My recent forays into 35mm scanning have been taking me back to one of the major trips of my youth, starting with eight days our family spent in Japan at the end of 1985. I’ve actually written about that trip here already, when I wrote at length about my second visit in 2006. While getting a collection of these older pictures together for yet another photo gallery, I thought about adding some extended passages from my diary of the trip to complement that later account. But the diary entries are a whole different animal, full of the wide-eyed innocence of an almost-adult in a very foreign land, interspersed with accounts of sibling squabbles and teenage concerns. So a few extracts will suffice.
The Open Rights Group Blocked project has found that one in five sites are blocked in Britain by web filters put in place by one or more ISPs in response to government hyperventilation. When I checked on Wednesday, MetaFilter, Freaky Trigger and this very site were all blocked by TalkTalk, which would have killed half of my web reading and writing if we’d switched to them as we’d been considering. It looked almost as if TalkTalk were blocking all blogs by default, which seemed insane. They’re showing as okay now, so maybe they’ve been scrambling to fix things behind the scenes.
Maybe they didn’t like this ancient page of mine about how filters are fundamentally broken.
After cleaning up their dust specks and scratches in Photoshop, I’ve now added a gallery of my earliest black-and-white photos to Detail. Camping trips on the coast, day walks in the bush, ferries out to islands, and our quiet country town: this was my world at age fourteen.
“A massive space battle is a thing of beauty and I will require many more of them in the future”: 19-year-old watches classic blockbusters for the first time (via MeFi).
Stop banking on a carbon future. Written by the former federal leader of the party Tony Abbott now heads in government.
Philosophy is a bunch of empty ideas, says philosopher.
Rubber bands make one inventor ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Several hundred of them from our son’s primary school, no doubt.
After years of meaning to, I’ve finally bought a scanner that can handle slides and film, and have started scanning my 35mm negatives. The earliest are from 1982, when Dad gave me his father’s old Yashica for my fourteenth birthday. Those first rolls were black and white, and developed in his darkroom. We only printed a few frames from each, if that; the rest have gone unseen, except as contact prints of the negatives, since I took them. Seeing them now is an uncanny experience; they’re older than most of the prints in my photo albums, but the images are effectively new to me, not worn down by over-familiarity. There’s my brother at age 11, looking as early-’80s as a Radiators video. There’s my mother the same age my wife is now.
Most of the photos were from camping trips and weekends away, with some of the same sorts of landscape shots I still take a lifetime later. But the clothes, the cars, and all the other aspects of the built environment turn them into time travel. Here’s one that’s particularly Tasmanian, and particularly 1982. Nowadays these signs would be a few laser-printed pages, and not nearly as good.
Blow Fly Sponge $1.50, Leeches & Cream 5¢. Hold the Kangaroo Tits.
The news last night of Rik Mayall’s death hit J. and me harder than most celebrity deaths; we couldn’t stop saying “oh no!” to each other when it came over the radio. I was 15 when The Young Ones first aired in Australia, and it dominated Grade 10 culture like nothing else on TV at the time. Mayall has been comedy royalty to me ever since.
Somewhere up there, he’ll be whacking a gas man over the head with a frying pan again and again for eternity.
UKIP voted no to rules against human trafficking in the last EU Parliament. Expect more of the less as UK influence wanes.
The oldest living things in the world. Huon Pine represent.
Haruki Murakami walks to Kobe: “In a sense our lives are nothing more than a series of stages to help us get used to loneliness.”
1998 is the end of a rich few years of Popular number ones for yours truly, and the beginning of a far less familiar time: for some years that lie ahead I know maybe a dozen of the UK number ones, for others four or five, and for a few of them only one. And that’s just whether I’ve heard them, not whether I like them. I’ll have to find some creative ways to preface every comment there with “I’ve never heard this before”. Here are some on the songs leading up to the edge of that veil of ignorance.
A macro from the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens in May. Mouseover for another.
Yesterday’s post about the European election results drew on some of my comments at MetaFilter, where another commenter responded that “inferring anything about the UK voting pattern in next year’s general election from the EU results is particularly unwise this year in view of the referendum on Scottish independence”. Clearly, if the next general election is for a new United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland then all current bets are off. The fact that I’m contemplating a 2015 general election for the UK as it now exists reflects my own sense of how the Scottish referendum will go, but that’s another story.
If Scotland votes for the status quo, though, I wouldn’t expect any electoral bounce for Cameron. Few on this side of the border would see him as some sort of hero saving the union; it’s Salmond’s battle, and really a much older and bigger battle than even him. As for south of the border, polls seem to show greater English support for Scottish independence than Scottish support, with no sense that a break would affect their daily lives much, so I would expect a No vote to be greeted by England with a combination of bemusement (“I thought you wanted independence!?”) and indifference. Staunch Tories might give Cameron some credit, but they would have been voting Tory anyway.
When predicting how the next general election will go compared to the last one, what matters is which of the two main parties has consolidated support from their side of the left-right spectrum to give them the largest single vote in the majority of individual electorates. The European and council results indicate two revealing things: the only consolidation of voters to the right of the Tories is happening in UKIP’s favour, not the Tories’, and the consolidation to the left of the Tories is happening in Labour’s favour.
The media and Twitter are full of talk today of UKIP earthquakes and the end being nigh for the major parties, but I’m actually encouraged by the European election voting figures for the UK. Leaving aside the lamentable 34% turnout, look at the changes in vote share from 2009—the second column—in these results at the BBC:
Over half of UKIP’s gain in voting share has come from the BNP, the English Democrats, the Christian People’s Alliance and NO2EU, not from the major parties; those four parties between them lost 8.29% of the total share. The remaining 2.7% will have come from the Tories, most likely. UKIP have consolidated the angry xenophobic vote that was always there, but which previously was distributed among UKIP, the Tories and several fringe right-wing/Euroskeptic parties.