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Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Where you going to sleep tonight?

Weird to think that a year ago I was engaged in the most epic bicycle ride of my life: London Edinburgh London. My soundtrack to that ride was Amy McDonald, with this song. It was largely in my head, but occasionally belted out on a long empty road when I needed to pick my spirits up.  There is something adventurous and exciting in this song that brought it to mind while I was on this most adventurous of rides.

The best part of having a soundtrack in your head is that you can mash it up with other songs. Strangely, I mashed up the chorus of This is the Life with the chorus of the Cranberries song Zombie.  It somehow worked.

So what are my long term reflections on London-Edinburgh-London?  I remember in the immediate aftermath of the ride, discussing with friends that I had no desire to do it again. I remember saying that it was a brilliant ride that was spoiled by the time-limit which added constant pressure to keep pushing on, night and day. There were large sections of the ride where the natural beauty of the country couldn’t be appreciated because we were riding through it at night. And there was the physical pain obviously in various parts of the body.  Even then, I had a notion in the back of my mind that I could change my mind. A year later, only the romantic memories have stuck: I know the ride had ups and downs but I am 100% certain I will do the ride again, if possible.

Here is an overview of the route, from my live tracker:
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Stats:
1,441 km
11,128 metres of climbing
73.5 hours of cycling
114 hours elapsed time

Posted by bigblue on 31/07/2018 at 03:49 PM
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Sunday, 29 July 2018
Wildfire

I love Gideon Conn, and have seen him perform live a few times. With recent news of wildfires raging across Europe as well as in California this song came to mind. Gideon is often a very ‘literal’ artist: the songs often appear to be exactly as described on the tin.  Witness for example: The Man Who Drives Around Selling Fish, and Pylons and Wires.  On the other hand, Wildfire is not so literal. Released in 2007 (at the time of the global financial economic crash), it examines the role of money and debt and it’s impact on society and individuals. The video above provides a ‘nostalgic’ look-back at a middle-class family in a family crisis (presumably financial), with Conn as some kind of observer and participant. One wonders what the relationship is between him and the family. I’m not sure whether nostalgic is the correct word here, due to the unease that Conn generates in the song and that is captured so well in the video.

Gideon Conn’s art and music is available on his website, and you can follow him on Facebook.

Posted by bigblue on 29/07/2018 at 09:11 AM
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Thursday, 12 April 2018
Francisco Alomar

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This is the statue in the town of Sineu of Majorcan cyclist Francisco Alomar, who was killed by a driver on 9th August 1955.

I found a brief description of the statue here which gives some background about Alomar.

Posted by bigblue on 12/04/2018 at 08:43 PM
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Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Cap de Formentor

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The peninsula on the left is Cap de Formentor, on the Northern coast of Majorca. The town in the foreground on the bay is Port de Polença. Majorca is one of the Balearic Islands of Spain.

Posted by bigblue on 13/03/2018 at 03:43 PM
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Thursday, 15 February 2018
Kamel’s halaal butchery

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An interesting piece, in which the graffiti tags seem to be intentionally incorporated into the design of Kamel’s delivery vehicle.

Posted by bigblue on 15/02/2018 at 06:57 AM
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Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Versailles

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During 2017 I visited Versailles twice. The first time was on my Easter ride from home to Paris and back, and the second was on 1st November when I rode from Nanterre to the Forest of the King Marly. This photo was taken on the second visit.

Posted by bigblue on 10/01/2018 at 09:48 PM
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Thursday, 07 December 2017
Oxford Street

This an interesting short documentary on the history and future of Oxford Street, London. I think it illustrates the stupidity of many city streets where we dedicate 30% of space to 60% of road users. It also highlights the problem of sending vast numbers of busses (near-empty at most times) down a busy shopping street.

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2017 at 03:15 PM
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Thursday, 23 November 2017
Hip-hopspital

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I’m at the East Surrey hospital, maternity wing. It’s a hipster!

Posted by bigblue on 23/11/2017 at 06:22 PM
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