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memories of 1976
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Image by brizzle born and bred
It saw the birth of punk and the death of Chairman Mao, it was a time when Britain was at its financial peak, even though the country was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund. THE SIZZLER OF ’76 – one of the hottest summers on record

1976 Inflation continues to be a problem around the world. Concorde enters service and cuts transatlantic flying time to 3 1/2 hours. One year after Microsoft is formed Apple is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Nadia Comaneci scores the first ever perfect score in Gymnastics. In South Africa Riots in Soweto on June 16th mark the beginning of the end of apartheid. In music the first of the Punk Bands appear The Damned release New Rose classified as Punk Rock Music.

It was the year in which Harold Wilson resigned and Jimmy Carter became US President, a space probe landed on Mars. These were simpler times – fear of crime was low, people were less suspicious of others, and "traffic flowed freely and, by and large, British Rail was just wonderful".

There were fewer lager louts and it was safe to go out clubbing on a Saturday night. There was less pressure for children and teenagers to live up to their peers -‘keeping up with the Jones’. Children played in the parks and streets instead of becoming couch potatoes or computer geeks.

The economy was in desperate straits. The reservoirs were empty. The government was in danger of falling apart.

Youth unemployment was rising. And British sports people were preparing for an Olympic Games. There was a national water shortage, inflation reached 27 per cent, there were widespread strikes and the West Indies cricket team left us grovelling for mercy. Amid many strikes in public sectors, there was also raging inflation. Britain was forced into the humiliating position of asking international bankers to lend it billions of pounds, revealing the full scale of the economic failure the country was facing.

It was a turbulent time for Britain, we agreed to keep trawlers out of Icelandic waters after a third “Cod War”. In the heat of the summer, riots broke out at the Notting Hill carnival. 100 police officers were taken to hospital after they tried to break up rioters armed only with dustbin lids and milk crates. It was a good year for technology, for 1976 saw the first commercial Concorde flight, the unveiling of the first space shuttle, Enterprise, and the start-up of a new business, the Apple Computer Company, by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. And Matsushita introduced the VHS home video cassette recorder to compete with Sony’s Betamax system.

Cost of Living

Strikes in public services were just something people had to deal with. The standard rate of tax stood at 35 pence in the pound. Inflation raged at around 17%. The industrial unrest and economic crisis led within a few years to the winter of discontent and then the Thatcher revolution. In terms of individual wealth, we were certainly poorer. The average wage was around £72 a week. Only half of us had phones – landlines, that is. No-one had a computer. Far fewer of us owned our own homes and it was much more difficult to get a mortgage. There was less crime and lower energy consumption because there were fewer cars and centrally-heated houses.

In terms of quality of life, only half the country had a telephone, no one had a computer and just over half of homes were owner-occupied compared with seven in 10 today. Our quality of life was improved by an affordable cost of living – petrol was 77p a gallon, a pint 32p and a loaf 19p – low crime levels and fewer cars on the road.

There was also a large investment in the public sector and a narrowing in the wage gap between the sexes. For the really wealthy there was a chance to travel on Concorde, which started flying from Heathrow to Bahrain that January. And for the rest of us we could book a seat on the first InterCity 125 trains or save up for one of the new Ford Fiestas or Mark IV Cortinas, costing £1,950. It was also the year of the Ford Fiesta, Rover SD1, Ford IV Cortina and the Hyundai Pony.

There was less traffic on British roads in 1976, but far more people were killed on them – more than 6,000 deaths compared to fewer than 2,500 annually now. Cars now have better brakes, airbags, side-impact bars and drivers are less likely to be drunk and it is now illegal not to wear seatbelts, even in the back. It was actually far more risky to be a child cycling round 1970s Britain than it is today and greatly more dangerous to be a child passenger in a car.

In 1976 we earned less money and we paid more tax (the basic rate then was 35 per cent rising to a pip-squeaking 83 per cent on earnings over £20,000 (about £110,000 today) and things largely cost far more than they do now. Travel abroad was still something of a luxury (currency restrictions were still in place meaning it was hard even if you had the cash) and largely restricted to the middle classes and above, although the era of the cheap package to Spain and elsewhere was beginning. Things that we think of as essentials – televisions, stereos, kitchen white goods and so forth were hugely expensive. In the mid-1970s a colour television cost two months’ salary; today, like all electronic goods prices have dropped in real terms by 80 per cent or more.

Far fewer of us owned our own homes and it was much more difficult to get a mortgage. Interest rates hit a whopping 15 per cent in October. Yet despite all this the new study, the first-ever global snapshot of quality of life over time, reckons 1976 was a golden year for Britain.

Clothes, travel and eating out were all significantly dearer back then, but university education (free, and you got a maintenance grant as well), public transport and some basic foodstuffs were cheaper. Petrol was cheaper too, although not by as much as we usually think. Adjusting for inflation, a litre of four-star in 1976 cost about 89p (£4 a gallon) but adjusting, again, for earning power (how much people actually had to spend on things like petrol) the real cost of motoring has fallen quite dramatically in the last four decades. As to the price of cars themselves, in 1976 a new, mid-range Ford Cortina cost around £18,000 in today’s money compared to about £16,500 for a Ford Focus in 2012).

The major dent in our finances today is not the cost of petrol but the ludicrous price of housing, especially in South-East England. In 1976 even the wealthiest parts of London contained a number of lower-income householders; there were bits of Chelsea and Kensington that were actually quite shabby. Now, the most desirable parts of the Capital (some wards now have average house prices over the £2m mark) have become effectively sterilised by money, with housing so expensive that only offshore trusts, crooks and oligarchs can afford to buy it. But this is a local phenomenon; across much of England, Wales and Scotland housing is still relatively affordable.

In most measurable ways things were no better in 1976, and in many ways worse, than they are now. We were poorer, paid more tax and most things cost more. We died sooner, smoked more and suffered more illness. We were less likely to be burgled, take drugs or have our car broken into but no less likely to be murdered, raped or robbed. And we mustn’t forget that in 1976 large sections of the population really were dramatically worse off than they are now. This was an era of casual racism and sexism, where women, gays, blacks and Asians could be openly discriminated against, where snobbery was still rife and where police corruption was so serious and widespread that 400 Metropolitan Police officers had to be quietly sacked.

But what we are REALLY nostalgic for, of course, is not the weather, the clothes or the alleged freedom but our youth. And that we can never get back.

Sport

And in sport, it was hardly a year of triumph to be cherished as a golden era. On the cricket field England were walloped by Australia and the West Indies. Our much vaunted athletics team at the Montreal Olympics came back with just one bronze medal between them.

Only dashing racing driver James Hunt saved the day somewhat by winning the Formula One championship. Lawrie McMenemy’s second division underdogs Southampton beat Manchester United 1-0 to win the FA Cup. This was one of the biggest upsets in cup history.

Highlights included one of the hottest summers on record, the Montreal summer Olympics, and John Curry winning a gold medal for ice-skating in the winter Games. Southampton won the FA Cup. Other sporting triumphs in 76 came from British figure skater John Curry, who won Olympic gold in Innsbruck, and on the cricket field England we were walloped 3-0 by the West Indies and our much-vaunted athletics team at the Montreal Olympics came back with a single bronze, won in the 10,000 metres by Brendan Foster.

Music

It was also the year that, for many, the music died, with Abba and Elton John being elbowed aside by the rude young men of pop, including the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Fears of a younger generation with a safety pin through its nose stalked society; what punk might do to the country was a serious concern for many – not least the punks themselves. Punk rock group The Ramones released their first album, U2 got together and the Brotherhood of Man won the Eurovision Song Contest with Save Your Kisses for Me.

Top selling singles of the year were ABBA with Dancing Queen, Queen with Bohemian Rhapsody – whose video more or less changed the face of pop music – and Chicago with If You Leave Me Now. Many outdoor festivals and shows were held in the U.S. as it celebrated its bicentennial – Elton John, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top all drew huge crowds. Music fans bought Dancing Queen by Abba or Forever and Ever by Demis Roussos.

Meanwhile the Stones were in full flow, with a 33-year-old Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, both now 69, playing in front of a reported 200,000 at Knebworth Fair. The band are still on the road, packing out Hyde Park and Glastonbury 37 years on. In the charts Brotherhood of Man’s Eurovision winner Save All Your Kisses For Me and The Wurzels’ Combine Harvester were firm favourites.

Classic albums Hotel California by the Eagles and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life were released in 76 but there were signs of a shift in musical tastes.

A shocked nation saw the Sex Pistols’ foul-mouthed TV interview with Bill Grundy and The Damned released New Rose, widely regarded as the first punk single. Some saw punk as the death of pop but to others it was bringing music back to life while raising two fingers to the establishment.

Sex Pistols swear on live TV 1976

Punk rock band the Sex Pistols achieve public notoriety as they unleash several swearwords live on Bill Grundy’s TV show, following the release of their debut single Anarchy in the U.K. on 26 November.

Punk group The Sex Pistols cause a storm of controversy and outrage in the UK by swearing well before the watershed on the regional Thames Television news programme Today, hosted by Bill Grundy. Grundy, who has goaded them into doing so, is temporarily sacked. Today is replaced by Thames at Six a year later.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0IAYFh0CaI

Film & Television

Filming began on George Lucas’ first Star Wars film. Among the films released that year were Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, the original Freaky Friday, starring Jodie Foster, and John Wayne’s final film, The Shootist.

On television, we were watching The Muppets, Starsky And Hutch and The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, The Muppet Show, Starsky and Hutch. At the cinema, Sylvester Stallone captured everyone’s heart as gutsy boxer Rocky and the film clinched the best picture Oscar. But perhaps the most chilling performance of the year came Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. On TV wheeler dealer Mike Baldwin, played by Johnny Briggs, started his 30-year stint on Coronation Street.

THE SIZZLER OF ’76 – one of the hottest summers on record

Many people fondly remember the year when the mercury topped 28C (82F) for a record-breaking 22 days… and for once the nostalgia is not misplaced.

It was the driest summer since 1772 so hours of sunny outdoor fun made 1976 a favourite. It’s the weather that stands out in most people’s memories. Day after day of temperatures in the 90s, as people rolled up their flared trousers to sunbathe in the park. That had its downside, of course, with a drought leading to scorched earth and hundreds of thousands of people dependent on standpipes for their water supply. There was even a Minister of Drought, Denis Howell, who within days of his appointment became Minister of Floods, as the heavens opened.

Henry Kelly, who was on the radio even then, recalls the heatwave: "As a radio reporter I covered the old chestnut of a man frying eggs on the pavement near Oxford Circus."

With the sunny weather here at last, We turn back the clock to the now legendary summer of 1976 – a year when the heat was really on Rationed: With water supplies running dry, many families had to rely on standpipes Heatwave: During the long, dry summer of 1976, even the mighty Chew Valley Reservoir virtually dried up AFTER basking in the sun for the last couple of weeks, let’s hope we can look forward, with the help of a little global warming, to some long, hot summer days.

We’re certainly due them after a dismal winter and cold spring. But how many readers, I wonder, recall the record-breaking long, hot summer of 1976, now an unbelievable 30 years ago? If you do, you’ll have memories of what a summer should really be like, with day after day of unbroken sunshine and temperatures in the 80s and 90s. Weathermen said that it was the hottest year overall since 1826, though it was just a little cooler in the West. But Bristol certainly had the hottest June on record. Readers of the Post were asked to ‘cool it’ as ice cream was rationed, kids stripped off and jumped into the pool in front of the Council House and tempers became frayed. The outdoor swimming pools, like Portishead and the old Clifton Lido, came into their own and shops reported shortages of suntan oil and sunglasses.

Wildlife had a field day, with a plague of ladybirds descending on the seafronts at Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare. The local authorities started spreading sand on the roads to stop the tar from melting (which didn’t work) and the water authorities became so stretched that they considered bringing in extra supplies to Avonmouth from Norway. Pupils at Winterbourne school were forced to attend lessons as the temperature topped 37.8 degrees in the classroom. But in more sensible Somerset, some children started school at 8am and finished at 1pm – missing at least some of the heat of the day. Despite constant warnings, youngsters just couldn’t be stopped from diving into the area’s many rivers and watercourses to cool off. More dangerously, many Bristol people started jumping into the icy, deep waters of the docks.

By the end of June it was official – Bristol was England’s hottest spot, with a temperature of 91F (33C). By this time many people had had enough of the heat – but amazingly it just went on and on, right throughout July and August. With temperatures at night remaining very high (63 degrees) people found that they couldn’t sleep. In fact, you could still feel the heat wafting off the pavements at midnight. The weathermen tell us that it did rain, but amounts were very small, and soon drought conditions set in.

Then, after over a month without rain, the brewery draymen went on strike – so we soon had beer rationing as well as water rationing to add to our misery. A hosepipe ban was implemented and the washing of cars was outlawed. There was much goverment advice on water-use, including the suggestion that only five inches of water was to be used in a bath, and that baths, it was daringly suggested, should be shared). A minister for drought, Denis Howell, was appointed. Just to prove he meant business a hastily conceived Drought Bill, implemented on July 14, allowed for fines of up to £400 for water misuse.

On June 28, the record for the hottest June day was broken when 32.8C (91F) was recorded. August was a record month with an amazing 264 hours of sunshine – more than eight hours a day. But not everyone lapped up the sun. There were casualties. In July, a local woman died from hyperpyrexia – caused by not drinking enough water or having enough salt in hot weather. It was something usually restricted to countries with very hot climates. Wildlife suffered, too. Thousands of salmon and trout died in the region’s rivers as the water became starved of oxygen. Many trees, especially those which had just started to recover from Dutch elm disease – started to wilt and die. Dust clouds covered the land as firemen strugled to cope with up to 20 grass-fires a day. In the Cotswolds, so-called dust-devils were reported.

These were small whirlwinds which only occur on fine, hot days. Brooks and springs which had never been known to dry up, even in the hottest weather, did just that and bowling greens and golf courses closed their doors to members as their ‘greens’ turned to ‘browns’. Water was being lost by evaporation from the Mendip reservoirs at an alarming rate – nearly six million litres a day throughout August. The level in the vast Chew Valley reservoir fell so low that visitors could actually walk on the exposed baked earth and make out the old road bridges and skeletal remains of long-since drowned farms.

As temperatures stayed in the 90s, many country areas came to rely on standpipes and buckets of water. Some, with very limited supply, or even none at all, had water delivered by tanker. Finally, on August 28, the worst drought since 1921 came to an end with violent storms and flooding. Strangely, many people stood at their back doors and welcomed the rain back with open arms.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRk_Oc_PjAI

1976 The Murders of the Yorkshire Ripper

20 January – 42-year-old married woman Emily Jackson is stabbed to death in Leeds; it is revealed that she was a part-time prostitute. Police believe she may have been killed by the same man who murdered Wilma McCann in the city three months ago.

Sutcliffe’s assaults on Rogulsky, Smelt and Tracey Browne were puzzling random attacks on women but not regarded in the same mould as the murder of Wilma McCann in Leeds or indeed of Joan Harrison in Preston. Wilma’s killing was the first linked Ripper murder and was probably motivated by Tracey’s desire to rob her, a prostitute nearly at home after a night on the town, with extreme violence, rather than a planned commencement of a series of ritual murders. Harrison was also robbed.

‘The well-described stocky bearded Irishman seen with Emily Jackson was never traced. Mrs Jackson was never seen alive again and her van lay parked in the Gaiety car park to which she never returned. This man was always believed to be her killer by the police and his description is quite different to Peter Sutcliffe. This man or a similarly described man was observed at the scene of two subsequent Ripper murders. These fact along with many others shows that Peter Sutcliffe didn’t commit the murder of Emily Jackson.’

9 May – 20-year-old Leeds prostitute Marcella Claxton is badly injured in a hammer attack.

Marcella Claxton, aged 20, and a prostitute, was attacked in Leeds in the early hours of Sunday, May 9 1976. The police did not link the attack to the Yorkshire Ripper series, though they did re-examine the file after the next murder in February 1977.

1976 Timeline

January – Korean cars are officially imported to the United Kingdom for the first time, as Hyundai launches its Pony family saloon on the British market.

2 January – Hurricane-force winds of up to 105 mph kill 22 people across Britain and cause millions of pounds worth of damage to buildings and vehicles.

5 January – Ten Protestant men are killed in the Kingsmill massacre at South Armagh, Northern Ireland, by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, using the cover name "South Armagh Republican Action Force".

7 January – Cod War: British and Icelandic ships clash at sea.

18 January – The Scottish Labour Party is formed.

20 January – 42-year-old married woman Emily Jackson is stabbed to death in Leeds; it is revealed that she was a part-time prostitute. Police believe she may have been killed by the same man who murdered Wilma McCann in the city three months ago.

21 January – The first commercial Concorde flight takes off.

29 January – Twelve Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs explode in London’s West End.

2 February – The Queen opens the new National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, situated near the city’s airport.

4–15 February – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, and win one gold medal.

11 February – John Curry becomes Britain’s first gold medalist in skating at the Winter Olympics.

19 February – Iceland breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain over the Cod War.

March – Production of the Hillman Imp ends after 13 years. It is due to be replaced next year by a three-door hatchback based on a shortened Avenger floorpan.

1 March – Merlyn Rees ends Special Category Status for those sentenced for crimes relating to the civil violence in Northern Ireland.

4 March – The Maguire Seven are found guilty of the offence of possessing explosives and subsequently jailed for 14 years.

6 March – EMI Records reissues all 22 previously released British Beatles singles, plus a new single of the classic "Yesterday". All 23 singles hit the UK charts at the same time.

7 March – A wax likeness of Elton John is put on display in London’s Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

The Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention is formally dissolved in Northern Ireland resulting in direct rule of Northern Ireland from London via the British parliament.

9 March – The Who’s Keith Moon collapses on stage ten minutes into a performance at the Boston Garden.

16 March – Harold Wilson announces his resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to take effect on 5 April.

19 March – Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon announce that they are to separate after 16 years of marriage.

26 March – Anita Roddick opens the first branch of The Body Shop in Brighton.

3 April – The United Kingdom wins the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time with the song "Save Your Kisses for Me", sung by Brotherhood of Man. It remains one of the biggest-selling Eurovision songs ever.

5 April – James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom upon the retirement of Harold Wilson, defeating Roy Jenkins and Michael Foot in the leadership contest. Callaghan, 64, was previously Foreign Secretary and had served as a chancellor and later Home Secretary under Wilson in government from 1964 until 1970.

7 April – Cabinet minister John Stonehouse resigns from the Labour Party leaving the Government without a majority in the House of Commons.

9 April – Young Liberals president Peter Hain is cleared of stealing £490 from a branch of Barclays Bank.

26 April – Comedy actor and Carry On star Sid James dies on stage at the Sunderland Empire Theatre having suffered a fatal heart attack.

1 May – Southampton F.C. win the first major trophy of their 91-year history when a goal from Bobby Stokes gives the Football League Second Division club a surprise 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

3 May – Paul McCartney and Wings start their Wings over America Tour in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the first time McCartney has performed in the US since The Beatles’ last concert in 1966 at Candlestick Park.

4 May – Liverpool F.C. clinch their ninth Football League title with a 3-1 away win over relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers, fighting off a close challenge from underdogs Queen’s Park Rangers.

6 May – Local council elections produce disappointing results for the Labour Party, who won just 15 seats and lost 829 that they had held, compared to the Conservatives who won 1,044 new seats and lost a mere 22. This setback came despite the party enjoying a narrow lead in the opinion polls under new leader James Callaghan.

9 May – 20-year-old Leeds prostitute Marcella Claxton is badly injured in a hammer attack.

10 May – Jeremy Thorpe resigns as leader of the Liberal party.

19 May – Liverpool win the UEFA Cup for the second time by completing a 4-3 aggregate victory over the Belgian side Club Brugge K.V.

20 May – Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is involved in a car accident. Cocaine is found in his wrecked car. Richards is given a court date of 12 January 1977.

27 May – Harold Wilson’s Resignation Honours List is published. It controversially awards honours to many wealthy businessmen, and comes to be known satirically as the "Lavender List".

June – British Leyland launches its innovative new Rover SD1, a large five-door hatchback that replaces the ageing P6 series.

1 June – UK and Iceland end the Cod War.

14 June – The trial for murder of Donald Neilson, known as the "Black Panther", begins at Oxford Crown Court.

22 June–16 July – Heat wave reaches its peak with the temperature attaining 26.7°C (80°F) every day of this period. For 15 consecutive days, 23 June–7 July inclusive, it reaches 32.2°C (90°F) somewhere in England; and five days – the first being 26 June – see the temperature exceed 35°C (95°F). This is contributing to the worst drought in the United Kingdom since the 1720s.

28 June – In the heat wave, the temperature reaches 35.6°C (96.1°F) in Southampton, the highest recorded for June in the UK.

29 June – The Seychelles become independent of the UK.

2 July – Benjamin Britten is created Baron Britten of Aldeburgh in the County of Suffolk, less than six months before his death.

3 July – Heat wave peaks with temperatures reaching 35.9°C (96.6°F) in Cheltenham.

7 July – David Steel is elected as new leader of the Liberal Party.

10 July – Three British and one American mercenaries are shot by firing squad in Angola.

14 July – Ford launches a new small three-door hatchback, the Fiesta – its first front-wheel drive transverse engined production model – which is similar in concept to the Vauxhall Chevette and German car maker Volkswagen’s new Polo. It will be built in several factories across Europe, including the Dagenham plant in Essex (where 3,000 jobs will be created), and continental sales begin later this year, although it will not go on sale in Britain until January 1977.

17 July–1 August – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Montreal, Canada, and win 3 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze medals.

21 July – Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the UK ambassador to Ireland, and a civil servant, Judith Cooke, are killed by a landmine at Sandyford, Co. Dublin.

22 July – Dangerous Wild Animals Act requires licences for the keeping of certain animals in captivity.

27 July – United Kingdom breaks diplomatic relations with Uganda.

29 July – A fire destroys the pier head at Southend Pier.
August – Drought at its most severe. Parts of South West England go for 45 days with no rain in July and August.

Government and Trades Union Congress agree a more severe Stage II one-year limit on pay rises.

5 August – The Great Clock of Westminster (or Big Ben) suffers internal damage and stops running for over nine months.

6 August – The last Postmaster General, John Stonehouse, is sentenced to seven years in jail for fraud.

14 August – 10,000 Protestant and Catholic women demonstrate for peace in Northern Ireland.

30 August – 100 police officers and 60 carnival-goers are injured during riots at the Notting Hill Carnival.

September – Chrysler Europe abandons the 69-year-old Hillman marque for its British-built cars and adopts the Chrysler name for the entire range.

1 September – Drought measures introduced in Yorkshire.

3 September – Riot at Hull Prison ends.

4 September – Peace March in Derry attracts 25,000 people in a call to end violence in Northern Ireland.

9 September – The Royal Shakespeare Company opens a memorable production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench in the lead roles, directed by Trevor Nunn.

12 September – Portsmouth football club, who were FA Cup winners in 1939 and league champions in 1949 and 1950 but are now in the Football League Third Division, are reported to be on the brink of bankruptcy with huge debts.

20 September & 21 September – 100 Club Punk Festival, the first international punk festival is held in London. Siouxsie and the Banshees play their first concert.

23 September – A fire on the destroyer HMS Glasgow while being fitted out at Swan Hunter’ yard at Wallsend on Tyne kills eight men.

29 September – The Ford Cortina Mark IV is launched.

4 October – InterCity 125 trains are introduced on British Rail between London and Bristol.

8 October – The Sex Pistols sign a contract with EMI Records.

15 October – Two members of the Ulster Defence Regiment jailed for 35 years for murder of the members of the Republic of Ireland cabaret performers Miami Showband.

22 October – The Damned release New Rose, the first ever single marketed as "punk rock".

24 October – Racing driver James Hunt becomes Formula One world champion.

25 October – Opening of the Royal National Theatre on the South Bank in London, in premises designed by Sir Denys Lasdun.

29 October – Opening of Selby Coalfield.

16 November – The seven perpetrators of an £8 million van robbery at the Bank of America in Mayfair are sentenced to a total of 100 years in jail.

1 December – Punk rock band the Sex Pistols achieve public notoriety as they unleash several swearwords live on Bill Grundy’s TV show, following the release of their debut single Anarchy in the U.K. on 26 November.

10 December – Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan win the Nobel Peace Prize.

15 December – Denis Healey announces to Parliament that he has successfully negotiated a £2.3 billion loan for Britain from the International Monetary Fund on condition that £2.5 billion is cut from public expenditure: the NHS, education and social benefit sectors are not affected by these cuts.

Inflation stands at 16.5% – lower than last year’s level, but still one of the highest since records began in 1750. However, at one stage during this year inflation exceeded 24%.

Opening of Rutland Water, the largest reservoir in England by surface area (1,212 hectares (2,995 acres)).

First purpose-built (Thai style) Buddhist temple built in Britain, the Wat Buddhapadipa in Wimbledon, London.

Television

3 April – The 21st Eurovision Song Contest is won by Brotherhood of Man, representing the United Kingdom, with their song "Save Your Kisses for Me".

5 April – Patricia Phoenix returns to the role of Elsie Tanner on Coronation Street after an absence of three years.

7 April – Margot Bryant makes her last appearance as Minnie Caldwell on Coronation Street.

1 July – US Sci-Fi series The Bionic Woman makes its debut at No.1 in the ratings – an almost unheard of event for a Sci-Fi series.

1 December – Punk group The Sex Pistols cause a storm of controversy and outrage in the UK by swearing well before the watershed on the regional Thames Television news programme Today, hosted by Bill Grundy. Grundy, who has goaded them into doing so, is temporarily sacked. Today is replaced by Thames at Six a year later.

Dennis Potter’s Play for Today Brimstone and Treacle is pulled from transmission on BBC1 due to controversy over its content, including the rape of a woman by the devil. It is eventually screened on BBC2 in 1987, after having been made into a film starring Sting in 1982.

BBC1

6 January – Rentaghost (1976–1984)
8 January – When the Boat Comes In (1976–1981)
8 September – The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976–1979)
2 October – Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1976–1982)

BBC2

17 February – One Man and His Dog (1976–present)
20 February – Open All Hours (BBC2 1976, BBC1 1981–1982, 1985, 2013)

ITV

1 July – The Bionic Woman (1976–1978, 2007)
1 September – Star Maidens (1976)
6 September – George and Mildred (1976–1979)
27 September – The Muppet Show (1976–1981)
Chorlton and the Wheelies (1976–1979)
19 October – The New Avengers (1976–1977)

Music

This year saw the emergence of disco as a force to be reckoned with, a trend which would hold for the rest of the decade and peak in the last two years. This was also the year which truly established ABBA as the top selling act of the decade with them achieving their second, third and fourth number ones (as well as releasing the biggest-selling album of the year).

The ABBA formula was also replicated in the biggest-selling song of the year – the Eurovision-winning "Save Your Kisses for Me" by Brotherhood of Man, who began a three-year run in the UK charts from 1976. Other acts to achieve notable firsts were Elton John, who scored his first UK number one single this year (albeit as a duet with Kiki Dee), Showaddywaddy had their first and only number one and long-standing hit-maker Johnny Mathis also scored his biggest hit this year.

The album charts saw TV advertising become a major factor in changing the landscape of big sellers with non-regular singles artists achieving high sales with compilations. Among these were Slim Whitman, Bert Weedon, Glen Campbell and The Beach Boys, who remained at number one for ten consecutive weeks.

Also emerging this year was a new trend, which became known as punk rock. This was little evident on the charts as yet, and was more a lifestyle choice, but would become much more significant the following year, as many new acts who typified the trend came onto the scene.

Overall, 1976 is not considered a vintage year by music critics, with its overwhelming dominance by pop and MOR acts. Certainly, many consider 1976 to be the nadir of British music and hold the year’s charts up to be the very reason why Punk and New Wave music emerged with such force the following year.

Britain’s foremost classical composers of the late 20th century, including Sir William Walton, Benjamin Britten and Sir Michael Tippett, were still active. Sir Charles Groves conducted the Last Night of the Proms, and the soloist for "Rule Britannia" was contralto Anne Collins; the programme included Walton’s Portsmouth Point overture.

Number One singles

"Bohemian Rhapsody" – Queen
"Mamma Mia" – ABBA
"Forever and Ever" – Slik
"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" – The Four Seasons
"I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)" – Tina Charles
"Save Your Kisses for Me" – Brotherhood of Man
"Fernando" – ABBA
"No Charge" – J.J. Barrie
"The Combine Harvester (Brand New Key)" – The Wurzels
"You to Me Are Everything" – Real Thing
"The Roussos Phenomenon EP" – Demis Roussos
"Don’t Go Breaking My Heart" – Elton John and Kiki Dee
"Dancing Queen" – ABBA
"Mississippi" – Pussycat
"If You Leave Me Now" – Chicago
"Under the Moon of Love" – Showaddywaddy
"When a Child Is Born" – Johnny Mathis

The side of William Powell & Sons, Carrs Lane – clear wall – “J C & J Pool” (Travelodge Carrs Lane site)
fitting mould maker
Image by ell brown
Almost didn’t get this update, but when I noticed that the steel girders had been removed, I knew that i had to get new shots. I even dropped my camera case on the ground (lucky that it is padded and the camera is ok).

Saw a drill in the middle of the site next to the former William Powell & Sons.

Wonder if a new building will go up here?

Now the steel frame has gone you can read the lettering "J C & J Pool".

Powell’s Gun Shop is a Grade II listed building.

Gun shop, workshops and living accomodation [now offices] of 1861, designed by Charles Edge [f.1827-1867].

MATERIALS: Red brick with diapered patterns in black brick and painted stone dressings.
PLAN: The street frontage is three storeys with attic and the rear, L-shaped workshop range has five floors.

EXTERIOR: The street front is rendered to the ground floor and first floor levels. The ground floor has three doorways at centre, right and left and between them are set shop windows. All of the openings have four-centred arches with deeply-incised hood moulds and label stops. The lower part of the shop windows are of C20 plate glass with modern fascia boards above, but the upper portions of the windows retain their two-light tracery and the surrounds are untouched. The left doorway has been converted to form a shop window and that to right leads to the staircase of the office chambers on the upper floors above the shops. The five first floor windows alternate between single and double-lights and have moulded surrounds and arched tympana beneath the black and red brick voussoirs. The piers between the windows have been encased in wooden panels. The four second floor windows are paired and have projecting figureheads to their tympana. Those to the third floor are sashes. A heavy cornice supports two gabled dormers with crow-stepped profile and polychromatic voussoirs to the relieving arches. The rear L-shaped workshop wing is of diapered brickwork with large windows above the work benches.

INTERIOR: The former central corridor which led to the rear courtyard has been incorporated and now forms a central arcaded colonnade, entered by the central door, to either side of which the shop interior can be reached. This has been largely re-fitted with replacement panelling to the walls and a suspended ceiling to the rear room at right. The offices are approached by an open-well staircase with stick balusters and shaped tread-ends. These upper floors retain their plan form relatively unaltered with two principal front rooms to each, although fireplaces have been removed. The architects drawings show these marked as drawing room etc. to first floor with bedrooms to the upper floors. The workshop wing at the back has ranges of large windows facing east and south and below these are work benches. There is a small forge to one room at first floor level.

HISTORY: The gun making industry in Birmingham was started in the C17 and expanded steadily through to the start of the C20. Firearms for the East India company and for slave traders were made in large numbers and guns for the army were a staple of the industry and led to the founding of the Government Viewing Room in 1798 and one of the two Proof Houses in the country for authorising guns. Powell’s trace their history to the partnership between William Powell and Joseph Simmons established in 1802 and were amongst the most prominent of the C19 gun makers. William Powell was elected Chairman of the Guardians of the Proof House where he also engaged Charles Edge to design the Proof Hole [proofing shed]. The firm made guns for the Napoleonic wars and for the American Civil War. They patented a number of inventions, including, in 1864, the Powell Snap Action and in 1866 a half-cocking mechanism.From 1861 William Powell gave his address as Carrs Lane, which implies that the acomodation was for his use. Gun-makers" did not usually manufacture the individual parts of their guns. Pieces were made by independent specialist sub-contractors. Some of these worked within the gun quarter and Showell’s Dictionary lists some fifty specialists. Assembly was done by "fabricators" or "setters-up" and the finished product was then sold by the "maker". It seems from the juxtaposition of shop and workshop at Carrs Lane that Powell’s assembled the guns themselves and then sold them through the shop, enabling them to better monitor the quality of the finished product.

SOURCES: Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell, Showell’s Dictionary of Birmingham (1885); Andy Foster, Birmingham, Pevsner Architectural Guides (2005).

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: This building was designed in 1860 by the noted Birmingham architect, Charles Edge, whose other listed buildings include the extension to Birmingham Town Hall [Grade I]. It houses a gun shop and associated workshops as well as accomodation [now office chambers] on the upper floors. The building has a good street front in a continental Gothic style which is little-altered, and a shop interior and accomodation which retain the essentials of their plan form. The juxtaposition of gun shop and associated workshops, where the parts made elsewhere were assembled, or "set-up" is rare and the degree of intactness in the workshop wing, with work benches and hearth still in situ, is remarkable. The building provides telling evidence of the specialist gun trade which was once such a vital part of Birmingham’s industry in the C19.

Powell’s Gun Shop – Heritage Gateway

Powell’s Gun Shop dates from 1860 – 61, a late work of Charles Edge in Italian Gothic. Four storeys and dormers, rendered below red brick with blue brick patterns above, stone dressings. The ground floor originally two shops with a central rear access, has four-centred arches. Above the window arrangement narrows on each suceeding floor, creating upward movement. Many sculpted heads. The first floor projections are recent. At the rear a narrow five-storey contemporary workshop wing.

From "Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham" by Andy Foster

Another Travelodge hotel will be built here next door to the old Powell’s Gun Shop.

1970 Lincoln Continental

1970 Lincoln Continental

Check out these removing black mold images:

1970 Lincoln Continental
removing black mold
Image by 1970_Lincoln_Continental
After some restoration.

THIS PHOTO LOOKS BEST WHEN VIEWED 1024×768 + , you can open the following link in a new tab! =)
www.flickr.com/photos/39311243@N05/17536295036/sizes/l/

The 1970 coupe is the rarest of all 1970s Lincolns.
Only about 3000 were built, and it shows out in the field:
good specimens are difficult to find.
In august 2014, after 6 months of searching, I found this car and bought it – a seldom used California car with only 46,000 miles.
I had it shipped eastward 2,600 miles on a transporter truck, then drove it home.

I started seeking coupes after it became obvious to me that they had much sleeker proportions than my sedan (See comparison:
www.flickr.com/photos/39311243@N05/15163395594)

Despite being largely unadorned, 1970-71 Lincolns are among the most powerful. The early unsmogged and high compression versions of the Ford 385 series 460ci engine have lots of rubber-burning power, even with few modifications.
From then on, as early as 1971, new emission systems started appearing, and by 1975 power drains were everywhere on the drivetrain. This seems to be matched by the styling revisions, which in my opinion made the cars look progressively more civilized over the 1970s.

After getting my own specimen home, I repaired the multiple perforations on the roof (the car had been SITTING a lot), changed the exterior color to white by repainting the entire car myself, lowered the suspension by 2 inches, changed and fixed the ignition, got some deluxe wheel covers & 4 new tires, did some serious rustproofing, and swapped several better parts with the black sedan, namely: the front bumper, front grille, both fenders, headlights + doors + mechanism, external mirror, hood + hinges, header panel, 10-tone electric horn, Edelbrock carburetor, starter cable, oil cap, 4 steel wheels, 4 Eaton short coil springs, and the entire custom-built dual 2.5" exhaust (with some help).

Today, everything works!
6-way electric seat, vacuum-actuated door locks, all four electric windows, electric trunk release, HVAC, all inner and outer lights, vacuum headlight mechanism, wipers&pump, electric antenna, EVEN THE CLOCK WORKS!!

Highlights:
-Very comfortable
-Powerful 7.5L V8, lots of torque
-Inside feels very spacious and luxurious
-No ‘old car smell’ whatsoever: feels &drives like a 2 year-old car!
-Beautiful lines, amazing head turner
-Perfect tan leather interior:
www.flickr.com/photos/39311243@N05/15934249415
-Perfect glass
-Nearly perfect chrome
-Perfect headliner
-Solid floors all over, rust-free body
-No cracks either on dash or steering wheel
-10-tone custom electric horn

Here’s a list of what I’ve done in the last 9 months:
(C) = coupe, (S) = sedan

(C) Unblocked passenger’s window
(C) Cleaned out tree needles inside ‘A’ pillar, doors & RQ
(C) Installed NOS tail light lenses
(C) Bought a replacement fender skirt
(C) Swapped Original Ford 15×6 wheels for Chrysler 15x7s
(C) Removed all inner panels
(C) Removed roof trim
(C) Removed roof moldings
(C) Removed front window moldings
(C) Removed old and destroyed roof vinyl
(C) Removed rust and glue on the entire roof
(C) Removed both fenders
(C) Repainted fenders
(S) Primed several body parts (2 coats)
(S) Purchased a grinder
(S) Painted fenders (2)
(C) Built sheet metal patches for roof
(C) Waterproofed rear window
(C) Laid body filler over sheet metal where needed
(C) Sanded down sheetmetal for a perfect finish
(C) Removed rear window moldings
(C) Prepared roof for paint
(C) Painted roof (6 coats)
(C) Sanitized metal joint in cowl
(C) Prepared cowl for paint
(C) Painted cowl area
(C) Painted cowl and lower ‘A’ pillars
(S) Removed both fenders
(S) Reassembled headlights & mechanism
(S) Reinstalled fenders (10 hours!)
(S) Reinstalled header panel
(C) Patched transmissions’s oil lines to radiator
(C) Painted headlight covers
(C) Painted entire front area’s metal frame
(C) Rustproofed trunk area
(C) Rustproofed under quarter area window
(C) Made new silicone joint in cowl
(C) Greased up(rust proof) cowl
(C) Repaired rear view mirror’s bracket
(S) Uninstalled 10-tone horn
(C) Reinstalled rear window molding
(C) Prepareed hood for paint
(S) Primed hood (2 coats)
(C) Reinstalled all fender moldings after paint
(C) Aligned fenders (argh, time consuming)
(C) Realigned front bumper
(C) Reinstalled front window molding
(C) Prepared fenders for paint
(C) Painted fenders (6 coats)
(C) Painted header panel
(C) Reinstalled fenders
(C) Reinstalled headlights + mechanism
(C) Reinstalled header panel
(C) Reinstalled 10-tone horn
(C) Reinstalled hood hinges
(C) Repaired seat electrical connection
(C) Raised front seat
(C) Painted hood
(C) Repaired a major ignition problem
(C) Repaired passenger’s window motor
(C) Reinstalled fenders (9 hours!)
(C) Swapped starter cables
(C) Repaired horn’s main cable
(C) Reinstalled hood
(C) Aligned hood
(C) Bought a new horn switch
(C) Swapped steering wheel centers
(S) Painted steering wheel center
(C) Installed dual exhaust
(S) Installed single exhaust
(C) Swapped both carbs
(S) Checked exhaust for leak
(S) Repaired choke tube
(C) Arranged air filter bowl’s small filter
(C) Arranged kickdown rod’s retaining clip
(S) Painted hood
(S) Reinstalled hood
(C) Swapped driver’s external mirrors
(C) Swapped inner rear view mirrors
(C) Bought sandpaper discs for wet sanding
(C) Bought wet sanding pad
(C) Removed trailer package’s electrical wires
(C) Removed trailer’s electrical connector
(C) Repaired minor problem in tail light’s wiring
(C) Removed glove box
(C) Removed electronic spark control’s vacuum tubes
(C) Removed passenger door
(C) Taken passenger door to basement
(C) Prepared areas for primer paint
(C) Set passenger’s door on table, masked surfaces for paint
(C) Primed passenger’s door frames (2 coats)
(C) Bought paint & brushes
(C) Primed passenger’s door edges
(C) Painted passenger’s door
(C) Painted passenger’s door hinges
(C) Painted driver’s door hinges
(C) Removed electronic spark control’s thermal switch
(C) Reinstalled glove box
(C) Repaired passenger’s door frame
(C) Repaired driver’s door frame
(C) Painted driver’s door frame
(C) Removed door moldings
(C) Painted driver’s door
(C) Painted entire trunk area
(S) Removed seat cover
(C) Removed all molding holes on panels
(C) Removed trunk lid
(C) Taken trunk lid downstairs
(C) Painted skirt edges
(C) Prepared rear quarter area for paint
(C) Repaired trunk lid
(C) Painted rear quarters (6 coats)
(C) Painted trunk’s opening edge
(C) Painted driver’s skirt (5 coats)
(C) Painted passenger’s skirt
(C) Painted gas door
(C) Painted trunk lid (6 coats)
(S) Removed 4 short coil springs
(S) ReInstalled original coil springs
(C) Removed all 4 original coil springs
(C) ReInstalled short coil springs
(C) Waterproofed trunk lid
(C) Painted trunk hinges
(C) Repaired fuel trap drainage hose clamp
(C) Repaired transmission cooler robber hose
(C) Reinstalled trunk
(C) Painted passenger’s wheel skirt
(C) Painted driver’s wheel skirt
(C) Reinstalled trunk lid
(C) Reinstalled gas door
(C) Reinstalled trunk’s weatherstripping
(C) Reinstalled chrome moldings
(C) Reinstalled roof moldings
(C) Reinstalled passenger’s wheel skirt
(C) Reinstalled driver’s wheel skirt
(C) Repaired and strenghten armrests
(C) Repaired broken wheel cover
(C) Painted red ring on wheel covers
(S) Installed stock Ford wheels
(S) Installed stock Lincoln wheel covers
(S) *SOLD THE SEDAN*
___ From here on, all for coupe:
Cleaned up tail light lenses
Reinstalled passenger’s foot vent opening
Rustproofed inside both doors
Reinstalled all interior panels
Reinstalled door panels and armrests
Had the car appraised for insurance
Insured the car
Bought a set of new tires
Replaced rear quarter window weatherstripping
Changed the motor oil
Reorganized trunk
Installed a transmission oil auxiliary cooler
Installed rear suspension bushing
Tightened rubber transmission oil hose
Installed Pertronix ignition
Changed 8 spark plugs
Thoroughly cleansed distributor cap
Removed california license plate
Added ATF oil
Reinstalled front grille
Made 12V connection for Pertronix ignition
Designed and built custom anti-theft system
Removed brake controller items
Bled brakes
Repaired trans. aux cooler’s oil leak
Checked coolant’s PH – all good
Obtained a temporary permit
Went for a first DMV inspection
Installed 4 new tires
Tightened alternator belt
Reinstalled custom seat cover
Repaired a stuck parking brake lever problem
Changed front shock absorbers
Installed 3 new brake hoses
Obtained a second temporary permit
Repassed DMV inspection successfully
Got valid license plates at the DMV
Installed license plate
Moved trans. aux cooler higher up
Repaired small vacuum leak
Wet sanded the entire car
Waxed the entire car
Thoroughly scraped and washed all windows
Reinstalled continental script
Painted some black areas under car
Bought a fire extinguisher
Installed new carpets
Checked differential fluid level
Bought brass fittings for trans. oil conduits
Went back from 15×7 wheels to original Ford 15x6s
Rustproofed the car’s underside everywhere
Washed & polished new tires
Bought&installed battery disconnect switch
Waterproofed trunk lock w/silicone joint
Greased up passenger’s window railings
Fixed PCV hose issue
Straightened slightly crooked door
Straightened slightly crooked lower fender
Straightened slightly crooked bumper
Fixed broken quarter window motor gear
Reconditioned some factory decals
Installed a pinstripe
Fixed a minor ding on the front bumper
Unbent the frame of a front turn signal
Finished connecting the auxiliary trans. oil cooler
Gave the car a very decent compound shine
Gave the car a decent polishing job
Repaired the rear window’s shelf
Added relays to both passenger’s side windows
Replaced all 6 control arm bushings
Replaced idler arm + 2 outer tie rod ends

= )

All photos taken with:
Panasonic Lumix ZS3 (aka TZ7)

My other favorite cars (most look GREAT in white) include:
1969 & 1971 Chrysler Imperial coupe;
1972 Cadillac DeVille coupe;
1969 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (98) coupe;
1967 Buick Wildcat coupe (dark red);
1969 Chrysler 300 coupe;

_________________________

keywords:
1970 Lincoln Continental

Red Chard
removing black mold
Image by harry harris
Magnificent! Try this:

Spinach or Swiss Chard Loaf
450g spinach or 900g Swiss chard or 350g spinach and 150g sorrel
50g butter
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons crème fraîche or milk
salt
freshly milled black pepper
grated nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, chopped
thyme
4 eggs
fresh tomato sauce (for serving)

Heat oven to Gas 6 / 400°F / 200°C. Wash the leaves (use the Swiss chard stalks for another dish) and cook for a few minutes in a very little salted water. (If using frozen spinach, simply defrost it). Drain well in a colander, pressing out excess water with an upturned saucer. Chop. Dry the pan and melt the butter in it. When it is hot add the chopped leaves and dust in the flour. Mix well and add crème fraîche or milk, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Simmer gently for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time to cook the flour. Take off the heat and add garlic and thyme. Beat the eggs and stir into the mixture. Butter a round ovenproof dish, pudding basin or cake tin [I use a 2lb loaf tin – Ed.] and turn the mixture into it. Stand it in a roasting tin half-filled with boiling water and bake for 40-45 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer, which should come out clean; if necessary give it a few minutes longer. It can be served straight from the dish with the tomato sauce served separately, or remove from the mould by setting it aside for 5-10 minutes before running a knife around the edge and turning it out on to a heated dish. Serve with some of the tomato sauce poured round, the rest handed round separately.

Simple French Cuisine, by Jenny Baker, ISBN 0-571-14454-3

PS My recipe for tomato sauce available on request. But of course everbody has one!

Nice Tooling China photos

Nice Tooling China photos

Check out these tooling china images:

The Top 10 Ways to Improve Flickr
tooling china
Image by Thomas Hawk
Recently my friend Bill Storage asked a question in DeletemeUncensored titled "What’s Wrong With Flickr." The thread wasn’t meant to complain about Flickr but to talk about how Flickr could be improved if one were starting from scratch. I wrote a couple of long responses out to Bill in the thread, but thought that some of the ideas really belonged in a longer-form blog post.

Alot of people give me crap for criticizing Flickr. They ask me why I use Flickr if "hate" it so much. The fact of the matter is that I don’t hate Flickr at all. In fact I love Flickr (even if they don’t love me anymore). I spend more time on Flickr than any other site on the web. I think Flickr represents the best place on the web for a photographer to share photos today and I think as a whole that Flickr is one of the cultural gems of our lifetime. What’s more, a lot of the stuff on Flickr works really, really well and is really really great.

That said, I’ve always viewed criticism as a positive thing. As something that helps us improve and grow. Hopefully we learn from our critics and hopefully one can view suggestions as opportunities for improvement rather than simple mindless negativity. I blog alot about Flickr because I care about Flickr. I care about photography on the web. I care about the greater Flickr community and I want to see it get better and better. So don’t see this list as a bitch list about Flickr, rather see it as some honest ways that Flickr can improve.

1. Improve the process on how account and group deletions are handled. Flickr is increasingly becoming known as a place that deletes accounts willy nilly without warning. Flickr’s "Community Guidelines" are notoriously vague (you can be deleted without warning on Flickr for being "that guy" or if Flickr feels that you are "creepy.")

Many of my friends have had their entire accounts deleted for pretty minor offenses that are not specifically prohibited in more specific language in the TOS. In some cases photos with historical significance have been permanently lost. A while back Flickr nuked a group that I administered killing thousands of permanent threads. Thousands of threads by a group with thousands of members. Threads about cameras, workflows, photographic techniques, etc. Institutional knowledge stricken from the web forever.

Flickr really only should nuke accounts or groups as a matter of absolute last resort. They should try to work with their members (especially their long-term and paying members) if they find content that they object to. They should give members opportunities to take self-corrective action before just pulling the plug on their account. If they object to a single thread or a single image, they should just delete that image rather than nuking a user’s entire account.

When Flickr nukes a group or an account it says to a user, "I don’t respect you or your data." It creates an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is bad for community.

At Flickr when they nuke your account it is also permanent and irrevocable. There is no undo button. Even if Flickr staff mistakenly deletes an account or if a hacker maliciously deletes your account, there is no getting that data back. It’s gone forever.

Flickr could probably very easily create a system where deleted accounts are simply turned completely private and inaccessible from the web without actually removing all of the data. They could then give a user an opportunity to fix whatever they have a problem with in order to get their account turned back on. This would be a far better way of managing community than Flickr does at present.

2. Create a more robust blocking tool. Today at Flickr when you block someone, all it means is that they can’t fave or comment on your photos. This is a very weak blocking system. If someone really wants to harass you blocking them does nothing. They can still comment on photos after you do so that their comments show up in your recent activity. They can still follow you around in groups and post things that you’re forced to look at etc. Especially with cheap throw away troll accounts this creates unnecessary conflict on the site.

A few years back, over at FriendFeed, they developed a far more robust blocking system. When you block someone on FriendFeed they become entirely invisible to you. Not only can they not comment in your threads, anyplace else they post on the site is made invisible to you. They are wiped off the planet as far as you are concerned.

Now this would accomplish a few things at flickr. First it would give users far more control over eliminating anything that they found personally offensive or negative on the site. You don’t like my paintings of nudes from a museum and don’t like seeing them when you search for the de Young Museum? Fine. Then block me and you never see any of my content again. You don’t like someone who uses language that you find offensive in a group post? Fine, block them as well.

Second though, this sort of tool would encourage more civil interaction between users. If a user creates a troll account and starts behaving badly. They are quickly blocked and become irrelevant. This encourages them not to troll creating a more positive experience for the rest of us.

Many of the personality clashes that occur on Flickr could be avoided if Flickr simply empowered the user to block more robustly.

3. SmartSets. Having to manually construct sets is an incredibly inefficient way to build and maintain your sets. That’s why I use Jeremy Brooks’ SuprSetr. It’s probably the best third-party app ever built for Flickr. Flickr should hire Jeremy in fact as he’s doing groundbreaking work here, but that’s another topic.

Flickr should consider building SuprSetr technology directly into their Organize section. Let users build sets by keywords. It makes it much easier for users to build and maintain their sets. If I build a Las Vegas set for instance. In the future every single photo of mine keyworded Las Vegas, automatically gets added to this set when I run SuprSetr. Very slick.

4. Better Group thread management. At present Flickr has a very strong and robust Groups section. Here users can create groups (and there are probably literally millions of groups at this point) and talk about whatever they want and post photos into a pool. Games have been created around groups. Businesses have set up groups. Local communities have created their own groups. There are niche groups about anything and everything — from graffiti in South Florida to a specific neon sign in San Jose. Some groups have more robust discussion threads than others, but all offer this feature.

One of the problems with group threads on Flickr though is that you are constantly losing track of conversations that you are having because you have to manually go to each and every group to check the threads. If I post something in a group, but then don’t remember to go back to that specific group and that specific thread, I have no way of knowing if someone has answered my question or commented after my thoughts or whatever.

Flickr should create a page that aggregates all of the group threads that you are participating in or have chosen to follow. This page would encompass all threads from all group in a nice aggregated section. This way if you posted a really important question in a group three months ago that someone has finally got around to answering, you will actually see it, the moment it is bumped to the top of your aggregator.

Flickr should also allow you to hide group threads. Both in your aggregator as well as in the more general group view. If I don’t care about the latest Pentax camera (because I’m a Canon 5D M2 owner) I should be able to mute that thread in the group and never see it again. This would also help decrease negative trolling and bumping of threads on the site as offensive threads could just be hidden by a user if they didn’t want to see it.

5. Kill explore and replace it with a recommendation system based on your contact’s/friends photos. Flickr blacklisted me from Explore a while back after I wrote a negative blog post about actions that someone on their community management team had taken. They capped my photos in it at 666 (cute huh?). But this isn’t why I don’t like Explore. There’s a whole thread called "So I Accidentally Clicked on Explore" in DMU devoted to crappy photos that end up in Explore. The problem with Explore is that it largely shows you photos that you are less interested in. Broad general popular photos of cliches. Sunsets and kittens as the saying goes.

If I choose to follow people on Flickr, I’m probably much more interested in their style of photography or them personally than I am images in Explore. Maybe I’m a graffiti writer and am most interested in graffiti photos. Maybe my thing is mannequins. Maybe I want to see photos of classic cars. Whatever. Instead of presenting the community what Flickr feels is the best of the whole community, show each member the best of their contacts each, day, week, month. I would be far more interested in the photos of people that I actually follow, like, know, etc. Maybe Aunt Edna’s photo of her dog will never hit Flickr’s explore. But it just might hit my own personalized explore and because I know Aunt Edna and she is my contact, it might be a much more rewarding experience for me to see than say another random dog shot from a user that I don’t even know.

Flickr does have a page that shows your contacts most recent uploads, but this page is very limited and only shows the most recent 1 or 5 photos. There is also no way to filter it so that you see the photos that are faved/commented on the most and are likely to be the more interesting photos.

Get rid of Explore and replace it with something that is focused much more on your contacts than people you don’t even know. A personalized Explore would be a far more interesting page.

6. Improve Group Search. I have no idea why Group Search sucks so badly on Flickr but it does. Frequently you will search for terms that you’ve posted in group thread conversations and Flickr will not return the thread where the word exists. I would think that Yahoo! should know a few things about search and am surprised that searching for threads in groups has been so spotty for so many years. I have no idea why this is so bad, but it shouldn’t be.

7. Improve Data Portability. Flickr gives lipservice to data portability, but is not serious about it. As long as 99% of Flickr users can’t or won’t figure out how to move their photos easily to another site they are just fine with things. Functional lock in. The data that we put on Flickr is our data. It belongs to us. We are paying Flickr to hold it for us, but it belongs to us.

Recently my friend Adam wrote up a post on a help forum post about the language Flickr uses for encouraging people to buy Pro accounts. They said that they felt that Flickr is holding your photos hostage (beyond the 200 photo free limit) if you don’t upgrade to Pro. Only Pro accounts have access to original images on Flickr.

Flickr should let any member get their photos out of Flickr at any time. Further they should offer competitors API keys to allow them to build service to service direct transfer applications to move your photos to another service if you want. If I don’t want to renew my Pro account on Flickr and want to move my photos to Picasa, this should be as easy as me pressing a single button and having all of my photos transfer over.

Today it is very difficult and clunky to get your photos off of flickr. A few third party apps are available, but there are lots of problems with them. They fail if you have too many photos. They are only Windows based, etc. etc. Flickr has functional lock in and holds photos in a silo while talking about how they allow you to get your photos out of Flickr. Flickr should follow the lead of Google here and publicly both state and help make our data more portable. This ought to be part of being a good web citizen today.

8. Uncensor Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Germany and Maktoob.com. At present Flickr censors content to these places. It’s still mind boggling to me that a photo of a painting that I took in the Art Institute of Chicago can’t be seen by people in India. Trying to censor the world’s web is messy business. Flickr/Yahoo should take a stand for freedom and uncensor these locations. Google last year took a bold step of choosing to walk about from China rather than censor results there. Yahoo should stand for freedom and stop censoring in these places.

9. Let people sell their photos for stock photography. Flickr missed the boat by giving away stock photography to Getty Images. Stock photography is probably the single easiest way for Yahoo to dramatically increase the profitability of Flickr. Getty Images represents a tiny fraction of the images available on Flickr. The Flickr/Getty deal was probably done as a defensive move by Getty more than anything to keep Yahoo out of the multi billion dollar market that is stock photography today. What resulted is that users get a paltry 20% payout for a very small number of their images that can be sold.

Flickr could be a far more formidable competitor to Getty. Flickr has the size and market share to dramatically disrupt this market. The stock photography marketplace is *far* more complicated than this. But oversimplifying things, Flickr should offer two collections for sale (if a user chooses to offer their photos for sale). Cleared photos and uncleared photos. Uncleared photos should pay more to the photographer than cleared photos. Cleared photos would be reviewed by a team of stock photography experts (Yahoo could even buy one of the smaller stock agencies that already has experience clearing images) and result in a lower payout to the photographer. By turning Flickr into the world’s largest stock photography agency Yahoo could receive significant revenue from Flickr and Flickr photographers personally could benefit much more from posting their work there.

10. Build a better mobile app. The Yahoo built mobile app for Flickr sucks ass (sorry). As I understand it, it wasn’t even developed by the Flickr team. Over at Quora former Flickr Engineer Kellan Elliott-McCrea answers the question, "Why did Flickr miss the mobile photo opportunity that Instagram and picplz are pursuing?" There is no compelling mobile Flickr experience today.

Recently, one of my favorite Flickr photographers, Michael Wilbur, deleted his entire Flickr account and is now one of the most popular photographers on Instagram. Flickr needs to develop a more compelling mobile experience. Part of this should be a very easy way to view group threads via mobile.

There you go. Food for thought. And keep on flickering.

Climatic Civilization Decline
tooling china
Image by Jeffrey Sullivan
The Grand Gulch / Cedar Mesa area in Southeastern Utah is littered with old ruins of Ancient Pueblan dwellings and granaries. Many ancient cultures such as the Mayans and Ancient Pueblans succumbed to droughts, as we’re seeing spread in Africa, China, and the Western U.S.. Some leading scientists are forecasting a crash in global human population to 500 million by the end of this century. We’re seeing clear changes and acceleration now in places like Antarctica, the Arctic, and Greenland, and many of us will live to see them affect global economies and societies. The survival of our children, and their children, are the stakes.

Global scientific collaboration is starting to gain an understanding of how natural (climate) and human (deforestation. topsoil erosion, population) forces have shaped human history. This will help us more completely understand, and hopefully influence, our future.

Projects such as the Integrated History of People on Earth (IHOPE), International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), and the American Quaternary Association (AMQUA, devoted to studying all aspects of the Quaternary Period, the last 2 million years of Earth history) promise to give us the knowledge and tools to make more informed decisions about our future.

After 20+ years of largely ignoring the evidence (such as presented in the watered-down government-reviewed IPCC reports), we may no longer have the luxury of being able to wait and see what happens before our fate will be decided for us.

the perfect bridge
tooling china
Image by springm / Markus Spring
Definitely worth to be seen Large On Black

See where the photo was taken at maps.yuan.cc/.

Lend-Lease buttons

Lend-Lease buttons

Check out these plastic molding service images:

Lend-Lease buttons
plastic molding service
Image by Bushman.K
These are military officer field uniform buttons my grandfather got in the beginning of his service in 1945, before the end of WWII.

Interesting fact about them is that at least half of them were supplied to the USSR by the United States as a part of Lend-Lease program. They were manufactured by the Richard Alan Button Co. You can tell that by "R.A.B. Co" logo on the reverse side of the over-molded plastic. Another half might also be produced in the US using the same over-molding process, but they don’t have any logos to confirm that.

As far as I can tell, this company still exists in Brooklyn, NY and continues to make small stamped metal parts (at least, it has NSN for military contracts assigned to some of them).

dinosaur from the past
plastic molding service
Image by AndGeorgeMakes4 Studios
At the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933-1934, Sinclair sponsored a dinosaur exhibit meant to point out the putative correlation between the formation of petroleum deposits and the Age of Dinosaurs. The exhibit included a two-ton animated model of a brontosaurus. The exhibit proved so popular it inspired a promotional line of rubber brontosaurs at Sinclair stations, complete with wiggling heads and tails, and the eventual inclusion of the brontosaur logo. Later, inflatable dinosaurs were given as promotional items, and an anthropomorphic version appeared as a service-station attendant in advertisements. Some locations have a life-size model of the mascot straddling the building’s entrance.

At the New York World’s Fair of 1964–1965, Sinclair again sponsored a dinosaur exhibit, "Dinoland", featuring life-size replicas of nine different dinosaurs, including their signature brontosaurus. Souvenirs from the exhibit included a brochure ("Sinclair and the Exciting World of Dinosaurs") and molded plastic figurines of the dinosaurs featured. After the Fair closed, Dinoland spent a period of time as a traveling exhibit.

This was originally a Sinclair Service Station near Spring Hill, FL. .

A moulded plastic fashion doll (1960s – 1970s), 1989_263
plastic molding service
Image by Black Country Museums
It is a Sindy doll or a copy, with short blonde hair, and is wearing a 1960s style striped blue dress and beaded necklace.

For more information please visit blackcountryhistory.org/collections/getrecord/WASMG_WASMG…

Nice China Two Shot Plastic Parts Factory photos

Nice China Two Shot Plastic Parts Factory photos

Some cool china two shot plastic parts factory images:

A Ticket to Ride the TranSiberian
china two shot plastic parts factory
Image by Viewminder
Cut off from the sea by the suspicious port authorities in Shanghai it seemed that the only way I was going to get out of China was overland. This was my ticket.

In Shanghai I had inquired of every traveler I met about the path ahead of me. I had heard tales of this magnificent and exotic railway adventure before… they called it the greatest railway journey on earth. The longest stretch of steel rail ever layed.

An Australian traveller named Mark told me that he had heard that there was a guy in Beijing who could get me a ticket.

I asked Mark how I could find this guy in Beijing. He said just go there and ask for ‘The Crocodile.’ Just go to a city of some ten million souls and ask for ‘The Crocodile’? It sounded almost insane to me.

Ditching Mark after he made moves on my Chinese girlfriend and ditching my Chinese girlfriend after she got all worked up when a soldier who was following me took a picture of us together on the riverfront… I understood her fear in that time of Tienenmen Square and I knew it was time once again to get moving. It was time to move north to Beijing… the city they once called Peking.

Tsu Tsu Mei was a nice girl. She had told me to call her Eleanor… because that was what she called her ‘American name.’ I couldn’t do it because she just didn’t look like an Eleanor to me… I always called her Tsu Tsu Mei. And I think that she really liked that I did… it would have been easier to call her Eleanor I’m sure… but each time I called her ‘Tsu Tsu Mei’ she gave me this look… it started with a big warm vulnerable smile that made it seem to me that she was melting inside with warm thoughts and shaking knees.

That look always made me want to scoop her up in my arms and give her the same feelings right back. Whenever I said her name and got that look… it just kind of summed everything up right there in that moment. I really liked that. Sometimes I wished that it had gone farther but the way it ended is why I have the memories I do… and I hope she does too… we never hurt each other… never not once… it was the hard and cold government of an opressive authoritarian regime that broke both of our hearts there in Shanghai. It wasn’t either of us… it wasn’t our fault.

I was with Mark the Australian when I met Tsu Tsu Mei… we were tooling around Shanghai and we had just gotten on the bus after a tour of the Shanghai Waterpipe Factory Number Seven where I had just purchased a fine example of a brass opium waterpipe. We had seen the place while riding the bus and jumped off… the factory was really happy to have foreigners tour the place. I couldn’t believe that there were at least six other water bong factories in Shanghai. Somehow we had found the seventh.

As foreigners we were pretty much used to talking in english right in front of people knowing full well that they couldn’t follow our conversation… especially the slang riddled prose we frequently used. When Tsu Tsu Mei got on the bus and stood next to me I turned to Mark and said "man she is the most beautiful Chinese woman I have ever seen."

Before Mark could agree… Tsu Tsu Mei let me know that she appreciated the compliment… she smiled and said "thank you" in perfect english.

Shocked that my subterfuge was exposed at first I was a little embarassed… until Mark took that half of a second to start in on her. No way I thought… I was the one who paid the compliment… I was going to be putting the moves on Tsu Tsu Mei. I’m not sure Australian guys understand the concept of a good ‘wing man’ but Mark sure had some learnin’ to do. He needed to watch the movie ‘Top Gun’ and take some notes.

Tsu Tsu Mei and I arranged to meet later that night in downtown Shanghai and proceeded to become great friends. She even took me to meet her parents… Norman Tsu… the first deaf technical drafting instructor in all of China and his ‘deaf wife Janie.’

Tsu Tsu Mei’s father Norman was sent to the United States to study technical drafting in the fifties. He went to Gaudellet University and he confided in me that he really liked it… that he didn’t want to come back to China… he stopped writing home and corresponding with the government… he wanted to drift away… but they corralled his mother who was a widow by this time… and they made her write Norman a letter that made it really clear that it was in her best interests that Norman return to China. That’s how China got its first deaf technical drafting instructor. Or how they got him back.

Norman always referred to his wife as ‘My deaf wife.’ Both of them were deaf and we passed notes to each other over a marvellous dinner… while Tsu tsu Mei just kept smiling at me and at her parents… unbelievable food Normans deaf wife cooked. It was a feast… and not the Chinese food I was used to… this was exotic and unknown to me. The Tsu’s really went out and they’ve been in my thoughts many times since then.

The Tsu family was really good to me and things were moving right along with Tsu Tsu Mei too until that soldier decided that he’d turn our little hand holding session on the Shanghai riverfrint into a Kodak moment. I had seen that guy following me before… he was the tallest Chinaman I’d ever seen… a full head above the rest of the general population. I found great amusement in shagging him… going into a store and going out the back door. It was really like a game. Still… he always found me… he was on me for days there in Shanghai. And after he took that picture I realized that my company with Tsu Tsu Mei wasn’t looked upon favorably by the authorities. She was terrified of the repurcussions. I knew that was it… I wasn’t going to get her or her family inot any trouble. I was going to get out of Shanghai.

I purchased a train ticket on a sleeper train for the seventeen hour ride from Shanghai to Beijing. How was it that I could go to a city the size of Beijing almost a thousand miles to the north and find this man called ‘The Crocodile’ simply by asking? It seemed completely insane… but such was the world I found myself in this year… for me, 1990 was the year of living insanely.

After seventeen hours of watching China slide by through the window accompanied by the soundtrack of nonstop kung fu videos on the train’s television sets, I stepped off the carriage in Beijing, China’s capital city. Which was a godsend because I could not have taken one more of those videos. The Chinese truly love them… they must be a part of their national identity… the way that the Japanese love Godzilla. Godzilla was a mechanism that helped the Japanese to cope with their loss of World War Two and the painful shock of getting Nuked twice. Even though Godzilla always stomps their cities to pieces they always triumph. It’s like a morality tale with them.

When I was living in Osaka someone who worked in the studio that made the Godzilla movies decided to borrow the costume and wear it to a party where he caused it to be damaged to the tune of a hundred and seventy five thousand dollars. I wish I was at that party. Hanging out with the Nigerians. That would have been epic.

The first european looking guy I saw in Beijing… I stopped him as was my custom in the orient and inquired of the conditions and opportunities there in this new city. Blonde hair in China or Japan had always meant ‘help desk’ to me. We vagabonds and adventurers always stuck together and usually became instant friends as long as there wasn’t a woman involved.

Then I asked him if he had ever heard of ‘The Crocodile.’

He said that he would take me to see him right now. Right then. Right there. Unbelievable. I’m not kidding. No shit. I couldn’t believe it either.

I had found ‘The Crocodile.’

The man walked me to a hotel a few blocks away from the railroad station. It was an old building that looked straight out of the 1920’s, like just about every other building in Beijing. You could see that it was really beautiful at one time… maybe even opulent or exclusive… but it, like anything else that was once beautiful or opulent, it seemed to fall into despair and decay under the custodianship of the communists. That was the way pretty much all of Beijing looked. With brown air and trees and bushes that were different from all those I had even known. I always notice the trees and bushes in a new city. Here on the other side of the world the plant life and the vegetation was odd to me… just unusual enough to stick out in my mind.

The man knocked on the door and we were answered by a nice looking blonde woman on her early twenties. She looked kind of pissed off but invited us in still. My guide just turned around and left with little more than a gesture to the woman. I followed her into the room.

It had become a bit of a self entertainment for me to wonder why the man I was seeking should be called "The Crocodile." It intrigued me from the moment I had heard it and in my mind I came up with all sorts of reasons for the nickname. None of them pleasant.

The room was an illustration in contrasts… inside "The Crocodile" had rented two rooms… he knocked down the wall that had seperated them and completely remolded it. This guy was livin’ cush. He sat on the edge of his bed playing with the tv remote control as if it had befuddled him… I could tell from body language that his girlfriend and he had just been fighting.

"The Crocodile" stood up and turned around to face me… the guy must have been six and a half feet tall… and immediately I could see why they called him "The Crocodile."

He wore these braces on his teeth… the largest mass of metal I’ve ever seen in a persons mouth. Communist braces aren’t very pretty… but these… "The Crocodiles" mouth looked like it had been installed by a blacksmith… an angry, drunken blacksmith. Like hammered bars of hot metal hand forged around each of his teeth.

I had to make myself stop staring as he got right down to business. Croc asked me when I wanted to leave… he said he had one ticket and he wanted a hundred and ten bucks American for it. There’d be no negotiating I could tell that right away. I had a feeling that if I tried that he’d have just relieved me of all my dough right there. Probably my gear too.

We were in a bit of a funny situation for a couple of reasons… I thought the ticket looked fake… it looked worse than some of the permits and passes I’d forged in school. I didn’t have a visa to enter Russia… and I didn’t carry that kind of currency in US dollars. I wasn’t too sure that the Russians would actually be too excited about me coming to their country either. When I expressed this to "The Crocodile" he laughed a powerful and boisterous laugh and told me not to worry about it… he’d just gimme the ticket on good faith… so I could try and get a visa and cash a travellers check or something to come up with the Dollars he wanted. Besides he said "I know where your seat is and when you’ll be leaving and if you fuck me I’ll kill you" after which he laughed another deep laugh and gave me a half hug. "I want my money by next week he said." and walked me to the door where he said goodbye and his girlfriend gave me another dirty look.

That was it. Absolutely fucking unbelievable. I’m in Beijing less than two hours and I found my guy and I got my ticket. Now I just needed a visa from the Soviet Consulate. He’d also tell me there if the ticket was real I figured.

But right now I needed a place to stay. That would have to be my first order of business. The Croc’s hotel seemed a little too luxurious for my budget… I needed something ‘dumpier.’ Something where my kind’d fit in you know?

I walked out of the hotel and on to the street… pausing for a moment to take a breath of the sulfery yellow tinged air and feel the pulse of the street there…a moment to let the vibe of it all sink in. I could have gone left or I could have gone right but it really didn’t matter because I had no idea where I was going anyway. It’s like a rule with me… like walking on the upwind side of the street because that’s where all the paper money blows. Go left.

My friend Joel… the guy who’d saved my ass from the knife weilding Yakuza that pressed certain death into my throat in that bar in Osaka… he told me that he went insane and that he would hear these voices in his head that always said the same thing… "look to the left Joel." If he wasn’t crazy already he said that those voices would do it… he never understood the meaning of it. Stupid voices in your head… they never tell you anything good… like "stay away from that one… she’s trouble." They’re always all cryptic. You gotta try to figure them out and break the code. Joel said the lithium they gave him pretty much shut the voices down. I never had heard voices though. It would probably be fun for a day or two… just to see what they would say. I think if I had voices they would sound like Vincent Price on LSD.

So I went left after I walked out of the Crocodile’s hotel. I usually always go left when I got no idea but this time I was especially glad I did.

I get about a block and right there smack dab… badda bing… I run into this guy I lived with in Osaka Japan… Mike Levine… a Jewish guy from Jersey. He had let me borrow a pair of his shoes because I could find any in my size in Japan. Mike’s got this big smile on his face as he sees me… we hug and slap each others backs and talk about the fight that got me thrown out of the university in Japan that we both went to.

Mike gave me directions to a suitably dumpy hotel and we parted ways.

Walking down the street I saw a couple of American girls… who turned out to be two really granola looking lesbian backpackers from Nebraska.

I stopped them there and asked them where they were staying… they said they had no idea… I invited them to share a hotel room with me if we could find one… plus the thought of girl on girl action sounded like really good fun to me. I felt like I was really going to like Beijing. It seemed like an easy city. Things were looking good.

Was this my lucky day or what?

Shit, I been here for like two hours… I already met the guy I came to meet, had a ticket for the Trans Siberian, hooked up with two lesbians and there we found a three dollar a night hotel. Six yuan a night for each of us. What more greatness could god bestow on me? Another lesbian? A blind supermodel? That would just be asking too much I thought. Lady Luck, I’ve always said, she was indeed a friend of mine.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth they say… so I unpacked my gear in the hotel room… every bit of it… and spread it all around. I always unpack fully so if I get robbed they can’t just take one bag and split… they gotta work for it… then I unscrew all the lightbulbs in the room so they gotta have a flashlight to do it well… and then I make some loud noise making booby trap… like a pyramid of empty beer cans behind the door… then they gotta have nerves of steel to finish the job. Never got robbed once. Never. I have come home more than a few times affected by some intoxicant or another and fallen vicim to my own booby traps though. It always scared the beejesus out of me.

The Nebraska lesbians unpacked too.

Time to get out of here… It was time to go have a look at Beijing.

I left the hotel in a hurry and jumped on the first bus I saw… it didn’t matter where the bus was going…I didn’t care… I was sure that I hadn’t been there anyway. That’s the great thing about exploring like that. A new city… just go anywhere. It’s all new.

Sitting on the bus I was of course the only westerner riding it. The Chinese weren’t as polite as the Japanese and they would just stare at you forever… sometimes with mouth agape even… and I found myself very much the center of attention… the center of attention was something I really didn’t want to be. I kinda wanted to blend in really. That was going to be tough.

I started having what could only be described as auditory hallucinations on that bus… that happened alot to me in China… but right there it was bad… the cacaphony of Chinese voices started to filter itself out in my hyperactive mind and become english… I could understand things sometimes… I was certain that people were commenting on how intoxicated I was… they all knew it… they were all talking about me… looking at me… ‘Is that American guy drunk out of his gourd or what?’ I had to get off that bus. The sweat was pouring from my pores. It was getting to be more than uncomfortable… it was unbearable.

The next stop was my stop no matter where it might be… soon as it stopped I jumped off that bus so fast… I didn’t even have a clue as to where I was… and I didn’t care. Away from that hash house hotel and off of that bus…I just wanted my own little piece of contraband free real estate where I could sit and watch China go by and make amusing comments in my head to entertain myself.

This was my stop.

Before me was layed an enormous plaza… I had never seen such a large paved public space. It was gigantic enough it looked like you could lay down and land a 747 in it if you went from one corner to the next. It was so big and vast that the smog of Beijing obscured the other side of it from me. I didn’t know what this place was, but it made me feel realy small… insignificant actually… which was precisely how I wanted to feel.

I stood at Tienenmen Square.

This was the old Beijing… the one that used to be before the extremely systematic exploitation of cheap labor turned the place into a giant pachinko parlor… this was the dirty, dusty and gritty beijing where products were pulled around on wagons by teams of horses who shit big piles in the streets that you’d go straight over the handlebars of your bicycle if you didn’t look where you were going. I’d seen it.

This was the Beijing where the streets seemed impossibly large considering no one really owned a car… the Beijing where the old people all wore those navy blue or black or gray kung fu outfits and walked around stooping with their hands clasped behind their backs as if some ultimate power had ordered them to for all time.

This was the square in Beijing where less than a year had passed since thousands of students took a chance to try and change their world… this was the Beijing where tanks had rolled over them without mercy and their bodies were torn apart by the callousness of lead flying around at ballisticly high speeds and cruel random trajectories. This was the Beijing where their blood ran like rivers down the curbs and into the sewers where like the extinguishing of their tender lives for naught all was soon forgotten by a world more infatuated with its demand for cheap consumer electronics in attractive clamshell packaging.

The one year anniversary of the slaughter was approaching and here as if by accident I find myself in the place where history was made and so conveniently forgotten.

Here and there I could still see bullet scars, burns and other marks that told the tale of a failed movement killed in a single night of murderous debauchery.

It was eerie in Beijing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Was it just the intoxicant’s influence? I couldn’t place it until I found a nice grassy place to sit down and let everything stabilize. Let my altered mind stop spinning.

The young people were all gone.

The government had sent what looked like the entire youth of the capitol city to ‘summer camp,’ where they’d sing patriotic songs and watch lots of motivational films and learn the error of their ways. It was re-education for the entire young population… there was almost no one walking around that city bettween the age of fourteen and twenty one. It was spooky… strange mojo in a strange land. Like some kind of Twilight Zone episode.

Everybody’s seen the picture of ‘Tank Man,’ that guy whose name the world doesn’t know… the one who was walking home from the grocery store with a couple of plastic bags in his hands… the guy who became a lonely human roadblock for a column of tanks… I know I could never forget that guy… he had balls the size of watermelons that one. I woudda love to have bought that guy a drink or eight.

I was walking down that street and a momentary sense of deja vu made me stop… It felt like I’d been there before… it didn’t take too long for the reality to hit me… I was standing in that spot. In the Tank Man’s spot. The premonition came from looking at that photograph.

There was a pay phone there… on the side of the street… you can see it in the Tank Man picture… I thought my parents might like to know where in the world I was so I tried to call them from it without luck. Maybe they’d think it was cool that I was calling them from there I thought.

I wanted to feel the scene out… I wanted to let it all sink in a little bit so I sat down and I had a look around. It all began to unfold in my mind… the direction the tanks came from… the sounds they’d make… their squeaking tracks rolling on the asphalt echoing in the canyon of concrete buildings… I could see the crosswalk he was walking across when it happened.

I stood up, still painting the scene on the canvas of my mind with the brushes of my imagination and I walked towards the crosswalk… just as he did that remarkable day.

Man… sometimes even I have a hard time putting things into words… sometimes feelings, emotions and perceptions are just too powerful and swift to get a grasp on.

Surveying the scene where this historic collision happened from the street… it was so much different than the picture we all know… that was shot from high above… it’s got a whole different tone than the lonliness and isolation that the street level offered. Just like in the square where I had felt so small… even the street there was massive in width… one of those subcompact cars flying through the smog could have crushed me like a bug. The thought of standing my ground in front of a column of many ton armored tanks with their diesel engines shaking and belching thick black smoke and rumbling in anger… I’ll tell you this… with the greatest respect that I can muster… that guy… at that moment… he took on the entire world. He was a bad ass motherfucker who said ‘hey… I don’t like what’s going down here.’ and he backed it up with his hundred and fifty pound body alone in the streets. He never even put those grocery bags down. But for a moment, that man stopped the world. He stood his ground. He stood our ground. He stood for everyman that day.

I didn’t.

I didn’t even chance stopping where he did. I didn’t want to stop a bus.

When I got across the street I walked back towards Tienenmen Square wondering what happened to the guy.

These thoughts were crisply punctuated when I found the remains of a completely flattened bicycle. It had been run over by something pretty heavy because it was as flat as a bicycle could conceivably become. It even had a curve to it… a lot of parts were gone but the frame, the handlebars, even the rims were crushed flat. I picked it up, still thinking about Tank Man and I realized what it meant.

Something inside me wanted to take it home… to show my people… people born and raised with a freedom fought for by others… I wanted to show them what we pretty much let happen here… the great crime that we ignored. It was a strong symbol to me at least of an oppresive government that lost it’s temper on it’s own people.

I’d never get that flattened bicycle home, but I carried stashed inside the tubes of my backpack messages that people had asked me to carry out of the country to a place where mistakenly so they thought good and decent people might give two shits about the treachery bestowed upon them in their quest for what we have but could really care less about. A freedom so strong… a freedom so deep that it was a part of me wether I was conscious about it or not… a freedom that formed the person I was and carried me on a long and mostly accidental journey to a place where youth was cut short for having the audacity and lack of patience to demand a more tolerant society where people would count for just a little more than cheap labor.

I promised myself I’d remember what happened to them. I promised myself that on June 4th, 1990 that I’d say a prayer there in Tienenmen Square. I’d recognize their martyrdom to the cause of freedom and I’d pay my respects on the anniversary of the barbarism of their all powerful and vicious central authority.

When that morning came with its sultry brownish orange sunrise, three hundred and sixty five days after the blood letting, when the flag of a nation was raised over it’s most proud square… I was the only person that wasn’t Chinese standing there as a witness to at least offer the the quiet contempt of my heart and the objection of my soul as a counterbalance to the disgrace of the murder of these children.

There were no television cameras or satellite trucks… no journalists fixing their hair or taking notes on those long pads that they carry. Nothing.

I carried no sign or banner… I spoke no message of objection. I sought to instigate nothing.

I stood there in Tienenmen Square as a witness.

A witness to what the rest of the free world was so selfishly quick to forget.

Two days later I’d board a train that I’d get off of in another world… where a wall that represented hate and anger and mistrust would be falling, hacked to pieces bit by bit by a people celebrating a new freedom and unity.

Shenzhen, Oct-2017

Shenzhen, Oct-2017

Some cool plastic injection china images:

Shenzhen, Oct-2017
plastic injection china
Image by maltman23
AMC (plastic injection molding factory)
4th of 4 factories
on the day of factory tours
Shenzhen
October-2017

Shenzhen, Oct-2017
plastic injection china
Image by maltman23
AMC (plastic injection molding factory)
4th of 4 factories
on the day of factory tours
Shenzhen
October-2017

Shenzhen, Oct-2017
plastic injection china
Image by maltman23
Massive (2 meter tall) 3D printer
at AMC (plastic injection molding factory)
4th of 4 factories
on the day of factory tours
Shenzhen
October-2017

Cool Mold Chinese images

Cool Mold Chinese images

A few nice mold chinese images I found:

BK0021Y-Antique-Chinese-Ming-Cabinet
mold chinese
Image by Silk Road Collection
"The cabinet is designed in the classic Ming style-sleek, simple, and graceful. The medium-brown finish reveals the rosewood grains beautifully. The doors are attached by traditional wooden pegs. The molding and the legs are rounded and the front leg spandrels are slightly curved. Inside the cabinet are two ""finished"" storage areas and two drawers. The hardware is brass.
Two of these cabinets are currently available but can be sold separately. Price listed is for each cabinet."

Grass Mud Horse – a Maquette for Ai WeiWei
mold chinese
Image by melter
one finger salute from an empty Chinese handcuff. Cast iron base cast in green sand at Ox-bow in 2007, aluminum "finger" cast in 2012. Finger was cast in a burn out mold, using a bamboo Chinese handcuff (finger trap). You are only trapped if you resist in the way expected.

Leamington Spa Station – bridge on High Street in Leamington – Jordans Fireworks
mold chinese
Image by ell brown
This is Leamington Spa Station in Warwickshire.

I got here on a Chiltern Railways train from Solihull.

Was lucky that I had blue skys in Leamington, especially for an October day (have been having many blue sky days in October 2011).

The current Art Deco building was opened in 1939.

And is Grade II listed.

It was opened by the Great Western Railway to replace the original building of 1852.

The building was restored by 2008 by Chiltern Railways.

Grade II listing Leamington Spa Station, Including Attached Platform Structures, Royal Leamington Spa – British Listed Buildings

Main line station 1939 for Great Western Railway. Steel-framed sheathed in brick; faced with Portland stone above polished granite plinth; brick to rear/platform elevations. Flat roofs with parapet. Wooden sashes with stone architraves. Platform canopies steel girders with cast iron columns. Art Deco neo-classical style.
EXTERIOR: To forecourt, ENTRANCE RANGE of 3 storeys and 9 bays, LEFT RANGE of 2 storeys and 14 bays, and single storey RIGHT RANGE. ENTRANCE RANGE has advanced ground floor with granite plinth, rusticated Portland stone, and parapet. Main entrance has granite architrave, pair of glazed doors with side- and over-lights, horizontal mullions and ‘ENTRANCE’ in metal lettering flanked by three 6-over-9 sashes, all under glazed canopy. Above this, 5-part facade has central 3 bays defined by shallow pilasters with stepped vertical detailing, flanked by slightly taller and advanced single bay, then double end bays; all with 6-over-9 pane sashes to 1st floor, 3-over-6 pane sashes to 2nd floor, and projecting stepped cornice below parapet. ‘LEAMINGTON SPA STATION’ in sans serif lettering to parapet over central 3 bays. To right, single recessed bay blank above entrance. RIGHT RANGE has 1-storey subway entrance with 3 wide openings outlined in polished granite under 3 blind panels, inside walls canted to subway passage. LEFT RANGE has parapet roof above flat cornice, banded string course, and continuous polished granite plinth. Central bay advanced slightly with pair of 4-over-6 pane sashes above entrance with granite architrave. Two 6-over-9 sashes to otherwise mostly blank first floor, and 6-over-9 sashes to ground floor with secondary entrances to each end also within granite architraves. Far left is advanced with similar windows and door on return. Return elevations stone with brick to rear/platforms. INTERIOR: Booking Hall and subway tiled above granite plinth. Stairs to each platform with stick metal balusters, some wavy, and wooden handrails. Balustrade and newels at platform level have circular and wavy details.
PLATFORMS: 2 primary platforms ‘Down’ and ‘Up’ (to London), and 2 shorter platforms for stabling trains. The linear platform buildings have brick walls with granite plinth and cantilevered canopies edged with bargeboards and framed with steel girders springing from stone pilasters and stepped corbel blocks. Platform extends beyond the buildings where canopies are supported by paired cast-iron columns. Down platform has former telegraph room with wooden and glazed panelled entrance, waiting room, buffet, lavatories. Up platform has waiting room and service rooms. Wood framed glazed doors with metal mullions, handles and curved bars in a Deco style. Waiting rooms finished with wood architraves to doors and fixed pane with overlight windows to platforms, blocked fireplaces, coved and beamed ceilings, and fixed wooden bench seating. Buffet fully panelled with polished walnut, continuous bar similarly panelled below moulded edge, back bar; fireplace to north with mirror and panelled overmantle and fluted band to top. Lavatories with wooden doors and stone Deco style fireplaces. Some original benches with ‘GWR’ scrolled in supports on platforms.
HISTORY: This station replaced the 1853 Brunel station that was demolished in 1935, which had in turn replaced the large Georgian Eastnor Terrace.
SOURCES: Great Western Railway Magazine July 1937, December 1937, March 1940.
Royal Leamington Spa courier Nov. 13, 1936.

Took these as I was leaving Leamington.

Railway bridges under the station.

I would have got this bridge first, but I earlier went down Lower Avenue, so got it on the way back to the station.

Bridge on High Street in Leamington

Also passing under is Bath Street and Clemens Street.

A quick shot of Jordans Fireworks – not to long until this years Fireworks Night.

They sell Chinese Flying Lanterns and other fireworks types.

Cool Mold Makers China images

Cool Mold Makers China images

Check out these mold makers china images:

2017-08-04_2122i_chemher
mold makers china
Image by lblanchard
It’s a hard-knock life (for stuff)
What did the bookworm say to the library? It’s been nice gnawing you!

Okay, we admit: there’s nothing funny about destructive insects. Museums and libraries work hard to prevent pests from settling in — one reason why there’s no food and drink allowed in galleries.

You can see a latticework of holes in these encyclopedia volumes from Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts), published around 1780. These books were chomped by tunneling pests long before they came to our library. What we call "bookworms" can actually be one of several types of moths, beetles, or lice. They bore through leather and cloth bindings, or feed on the microscopic molds and fungi that grow inside books after exposure to moisture. In early modern China, some book-makers treated pages with arsenic to repel damaging insects. Today, infested collections may be treated with fumigation, but many conservators prefer to de-louse books using extreme temperatures — like freezing — rather than harsh chemicals.

Things Fall Apart: Exhibition at the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum