Saturday, December 24, 2011

New film: 'In Motion'


With over 200 exits and used by millions of people daily, Tokyo's Shinjuku station is the world's busiest train station. It serves as the rapidly beating heart of the city's commercial districts, and is the main hub through which commuters pour in from across the Kanto plain and beyond every day. This makes for quite a sense of bustle to the passing observer. 

'In Motion' (the film viewable above), which aims to capture a slight flavour of that sense of rush, busy-ness and movement that characterises much of the capital, is the second in a planned trilogy of short films about Japan. The first in this trilogy is 'Makes The World Go Round' (issued in 2010 and now with over 2,000 views on YouTube), with a final film due at some point in 2012 and based on footage taken at Tokyo's Shibuya Crossing.

Shot with a Flip UltraHD pocket camera in late 2010, much of this film centres around a sequence captured by placing the camera on the floor of a station walkway. This had the effect of representing the rhythm of hundreds of shoes as people passed by the eye of the lens. The remainder of the film was assembled from other footage shot in the same station. 'In Motion' was largely produced in iMovie HD, with opening credits put together with PowerPoint 2010 (in the absence of Flash).

The film also makes use of a Creative Commons-licenced song as its soundtrack. The track is called 'Machines and Muscles', an appropriate title for the main factors of motion in the film, and is by a psychedelic drone band from Chicago called Cave. An instrumental number originally featured on the flip side of the 7" single 'Butthash', the song has a certain 'Baba O'Reilly' feel to it which contributes well to the groove of the footage.

Feel free to check out the new commenting system on this blog by dropping by with a word or two about the film.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Save the Internet


There is a bill currently being discussed in the US Congress right now that could fundamentally cripple the Internet as we know it, with significant implications for freedom of speech, innovation and internet integrity.

Known as the 'Protect IP Act', this bill is described by Congress as a 'bill to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.' What this would mean in practice is that the US government would have a very powerful tool in its armory for shutting down websites that were accused of  allowing user-generated content that infringed copyright law. In other words, the US government would be able to shut down Facebook, Twitter or YouTube if 'pirated content' was discovered hosted by any of these sites. As so much of our lives are now either lived online or affected by unseen transactions that happen in the online world, the passing of this bill could potentially become the point at which the internet revolution is stopped in its tracks.

It also has a counterpart bill being discussed in the House of Representatives, known as SOPA (or 'Stop Online Piracy Act'). Supporters which line up behind the bill include the likes of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Microsoft. On the other side, organisations against the bill include the likes of Google, Yahoo! and Human Rights Watch. 

Watch the video above for the simple message about this bill. Then (if you are American), visit FightForTheFuture.org and register your opposition. 

For a more detailed and far longer piece that gives a great insight into the whole thing, visit this article from O'Reilly Radar.

Don't let this thing get passed.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Portraits from a Zombie Parade


Brighton held its annual Zombie Walk today, from Victoria Gardens near the Pavilion, through town, and on to Marine Parade. Now in its fifth year and better know as Beach Of The Dead, the parade is one of many that go on around the world. 

I didn't end up following the parade, but stayed in one place to get my pictures. It was a sunny day, which resulted in some good lighting on the subjects, and I was able to grab a few fine portraits before I made my way back home.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Moments from a Catalan summer


It was a three-year wait, and ultimately a short city break. But this summer, my wife and I finally managed to get what we could call our honeymoon. We had a long weekend in Barcelona - her first visit, my second - and it was well worth the wait. 

Day One was a Gaudi day, with visits to Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and La Pedrera. I'd been outside the remarkable building that serves as a cathedral before, but this was my first time inside. It was fascinating to gain an understanding of how much Gaudi was inspired by nature and how that informed his work. This was demonstrated even further with the park, where the architecture was fused with the natural environment rather than just inspired by it. The roof of La Pedrera was unlike anything I'd seen before, and was a most striking example of what can be done with a building when the architect's imagination is the only limit.

Day Two took in the ocean and the hill that looks over the city. We started off with the wonders of La Boqueria, Europe's largest food market, then strolled down La Rambla to the sea, taking in an exhibition on Latin peoples at the Museu Marítim, the sights of the marina, then a cable car ride up to Montjuïc. The whole trip ended up being heavily loaded with with museums and galleries - up on the hill, we took in another two. These were Fundació Joan Miró  (an artist whom I was intrigued to learn had spent some time in Japan and been greatly influenced by his time there) and Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, a seriously impressive building housing 2,000 years of Catalan art from Roman times to 20th Century photography. The day ended with a fountain show set to lights and music, in the grounds of the museum, which amusingly was also flanked by a Spanish bikers convention.

Day Three saw a longstanding ambition of my wife's realised - a visit to the Picasso Museum. With that one under the belt, we took in the neighbouring Chocolate Museum, where I learned of the role that the cocoa bean has had in the Spanish Empire. On the way out, we were rather shocked to be standing around in the street an witness a police altercation. Two cops appeared from nowhere on bikes, one started shouting at a man with no shirt on, then chased after him and knocked him to the floor - with the motorbike he was riding! The man was still on the floor when things began to flare up with other onlookers, and we decided to slink away.

The photo gallery above contains images from some of the highlights of the trip, plus a few other sights not mentioned above. Really a fantastic city, I could easily go back again and again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Skies


I left work last night as the sun was setting over Brighton. There were some fantastic colours in the sky.


I'd spent the day locked into a screen, but the explosion of subtle variation was the treat at the end of it all.


The colours and tones reminded me of watercolours, as if somebody had been sky painting.


 An old adage from photography is that the best camera is the one you have with you. These were all shot with my iPhone.


In some places, the light was more subtle...


...and in others, more dramatic.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

All Things in Moderation

Gilly Salmon's 5 Stage Model for e-Moderation
I've just completed Week One of a new course I'm taking in E-moderating (kind of like teaching online, but with the differences that would come from all being online rather than in a physical classroom). The course is based on Gilly Salmon's 5 Stage Model for running an online course, as depicted in the diagram on the left, which demonstates the balance needed between teaching and technical skills in E-moderation.

The timing on this course is pretty tight. I began it from a hotel room in Sydney and will complete it during the first full week of the MA I'm about to start. Despite that, it's been a very positive first week and I'm looking forward to the next one. Every week is summarised by the participants in a reflection posted in the course forum. My reflections on Week One are below.

***

Before I respond with my particular reflections, I'd just like to mention that Reflective Learning Journals were a major feature of the course I taught on prior to this new job. It was a one term course in core IT skills to prepare non-native speakers of English for life at a British university. Most of them seemed to find the activity to be very effective for consolidating what they had learned and for gaining a useful perspective on their own learning process. It’s good to be able to try such a feature out from the other side (so to speak).

For me, I've found that having an active and experienced moderator can make all the difference in terms of teaching the core principles of how to run an online course plus the encouragement offered to keep going. Ken has been doing a marvellous job here.

I'd come across Gilly Salmon's model before, as part of my research for a qualification I completed last year. For the assignment, I looked at blended learning and designed a course based around it. This model was a vital part of the course design, so it has been really useful to put that theory into practice by taking a course run on the same model.

Although I’ve spent a lot of my teaching life in face-to-face learning contexts with people from many different countries, it’s the first time that I’ve been in one where they are all still actually in those countries. This means that issues such as time zone differences have to be factored in to the momentum of the course, as do other participation constraints (people doing a course such as this are likely  to have pretty busy full lives too). However, it does make for a fascinating learning experience.

Major issues that arose from the first week include time and timing. To get the most out of it, it is really worth putting aside the time to give, take and interact with the other participants. Although we all have those busy lives, taking that time is likely to mean getting the most out of it. This can often be challenging, but if done means getting more out of it.

The second issue for me relates to levels of interaction. I also run my own blog and have found that there is always much more activity there when I engage with other people elsewhere on the Web (particularly on their own sites) than when I simply put something of my own out there. The same applies to this course – while it is necessary to post my own messages in the forum, my participation comes alive more when I interact with other people. This can be harder and take more time, but is ultimately more fruitful than just using the forum as a ‘broadcast mechanism’.

I plan to apply the insights gained above by continuing to pay close attention to the moderator’s techniques (including when he takes off the stabilisers to step back from the coaxing), look forward to what I can learn from the Week Two sections on managing timing, and try to continue both posting and interacting with others on their postings.

(PS Managed to get the writing down a point on the Fog Index, but still on 13.45 – gonna have to work on getting that one down!)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Free music: Shelf Life - 'Best Before End'


This is the second of two free albums offered on this blog as part of the promotion of my recently launched new website. As with the Control K album, feel free to download the tracks, pass them around, remix them or whatever, with two simple conditions:
  1. Give an Attribution if you choose to republish (in whole or in part). The simplest one is to Shelf Life. For enhanced attribution, you can add songwriter credits ('Pates/Cheryo'). A linkback would also be appreciated (currently to www.myspace.com/shelflifetokyo)
  2. If you want to use the tracks commercially, please come back and ask.
'Best Before End' was written, recorded and released over a 12-18 month period, with the collection finally being issued in December 2007. The band is a four-piece, with me on vocals, Cheryo on guitars (and much more), his brother Chisato on drums, and Jun on bass. The sound is traditional guitar rock - think Beatles, think Clash, think Who, etc - with the occasional Japanese twist. The album was conceived as a concept album, intended to be listened to in one sitting, and covered themes like the Iraq War, the city of Tokyo and global warming. 

It was first made available on CD, then given an iTunes digital release, and now released for free under a Creative Commons license. Although you can download the tracks for free, if you wish to buy them from iTunes, that's still possible and all proceeds go towards the recording of the next album.

We have begun the slow task of writing the next album, made that much harder because I no longer live in Tokyo. Once the writing has been completed, the intention is to record the album. This will be a big challenge as we'll be trying to do it with no budget, significant language challenges and again not being in the same physical space. Whether Shelf Life makes it to album number two remains to be seen, but the intention is definitely there!

Go to the Shelf Life page at PatesOnline to find out more about the band.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Miniature ski resort



A Tiny Day in the Jackson Hole Backcountry from Tristan Greszko on Vimeo.

Been meaning to put this one up for ages. 

This weekend in the UK is the August Bank Holiday weekend, often thought of here as the end of summer. The seasons are shifting, parts of Britain are bracing themselves for another wet weekend (although it's beautifully sunny here in Brighton, at the time of writing), the US East Coast is getting ready for another huge storm - winter's going to start creeping around again soon.

In preparation, the above video will give you a taste of the good side of winter. All in miniature too. I do love tilt-shifted and time-lapsed video!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Free music: Control K - 'The Front Line (Redux)'


As a part of the promotion for my recently launched new website, I am highlighting different features on this blog that are available in more detail over there. This post contains free downloads and an album player for the 2005 release of 'The Front Line (Redux)' - my most recent collection of work issued as Control K.

The album itself was originally available on CafePress.com as a press-on-demand order and sold mildly well (double figures at least). CafePress seem to have now removed the original files and thus the collection is as out-of-print as you can get in the press-on-demand age! Given my enthusiasm for Creative Commons, I've since taken the decision to issue the album online for free.

Feel free to download the tracks, comment on them, pass them around to others, and remix them if you want - just give me give an Attribution as Control K (preferably linked to www.controlk.co.uk if published) if you do decide to use them. Oh yes, and if you want to use them commercially, please come back to me and ask before doing so.

Yes, there are plans for future Control K releases, but there's also a massive backlog of other projects and works to get through first! 

Go to the Control K page at PatesOnline to find out more...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

'Globalism - a declaration of intent' (or 'New website launched')

(Broad generalisation alert) Anyone who's spent any amount of time interacting with others online is likely to have come up with a pseudonym that might allow them perhaps to express themselves a little more freely than if posting or commenting under their own name. That pseudonym sometimes even comes with its own avatar, so that an image is also associated with the name used. Like many others, I have done the same thing and often tend to leave my own digital trails under the guise of globalism.

This has not stopped at the odd comment on someone else's blog or forum, but has also become an identity that I have nurtured to try and encapsulate a few of my ideas and my outlook on life. It has infused, for example, the pictures I take (Globalism Pictures) and the films I make or issue (Globalism Films). 

Having also crafted a website to act as a portal to me online, it seemed logical to include a little more about globalism there too, to act as some kind of an explanation. The first half of that text can be found below. For the rest of it, please visit the recently launched http://www.patesonline.net and dig around there. Feel free to come back here and post your comments when you're done too.

***

Unlike globalisation, the economic process that views the planet as one giant market to be dominated and exploited, globalism (as defined here) can offer an alternative and positive outlook on worldwide human culture as a single entity.



Globalism is connected. The internet enables the peoples, cultures, networks and systems of the world to connect with each other like never before in human history. It provokes endless opportunity for the exchange of ideas, solving of problems and forging of new bonds. Furthermore, it acts as a repository for all human knowledge, a realisation of H.G. Wells' vision of a world brain. While this undoubtedly brings its own set of troubles, our interconnectivity offers an unprecedented platform for resolving problems. Globalism exists because the internet exists.  

Globalism is diverse. Our world is the sum of its parts - a bewilderingly vast collection of peoples, cultures, races, faces, customs, languages, ideas and beliefs. Globalism openly embraces that diversity, recognises that different approaches can have equal validity to cherished wisdoms, and believes that there is no 'us and them', only an 'us'. Furthermore, it understands that as our fragile planet comes under increasingly greater threat from ourselves, it becomes ever more important to act in harmony with nature rather than against it. This helps to protect the world's natural diversity and shows we realise how connected we are with our environment.

Globalism is peaceful. Throughout human history, violence has been the dominant response for the resolution of conflict. Conflict itself is a natural response to an absence of harmony and can sometimes be necessary, yet violence can never provide a sustainable solution and is only ever likely to beget more violence. Globalism advocates for peaceful solutions to problems, embraces principles of non-violence and encourages the spread of these ideals. The road to peace is longer and harder than the road to war, but it is ultimately more fruitful for all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A couple of recent outings...

August has been a pretty funny month so far. I taught my last classes to ESL students, roughly 15 years on from my first ones. I turned 40, with the joy of a surprise party thrown in to the mix. I started a new job today, at the same company that I worked for before but in a different part of it (and now as IT Trainer rather than IT Teacher). Things are going to rapidly run away with themselves before I have a chance to catch up with them.

With that in mind, I'm hoping to be able to get a few short bursts of blog post in over the remainder of month. Next month it's going to get even busier again - I'll be starting an MA at Sussex University too (part time) - so I'll hopefully be able to fit a few of the things I've been meaning to blog about in that time.

Had a visit from my mother too. What do you do when your Mum comes to town, and that town is Brighton? Why take her along to Pride, of course! We did the same thing when my wife's Mum was over a couple of years ago, and that seemed to be a hit.


Once all that was over and there was a day of sunshine to contend with too, we took a short walk over the South Downs. Beautiful weather and great for clearing the head.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

'10 things...you can do with a marble'

The original plan, when this feature was launched, was for a guest post a month. But then the summer took over, I got distracted by a number of changes and things I've been trying to finish off for aeons, and blogging fell a little by the wayside. Having made such great efforts earlier on this year at keeping this thing running and upping the ante over previous years...well, you know how it goes.

Anyway, despite my own lackadaisical efforts of the last month or two, I'm proud to announce Guest Post No. Two, and what a huge heap of fun it is too! It's also taken me a while to get this posted as I simply had to watch all the treats that have been sent my way for the post. Having done so, I'd suggest you either make a drink and give yourself half an hour for the fun and games below or come back to them in bursts - each video is a joy in their own right and is the largest number of videos included in one post here.

I'll leave Sarah to introduce herself, but I will add to her introduction that there is so much about blogging that I've learned from her. There's a lot more other stuff I've learned from her too as a colleague and co-teacher on the same course, but blogging's what we're on about here.

So a big thanks to Sarah, and enjoy what you find here!

***

Now, first off, thank you Dom, for inviting me over to your swanky new site, and apologies for the massive fail that was this post happening in July! *ahem*

I’m Sarah, I teach IT (that sounds like 'I know Kung Fu' from The Matrix heh heh) and Dom is both friendly neighbour and supportive colleague …. win win for me.

I have a nerdy/stitching blog called Pings and Needles (I don’t think anyone gets the Pings pun, ho hum) so please come and visit me over there. I’m currently working on a quilt for a competition at that temple to cryptography Bletchley Park ! …

I proudly present my personal Top 10 Rube Goldberg clips. The general idea behind a Rube Goldberg (or Pythagoras Switch) is to have maximum complexity or stages to accomplish a simple task.

Some of these are epic, some are just put together in people’s homes … go get yourself a cup/glass/yard of refreshment and settle in for some genuinely brilliant stuff.

1. 2D Photography - Watch and Gasp. The detail, oh the detail.


2. Baynham & Tyers - edited, but I love the way it travels through a whole house!


3. Honda - TV ad - just beautiful


4. Ramen noodles! The Japanese presenter is soooo dramatic!


5. Falling Water Cocktail - watch for the tape measure - genius!


6. 'Exercise in Fugality' - George Rhoads - Kinetic Sculpture - strictly speaking this isn’t a Rube Goldberg, but it sounds good and I like it.


7. Creme Egg Squasher


8. Toy Factory - lovin all the nailbiting concentration


9. Random selection of Japanese runs


10. OK Go - music video - you’ve probably seen this already, but it’s worth every second. Live a little - go full screen!


That’s my 10 … I hope you enjoyed a little time wasting - nothing like the amount of time these chaps put into the machines though. I feel happy with that thought.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Joining the copyright dots...


I've been trying unsuccessfully today and yesterday to upload the above video to YouTube. It's of a 2007 TED Talk by Lawrence Lessig, about the effect of copyright law on creativity. I like it for a few reasons, namely that I've learned a lot about copyright and free culture from Lessig (co-founder of Creative Commons), plus as a teacher of presentation skills, I really like how he presents - both in the way he speaks and in his use of PowerPoint.

One of the things that makes TED so widely known is that they allow people to download their content (in this case videos of their talks) and re-'publish' them. They do this under the Creative Commons licences partly devised by Lessig. I do this with some of their works through my YouTube channel. This benefits both TED and myself - I get people who are interested in some of the same talks to visit my channel and they get yet more free marketing of what they do from the visitors that I bring in. 

The TED Talks I have uploaded to my channel so far have had a total of 46,525 views (as of today), of which I can guarantee that I have not made a penny. Under the terms of the CC licence, I am not entitled to make any derivative works - such as producing an edited version - therefore any advertising that is part of the original file I download remains in the copy I upload.

The talk is 19:08 minutes, and my YouTube channel previously didn't permit me to upload files of more than 15 minutes. However, I've recently noticed the below sign on the upload page, so figured it was about time to give it a try:


I figured too that if it was up on the TED channel, then it was possible for me to do the same. This is with the knowledge that YouTube themselves have recently embraced CC licences and allow users to make their videos available for download under an Attribution licence.

Anyway, as soon as the file had finally been successfully uploaded, I got two emails from YouTube, one of which is reproduced below:


WMG I'm pretty sure is Warner Music Group, the world's third largest music company. The other email mentioned UMG, which I'm guessing will be Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company. Oh dear, I thought, I'm usually meticulously careful not to violate copyright laws, no matter how much I agree or disagree with the full extent of them. One of my key reasons for using CC is that I can legally build on others work and allow people to do the same with mine, also within the law. One of the potential problems of these licences however, is that the reuser has to rely on the original producer having cleared all content in order for them to be able to do so under the terms of the licence.

The video (which you can view above, as embedded from the original TED channel) contains extracts from three copyrighted works, which are used to demonstrate examples of remix culture and certainly arguable as an example of 'fair use' (a US-only legal right). These songs are Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive', Lionel Ritchie & Diana Ross's 'Endless Love' and a track that I think comes from The Muppets originally but which has been endlessly parodied elsewhere. 

That I received these emails so promptly after a successful upload suggested to me that Google (as the owners of YouTube) have extremely powerful algorithms and processing power to be able to pre-screen a file for copyright violations prior to it 'going live' (no great surprise there - of course Google have tech with that kind of capability). It also suggests that they have an agreement with a broad coalition of copyright holders that would allow them to be able to match the sound waves of a copyright-protected audio file uploaded by a user against a database of protected audio (this is pure and wild speculation of my part, as my guess for how it would happen technically). My understanding was that under the user's terms, suspicion of a copyright violation should be flagged up by the supposed copyright holder first rather than preventing it being uploaded at all. 

Below are a couple of things that YouTube says about copyright and violation of it, from their FAQs:
YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content. We comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable copyright laws and promptly remove content when properly notified.

Repeat infringers' videos are removed and their accounts are terminated and permanently blocked from using YouTube. Users with suspended or terminated accounts are prohibited from creating new accounts or accessing YouTube's community features.
...
We provide content owners with the ability to control the use of their content on YouTube. Because content owners have the right to change their mind about how their content is displayed on our site, it's possible that content that was once allowed is subsequently blocked. Also, it is possible that multiple parties hold rights to a different components (e.g. audio, video) of a copyrighted work. While one owner may allow the use of their material on YouTube, another may decide to disallow use.
After scratching my head at the emails, bemused at how easy it seems to be to inadvertently break the law these days (plus going to Google to find out who WMG and UMG were), I went back to the file upload page to see the following:


Hooray I thought, it looks like it's gone up at last. A quick check of my video dashboard however, showed this:


The audio track had been disabled and it was described as 'blocked in some countries'. Hmm.

I then went to the URL for the video itself, which YouTube had given me, and found this:


If you're still with me thus far, you'll remember that YouTube had proudly told me that I was entitled to upload files of longer than 15 minutes. More than 15 but less than 20? I doubt it. A bit of a disconnect with what they talk about in terms of copyright violation though.

I'll draw no particular conclusions at the end of this post but have opted to share this experience as I feel it raises a number of curious questions. 

I'll leave it up to you, dear readers, to see what questions it raises for you, if any...

Monday, June 27, 2011

10 things...from Brighton in May

The following images or digital artefacts are ten things that I experienced or took part in in my home town last month.


May is the beginning of festival season in Brighton, a veritable events banquet that runs almost to the end of the year, but particularly throughout the summer. The big beast that kicks things off is the Brighton Festival and its little brother, the Brighton Festival Fringe. As previously mentioned, Aung San Suu Kyi was the (in absentia) guest director which meant that her image was plastered across the city throughout May. The picture above is from a mural on a wall in Vine Street - a really outstanding piece of work.


The Brighton Festival always kicks off with the Children's Parade, organised by local arts organisation Same Sky. I'd never managed to focus on it enough to get a decent photographic record in the past, but this year managed to plant myself on the seafront, DSLR in hand and got some pretty nice shots. The parade goes through the town and involves children (and their parents) from schools across the city and surrounding areas. A really fun way to kick things off.


I went to a talk organised by IDS (where I was once singer in the house band) on 'Can the Media Save the World?', held at the Friends Meeting House. The speakers were good and the audience were eager and attentive, almost disappointed that there wasn't more time to widen the debate. 

Some of the points raised included:
  • media is often a reflection of what's out there rather than an enabler of change
  • it can be very effective in bearing witness or for exposing wrongdoing
  • media has often played a vital role in creating public awareness of global poverty 
  • TV should try and engage audiences on important issues through other genres, rather than just news or documentaries
  • international or development-related content tends to be on niche channels - media providers therefore neglect the wider population
  • the blogosphere can magnify the impact of an issue
  • CSR (corporate social responsibility) exists and is widely practiced, why not MSR (media social responsibility)?

  video

Probably the most impressive live event I've been to in at least ten years, DJ Shadow unveiled his 'Shadowsphere' show as part of The Great Escape, at Brighton Dome. Almost the entire show was performed from inside a giant sphere in the middle of the stage, onto which various films and images were projected that seemed to interact with the other projections behind it. One minute a basketball jumping through a hoop, the next the Death Star vanquishing all in its path, and all with a bass so deep that it felt like my internal organs were being regularly rearranged. If you ever get the chance to see this show, go, go go.


Although they are not officially part of the programme, there are often many other great things going on at the same time as the main festival that kind of piggyback onto the bigger one. The above mentioned Great Escape is one of them, and the more genteel St. Anne's Well Gardens festival is another. A real family day out, with lots of face painting, balloons and all that sort of thing, we picnicked in the park in the glorious weather and listened to a brass band as kids ran around us.


For the second year running, I went to see the Brighton Beach Boys. Last year was the show they've been playing for a long time - full live renditions of 'Pet Sounds 'and 'Sgt Pepper'. This year, the first half of the show was a bit tougher to sit through as it was all originals written by one of the core members of the band (and the audience had all come along for Beatles or Beach Boys songs), but the second half was fantastic - a note perfect and highly spirited performance of 'Abbey Road', in its entirety. Great stuff.


A little further out of town (Stanmer Park) and another one of those peripheral events was the Brighton Kite Festival. The weather wasn't so good and most of my pictures came out a little too dark, but there were some pretty cool kites on display, plus it was good to get out of the city for a few hours. I'm due to start studying at the neighbouring university from September, so it also presented a good excuse to have a sniff around the campus again too.


A clash with the Brighton Beach Boys show meant missing the remarkable looking spectacle that was 'Drôles d'Oiseaux', held at The Level. Still, we got off the bus on the way back from the kite festival and took a look at what remained the next day. Yes, they were real cars and no, I have no idea how they stayed up. Damned cool looking though.


I spent a meditative hour or two in the hulk of the Old Municipal Market, the place that was a main fruit and veg wholesaler when I was a student but now lies dormant and empty. Inside, was an installation by Turkish artist Kutluğ Ataman, called 'Mesopotamian Dramaturgies'. This consisted of a series of screens displayed at varying angles, showing close-ups of the flow from waterfalls (including Iguazu), signifying the revolutionary changes happening with the Arab spring and in the region. Although the installations themselves were pretty captivating, the space itself was also rather inspiring and I experimented a little with taking low lit black and white images in an abandoned building. Ended up pretty happy with some of the results too.


Prior to the two hours in an abandoned fruit warehouse, I dropped in to the Fabrica gallery for a sound installation by Janet Cardiff, titled 'Forty Part Motet'. There were forty speakers arranged in a circle, from which individual voices from a choir were played. The recording was on a permanent loop and the installation itself gave the effect of standing in the middle of a choir, hearing the voices as the choir hears them rather than from where the audience does. Click on the field recording below to hear a little of what it sounded like (but not get a feeling of what it was like to be surrounded - can only really do stereo here).
Of course, there was so much more to see and do. Some of it I've already mentioned here (such as the Heroes Run and Jardin Flambeau), some of it I had to miss out on for some reason or another. You can find more photos from these events and more at my Brighton Festival 2011 Flickr set.

These ten were some of my highlights. Brightonians and other visitors, what were yours?