Fish Tank

Fish Tank

This is the third Andrea Arnold directed film I’ve watched, so I think that’s the whole of her output, and this is another intriguing story of a young woman at odds with the world. Mia lives on a council estate in Essex. Her single mum has a boyfriend, an early appearance of Michael Fassbender. The … Continue reading

Policing Morality

Policing Morality

When Henry VIII closed the monasteries, local parishes had to enforce not just criminal, but also moral codes, which could get a bit messy, and often involved women. Here’s a list of incidents dealt with by the churchwardens of St James’ parish in Bristol in the 17th century: 1627 Item. for a warrant for her … Continue reading

Counting Islands

Counting Islands

Here’s an oddity from a few days ago in the i paper: Indonesia is to begin the mammoth task of counting all of its islands with the aim of protecting its territory and natural resources. The government has never had a definite number of islands that make up the vast archipelago, with estimates reaching up … Continue reading

La La Land? So-so

La La Land? So-so

The opening scene is huge set piece, an explosion of song and dance by a load of young people stuck in a traffic jam on an elevated road in LA. It’s bold, sassy and brilliantly done. Emma Stone is reading her lines and Ryan Gosling is being ridiculously cool listening to jazz. The traffic clears … Continue reading

Inside St Peter’s Bristol

Inside St Peter’s Bristol

When we were campaigning to save Bristol’s Castle Park, we were repeatedly told this mediaeval church was at risk of falling inwards, weakened by the fire that destroyed it in The Blitz. But it’s still standing and now volunteers have access to it to help maintain the adjoining garden. It’s misnamed the Physic Garden, but … Continue reading

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

Parish Boundary Markers Bristol

I love obscure bits of history, and parish boundary markers are great because you really have to poke around with your eyes open to spot them. They were used to mark the parish boundaries of mediaeval cities, to establish who had to pay church rates, who attended churches, and as legal documents in property sales. … Continue reading

Writing and the Brain

Writing and the Brain

Here’s an article from Thursday’s i paper by Tom Bawden Learning to read profoundly transforms the brain, according to research which sheds new light on disorders such as dyslexia. It is because reading is such a new ability in human evolutionary history that our genes do not provide for a “reading area” i out brains. … Continue reading