This TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson called "Do schools kill creativity?" is almost 2 years old but it was new to me when I saw it today at work. I was in an "inspiration session" organised by Ewan McIntosh and Mike Coulter (thanks both) which was designed to get staff thinking and talking and blogging. So here I am. It's a lovely, and very funny, rumination on education and creativity and how sometimes they can be at odds with each another.
I often think that my kids are the most interesting people I know, which is no slight to the grown-ups. The way they have of being fantastically inventive and also cutting through the layers of crap that somehow come to scale your eyes as you get older is great to be around sometimes. It's so important that schools harness that rather than crushing it, something which does seem to be happening in Scotland with Curriculum for Excellence. Anyway, it's well worth a watch if you haven't seen it before.
I'm going to be away for most of the next two weeks. I tried to schedule some things to go up when I'm not here but it doesn't seem to work. There will be only silence. I've been feeling very flat lately so maybe it's just as well. Sorry again to anyone who has sent me something recently and not got a reply. It's not like I get that much mail - no excuses really. Just haven't felt like writing.
Back in a wee while.
I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who commented in the last week. I'm amazed at the amount of stuff coming up - all new, all exciting. I'm going to be away the week after next so I think what I'll do is tidy up the suggestions and post them up then. I was going to do one last call for anything else, so if you want to add anything that didn't fall into the earlier categories speak now.
I also thought that as so many of you gave me something back you should get a chance to ask me for something, so I'm doing requests. If there's anything you'd like to see more of, or less of, or if there's anything you're curious about or want feel free to ask. I'll do my best to oblige.
Do you ever get the feeling that you're stuck in a rut? Doing, reading and listening to the same things? I feel like that just now. I listen to the same music, browse the same websites, read the same papers and they're all good, don't get me wrong, but I need a change. So this week I'm looking to you, dear reader, to suggest something new to chew. Whatever you like, please recommend it here.
Over the week I'm going to look for a new thing every day covering music, blogs, clubs and er, miscellaneous but let's start with the one that got me thinking about this - magazines. It's a great feeling when you find a magazine you really love to read and can't wait to see the next issue on the shelves. To feel like you belong to this community of readers who all like the same things. At various times I've felt like that about Whizzer & Chips, Just 17, Smash Hits, the NME, The Face, The Idler and Wallpaper*. But now I don't read anything regularly anymore apart from the Guardian magazine on a Saturday and that's not really doing it for me.
I have recently enjoyed Smoke: a London peculiar, B-Music's occasional (free) fanzine on incredibly strange music and Kettering: the magazine of elderly British comedy (brilliant) - more fanzines really but that's fine. I often long for the golden age of fanzines. There was never a shortage of inspiration then. Late addition: Grow Your Own - the only glossy mag I subscribe to. I have tried and found wanting Karen Magazine (too arty) and The Enthusiast (no idea what's going on there; like a joke with no punchline).
So can you help me? What do you all read?
I'm not finished for the year yet but thought some of you might be finishing up for the holidays. So before it's too late I'll wish you all the best - Merry Christmas to you, one and all.
The week has flown in, and the weekend has passed in a bit of a blur. There were lots of things I meant to write about but now it's Sunday night and time for bed. A few people have asked how I'm getting on at work. The answer is fine, thanks. A bit tricky at first but I'm getting used to it, even enjoying some things about being back. Danny has settled into nursery and Tommy goes back to school tomorrow so that's the holidays over for another year. Oh well, on with the motley...
I go back to work this week, so we've had one last jaunt. A sort of aimless weekend where we headed for Dundee and skirted round about it, not going into the centre, but looking at various things on the way here and there, finding stuff for Nothing To See Here like the World's Biggest Hedge (pictured). These are the kind of trips that started I like. Neil used to work as a rep and covered the whole of Scotland, so sometimes I would go with him, shopping in the charity shops and taking pictures along the way. I photographed lots of signs and shopfronts, not really knowing why I was doing it. I think there's a sort of librarian/collector instinct to gather, record and categorise things that might otherwise get lost. I remember at the time thinking it was a bit strange but when I had the courage to stick the photos up people liked them and 3 years later I'm still at it, which suggests it was the right thing to do. And of course, Flickr has happened since then so I know lots of people do it and I shouldn't be ashamed.
So I was thinking about I like and how I've enjoyed having a bit more time to spend on it. And I wanted to say thanks to everyone who has visited, commented, and emailed over the years. This makes it sound like I'm jacking it all in - I'm not. There's something about doing it that makes my head feel a bit clearer. If I didn't have some kind of outlet I think I'd go mad. So I'm glad that there are people out there that want to read it and I hope that I can still squeeze it in once I'm back to the 9-5. That's all really.
3 years ago, first day I got my digital camera, I went to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum on the day before it closed for refurbishment and photographed everything I liked that I thought might change. It's such a big part of living in Glasgow - this really grand building with all this amazing stuff, that's so labyrinthine you get lost straight away. I felt quite nervous about going back this week to see what's changed.
At first it's hard to tell because it's so busy. I worried that it was going to be all shiny and interactive, and it's not. It's more shiny and interactive than it was - they've taken a lot of things out of cases (more things to tell your kids not to touch) and the Tyrannosaurus Rex that I used to be so scared of is gone for being "anatomically incorrect". At least there are no annoying audio guides and the building is as grand as ever. It's arranged by theme now (rather than art upstairs, natural history downstairs) - Life in one wing and Expression in the other. Not convinced about that. And there's something really handwringy about Glasgow Stories which starts with the Old Firm and sectarianism, then moves on to Violence Against Women and Lunatic Asylums. Really cheery, and not representative of any Glasgow I know.
All in all it left me a bit troubled. I don't know how much this is about the art galleries and how much is about me. It reminds me of working in libraries a few years ago, when there were all these people coming in from industry with no respect for libraries or librarians and they decided libraries had to be called "learning centres" or "ideas factories" or something. It was horrible. And of course, because it was librarians no one wanted to cause a fuss, and instead of fighting for everything libraries stood for everyone rolled over (including the Library Association) and changed their name as well, so to this day some people don't have a clue what their job title is. (Information Assistant anyone?) So this feels the same, like someone has said museums can't be museum-y any more, when that's what's so great about them. Things in glass cases, EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS, those little machines with the graphs on them.
And the way I feel about the Art Galleries is the way I feel about a lot of things at the moment. In the past few months, having a baby and everything, I feel like everything's going a bit too fast. I want to press Pause. And I want things to stop changing, just for a minute, because a lot of the time they don't need to. Progress is fine, but somewhere along the line we've all lost it and ended up striving for things that really aren't important. Change for change's sake. I don't know if that's a bit harsh but all I could think was that I liked things fine the way they were.
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