Friday, 28 February 2014

Celebrities read mean Tweets

One of my favourite things at the moment from the USA's Jimmy Kimmel Live show. Genius.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Woo woo!

Yesterday I was back in York, a city I love. I was there to do yet another 'Skeptics in the Pub' performance of my The Skeptical Bobby talk. It's mad how popular this talk has been but I'm not complaining! It's given me to opportunity to travel the length and breadth of the UK for free and meet some brilliant people. And to have a look around new places, of course. I know York pretty well so this time I thought I'd check out the National Rail Museum. I'm not a train buff but I loved it. Some classic locos are things of extraordinary beauty, like this gorgeous lady.

This is the Duchess of Hamilton, a 1938 steam train fitted with a sexy, curvaceous streamlined shell to maximise her speed. This was a train made in an age when people took pride in amazing craftsmanship and when utility and cost-effectiveness wasn't quite as important as making something beautiful. When it comes to beauty, however, nothing quite matches the famous Mallard.

In its time, Mallard and her sisters were the fastest trains on the planet. And, unlike the Duchess of Hamilton, Mallard was built streamlined; there's no normal-shaped steam train underneath the skin. Last year all of the trains in her A4 class were brought together for an exhibition at York to celebrate their 75th birthdays. That must have been glorious. I've nabbed the following pic from Google but, sadly, can't credit the photographer as I can't find a name.

There's loads more to see there including the steam loco used in the Harry Potter films, the biggest train ever built - a massive bastard made for the Chinese rail network - and working replicas of Stephenson's Rocket among the highlights. I was surprised at how much I loved it, not being a train history guy, but I did. Brilliant!

However, the bit of the museum I loved the most was The Warehouse, a mad jumble of bric-a-brac, knick-knacks and gewgaws that relate, in some way, to the railways. There is avenue upon avenue of glass cabinets, stacked shelving and things hanging from the ceiling. It's like one of those fantastic reclaim yards full over architectural features. But this is signs, tea services, clocks, models, curious looking machines of brass and wood, things with ivory buttons, uniforms ... there's even a set of catalogues available for you to find and identify objects. It's amazing.

Fantastic :)

Sunday, 23 February 2014

It's the End of the World!

My good friends Emperor Yes have just released their new single - The End of The World - and an accompanying video. You might recall I posted a report about the filming back here. I have a small cameo in it as you'll see. Tremendous fun.

You can see their previous two videos - Wasps and Cosmos - here.

I might also point you in the direction of the painting hanging on the wall behind the band. It's the cartoon of Carl Sagan that I did for the launch of previous single Cosmos; the band has an art exhibition for each launch (You can see the artwork I did for the Wasps/Fishes single launch here and some of the other art here).

Well, I did one for the launch of this new single too (launch is on the 27th Feb) and here it is: The End of the World. The exhibition will be on at Lo and Behold, 2b Swanfield St, London E2 7DS from the 28th ... but I'm not sure how long it's on for.

As you can see, two of the band - Ash and Hugo - were delighted with it!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

In the year 2000

Back in France in 1899, people wondered what life would be like in the year 2000. And so, over the course of several years, sets of postcards were produced by artists such as Jean-Marc Côté bearing their artistic predictions. The first series of these pictures was produced in 1899 for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. There are at least 87 cards in existence. Here is a good selection.

They didn't quite get it right as you'll see. And some are just downright baffling. Enjoy!



Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Epic Stuff

This is taxidermy on an unparalleled scale. Cai Guo-Qiang’s Falling Back to Earth, on display at the Queensland Art Gallery, features installations of 99 replicas of animals drinking from a pristine lake; 99 wolves leaping en masse and colliding with a glass wall and a suspended 31-metre eucalyptus tree, creating a space for contemplation. It's mad. But amazing.

Cai Guo-Qiang said the exhibition title Falling Back to Earth was inspired by fourth-century poet Tao Yuanming's well-known prose poem, 'Ah, homeward bound I go!': 'The text captures the concept behind the exhibition, and expresses the idea of going home, returning to the harmonious relationship between man and nature, and re-embracing the tranquillity in the landscape,' he said.

The exhibition is on until 11th May 2014

Content taken from The Culture Trip

Cai Guo-Qiang's website here.