All entries for Saturday 19 June 2004

June 19, 2004

A tale of demonic possession, obsession, and erotic fruit

5 out of 5 stars

OK, first of all I should admit to being a Kate Bush obsessive of almost Alan Partridge proportions (listen to his tribute to Kate ). If anyone wants to hear my warbling rendition of Wuthering Heights, then just buy me lots of drinks. So the fact that it has taken me 11 years to really start liking and understanding this CD is significant. That's almost as long as the gaps between her recordings.

Some of the tracks just work straight away. Eat The Music, as has been documented elsewhere , is a witty and bouncy song about the way in which music and desire opens people up, no matter who they are. The fruit metaphors are amusing, and make for a quite stunning video. It's also about the vulnerability of the performer as they let themselves be opened to the audience. And that's a theme that punctuates the rest of the CD.

Recently, whilst reading Deleuze's book on Francis Bacon, I really understood for the first time that there is something quite interesting about dance. It sits uncomfortably and excitedly between two quite different aesthetic orders: painting and music. These two powerful forces both possess and animate the dancer. The title track, The Red Shoes, is about that fulcrum of forces. She should know about that, having been trained to dance by Lindsay Kemp. The hour long movie that accompanies the CD (The Line, The Cross And The Curve) stars Kemp alongside Kate and Miranda Richardson, and itself captures the position of the dancer with both comic and tragic effect.

So finally after 11 years what do I think? It is a really great CD. It takes a bit of work to appreciate it. But is worth the effort. And furthermore, both Prince and Lenny Henry sing on one of the tracks, so that's worth it in itself.

Of course being a true obsessive I can't give this anything less than 5 stars!

First ever bicycle helmet

Writing about web page

In the past I cycled a lot. I stopped very suddenly after witnessing the mess made when a lorry turned left through a cycle lane in Oxford. But now that I am about to move to Kenilworth I'm going to start again.

Having recently had an excellent ACU gold rated motorcycle helmet completely destroyed by being hit by debris on a Spanish motorway, and still recovering from the fractured skull, I thought that it might be wise to start using a cycle helmet. So I went into the local cycle shop and tried on the only make that they sell, Mango.

I was immediately impressed. It weighs almost nothing, and has good ventilation. Better still, it has an adjustment mechanism at the back that ensures that it fits correctly. I'm surprised by how good and comfortable it is, and can see no reason to ride without it.

The label inside is quite amusing. It has a crossed out image of a motorcycle, along with the statement 'not for use on motorcycles'. I'd better stick to my BMW Sport Integral for that then – not quite as light or comfortable, but a little more useful in a 100mph spill.

Balancing responsiveness and vision in e–learning projects

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Again an entry intended to investigate a specific aspect of blog use has escelated into a full scale discussion of methodology. Something useful came from this, in that i have had to reflect upon the balance between responsiveness and leadership that is required in projects that attempt to introduce both new technology and new behavioural processes. Here's the comment in which i realize that getting this balance right is a big part of what i do as an e-learning advisor:

That defines the problem with this kind of project exactly. Rapid feedback is what is required. To get to the point at which rapid feedback occurs, the users already need to have accepted that they want to commit time to using the system and being part of a development process. Our users will not make that commitment until they see a product that is right for them.
So we try to jump out of the loop by giving them something more concrete, a bit more complete than is desirable. You could say that they need a bit of vision or a bit of leadership. But not too much. The balance has to be exactly right. I have seen e-learning projects fail to get off the ground because of lack of that vision. I have also seen them go wildly off target when they go too far.
Personally, i'm happy to do a bit of risk taking, but not too much. And so long as it is done in the context of a consultative process, which I think is a big part of what the ELA's are doing.

Thanks Chris for leading the discussion to this point!