Tag Archives: education

➤ £41 buys no diploma in Bowie-ana but you will be ready to compete on Mastermind

◼ STARMAN: HOW DAVID BOWIE LIT UP THE 1970s is the title of a two-session course coming up next month at London’s premiere adult-education institute, the City Lit. But you will have to get out of bed on two Sunday mornings to attend. The course costs £41 and its tutor, the music writer Toby Manning whose specialist subject is Pink Floyd, aims it at “music lovers generally” who will find out “how David Bowie’s songs, persona and style broke with 60s values and aesthetics and largely ‘invented’ the 70s”.

Toby promises lots of videos and says: “Watch how, through constant reinvention, Bowie’s relentless creativity set and reset the agenda for rock music throughout the 1970s and beyond.” Test your tutor’s mettle by viewing the stupendous Young Americans video from 1973 [above] and asking why Bowie is wearing those fabulous shoulders and what agenda did they set?

Afterwards, Toby promises, you should be able to “hold your own in any discussion about David Bowie”. So you’ll be ready to impress Mastermind’s 1.74 million viewers. Howzaboutthatthen!

➢ Details of the City Lit’s FE course in Bowie-ana and many more


David Bowie , New York, paparazzi,

Daily Telegraph: “David Bowie after collecting food from a cafe, bearing little resemblance to the fashion icon of the 1970s” (© Splash News)

➢ Update Oct 18, 2012 — “David Bowie: singer’s pale appearance reignites health fears” … Relentlessly downbeat report at The Telegraph online about “the polymorphic rocker’s” health beneath this genial paparazzi pic taken after picking up a takeaway lunch from the Italian Bottega Falai Café in New York.

David Bowie , New York, paparazzi

Daily Mail: “A grinning David Bowie has a wide smile as he joins Coco Schwab for lunch at Sant Umbroeus in New York” (© Splash News)

➢ Update Oct 19 — Reclusive David Bowie heads for lunch in New York… and he’s smiling again … Today’s Daily Mail follows up with five more pix from Splash News showing a very relaxed Bowie heading off to lunch: “Judging by the wide grin on his face, Bowie was feeling great.”

Between the two national newspaper reports accompanying these snaps of Bowie as a “hoodie”, neither offers one new piece of information and all the pix are completely undated. Eagle-eyed fashionistas will notice in the first “takeaway lunch” shot without his zebra print scarf he sports different shoes from today’s pix taken en route to a restaurant. So either David has scoffed two lunches, or, let’s guess, they were taken on different days.


➤ Prof Brian Cox riotiously funny at stand-up debut, just in case the TV career doesn’t work out

Prof Brian Cox , Institute of Physics, video, media,science,journalism,education,

Are we going to die next Wednesday? Brian Cox talks of “a new golden age of physics” while lampooning idiot coverage by the press. Click picture to open video in a new window

❚ SCIENCE’S TV SUPERSTAR effortlessly passed his audition last night to become a stand-up comedian. After receiving a deeply serious medal at the Institute of Physics, Prof Brian Cox OBE made a highly intelligent yet laugh-out-loud speech attacking rubbish journalism and various politicians, while pouring scorn on homeopathists and other dreamers in la-la land.

The 44-year-old particle physicist has spent the past few years building a media career, explaining the universe from the tops of mountains in a string of TV series including Wonders of the Universe, plus The Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4 and as a live stage show, while popping up on 6Music’s breakfast show. Cox’s prodigious and wide-ranging efforts to popularise science persuaded People magazine to include the former the keyboard player for the pop group D:Ream in their list of Sexiest Men Alive. Last night’s speech also threw down an epic challenge to the British government to wake up to the needs of education in science and technology.

➢ Professor Brian Cox’s own website

➢ View Cox’s webcast at Institute of Physics website

➢ Q: If you put your hand in the beam of the Large Hadron Collider what would happen to your hand? A: “It would hurt quite a bit” — Boffins respond at the Sixty Symbols website


➤ Trimphone aside, can you spot the designs that changed the look of Britain over 60 years?

British Design,exhibition ,Innovation, Modern Age, Victoria & Albert Museum,

British Design catalogue collage: road signs, high-rises, Kodak cameras, postage stamps, computers and Henry Moore — all are exhibited here

“Britain has since 1948 sustained an extraordinarily vigorous creative culture, even against a background of manufacturers leaving the stage like the instrumentalists in Haydn’s Farewell Symphony. It’s an inclusive culture, hence tapestries and Jaguars. It’s a culture that swoops artfully between high and low. It’s a culture that could import, with characteristic fairhandedness, both John Betjeman and Nikolaus Pevsner. The one in thrall to the village, the other in thrall to steel and glass. Wonderfully, each was a founder of The Victorian Society. Their contrasting spirits dominate British design in the years before The Beatles’ first LP. Thereafter, the Britain of crumpets-with-vicar became the undisputed global capital of youth culture whose furious organic vitality still invigorates business life.”

➢ Stephen Bayley, former chief executive of the Design Museum, writing in The Independent

Denys Lasdun, University of East Anglia,architecture

Architect Denys Lasdun’s University of East Anglia, 1962-68: raised walkways, striking ‘ziggurats’ and no building on campus more than five minutes’ walk away

❚ AN EXHIBITION TITLED British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, is bound to infuriate as much as it excites. The grimly claustrophobic galleries that host temporary shows at the Victoria & Albert Museum abound with iconic and nostalgic everyday objects, rather as a good car-boot sale does. Yet the omission of much imaginative British media is unforgivable — the template for newspaper colour supplements laid out by The Sunday Times plus a serious investment in photo-reportage, for example… the more-British-than-British essence with which the American Joseph Losey propelled a whole chapter of stylish cinema… the sci-fi television fantasies of The Prisoner or Doctor Who…

Twiggy , Mary Quant ,miniskirt,Swinging London, youth culture

Twiggy models the Mary Quant miniskirt, 1965: named after the designer’s favourite car, the mini encapsulated the youth culture of Swinging London — energetic and unconventional

What the V&A show’s three themes propose — under the headings Tradition & Modernity, through the Subversion of pop, to Innovation & Creativity — amounts to a vital module for every art or design student in the education system, whose forebears, thank goodness, benefited from the shake-up imposed in 1960 by the Coldstream Report.

Ignore most dithering reviews of this hot-and-cold exhibition. Instead, do savour the argumentative Stephen Bayley, writing in that onetime model of new newspaper design, The Independent. He nails the paradox of this show in a daydream: “I became drunk on memories of whimsy, charm, gentility, wit and Macmillan-era futurism. My imagination never turned to the ruins of industry, the loss of technological competence, the barrenness of every British city except London and the fact that the economy of our once-busy island workshop is now based on the theory and practice of a dodgy casino.”

Bayley then comes to the nub of the matter: “The tricky thing is ‘design’ itself. It’s often muddled not only with ‘innovation’, but with invention, fashion and taste-making, sometimes even with art. After more than 150 years of promoting design at the V&A, no one seems to have any very clear idea of what it is. If it is a real subject, it must have a discipline. But what discipline connects Spence’s Coventry Cathedral with Damien Hirst’s 1997 Pharmacy restaurant in Notting Hill, west London, each of which features here?

“If, as the design lobby often insists, ‘everything has been designed’, then everyone is a designer. So what special qualities do professional designers bring to any task?”

British Design,exhibition ,Innovation, Modern Age, Festival of Britain, Skylon, Concorde

Notions of modernity: at the Festival of Britain, 1951, the Skylon designed by Powell & Moya was rendered by the practice’s junior architect James Gowan as a monumentalised missile, and symbolised the dawning age of science. In 1979, BA’s sixth Concorde took off on its maiden flight

Aim Bayley’s question at three triumphs of design in the V&A show: the kinetic balancing act of the Festival of Britain’s Skylon structure; the bird-wing aerodynamics of Concorde miniaturised at the V&A in a 20-ft model; and the most thrilling artefact in the entire show: the skilfully lit Jaguar E-Type from 1961 which rival manufacturer Enzo Ferrari declared “the most beautiful car ever made”. Drop down to one knee and view the Jag diagonally from any corner and wonder at its lack of straight lines. One curve after another creates changing perspectives that conspire to emulate speed even as it stands motionless before you. Seldom will you hear both men and women purring over such a seductive silhouette! Seldom will you ever see such a thrilling manmade object.

There are a good number of breathtaking moments in this show that beg you to ask why and how an exhibit stopped you in your tracks, though not as many as you would wish.

Malcolm Sayer, Jaguar E-Type,sports car ,

Relish the curves: designed by Malcolm Sayer, the Jaguar E-Type 3.8-litre sports car was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961 as a two-seat coupe or convertible, with a top speed of 150 mph. The car’s shape is the epitome of speed

➢ British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Mar 31 until Aug 12


➤ Student verdicts on the new Central Saint Martins, contrasted with LCC’s sad home

CSM ,vox pops, King’s Cross , art school, Central Saint Martins

CSM student vox pops on the King’s Cross campus: views range from “good to be under one roof” to “an architect’s ego trip”. Pictures by Matt Writtle for the Evening Standard

University of Arts , CMS,King’s Cross, St Martins, Grayson Perry❚ THE ARTS AND DESIGN GLITTERATI turned out last night to celebrate the official launch of the University of the Arts’s new home for Central Saint Martins at King’s Cross.

Around 1,000 guests partied in the Grade II listed Granary Building, which has been massively renovated and extended in a £200m scheme that can accommodate 4,000 students and staff. Transvestite artist and university governor Grayson Perry wore full make-up and a vast printed dress-cum-smock while announcing the building officially open. Guests were guided to the party by a colourful light display on the outside of the building, and serenaded as they arrived by Drama Centre London’s Choral Society.

University of Arts , CSM, Grayson Perry, launch party, King's Cross,

Age of the transvestite university governor: Grayson Perry declaring the fab new college open last night

➢ In tonight’s Evening Standard Emma McCarthy tests the temperature on campus: “ After 100 years, fashion’s fledglings have flown the Soho coop. They are coming to roost instead in the heart of King’s Cross, as tonight’s launch party marks the official opening of the new Central Saint Martins campus. The renowned college of art and design — previously spread across six London sites — leaves behind its two most frequented central London campuses in Charing Cross Road and Holborn’s Southampton Row… /continued online

➢ Cross Over is the first exhibition at CSM’s new campus, celebrating the work of  2011 graduates, and runs until Nov 24.


now contrast north of the river with south

❏ Today the University of Arts (UAL) released this sleek commercial [above] showing us inside CSM’s new building at King’s Cross, talked up in a string of soundbites from celebrity alumni such as Anthony Caro and Terence Conran… In sharp contrast [below], Hollie Cradduck, a third-year journalism student, reminds us in her own video that the London College of Communication in south London — which also belongs to the UAL trust — is in serious need of renovation.

❏ Meanwhile fashion graduate Oleg Mitrofanov is still hoping to raise funds to finish I Hate My Collection, a film documenting the glorious impact of the old St Martin’s over the past half century…

➢ Will the magical blasts from the past follow St Martin’s out of Soho? Special feature by Shapersofthe80s


➤ Step up Dr Nick Rhodes, honorary scholar at Luton in Beds

Love the New Romantic outfits! Popstar Rhodes today with the eggheads of Bedfordshire. Photo courtesy Gerard Franklin

➢ From the newsdesk of Duran Duran:

❏ Star names from the worlds of music and cinema joined hundreds of graduates from the University of Bedfordshire at ceremonies today in Luton. Duran Duran keyboard player Nick Rhodes, music producer Peter Asher and film producer Katy Haber were among those being honoured during graduation week at St Mary’s Church. Each received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

Nick Rhodes is being recognised for his contribution to the music industry as a songwriter, performer and producer. Katy Haber, who starred in films such as The Getaway and Cross of Iron and co-produced sci-fi classic Blade Runner, is recognised for her outstanding career in the film industry. Producer Peter Asher is being recognised for his distinguished career in the music industry, working with global stars such as Cher and Neil Diamond.