Miscellany

A few things that aren’t really worthy of a blog post of their own, but which still need recording on the blog.

FirstlyJames‘ new song is rather good.

From the forthcoming EP Better Than That out 18 May.

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Then, this:
A Family Guy writer has turned Prince George into Stewie Griffin: his 26 bitchiest comments

Ouch.

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Changing subject slightly.
Dinosaur vomit: The physics.

from here.
I’ve been doing so rudimentary calculations and that’s the same force as a 1 tonne car hitting you at 12kph. That might not sound like a lot, but you wouldn’t want to give it a go, now would you?

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Still hungry?
Do you have any eating plans
for the weekend? I do.

I’ll spare you the photos and save your keyboard from drool.
(And hopefully dinosaur vomit too.)

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Finally.

Why I’m not about to become a photographer.

Professional wedding photography is dead. Change is afoot. I see it all around me. Photographers who once charged £2,000  for a wedding, now putting themselves forwards for jobs less than a grand. Award-winning photographers getting part-time jobs to supplement their income because they can no longer afford to shoot weddings full time. And it’s all a dirty little secret.

What follows is a rather distressing synopsis of the industry, lamenting the lack of change and innovation of experienced photographers, juxtaposed against the offerings of the “new breed” of wedding ‘togs.

Just stop. It’s time to change. Time to change how you look at your business. Time to introduce a new way of doing things. Because the old way isn’t working. It’s time to strip back to basics, take stock and figure out what the future holds. It’s time to embrace new tech, new ways to get your work out, new ways to appeal to the clients you want.

Lots of advice, but notably no specifics as to what exactly that change entails. And there are some rather scathing comments on what is essentially just an op-ed on an interesting subject (for me at least).

More tomorrow. Probably less disjointed. But perhaps not. Who knows?

Come back and find out.

Bank Holiday DIY

It’s Bank Holiday Monday in the UK – their equivalent of one of our public holidays (specifically the one we had last Tuesday). But this one is the first proper one of Spring there, and is widely regarded as an opportunity to spruce up the house and garden ready for the day they call Summer.

In honour of this, poet Brian Bilston has helpfully rewritten the lyrics to Sheffield band the Arctic Monkeys’ 2006 hit I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor with a DIY slant.

Just in case you don’t know the original, here it is:

Legendary sounds.

And here are Brian’s alternative lyrics, delivered in jpeg poetry form:

Very, very, clever, as always.

Happy Holidays, UK readers.

Old drones

The recent explosion in consumer drones on the market is exactly that: recent.

If you wanted a decent quadcopter with a camera on it, say, a decade ago, you’d have been looking at spending tens, possibly even hundreds, of thousands of your given currency.

But just because consumer drones are a new thing doesn’t mean that there weren’t ways to take aerial photos back in the day. That day specifically being one of the 365 examples from 1907.

The helicopter wouldn’t make an appearance for another 30+ years, so this wasn’t rotary-engined – it was feathery.

Here’s the link (warning: may include pigeon).

Dr. Julius Neubronner, a German apothecary, submitted a patent application for a new invention: the pigeon camera. The device was precisely what it sounds like—a small camera fitted with straps and equipped with a timer so that pigeons could carry it and take photos in flight.

Yes, seriously:

And back then, this technology was every bit as revolutionary as the stuff the DJI is offering us now.

The images his pigeons captured…  are among the very early photos taken of Earth from above (the earliest were captured from balloons and kites) and are distinct for having the GoPro-like quality of channelling animal movement. That perspective that is so commonplace to us now, in which the rooftops stretch out before us as though they were made of a child’s blocks, and people crawl along like ants, was a rare sight when Neubronner took his pigeon pictures.

And they also had problems with propellor-shadow. Or the avian equivalent, at least:

It’s a good reminder that while we might like to think that we are pioneers in any given subject area, there’s actually every chance that it’s been done before.

“I’ll be Bok”

Or… “He’ll be Bok”? Or… “Bok’ll be back”?

Ag, I just don’t know, but this is one of the weirdest emails I’ve received recently.

I’m sharing this no because I hold any feelings for the man or his music, but merely because… well… this is one of the weirdest emails I’ve received recently.

Why did they send it to me?

The email consisted solely of this image:

This is basically an advert for Afrikaans singer Bok van Blerk, who sprang to the nation’s attention back in 2007 with his rendition of the potentially divisive Afrikaans anthem De La Rey [youtube], described by The Grauniad thus:

Some see its popularity as the beginnings of a reassertion of Afrikaner identity from the ashes of apartheid. Others view it as an attempt to rebrand Afrikaners from oppressors to victims by casting back to their suffering at the hands of the British as an analogy for the perceived injustices of life under black rule. South Africa’s arts minister, Pallo Jordan, has even warned that the song risks being hijacked by extreme right-wingers as a “call to arms”. One rugby ground tried to ban it but backed down in the face of public outrage.

For reference, here’s Koos de la Rey’s wikipedia page

I’m not diving into the politics and nationalist sentiment stirred up by the song. I just got an advert emailed to me, offering Bok’s attendance at my festival, function or fundraising event. Not, it appears, to sing (thank the heavens), but to describe his life(?) since that song:

Van De La Rey Tot Nou

translates as “From De La Rey to Now”.

Could it be that Louis Andreas Pepler (for that are his real name) has just hit 40 (he has) and has decided to re-evaluate and re-invent himself?

I don’t know and I really don’t care.

And even if I’m right, it still doesn’t explain why I was included on the mailing list.

If you want to book Bok (the Steve Hofmeyr Lite of Afrikaans Politics and the Kurt Darren Lite of Afrikaans Music):

Kontak Lindé: linde@mozi.co.za of 082 569 3502.

And if you do, please ask her why she sent me this.

Beagle Encounters

I’ve written a letter of complaint to the kids’ school.

It concerns my daughter’s class outing to Stellenbosch today.

They’re going to a place called Beagle Encounters.

It’s at Spier.

Now to be fair, I haven’t done a massive amount of research into this place, but to be fair, I really don’t need to: the name is pretty much self-explanatory, and the fact that it’s at Spier means it will be overrated, expensive and achingly zeitgeist.

Much like my feelings regarding forcing specific religion and/or political views upon my children, I don’t believe that there is any value in the promotion of certain, troublesome breeds of canine either.

We get quite enough of that nonsense at home, thank you very much.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the value of knowing about these things. It’s the pushing of the kids in any one specific direction that bothers me.

Also, having reviewed the proposed Learning Outcomes for Term 2 this year, I can see no link between this visit and any of their classwork. Let’s face it, visiting several slobbering, disobedient, tri-colour dogs is not going to help with Maths or English, PE or Languages, is it?

And even in Science, they’re supposed to be learning about birds. Not dogs.

I’m all for school trips and all, but surely it’s not that hard to simply link them in with something that the kids are currently doing? This seems, at best, a bit of a jolly. And one with an unnecessarily excessive number of flappy ears involved as well.

No, I think I’m well within my rights to let the school know my feelings on this matter.