seen. I renew my subscription every year just in case someone writes something sensational or in case someone new crawls out of the woodwork. Is this the kind of thing which attracts people to looking up old pals on the web? Do you Google people who you used to know? This is a new sport we now have.

I have a Friends Reunited anecdote which demonstrates something about the Public / Private nature of the Internet as a space......

I saw on Friends Reunited that someone I know locally had declared in her profile that she was expecting a baby. I was delighted of course and mentioned it to her when I next saw her, congratulating her. She was horrified however that I knew, saying she had only told a few people so far, it was a secret! I told her I read it on the web. "Oh yeah" she said, realising the true nature of the web.
Moral: Therein lies a very good reason for us being ethical in our research and getting permision from people to use their stuff from the Internet. (She has said I can use this story in my research and on my blog.)

My other intertextual example is a Harry Potter thing allegedly written by JK Rowling. We all know about the trailers for things like Shrek or Harry, but I like this one. It is an invitation to read the books and get to know the author and I am glad there are writers out there who are not afraid to multimodal.(NB New verb, cf 'text')

Monday, November 08, 2004

Cultural artefacts, stories and communities

When you go to a museum you are not allowed to touch the stuff anyway.
So why not sit back, surf and visit Sheffield's museum of local history. Some lovely stories in this lot.

And from community histories, to community language
Why do we have to put up with this????:
"Texting, lazy jargon, management-speak: never has the English language been so abused. But a new book called Between You And I is pointing out the worst errors - and demanding higher standards. In his introduction John Humphrys explains why bad English makes him cross"
(Should we begin a sentence with 'but'?)

The guy who wrote this, John Humphrys, see here has now written his own nonsense see here
I was just showing you, you know what it will be like.....

But good to see Amazon has got his name wrong.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Bloggers Block

The pressure of producing a blog means I cannot blog.
My ridiculous rushy around lifestyle means I cannot blog.
The fact that people say to me ' How can you have time to blog? I don't have time to blog'
have all led to me having bloggers block.
However I know that I am normal as Google gives 138,000 references to BLogger's block.
So I thought I would share my situation with fellow bloggers.

Looking at my favourite blogs, (this and this) I am excited but dismayed. What is a meme? (I know now, since I went here). But twas not in my dictionary. So the web wins.

By the way, Guy, your dead link to hip hop is alive again. And thanks so much for the reference to Marc Prensky's presentation. Fab. Michelle, I have ordered Gee's latest book thanks to you. (But no thanks to Amazon UK who have got the title wrong - check it out.) Rebekah Willett from the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media says that all this blogging is a bit incestuous. I think it is. But incest is good. And now Rebekah you are in the clan with this link. Hope you don't mind. Rebekah's work on tweenies and new technologies is VERY good.

The incestuous thing is important - albeit that I tend to ususally call it Communities of Practice. It is good to have a place where you can be obsessive about your work, but not need to have well formed theories. It is good chat with like minded others. I thought all this would be just about me writing and thinking, but I am trying to put things out there as part of a whole melange of ideas to mix with other peoples that are New Literacy related somewhere somehow. It is not quite dialogue, but it is not private ruminations.

In one of my earlier entries I mentioned that my sister's partner goes to a gym where mobile phones are banned in case anyone uploads photos of people's non-public body parts. I wondered whether this has ever really happened as I have never seen or heard of it. Is this an urban legend? Has anyone seen anything like this?

Recently I heard of mobile phone related urban legend in Nigeria where calls from certain numbers apparently cause death . I hear that the culture there tends to readily accept stories that my culture tends not to. I know that when I once told a legend to a group of student teachers, the Nigerian student was terrified even after I told the group my tale was not true. (But then again, the OfSTED Inspector also present believed the story. - scroll down to point 19 where he mentions the session! Well inspectors are not very discerning are they?) But then when I look at stories like these it makes me think again. I am thinking of using this site in a future teaching session with student teachers.

That's all from me ...
(I managed quite a bit in the end.)

Am writing my chapter for Jackie and Elaine's book this week I hope. It is based on the ESRC seminar series on Children's Literacy and Popular Culture they managed at Sheffield.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Black Hours

This is a collection of photos, letters and video footage of women in a prison in Tepepan, Mexico City.

'Objects acquire a different value once they go through the gate'.
I think that this is why the photos are so poignant.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Techo trickery

Mobile phones and photos

Guy's blog gives us a link to help us in our mobile photography ettiquette (netiquette?) but here is a site which deliciously breaches all the rules - treating us to celebrity morsels stuffing their faces.. What else could a mobile phone be for, other than capturing scrumptious pix like these? (I could work for The Mirror). Techo trickery allows us to impinge on people's lives ... my sister's partner told me mobiles are banned from his gym because of unsuspecting nudes appearing on the web.)

A heart breaking story about i pods
I know that loads of people love their i pods; I too was in a state of euphoria with mine for about 72 hours. And the potential for un broken i pods is definitely there as Michelle says.
But see what happened in my ipod drama. There was the excitement that my partner brought it as a gift from his travels to San Francisco. The lovely white smooth case. I crammed its hard drive with my CDs and music bought from the i-store as quickly as I could. I listened to it as I walked to and from work on the day after I got it. (Oh if only the walk had been longer.)

But then when I took it to the gym it broke. I pressed the button to turn it off and CRACK. The screen miraculously shattered.

The tragedy continued as phone calls to San Francisco were made; I sent it back to Apple for repair. It was sent back broken. I phoned them. I was invited to send it back again. I was promised it would be fixed. The man was kind and told me that all would be well. (we are talking about eight phone calls, four e mails and four mornings spent at home awainting deliveries.)


They again returned it broken saying I had vandalised it.

My heart and my i pod were broken.

Despite reports of my vandalism I notice that the i pod has been redesigned with controls further from the screen, situated on its little wheel.

And now I have the Sony hard disc walkman which has better sound, is easy to operate and compared to apple’s ‘big white fridge’ is neat and sweet. A happy end.

My i pod lies broken in the cold dark cellar of my home. ( And of my heart. )

My daughter has advised me that, 'there are people out there who are just into making money' . She could be right.

The Moral to the two tales of techo trickery
It is up to us to be ethical with our hardware and our software. And just because someone can come up with a great idea for technological advance - it does not mean they have our well being in their minds.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Burqa blues

For ages I have been obsessed by burqas. They make me feel uncomfortable as they look oppressive - restricting movement and vision, freedom to express through clothing, and stopping vitamin D through sunlight. The argument goes of course, that the burqa liberates women from male gaze, or as Bourdieu says, 'recipricoal gaze' - therefore giving power to women. This is a view I find seductive in its feigned feminist stance - but then falls down since it sees male sexuality as supreme ruler, as irrepressible and women as victims unless they deny their identity. The insult to men is pretty mammoth. Yet the pro burqa argument is more complex than this , since it is tied up with religion, modesty and so on. That a woman must not be vain, should be mysterious etc. If Muslim women who wear these garments are not oppressed, then it is I who feel oppressed by the implied judgement - that I, who does not cover her body is immodest, wants the constant attention of men and is not asking to be taken seriously. I have become keenly aware of this because where I live more and more women seem to be taking to the veil. I hate to feel like this am I being discriminatory and judgemental about something I do not understand? I am trying to understand.
If one looks at the marketing which goes with the sale of burkhas, they seem like sophisticated garments. They seem fashionable and for serious people who rightly wish to escape 'prying eyes', "cover with pride... cover with style' sounds very attractive as a proposition even to young western women - to acquire 'pride and style' from a garment sounds very consumerist in its approach, that one can purchase such sophisticated attributes. Burqas are for the serious woman who wants to concentrate on her life.
There are even dolls available on e bay, where the seller, here, for example, talks about the promotion of pride in Islam and earnest religious beliefs through the purchase of dolls in burqas. The association is with devoutness and familial pride.
Even Giorgio Armani is quoted as talking about the exotic nature of burqas on Parisien streets. So burqas can be cool, sophisticated, and are part of a serious attitude to life.
It can even be liberating,'inside it you feel free' we hear. Although athletes in Athens have disagreed, there are apparently attempts at making burka style sports wear. (Although this is of course a spoof.)
However, I still feel unconvinced and uncomfortable I am afraid when I look across reports from all over the world.
I am not keen on the idea of banning any type of clothing as in France, or for fining people, as in Italy, see here. This constitutes a restriction on people's life style choices so I still do not know where I am with this.
Maybe you would like to hear the Burqa band from Afghanistan, now though, singing rock and roll about how they feel. The lyrics are marvellously ironic. You will not be disappointed. And of course this last link comes from a blog.

Friday, October 29, 2004

An Exciting day today!!!

I am the proud owner of a new Sony Walkman.
I have just unwrapped the little darling and plugged it in to charge it up. I will cherish it forever and will always remember to put it back in its velvety wrap. I am at work at the moment so cannot play with it till I get home in five hours. Can I bear the wait?
If you want a popular culture history tour of Sony Walkmans go and look at their museum. Very nostalgic trip.
I have been working too .... Of course everyone knows Gee's book on video games and learning but there is a good synopsis of some of the learning principles on Stephen Downes' site. The site is a treasure trove of articles, publications and links, links, links. He even has recordings of presentations he has done. Really useful site.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bourdieu, photos and a trip to London

Officially it was a trip down to London to attend a meeting at The Institute of Education ... but (sneakily) I went early and saw an exhibition ...
Bourdieu talked about the veil being used in Algeria as a liberating garment where women denied others the benefit of reciprocal gaze. I wondered if this was his argument, or theirs.

I think Japanese culture is fascinating and like this site which gives upto the minute snapshotz of street life. I have a book called Fruits which is a collection of photos taken from a magazine about Japanese Street Fashion see here

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I know it sounds silly but ....

I am really gutted that John Peel died today. I really liked him and I will miss listening to him on Saturday morning which I seem to have been doing for years.
This line in one of the reports made my heart miss a beat:
'Peel is survived by his wife Sheila and four adult children.'
I bet they did not expect to read that today. He provided the soundtrack to a lot of people's lives.

Monday, October 25, 2004


1. It is very important that you go here and see these strange figures. Check out the forehead and fingers in Gallery 4.


The artist is apparently a dog. TRULY.

2. I have been working on an idea for a book today. It will be about: Discourses for Learning and how these change in context. I am going to use data from teenagers' websites; from their discussion boards; weblogs; AND from classroom talk. Yes I am. It will be a thing to do with Communities of Practice; have Discourse Analysis; will show how brilliance derives from banality. (I hope it does.) I know that Third Space Theory will fit too and that I want to get in something from the Sheffield College's wonderful wonderful blended learning course Young People Speak Out.

3. My son told me that at his school they are banned from going on this site.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A day where I have been obsessed with photos

Went to Bradford Film and Photography Museum today and saw a new exhibition. Twas OK but I have been spoilt a bit lately by seeing truly HUGE photographs like advertising hoardings. I saw the huge Sternfeld photos in London earlier this year. Twas a real treat. Funnily enough the best photo was of a dead elephant blocking the road. (No offense to elephants but the picture had that certain je ne sais quoi. ... Anyway ... So it seemed like hard work to peer forward into photo frames to look at these by Tony Ray Jones. Quite interesting though ... his photos stop around 1972ish, (understandable as he then died) but his photos depict Englishness before (and he said this) 'Americanisation really set in'. I am not sure that lil ol England does, as he predicted, look anything like the USA actually, and that we remain a very distinct, queer culture still. But maybe I am the only one who thinks that. One of the things about looking at the photos - spanning from late fifties, was that they showed my childhood. I always like that. (Didn't show Triang bikes though.)

Anyway my daughter came for the trip and brought her bear (it's not real) to photograph. He is soon to have his own website and will apparently be depicted all over Great Britain in various poses with stories of his journeys to go with the pix. Lucky bear. Hope he does not get harrassed by those weirdoes who lurk on the Internet though. (You know who you are). Well, I'll keep you posted when the site goes up and we'll all have to hope that having his photo published will attract no harm.

Just to keep you going check this out ... site about Walker Evans American photographer - a nice piece is chapter two on using photography as research method. One of the photgraphs in Chapter 4 is really interesting - showing how graveyards used to be central to communities (cf Foucault talks about this in his work on Heterotopias. But you probably are not so interested in that as I am. I saw these along with a lot of Martin Parr stuff, (See earlier post) and a stash of other quality work in Cologne at the Ludwig Museum. The exhibition was called Zartlich und Grausam (Cruel and Tender)and was BRILLIANT. It was first on in The Tate Modern in London but we missed that so scooted off to Germany. Cosmoploitan indeedy. (But the flights cost nowt these days don't they?)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

E bay

This is quite a story for e bay - the guy who was invited to a wedding and put the tickets on e bay. Was it all a hoax to bring more publicity? - Certainly the site was announcing record profits this week, (SEE HERE) so maybe this was a nice little hype to bring even more attention to the world's greatest car boot sale ever. The story was certainly reported widely here in the UK (THE GUARDIAN), as well as abroad (THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD).
Personally I love the site and have enjoyed buying rubbish at low down prices - copies of Jackie from 1970 and a 1952 Good Housekeepings cookery book being amongst my favourites.
The temptation of course, is compounded by my desire to gain credibility points next to my name!
And take a trip here to see Martin Parr's selecton of mobile phone photos. Then Google Matin Parr and enjoy his representation of contemporary society.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Feeling a bit self conscious about this first entry.
I want this blog to help me think about / share / develop my research into New Literacies, especially Internet stuff. I am interested in teenagers on-line work - their blogs, personal sites, discussion boards. I guess this blog is intended to help me understand what on line diaries might do for someone, how addictive they are -or otherwise etc etc.
That's all for now as I want to check out the gizmos on this site.

About Me

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Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.