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Thoughts on childish people #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and as always, I’ll share my thoughts with you. The United States has elected a new president but Donald Trump isn’t going quietly. He was an unsuitable person for the job but I think he was treated unfairly by the press. It is the job of a free press to hold politicians to account and question them. Trump saw the questioning as criticism and lashed out like a child. He was childish and his refusal to go quietly is childish too. The Republicans are already spreading rumours that Joe Biden has dementia. They should all grow up.



Post-Pandemic, what will the new normal be like?

We are coming out of the pandemic slowly but it will be a threat for some time to come.The spread of the infection could continue for many years in less developed nations. Political aims are based on ideology. Get Brexit done, is a slogan still ringing in the ears of the hard-right. The Corbyn worshippers haven’t gone away either. Over in America, things are even worse where they have a sociopath for a president. Is it time to re-evaluate everything. People are quick to criticise Greta Thunberg but her message resonated with young people around the world and she has used her influence for good during the pandemic and she, as always, supported the science.



Art for arts sake? #ramble

It’s Sunday morning, and so as usual, I’ll share my thoughts with you. Today’s title is “art for arts sake?” which was a song by 10 cc. It is also associated with Oscar Wilde who believed that art didn’t need to express anything. I take photographs and they evoke something in the viewer. I put a picture of a corner shop on Facebook yesterday and people commented about previous owners and one reader said it was her parent’s shop a long time ago.

art for arts sake


The mental health blame game #psychology

There is a mental health crisis in the UK. Who is to blame? To listen to some politicians and even doctors, sufferers can simply pull themselves together. There are trendy therapies, let’s try mindfulness, stare blankly at this raisin and become mindful of oneself! Can’t you just give me a pill? Just a Valium to calm my nerves? Let’s try an antidepressant, we don’t prescribe anxiolytics anymore. I’m not depressed, though. In the mental health blame game, who is really to blame?

the mental health blame game


Does creative thinking need a purpose? #art

I’ve been thinking about creativity and art in general. I want to use my photography more effectively. Art can be like science, it can be for a specific purpose or it can be like blue sky research. You can just create for the sake of seeing what the result might be. Even creative thinking can be like blue sky research going off at tangents until a particular tangent looks like it is leading somewhere. The search for something new can be quite random.

creative thinking


Culture in Wednesbury #art #photography #music

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. Yesterday afternoon I went to Wednesbury art gallery for a performance by Florence Joelle which was part of the Jazz Festival. It was  a pleasant afternoon and I was quite surprised that I could understand some of the words of the songs that she sang in French! It was all très bon!

Culture in Wednesbury


Black Country day, aye it?

It’s Sunday morning and so as usual I’ll share my thoughts with you. It’s Black Country Day and all through July is the Black Country Festival. I missed the carnival yesterday. There is no disabled parking. That is going to be my life for a while, working out if I can park at events. There is an event today but again I doubt if I’ll get parking so I didn’t buy a ticket.

Black Country flag


Culture is so complicated #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and as usual, I will share my thoughts with you. I saw a report on TV that said the Chinese government were sending Muslims for re-education in special centres. The children are being sent to special boarding schools. It seems like a breach of human rights but there are so many differing beliefs in China and different ‘tribes’. We have seen how Islam can become corrupted and give rise to terrorism. At home, Boris Johnson seems the favourite to be the next prime minister and he has similar views. Over the other side of the Atlantic, Trump is quite anti-Islam too. Religion does cause a lot of problems so maybe China is right to cast aside primitive beliefs? I think the Chinese government needs to learn some tolerance but I can understand their fears. Culture is so complicated.

Culture is so complicated


Creating a public image #psychology #photography #life

I grew up in an oppressive era when children were supposed to be ‘seen but not heard’. I don’t find it easy to attract attention to myself but in the 21st-century, that is a useful skill. I have photographed a lot of people who are performers of some kind. They get up in front of people and attract attention to themselves and I have noticed that they all have one thing in common. They are all fairly image conscious. They dress the part and act out a role. I tend to attract attention to myself as a photographer and even I dress the part to a certain extent. The camera is part of my dress code and I’m not comfortable without it. I tend to wear the same style of clothing and although the hat is to keep the sun out of my eyes, it is part of the image.

public image


Following the tribe #culture

Tribal behaviour was evident right up until medieval times and if we look closely people are still instinctively following the tribe. A tribe is a group of people dependant on each other for survival so what if someone steps out of line? The tribe punishes them, perhaps by marginalizing them, castigating them or simply disapproving of them.

following the tribe


In the news #Thursdaythoughts

Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen are the Conservative MPs to join the new Independent Group in parliament. That puts the number of MPs in the group at 11 which isn’t enough to make a big difference but at least shows they have principles. They have already been accused of supporting ‘austerity’ and the failed and rejected policies of the past. We can expect a lot of name calling and attacks from both main parties but it is a refreshing change to see some politicians doing what they think is right. It might just be they are making a statement to get in the news, though.

in the news


Say it with flowers? #ValentinesDay

What are the origins of Valentine’s Day?

The day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was. The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”. The rest is history and men have been trying to say it with flowers ever since.

say it with flowers


Do we live in a toxic environment? #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. I must admit that sometimes I over-think things. It was my birthday this week and I got a lot of messages on Facebook wishing me ‘happy birthday’. I try to be polite and so that meant saying, ‘thank you’ over 200 times. I became acutely aware of who my supporters were and who was missing from that list. Some of the missing ones are very nice to my face but perhaps harbour petty grievances. We do live in a toxic environment in the 21st century and it is because petty jealousies relating to personal status creates hidden divisions in our society. We need to support each other more.

toxic environment


Artist challenges #64MillionArtists

It is the last day of the January challenges from 64 million artists and I have quite enjoyed it and it gives me something to write about on those days when I wake up feeling quite brain-dead and uninspired. These artist challenges have done me some good and I have been thinking more creatively. I was wandering around the house photographing things yesterday. It made my arm hurt because my new camera is quite heavy with the long lens on. I realised that my elbow had swollen when I finally got into bed last night. It’s much better this morning, though.

artist challenges (more…)

Exercising the mind #art #writing

Creative challenges are a great way of exercising the mind and I’ve done another challenge from 64 million artists this morning. It’s day 27 of the challenges and today’s challenge was fairly easy. The challenge was to become the local historian and write about a local landmark. As the admin of The History of Wednesbury, I had a slight advantage! I also had the perfect picture to use:

exercising the mind


Ideas using lateral and visual thinking

Lateral thinking is often described as ‘thinking outside the box’. Visual thinking is essentially thinking in images and remembering images more than words. People who are interested in the arts are more inclined to think visually. When we want a visual representation in mathematics we might draw a chart or a graph to help us visualise the problem or a solution to a problem.

visual thinking


Marginalisation and county lines

County lines is a relatively new term to describe children used as drug runners. They often deliver drugs around town and cities. The term county lines refer to the older ones who will deliver illegal drugs to towns in the countryside. These children and young people are victims of marginalisation.



A wealth of opportunity? #finance

When we talk about wealth, we think in terms of money but we have our own little world and the environment we live in can be one of a wealth of experiences. The alternative is culturally deprived environment where there is no art or music to stimulate the mind. It can be an environment devoid of books and all that reading material that allows us to be informed and make informed choices.

wealth of opportunity

Remembrance Sunday #ramble

Yes, it is Sunday morning once again and so I’ll share my thoughts with you. Actually, it’s not Sunday, it’s Saturday evening and I plan to go to the Remembrance Parade to photograph it in the morning. It is 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of the first world war. It was a war that affected every family. My one grandfather was over in France and survived an attack with mustard gas. I’m not sure how but he managed to help his mates when the attack came. He carried one out of the gas. My other grandfather lost his oldest son to the war and having lost his bakery business to the 1913 tube strike; he died not long after.



Developing an idea #life #photography

It’s the first of November already. I have to admit I don’t like the winter, the cold weather affects my health. My little art project is continuing to develop. I had 2,000 art cards printed and although photography still isn’t considered a ‘proper’ art by many, my cards are selling slowly. I’ve recovered more than 75% of the printing costs. I’m developing an idea and it is evolving naturally.

developing an idea


Honesty is the best policy #life

I’m not a Guardian-style writer, I don’t use long words to impress my editor. I am the editor! I try to appeal to as many people as I can and write in what I think is an easy to read style. It has come to my attention that I have been mentioned on another blog by one, Julian Saunders who refers to himself as ‘The Sandwell Skidder’. He is a troll of the first order. He uses name calling and innuendo to try to damage the reputations of honest people. He has used innuendo to try to make out I was involved in seedy practices when I helped with the Wednesbury Business Improvement District initiative. As always, I was an unpaid volunteer doing social media management, graphic design and photography. I did speak to some traders and tried to explain the BID initiative as honestly as I could. Honesty is the best policy.

Honesty is the best policy


Keeping up appearances #life

Some cities are just a mass of skyscrapers. I suppose in the future that will be how everyone will live. The high-rise experiment in the UK didn’t work too well and in many cases, they have built terraced houses to replace the high-rise blocks. For councils, it is a matter of keeping up appearances, building new homes and thinking about suitability and sustainability later.

keeping up appearances


The Bloomsbury Group – a phenomenon

The Bloomsbury Group was a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, the best-known members of which included Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. This loose collective of friends and relatives were closely associated with Cambridge University for the men and King’s College London for the women, and they lived, worked or studied together near Bloomsbury, London, during the first half of the 20th century.

Virginia Woolf - the Bloomsbury group


How to have great ideas? #ramble

How do you have train your mind to have great ideas? How do you make life interesting? Tony Highfield, our local historian was telling me about all the awards he has won and how he gets involved in the community. He compiles books, researches history and gets involved and he said that is why we are different. We take a risk and risk the ridicule if things go wrong. We don’t sit at home thinking about it and talking about it, we get out there and take a risk. This inspires our thinking and we even take risks in the way that we think. We imagine and then we try to make it happen. There are people who can’t do anything without lots of support and when it all goes wrong they blame someone else. You have to be brave enough to try new ideas but you also have to be brave enough to accept the blame if it all goes wrong.

having great ideas


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