Can “firing up the imagination” be a bad thing? When you’re young, autistic and, oh, scared shitless by UFOs, I’m afraid the answer is “yes!”
A Sussex primary school has been accused of terrifying pupils after pretending a teacher had been abducted by aliens. The stunt by Southway Junior School in Burgess Hill was intended to promote creative writing skills, reports the Daily Mail. Head Diana Goss told pupils an alien craft had crashed near the school and pupils were encouraged to ‘follow a trail of debris’ before stumbling across the UFO. Sussex Police set up a crime scene around the crashed craft and supplied a police constable and a community support officer for two hours to help the children produce witness statements. Pupils were told that Joy Law, the school’s learning support teacher, who is responsible for special needs pupils, had been abducted.
Parents condemned the school for ‘terrifying’ their children and claimed teachers had gone over the top in trying to ‘fire their imagination’. Linda Molds, whose son Harry, nine, is autistic, said: “Harry will take everything you say literally, so when he was told aliens had taken Mrs Law away and the police were investigating - and then he actually saw the police - he believed every word.”
Lisa Maynard, 34, whose nine-year-old daughter Ashleigh is also a pupil at the school, said: “It was just too realistic, too dramatic. All the police, the sirens, the cordon - it was just too much.” The school has released a statement saying: “The children were reassured throughout the morning that they were perfectly safe. They produced some excellent creative and factual writing.”
Sussex Police said: “The police input was well-intentioned, and it was thought pupils would have a fun day.”
Interesting essay about the “lost” patents and inventions of Buckminster Fuller:
Buckminster Fuller sought patents for his works to document in an enduring form what an individual could invent for the betterment of humanity. A primary resource for Fuller?
Um, wow! Sound designer and composer Diego Stocco says:
In the garden of my house there’s a tree with lots of randomly grown twigs. It looks odd and nice at the same time. One day I asked myself if I could create a piece of music with it.
To tune the tree I picked a fundamental note and tuned the twigs by trimming them with a pencil sharpener. I used two R?ɬ?de NT6 and a NTG-2 as microphones, combined with a customized stethoscope.
I recorded the tracks live on a Pro Tools LE system. I didn’t use any synthesizer or sampler to create or modify the sounds. All the sounds come from playing the tree, by bowing the twigs, shaking the leaves, playing rhythms on the cortex and so on.
What with the acclaimed release of Brad Gooch’s long-in-the-works biography, and Criterion’s recent reissuing of John Huston’s WIse Blood, I’m guessing Flannery O’Connor‘s receiving more NPR airplay this summer than the latest Moby offering.
Last week, I spent some time with the Criterion disc, and let me tell you, despite the usual “mentat intensity” from Dourif, Wise Blood has NOT aged well. So, when you’re hankering for some Southern-fried gothic but don’t have the time—or patience—for a full-length feature, you might wanna check out Black Hearts Bleed Red, Jeri Cain Rossi’s 1992 film adaption of O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” It’s satisfyingly austere, lacks Wise Blood’s grating soundtrack, and hey, who’s that misfit with a rifle? Why, it’s Joe Coleman!
Jeri Cain Rossi’s Black Hearts Bleed Red
Recent discovery and obsession: The late sixties Vancouver, British Colombia band The Poppy Family. Imagine the Mamas and the Papas if they’d gone off their meds, they had sitars and tablas, and they’d been, you know, good. Apparently they had the biggest hit of all time (all Canadian time) in 1969 with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” off their album of the same name. I’ve had that album on constant iPhone repeat and it never, ever gets old. It’s classic West Coast pop, but from the opposite end of the coast from California. You can almost hear the gloom creeping in from the Rockies…
Apparently the CD still hasn’t been re-issued, and it’s impossible to find on vinyl?
I adore the website COLOURlovers.com and their magnificent color blog. I often discover artists, find color insipration, new color trends and yummy patterns. I was recently turned on to Robert Buelteman’s beautiful work of cameraless, lensless, and computer-free photographs, there. COLOURlovers says:
Feeling the need to “explore the tools of (his) medium beyound both their traditional and innovative uses,” and channeling a bit of a mad scientist mentality, Robert Buelteman developed a technique resembling that of Kirlian photography. His tools: jumper cables, fiber optics, and 80,000 volts of electricity. He places flowers and leaves on a color transparency film, on top of that he lays plexiglas with a sheet of metal in between, floating in a liquid silicone. Then he hits everything with an electric pulse which causes the coronas and outlines to appear on the film. The last step he needs to do, is hand-painting it with a white light coming from an optical fiber. It can take up to 150 attempts to get this right. The outcome of all this, images that capture the colors of these plants like we’ve never seen or could ever imagine before. You can find out more about Robert’s series based on this technique in the book, Signs of Life.
Witness “The Spectrum” a fantastically psychedelic carnival fun house designed by Keith Albarn (father of Damon Albarn, a man considered a musical god in this household). Sadly this British Pathe film short is probably the only thing that remains of it and there is little to no information about it anywhere on the Internet. I’d have loved a chance to see this in person!
Watching this I got to thinking about a different druggy funhouse on this side of the pond—also no longer standing—the infamous Palladium night club of New York City. Once the fabled Palladium Ballroom, where Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa, Patti Smith, The Clash and Lou Reed all played, the Palladium reopened in 1985 owned by former jailbirds Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, who had previously run Studio 54. Artists like Francesco Clemente, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Laurie Anderson and Arata Isozaki were all commissioned to build installations.
The staircase was amazing (especially if you were super high!) and the Basquiat mural behind the upstairs bar was nothing short of astonishing (and really huge). A house would crash from the ceiling onto the dance floor like the one that killed the Wicked Witch of the West. It was a fantastically decadent place to spend one’s youth. Now it’s an NYU dorm with a Trader Joe’s grocery store downstairs! (I wonder if they were able to preserve the Basquiat? It was painted on the wall and probably as valuable as the real estate itself).