WHY ARE WE STILL DOING THIS?

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A $Multimillion high street fashion retailer has responsibilities both to avoid slavery in manufacturing – see Nike, and how it presents its brand to the buying public.

A $Multimillion high street fashion retailer has responsibilities in how it promotes gender equality. I am casting shade over The Gap and I am sure many more will be joining in this campaign of shame today on social media.

Who agrees on this garbage and lets it fly? You can’t patch it when it is out there. This is not an ad for this brand, it is a decision to boycott until they stop making all girls “the talk of the playground”.

 

 

kegs with legs…

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A little light [beer] relief in a week we find our nation in a state of flux, one consistent beverage we can all rely on is a fine craft ale.

The recent phenomena and the dearth of micro brewers and privately / co-op managed ale houses is a good thing in my mind. The seasonality and historical regional flavours offers any visitor to the area an option to choose something made locally, with care and attention.

With the thousands of imaginatively named IPAs, stouts, amber ales and porters to choose from in my area of the country, it is often a challenge to find something that sticks out for the duration of the time at the bar or in a local bottle shop. This also is a good thing, long gone are the days of bland, insipid mass production brown liquid, offering only a guaranteed hang over from hell the next day, mainly due to all the additives and preservatives. Thankfully no more terrible TV ads for hooligan Lager full of cliches and less than clever macho strap lines.

Living in the convergence of both Manchester and Sheffield’s commuter belt, bordering the Peak District National Park, one would be happy to know we have dozens of local brewers hard at work each day making and mashing their delectable brews.

Having a small brewery on one’s doorstep is yet another reason to support local businesses that serve us with something so much more than the ambivalence we expect from many of the inner city hipster bars.

It is quite evident that these stalwarts of single mindedness, mavericks, revolutionaries and masters of individuality are the future of our brewing industry and with the current shenanigans in Westminster, exporting our wares will start to prop up the economy as much as our fading bars.

If you find yourself in the Peak District this year, make time to enjoy the new line of ales from Whaley Bridge Brewery, the innovative methods Mike (Master Brewer extraordinaire) explores with the finest hops and the excellent clear waters of the Peak combine to produce a very irresistible result.

You will be first attracted by the creatively designed packaging and labels, a nod to a much more contemporary rather than hairy eared trad design. Each beer is named after an area of this historical town and each offer a completely different flavour and gravity.

The two new ones to the growing collection are Crow Hill and Mount Famine. Crow Hill being a very fine American Amber Ale, offering an explosion of caramel maltiness, refreshing citrus fruits and the bitterness from the excellent hops Mike doesn’t scrimp on. So if its the hell or high watermelon you like in a lovingly crafted beer, using a combination of alchemy, science and experience, this newcomer to the market is for you. This ale is one for a lazy summer evening, swallows darting over head, enjoying the fading summer sun after a great day on the hill.

Mount Famine is a totally different brew – a little more lively ale that offers an instant hit of Tropical Fruits – including Passion Fruit (how he does this is beyond a laymen such as me) and more robust bitter notes, this triple hopped beer offers an excellent session ale for any occasion. I found to my delight it was a fine accompaniment to some Stilton and a borderline offensively ripe Brie.

They join the WBB family and can be found in a growing number of ale houses and pubs in the region.

Recently as this week, you can find all four of the collection in 500ml bottles at the National Trust Eyam Hall courtyard, The Eyam Real Ale Company, right next door to the Hartington Cheese Shop, to anyone living in the area and knowing the latter – a perfect match I am sure you will agree.

Goyt Wines in Whaley Bridge, The Tickled Trout, Barlow near Chesterfield, and as of yesterday, the Beer Dock in Crewe and Barley Hops in Congleton, Cheshire. With a pending launch event, the newest ale shop to populate the High Peak, Beer District in Buxton (4a Colonnade, Buxton) will be opening the first week of July, starring amongst others, the four Whaley Bridge Beers. Once they get the shop fitting complete, they will be offering a growing number of excellent beers and ciders to discerning locals and visitors to the Spa Town.

I would expect to see this collection of delightful beers in an ale house near you quite soon.

Remember, it is people like Mike that make the world a better place, a happier place, and for every pint of Carling not sold this week, we can all applaud those who get up at the crack of sparrows each day to pint-by-pint remove this despicable drink from our pubs and replace it with something made from simple ingredients, not stakeholder pension plans. Life is far too short to drink cheap beer.

If you have an event or wedding looming in the Peak District, do your bit to support a local trade and give Mike a call.

Cheers!

Drink responsibly.

Ian.

defiance

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Culture is defined as “a set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviours shared by a group of people, communicated from one generation to the next via language or some other means of communication” (Tanaka Matsumi).

Hate is a four-letter word, a four-letter word that means the same thing across the globe. In every culture, you will find hate against one thing or another. There are in-groups and out-groups, the in-groups are accepted while the out-groups are targeted for attack. Openly known and publicised Hate Groups in the United States have risen at epidemic rates in the past 16 years. In the year, 2000 there were 602 hate groups openly operating in the United States; in 2012 – 1018 hate groups, and 1274 anti-government groups that they claim were formed because of a hatred against President Obama, “because he is Black”.

In a nation where culture is supposed to converge and become a melting pot of social mobility and the American experiment of multiculturalism, hate is growing more and more each day. Hate is an attitude and belief passed down from each generation, powered by media soundbites steered by people similar to the melted Ken Doll of extreme capitalism, those who precede and currently support this conservative and ultra right wing attitude, and Trump himself. Understanding the culture of hate can lead to social policy and intervention, similarly it can combat hate and the epidemic of hate groups. Understanding if hate and the reasons why people join such groups is cross cultural and leads to generic intervention programs that stretch across culture and across societies spanning the planet, ultimately making better places for everyone to move without fear and social imprisonment.

Whether the hatred is between Palestinians and Jews, Japanese and Chinese, Neo-facist groups and pretty much anyone who doesn’t have white skin (and were not born in their nation), hatred is a cancer that eats the very soul of any culture. Culture is defined as a group of people with a common background, religious belief, ideology and behaviour…so why is it that in a decade where we have successfully sent machinery to Mars, discovered new methods of prolonging life, filtering the toxins from our seas, harnessing energy from the sun, wind and the waves; the hundreds of applications to Graphene and that a growing number of us have enough data stored in our phones to fill the Bodleian Library, we as a race of humans still cannot get past the dogma of religious and media filed hate against each other? Just because some men enjoy the company of other men, some women enjoy the company of other women and those who look forward to finally having the body match the mind of the gender they find happiness in.

At what point do we as a “culture” turn the other way when groups of British Passport owning men stripped to the waist cultivate pitch battles with other nations over a ball sport, because their fathers and older brothers did it in the 1980s and 90s; or stand by the ones who have free will and encouragement to enter into a building and kill with mindful intent and accuracy? At what point are we as a planet going to wake up and stop trying to deal with things we cannot accomplish and invest more in education, science and love. Education makes us more powerful than any politician, Science allows us to live longer and live a richer, more creative life and not give a hoot about religious doctrine. And love? Love can make us all much better people. Love makes us happy.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of the ones who lost their lives in Orlando the other night. I was less than a mile away from the Admiral Duncan in 1999 on that fateful evening in London. When criminal acts such as this are cited against religious groups it is something even our political spinners use to sway the public consciousness, even as far as effecting our boarder controls and fuel prices – yet when people of all secular and religious beliefs come together to celebrate their own social lives, on their terms, with their friends, and then have them cut down because they are gay is still [in 2016], it appears a forgettable crime, a difficult to understand act because one’s sexual orientation appears to be the business and control of others and still kept in the realms to hate by a growing number of people.

A reported 4000 people attended a moment of reflection in London yesterday, this vigil was part of a global response to these 49 lives lost. Within minutes of this significant show of solidarity 15 other countries publicised their support – including Israel, Afghanistan and Qatar. So, linking this atrocity to anything other than hate is an act of a fool.

 

rules of engagement

Since the mid 1990’s I have either politely smiled or viciously walked out of agency meetings with the hump after hearing those fateful words – “its good for your exposure”, “we are a very powerful brand and it would help your career”, “I need to use your studio to test with a well known make up / fashion brand / record label / virgin airlines” or my personal favourite – “next time we need someone like you, we will be sure to call you back and pay you”.

Please forgive the tone of this little rant as I must admit recently I haven’t had to hear this from anyone, nor have I had to get the hump with anyone asking me to fix a problem or find a solution for their own company’s issues, large or small. Maybe it is because I have learned from making such mistakes and the value of the word “No”. I have also stopped agreeing to work with habitual testing companies or those who have excellent ideas on paper yet don’t have the acumen to carry them out. I suppose I have gained enough trust from those who I have worked with recently, however, it is still something that plays on my mind when I am asked (at least once a week) by graduates, people who have recently gone freelance or those who have been looking into attracting new clients.

Working for free, albeit an oxymoron is one of those assumptions that all creative agencies, screen companies, and now Supermarkets feel quite comfortable with. A rather well known Screen Agency insists that any intern be working without wage for over a year before they be considered for a base level intern on any feature film shot in their county. Only to have their name on the credit roll as their way of payment. Could this be due to the past decade of the people listed above falling for the lies and confidence tricks that belie so many young and talented people?

With my experience of working for such super-rich clients, they often employ agencies such as TBWA, McCann or much larger international companies to come up with cultivating a plan of how they can increase attraction and develop a long list of stills images, motion picture or a three dimensional items for any publicity and promotion. Anyone knows that. They act as a buffer and make it easier to get paid, in essence, this is often the point in which the house of cards begins to collapse. The long list of talent then gets the call and the money gets filtered through once the job is done. Dissemination of income is a blessed job if given to the right people. But do we have those kinds of people in this sector? Stand up and be counted, stand up and be recognised for you are angels amongst us all.

Artists and designers, photographers and videographers are still quite often seen as Firemen, they leap into action when the call comes through, they make your problems go away, they often tidy up after themselves and like Firemen, they are often thought to have a second job to fill in the income gaps between “playing with cameras and pencils”. Quite wrong, quite wrong indeed.

It is for many a job, just like any other. Just like a Plumber, a Meteorologist, a Taylor, a Chef, a Barber. They come in all shapes and sizes, ages, genders and colours. And they all need paying for the work they do for you.

On reading this little cutting – from where and when I cannot say, the uncertainty of this being factual is as anything found on Twitter et al, sketchy at best, however I would not be at all surprised to hear this was indeed a legitimate newspaper column.

I would suggest that Ronnie or Claude be ready for a week or two of eloquent abuse.

First of all, the employee issues that Camden branch of Sainsbury’s is experiencing appears to be near cataclysmic and some would take from this advert that they employ nothing but sociopaths. Asking someone to create an oasis of calm for their unhappy staff is not anyone’s problem but Sainsbury’s. Or have I missed the point? As a leading UK retailer, one would trust it would spend time (and money) creating a comfortable and happy place for their staff to work – as investing in people has been at the forefront of their mission since 1998. According to their website.

So to ask a member of the west London creative community to design an interior for no wage and not for the eyes of anyone but their highly stressed staff that require a realm of relaxation is a reflection on how it supports the immediate community and the arts.

Maybe next time you visit a Sainsbury’s you should ask for a weeks worth of groceries and say “I will not be paying for these today, but I will be blogging about the juiciness of your Cantaloupes and crustiness of your baguettes in the morning, pinky promise. Thanks.”

Pithy – yes. but it does grind a little that this was a) agreed on, and b) published.

Alternatively, I suppose any artists or interior designer currently between jobs could do with the Nectar points. How many would one get for painting a chair a lovely calming pantone green 363?

 

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genius lurks in chaos

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Nigh on 16 months of development and over 6 years of research and cultivating data into a number of ambitious & expansive plans have, since January last year found me in front of policy makers, politicians, professors and professional pundits – each one suitably wowed by the designs, my efforts and determination to see some, if not all my plans come to fruition and become part of the day-to-day shenanigans up here in the north of England.

With that in mind and with a growing number of backed up RAID files and NDA protected documents of considerable weight and caliber, I am in need of a system that you may currently use with excellent results.

I need to broaden my skills in document house keeping and reduce the amount of space I use for such virtual paperwork on my ageing MacBookPro. I use it only for desk top, no films and limited images are stored internally, much of the drive is taken up with the written word. Many, many written words.

Your assistance in this is gratefully received.

Many thanks,

Ian

 

Wax on, Wax off

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Good afternoon all,

I have a question to ask all whom own and somewhat cherish their cars, for those of you looking to market to sell or just get the old motor ready for winter.

Have you ever thought of having the body work brought back to showroom condition? Headlights gone misty? (an MOT Failure) Or have you had a go at waxing your car this summer and it looks like it needs doing again?

Usually it can take 3 or 4 days to get any car, classic or modern up to a standard most of us would marvel at. However there is an alternative. All work can be done in one day and if you have cover (garage) access to water and a plug socket the car doesn’t necessarily have to leave your sight.

Any of you out there connected to classic car clubs, any of you out there that need to or know of anyone trying to market a car, or those of you just wishing to have a newly detailed car then contact me. This guy is a gem and you need him in your life.

All types of cars considered, including 4×4 and even VW Campers if you are going to put them to bed for winter. Testimonials and images of recent work can be gained on request. This service is by appointment only but will not break the bank, hell if I can justify the service, anyone can.

Let me know if you need to make a booking I will pass on his details.

Regards,

Ian

International Rescue…

With the delights and demands of work and time spent away from home this summer, it has come as no surprise that I am not at all ready for the planned distance hike I am doing this month. So time to get the boots dubbed and waterproofs nik-waxed, find my tin cup and get the expedition tent out of moth balls.

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Some of you may already know, I received a call on the evening of the 13th of May a call we all dread to get, the call that someone you love is in hospital fighting for their life due to an accident.

When we first heard that my brother-in-law had been involved in an RTA whilst on his motorbike there was a lot of swearing, second guessing, jumping in cars and heading through the night to Nottinghamshire and that he was possibly driving without care (though that isn’t his style – not on a bike at least). Rushing to the QMC in Nottingham it unfolded that he was in fact the victim of the reckless act of careless driving, a driver had lost control and ran him over whilst he was stationary in traffic on his new Ducati motorcycle.

As my wife stared down at her oldest brother, whilst hooked up to every machine the NHS have at their disposal, saying to the Medical Team and Police that yes this was indeed her brother Karl. A terrifying situation and one she was unsure of what would happen next, distraught at the thought of him seeing this hunk of metal coming at him at speed and unable to do anything about it, and the horror and the colossal pain he must have felt.

He was unable to breathe on his own, with two punctured lungs, two broken legs, lacerated spleen & liver, broken elbow, wrist, collar bones, shoulder blade, nose, numerous ribs and untold brain damage, the prognosis did not appear good.

The important thing though was that he was there, in hospital, receiving treatment quickly because of the actions of the Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Team (LNAA) – had they not been there to assist in his immediate and essential care, he most definitely would not be lying on the bed getting amazing 24 hour care from the team at QMC in Nottingham.

As the weeks went on we saw Karl progressively get better. From the first breath he took independently – which was as wonderous as watching our own children breathe for the first time, to the first squeeze of a hand, then onto the opening of eyes, the first look of recognition even though he couldn’t speak and then onto the random stream of words and slowly moving to organised speech, if only to be filled with profanity that would make a Merchant Seaman blush (but who can blame him?). The most special of days came when out of the blue on a visit he saw Rebecca, clung on to her and said how much he had missed her, asked about the children by name and asked where I was. I can’t describe the relief and joy after skype-ing Rebecca that evening from her Hotel room, he was going to be OK.

Nearly 4 months have passed and he is moving himself about in his wheel chair, working on walking independently (with a frame at the moment) and is nearly his old self again-just the memory of a preoccupied goldfish to sort out.

Now that he is out of the woods, so to speak and proving to us the wonder of medical science, the amazing staff at Lincs&Notts Air Ambulance, the diligence and phenomenal bedside care of the nurses and surgeons of QMC; and human spirit, it is time for us to give back.

It comes as no surprise that it costs to get this Helicopter up and saving lives, £3000 every time the air ambulance gets that call. With this in mind we’d like to raise as much as we can towards that figure so that others can be saved by such an unparalleled and selfless service.

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Rebecca and I are undertaking a long distance challenge walk taking in the Derbyshire Peak District. 60 miles in 4 days (yes, that’s 60 miles) up hill and down dale, fording rivers and scrambling over scree; this is going to be a major undertaking as I am not as fit as I used to be, in fact if I were a horse, I’d be gluing your Sneekers by now; for Rebecca the challenge will be how to move past the ice cream shops and to not fall asleep in the stone circles.

This is not subject to the stunning weather we have had this summer, (discounting today’s floods and possible thunder storms) we have been honed from years of dashing up Mountains and carved from decades of rain strewn fells to let a little August rain hamper our progress.

If however you’d rather forgo the blisters and join us on a leg or two, map reading or just getting eaten alive by midges, please donate what you can to this great cause, anything you can give would be highly appreciated. We have received in the past three weeks an amazing amount of money, with only 23 donations we have almost hit the £600 mark. Such generosity is moving and inspiring in equal measures.

This accident was the act of carelessness, and has resulted in a long and worrisome time for my family – wrong place, wrong time. It could happen to anyone and knowing a service is out there that can make the difference between life and death is certainly one that we should all support. So if this valiant yet small gesture can raise enough to cover the cost of the life saving act back in May, we can all be rest assured that all of these services can keep flying.

Thank you

If you wish to donate please follow this link to the Just Giving site –

Please CLICK HERE thank you.