Monday, 31 December 2007

Video Games 2007

Final Fantasy XII screenshot (enhanced)BBC Technology presents its review of the best video games of 2007 and highlights the record-breaking megabucks now being made by the industry. Sales in the UK are at an all-time high: "more than £1.52bn taken in the last 12 months". Halo 3 earned £84m in its first 24 hours on sale! What surprises me is that art reviewers totally ignore this booming area of artistic creativity. How can art pundits witter on about best-selling contemporary artists or the most influential people in the art world while ignoring video games? This is where some of the best of modern art is to be found. Forget that chump Duchamp. Whoever invented Space Invaders was the most influential artist of the 20th Century. Anyone know his name?

Toshihiro Nishikado

A Space InvaderSpace Invaders was the brainchild of Toshihiro Nishikado, a programmer for the Japanese company Taito. The invasion began in 1978. Look where it's taken us in only 30 years!

Spiny Sea Urchin

Unknown Artist - Spiny Sea Urchin, Hawaiian Species (reduced in size)I forgot to mention that Thomas Heatherwick's B of the Bang (second post down) is supposed to represent the flash of a starting pistol. It looks nothing like that to me. "Spiny sea urchin" was my first thought. Here's an excellent illustration of a Hawaiian species to show you what I mean. What can you do with an artist who doesn't know a muzzle flash from a spiny sea urchin? Sue him for £2m when his spines fall off!

From Russia Law

Wanted Poster over Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin's Bathing of a Red Horse (1912)It's been confirmed that Culture Secretary James Purnell has ordered the enactment of the new Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Bill 2007 to be brought forward to today, while MPs are still on their Christmas and New Year holidays. Will this immoral law pacify Putin and allow the From Russia exhibition to go ahead? Will Purnell's presumption annoy our MPs? Will the Queen be miffed? (Some of Her Majesty's relatives lost their treasures as well as their lives in the Russian Revolution.)

Artist Sued For £2m!

Thomas Heatherwick - Model for B of the BangManchester City Council is bringing a High Court action against Thomas Heatherwick, because the "sculpture" B of the Bang he designed to mark the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester has been officially declared unsafe. Some of its spikes fell off in high winds, causing a road to be closed for a while. Costs have rocketed from an estimated £750,000 to £1.42 million and still it isn't completed. The model makes a striking image. Maybe a bit too striking!

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Douglas Slocombe OBE

Kind Hearts and Coronets DVD coverArt had a dismal showing in the New Year Honours list. All I noticed was a belated OBE for English cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, now 94. He made his mark with the old Ealing Studios comedies, such as Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and at the height of his career filmed all the Indiana Jones movies for Steven Spielberg. Rumour has it that Douglas never used a light meter on the set of Raiders Of The Lost Ark! One of the reasons the Ealing comedies have stood the test of time is the quality of his cinematography. The movie that won him the most awards was Fred Zinnemann's Julia (1977). Click the title link for his filmography.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Hong, Elephant Artist

I.C. - My recollection of Hong's drawing of an elephant! (2007)Did you know that elephants can draw elephants? I didn't until yesterday, when I caught a trailer for Channel Five's Extraordinary Animals. It's on Wednesday 2 January at 7.30pm. The talented jumbo is Hong, an Asian elephant who uses her trunk to hold her paintbrush. Is Hong a good enough artist to fool a "top London art gallery?" wonders the blurb. This I have got to see. She should go down a bundle in Tate Modern, which already owns some expensive elephant dung.

Death of an Icon

Netscape LogoAOL pulls the plug on Netscape Navigator, the early browser which more than 90% of Internet punters used in the mid-1990s. Powerful competition from Microsoft's Internet Explorer plus new competition from Firefox have reduced Navigator's share of the user-base to a mere 0.6%. Internet Explorer now hogs 80% of the browser market, while Firefox snaps at its heels with 16%. AOL will no longer support Navigator after 1 February 2008.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Bond Correction

MI6 HQ front view, architect Terry FarrellYou need to post your James Bond first-day covers in MI6 HQ, not MI5, to gain their maximum value. MI6 is the Secret Intelligence Service responsible for espionage against overseas targets. Its original Director General was known as "C"; Fleming changed it to "M" for his novels. MI6 HQ is at Vauxhall Cross, London, in a new £200m building designed by Terry Farrell. It hits you as soon as you emerge from Vauxhall Underground Station. On entry to the building, smile at the security cameras and join the queue for the posting box. Don't do anything silly, like wearing a false Muslim nutter's beard or a placard stating "I love Vladimir". Coxsoft Art News accepts no liability for what happens to you!

James Bond Stamps

1st Class Stamp showing Dr No book covers (2007)Royal Mail will be commemorating the centenary of the birth of Ian Fleming, who created James Bond, with a special issue of 6 extra-long stamps on 8 January 2008 (title link). Tip: if you collect first-day covers, post your Bond collection inside MI5 ... if they'll let you! It's one of those big buildings beside the Thames....

Mall Galleries 2008

Bert Wright - Wapping and Tower Bridge circa 1948London's Mall Galleries, home of the Federation of British artists, has posted its forthcoming exhibitions for 2008 until May (title link). There's something for every taste, from ceramics to fine art. The first two shows, in January, are for crafts and textiles. The first fine art show is the 62nd Annual Exhibition of The Wapping Group of Artists, which specializes in views of the River Thames, from 11 to 16 February, admission free. This painting of Wapping and Tower Bridge circa 1948 is by Bert Wright, President of the Wapping Group. Very nostalgic. I can remember when the Thames was busy with tugs pulling strings of barges through London (not quite as far back as 1948 though).

Thursday, 27 December 2007

London Art Fair

London Art Fair LogoThis little graphic arrived in my inbox as a 57Kb JPG. It is now a 3Kb GIF with no loss of quality or reduction in size. I reduced its colours from "millions" to 8. That's all it needs. When will they learn? Anyway, the London Art Fair is back for its 20th year at the Business Design Centre in Islington, from 16 to 20 January 2008, with more than 100 galleries exhibiting. Entry costs £10, but National Gallery e-news subscribers can buy two tickets for the price of one before 11 January (plus a £1 booking fee). So, if you have money to burn on contemporary art, subscribe and call 0870 129 5033. You need a code, so don't waste a phone call if you're not a subscriber.

Coxsoft Art Statues 5

A.F.Bourj - Boy watching A Lizard (c1874) 2 viewsI finally got round to adding a fifth page to Coxsoft Art's collection of statue combinations. This one - two views of A.F.Bourj's Boy watching A Lizard (ca 1874) - needed the centre section redrawn so that the two photos could overlap without showing a harsh join. Click the title link to visit the new page and view a larger version. Take a closer look at the boy's fingernails. Masterly detail.

Glamour Photography

Unknown Photographer - Britney SpearsHaving raised the subject of art photos (next 2 posts down) I thought it would be worth looking at how a professional photographer glamorizes the girl in a studio shoot. The beautiful model is Britney Spears wearing nothing but beads and knickers. Her makeup enhances rather than detracts from her appearance. She is centrally placed in frame, but this is fine as there is no background object that requires the frame to be adjusted to balance the picture. The girl is the star of the photo and there is nothing to distract us from her. She is perfectly lit from the side, but also back lighting turns her hair - blown by a strong studio fan - into a glorious mane. A slightly low camera position forces us to look up at this goddess. Her challenging pose says "Come get me if you dare". Great photo! As a portrait it would be useless, because it tells is nothing about the subject. The previous photo (title link) tells us far more about the girl; you could almost draw up a psychological profile from it; but glamour?

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Riga Flowers 2

Composition Adjustment to Arnis Balcus's Poinsetta photoIn case my comments on the previous photo were as clear as mud, here's a quick sketch to show what I mean. The composition is improved by excluding the boring stuff in the background and by including the bits cropped by the original frame. The all-important flower, not the model, is now in the middle line of the picture. And the skull draped in pink balls adds a symbolic comparison between death and life. This composition is beginning to rise to the level of proficiency. I still wouldn't call it "art". It needs a single pink carnation for that! And less makeup.

Flowers at Riga Gallery

Arnis Balcus - Poinsettia (2006)Here's another Christmas angel, from an art show at the Riga Gallery, Latvia: Flowers. Arnis Balcus, the Latvia-born photographer who took the pics was trained in London and is based here. Flowers is a series of photos in which girls posed naked at home with the flower of their choice, the notion being that, like dog owners, a woman resembles her favourite flower. Oh, come on! This photo is Poinsettia, but the model says "pink carnation" to me. Or "daffy-dil". Art photo? No! Despite his training, Arnis hasn't mastered the art of composition. His subject is centred in the frame, which includes a lot of boring background to the right of the picture, cuts off her knee and bisects an interesting bovine skull draped in pink balls. Unintended cropping is the hallmark of the amateur snap. How much better to have moved the frame to the left to include the model's knee and the skull and to have closed in to remove more boring wall above the cow's horns.

Jean Del Cour

Jean Del Cour - Ange Adorateur (Bois polychromé © Michel Lefftz)It seems an attack of piety caused ArtDaily to post this picture of an angel - Jean Del Cour's Ange Adorateur - on Christmas Day, because the exhibition it promotes opened last October. The French city of Liege is commemorating the 300th anniversary of the death of Baroque sculptor Jean Del Cour with an exhibition of 130 of his works at the Collegiate Church of Saint Barthélemy. Adoration is one of those suspect emotions that the best of artists can fail to portray. Despite the high quality of the sculpture, this adoring angel looks like somebody with learning difficulties. She reminds me of the artwork for Mills & Boon covers, in which passion has the appearance of a couple trying to repress an outbreak of wind. The exhibition continues until 3 February 2008 (title link). Parlez vous Français? CLICK.

Happy Birthday

I.C. - I am 2 badge (2007)Coxsoft Art News is two years old today. My first post was on Boxing Day 2005, to wish a belated happy 80th birthday to Winnie-the-Pooh - it should have been Christmas Eve - and to note that most news stories about this event ignored Pooh's illustrator E.H. Shepard. I've been complaining about one thing or another ever since. But Mr Grumpy does occasionally find great works of art to praise. And I've covered a wide range of art, wider than I'd originally intended. Once you open your eyes, there is art everywhere, from adverts to book covers. The one place you rarely find it is in the contemporary art gallery!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Fentix Cube

Fentix Cube (2007)Over the past few months Coxsoft Art News has shown a number of scientific images that are more beautiful and more interesting than the daubs of many contemporary artists. Take this Fentix Cube designed by Andrew Fentem. It contains all sorts of sophisticated engineering features which allow it to be pressure-sensitive and to sense its pitch and yaw and to react accordingly. But is it a toy, a work of art, a business card? Depends what you programme it to do. Andrew used to design missile systems for Thorn EMI. Disillusioned with that, he turned his engineering skills to art and has exhibited at London's Kinetica Museum of Kinetic, Electronic and Experimental Art, the first of its kind (CLICK). Following YouTube exposure, his cube looks as though it will be a winner. But in what field?

Animation Festival

Scene from The Polar Express (2004)Did you get what you wanted this Christmas? Never mind. In the UK at least, you can settle down for today's animation festival. For artwork of stunning quality you can't beat The Polar Express (shown) on ITV. The rest of the fest is on BBC1. For Brit. humour at its best, there's Aardman Animations' Shaun The Sheep and Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out. For unfunny Yankee humour but excellent animation there's Pixar's Finding Nemo and DreamWorks' Shrek 2. And don't overlook Robbie the Reindeer: Close Encounters of the Herd Kind.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Picasso Net News

Mirta Benavente - Atrapado en SueñosToday I received the December e-news from Spanish arts website - unfortunate name - showing samples of work by its newly joined artists. I noticed this intriguing thumbnail of a piece by Mirta Benavente: Atrapado en Sueños. Painting? Relief sculpture? Metal engraving? I visited Mirta's website page (title link) to find out. The answer: "mixed techniques". So I'm none the wiser. Oh well.

De Morgan Art Found

William de Morgan - Two-handled Lustre UrnThree William de Morgan treasures stolen from London's De Morgan Centre last July have been recovered by police and returned to the Centre. The thieves used a ladder to enter through a toilet window! They haven't been collared and the Met's Art and Antiques Unit is still investigating the burglary. A conservative estimate of the value of the recovered ceramics is £150,000. Let's hope the De Morgan Foundation has sorted out its security since the theft.

Winter Landscape

Caspar David Friedrich - Winter Landscape (1811)Yesterday's fog, which caused travel chaos across the UK*, reminded me of one of my favourite landscapes: Caspar David Friedrich's Winter Landscape (ca 1811). I can ignore all the soppy religious symbolism - the abandoned crutches, the cripple sitting by a Christian shrine, the misty cathedral echoing Nature - and enjoy the composition and the deft aerial perspective. His art, encapsulated as "German Romantic" consistently delivers spectacular natural lighting effects. But oh for a sprig of holly and a Brit. robin whistling in the foreground! (*Anything less than ideal weather conditions causes our transport infrastructure to grind to a halt.)

Festival of Lights

Christmas Tree Lights from Feebleminds Animated GIFsAt least three religions celebrate a Festival of Lights, so a display of flashing coloured lights never goes amiss, unless you're Green; but an animated e-card is "greener" than the real thing. If you haven't already sent your e-cards, click the title link for Feebleminds Animated GIFs, the free and trustworthy website where this Christmas tree came from. Have you noticed that animated GIFs are hit or miss on Blogger? Sometimes they work; sometimes they don't. It seems to depend on where Blogger puts them. The Smiley lower down is at bp0 and doesn't work unless you click on it. This Christmas tree is at bp2 and does work. Don't ask me why. Ask Blogger.

Season's Greetings

Guido Reni - Dionysus (Bacchus)Whatever you call it - Yuletide, Bacchanalia, Christmas - have a merry one, but try not to get into the same state as young Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), who is so sozzled he doesn't know whether he's coming or going. In fact I think he's doing both at the same time. And try not to worry too much about your turkey's carbon footprint. Worry about it next year. In the meantime lay off the cranberry sauce, because that's a real global warmer. Mind you, the Brussels sprouts don't help either!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

A 'New' Caravaggio?

Caravaggio - The Cardsharps, detail of 2 versions (1595) and (ca 1594)The art world is agog with the news that a recently discovered version of Caravaggio's The Cardsharps has gone on display at the Cavarretta Palace in Trapani, Sicily. Sir Denis Mahon bought this "new" Caravaggio for a mere £50,400 at an auction at Sotheby's, when it was described as the work of an anonymous "follower of Caravaggio". He has since authenticated the work as a genuine Caravaggio and dated it to 1595. I downloaded images of both paintings to compare them, the "new" (title link) and the "old", which is owned by the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (CLICK). As you can see from the duplicated detail above, the "new" Caravaggio on the left lacks the Kimbell version's freshness of colour. Apart from that, the two paintings are identical! This makes me sceptical that both are by Caravaggio. It is well known that he did produce copies of paintings for different patrons: CLICK for comparisons of two versions of his St John the Baptist as a Child (1600) and for two versions of The Lute Player (ca 1595) CLICK. But an exact copy? Surely this is tedious work he would have passed to an apprentice. If so, which is by the master and which by the apprentice?

Couch Potato Art

Oip-oip présente Miss France 2009Are you into potato sculpture? If so, enjoy Oip-oip's guess at what Miss France 2009 might look like. This is the first time - probably the last too - that Coxsoft Art News has featured the humble spud as a work of art; but it's more tasteful than those blocks of human excrement which some twerp is currently exhibiting in London. No, I'm not going to link to that poo show. It isn't art. Anyway, I prefer my spuds in this condition, before they've passed through the alimentary canal.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Brazil Heist Update

Smiley ShockedOfficials at the Sao Paulo Museum of Art have admitted that their collection isn't insured! They have also admitted to "major failures" in their security system! Coxsoft Art asks again: Who are the idiots who protect the world's treasures (in Picasso's case, purported treasures)? The president of the museum is Julio Neves. How did this twit ever get the job? Old school tie? Bribery? Casting couch? Or is it simply The Peter Principle at work? "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

Friday, 21 December 2007

Manhunt in High Court

Judge's WigMr Justice Wyn Williams has ruled that the British Board of Film Classification can take its case against the Video Appeals Committee to the High Court. In the meantime, Manhunt 2 cannot be released in the UK. The case is booked for 31 January 2008. Another wait and see, folks. Will Manhunt 2 finally get the chop?

From Russia On, Maybe

Guess What by Guess WhoBBC News reports that Natalia Uvarova from the Russian Culture Agency has said the paintings for the on/off From Russia exhibition will be released for export if the UK government's Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Bill 2007 becomes law to ensure "the art's immunity from seizure". Wait and see, folks.

Another Brazil Heist

Picasso - Suzanne Bloch (1904); Candido Portinari - The Coffee Worker (1939)It looks as though the Russian Mafia are back in Brazil for their annual winter break. Last year they hit Rio de Janeiro twice, in February (CLICK) and March (CLICK). Yesterday at dawn they broke into Sao Paulo's Museum of Art and stole Picasso's Suzanne Bloch (1904) and Candido Portinari's The Coffee Worker (1939). Their modus operandi may vary, but their bad taste in art is constant. This tosh is worth £50m ($100m)!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

From Russia Off

Ilya Repin - Manifesto of 17 October 1905 (1907-1911)It's official. The From Russia exhibition is cancelled. "This is not political," the KGB spokesman told a press conference. He didn't say that the cancellation is to protect loot seized from the aristocracy during the Russian Revolution, but he dropped a few hints. At this point BBC TV News told a bald-faced lie and reported that Government has "stepped in" to resolve the dispute. The truth is that back in October the Brit. Culture Secretary James Purnell promised the Russians a change in English law to protect these exhibits from seizure and he hasn't delivered (CLICK). His new law won't come before Parliament until after MPs' Christmas hols, so 7 January at the earliest, and there' no guarantee the bill will be passed. Even some Labour MPs might not want to protect looted art from seizure.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Russian Art Threat

Wanted Poster over Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin's Bathing of a Red Horse (1912)Brenda Emmanus, BBC London's arts correspondent, gabbled this evening about the Russians dithering over bringing the much vaunted exhibition From Russia: French and Russian Master Paintings 1870-1925 to the Royal Academy of Arts (title link). Calm down, dear. The French and Spanish stuff is mostly tripe. It's the Russian masters we want to see (CLICK). If Putin blocks the exhibition because he's miffed we've issued an arrest warrant against his ex-KGB chum Andrei Lugovoi, it's Russian art that will be the poorer, not UK punters.

Another Life Model

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida - Boy with Ball (detail)Back in the days of innocence, before the public became aware that children - even horrid boys - could be objects of lust, it seemed proper and probably cheaper to offer a street urchin a few coppers to pose as a life model, rather than employing a lusty wench, who might well distract the would-be artists from their work. "Nice boobs, Michelangelo, but what about the rest of the model?" This life study, Boy With Ball (detail), by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, proves what a superb artist he might have become had he not been seduced by Impressionism. This anonymous sandy cherub remains arguably his finest work of art.

Life Model Interview

Rosemarie Orwin, Life Model, 2 views (2005)Continuing today's theme of getting your kit off for art, here are two views of English life model Rosemarie Orwin, who's making a good living out of it. Click the title link to read a BBC Swinden interview with Rosemarie which includes her most embarrassing life-modelling session - at a boy's school! (Shame I didn't know about this item during the Pete Pansy life-classes fiasco.) Artists are mostly a boring and pretentious bunch when interviewed. Learning what it feels like on the other side of the canvas is a far more interesting read.

How To Photo Art 2

Bikini-clad Girls Viewing Art in Vienna (2005)In 2005 a photographer at the Leopold Museum in Vienna went one better than posing an attractive young woman in front of a painting. He found two wearing bikinis to flank a nude study. The occasion was the opening of The Naked Truth, an exhibition of erotic art. To encourage people to get their kit off, the museum allowed naked or scantily clad visitors to enter free. I understand Sir Nick Serota is seeking novelties for Tate Modern and so far hasn't taken me up on my idea of recreating Amsterdam's red light district in the Turbine Hall.... (Note: some Philistine cropped this photo too tightly, so I had to widen the image and restore the girls' bottoms by hand ... er ... mouse. Anything for art.)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Deckchair Dreams News

Giancarlo Neri - Deckchair Dreams Design (2007)Remember Deckchair Dreams 2007? If not, click the title link for Coxsoft Art's July post on the subject. My winter copy of Royal Parks, the magazine of the Royal Parks Foundation, informs me that the auction of those designer deckchairs fetched more than £100,000 for a variety of projects. Some of the proceeds will go toward a community programme in Bushy Park, which is being restored. Another charity auction at a summer evening party raised £250,000 for the Royal Parks. Thought you'd like to know.

An Embuggerance

Paul Kidby - Cover for Terry Pratchett's Making Money (2007)In case you missed this sad news, a week ago Terry Pratchett revealed that he has been "diagnosed with a very rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's", which he describes with typical humour as "an embuggerance". But he hasn't given up the ghost yet. Making Money, the 31st book in his Discworld series, was published in September (CLICK). His next novel, Nation, is nearing completion and he has written notes for Unseen Academicals. Click the title link for Discworld News.

New Guinea Discoveries

Ornate Fruit-Dove (2007)How's this for a pigeon painted by a lunatic? Actually it's a genuine photo of an ornate fruit-dove which lives in dense jungles in the Foja Mountains of New Guinea. An expedition to this "lost world", organised by Conservation International and led by Bruce Beehler, also found two species probably new to science: a giant rat weighing 1.4 of those foreign kilogram thingies and a pygmy possum. Click the title link to see more photos.

Landscape Oil Sketches

Frederic, Lord Leighton - The Villa Malta, Rome (1860's) © The Gere CollectionThe Landscape Oil Sketch is a new exhibition in Room 1 of the National Gallery, continuing until 6 April 2008, admission free. Most of the exhibits are taken from the Gere Collection, which is on long-term loan to the Gallery. These sketches were self-training exercises not intended for sale. The idea was to work fast and catch the fleeting effects of natural light. Only the Impressionists had the cheek to sell such sketches as finished works of art! Frederic, Lord Leighton's little training sketch The Villa Malta, Rome (1860's) knocks spots off anything the Impressionists produced. This is a must-see exhibition. Click the title link for details.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Manhunt 2 Latest

Hanging Scene from Manhunt 2 (2007)The saga continues. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has announced it will seek a judicial review to overturn the Video Appeals Committee's decision to lift a ban on Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 (CLICK). BBFC states that VAC's decision was based on an incorrect interpretation of the Video Recordings Act and, if allowed to stand, would have "fundamental implications with regard to all the Board's decisions, including those turning upon questions of unacceptable levels of violence."

Blog Red Letter Day

Girlie Calendar (2007)Fellow bloggers, did you know that today is the 10th anniversary of the coining of the word "weblog", which later became shortened to "blog"? Ten years on and blog-monitoring firm Technorati reports that it is tracking more than 70 million blogs! It estimates that new blogs are being created at the rate of 120,000 every day. Posts are being added at a rate of 1.5 million per day. That's 17 per second!

Jean-Baptiste Roman

Jean-Baptiste Roman - Nisus et Euryale (1827) 2 viewsHere's the second addition to my web space: two views of Jean-Baptiste Roman's Nisus et Euryale (1827). If you want brilliant, heroic sculpture in the Greco-Roman style, this is it. Pity the sword has vanished; I was sorely tempted to restore it. Click the title link to marvel at the 1024x768 pixels version. Art forgers, eat your hearts out. No way could you imitate work of this quality.

Jean-Pierre Cortot

Jean-Pierre Cortot - Daphne and Cloe (1824) 2 viewsThis is one of two statues I uploaded into my web space today, both showing two different views in one graphic. I haven't integrated them into my website yet, because a new web page is required. Here's a preview: Jean-Pierre Cortot's breathtaking Daphne and Cloe (1824). Click the title link to see the large 955x768 pixels version.

Save a Bit of the Planet

Menie Estate Sand Dunes, photo Ian Francis, RSPBForget Bali! A Yankee fat cat called Trump is threatening a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Scotland: Menie Estate. Its shifting sand dunes are an important home to a variety of wildlife. The chump wants to desecrate this SSSI with a large hotel, two golf courses, 500 houses and 1,000 holiday homes, costing £1bn. The greedy editors of local rags are in favour of Trump's development. Most local councillors seem to be rubbing their hands with glee at the idea, but Trump's planning application hit a snag in the Infrastructure Services Committee, where the Chairman's casting vote rejected the application. The Chairman - Councillor Martin Ford - has since been sacked, despite his making the correct decision (a chairman should always break deadlock by voting for the status quo) CLICK. The decision is now up to the Scottish Government. The RSPB is vigorously against the plan (title link). If you're British, CLICK to sign a No 10 e-petition to give the fat cat the raspberry and save this small bit of the planet.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Open ID Commenting

New Blogger/Google Open ID Comments Menu (2007)In case you haven't noticed yet or you're not a Blogger blogger, three days ago Blogger/Google introduced a new do-dad in Comments. Previously you could choose to use your Google ID or remain anonymous. Now you can sign in using your ID for AOL/AIM, Livejournal, TypeKey, Wordpress or Any Open ID. An appropriate icon appears against your name in the Comments header. Click the title link for more info. at Blogger Buzz.

Body Count Reaches 25

NewsflashUpdate on my previous post: the body count of London's teenagers shot or stabbed to death is now 25. Two youths - 15 and 16 - were stabbed last night in a mass street brawl in Stoke Newington. The 16-year-old died today. The 15-year-old is "in a stable condition". Police have arrested 14 teenagers aged between 13 and 19, including a girl. So much for Create Peace, Make Peace!

Street-art Project

Sandra - Ephemere (2007)Today saw an alleged "street-art project" in Brixton - London's oldest black ghetto - organised by Create Peace, Make Peace in naive protest against black teenagers shooting and knifing one another (24 dead so far this year in London alone). Sandra's Ephemere (2007) is the only art I could find online. The event seems mainly to comprise wacky white folks hugging trees, ready poetry or holding up chunks of cardboard with peace messages scrawled on them. The BBC News item must have been written by a confused immigrant: "The events ends with the a party on Sunday afternoon" (sic). Care to bet how many of these tree-hugging lovey-dovies get mugged on their way home?

Wanted For Murder

I.C. - Wanted for Murder (2007)A European arrest warrant has been issued for recently elected Russian politician Andrei Lugovoi, whom the UK police want to question about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The big question isn't so much who killed Alexander Litvinenko as who gave the order for his execution? Hi, Vladimir. Congratulations on your landslide victory. Any idea which of your ex-KGB chums might have ordered the hit? (Thought for Western European governments: Should we trust Russia to supply us with gas?)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Protest at Tate Modern

Protestors in Tate Modern (14/12/07)Yesterday, contract cleaning and catering workers proved they are smarter than Tate Modern visitors by taking over its Turbine Hall without one of them falling down Doris's Crack. They're complaining about their hourly pay of £5.52 (the national minimum wage) and want Red Ken's suggested rate of £7.20 per hour, to reflect the high cost of living in London. Dunno how they can afford to live here on their wages. Why not go back home? I'm sure the cost of living is lower in Poland or Somalia or wherever.