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Tag: culture

An intermission of rural England

An intermission of rural England

Rural England is a small place. All of England to start with is smaller than most US states, and can fit into Scandinavia many times over. Take out the cities, take out the airports, the motorways and main roads, the growing suburbs and industrial sites, and you aren’t left with a huge amount of area. Set your mind to it and in a few days you could walk across its width; in a few weeks, its length. But, what there…

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The Long Autumn

The Long Autumn

The summer fruits, the Victoria plums and Cambridge strawberries, are the sweetest and juiciest, filled with the rains of spring. But it’s the autumn fruits, those slow-growing crops such as Marjorie’s Seedling, Russet and Cox’s Orange Pippin, where the flavors are strongest and the colors deepest. It’s strange. There’s a party going on downstairs, but I feel flat today, unsociable. Not grumpy, just tired, withdrawn, wanting to move on in several ways. So while the party goes on, and I…

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Blue Highways

Blue Highways

My favourite non-fiction book. And the answer to the “What one possession would you take with you if your house was on fire?” question. The author is also the person, if I could pick one, I want to be. I’ve been fascinated, obsessed, delirious, about America since I could speak and read, possibly before. My earliest memory was of watching man – an American – land on the moon, being too young to understand the excitement of a packed room…

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Hay-on-Wye: Beyond the long tail

Hay-on-Wye: Beyond the long tail

(Pictures from this trip are on Flickr, and there’s a Flickr group with pictures by other people) I’m sitting in The Granary in Hay-on-Wye. It’s mid morning. Outside it’s a little damp but in here there’s a crackling log fire. Every table is taken. Everyone is either reading, writing, or murmuring quietly to whoever they are with. Hops hang from the uncovered joists of the ceiling. At the next table an earnest man (pointy beard) is reading Sylvia Plaths “The…

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Trip summary

Trip summary

Days of trip: 36Miles travelled: 19,763Travelling companion: SamanthaCountries visited: Scotland, England, USA, Mexico.Countries viewed from ground: CanadaUS states visited or passed through: 18Conferences presented at: #GLLS2008, #IL2008Key words used at conferences: “Internet” (#IL2008), “Tool” (#GLLS2008).Favourite American accent: TennesseeFavourite place: Shortlist: New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, Whitefish. Winner: Memphis.Highest altitude attained: 6,900 feet.Best moment: 10pm, 4th November.Worst moments: Noon, 5th November. Sometime in night of 9th NovemberBest meal ever: 6am, 7th November, a diner in Memphis Tennessee.Most surprising outcome: Somehow, despite often…

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The American Dream

The American Dream

This particular adventure draws to a close; in a few minutes Pablo the limo driver (cheaper than a taxi) will return, hopefully with my luggage, and we’ll be off to LAX. The pictures on this page I took earlier today around the Getty Center. There are two American dreams. It’s ironic that I’m typing this while in Los Angeles, the magnet for people looking for the first one: Dream 1. The shortcut to wealth. Be discovered, become a star; quickly…

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Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee

After wandering around Graceland for a few hours, I’m still not sure what to make of it. The house itself is surprisingly small, and you can only follow the (planned) downstairs route, through rooms and outbuildings. Some of the inside rooms I quite liked and thought were tasteful and restrained enough. Others, perhaps less so. Though I do like his use and choice of lampshades: The whole experience is very efficient; seeing the house, and doing the four additional mini-exhibitions…

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In America, academics knit

In America, academics knit

I’ve presented at two conferences on this trip, and knitting has become an unexpected thing to observe. The #IL2008 closed with a presentation by Liz Lawley. I’ve seen four of her presentations to date and she’s right – they’re always completely different. Plus entertaining, and useful in terms of knowing what leftfield technologies and gadgets are worth investigating. Anyway, Liz mentioned that she knits … during academic board meetings. She carries on knitting, and staff know when she is going…

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Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana

First full day here. Due to catching up on sleep, I missed breakfast in the hotel so sauntered along the sidewalk to check out the diners. Whitefish is a clash-culture town. Parts of it are obviously set up for the tourist season; the strip running south on I-93 is an endless reel of motels, fast food places, gas stations and malls. In the centre of town, about half the businesses are aimed at visitors who apparently pack the place in…

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