Saturday, January 08, 2011


The Internet is an ever-changing space. Not only has the nature of content evolved from 'viewing a page on a screen' to the more fluid 'read, comment, edit and ammend on screen' but the way we view the Internet has changed.

Whereas once the Internet was cable based to desk-top, now we are wireless through satalite. To keep up with this new, portable, Internet isn't easy. Suddenly design becomes important.

I was close to move from beloved, customisable blogger to rigid, yet mobile screen friendly, Wordpress when I found a wonderful blogpost. It mentioned the addition of mobile friendly layouts if you login through and activate mobile layout.

Those reading this on a computer should see no difference but those loading this on a phone now should.


[hat tip to Blog Herald for the info. Does anyone know a good blogging app for iPhone?]

Friday, January 07, 2011

Where there's muck, there's brass

Take a stroll through the streets of Birmingham you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd ended up in the Winter of Discontent. Unemployment is above national average, bin sacks line the street due to industrial action by binmen and a main local employer is moving tax base elsewhere. While for some on the council this is "wet dream" territory... They get to talk tough and criticise unions ..... there is another truth not being covered.

Humanities ability to produce waste on this planet is unreivaled. No other being creates as much waste, nor is there word of anywhere else in the galaxy that has an economic system based on waste. That's right, humanity is unique and not in a good way. However, usually we are not faced with the consequences of our actions. We throw into a black bag and look forward to it being removed pronto. Our waste becomes someone else's problem. So, back to the waste problem. Spring 2010 saw Birmingham City Council loose a court case for pay discrimination. This important ruling made clear that higher weighting of pay in jobs predominantly done by one gender was a form of sexist discrimination. The effect of this ruling included the removal of bonuses paid to refuse collectors at the end of each year. The collectors were upset at this, balloted, went on strike and had one days action. Only the action was soon combined with some public holidays and the coldest winter in 100 years. So, in a freak collision of events a huge backlog of bin sacks was soon piled up on the streets. While the local lib-dems see this as a great excuse to privatise, I see it as a different form of opportunity. It's a chance for the city to see a fraction of the 100,000 tonnes it disposes of annually and be forced to think about what it means. To have happened after Christmas, a season marked now by consumerism rather than a commitment to peace and love, may just provide a chance to pause and reflect.

There is a saying " aim is not to have more but to be more". As we sit surrounded by our rubbish we should consider what we can do to be more, not have more. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to write a flier and create the first Park Avenue swop shop....

Monday, January 03, 2011

Remembering Pete Postlethwaite

Today the sad news has broken of the death of a true acting legend.  Pete Postlethwaite, 1946 - 2011, has been visible on both stage and screen for at least the last twenty years.  He found a niche, on screen, of playing roles and starring in films that looked at the world from a different angle.

The first film I remember seeing him in is Brassed Off.   As someone who was born during the winter of the Coal Miners Strike, he managed to bring to life a hard-approach (during difficult times) that epitomised a sentiment once called 'Keep B*gg*ring On'.  While playing a prickly character on screen, the entire film moved along in a way that made a deep impression and ensured that I would never consider unemployment as a 'price' worth paying for a new period of economic growth.

Fast forward over a decade and Pete managed to reinvent himself as grandfather of the future.  Launched with much fanfare, 'The Age of Stupid' turned out to be a stunning documentary that allowed humanity to tell its own story in its own words.   Playing the last person on earth, we see him watch as humanity explains why it continues to cling to a high-carbon lifestyle, all the while sitting (stunned) as he is now the result of humanities stupidity.   While many 'eco' films come out as far too worthy, this film - thanks to Pete's understated performance - is a winner that managed to do the simplest thing. He was able to show a mirror to society and ensure everyone left the screening wondering what we would see in our own lives if we took time to stand and watch.

Outside of socially aware films sit others - most notably for Spielberg in The Lost World and has recently graced the stage to play Hamlet. However for me I'll remember Pete as a man who managed to put a face to some of the most challenging questions and problems facing society. His curmudgeonly approach will be sorely missed and his boyish enthusiasm for low-carbon lifestyles should help inspire us all to life a better, greener, life.