Eastbourne: 14 mile circular walk

A couple of weeks ago we did a 14 mile circular walk around Eastbourne. The highlight was possibly the pub lunch and pints of Beachy Head ale we had at the Tiger Inn, situated right on the village green at East Dean, very nice.

As with all our walks I took along a camera – this time it was my Holga, with some out of date slide film I got cross processed. As with all my pics on this blog there is no digital correction, what you see is what I shot. Here are the pics:

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op

The South Downs Links

Twice towards the back end of last year myself and 20three co-collaborator Graham cycled parts of the South Downs link. The first attempt we abandoned at Christs Hospital after a ham, eggs, chips & beer lunch. The second attempt we were a bit more determined, we caught an early train from Brighton to Guilford and cycled back to Brighton (via Shoreham by Sea), this time not stopping for a pub lunch, the ride taking us about three hours or so.

The South Downs link runs along part of the Steyning railway line, discontinued since the 1960′s. As the route is along a disused railway line there a several ‘ghost’ railway stations along the route, pictures below.

There is a PDF guide for the links, detailed, with maps, download it here.

The first set of photos below are taken with a LC-A, cross processed. The second set, taken on our second trip, are all taken on my iphone 4.

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Next set taken on a iphone 4. And filter free.

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op

Paul Renner, everywhere I look

Unashamedly, and for all it’s perceived flaws, I love Futura. It’s one of those typefaces I often end up returning to. Designed in the 1920′s by Paul Renner, it was one of the first geometric typefaces commercially produced. Renner was a modernist, and shared the principles of the Bauhaus school – Futura was Renners attempt to create a wholly modern typeface.

I often hear and read disparaging things about Futura – It’s the face of the student, its lowercase flawed and cumbersome, the bold and heavy varieties overused, the condensed versions horrific… I have to admit to agreeing with some of these accusations.

I certainly agree with the overuse of the bold varieties. Futura has been around for a while now and unlike the neutral and uniform Helvetica Futura’s shapes are recognisable and distinct. Because of this Futura, from my (subjective) point of view, carries with it a certain amount of cultural baggage. I was an art student in the early nineties and I cannot look at Futura bold oblique without thinking of the conceptual images of Barbra Kruger. Similarly the bold varieties remind me of Absolut Vodka and Stanley Kubrick’s many title sequences and poster art. In the 1980′s the overuse of Futura Extra Bold Condensed even prompted a print campaign against it.

Although other geometric or sans faces have been just as overused, it seems to me that faces such as Frutiger and Helvetica, for all their hegemony melt into the overall visual noise that surrounds us. I guess this is what makes these typefaces so popular. They are versatile, and can be used in volume and for different purposes while staying discreet. They are an element in a design rather than the hero. I have a similar ‘cultural baggage’ problem with Avant Garde, another distinctive geometric face, and for me, another example of a typeface that suffers from a myriad of associations.

Despite all this I still often turn to Futura. I agree that the lowercase can appear disjointed but the capitals are beautiful and considered. And although Renner had nothing to do with the condensed version, and these versions seem to wind up designers the most, I still have a soft spot for them.

I also have to get over my own associations. Typefaces come in and out of style and new generations of designers discover faces discarded by their predecessors – again, Avant Garde is a great example of a face discovering a new life. (in fact there seems to be a whole Herb Lubalin revival going on – you don’t get a £65 monograph published if you are not in fashion.)

The inspiration for this post is a Futura variety which is possibly a little less know. Futura Display, designed by Renner in the mid thirties, was Renner’s attempt at making a sans based on nineteenth century sans serifs rather than the geometric shapes his original Futura was based on. Futura Display has little in common with the original versions of Futura – I would imagine naming this sans face ‘Futura’ nearly a decade on from the release of the original geometric version was as much to do with marketing than anything else.

I had hardly seen any examples of Futura Display apart from the odd gig poster I would come across pasted up around Brighton. After moving into a new flat a few years ago I discovered signage on a nearby office building that used Futura Display. In classic 1970’s styling the signage is brushed metal mounted on a brick facade, hardly doing it justice, but nevertheless, it is nice to see an example so near were I live, and a nice addition to the other variations of Futura I have discovered in near proximity to my home.

 

Futura Display

 

The other night I was up late watching the telly, Death Wish came on, and as I made my decision to turn in the titles came up. Death Wish. Rendered in Futura Display.

 

Futura Display

 

Christopher Burke’s biography of Renner, Paul Renner: the art of typography is a great read and contains all you would want to know about the life of Renner. As well as documenting the creation of Futura which for anyone with a passion for typography is interesting in itself, The book also goes into Renner’s run-in with the Nazi party – Renner was imprisoned by the Nazis for a short time for writing a paper criticizing the National socialists promotion of Blackletter (“Kultur-bolschewismus?” (Cultural Bolshevism?)). Renner saw the promotion of Blackletter as propaganda, promoting a cultural aesthetic that was not only a myth but one that went against Renner’s modernist beliefs.

 

op

Illustration: Dials gauges and meters

While looking through work I produced for Kerb a couple of years ago I came across an e-learning project I worked on – Kerb were commissioned to produce a set of interactive screen based tools to educate drivers on efficient driving techniques. Below is a set of dials gauges and meters I produced which were used throughout the project.

I am usually a little disparaging about my own commercial work when I look back at it but I really like these illustrations. Minimal in the approach and execution with a simple colour palette. Nice.

op

Forest Sell off in England.

The Government is planning a sell off of woodland / forests that are currently managed by the Forestry Commission. At present it is not clear exactly what the impact of this will be, as it’s still running it’s course through the political mechanisms.  At first I was outraged, upset, I even rattled off a letter to my local MP (who did respond).  But then I started to think a little bit about how the Government (and Local Authorities) manage property around us.  How they are involved, and what powers they have.  After reading some interesting articles in main stream news papers I soon shifted my opinion into what logically should have been my initial opinion.

I am no friend of the Government or the political system as it stands today.  I feel that the state has too much power over us as individuals and as communities.  I don’t want to see what’s left of the woodlands that are in Government hands sold off to developers to their detriment.  But I can see that something needs to change, as they are not safe in the hands of the Government.

In the UK there are plenty of outdoor spaces, woodland, forests that are owned and managed by Private Sector, Trusts and Charities.  For example, the RSPB owns a huge quantity of land, which they manage effectively.  There are small pockets of woodland that are owned and run by private enterprise.  They are coppicing, using the wood for charcoal, hurdle making, furniture making etc.  They are utilising the resource as it should be utilised.  In England there is very little (if any) woodland that hasn’t over time been managed by humans.  In fact it’s important that the management continues for the biodiversity of the established fauna and flora that have established themselves in these woodlands.

The simple solution to this whole sell off is for people to group together and form Trusts, Charities, Social Enterprises to take the woodlands out of the hands of the Government and back into the hands of the public.  The notion that they are some how safe if the Government has control of them just doesn’t stack up.  In fact this sell off is clear proof that they are not safe in the hands of the Government.

I feel that for too long people have become stuck with the idea that the Government is actually doing things for our good.  That the Government is actually there to help and benefit us.  It seems quite clear that this isn’t the case.  So if they are hell bent on selling the woodlands, then lets get together and buy them.

As such, I’ve put together a site for people to put their name down, and an indication of how much they would willingly put in to “By Our Woodlands”.

please visit http://www.buyourwoodlands.org.uk

If there is enough people interested then the site will develop into a collaborative platform so that people can contact each other and bring together groups of individuals so that they can try to raise the money needed to buy the woodlands.

gh

Spare Place :: mapping empty shops and pop up places

Open Sussex has teamed up with the Empty Shop Network to create a new web site called Spare Place

A map of spaces across the UK which can be used for temporary and pop-up projects: it includes empty shops, church halls, fields, shopping precincts and old offices. All spaces can be legally occupied by agreement with the owner.

It’s not a comprehensive map of every empty shop or derelict building across the UK. It’s a crowdsourced guide to interesting, unusual and underused places that are available and ready to go.

The site is currently in beta testing stage.  We wanted to get it live because we wanted people to add their places, and see if the resource was used and adopted by people.  From a development point of view both Open Sussex and the Empty Shop Network felt it was important to get the site live and people using it rather than spending months and months putting together a detailed specification only to find out no-one actually wanted to use it.

We hope that people will start adding their places. We hope that Spare Place will encourage people to add more interesting locations for people to use for art spaces, workshops, community resources, fun days and events.  We also hope that it will encourage people to start to look at the spaces around them and see them in a different light, and start using them.

If you know of any interesting spare places , or know people who might be in the know then please spread the word.

gh

AGW and the blindsided wrong thinking.

Climate change happens.  This is a fact.  There is no doubt about this what so ever.  The Planet we inhabit is a dynamic system.The debate on Anthropomorphic Climate Change / Global Warming has become muddied and almost meaningless. On either side of the camp we have those who are hell bent on  forcing their views on others.  We essentially have a similar show being played out as of the Left / Right Political paradigm.

The danger of the muddied waters in this debate is that it carries further into other environmental issues.

It is plain to see that in these changing global economic times the “carbon” market place is growing.  There are already carbon traders making money in this new economy, and as such there is a political emphasis.  This then translates into the woolly world of half baked media write ups on scientific data that is neither conclusive with regards to the level of impact humans have with regards to the changing climate.  Essentially even if we humans were not on this planet, the Climate would change – it has done in the past, and it will do in the Future.  There is political motivation to enhance and distort the role humans might play with regards to climate change.

The problem I see that has arisen over the last 20 or so years with regards to the AGW / none AGW debate is that those on either side of the argument are so hell bent in making their claim heard that they fail to actually see anything else that is around them.  Both views have become almost an ideological stand point that essentially makes the person who holds the view blind to anything else, much like any other fundamental belief – a rational debate becomes impossible.  The science with regards to Climate change and Global Warming is complex, and deserves more than the half digested reports that are splattered on blogs and web-sites of either side.  The emotive and explosive level of reporting (on both sides) does it very little service.

The problem with the politicization of Global Warming and Climate Change is that the real issues get lost. People on the anti-AGW side feel that because the science hasn’t proven anything with certainty that they should carry on as usual, that human life (and especially western liberal democratic life) can continue to do as it pleases.  Essentially a lifestyle that can not be maintained in it’s current form.  Those on the pro-AGW side feel that it’s plainly obvious that humans are causing Climate Change – and that we can some how stop this.  Which is completely nonsense.  We can’t stop climate change, and even if we all suddenly stopped using any form of fossil fuel the Climate will still change, and we’ll still be in exactly the same situation.  This might sound incredibly negative and nihilistic, but it’s essentially what is happening.

Now here is the real crux, the real point of the ramblings of this post.  Humans as a species on this earth have exhibited through out history a blasé attitude to their environment around them.  It doesn’t take much digging to see how this has translated into environmental disasters.  The current trends in western post-industrial countries and the emerging industrial countries of China and India are exhibiting this on a huge level.  Previously when the destruction caused by humans occurred it was generally small scale (for example take Easter Island and the deforestation), but now with Globalisation and the global “free market” the destruction that is occurring is on a huge scale and at a level never experiences in the past.  The idea that the continues consumer culture that has emerged over the last 100 years can continue, unchecked, unchanged seems unbelievable – essentially fanciful.

With that in mind, I see the current trend in the media and on the web of people discussing AGW is essentially nonsense.  It’s people arguing over an issue that has become almost an aside.  It’s something that highlights a much bigger problem that we as humans on this planet are really causing.  Life will carry on regardless of us.  The Planet will carry on through the climatic cycles and changes that will occur.

Climate Change is happening, How we as a species adapt with it is the bigger question which seems to get lost with the squabbling and the blame games of both sides of the AGW debate.

Of course one solution is to carry on, and to see what will occur.  After all human life on this planet, like other species, is transitory.

gh

Fungi Foraging

This has to be my favourite time of year.  As summer changes into autumn we get a glut of fungi for our gastronomic edification.  Foraging for wild mushrooms has to be one of my favourite past-times, when a walk becomes more than a walk, but an excuse to go and find all those tasty treats that mother nature has to offer.

A collection of mushrooms

This year has been very good for fungi.  I’ve managed to find a good amount of some of my favourite mushrooms, such as Ceps – Penny Bun (Boletus edulis), Bay Bolete (Boletus badius), Chantarelle (Cantharellus cibarius), Hedgehog Fungus (Hydnum repandum), Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) and the Parasol (Macrolepiota procera).  The pleasure in spotting any of these (especially the Cep and Chantarelle) when out foraging is something to behold.

A lovely Cep

When you get a glut of such beauties it is hard to eat them all with out spoiling – so the best thing is to find means of preservation.  Generally when it comes to Chantarelles I never find enough to warrant preserving, so eat them as soon as possible, and as simply as possible.  This could be frying them in butter and having on toast, or including them in an omlette.  With a good haul of Ceps, drying is the best policy.  The method I use is to put them on racks and place them somewhere that has a dry heat, to let them dry out slowly, once dried I place them into old jam jars and keep in a dark place.  They then can be used at a later date.  Another method we have used this year is to make a mushroom source and then freeze in ice-cube trays, once frozen placed into bags and stored in the freezer.

I am not going to cover the ins and outs of mushroom identification on this blog post, but would recommend looking at Rogers Philips Mushrooms.  And always make sure you are certain that you know what you are eating, but there really is no need to be as fearful of the wild mushrooms as people in the UK seem to be, just make sure that you learn the really deadly poisonous ones and stay clear of them!

So go out and forage!

gh

The Monarch’s Way: Sussex

The Monarch’s Way is a route that Charles II took when escaping from Oliver Cromwell after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  Part of this route is along the South Downs.  For more information visit – http://www.monarchsway.50megs.com/

A group of us decided to spend one night camping and two days walking part of the Monarch’s Way, starting from Amberley and ending in Shoreham-by-Sea.  We lo-impact camped on the South Downs using Hammocks, Tarps and Bivvi Bags.

Photographs taken with a Holga, shot on out of date Velvia film, X processed.

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

The Monarch's Way

gh & op

Under a Clear Blue Sky

The two images are taken from http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov – they show satellite images of Great Britain, the one on the left is dates 17/04/2010 the one on the right is dates 22/04/2010.  The difference being, the one on the left was during the Flight Ban of UK (and Northern Europe) Airspace due to the Ash cloud generated by  volcano Eyjafjallajokull, the one on the right being the day the flight ban was lifted and flights started.

We had a wonderful opportunity for people to look into the skies and witness first hand what it is like when no commercial air flights occur.  When I mentioned it to people they were quite shocked at how they had not realised the level of air traffic that occurs over Great Britain.  They looked up in wonder at the clear blue sky with NO clouds what so ever.  Generally when it is a lovely clear day you will still see trails (and persistent cirrus cloud formation) from the planes.  The satellite image on the right clearly shows the contrails and cirrus cloud formation due to these trails.

I can’t help to believe that the level of air traffic and the cirrus clouds that are created by commercial planes must cause an affect on weather systems and on the planet as a whole.

Will we ever see such clear skies over Great Britain again?

gh