Wednesday, 14 December 2011

John Henry Haynes

Went to the Royal Asiatic Society on December 12 to witnes a talk given by Robert Ousterhout about a forgotten American archaeological photographer of the 19th century. John Henry Haynes' photographs were rediscovered when Mr Ousterhout commenced work at the University of Pennsylvania. Published by Cornucopia, I would definitely recommend this book. To see these sites before earthquakes and humans had taken their toll is truly fascinating.

Monday, 18 July 2011


Went to see Rosamund Bartlett and a couple of others talk about Chekhov at the Olivier Theatre. Interesting as I'm a big fan of Ms Bartlett. Her biography of Chekhov is an excellent read whilst her latest book explores the life of Tolstoy. I was also impressed by the National Theatre and their apex offer of £12 seats. Will be off to see The Cherry Orchard shortly.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Public Libraries : some good news

My hero of the day is the resident who lives on the Isle of Wight that has managed to claim legal aid to fight the closure of five public libraries there. Well done. I take my hat off to you.

Campaigners in the London Borough of Brent and Gloucestershire have also managed to halt any action their local authorities were taking. The Brent court case is next week. All the best.

The Samuel Johnson Prize was also deservedly won by the Dutch author of  "Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devestating Catastrophe, 1958-62". Frank Dikotter also gave a very good speech. A very unassuming kind of guy and very clever.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Mary Shelley and Romantic Science

Went to the British Library last night to see Richard Holmes deliver the above talk. It's hard to imagine that Mary Shelley was only 18 years old when she started writing Frankenstein. The story evolved from a nighmare she had and she used it in a tale she told round the fireplace with Shelley and Byron in the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva when the weather was bad. Holmes confirmed that there were scientific experiments occuring from the beginning of the 19th century on disection of the body. Combined with other events the spark was there for Mary Shelley's imagination. It's a misnomer as well that the creature couldn't speak. He ended up being very articulate. Teaching himself to read at the same time.

Richard Holmes has an entertaining style and a very clever man. He gave the audience more than enough material to satisfy their curious minds. This talk was given as part of the British Library's Out Of This World exhibition Well worth a vist.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Looking forward to CPD23 . Hope to update myself and learn new skills.