This blog will comprise a collection of ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts reflecting on the writer's life.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Go onto google and type in Earth and up comes google earth.
It is fantastic.
You can find out about anywhere, and see the earth from all sorts of different angles.
This will keep you occupied and stops me from obsessing about why I can't set up Wireless internet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Let it snow...

Oh Yes! It has been snowing!
I was so excited and we even went sledging.
So here are some snow pictures for you.

In the night:

and in the day - here is Molly in the snow:

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Why blog?

This is the ultimate question and the heart of the blogging debate.
You could argue that blogs are an extension of our showy-offy celebrity obsessed culture of narcissism (this is depressing I think).
Or you could say that they celebrated new literacies and were a way of exploring the affordances of the web and wierd and wonderful sites like this one.
(Thanks Dr Joolz)
Here are my reasons for blogging:
1. You become a member of a community of practice.
2. You get to learn new stuff about digital literacies and you get to learn new words like transliteracies.
3. It is a space for people you work with to find out about you and what you think.
4. It is an inbetween space - incorporating work and home.
5. It offers visual, verbal and auditory affordances to create new decorative spaces.
6. You get to meet new people and they become your friends.
7. It is fun.
Plus, even better, I can show you what Dr Joolz got me for Christmas.


Happy Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Blogs as art?

The question of whether blogs can be classified as art is very interesting.
Dr Joolz is very inspirational and some of her posts I think are art.
My favourite ever post of hers is February 4th 2005.
Go to it now and have a chuckle.
It is Dr Joolz at her best
but also I THINK IT IS ART.
I notice artists using blogs to describe or maybe advertise their work, or using the affordances of blogger to make new meanings as here.
There are also blogs about art.
But that is a different thing.
I think that while artists draw on the affordances of blogger to showcase their work, they are not doing blogging as art.
That is a different thing and is about the relationship between word, image, links and texts.
And here I think the Pourquoi? post wins hands down.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What shall I post today?

This is a major preoccupation with every blogger.
How do we decide what to post?
Sometimes events take us up and we post something that happened to us.

A good example of this is Dr Rob's ill- fated trip to the hairdresser.
Dr Joolz takes a lot of inspiration from Flickr and this makes her blog very visual which I love.
Anya explores digital affordances and responds to what she does and sees which is great.
Sometimes we get ideas from each other, and I think that is what memes are.
I tend to think about my blog on the train, and write down my ideas in a little notebook Dr Joolz got me.
Sometimes I wake up and think about my blog before anything else (is that sad).
Blogs occupy an interesting space, as they weave in and out of our daily lives and preoccupations.
Sometimes I follow a train of thought or a pattern.
Do we plan our posts?
Or are they more random, and depend upon the ephemera of the everyday?
I think of my blog structure a bit like beads on a chain but sometimes I switch chains.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Links are very interesting.
To me, they are a metalanguage, a kind of counter-narrative to the post discourse.
(Yes I know this is over the top academic but it is Christmas).
Links are like metaphors in poems, they draw your attention out of the poem and into somewhere else.
I like the way Dr Joolz does her links - she writes this and this and we don't know what this is.
I think that is called deixis but we need the linguists for that.
ALso, I like doing what I call oxymoronic links.
Do you remember oxymorons at school (no they weren't what you think)
They are two opposites put together.
This is when I am writing about something, like sound, and my links are to silence.
I did that in the post yesterday.
Actually that is why I think I like links.
They subvert the post.
PS Can you work out the connections between the links in this post?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Sound is very hard, as due to some major problem probably created by my son's computer gaming, we don't have sound on our computer.
This is a constraint.
But I can believe there is interesting sound in movies, music and stuff like that.
I am also interested in everyday sound, and that is where blogging is interesting, bringing unusual sounds together.
Is there a site like Flickr, where we can hear other people's sounds?
What about the interface between sound and art like this exhibition of metronomes?
And everyday sounds and music?
I want to know more.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The everyday life of blogs

In the manner of Radio Three, who are devoting the whole of this week to Bach, I will devote the whole of this week to blogs, after which time the blog will take a small but well-deserved break.
This is because it is a half term since I started blogging and I wanted to reflect on it.
Today's post is about the visual affordances of blogs.
I notice that people draw on the affordances Blogger offers differently.
Dr Joolz often takes up the whole page for her pictures.
Dr Rob often fills a whole page with writing and you have to scroll down and he goes OVER THE PAGE which is very transgressive.
Guy and I like neat pictures on the left.
Anya is always inventive but doesnt take up much space.
Mary Plain decorates her blog beautifully, as an artifact.
But we all use the affordances of Blogger differently.
For example, it feels wrong to me when the picture is on the right.
This is like the notion from this book that even bloggers are replicating internal Grammars of visual design.
Do you agree?
What about colour?
We haven't yet discussed links or sound.
Watch this space.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Don't fret

So you haven't done the Christmas stockings
the turkey.
Your best friend's present
the house is a tip and the
well you haven't yet bought the tree.
It doesn't matter.
Don't fret.
I love street art.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

These boots were made for walking

And that's just what they'll do.
Thank-you to David for this pic.
I like the orange socks.
But this post is also a homage to the marvellous Nancy Sinatra.
One of these days these boots are gonna
walk all over you.

Oh yes. Bring them on.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Festival of lights

As it is getting darker and darker today we celebrate light.
This is the theme of Divali, and I love the idea of a festival of lights.
Here is my daughter's picture of our tree.
And here is my friend Alison's picture of a carousel in Edinburgh (I think).
Have a lovely day.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Inside the shops

That's right, today you get to see inside the shops in my neighbourhood.
First is the French pattisserie with its glittering row of cakes.

Then there is this shop - note the lovely artifacts,

and drums and

interesting juxtapostion of music choices.

Then we have some food,

followed by my favourite bookshop which, thank god,
sells Virgina Woolf but in Turkish.

I might buy it and have a read.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Language as material artifact

Inspired by Jan Blommaert give a talk about this, I decided to take a walk to my local post office and take pictures along the way.
Jan's point was that we need as ethnographers to start with the everyday, and lived experience so I decided to start with mine.
Living in Turkish North London, I focused on what I saw.
Jan said here that spaces create multilingual semiotic realisations and in multilingual neighbourhoods (like mine) they jostle together.
They are contested and complex.
I started with the Unitarian Church
where Mary Wollstoncraft once sat
followed by the French Pattisserie next door, where the cakes are fab and everyone speaks French.
Language is materially realised -look at this restaurant above and the sign.
And one can tell what kind of neighbourhood you live in by looking at what newspapers there are in the newsagents.

I love my neighbourhood for this. Tomorrow you get to see INSIDE the shops.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This is how I feel right now

It is because I have a cold.
PS Sadly I do not live in a tidy perfect Swedish flat.
PPS It is also a room without artifacts.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Yes, that's it, that's the word that I was looking for here.
Adrian helpfully supplied it again today.
For a lovely spiral picture go here.
Dr Joolz has also given us some lovely spirals here.
You can see lots of it here.
Unfortunately it also reminds me of:
fibroids (yuk)
Spaghetti (nice)
fibs (bad)
Charles Satchi (worryingly Tory)
Greta Scacchi (very pretty in films)
Fiorucci (fashion mistakes).
Its been a long day.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

authentic objects

City B was keen to see pictures of my fashion mistakes so here they are.
(Good idea City B).
This also lends the blog further authenticity and realism.
Here are the shoes:

Here is the SKIRT (too short yes I agree:

and here, sadly is the new Agnes B grey beret which I bought on Thursday on route to Jan Blommaert
and by Friday Daughter 1 had claimed it as her own.
the reason?
it suited her better.
Sadly this is all too true as the grey only horribly brings out my own grey hair (referred to here) and emphasises my lack of Kirsten Scott Thomas cheek bones.
However, this all happened because I lost my favourite Toronto hat on the way to the Science museum - another lost item and want a replacement.
Where can I find one?
Answers to this blog please.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

What a drag it is getting old

What a drag it is getting old
Kids are different today

Telling me.
Today, my friends, we have to go out and get Daughter 1 a vinyl player for Christmas.
So she can play the Rolling Stones and Patti Smith.
She also wants a non digital camera for her birthday.
It is all getting very retro.
When I took out my old fashioned Sony Professional to tape Steve the other day, he took out his Apple PowerBook and digitally recorded the interview.
I felt very small.
However, Steve said that musuem curators liked what I was doing, as at least there was a material artefact (the tape) associated with the event.
He just had some trace on his hard disk.
Likewise, daughter wants vinyl because of the materiality of it, the record sleeves the retro shops (more shopping!!! bliss) the sheer materiality.
Same with vintage shopping. Taken over Top Shop.
More things to buy!
But it still sends shivers down my spine when I hear Mother's Little Helper which I last heard in a dope-infested hippy carpet squat in Canterbury in the mid 1970's.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Train spotting

I was a bit taken aback when I found out that David read this blog, as I thought he might think it was silly, but then I cheered up when he told me that he too had a Flickr page and might do a blog one day.
Inspired by this seminar on the spaces of multilingualism, we thought it would be good to do a research project on how the spatial affordances of the train journey shape one's photographs taken while on the train.
We realised quickly that is really matters which train and which company.
The Virgin West Coast line tilts, so there may be some interesting angles there, plus it practically goes to Wales so there are Landscapes.
Midland Mailine is very straight and flat but has interesting low canal shots.
TransPennine Express is wonderful in its vistas but can be late.
The best ofcourse is Northern Rail from Leeds to Sheffield which has a wonderfully slow pace just right for catching those sunsets.
I can feel the beginnings of a research grant coming on.
We might even need experts.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fashion mistakes

I decided the blog was getting a little too academic so here is fashion mistakes inspired by my television viewing last night.
I wondered what would happen if Trinny and Susannah came to visit my wardrobe.
Obviously now, it is a tasteful mix of Prada and Lanvin with Gap and Brora cashmere for everyday (this is oviously not true, but I am taking on Anya's idea that your blog is a kind of ideal self so that is my ideal wordrobe.
Dr Joolz is also thinking about authenticity however from here on I am being authentic.)
Anyway then I fell to thinking about my fashion mistakes.
This became a rich minefield.
First off were the patterned leggings I used to live in.
Purchased in Mark 1 around the mid 1980's they lasted all through my child bearing years. Alas.
ALso, the lumberjack red check shirt I wore with them.
I wore with pride my pink Fiorrucci mini dress in the late 70's also my white Miss Selfridge gypsy dress and my granddad shirts over leggings (oh Yes).
But then I worried that actually there ARE things in my current wordrobe that Trinny and Susannah might object too.
What about the too short Gap skirt I bought when Dr Joolz was not loooking and am banned from wearing by my daughter?
The Red or Dead Platforms my husband thought were hideous?
Even worse are the Plein Sud bought-in-Sale five inch stiletto purple shiny high heels.
Why do we never learn?
I could go on.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fractal analysis

There is another word for this which Adrian gave me but I don't know it.
Anyway, it is like this.
You think of cauliflowers and

and you have it.
It is also what Susan Gal uses in her work on Eastern Europe and I am using it with my work with Heads Together.Also the Ecology metaphor from this wonderful book which I re-read every so often to cheer me up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Thanks to Leslie for reminding me that I too am interested in polysemic stuff. (Amazing what Miami has done for everyone I know - they all know more exciting people. Fantastic).

I am currently in the middle of a museums reading manic phase.
In this book she writes about the effects of digitization on museum practice which,

'means that objects are now frequently placed alongside other sources of information such as photographs, film and oral testimony. The effect is a more open, polysemic exhibition practice...'
(Witcomb 2003:6)

You see? the word polysemic again. And also, the idea that digital technologies allow a more open polysemic set of practices in museums.
I would say that is also true of the web, where I can be a virtual tourist, trailing my way through stuff, like I trailed through this place, looking at their random collection of china.
Here are some digital museums.
Check this out here
and have you heard of the Internet of Things?
You will soon.
See here.
You will laugh so much.
And there is an even more exciting site about text messaging here.
Tomorrow I am off here to see about more grants from here even though I have one already.
I must be mad but I cannot resist the lure of the museum artifact.

Monday, December 05, 2005

snails trails and spirals

Today I am inspired by spirals.
Flickr has a great spirals tag page here.
Nautilus has some beautiful spirals, in particular. I like the ropes and graffiti.
So snail like, I trailed around the internet and came up with this lovely picture:

I hope it gets you thinking this Monday morning.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Being a tourist

Today we went to this exhibition and were tourists for the day.
It was a brilliant exhibition.
I loved the work of Marine Hugonnier and her film Ariana, about the impossibility of shooting a film in Afghanistan.
I also bought souvenirs of my visit.
I was able to buy Dr Joolz a present in the museum shop and some nice postcards.

I went home and thought about the difference between the spaces of the art gallery
and internet spaces.
It is great to go on-line and explore the world.
First off is this site, where artists use the affordances of the web and its on-line spaces to display their work on everyday life and artefacts.
When I feel bored I also go to Tony Kemplen's site and find out about his charity shop souvenir objects and what they sound like when they turn into words.

However, on the internet there is not the sense of tiredness and walking and exploring.
At times, in the exhibition, we got lost, and had to find ourselves walking as if blindfold out of darkened rooms.
Like the film maker who could not film, we could not see.
But we came back with a fresh pair of eyes.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A manual for shop

This is even better. I really like it. I might set one up in Stoke Newington.
Bill Drummond has a good shop here.
Dr Joolz has excellent advice on shopping and I like the idea of having a free shop.
There are great shop clusters here on Flickr.
So today I am going shopping.
I am going to go here and here and will probably end up here.
I might even go here. That would be cool.

A manual for work

I love this. Go there now. They have manuals for everything. Their work has the aim of
questioning and transforming the practices of everyday existence.
The person who was most involved is described here and I cannot bear it when people I really like the sound of then are not around. But stay with the idea.
Another radical group who questioned the relationship between work and money is this group.
They burned one million pounds on the isle of Mull.
However, part of this post is to announce that I feel a little burnt out.
I have interviewed artists, started my AHRC grant, written my Encyclopaedia article on the Ecology of Literacy and transcribed and analysed 18 teacher interviews.
Maybe I need to call this guy up and have some soup or maybe, even better, I could go here and have a nice lie down.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

soul food

Today it is rainy and cold and two of my children are ill at home with colds.
So I turn to this book to make them better.

First off is Banana bread.
I get the receipe

the butter,

the eggs

The bananas

and the sugar

the flour in the mixer

and the tin

and put them together to make this.
Cooking is like alchemy.

Tonight we will have chickenoodle soup.
When the weather is like this we have to hunker down and wait till it gets better.

(I love the word hunker. Kathleen Jamie uses it a lot in this book which I like alot).

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A fresh pair of eyes

Seeing differently, or through different eyes, seems to be a theme of many blog posts.
Dr Joolz writes about the way photography has helped her see differently.
Steve (the guy holding the video camera in the picture) talked today about how in his work with schools, a fresh pair of eyes really helps children and teachers understand and appreciate what they are doing.
In a way, research is simply a fresh pair of eyes.
In my work here, I am coming in as an outsider, and learning about the processes and practices that have taken place.
And some of those processes and practices involve seeing things differently, like using viewfinders to look at everyday objects, such as dooors and windows, or through the branches of a tree.
In a way, blogs help you see differently.
Dr Joolz put up a pair of bicycle chains recently.
What do you think this is?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dream spaces

I have been reading this book as part of my glass cabinets project and it describes the experience of visiting a museum as a movement through three overlapping symbolic spaces: cognitive, pragmatic (or social) and dream.
The dream space,energizes both our imaginations and our memories. It illuminates feelings. Anarchic and unpredictable, through the dream space we can arrive at all sorts of possibilities not considered by those who make museum exhibitions. In dream space, many things might tumble through our minds: bits of songs, half-written shopping lists, things left unsaid.
(Kavanagh 2000:3).

I like this idea of the dream space and its potential for analysing museum visiting.
It reminded me also of Kevin Leander's work on on-line spaces, and of James Gee's work on affinity spaces, and Julia Davies' work on heterotopias, not to mention Elizabeth Moje's work on third space...
It also reminded me of this poem, which I used to read on the Underground as I went to work:

Here we are all, by day: by night we're hurled
By dreams, each one, into a several world.

Robert Herrick.

And the Miami people haven't yet woken up yet and are still dreaming as I write this.