Tuesday 1 September 2015

London's Sailortown in the 18th Century

I fulfilled an ambition at the weekend; to run down The Cut to Limehouse Basin, head on to Narrow Street via Ropemaker Fields, and then on round the Isle of Dogs, using as much of the Thames Path as possible. I was glad to have done it on Monday as the Greenwich Tall Ships hooted their welcome on reaching Island Gardens, and I paused to enjoy the atmosphere. As luck would have it, the river theme continues in to September with the Totally Thames festival and its 150 events over the coming month.
As the festival launched, I was lucky enough to catch Derek Morris at the Guildhall Library today, and listened avidly as he trounced history academics from the past couple hundred years, and wrote off the library's collection of books about the East End. As an opener, it certainly got my attention. He has just completed his own history, with his book 'London's Sailortown 1600–1800, A Social History of Shadwell and Ratcliff, an Early-Modern London Riverside Suburb' (2014) by Derek Morris and Ken Cozens. 

Friday 28 August 2015

The Murky Depths of the #DeepWeb

No kittens on the deep web
Inevitably the recent hacking of the Ashley Madison website has caused a vast avalanche of commentary, covering everything from users’ morality to company security. I maintain that although the fallout on people’s personal lives from the data dump is one thing, the hackers’ employment of the so-called ‘dark web’ to communicate their criminal acts needs further exploration. What do most people know about the dark web, why does it remain such a taboo, and what are the issues facing the authorities?

Monday 27 July 2015

Frames in Focus: #Sansovino Frames at the National Gallery

Thanks largely to a rediscovery of a love of free form dancing enhanced by fermented sugar beverages, art and writing has been rather neglected over the past few weeks. Sometimes you need to examine what is beyond the immediately visible; to step outside the frame, if you like. Which is what I've been doing so it was with a sense of familiar relief that on a lunchtime stroll I headed to the National Gallery to find whatever took my fancy. 

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Coral: Science, Mythology, Metamorphoses

 A Little Girl with a Basket of Cherries
© National Gallery
I’m not sure if two makes a series yet but despite holidays and work I’ve managed another Renaissance Utterances podcast. The technology still posed challenges but it has definitely been a quicker process than the first one was. The theme for this month, as promised, is coral, which has been wonderful to research. Luckily I knew exactly which pieces of art I was going to talk about, and I had already been to the featured exhibition. All I had to do on holiday was write the script.

Which is why on Saturday, three weeks after returning from my Adriatic travels, I found myself in the peace of the Warburg library up to my eyes in books. I was surrounded by volumes exploring the evil eye, gem lore, history of science and natural philosophy, and Italian coral fishing.