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Category archive: My blog ruins

Friday May 28 2010

I am not sure if this (one of these) is very clever or very ridiculous:


Maybe it is both.  The trick is all in the exact shape of the bits of wood.  Each bit of wood has to have the exact angle that will make it adopt the exactly correct position next to the ones next to it.  My worry would be: will these chairs last?  Last, that is to say, in a way that has them remaining the exactly correct shape.

But what the hell, it’s only a chair, and if it goes wrong, it goes wrong.  It still made for a pretty set of pictures.

Reminds me a bit of this.  (That takes me back.  No wonder it took me so long to find.)

Thursday March 18 2010

My email system recently wanted to correct my name in an email I was sending.  It wanted to change Micklethwait to Sickle-feather.  I realise that Micklethwait is a somewhat unusual name, but doesn’t it even know that this is the name of the person it is working for?  It seems not.

Further thought: if this blog crashes in ruins, like my last two blogs, then maybe I’ll call the next one Brian Sickle-feather.

Saturday November 03 2007

They’ve just been talking about Shakespeare operas on BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters, and someone just identified Humphrey Searle’s Hamlet as the worst Shakespeare opera ever, “plonker” being the exact word.  I saw that!  When I was hoovering up Hamlet productions prior to directing Hamlet myself at Essex University, the only play I have ever directed.  It was indeed astonishingly bad.

In the far-off doomed days of my Culture Blog, I even blogged about it, in connection with another silly Shakespeare opera of more recent vintage by Thomas Adès.  Here is the restored version of that posting, stripped of its two comments which are now lost for ever.  Read that to find out what was so particularly plonking about this particular Shakespeare opera.

The best, they all agreed, was Verdi’s Otello.

Thursday September 13 2007

Not really.  But commiserations, so to speak, to all those who thought that this blog, or even I, might have died for real.

The length of the pause was caused by me taking the opportunity of it to rearrange my hosting arrangements, and that took longer than I hoped.  My Guru is a good man to have on your side when you are top of his To Do list, but if someone else is at the top of that list, well, there is delay.  But all should now be well, and I will now resume posting here whatever I feel like posting here, probably every day.

I say probably because one of my slogans here is: I promise nothing.  But there is a further reason to guess that posting here may soon become a little more intermittent than it tended to be before this latest pause, which is that I intend, soon, finally, to resume education blogging.  This time my education blog will be called Brian Micklethwait’s Education Blog, if only to distinguish it from the previous effort, the ruins of which are such that they are still better not linked to directly.  If you want to know more about that sad story, try reading this.

The new education blog explains the colour change here.  Brian Micklethwait’s Education Blog will be identical in format to here, but will use the old green, which to me suggests green boards and seems educational.  The new picture at the top here is because I felt like having a new picture at the top here.  (I never did work out how to make a picture more purple than it was to begin with, but the above picture is rather purple already.) I will concoct another new picture, an educational one, for Brian Micklethwait’s Education Blog.

Since the look and organisation of this blog is about to be duplicated elsewhere, now would be a good time for people to say what they think is wrong with the way this blog now looks and is organised.  I promise nothing, so I don’t promise to act on all or even any such criticisms.  But provided they aren’t too long or too mad, I will read them, and some changes, to this blog and thus also to the new one, may result.

Monday June 26 2006

That Thing I was busy doing at the end of last week was a course in how to teach reading, and is all part of the fact that I will, Real Soon Now, be cranking up Brian’s Education Blog again.  (I’ll spare you any links to the ruins.)

Not Brian’s Culture Blog.  That’s this, pretty much, minus the posh paintings.  (And there’s nothing to stop me having posh paintings again here from time to time if I want to.) But the buzz in my network is (in English, a couple of people have told me) that Brian’s Education Blog (as opposed to Brian’s Culture Blog) is actually missed.  Moves Are Afoot to clean up the ruins, and get it going again in spanking new premises.  New premises, I should say.  I don’t believe in spanking, and especially not in connection with education.  Educators should only use violence in self-defence.

Anyway, if that does happen, here’s the kind of thing I’d want to be featuring, concerning a man about whom I knew nothing until today, but who would appear to have been – to be – an extremely successful educator. 

This from West Ham supporter Iain Dale, about someone called Tony Carr:


This is the man who should be the proudest man in England tonight. You probably won’t have heard of him. His name is Tony Carr. He is the man who has brought you Joe Cole, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick - all of whom played for England today. He’s head of the West Ham Youth Academy. And if the England manager had had any sense at all another Tony Carr graduate, Jermain Defoe, would have been in the team today too. And coming up for the next World Cup, we’ll have Anton Ferdinand and Mark Noble for you.

Michael Carrick was a star today - good tackles, spraying the ball around. God how I wish we could have kept him at Upton Park.  ...

All this in connection with England storming to a 1-0 triumph over mighty Ecuador yesterday afternoon.

Thursday September 08 2005

Yes, I am giving serious thought to cranking up Brian’s Education Blog and Brian’s Culture Blog again (see here for how to read the old ruins), while keeping this totally ego driven Brian’s Whatever Blog going on a less dutiful basis.

Here, I have the feeling that I jump about too much to suit most potential readers.  People wanting culture don’t get enough of it.  People not wanting culture get too much of it.  Etc.  If I shove all my cultural stuff on a specialist Culture Blog, that takes care of that problem.  A bloke recently told me, at one of my Friday meetings, that he misses my Education Blog, which he used to read constantly, but not my Culture Blog, which he found too highbrow.  There must surely have been quite a few for whom it was the other way around.  Dividing everything up is probably the right answer, for me.

I notice that Alice in Texas has divided into Serious Alice in Texas and Everyday Alice in Texas, for much the same reasons.  Comments Kim du Toit: “What if I want to read both?” Comments me (or I would if Alice’s comments system didn’t put me off): Read both.

These thoughts began to come together in my head as I was reading this posting, and the comments attached to it, about Bruce Springsteen.  I learned quite a lot about Springsteen’s background and inspiration from reading this stuff, and linking to it from Brian’s Culture Blog would have made perfect sense.  Linking to it from here probably achieves far less.

Of course, you could say the same about Blognor Regis, where I found this Springsteen posting.  Should that likewise bifurcate into Mark’s Bicycling Blog and Mark’s Everything Else Blog.  It might make sense.

I keep on seeing things that it would make sense to link to and to quote from in a specialist Eucation Blog (such as this posting or this ), or Culture Blog (such as this, or, come to think of it, this), but which it hardly makes any sense to link to and quote from here.  When I run a specialist blog, I feel that I am, so to speak, helping to administer the blogosphere, directing the traffic.  Here, I am just some mad Great Aunt careering about in an Austin Seven, shouting out the window at the proper drivers.

When I was doing my old Education and Culture blogs, I definitely did post things out of a sense of duty – which a lot of bloggers say you should never do – but I was often provoked by this sense of duty into posting quite interesting things, and (especially with Culture) into learning quite interesting things.

Also, specialist blogs put you firmly into a global community of people you have never met and whose dinner parties you will never attend, but with whom you have a definite something in common.  This personal blog, on the other hand, feels more bound into my personal little network here in London.  Maybe I’m wrong about all this, but this is how it feels.

I have the feeling that if I got those old blogs going again, I would pretty quickly get a lot of my old readers back, but that here, I am starting again from scratch.

When I write about classical music here, I feel that I may be imposing, like a dinner party bore.  But at my Culture Blog, well, what did you expect?

Yes, this is making more and more sense the more I think about it.  If this has been a somewhat disorderly piece of writing – with good points but all in a mixed up order – this is because I kept thinking of more things.

If I do decide to do this, don’t expect it to happen immediately.  First, I have to tweak this blog until it is more exactly as I want it.  Only then will I clone it twice, and change the picture at the top and the colours, but leave all else as is.

Tuesday August 09 2005

Brian’s Education Blog and Brian’s Culture Blog both still exist, in varying states of delapidation.  These disasters were caused by a vile bombardment of link spam at the end of January 2005, and almost certainly also by me pushing the wrong buttons at the wrong time in response. The last posting on either of these blogs was on January 31st 2005 - that being a link to the most recent monthly archive - at Culture.  It only hinted at the problems I was being engulfed by.  Apparently the “database” was buggered beyond restoration.  Repeated attempts to rectify matters have failed, and have now been abandoned.

The good news is that everything I originally wrote is still readable.  The bad news is that they aren’t really blogs any more.

The Education Blog is readable in its entirety, as are the comments.  The Culture Blog is readable, but only the stuff I myself wrote in the postings, not the comments.

I do not delude myself that many people will want to read things that I wrote a minimum of several months ago.  But here is my best shot at explaining how the eccentric minority who do want to can do so.

The logical places to start navigating these relics are: here for Education and here for Culture.  (That last link will take you to a pile of postings defined by its category, “This blog”, with the most recent posting, the one mentioned in paragraph one above, at the top.)

To explore Culture further, your only option is to pick a category archive from the category archives bit on the right hand side.  I think everything is there at least once.  But, sadly, no comments.

For Education, you can choose chronologically by month or categorically by category, and if you see any individual posting mentioned, on the right, or above or below the post you are looking at, click on that posting title and you will get to that individual posting, and in that case also to all the comments attached to it.  In neither Education nor Culture can you can reach comments by clicking on the comments rectangle at the bottom of each posting.  But if you click the permalink rectangle for Education postings, you get just that individual posting plus the comments on it.  (Clicking on the permalink rectangle on a Culture posting gets you nowhere.)

Which means that all the Culture comments are gone.  That is, they may still be buried somewhere in the ruins, but I can’t find them and you certainly can’t.  In neither case may comments be added.

The Education situation is actually even odder, because a little googling got me to a weekly archive, not mentioned at the sidebar, but secretly compiled by my blog software before it went pear-shaped, and those archives too are accessible, but only by sifting your way through them week by week.  The earliest such archive is reachable here.  I have done some sifting through of my own for you, which enables me to tell you that 2003 starts here, and that 2004 starts here.  The most recent weekly archive is here.

Pictures embedded in the text seem all to be present and correct.  But larger pictures, of the sort that you have to click on smaller ones to get to, mostly seem not to work, although again, I believe that they are still all there, buried.

So far as I know, all links from other blogs to individual postings at the Education Blog are still working.  And, you can still now link back to posts in new stuff that you write now, by copying the line of www stuff at the top of the window.  (Here, for instance, is a link to a Brian’s Education Blog posting that has some contemporary resonance.) Clicking on the permalink rectangle no longer works.

Links to individual postings in the Culture Blog have all now expired.  As the young people say: bummer.  If you want now to link to something in Culture, you can only do so by linking to a particular monthly archive and by asking your readers to scroll down. I don’t think suppose that will be many takers for that.

As to the future of these two blogs, I have not yet abandoned the idea of cranking them up again and resuming.  So, instead of just having one personal blog, I will then have one personal blog and two semi-personal blogs.  Bizarre, yes.  But the thing is, lots of people want only education, and lots of others want only culture (as in: what is generally meant by culture, rather than what I have been meaning by it), and a lot of both categories of readers do not want to wade past my random non-cultural, non-educational, personal thoughts and opinions.  Three blogs may well be too much for me, but maybe not, if I set myself less ambitious schedules. Minimum-of-one-posting-every-week might prove to be a rule that would be both sustainable and worth sustaining.

But that’s for later.  Meanwhile, I hope that this posting has answered some of the questions that e-mailers and personal enquirers have mostly now given up asking, but did once seem interested in.

Saturday July 30 2005

I said in the posting below that I haven’t done much writing here this week.  I didn’t say why.  It’s because I have one last major item of housekeeping to get done before I fling myself out of the room, fling myself onto my blog and link madly off in all directions.  I have to answer the question: What the hell happened to my Education and Culture Blogs?  And I have to organise how to guide people around the ruins, which do exist, and still give you a pretty good idea of what the original structures consisted of.

This has proved to be an immensely complicated question for me to answer and process for me to contrive.  Basically, anyone with whom I am acquainted and whom I could cajole into being interested, who is clever enough to answer this question properly and sort out the mess, already has a job as Senior Computer Guru for the Department of Circumlocution, Number Two in Spectre, or some such equally prominent role in life.  He will, any month now, promise, get around to taking a look at my blog ruins and seeing what he can do about them.  But just now he has a rather important deadline to meet or he is shark feed.  And so it dragged on, for month after month, with a succession of undeniably expert, well-disposed, but pre-occupied, experts.  Eventually, I said: enough!  I will sort out the problem with only my own knowledge and my own procedures and skills.

I will be using things like a biro and several sheets of paper, a team of oxen.  That kind of thing.  But these procedures are fraught with peril.  Basically we are talking about a bloke picked off the street doing his best to re-assemble some fragments of a Renaissance painting, using only biro, paper, oxen, UHU (does that still exist? – apparently so) and a needle and cotton.  The resulting edifice will be visible, but there will be flaws visible also.  Eccentricities will abound.  Never mind.  I shall do my best.

But, just for now, I need the rest of you not to disturb what I am doing.  The last thing I need is people trampling on top of saveable bits.

By the way, in case you are tempted to comment with yet more helpful advice (always the most annoying kind, I find), I have just one comment to add to all comments that attach themselves to this posting.  Fuck off and leave me to get on with it.

To hell with experts