This is primarily about the LLSB, Long Live Southbank campaign but it also rambles charmingly on about London in general. So if you aren’t a Londoner but one day hope to visit, consider this an incentive. Alternatively, if you are into skateboarding, check out the video at the end.
One of the joys of being a Londoner is just the sheer amount of stuff that is going on all the time. Truly if you are bored of London, you are a boring bastard indeed. There is not just so much going on that you feel guilty every time you browse an issue of Time Out, there is also a ridiculous variety of things all around. I love all the book readings by famous authors, comedy nights, world famous bands playing live, the greatest selection of theatres on the planet, the markets, the pubs, parks, and random events like boat races/fireworks/pageants/random art happenings/street performances, etc. There are also things I don’t really give a shit about – opera, human statues, invigorating swims outside in the winter, performance art, vegetarian restaurants, chessboxing, religion, skateboarding, and so on.
But just because I don’t give a shit about these latter examples doesn’t mean I don’t want them around. They add something to the city.
For example, a place I love is the Southbank. This stretch on the south side of the Thames holds pretty much everything I have mentioned in both lists (not sure about chessboxing but I wouldn’t be surprised). It has Shakespeare’s Globe theatre (which must be experienced), the British Film Institute, the London Eye, Tate Modern, second hand books stalls, bars, restaurants, theatres and art galleries. It even has a beach!
It has also a place for skateboarders which has been there since I was a kid. As I said, I don’t really care much about skateboarding but the Southbank skateboard park is something I would be very sad to see disappear. It adds to London’s diversity. It seems a fun place for all the young youth-types to hang around. It’s always a laugh watching someone trying to show off and falling flat on their face. Besides, the area has been dedicated to the skateboarders for 40 years. Everyone likes it, including tourists.
If the Southbank skateboard park is shut and replaced with chain shops/restaurants, it can only be a bad thing for a city trying to stay one of the top places for art,creativity, and diversity. I think it will be a massive shame to lose this. So do lots of others. Consequently, the LLSB or Long Live Southbank was set up.
I wrote most of this because they have now made a short video that they want to try and go viral. It’s actually really interesting, even if you aren’t into skateboarding. (Their website is here and is worth a look: http://www.llsb.com/)
At least watch the video and make your mind up. I learned some new things.
A friend just posted this on Facebook. It’s basically a map that shows what will happen if the sea levels rise due to all the ice melting. I have a house in Essex, live in London and will probably end up living in Bangkok at some point. According to this map, I should practice swimming. I found it interesting and thought I would share. There is a link below this picture of a damper than usual Europe.
Thanks National Geographic.
This comes courtesy of Richard Dawkins – a man who loathes anyone who believes in anything that is provably bollocks. Which is a hell of a lot of stuff. If you believe in any of the below then fair play to you. Just don’t look into it too hard. Like testing things under controlled conditions or really doing research into the topic or anything like that.
To be honest, I would quite like a lot of these to be true. Finding Bigfoot or being able to levitate or seeing a ghost (when you haven’t coincidentally just woken up) would be amazing and make the world much more interesting. In my superb opinion – if they make you feel good then go for it. I honestly don’t care what you believe. Just please, I beg you, don’t try and talk others into your point of view.
Anyway, prepare to have your cynicism levels seriously boosted.
This is pretty damned funny. I can only assume the people involved were brought up to speed afterward or they will now be gibbering wrecks curled up under their beds.
It was all done to promote the new Carrie film where a girl gets some stuff spilt on her and then massively overreacts. So it’s like a mini trailer. Enjoy.
This has been a question that has been bugging me for literally 10-15 minutes. Maybe even slightly longer.
I consulted the all-knowing internet and discovered to my horror that opinions were divided on the matter. Some said several short posts a day, others a longer post once a week or two. The divergence ended there thankfully, this wasn’t a youtube comments section or anything.
I have read a few blogs that has one plucky blogger posting several times a day and it ends up feeling like a fairly dull diary or even worse – a twitter feed by a bored narcissist. Blogging is pretty narcissistic as it is (I also work as a journalist so my opinions count more, it’s official) so I wanted to avoid that.
On the other hand, anything more than a 10 day gap between entries ends up with a noticeable dip in readership.
As you probably know if you read this fantastic site regularly I tend to write slightly longer blog entries every five to ten days or so. This is mostly because I am busy with other stupid jobs/life commitments/exciting social events but also because I am lazy and overly verbose without an editor. Plus, this has always been a hobby.
One thing that most bloggers do seem to agree on is that inconsistency is bad. My website has slowly climbed to about 5000 hits a day over a period of years. Which is ok but not great. I want great. So I have decided to take the whole thing a lot more seriously and will henceforth try and be more regular. I am going to aim for twice a week. I will let you know how that affects things re readership in case you are a fellow blogger and are curious about this sort of thing. Which, if you are reading this, you probably are. (Apologies to everyone else, this may have been dull.)
This bound-to-be life changing decision will take effect in the middle of October. I am currently on holiday in Germany drinking litres of beer in preparation. You can’t blog during Octoberfest my friends.
I have been working a lot recently, which is a shame as work is officially bad for you (probably). It’s certainly detrimental to your brain when you work in the TV industry and have to work on kids’ TV channels for twelve hours in a row. This mental stress is increased still further when you get to the adverts and see what kind of bat-shit craziness passes for toys these days.
If you have kids/sticky little humans of your own, you may already be aware of some of these products. I don’t. Consequently their toys are new to me and frankly, they are just fucking bizarre. I won’t even be mentioning little girls’ dolls that pee and crap themselves as I find them genuinely scary. I’m just looking at the odd here. It baffles me how someone thought these would be good fun, how they got the funding, how they persuaded shops to sell them, who would buy them for their kids, and so on. Ok, you will see what I mean. I just picked four, but there are tons of these things.
Silly Moo Action Game
Are your kids fascinated by farming? In particular milking cows? Are they worried about the whole milk vs cowshit problems endemic with the business? If yes, then check out the Silly Moo Action Game! Milk a cow and win when milk comes out or lose when it shits itself! The game ends when the cow’s eyes pop out. Brilliant.
In this game, a dismembered head is placed on a table and kiddywinks reach in through the ears/mouth/whatever and try to pull out aliens or brains or rats or – if you freeze right at the end around 00:13 and look beneath the rat on the right hand side – what looks like a shit-stained diaper. Fun!
Sticking with the ‘head on a table’ theme, we now have Gooey Louie. In this one, the head sneezes and the aim is to pull out his snot. If you pull the wrong snot, then his brains explode out of his head! Seriously. That’s the game.
Finally we come to doggie doo. A genius mash-up of some of the above ideas. You feed the plastic dog, squeeze a pump, and then catch a dog-shit on a shovel. The end. Look how happy they all are!
Imagine 12 hours of this and you will see why have another job.
I’m a massive fan of space and science. Also of Google Streetview. (Over on www.scifiward.com there’s a streetview of the TARDIS.) Here on the Word of Ward there’s an interactive galaxy! (See below.) It’s made by some space enthusiasts at Google and is pretty much a streetview-type map of the galaxy. Very cool indeed.
When I was a kid, one of my favourite shows was ‘Cosmos’ by the legendary Carl Sagan. It was astronomy with huge inspiring dollops of philosophy. Basically, it made you think. You can watch entire episodes on youtube if you haven’t ever seen Cosmos or Carl Sagan. Unless you’re a creationist or lack any soul, curiosity, or sense of wonder, then you’re in for a treat.
When I heard they were bringing Cosmos back, I was a bit dubious. Apart from Professor Brian Cox’s amazing documentaries (all of which I have on Bluray and astound me with every viewing), a lot of space related shows tend to be dumbed down and chock full of graphics. Both Sagan and Cox bring a sense of wonder coupled with facts, that remain unparalleled (although Hawking’s show and Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole are great too). My concern was who they were going to get to replace Sagan. If they didn’t get the right person it would be crap.
Thankfully the new Cosmos is presented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Of whom I am a big fan. Not as big as I am of Cox or Sagan, but he’s certainly up there and after this show he might be on a par with them. I hope so. Here’s the new trailer:
Just in case you haven’t ever seen Carl Sagan in action, here is a famous thing he did about Earth. At his suggestion Voyager took a photo of Earth as it travelled further away. It really creates a sense of perspective and gives you an idea of what I mean when I say that he ‘makes you think’. This is bloody genius.
Pretty sexy headline eh? I would like to say that I haven’t been able to write much because I have been spending every waking hour learning how to code like a fevered coding madman. Sadly, the real reason is that I have been looking for a new flat. Which is less sexy.
But I have been learning how to code in between appointments. I felt its a skill I should learn for these important reasons:
1/ I have some websites. They are awesome and look pretty but I have no idea what I’m doing on the programming side of things. I just drop in some html code for, say, some Google ads (for eg) and just see where they end up. That method has its limits and has probably led to some readers seeing bizarre placement of things.
2/I also want to be able to do cool things with fonts and redesign generally. At present I am terrified of fiddling with the template (not a euphemism) as it might mess up the whole site.
3/It is on my CV/Resume that I can write code – so I should probably learn it just in case an employer calls my bluff.
To begin with, I have been using something called Code Academy. It is pretty cool so far and you will soon be seeing some astounding changes on this site thanks to what I have learned.
Code Academy is an online school that is free. It is browser based so you can do it on any computer you come across and you save your progress on the web. (I definitely haven’t been doing it at work though.) It consists of a series of tutorials and tests. When you do well you get points, badges and other achievements that increase your pathetic sense of self worth. (All the cool kids have a blog to do this.)
I don’t know how long I will stick with it, but I have already lost my sense of fear of some of the intimidating code behind this site. You can also learn other things like Java, so you can create a new app and make billions.
I appear to be a year or more behind everyone else when it comes to Code Academy but in case you’ve been out socialising, travelling or having sex or something, I thought I would fill you in.
Also get ready for this site to look different. Hopefully for the better but if not – I’m a coder not a designer, cut me some slack.
I saw this and thought I would share. Because I’m nice and thought it was pretty awe inspiring/terrifying. You know that famous old black and white photo of the workmen having lunch on a girder high above Mahattan? You know, this one:
Well, there are a few more pics like this. My favourite one is the one that was presumably taken after lunch. In many ways I find this even more terrifying, given that I once rolled out of a bunk bed. I’d like to think that the photo was posed and the guys were absolutely shitting themselves, but somehow I doubt it. Some people just aren’t scared of heights. Anyway, just thought I’d share. Enjoy.
This is all over the internet right now with millions of hits a day. Which is great as it is probably my favourite music video right now.
Chris Hadfield is an astronaut with an awesome moustache who has just returned to Earth from the space station. Before leaving he decided to sing a farewell song and chose Space Oddity. With understandably altered lyrics. It is one of the most inspiring things I have seen in a long time.
I’m surprised no astronaut has done this before.
Next week – Rocket Man by Elton John performed by Gregori the Cosmonaut.
Dear readers, I apologise most profusely for my lack writing. But I do have a pretty awesome excuse.
I left my flat of 4 years and had to pack everything in storage. As anyone who has ever moved apartment will know, this was a massive stressful ball-ache. Not just the lifting but calling half of Britain to cancel direct debits. Just try calling Camden council and you will see that the stress induced is reason enough for my not having time to write.
I am in the final stage of my degree and am now entering the ‘Massive Bastard Essays’ stage. I have two huge fiction essays to write and accompanying essays of several 1000s of words. This is all while moving. I probably shouldn’t be writing this in fact.
As well as being technically homeless, I am now technically unemployed as well. I probably shouldn’t say this but both of those facts are brilliant and I love being in this state of limbo. Consequently though, I am now constantly scouring the job pages to persuade someone, anyone, to hire me. To do anything. I work in TV, write fiction, am a journalist, and can teach, so please send me an offer at firstname.lastname@example.org. This leads on to the next time consuming point.
I also left Britain. Quite frankly, it was cold and the natives were grumpy. Maybe these points are connected. I flew to my old home and place of birth – Hong Kong. I bloody love it there and in the 5 days we stayed we drank, met people, and generally revelled in the futuristic awesomeness that is Hong Kong. Superb place. I also applied for some jobs while there in addition to looking at property and writing the aforementioned essays. Busy but brilliant times.
The next stop was the current one. Bangkok! Again, a place where I have lived and loved and lagered. I spent a couple of years as a journalist here and that is another option on the cards. I have spent the last week looking up old contacts and going out with friends. A lot. Oh yeah, and the essays.
So there you go. I’ve been a busy boy so cut me some slack. If you are rich and live in Hong Kong/ Bangkok/ Singapore and want to hire someone to write some stuff or work in a TV studio you own, give me shout. Then I can write more here as well and everyone’s happy.
In case you feel a twinge of pity, there really is no need. I am headed to this beach in a couple of days. Bye for now.
I don’t know who made this or why but basically it is the best of the web (minus porn) volume 4. In HD! It has some amazing shots in it, mostly of people doing astoundingly brave/stupid/incredible things. Set the button to HD, maximise the screen, and gawp at people doing stuff you probably can’t. Enjoy.
I forgot to mention the digit change and wish all my readers a happy 2013. (Funnily enough, this replicated the Indie Retro New Year’s Eve party I went to in Camden where everyone was so drunk it was 5 past midnight before anyone noticed.) As I look wistfully back over 2012 I realise that personally speaking, absolutely bugger all happened. On the whole I am better off than before: I turned 40 and got some grey chest hairs BUT I quit smoking, had a lot of holidays, and saved some money. So a good year I guess.
This website started as a blog/review site and has morphed into a place where I talk vaguely about things I think are cool or interesting like science or exploration. As well as doing reviews. Well rest assured it shall continue thus. At the risk of just blogging about myself you should know that things afoot. This is the year I will make a change and write more stuff! This is not a New Year thing, it is a realisation that I want to work a bit less in TV. Just a bit. The reason I am telling you this will be made clear.
One thing I did last year was read the superb 59 Seconds by Professor Richard Wiseman. It is a self-help book based on science. I hate self-help books, but am quite interested in psychology (you’d think the two would be more connected but they really aren’t). In the book they do crazy things like take a look at self-help stuff and actually test to see if it works rather than blather on about unsubstantiated vague old bollocks. For example, picturing yourself in a wonderful perfect place and trying to work out how to get there doesn’t help you achieve goals. It does the opposite. When you see all you need to do to achieve a major goal it can be overwhelming and disheartening. If you think about writing a book it seems huge but a 1000 words a day and you’ll be there in 3 or 4 months. Just set little targets and you’ll be in your own Playboy mansion/Skywalker ranch hybrid in no time (or whatever your ideal house is).
In 59 Seconds Wiseman tries to study things that actually do work and attempts to explain why. Some of it is just bizarre. Lots of studies for example, have shown that just the act of smiling can make you happier. Also, if you are a relatively happy optimist then better things happen to you. You are more open to opportunities. So don’t be a miserable whinger – it makes your life shit and you are boring to listen to.
Another thing that has been discovered is that if you tell a lot of people that you are going to do something, you are more likely to do it. Which I could probably have predicted, but didn’t know for certain.
So bollocks to New Year resolutions, just tell lots of people and let shame do the rest. I will write 1000 words a day. Lots of them will be here. Do stuff people! And have a great year.
I found this brilliant and touching and admirable. I love the scientific mind, the need to question everything, to test things, to find out what makes them them tick. This is from a BBC interview entitled ‘The Pleasure of Finding Things Out’. Which says it all.
As Feynmam argues here when discussing aesthetics and the beauty of a flower, understanding only adds to our appreciation of our existence and our surroundings. I don’t need a deity to have made everything by magic, I am awestruck by how nature and the universe actually work. I apologise for my serious and philosophical tone but it is 9am on a Sunday, I am up, and people are going to the church 50 feet away. It has made me wax lyrical for some reason. Enjoy.
Happy Christmas wonderful readers! If you aren’t a Christian, then happy Tuesday! No need to worry really Christmas is hardly a religious thing. Like Easter it is a made up date supposedly celebrating something to do with Jesus but in actuality is a mashup of wacky traditions. You don’t have to be religious to like Santa, Christmas trees, presents, the Easter Bunny, chocolate, and so on. So feel free to go mad.
I was going to write this tomorrow on Christmas day but I have been a good boy this year so I will probably be playing Assassin’s Creed 3 and watching Doctor Who as God intended. I doubt you will read this till at least Boxing Day anyway.
In case you aren’t lucky enough to be a Londoner I found this great time-lapse thing for you to enjoy. Lots of lovely Christmas lights to get you in the mood.
So happy Xmas! Enjoy!
Technically Britain is part of Europe but most Brits feel less European than say, a Frenchman or a German does. Actually, Brits consider themselves to be English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh and then, if pushed, British. We feel as if we happen to live next door to Europe and that it is a handy place for holidays and the occasional war. Most of my readership is now American, so in case you guys haven’t been here, this is what it all looks like:
The great thing these days is that you can hop on a train in the centre of London and a couple of hours later be in Europe. My flat is four tube stops from King’s Cross and the Eurostar, which means I only have to change trains once to get to Paris or even nicer places like Belgium. (I’m not being sarcastic by the way, I massively prefer places like Brussels, Bruges and Ghent to Paris.) Recently Mrs Wordofward and I hopped on this train and, ignoring what I just said in the previos sentence, had dinner in Paris. The next morning, we caught the train to Milan where we had another dinner and saw the Last Supper. Then a train to Florence where we stayed for 5 days (and had lots of meals) and then a final train to Rome where we spent another fews days (including a trip to Pompeii) where I ate my own mass in pizza and drank gallons of Chianti. Italy is superb and lives up to all of its stereotypes. Great food, wine, coffee, art, ruins, women (aesthetically) and organisational chaos. Salute Italia!
My point in mentioning all this is not to boast but to er, um, you know… Alright fuck it, I am boasting. It was a cool trip and it is superb to live next to such a varied continent. Europeans have even gotten together and made their currency easier for us with the Euro. (At least until it all collapses.) In fact we have decided to live there it is so damned fantastic. Our prime candidates right now are Prague, Berlin, or Rome. But anywhere is pretty much an option.
I had originally intended to bore the internet with my holiday snaps but my laptop seems to have thrown a hissy fit and is temporarily out of order. Then, while writing this I thought that although 40% of my readership is American, the rest of you wonderful and attractive people come from all over the planet. Roughly 40% from Europe. This equates to 40,000 hits last month from the Continent alone. With this in mind I have just one question for my European chums. Can any of you give me a job? An average paid writing gig would be fine. Or better still, a high powered art-related job for my talented wife.
Answers on an email: email@example.com
Thank you Europe!
This is astounding. I seem to be posting a lot of videos recently but I can’t help it as people making awe inspiring clips. And this is one of the best ones. This video is made by a lot of very clever people who are advancing our civilisation and should be applauded from every rooftop.
I hope deep down that the more the Mars rover explores, the more humanity’s collective brain will look out to the stars and will focus less inwardly on all the petty squabbles, greed, politics, conspiracy theories and all the other shite that makes mankind a less impressive species. This video is of the Mars Curiosity landing on Mars and looking around for the first time. The final bit is a picture that someone made up of a composite of reflections of the Rover’s face. So you can see what it looked like. For some reason I was reminded a bit of Wall-E crossed with Short Circuit’s Number 5.
Imagine parachuting onto the surface of Mars. Now press play…
There are times when I despair.
I once knew a guy in Thailand who sold ‘erectile dysfunction’ pills on the internet. They were just salt pills. He offered a money back guarantee and always honoured it. It just rarely happened that someone would contact him and ask for their money back as it was both a pittance and embarassing. Frequently the opposite happened – people wrote to him and thanked him for returning their ‘mojo’. Clearly it was all placebo but placebos, as any scientist will tell you, are fascinatingly effective. (Honestly, they work really well and no one knows why.) Was that morally wrong of him? People got to have sex after all. He now lives in a huge house by the beach with millions in the bank. Prick.
Then there was the guy who threatened to kill a bunny if he didn’t get a certain amount of cash. Ok, it all turned out to be a joke but the site got loads of hits and probably generated cash. And the bunny lived! (For a bit. Probably.)
In fact there are a million ways people are making money off the internet in slightly dubious ways. African nobility want to hide millions in your account! You have won some prize or other but you need to pay a processing fee! A major social media website is going public and having an IPO that will make you rich if you buy shares! And so on.
I despair because I can never think of these ideas. I guess I’m not devious enough. Consequently I’m at work right now earning millions of pounds a year less than I should. Like a sucker.
The latest money spinner that passed me by is selling magic spells, hoaxes, wishes, and pointy hats on eBay. I just saw this on Boing Boing and there is only two weeks left until this magical bonanza ends.
I’m serious by the way. People are selling magic on eBay. I’m not knocking white magic or Wiccans or the Dark Side as such, I just don’t believe you can buy magic on eBay. Gandalf must be turning in his grave. Here are some examples (thanks Boing Boing):
On the British eBay I found a money spell described as:
‘Powerful £ MONEY SPELL £ for Success Prosperity Luck Good Fortune Wealth
UKs No.1 Powerful Money/Lucky Spell – Guaranteed’
Yes. Guaranteed. Although if I was cynical I might want to enquire as to how much it will cost to get back your hard earned £2.99.
I even found a book of all the spells from the Necronomicon. A book mentioned in lots of horror films but actually originated in the FICTIONAL tales of H.P. Lovecraft.
Sadly this bizarre earner is coming to an end. eBay has cried ‘Expeliamus!’ to the whole lot. This is from CNN:
‘Beginning in September, the site is banning the sale of “advice, spells, curses, hexing, conjuring, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions, [and] healing sessions,” according to a policy update.
The company is also eliminating its category listings for psychic readings and tarot card sessions.
Has anyone actually been buying magic on eBay? It seems so: The site’s “spells and potions” category currently has more than 6,000 active listings and happy feedback from quite a few satisfied buyers.
“Best spell caster on Ebay,” one customer wrote after a recent purchase.
“Wonderful post-spells communication!” another raved. “We bought 4 spells! Highly Recommend!”‘
I repeat, I despair.
On an unrelated note, this website might go public and sell shares. Although it is yours for a million pounds if you want to buy it now. Let me know. I have Paypal and Western Union accounts. Thanks.
The Olympics are currently in full swing here in London town. Lots of Londoners, myself included, were originally against them. We weren’t asked if we wanted the games but we were expected to pay for them. It felt a bit like being mugged but without getting the chance to run for it or telling the culprit to piss off. Not only that, but getting around our own city to do (admittedly pointless stupid) things like work, was predicted to be a nightmare. Then there were the security problems, the missiles on roofs, anger over Olympic lanes, and sponsors behaving mean and spiteful to pretty much everyone.
Fickle bastard that I am, I’m alright with it all now. If you didn’t enjoy Danny Boyle’s superb opening ceremony you must be a pretty joyless individual. Sure some bits were better than others (the weird music text story for example wasn’t my thing), but generally speaking it was all fun, rousing stuff. Quirky is probably the word. It had Bond, Bean, and the Queen. Surely you must like one of them.
I’m not normally into sport, but the brief glimpses I’ve had of the games (between pointless work and epic train trips) have been great. The joy of the Olympics is that alongside main sports like tennis and football, you might find yourself inexplicably absorbed by something random – women’s archery or women’s pole vaulting or women’s beach volleyball or something. (They were just random examples you understand.) I’m sure these sports are on at other times but because it is the Olympics, it now has some kind of meaning or purpose to it all. If you live in London you are frequently bumping into events and can have a quick cheer. It makes life here about 10% more exciting.
It would be nice if the sponsors chilled out a bit though. Stop patrolling the streets looking for anyone heinously supporting the games with five round objects suspiciously overlapping, and just let people have fun. I’m a bit nervous just talking about them, they might burn down my website.
Transport has been a bit worse but it is so awful usually, most Londoners are coping quite well. The trains have all worked at the weekends which actually makes for an improvement.
I guess we shall see if the Olympics actually does make a profit. The organisers (or possibly the government, I wasn’t paying attention) reckon we might make a profit of £2 billion. Hopefully this will mean the mascots knocking on doors and giving everyone in London a couple of hundred quid each. Or at least a 6 pack. Most of us are easily bribed.
So go Olympics! We’ve paid and sufferend already, so we might as well enjoy it. To celebrate this, here is a funny sketch about the Olympics. It’s funny, quirky, a bit weird, and British. Go Monty Python!