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Sunday, 13 May 2007
Evolution of Art

To choose order over disorder, or disorder over order, is to accept a trip composed of both the creative and destructive. But to choose the creative over the destructive is an all creative trip composed of both order and disorder.

From: Principia Discordia

Local Oxted artist Avril Sharp is to have an Open Studio at her home from 7 to 17 June 2007. This is part of the Surrey Artists Open Studios initiative.

Her neighbours are already familiar with some of the artist’s recent post-modern work. The photo sequence below shows the evolution of Avril’s art in three phases.  Phases 1 and 2 have already featured on this blog.

Phase 1: Colonisation
Before Picture

Here the artist, possibly inspired by Tracy Emin’s beach hut has produced a garden shed. The freshly unvarnished shed represents the order of the suburban environment. The artist has cleverly subverted this meaning by removing her garden fence and placing the shed beyond her garden boundary.

Phase 2: Destruction
After Picture

In the next phase of her project, Avril has further cocked a snoop at middle-class sensibilities by destroying the trees and shrubs along her garden boundary. This phase follows a long established notion in post-modern art of the destruction of a work being as aesthetically important as its creation. In this case the artist achieves the aesthetic effect without destroying the “colonial shed”.

Phase 3: Disorder

In her final act of genius the artist removes the shed to the other side of the garden. The coloniser is repatriated. To offset this sense of restored order the artist creates a sense of dis-ease and havoc by scattering stones and piles of bricks. There are large patches of bare ground in her lawn. In a touch of genius the artist has started rebuilding the fence which she removed. However she has repositioned it so that it forms part of an incomplete arc. Like one of Escher’s drawings one cannot see how the fence could be completed along the boundary line without defying mathematical laws. 

Visitors to one of the artist’s open days next month may not see the final artwork: the artist has been working slowly on the project over the past six months and there is no sign that she sees any urgency in bringing it to an early conclusion. Her neighbours are most interested in seeing a conclusion to this project, and wonder in trepidation whether the next phase will begin a trajectory towards reconcilliation or chaos.

Phase 4: Enclosure (updated 5 July 2007)

The artist seems to have attempted to bring the artwork to a rapid closure by removing the rubble and planting a row of shrubs along the line where the council refused permission for her to erect a wooden fence. This phase I call “enclosure” because she has enclosed a good metre or two of the service strip/communal land into her own garden by planting the shrubs to form a hedge well beyond the boundaries of her land.

Some of her neighbours feel this final stage was enacted a bit too rapidly: mediation between the Sharps and their neighbours, in an attempt to resolve the impasse, commences next week.  One of their neighbours has now accused them of

acting in bad faith as they are “establishing facts on the ground” with regard to the fence/shrubs/hedge while mediation is yet to take place.

Posted by bigblue on 13/05/2007 at 06:02 PM
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Saturday, 12 May 2007
Viva the organic bees


This is the honey shelf at Fanny’s Farm Store with an array of local (and foreign) honey. My tip is to eat local honey (to counter the effects of hayfever), which is produced from their 11 hives.

Recently in the news was Colony Colapse Syndrome or CCD which is the sudden death of whole colonies of bees on a massive scale. It started in America and is now occuring in Europe:

Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to disappear, man would follow only a few years later.

That hypothesis could soon be put to the test, as a mysterious condition that has wiped half of the honey bee population the United States over the last 35 years appears to be repeating itself in Europe.

Experts are at a loss to explain the fall in honey bee populations in America, with fears of that a new disease, the effects of pollution or the increased use of pesticides could be to blame for “colony collapse disorder”. From 1971 to 2006 approximately one half of the US honey bee colonies have vanished.

(One of the factors that has been reported as contributing to the stress of the bees are mobile phone masts.  There’s lots of information about this at the Mast Sanity website).

It seems that not all experts were consulted.  GroovyGreen reports that organic beekeepers have not been experiencing these problems.

With all the frightening news over bee losses throughout the world, it appears that one tiny minor piece of information was overlooked: the losses are occurring in colonies besieged with chemicals and artificial additives. Organic bees are fairing quite nicely, thank you. From the article,

“‘I’m on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list,’ said Sharon Labchuck. ‘The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.’”

Full report at Information Liberation.

Posted by bigblue on 12/05/2007 at 10:27 AM
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Friday, 11 May 2007
ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife

Italian Food Solutions

What is it with the S word? Tesco offers us Italian food solutions (see above). If this is the solution, what’s the problem? It’s probably that people are too lazy to cook, or they can’t. Italian food is renowned for it’s simple ingredients and style, so god help us if there’s an actual problem. Still whatever’s next: pet food solutions, toiletry solutions, or tea and coffee solutions?

Talking of food, the vegetarian option in the work canteen today was ratatouille quesadilla.  Think about it: ratatouille (French veggie stew) and quesadilla (Mexican cheese tortilla). When I queried this with the Portugese guy who works in the canteen, he laughed and said “Yeah, fusion-food”.  I suppose at its heart all traditional English food is fusion food: fish & chips, chicken tikka, ...

Anyhow, to get back to Tesco. Isn’t it ironic that you can buy Tescopoly, the scathing critique of the monopoly supermarket chain (see review) from Tesco’s online supermarket at a 20% discount (see here).

Posted by bigblue on 11/05/2007 at 11:37 PM
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Wednesday, 09 May 2007
One minute with meaning

One-minute with meaning

The following arrived in bigblue’s email box yesterday from Anna Walker of Friends of the Earth

Tell Friends of the Earth a story and you could win £100 voucher for its Shop

What makes you green? What is your proudest carbon-saving achievement? Tell Friends of the Earth in 300 words or less for your chance to win.  The competition closes on May 31st. For more details see: here

Friends of the Earth one-minute green film competition in association with Filminute

We are inviting amateur and professional filmmakers, animators and designers to submit their one-minute green films by 20th August. In September, the public will vote for the People’s Choice Green Film and our panel of experts including Oscar-winning David Puttnam and Film Producer Andrew MacDonald will review and award Best Green Film from a short list of 25 films. All films will be hosted on Friends of the Earth’s You Tube channel Early entries will qualify for summer showcases and screenings. A range of fantastic prizes include professional editing software and free post-production. More information at:  greenfilm or YouTube.

Also in the news yesterday - Channel 4 was accused of falsifying data in their documentary on climate change.

Posted by bigblue on 09/05/2007 at 08:04 AM
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Tuesday, 08 May 2007


Blackboys is a village in East Sussex. I wrote some time ago about the pub called Black Boy in Sevenoaks.  It seems there was a historical link between Sevenoaks and slavery.

Villagenet (and Wikipedia) describe Blackboys as

A small village which lies inland from the South Downs and near to the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex in Southern England . It lies on the Heathfield to Lewes main road. There are a few explanations to the derivation of the name. One that it came from the colour of the Charcoal burners when they emerged from the woods, but the more likely explanation is that the name means Black Wood, from the soot deposited in the woods by the charcoal.

I can’t find any evidence to contradict this explanation, but am skeptical. A more likely explanation would be one that links the village to an historical slave or slaves.  For example Brighton, which is also in East Sussex and not a million miles away, has a documented link to slavery.

Posted by bigblue on 08/05/2007 at 10:38 AM
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Monday, 07 May 2007
No Trespassing

no trespassing

As the advert goes: never underestimate the importance of local knowledge.  The sign on the right of this gate reads

No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again.

In some parts of the world this might not be a joke.

Posted by bigblue on 07/05/2007 at 11:18 PM
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Sunday, 06 May 2007


A thurlestone is a pierced stone. But what caused it: natural erosion or a human fashioning a tool? If someone drilled this hole to make a fishing weight they didn’t complete the job because the hole doesn’t pass through the stone.

Posted by bigblue on 06/05/2007 at 10:38 PM
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Saturday, 05 May 2007
Traffic delays

traffic police

Sometimes the best intentioned people cause long delays. Either they park on the hard shoulder of the road, making a spectacle of themselves, or they slow down to partake in the national past-time of rubber-knecking when driving past anyone who has stopped on the hard shoulder.

On a completely different subject, did you see that some men in real life have developed “super powers” after being bitten by a spider?  I thought it was bad enough when scientists discovered kryptonite last month ...

Posted by bigblue on 05/05/2007 at 08:44 PM
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