I hope you have all been having a good summer. Ours was something of a ‘social summer’; having various friends staying with us; having a dinner party and a summer garden party in our home; going to a friend’s wedding etc. It was all very lovely.
Meanwhile, this news update contains, amongst other things, information about my new blog, ‘Serendipitous Moments’; Martin Hodges new blog, ‘Square Sunshine’ which focuses around his young grand-daughters; some new additions to our website; further information about my grandfather’s books; a school librarians petition which I hope some of you will feel able to sign up to and some cultural events that I have been to this summer.
1. ‘SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS’ – RUTH RIKOWSKI’S NEW BLOGhttp://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.com/ I have started up a new blog, which I have called ‘Serendipitous Moments’. As I state on the Welcome Page the purpose of this blog is: “…for when I feel moved/inspired by something that I would want to record/write down/photograph etc. Much of what I read and think about gets forgotten - having this blog will mean that some of those precious moments and experiences can be captured, and hopefully treasured. Various circumstances that we go through can help to sharpen the mind - hence this decision.”
2. BLOG ENTRIES ON ‘SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS’ - MICHAEL JACKSON, POND FOR WILD LIFE AND SUMMER GARDEN PARTY So far, I have inserted three entries on my ‘Serendipitous Moments’ blog – a short one about the death of Michael Jackson; one about a pond for wild life that we built this summer in our garden and one about the summer garden party that we held in our home at the end of August 2009. See: http://ruthrikowskiim.blogspot.com/
3. ‘THE ARTISTIC OUTLOOK WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE NOVEL AND LITERATURE’ BY RUTH RIKOWSKI For those of you that are interested, some insights into my artistic outlook can be read in a piece that I have written which has just been inserted on our website. It is entitled ‘The Artistic Outlook, with a particular focus on the novel and literature’. Well, I think most of my readers are now aware of my love of the novel! Anyway, this article can be viewed at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Artistic Outlook
4. REVIEW OF ‘DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT: the problem of expanding ownership rights’ by CHRISTOPHER MAY, CHANDOS PUBLISHING: OXFORD, 2007 – REVIEWED BY RUTH RIKOWSKI http://www.woodheadpublishing.com/en/book.aspx?bookID=1689&ChandosTitle=1 My review of Chrisopher May’s book ‘Digital Rights Management’ is now available on our website – see http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Digital Rights Management
5. MARTIN HODGES’S NEW BLOG, ‘SQUARE SUNSHINE’ One of my writing colleagues/friends has a new blog, focusing around his three young grand-daughters, which I think is rather lovely. See: http://square-sunshine.blogspot.com/
Here is what Martin himself says about his blog:
“Becoming a grandparent has transformed my life. Rather like getting married or becoming a parent for the first time, no one can really prepare you for the role.
I have very young children in my life once again and a different kind of responsibility from that which dictated my feelings and actions as a parent. In short, I'm enjoying it so much I thought I'd write down my thoughts and observations on a new blog. Hence, Square Sunshine was born, and is living and growing at http://square-sunshine.blogspot.com/
This was meant to be a vehicle for anything that came to mind about my being a grandfather. However, to my surprise, Susan Adcox at About.Com offered to promote my blog on hers at http://grandparents.about.com/b/2009/08/15/grandpa-blogger-alert.htm
Apparently blogging grandfathers are a bit rare. As a result I'm enjoying a regular band of visitors from all over the world, with new ones dropping by all the time.
Writing from the perspective of a grandfather allows me a lot of latitude. My posts can range from stories of my own grandparents to short accounts of what our grandchildren have been up to. I can share my very amateur photography or some relevant biographical episode or other.
The bottom line is that it's fun, and writing regularly is good discipline for anyone who chooses this medium for creative expression.”
It is great that so much interest has been taken in his blog already. As Martin says, ‘blogging grandfathers’ are rare. This highlighted a couple of points to me. Firstly, that you often get further in life by doing something different, and not just following the crowd; secondly, the joy to be had from seeing a male focusing on the rearing of children, rather than other more competitive pursuits. I am all for breaking through the compliancy trend. Martin is certainly doing something here to ‘make a difference’. I wish him the very best of luck with it all.
6. FINDING, ORDERING AND RECEIVING COPIES OF MY GRANDFATHER’S (CLEMENT AUGUSTINE VICKERY) BOOKS I was able to track down, and actually purchase second hand copies of my grandfather’s (Clement Augustine Vickery) two books on amazon, both of which are on nautical matters. I am sure that you can all imagine how delighted I was about this. Here are the bibliographical details of the two books:
1. 'Navigation Figure Drawing: being an introduction to navigation by means of figure drawing', by Clement Augustine Vickery, published by James Brown and & Son, Glasgow, 1922
2. 'Stability of Ships for mates, masters and extra masters' by Clement Augustine Vickery, published by Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson, London, 1st edition - 1926, 2nd ed - 1930.
If you saw the books, I think you would agree that both books demonstrate the depth of his thinking. They are both very well-written technical books, with mathematical formulas and detailed diagrams. Totally incomprehensible to me though, by the way!
I also discovered a little more about my grandfather. I thought that he only became a nautical instructor when he retired from being a Captain of a Ship in the Merchant Navy, but the ‘Stability of Ships’ book shows to me that this is incorrect, as it says in the book that he was a nautical instructor when the book was published, in 1926. My grandfather was born in 1883 and died in 1944. This shows that he must have pursued both activities for many years.
My grandfather wrote ‘Stability of Ships’ because of his concern about the possibility of vessels capsizing. He says in the Preface that he wrote the book:
"...to investigate the laws of stability and place them before his brother seamen in a manner in which they can be grasped by all, without an advanced knowledge of mathematics."
The book was compiled from notes used in preparing candidates for the Board of Trade examinations.
He also emphasises his desire to want to help and serve, saying in the ‘Preface’ to ‘Navigation Figure Drawing’:
“That this little work will be of some service to those for whom it is intended is the sincerest wish of the writer.”
I never knew my grandfather; he died 13 years before I was born. So, this makes obtaining these books even more special for me; and it is, of course, something that I am very proud of.
7. ‘SCIENCE FICTION FILMS AND HORROR’ AND ‘RACES IN THE IMPERIAL FILM’ BY GREGORY RIKOWSKI’ Two pieces about film by Gregory Rikowski (which he originally wrote for the Certificate in Higher Education, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2007-09) have now been inserted on our website.
‘Races in the Imperial film’ http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Races in the Imperial War
Gregory will be studying for a degree in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia, starting this September 2009 – which is something that he is very much looking forward to.
8. RUTH RIKOWSKI GIVING A TALK ON THE TOPIC OF ‘FEMALES AND SOCIAL NETWORKING’ AT A ‘LEARNING FOR LIFE’ MINI-CONFERENCE AT LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY, ON 9TH JULY 2009 I gave a talk on the topic of ‘Females and Social Networking’ at a mini-conference that took place at London South Bank University, in the Faculty of Business, Computing and Information Management, on 9th July 2009. My talk was based on an article of mine that was published in ‘Managing Information’ earlier this year (in Vol. 16, Iss. 3). Considerable interest was taken in the topic, and some useful and interesting questions and points were raised. There were quite a number of delegates there altogether, talking on a variety of topics related to teaching and learning. One delegate spoke about how she tried to get her students to blog, but unfortunately, with very limited success. Oh dear! The intention, next, is to produce a book from it all, I understand.
9. SCHOOL LIBRARIANS PETITION: THE RIGHT TO HAVE A SCHOOL LIBRARY Carol Williams, a friend of mine who is a Schools Librarian, informed me about this School Librarians Petition.School Libraries, like so much else in life today, are under threat. I do hope that some of you will sign the petition (I have, of course, signed it). Here is the information that Carol sent me:
"Should Every School Have a Library? You might think they do already, but many don't, or at least don't fund and staff them adequately. Did you know that by law prisons must have a Library, but there is no such obligation for schools. If you feel you could support school libraries as a right for all our children, please sign the petition on the Number 10 website - 1900 people have signed already. http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/literacy is the website."
Terence Blacker also wrote an article in the ‘Independent’ on 9th June 2009, entitled “You can’t kill off libraries, and call it ‘creative’”, where she argues the case for School Libraries. See: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/terence-blacker/terence-blacker-you-cant-kill-off-libraries-and-call-it-creative-1700208.html
10. TRANSLATING MY GLOBALISATION BOOK INTO ARABIC? I was delighted to receive an email from Gafar Ibrahim, a Librarian & Information Officer and Translater in Doha Qatar. He said that he found my book ‘Globalisation, Information and Libraries’ very useful and that he thought it would be very good if it could be translated into Arabic in order “…to disseminate its ideas to a great number of users around the Middle East.”
Gafar is currently investigating possible publishers, and will be contacting me further about this in due course. If any of you have any thoughts in regard to this, do get in touch.
11. PAUL STURGES SPEAKING ON THE TOPIC OF ‘COMEDY AS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION’ AT A CILIP IN LONDON MEETING, 8TH SEPTEMBER 2009 I enjoyed hearing Professor Paul Sturges talking at a CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) in London meeting on 8th September 2009, on the topic of ‘Comedy as Freedom of Expression’. Paul is very interested in the topic of freedom of expression for libraries and in this talk he focused on this in relation to comedy.
Paul Sturges, Professor Emeritus at Loughborough University, made the point that jokes are a form of intellectual property in their own right. Furthermore, that some comedians do not like people taking notes during their performances for this reason; you know, others could then ‘steal’ their jokes. After all is said and done, it is often very difficult to remember jokes if one does not write them down; it certainly is for me anyway! Paul made a number of good jokes throughout his talk, not that I can remember many of them, although I do remember the one about hardware and software. Yes, very funny, that one! Thanks for that Paul!
Anyway, all in all, it was a very enjoyable evening and many thanks to CILIP in London for organising this successful and well-attended event, at a time when it is itself, suffering from cash cutbacks and related difficulties. Long may they continue to be able to run these events at the Sekforde Arms.
12. CULTURAL EVENTS ATTENDED THIS SUMMER I have been to quite a number of different cultural events this summer (some with friends and some with family); all of which was very enjoyable.
In terms of music, this included going to see the wonderful Anastacia at Hammersmith Apollo on 25th June 2009. She has an incredible voice, I think, and such stage presence. She sung both some of her old numbers, and material from her new album, ‘Heavy Rotation’. The songs from the new album were so good, that I bought the CD at the end of the gig. I also went with some friends to the O2 on the night of what would have been the first of Michael Jackson’s London concerts (on 13th July 2009). Lots of fans were there (several hundreds), playing his music; dancing; putting messages up on a billboard; paying tribute to him; lighting candles etc. It was all very moving. I came away having a tremendous amount of respect for Michael Jackson’s fans. It also helped with my own personal grieving process in regard to it all (which also followed on from the death of my father-in-law earlier this year).
In addition, we went to one of the Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, and heard some Mozart as well as some music by a contemporary female composer. Then there was the Dagenham Town Show at Dagenham Central Park, which included a free open-air musical extravaganza. One of the bands playing was the ‘Searchers’ (yes, they are still going!). They have, in fact, now been going for 47 years, they informed us. Frank Allen and Spencer James were both at the festival. They sang many songs including ‘Beach Baby’, ‘Young Girls’, Tambourine Man’, ‘Needles and Pins’, ‘Sugar and Spice’. We danced around and it was all very enjoyable.
In terms of plays, this included going to see an interesting political play called ‘The Observer’ by Matt Chapman at the National Theatre (which explored the problems and issues around trying to introduce democratic procedures into a country in the developing world) and Shakespeare’s ‘As you like it’ at the Globe Theatre (the Globe always being a winner for us!). Also, J.B. Priestley’s ‘Time and the Conway’s’ and a comedy entitled ‘England People, Very Nice’ directed by Nicholas Hytner. The latter was about racial integration in the East End of London from the 17th century to the present day and it was really hilarious; a laugh in nearly every line and very clever script writing, I thought. Both of these plays were also at the National Theatre.
Finally, we visited the Whitechapel Art Gallery, which was interesting and enjoyable (I also discovered that it is more or less on our doorstep – well, at least relative to other art galleries, it is!) In addition, they have some interesting artistic workshops taking place there, which are free. The workshops are entitled ‘Live Words’ and they are “A free series of spoken word, poetry and innovative writers’ evenings in the intimate environment of the Café/Bar…” I might well go along.
N.B. Many thanks to Martin Hodges and Carol Williams for providing information for item 5 and 9 respectively. Also, for the help that Isaac Hunter Dunlap gave me in regard to tracking down my grandfather’s books (item 6).
I live a varied life - writing and editing; teaching and lecturing; enjoying music, especially dancing and singing; coming from a library and information background; love books and reading; enjoy my immediate family (have 3 sons) and friends; love the theatre and going to concerts (e.g. the Royal Festival Hall, the Globe Theatre). I could go on and on...but better probably to just read my Updates! They tell you lots about me.