Caravan

primitivepeople


On your last trip...

Did you discover what the Earth people eat?


My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

Books 2015 #12
Caravan
primitivepeople

  1. Planet Ponzi by Mitch Feierstein

  2. A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell

  3. Stuffocation by James Wallman

  4. On Roads by Joe Moran

  5. North Korea Undercover by John Sweeney

  6. Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

  7. Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Clive Irving

  8. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

  9. A Very Political Railway: The Rescue of the North London Line by Wayne Asher

  10. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

  11. The Knowledge: How To Rebuid Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell

  12. 100 Acts of Minor Dissent by Mark Thomas​

  13. A New Kind Of Christianity by Brian D McLaren

  14. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

  15. Waverley Route: the battle for the Borders Railway by David Spaven

  16. The End by Charlie Higson

  17. The Ladybird Book of the Hipster

  18. ​​​​Damaged Goods by Dianna Anderson

End

This was the final book in Charlie Higson's mammoth Enemy series - seven really great novels detailing a world in which everyone beyond their mid-teens succumbed to a disease that turned them into a zombie. The series describes the struggles of various groups of kids around London as they attempt to survive attacks by the zombies, rivalry between groups and all the other struggles of a post-apocalyptic world. The books are aimed at young readers but the horror is pretty liberally splashed across the pages, and all the books are exciting and fast-moving, with a huge cast of characters and a complex sequence of events.

Many of the books only deal with some of the characters, and there's some overlap between them, but this book brings everything together, with all the groups of kids having to deal with an increasingly large army of diseased adults gathering in London. There's a lot of political argument going on, before a final battle takes place. The body count is pretty hefty, with some twists and turns plotwise leading to a satisfying and exciting climax. These books have been an annual treat for a while now, and I'm going to miss them! I really hope there's a film series on the way.

Hipsters​

This book is produced in exactly the same format and with all the illustrations taken from a genuine Ladybird book of sixties/seventies vintage. For those overseas, Ladybird were a UK-based educational publishing firm who produced a wide range of books for kids learning to read - I learned using the Peter and Jane series. This one is a spoof of one of the books describing the world of work and science, and features such things as Petr and his micro-still in an abandoned substation, and Phoo the action poet, who records her performances on Betamax cassettes labelled with the names of ITV sitcoms and left in charity shops. It also describes a cocktail bar where all drinks are made of different kinds of water, and a café where all dishes are guaranteed to be things you've never heard of before, like oven-balched beetcorn labneys.

Hilarious and a bit subversive. I want to read the Ladybird Book of the Midlife Crisis next.

Damaged

This book is written by an American feminist Christian who takes a look at evangelical purity culture, which has spawned things like The Silver Ring Thing, True Love Waits and other abstinence-only sex education programmes. They're less prominent in the UK but the influence has still been felt over here - it creates a culture where there's a lot of shaming of people who don't stay virgins until they're married.

The author of this book has done a lot of research on what happens in purity culture, how it has grown, what it aims to do, and how it can damage people. It's very thought-provoking and quite sobering - I won't go into too much detail, but it doesn't reflect well on the church, and it shows that there's still some very unhealthy extremely black and white thinking out there. Sexuality, morality and ethics are all things that we need to think very carefully about, and the book critiques a one-size-fits-all, harsh model of purity and ethics that can be extremely damaging to those who "fail". I wish it had been around 25 years ago when I was being told that good Christians weren't supposed to think about sex at all - that's a bit much really. The book encourages readers to think through issues themselves, and to ensure they understand readiness, consent and safety for themselves. It explains what the positive and negative consequences of sex can be, and encourages ownership of our bodies and sexualities, rather than allowing them to be the rather public property they're viewed as in some of the more fundamentalist churches.

Interesting - shows that nothing is as simple as some people would like it to be.

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

Books 2015 #11
Caravan
primitivepeople

  1. Planet Ponzi by Mitch Feierstein

  2. A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell

  3. Stuffocation by James Wallman

  4. On Roads by Joe Moran

  5. North Korea Undercover by John Sweeney

  6. Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

  7. Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Clive Irving

  8. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

  9. A Very Political Railway: The Rescue of the North London Line by Wayne Asher

  10. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

  11. The Knowledge: How To Rebuid Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell

  12. 100 Acts of Minor Dissent by Mark Thomas​

  13. A New Kind Of Christianity by Brian D McLaren

  14. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  15. Waverley Route: the battle for the Borders Railway by David Spaven

Right - I've got quite a lot of catching up to do here. First couple of books here were ones I was inspired to read after Greenbelt this year, which as ever left me with plenty to think about.

One afternoon I ended up chatting with some people in the Angels Lounge, and they mentioned Brian McLaren. I've seen him speak in previous years, and I enjoyed what he had to say. The conversation I was having made me keen to read some of his stuff, so I took a walk over to the book tent and picked this one up. I found it a very well-argued and passionate plea for Christians to take a much more inclusive, loving and positive view of the world and to think very hard about a lot of sacred cows that are probably long overdue for slaughter. It makes the case that faith can be a very strong and positive force for change, but often sadly isn't. It was a good read and kept reminding me of another talk I heard years ago, by a guy called Dave Andrews. He argued very strongly in favour of a departure from binary ways of thinking, and instead looking at bigger pictures, thinking of nuances and in shades of grey. It certainly helped me feel a bit more positive about some things, although in others it made me very aware, and rather depressed about, the somewhat pointless battles some Christians insist on continuing to fight, and the defensive ghettoes they live in.

The Sparrow is a sci-fi novel I didn't know about until I went to a talk by Simon Morden. He spoke about books that do a good job of portraying faith issues without being specifically "Christian" books, and of the three he mentioned, this sounded the most interesting. It's about a small group of Jesuits who launch a mission to make first contact with an alien race, after picking up mysterious radio transmissions of great beauty. Initially everything goes well, but gradually the members of the party die, and the law of unintended consequences kicks in - the humans massively affect the social structure that exists on the planet. The last member of the party left undergoes a terrifying ordeal and returns back to Earth hugely traumatised by it all. It's an enthralling and very clever read that looks at guilt, forgiveness, faith, doubt, anger, relationships and a whole heap more. Really thought provoking, especially making me think that you can't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes.

And finally...a bit of geek interest! This last book is a history of the Edinburgh to Carlisle Waverley Line, and how it came to be controversially closed throughout in 1969. It took much hard work and a lot of campaigning to bring about its recent partial reopening, as the Borders Railway to Tweedbank. It's a lot like A Very Political Railway - going quite deeply into the wider history of the area and the politics involved, so it's more than just an enthusiast's book. My boss lent it to me - in his previous role at Network Rail he was quite involved in the Borders Railway project, and there's a picture of him in the book! Interesting story about all the challenges we transport pros face when trying to get stuff done...


My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

Letters
LJ
primitivepeople
Something I've really enjoyed doing recently is reviving the art of letter-writing. Before the days of mobile phones, email and social media, I was quite a prolific letter-writer, especially after myself and my friends left school and scattered about for gap years, uni and work. Letters were a real treat in those days.

I've tended to find social media a mixed bag. It's easy to keep in touch with people through it, but it has a tendency to act as a massive drama magnet, which is a pain. Instagram is great and I love, but I suffer Facebook as a necessary evil - I think I'd lose touch with a lot of friends if I gave up on it.

Anyway...last year I revived regular letter-writing. It started off with a Facebook friend saying she wanted letters, so I wrote to her, and it kind of snowballed from there. I now write to lots of people, some frequently, some occasionally. They vary from old teenage and uni friends to people I've met through blogging, Facebook, various online groups and the fairly active penpal community on Instagram.

Most people don't bother with hand-written letters these days, which is a real shame because they're one of life's finer pleasures. I love sitting down to read letters. Even better is writing one back! I'm an overthinker and a worrier, and I tend to find that sitting down to write a letter is really therapeutic. It absorbs my attention, distracts me from fretting about things and really helps me process my thoughts. And when it's finished, you've got something unique you've created, that will bring real pleasure to someone.

If you haven't written to anyone lately, I strongly recommend trying it. I'm always keen to get more mail, so you can write to me if you like. :) If you're interested, get in touch and we can swap addresses.

What are you waiting for?

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

Experimenting with film...
Cosmic Symbol
primitivepeople
Ever since my DSLR wiped all the pics I shot in the Paris catacombs - the evil bastard - I've been a bit wary of using it, and I've shot quite a lot of film. Every now and again I enjoy doing something a bit unusual.

I've always liked infrared photography, and I've done a bit of it with digital cameras - phone cameras work well for that. Infrared film is hard to get hold of and very tricky to handle, so I've never used it, but there's a slightly simpler alternative in the form of Ilford SFX film. It has extended red sensitivity, which means that if you shoot it with a red filter in the right conditions, it can produce some infrared effects, but it's easier to use. I've previously shot a couple of rolls in a Holga and a Diana, which produced typically variable results, so I thought I'd try some in a "proper" camera.

So...I got a nice set of filters and shot a roll in my Olympus Trip 35. Here are some of the pictures - the results were a bit mixed. Some prints showed quite noticeable IR effects, and some looked quite normal, probably because the lab tried to cancel out the odd looks the film can produce. It didn't take much effort to emphasise it, though - just a bit of playing with contrast. Hope you like them...


Stone sculptures in the Water of Leith


View from the Dean Village bridge


THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE.


Edinburgh Castle


London Eye against a sunny sky - best IR effect of all the shots.


Ruined church and graveyard in Stow


Bridge to Heaven, Stow


Dead tree next to Linlithgow Loch


Linlithgow Palace and church


Next time I'll try a roll in the ME Super and see how that goes.

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

My tweets
Caravan
primitivepeople
Tags:

?

Log in