Summer Photo Fun 2013 – Week 1 – Fresh

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It was good fun sitting down with the kids a couple of days before they broke up from school, chatting over plans for things and with them coming up with all sorts of themes for the second running of of our Summer Photo Fun idea.  One of the things that is interesting for me is seeing how they come up with the themes, firstly just jotting down ideas then honing that to a shortlist, then coming up with an agreed 6 and then thinking about what would make a good order.  Having set quite a few themes they now think about ideas in a different way, thinking about how they could potentially be interpreted, how they will work together, what sort of variety they want.

Fresh was a nice theme to get us up and running this summer as we have been faced with unseasonably hot summery weather and the kids were looking forward to the freshness of the start of the summer holidays knowing that they will move on to fresh starts when they head back to school in September.

Clearly weather, food and flowers featured heavily creating lots of gorgeous colours and some very mouthwatering treats in the gallery but there were some other lovely ideas, a fresh painting from an artist in scotland, the shower head, fresh tarmac, paw prints, fresh welding, fresh bandage and the fresh ink of the tattoo in the photo at the the top.  It was also great to have some photos in from kids as well, the more the merrier.

As we go through the 6 weeks we are also playing with the idea of seeing if we can photos in that match the theme but from different countries, states, places etc to see if we can get an A-Z of pictures.  You’ve all done well already and I’ll update the main summerphotofun page as we go through the summer to see how we are getting along.

Finally huge thanks to all of you who embrace this idea and play along with us and help spread the word, it’s hugely appreciated.  Check out the gallery below and let us know which ones you liked.  If you want to see the photos in full size click on the gallery and you will be able to scroll through the individually.

 

 

 

 

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Summer Photo Fun 2013

This time last year me and the kids came up with the idea of doing a photo theme project over the summer holidays, they’d pick a theme and people could take a photo interpreting that theme however they wanted and then I’d blog up the results in a gallery at the end of each week. You can see the original post here that explains it all. The kids picked some interesting themes – Messy, Float, Green, Joy (the photo above was from the ones sent in for Joy last summer), Shadow and Calm.

We had lots of fun and all sorts of people got involved which was great and you can see all the galleries of the summer on the blog. Following on from this we’ve continued in a nice amblingly random fashion doing other holiday periods and semi regular weekend photo funs and now we are back where we started as the kids break up from school at the end of this week so we are thinking of doing another summer edition.  I appreciate that it’s not summer at the same time in other parts of the world but don’t let this stop you as you can still interpret the themes and put photos in.  I guess that we didn’t think when we did this originally that people in, for example, Australia would take part.

The format will be the same, kids pick a theme and you interpret it and tweet me @ianstreet67. I’ll retweet as many as I can and blog them all up in a gallery at the end of each week. When we first started doing this I had no idea that there were so many photo theme project around so it’s really great that people take the time to take part in ours. One of the things that perhaps makes ours a bit different is that all the themes are set by my kids.

The other element of all this is to show the positive effects of social media and how it can link people together and spread ideas. It’s been fantastic to get photos from different places and countries from people who I never knew previously but who I’ve gone on to chat to throughout the year. It’s also been great to see how parents have got their own kids involved going out on photo hunts. This was something that we hoped would happen, particularly over the summer, if you’re stuck for something to do why not get involved and look for ideas to interpret the weeks theme ?  It’s surprising how you find yourself looking at your surroundings in a different way and thinking “now would that fit in with the theme”

We’ve also been wondering whether it’s possible to get photos in from an A-Z of countries, states, places etc around the world over the next six weeks ? In order to do that we’ll need your help to spread the word and think about who you know in your contacts that could contribute a photo from where they are.  I have no idea if this would be possible and it will certainly only be possible with your help but hey that’s part of the fun of it all, throw an idea out and see what happens.

So the kids are thinking up themes, the first one will be tweeted out by me on Saturday 20th July and a new theme each Saturday after that. We hope you’ll get involved and have some fun with it all.  Over to you and the kids.

Week 1 the theme is Fresh and it will run from 20 July – 26 July

Week 2 the theme is Hidden and it will run from 27 July – 2 August

Week 3 the theme is Machine and it will run from 3 August – 9 August

Week 4 the theme is Bright and it will run from 10 August to 16 August

Week 5 the theme is Straight and it will run from 17 August to 23 August

Week 6 the theme is Reflect and it will run from 24 August to 30 August

In terms of seeing where we can get photos in from the A-Z for places that we’ve managed to get photos in that fitted the themes from the complete alphabet, see below.

A – Australia
B – Belgium, Ben Nevis, Baltic
C – Croatia
D – Denmark, Denver
E – England
F – France
G – Greece, Germany, Glencoe
H – Hong Kong
I – Italy, Iona
J – Jordan
K – Kiel canal, Klintholm
L – Luxembourg
M – Mexico, Mykonos
N – Norway, New Zealand
O – Oregan
P – Pag Island, Petra, Portland Bill
Q – Queensland
R – Rome
S – Spain, Scotland
T – Texas
U – United States
V – Valencia
W – Wales, Weymouth
X – Xiamen
Y – Yorkshire
Z – Zadar

The Perfect Coffee Stop

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I’ve recently noticed a new addition on my cycle commute into work which is a mobile coffee shop, housed within a fab little Piaggio Ape 3 wheel van, situated in Park Square.  I’ve whizzed around the square saying to myself that I must stop there and give it a go.  Today was the perfect storm, nice early ride in, no first thing meetings, fantastically warm weather so I rolled into the park unclipped and ordered a morning pick me up.

Now both street food and coffee have been slowly picking up over the last couple of years in Leeds, we may not be in Portland’s class but there are now several very good coffee shops and some great things happening on the quality street food scene, exemplified in my view by No Fishy Business showing that you can understand and sell a high quality product from a mobile kitchen.  It’s no secret that coffee and cycling go hand in hand but one of the difficulties can be what to do with your bike, is there somewhere safe to lock it up outside? and even if there is many of us will not really be able to relax until we’ve finished the coffee and are back aboard our trusty steeds.  So a good outside space can be the answer so when the weather is ok then you can sit outside with your bike safely by your side, however in Leeds there are not many good coffee shops, if any, with a good outside space.  What better therefore than the view above, the perfect outside space where you can sit next to your bike and enjoy your coffee.

The acid test though – was the coffee any good? Yes, and I’d go as far to say that it was one of the best I’ve had in Leeds and certainly the best I’ve had from a mobile van proving that being mobile is no barrier to brewing up fantastic coffee.  I got chatting to the owner, Stuart, who was an absolutely lovely guy who has moved up to Leeds with his family from down south to start up this mobile coffee business.  He knows his stuff and is focussing on quality products, his coffee is Brazillian green bean coffee, roasted in small batches in Shipley which keeps it fresh and you could tell from the great taste.  It felt good to be talking to someone passionate about what he is trying to do and the plans that Stuart has got for the future.  Gelato ice cream is going to start this week and he has some interesting ideas for hot snacks come the winter time.  For me this is exactly the sort of person and business we need to have in the city and it’s the perfect stop for a coffee on the way to work whether you cycle or not but if you do cycle there is simply nowhere better.  I sat down, gathered my thoughts ahead of the day enjoyed the sunshine and great coffee which was far preferable than sitting at my desk.

The name of business is BareCoffee, @barecoffee – so pop down to Park Square, say hi to Stuart and support this great little coffee shop.

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Blast Theory – Rider Spoke

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Guest Post written by: Myka (@myka_r)

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from this event, thought I knew it would be arty and involved cycling.  I found out about it on facebook, of all places.  I was intrigued and got myself a (free) ticket.  As the event date approached I felt a little apprehensive, especially as I would be going on my own.  Would I have to follow a specificed route? Would I have to cycle in a group, at someone else’s pace?  Would I see anyone I know?  Which bike would be best to ride?  Also, when I realised that it involved being asked questions and making voice recordings of my answers, I wondered whether it would be ultimately embarrassing.  What sort of questions would I be asked?

On the day, the weather turned out to be lovely, warm and sunny – the hottest of the year so far.  I’d tired myself out teaching and attending yoga classes all day, but as the evening approached I rallied my legs and cylced back into town to East Street Arts’ Patrick Studios, a new place for me.  I was the first one there, the first rider of the whole event.  I left my bike in the rack outside so a technician could affix a computer mount to the handlebars.  Inside I signed a waiver, was presented with a palmtop computer (whatever happened to palmtops? are they still a thing?) and shown how to work it.  Then I went out my bike, velcro’d the computer to the mount, popped an earphone in one ear, sorted out the earphone wires so they wouldn’t interfere with my shoulder bag an off I went.

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I followed the instructions on the screen: start cycling, then find a place I liked.  As I set off, the computer played a pleasant theme tune in my one ear, like something from an introspective film, and immediately the ride took on a cinematic quality.  the crap cycle ‘lane’ I round myself navigating, which would usually just be irritating, suddenly became exquisitely poignant thanks to this soundtrack.

When I arrived at the place I liked I recorded a short introduction on the computer: name and a brief description of myself.  Then I was instructed to choose whether to find a new place to “hide” and answer another question, or whether to “search for others” – find their hiding places and listen to their recorded answers to the same question.  This time I chose to “hide”, was asked a question and instructed to cycle along till I found a suitable place to stop and record an answer.  The questions were direct and sometimes intimate.

Not particularly wanting to head into the city centre on a Saturday night, I headed in the opposite direction, along one of the National Cycle Network paths – one that I’d only ridden once before, on a mad day several years ago when I cycled all the way from Leeds to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  At the start there were lots of people about sitting out on the grass by the river, relaxing in groups or alone, and I felt slightly foolish stopping randomly to seemingly talk to myself and record my answer to a question.  As I cycled further away from the city centre, the path became quieter, and there were fewer people around to witness my odd behaviour.  In any event, as the ride progressed, I became more absorbed in what I was doing and less self concious.  When cycling I often feel like I am travelling in a marginal, parallel universe to that inhabited by motorists and pedestrians, and participating in this art game accentuated that feeling.  After an hour or so the computer instructed me to start to head back.

When I returned to Patrick Studios the staff took the computer off me and pointed me in the direction of food and drink.  As everyone knows (do they? they should), cyclists are always hungry.  The atmosphere was convivial, with some people tooling around on crazy hinged bikes and bike trailers pulled by bmx’s, while others sat and chatted and waited for other riders to return.  I joined some friends and we discussed our experiences.  Everyone agreed they would have enjoyed staying out long playing this art game – most of us felt that we were just getting into it and hitting our stride when the computer recalled us back to base.

I’m not sure what they are planning to do with all the recordings once the event has finished.

Rider Spoke is just one of a number of bicycle-related events being put on as part of Juliana’s Bike as the idea for BikeFestLeeds becomes reality.

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

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It’s not often, if ever, you pick up a book to read that is a by a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature that is also described as “One of the most disturbing novels in existence” which is one of the descriptions for Hunger by Knut Hamsun the current cover of which (pictured) belies the fact that it was written in 1890.  I must admit I’ve not read anything quite like it before.  It is a novel almost completely devoid of plot or action, one where the hero / anti hero is unnamed and thoroughly unlikeable, nothing really happens and the start and finish don’t provide any answers and infact I’m not even sure what the questions are.  Despite this somewhat unpromising premise I found myself captivated in a somewhat darkly voyeuristic way to what was going to happen to the anti hero but also what was Knut Hamsun trying to say and capture with this darkest of novels.

The novel is set in a Scandanavian city (Christiania) and centres around the revolving door travails of the anti hero, a writer who is starving to the bring of his existence.  His hunger prevents him from writing anything of any merit and his inability to publish anything means that he cannot earn any money for food so his spiral decline continues.  He bombards the local press with unsolicited articles some of which are occasionally published earning him some money but despite his desperate need he gives most of this money away and the food he does buy he usually throws up shortly after eating it and thus his descent towards madness and death continues.

Time is played out in a strange way within the book, it’s unclear when the book is set from the narrator and despite the suffering of the anti hero there is neither social or political points being made, the book does not seem to be set of a particular time it simply exists.  Days will be skipped over or missed and yet at other times you will follow the narrators rambling inner thoughts to the nth degree whereever they take you.  Unlike say Dostoevsky’s writings Hamsun does not illicit any sympathy for his anti hero as it is clear that the situation he finds himself in is of his own making and indeed he could quite easily find his way out of it but he chooses instead to suffer as if he wants to take himself to the bring which he does, rejecting everything and leaving only two choices, to live or to die and over this abyss he dangles himself

I remained a while locked into the dark – this dense substance of darkness that had no bottom, which I couldn’t understand.  My thoughts could not grasp such a thing.  It seemed to be dark beyond all measurement, and I felt its presence weigh me down.  I closed my eyes and took to singing half aloud and rocking myself back and forth on the cot to amuse myself, but it did no good.  The dark had captured my brain and gave me not an instant of peace.  What if I myself dissolved into the dark, turned into it?

Confusion reigns, he cannot collect his thoughts properly and he wanders the streets reaching the point of almost dying standing up, but then at the point of no return walks to the docks signs up on a ship and sails out of the city.

Is this art, philosophy, a study of the depravity of the mind, madness – I really don’t know.  I don’t know much about literature in the 1890’s but there can’t have been anything written like this and in fact I doubt there has been before or since, it’s a unique piece of writing.  You don’t read this for a laugh but despite all I’ve written it draws you in, sucks at the edges of your mind and soul, dares you to look, it’s challenging and difficult but compelling and original, fascinating and disturbing.