To Minehead on the Life Express

Minehead is a seaside town in Somerset situated on the Bristol Channel and it has a railway station, one of ten stations that are on the West Somerset Railway. These steam railways have grown as tourist attractions allowing historic trains to run on lines that were closed down in the 1960s and 1970s due to the competition from road travel. Transport changes, and yet it also hangs around – classic cars, horses and steam trains.

Last weekend, I went by road, on a break of sorts, to Minehead (for the first time). Having read Saturday morning’s Daily Create (#tdc2098 We’re All Changing) which asked for the creation of a photo of something changing, I thought it was a good create to do (I like the photo creates), but I wasn’t sure that I would actually complete it. The task is inspired by autumn leaves – the very visible changing of the seasons. Don’t you love the low sunlight this time of year? In your eyes, long shadows.

I decided to go for a late night walk around the town and took my smartphone with me intending to try and take a photo for the Daily Create on the theme of change. The sky was dominated by a bright full moon and so I took a couple of photos:

moon 1

moon 2

The first one was a little blurry. I tried to contrast the road lit by streetlights against the dark of the sky and water, but it didn’t really work. The second photo was much more successful, framed to include the rocks at the water’s edge. And in a moment of good fortune, the moonlight created a lovely crack of illumination around the outline of a cloud. But I decided that that the cameraphone format didn’t work, so I thought about cropping it in Instagram and to experiment with filters. Using Instagram I cropped the photo and chose the Hefe filter because it created a warm glow that I liked. When cropping the photo, I tried to position the horizon lights using the ‘Rule of Thirds’ for harmonious composition.

Like many people I thought that the tides are created by the gravitational ‘pull’ of the moon, but apparently it is more complicated than that. The moon plays a major factor, but the sun and the rotation of the earth create the tides too. But capturing a moon and a tide is a satisfying connection in an image. The moon helps to bulge the water in one direction, and the moon and the tides are constantly changing – the shape of the moon and the height of the tides, in a seasonal and monthly sequence.


I was so pleased with the photo I created that I decided it was worthy of a title – moon/tide/cloud/hole in reference to the four dominant aspects of the image – moonlight falling through a gap in the clouds onto the sea.

I did take a couple of other photos, but they didn’t have enough interest or appeal when compared to the moon shots. The idea of road works triggered a thought about change – making changes to the road or responding to a road that wears out and needs repairing and so on. It fitted the theme, but the images were bland.

roadworks 1

roadworks 2

Change is a great theme for creating stuff and it is possible to get quite philosophical about change. This is because there is only change. Everything is changing all the time and therefore permanence is an illusion. Heraclitus (a Greek philosopher) provides us with the idea that ‘the only thing that is constant is change’ – ‘universal flux’.  His most famous observation is that we can never step into the same river twice because the river is constantly changing. Life is change, a ride, constant in its fluidity.

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An Anxious ‘If’

Do a dramatic reading of Emily Dickinson’s ‘If You Were Coming In The Fall’. What does it mean? (TDC 279)

They are not coming…this makes me anxious.

Music by Richard Sanderson

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Arron Called Me – Again!

Using Audacity or another audio editing software, record yourself holding down both sides of a conversation. Using the pitch changer and/or other effects, change your voice so it sounds like two different people are talking (Have A Phone Conversation With Yourself)

Dear Reader, I actually remixed this ds106 assignment. Instead of having a phone conversation with myself, I created a phone call with rising celebrity UK Viner Arron Crascall. It wasn’t that talking to myself wasn’t appealing, it was just that I have been doing some work on Vine and Arron Crascall’s ‘public reaction’ style vines (a great class project called According to Vine  – check it out) and his ’embarrassing phone call’ videos struck me as forming the basis of one side of the conversation. All I needed to do was imagine that Arron was calling me when videoing himself in public. So I imagined that I was Arron’s friend and that his prank calls to me had become tiresome. On that basis, I wrote a script for my side of the conversation and recorded it on my Edirol R-09HR recorder. I was able to hold the recorder in my hand like a phone to record my audio parts and consequently they came out sounding like they had been recorded from a phone.

I downloaded as many Arron Crascall ’embarrasing phone call’ vines as I could find and which I thought would work as conversation. I imported the videos into Adobe Premiere Pro and extracted the audio to the timeline. I then listened to the audio and placed them in an order that made sense to me and wrote my side of the conversation. After completing the recording, I imported the MP3 files into Premiere and edited the parts between Arron’s audio sections. It made sense to complete the whole workflow in a video editor since it had started there. I added a Creative Commons ring tone recording that I downloaded from Freesound to the beginning. I exported the finished edit as an MP3 file and uploaded it to Soundcloud.

I thought it worked really well. Arron’s prank calls become more and more outlandish and I think I was able to capture a weary performance as his imagined exasperated friend. I tweeted the link and mentioned @arron_crascall and was pleased to get a favourite from the man himself. Thanks Arron, my friend.

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Globetrotter: ‘Once You Are Born In This World You’re Old Enough To Die’

Learn a sentence in a language you have no experience in, then record yourself saying it. Bonus point for some awesome background music! (Globetrotter)

sk baby

Music: John Lewis Grant ‘Bach Prelude & Fugue 10’ (Creative Commons)

sk baby danish


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Thinking Bad: The sitcom of your life

If your life were a sitcom, what would be your theme song? Remix or write your theme song for us to enjoy. Upload your recording to SoundCloud and add it to the tdc1125 group. (The sitcom of your life)

If your life were a sitcom, what would be your theme song?

A remix of Clive Dunn’s ‘Grandad’ obviously with no ‘Grandad’ but plenty of ‘thinking’. I’m not a grandad or even a dad, but I’ve been wanting to remix this song from the 1970s for a long time, but abandoned a previous attempt. I think I originally wanted to do something far more radical with the track because of its weirdness as a novelty record from my childhood, but that wouldn’t have fitted this task. The steady beat of banjo, brass and piano is ideal for remixing the song. I combined a karaoke version with the original song to keep some of the continuity without the vocal. I guess everyone’s life seems like a bad joke at times although we might struggle to fill six funny episodes from our lives.

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Parklifeless: MusicLess MusicVideo

Create your own musicless music video for a scene in a video of your choice. Use any variety of sound effects that you personally create or find from sites like And remember add room tone, it will make or break the remix! (Musicless Music Video)

Being already familiar with Mario Wienerroither’s ‘Musicless MusicVideo’, this was one audio assignment that I definitely wanted to do. I have a large collection of music videos that I have downloaded from YouTube and when I started to look through them, Blur’s ‘Parklife‘ pretty quickly became the one I wanted to do. I chose a couple of extracts that didn’t have too much lipsyncing to the vocal of the song allowing space for the substitution of the music with sound effects. The video was imported into Adobe Premiere Pro and the two extracts were edited together on the timeline. I then played the video in small snatches and thought about what sounds could be added.

I used a mixture of Creative Commons sounds downloaded from Freesound and Foley sounds that I created myself using an Edirol R-09HR audiorecorder. I put a bed of downloaded streetnoise across the whole video and downloaded some other sounds that I couldn’t recreate in the office – things like shopping trolleys and car engine noise. This Foley and dialogue replacement work was a bit slapdash. I just sat at my office desk and used the recorder without an external microphone. I could have taken more care in recording the effects and vocal parts, but I was happy that this was quite a ‘rough and ready’ experiment where I wouldn’t worry too much about the end quality of the audio and the actual creative thinking process was more important than the finished product. However, I think that the overall effect is OK – the quality of the audio is not too detrimental to the end product. Most of the original sounds created are vocal sounds such as ‘Whey’ and ‘Boom’ and words such as ‘Alright’, ‘Mother’ and ‘Starving’. The vocal parts were created to match some of the speech qualities of the actual performers in the video – Damon Albarn and Phil Daniels.

The video and song is one of the first mainstream flowerings of what would come to be called ‘Britpop‘. The video has an exuberance and swagger that typifies some of the meanings around the Britpop culture. The fast editing and bouncy choreography of the ‘Parklife’ music video works perfectly well with the music and mixture of sung and spoken lyrics. Removed of the music and substituted with direct sounds, it still keeps that bouncy exuberance, but it starts to look a bit silly – these young guys look even more juvenile than they perhaps want to be seen. I tried to achieve a comedic effect as a loving homage to the original. It made me smile.


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Drawing a Line Through Unit 6

everyone is a designer

The design unit of the open course ds106 has been a long drawn out affair, but a very enjoyable one. Started weeks ago and was very organised in terms of choosing and completing the design assignments, but very often I couldn’t get around to writing them up. Just doing the assignments seemed more important and fun, as if the writing up would kill the feelings created by doing the work.

I have always enjoyed drawing and designing things and believe that I have a good visual sensibility and some design skills. I did intend to start using Gimp to learn a new tool, but ended up relying on my trusty PowerPoint for creating designs and images. I hope I can upskill in image manipulation and creation in the near future – one for the summer, perhaps.

My design safari was completed in the small town of Pershore near the River Avon. I focused on concepts such as colour, balance, rhythm and proportion. I gorged on three daily creates all on one day – all writing ones because I like writing and playing around with words and ideas, and it made a change from focusing on visual aspects.

Pershore 4: Tie Ends

I really enjoyed doing the design assignments that I chose, spending quite a bit of time on them and completed 15 and a half stars. It allowed me draw and think and create stuff linked to personal tastes in film by designing a poster and icons that summarise a movie plot.

four icons final


kane posters old and new

I didn’t think much about the radio show for Unit 7, but have an idea that I will do a kind of soundscape or poem based on the audio taken from Vine videos. all montaged together and layered, perhaps with other material to produce a soundscape of ‘Vine TV’ for the radio. I might do this with my student Abdalla Islow if we can organise it, or I might just do this on my own, in the background while trying to press on through the other units.

We all need a design sensibility, don’t we, in this era of personal publication?

Plenty more fooling to be done.

so fool online


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My Pershore Designari (Design Safari)

No big game around Pershore, but plenty of charity shops and cafes to rummage around and be idle. So, out came the smartphone camera on alert for photo ops with a design focus. This ended up being a mixture of architecture, clothes, food and sweet packaging.

Sweet wrappers are generally bold in colour – probably garish in design terms, bad taste on the outside, godd taste (hopefully) on the inside. Lots and yellow and red, bright colours, overdosing on sweetness and colouring. And bold typography – inflated, shaped, loud.

Pershore 5: Sweeties in the Window

How many scones on a plate?

The answer is three. Trios – they just look better balanced than even numbers. Asymmetry at its tastiest – double stacked.

Pershore 3: Scones Trios

How many giant display figures outside the toy shop?

Two of course – otherwise there is no balance – they flank the door like guards. One figure would look like it was hanging around. One figure either side is guiding you in.

Pershore 2: Toy Shop

Proportionate Responses

Classic architecture is symmetrical. It has proportion and symmetry. Victorian facade:

Pershore 1: Working men and old comrades


Pattern is often designed into our clothes and furnishings. The rhythm of pattern doesn’t always work, but when it does, it is very pleasing. Geometry,  whimsy and flowers.

Pershore 6: Prints

Pershore 4: Tie Ends




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Decided to do all my daily creates in one go – a magnificent threesome of writing assignments. I like to be creative with words, so pigging out. Forgive me my indulgence.

TDC1064 What is on your stone?

My response can be found here.

all we saw of you was light

‘But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light’ (Ephesians 5:13)

As an atheist, I’m using this religious reference as philosophy and about what we see. We see only the light of things, not the thing itself. So, with my death slab, you can touch something physical, and think about my ‘lightness’. The self-portraits were taken yesterday while playing with the sunlight of Spring through the blinds in my office. Totally unrelated to this task, but now related.

TDC1161 How music changed your life

My response can be found here.

If you could only have films or music, you would choose music, right?

You could listen to music and make films with your eyes.

TDC1107 A DS106 virgin haiku

My response can be found here.

Am I really only halfway through ds106? Some of these hours have been ‘Ira Glass’ hours, the rest just glass hours.

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say

‘Time’ (Pink Floyd)



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79 miles from Lake Tahoe: four icons, which film?

four icons final

Four icons, one film, but which film? Answer and explanation here.

[There is a clue in the post title]

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