Friday, 29 January 2010

The Blair Witch Hunt

Something Sam posted on his blog [H/T] the other day has got me thinking. The link alludes to the nature of an apology vis a vis this miserable affair (the Iraq war). Now with Tony Blair about to have his day in front of the Iraq Inquiry the whole process seems to have taken on the spectre of a medieval witch trial, with a huge waiting list for seats. My view for what it's worth, is, this whole saga [war] has been an ill-conceived tragedy from start to finish. But the question that reading Sam's link prevoked is what are people looking for from Mr. Blair, an apology?, some sort of legal justification for the action?, which is looking unlikely too, or, I suspect simply the hollow satisfaction of watching him squirm in front of the panel.

Now the wider thought about all this that I wished to express was, that war, or any act of violence for that matter is the result of a complete breakdown of intellectual, civilised means of solving an argument. To try to put a legal framework around something like war (the ultimate expression of violence) seems kind of absurd to me. In other words once we start hurling bullets and bombs at each other the genie is out of the bottle.

I think the perfect metaphor for this contradiction is the 'eco-bullet', the environmentally friendly bullet that contains no lead, being developed by the military to be kinder to our environment.

I'm not so naive as to suggest there are not occasions when we have no other course than to use military force but historically these instances have always seemed to me pretty obvious by comparison to the Iraq war. None of us can guess what the outcome would have been to taking no action at all against this awful regime, but I'm am curious to learn what Messrs Blair and Bush's exit strategy was.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Theartistandtartist...Evil Geniuses!

Another first for us, Maggie discovered this very complimentary review today whilst googling something else online. It is from an online PDF magazine called 'All The Rage', the article is rather out of date, unfortunately, but it refers to us as 'Evil Geniuses' (love it!) and, we came away with a commendable 8/10 and a couple of buffed up egos.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

SFTW ~ How Can You Deny An Electric Car?

We think this is cool, They Might Be Giants' 'Electric Car'. The thought has just occurred to me, that, if and when we embrace the electric car, manufacturers will have to include a mechanism to make a brroom brrrooom sound or else we'll never hear them coming!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Those Tricky Little Particles

"At the minute, it would appear that more people are damaged by sunbeds than by nuclear power in the UK," A thought provoking article here, that I read yesterday, which nicely ties in with Sunday's post. There are some controversial claims surrounding the dangers of low level radiation it would seem, but there's an awful amount of rather paranoid scare mongering by the anti-nuclear lobby taking place too. I for my part think we can't un-invent the technology and we owe an awful lot to it, I'm more concerned about the storage of nuclear waste than the safety of the power plants themselves so, I guess I'm once again comfortable sitting on the fence for the time being.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Deckchairs & Ice Creams

Deckchairs and Ice Creams ~ Watercolour

Here's the watercolour I've been working on through all the recent ice and snow. It's a bit strange to try to capture a Summer mood with a blizzard going on outside. It's a composite of elements, the old couple, the interior of the kiosk then the kiosk and beach itself all from different sources.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Coldest Night, The Energy Gap, Then We Zoomed To Norwich!

TBTE 08/01/10 or more accurately 'the road to the beach this evening'!

We took advantage during this current icy blast, of a break in the snow this afternoon to get artistandtartist jnr. back to university, so the three of us got in the car and zoomed up to Norwich. I was very apprehensive and almost didn't go as driving conditions have been lately described as 'treacherous' on the news, fortunately the snow didn't start again until we were almost home. We talked for the whole journey about loads of interesting stuff...not just the driving conditions, although the current weather did seem to be the dominant theme.
Now this raised the thorny issue of the current fragility of our energy supply, it seems that we really are down to the wire when it comes to our supply of energy, and this situation has simply been waiting in the wings until we experience a prolonged 'cold snap'. Now if we add to the equation all the new build housing thats been springing up were really heaping on the pressure to an energy supply that's already frankly at full stretch. The really big dilemma for us in the U.K. at the moment seems to me to be how to bridge the gap that will inevitably widen between getting our renewable sources of energy on stream and when our own fossil fuel resources run out (about 15 years I think is a reasonable estimate). And thus reduce our reliance on buying in large amounts of our energy from other nations who may whimsically jack the price up...or worse still, turn off the tap completely. At this point in time (several people on Mersea will hate me for saying this) nuclear generators seem to be looking a more attractive solution than they did twenty years back. I'd much prefer that there were a more user friendly alternative, but I'm not at this point persuaded that renewables will come close to filling our energy gap.
Now all of this kind of dovetails into another thread of our conversation we had today about Transition Culture and its pro's & cons, and I intend to get on my soapbox about this subject soon too, when time will allow.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Global 'Cooling' & Red Onion Marmalade

Whilst our corner of the globe continues it's cooling spell this afternoon the tartist is making about 3kg. of red onion marmalade. As I enter the kitchen my eyes immediately start streaming with the vapour coming from her endeavors, but it's well worth this minor hardship as her red onion marmalade is so delicious.

The view from the studio this afternoon

I for my part am working on a watercolour that I think I'm going to ironically call 'Deckchairs and Ice Creams'. I'm being accompanied this afternoon by the dulcet tones of Elbow, who produced 'The Seldom Seen Kid', one of the albums of the last decade in my humble opinion.

Monday, 4 January 2010

TBTM 04.01.10

Some of Richard Haward's oysters this morning on their way from our muddy creeks to a dining table somewhere!

Another bright but very cold morning for us on our muddy island, with the thermometer on our car reading -6 when I scraped the ice from the windscreen at 7am. If you are reading this from somwhere like, say Vermont, you must think were all crazy to make such a fuss about a bit of ice. Still, I heard on the BBC this morning that were having our coldest winter here in the U.K. for 25 years, so maybe I can be forgiven for getting a bit carried away.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2010...A New Decade

Well friends, here we all are on the threshold of a brand year, 'twenty-ten' and once again the snow and ice has returned to our island, in fact the temperature has struggled to get above freezing for about a week. It really has only just dawned upon me that we've not only started a new year, but also just entered a new decade and with it comes the irresistible urge to reflect upon the ramifications of events of the previous one. From this rare vantage point on the cusp of another decade it seems the 'naughties' were to a large extent either sadly dominated by the threat of terrorism or the threat of celebrity. I think it's also true to say that the reality of climate change and its potential effect upon our way of life has become apparent to all of us in the last decade. The irony of this last statement is that the current very cold weather seems set to continue for some time to come.

From a family perspective, particularly sad for the tartist has been the loss of both her parents in the last ten years and we all miss them loads. At the risk of using a cliche the past decade seems not much more than the blink of an eye, with a fair measure of both sadness and joy. On a positive note, in April 2003 we started The Artcafé, our business in West Mersea and then in 2007 we opened our second Artcafé in Colchester and despite the extremely hard work and various problems that jump up and bite us from time to time, we're looking forward to developing further what we do in 2010 with a third strand to our business.

It seems to me a curious human trait, to 'decimalise' our lives into decades but I guess in some way it helps make sense of it all. So here we are looking both forward and back, but mostly forward into 2010! Happy new year, oh, and by the way I insist we all pronounce it 'twenty-ten'